The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2018-05-14

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YutoTheOrc
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by YutoTheOrc » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:52 pm

Act 1: Rising Son
Scene 8: In Desperate Need of Skyfish

[When you see #, play 'lullaby of open eyes' from the Katawa Shoujo album. I listened to it while writing and found it suited it perfectly]

The sounds of the growing crowd soon become too much to bear, I can barely hear myself think amongst the various voices. Why do people have to be so loud? I can’t even make out what anyone is saying, all of it just blending together into an annoying and incomprehensible hum. See,this is why I enjoy the comfort of solitude. I think an American president once said that ‘It’s not what you can do for America, but what America can do for you’. Considering that America is their home, that applies to my room as well,after all, I’m officially a citizen of Kirino’s room; where you get free anime and a great import of incoming cash from our greatest trading partner…Dad. I’m not sure whether that’s good, or just plain pathetic.

My stomach lets out an unflattering rumble as I emerge from the outskirts of the crowd,announcing my hunger to the world. Who ever knew it would get this busy huh? Well, whatever..I got what I wanted. A nice serving of takoyaki, a bundle of cotton candy, and a can of iced tea; all perfect festival food.

Since it is a festival, I can relax and enjoy myself a little more; I won’t let my diabetes get in the way of my enjoyment of my very first school festival! What’s the worst that can happen? I mean, I already took my injection before heading off, I just have to make sure not to over do it.

I look down at my food, which presents a more significant and immediate problem—where to sit.

I peer around the school grounds looking for the optimum place to sit, where I can be both unnoticed and comfortable. Nori should be meeting me in about ten minutes. Then again, I can always text him and tell him where I am. I need to keep that in mind, so I can’t exactly be off the beaten path. I need to weigh the pros and cons of the various places I can sit.

There’s Rin’s freshly painted mural by the school dorms, although the artists herself is there. It's not that I don’t like Rin, it's just…she’s well… Rin. Now, I’m already scatterbrained, she’s on a whole ‘nother level. I can barely understand my own thoughts, trying to understand her riddled metaphorical guff, would be that much harder.

“Hmmm.” I mumble to myself, biting my lip as I move my gaze from seat to improvised seat.

“Looking for something?” a voice asks from behind me. I let out a small shriek in surprise and jumping. I turn hesitantly, ready to face whoever remains standing behind me. Half expecting a man in a trench coat, seedy moustache, and more than sinister motives. The actual individual is much more... pleasing to the eye, and far less scary.

A mop of shaggy brown hair, that characteristic cowlick that refuses to bow. Thick, rich brown eyes, and a sweater vest..a sweater vest. Way to just ruin, every attractive attribute. Bravo.

I look up at Hisao curiously and frightened, my eyes as wide as saucers and my heart still beating ferociously from the recent scare he just gave me.

“Kirino?” Hisao asks, raising one eyebrow concerned “Are you okay?” he asks, reaching out his hand, but quickly retracting it. Almost as if his heart wants to do something, but his brain is telling him otherwise. A girl can hope, can’t she?

“Ugh…y-ya, I’m fine. J-Just a little startled.” I stutter, letting myself calm down while trying to play it off casually “You caught me off guard there.” I giggle, still trying to keep what little pride I have intact. God, seriously he needs to stop sneaking up on me.

Unfortunately, it comes off more awkward and weird than I liked, smooth Kirino.

“Sorry, I shouldn’t have snuck up on you like that. My bad.” he says frowning “So what brings you out here?” he asks, nervously pawing at his chest, while trying to steer the conversation in a better direction.

I relax a bit, resting my arms as I cling to the food still carried in my arms. ”I-I’m supposed to hang out with Nori…I’m waiting for him now.” I shift nervously from foot to foot, an old nervous habit of mine. “What… what about you?” I ask, my eyes quickly shifting from my dramatic foot action back to Hisao.

“Me? I just came to get some food.” He looks at his small wooden bowl of noodles, still steaming in the warm spring air. “After I eat this I said I’d help my hallmate, not like I have any plans anyway...” he says, trailing off into an awkward silence, almost pathetically. Put into stark contrast by the sounds of the festival and the constant chatter emerging from the various groups.

Maybe I should invite him to hang out with Nori and me? But…but…he said he was going to help out his hallmate, he’d obviously say no. Besides, I don’t even know him that well...wouldn’t that be weird? He probably doesn’t even like me... but he is talking to me.Should I invite him, or should I let him go? An internal debate rages within my head, ending on the same premise it began; all while Hisao looks on. Ugh, stop rambling Kirino you don’t want to lose your chance!

“…” I open my mouth to speak, but I can’t form the words I want to say. I feel a blush creep onto my cheeks, spreading across my face when he looks at me it only deepens the blush. I’m quickly forced to look away embarrassed.

I want to say something, but I don’t know what to say. I want him to say, I’m kind of cute. He probably doesn’t see anything in a girl like me anyway, shy, introverted, and dumb. Come on Hisao! Give me something, anything! Even a straw to grasp, give a girl a hint. Can’t you see my dilemma? If only sky fish were a real thing, that way I could tell if he was enjoying himself.I turn my attention from the paved path underfoot to look at him once again. He seems nervous, as nervous as me I wonder? He continues to paw at his chest and look away at some unfixed horizon. It wouldn’t be bad to hang out with him, I would like to get to know him better. After all he did make an effort to talk to me, that must mean something . He turns and glances at me again, which causes my blush to only deepen, but unlike last time, he says something instead of turning away.

“Well...It..was nice seeing you, I should probably get back to my dorm.” He says, almost forcefully; as if he doesn’t want to say it, but has nothing else left to say. He gives a short awkward wave before turning to leave, albeit, somewhat hesitantly.

I can’t let him leave. I can’t just let him go. Do something anything Kirino. You said you’d be more social, you said you’d be more noticeable. Now, now’s your chance. Don’t let it slip through your fingers this time.Take matters into your own hands.

I reach out, grasping the back of his sleeve. I can quite literally feel my heart increase pace, like a fevered sprinter trying to make that last, desperate stretch. I catch him somewhat off guard, causing him to give a slight jump before turning to look at me. An expression of confusion, surprise, and maybe a little bit of relaxation, maybe—I hope. He looks at me as I try to form the words to my sudden, and rather unexpected, outburst. That’s me, Kirino, the girl just full of odd outbursts. It'd be a funny joke, if I didn’t feel like my heart was getting ready for a boxing match.

“Kirino?” Hisao asks, taking on a tone of confusion, which is...understandable.

I let go of his sleeve and feel my cheeks burst into liquid fire, as my tongue tries effortlessly to moisten itself; desperately trying to form the exact words I need. What should I say? That I want him to stay? That I want to be able to get to know him better? Should I even bother to explain it to him? Curse the human tongue! Why can’t we just have the power of telepathy? Or is it telekinesis? Ugh, I always get the two confused; I think it’s telepathy. Telekinesis is like kinetic energy or something. Blah, words! I guess I might as well start somewhere if I hope this conversation to be a least worth some of the trouble.

“Stay.” I manage to usher out, not bothering with a lengthy explanation. My voice little more than a raspy whisper in a commanding tone.

He gives a short, but sweet smile. It puts me at ease, making me loosen up some of the stiff muscles in my shoulders and back, that I often tense up in fear. I feel my blush wash away somewhat as I turn to look up at him. He still looks confused, but, more laid back... if that’s even possible. His brown eyes are focused on me, as if he was thinking of something to say, but doesn’t quite know exactly what to say.

Boy, do I know that feeling!

“I….ughh...want to have a seat?” He offers, motioning towards the bench, abandoning his train of thought. I give a small nod, shuffling along next to him, as we make our way towards the wooden bench that clings to the edges of our academy’s park.

We both sit there awkwardly nibbling on our selected food and kicking our legs idly like school children. When I say we, I mainly mean me. Besides the fact that I’m surrounded by an unflattering amount of crap food, I have the paranoid fear Nori will pop up and scare me. Hisao looks like he wants to say something, but is having trouble forming them into words. He takes a slurp of noodles as he looks out at the cherry blossom trees; opening his mouth to speak, before closing it and repeating the process a few times. I guess that’s my cue to make some sort of conversation, keep it light and make it count!

“So…” Hisao starts off before I get a chance,”your hair looks really nice.” His voice is strained almost, as if he’s desperately trying to think of any sort of conversation.

I give a slight smile “Thanks, I grew it myself.” Before the last three words leave my mouth I feel my eyes widen in horror at what I had just said. My face turns into a shade of red that could easily match a fire truck if need be. I let out a short, awkward giggle before trying to implode my body out of embarrassment. He gives an equally awkward laugh before giving me a confused “oh”
I feel my skin practically boil itself with a flustered embarrassment and my brain begs me for a segway into a topic I can’t screw up verbally.

“Who’s your hallmate?” I ask, doing my best to sound naturally friendly while hiding my soul dying inside.

“My Hallmate? He’s…well... he’s different.” He says, returning to that face he was making when trying to figure out what exactly to say. “I guess I might as well start with a name right?” giving a short, awkward chuckle. “Kenji Setou. Large glasses reminiscent of Coke bottles, striped scarf, and odd habit of looking like he tries to start a fire when he rubs it between his fingers.” Hisao finishes, rubbing his fingers together as if demonstrating the action in an attempt to give me a better idea.

I let out a very audible and noticeable groan as he mentions the name of one of the most notorious recluses this school has to offer. Ah Kenji, how I’ve heard a great deal about you. From stealing Nori’s pizza to his very interesting habit of complaining and preaching about the ‘Vast Feminist Conspiracy’. Which, I didn’t even know was a thing, let alone something to conspire about. Now to think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kenji in the flesh; or scarf...

Hisao chuckles, this time, more earnestly “I take it you know him?”

I only roll my eyes and give a small grin. I’m gonna relish telling him this story! “Have you ever heard about what we call ‘the ID incident’?” I ask, introducing a dramatic pause while remembering all too well of the proposed issue; although I think the class president meant it more as a joke than an actual proposal. Hisao gives a shake of his head as he quietly slurps some noodles from his wooden bowl. “ Well, our lovely class president, more like school president, but whatever. She proposed, that all students were to wear IDs so they could be easily identified, and if they got hurt it would make the nurses, teachers, paramedics, etcetera have an easier job of solving the incident.” I stop to make sure he’s following along, taking a sip from my canned tea as I wait to hear an acknowledging ‘mhm’ from him.

“So what does Kenji do?” I ask.” He charges into the student council room, shouting and making a large fuss; as well as various hand signals to passing students. He goes up to Shizune and starts yelling at her. Calling her all sorts of names from ‘Feminist dictator’ to a ‘Fascist totalitarian’. Then he blatantly quoted the foreign film Braveheart and walked out singing the national anthem. Misha had to translate the entire thing afterwards because she was too stunned to do it at the time. I guess Kenji got pretty heated when he figured Shizune was ignoring him!” I giggle, watching as Hisao’s face changes from confusion to amusement as he imagines the scene in his head. He soon lets out a snort of laughter as he runs his free hand through his hair.

The snort soon turns to full-blown laughter, which only helps fuel my laughter. Soon enough the two of us are practically howling on the bench, laughing ourselves to tears. Eventually, our jubilant chorus ends, with me wiping tears from my eyes and Hisao struggling to regain his breath as he rubs his sternum. When he finally does calm down he turns and looks at me once again taking up that famed expression of thinking. Did my story not break the ice? I thought it was pretty funny too. I let a small frown escape me, but only for a moment. Maybe he’s thinking about ditching Kenji while he goes and hangs out with me. “Thinking about how you left Kenji behind?” I ask, curious as to why he looks like he’s trying to come up with some answer to a complicated formula.

“No,” he says blatantly, causing me to become skeptical as to what he’s actually thinking about.

“It’s just... funny really.” He continues, setting down his finished bowl of noodles onto his lap; turning to face me as he sits on the bench. The boards of the old wooden bench creak under the strain of his position, causing my face to morph into one of confusion. Now it’s my turn to think.“Wh-What is?”

“You are.” He says, giving a calming and reassuring smile. I raise an eyebrow curiously, what does he mean by that? What is exactly funny about me anyway? It better not be about my height...

He shakes his hand “No, that’s not what I meant.” He says, trying to dissuade any concerns I could have had after that very vague and open-ended statement. Guess that rules out anything bad, thankfully. “Do you know what a chemical catalyst in a solution is?” he asks, this time it’s his turn to take on an expression of curiosity. I give a small shrug, and reply “Roughly, why?” I know the very rough basics, that’s pretty much it though, although I feel like this isn’t the best time to say so.

“It just reminds me of this situation really. Catalysts are meant to speed up the reaction of a solution. In a sense, the festival is a catalyst for you.” He explains, his hands jumping around as he tries to explain what he means both in words and in actions. As he goes on to explain it further in depth, an expression crosses his face. It’s different from what I’ve seen before, not curiosity, not joy, something more. The way his eyes shine as he explains how a solution and a catalyst work together. He grows increasingly more enthusiastic and his typical blank, somewhat sad expression fades into genuine happiness. It's an expression that I’ve seen whenever the passion of a person’s life, takes sway. Damn, I could be a freaking psychologist!

“I guess what I’m trying to say... is that because of the festival, it’s made it easier for you to be able to talk with me. When we met by the vending machine, you were... really shy. You stuttered... spoke quietly. Yet just now, you managed to talk freely, without stuttering at all.”

I furrow my brow and sit back on the bench looking up towards the sky in thought. I guess he is right. I know I’m shy, hell, half the school ‘knows’ I’m shy. Yet, here I am. Able to speak with a guy I barely know, able to hold a conversation; not even stuttering or trailing off. To be fair, I didn’t understand much of what he said, but it makes some sense. If it wasn’t for the festival, I probably wouldn’t have this chance to talk to him. It’s more than that though, it’s not just the festival; it’s a whole string of things. Its Nori, Miki, Okazaki, and, of course, Hisao and the festival. Everyone has helped me, pushed me forward when I tried to dig in my heels, drew me out of my shell when all I wanted to do was draw myself back in.

“I...I guess you're right.” I say, taking a piece off of my cotton candy plume and popping it into my mouth. It reminds me of the clouds, almost like I’m eating the clouds themselves. I hold it out to Hisao, offering him a piece. He gives a resigned shrug, plucking and popping the pink cloud of sugar into his mouth, which is, remarkably cute. This is nice, this…catalyst, or whatever he called it. I guess it did speed up the reaction between us. Sure we don’t know each other well, but were better off than we were before, right?

I look up at the pale blue sky, streaked with fluffy white clouds.The humidity in the air makes it somewhat harder to breathe than normally, but the cool spring air that nips at my fingers makes sure that's not a problem. It’s a nice day, especially for a festival; I wonder if they planned it like this? Well, if the rumours are true about our lady president, I’m sure more hours than necessary were put into planning a good day. That, and maybe a few offerings to the local shrines around the town, can’t be too careful after all! If the rumours are true, Shizune is more than careful.

Wasn’t I waiting for someone?

Oh ya! Nori. When is he supposed to get here anyway? I look down at my watch, glancing down at the two small hands. It’s a little past noon, he should be here anytime. Well, he should have been here a little while ago.

“Waiting for someone?” Hisao asks from my side, no doubt noticing that I’ve been staring at my watch intently. I give him a small nod and open my mouth to begin speaking when a familiar voice yells from the outskirts of my hearing. Nearly drowning in a sea of various voices, Nori’s voice can still be made out.

Hisao and I both turn to stare down the path towards the festival booths. Nori stands there, dressed in his school uniform, waving his arms like he’s trying to help a plane land; or rather, he’s trying to fly up and meet it. Sometimes, too much enthusiasm is a bad thing.

“Kirino-chan!~” he yells, walking forward quickly. His legs moving in exaggerated motions as he takes steps that would rival even a praying mantis. I give him a big wave, jumping up to my feet and stand to wait for him. “I take it you know him?” Hisao asks, beginning to stand up.

I give him a curt nod and a small ”mhm”, before turning to watch as Nori…walks? Limbos? Skips? Moves towards us would be a better explanation, at least, in Nori’s case. It doesn’t take him too long to make his way towards us, especially considering his…err…walk.

“Hello! Hello!~” he chimes, smiling brightly as he fixes the glasses placed atop his nose. I give him a casual wave and a brief “Hello.”, it doesn’t take long for him to notice our third compatriot. “Ouuu!~ Who’s this?” he grins so widely it's almost unsettling “A lascivious boyfriend you haven’t told me about?” he asks, turning to face Hisao, looking like a hungry cat. It’s disturbing almost, and it’s even freaked Hisao out if his desperate expression is showing how he is truly feeling.

“Akiyama Nori~, but everyone just calls me Nori!” he smiles, pointing to himself. Hisao gives an acknowledging nod, before introducing himself “Nakai Hisao, Hisao is fine though.”

“This was who you were waiting for?” Hisao asks, directing his question at me.

“Yes sir, she and I were going to see the festival together!” Nori says excitedly before dropping off into a more sarcastic tone “Unless…. you want to hang out with your new boyfriend Kirino.~” Nori smiles leaning in closer to me, causing me to blush slightly as Hisao rubs his chest nervously.

“It….It’s not like that.” I mumble, letting myself trail off into an awkward silence, praying that he’ll stop his line of questioning. Fortunately, the awkward silence doesn’t have much time to brew as Nori quickly breaks it. “Ahhhh.~” he pouts, looking a little sad at this new prospect. It couldn’t be that he actually did want us to be dating, could it? Who knows, Nori’s mind is like a sloth on caffeine.

“He...he was just wandering around and...and we ran into each other as we were getting food.” I say, kicking my foot at the ground as I hold my hands behind my back timidly. “Well,” Nori begins, taking in a sharp breath of air “If that’s the case, then why don’t we all go together? The more people who see my epic hosting, the better right?!” He smiles, helping break down the ice that was starting to form, since his arrival.

I give a nod and smile, picking up my garbage and can that was left on the wooden bench and Hisao does the same. “Should you be eating all that sugar?” Nori asks, pointing down at the cotton candy still held in my hand. Looking down, I wonder that myself, was it really a good idea to eat all of that? Yea, yea I’m sure I’ll be fine, after all, splurging a little once in a while wouldn’t hurt right? “Yea.” I say “Yea, I’ll be fine, a little bit won’t cause any problems.” I feel like I’m more trying to justify my actions to myself as opposed to Nori. He gives me an unsure look. If he has anything else to say, he doesn’t, choosing to drop the topic altogether; which Is probably a good move considering he wants to enjoy the festival just as much as I do.

“It looks like the two of you need to return some wooden bowls, well, run along now. Wouldn’t be good for the booths to run out of bowls now would it?” he says, giving a reassuring smile. “I’ll wait here, and Kirino, I’ll take that.” A chuckle accompanies his voice as he snatches a large handful of cotton candy from me as he throws himself onto the wooden bench lazily. I shake my head, turning and beginning to walk towards the booths. The faster I return the bowls, the more festival time I can enjoy!

************************************************************************************************

“That, ladies and gentleman, is how you take sweater vest over here to the cleaners!” Nori laughs, cracking his fingers and throwing them behind his head, emphasizing his third victory in a row.

“Ya, ya. Why not brag a little more, I’m pretty sure the people in town didn’t hear you.” Hisao laughs, poking fun at Nori’s booming voice. His grin has quickly covered over his normal morose demeanor.

The two boys have just finished playing a booth game involving throwing rings onto pegs, I can’t remember what it’s called. Ring toss? Peg ring? Nevermind, the game doesn’t matter, merely the score. Hisao did his best to keep up with Nori, but it seems fate had other plans. Which, probably wasn’t great for Hisao’s ego, especially considering that this was now the third time he lost to Nori. Despite Hisao’s humiliation at the hands of Nori, he seems to be enjoying himself. The two have become good acquaintances, it seems Nori has an odd knack for befriending people; and an even odder knack for winning.

Nori wraps one arm around Hisao’s shoulder and gives another one of his characteristic laughs, accepting the small teddy bear from across the wooden booth with as much humility as a strutting peacock. It looks like a typical teddy bear, ruffled brown felt fur, soft plush underbelly, black beady eyes; it wasn’t noteworthy at all. Well, that’s not entirely true, it was different than most typical teddy bear’s, each teddy bear offered at the game shop had a unique feature. Some had thick sunglasses, others had a fancy moustache, and this one had a small monocle; It even shared Nori’s coy, ego-inflated smile.

By now, the sun has slowly travelled to the east, in about two or three hours it wouldn’t surprise me if it began to set. The clouds trail lazily in the sky, like thin white ribbons on a blue canvas, creating an almost artistic backdrop for the festival. The weather remains nice, which is always another plus, not too cold, not too hot. The only shame is that we have class tomorrow, really, it would have been nice to have the day off, but that’s not too likely to happen. I’m sure Okazaki has another of her pop quizzes lined up; with that I can hear the class echo the same groan as we always do.

“Now, what game should we play next?” Nori asks enthusiastically. No doubt eager to show off his game prowess further.

“Mind if we get a drink first? I’m feeling a little thirsty.” I say, both trying to save Hisao from further embarrassment and myself from growing any thirstier than I already am. Seriously, it’s like a desert right now! I’m already having trouble moistening my tongue, I don’t wanna risk anything further.

Nori gives a thoughtful hum before returning to his chipper behaviour “I suppose…that is…if Sweater Vest over here has no problem with it~!”

Hisao gives a shrug and chuckles about how he doesn’t mind, then goes to dig around for a few coins in his wallet.

“What do you want?” Nori asks me, trying to shove his newest prize into his already stuffed backpack. Well somebody came prepared for victory, I think to myself. “I’ll take a juice I guess.” I respond, dropping a few coins into Nori’s awaiting palm, quickly counting it in my head before he closes it and accepts Hisao’s order.

Nori gives a quick nod before bouncing away to the nearest vending machine eager to embark upon his quest. His happy whistling can still be heard even when he disappears through the crowds, wiggling his way through fellow students and parents alike. How that man stays so happy all the time I’ll never know. I let a sigh escape from my lips.

“Something wrong?” Hisao asks, a tinge of concern evident in his voice.

I look up at him confused, “You…you mean my sigh?” I raise an eyebrow in confusion. It was just a sigh, nothing big really, although, now to think about it…I do sigh a lot. I wonder if that qualifies as a bad habit?

“Well…that too, but you’ve been drinking an awful lot since we started visiting the booths. Do you wanna maybe, sit down?”

Have I been drinking a lot? I guess I have been thirstier than I usually am, but that’s no real surprise is it? I mean we’ve been walking around for a little over two hours now. Of course I’m going to be thirsty. “No, no. I’m fine, thanks. It’s just one of those days. Besides…it’s a festival right, who wouldn’t want to splurge a little?” I giggle softly, but the newfound doubt still lingers in my mind like a bad odour. I didn’t think much of it, but it seems Hisao has taken notice.

Hisao, still unsure and skeptical just gives a slight nod and quickly changes the subject. “Nori is a pretty cool guy, if a little…”

“Happy? Go-lucky? Enthusiastic?” I rhyme off. Trying to finish Hisao’s sentence before he does.

“Pretty much yeah,” He chuckles “Has anyone ever told you that he’s a lot like a girl in my class?”

“Maybe. Let me guess though, Misha?”

“Ya! How’d ya guess?”

I giggle softly to myself and tuck a strand of hair behind my ear as it dances around between my fingers trying to get it out of my field of vision. “You wouldn’t be the first to make that assumption,” I tease.” Would it surprise you if I said they get along better than most students here?”

“Not in the slightest.” He grins turning his head from me and looking around as he scans the various crowds as if looking for the man himself. “Speak of the devil.”

I glance up, watching as Nori moves through the crowds,holding our drinks between his folded arms like an obsessive pack rat and still carrying that overstuffed backpack of his. A smile still widely carved into his face, I wonder if he has any connection to a super villain by chance. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise me, would explain his joy in beating Hisao in every single game we played. I’ll have to keep my eyes open, I’m not in the mood for a deadly game of tricks.

Nori sighs, letting out a groan as he hands us our drinks. I shiver as the cold can of juice is passed into my waiting hands. I feel the chill resonate from within the can, like some haunted object. Wow Kirino, great comparison. Now, I don’t even want to drink it, way to go, messing things up as usual I see. I look down at the can ominously, somewhat skeptical as to whether I should drink from it. “Thanks…” I say somewhat uncertain, mentally skeptical as I pop open the tab of the can. It emits a loud pop, which could either mean the seal has been popped, or spirits have escaped; I can only hope it’s the former.

“Ugh oh….that’s not good.”our server complains, causing me to look up from my exorcised can. His typical bright smile has been flipped into a frown, his eyes narrowed at his watch. “What’s wrong?” Hisao asks before taking a long sip from his canned coffee. “It appears I’m five minutes late to take over my shift for our class booth.” he sighs, disappointment leaking into his voice as his frown deepens.

“Sorry you two. I’m gonna have to leave and attend to my class rep duties!~” He says, turning his frown once again into his characteristic smile. The rhythmic chime to his voice has once again returned, no doubt all ears are screaming in fright.

“Oh...alright.” I mumble, disappointed with his sudden leave, but I guess it can’t be helped. Wouldn’t be good for him to get fired on my account, can student representatives even get fired? Whatever, the decision remains. Still, it would have been nice to hang out a little longer. I give Nori a small smile before waving him off, Hisao does the same and we watch as Nori once again navigates the various crowds as he makes his way to our classes’ booth. I take a small sip from my juice, turning to face Hisao.

I guess I should ask him what he wants to do. Wouldn’t exactly be hospitable for me to invite him to hang out with me for the festival then have nothing to do halfway through. Although, to my surprise he’s already looking at me, his brown eyes glancing me over like a porcelain doll.

Ummm…can I help you?

He opens his mouth slowly, hesitantly almost, before any response even comes through.“Hey, Kirino? Can I... ask you a question?” he asks, soon beginning to rub his chest intently. I’m guessing that’s a bad habit of his? That or he just has a very repetitive itch in the same place, every time… Still, what’s with that phrasing? Is he going to confess or something.Oh…my god...is he confessing. I feel an unwanted blush creep to my cheeks and blossoming like a rash, as I begin to stumble and stutter, looking for just the right words. “I…I…um…y-ya sure.”

“ Sorry if this is too personal, but…” he starts, “But how...how come you’re not helping out with your class booth?”

Wa…what? That’s it? You phrased it that way, for a stupid question like that! You could have just asked outright! Ugghhh...idiot.

“I’m not...exactly... good, with people. How about you?” I say, remembering the various awkward and anxious conversations. Taking advantage of the situation I decide to turn this line of questioning against him; doing my best to probe the former inquisitor for info.

“Oh. Well, since I’m new...the stall was already finished basically. Besides, I kind of avoided the student council whenever they tried to rope me into helping…” he trails off, stopping his tedious pawing at his chest. Changing his face into an expression of sadness? Disappointment? Or is he just upset with himself for not helping out when he had the chance? He seems like a good guy, so it wouldn’t be too far off to assume that’s how he feels, like he’s not carrying his weight, like he himself is dead weight.

Ah deadweight, a term I call myself more times than I care to count. I think most people do though, it must be human nature. To be upset with themselves for what they haven’t or can’t do, simply because we like to think we can do whatever we want. We’re so used to being the top dog, it's like a blow to suddenly become ‘disabled’ .Sometimes what we want, doesn’t quite live up to reality, whether it’s due to problems either physical or any other, or even just that we never had the chance to do what we thought we could. When you finally do get out of that rut, finally get to see you can still do the same things. Whether at a slower pace or another way of doing the same thing. It looks like Hisao isn’t used to that, isn’t used to not being able to do things, hasn’t been able to adapt. He might blame it on the fact that he was new and didn’t have much time to help out, but it could just as well be because of whatever has brought him here.

“Hey,” I say, opening up a very clichéd support statement “Don’t sweat it, if you want, you can always help out next time right? Unless you’re bad with people... like me...being shy isn’t all roses and rainbows ya know!” I jeer, finishing off with a smile as I do my best to cheer him up. I’m usually not the one trying to cheer people up, but hey, first time for everything right? Who knows, maybe I can even be able to hug a stranger or do a speech in front of a class without hyperventilating and passing out.

“That’s true.”

“Now, before you get all sad and melodramatic, how about we visit a booth? I think I saw an anime themed game near the gates.” I tease, pointing towards the direction of the school gates.

I start to walk ahead, throwing a glance back, giving a small smile Hisao’s way as I look to see if he’ll follow me.

Hisao stands there, a small shadow of what looks like…loneliness? Flashes across his face, just for a moment. In fact, even I wouldn’t notice it myself if I hadn’t been looking to see if he was following me. It doesn’t last for long, quickly replaced by a smile as he moves to join up with me. His hands in his pockets and his shoulders slouching forward, in a posture almost comparably to that of an urban hoodlum. Oh god…Kirino, you’re turning into your Dad! Only old people say that!


I pick up the small pink ball, locking onto my target—a thin yellow pylon. The only thing standing between me and an anime poster of my choosing stands before me, like a villain ready to halt the heroine in her advance towards victory. Unfortunately for it, I’m ready. I can do this, one little lob and the last of the pesky pylons go down and I can claim victory. The bards will sing of my glory for generations.

“You got this Kirino!” Hisao cheers from behind me, the sound of him cracking open another can of coffee can be heard shortly after. I roll my eyes and chuckle to myself, this is his fourth can; would it be fair to say he’s addicted?

I take a deep breath, steadying my aim, ready to throw the ball claiming victory. I fling my arm forward, sending the ball flying towards the pylon, at a speed it that would make even a baseball pitcher balk. The ball collides with the pylon, with an impact so strong it sends ripples through the air and bounces off…..what!? It bounced off! What the hell is this crap? I feel my mouth open in shock, and I stand there like a statue, stuck in surprise.

“Well then.” Hisao laughs behind me, I can mentally see him. Laughing, raising one eyebrow and shaking his head.

I narrow my eyes, choosing to shoot an irritated glance at both the booth operator and Hisao, the former just gives me a shrug and a toothy grin, revealing his gold tooth. Friggin swindler…

“Hey, at least you have one more ball to throw?” Hisao says, more as a questioned optimistic statement as opposed to anything else. But still...

“Ya.Ya.” I say, waving him away. “Okay Kirino, let’s try this again.” I mutter to myself, rolling up my sleeves as I prepare myself for business.

Da-ling…Da-ling. My phone chimes. Announcing that one of the minuscule contacts I possess has sent me a text.

Da-ling…Da-ling. It chimes again. Can I look at the first one before you send me another? Besides, I’m kinda busy, they can wait. They’ve waited this long to text me, they can wait a little longer. I shake my head, and go back to pick up the ball when the chime goes off yet again…and again...and again. I let out a loud, irritated sigh.

Da-ling, Da-ling. Once, twice, three times, four times.

Whoever is texting me…stop.

“You, ugh… gonna get that?” Hisao asks pointing at my pocket that holds my phone, clearly he’s as curious as I am.

“I suppose I should, considering they’re more relentless than a loan shark.”

I visibly roll my eyes as I retract my hand from the ball, reaching into my pocket to take my phone out, flipping it open only to reveal the absurd amount of text messages I have just received. Twenty…no, make that twenty-two messages received in the span of a minute. Man, this person’s fingers must be equivalent to lightning when it concerns speed! It would be impressive if they weren’t sending them to me. Oh, and it looks like they’re all from the same person.

Miki.

I let out an audible sigh, letting the entire world know my frustration as I channel my frustration and irritation. I pass the ball to Hisao, motioning for him to throw it as I begin to scan through the various texts.

[Hey!]
[Where are you?]
[I see you!]
[Behind you]
[Behind you]
[Don’t fuck up]
[Hey]
[Hey]
[Boo]

“Boo?” I ask, questioning to what the last text is referring to.

“Ya. Boo!” a voice hisses from behind me, causing me to quite literally jump five feet into the air in terror.

I emit a startled scream, spinning around just in time to see Hisao flinch, missing the intended target with the booth ball. God Damn it! I turn around to face Miki, my heart beating so quickly it could probably match the beat of rave music. If I wasn’t so terrified, I’d be pretty steamed.

Miki stands there laughing, her eyes shut tight as she more or less keels over at my very near panic attack. Her tie wobbles back and forth as her body shakes with laughter; her voice alone is enough to draw a few very questionable glances at us. A woman even ushers her son along as she directs a fevered frown at Miki and myself.

“Your….your…face” she laughs, trying to speak through her chaotic laughter, only managing to emit a few muffled words.

I feel my face burst into a ferocious blush, not only at the sheer amount of embarrassment I face but the drove of glances I’m receiving for my banshee like scream. I hate you Miki, I hate you so very much. Great, and I’m thirsty again! Perfect, this is probably the fiftieth drink I’ve had today! I narrow my eyes in irritation at Miki, hopefully it accurately displays my displeasure.

“What happened!?” Hisao asks, somewhat panicked, clutching at his chest. He looks almost as if he was more scared than I was. His face is red and beaded with sweat, and he’s clutching his heart almost like it’s about to pop open with the alien from that movie. “Are you okay?” I ask Hisao, turning his own question against him. It’s a bit concerning at how scared he actually got.

Miki ends her cascade of violent laughter, wiping away tears from her eyes and desperately trying to catch her breath. When she finally gets a look at Hisao’s face, a small case of the chuckles takes over her once again. “Dude, relax. You look like you just suffered a heart attack! You might wanna check your pants!”

Hisao just shakes his head “No, but almost. What was with that scream anyway?” he says, looking at the two of us in hopes the noise will reveal itself.

Oh, crap. That…that was my fault. Maybe I shouldn’t have screamed so loudly, it looked like I really did frighten him. Still, it was mostly Miki’s fault for scaring me like that. “Sorry, that was me. Miki snuck up behind me and scared me.” I apologise, motioning towards Miki who stands next to me proudly. I give Hisao an apologetic look, but Miki seems more happy with herself than perhaps is appropriate.

“The new kid!” she yells, clapping him on the shoulder “Good to see you’re making friends. Here I thought you were too busy getting dragged around by the colour squad!”

“Colour squad?” Hisao asks, confused. I share the brunt of confusion, what exactly is the ‘colour squad’?

“Our class president, and her very vibrant...counterpart. Misha with her… pink hair and Shizune with her blackish-blue hair.”

Hisao chuckles a bit at Miki’s nickname of everybody’s favourite dynamic duo. “I never thought about it like that…It’s pretty accurate though.”

Miki just grins in response, holding her left arm behind her back obscuring her bandaged wrist, letting her right arm trail down next to her. “Aw well, enough about those two. If I remember correctly, we had a challenge. Isn’t that right Kirino?” she says, turning to face me. I guess she really was serious about the challenge between ‘my’ group and hers. Wait, where is her partner? Didn’t she say she was hanging out with him today? Did he slink off before we noticed him? I nod my head tentatively in agreement “Where’s your partner anyway?” I look around for her partner, expecting him to just emerge from the crowd.

“I could ask you the same thing.” She teases “Wasn’t Nori supposed to be your partner? Ah well, I guess Nakai over here will have to suffice.” She laughs, jabbing at Hisao playfully with her elbow. “As for me, well I’m sure he’s off getting food or something. Lazy ass, isn’t very good at throwing or tossing games for that matter. Worse than me believe it or not!”

“Who is your partner anyway?”

“That’s a good question.” she grins “I could tell you…or I could just let him remain anonymous and let it bug you.” She winks, implying that she has no intention of telling me. Typical Miki move if there ever was one.

I sigh in frustration, crossing my arms in an un-amused manner. I give a small shake of my head, turning to look at Hisao instead. “You alright with having a bit of a challenge with Miki here?” I ask, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear once again. Hisao shrugs and gently shakes his head “No, I don’t mind.” I give a small smile before turning to face Miki. “Guess we’ll wait for your partner to get here.” I finish, pointing at her for emphasis. The challenge has been accepted.

“ I guess I’ll get the idiot to come over quicker.” She says, taking out her phone and slowly, but methodically typing out the words with her thumb. How did she text so quickly? It looks like it’s taking her forever to even type one word! Mysteries of the world I suppose. She hits the send button before sliding it back into her skirt pocket, proceeding to whistle a small tune before announcing to us. “Shouldn’t be long now.”

It’s true, he didn’t take long. Sure enough his yelling and half-hearted excuses could be made out even before he revealed himself from the crowd. “Sorry! The line was taking so long!” his deep, baritone voice can be heard, almost distinctively from many others. It travels over the already loud chorus of hundreds of voices, almost seamlessly, as if he was used to speaking over large crowds of people. “Just….a….few….more…..people.” he yells, his voice straining as he wiggles his way through the crowd so full it's already close to overflowing with festival go-ers.

Out from the bustling crowd emerges a tall boy, his dishevelled brown hair, almost as messy as the boy standing to my right. His typical cocky grin and laid-back face, show no emotion of how bothered he may be from wiggling his way through a busy, festive crowd. He strides over, his hand in his pocket and the other clutching a plastic bag that seems almost filled to the brim with confectionary items. Ranging from chocolate bars to cans of soda; it must have easily cost a small fortune.

“You have no idea how much my wallet is aching!” he groans, rolling his eyes around in his head before focusing his jade green eyes on the three of us. “Kirino?” he asks taken aback, confused no doubt as to why I’m suddenly here. Well, I guess we found Miki’s mysterious partner, although to be fair, I was kind of expecting him already; we have a habit of running into each other. “Why is it that we always run into each other? I’m not saying its bad…just a little weird.” He laughs, which only causes me to grin in the process. Guess I’m not the only one who’s noticed

“You know each other?” Miki asks, now it’s her turn to be confused.

“That we do. Honestly, we basically run into each other every time we turn around. Our schedules seem to be intertwined almost!”

The two of us chuckle softly, amused by the rather sudden surprise. Hisao however, just stands there awkwardly, shuffling from foot to foot. He looks as if he is the third wheel to a bicycle, uncomfortable and as if he has no real place. “Yuuto, this is Hisao. I guess, he’ll be Kirino’s partner for today.” Miki says, extending a hand towards Hisao in introduction.

“Nakai Hisao. Most just call me Hisao.” He replies, somewhat stiffly, holding out his right hand.

Yuuto chuckles and shakes his head “Mind shaking with the other? This one seems too comfortable.” He motions towards his right hand obscured within his pocket. He gives a short laugh before handing the plastic bag over to Miki, who takes it and begins to search around like a magpie. The two boys introduce themselves, shaking hands in an odd, but professional manner.

“If you two are done molesting each other’s hands, I have a floor I need to mop with Kirino.” Miki laughs, drawing a few odd stares from the two boys. I raise one eyebrow In worry, she doesn’t actually want to wipe the floors with me right? “Aw Miki, we’ve played games all of today. Isn’t beating me enough to feed your ego?” Yuuto pouts, half frowning. “Besides, why don’t we talk? I bet Hisao wouldn’t mind getting to know a few extra people?” he says, turning to look at Hisao. “No objections here.” He says, chiming in.

Miki sighs, running a hand through her hair, a stick of pocky hanging from between her lips. She seems a little more content with nicking things from Yuuto’s plastic bag than any games anyway. She just shrugs, which Yuuto takes as a ‘go ahead’. “Alright then, how does a nice walk in the woods to a hill sound?” he asks, curious as to our opinions. “Sure.” Hisao responds, eager to make way. I don’t have any real objections, other than the fact that we might not have a good view for the fireworks. Yet, they aren’t really founded on anything, so we walk through the woods anyway, heading for this hill Yuuto spoke of.
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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Wed May 11, 2016 10:32 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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YutoTheOrc
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by YutoTheOrc » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:53 pm

Act 1: Rising Son
Scene 8: In Desperate need of Sky Fish Part 2

As we walk farther and farther from the crowd and the school grounds, the sounds soon fade away from a loud bombardment, to a dull chorus almost reminiscent of humming. As the woods grow thicker and more dense, the path soon turns from a freshly laid stone path to a gravel trail. The thick smells of wet earth from the late night rain yesterday fill my nose. “Almost there!” Yuuto calls from the front of the group, his old boots scratching against the gravel. He barely seems to have noticed the recent physical exertion, his breathing hasn’t changed in the slightest. Athletic pricks.

“Better be.” Miki mutters under her breath irritated. “How in the hell did you even find this place?” The sounds of her spitting her hair out from her mouth can be heard even from the back of our small party. Thankfully the mosquitos aren’t out in droves yet, otherwise, we’d be moving meals stomping around.

Yuuto chuckles loudly, proceeding to cough as he inhales something “Ahem.” He clears his throat and starts again “I was just out and I saw some girl walking into the woods, so, being curious, I followed her. Then she essentially led me to the hill we’re almost at. Hell of a trip though!”

“You’re messed. Not only did you stalk a girl into the woods, you stole her ‘go-to place’.” Miki scoffs.

“Hey, that’s a personal problem for her, isn’t it!”

“You’re an ass.”

“What can I say? Its an acquired attribute. I’m sure it’s not that big of a deal.”

While the two up ahead continue their conversation, and their game of catching joking insults. I find myself dying of exhaustion. They act like an old married couple, the way they both carry on. I wonder how they even met? Probably due to their shared habit of running for the school track team, yea, that’s probably it. Still, a few in-depth details would be interesting.

The sounds of my shoes scratching along the gravel is matched only by my laboured breathing, I’m not used to this much physical exertion. It’s kind of sad really, aren’t most girls my age just bouncing off the walls with energy? Well, I guess this is a price that shut-ins pay, less chance of getting sunburned, but your cardio goes down the drain. The only question I should ask myself is, if it was worth it; which it was. Maybe a walk now and then wouldn’t be so bad, if it’ll help my cardio...

“Not in peak physical condition either?” Hisao pants from beside me. His breathing just as ragged and hoarse as mine. At least I’m not the only one suffering.

I shake my head. I’m so tired that I feel like I’m going to fall over any second. I can even feel as my vision begins to blur somewhat, guess I need to breathe more. I mentally punched myself for letting myself get this out of shape, maybe I should start doing pushups and walking? Okay, maybe a push up for every commercial break and a walk once a week. Yea, that sounds good. Can’t overload your system all at once, am I right?

“You two done gasping for air like a dying fish?” Miki yells from ahead. I look up from the gravel path and see the outline of Yuuto and Miki waiting next to a rather shabby looking bush. I hear Hisao yell out an exasperated “Hey!” his voice reminds me of a dead, and dried out fish.

“Just through here, then we’ll get to the hill and be able to take a load off.” Yuuto replies, his cocky smile stretched into a childish grin of glee. No doubt finding the fact that me and Hisao are out of breath and barely able to carry on a source of childish glee. I wave him away, struggling to even lift my legs up off the ground as I stumble ever closer to our final destination.

We push through the dense thicket of bushes, their branches scraping away at my jeans as I try to keep my neck from being massacred by the untamed wilderness. It’s more dense and harder to navigate than I thought it would be, even Yuuto seems to be having trouble. Miki, looks as if she is barely bothered by the branches and leaves from the bushes. How that girl manages to do anything the ways she does, I’ll never know. She defies almost every rule written by…well, the world.

When we finally do break out from the treacherous hold of the bushes, we enter a small meadow, devoid of any life other than the thick grass and flowers that spring to life from the small haven. An abundance of pink moss, red tulips, and… an odd amount of dandelions litter themselves throughout the grass. I find myself silently thanking Okazaki and her many attempts to try and kindle a passion in flowers, at least some good came of those summer afternoons planting flowers at her home.

“Wow.” Miki says sounding impressed “You’ve actually managed to do something right in your life.” She teases, aiming a playful wink at Yuuto.

“Gee. Thanks.” He replies, shaking his head.

“There’s even a picnic bench for us all to sit on and watch the fireworks.” Hisao manages to push out from between his lips, his hands resting themselves on his knees as he lay bent over, desperately trying to get a hold of his breath. “I told you it was worth it.” Our rather over-confident party leader brags. Nearly killing half of us on the way here though, good job.

“I’m sitting down, numb-nuts over there has made me walk enough today.” Miki announces before exuberantly plopping herself down on the wooden picnic bench.

It’s not long before the rest of us join her, all too eager to sit down after that escapade from festival society. Yuuto lets out a groan as he has to lift his other leg over the bench, the sound of his metal prosthetics clinking together as he lifts it in an exaggerated gesture. I take Miki’s lead and just plop down on the spot closest to me, not caring about getting comfortable. Hisao takes a little more care, but not that much his breathing still remains ragged and desperate. Hopefully, since I have a spot to sit down, my vision won’t be as blurry.

Yuuto lays the plastic bag he has been dredging around on the table and invites us to eat what we want, as he becomes the first to take a chocolate bar out and bite a piece off. This is nice, it’s a lot quieter here than at the school, and since the thick canopy of tree leaves is no longer obscuring our view of the sky it shouldn’t be a problem seeing the fireworks from here. I have to give it to him, he actually did a good job; even if the way he found this place was creepy. Still, the more I see Yuuto, the more I question why he leaves his arm in his pocket. It can’t just be because he has a fond love of the warmth of his pocket, it must be beyond that.

“Yu-Yuuto.” I begin, falling into my older habit of stuttering when nervous. “May…may I ask you a question?” I finish, more hesitantly and defended than I would have liked. I might as well ask, I probably won’t get a better chance. Come on tongue, don't fail me now!

“Is it possible that I can be this devilishly handsome?” he utters back teasingly “It’s hard I tell you, but what can I say, life is full of hardship.” He chuckles before taking a bite off of his chocolate bar.

He raises one eyebrow and finishes off his chocolate bar, wiping his fingers on his pant leg before answering “That depends on the nature of the question though.” He teases once again, tapping the side of his nose jokingly.

“I...I hope this isn’t ru-rude.” I stammer, trying to form the correct words. It wouldn’t be the best idea to offend someone, I mean, I already have one enemy at this school. Wouldn’t do to have more than that. “But…but, c-can I ask...about your hand I mean. Why…is it always...in your pocket?” I can feel the tension crack through the air, as Hisao’s rapid breathing stops and Miki’s crackling bag of chips is set on the table.

Yuuto just frowns, looking displeased at my line of questioning. He looks irritated almost, as if he was offended by my question. There goes my plan of not offending anyone, oh, and my heart wants to dance to pop music it seems as it picks up its pace. He narrows his eyes irritated, and begins to lean in closely trying to get to my level on the bench. He utters one world coldly. “Nothing,” I find myself shrinking in my seat as he stares irately at me, before bursting into laughter. “Nah, I’m just fucking with you.”

I feel my face burst into a blush and I try to disappear in my sweater, bringing the collar up to where my nose is, trying to obscure my face. Yuuto just continues to chuckle as Miki and Hisao remain quiet. “Am I that good of an actor? Damn.” He says, taking notice of everybody’s uncomfortable silence. “Okay, in all seriousness. Nothing is wrong with my hand, it’s my arm.”

“If it’s your arm, then why do you hide your hand?” Miki asks, breaking her trance of silence and growing curious. She finds her eyes trailing from me all the way to Yuuto’s hidden hand. “Well, I might as well show you. I’m a bit self-conscious about it, but what the hell, eh?” He says, lifting himself up from the picnic bench and standing so we can all see him. “Ladies and Gentlemen, be prepared to add something to your list of fantastical wonders!” He announces, sounding like an old circus host. Well hello, P.T. Barnum.

He takes his wrist with his free hand, dragging it out of his pocket and letting it hang there limply. Yet it doesn’t fall straight down like a normal arm, it hangs there, bent, like a gargoyle’s perch on a cathedral. His hand is discolored and decrepit, it almost looks, malformed? Is that the right word for it, it’s much different than what you’d expect an arm to look like. Not only is the colour and position different, it’s a fair amount shorter than his other. If it was to lay down flat against his body, it would be lucky if it hit the top of his hips.

“Erb’s palsy.” He says in a serious tone “It’s a birth defect. When I was born my mother had a difficult time and I came out…well…with a lame arm I suppose.” His face turns from his usually cocky smirk to a somewhat disappointed frown. “It’s the reason why I asked you to shake my other hand, I can’t exactly move it well.” Hisao gives a small nod before cutting in “Can’t erb’s palsy be fixed, I read that it can mostly be fixed either by itself or by surgery around the time of birth.” He responds, curiously.

“So you’re a science guy huh? Well, you’d be right. Unfortunately for me it didn’t exactly sort itself out and I was born on my grandfather’s estate. Sure, I guess I could have been taken for surgery around the time I was born, but my grandfather didn’t think it was necessary. He’s a bit more than old fashioned, he believes you only go to the doctor for two reason: Either you’re dying, or someone you know is dying.”

“That’s a bit cruel don't you think?” Miki asks, half shocked and half concerned. Her face has taken on an entirely new expression, not pity, but concern? Why can’t people just have very expressive emotions like in anime, I’m having too much trouble telling what people are thinking!

“I don’t think so, just different I guess. I mean, he’s never treated me any differently over it. Sure you could blame him for this.” He says, pointing to his decrepit arm “But it would be like blaming a dog for smelling another dog. It’s just how he was raised, when he was a kid things were a lot different and he just never...changed.” he finishes, giving one last shrug before sliding his arm into his pocket once again.

The rest of us seem half-were between dumbstruck and worried, more so the former for me. His grandfather refused to let doctor's fix his arm? What kind of man does that, especially to his own grandson? Being born in a different time is no excuse for that, when I was younger and I fell off my bike and skinned my knees; my dad would have a panic attack. Is it just such a wide gap between men? Or is it simply as Yuuto said, different views based on different times. Similar to how an old woman who is so used to hanging clothes up to dry never adopts the dryer. I guess that really just begs the question, how exactly old is Yuuto's grandfather?

“H-How old is your grandfather?” I ask, eager to at least find a somewhat probable answer to my questions. He certainly must be older than most others, especially considering his rather,outdated, views.

“Hmm.” Yuuto thinks, moving to sit on the bench again. He loosens his tie and coughs, drawing out his thinking. “He's about eighty, maybe eighty-one.” he replies finally, causing the rest of us to lean in closer, surprised. “Damn. He's old.” Miki whistles between her teeth, somewhat impressed. Leave it to Miki to say socially unacceptable things nonchalantly. Yuuto just chuckles at this, shaking his head “He still manages to beat me at shogi though. The only one who can beat him in that, is my grandmother.”

He takes a sip from his opened can before ending the conversation entirely “Bah, enough about me. Why don't we hear about our friends here. “ he says motioning towards myself and Hisao. Hisao looks somewhat uncertain, as he looks to me for some kind of excuse. Guess somebody doesn't want to talk about himself. I give a shrug, and begin to answer Yuuto's question, less nervously than normally.

“I-I guess...I'll start off with me coming to Yamaku.” I say, trying to rack my brain, which feels little more than a glorified hamster on a wheel watching TV. It wasn't even that long ago, yet I can't remember too much. Although, the parts I do remember aren't the most exciting. “My dad had to go across seas for his job, and he figured Yamaku would be a good choice. Especially....” I stop myself mid-sentence, it's not like a big secret as to why I'm here. I mean ,diabetes, that's gotten a fair amount of students into Yamaku after all; even if mine is more severe than others. “Especially, since I have diabetes, type 1, the doctors I used to go to, said it was one of the more severe cases they've seen.” I pick up, feeling everyone's curious glances focus on me.

“ Okazaki was very helpful, especially in helping me move and adapt. A-Actually, she was one of the reasons my Dad choose Yamaku as opposed to a different school. Okazaki is an old friend of my Mom and Dad's, they met in University, and ever since I was born...she..she has always been a kind of second mother, ya know?” I let myself trail off, into that sort of rhetorical question. I'm sure I'm probably posing more questions than I'm giving answers, but this is the best way I know how to explain it.

“Ya, I know what you mean.” Hisao says from behind me, his voice calm and soothing. I turn and look at him,only to find him smiling, encouraging me silently. “My aunt was kinda the same way, she was always there taking me out to see movies and stuff when I was younger.” he says, getting a slight twinkle in his eyes as he remembers. He chuckles softly before waving the attention off of himself and back onto me “Sorry to steal your thunder there.”

I shake my head, letting him know I don't mind. I don't, I actually wouldn't mind hearing more about what he says, about who he was, about who he is. What was he like before this? What brought him here? What does he like? I haven't known him for very long, but I can't help feeling like I want to know more, want to be more than just a stranger. I give one last smile before continuing with my story “I-It was different really...I was always used to my Dad being around. So I remember how alone I felt...how scared I was. My TV wasn't hooked up yet, mostly because I didn't know how.” I let myself chuckle at my own ineptness “So, I decided to go for a walk, I didn't expect anyone to pay attention to me, and nobody really did. W-well....one person did, but he didn't exactly seem friendly. It was Matsubara.” I say, frowning as I remember the rude and cruel boy.

“Matsubara.” Yuuto scoffs, shaking his head as he curls his lip into an irate scowl. “I hate that kid, he is the definition of asshole.”

Miki laughs, shaking her head at him. “Yuuto you just hate everyone, besides you're a bit of an ass yourself!”

“Hey, I resent that! Besides.... I don't hate everyone just most people my age, but Matsubara deserves to be hated. If i'm an ass, than he's a...” He says, before being cut off quickly by Miki. “Let her finish her story, dick-wad. You talk enough already.” Yuuto makes a somewhat sad, disappointing sound as he slumps in his seat; causing Hisao to chuckle.

“Have you met Matsubara, Hisao?” I ask.

Hisao shakes his head and “I'm afraid I haven't met many other people from the school.” He says, sighing. His face gleams with that familiar look of loneliness, before he quickly shoves it back from whence it came. Taking on his normal demeanor, he stares curiously at me, expecting me to go on. Begging me to go on. Oh Kirino, please, regale me with your story. I will Hisao, don't you worry your pretty little head about it.

“Matsubara, like Yuuto said, isn't known for being a nice guy. H-he's a perverted, cruel...thug. I'm not sure that's the word I'm l-looking for, but I'll use it. W-well he saw me walking alone, and tried to impress his friends by picking on me, I-I guess. He...He picked me up off the ground with no warning, and just started throwing me up in the air...like a baby. He was saying things like 'who's a cute little girl' and 'upsie-daisy', as he laughed behind his surgical mask.” I shudder as I remember being thrown up into the air like some child. “Shit.” Miki says “That is fucked.”

I nod “I remember Okazaki coming out and grabbing him by the ear, lecturing him until he let me down and walked to the principal's office.” I sigh, feeling myself subconsciously playing with my sweater's front pocket. “It was...horrifying.” I should probably show them how tall he was compared to me I think, as I lift myself off of the bench and begin to stand up.

I feel myself sway from side to side, as my blurred vision dances around, whoa. I think I got up to fast, blood rushed to my already tired head. I reach out to steady myself, doing my best to keep my balance, avoiding falling over. I feel my stomach lurch and it's no longer just my vision that's spinning, now it's the world. “Woah.” I say, feeling myself sway around as my stomach tosses and turns more than a trapeze artist. “Kirino? Are you okay?” I hear Hisao ask, as he begins to stand up.

“I-I don't....know.” I stutter, feeling the world crash, spin, dance, and waltz around me. “Come sit down, you don't look so good.” Yuuto says, his voice little more than a shout at the end of a tunnel.

“Ya....ya.” I say quietly, almost a whisper. I feel someone wrap their arm around me and help me slowly stumble forward, then I collapse. I feel myself fall forward and being caught before I hit the table, I watch as the spinning world soon blackens away slowly. The concerned, but blurred faces of those around me, turn into black swirls, then nothing. I slip away into the darkness, I sleep? I guess, I'm asleep now. All there is are my thoughts,then, nothing.


I slowly open my eyes, looking around to reveal a white room illuminated by an artificial light, the dull hum of the light and the rhythmic tapping of someone pounding away at a keyboard are the only sounds that accompany me as I shift around where I lay. I groan a little, as I turn my head around, trying to get a bearing of my situation. I look around, and it looks like I'm lying in some bed, surrounded by a curtain for privacy I would assume.

I lift the white blankets off me as I sit up, hanging my legs off the side of the bed. I run a hand through my hair as my head pounds in pain. It seems someone took out my ribbon holding my hair in a ponytail. I tuck some of my hair out from in front of my eyes and behind my ears. The rhythmic tapping of the keyboard stops, only to be replaced by the sounds of someone walking towards me. The curtain is quickly drawn back revealing the familiar face of our school's resident nurse; his smile and all.

“Welcome back to Yamaku, may I offer you something to drink? We have...water.” he jokes, shaking his head as he watches me rub my eyes.

“Tsk Tsk.” he clicks “You gave your friends quite a scare out there. Our young Mr.Nakai was particularly panicked, and I don't think I've ever seen young Miss.Miura chastise anyone for not running fast enough.” he grins, amused at how everyone acted when...whatever...just happened.

“Nurse.” I start, curious as to why I'm here, now that the how has been answered. He gives me a nod to continue, and I take a deep breath. “Why am I here?”

The nurse just laughs “Guess you really don't know why you passed out huh.” He clears his throat, and does his best to take on a more stern and serious expression. “I shouldn't have to warn you, especially at your age , what unchecked glucose levels are. Now should I?” he lectures, ending on a rhetorical question that makes me think more than I care to.

Oh, so that's what this is about...

Damn, I really did screw up today.

I'm an idiot. I'm a, full-blown, idiot. I not only ruined my evening, but their evening as well. All because I wanted to splurge a bit on food, and forgot to inject my insulin at the proper times; how could I be so selfish? How could I be so stupid? I mentally punch myself, I deserved this I guess, but they sure as hell didn't.

“You suffered a hyperglycemic attack. Since you didn't monitor your blood-sugar levels and they rose into dangerous levels, you should have at least noticed the symptoms preceding an attack. Increased thirst, dizziness, blurred vision, increased volume of urination, increased hunger, the list goes on.”

“Are you gonna call and tell my Dad?” I ask concerned. Oh god, that would be the worst thing. I'd disrupt my Dad at work, then he'd have to come back and lecture me. Not to mention he'd be worried about me, and when a parent worries it's worse than most other worries. I punch myself again,and again. How could you be so stupid Kirino? You were making so much progress on growing up, living on your own, being able to monitor your own sickness without help. Now, now that's all down the drain. It wouldn't be a surprise if he moved back home, just to keep a more watchful eye on you.

I can feel the sinking feeling in my gut as the nurse opens his mouth to answer, I swear he's doing it on purpose. “No, that's not necessary; besides, believe it or not, but I don't enjoy ruining my patient's lives.” he returns to his typical grin and joking personality “Although, I'm not letting you off the hook that easily. I wouldn't be doing my job if I did that! I've told your guardian and she agreed that it would be best for you to come in for regular checkups and for you to participate in some sort of physical activity.”

Aw, come on! He’s not only getting Okazaki involved but this! I hate physical activities, I've been dreading anything remotely involving effort for the last few years! Now, I have to do some sort of physical exercise. Does sleeping count? I mean you're still breathing, that involves muscles, right? I let myself groan loudly, expressing how much I do not, want to do anything of the sort. “Don't get all excited now.” He teases “Yamaku has plenty of opportunities for living a physically active life. Yamaku is one of the only schools in the area with a weights gymnasium, a pool, and a proper track. That is if you don't mind sharing the track with a certain fiery girl.” He grins, making note of Emi, who always manages to be on the track at least three times a day.

I laugh silently to myself at imagining myself attempting to lift weights, I can barely lift my bag in the morning let alone a dumbbell. Match that with being surrounded by giant muscled people, just makes me entirely uncomfortable. Some people are born never to touch a weight in their life, I just so happen to be one of those people. As for the swimming, well, I've never been a strong swimmer; so that's out of the question. That only leaves running, and I despise running. In fact, I make it a habit to walk to places as little as possible. This running thing would not only be embarrassing and I might make it a metre if I'm lucky. I suppose that this would be the best choice? If there is a best choice that is, I'd need a running partner though. I guess I can ask Miki, or even Yuuto. Though, the former would probably be more comfortable.

I nod after a long moment of silence, letting him know that I heard what he said. “Give it some thought, It's your life we're dealing with here. I'll let you reunite with your friends, I'm sure Miura will be happy. I practically had to hit her with a broom to get her out.” he laughs, more at his own joke than what probably actually happened. He gives me one last look before making for the door, opening it and ushering in the crowd that followed me here.

The nurse closes the door after everyone has filed through, letting it click as the door hits the frame; announcing that he’s out of earshot. Yuuto looks about as normal as he does, well as normal as someone can be with a piece of taffy hanging from their mouth. Miki and Hisao clearly share the brunt of any emotional impact my incident caused. Hisao looks a little worse for wear and his hair is more ruffled than it normally is. Miki sniffs back, and it's only now that I get a good look at her face. Her eyes are swelled up and red, she looks as if she's been crying. Aw Miki. “M-Miki, don't cry.” I say, trying to stop something beyond my power.

“Asshole.” she mumbles, marching towards me angrily. She punches me in the shoulder, causing me to wince and grasp at my shoulder. “Ow!” I yell, feeling tears well up in my eyes “What the hell?” . Miki just wraps me into a hug and practically squeezes the life out of me. “Now, you know how we felt. Don't be so stupid again, you had us all worried.” she says, her voice muffled in my hair. “I knew she'd be fine.” Yuuto says, scarfing down his taffy like it might be his last. Miki just shoots him an angry look, causing him to raise his hands in surrender. I find myself laughing and wrapping my hands around Miki, returning her hug. Those two really would make a good pair, if not, they certainly make me laugh.

I pat the spots on the bed next to me, motioning for them to sit. Hisao and Miki sit down without a word, eager to just be done waiting I suppose. I feel as Hisao rummages around next to me, trying to get comfortable between me and the steel headrest, poor guy. “There isn't exactly room for me, unless you want me to sit on your lap.” Yuuto jokes, his cocky smirk proves contagious as it soon makes me smile and Hisao chuckle. “Still as perverted I see.” Miki chuckles, rolling her eyes at her partner's antics. “Once a pervert, always a pervert. I did learn from you after all.” he winks, implying at something only the two of them know.

“You're dead meat, start running gaylord.” Miki growls, seemingly in no mood for any of Yuuto's clever remarks.

“Well, Kirino. Guess this is where I start running, take care and I'll tell Nori to give you my number.” Yuuto says before bolting out the door like the world had just lit his ass on fire. The sounds of his metal prosthetics running down the hall can be heard even from this little room. Miki just shakes her head and begins to stand up. Wiping some dust off her skirt she gives me a slight pat on the head before pointing a dangerous finger at me. “Fuck bucket. If you ever do something so stupid again, I'll kill you, like I'm gonna kill him.” she snarls, pointing at the door where Yuuto just ran out. “Take care Hisao, don't be an idiot Kirino.” She finishes, before casually walking towards the door and slamming it shut behind her, causing one of the nurse’s pens to roll onto the floor.

The sounds of her yelling curses at Yuuto can be heard even when she leaves the building, causing both Hisao and I to start laughing together. “They're...an interesting duo.” Hisao says between laughs. That they are, that they are. I still never asked them how they met, but somethings are better left to the imagination I think. As our laughter dies away I find myself feeling more morose than I should be. I mean, I'm with a cute guy, alone. Ughhhh, Kirino! Get your head out of the gutter, this isn't an anime! I manage to stop such thoughts before a blush spreads on my cheeks I say what I want to say.

“Sorry.” I apologise, turning to face Hisao. “I-I really am. I don't know how to properly convey...just how sorry I actually am. I mean, I ruined your night. I ruined Yuuto's and Miki's, all because I was an idiot and got carried away. I'm sorry Hisao. I'm so sorry.” I find my voice wavering as tears form in my eyes. I don't even know why! “I'm sorry, I don't mean to. I just...I don't even know why I'm crying.” I say, feeling the tears roll down my cheeks as I try to wipe them away with shaky hands.

It's all my fault, I ruined their evening just like I ruin everything. I'm terrible, I know I shouldn't think this way, but I do. I don't even know how to explain it. I shudder, hiding my face behind my hands as the tears flow through the cracks in my fingers. “Sorry.” keeps coming out of my mouth, over and over again. I feel like I've failed, not just myself, but them, everyone: Yuuto, Miki, Okazaki, Mom, Dad, even myself. “I'm so sorry Hisao, it's all my fault.” I sputter.

I feel a pair of arms wrap themselves around me as I cry. I feel them squeeze myself against his chest, enveloping me in a warm, comforting embrace. I don't resist, I just let myself cry and stay there nearly motionless. Doing my best to stop the cascade of tears streaming from me like a waterfall. I feel the warmth from Hisao, coming over and mingling near me. My arms lay meekly at my side, not bothering to return the comforting hug.

“It's alright, we all make mistakes. I should have stopped you after your eighth can of juice. I guess you can say, I'm just as much to blame as you.” as he chuckles, I feel his body move and adjust. Why is he sorry? It's not his fault, it's my diabetes, it's my failure. “Don't worry about anything, the fireworks should pop up any second, and you'll feel better.” he coos, rubbing my back gently. I nod in his chest, pushing my tears back into whatever pit they crawled from. I pull back from Hisao, just in time to look at the sight before me.
#
The loud hiss of the fireworks startle me for a moment, but I don't feel the slightest bit scared. As they shoot off in the window behind him, I find myself staring, more entranced by the sight before me, the wonderful, beautiful sight before me. The way his shape is illuminated by the fireworks behind him, the sound of the hiss and pop. The vibrant colours shooting off in every direction, like shooting stars through a midnight sky. His eyes twinkle and just for a moment I feel at ease, feel safe. Something I haven't felt in a long time, but it's different. I feel warm, warm from the inside out. Like a dull heat emanating from my chest...from my heart, butterflies rising and flying in my stomach. He smiles and the uneasy feeling inside me only feels....worse? Better? Different, would be a better word. I almost feel like I'm about to burst with joy, like an old children's toy, finally being picked from off the shelf.

It's so similar, and yet so different from anything I've ever felt before.

I no longer feel like crying, no longer feel sad. I only feel this feeling, a feeling I barely know how to describe.

It feels as if, as if everything in this moment is right, as if everything is working together for this one...singular...moment. The twinkle of his eyes, the safe smile adorning his lips, the fireworks shooting off both outside the window and inside my heart. Is this...love?

It feels like such a foreign concept to me, that one word. Like some name of a foreign place across the sea, but here it is...in front of me. My lips quiver, and my heart beats even faster as I want to express how much I feel. How much this moment feels. Yet, I can't find the words to express it. All I can do is sit there, staring at what's before me. That one, glorious, sight. I wish this moment would stay frozen forever, the way I feel, the way this feels.

I lean forward, resting my head against Hisao's chest, wrapping my arms around him in a comforting hug. He's surprised at first, but he continues to do the same, wrapping me in his warm embrace. For one time since coming to this school.I feel safe. I feel...happy. The sound of the fireworks die off, but the feeling of the fireworks inside my heart remain the same.

I can’t help, but wonder what the hell I’m even doing. Why is my body doing something like this? Why did my eyes go against me? Why does my heart defy my head? Why does it beat so much for one person, I know it's not what I wanted. But...but I can’t help, but feel that this is something my heart needs, something my mind has only ever dreamed of. Is this...my first love?

Prev/Table of Contents/Act 2: Scene 1
Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Wed May 11, 2016 10:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:31 am

Now this migth seem like a lot of mistakes, but for an update this long it's not bad at all:
I giggle, still trying to keep what little pride I have in tact.
"intact"
Maybe I should invite him to hang out with Nori and I?
"Nori and me"
I reach out, grasping the back of his sleeve.
Which hand is she using if she's holding on to her takoyaki, the cotton candy and the can of iced tea) :lol:
I let out a very audible and noticeable grown
"groan"
By now, the sun has slowly travelled to the east, in about two or three hours it wouldn’t surprise me if it began to set.
Conversely, it should surprise her if it didn't ^_^
Infact, even I wouldn’t noticed it myself
"In fact" - contrast "intact" above :-)
No doubt finding the fact that me and Hisao are out of breath, barely able to carry on.
"I and Hisao" - or the reverse. Also misses an adjective at the end.
even if mine is more severe than others.
"others' " - but you repeat that thought verbally right after that so it's kind of redundant.
“You suffered a hyperglycemic attack...
Good job on researching the symptoms, but to build up a blood sugar level that would lead to unconsciousness she would have had to eat A LOT more than she did during this chapter - especially since she had her regular insulin injection that morning. She'd have to have been lax for several days before that.
“Your dead meat, start running gay-lord.”
I mentally sigh every time Miki uses this word in a fanfic.
causing both Hisao and I to start laughing together.
"Hisao and me"

Really liked this chapter. The end might have been a bit sappy, but why not once in a while :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by YutoTheOrc » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:34 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Which hand is she using if she's holding on to her takoyaki, the cotton candy and the can of iced tea) :lol:
You've got yourself sharp observation skills there! I don't suppose Kirino's second disability is a third arm? Maybe she's the product of some radioactive spill? While having a crime-fighting heroine with three arms would make for an interesting fan fiction, It's not for me. I guess I'll have to let her put the food down before hand! :lol:
Mirage_GSM wrote:“You suffered a hyperglycemic attack...
Good job on researching the symptoms, but to build up a blood sugar level that would lead to unconsciousness she would have had to eat A LOT more than she did during this chapter - especially since she had her regular insulin injection that morning. She'd have to have been lax for several days before that.
Good point, but for sakes of dramatic appeal I'm going to leave it in. I just like the way it all slowly builds up and crashes down in one evening.

Mirage_GSM wrote:“Your dead meat, start running gay-lord.”
I've always thought of Miki as the most nonchalantly, politically incorrect person you could ever meet, so I felt like it just fit. Besides, her bluntness is a nice contrast to Kirino's socially awkard mumbles I think :D .
Mirage_GSM wrote:I mentally sigh every time Miki uses this word in a fanfic.
Really liked this chapter. The end might have been a bit sappy, but why not once in a while :-)
Thanks for the comment, it means a lot! I enjoyed writing it, even if I did hit writer's block a few times. The next chapter will be less sappy, don't want this to turn into 'that' kind of fan fiction :lol:

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by NekoDude » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:35 am

YutoTheOrc wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:I mentally sigh every time Miki uses this word in a fanfic.
Did you know: A Gaylord is an actual shipping container, like this.
Art is never finished, only abandoned.
Nekonomicon thread and downloads
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:34 am

Now I know.
And knowing is… 8)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by YutoTheOrc » Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:14 pm

NekoDude wrote: Did you know: A Gaylord is an actual shipping container, like this.
I never would have guessed :S. Who knows, maybe she's actually referencing that instead :lol:

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by Steinherz » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:32 pm

NekoDude wrote:
YutoTheOrc wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:I mentally sigh every time Miki uses this word in a fanfic.
Did you know: A Gaylord is an actual shipping container, like this.
It's also a [url-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaylord_%28given_name%29]given name[/url], Surname and name of a few cities.
I write take a look, would you kindly?
I also draw, kind of.
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Oddball wrote:It's an obvious mistake. Both are disfigured orphans that read alot and both wear green skirts.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by YutoTheOrc » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:47 pm

Hey everybody! It's been a while, or has it? I've never been good with time. Regardless, I managed to finally write the next part in between pieces of a busy life. University had me bogged down with work for a while and I had to do a whole bunch of work to switch over from a BA to a BSC at another university closer to home.That's the bureaucracy I suppose. Everything is rolling along fine with me, hope you all are doing well.

**************************************



Act 2: Out of Shadows
Scene 1: Lion’s Sin of Pride

“The hell with this.” A disgruntled voice scoffs,sounding as muddled as if it came from the other side of a concrete wall.
I cuddle closer to my pillow laying cocooned within my sheets, doing my best to ignore the voice that tries to penetrate my peace, doing my best effort to enjoy the calming absence my slumber provides from the world.
I feel something tug at the bottom of my cocoon as if it were trying to burrow its way inside.

I cuddle myself closer to my pillow, lying within a cocoon of sheets; playing the part of an ugly caterpillar trying to sleep myself into becoming a butterfly. I squeeze my head deeper into the cushion, shifting slightly as I try to return to the soft, calming embrace my eyelids provide from global affairs. My small delicate breathing begins to slowly fall into the distance as I feel myself slipping into the trance I belong. It is then when I begin to notice something pressing down on my hip from the other side of the covers, soft, but firm. Like a cat trying to push its way through a crevice. My mind begins to slowly wake up, freeing itself from the chains of drowsiness; wondering what exactly lies on the other side.

Before I can even respond, my cocoon is ripped violently from me, exposing me to the cool air and blinding white light. The force sends me twirling like a spinning top out of my bed and crashing to the floor in a flurry of panicked motions. I feel my heart burst to life and the fear course through my veins as thick as syrup, desperately I flail my legs like a dying spider and grasp my face as I try to block out the pervasive sun. The cold air licks away at my bare feet and I feel a rush of goosebumps fly across my body. I find myself wondering, what in the hell had just happened.

“Took you bloody long enough, I should have known that you’d try to skip the first morning of running. You recruits are all the same.” the drill sergeant yells at me, making me squirm all the more as the voice practically deafens me. “Stand up recruit, this is Sergeant Miki A Miura giving you an order!”

I take my hands away from my eyes, wincing against the light as I try to focus my eyes on the silhouette of the supposed “sergeant”. My eyes begin to focus, revealing a Miki dressed in running clothes and giving me a more than unhappy look. Her mouth is curled in a half-frown and her eyes are shining like two bright gems, which would be a wonderful description of a lovely heroine, if such a heroine didn’t just violently tear open a cocoon and throw the larva to the ground like some sort of deranged wrestler.

“Wh...Miki?” I find myself asking out loud, confusion evident in my voice and my frenzied breath topping itself on my panic-sundae. As I desperately try to calm my ferocious heart from playing the opening to Metallica’s Frantic. I can feel beads of cold sweat cling to my neck as I stare up at my assailant. What did she say? Something about a run?

I can feel a blush roar to my cheeks as I remember, the Nurse told me to start running and I came up with the great idea of running with Miki. I can feel the sarcasm drip from that thought as if it were venom from a viper’s fang. Why would I ever decide to go running, with Miki of all people? Even though she is my friend, I can’t help but feel like she is taking my request a little too seriously… “Ah yes...the run.” I sigh, sitting up from the crater to which I was thrown.

“Damn right.” she says, giving a sharp and rather intimidating nod “Now put some shorts on...and for christ’s sake brush your hair...it looks like I’m staring at a mothball.” She gives a quick laugh at her own joke before she takes her hand from her hip. Making her look slightly less sassy, but not enough to dissuade my suspicion of further remarks. “I’ll wait outside the door, be ready in five minutes or we go as you stand now.” she gives her last assertion a sharp glance my way before walking to the door and closing it behind her.

I heave a heavy-hearted sigh, and mutter irately. There goes my wonderful sleep, just on the Monday that I tend to vicariously skip. There goes that self-appointed holiday. I stand up from the ruined cocoon and look around my room at the great catastrophe that Miki thrust upon me, my sheets are spread around the room like some sort of fabric bomb went off; making the place more messy than it already was. She could have at least put them in a ball on the bed, I let out a frown and look down at myself. Strands of my hair lay scattered in my view, tendrils of split ends and matted hair. My grey shirt has a small puddle of what I hope is drool on my shoulder, and my sleep pants cover almost my entire feet exposing only my tiny pale toes. It’s times like this I wish I were a super genius, that way I could engineer my bed to fly and I could do my laps from there. Then who would be laughing eh Miki? Me, because I have a flying bed. I giggle a little and begin to search for clean….ish clothes and a brush that can change this Gremlin bed of hair into something more easily put in a pony tail.

I hear a knock at the door and nearly trip as I pull on a pair of light blue shorts, I let out a startled gasp and quickly steady myself, dropping the shorts around one leg before glaring at the door. “By the way Kirino… it seems like your pal Hisao is joining us for the run.” I let out a small scream in horror at her revelation. I quickly look at a dusty mirror in the corner of my room, revealing the exhausted, half-dressed, creature I am staring back at me. He can’t see me like this?! I look like that creature from that movie that Dad and I watched, something about a VHS tape or something. It had weird matted black hair, and killed people, but it was trapped in a well? I don’t know, it was similar to that. I’d be fine with him seeing me if she gave me even five more minutes, but I don’t think that's quite the option. “Don’t sound overly excited. He mentioned to Yuuto how he wanted to get back in shape and he mentioned something about you and the Nurse yesterday.”

My face bursts into a fluster,and I feel as if my body was sweltering like a furnace. Oh god, the Nurse’s office yesterday. The embarrassment of me crying in front of him is brought to the fore-front and paraded about like a half priced movie. Might as well slap a 500¥ tag on me, because that’s what I feel like— a crappy, old, cheap movie. Maybe he forgot? Ya, like hell that would have happened, it happened just yesterday. Unless he has a memory worse than a goldfish that ain’t happening.

“To be honest, I’m surprised Yuuto even got him to wake up, let alone drag him out of bed with the bruise he has on his arm.” she laughs, reminiscent of some sort of evil sadist. I can practically feel her malicious intent radiating from beyond the door.

I manage to give out a small grunt of acknowledgement from the other side, as I quickly change into cleaner, somewhat more fresh clothes and bring a brush to my matted hair. I do my best to brush out any tangles given what time I have and slide on a purple scrunchie; setting my hair into a half-decent ponytail. My hair looks less like a ‘mothball’ and more like a horse’s tail now, but at least it’s part of something living this time I suppose. I quickly tie up a pair of old sneakers laying underneath a pile of posters and make my way towards my door; quickly grabbing my key on the way out. I pop out the door and let out a puff of air, adjusting strands of my hair behind my ears.

“Exhausted already?” Miki grins, “Boys won't like you with endurance like that!” She chuckles, sticking her tongue out at her lewd suggestion.

I blush fiercely and my eyes widen in shock, “Mi-Miki…” I mutter, embarrassed. I slump my shoulders and quickly lock my door as I step out into the hall. It’s later then when I usually wake up most days, but it’s earlier than most people care to wake up it seems. Maybe I’ve been getting up too late all these years trying to avoid people for no reason. The only person I could really run into was Emi, and I don’t think she showers before a run anyway. Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Miki run in the mornings. Didn’t someone mention that she ran in the evenings?

“Miki? Don't you run in the evenings?” I ask, somewhat puzzled why she would wake up this early for my sake alone.

“Yup.” she says matter of factly, not missing a beat.

“Umm...Then why are you up running in the morning? You didn’t wake up just for me did you?”

“Well...technically I never slept yet.” she grins. It’s only now that I notice the dark rings around her eyes, I couldn’t make them out in my room because she was silhouetted against the window. Then again, she looks pretty tired herself; as if the weight of her shoulders was dragging her down. “After I chased Yuuto, I gave him a pretty nasty welt on his arm. Which is his fault because he moved at the last second when I was swatting at him. His fault, not mine. Anyway, he thought it would be fun to take the bus into the city and visit some shops, maybe see a movie….well let’s just say he wasn’t born with a sense of direction.”

I raise an eyebrow at her, somewhat skeptical, as to why she thought it was such a good idea, but I refrain from asking and instead let her carry on. “So, somewhere between getting into an argument of calling a taxi at five in the morning or waiting until six when buses start running again. I got the smart idea to get the whole running business out of the way in the morning. I could help train you and Yuuto could help train Hisao. Then after today we could start doing evening runs.”

I’m still having trouble figuring out why this was such a good idea, waking the two of us up to go on a morning run when neither of them do. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Besides, based off of how she looks, she looks more manic than tired; so maybe letting her run until she collapses would be a better idea than being thrown around the room like I was before. I give her a half smile, and walk behind her out to the track.
*************************************************************************************

We get down to the track and the sounds of birds slowly trickle into my ears, singing a chorus in the nearby woodlot. The slowly rising sun spreads its rays over the school, causing my eyes to narrow as I stare into the distance. It reminds me of kid’s movies, the way everything was cheerful and nothing was astray; like for once everything in the world was content with the way things were. Which is a shame, for me at least, I’ve always been a fan of rain and thunderstorms. The way the flashes of lightning streak across the sky and its accompanying thunder rushes to catch up. It’s so much more calming then sunny skies, besides you won’t get sunburnt— which is something I tend to do fairly easily. I have to thank my wonderful father for that gift, In my entire life I have yet to see a man, woman, or polar bear more pale than him.

As we grow closer to the track I begin to see a blurry shape come into focus, dressed in a wrinkled and old white shirt, a pair of soccer shorts and a mop of brown hair. When my eyes finish processing the information I recognize who is waiting for —Hisao. The name makes me shiver, both in delight and embarrassment. Before I realize, a small smile begins to form on my lips and a blush rises to my cheeks as a warm feeling spreads from within me. Calm down Kirino, no need to get so active, he’s just a boy. Even if that boy is a kind, caring and beautiful boy. I mentally shriek inside like some sort of little girl. Sometimes I disgust even myself, I used to pride myself on never liking any real boy. Now, here I am, with my first real crush. Does everyone act like this? Or is it just me? Am I the weird one? Maybe it's the cocktail of adolescent drugs course through my veins that could be the cause.

“Hisao! Where’s dumbass?” Miki yells, causing me to try to slump down and hide myself in shame. Did she really just yell that? I knew she never had a filter, but,damn.

Hisao jumps a little, before turning to face the double threat walking his way. His brown eyes calm themselves to their usual warmness, and he lets out a puff of air as he calms himself from the scare. “Dumb…? Do you mean Yuuto?” he asks, somewhat confused.

“Who else?” Miki chuckles loudly, brushing a piece of her messy hair from her eyes.

“He said something about needing to grab a coffee and calling someone” Hisao responds, not aware of any miscommunication that may have occurred between the two “He was supposed to stay wasn’t he?”

Miki lets out an annoyed sigh and rolls her eyes “Once a flake, always a flake I suppose.” She shakes her head, sending some of her grey-brown hair popping up to join the other raised tufts. “Whatever. Let's get this show started. I’m gonna go for a run then I plan on sleeping.”

“Don’t we have a math quiz today?” Hisao asks, sounding somewhat confused. He furrows his brow and looks at Miki expectantly.

Miki gives a half-hearted snort before rubbing her bandaged wrist through her hair casually “ That is exactly what I plan to miss, my dear Hisao. It’s like you actually enjoy class.” her lips erupt in a toothy grin as she chuckles amusedly.

Hisao goes to say something but realises that somethings are better left unsaid and instead decides to close his mouth. He heaves a sigh and shrugs his shoulders before shaking his head defeated, leaving the topic alone.

“Alright newbies. I honestly have no idea where to start you two off. So….how does six~ laps sound?” she sounds unsure of herself, looking as if she was trying to test out the waters about where we felt comfortable. She needn’t bother, I would feel comfortable at half a lap...walking. Hisao and I just look at each other, each giving the other a look of absolute dread. “Alright, alright. You looked like I just stepped on your pet hamster, settle down. How does five at a steady pace sound?” Hisao turns to look at me and makes a face that looks somewhat concerned and terrified at the same time, causing me to giggle slightly before recovering and blushing while slumping down where I stand. “Jesus, alright. Three laps jogging, one walking. Is that okay, nobody gonna throw a tantrum?”

I give a slight nod, and I guess Hisao does as well, because Miki looks like she is somewhat content and begins to stretch out. “Alright, don’t push yourself, this is your first time. Push yourself the second, and please don’t do something stupid out on the track. The Nurse already treats me like he's walking on eggshells around me, I don’t need another problem.”

We all begin to stretch, Hisao begins by cracking all the joints in his body like some cacophony of arthritic pains bestowed upon him by the grim reaper . I start by following Miki’s example, bringing one arm across my chest and twisting my body like a corkscrew. I can feel my joints begin to pop and the small amount of muscle I posses being stretched beneath my skin. Soon I begin to sound like Hisao, each of us cracking one after another like a series of castanets trying to outperform the other. Miki plops down onto the track and begins to stretch out her legs, forced to stop from a full stretch by her rather, full,chest. I follow her actions, and, not surprisingly, I can do a full stretch. It feels as if my knees are about to pop off everytime I go to reach for my toes however. If this is what the stretching feels like, I dread to know what the exercise feels like; one can only imagine a nightmare.

Before long, team Miki makes its way out onto the track and I can feel a sense of dread come over me. This track is a lot bigger than it looked when I was sitting down. I hear a throaty swallow emerge from deep within Hisao, who looks about as nervous as I feel; guess he realised how daunting this task seems. “ It goes by quicker than you think, your legs move you faster than you give them credit.” Miki blurts out, clearly noting our restless tendency.

I hope she’s right.

Miki looks over at us and gives us a full grin, before darting off like some sort of wild animal out on the hunt. I can imagine if I was wearing a hat it would be long gone by now.

I take a deep breath and push myself forward, doing my best to work myself into a steady jog. I can feel the track bang against the soles of my feet, and a pressure building from within my chest. I fix my eyes to the track in the distance and find it slowly coming towards me. Maybe this whole jogging idea isn’t as bad as I first thought? I turn around and look behind me, managing to notice Hisao slowly working his way up to me and Miki, looking like something out of a racing film, blasting her way towards us. I turn back around and nearly trip over a rock, forced to quickly flail my arms to keep balance. It proves difficult to quickly regain my balance without losing too much steam I’ve built up. The first bend comes quite easily and I feel a renewed sense of accomplishment as I finish the first lap.

Sadly for me, the first lap was the best lap. As I find myself halfway through my follow-up, it looks like Hisao is about to pass me. I feel beads of sweat forming on my body and my heart beating in my chest, the pressure I felt in my lungs is more present than ever. I can’t let myself be beaten by Hisao, I need to show off. However, even thinking at this moment is tricky. I should try to focus more on breathing rather than how I need to show off to Hisao. Just as he is about to pass me, I force myself to go further, picking up speed. It’s not too much longer that I quickly pull ahead of him, giving him a shy grin as I pass by, he chuckles between his ragged breathing and begins to pick up speed. He seems to have thrown down the gauntlet.

Soon we find ourselves in a heated race, each one of us trying to pull in front of the other, neither willing to give the other a significant lead. I have no clue as to what lap we are on, but I can guarantee it's more than the third. I don’t think either one of us cares to be honest, I’m having fun and he’s smiling too. The sound of the track falling behind our feet, the crisp air burning our lungs, even the annoying pressure I first had when running seems to disappear. Just the two of us, alone, on the track. I don’t know where Miki is, but I can’t see her doing her normal sprints. Maybe she finished and is waiting for us at the end of the track. I guess that’s a sign for us to finish this race once and for all. I look over at Hisao, my ragged breathing indicating that my body agrees with the idea.

Hisao looks towards me, gritting his teeth and grasping at his heaving chest. He looks like he is straining to continue, guess I have more endurance after all! I give him a nod to where we started, indicating that we’ll race to the end. He gives me a meek nod, as he grits his teeth harder and pushes onwards. I take more ragged breaths and force my body further aiming to win this race, proving that I’m more athletic than I seem. It seems I have a little competitive side!

Hisao does his best to keep up, but it’s in vain because I soar ahead and dart to the end; winning the self-imposed race. I turn around triumphantly and grin as I look back at Hisao.

But something is wrong.

His face is forced into a grimace and he looks like he’s pain, he is probably just at his limit for the race. I wipe the grin off my face and my mouth instantly forms into a horrified gape as Hisa drops to the ground in a jumbled heap—desperately clutching at his chest. I let out a scream and watch as Miki’s head snaps to attention and she passes like a bullet to us. I begin to sprint back to him, my heart beating quicker and more frantically then it did on the track, and my legs feeling like they’re made of jelly. Fear grips my body as I slide towards Hisao and wrap my arms around him trying to see if he’s alright. His face is red and he’s coated in sweat, his breathing is harsh and he is grabbing at his torso. I feel my mind begin to swim with scenarios. What happened? I can feel hot tears roll down my cheeks, fearful tears, confused tears. My hands begin to tremble and I feel a lump form in my throat as I look down terrified at Hisao writhing in pain. I do all I can, I wrap him into a hug and scream at Miki, screaming for anyone...screaming for help.

Miki sprints up, concern evident on her face “What happened!?” she asks horrified.

I try to force back my tears and choke out a few words “We….st-started to...race...and then he….he fell.” I feel the tears growing in ferocity and I wonder if Miki could even hear me, let alone understand me. It felt as if the entire world was growing dark and the spotlight was on the two of us.

Miki gives me a stern and somewhat angry look. I just let out a sob in return “I’m sorry...I didn’t mean to!” I try to clear my voice, but it just ends up cracking and I’m forced to wipe the tears from my eyes. I sniff and rub away at my eyes with my dusty hands. “You’re gonna have to help me here. We need to take him to the nurse.” Miki commands, putting one of Hisao’s arms around her neck and raises him to his feet. He looks like he’s not in as much pain as he was before, but he looks drained—like a zombie almost. I wrap his other arm around my shoulders and Miki asks him if he can walk, he gives a weak but assured nod. We half walk, half drag, Hisao into the Infirmary.

Miki kicks in the door and yells for the Nurse. The Nurse looks somewhat shocked at seeing Miki break in practically carrying another student into the room. The Nurse looks grim when he sees Hisao, his typical grin fades into a concerned glower and he looks over at a bed expectantly. It looks like we walked in on another patient and their appointment. As soon as I take one look at her, I realise who it is. It’s Emi, the girl who is always out running, except her eyes are different from their usual happy shine. They’re rimmed with red and they look concerned, was she crying?

The Nurse nods for her to leave and she quickly hops off the medical bed, her prosthetics clacking as they impact onto the linoleum floors. She stretches out a hand towards Hisao before quickly bringing it back, she shakes her head and leaves without a second glance. That was weird I find myself thinking, I figured she’d be more concerned with two people dragging in another student, especially one she looked like she knew.

“Lay him down on the bed.” the Nurse says, flickering his eyes towards the bed Emi was just sitting on. “What happened Miura? Kage?” he asks, quickly pulling the stethoscope up to his ears and bringing the metal bit forward. We gently put Hisao on the bed and take a few steps back while Miki tries her best to recall exactly what did happen. I’m a little confused as to what happened myself, he just kinda collapsed after running with us. Does he have something wrong with his lungs, is that why he’s here? Maybe his heart? It could be almost anything internal, that is the scariest part; we don’t even know what.

“Well...he ugh…. went for an early morning run with Kirino and me, and then he just kinda...collapsed.” Miki says, trying to put her scrambled thoughts into understandable words. I wipe the remaining tears from my eyes using the fabric on my shoulder and try to moisten my throat so I can explain what happened from a better angle.

“W-We...Hisao and I…..were j-jog-jogging together when we started to race each other…. he was fine...at first. Then when we go to the end, he..he looked pained, l-like he was having trouble even just keeping up. By the time I turned around, he...he had collapsed.” The last word rings hollow throughout the room, like a dull metallic sound. Collapsed. It feels like it was more than just a collapse, it looks worse, almost as if his body was trying to expel something from his chest; the way he grasped at his torso. It was horrifying to watch, I can’t even begin to sympathise with how he felt.

That was the first time I’ve ever seen somebody act like that. As if it was a struggle to even take a breath, let alone form words. It was as if his entire body was trying to revolt against him and forgot to tell him what exactly was going on.

“Alright. That’s enough girls, wait outside, I’ll talk with you after checking him out.” The Nurse says, his eyes open slightly like a lazy cat. We both give a quick nod before we head out into the hall, closing the door behind us. It makes a clicking noise. Did he just lock it?

Miki lets out a sigh of irritation before she bites on the corner of her lip. Her eyes narrow themselves as she stands motionless, her back to the door and her eyes blank, deep in thought.

What could she be thinking? She looked just as surprised as I was when I screamed at her from across the track, but she was much quicker than I was to respond when Hisao collapsed onto the track. “Kirino.” she says, quickly turning to me, throwing off whatever thoughts she had “I’m not angry. Just...don’t do something like that again. I don’t know whatever you two have going on inside of you, so, it’s best if you both keep it calm for the next time.”

I give her a meek nod and we both go over to a couple of chairs out front of the Nurse’s office. Both of us practically throw ourselves into them, letting out a puff of exhaustion. I can feel my heart begin to gradually calm down, but the doubts that were swimming around in my mind remain. I still can’t help, but wonder what exactly happened?

The two of us sit blankly outside, neither speaking, just looking out across the hall silently. The Nurse later pokes his head out to let us know that things are okay with Hisao and that we should both take the morning classes off; we wouldn’t being doing much other than worrying anyway. He gives me a few adhesive bandages to put over the road rash I sustained when sliding on the track before ushering us along. Without anything more than that, Miki and I make our way outside awkwardly. We both walk quietly back to the dorms in utter silence. She gives me a nod before going off to her room and I make may way to mine, my eyes trailing along the carpeted path towards my room. The dull sound of my feet trailing across the carpet is the only thing I hear before I lock myself up inside my room.

*************************************************************************************

I don’t know how long I stay in my room, staring blankly in the dark before my phone releases me from my dark, mental prison. The sound of its little chime and the blinking light are enough to draw my eyes and ears to it; not enough to free my brain from the doubts and ideas that swim around in my head, however. I reach out towards the blinking light in the darkness and pick it up, curling my fingers around the slim device.

I flip open the phone with a slow motion, only to discover that I have one new unread message from Okazaki.

[Hey, I just wanted you to know that everything with Hisao is okay. The Nurse told me to let you know since he just released him from his office . If you want, you can stay home for the last two periods. It’s understandable.]

I let out a sigh, whether in an effort to reassure myself or to simply try and clear my head. I push a strand of hair dangling lazily from my eyes and stare out at the glowing screen. Reading the text over in my head, trying to make sure that I read it completely before proceeding to shut off my phone. As I go to close it, it chimes again and buzzes, causing me to flip it open once again. One new message from an unknown number, I tilt my head slightly and open it.

[Hey. Nori gave me your number, I just wanted to say thanks, you know, for you and Miki helping me out on the track. Sorry if I worried you. I'm fine now. -Hisao]

I blink again and read the text once more, squinting my eyes against the counterfeit light. I hold the cellphone closer to my chest, and let out a sigh of relief. I’m glad he’s alright, he gave Miki and Ime quite the shock, suddenly crumbling to the ground like that. It still freaks me out whenever I try to sort through the events that occurred earlier, I’ve never been one for acting quickly on my feet. Events like today only make me realize how helpless and hopeless I really am. Do I really want to be the kind of person I was this morning. A panicked person, who doesn’t know how to respond to the situation thrown my way. Would I have acted differently If I was a different person? Or would I have acted the same way? Surely, me crying was normal, right? Would Okazaki have acted the same if she were in my position? Would Dad panic if he was there?

I close my phone and set it down on the floor next to me, curling my legs to my chest, feeling as my knees sting as they act in motion. I gaze out into the blackness of my room, inhaling the stale smell of my room. It feels like ages ago since I last opened my window, but I know that It was open just this morning. Honestly, it feels like this morning happened years ago. I run my one hand through my hair and hold my legs tightly to my chest with the other, wishing to stay like this just a minute longer. The muffled sounds of birds and students outside almost feels like an entirely different world to the one I am in now. The sun, beats away on the other side of the blinds; a few strands bursting through a few small holes that pilfer through. I feel like I should do something, but I don’t know what I should do. I don’t think I have it in me to go to class, even if I did, I know I wouldn’t pay attention to what was being taught. Today feels much longer than it should have been, and I can’t find it in me to do anything else. I find my eyes drifting back to my phone and realize that I can always call one person who can make a hard day feel easy.

I pick my phone back up and rise to my feet, feeling the scrapes wrinkle underneath their bandages; causing them to sting slightly. I plod my way across the carpet and plop myself onto my bed, landing like some sort of walrus performing a trick. I scratch my pale thigh and flip my phone once again choosing to click the most familiar contact available.

It rings a few times before it finally clicks to announce that its answered. A deep, throaty voice answers from the other end “Hey kiddo, great timing. I just downed a cup of coffee, about to take a break from the latest project the airline requested.” He chuckles warmly, sounding more exhausted than the last time I talked to him. I know he didn’t drink a coffee, he always says he has; it’s an old routine he tries to pull. In fact, I bet he was just about to go to sleep and I called before he got the chance. “Dad, if you want I can call back later. It’s two in the morning where you are. Really, it’s no trouble.” I respond, playing my role in the old game.

“Don’t be ridiculous. I barely hear from my baby girl. So, what’s up Kiri-bear?” he asks, his smile evident in his voice.

“ It’s just been a long day...I...It’s just been a long day.” I sigh, pushing the back of my head further into the pillow. My hair attracting static as I do so, forcing me to wipe a few strands away from my mouth and eyes. “I’ve just been doing some thinking and wanted to ask you some stuff.” I finish, staring up at the cold, dark ceiling.
“Everything alright? Feel free to shoot me some questions if you think it’ll help.”

“Ya..I’m...doing alright, something just happened this morning with a friend. It scared me and I don’t think I could have reacted any differently. It’s just I wished I did, I guess. I don’t know...it’s stupid… forget it.”

He lets out a sigh, I can almost imagine him shaking his head before going back to his usual half-grin. I can hear him rustling on the other side as if he was moving his clothes around. I guess he’s loosening his tie or something. “If you say so, I wouldn’t be much of a father if I didn’t ask. Just...whatever it is...know I’m one hundred percent behind you, even if it may feel like I'm one-hundred leagues under the sea.” I giggle slightly at that, making some of the tension disappear from his voice.

I take a deep breath and decide to ask my question “Dad, what were you like when you were around my age?”

At first there’s silence from the other end of the phone, eventually broken as he clears his throat “ Well I had a kid, so I’m assuming you want before?” he chuckles to himself,as he tries to form what he really wants more coherently “Well, I wasn’t a joy for your grandparents that’s for sure. I was the middle child of three, if you can remember Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Vicky you’d be surprised to hear they haven’t changed much. Ken, well, he was always out at the time, usually at work. Vicky, she really was their favourite, tiny little thing when I moved away. Giant green eyes, and long brown hair; spoiled worse than a tiny dog, I swear! The amount of times I got canned by your grandfather whenever she got a hold of a pack of my smokes!” He starts laughing to himself, which proves contagious as I find myself grinning. The sound of him lighting a cigarette and blowing out a puff of smoke can be heard before he continues, this time less gleefully.

“I was a bit of a problem child. I have to give them credit. For a couple of Welsh immigrants, they certainly didn’t deserve a burden like me. I would stay out most nights, listen to loud music, wear a leather jacket with all sorts of trashy patches. I’d smoke out front the schools, get so drunk I wouldn’t remember how I got to where I woke up. Sometimes I’d wake up in a random girl’s bed, others I’d wake up with black eyes and a pair of bloody knuckles in a ditch. I can still remember your grandmother cursing and swearing in Welsh before the two of them suffered two haemorrhages apiece. I wasn’t bad in school per se, but I did choose courses I would get a decent grade in. I was a bit of cocky smart ass, though. It was a shock to both my parents that I even got accepted as an international student for engineering.”

I remained silent on the other end of the line, taking in all he had to offer; like a sponge in a sink. I remember my father saying he wasn’t the greatest kid, but I never expected him to be, well, that. I only met my Dad’s parents a few times. They lived in Canada and it was a pretty big pain to go and visit them. From what I remember, they were both friendly. My grandmother was the typical stereotype, liked to bake cookies and other sweets. Actually taking that into account, that’s probably what made her a little plumper than most grandmothers. My grandfather was very quiet, he never really had much to say, but when he spoke you listened. He didn’t show affection at all, even when my Dad came home after almost a decade of being away, he only greeted him with a nod and a handshake. My aunt and uncle are even more fussy, my uncle had two kids, each a little brat that he wouldn’t discipline for his life. My aunt enjoyed complaining about how every man she ever dated ended up leaving her. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting him to say, I imagined him as more mature, a better kid than he seemed to be.

“You still with me?” He asks.

I respond with a grunt of affirmation, letting him continue onwards. “ My last week in Canada, I went out with three of my friends. Did I ever tell you about Steven? He and I were two tornadoes in a field, I tell you. The amount of trouble we caused, even since a young age when we met. He was the Bill to my Ted, two idiots who just wanted to have a hell of good time. We spent the night, drinking, partying, and causing all sort of havoc. Steven had the bright idea to drive his shitty ‘82 Oldsmobile through the school’s halls. Don’t ask me how he did it, or why we agreed. But, we drove through the front entrance of the school, blaring “Wheels of Steel” on his radio. Very nearly killed our old principal while driving through the halls, he scraped the sides of his car to all hell and burst through the other side!” he starts laughing hard for a few minutes, and I have to admit it is pretty funny; imagining my dad acting so crazy.

“When the cops finally caught up to us, we were doing donuts in the middle of the football field and drinking from a bottle of whisky. I was half hanging out the window, cursing and crying about some girl I was dating a few weeks back. It’s a miracle I didn’t die that night in all honesty. It’s even more miraculous that we got off with only a fine, and Steven only getting his license taken away. Benefits of a small town, and Steven’s good fortune to be born to the Sheriff eh? The principal took it as an opportunity to redo the school like he planned, and two drunk, crazy alumni only helped him along. When I got out of jail my parents threatened to disown me, my dad’s face was so red when he saw me; I could have sworn he was gonna kill me himself. He told me he never wanted to see me again, and so I left a week before my flight to Japan. I didn’t end up going back until you were old enough to handle the trip without crying and throwing a fit. Despite the insanity, I think it worked out decently well.”

“Damn.,” I say. I really don’t know what else to say to that. Other than damn.

“So, whatever you’re thinking, you could not be a worse kid than me. I was literally hell on wheels.” he chuckles again “Did that answer your question?”

“Maybe?” I reply hesitantly, not quite sure what to make of it. It’s a lot of crazy to try and take in, especially from your own father. I leave my mouth open in shock and just lay on my bed, not sure of how exactly to respond. “That's….a very interesting bit of information to drop on your own daughter.”

“Good thing you didn’t inherit my insanity eh?”

“Ya...I suppose so. Well, thanks....I guess.” I respond, shock still evident in my voice “I’ll...ugh...let you go. Love you, and I’ll call again soon hopefully.” I say, ending the conversation before he tries to tell me that he did anything else crazy.

He tells me he loves me and not so subtly tries to urge me to call more often before hanging up. While I didn’t get the answer I was looking for, I think I found a good reason that I am the way I am. If I was anything like he was, I think I would have reacted in a much worse way than I did. I let out a sigh and drop my arm off the side of my bed, letting my phone slip from my hand and land with a small thud onto the ground. I roll onto my side and turn on the tv. I think I need to watch some anime before I decide to do anything, if at all, for the rest of the day.

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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Tue May 24, 2016 12:11 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:17 am

he gave Miki and I quite the shock
"Miki and me"
Happened one more time further up, but that was Miki talking, so it's excusable.
I wasn’t bad in school per say
"per se"
Him and I were two tornadoes in a field
"He and I"
Funny. Usually I'd expect people to make the other mistake writing "He and me" :-)

Didn't expect this one to be continued. Nice to see you're back!
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC)

Post by YutoTheOrc » Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:39 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Him and I were two tornadoes in a field
"He and I"
Funny. Usually I'd expect people to make the other mistake writing "He and me" :-) I just felt like it would be more correct than he and me, guess I was only slightly wrong this time ;) :lol:
Mirage_GSM wrote:Didn't expect this one to be continued. Nice to see you're back!
Thanks! Its good to be back, I want to finish this and edit it until I'mm reasonably content with it. Even if it may take a ridiculous amount of time. Thank you once again for helping me edit and reading! :D

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-05-04

Post by YutoTheOrc » Tue May 24, 2016 12:05 am

Act 2: Out of Shadows
Scene 2: Hidden in the Mist

It's been a decent bit since I've last posted a new part. I got out of University a few weeks back and I went through and edited the previous parts, I'm content with what I've done so far, but if you spot anything or have an opinion I'd love if you commented! I'll continue to chip away at this story, thanks for reading!
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The sounds of the piano and its sad and somewhat soft melody play throughout the room, mingling in the air with the wispy clouds of smoke. The rhythmic and slowly paced notes ring within my ear, causing my brain to follow the sombre beat. I close my eyes and try to feel the music beneath my eyelids, pretending as if I can see the notes visualised in the blackness of my head. Ranging from light blues and pale yellows to rich greys and colours of the ocean on a rainy day. The sounds of the piano never grow in sound or decrease in their volume, remaining constantly unchanging.

I open my eyes once again letting the dim light flow over and into my vision. The cold white light penetrates from the imposing windows around the room, opening up into the rainy pine forest. The occasional flash of lightning strikes in the ashen sky breaking through the clouds at breakneck speed. Unlike a normal bout of lightning during a rainstorm, the lightning remained eerily lonely as it raced across the sky. Shooting from one end of the spectrum to the next, never once being followed by the prevailing thunder. The only sound that ever flowed into my head was the slow constant tune put forth by the piano.

Drops of rain cling to the window slowly trailing down along its outside surface and falling off the small ledge below the peerless thick mist. The rain remained silent, drowned out by the beautiful piano.

The sound of someone sniffing back catches my attention, causing me to turn my gaze away from the window and towards the only other noise than the rhythmic repetition of the piano. I glance over at a young girl sitting alone at a table far away from the piano. Dressed in a generously laced dress that remained bordered by a series of frills along the bottom. The iron colour of the dress made the girl’s pale complexion ever more solemn as her legs lay crossed over one another and facing towards both me and the piano. She has a small wine glass filled with a pale yellow liquid that contrasts against their girl’s long and almost spider-like fingers.

I look up at her eyes but her head remains tilted away from me, preferring to focus on the large back of the man who trails his fingers over the piano. Her lips remain pressed into a firm line, promising to hide whatever emotion she holds within her heart. Her entire attention remains focused on the man playing the piano, or quite possibly the small girl leaning against the man on his right. I find myself wondering why she doesn’t come over and speak to the man instead of preferring to sit idly by while he continues to repeat the same melody. What remains even stranger is that she remains entirely motionless except for her eyes, blinking every so often but never changing their view even by the slightest degree.

The solemn girl continues to stare at the two perched atop the bench, watching as the man occasionally moves his shoulders to reach the keys. The small girl who sits on his right sways slowly from left to right and kicks her legs playfully. Her hair is a reddish-brown, contrasting against the pale light filtering through the windows. Her pigtails tied in ribbons made of a royal purple flow back and forth with the slightest bit of her movements.

I look around at the trio of people and find that each is dressed quite formally, even the little girl sits dressed in a black and frilly dress, covering from her neck to her ankles but leaving the entirety of her arms exposed. I have difficulty trying to pinpoint the times of my life when people have dressed so formally. Instances of family dinners and the few funerals come to my mind, but they feel faint as if I wasn’t the one who truly experienced them. It’s odd, the way memories slowly fade from one’s mind, as if they were scenes long since passed in a movie or a page in a book. Yet no memory, no matter how faint, has matched the tone of what plays out in front of me.

I find myself feeling both anxious and sad, yet also proud and profoundly comforted.

I glance down at myself, feeling my mind spring into a mild expression of surprise as I find myself to be dressed in clothes I can swear I do not own. A small but soft purple dress clings to my body, yet I feel cold and icy. It feels as if I am entirely naked, victim to a cold but slow breeze. I look down at my long and slender legs, feeling somewhat taller than the modest height I typically remain. I feel older, as if I woke up from a long sleep that I had no business taking. It’s not just the way I feel, but the way I look.

A small reflection shines in the imposing window to my right, highlighting a body with significantly more curves than I recall having and a face more trimmed and less youthful than I remember. My hair is shorter no longer ending halfway down my back but between my shoulders. The silky burgundy hair hangs in two long strands ending in somewhat of a twirl at the end, pinned up in two small scrunchies above my temples and to the sides of a firmly brushed set of bangs. I look remarkably more elegant and genteel than I have ever before. My lips stand coloured in a thick red lipstick and my eyes are more defined with eyeliner than any job I would have done, would ever have allowed.

I raise a hand to touch my face but lower it slowly for fear of messing any of the makeup up. Instead, I turn my head from side to side, causing the small diamonds embedded in my earlobes to shimmer slightly in the pale light. My face remains flawless and clear, even devoid of the small scar on my jaw; a small reminder of a time at which I thought jumping on the bed was genius.

I turn my head away and turn to face the trio of people, still unbeknownst to my approach. I take a deep breath through my nose, allowing myself to breathe in the familiar scent of cigarettes and the soft but prominent aroma of lavender.

Still unsure of why I am here or exactly where he is, I try to narrow down who to ask for answers first. There is the girl who sits by herself and remains fixated on the repeating melody, and then there is the man and the young girl. I decide to approach the man playing the piano and the girl at his side, hoping that with talking to him I may convince him to play a tune less solemn and lonely.

I take a step forward listening to the sound of my heels interrupting the piano’s tune. As I approach the man I realise he is much bigger than I first took him for. While his back is remarkably wide and tall, his legs are the most startling thing, remaining cramped up underneath the piano like some sort of set of foldable tubes, or the legs of a daddy long legs. He dwarfs the little girl sitting happily to his right, yet he gives me the impression of familiarity.

When I stare at his back I can feel the odd sense of nostalgia spring to the forefront of my thoughts, but I know what I see before me is a distortion of a man whom I know.

As I get closer I remain somewhat hesitant to reach out and tap the giant on the shoulder, fearing that some sort of horrific consequences will follow. I bite my lip slowly, hesitantly. “Ummm… excuse me?” I ask softly, my voice conveying my strong sense of trepidation and uncertainty.

The piano continues to play its somber melody the man seemingly unbeknownst to my presence as if he had never heard me.

I reach out slowly and place my hand on his shoulder, my hand sadly reminiscent of the size of a fly on the back of a horse.

At this, the piano comes to a sudden stop and its last note echoes around the room before the striking silence envelops everything. The room, once filled with the sounds of the piano and its melody now remains empty and eerie. Giving me a feeling of palpable terror and loneliness, feeling as if I were Alice, dropped down a deep dark rabbit hole with no sense of where I was going.

“Hmm?” a small yet curious voice muses somewhere on my right.

I glance over at the small girl and find her looking me over, her curious little eyes trying to decipher every little detail about me. Her head tilted slightly in curiosity and her lip bitten in confusion. Her pupils moving along me slowly, inquisitively.

I give her a reassuring smile in response “Hello.” I say, trying to act as friendly as I can.

“Hello…” she says more than a little confused “Are you Kirino?” she asks, her eyebrow raising itself questioningly.

I open my mouth slightly, this time, more so in shock than in fear or loneliness. I give her a slow careful nod before trying to moisten my throat somewhat awkwardly.

She gives a little giggle before giving me a warm toothy smile. She opens her mouth and reveals that her two front teeth are missing, giving her the appearance of a small rabbit. “I lost this one on Monday,” she says, reaching out and taking my hand to point to one of the two small holes in her mouth.

I give her a slight giggle in response and she smiles happily, giving a small little childish jump where she sits. She lets go of my hand and I bend down to try and match her height as she remains sitting. “ Did you get money from the tooth fairy for it?” I ask, trying my best to keep up with the girl’s youthful enthusiasm.

She gives me a quick nod before closing her mouth and chiming happily “Anemone told me to put it under my pillow and at night the tooth fairy will come and give me a present.” she tugs eagerly at the bigger man’s sleeve, causing him to turn around and give me a somewhat fearful expression.

I exchange a quick look with the bigger man, each giving the other an expression akin to fear. His face looks tired as his eyes cling to a series of small bags beneath them and thick stubble peppers his jawline. I can’t help but feel like he looks familiar to me.“He’s my best friend!” the girl says excitedly, giving him a loving hug.

He jumps somewhat in surprise but quickly breaks eye contact with me and turns to look at the girl. His expression of fear quickly morphs into one of happiness, reaching out to stroke the girl’s head gently. His mouth turning into a soft smile as he strokes her hair makes the giant man seem less scary and more protective, if a little fearful.

“So you’re Anemone?” I ask the bigger man, causing him to turn towards me again, his eyes returning to their fearful expression. His hand remains on the small girl’s head but has stopped its soft stroking and now rests atop her head motionless.

The girl takes notice and stops her hug in favour of turning to look towards me again. She gives a short innocent giggle before answering the question. “He doesn’t talk. He’s afraid of people. He was lonely before we became best friends!” she says before giving him another hug. He gives a happy grunt before continuing to stroke her hair.

“Aren’t you just a brave and kind little girl.” I coo, giving her another little smile. “You know, you look alot like I did when I was younger.”

“You did!?” the girl asks excitedly, her eyes turning to look at me once again.

I give her a nod and she makes a noise that emanates the happiness she must feel.

“Do you want to be my friend?” The girl asks me, moving away from the bigger man and jumping off the bench and onto her stocking covered feet. A small thud is made as her nearly bare feet land on the checkered coloured floor.

“Sure!” I say happily, extending my hand courteously.

She gives it a quick shake before rushing in to give me a hug, catching me off guard slightly. I quickly recover and put my arms around the young girl and return her hug. “I’m Lilac by the way. You're really pretty Miss Kirino,” she smiles into my stomach, causing me to smile and feel a little embarassed.

“Lilac, do you know where we are?” I ask, hoping to get a bit of information out of the young girl.

She lets go of my waist and moves away from me, her face contorted into an expression of mild confusion. “In a dream of course,” she says nonchalantly, as if that piece of information were as obvious as the colour of the sky or the feeling of ice.

My mind snaps to reality and I realise that what she says is true, or rather is half true. As this is more than a typical dream, lucid dreaming is what they call it. A dream in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. I can’t say I’m too familiar with lucid dreaming as I can only recall a few other times when I’ve done so. Yet this feels different than a normal lucid dream, usually, the other involve something ridiculously stupid like flying donuts or driving a car into the sky. This feels eerier...more real.

“Oh,” I say, a small hint of surprise in my voice “Can I ask you a second question then?”

The girl returns to her smile and gives me a happy little nod. “Who is that girl over there?” I ask, pointing towards the girl sitting by herself at the table, her eyes still fixated on the piano despite the fact that it is silent.

“Oh that’s Heather, she doesn’t talk much. When she does all she does is say compliments when Anemone is playing.”

Hmm. That’s interesting, at first I thought she was sad and was trying to hold back tears, but maybe she just wanted to remain fixated on the piano, admiring the music from afar.

Anemone? Lilac? Heather? Do I know these people? They all look oddly familiar, as if they were actors from another movie inserted into different roles than this one deemed them. A tired man who seems larger than humanly possible, a young girl brimming with innocence, and a woman who can only sit from afar and admire. They say that dreams are supposed to have some sort of meaning, well some do, others think it’s just random neurons firing and your mind trying to interpret that as information. But if it’s not just random nonsense, what am I trying to get at, who exactly do these people represent or what? As my mind becomes more and more aware of my surroundings and I try to rationalise the world around me I feel myself beginning to wake up. The last few moments of my sleep are that of my vision blurring itself as I stare at the young girl, smiling and waving me off as I disappear.

I awake slowly, blinking my eyes a few times in the darkness. I can feel my brain still trying to decipher the dream I still had and whether or not it had anything to do with anything. I let out a sigh and lick my lips, turning onto my side and wincing against my alarm clock. It’s early in the morning the beginning of bird chirps can be heard but the sun still has yet to rise for another hour or so. I resign myself to consciousness and realise that there is no point in going back to sleep even if I wanted to. I sit up in my bed and run a hand through my ragged hair, giving a half-faced frown as I throw my legs over the bed with a yawn.

************************************************************************************************

I let out a loud yawn, trying my best to obscure my gaping maw with my hand as elegantly as I can. I can feel two small tears as I squeeze my tear ducts in a yawn so powerful I feel like if it lasted longer my body would have shook itself in response.

“Tired?” Nori asks, his voice following that of an accompanying yawn.

I give him a tired nod as we move down the line with our food trays “Ya I had some weird dream last night and woke up earlier than I expected.”
He gives an acknowledging grunt as he grabs a wrap covered in plastic wrap to put on his tray, “I hate that, weird dreams that is. I have too many that I care to remember.” he says with a sigh. “What was it about?”

I grab an apple and a sub from the line and scrunch up my face trying to remember if the dream had any real purpose other than to confuse me. “I-I guess it had no purpose. I don’t know… it involved a piano, some little girl and a room in a pine forest”

“Are you sure it wasn’t the plot to some horror movie?~” Nori jokes as he rolls an orange into his hand and onto his tray.

I give a small snort in response before muttering that it may have well been. “I-It was just a stupid dream...anyway...did you see where Miki went off to?” I ask, grabbing a small bottle of water before turning to scan over the densely packed cafeteria.

Nori gives me a small shake of his head before moving away from the line to join me at the side. My eyes roll over a series of unfamiliar heads before finding their target— a messy head of taupe hair. I stick out my hand to point to Nori where we need to go and he gives me an affirming nod “Off we go!~” he laughs loudly, causing one girl to nearly drop her apple onto the floor in surprise.

As we navigate our ways through the benches and tables we find Miki nestled near the centre of all the chaos. To my surprise she isn’t alone, another girl sits there talking to Miki with a tired expression. She has her arm positioned on the table so it holds up her head, causing her sea-blue hair to remain somewhat ruffled at the side. Her mouth is forced into a tired frown and her eyes are shadowed underneath by grey rings. She gives a slight chuckle as Miki makes some sort of joke.

“Hello.~” Nori says, a grin beginning to form on his face.

Miki and the girl turn to look at the two of us and Miki beams a cocky grin back at Nori. “Nori, was good?” she asks jokingly.

“Haha, you know how it is. Work, work, work!~” he says, his voice getting louder with each utterance of the word. He lays his tray down on the table and steps into the small gap separating the table from the bench before sitting down with a gentle shake.

I give Miki a somewhat nervous glance, my expression somewhat awkward. Are we invited to sit down? Is she entertaining someone else? We can leave if you want to. I find my eyes darting from the seat next to Nori, Miki, and the sea-haired girl who looks up at me. I can feel my heart somewhat increase in pace as I debate on whether or not I have the right to sit down.

“Kirino, sit, please. Stay a while, you don’t need to act like a scarecrow, Nori’s voice already keeps the crows away.” Miki says, extending her hand toward the seat next to Nori. At the mention of his booming voice, he laughs and just as promised it’s loud as can be.

I look once more at the sea-haired girl expecting for her to say something, but she just gives me a small smile. I slowly put down my tray, trying to be as quiet as possible in doing so. As I finish sitting down Miki begins to speak again.

“Oh shit. Ya, you two haven’t met now have you?” she chuckles, causing the other girl to merely roll her eyes and let out an amused snort.

“Kirino, this is one of my best friends, Suzu Suzuki, resident literophile and one kickass cook when it comes to nachos. Suzu, this is my buddy Kirino, she is as skittish as a mouse but she is pretty fuckin’ fun to be around!” she gives a chuckle before extending her hand and moving it between the two of us as she gives a joking bow. She’s acting like she is unveiling two circus animals almost.

Suzu sits up from her slouched position and extends one of her hands towards me “Suzu Suzuki, while I do like to read I must confess that my nachos are only occasionally kickass.” she grins and shakes my hands, causing me to stumble for words “I-I’m Kirino...Kirino Kage...I ugh speak English fluently…” I reply, trying to not sound like the socially awkward reject I am.

She gives me a nod and looks down at her hand, which I still remain shaking despite not needing to. I quickly let go and move my hand towards my tray trying not to act like I’m being rude.

“English eh? My mom is an English teacher in Chiba.” she says, trying to recover after what no doubt was a rather awkward introduction. She clears her throat and begins to speak again “ Herro, I aporogize for my bad Engrish. It has been a whire since I have spoken it.” she says in a heavily accented tone.

I give a small smile and respond in kind “It’s not that bad, just a bit accented.”

She gives me a nod while looking impressed, her tired eyes widening themselves as if at first she didn’t really believe me. “Guess you weren’t kidding when you said fluently huh? You a foreigner or something?” she asks me, taking a small sip from a purple juice box sitting on the table.
“Kinda of… my, my dad was born in Canada and m-moved here when I was born.” I say quietly.

“That sounds fun, what’s Canada like anyway?” she asks curiously.

“Any hot guys over there?” Miki asks, more so in an effort to embarrass me then as any real question. I find myself blushing from ear to ear, falling prey to Miki’s typical antics.

“I ummm...I went there when I was th-thirteen…” I mumble, trying to change the topic and avoid any more nervous behaviour, but Miki just gives me an even larger grin than before. Suzu herself seems interested as well, perking up slightly in her seat as if I had some information of great importance.

I let out a sigh and just give one weak nod of the head before resigning myself to defeat. Both Miki and Suzu let out a laugh in response, causing me to bow my head lower. I take in a deep breath of air as I lift my head and look around the table at the situation I have gotten myself into.

Miki and Suzu are looking at me intently and the latter seems as if she is about to fall asleep, especially with how she has herself positioned leaning against the palm of her hands. Nori sits to my left with a half-opened wrap and a body that is slowly leaning forward before flinching and returning back to his normal position while looking surprised after. I give a somewhat pitiful frown at seeing him try so desperately to resist falling asleep.

I reach out and lay a hand over his forearm with care, doing my best to seem comforting. He looks over at me, his eyes glazed over and almost lifeless, still trying to resist the slow descent his eyelids are making. I can’t help but feel sorry for him when he is in this state, especially when he’s trying his best to resist so fiercely. I give him a small, but reassuring smile as I gently squeeze his forearm in what I hope he can register as a gesture of support. However, the blank stare and weak smile he gives me are less of recognition and more of a last ditch effort to try and tell me he’s alright.

“It’s okay,” I say softly, reaching up and plucking his glasses from his head. I fold them up and slide them onto the table as delicately as if they were about to melt away in my hands like a snowflake. “Just rest...w-we can get you to class...don’t worry.” I continue before moving my hand away from his arm and onto his chest. I do my best to try and guide him gently down onto the table, trying to make sure he lands at least a little bit softly onto his awaiting arm.

I do my best to soften the fall but my very limited strength can really only do so much. He lands with a soft thud onto his arm and leans over the table, his chest slowly rising and falling with each breath, announcing that he is no longer consciously with us. I give him one last look before turning back to face Suzu and Miki.

“Is he good?” Miki asks, concern leaking into her voice as she stares at me uncomfortably.

I give her a small, reassuring nod before moving to explain “It h-happens at times...he just falls asleep...unexpectedly. Sometimes quickly...other times it’s a struggle to try and stay a-awake.”

“Oh…” Miki says, clearly at a loss for words on what to say with the situation, causing her and Suzu to exchange a look between the two. They stare at each other for a few seconds, as if they were exchanging information telepathically, or at the very least sharing an inside bit of information.

The bell signalling the end of lunch rings throughout the room causing a crowd of students to swarm the exit like a mob of irritated wasps.

“Want me to give Yuuto a call, he can carry Nori to the Nurse’s office?” Miki asks.

I give her a small nod before ushering in a thank you. She gives me a small smile in return before taking out her phone and calling him, saying hello just as she walks away from the table to throw her trash into the bin.

“You're a good friend, you know that?” Suzu smiles. I give her a small hesitant smile in return and Miki comes back over, letting us know that Yuuto will be over in a few minutes to transport Nori to a proper bed. I thank Miki and we proceed to wait the remaining time in silence, each hoping that Yuuto doesn’t take longer then he needs to.

************************************************************************************************

“Hughhh…” I gasp for air, my hands resting on my wet knees and my body bent over as I feel ready to empty my stomach onto the grass below me.

A small drop of sweat rolls down my face and off of my nose before falling towards the ground and splattering into the grass. My body heaves trying to suck in as much oxygen as it can, desperately trying to catch my breath. I can feel the heat radiate off my body as if I were a kettle letting off steam.

I let my eyes roll up and I glance over at Hisao, body splayed out like a starfish and eyes staring up at the sky. His chest heaving as he tries to recover from the arduous run we just put ourselves through. While looking thoroughly exhausted he doesn’t seem to exhibit any of the horrors we witnessed a week ago on the track. So that’s a good sign, a small victory if there ever was one. Still, he has a long way to go before I’d consider him a regular athlete; even more could be said for me.

He rolls his eyes to face me and gives a weak grin, closing his eyes meekly as he does so. I flash him a cute grin in the process and wipe a strand of drenched hair from my face and behind my ears. Under normal circumstances I’d be embarrassed to be looking the way I do now; drenched with enough sweat to rival the stress of Logan’s run. Fortunately for me, my body and mind are too preoccupied with trying to recover from a bout of running that it only pays to make note of a few annoyances, mainly my sopping wet sports bra.

I let myself emit a cough before I throw myself back to a standing position, wiping off sweat with the back of my hand. I flop my hands into the air and stretch them as far as I can while trying to remove the kinks that have set themselves into my back. I let out a small groan at feeling my body pop and loosen up, forcing me to giggle slightly in glee at the comfort it provides me.

Giving my neck one last crack and a grin of ecstatic relief, I wander over to Hisao still splayed out like a puddle of goo. I stand over him and do my best to mask him in my admittedly small shadow. I lean over and down at him and give him a friendly smile

“Tired?”

He lets out a small snort of laughter and nods his head before moving his brown eyes to meet mine. He locks eyes with me and he breaks out into a small blush as he looks up at me, his mouth standing slightly open, still trying to suck in as much air as it can. I find myself not being able to look away and his blush proves contagious as my face slowly begins to turn pink. He shakes his head, breaking eye contact and quickly sits up, nearly hitting me in the process.

“Another day, a little bit closer.” he says, doing his best to motivate himself and justify his actions for coming out here every day for the past week. “Mhm.” I say in agreement, glad that I’m not the only one who is having difficulty adapting to a more athletic lifestyle.

“Well, I think it’s about time I go grab a quick shower and finish up some work Mutou assigned.” he sighs, rubbing a hand on the back of his damp hair “Care to walk back with me?”

I give him a friendly nod and he grins back, glad to at least have some company for the trip back.

We turn to the track and Hisao yells goodbye to our two running partners to announce our leave. Miki gives a large wave from the opposite end of the track and Yuuto gives us a sloppy two-handed salute as he makes the bend closest to us. I give a wave in response to the two of them and follow Hisao as he leaves holding up a hand up to say goodbye.

We walk away from the track and climb up the small hill leading back to the dorms, our footsteps barely noticeable compared to the yelling of other students and loud sound of someone blaring music in the distance. The sun has begun to set in the distance and the once warm air begins to turn cool and somewhat chilly, which is only further worsened by the fact that I’m drenched in sweat. I lift up the straps on my tank top to let my skin breath and cringe as it slowly prys itself from the bond it has formed with my skin.

“Those two sure know how to push you out of your comfort zone don’t they?” Hisao laughs referencing himself, with a tone that belongs just as well to a declared fact.

“I’ll second that...although they are getting results from us.”

“I suppose so, but which one is the result, our growing fear of lactic acid build up or the extra lap we can run?” He answers give me a coy smile as he bites his lower lip. “Well, either way, we just have to keep moving along. After all Yuuto knows where I live and Miki knows where you do, so I doubt we’d be safe if we tried to make a break.”

He’s got a point, Miki doesn’t seem to think that freedom of life is a proper excuse for being a lazy sack of potatoes. Yet as one such lazy sack of potatoes I feel inclined to believe that my freedom would be better respected. Yuuto on the other hand, while seeming to be rather lazy and apathetic to forcing people into physical exercise, seems to be very much the byproduct of any crazy Miki schemes. On the other hand, he might just trying to be friends with Hisao, especially after he ditched all of us on our first day of running.

“Speaking of Yuuto, do you still hate him like he says you do?” Hisao japes, trying his best to pry out any little piece of information he can.

“Well...no...not really anyway. H-he does do things that annoy me, but he’s a decent guy I guess…” I trail off, not really caring to give the idea that much thought, especially considering I don’t exactly know how I feel about him myself. I like him when I’m with him and Miki, but he just does things and acts ways that strike a nerve somewhere near the back of my mind.
“The way he tells it , it seems you’d think you two have a one-sided rivalry.”

“Maybe… I-I don’t think I know him well enough r-really.”

“Fair enough I suppose. A foreign species is always harder to accept than one previously noted.” he says, doing his best to put on a somewhat stereotypical nerdy voice.

Foreign species eh? I think you’d fall under that category as well Hisao, after all, I don’t know much about you at all.

As we approach the plaza that separates the boy’s dorm from the girl’s dorm I find myself wondering if I could seize upon a chance to get to know Hisao a little better. Maybe even dig my claws into him and absorb him into my steadily growing friend group before another girl lays claim to him. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to ask him to join us for lunch tomorrow. After all the only way a foreign species can become known is to take the time to be around it.

“Hey...ughh...Hisao?” I ask, stammering a little bit as I try to decide on the best way to invite him to lunch without it sounding like a pick-up line.

‘Hey, good-lookin’ wanna grab a bite tomorrow? You, me, maybe a few others, but mainly me.’ I chime inside my head before realising that it is exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

“Ya, what’s up?” he asks, stopping and turning to face me, his back facing the boy’s dorm.

“Do you maybe, I don’t know, w-want to grab lunch with Nori and I tomorrow? You don’t have to say yes if you don’t want.” I say, biting the side of my lip nervously and giving him a look of prayerful hope.

His once grinning face is replaced by an expression of awkward belief “I...would love to, but I kinda was already invited to lunch and accepted.”

“Oh…” I say, caught off guard and more than a little dejected “B-by who?”

“Emi Ibarazaki. She kinda ran into me in the hall and when I first started jogging, before I went with you guys, I was running with her. So as an apology for an extended series of events...she invited me to lunch and I accepted…”

I give him a slight nod and feel a small knot form in my stomach at being rejected, but I quickly put it under control and return back to a smile, if a weak one. “Well...I hope you have fun, I’ll...ugh…see you here tomorrow?” I ask hesitantly, fearful that it too will be shot down.

“Definitely! Next time I can, we’ll grab lunch, though, alright?” he says, trying to make up for his refusal to join us.

“Sure.” I smile back at him, giving him a nod before we both part ways with a somewhat awkward goodbye.

Great luck Kirino, not only did you miss out on getting to know Hisao better, you lost him to Emi Ibarazaki. A girl so cute she could have her own line of figurines. I’d say nothing is wrong with a little bit of competition but said competition is a solid 9/10, when I’m arguably a solid 6/10.

I heave a dejected sigh as I throw open the door to the dorms and resign myself to a shower to cool both my body and my head off from today. Hopefully the warm water can both rinse off this disgusting sweat and the embarrassment I still feel clinging to my gut.

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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Sun Jun 19, 2016 2:01 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-05-24

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue May 24, 2016 9:00 am

The sounds of the piano and it’s sad and somewhat soft melody
"its"
still unbeknownst to my presence
"unaware of my presence"?
"unbeknownst to" needs a person that something is unbeknownst to.
the slow descend his eyelids are making.
"descent"

Nice chapter, though personally I think there is only a very limited reason to write dream scenes, and this once felt unnecessary and too long for me.
Might just be my personal preference, though.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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YutoTheOrc
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-05-24

Post by YutoTheOrc » Tue May 24, 2016 11:39 am

Mirage_GSM wrote: Nice chapter, though personally I think there is only a very limited reason to write dream scenes, and this once felt unnecessary and too long for me.
Might just be my personal preference, though.
Haha, no, no I understand. I usually hate dream sequences myself, but I always liked the cryptic ones as opposed to "it was all a dream". Well, still I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter, I'll be writing the next part soon which will hopefully answer the questions brought up by the dream sequence. As always, thank you for spotting the mistakes I made! :D

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-05-24

Post by YutoTheOrc » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:56 am

Act 2: Out of Shadows
Scene 3: Sweet Drops

Would have liked to update earlier, but work has been giving me some really weird shifts and has made it hard to edit and write. Hope you all enjoy the newest scene, I ceratinly enjoyed returning to Yamaku even if it was briefly.

*****************

I shake my head like a dog, trying my best to whip away the beads of water stubbornly clinging to my hair. Sadly, all I manage to do is get whacked in the face by what feels like a dense whip. I bring my hands up and slide them through my hair, combing it back and away from my face as I reach for the towel on the rack by the stall door. I grab the first towel and begin dabbing away at my chest and arms, trying to soak up the water beads that dot my skin’s surface. I quickly move onto my legs and then tightly wrap the towel around my body like a makeshift dress.

I shiver slightly as the air gently tickles my warm skin; giving my body second thoughts about jumping back into the warm embrace of the shower for just a few moments longer. I grab my second towel and proceed to pat my hair down before draping it over my shoulders casually. A contented sigh slips from my lips before I reach to pick up my shower kit and open the stall door to leave.

As I step out of the shower I’m greeted by the familiar faces of both Miki and Suzu, both dressed for what I can only assume is a shower. Although, Suzu seems to be the more modest dresser when it comes to shower etiquette as Miki proceeds to brazenly bare all, or rather be bare, as she stands nonchalantly with nothing but a towel held in her hand. The two of them don’t look wet so It looks like they’ll be heading into one of the five available shower stalls.

Suzu spots me from over Miki’s shoulder and gives me a friendly wave and a courteous hello as I pass, causing Miki to in turn yell out a greeting as I exit the bathroom and enter the hall. While I’m nearly naked, with the exception of two towels, I don’t feel nearly as embarrassed as I thought it would be in such a situation. Usually, I’d blush worse than a tomato, but not even the trace of a blush clings to my cheeks. Maybe getting up so early in the morning these last few years really was for nothing, maybe being seen in a towel really isn’t that bad. While I can’t predict how I would act with people I’m less familiar with, I can at least know where I’m standing with those I am.

I turn the handle on my room door and step inside, locking the door behind me and flipping on the lights to illuminate my room. The sounds of rain tapping away on the other side of the window and blinds lets me know that a particularly violent rainstorm has sprung up with the setting of the sun. The soft sounds are comforting, tapping against the window rhythmically like a drum beat. The sound reminds me of the walks Dad and I used to go on when he lived back home. The soft pattering of the rain hitting the top of our umbrella and rolling down where they splatted against the paved roads. The way they chimed as they rolled along the rain gutters and turned into brisk waterfalls that fell onto the dirt with a wet slap. The familiar cool smell of the air and the wafty aroma of Dad’s cigarettes. It’s nostalgic to me, a happy memory that feels all too long ago.

I find myself smiling as I stand lost in thought in front of my door, a small smile formed on my lips during the trip back in time. I really hope we can do that again, it’s one of the few reasons why I look to rainy days—even now. Well, that and the lack of people milling about in the streets.

I throw my towel that hangs around my neck onto the post of my bed and let the other drop to the ground in a heap causing me to shiver slightly as goosebumps erupt along my naked body.

I softly step forward, finding myself drawn to the flashing light emitting from my phone. I pluck up the small pink object and flip it open as I sit on the edge of my bed, doing my best to not make it anymore damp then necessary.

The small blue light continues to flash even though it remains firmly hidden with my hand, desperately seeping out between the cracks of my fingers and palm in an invasive manner. I flip the phone open and navigate to the recent messages page and allowing me to quickly read through my latest bit of correspondence. It’s from Dad and it seems to be less of anything worthy of starting a conversation and more so of a proud statement.

[Sayuri told me about you stepping out of your shell and such. So sad to not be able to be there, still you make me proud. I’ve put in a bonus sum into your account in case you want to catch a film with a pal or go grab a bite. Love you lots Kiri-bear.]

I find my small smile growing even more as a warm feeling flows from my chest at his rather poor encouragement, but encouragement none the less. Dad has never been good with texting, especially when it comes to expressing appreciation or feeling proud, but he tries, which makes me happy.

“I miss you too Dad.” I find myself whispering aloud as I stare at the electronic message one last time before closing it and laying it back on my desk, not bothering to type a message back.

I guess Okazaki really does like exchanging bits of information with Dad, like some sort of weird gossip or form of trading cards. Still, no matter how much I tease in my head I know the truth, she knows how hard it must be for the two of us. The once dynamic duo, Kiri-bear and Ced the Sped.
I laugh to myself at my Dad’s old nickname for us. I wonder if he would even remember it if I brought it back up to him, probably not, I have a feeling parents generally forget about the small things like that, especially when I was little more than four or five.

I flop myself back onto my bed, no longer caring whether or not the bed become damp or filled with the lavender smells of my shampoo. An idea further approved by the damp spot produced under my bum thanks to the gravitational effects on water. I wipe away the wet strands of hair that cling to my cheeks and lips, preferring for them to stay away from any orifice that is needed to breathe. I’d rather not take a mouthful of hair, or even worse a noseful of it. The latter seems more unappealing than eating a cockroach. I can imagine that it would feel worse than getting juice up your nose.

Speaking of juice, I really should grab something to eat. I haven’t eaten since lunch today, and even that wasn’t much. I wonder if I could convince someone to go with me to get food?

I turn my head towards the window and focus on the fierce rain that is assaulting my window. I don’t think too many people would be willing to go for a foray into town on account of food, especially when they could either cook something or order for delivery. Actually, there might just be someone who is willing to grab food with me, that is if she hasn’t left her office yet.

I sit back up and whisk my phone back up into my hands, dialling the one number of the workaholic who I know has a craving for Chinese food stronger than the entire population of San Francisco. Sayuri Okazaki, better known as Okazaki-sensei here.

I stand up and walk over to my desk, turning on my hairdryer as I flop down into my plush office chair, trying to dry off my hair in the technologically quickest way I can think of. The hairdryer roars to life just in time for Okazaki to pick up on the opposite end of my phone call.

“You...ughh...trying to deafen me kid?” a sarcastic voice roars to life from the other end of the line with a short laugh.

“N-no...sorry about that, I’m just blow drying my hair after my shower.”

“I hope you didn’t call me just so you could have company while you dry off your hair the same way your father does soup.~”

I let out a slight chuckle and find myself greeted with a mental image of Dad with an expression of great concentration as he blows on a bowl of soup like some sort of wanna-be wind god.

“No, actually I wanted to ask if you wanted to grab food?”

“Food?”

“Y-ya...food.”

“Well there’s a shocker, I didn’t think you’d ever ask me to grab a bite when I’m your current teacher.”

“Why do people your age say ‘grab a bite’? Grab a bite of what? Food?”

“My age?” she laughs “I’ll have you know that I’m only in my mid-thirties!”

“Yeah...old,” I say, doing my best to tease her from this end of the line. I switch the side of the hairdryer and bring my phone to pin between my other shoulder and ear, doing my best to keep a jubilant grin from spreading across my face.

“You know, you have a lot more sass on the phone then you do in real life, guess you really are your mother’s daughter. Guess the doctors didn’t switch you up after all!”

I roll my eyes at her and give myself a weird look in my mirror “So, do you want to grab food then?”

“Yeah sure, mind giving me an hour or so? I need to finish up marking, besides that should give you enough time to finish putting a tornado sound into the phone.”

I give her another playful giggle before agreeing to her demands and hanging up. I slide my phone onto my desk and continue to dry my hair to the best of my ability, taming the great tornado winds of which she spoke.

Wait, we never agreed where we were going to meet up…

“Ahhhh!” I find myself screaming in my room panicked only to be disturbed by the vibration of my phone receiving a text

[Meet me in the teacher’s parking lot, don't burst a gasket.]

Alright...well...crisis averted.

************************************************************************************************

The sounds of the rain pounding on the top of the car and the front of the window echo within the metal cage as It glides along the road heading into the city. The soft hum of the radio plays second stage to the near deafening rain, drowning out the angsty teen idol singer yelling her lungs out on some far-off radio station. The windshield itself is streaked with the rain as the water drops are forced to split and get blown away by the wind. The occasional sound of thunder can be heard in the distance, nearly swallowed up by the sound of passing cars and the occasional sound of Okazaki’s blinker.

I crack my fingers as I squirm within in the passenger seat, the weird fake leather not willing to give an inch and give me even the slightest bit of comfort.

“I have to say, I was more than a little surprised when I looked down at my phone and saw it was you,” Okazaki says from my right, trying her best to continue the idle chatter that has passed between the two of us since I got into the car.

“Y-Yeah, I just figured it’s been a while.” I respond, snapping back to reality and moving my eyes from some unseen rainy horizon.

“Yeah. Since your dad was last visiting huh, that was what, a year and a half ago?”

“...”

I feel my heart sag in my chest at the reminder of the countless days and holidays spent alone and more or less forgotten. Has it really been that long since he came back? All the days seem to blend together into one long painful blur when I look back. No more than a voice at the end of an electronic device and a hole in my heart to remind me of the lack of any paternal figure.

I feel a frown begin to form on my face “Yeah…”

“Your Dad has never been the most sensitive to others emotions. Always gets lost in some little world of his.” she sighs, swerving the car left and taking the two of us off the highway and into the urban streets of the nearby city

“Damn it Ced, can’t you see the girl you love the most is hurting…” she whispers underneath her breath, quiet enough in hopes that I couldn’t hear.

“Well, we had some good times in his stead, even if you were a little awkward at first.” She jokes elbowing me playfully, quickly recovering from her spoken thoughts.

I give a slight chuckle and nod “Yeah, that we did.”

“So… are we gonna pick up or order for delivery?” she says trying to change the topic abruptly.

“Isn’t delivery usually pretty expensive in the city?”

“Meh. Don’t worry about the cost, I’ll cover it this time. Just don’t expect it to be a regular thing!” she laughs as we pull up on the road closest to her small home.

Tall walls flank either side of us as we drive down the centre of the residential road splashing puddles as we go along. House numbers and names slowly roll by in my peripheries as we get closer and closer to our destination.

She pulls the car into an extremely tiny driveway bordered by flowers of all varieties on its left and the ensuing garden. Well-trimmed grass and a small bush lay dripping with rain as we both exit the car and walk up to her front door to enter, pleasantly covered by a small outcropping of car shelter.

Okazaki locks the car and opens the house up, allowing our entrance and escape from the pouring rain. I step inside hoping to feel the warm breath of comfortable habitability, but sadly I’m greeted by no such warmth. The temperature both inside and out seems to be rather the same, regardless of any prayers, that won’t change anytime soon. With every new breath, I can feel the cold damp air penetrate deep into my lungs.

“I’ll put on a pot of tea and grab the phone book, make yourself at home, you know where everything is.” Okazaki says, kicking off her black heels lazily and disappearing down a hallway towards the bedroom and kitchen with the speed of a hare.

I take off my pair of sneaker and step up onto the wooden floors, the boards creaking underneath my weight as I shuffle along to where Okazaki disappeared.

As I step into the room that holds both the kitchen and the television I quickly plop myself down onto the tatami matted floors and slide myself under the table, folding my legs underneath me and perching myself up on my knees.

I always liked Okazaki’s new house. It’s far more spacious for her then the apartment she lived in across from us a few years back. She has plenty of room to lay out her pictures, the occasional potted flower, and even a thoroughly filled bookshelf. I have to say, I much prefer living by myself than I ever did living with Dad back home. There’s just something about the freedom that is given, even if there is more responsibility.

I heave a contented sigh as I lay back down on the tatami mats and stare up at the dark roof, trying to focus in on the sounds of the rain and approaching thunder. It’s peaceful, relaxing almost. While it may not be where I live, it certainly feels much more like a home than my room could ever feel.

“You gonna turn on the light, or continue to sit down in the dark like some sort of feral animal.” Okazaki jeers right before she pulls the cord that simultaneously illuminates the room and blinds me.

Gee...thanks for that.

I prop myself up on one elbow just in time to see Okazaki pull open the small divider that separates this room from the kitchen. She opens the divider and it slides with some difficulty, but nothing that isn’t solved with a bit of muscle power it seems.

Okazaki herself seems to have changed out of her work clothes, preferring a pair of blue track shorts and a white Hokkaido University T-shirt. She noisily brings out the kettle and begins to fill it with tap water before embarking on an adventure to find a cup.

I let out a small sigh and let my eyes wander around the room before settling on Okazaki’s collection of pictures from her life. I crawl out from under the table like some sort of inquisitive spider and move to look the pictures over.

I’ve looked at them countless times before, but every time I do it seems like I admire them with a new appreciation than I did before. As if I was coming to view them less as pictures of people from the past and more of experiences locked in a still frame.

There are pictures of the vacations that her, Dad, and myself used to go on. Most of them are taken from the one trip when we went to the beaches of Okinawa in my junior year of middle school. One of the pictures depicts Okazaki standing next to an impressively built sand castle with her hands on my shoulders proudly while Dad looks to be dying of heat stroke in the background with his hands on his knees and a pale expression.

There are other pictures that don’t have either me or Dad in them, but they generally involve Okazaki and my Mom from their days in high school and early university. However, my favourite picture stands centrefold of all the rest, front and centre and devoid of even a single piece of dust. It’s a picture of a time before I was born and when my parents first started dating.

My Dad stands in the centre but slightly in the background, his arms hanging around the shoulders of two girls as he grins proudly. He looks much younger than I ever remember seeing him, despite it only being a few months if a year prior to my birth. He looks...happier? No, that’s not the right word, youthful maybe? His body is stiff and rigid with the lean muscle of a track runner, the grin of a foolish kid and blue eyes that look ready to take on the world. Even if taking on the world involves wearing only a pair of grossly tight red swimming shorts and a sunburn stretching across his cheeks.

It’s the girl to the left that really strikes a cord close to home. Her cheeky toothy grin that spreads across her face mischievously, her burgundy eyes shining like dark gems set into a porcelain doll, and even her reddish-brown hair done up in a short spiky fanned-ponytail. They all remind me of the person my mother was, but they don’t help me understand the person behind the looks. When I hear stories about her, when I listen to recordings of her voice, in my head I find it hard to place them to that face.

Dad and Okazaki say I look a lot like her, but I just can’t see it. Sure, some of the base features are there like hair and eye colour, but I don’t have her face, her height, or even her same mischievous smile. As for her personality, I’m like a complete opposite of her, hell I’m more akin to Dad than her, and that’s saying something. While she was outgoing and mischievous, I’m shy and reclusive. How could two people so closely related be so vastly different? I know both nature and nurture come into play of a personality, but I just can’t seem to see the nature part of her contribution.

Well, except for the obvious fact about me having the wonderful luck of inheriting her rare strain of even more demanding Type 1 Diabetes.

Yay...nature…

“Still obsessed with that photo eh?” Okazaki says from behind my back, causing me to jump slightly where I crouch. “She was my best friend and the constant pain in my side.” she grins before plopping herself down at the table with the phonebook across from where I was sitting at the table.

I crawl back over to the table and sit opposite of her, leaving the memory frozen in time until the next time I decide to stare at it. Okazaki cracks open her can of beer and proceeds to take a swig before flicking through the phone book for Chinese food delivery.

“Hey, can I ask you something about mom and you?” I ask, the idea of nature vs nurture still floating around in my head, refusing to leave.

“Shoot.”

“How did you two even meet anyway?” I ask, wondering to myself why I never asked her this before.

“Hmm.” she says thoughtfully, moving away from the phonebook and leaning on the palm of her hand as she takes another gulp from her can. “Well, you know that none of us are really native to the mainland, least of all your father...But we went to school the two of us, high school I mean.”

“Didn’t you two know each other in junior high though?”

“Well, yeah, kinda. We never really talked then, she didn’t really have any friends then and neither did I, but on that, we both kinda differed on our reasons. On my part, it was because I was bookish and sky, while she was always causing chaos for the teachers and other students. Always playing pranks on the teachers and teasing the other students, this was before she became the pretty girl you see in the pictures though.”

My mom never had any friends growing up? The way Dad tells it, was that she was always friendly and had a way of ignoring all the problems a person had and just jump straight into being their friend. I wonder if he knew, or just didn’t bother telling me at all.

‘Your Dad didn’t tell you any of this, did he?” she asks, reading my mind. I give her a nod in reply which causes her to laugh “Typical thing, figures he’d do that. Probably wanted you to think of her as the best a person can be, popular, pretty, smart, and friendly.”

I guess that makes sense, in a warped kind of way I suppose.

“Regardless as to your father’s weird parenting style we met in high school. It was the second semester of our first year and we had to have groups for a chemistry assignment. I was already paired up with another girl and a bunch of other students were trying to sucker their way into the group because we were the best in the class. Your mother on the other hand was left alone, nobody wanted to be in her group. I was hesitant at first to invite her into our group over the others who wanted to join, the other girl I was with was dead set against it.”

“S-So you asked my mom to join regardless?”

Okazaki gives a loud chuckle and grins at me happily “Nope. We ended up choosing some boy we thought was cute and your mom ended up having to work with the teacher.”

I stare at Okazaki confused, one eyebrow raised and mouth half open trying to form the words to even state a question that my brain has yet to word coherently.

“Halfway through the experiment, a loud bang erupted inside the classroom and the teacher had his entire face covered in black soot. The entire class looked on in horror as your mother laughed like a hyena before being screamed at and sent to the office. Somehow, she managed to rig the bunsen burner to heat up the liquid inside and let out a large bang and puff of grey smoke when the teacher wasn’t looking.”

I feel quite taken aback at what she says, I am the product of a stressed-out workaholic and a deranged psychopath...lovely. I can feel my eyes twitch as I leave them open in understandable shock, more than a little horrified to find out that my mother was pretty much a mischievous imp. Maybe I can sympathise with why my father chose not to tell me of certain things.

“Oh don’t act like your mother plotted his death, it was harmless...mostly.” She chuckles, giving me a wink before calming down to continue “She got off with a week suspension and for the remainder of the year she was barred from participating in any chemistry experiments and had to be monitored and with the class representative at all times,which so happened to be me.”

“That...seems like a rather weak punishment…”

“You think that was weak, has your Dad ever told you the story of when he went for a drunken ride through town when he was in high school? Sometimes being different than your parents is a good thing Kiri.”

“I-I suppose so…”

“Trust me when I say, it’s better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you aren’t. Be true to yourself, but never feel discouraged from trying to be a better you.” Okazaki smiles, giving me a nod and scutching herself closer to the table to get a better look at the phonebook laid out before us.

“If I could have told my younger self one thing, it would be that no matter how old you get, no matter how wise you think you are, you’re still just a kid. Even when you get older and take on more responsibilities, you’re really just a child trying to act the role of an adult. Maturity is a construct we’ve made up to try and justify why we think others should change how they act, an evil, but a necessary one.”

That was awfully deep, especially for someone who just got off from marking a whole bunch of paperwork. Well, I suppose I can cross getting advice from a casually dressed buzzed teacher off my bucket list.

The sound of the kettle whistling angrily from the kitchen draws Okazaki’s attention and stops anymore talk of maturity and parents, at least for the time being.

“Of course, just when I get comfortable…” Okazaki mutters as she gets back up and goes to pour a cup of tea for each of us.

When she comes back she’s holding two small mugs that slowly breathe steam into the air and sets them out gingerly on the table, doing her best not to spill their contents. A can of beer and a cup of tea...that must taste...interesting.

Okazaki returns to where she left off flipping through the phonebook, reading aloud names of Chinese restaurants that are close to where she lives. We finally agree on a place that is both close and one Okazaki recommends. After calling and placing our order we are told that we have to wait around an hour or so for the food to be delivered.

As Okazaki hangs up the phone and slides the phone across the tatami mat carelessly, I let myself enjoy the tea that has cooled to an acceptable temperature before me. It tastes rather tangy, almost berry-like. I can’t say I’m a fan of this specific flavour, but the taste isn’t enough to dissuade me from taking another sip.

I gently set the cup down on the table and find myself wondering what else we could talk about? There is only one issue really going on in my life and I don’t think I have the diplomatic tact to word it in a way that doesn’t give away any personal details that might cause Dad panic. I’d like to ask her how to win over a guy when other girls have taken an interest in him, but I don’t think I can directly ask her without her getting too curious. If she knew I had a crush on a boy I’m sure she’d behave like a gossiping old grandmother and instantly blab to Dad, which may or may not involve him flying back here and threatening Hisao. The part about him coming down isn’t so bad, more so the part of a grown man threatening to disembowel a teenager should he touch his daughter.

So I suppose the old ‘My friend has a crush,’ is more or less out of the question because she would instantly jump to the conclusion that it was me. I also can’t give any specific names that may send off a trigger in her head. I guess I could always ask her how she won over boys when she was my age, but that faces its own set of problems, specifically the fact that Okazaki seems to carry a strictly professional mask in public that makes her hard to approach. Maybe I could ask her how my mom won over Dad, but that might be a little weird to hear.

Hmm…

I take another sip of tea and try to think of other ways of broaching the subject entirely, but my mind keeps relenting and going back to an option that may or may not scar me for life. Still, I suppose asking a third party source would be better than asking Dad, he’d probably go on about how manly he was and women threw themselves at his feet. Typical guy behaviour, give them a simple question and they’ll make it seem like it was a task of Herculean proportions.

“So...I-I was just wondering...how my mom ever met Dad in the first place. How did she exactly...w-win him over?” I say, stumbling over myself as I try to phrase it in a way that won’t incite some anecdote.

Okazaki looks over at me, her can of beer still draining itself into her mouth as she raises an eyebrow at me curiously. She finishes her drink and lets out a long puff of air as she recovers before posing a question to me in return “Why are you so interested in your parents lately? Are you trying to follow in your parent's footsteps? I’m sorry to say, but you have none of your mom’s crazy passion nor your father’s charisma.” she laughs at the last part before giving me a sly grin at the not so subtle insult.

So you’ve been reduced to becoming as tipsy as to insult your student and god-daughter after one beer, classy Okazaki, real classy.

I give her a nod and wait for her to go on. “You mind waiting a second while I grab another drink?” she asks grinning.

I give her a sceptical look as I narrow my eyes. I hope she has no plans of drinking more than two cans of whatever else she has lying around in her fridge, especially when there still is class tomorrow morning. I give her a resigned shrug and watch as she moves back into the kitchen. If I was a more outgoing and vocal person I may say something, but I don’t quite think I’m brazen enough to do anything of the sort just yet.

She sits back down and nearly spills my tea from my cup as she slams the can onto the table with as much elegance as an elephant. She gives me a long look over and sets the unopened can of beer aside before heaving a sobering sigh. Her gaze is watchful, as if she were trying to separate each and every detail of my body and find out where they came from. She adjusts her glasses and leans back on her palms before opening her mouth to speak.

She turns her head towards the small table that holds up her collection of pictures, each image is frozen in time and left as a still frame in hopes that the same feelings felt that day can be relived with each gaze at the image. Of course, that’s just a hope, a small wish granted with every flash of the camera. Okazaki reaches out and opens a drawer, her one hand riffling through a series of papers before drawing out a small photo of a young boy and girl.

She hands the photo to me and I look over it slowly. It’s clearly a picture of my mom and dad, but it strikes a different feeling within me then what I usually feel. It’s not a sense of loss or sorrow, not of curiosity as to who they were, it’s more familiar. Like seeing two old friends who you haven’t seen in a long time, or a pair of siblings after a long trek from home. A faint, but warm hum spreads from within the centre of my chest and tickles my fingers and toes.

Mom looks almost identical to me, with the exception of her spiky haired ponytail and a stupid expression. She has one finger pulling down her her eye and the other tearing away at Dad’s mouth in an effort to make the boy smile. Her pink tongue sticks out and her burgundy eyes are glimmering with a child-like joy. The two don’t strike me as parents, not even adults really, just kids my age. They look unburdened by any of the responsibilities found in reality, the fears of life, or even the scars that come from making a living in the world we live in.

They both look full of life, no tired eyes or wrinkles. Dad looks much more handsome and healthy than any of the memories I have, not as rugged or tired as I have come to know him as.

“They took that photo when Chiyo, your mother, found out she was pregnant with you.” Okazaki says, causing my eyes to lift up and away from the picture. “Your father was still in shock when the flash went off. He eventually embraced the idea, but at first, he had no idea what was even going on. While he may still act like a kid at times, he truly was back then, not yet a man and yet not quite a boy.”

I always fail to remember how young my parents were when they had me. The idea of me having a serious relationship, let alone a kid seems foreign to me. It must have been equal parts daunting and exhilarating for the two of them.

“When your parents met it was not like most would imagine. It wasn’t like some sort of story from a romance book, not some story of love at first sight. In fact, Ced probably had no idea what the hell we were saying at the time. He was still adjusting to the foreign language and had the grammar skills of a fifth grader.” Okazaki chuckles as she leans on the table between the two of us.

“Your mom first saw your dad walking around campus and she wondered what he was like, how he saw the world. She wondered if because of where he was from it changed the way he viewed the world. She was fascinated with how people viewed things, how their minds worked and how everything interacted with each other. She took all sorts of courses trying to find out answers to even one of her questions. She was curious about him, hell most people were. It’s not too often that a handsome westerner came to Sapporo for schooling, especially when there were schools like Kyoto U and the University of Tokyo to choose from.”

She reaches for her can and opens the metal cylinder with a hiss before looking down the hole and giving the contents a small stir within their confines. “Your dad is a creature of habit, which made him that much more easy for people to approach him, plenty of people did just that. Girls looking to date him, guys looking to befriend him, even a few professors sought him out to ask him questions about his home, as if he somehow knew how the entirety of his country was run and operated. I can imagine that people constantly asking for stuff from you can get annoying. Still, your father never did anything about it. People would eventually stop bothering him as they moved on to other people and things.”

“Your mother, well, when she first approached him she didn’t have any intentions of asking him anything or hoping to get some little bit of information. The only thing I can say for certain that she wanted, was to see how he was as a person. So, one day when he was at his usual coffee shop and enjoying his coffee we snuck into his booth when his eye were closed. His face turned into one of absolute shock, then irritation and finally resignation as he stared at us, the refined bookworm that I was and the mischievous inquisitive girl. He seemed more than a little shocked when your mom started acting like they were already friends, as if there were no such thing as the social ice between two people. Your mom was always good at that kind of thing, except she generally used her passion for things more mischievous.”

Okazaki clears her throat and takes a sip from her drink before leaning over and placing a warm hand over mine. Causing me to somewhat shrink away out of surprise. “I’m not telling you to be as bold and brazen as your mother was when she was here, but I want you to know that sometimes you need to leap forward into the abyss not knowing what can happen. You were born lucky. Sure, you don’t have your mom’s brazen attitude or your father’s ability at drawing people to him, but you have something greater. You have your mother’s passion for things that you find fascinating, you have your father’s drive to always go to where you want to go despite your fears. You were always a scared child, you’d hide behind your Dad when other kids would approach you, but that never stopped you from doing your own things right alongside them. You had your own way of living, separate from the rest but beside them nonetheless.”

Okazaki gives me a warm smile and I feel my lips began to curl into one in response. “Parents always hope for the best in their kids. When a parent says they know their kid will be great, they don’t mean they will do something historical, but they mean that they will do something exceptional in their own right. They hope their child will find their own path, their own way of living, their own unique way of solving problems and coming to conclusions that only they can be satisfied with. That, is what I know to be true. Your dad isn’t always here, but he always holds you in his heart and he will always be proud of the things you do, regardless of whether or not he would do the same.”

Okazaki moves her hand away from mine and begins to sit up, giving me one last smile before she heads off into the kitchen.

“I can’t say for certain, but to me, it looks as if you were already finding your own way of living.”

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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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