After the Dream—Rin's Arc/Miki's Arc (Complete)

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Frankyo
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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Complete)

Post by Frankyo » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:40 am

Hory shiet. That was pretty spot on. Feels man, the feels.

Personally, I will accept most creative liberties that fic writers come up with, like a RinMiki relationship.
Still, I'm curious as to how Miki died. Her tombstone is awesome, though.
Also, Rin still has red hair at age 75? Not even a touch of grey?


EDIT: from a "very reliable" source (the yamaku rumour mill) I've heard that there will be a Misha arc, or at least something in her PoV. Is that true?

Disclaimer: I support fic writers and their right to write what they want/at their own pace
Last edited by Frankyo on Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Girls: Hanako/Misha > Lilly > Emi > Shizune/Rin
Routes: I realized that every route has its own charms, but felt that Shizune's was lacklustre. It has Misha though!

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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Complete)

Post by brythain » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:58 am

Frankyo wrote:Hory shiet. That was pretty spot on. Feels man, the feels.

Personally, I will accept most creative liberties that fic writers come up with, like a RinMiki relationship.
Still, I'm curious as to how Miki died. Her tombstone is awesome, though.
Also, Rin still has red hair at age 75? Not even a touch of grey?
Thanks very much!

Miki has her own story. It's one thing Rin doesn't like remembering - notice how she skips all death details after Hisao? :)

As for Rin's hair...
It is like flowers and fire. The lava is streaked with ice before it cascades to her elbows.
Yeah, she's gone two-tone. At this point in time (2064) I guess you can pretty much have whatever colour you want, though.

EDIT:

I look at my mosaic and ponder the strange confluence of events that has led me to draw this curious design.

Suddenly, I hear laughter behind me and I feel a chill trickle down my spine.

"Wahahaha!~ It's my turn, right?"

A young woman with pink 'drills' is looking at me. Actually, now that I look carefully, her 'drills' are angles made by curling her hair around some triangular object.

She shakes her legs restlessly from a perch on my bed. Nice legs, slightly plump calves.

"I heard that thought! How can you be so mean, author-san?! Just for that, you owe me big time. Give me a happy ending!"

I look at her deadpan. "No requests, Misha. My own pace. But I will do my best."

"Yay!!! See you later, author-san!~"

I'm not sure if that is a promise or a threat.
Last edited by brythain on Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:49 am, edited 2 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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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Complete)

Post by Hotkey » Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:56 am

Yep. Writing from Rin PoV at seven different chronological points throughout her life has to be very difficult, and to me you've handled it meticulously.

I was looking forward to Misha's PoV perhaps moreso than the other character's. I know I'm going to read it anyway, so I won't do the routine where I muse about skipping it and expect you to talk me into reading it, but I truly hope that Rin (and/or perhaps Misha) is one unreliable narrator.

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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Complete)

Post by brythain » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:27 am

Hotkey wrote:Yep. Writing from Rin PoV at seven different chronological points throughout her life has to be very difficult, and to me you've handled it meticulously.

I was looking forward to Misha's PoV perhaps moreso than the other character's. I know I'm going to read it anyway, so I won't do the routine where I muse about skipping it and expect you to talk me into reading it, but I truly hope that Rin (and/or perhaps Misha) is one unreliable narrator.
I keep looking at it and hoping that Rin will talk to me more instead of being her usual sphinx-like self. And just as with the classical sphinx, there's always this element of hidden threat, of being eaten alive almost by accident. Thank you, and Misha has already spoken (see post above). :)
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 (20140511)

Post by brythain » Sun May 11, 2014 9:45 am

A fire rises in the dark cool space of my air-conditioned writing room. It's beautiful. She's beautiful. Red-haired Rin? No kidding about that red; her shoulder-length hair is a colour that Tiziano Vecelli would have died for if he were not already dead these four centuries and more. Tonight, she is...

"Mostly armless. You like my colours. I can tell."

She sounds satisfied, like a cat.

"Yes, I do, my lady. What brings you here?"

"You do, of course. And I agree, because it's what Rin sometimes does."

"Ah. Is there anything I can do for you?"

Her red hair shimmers like an advertisement for liquid fire. Her pale skin is warm to the sight. I wonder if it is warm to the touch.

"Still wondering. You. Emi told me."

"About?"

"I'm not dead. They aren't either. Or we wouldn't be visiting you. Unless you were a necromancer. That would be bad. But you're not. So we're alive. See, it's easy and when I work it out for myself, I work it out for you too. So maybe that's what I'm here for and that's all you really wanted."

That feels rather unsatisfying to me.

"I did want to ask you some questions about Miki and about your time in Tsushima and also in Osaka."

"You did? Do you still? Might be best to ask Miki, though. You've blown your chance with Misha, because she's happy as a squid or a jellyfish or maybe a very bright pink butterfly with what you helped her write, and she's not coming back to you for a while."

"Rin, did you really kill people for a living?"

"No, of course not. When you kill people, it's for a dying. And the next answer is: with my feet."

She chuckles throatily, then spins on her heel and vanishes into the darkness. It's like a lantern being extinguished, leaving the cold people to wait for the dawn.
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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AtD—Miki's Arc (Part 1 up 20140515)

Post by brythain » Thu May 15, 2014 11:15 am

This is the first part of Miki's arc in my post-Lilly-neutral-end mosaic, 'After the Dream'.
It spans the early years of Miki's life up to sometime in May 2008, and the remaining sections take us to the ending she prefers.

The arc sections are as follows:

Miki 1 — Recovery Position
Miki 2 — Changing Rooms
Miki 3 — Treading Water
Miki 4 — Across the Pool
Miki 5 — Deep End
Miki 6 — Flip Turn
Miki 7 — Butterfly Strokes



Miki 1: Recovery Position (T -16)

I’m not the greatest or the best. Also not the wisest or smartest. It’s hard for me to write, but as you get older maybe it gets easier. I’ve seen what Ikezawa does these days, and her stuff, it’s poetry, that's what it is.

I’m not going to say everything. You want that, you need someone better, or you need someone who doesn’t care. But I’m what’s left of Miki Miura, always second best at most, who had a life of regrets but also got helluva lot of happiness out of it. Maybe you can respect that. So, here I am, not a legend, just a woman who got sucked into other people’s stories.

Supposing that you read all this, I have a wish. Remember we’re all human. Or at least, we all started that way.

*****

For me it all begins in the streets, sort of. Not a Family princess, me; I’m a cop’s daughter. And my dad, he’s not just a cop, he’s a detective. If people find out, they go, “Hey, you’re like Ibarazaki!” I just smile, my smile that’s hiding bitter and showing funny, and I say, “Naw, that’s not it at all.”

They get all confused and go away. But you know, the Yamaku Foundation is a funny beast. There’s four kindsa people studying there: Family children, cop kids, kids with disabilities, charity kids and such to make up the numbers. It’s not so hard to find people with the same background, except we don’t want to know, and we don’t want to say.

But sometimes, if you’re like Ooe, Inoue or Ikezawa, you have that natural nosiness that lets you see things you wouldn’t normally see. Yeah, I know, Ikezawa’s a saint and so on, but that’s cos she knows and won’t tell. She married what’s-his-face in the end, big win all round, good for her. I’ve always liked her for the fact she keeps secrets well. Did you know who her parents were? Heh, there you go.

Me, I’m Miura’s kid; I’m the one and only daughter of the Nagasaki Fist. Kinda ironic, that. But you’re probably wondering, what’s with all the missing parents in this deal? Now I’m a lot older, it’s easier to tell the truth.

Sometimes, the Families have problems with the older kind of Family. Or with the cops, especially the special units. Things get messy. People die—mysterious fires, drownings, suicides, accidents of all kinds. But all the Families have their idea of honour, and Yamaku is where a bunch of them have decided to park the leftovers, the victims of what they call ‘collateral damage’.

So here’s a secret. The one person who never ever bitched at Hakamichi? Me. I found out her Family, they were the ones who looked after the orphans. And that hard-assed ex-classmate of mine, she’s the best of them now. Gotta give her credit for that.

Yeah, my story. Was getting to that. My dad was a simple guy. Never got into fights but scared the shit out of people. He’d lost his left eye long ago, but was so damn cool with his black patch. Sometimes, he’d wear shades, with no patch. They called him the Fist from his time teaching in a dojo; he had a sensei, who taught him some really rare fighting style, and people knew he was badass.

He married his sensei’s daughter. I know, right. So cliché blah blah, but it happens in real life. Mom was the flower of his life; she could run and fight and swim, anything that needed sweat—and she’d look like she just stepped out of the kitchen for a while. Me, I was the little kid in specs who went to school, avoided fights too unless there were bullies involved—I hate that kind of shit—and kept my head down.

That changed when I was kidnapped from school. I’m gonna make this part short. They did it to get at Mom and Dad, and they showed them videos to make them pay a ransom. You know what HF is? It’s an acid they use to cut glass. They started with my left hand, one finger at a time. Of course my parents wouldn’t pay; instead, they tried a quick rescue.

And there I am, put in some foster care, and that doesn’t work out, and then someone gets a bright idea and I’m in an orphanage. It’s where I first met Ikezawa. She was burned worse than me, probably the only one. Her whole damn side, I mean, my arm didn’t look like an arm any more, and it hurt like fuck sometimes, but the rest of me was fine, so I wasn’t complaining. Or at least, not after seeing her.

She didn’t talk, she just whimpered when people looked at her. Me, I’d punch the kids who were bad to her, but she’d whisper at me, “no hitting, no hitting,” so damn, I had to do it quietly. Then one day she went mad, started screaming and yelling, and they blamed me. Me! Shit. We ended up in different schools for a few years.

Then, Yamaku. Hey, hey, what a surprise. You should ask Natsume Ooe how weird people are over there. Everyone’s trying to be normal. But it’s hard to be normal when you have a phantom hand that hurts all the time and wants to do stuff you used to do. We get along though. Us Yamaku alumni, we have to stick up for each other, or who else is gonna do it? Even the Families have better things to do, not that I’m not grateful for the helping hand, haha.

By the time we’re in final year, Ikezawa’s almost normal most of the time. I’ve always been the friendly sort, but she’s got issues with friendly. She’s just too self-conscious about the burns, maybe. Or maybe something else. Now of course, she’s lost a lot of that. Growing up, some people get better. Those that don’t die young, that is.

What’s cool is how new guy Nakai turns up, out of nowhere like some Master of Romance, and fucking walks off with Satou’s virginity. Dammit, there’ve been guys working on the problem for years and couldn’t get past, “Would you like some tea?” And then she’s gone, and he’s moody as hell, and a whole bunch of girls decide to help him get better. Wtf, really. But he’s a nice guy, and he does well after his bad times, more power to him. At the end of the year it’s Ikezawa, Hakamichi and him, 1-2-3 on the podium I think.

It’s funny to watch Ibarazaki’s face, that last night. Nakai jumps down from the stage and comes in our direction, and dammit if he doesn’t walk up to Ikezawa and kiss her on the burned cheek and pull her up to join Hakamichi and Mikado. I think to myself, that kid’s got style, I hope he makes it considering his problem.

Mutou might suck at some things, but he’s got me some fairly good grades, at least better than I’d hoped. Nakai’s helped me with math, so I leave them each a nice note and then I’m off to… where? That’s when I realize I don’t know. I’m Miki, and that’s all I have.

*****

There’s a lot of boring stuff in my life, and some stuff I’m not so proud about, but I’ll tell it like it is. If Ikezawa got her hands on my story, I’d come out looking like another princess, and that ain’t Miki Miura.

So, a few months later, my savings have dived cos I’m in Tokyo since I thought that’s where the action was, but in the end it’s all cheap liquor and middle-aged men looking for crippled girls. For me, it’s started in the streets and it’s gonna end there too. I remember being on the sidewalk and I’m trashed and next I know, holy Buddha’s balls, it’s Nakai!

No, he’s not taking advantage or anything, he’s going, Miki are you okay, but I can’t reply since my throat’s full of puke, I’m dying or something, can’t breathe. He liplocks me and I can’t resist, I’m thinking, Master of Romance my ass, this is rubbish. I don’t know what’s up. Or down, even.

Then like a bad joke, he kinda flips me over and I think, shit, my last moment is gonna be dumb, getting it in the ass from the Master of Romance and not feeling a thing. Instead he thumps the puke out of me and turns me on my side. Or maybe the other way round. Things are a bit of a blur.

It’s called the recovery position, he tells me later. And that’s what we do for the next few weeks. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

=====
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Last edited by brythain on Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:37 am, edited 5 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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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by Rhodri » Thu May 15, 2014 1:17 pm

Holy damn, we're gonna see (some form of) a Miki route get finished! The curse shall be broken!!!
"She also ties you up to a chair. You're gonna like that. Chairs are good. Chairs are your friend."

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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by forgetmenot » Thu May 15, 2014 1:46 pm

Rhodri wrote:Holy damn, we're gonna see (some form of) a Miki route get finished! The curse shall be broken!!!
Silence, fool! You'll draw the curse's attention!

On a serious note, it'll be interested to see exactly what Miki decides to tell us regarding her relationship with Rin. I'm liking her narration style quite a bit.

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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by bhtooefr » Thu May 15, 2014 2:04 pm

Huh, so Miki was lying about the whole "we're not fuckbuddies" thing?
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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by Numb » Thu May 15, 2014 3:48 pm

Interesting take on her hand loss, it works well for this kind of thing. Not too sure it'd work in a full blown route though, which is why I ended up going with frostbite in my notes. Either way, good call on using your own interpretation, my one probably would've sucked for this mosaic :lol:
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Old works| Rooftops - An Emi Story| Christmas with the Hakamichis | Not Like Him - Rin Perspective|Blossom - A Miki pseudo-route

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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by Yukarin » Thu May 15, 2014 4:14 pm

My god Hydroflouric Acid on your arm hurts like a mofo. Jesus christ Miki.

I especially liked this sentence (paragraph?) on this part:

"What’s cool is how new guy Nakai turns up, out of nowhere like some Master of Romance, and fucking walks off with Satou’s virginity. Dammit, there’ve been guys working on the problem for years and couldn’t get past, “Would you like some tea?” And then she’s gone, and he’s moody as hell, and a whole bunch of girls decide to help him get better. Wtf, really. But he’s a nice guy, and he does well after his bad times, more power to him."

I can definitely imagine Miki saying that sentence. That's what I really like about your works the most is your knack of getting their character right. Amazing work, as always and I await the next part!

Also lol at the Miki curse.

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Re: After the Dream—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by brythain » Thu May 15, 2014 8:33 pm

forgetmenot wrote:
Rhodri wrote:Holy damn, we're gonna see (some form of) a Miki route get finished! The curse pancake shall be broken!!!
Silence, fool! You'll draw the curse pancake's attention!

On a serious note, it'll be interested to see exactly what Miki decides to tell us regarding her relationship with Rin. I'm liking her narration style quite a bit.
Miki as narrator is, I think we shall find, very different from the rest—for many reasons. :)
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—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by brythain » Thu May 15, 2014 8:34 pm

bhtooefr wrote:Huh, so Miki was lying about the whole "we're not fuckbuddies" thing?
I'd like to see you try to get the truth out of her on that. Trust me, I've tried. :)
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—Rin's Arc (Done)/Miki1 (up 20140515)

Post by brythain » Thu May 15, 2014 8:39 pm

Numb wrote:Interesting take on her hand loss, it works well for this kind of thing. Not too sure it'd work in a full blown route though, which is why I ended up going with frostbite in my notes. Either way, good call on using your own interpretation, my one probably would've sucked for this mosaic :lol:
Yukarin wrote:My god Hydroflouric Acid on your arm hurts like a mofo. Jesus christ Miki.
Yeah. I used to work with a fluorine group, and the list of safety precautions and 'post-cautions' was incredible.
Yukarin wrote:I especially liked this sentence (paragraph?) on this part:

"What’s cool is how new guy Nakai turns up, out of nowhere like some Master of Romance, and fucking walks off with Satou’s virginity. Dammit, there’ve been guys working on the problem for years and couldn’t get past, “Would you like some tea?” And then she’s gone, and he’s moody as hell, and a whole bunch of girls decide to help him get better. Wtf, really. But he’s a nice guy, and he does well after his bad times, more power to him."

I can definitely imagine Miki saying that sentence. That's what I really like about your works the most is your knack of getting their character right. Amazing work, as always and I await the next part!

Also lol at the Miki curse pancake.
Thanks! I remember Miki sitting on my desk and swinging her legs at me while saying this. I LOL'd at her and she stuck out her tongue. Then I rather incautiously said, "That reminds me of Emi!" — at which point she stuck it in my ear and then whispered, "I bet Emi's not as good." :shock:
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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AtD—Miki's Arc (Part 2 up 20140516)

Post by brythain » Fri May 16, 2014 1:01 am

This is the second part of Miki's arc in my post-Lilly-neutral-end mosaic, 'After the Dream'.
It follows immediately from the previous part and leads to this part of Rin's arc.



Miki 2: Changing Rooms (T -16)

Well, it’s me, Miki. Again. I can respect that you’re hardcore, you want the story, the scoop, whatever you call it. It’s your job. Someone like you, you see all sides, you want the truth. I can even see why, honest. First thing on my mind was to tell you, fuck off, it’s none of your business. But then, in a way it became everyone’s business. Although for me, it’s too late. Damn, it’s hard to say what I wanna say. He was a nice guy? That’s just weak when you’re talking about a friend.

So let me tell you a bit about Yamaku in general. My point of view, right? You can tell me yours later.

Back in school, I used to hang out with the track team. It was all locker-room stuff. Frankly, I’m not the cheerleader type, I was Big Sis. Some of them tried it on, some learnt the hard way that I go whichever way I wanna go, and I’m particular about what I like. Miki’s a tough gal, the word goes round, she’s got nice legs but she doesn’t put out.

I’ve got my reasons. In the end, everyone’s got their reasons. But I always believe, don't judge. You can make up your mind about people, doesn’t mean you’re right. Use your judgement, but don’t judge? That sounds weird, but it works for me.

So the girls, they say, ‘that Miura’ as if I’m dirty cos I hang out with the guys all the time. Me, I think they’re jealous. In my year, only Satou is taller than I am, and while she's good-looking, I'm not bad myself. She’s a princess, but with less character than Hakamichi, who at least tries not to act like the one she is. Got nothing against Satou, really. She's just not my type.

Yeah, you’d know all about that, right? Sorry, rambling, needed to get it off my chest.

Back to 2008. I’m shit out of luck, cashless, finding ways to live that my parents would’ve been very sad about. People don’t know how bad it can get in the big city, when the only ones who talk to you just want a quick screw. One night, I just said to myself, “There’s nothing. Nothing at all.” Life had dumped on me big time, and though I always say if life sucks you gotta suck back harder, it was just one big long suck.

Don’t judge, y’know what I’m saying? But there’s a Miki in me that wants to be clean, that knows she ain’t good, but she’s trying. And in May 2008, trying is not working out for me.

Then, like I said, Nakai comes along. He’s no white knight fairy tale crap, he’s just there at the moment when I’m choking to death from whatever shit I’ve downed. Life, it gives back sometimes what it takes out, I believe in that too.

He sets me right, he drags me home, and then everyone wants to know what we do next. Well, I’m drunk like an empty bottle, and if he did do me, I wouldn’t know. But I seem to remember he asks permission to clean me up a bit, probably doesn’t want puke all over his walls, and there’s a lot of flailing around and comedy central. Next morning, I wake up in an unfamiliar room.

Let me tell you this. There’s helluva lot of difference between a cubicle that you crawl into at night and a big warm airy space with a view. My eyes open, and that’s the first thing I feel. I feel it. There’s light from a window and I fall in love with that window. Very quietly, I sit up and I look around, and I do the things I do when I wake up in a strange place.

I’m clean and dry. I’ve not shared this bed. It’s a bit old, but the sheets are good. Heck, I’m still in my own clothes, or the more important ones, anyway. The rest, they look clean, folded on the chair next to the bed. Everything looks pale and worn, but also comfy. Old furniture, second-hand stuff, I’m guessing.

I get my feet on the floor, then panic. Where’s my stuff? There’s a desk under the window, and there’s my pouch on it. And my wristwatch. The pouch looks full enough to still have my phone and spare glasses in it. There’s also a pile of t-shirts. Huh. Too big, which is fine with me. I check my arms. Left one looks ok, right one’s still there. Shit, did he change my stump dressing? That’s too much.

I pad softly to the edge of the space. It’s a little loft, not as big as I thought, but nice. Simple interior curtains in peaceful brown. I take a peek out. It’s kinda boring, but tidy. I smell bleach. Somebody’s been housecleaning. I feel a bit guilty, cos it’s probably on my account.

“Nakai?”

I’m loud enough that I can hear myself. But the breeze and the sun don’t say anything. What? He went out and left me alone? I feel upset, but maybe it’s a sign of trust. Maybe he just wanted to let me sleep in. I don’t know. Don’t judge, Miki, don’t judge. Especially since I’m a bad judge of character.

I go down the stairs and look around some more. Hallway that’s also living space with low dining table and potted plants. Two small rooms on one side, bigger one with a closed door. The smaller one has books and a folding exercise cycle. Small kitchen space and laundry. Another space under the loft. I turn the lights on. Compact cupboards. No TV, but some kind of console and desktop rig.

I think about it a while. This place isn’t cheap, but not so expensive. It’s what parents do for a son who’s got into Todai, I suppose. I feel sad, somehow. This is the apartment of a guy who knows what he’s doing, his next few years all worked out.

I hear voices outside the apartment door. Oh shit, at least two people. And I’m walking around in exactly three pieces of cloth, one of which is a bandage and probably has more material in it than the rest combined.

I listen carefully, ready to hide.

“He said he’d be back by noon, Mother.”

“Nakai-san, your son, he’s always late. We should have come a bit later, give Hicchan some time to rest. We might give him a shock and then what? Father, you rush around too much! We’re too early!”

“Dear, we can wait for him outside, then he’ll see we’re here and he won’t panic. Then it’s a surprise but not too much, right? Besides, there’s a pair of ladies’ shoes out here and I’m interested to hear his story.”

Speaking of parents, argh! Up the stairs like a cat, quickly get some clothes on, something decent. Doesn’t he have a hairbrush? Of course not, his hair is always messy. Fuck. Clothes, oh gods of course he doesn’t have a decent skirt. No, wait, my clean one from last night… argh, please, something that doesn’t make me look like a slut.

Yeah. Tie an extra-large t-shirt round the waist. You can do this, Miki, just overdress a bit. Calm down, calm down. Heh, why not. Surprises work both ways, I can get a bit of revenge for being abandoned… I could’ve sworn I saw a tea-set in the kitchen. And yeah, Miki, you can look different.

“Good morning!~” I say, when I open the door. I tell myself, pretend to be Mikado and you’ll be fine. Can't do Satou, sorry.

Two very surprised middle-aged faces greet me, so I bow carefully, right hand over left arm. Can’t remember exactly what you do when meeting boyfriend’s parents unexpectedly, but won’t hurt to look polite.

Nakai Senior looks like the jolly sort, like Junior but broader. Mother Nakai, however, looks very shrewd, sharp-faced but pretty. I can see her measuring me up for a wedding dress already. Chills, man.

Mother is the first to return my bow, and Senior recovers in time to join her.

“This humble junior lady’s family name is Miura. I am Nakai-san’s associate, looking after his home while he is away. He will be home soon.”

Struggling here, but getting inspiration from memories of a certain Natsume Ooe. Keep a straight face, Miki. And flush the mouth. Get into the mindset.

“Ah. Miura-san, I am Nakai-san’s father and this is his mother. Pleased to meet you.”

“Please come in, I should not delay you in your own son’s home!”

I catch them exchanging husband-wife type glances. We make all the polite gestures and sounds, and then I sit them down for tea and back my way into the kitchen. I hear them whispering, but this time I’ve got to concentrate, so no eavesdropping, too bad.

Soon, the water’s reached the right temperature. I bring the tea-set out and place it on the little table. Then I pour carefully, putting my left hand behind me as usual. Five cups to be polite: one each for us, one for their son—since my ‘boyfriend’ is taking his own damn time getting home—and one for courtesy, because five’s better than four.

They nod their appreciation at my thoughtfulness. Can’t help noticing that they’re politely ignoring my bandages, though. I think, hey, wait till you see his other girlfriends. Miki, that’s mean! Sorry! I slap myself inside my head.

“We’re pleased to meet such an attractive and intelligent young lady,” says Senior. Mrs Nakai nods in agreement. I’m secretly very happy. Great success! Miki in glasses with hair tied up at the back is very different from Miki with hair down and contacts on.

In fact, I can hear Junior coming up to the apartment and then noticing the extra footwear. There’s a pause. I can imagine the look on his face. Haha! Then cautiously but resolutely, he opens the door.

I rise to greet him as gracefully as I can. Bloody Nakai, he’s completely confused at first, doesn’t recognize me. But his brain kicks in, he’s not that dense after all, and when he sees the look on my face, he knows the fix is in. The bow I give him tells him all he needs to know.

He nods at me, then bows to his parents. Good, formal stuff. Game on!

“Father, Mother. Your son apologizes sincerely for his tardiness. I am sorry also for not introducing Miura-san to you, she is my classmate from Yamaku and a very decent young lady.”

“Not at all, son! Miura-san has welcomed us very politely,” says Senior, gesturing at the table.

Mrs Nakai chimes in, “We can see she is a most acceptable young lady. When were you going to introduce us? One should never be ashamed of one’s friends!”

Nakai blushes. If I had a mother like that, I’d blush too. But I don’t have any parents at all. This could be your family, Miki, my suddenly heavy heart says to me. They’re good people. Doesn’t have to be an act.

Nah, don’t kid yourself. This isn’t your life, it’s his.

*****

A week later, I’ve moved all my stuff out of the budget room I was occupying, all four square metres of it. Hisao’s loft is bigger than that. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that I’m really thankful to him, and one evening I give him a big hug because he’s been a great friend.

“No, Miki,” he goes.

“What?”

Then I get it. The idiot thinks I’m hitting on him. I’m not. Or I don't think I really am. But mainly, I’m pissed off because he’s saying ‘no’ so rudely. Dumbass.

That’s the beginning of our first fight. But at some point, when we’re being just plain hurtful to each other, he lets it out, and then I’m just sorry we’ve quarreled. See, he’s still in love with Satou. Oh gods, he still is, all these months later. Can’t fault a man for that.

“Hisao,” I say—we’re on first-name basis already, “Y’know what? Fuck it. I’m sorry I shouted at you. My bad. I’ll go apologize to your neighbours if you want.”

He looks shocked, since he’s winding up to lay into me again. Then he looks all guilty and depressed. That’s what I’m feeling too, but he deserves it. I’ve gotta be the bigger person.

I’m not, though. I’m just about big enough to ignore his apologies, walk away quietly, go up to the loft, and lie down.

Things get a lot better after that. I teach Hisao what a friendly hug is and what it means for friends to hold hands. I tell him the whole school knows he’s not a virgin by now, but I don’t care. Miki doesn’t have a reputation to maintain.

All this is shock treatment to him, I guess. You can be buddies with someone without having sex on your mind all the time. Yeah, it’s always gonna be there between people who are close friends, but it doesn’t have to be the main thing. With Hisao, I know for sure that if we fuck, it’s sex and he’ll still be in love with Lilly Satou.

It’s a few weeks later that Rin Tezuka enters our lives again. This time, I get to do the rescuing.

=====
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Last edited by brythain on Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:38 am, edited 2 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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