After The Dream—MAIN INDEX (and secret Hisao arc)

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brythain
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Re: After the Dream—Main Index ('Finality' up 20141016)

Post by brythain » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:38 am

Professor Q wrote:Well, here are a few scattershot comments, in lieu of the review that I should really write someday:

- I liked the chances that the "non-main characters" (clunky term, but how else do I put it?) had to shine. Particularly Kenji. The kid deserved a break after all he'd been through. (Also, I found it interesting that he had "issues" with his father in your story: in one of the routes - I believe it was Shizune's - he speaks vaguely favourably about his dad, and seems to be a bit bitter about his mother.)
- I'm still torn about how to react to the Mutou route. From a personal point of view, it's a kick right in the old myocardium, especially one particular detail that is revealed near the end - but from a storytelling point of view, it's awesome. So let's call it "awesomely painful." :(
- I liked the science-fiction angle, something that I'd never considered even if I actually live in the middle of a field like that (or, rather, of its semi-practical applications), and the whole level of advancement reached reminded me a lot of Asimov's "The Bicentennial Man", which is one of my all-time favourites.
- Poor, poor Lilly and Emi. They really bring to mind another all-time favourite quote of mine, by G.B. Shaw: "There are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it." (Sort of sums the whole thing up, doesn't it?)
- I found the idea of Hideaki / Hanako a bit strange at first, but strangely appealing, and it worked brilliantly within the context of the story. Score one for offbeat ships!
- Finally, I think the greatness of the story lies in the interlocking arcs. That's something I love (I write a bit of fan-fic and book fantasy wrestling leagues in my ever-decreasing spare time, so I know how hard it is!) and it was pulled off almost perfectly here. Kudos, kudos.
Thanks very much for these comments, some of which have prompted soul-searching and other reflective activities in me. I'll reply by PM to avoid spoilerising the spoilers and whatnot. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Hisao4: Spectrum (20141111)

Post by brythain » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:47 pm

Some of Hisao's thoughts in 2016, looking back at the time he spent in his apartment in Tokyo.

This constitutes the fourth part of Hisao's 'arc' — a loose progression through his post-Lilly life.



Hisao 4: Spectrum (T -8)

There are some memories I’ve got that are precious, and I keep them in a box in a drawer in our little staff apartment near the former Aoba Castle in Sendai. I write notes to myself, and they will also one day be my future wife’s because I don’t think I’ll outlive her. She doesn’t get to read them now, for many reasons—only one of which is that I think about death a lot and she hates this.

Today’s writing is mostly about my first apartment. I had it for six years until I moved to the bachelor rooms at Yamaku. 2008 to 2013, extended to 2014, wonderful years. If each year had a colour, I would have a sort of rainbow. But each year had more than one colour, and my poor writing talent has to deal with that.

Why am I doing this particular set of notes? Because Rin Tezuka suggested it, of course. Right now, she’s sitting a short distance away from me, tapping her toes at me because she knows it interrupts my day-dreaming. Better get going, then.


*****

2008-2009: A Splash of Red

Father and Mother—I’m sorry I ever thought of whether I should forgive them, for there was nothing to forgive. In fact, I’m glad they forgave the useless son who was angry and didn’t keep in touch with them. And when I graduated, sadder but wiser, from Yamaku? They congratulated me on my results and promised to send me to any university I wanted if I should gain admission.

My father is a retired stockbroker who doesn’t normally talk much. He sat down with me and for the first time in my life shared some quite horrible truths. Mother was silent throughout; she has always been the power behind his throne, but good at playing the conservative Japanese wife. Money is tight. The economy is bad. But they will gamble on… me.

We had a frank conversation about matters as they stood. Weeks later, I also had a little apartment in Bunkyo, near Tokyo University. My parents once thought I had a girlfriend with a disability. They were wrong about the girlfriend, and the disability. It’s not my fault they met Miki Miura during the time she stayed over before moving back to Nagasaki. Dad liked her.

Miki loved earth tones and reds and yellows. She was very alive, and she made me feel very alive. She wanted to touch people, to feel touched by people. She taught me how to hug someone, how to hold someone’s hand, while being nothing more than friends. She was there for me in my dark days; she used to say, “Fuck it, Hisao, real friends are there to be friends. You don’t need to thank me for being your friend.”

She was great to hang out with, a very physical type; but we weren’t quite lovers, and I wouldn’t see her again for years once she was gone. When we parted, she gave me a brief kiss on the nose, as if to say, “We’re equals, thanks for the good times.” There was a wave and a wink at the airport, and then just a kind of afterglow, like sunset on a fine day.

This was the only part of the year in which I really felt alive, and it wasn’t all about Miki; because of her, Rin also re-entered my life briefly. When she too left, to give art a second try, life returned to the normal grind of the Tokyo undergraduate.

By the winter of 2008, I was certain Lilly would never return, and my friendships with Hanako and Shizune thus became much more important to me. I had few remaining friends, and the ones I found at Yamaku were thus doubly precious to me. But winters are always wintry, and the spring that followed did not alleviate my heartache much.

They say that humans pass through many phases of life; some, like dear Hana, say seven is a perfect number for those phases. In my darker moods, I think they are: I will never die, so what if I die, everyone dies, I’m going to die, I don’t want to die, I don’t care if I die, and what comes after I die. I’m young to have gone through all those phases, but in Todai, I was still at ‘I don’t want to die’.

*****

2009-2010: Oranges

I remember that on my very first day of school at Yamaku, Shizune told me via Misha, “You should always try to learn as much as you can about where you’re going before you go there.” It’s the reason I spent so much time finding out about the venerable University of Tokyo, together with Shizune and Hanako, before we ended up there.

It’s also the reason why I’m still wondering about death. You’re going there some day, you should know about it. Is there anything to know? Can you know anything? Here’s what I learnt, dreaming in the lazy afternoons, sometimes when I’ve fallen asleep studying with my friends in the summer sunshine next to the Sanshiro Pond, our beautiful central lake at the university.

It’s always afternoon, and I’m always in the little tea room with Lilly, with the orange light gently flooding through the windows. And yet that is never going to happen again in this life. But I find myself taking out some writing paper, and it’s the kind Iwanako used to write to me, the kind that has flowers in the margin; I don’t know how it got into my hand. And very carefully, I use my small knowledge of Braille to deeply press little round dents in the soft paper with a pen, because the Perkins is downstairs with Shizune and Misha in the council room, and I can’t go down and break this moment.

I write to Lilly: [I loved you first of all. Some day, I will get over it, but that love will stay there, like a little creature preserved forever in amber, which is warm and orange and precious, but foreign and strange.]

While I am writing, Lilly says, “Hisao, you’re being very quiet. Are you folding something with that paper?”

And because I have to be honest with her, I say, “No. I am writing you a message for when we are old and grey. Please don’t read it now. It’s for later.”

Of course, there isn’t really a later. That’s because one of us is dead, and the other one knows it’s too late. And then we wake up, in different places and times, not knowing where the other one is, and somehow feeling lost.


But the one person who taught me a lot about death was Rin Tezuka. It began with oranges, because those were her favourite fruit. She didn’t like peeling them because it wasn’t easy with no arms, and her feet tended to have paint on them. But she loved it when I peeled them first, carefully removing the white fibres in between the segments because they would get stuck in her teeth.

So look at this through my eyes, whoever is reading this… and if it’s Emi, well, think kind thoughts of your old friend for me.

Rin sits there on the sofa in my small apartment. She’s come down from the loft like a little furry animal, just to be with someone else for a while. I am feeding her orange segments. She says, “It’s like dying, I think. That’s why they call it dying.”

I say, as I often say, “What do you mean, Rin?”

“You feed me oranges. Then the plate hasn’t any more pieces on it. But I can still taste them in my nose. I can remember them. Even when they’re gone.”

“That’s profound, Rin.”

She looks at me with her deep green eyes. It’s a look I’ve never been able to fathom.

“Yesss. I am a profound Rin sometimes. It’s like paint. It soaks in, and it changes things. When it dries, it’s not paint any more. It’s died. But it lives. I think that’s why they call some paints dyes. When you’re gone, I’ll remember you. Like a painting or a charcoal sketch or India ink. In my brain like the smell of oranges. Or a flight of butterflies.”


It was the year Saki Enomoto died. She was the girl who used to occupy my seat, the empty seat I took when I first entered 3-3 at Yamaku. I never really knew her.

*****

2010-2011: Golden Dawn

This happened before Emi and I became friends again.

Occasionally, Shizune and Hanako would drop by since my apartment was within walking distance of our campus. Hana lived in a university hostel, while Shizune would commute back and forth from Saitama. Sometimes, Shizune would bunk over with Hana. Sometimes, one or both of them would stay over with Rin and me. Those days were good because there was always something to learn, and we got to know each other better. There were surprises.

For example, I learned quite early on that Rin could sign with her toes. One evening, she had signed [Hello] to Shizune. Shizune: [Did you just sign at me with your toes?] Me: [Surprise. I didn’t know she could.] Rin: [You never asked.]

It was on one of those days that we hatched the plan. I remember a pale golden-yellow Saturday morning, after a late night in which Rin had joined us and we’d all enjoyed each other’s company quite a bit because of some plum brandy that Hana had brought with her.

For some reason, Misha and I had stayed in touch over the Internet. She seemed awfully lonely, and sometimes, I felt that way too. Rin lived in my loft space, but sometimes she wasn’t in a communicative mood, and that made me feel even more alone. It was worse for Misha, though, because at least I had friends visiting.

Then one day, Shizune announced: [Misha’s coming back for a visit. It’s expensive but she says she’s homesick.]

Hana looked at me, her eyes curious. She’d learnt a bit of sign, and I knew that she’d been spending a lot of time with Shizune, especially whenever I was stuck in the Todai science labs. “H-Hisao, you could have her over here, and we could make it a little reunion for her?”

Rin looked at all of us. “It’s a party. It will need food. And happiness. My hair will get in the way. Hisao will have to braid my hair and maybe pin it up. Also, ice-cream. It’s Misha.”

I remember how I felt at that moment, as Shizune’s face broke into a grin.

The yellow light around us is like honey. The moment is bright, a new day, a joyful day. I know that other things will happen to us, but they haven’t happened yet. Right now, we can only think of happy things.

*****

2011-2012: Green Light

Happiness doesn’t always last. I broke up with Emi, briefly. It was my fault. And then there were times that I quarreled with Rin. There were times we couldn’t understand each other, and she would walk out, and find her way to Sae’s atelier, and pretend she never knew me or had forgotten who I was. Or maybe, to her that was the truth. But one day, something happened.

Rin had been gone for weeks. I would walk past the gallery, or Hana or Shizune would just pass by to check with Sae. But the finals were here, and we were studying, and the gallery was closing down. None of us knew about it.

Then I got the call.

“Good evening. My name is Ishizaki, and I am calling from a hospital. May I know with whom I have the pleasure of speaking?”

It was a dry voice, official, genderless, administrative. Immediately, I was afraid. Such things are bad news. Visions flashed through my head: Hana, panicking in a crowded intersection; Shizune, unaware of some vehicle barreling towards her from an unwatched flank. I answered with a dry mouth: “This is Nakai. How may I assist you?”

I felt terribly guilty when Ishizaki replied, “Do you happen to know a young person, about 160 cm tall, with reddish-brown hair? If so, please describe this person further and we may perhaps invite you to make positive identification.”

Rin. Something had happened to her. My heart sank. ‘Positive identification’ sounded like whatever had happened was rather final. I didn’t want to use words that reminded me of the ultimate finality.

“She has a rare disability of the upper limbs, and it’s an obvious one. Deep green eyes. Also, likely to have paint stains on her toes. Oil paint or acrylic.” I didn’t want to tell this stranger too much.

“You clearly know this person. Nakai-san, would you please make your way to TMUH? Meet me at the A&E foyer. If you cannot find me, send me a message. I am a doctor, and you can also identify me by my nametag.”

A week later, I brought Rin home to my little apartment. She sat sadly in the loft, which I had turned into a little atelier of her own.

“Rin’s broken, isn’t she?” she said. “Sae has a disease and the gallery is closing down and Miki is in Nagasaki and you don’t want to be my friend.”

Her eyes were tightly closed. As I watched, a single tear leaked out from between the lids of her left eye. It rolled down her cheek and stayed at the point of her chin. I could not leave her alone.

Carefully, I sat down next to her, on the mat that she preferred to sleep on. She was breathing, and that was all. I put my arms around her. “Rin?” I whispered, trying not to shed tears of my own. “I am your friend. This is your home for now.”

“Hisao. You are hugging me. I don’t know if that is a good thing. I don’t know if you are keeping secrets from me. I don’t know you any more. But don’t stop.”

From that moment, Rin has never stopped being my friend. I suppose that I haven’t stopped being hers either.

*****

2012-2013: The Long Blue Goodbye

She was in town, and I was in a dark blue hoodie. That colour had been the dame’s favourite colour, apart from white. I’d been reading too many classic crime novels in English because… I don’t know why I kept improving my English. Maybe it was because of the dame. This was the dame’s sister.

The dame’s sister was sharp-featured, like a fox who’d been waiting too long for its supper. I knew she was in town because I knew where the family office was. They traded in the rich fishing from the north. Something fishy was always part of their lives. It was like a Japanese lunch.

I sent the text to an almost-forgotten number. Almost, but not quite. The digital world never forgets. [Meet me in the park.] That was all, and I knew she’d know which part, and who I was. After all, we had a past. I might have ended up marrying her sister.

I took a long loop around town. You never knew, with these feminists, when the ‘Aha!’ moment might come. I would hear the sound of blades on the grass, or on the sidewalk, and it would be the last thing I’d ever hear. Because there was another dame, and she was a jealous one.

2013. That was the year I gave up the ghost. I mean, it wasn’t as if I had that many ghosts. This one had shuffled off to Scotland years ago. I couldn’t quite forget her, but I had to do something. I had friends who would help. The foxy lady, the ghost’s sister, was one of them.

My second loop brought me to the park, like a bad penny on its return trip. I saw with approval that she’d brought two beers. Sapporo, of course. She seemed startled to see me, almost as if she’d thought of killing me, and then thought it wasn’t worth it.

“I need a lawyer,” I said, my voice furtive like a cloud behind Mount Fuji. She looked a little put out, and said so. But when I told her why, she switched the topic to her cousin, the son of the mad katana-wielding uncle. And then she agreed.

I needed to write a will. And in that will would be my goodbye to the tall girl, my first love, my love no longer. You can’t say things like that in your own voice. That’s why I’m using my fake crime novel voice. It was harder than I thought, this last goodbye. It took me years to get over it. I’ll be happily married soon, but that first dame, she’ll always be ‘the dame’ to me.

*****

2013-2014: Indigene

I’d just finished my final teacher certification examination at Gakudai. With the training for the Paralympics and all, Emi was a year behind me. I was sitting in my little apartment, two rooms and a sort of loft, a sitting/dining room and a kitchenette. I would miss it.

I would miss the times I’d spent in it. Miki and Rin, Shizune and Hana, Misha—somehow, the girls had always liked it. I think I’d grown to love my little home because they did. I had no idea why, most times. Miki had liked it because it wasn’t a faceless cubicle. Rin had liked it for the natural light in the loft. Rin—I would miss Rin. I wondered what to do about her. I worried for her.

I was going home, not to Yokohama, but to Sendai. To Yamaku, where my new life had begun. To a bachelor staff apartment, just a few minutes away from Mutou-sensei’s own. And Rin?

My father had been quite clear: the rental on the apartment was a luxury. The yen wasn’t doing well. I had asked him if he would extend the rental to the end of 2013. Silence.

“Hisao… is this for Tezuka?” He sounded oddly hesitant, his signal fading but his voice clear.

“She’ll need time, Dad. It’ll be hard for her.”

“It’s not the one with only one hand, right? The pretty one?”

“No, Dad. That was Miura. Miki.”

“Ah.” More silence.

“It’s all right, Dad. I can work something out.”

“No, no. Just… well. Mum and I will come up to visit you. We’d like to meet Tezuka, have a chat with her. Extending to the end of the year is fine, but she’s your friend, it’s not right to just kick her out. Your mother says to tell you that we know she’s not your girlfriend. Really, Hicchan?”

I laughed. It was weird listening to Misha’s words in my father’s voice.

“Thank you very much, Dad. It means a lot to me, and I want to repay that someday.”

“It is a small thing, son. You have done well. It means a lot to us. You’re alive. You have friends. All good things. We’ll see you next week.”

It turned out that Rin had money. Quite a bit of it, from sales of paintings and money from her family in Tsushima. She could pay for another whole year of rent, and Dad helped her get her accounts in order while Mum did a full restocking of my… Rin’s new apartment.

The end of March came. Dad and Mum had come up from Yokohama one more time. I’d be driving to Sendai with Emi, and they’d stay with Rin a while.

“I can’t hug very well, Hisao. But I’ll water your cactus and try not to drip paint on the main hallway.”

She twitched her head in a way I’d come to know well. I offered my shoulder and she leaned into it, as always. I felt her armbits come up to my chest and I hugged her tight. Emi was standing behind her, a half-cheeky half-grin on her lips. Her eyes looked a little sad.

“Come and visit Rin some time,” Rin whispered.

“I will.”

*****

April 2013

Mutou-sensei helped with the paperwork. “Emi Ibarazaki for real, eh?” he said softly while we were at the main school office. “Kaneshiro-san probably knows the whole story and hasn’t told me all about it.”

“He’s Dr Kaneshiro now, right?”

“Yes. I’ll get him to tell you about it when you’re fully settled in and have time to visit his office.”

“Thanks.”

“I get the feeling we’ve done this before, Hisao. Would you like to introduce yourself to the staff or shall I do it for you?”

There was a surprisingly cheerful expression on his face. On any other person, it would be a fairly bright smile—but this was Mutou, after all.

“It feels a little different, sensei, but not a lot.”

“You can drop the ‘sensei’, Hisao. We’re colleagues now, and if you feel comfortable after all these years, you can call me Akio.”

I was about to say, “Oh no, wouldn’t dream of it, boss,” because he’d still be my head of department after all, when he stopped me with a wave of his hand.

“It shouldn’t feel too different, Hisao. After all, you belong here. You graduated from this place. As the biologists put it, you’re practically indigenous to this environment.”

He looked at me, a half-smile still on his lips. I couldn’t help but grin back. He took the forms from me and handed them to the school clerk, Mitsuyasu-san. The old man bowed stiffly to us. “Welcome to Yamaku, Nakai-san. These are your keys, and a copy of the staff apartment regulations. It is good to see alumni coming home.”

We returned his bow and emerged a while later. Emi was impatiently hopping back and forth on her ‘formal’ legs. “Hi, Mutou-sensei! What took you so long, Hisao? Can we go up to the apartment and see everything? I’ve never been up there before!”

It struck me that after six years in my old apartment, it might only be a couple of years in this one, and then… perhaps, a move to a larger one.

*****

September 2013

A few months later, I really knew I’d come home when I got a strange phone call.

“Nakai?”

“Err, yes. Who’s this?” The voice sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“I have a mission for you, should you choose to accept it.”

Oh, damn. Kenji Setou, my old neighbour from when I was a student at Yamaku.

“What is it, Kenji?”

“You remember me?” He sounded very pleased.

“Yes,” I said politely.

“Well, I am not crazy Kenji the feminist scourge of our childhood. I am going to do something about a woman, and you are going to help me. There aren’t many people I trust, so this is a good thing for you.”

*****

However, that’s another story entirely. I won’t tell it here, because it’s long and I’m tired. Also, I’m sure Kenji will release the redacted files someday. ‘Kenji Declassified’ has a nice sound to it, I guess.

Rin’s fallen asleep on the sofa. I walk softly over to her and cover her up with a thin blanket. She makes an odd sound in her throat, wriggles a bit, but remains asleep.

It’s been a strange eight years now since I graduated from Yamaku, but I wouldn’t change any of it. Emi will be back from Rio soon, and I’ll have a lot to tell her. Also, a formal proposal to think about. That too will be another story. Good night.


=====
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Last edited by brythain on Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Gamma
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Re: After the Dream—Main Index (Hisao: Spectrum, up 20141111

Post by Gamma » Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:35 am

As a newcomer to using forums my attempts at communicating my thoughts may be a little... rough.

I just wanted to say that I think this fanfic is absolutely fantastic. I've read a few Katawa Shoujo fan fictions before and I've been fortunate enough that the ones I've read have all been great in their own ways. However, as fan fictions tend to do, I find these other works don't often explore the world in which Yamaku is set in. They don't tend to elaborate on much more than was set by the visual novel. As a whole that's better than creating too much original material that the resultant story may as well be a complete original. The world you've managed to create in your After the Dream series takes all these different tidbits from the visual novel and creates an epic tale of loss, melancholy, struggle as well as the welcome but brief sections of hope, love and contentment. Your world good sir, is amazing.

At first I had a little bit of a problem accepting the increasing prominence of the Families in the foundation and maintenance of Yamaku and its students/alumni. My problems kinda vanished once I remembered that the visual novel never really gave an explanation on either of those topics. As with many slice of life/drama stories Katawa Shoujo never really focused on its setting. Instead it understandably focused on character development and slice of life interactions. And I don't think Katawa Shoujo's impact on me would have been on the same if it had focused on anything else. So I'm glad that both your fan fiction and Katawa Shoujo both exist so I can get the attachment I feel for all its characters from the visual novel, and all the fascination at seeing how these characters could later interact with each other and the world around them from your works.

Of course, I'm just a tad bit bias towards After the Dream as it uses one of my favourite story telling methods, the mosaic style. To be honest, I don't know if that's even a style but let's just call it that for now. I like stories in which individual tales are told and each tale is missing information about the whole overall story. The more of those individual tales you read, the more of the overall story you begin to understand. After the Dream is a fantastic example of this style with all the minutiae of details about the story that get revealed over time. At the moment I can't wait to find out how Kenji fits in to the Nakai foundation and the battle against the Families.

I've read all of your work on this series apart from the Mutou collection of short stories about his relationship with Miyagi. I'm already in love with all the main characters from the visual novel so unfortunately you couldn't make me fall in love with them any more. Still though, I really enjoyed Hanako's and Rin's stories. They even made me shed a tear or two. Your expansive bunch of side-characters' stories are always a joy to read. Particularly Kenji's. The explanation of his insanity we as the player get to experience in the visual novel was incredibly touching and sad. Of all the stories his character development has been the strongest and a joy to read. Plus the way you use Kenji's Old and New voices is in my opinion one of the best ways to portray the difficultly of actively trying to change oneself. I'm in the process of trying to do something similar, (of course not the same degree as Kenji) and reading about his methods of trying to change gave me some inspiration on how I'm going to do it. Finally of all the stories Kenji's feels the most... routeish. As an audience we get a pretty linear progression in what's happened to him. While I love your normal methods of skipping a few years it's nice to have a change with Kenji. Ah Kenji, always the outlier aren't we?

In short, thank you for making a great work of fiction. I can't wait to see Kenji's conclusion as well as anything else you choose to write.

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Re: After the Dream—Main Index (Hisao: Spectrum, up 20141111

Post by brythain » Sun Nov 16, 2014 6:22 am

Gamma wrote:As a newcomer to using forums my attempts at communicating my thoughts may be a little... rough.

*snip amazing and much-appreciated comments*

In short, thank you for making a great work of fiction. I can't wait to see Kenji's conclusion as well as anything else you choose to write.
Your thoughts were about as rough as a nicely matured Merlot. :) I really appreciate the time you took to drop these paragraphs on me; this kind of thing makes me realise that there are people who read my feverish KS-based imaginings and find that they resonate. I'm touched.

Kenji's conclusion has been long in the making. Who would have thought that he'd turn out to be both a central figure and yet a deliberately shadowy and peripheral one at the same time? Then again, he's that to Hisao's protagonist character in KS, so in that sense I'm remaining true to canon.

If you shed a tear during certain arcs, you're in good company. So did I — while writing and even afterward. I, as a writer, was showing how our beloved characters experienced such joys and griefs; it got to me in a very personal way, in a way that made me feel I knew them as my own friends.

*****

"Author-san!~"

I don't know how Misha decided she'd be the most frequent visitor to my workspace, of all of them. But here she is again. Her hair is chestnut brown now, and some silver is in it. If I look hard, I can see a faint sheen, a gentle tint of metallic pink.

"Hi, Misha!"

"It won't ever come to an end, you know. There'll always be stories, and some of them will have us in them, even after we're gone and you are too. And also, parfaits! Wahaha!~"

I smile, and we sit a while, not saying anything. The fragrance of apple blossoms is in the air. Then, she's gone, and as always, I feel what I feel when the end-credits roll in Katawa Shoujo.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: After the Dream—Main Index (Kenji 3-3b up 20141117)

Post by minimike96 » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:27 pm

I haven't finished reading all of the stories but, you did an amazing job writing these.
I actually almost cried reading Shizune's and Misha's epilogues.
That one guy who likes Shizune more than the others.
Shizune>>Emi≥Rin≥Misha>Hanako>Lily

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Re: After the Dream—Main Index (Kenji 3-3b up 20141117)

Post by brythain » Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:43 am

minimike96 wrote:I haven't finished reading all of the stories but, you did an amazing job writing these.
I actually almost cried reading Shizune's and Misha's epilogues.
Thank you! I hope you enjoy any of the other parts of 'After The Dream' that you read too! :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Interlude (20141221)

Post by brythain » Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:23 am

"I decided long ago that I would regret nothing."

I look up from the stack of academic books I have to digest. It takes me some time to identify that unique hairstyle with the gamine face it frames.

"Hello, Ms Suzuki."

"Ah, which one of us is me? There are five misses Suzuki," she smiles, her large eyes gazing almost hungrily at me.

"What's up, Suzu?"

"I used to think that only Rin Tezuka thought as I did. And then I realised that we said things the way we did for different reasons."

"And how can I help you?" This one is prone to ramble. She will get where she is going eventually, but I have a paper to write!

"You're doing well. You've hidden our indiscretion from both ends. It was regrettable. I am glad he did not suffer. We got off lightly."

"When you tell me this, are you dreaming it all?" I tease, gently.

"That could be it. But I don't think it is. Unlike Rin, I do not hold the world entire in my armlessness; I am Suzu, and that is all."

She looks wistful. I wonder why. And then I know.

"I can leave out that year, you know."

"The way Miki left out hers?" There is some bitterness in her voice.

"Perhaps. Do you trust Ms Ooe to edit it aright?"

"Nat. Dependable, intellectually violent, dislikable Nat. Of course I trust her. Who else is there?"

I wisely forbear from commenting further.

"Good night, author. I hope I have not made you too much trouble in this escapade."
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Curator's Update (20141228) Kenji3 (Complete)

Post by brythain » Sat Dec 27, 2014 9:17 pm

After much discussion, Natsume and I sit on the floor and sip sencha. Rika has just left, the Ghost of Noda fading in a way that goes beyond disturbing—I've always wondered why her eyes are the last to fade.

"So, this is what we'll be releasing? It doesn't seem like much, compared to the original."

"Well, author-san, you know what Kenji said. There's so much that needs to remain hidden."

Her mismatched eyes, sometimes so glorious in the right lighting, twinkle at me. I seldom think of neat, dignified Natsume as 'twinkly'.

"What do we do with the remaining material?"

"Four books more should do it. But don't forget, all of it is in your future, and unlike some other people, I'm circumspect about what should be shown."

"Editor-san, you are a difficult taskmistress."

"That I am," she whispers, grinning.

=====

The Third Book of Kenji is now complete. Enjoy.

Kenji 3: Distant Drums (2015-2020)

2015.04-2015.12 — Year 1 (1) — Kenji becomes a father
2016.01-2016.03 — Year 1 (2) — Kenji learns a lot about friends and family
2016.04-2016.09 — Year 2 (1) — Kenji's daughter turns one, and Hisao says many things
2016.10-2017.01 — Year 2 (2) — Kenji's son is born, and Kenji thinks a lot about work.
2017.01-2017.04 — Year 2 (3) — Kenji has to deal with a very bad mistake.
2017.04-2017.05 — Year 3 (1) — Kenji looks Death in the face.
2017.06-2017.09 — Year 3 (2) — Kenji is supportive to some old friends.
2017.10-2018.01 — Year 3 (3) — Kenji sees things differently.
2018.02-2018.08 — Year 4 (1) — Kenji learns more about the world he lives in.
2018.08-2019.02 — Year 4 (2) — Kenji helps people, not just those he likes—hi Misha!
2019.03-2019.08 — Year 5 (1) — Kenji thinks about friendship and makes decisions.
2019.09-2020.03 — Year 5 (2) — Kenji realises that the good years are ending.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Hisao 5: Conversations (20141229)

Post by brythain » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:40 am

Some of Hisao's written notes, as he reflects on events earlier in 2017.
Your humble editorial committee suspects they were written in May 2017 after 'Golden Week'—that is, some time from the second week onwards.

Perhaps of note is that the most proximate sequel to these notes can be found in Emi's arc here.

This is the fifth part of Hisao's 'arc', if you can call it that.



Hisao 5: Conversations to Remember (T -7)

I wrote these things down from February to May in 2017. Maybe nobody will ever read them, but I’d like to think that some day somebody will find them meaningful. Today, when I’m writing them down in this small café in Sendai, I know I’ve made the biggest decision of my life. It will likely remain that way forever.

=====

February

“You know what, Hisao?”

She’s beautiful, she’s all my world. She’s the most beautiful thing on no legs. And she’s staring at me, frowning as she sits on my bed in her silver winter pullover. Oh. I’m supposed to say something.

“What, Emi?”

“Thanks for helping me think about Dad.”

“Errm…”

“No, really. It’s not like you’re going to be a world-class athlete, but Dad would’ve liked you. Well, Dad my father, not Dad the detective.”

“Errm, what?”

I’m often confused by Rin, but truth to tell, I sometimes am also confused by the girl I’m going to marry. Especially when she looks at me sidelong and taps the side of her mouth with her finger.

“Dad the detective would wonder what you’re thinking about. You have that look. Are you thinking about her again, Nakai-san?”

Oh, gods. I’m busted. I didn’t even realize it.

She sighs, almost as if she’s about to pout. But it’s worse than that. She looks as if she’s too sad to pout, and her lower lip is trembling. This is not the time for half-measures, surely.

“I love you, Emi Ibarazaki.”

At first I think that’s done the trick. I really do, and I want her to know it. But her green-tinted eyes are fiercely questioning, imploring, asking me for truth.

“What does that even mean, Hisao Nakai? Does it mean I’m one of the many girls you have some kind of affection for? Does it mean I’m your trophy girlfriend? Does it mean you want me to love you back? What?”

In the background of my little bedroom in the staff quarters at the Yamaku Academy on Mount Aoba, I see the sun setting through my simple square-framed windows. The sky is clear. It’s purple with late light, and a faint bronze-gold radiance gleams across her hair.

A week ago, I was chatting with an old friend about this, just stupid talk. I still don’t quite know how to answer her questions, I realize. And until I do, it wouldn’t be fair to ask her to marry me. Neither would it be fair, after all we’ve gone through together, to not. I have to choose my words carefully, and so, I’m silent for a while.

It’s mid-February. We’ve just celebrated Valentine’s Day. The wind on the mountain is cold, and so is Scotland, and so also is my first love’s heart. She’s never replied to me, except through her sister Akira, and it’s been a long while since I last attempted to speak with her. So, farewell and goodbye, Lilly, forever and a day—that’s how it’s been.

But each year, in February, I remember the birthday celebration that we never had. This is how it happened, nine years ago.

*

Misha is a bit less subdued as she grins her way into the classroom. It’s close to examination season, which explains why she is subdued at all. Shizune is behind her, face buried in a textbook, which is why what happens, happens.

“Hicchan!~” my pink-haired friend trills. “Today is a special day! I just remembered! You should call her!”

I’m sleepy from late-night studying, helping Miki with whatever Chemistry she’s able to understand, things like that. I don’t realize what Misha’s going on about, until Shizune looks up from her book in puzzlement, not having heard the words (of course) but registering the sudden shift in classroom atmosphere. It’s as if everyone’s taken a deep breath and sucked all the air out of the room.

I turn to face Misha fully, figuring out what everyone else has figured out a second earlier. Bad judgement, out of an exam-induced insanity. Suddenly, there is no air in my lungs. I get up, I walk out. I barely notice Hanako glaring furiously at Misha. I barely hear Misha’s plaintive, “Hicchan?”

I was almost healing, I think. I stand outside the classroom, my chest suddenly tight. I’m trying to breathe. I remember one night, sipping tea with the girls in Lilly’s room, and Hanako saying, “Oh! Before we g-graduate, we must have one l-last birthday party here, for Lilly!” Lilly suddenly sounds strangely guarded as she replies: “Hanako dear, that’s in February, which is rather a long time away from now. It is a pleasant thought, though.”

*

And now, it’s nine years later. The woman I love is glaring at me as I grasp half-heartedly at fading memories. I open my mouth, and hope that what my heart says is enough.

“I love you, Emi, and it means that I think you’re beautiful. It means that I want to be there for you when you wake each day. It means we’ll go on living until we stop, and we’ll at least have had time together, and there’ll be no regrets. And while I can’t help my memories and my past, I’ll try very hard to make my life and my thoughts and my actions revolve around you and with your own. You weren’t my first love; I wasn’t yours. But what we have is for the rest of all there is, Emi Ibarazaki.”

I don’t know where all those words are coming from, really. I hope they’re saying what I feel. I look up, my sight a little hazy. Emi is staring at me with big puppy-dog eyes. If she rejects me now, I’m dead. What a silly thought, but it feels true.

She’s frowning, and chewing her lip, and doing all those things that are danger signs to me. And then, she seems to come to a decision.

“That’s sweet, Hisao. I think I could love you, after all. But next month, when I start full-time teaching, you’re gonna go for a run with me every morning, no excuses, OK? And no more whisky sessions with Kenji Setou!”

And then, just when I think that this is where my happiness begins, she wrinkles her nose at me and plants herself in that posture I know so well. She’s not going to change her mind now.

“Give me a few months. Then I’ll decide. Sometimes, I just don’t know about you, Nakai-san.”

She has a finger in her mouth and is sucking on the tip. It would look cute, except that she looks sad. She turns away, the warm sunset framing her in a picture that will never leave me even if she does. I know about me, Emi! I do love you! — all that is what I want to say, but I know she needs the time.

So do I, I think. So do I.

*****

March

“I’ve made you a special bento for today.”

My mind screams that I don’t understand that statement and I don’t recognize that voice. I try to get up, but my ankle is pinned. I’m chained to my mattress, it feels like. As I wake up too slowly, the voice becomes familiar.

“Rin, is that you?” I ask, struggling to get my leg free. “Where’s Emi? What are you doing?”

“I think so. Emi’s not here. I’m sitting on your ankle so you won’t fall out of bed like the last time I woke you up.”

“Why would I fall out of bed?”

I crack an eyelid open at last. The woman sitting on my ankle has her hair worn in a single reddish braid all the way down to the middle of her lower back. She is wearing very little. And the last time she woke me up like this, I did indeed almost fall out of bed.

“I don’t know. But it happens.”

“Why aren’t you dressed, Rin?”

“It’s easier to cook when you’re wearing fewer clothes. Easier to paint too, but you don’t normally watch me painting or cooking. Oh, that’s interesting.”

“What’s interesting?”

“Your ankle squirming under me.”

“…” is probably the best way to describe what I say, which isn’t much. I freeze, because that seems to be the best option. You never can tell, with Rin.

“If you’re properly awake, I’ll get off your ankle.”

“Please do.”

“I think Emi will marry you. I can see her thinking about it.”

“What?”

“About marrying you. Her face goes all funny. It’s like the time you picked up the last fried squid ball and Hanako smacked your hand, and Shizune looked shocked, and then she looked as if she wished she had done it first.”

This is an uncomfortable conversation to be having with a half-naked lady in bed. Especially if she’s been your friend and room-mate for several years, and not more than that. I squint at her. The morning light is very, very bright behind her. It makes her hair flame like autumn leaves, as she shakes it out, and that reminds me of a walk I once took with her into the forest behind the school.

“There’s nothing wrong with your tackle, I’m sure.” She says it with such a deadpan expression that I suddenly feel that I’m back in school again, listening to her say things about people that people don’t normally say.

“Um, Rin? No poking. It’s not fair.” I manage to say it just before her foot creeps all the way up my thigh. Also, I’ve never learnt how to deal with the physically curious side of Rin. She doesn’t believe in keeping a decent distance.

“So, will you marry Emi? Meiko is wondering about that too. I asked her to get Emi to go out this morning to buy flowers.”

“What? Why?”

“Your brain isn’t working very well yet. I should go make you some tea. That’s the third ‘what’ you’ve asked when you should know what I’m talking about. Unless you don’t understand most of what I’m saying today.”

She suddenly looks very worried, as if anxiety has speared her like a knife. “It’s been a long time since you didn’t know what I was talking about. I might have to go back to painting on your walls.”

I reach up and pat her shoulder, now lowered on its way to dejection. “No. Please don’t. I was only wondering how come you know what Emi’s mother is thinking.”

“Oh. Maybe it was meant to be a secret. I’m not good at keeping secrets that I don’t know are secrets. But I’m good at understanding Meiko.”

“It doesn’t matter, Rin. And to answer your question, I do want to marry Emi. But I’m… well… I’m…” I can’t say it. But there’s a terrifying thought in my head—what if she decides in a few months’ time that it won’t be anything?

Rin is giving me one of her fabled deep, intense stares. “Do you remember when we talked about love some years ago? I think I remember everything you said. So in case you don’t remember, I’m going to help you remember.”

She closes her eyes. “Hisao, you said that if you love someone it makes it hard to love someone else. You also said I’m important to you. I don’t know how to say this. So I’m going to make you do something.”

Before I can figure out what she means, she throws herself onto me. I have to hold on to her, because if she misses, she’ll slide right off and we’ll both fall off the bed. “Hisao,” she says, “Hug me.”

I’m already more or less doing that, so I just close my arms around her and try to let my heart calm down. It’s throbbing a little erratically. The rest of me just feels cold and weird and tired.

We lie like that for a while, the thin and oddly muscled body of my artistic friend strangely relaxed in my arms. I wonder what Emi will think if she walks in now, but the moment doesn’t last long. Rin wriggles free, her now completely unbraided hair floating haphazardly around.

“You hug differently now, even if you’re my friend. It’s been like that a while. I think I’ve lost you, Hisao. But that’s all right, since I never found you anyway.”

She shakes her hair back into some semblance of order and nimbly rolls off the bed and onto her feet. “Your bento might be cold, and it won’t taste nice if it’s cold. I made three. Emi will be back soon. I should go warm them up.”

As she wanders out of my room, I realize I don’t understand any of this. But somehow, Rin’s made me aware that I miss having Emi around, and that having her with me is the most important thing in my life.

Rin sticks her head back round the corner of the door. “We’re having both our birthdays next week. You can try hugging both of us at the same time. Then you can feel the difference for yourself.”

*****

May

I’m in my little cubicle at school and it’s at the end of the day. Emi’s off training the kids for a track meet. I reminded her that this particular meet wasn’t till October, and she told me, looking a little disappointed, “Hisao, some things you have to plan for way in advance. Training programmes aren’t meant to be last-minute. They’re long-term plans.”

I was about to reply, “What about our long-term plans?” and then I realized we still hadn’t any. It’s been three months now, and she hasn’t said anything about whether we should consider getting married. We’ve been a couple for a few years now. It’s frustrating. And maybe it’s my fault too.

Today, I have only one person left to talk to. She should be awake by now. I look around the staff room and the only person within earshot is my mentor, Mutou-sensei. He’s preparing lessons in his usual slow, half-hearted way. I’ve learnt over the months that he’s not as slow as he seems; it’s just that hard memories get into everybody’s heads and make life harder.

I prop up my tabphone and stretch my fingers a little. Then I make that call. In seconds, I’m connected. But at first, all I see is a dark screen with faint movements across it and a strange pale blue light.

No, it’s all right. Shizune’s awake. Just barely, it seems: the pale blue comes from her tabphone backlight as it scatters off her thin nightdress. She’s yawning as she kneels on her bed, beautiful in her rare disarray. Her hair looks longer and blacker, I notice, as she gropes for her glasses and puts them on.

When her eyes open, I sign: [Happy birthday, Shizune.]

[Hisao, it’s six in the morning! Thank you.] She looks at her fingers and wriggles them a bit.

[Aren’t you normally up this early?]

[Yes. But not for a while. I’ve been packing up and getting stuff done.] She cracks her knuckles.

[Your thesis defence?]

[Successful.] Her eyes come alight, as if something particularly pleasing has occurred. I suppose it has. She’s Dr Hakamichi now.

[You didn’t say!]

[I’m sorry. I forgot, and you didn’t ask.] She looks a little apologetic.

[Congratulations! Are you coming back soon?]

[Is that an invitation?] She gives me a big I-am-joking grin.

[Do you want it to be?] I sign, smiling back.

The corner of my eye catches some movement in the staff room. Oh. It’s only Mutou, standing up to stretch. He’s looking in my direction and picking up his bag. I wave at him. He nods.

[Hisao, take a break. If that’s Shizune, say hello for me.]

I reply, “Thanks, Mutou-san!” and just barely remember to sign it as well.

[Mutou still working late? He’s a solid man to have as a co-worker. Please send him my regards.]

I do so, and Mutou grins briefly in acknowledgement before he makes his getaway. [Nice girl, that.]

I grimace a bit at this flagrant piece of attempted interference. [Yeah, that’s him. He acknowledges your regards.]

[To answer your question, yes, I’ll be coming back. I’ve had a few job offers already. For a time I was considering staying in the United States for the rest of my life.]

[You were?]

[Yes. There isn’t much of a future for me elsewhere, I was thinking.] I can see her sigh.

[Bring back my Shizune, what have you done with her?] I sign, half in jest and half in alarm.

[No, no, that’s sweet of you, but maybe it’s not all about making money and then becoming a philanthropist. Maybe there’s something else that needs doing. Japan needs female leaders.]

[Oh no, Kenji was right!]

She giggles spontaneously and then covers her mouth. Raucous laughter this early in the morning can’t be pleasant for her neighbours, I suppose.

[Also, am I really your Shizune?] she signs, making the now-I’ve-got-you face that I’ve come to appreciate.

Do I tell her about Emi? But I’ve nothing really to tell that she doesn’t already know. When Shizune first left for Chicago years ago, we were close friends, maybe a bit more than close friends, but not that much more. Since then, things have changed quite a bit, but I’ve always been open with Shizune about what I’ve been doing.

[You will always be my friend, Shicchan.] I recall learning that last sign from Misha in my first few days at Yamaku. It brings back fond memories.

[I will hold you to that, as always.] I can’t read her expression; there’s a hint of a smile, but also a look of tiredness. I shouldn’t keep her so long, she must have had a hectic last few weeks. I guess I should speed things up a bit.

[See you soon?]

[Yes. Probably in July. I’ll come over to Sendai. Then you can tell me whatever you’re trying to hide. I can see it in your body language.]

She seems disappointed. Am I keeping secrets from her? I suppose I am, a bit. But I’ve just reminded her of our friendship, so that’s me being inconsistent. I should tell her.

[I believe I’m in love.]

[With me, Hicchan?] She gives me a lopsided grin. [No, I didn’t think so. Well, you should tell whoever it is that you love her. And do it often. You’ve had years to do so.]

I’m sure she knows who it is. Why not just use her name? [That’s good advice.]

[Yes. Sometimes people learn what’s good the hard way, by not doing something until it’s far too late.]

She pauses, and I wonder what exactly what she means by that. After a second, she laughs and makes her no-matter-never-mind wave.

[I’ve got to go now, Hisao. Things to do, worlds to conquer. You take care, and thanks for calling. See you.]

The screen is blank now. I sit back, and think about whatever future I might have. I’m already committed, aren’t I? I knew it all along, and one by one, all the other routes into the future have closed themselves off. I smile, and then I follow Mutou’s footsteps out of the staff room and into the world.

=====

If you’re reading this from some time in the future, hopefully when I’m not around to be embarrassed by it, I guess you’ll know how it all turned out. I’ve already put things in place, and I think I know what I’m doing.

I have my friends to thank for that, partly. Without them, I’d never have got this far. But they have their own stories to tell, and I suspect some of them will write the private stories that I haven’t told, or which I could never tell. Right?

Hana looks up at me from across the table, where she’s been tapping away on her own tablet. Without thinking, she flips her long hair away from the right side of her face, unmindful of her scars for once. We’ve long ago cleared away the coffee, tea and cakes of our little reunion, and we’re just sitting around in the old Shanghai teashop, trapped by sudden rain. She’s wondering what’s on my mind, and probably what I’m writing. But she never asks to see it. Maybe she’s writing her own stories too.

I hope that I’ll live long enough to read them.


=====
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Last edited by brythain on Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:23 am, edited 4 times in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Interlude (20150117)

Post by brythain » Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:38 am

The man with the messy brown hair looks at me. In some ways, he and I share many things. We are like imperfect splinters of each other's mind's eye.

Without preamble, he begins, an oddly regretful half-smile on his haggard face.

*****

"I spent my time in hospital playing through a long and convoluted visual novel about teenagers fighting over a wish-granting item with the aid of magical servants."

He sips at a tumbler of some rich maple-amber coloured liquid.

"At some point, They found out. And that is why I was sent to Yamaku. We are all strange, we are all different, we all have damage. And there are seven of us, in a population where anyone and everyone has access to this kind of nonsense. We are all magical, and often, where you think you see disability, it is merely disguise. Protective colouring or camouflage, if you will."

*****

"Wait!" I interrupt. "Hisao, what on earth are you babbling on about?"

"I was kidding about the second part. But it must've been for copyright reasons or something that nobody pointed out the kinds of things I had to suffer while trying to entertain myself in that goddamn hospital bed."

"Oh. Okay, carry on."
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: After the Dream—Main Index (Kenji4 starts 20150116)

Post by Serviam » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:41 pm

I presume it was Fate/stay night?
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

In order of completion:
Lilly > Hanako > Rin > Emi
Currently on: Shizune

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Re: After the Dream—Main Index (Kenji4 starts 20150116)

Post by brythain » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:10 pm

Serviam wrote:I presume it was Fate/stay night?
I suspect a guy stuck in a hospital bed in early 2007 might decide, "Heck, let's finally go for all the possible endings in that long and convoluted thing that all my friends seemed to think was good..." :D
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Interlude (20150129)

Post by brythain » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:27 am

"Hello, Lillian," I say politely, without turning my head.

A feminine giggle sounds some distance to my left, terminated by a somewhat less feminine snort. "My dear author, I was wondering when you'd dig that document up. As far as I can tell, most people don't know it exists."

"Well, looking at you (pardon the term), I can tell that it doesn't yet exist."

"That is uncertain, but true in its own way."

There is a moment of companionable silence. I've tilted my head to one side, the better to observe her serene beauty.

She blushes. "I can tell you're looking at me, you know."

"How on earth?"

"I don't know. Perhaps I heard you shift your weight? My forehead tingles a little when someone's looking at my face, and my back tingles when people are looking at me from behind."

"You're looking very good, Miss Lillian Alexandra."

"Oh, pshaw. 'Lilly' has been fine for years. I'm curious; how do I appear to you, really?"

"I think this is how you looked just before your 26th birthday. In my timeline, that falls about ten days from now. Your document will be the 150th item I've posted from this tapestry." I can tell I'm rushing my words. I feel strangely shy.

"My, my... are you sure my cousin won't be jealous?" She produces what I can only call a smirk, then leans over and gives me a very light peck on the cheek.

She would be around my daughter's age, I cannot help but think. But I have no daughter. And with that thought, I am all alone again.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Serviam
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Re: Interlude (20150129)

Post by Serviam » Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:56 am

brythain wrote:"...My forehead tingles a little when someone's looking at my face, and my back tingles when people are looking at me from behind."
Wait, is Lils some sort of blind Newtype?
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

In order of completion:
Lilly > Hanako > Rin > Emi
Currently on: Shizune

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Re: Interlude (20150129)

Post by brythain » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:46 am

Serviam wrote:
brythain wrote:"...My forehead tingles a little when someone's looking at my face, and my back tingles when people are looking at me from behind."
Wait, is Lils some sort of blind Newtype?
I have no idea. Let me ask her...
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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