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

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:20 am

Great chapter!
Two or three typos but nothing worth mentioning. Your writing has come a long way since you began this story!
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.

Corundum
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by Corundum » Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:50 am

So it looks pretty good, except for 2 things, 1. It's spelled yeah, not ya, and 2. Near the end during okazaki talking about how her parents met, you must have accidently hit the add url button, because theres the two url thins in the middle of the word passion

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YutoTheOrc
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by YutoTheOrc » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:21 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Great chapter!
Two or three typos but nothing worth mentioning. Your writing has come a long way since you began this story!
Thanks a lot! I'm glad that you've read all the chapters I continually put out, it means a lot and the help is certainly appreciated. :D
Corundum wrote:So it looks pretty good, except for 2 things, 1. It's spelled yeah, not ya, and 2. Near the end during okazaki talking about how her parents met, you must have accidently hit the add url button, because theres the two url thins in the middle of the word passion
I fixed the "ya" to "yeah", guess my habit of texting has finally intereferred with something. Thanks for telling me about the url thing!

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YutoTheOrc
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by YutoTheOrc » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:23 am

Act 2:
Scene 4: Not sure whether I’m going forwards or backwards

Do you ever wonder how you got yourself into certain situations? As if you were merely watching your life unfold before your eyes then suddenly the reins are thrust into your sweaty palms and your first thought is ‘What the hell’? I’ve been the victim of such careless auto piloting before, but I think I’ve finally watched as said plane crashed before my eyes like some sort of explosion from a spy movie.

I find myself staring up at the dark ceiling of my room, sitting perched at the edge of my chair and facing away from the desk; an empty injector pen in one hand and a tissue in the other. It might seem like an odd time to be contemplating the moves I’ve made in life, but sometimes that’s when they come to you the most.

I let out a sigh as I chuck the injector pen and tissue into my garbage before throwing my head back onto my chair’s headrest, tilting it back so I can stare up at the ceiling, as if it were the very stars outside.

A thick, almost physical feeling clings and sticks to the forefront of my head as if it were glaze to a doughnut. The feeling is hard to describe, foreign and yet familiar, but it remains a feeling hard to comprehend even though I'm living right through it. My mind begins to sort through all sorts of similes and metaphors, but doing so seems to be in vain as I still fail to muster the correct words to depict this feeling bubbling in my head.

The closest I can muster for an explanation is a fading sense of loneliness and a somewhat growing sense of ...friendship? Camaraderie? Love? These words feel too weak or too strong for the mix of bubbled thoughts I feel dripping from betwixt my ears. I first noticed it the day after the school festival, but it was small then, almost unrecognised amongst the hurricane of other emotions I had felt rush forth that day.

Nori and Miki were both quick to invite me to eat lunch with them, and even quicker to merge their plans up with one another; at least for a time. It was weird, I was somewhat surprised at first, not expecting such a complete turn around in my social standing. While I can say Nori and I did eat lunch together on occasion, he still managed to do his own thing, mainly class representative duties or eating with another one of his friends. Miki, on the other hand, was more or less a complete stranger pushed to the forefront of my life-based on…certain… global issues shall we say.

Before all this my life was rather boring, fading away into one large, monotonous blur that spans years with only small bits of true purpose scattered around. I never had many friends, true friends I mean, the ones who you can rely on, not the ones who you talk to once or twice and who expect something in return when you ask for help. I would usually read a book by myself or watch anime, maybe do a little drawing, the most contact I ever had was either through a voice emitted from a small mechanical device or the constant presence of the moon shining through my window at night.

I can't help but wonder how I got here? Was it the fact that I stopped relying so heavily on others and began to stand on my own? Soon I found myself asking when the next time I could be around them would be. What would they want to do? While I still can't say those that I befriended are tried and true, I firmly have begun to believe that it's only a matter of time before we do something together.

Whether it's the daily jogs Miki, Hisao, and I share. The lunches and occasional hang out with Nori. Hell, even the presence of Yuuto has become something I've looked forward to, even though I can attest that he and I could never truly be friends.

I think through being pushed out of the place that I resided in for so long has helped me. It helped chip away the crusty layer of cynicism and self-doubt that solidified as I went through the constant years of academic and social hell. While I can't say, or rather refuse to say, is that I'm completely optimistic and brimming with confidence. I still worry about being around people and how their opinions of me are formed. I still enjoy the constant sighing and more than a little rude thoughts on how things are. While I have no intentions of abandoning my love for cynical thinking, sometimes it's best to let a familiar thing go, at least for a little while.

I stretch in my chair, straining my legs to their utmost limit and wiggling my toes like a series of stubby little worms about to be fed to a nest of baby birds. The sounds of my legs, ankles, and toes popping brings me a pleasurable amount of relief and comfort in the still of the early morning. However, the feeling only proves to further remind me of the level of alertness that has penetrated my mind ever since I woke up shortly after four. I let my eyes roll around and glance over at the red alarm clock before coming to an almost uncharacteristic choice of decision making for me.

The clock shines back a defiant 5:30 into my retinas and causes me to slowly ascend from my chair.

I slide off my sleep pants and slip into a pair of baggy track pants and an oversized hoodie before grabbing my phone off my desk and plugging in a pair of headphones, sticking one of the earbuds into my ears. I do my best to stick the wires of the headphones underneath my shirt and sweater so as not to have stray wires that can easily get tangled up in anything I should encounter. I throw on a pair of shoes and grab my room key before making my way out the door, quickly selecting an English song amongst the myriad of music files that lays hidden within my phone.

I hear the door click behind me as I remove the key from the lock position and quickly slide it, along with my left hand, into an awaiting pocket. The halls are barren and dark, the only sources of light are a small night light at the end of the hall and the slowly changing sky. I walk slowly and quietly, both to prevent people from waking up and to ensure that I don't trip over my own feet as I navigate my way towards the stairs.

With a small creak and a dull thud, the dorm door closes behind me and I'm greeted by the crisp, fresh air of the early morning. The last little band of stars still cling gently to the sky, trying to eek out just a little more time before the sun takes over for the day. The small sounds of grasshoppers and birds can be heard softly in the distance, announcing the coming of a new day.

I let a small smile form on my lips and I begin to hum along gently to the music playing in my one ear as I take my first steps forward into the morning breeze. Small goosebumps erupt along my skin and cause me to shiver slightly as I adjust to the outside environment.

I don't bother thinking of any particular place to go and choose to allow my feet to tread where they please. It's at the odd time of day at Yamaku, where the night guards are around, but they're not telling you to go back to your room or switching over to the day guard yet. One of the night guards on patrol gives me a casual nod and I give him a small smile in return before moving onwards.

I walk along the empty path that slowly snakes around the campus, bordered tightly by flowers and well-trimmed bushes. The campus looks much more like an old sanatorium than it does a campus for teenagers; even the shadows that emerge at the edges of the street lamps cast an eerie feeling over the grounds. The sounds of birds calling in the distant trees can still be heard quite prominently over the small tapping of my feet and the dull beat of my music.

So, what exactly do I have on my plate I ask myself? I begin to think to myself, trying to sort through any problems that have come to my attention of late. I guess there are really only three outstanding issues that are causing any disturbances in my usual existence. The greatest of these problems is mainly the whole issue with Hisao. I mean I think I like him, and I definitely want to get to know him better, it’s just a matter of getting the time to do just that. I mean, usually, it’s the guy who does all the thinking of this, not to mention making all the first moves. Sadly Hisao is not quite that kind of guy. Then again, I don’t think I’d be suited to date such a guy, let alone get along with him. I feel like some sort of big, charismatic, and bold guy would come on stronger than I would care to reciprocate.

Hisao though, he’s something altogether different. He’s sweet, but he’s also pretty timid. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would take unnecessary risks. Which is something I would like him to take, especially in regards to me. You know what I mean? I ask myself, scrunching my face up into an expression of pensive thought.

I would love if he would come and have regular lunches with me, well...me, Nori, and whoever else decides to join us. Maybe that Suzu girl would join us for lunch, or that Hayashi kid Nori and Yuuto hang out with. I was hoping he’d accept my previous invitation to join me for lunch, but it would seem that I was already beaten to the punch by everyone’s favourite legless legend. I can feel my face burn up as I relive the awkward embarrassment I felt after being turned. Oh rejection, the bane to the little self-esteem and confidence I have.

I let out a deep sigh in expressive disappointment.

The second problem is less frightful to me, but perhaps more important when it comes to life and the rest of my existence on our lovely archipelago. What in the hell do I even want to do with the rest of my life? Do I go to school after high school? College? University? Apprenticeship? Well~, the last one is a bit of a stretch. The only thing I can do successfully is cook a hot pocket perfectly in the microwave, and I don't think that qualifies as a skilled trade. As for other things...skillfully traded? Skill trades? Skills of the trade variety maybe? Anyway, I have no experience with anything requiring the use of my hands for anything other than writing and drawing. I don’t think someone with my amount of clumsiness would be great when it comes to fixing up cars or doing woodwork.

I can’t say I’m too familiar with occupations either, I mean, yeah sure I know the basics, but as for the duties, it’s kind of foreign territory to me. Dad is an engineer for planes, I think he called himself an Aeronautical engineer?

Although I think he mentioned that he mostly did designs and no real hands on engineering. Also, there seems to be a lot of math in what he does, I don’t particularly care for number crunching either.

I let out another sigh, this time in frustration. I reach up and run a hand through my hair and over the small ribbon that holds my hair in a ponytail. If only life was easier, like it had clear definitive paths, instead of ‘ yeah there’s like a kajillion jobs to choose from, don’t fuck up, your entire life depends on the choices you make after high school’.

“Ughh.” I groan aloud.

I look around and realised that I’ve managed to wander my way over to the bleachers by the track. I give a small shrug and proceed to climb up the bleachers as if I were a child climbing stairs for the first time. Using each seat as if it were a step towards the top. When I finish climbing the eight ‘steps’ I stand up at the top and stare up at the growing orange and red ribbons that float through the sky as the sun proceeds to peek its way through the trees and hills. The sound of birds has increased in volume and as I gaze over the grounds I realise that the lights of a few residence buildings have come on, announcing the beginning of many a student’s day.

I wonder how many other people are in the same situation I am. No idea of where to go. Man, why couldn’t I go back to the carefree days of elementary school, hell, even the days of middle school were less stressful than they are right now.

I don’t even know what the fuck I want to do in the evening, let alone for the rest of my life. What skills do I even have?

That’s a good question, what skills do I even have?

I can speak English fluently, not that that is impressive, especially considering like four-hundred million people can say the same.

I’m alright at Biology, okay at Chemistry I guess. Though I wouldn’t call them skills by any means.

I’m good in literature and drawing.

So...like three skills I can use to help me find a career. Well, Kirino, you’re clearly a jack of all trades. I roll my eyes and flop down onto the metal bleachers and wince slightly as I hit my bottom against the cold hard metal.

I drop my head into my awaiting hands and mumble into them annoyed “What the hell can I even do?”

“Fuck!~” I groan, letting out a long sigh as I throw my hands up and cradle the back of my head as I let myself drop backwards, leaning off the top level of the bleachers. I use my feet to anchor me into place by wedging them beneath the level below me and watch as the world goes upside down for a moment before being thrown to reality as I fling myself back with as much exuberance as I did falling back.

I scrunch my face and give a half frown before gazing off into the distant landscape and examining the only other shape present this early in the morning.

A tall, lanky girl walks along the track, a wispy trail of smoke wafts over her shoulder and drifts lazily into the sky like an old forest path. Her long red scarf clings around her neck and occasionally gives a wave as the odd gust of wind pushes it around. Her long slender legs remain hidden in her black stockings and her stride remains slow and casual, indicating that she has no real place to go.

“Guess I’m not the only one with a few things to think about this early in the morning then,” I whisper to myself as I watch the girl go around the bend in the track and turn to head back towards me and away from the fence that borders in the school grounds.

The give girls me a casual nod as she approaches closer, brushing away a few blonde hairs from her face as she does so. In the least awkward and friendly manner that I can come up with I return her nod with a somewhat stilted wave.

She gives a slight chuckle in response before flicking away her cigarette butt onto the track and walking away as if it were just another normal part of her day. One big happy family, eh.

Who knows, maybe I can market myself as an awkward insurance agent.

I give a sardonic chuckle followed by a grin before I rise to my feet once again. I dust off my bum and stretch out, revelling in the sound of my joints popping followed by that sweet release of carbon dioxide and other gases from between my bones.

Well, I found myself stumped once again on two of my three questions, will I be able to solve the third? The answer is probably no, but I suppose it won't hurt to poke around at it.

Then again, is the third problem even worth fretting over?

The whole problem essentially revolves around the other two, well, to be more accurate it revolves around my future that is. If I even managed to get into a university or college I’d need money, so that brings up the possibility of the third problem. Where in the hell am I going to get the money needed to enter a place like that? I don’t have a job, barely have any savings and somehow Dad doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would set up a college fund

I close my eyes and tilt my head backwards, taking a deep breath of fresh air into my nostrils and back out in a deep sigh.

Why does life have to be so complicated?

I fling my eyelids back open and proceed down the bleachers with as much maturity that I've come to expect from myself. I hop from each metal bench like some sort of cat jumping through piles of wrapping. The metal twang is instantly followed by the thrumming vibrations, causing the sounds of birds to be nothing more than background noise.

I jump off the last bench and land clumsily onto the grass with a soft thud, crushing the blades of grass beneath my shoes. The beads of moist dew still cling firmly to the field and flowers that outline the campus. Dull reds and vibrant greens outshine the many other arrays of colourful plants, both in their abundance and colour pallet. It’s good that Yamaku keeps the school grounds so friendly and colourful, they must have thought about it carefully. Kids are being sent here for a better life in spite of whatever problem they face, in spite of even their own choices. If they came here and Yamaku was devoid of any colour except for greys and whites, well, it wouldn’t be much better than a prison now, would it? Granted most prisons look lovelier than some homes I’ve seen, but the fact remains. If somebody was dragged from a world where living was pleasant to a world devoid of any colour, you can just imagine the effect that would have on somebody’s mental state.

I feel like I should be grateful for that effort, no matter how small, but it just feels like a spoonful of sugar after a bitter dose of medicine. It’s nice, but it only dulls the bitter feeling.

I give a half frown before pulling out my phone to check the time. It’s a little over six in the morning.

I guess it’s probably about time I grabbed something to eat. Have to keep my blood sugar level in check, or worst case scenario I pass out again and get a lecture from the nurse, well, that and the absolute worst outcome, but we try to keep it rather friendly on channel Kirino.

I slide my phone back into my pocket, shoving my hands into my hoodie and nestling my head deeper into my collar as I walk forward, heading for the school cafeteria and some of the blandest food I have yet had the misfortune of eating.

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

“All you have to do is balance the other side of the equation.” Nori says, raising one eyebrow as he peers through his glasses.

I lean forward, my eyes squinted half-expectantly at the equation in front of me. The rhythmic tapping of my pink pencil against the desk is the only thing keeping me from going insane. Obviously I understand that I need to balance the equation, just how or where? I don’t even…

“Here!~” He chimes, “Just look at how I did it it should give you some reference.”I gently grab his paper and proceed to glance blankly at where his equation differs from mine. How did he...where did this twenty-four come from? Ugh….

“Cheer up! You did the harder questions on the sheet with some ease.”

Is this the part where I crush his hopes for any progress by saying I actually copied the other questions off of the guy next to me? I’m starting to regret not paying attention to math class for the last eight years… I guess it’s kinda like a ladder, you need each step before you can stay at the current level and if you just jump to the level you need...well...as the Americans say you’re S.O.L.

“I-I’m stumped…” I mutter aloud, shame clearly evident in my voice.

Nori lets out a booming laugh and shakes his head in a mock form of disapproval. “You can’t be stumped!~ You’re not a tree! You need to be thinking more like a person, like a student!” He announces with a point towards me, as if he was just revealing a long-held secret to me.

Gee thanks for the talk there buddy, not like I didn’t already know my current position in life. I mentally roll a pair of eyes within my head and let out a hearty sigh.

“W-Well, would you mind...ugh...explaining it just one more time?” I ask, doubtful as if to whether it will help me understand it or not.

Nori gives a happy smile and proceeds to write down the equation and the steps he took to solve it, doing his best to explain every step. It starts off well, but it soon becomes a muddled mess of jargon that goes in one ear and out the other.

“See, it’s not that hard!”

“I..ughh...don’t quite agree…” I trail off slowly into silence. “I think I’m just gonna relax...it’s almost lunch anyway.” I frown, resigning myself to my fate.

Nori gives a mischievous chuckle and holds his hand over his mouth like one of those painted ladies they have at those historical sites. Geisha? I think that’s right, it seems right. I can’t say I’ve ever heard that word said, only read it in passing in a few books and poems. Funny how my mind works? You’d think someone who likes reading and literature would also like history? I’m like one of those internet cats that like to swim in the water, completely unexpected but still entirely possible.

I let my eyes roll off my assignment and over towards the clock on the wall, hoping that this struggle has at least taken enough time away from my day. Thankfully the struggle is at least somewhat fruitful as there is less than a few failing minutes of class remaining until the lunch period begins.

“Speaking of lunch.” Nori begins, setting his pencil down and raising his arms high above his head as he stretches out any kinks in his body. “What exactly is the plan anyway? I’m more than happy to eat lunch with you, but it seems that more company is equally as good.”

Equally as good? Is that some sort of remark that he wishes I was more social, or is this some sort of by way remark that he is making to try and justify ditching me for another group of people?

“I guess I worded that kind of oddly didn’t I?” Nori giggles before clearing his throat and bending forward to whisper conspiratorially “Did you manage to get Hisao to come join us or are we going to tag along with Miki and her friend Suzu again.”

His reminder of Hisao ignites a lightbulb inside my head and I’m reminded of the fact that I wanted to ask Hisao to join us for lunch...again. After the first rejection, it can’t be too bad, second time's the charm, right? Oh god please make it charming. How am I even going to meet him anyway, I doubt he stays in the class during lunch so I can’t exactly swing by and ask. I don’t think me venturing into the crowded halls in search of someone instead of searching to get away from someone is such a good idea.

I...did not think this one through.

“I-I suppose we’ll see what happens.”

“Don’t have a plan yet I see. Well don’t worry, I have an idea!~” Nori grins fervently.

I have a very bad feeling about all this, I don’t think Nori is quite as subtle as this task is requiring him to be. I suppose that creeping feeling in my gut will either prove to be terribly wrong or all too likely, terribly right.

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

“HISAO!~” Nori roars over the cafeteria crowd, causing more than a few people to stare concerned in our direction, even the staff are beginning to wonder if anything is wrong. “HISAO!~” he repeats for what feels like the millionth time. My head feels dizzy and full of hot air like a zeppelin, giving me half the mind to believe I’m going to float away in embarrassment; which might be better than this.

“Christ Nori, sit down and stop yer’ yelling you’re giving me a fucking migraine.” Miki groans from next to me; the irritation is clearly evident in her voice. I can practically see her annoyed expression through the darkness behind my hands and eyelids. I slink down as far as I can and peer through the slits of my fingers at the more than horrifying expression of what can only be deemed public mortification of social status.

“HI-GAH!”Nori chokes as he finds himself being wrestled to the ground by an irate Miki and a less than impressed Suzu. Well to be more exact, Miki is pulling Nori down by his tie and Suzu is weakly pulling on his pant leg with one hand, preferring to rest her head on the other lazily.

The grunts and grumbles from the two wrestling champions soon takes over the annoying yelling. Where there was once yelling there no seems to be muffled grunts and “ows” as Miki soon finds herself putting Nori into a headlock as he tries to escape like some sort of confused sloth that caught its head in a tree hole.

What a time to get fatigued eh Nori? Well, can’t say I’m not pleased about that, even if my face is redder than a fire truck—on fire.

The ‘wrestling match’ slowly begins to die down before it drastically picks up speed as Nori’s fatigue proves to subside quickly and it soon begins to look like the playful fighting of two puppies.

“What in the fresh hell are you two doing?” A voice asks sceptically.

The entire table stops everything they’re doing and turns to look at the voice. Yuuto stands casually at the end of the table, slouching with his hand in his pocket and a toothpick in his mouth. Hisao stands next to him, looking more awkward than a dog with clothes.

“Hey Hisao!~” Nori says from the prison of Miki’s armpit, sounding as if this were just another normal occasion. “We were just looking for you.”

“Yeah...I heard…” Hisao says awkwardly, his voice trailing off as his eyes begin to wander over towards me curiously.

I feel my head grow even lighter and my stomach erupts into some sort of horrified display of streamers as I become more embarrassed and panic than I thought was even possible. I try to give him a slight smile, but it just ends up as slight twitch.

Miki releases Nori and sighs thankfully” Bless the fool who led him here.” She steps down from the bench and sits down with a slight thump before resuming to eat her sandwich as if she was never interrupted. Nori gives a slight chuckle before jumping off the bench and laying a hand on Hisao’s shoulder, followed by a quick wink and an assured thumbs up.

Is it possible for Nori to live life normally without making it dramatic? Is this what it means to have a flair for the dramatic life?

Maybe my friends should be more… low-key, less ostentatious…

“Well, I did my civic duty. I think I’m gonna go into the city today.” Yuuto says giving a stretch as he grins, wedging the toothpick between the two rows of his teeth like some mobster.

“You dumb kid?” Miki mocks, shaking her head and pointing “ Today isn’t exactly a half day buddy, you still have class.”

Yuuto raises one eyebrow and shrugs, seeming to not care in the slightest “Class is for scrubs anyway.”

Suzu lets out a snort of amusement before giving a tired grin. Miki herself gives a laugh of approval, proving to draw a few questioning looks from Hisao and Nori. Miki picks up her water bottle and proceeds to chug the remainder before crushing it and letting it fall onto the table with a clutter before grinning in her usual fashion “Well, count yourself as having skipping buddy then.”

Yuuto snort at this and bites on the corner of his mouth as he grins in approval, pulling up his arm and gesturing with his head for her to come along as he tries to act as cool as possible. Does he expect Miki to hang off his arm, because if he is, he’s in for a stark contrast to his expectations.

“Not today pal.” she scoffs before hopping over the bench and joining him. “Let’s go, in case anyone cares to tag along as well?~”

I look over and shake my head slightly, my mouth pursed still in embarrassment. The rest of the group all echoes my no and Miki just gives a shrug. What’s more entertaining is Yuuto reacting to Miki, completely shutting him down on any of his ‘advances’. He stands somewhat behind her, his hand rubbing the back of his neck looking quite awkward. Quite the nice change of pace if you ask me, better than me looking awkward as hell anyway.

“Get rid of the stupid toothpick as well, you look like a thirteen-year-old boy trying to impress a girl.” Miki says, flinging his toothpick into the garbage can. He responds with a disappointed sigh before turning to follow Miki out of the cafeteria in tow, like a feral dog turned domestic.

Those of us left behind just stick around in silence, awkwardly shuffling to places on the bench. Nori resumes sitting in his seat not in the least bit bothered willing to forget that he started hollering off like a speaker and begins to open his lunch. Hisao, on the other hand, sits across from me and gives me a slight smile before laying a solitary sandwich on the table in front of him.

The atmosphere of the cafeteria has resumed its normal pacel and the freak show of the two students wrestling is now but a distant memory in the memories of lunch time, taking along with it my blush. Even the staff who looked about as concerned as a doornail seem to have forgotten the entire situation, returning back to whatever post they were assigned.

I turn my attention back towards my own meal, slightly eaten and pretty boring looking. Nothing more than a salad, a bag of jelly beans, and a bottle of water. It’s a pretty rudimentary meal if you think about it, sadly it’s not nearly as satisfying as literally, any other meal served outside of school.

“Really? I have to be the one to ask this?” Suzu says lazily, her voice dripping with fatigue. “Alright, why was Nakai called as if he was being called up for the draft?”

I look up from poking around the pieces of chicken littered within my salad, turning to look over at Hisao who stares back at me, just as curious as Suzu must be. I give a brief glance over at Nori, expecting him to take the reins away from me and lead the conversation. Sadly for me, he gives me a quick look then quickly looks away, more than a little keen to give me the complete control over this predicament.

Fine…

“W-well...I was wondering… if you...ughh… would like to join us for lunch today...andIdidn’tquiteknowwhereyouweresoNorisaidhewouldhandlethat....”I mutter quietly, desperately speeding up my pace in a foolish effort to try and hide any embarrassment. As I end my statement I realised maybe I spoke too quickly and quietly, as everyone at the table now has their eyes squinted at me in a curious and more than confused way.

“I um...well..you see…”

I soon become quite flustered and my small, pathetic little brain soon finds it hard to put two and two together and come up with a more understandable conclusion than the jargon I just spoke.

“Alright…” Hisao begins, probably still trying to decode what I just said “I guess I can see where you’re coming from. But there was an easier way, you still have my phone number right?” He says, finishing it off with a light chuckle.

OH MY GOD. How stupid can I be? Of course I have his number. That would have made things so much more smooth, and it would have saved using Nori like some sort of loud speaker.

“Oh...yeah...sorry, I f-forgot.” I mutter, in a state of utter defeat.

“It’s fine.,” He says grinning, “Just promise me two things before next time. One give Nori a rest, poor guy nearly tore his vocal cords calling for me. The second thing is to give me an idea of where to meet you guys for tomorrow.”

“T-Tomorrow? You want to come here tomorrow. To eat lunch...with us?”

“Yeah. That is...if you’ll have me. You will be here tomorrow right?”


“Yeah, yeah I’ll be here.”

“You’d miss me too much if I wasn't here~” Nori jests as he eats a handful of his food.

“Sure, I usually head over with Miki anyway. I won't be here all the time though, I still have literature club meetings and the like.” Suzu responds, her head now laying atop the lunch table instead of resting atop its perch on her hand like usual.

“Great, then it’s settled. I suppose we’ll all meet up here tomorrow, albeit at our own pace.” He smiles, causing my heart to melt in my chest.

“Mhm.” I smile, so happy that I close my eyes and feel my body practically erupt into a shower of confetti.

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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Location: Germany

Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:37 am

Okay, the first part was a long sequence of introspection, and it used some pretty long and convoluted sentences which... didn't quite feel like your narrator character...
The second and third parts with dialogue and character interaction were a lot better.

A few corrections this time around:
The feeling is hard to describe, foreign and yet familiar, I'm not quite able to put it into sensical terms
The opposite of "nonsensical" is "sensible"
When I stopped asking myself who the next person would be that I would be forced to rely on for things to began to change.
Sentence doesn't parse. Missing word? Too many words?
quickly selecting an English song amongst the myriad of music that lays hidden within my phone.
"Music" is not countable, so there can't be a myriad of it. There could be a myriad of music files or songs, though.
When I finishing climbing the eight ‘steps’
and proceed down the bleachers with as much maturity available to me.
"as is" available?
my mouth pursued still in embarrassment
"pursed"
Nori sits back to where he was before
You can't sit "to" somewhere.
The atmosphere of the cafeteria has resumed back to normal
"returned"
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.

MemeManStalin
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Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 10:21 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by MemeManStalin » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:01 am

Loving the story so far my man. Keep it up!

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YutoTheOrc
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Location: Canada

Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by YutoTheOrc » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:07 am

Act 2: Out of Shadows
Scene 5: Squinted Eyes in Curiosity


The winged vermin continues to stare at me, tilting its feathered head towards me, as if I were the one polluting the city it calls home. Its orange eyes stare at me unblinkingly— a fact that I find most disturbing. The flying rodent cooes and the rest of its fellows look up suddenly, throwing around their swivel heads at such speeds I fear they may just pop off.


“What is even the point of these things?” I mutter to myself unimpressed, an expression of disgust clearly evident.


“What, pigeons?” Nori asks, raising himself from the water fountain and wiping away at the few beads of water that dribble down his chin.


“They’re filthy creatures, not to mention annoying. Flying around and pooping everywhere. I-Its gross…”


“Haha!~ They’re just birds, besides~ they’re not harming anyone.” he grins, not in the least bit bothered by just how many there are.


Even behind him more have gathered. When we first stopped there were maybe two or three of the creatures poking about and making a mess, now there is easily over twenty. When we first got here the park was at least somewhat clean and free of any white gunk, sadly, the pavement is now littered with pigeon poo and their accompanying feathers. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were just a regional problem, but no, they are everywhere, every city I have ever been to these birds are there, marching around like they own the damn place. Tokyo, Sendai, Vancouver, Toronto, hell even the layover in Detroit was filled with them.


I swear, these things are like the rats of the sky, swooping in to bother people and steal ice cream from children. It wouldn’t even surprise me if they had some sort of plan for world domination; they certainly have the numbers for such a feat. Not sure how it would end for them, maybe it would just add pigeon as a nice little appetiser in restaurants around the world.


I glance over at Nori and give him a frown of disapproval. Little does he know these ‘birds’ are the next big cause of some plague or apocalypse. What is that weird western movie that has birds as the monsters? Aviocalypse? Birdageddon? Westerners sure have some weird tastes in movies if you ask, always either making sequels to movies or creating cheesy fan flicks; then again Japan is not exactly the most normal of countries. Is there even such a thing as normal countries? I guess Switzerland is kind of a normal country... or was it a neutral country? Then again that could be Sweden. Whichever one has the first aid symbol as their flag.


I might need first aid for the sunburns I’m going to get today…


“Are you ready to go? We shouldn’t be too far from the shop.”


I grumble in agreement and slide off the bench and out of the safety of the shade, drawing my hoodie up and over my head, trying to hide my face from the fury of the sun.


“Ki-ri-no. You shouldn’t worry about the sun!~ It feels great on your skin, besides, you’re usually stuck up inside your room after class without any light other than your TV. It doesn’t hurt to have a little sunshine and fresh air once in awhile you know!”


Easy for him to say, he doesn't burn like a piece of tissue paper in a campfire like I do. Thank you, Dad. The only man I know who has gotten a sunburn in the middle of winter.


“You know, it’s been almost a week since Hisao started having lunch with us. Plan on making any more moves?~”


“I...umm...don’t know...I-Isn’t the guy supposed to be the one making the ‘moves’?” I frown, doing my best to add air quotes to criticise his choice of language. Moves? Really how old are we? At least call them advances or flirting, shipping would also be acceptable.


Nori gives me a shrug as he presses the button to announce our intention of crossing the street. He looks over at me and gives a slight shake of his head mockingly before clicking his tongue “If you treat it like a game of hot potato, it’s gonna land on somebody sometime. Might~ as well take your chance before you get burned!~”


“I-I don’t think that’s how it works...hot potato I mean…”


“Haha! Regardless, certainly wouldn’t hurt to take a little more initiative in your life. What’s the worst that can happen right? I mean rejection isn't as bad as people make it out to be ya know!~”


Does he have any idea of who he is talking to? The worst thing that happens is a complete shutdown of all faculties and a heart attack, a fact with which I wish was an over exaggeration. Life isn’t just some oyster to shuck, it’s more of...opening a coconut with nothing but your hands. Hopefully, the milk inside is slightly more appetising than bloody fingers.


“You have my support if it comes down to it, but you knew that already!” he gives me a grin before stepping out into the street just before the light beckons us forward.


Because your support is so~ valuable at overcoming my catatonic fear of social interactions, let alone a gamble such as that.


I sigh and follow Nori across the street. I suppose he is right, but I can’t help but feel that I’ve done most of the work in trying to set up...whatever it is we have. It hasn’t gone too well exactly either, besides I’m awkward as all hell and there isn’t a damn thing I could do about that. I sometimes wish I was born with the powers to influence people’s behaviour. Then I could get my way no matter what!


Hehe. All bow to me, your puppetmaster. MUHAHAH!~


Hey, Hisao.~ It’s a little hot in here, isn’t it? Why don’t you...slip into something more comfortable? Maybe a small little…


NO….Kirino get your mind out of the gutter, this is neither the time nor the place. Have you no shame girl?


I can feel a blush spread across my face as I desperately try to rip my subconscious back to more appropriate and relevant things.


“Are you okay? You’re looking a tad flustered! Don’t think too much about it, it was just an idea.~”


Nori seems unaware of the perverted deviant in his presence.


“Y-yeah…” I mutter awkwardly, tucking a stray piece of hair behind my ear and trying to retreat into my hood like a turtle.


Well, I certainly can’t keep my filthy mind in check, that’s for sure.


“Well, we’re almost at the shop I need to go to. It’s just around the next corner. You’ll know it when we get there.”


I give him a nod and fall into an embarrassed march behind him, doing my best to think of slightly less erotic things.


We round the corner of the street and I find myself blinded by the full unblocked fury of the sun. I can literally feel my corneas burn and bubble as we traipse our way forward. I sure wish I brought sunglasses, even if I would have looked suspicious walking the streets. Thankfully I’m not one of those people who strike an imposing figure either. I probably just look like his little sister, which is more than fine by me, fewer people talking to me in that case. I guess I should be grateful for my height if I’m gonna play that card. Thank you short and stubby legs!


“Alright, we’re here!” Nori says exuberantly, holding the door open for me to enter.


I look at him somewhat suspiciously. He said I would know the shop when I see it, yet it looks like any other shop from what I can tell. The only truly ‘remarkable’ feature of the shop is that it has a purple open sign instead of the usual red, well that and the fact that it’s written in English and only English. Then again that isn’t exactly odd, there are a billion of shops like this back in Tokyo, usually run by Westernophiles or Westerners themselves.


I throw aside my ‘amazement’ and step into the shop, relishing that cold chill of air conditioning and the stale smell of old records and plastic.


It looks like almost any other non-chain retail record shop to me. Wow...that is a lot of records. I guess this must be the remarkable thing he was talking about. I was expecting long rows of CDs, not long rows of records. It’s an odd sight nowadays when records outnumber CDs in shops.


“Nori!” The man yells from behind the counter in glee,throwing down a magazine onto the counter and raising both hands up as if he were about to ride a rollercoaster.


“Hey, Daichi!~ Long time no see buddy!~” he grins back happily looking nearly as excited as the thin man, really boy, behind the counter.


This boy,Daichi looks no older than us, maybe a university or college student? He certainly strikes a rather odd appearance though, with his bright purple shaggy hair and checkered suspenders.


“SO...where is it?” Nori asks, practically long jumping his way from the door to the front counter in a bout of excitable glee.


“Who do I look like? Of course, I have it! You wanna hear it?” Daichi responds with just as much excitement.


“Who do I look like, of course I do!”


The two of them look about as happy as two puppies just figuring out that they weren’t the only dog in the world. Hell, I can practically see their tails wagging as they set up the record onto the player.


I give a careless shrug, choosing to let the two do their thing while I do mine. Deciding to poke around a little bit seems to be as exciting as anything I suppose better than watching them fiddle with the record at the front and talking about it as if it was some wine of great vintage.


The record aisles are littered with a wide variety of western music, usually from the seventies and eighties; the kind of stuff that Dad listens to all the time. None of it is particularly bad, but then again I don’t exactly think any of it is really good. Sure, a few of the songs are catchy, but that’s about it. It alway has some guy singing like ten lines throughout the song as the rest of the song is filled with guitar. Too much guitar for me, I prefer piano or other instrumental music. Well, not classical, but soundtrack music, stuff I can just relax and read or draw to, nothing too fancy.


Most of the music I listen to I get from the internet or shows, so I don’t even really know the names of the songs let alone who wrote them or sang them. I have a certain amount of respect for people who can remember dozens of albums with each individual song and who is doing what in each. The only thing I remember about Dad’s favourite singer is that he’s some weird white guy with a woman’s name.


I flip through the records in curiosity and recognise a few from Dad’s collection, but there are more than a few that just look as bizarre and foreign to me as a polar bear in the desert. These bands certainly had a flair for dress up though, that and leather, lots of leather. This better not be some weird sex music or something. I can already imagine their names The Waltzing Weasel, “Knees bent for Jesus, and Living the Doggy life are all names that pop to mind.


The record player in the front screeches to life as the record begins to play and fill the shop with its tune. The two guys practically squeal in joy as the first few guitar chords are played, followed by the opening keyboard.


Da-dun-dun-duna, Da-dun-dun duna


Da-dun-dun-duna, Da-dun-dun-duna


“You get up every morning to the alarm clock’s warning/take the 8:15 into the city”


“Oh no, not this song,” I mutter to myself, turning around to look at the two giddy school girls giggling up at the front.


The two boys begin to sing along to the song, forcing me to remember all the long car rides with Dad; this very song playing about twenty different times in a single hour. The only thing that got more annoying than the constant tune was his singing along to it, that or the fact that he’d always screw up the lyrics then pretend like he got them right all along. It’s not like I would have corrected him or even cared to, I have as much appreciation for this song as any rational person who has been subjected to it a million times.


It’s not too long before they become lost in their little song and dance, forcing me to the background like some forgotten meter. Not bad of an analogy really, surprised I came up with that one on the fly. Usually, I come up with good remarks about half an hour after the fact.


“Kirino-chan!~” Nori calls out, gesturing for me to come up to the front and join them.


I give him an awkward shake of the head and a hesitant wave, doing my best to shove away any notion of me coming up to join in with...whatever those two are doing, it certainly isn’t coordinated enough to be dancing whatever it is. He gestures over once again, clearly not getting my hint.


I roll my eyes at him, doing my best to disappear behind a record, doing my best impression of trying to feign interest. Thank the heavens he can’t see the bored expression of my face behind this cover…


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


“Was that not awesome?”


“It was fantastic!~ I love that band!”


“Haha! I sure hope you did, you were the one who ordered it after all!”


The two of them laugh and give each other one last exuberant high five before Daichi rings Nori in through the cash register.


Thankful that the music is finally over I slither back to Nori’s side, eager to leave the record store behind and along with it, their taste of music...if it can even be called that.


“You sure came back fast.” Nori teases “Ready to...take care of business.~” he chimes, his face spreading into a fox-like grin at his not-so-clever, not-so-appreciated pun.


“Nice.~” Daichi hisses from behind the counter, counting the change as he chortles to himself.


And I thought only my dad was as annoying as an elementary school student. I figure this must be a guy thing, I sure as hell don’t understand—hopefully I never have to.


We finish wrapping up at the front counter and say our goodbyes before leaving the shop. My pace noticeably quicker than Nori’s and more desperate to see the sun than I ever have been before.


Nori slides on his backpack just before I push open the door and head out into the street. The light filtering through the glass panes and shining rays of freedom in my direction. I can almost feel the angels chorus as the fresh air touches my face.


THUMP


I head straight out the door and into oncoming traffic, slamming my head into the bottom of somebody’s jaw. I stumble back, wincing slightly as I rub my head in pain.


“Gerkk...arrghh.” The voice groans angrily from in front of me, clearly not too pleased that I just decided to walk straight into it. “What the fuck? Is that a little girl?” The voice bellows, causing me to look up with as much hesitation as a hare about to meet the gaze of a hunter.


A rather irate and not too friendly teenage boy looks down at me, looking equally angry and agonised as he holds his jaw with one hand in a pained expression. Frantically I begin to dart my eyes around, looking for some sort of escape route; my flight or fight reflex kicking itself straight into action mode. Just need to dart away before I’m forced to confront the issue. Oh God, he does not look pleased...


“I...errmm...I…” I stutter, my voice cracking with abject fear and equal panic. My brain begins to short-circuit, forcing sounds of sparking wires to pop into my mind as my heart begins to convulse within me as the drowning panic soon fills my body,nerves frying as if I really was made of copper wire and metal plugs. I swallow deeply as I try to untighten the knot that has put my voice out of commission.


The boy tilts his head slightly, the angry grimace soon spreading itself into a disgusted scowl. He grabs my wrist and clamps his claws onto it, causing me to wince in pain and cry out. “Parents didn’t tell you to look both ways before barrelling out of the door like some idiot. Fuckin kids.” he spits, tossing a glance towards his two friends standing behind him, both grinning like a pack of hyenas.


He tugs again at my wrist and I’m forced to cry out again, causing a few startled passersby to look my way and nervously stare. I can feel his breath beat down on my face as he brings us eye to eye. His big bushy eyebrows and piercing gaze remind me as much of a bull as I ever care to. By now my anxiety has reached a breaking point and the growing amount of stares is certainly not helping. I start to breathe hysterically, my chest heaving in and out as I feel my body vibrate in panic. I can feel a swarm of cicadas buzzing underneath my skin and filling my ears with their shrill song as my body begins to take on a life of its own. By now tears have begun to well up in my eyes and I feel helpless, more to my own fear rather than the situation I find myself in.


“Where the hell even are your parents anyway?!”


“Hello?! Fuck-o?” he repeats, his teeth clenched so tightly I’m afraid they may shatter and turn into spikes.


“She can’t even hear me? She deaf or something?”


By now I can feel my stomach begin to knot itself and jerk within me. My entire stomach rises within me and I plunge down a rollercoaster as I get another painful jerk from my wrist. My ankles give out from underneath me, causing me to topple like a series of lego blocks, forcing the guy to reach out with his other hand and steady me by my collar; holding me up so I can’t drag him to the ground with me.


“What the hell is wrong with you? Throwing a tantrum because nobody gives enough of a shit to teach you manners?”


NO! No! I repeat the words inside my head, over and over again, hoping, praying that he’ll just stop. I feel my lungs decompress in my body and I cough violently, as if I were drowning, desperately trying to suck in enough air to fight back. I feel more eyes lock onto us as more and more people pass us by or stop and stare.


Oh god please, just let me go. I didn’t even mean to walk into you. What’s your problem? I don’t even know what’s happening, it’s all happening so quickly.


The voice inside my head sounds distant, far off and metallic, as if it were coming from an old radio. I can feel myself begin to gag and heave as my stomach desperately tries to empty its contents in confused panic.


“Jesus. Are you gonna puke? Oi! She’s gonna puke.” he jeers to his friends as if they were watching some stand-up sketch by their favourite comedian.


By now the voices have become hushed, drowned out by that sick humming and the sound of my body revolting against me in blind panic, causing me to feel helpless. My eyes roll around in my head, trying my best to focus my swaying vision onto whatever, just anything to stop this feeling of queasiness. The anxiety has annexed my brain and is working its control over my limbs like a sadistic puppeteer.


Before I can focus my eyes on anything I feel myself get dropped onto the hard sidewalk, my knees smashing against the ground ruthlessly. I try to lean forward, putting my weight on my one hand while the other clutches my throat desperately. I can feel the hum under my skin worsen despite the effort I put into trying to calm it down. I feel as if I’m being choked from within and it only serves to add to my fright.

My sight lags around the landscape around me, eventually focusing just enough to watch the asshole who grabbed me to get a fist to the side of the head and strike back at his attacker. The two shapes, little more than barely distinguishable blurs move back and forth, exchanging a series of slow and uncoordinated punches. One of the shapes seems to be slightly more coordinated than the other, going so far as to even take the advantage.


Nori?


It’s hard to tell. I can’t see his face and all I can really see is a blur. It’s definitely a him though. Come on eyes, at least you can revolt against this pathetic anxiety with me, this abject fear and terror.


I feel myself sway again and I have to force my fingers into the unmoving sidewalk, doing my best to steady myself by clutching onto whatever cracks my fingers can find.


I take a deep breath, trying to focus on my breathing before the black shadows at the corners of my eyes decide to close in any further; forced to fight back tears and gags all the while.


By now the two shapes have turned into a larger brawl, with the one shape on the ground clutching his face and two new shapes stepping in against what I can only guess and hope is Nori. It isn't long before the two shapes start running, dragging along the jerk who started this mess with them. The sounds of people gossiping around us increases in volume enough for me to catch a few words over the loud hum of my body.


“Shouldn’t we call the police?


“I think someone already did?”


“Oh that poor thing, she didn’t even do anything.”


“Oh, I don’t like that boy with the glasses.”


‘What will her parents say?


“I don’t like those boys, always looking for trouble.”


“Well, they found it.”


Nori stumbles over and bends down slightly to meet my gaze, but by now I’m having trouble even focusing on a face at all. My vision is horribly blurry and I feel as if I were on the verge of passing out.


“Kirino, we need to go. Come on.” He says, his voice significantly deeper and much more serious than I’m used to. He sounds more commanding than he does concerned. I can’t tell what kind of expression he has, but I can tell his face is more than a little swollen and his glasses are cracked. I’m still shaking and my body feels difficult to control let alone move.


“G-give...me a minute..please...p-lease...I can’t breathe.” I cry, trying to force out my voice between gags and desperate gambles for air.


“We don’t have time. The cops are probably coming and I’d rather not complicate things more than they already are.”


I don’t even bother saying anything more, all I can try and do is keep a hold on myself. Nori picks me up by my hands and holds me up by the waist, almost dragging me as he stumbles into the alley at the side of the shop. He’s struggling to hold up my weight as he limps forward, as much as I’d like to help him I can’t even summon enough strength to hold up my head or stop myself from dry heaving and struggling for breath.


Nori trips forward, catching himself at the last minute and stumbling forward earnestly. He approaches a door and begins to bang on it loudly and quickly, causing the sound to bounce around the dingy alley.


He bangs on it for what feels like an hour before someone opens the door and gasps, ushering us in quickly and shutting the door with a quick lock behind us.


“What happened to the two of you?” a feminine voice asks, concern as evident in her voice as panic is in my breathing.


“Take her and help her calm down?”


The woman makes an affirmative grunt and calls for someone else to grab me. Another set of hands reaches out and gingerly plucks me from Nori’s grasp. He lets out a stifled grunt of pain as he lets his grip go and I’m dragged off down a hallway and towards a brightly lit bathroom. Oh god is this where I go to die?


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


An hour passes by and eventually I calm myself down enough to leave the bathroom and find Nori. The girl, who I later learned is called Anko, helped me bandage up my wrist and cover up the purplish bruise. It still stings and feels almost as if it has it’s own pulse, but it feels less remarkably less irritating than my scratched up knees. My clothes seem to be relatively undamaged, excusing them of a few tears.


While Anko doesn’t seem to be much for conversation, she gets the job done, and I’m kind of glad she isn’t much for talking; I’m not exactly much of conversationalist at all, let alone now.


“You feelin’ better?” Anko asks as we step through the hall, one black eyebrow furrowing in spite of her piercing.


I give her a shy nod and try to force up a smile. I don’t feel good, but I’m not gonna say that, especially after she just helped me calm down from what feels like the third worst panic attack of my life. Still, a white lie is better than a full-blown one I suppose.


I still have a hard time wrapping my head around what even happened, it all went by so quickly that it seemed more like a dream....a nightmare really. I let out a little sigh and do my best to forget it before my mind decides to wander into territory I won’t be able to recover from.


We step out from the hallway and back to the shop we were just visiting, except we’re on the other side of the counter. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that we looped back here, especially because we entered the alley adjacent to the shop.


“Hey, bro, where’d Nori go?” Anko asks, causing Daichi to look up lazily from a magazine, his dogs resembling that of a bored basset hound.


“He popped out for a smoke.”


“He still smokes? Thought he gave that up.”


Nori used to smoke? Well, I guess he still does if he’s out for one right now. Still. Nori smokes?


He doesn’t look like someone who would, hell, I had him pegged for the stereotypical keener. Here I was carrying on like I was Poirot or Holmes. Oh god, who else have I mistakenly pegged as a wrong character!? Could Yuuto actually be a keener? Could Hisao be some Yakuza boss? Hell, could Miki be some refined lady who tries to hide her wealthy upbringing behind a veil of immaturity and crudeness? No. No, that sounds too crazy. Still, I can’t help but wonder what kind of situation I just clumsily stumbled into...literally.


“Alright, well you can take his kid sister off my hands. I’m supposed to go help Mom unload some new records we got.” she gives a casual wave followed by a sigh as she walks back into the hallway grumbling all the while. “You know it’s not his sister!” he calls back after her.


I hear a muffled “Whatever.” as she turns the corner and escapes from my view.


“Man. I’ll never understand big sisters.” He sighs before turning his attention back to me. “So...Keiko?”


“Ughh...it’s..K-ki...yeah...sure...” At first, I go to correct him, but can’t find it in me to argue even if it is my own name.


He raises an eyebrow at me sceptically, as if he were waiting for me to continue. A brief moment of silence follows before he sets down his magazine and tries to be as casual and cordial as he can. Which is appreciated, because my self-esteem and confidence has taken a far worse beating than I care to admit.


“H-how did you meet Nori? Anyway...I-If you don’t mind that is…”


“Shit. He didn’t tell you eh? We met through a guy he dated a while back. He was a mutual friend and when those two broke up we stayed friends. Well, he and my sister did, I didn’t really hang out with him until later. Yeah, he started dating sis and we really became acquainted through that. He really didn’t tell you any of this himself?”


I give him a slow shake of the head. He really didn’t, hell I just found out a slew of new information about Nori. It honestly doesn’t sound believable really, this whole day took an entirely different turn than I was expecting. I was expecting I would be the one to reveal too much about myself, certainly not the other way around, and I certainly didn’t expect a quarter of what I’ve found out about Nori. It’s...unforeseen. A past boyfriend, a past girlfriend, a habit for smoking and more than a single mean bone in his body. Earlier this week if you told me that Nori killed a beetle and didn’t feel bad I’d be amazed, but the fact that he quite literally fought three people and feels nothing...well...that’s more than a dose of shock.


“I don’t know how much I should be telling you then, I mean if he didn’t tell you himself there’s probably a reason. Still, he didn’t even mention me? Not even once? His little buddy Dai?” he looks more hurt by that fact than he does anything else. “Well Keiko, before I run my mouth and tell you Nori eats people you can give him this water. Knowing him he’s forgotten to take his medicine in this chaos” he teases, pulling out a small water bottle from the mini-fridge behind the counter.


You can’t just drop a bomb like that on me and expect me to just calmly go and give him some water like I’m an errand runner, I’m not some goldfish that forgets every three seconds. Wait...did he just say Nori eats people?


He hands me the water and goes to pick up his magazine once again, stopping just shy “Oh and don’t force him to tell you anything, he’ll tell you when he feels comfortable. It’s nothing bad, don’t worry. Nori’s a good guy, just...I guess he’s the victim of unfortunate circumstances. Not quite as bad as the guy who survived two atomic bombs, but not too far off. But you're a smart kid, I’m sure you’ve already figured that out.” He picks the magazine up and thumbs through it “The good guy thing, not the atomic blast guy.” he finishes.


Yeah. I didn’t really need clarification on that, but still.


Alright? I mutter thanks before walking around the counter and heading out towards the door. Praying to any and all gods I don’t repeat the circumstances of an hour ago once again.


I open the door, allowing the bell to jingle slightly and for me to slowly peer outside like a tentative mouse. After a thorough poke around I step out into the afternoon sun and let the door glide to a shut behind me. The streets are still busy and hectic, giving me hope that everyone has forgotten the scene that had transpired merely an hour before.


The sidewalk, however, carries a few very noticeable blood stains and a metal piercing that seemed to have fallen off in the chaos.


I spot Nori off to the side, near the alley we escaped to. He stands with his back against the brick wall and his legs crossed over one another casually. His glasses lay folded into the lining of his collar, allowing for his eyes to look upwards at the sky freely. He flicks a cigarette ash into an old outdoor ashtray. He allows himself to hold the cigarette puff for a moment, allowing the smoke to circulate around in his lungs before seeping from his nose like a dragon.


He takes another quick puff before reaching up to grab the small paper tube revealing his bandaged hand. He flicks an ash off the cigarette and proceeds to carry on his merry way. He looks different from the Nori I’ve come to know, almost as if he was a completely different person. My memories return to the constantly smiling, glasses wearing model student whose voice was enough to tear apart eardrums. Yet here he stands, more human than I expected. As he glances at the passing people he almost looks like a loner, sad and forlorn. It’s a far cry from the optimistic and happy-go-lucky guy I’ve come to expect.


I’m reminded of an old saying Okazaki once told me when I was a kid, it was an old saying about how ‘People have three faces. The first you show to the world, the second you show to close friends and family, and the third you only show yourself.” I can’t help but wonder, which face is Nori’s second face and which is his first? Is he more like the model student I’ve come to know? Or is he different?


I suppose it doesn’t really matter, everyone has their secrets they’re not proud of or they’re afraid of. I can’t fault anyone for that, I’m a shy reclusive social reject, if anyone knows anything about secrets, it’s someone like me.


“N-Nori?” I call out, hesitant to interrupt his thoughts.


He tosses me a gaze, his eyes look glazed over, as if he were looking past me towards something, lost deep in thought. They quickly snap to attention, causing his mind to fumble to the present in a series of clumsy movements as he struggles to put out his cigarette and greet me.


“Kirino-chan!~ You’re looking better than before! Feeling better I trust?” he grins, his voice carrying that noticeable lilt that has characterised our past interactions.


I give him a small smile and nod my head “Yeah, I’m, I’m better than I was before.” Still don’t feel good enough to go for another excursion into the city for a long time after today though. “


“Excellent! Me? Well, I’ve been better. But hey, now we don’t have to worry about Hisao falling for my good looks and charm!~”


I giggle slightly and hand the water out to him, quickly closing the gap between the two of us.”There’s the cute girl I came into the city with. Any chance that cuteness has healing powers? My black eye and split lip aren’t the most comfortable thing in the world.~”


“If only life were as easy as that.”


“Oh, what’s a little extra challenge in life? It wouldn’t be worthwhile if it was easy, now would it?”


“Hey! You’re the one who said...nevermind. Besides, I’ll take easy over worthwhile.”


“Sourpuss over here.~” he teases, sticking his tongue out from between his lips and twisting the cap off of the bottle.


He digs around in his pocket and takes out a few medicinal tablets. I didn’t know Nori took that much medicine. Though I guess modern medicine likes to try and prescribe a dosage to most things nowadays, I guess Narcolepsy is no different in that regard.


“Haha!~ Eyeing up my candy eh? Want some?” he offers with a wide grin, clearly trying to goad me into giving him a reaction. “No? Well, suit yourself. I’m particularly fond of the Zenzedi, Provigil, and Tofranil.”


He throws the series of pills into his mouth and downs them in a single gulp from his water, making me feel more than a little embarrassed at the fact that I have trouble swallowing a single pill let alone around a dozen. “That’s...a lot of pills you need to take.” I frown.


“You think so? This is actually less than most people, I take more before I go to bed!~ Well most of them are to counter side effects anyway. You ever have medication that produces more saliva and one that promotes dry mouth? It’s...not quite a combination that you would expect…”


He screws the cap back onto the bottle of water and puts his glasses back onto his nose, revealing to the world a very prominent crack in the middle of one of the lenses. “So, are you hungry? I’m starving. There’s also this fantastic restaurant a few blocks down the way. I’ll buy!~”


“Yeah. Sure.” I smile, eager to separate myself from this sidewalk and even more eager to grab some long awaited food.


“Awesome, let’s go.” He smiles, gesturing for me to follow him.”


“Aren’t we going to say goodbye to your friends?” I asked confused.


“Haha. Don’t worry about it. Daichi doesn’t much care for goodbyes and Anko, well she doesn’t much care for me. I already said goodbye to their mother and grandmother so it’s fine.”


“You sure?”


“What’s with the attachment? You barely know them. You didn’t get too chummy with Anko in the bathroom did you?~” Nori grins, eager to get a reaction out of me.


“Ewww Nori! I expected that from Yuuto or Miki, but you?! You’ve let me down.”


He gives a loud laugh before putting his arm around my shoulders and ushering us to walk along. “Just trying to lighten the mood.” He gives me an affectionate squeeze before ushering in a quiet “Thanks.”


I look over at him, confused as to what he means. I push a few strands of hair away from my eye so I can look over at him and see his face more clearly.


“For not asking about everything. It’s been a crazy day. I bet Daichi opened his big mouth and ended up making you question more than you need to, but don’t worry. The way he carries on it’s like I’m some cannibal or Yakuza boss. The short of it, is that I’m actually a Japanese sleeper agent who awakens when some jackass is picking on his friend.” He gives me a wink and draws a giggle from me.


“Seriously, though, it’s nothing too interesting. I just… need to find the most eloquent way of saying it.”


“You do like your eloquence.” I jeer and cause him to gleefully chuckle.


Bzzzt


Bzzzt


The two of us look over at my pocket, clearly drawn by my phone buzzing around on vibrate. “Ou a text.~” Nori grins “Don’t leave me in suspense, go on and open it.”


I bring out my phone and flip it open to reveal a text from an unknown number.


[Hey, It’s Suzu. Miki and I were gonna have a sleepover/horror marathon in my room tomorrow. Wanna come? BTW, it’s Suzu, not sure if you added my number or I dreamed that…]


“You gonna go?” he asks, peering over my shoulder like an inquisitive cat. A perfect example for him, especially when he smiles.


“I’d like to.”


“Then go. Can’t hang out with my wonderful personality all the time, besides, I’m going to a little party myself tomorrow.”


“Oh really?”


“Yeah. Akio from class 3-3 got some new game that he wants to play. He and his friend Shin wanted to have a little tournament thing. He invited a few of us over. Including your lover Hisao!~”


“He’s not my lover,” I mutter in embarrassment, feeling a bright blush spring to my cheeks, defiant of any sort of facade I try and put on.


Though that would be nice…


“Mhm.”


“Shut up…”


“Haha!~ Aggressive!~” he grins playfully, taking a step away from me as if he were expecting me to hit him in embarrassment. “Come on, let’s hurry, I’m starving! I can tease you later!”


The sound of Okazaki’s voice rings within my head:
The Japanese say that people have three faces. The first face they show to the world. The second face they only show to close friends and family. The third face they show to no-one, only revealing it to themselves.


The only question is, how do I know which face is the most true?

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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-06-19

Post by YutoTheOrc » Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:14 am

MemeManStalin wrote:Loving the story so far my man. Keep it up!
Thank you very much, that means a lot to me! I'm glad to hear you're enjoying it! :D

As always thank you Mirage for the help with editing and the opinion, it certainly has helped improve this story from what it was. The next chapter is currently planned so hopefully I get some time to write it out in between all the paperwork I have to do.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-10-31

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Oct 31, 2016 10:22 am

Thanks for the new chapter!
No complaints this time around, only the beginning was a bit abrupt - it didn't really follow the end of the previous chapter, as if there was a bit missing in between.
And one minor nitpick:
He allows himself to hold the cigarette puff for a moment, allowing the smoke to circulate around in his lungs before seeping from his nose like a dragon.
This doesn't sound like PoV narration from a character who has never smoked herself before...
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) Update:2016-10-31

Post by Edible_Funk » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:38 pm

Hooray more Kirino! Really enjoying the story so far, looking forward to seeing where it goes.

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-10-31

Post by YutoTheOrc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:45 pm

Edible_Funk wrote:Hooray more Kirino! Really enjoying the story so far, looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Thanks buddy, good to hear! Appreciate you reading! :D

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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-10-31

Post by YutoTheOrc » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:46 pm

Took a lot longer than I expected, but I'm finally happy enough to release it. I hope you all enjoy!
****************************************
Act 2: Out of Shadows
Scene 6: Stand up to the Feet of Giants

I wince as I rub my forearm gently, groping at the bruise hidden underneath the bandage. My forearm feels as if it's throbbing whenever I focus my attention on it. I was hoping that after yesterday’s little...chaos, my wrist wouldn’t be bruised too badly. I guess I hoped for the wrong thing, because when I woke up in the morning a large purple handprint was circling around my wrist. The shade itself was so dark it almost perfectly matched my indigo bedsheets, which normally would be a good thing except that it’s my skin that has changed colour rather than a set of sleep pants.

Man, it really hurts. Isn’t the human body supposed to be some sort of great healing machine? God, I wish I had super human powers to heal; that would be awesome. No more bruises, no cuts, no cramps and no more blood loss. Hell, I could chop off an entire limb and it would grow back instantaneously. Man, that’d be cool. Well, unless it was one of those lazy healing powers where you regenerate slowly. It’d be nice to grow your hand back, but the weeks where it looks like a baby’s would be horrifying. I wonder if that’s what they would classify as a side effect...

“You alright?” a voice asks from across the bleachers, drawing my eyes up and away from my forearm and back to a slow-healing reality.

I look up and stare at Hisao, watching as he takes a swig of water from a bottle and dabs at the beads of sweat that cling to his brow. “You’ve been rubbing your arm since we came out here. What did you do to it?” he asks, a sense of childlike curiosity ringing in his voice as he slides closer to me on the bench.

Well, that’s kind of a tricky conversation starter. How am I even supposed to explain what happened? Surely I can’t just say some jerk tried to murder me yesterday, but I doubt he’d believe it was some kind of freak accident. Hmm… I guess I’ll tell the truth, just not the whole truth. Is that lying? Does omission of details count as lying? Isn’t that a crime? I guess to some people it would, others probably won’t care, still, Hisao might be the kind of guy who hates when people leave out details. Damn you societal standards about lying!

I need to word this as best as I can without causing too much suspicion.

“I ughhh… got into a little accident y-yesterday. I managed to hurt my wrist in the chaos, so I had the nurse wrap my arm up over the bruise.” I say hesitantly, doing my best to gauge his reaction and fill in as little detail as I can. It’s not really important to hide it, but I don’t exactly feel confident enough to go around and spread the word. I certainly don’t want people to see me as being even frailer than I already am. I don’t even think I could describe the situation without it sounding like it came out of some crazy news story.

“Geez. Well, I hope you’re okay.” he smiles, causing my nerves to melt into a puddle of goo. I give him an embarrassed smile before quickly looking away for fear of my face turning on like a lighter. I appreciate the sympathy, but sometimes I can’t help drowning in his warm brown eyes.

“So umm… what are your plans for tonight?” I ask, taking a delicate sip from my bottle of water, bringing one of my legs up to rest underneath my chin.

“Not really. Some of the guys in my residence asked me if I wanted to come over and hang out, but I don’t know… I think I’m probably just going to stay home and read. I don’t really feel like doing too much...”

He finishes his statement and trails off, his smile dipping down into a half frown. “I know I’m probably the least persuasive person...but.... It wouldn’t hurt to go for a little bit. Sometimes It’s just nice being with other people….ev-even if you don’t talk.”

He chuckles somewhat and returns to a more cheerful demeanour, almost as if that momentary frown was as fading as a gust of wind. “Who know, still, it’s good to know that I have someone looking out for me.” He smiles again, moving his eyes to meet mine. I feel my cheeks turn red and I begin to bite my lip nervously, trying not to seem too eager to move my eyes away. “How about you? Any plans for a Saturday night?”

“Well...Miki and Suzu invited me over to watch some movies and talk… I-I’m looking forward to it.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” he says, a confident grin spreading across his face as he leans back, balancing his weight on the palms of his hands. His mop of brown hair swaying slightly as a gust of wind passes by, forcing me to tuck a tuft of hair away from my eyes.

He takes a deep breath, letting the warm spring air fill within him as he looks up towards the bright blue sky, barely a cloud to see. The warm sun beats down on the two of us, sweat still clinging to our skin like beads of dew on grass. If one would look close enough, it almost seemed as if they shone, like individual gems. The sounds of students leaving class and talking with their friends fill our ears and keep us grounded, for fear of falling up towards the sky.

I wish moments like these would last an eternity. The halcyon days of carefree bliss that are supposed to make up our youth, not a care in the world.

Exams aren’t too far off, but they’re more than far enough to not warrant studying...not that I ever have before, but that’s changed; at least for this year. My lessons with Okazaki are becoming less of a chore and far more tolerable, thankfully. I still don’t much care for history, Japanese or global, but It’s a challenge I need to face regardless.

School and lessons aside I really am loving this new year.

I find myself staring at Hisao, my head perched atop my knees as my eyes fixate on the beautiful sight before me. I haven’t known Hisao for long and I don’t know as much as I’d like to about him, but the time I have spent with him is more pleasurable than staying huddled up in my room alone; that’s for certain. I have to say, if Hisao wasn’t sticking to these afternoon runs with Miki and Yuuto, I don’t think I would have stayed. I’d slowly stop coming until I eventually just didn’t bother to show up, and nothing would have changed with my life. I’ve never really cared much for commitment, so running would just be thrown away like most other things I’ve started; forever left unfinished.

I’m thankful to Hisao for that—Miki and Yuuto too. I’m more than thankful for other things too, like the how Hisao held me at the school festival, how he agreed to have lunch with us, even though he probably had a million better offers. I’m sincerely glad that he decided to stick around.

I just...I just wish things could stay like this forever. Days of freedom, no responsibility to drag me down, a bevvy of friends who I have grown to rely on. Just carefree days, no fretting over the future or worrying about the past. It’s just...nice.

Hisao moves forward on his palms and begins to chuckle as he looks out over the track illuminated by the sun dipping in the sky and heading towards the line of trees around the campus. Miki and Yuuto are still running, each trying to outdo the other with as much fervour and excitement. Yuuto trying to act as cool and nonchalant as possible, despite the fact that Miki keeps tripping him, causing him to fall forward with a dusty thud before he gets back up and acts like nothing ever happened and trotting off like a child.

I feel a contented grin rise to my face as I watch over the world before me, a warm loving embrace spreading throughout my body. Yeah, I really do love it here. I really do wish things could stay like this forever. One could definitely get used to this.

“Hey Kirino?”

“Mhm.”

“I think I will go out tonight.”

“ I’m glad to hear that.”

I feel my smile deepen as I get lost in his brown eyes once again, enveloped by their warm embrace. I find myself not wanting to close my eyes, even to blink, fearful that I might miss something.

The two of us stay still, staring into each other's eyes transfixed, as if the entire world was on pause and all that mattered was what was going on in front of us. A smile is painted firmly onto our faces and a small, but noticeable blush present in our cheeks and along the tips of our ears. The sounds of people passing by no more than a dull hum like the one found on a hot summer evening. The world slows to a discriminate blur that focuses all of its attention on him, shutting my mind away from the outside world. I find myself desperately wanting to reach out and hold his hand or give him a hug, but I know I don’t have the strength to do that...just yet anyway.

He gives me a final smile before rising to his feet and holding out a hand towards me, offering to help me up from my sitting position.

I gently reach out and take it, my small hands fitting inside of his as if it were a glove perfect for my hand. I’m reminded of the walks I used to take with Dad when I was younger, walking through the city or the woods, hand in hand. It’s different from then though. Hisao’s hands aren’t nearly as rough or calloused, and he doesn’t feel like he’s holding onto me, afraid to let me go. It’s not a father’s embrace, it’s something much softer, much more gentle.

I slowly rise to my feet, coming to a stand just a hair’s breadth from his chest, my head resting just beneath his chin.The feeling of his warm breath beating down upon the top of my head, twirling hair around as if it were a comforting summer’s wind. I look up slightly and find him staring down at me, a broad smile still resting upon his lips. I leave my hand in his, revelling in the comfort of his touch, almost afraid to let go.

“ ‘Ey Romeo, Juliet, step back a little, you’re one step from morphin’ into a Super Sentai.” Miki teases as she flops down on the bleachers a few rows down.

I let out a surprised yell and flinch, sliding out of Hisao’s hand and bumping my head against the bottom of his jaw, drawing forth a groan of pain as he recoils. I grasp the top of my head and squat down, trying to stifle any curses or grumbles of pain as I grasp a newly forming bruise on the top of my head.

Well, there goes not willing to let go.

Oww...my head hurts. I grimace, closing my eyes and feeling the world almost sway beneath me. Damn it Miki, the mistress of poor timing if there ever was one.

“I’ve heard of killing two birds with one stone, but two love birds with one sentence. I suppose your words really are as witty as a stone though.”

I hear Yuuto chuckle to himself before a dull thud and a slight groan of pain takes over. Yeah that’s right. Don’t laugh at us.

Ow...Ow...Ow…

I open my eyes slightly and squint at the scene around me. Hisao stands slouching over, still clenching his chin and looking over at Miki and Yuuto who both stare back at the two us, waiting for us to come to our senses.

I slowly rise to my feet, hands still holding the top of my head, doing my best to glare daggers down at Miki only to be returned by her laughing and sticking her tongue out at me. Clearly, I’m as intimidating as an angry Chihuahua.

“Well we’re going to go ahead of you guys! See you at Suzu’s Kirino. Enjoy the bruise!” Miki laughs as she walks off towards the dorm residences, her hand in her skirt’s pocket. Yuuto gives a nonchalant wave with one hand as he turns his back, quickly matching the distance with Miki in nearly no time at all. Those two are quite the pair.

“You okay?” Hisao asks, still rubbing his jaw and turning to meet my gaze. “Sorry about that. Shouldn’t have stayed like that for so long, didn’t mean to make things awkward…”

“N-No. It’s fine, really, i-it wasn’t awkward at all.”

He gives me a weak grin before turning his head towards the residence. “Care to head back?”

I give him an affirmative nod and a comforting smile as I turn and begin walking towards the residence buildings, eager to head back for a shower and change into a fresh pair of clothes.

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

I turn my wrist over in the shower, letting the water stream off as I examine the purple bruise. It stings a little as the water from the showerhead impacts my skin with a nearly silent splat. I had to be more than a little careful when I was lathering myself up with soap and even then it stung when I touched it. This bruise is going to last a long while. Here is another instance where I find myself wishing for superhuman healing abilities. It sucks always taking forever to heal, that and I bruise like a peach. I wish I took more after Dad, he heals so quickly, it’s insane.

I let out a soft sigh as I draw my hands away from my wrist, letting it return to my side casually. I close my eyes and tilt my head upwards, letting the warm water cascade over my face and trickle down over my body. The feeling of warm water rushing down my body and coagulating at my feet near the drain is almost intoxicating. I’m amazed my ancestors lived so long without showers, it’s pitiful. Showering is one of the most relaxing parts of my day.

Relaxation, something I’m thoroughly enjoying now, especially after the whole headbutting Hisao in the face thing.

I scrunch up my face in embarrassment, burying my face into my wet hands as I’m forced to relive the embarrassing memory over in my head. Ughhh. It’s so embarrassing. It was so romantic too! Way to go blow your own chance Kirino, you idiot. Though, I guess I wasn’t entirely to blame, as Miki did startle me leading to the whole incident.

Sometimes I wonder if my friends are the ones who are really trying to set me up for comedic embarrassments. If only I was one of those cool kids who were never teased, looked up rather than joked with. Oh who am I kidding, I don’t even have the first idea of what being a ‘cool’ kid is even about. I suppose I could ask Dad, he sounded like a pretty cool guy...that or a cocky delinquent. Is there even a difference? I suppose so, but to me, they kind of seem the same.

I guess I’m just stuck being the awkward and loser-like girl I am.

I bring my hands up from my face and run them through my wet hair,

Such is the way life I suppose, always doomed to be a looker not a… do-er? Enacter? I guess I should add ‘never knowing which word is needed’ to my list of attributes. Yeah that seems nice, maybe put that next to clumsy and borderline agoraphobic.

I turn the shower off and reach for my towel, quickly drying my body and wrapping myself up to try and keep myself warm now that the water has gone. I quickly put a towel around my hair and step out of the shower stall, making sure I gather up all my things before heading off towards my room; doing my best to avoid as many people as possible. I don’t think I’ll ever understand people who chat casually wearing nothing but a towel.

I step out into the dorm hall and scurry down it like a paranoid cat, trying to close the distance between me and my room as quickly as possible. The sound of my squeaky shower shoes echo through the hall, despite my best efforts to avoid them screaming my presence to all passersby. I quickly reach for my key and insert it into my door knob right before I hear an energetic and high pitched voice call out from behind me. A visible shiver runs up along my spine and I slowly turn my head as if my neck was a rusty set of cogs.

I make eye contact with a familiar, but personally unknown character. One of my classmates Emi stands behind me, looking oddly excited and full of energy. While I can’t say I’ve shared many words with her these past four years I still know who she is. I look from side to side frantically, wondering If I misheard her, maybe she wasn’t calling my name. Maybe I’m secretly crazy. Why would Emi want to talk to me anyway, I’m not a sporty person nor do I have anything that she would be interested in.

“H-Hi…” I mumble awkwardly, still standing in the hallway nearly naked and trying to slowly slip into the small opening between the hall and my room like a frightened octopus.

“How are you?~” she asks, now close enough that she could probably see into my room if she looked over my shoulder.

I desperately want to say Naked and Afraid, and more than slightly confused, but I settle for a “Fine…”

“Awesome! Hey, can I ask you something?” she says, her cheerful demeanour practically radiating from within her like a child with a sugar hype.

It almost feels like I’m some sort of weird goblin creature who never sees sunlight and now I’m suddenly being exposed to a puppy that oozes sunshine and rainbows—it’s unsettling. I raise one eyebrow and give her a hesitant nod, curious to know what she would even bother to ask me about.

“Do you like Hisao?”

I feel my face explode into a furious red tinge as I find myself mentally balking at her bluntness. Friggin excuse me missy, that’s quite the personal question for someone who you barely know and stands in a hallway ambushed and more or less naked, did I mention uncomfortable!?

“Err I ahh...ummm...well...I-I…” I stammer, jumbling up my words and tripping over my own tongue as I begin to take another step towards my door, this time not even bothering to make it appear subtle.

“I didn’t mean to make you embarrassed!” she says quickly, trying her best to defuse the situation “I just wanted to know, I ugh...I thought he was pretty cute when he first came here and I tried to get him to go running with you, but he kinda chose you guys instead. Not that it was a competition. I was just wondering!”

“I ughh...I-I’m not...ummm...good with words...or p-people…”

Emi takes a step closer to me and grasps my free hand with both of hers and looks at me imploringly. Her eyes look different than they did a moment ago, they’re not as round and carefree like a puppy’s anymore, they look almost as if they’re desperate for something, begging for me to answer the question. Even her hands are somewhat cold and clammy against mine. “Please.” she says, her voice much softer and quieter than it was before. I feel taken aback, suddenly I feel like the bad guy, as if I somehow offended her.

I take a deep breath and let out an audible swallow as I look at Emi and give her a shy, but clearly distinct nod. She gives me a resigned look for a moment before dropping my hands and resuming back to her normal cheerful demeanour. “I thought so.” she giggles “ I see you two looking at each other at the track after school a lot. I’m glad. I hope you two will make a cute couple.” she smiles, making me almost forget that she seemed to be less cheerful only a moment ago.

I give her an awkward smile back as I try to maintain at least some semblance of friendliness and refrain from being awkward, which is kind of hard to do when the towel around my body is slowly coming free.

“Well, I have to go. I forgot I needed to go help a friend of mine with something.” she gives me one last smile before bolting down the hall on her prosthetics, only to stop halfway down the corridor and turn back to look at me with her green eyes, this time they look more like a pair of gems hidden beneath a thin pool of water rather than an exuberant puppy’s “and thanks Kirino.”. Before I even get a chance to respond she’s gone, bolting down the stairs and out of eyeshot.

What was that about anyway?

Who knows?

I guess I did say I liked Hisao though. Gosh I hope she doesn’t spread that around. I guess I’ll have to tell him one day, later rather than sooner hopefully. So he looks at me too I hear, the thought brings a smile to my lips and I step into my room eager to put on some clothes.

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

Knock Knock

I rap on the surface of Suzu’s room door and wait a minute before I can hear Miki’s audible voice yell for me to come in. Somewhat hesitantly I open the door and step inside, treading as carefully as a cat atop a sheet of ice.

I quietly shut the door behind me, facing forward so I can quickly analyse the new environment I’ll be spending the next few hours in. It’s hard to see as they have the main light turned off, preferring to bathe in the orange light of a desk lamp and the dull glow from Suzu’s box tv. I see a few posters hung up around the room and can vaguely make out that they’re all somewhat related...I think. I guess it would be better to say that they all prominently feature horror elements, from evil dolls to some weird eye of a goth girl? Not the kind of decor I was imagining Suzu to have, especially given the fact that I heard she was part of the literature club. To be honest, I was kind of expecting fancy traditional elements, bonsai trees and Japanese calligraphy scrolls. I guess I shouldn’t paint all literature fans with the same brush, especially when I don’t even know what they do in a literature club other than read.

Other than her posters her room seems relatively clean, all the books are on the shelves and her floor doesn’t have too many clothes on it, so pretty clean for a teenage girl. It sure beats my room for cleanliness any day.

A steel coffee maker and kettle sitting atop her dresser in plain view, easily within reach in case she ever needs to make a hot drink; which is always a good idea. I myself can vouch for the importance of hot drinks as I love to make myself a hot chocolate after school.

Miki and Suzu sit curled up in front of the TV in their sleeping clothes, well, more clothes on Suzu as Miki sports a T-shirt and a pair of panties as her sleeping clothes. Compared to Miki, both Suzu and I look incredibly overdressed for this occasion. Suzu is wearing a pair of brown flannel pyjamas with tanuki faces used as a pattern and a pair of black fuzzy socks. I’m much less fashionable sadly, favouring a pair of baggy grey sleep pants, a baggy navy blue sweater and a pair of thin white socks. While probably looking like a lazy piece of trash, I definitely feel the most comfortable; and isn’t that what matters most?

“You wearin’ your Dad’s clothes or somethin’? You look like you're about to be swallowed up by the fabric.” Miki grins before she takes a loud bite out of a potato chip, spilling the crumbs onto her legs and sweeping them off onto the carpet when Suzu isn’t looking like some sort of mess ninja.

“A-Actually...I think this sweater is my Dad’s…” I admit, fidgeting somewhat nervously with the drawstrings that hang from the collar.

“Damn, he’s a few sizes larger than you if it is his!” she whistles, causing Suzu to give out a tired, toothy smile.

“Kirino, come over here. We were just deciding what movie we should watch.” Suzu pats down next to her and drags a pile of DVDs away from Miki and closer for me to take a look.

I gently sit down next to Suzu, bringing a pillow up behind me to support my weight and begin flicking through the pile of DVDS before realising I don’t know anything about them. One of them has a picture of some old hockey mask, another of a buzz saw, and another of some angry baby. The most familiar one is that of the goth girl staring out from the DVD case and only because she has the cover as a poster on her wall.

Suzu leans over and grabs the DVD with the long-haired goth girl and smiles “This is probably one of my favourites I’ve seen. You’d definitely like it.”

Really now? I’m not exactly a fan of horror, shocking as it may seem. In fact, the scariest movie I saw was Titanic, and that was when my Dad thought it would be a nice movie to test the new VHS player on.

“Do you...ummm..have something other than horror?”

“Lame!” Miki snorts in the background, causing Suzu to giggle slightly before nodding her head ever so slightly.

“Yeah, we do. We just figured it’d be a lot more fun to watch a horror movie together. I figured since you went out on a limb to come hang out with us, I’d share something I like with you.”

Well, I kind of feel like a selfish jerk now.

Damn, she’s good. Putting all the guilt onto me should I refuse, which I don’t have the courage to do. I wonder if she knows that? If she did she’d be great in the field of politics, that’s for sure. I take a deep breath through my nose before biting my lip hesitantly and mumbling a quiet “Sure” to announce that I’ll cooperate with them.

What have I got to lose, a movie, even a horror movie is just a movie; I can’t get too scared.

Suzu gives a content smile before giving out a loud and wide yawn. “We’ll watch that later. Let’s get into the juicy part of tonight and start talking.” she grins, reminding me of Nori’s Cheshire cat grin which leaves me more than a little unsettled.

What was the point of getting me to even decide if we were going to watch a horror movie instead of a regular movie? Couldn’t we have just waited? I’m not sure I’m following Suzu’s train of thought, and by the way Miki is scarfing down that bag of chips and flipping through some manga looking as carefree as can be, I doubt she has any strong opinions.

“Feel free to have some if you want, we have more than enough.” she smiles at me, clearly noticing my gaze at Miki.

“Oh...I...ughhh...brought my own snacks.” I say, taking out a few packets of crackers and a pack of unsweetened dried fruit. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“No, no, not at all. It’s fine, I just guess Miki and I will have to eat all these snacks.” She smiles, tossing a glance over at Miki who in turn cracks open a can of soda from her lying position, clearly not caring about anything ladylike or proper. “If we order something to eat later would you be fine with that?”

“I-I should be, as long as I don’t overdo it…”

“She’s got diabetes.” Miki announces from her position, causing Suzu to blush and fidget uncomfortably. “I-I ummm...well then. I’m sorry I didn’t ask sooner Kirino.” she responds, stumbling over words and clearly taken aback by this revelation, almost as if she felt bad that tried to tackle the situation in such a roundabout manner rather than head on like Miki does. I guess I’m partly to blame too, but what am I supposed to say? ‘Hello all, I have a shitty immune system and I’m forced to be fussy eater because my Pancreas is a drama queen’?

“I-It’s fine, I should have told you before. D-Don’t worry about it…”

Suzu clears her throat and adjusts herself where she sits, moving from a cross-legged position until her legs are tucked behind her. “I guess I know something new about you then.” she smiles, trying to make the best out of the situation. “I’ve ummm...got narcolepsy.” she says, almost as if she felt obligated to reveal something of equal importance about herself “Just so you know…”

Well, this has gotten off to a nice awkward start hasn’t it?

Suzu shifts slightly, fidgeting with the front of her shirt, unsure of how to broach a continued conversation. She almost looks like a child caught off guard by a teacher, now forced to continue reading in a school book when they weren’t following along. She turns her attention towards the stack of DVDs and begins to meticulously put them in some kind of order. They’re not alphabetical, but they’re clearly organised in a manner of some sort, her favourites maybe?

I lean back further into the pillow and draw the collar of my sweatshirt up higher, hiding the bottom part of my face from the world. I take this opportunity to get another quick glance around the room, hoping to take in just a little more detail. Other than her posters she has meticulously decorated a corkboard above her desk, spruced up with many pictures and pieces of note paper dotting its surface.

I can’t make out what is written on the small pieces of paper, but I’d assume they have to do with school assignments or reminders to do certain things; that or she is a closet conspiracy theorist. I can make out the pictures slightly better, even though they almost seem to hide from the orange glow of the lamp. There are a few of Suzu with what I can only assume are her parents and younger sister, each taken at a different location.

They sure like to visit water parks don’t they? You’d never catch me in a place like that, even as a kid. I guess there are benefits to swimming with as much elegance as a drowning chimp, at least you have an excuse not to wear a bathing suit.

There are a few pictures that are pinned up, more recent than the ones taken with her family, as made apparent by the fact that she is wearing her school uniform in all or most of them. They usually feature her and Miki at various places or making goofy faces in a photo booth or near a statue. They’re not bad photos in all honesty, none of them are particularly blurry, but I don’t think they show any particular talent. Is that rude to call people’s pictures amateurish? I feel kind of bad that about it if I think about it that way.

All in all, her cork board is a lot more decorated than the one the school gave to me, I think mine has a schedule of last year’s calendar on it. I’ve never been much of a decorator. I always say I’m gonna hang up a poster or tidy my room up, but I never do. Even the posters in my room back home are only hung up because my Dad got sick of stepping on them whenever he had to put my laundry away or pick the laundry up because I left it on the floor...my bad…sorry Dad. Ah, I do miss living at home, laundry isn’t hard, but I’d just rather not do it. Suzu doesn’t seem to have that problem, as the only real piece of laundry on the floor is a few pairs of socks, something my room has in spades.

“So are we gonna do somethin’? Or are we just going to sit awkwardly and listen to me eat Suzu out of house and home.” Miki sighs, trying to bring the two of us back to reality. I glance over at Suzu expectantly and watch as she quickly snaps out of her thoughts. Good to know I’m not the only one who has a bad case of spacing out.

“Wanna talk for a bit? It’s still pretty early, we have plenty of time for a movie later”

I nod at Suzu’s suggestion, mostly due to the fact that I can’t come up with a better alternative myself, not that I’m particularly fond of talking.

Miki begins to snicker before rising up from where she lays, crumpling up a bag of chips before throwing them into the bin. Suzu gives me a questioning look, raising one eyebrow and tilting her head, wondering if I have any idea why she’s laughing to herself. I pop my head out of my collar and give her a shrug. Should we be worried?

“You good?”

“I am, but you losers might be a bit embarrassed when I start asking you questions.”

Wait what? Since when did this become a game of twenty questions?

“Is that so?” Suzu grins, shifting her weight slightly closer to me “I’m sure we can make you feel just as uncomfortable, eh Kirino?”

I give her a blank stare, doing my best to let her not that I will be of no use. The first rule of being friends with Miki, don’t accept any of her challenges. Come on Suzu, you’ve known her for far longer than I have, you should have known this! Miki lets out a snort in response, causing Suzu to sigh and shake her head. “I’m far too tired to deal with you Miki.”

Miki lets out another snort of laughter as she adjusts so she sits cross-legged in front of us, leaning forward as she holds onto her knees. At this point, she looks more like a mischievous ten-year-old than a high school girl. “Yer lookin’ at the undefeated champion of the game of questions.”

Questions? Is that even a game? How can you be a champion at something that isn’t even competitive? I tilt my head and look questioningly at Miki, hoping that the ‘champion’ can at least shed some light onto exactly what she is a champion of. Is that title related to inquisitors or something, because I’m half expecting Miki to start twirling a moustache and speaking in a Belgian accent.

“Questions is pretty much what it sounds like Kirino. One person asks a question and has to answer truthfully. They have three chances to back out and get a redo question, any more than that and you lose.”

“...Won’t the person lie?” I ask, not really understanding how the game stops people from cheating.

“Haha, I guess they could. The whole point of the game is for fun, lying just ruins the game.”

I should have guessed as much, still, I feel like it speaks volumes to Miki’s character that she has turned a conversation into a competitive game that you can easily lose at.

“You always want to play questions, you’re like some sort of magpie for gossip aren’t you.” Suzu chimes in, quickly getting the first jab before this ‘game’ has even begun.

“Huh? A what?”

“A Magpie, like the western belief that...you know what...never mind…”

“Alright, whatever you say bookie.” Miki shakes her head before running her hand through her hair. “Are we going to play or not.”

“I kind of want to watch the movie to be honest, besides I might even need a nap. I’m having trouble keeping my eyelids open.” Suzu chuckles before letting out another yawn.

“Jesus, make up your mind. I want to talk, I don’t want to talk.” Miki teases before giving Suzu a playful shove. “We’ll put the movie on and play after, might as well let you two losers enjoy yourselves before I have you blushin’ from ear to ear.”

“It never is just a peaceful time with you is there?”

“Nope and that’s why you damn well love me.”

Miki and Suzu give out a giggle before sorting through movies and eventually settling on the movie with the goth girl’s eye on it. Ringu eh? Both girls take my silence as acceptance, eagerly turning off the desk lamp and putting the movie into the machine. They couldn’t have just taken my silence as “Dear God no, I’d rather play questions.” could they?

The adverts begin to play and it doesn’t take long for Miki to snatch up the remote and quickly skip to the main menu. I was hoping, praying really, that the pre-movie adverts would give me at least some time to mentally prepare myself for the absolute terror I’m about to go through. Remember Kirino, it’s just a movie...just a horrifying movie...

******************************************************************************************
I sit nervously, my legs held tightly to my chest, my head barely peeking over the hood of my collar and my body shaking worse than a leaf in a windstorm. That sick, frantic feeling you get when frightened is slowly building up within me as the girl crawls through the television as easily as if it were the opening of a tunnel. The tiny hairs along my body stand straight at attention, each ready to pluck themselves free and run away from the horror my eyes can’t seem to look away from.

The sounds of Suzu softly snoring eerily makes its way into my ears, penetrating them, seeming to grow louder as the girl approaches closer to the terrified man. The beating of my heart drums through my ears along to the tune of the man’s frantic attempts to escape. My blood runs like ice in my veins as the demon girl looks out from her tendrils of black hair and glares a horrifying gaze through the camera and into my soul.

I feel a violent shudder rip through my body, causing me to bury my face into my collar as my body breaks into an icy cold sweat.

“Scared Kirino?”

I let out a slight scream and fall backwards like a turtle, flailing my limbs in panic and trying to recover from the ‘slight bump’ that just occurred.

“Ughhh….you good there...you look like a beetle I just flipped on its back…” Miki says, trailing off as she stares at me as if I were a timid deer, wondering if it was somehow her fault.

I quickly sit up, crossing my legs for greater balance and trying to act as nonchalant as possible. I give a nasty stare at Miki for scaring me like that. At least warn a person geez. I run a few fingers through my hair, making sure I didn’t accidentally attract the planet of crumbs Miki has managed to spread throughout the room. She gives me an apologetic look and refrains from talking to me for the few minutes that remain of the film.

When the movie finally ends and the credits begin to roll, I’m left with a shiver running along my spine and my brain sinking into a sea of paranoia. I kind of wished I didn’t see it, I'm going to be checking mirrors and putting a blanket over my TV for weeks now.

I sigh and roll my eyes, turning my gaze towards Miki waking up a drowsy Suzu, her eyes glazed over as if they were lenses exposed to a hot gust of air. She rubs at her eyes and wipes the pieces of hair away from her eyes and mouth. It takes her a few minutes to even register where she is, let alone what time it is. She starts off looking confused, but it quickly turns into a slight panic before settling on a small bout of worry.

I give a slight giggle as Suzu is told that she missed more of the movie than she intended when she took a nap. She lets a frown take over her face before letting out a resigned sigh and a shrug before jokingly asking if we would want to watch it again.

“Jesus Christ. The timid turtle over there just had a panic attack and flailed on her back like some drunk gerbil for ten minutes. I’d rather not have to explain that to the student council when they come barging in here after they hear screaming,”

“Man, you’re no fun. Bet you’d like to watch it again despite that eh Kirino?” Suzu grins. I return her expression with a look of abject horror and shake my head in slow, meticulous motions like a rusty robot. To be honest, that’s a pretty good reaction, especially considering I feel like I need to jump out of my skin and hide in the tiniest hole in the wall.

Miki and Suzu share a quick glance before chuckling to themselves and turning the movie and TV off.

Miki flings the remote across the room and onto Suzu’s bed, allowing the small black rectangle to bounce a few times atop the red comforter before disappearing from view. “Nice~” she whistles, acting as if she just threw a ball into a basket from half way across a gym floor. She gives me a confident thumbs up, preferring to act like some sort of big sports star despite the fact that it was like a two-metre gap between her and the bed.

“So Kirino what did you think of the movie? Probably not your thing is it?” Suzu asks, hoping to at least get a little more information rather than a panic attack about my opinion on the movie.

“O-Other than terrifying?”

She gives a single chuck before nodding her head with a tired smile.
“It was alright...I guess...I couldn’t really follow the plot…” I admit.

Suzu seems a little-taken aback, clearly she wasn’t expecting that as an answer. She holds her hand up and looks as if she was going to explain but quickly closes her mouth “Well, sometimes you need to experience something more than once to really understand what it’s really about I suppose. At least that’s what my mom always told me when I was a kid.”

“How is your mom anyway?” Miki chimes in, her voice quickly accompanied by the carbonated hiss of a soda bottle opening. She takes a deep swig of the purple liquid before tightening the cap once again and resting the bottle against the pillow resting next to her thigh.

“Same old, same old. Still teaching at the same junior high school. Why do you ask?”

“Hey. I’m just trying to be a good friend here.”

“Alright, well she’s doing good. I told you that my parents are both teachers didn’t I?” Suzu asks me, doing her best not to leave me out of the conversation. I give her a small nod and realise that she never told me where or what they taught before though. I guess this will be a little look through the window at her life.

“Yeah, my mom teaches English at a junior high school just on the other side of the city. My dad teaches Japanese Literature at one of the colleges there. I can’t even remember the name of it, God how sad is that?

“I still can’t remember my home phone number if that matters to ya’!” Miki jokes, causing the three of us to giggle amongst ourselves and shake our heads.

“But yeah. Both of my parents always encouraged me to read, and well, as you can see, I developed certain tastes.”

Yeah, that would be one word for it. An obsession with horror seems much more descriptive if you ask me.

“What are your parents like anyway? You mentioned your Dad was from America or something?” Suzu asks, rolling up the sleeves of her pyjamas as she sticks one of her hands into a bag of chips.

“Oi!”

I quickly turn my gaze towards Miki and squint my eyes...what did she just say?
Suzu raises an eyebrow at Miki before shovelling a few chips into her mouth with a muffled crunch.

“You should have told me we were going to play questions, I got somethin’ for this!” she says before beginning to reach for a black backpack she must have brought with her.

“It wasn’t anything more than a harmless question...I was just expecting a normal conversation to be fair, but…”

“Nah,Nah,Nah,Nah. If you do something, you do it right. Seize the world by the balls am I right?”

“Is that even a saying?”

“I said it didn’t I? Anyway, drum roll please…”

Suzu looks at me again, the very same confusion I have is evident on her face. She gives a tired sigh and moves away from Miki and closer to me, dragging the small bag of chips as she scoots closer. We both face Miki like a couple of curious children staring up at their older sibling, waiting for some sort of gift that was promised. She makes an exaggerated sound and quickly brings out a few tin cans, dripping with condensation. She quickly hands off a can to each one of us, eager to gauge our reaction.

She waits a few moments, watching as I stare blankly back at her, my hand now moist and slimy with the condensation of the can. Suzu looks over at me, as if she were trying to figure out how exactly she should respond, to be fair I’m staring at her out of the corner of my eye hoping for the same thing. She slowly turns the can over and reads the label on the can before looking up and raising an eyebrow at Miki who stares over with a cocky grin. “How in the hell did you even get your hands on alcohol?”

“You’re joking right? Yamaku is still a high school, it’s not hard to get stuff like this. As they say, if there is a will there’s a way.” she chuckles to herself before popping the tab down, ushering forth a quick click from the can. She gives a quick toast before proceeding to sip from the can casually.

Well I guess Miki is no stranger to alcohol, she certainly seems right at home drinking. Suzu, on the other hand, seems a little bit more hesitant, shooting a quick glance at both Miki and myself before popping the tab and taking a sip herself, shuddering as she swallows her first sip. I look down at my can, not really excited to take a sip, in fact, I don’t have any plans to. I guess I’ll just slip this can back into Miki’s bag when she isn’t looking…

“Come on Kirino, live a little. Have a sip.” Miki winks from where she sits, trying to goad me into stepping out of my comfort zone.”You don't always have to be a goodie ya’ know?”

“I-I don’t really...ughh...like..” I say, uncomfortable with the pressure that has now been thrust upon me.

I’d really rather not Miki, I don’t like alcohol. It tastes like dirty socks and smells horrendous. Dad’s never allowed me to drink it before and makes sure that I stay well away from it. Even when I did sneak a sip when I was younger from one of his drinks, the taste was much more effective than the lecture he gave me.

“I won't force you to do something you don’t want to. Although I have heard alcohol is the world’s best social lubricator.”

I glare my eyes at her, somewhat tempted by the offer to no longer be a bumbling idiot when talking, at least for a short while. I glare down at the drink, not anticipating any good taste. Still, I might as well, even though my better judgement tells me otherwise. As Dad always says ‘Don’t wait for the world so you react, interact with it’.

“God help me.” I mumble to myself, popping the tab on the can before bringing the wet can to my lips and taking a brief sip. I quickly bring the can away and nearly spill some down the front of myself, much to everyone’s amusement I’m sure. Disgusting as usual…but what can I say, I fold easily under pressure.

“There you go! Now we can actually enjoy a game of questions.”

Suzu rolls her eyes and leans back on her arms, looking towards me with a bored expression. “I guess we start with you, I asked you about your parents didn’t I?”

Well, it’s good to know I’ve already bored somebody before I even opened my mouth.

“Well...ummm… I used to live with my Dad before he moved away for his job. He’s originally from Canada so that’s why I’m fluent in English. I never really knew my mom, she passed when I was born. My Dad..H-He’s a fun guy I guess…”

Well that sounded convincing and productive. I think that can go down in history as the first time someone has ever described their dad as a ‘fun guy I guess’. Way to go Kirino, let’s hope we can form a more coherent answer next time you’re asked.

“So Miki...since I guess we’re talking about parents… how are yours?” I end the question more as a question to myself, wondering if what I said even made sense. Is it possible I’m already drunk? Can it happen that quickly? I don’t think so, but I feel hotter than usual...although that could be due to my embarrassment. What if my face is red like one of those drunk businessmen you see wandering home late in Tokyo. Oh god please tell me I don’t look like that, my face gets red easy already!

“Starting off easy eh? My parents aren’t anything special, born and raised in Kagoshima. My family has been full of fisherman since there have been fish, so not much to say there. I do have three older brothers though, all of them taken, so too fuckin’ bad Suzu, can’t marry into my family.”

“Wait what!? Why am I being thrown to the wolves?”

“I saw you eyeing up my brothers when they came to visit me last year.” She punctuates her point with a wink and a teasing grin. It’s almost like watching a cat bat around a mouse without any intention of eating it. Miki must really love teasing people, I’m glad I’m not the only one.

“Oh shut up!~ Just ask me the friggin question already. “ Suzu giggles playfully and I catch a glimpse of a blush spread across her face as she tries to avoid the accusation. I let a small smile spread across my face and giggle as Miki continues to poke fun at her.

“If you won’t admit to perving on my brothers. Might I ask who you are perving on here”

“Pass on that one.”

“Pffft lame. Kirino, is there anyone you think is kinda cute? Other than Hisao of course?”

I feel the smile fade away from my face, quickly spreading into a blush and a series of ‘ughs’. I guess it’s my turn to be embarrassed.

“Ou.~ You like Hisao do you?” Suzu says, taking another sip from her can.

“Yeah, it’s painfully obvious too. When are you going to make a move?”

“I...umm...I’m getting to it, I’m just trying to figure out the best way to do it.”

“Just tell him. Just walk straight up and tell him, don’t be a wimp!”

Oh yeah, that’d go over well. I’d probably have a panic attack halfway through and pass out, only to relive the school festival all over again...not that reliving the last part would be particularly bad…

“Sorry to say but we don’t all have your brash personality Miki. Life isn’t ‘grab it by the balls’ you know. If we fail we have to live with the consequences, if you fail you just ignore the consequences.” Suzu balks.

“Everyone’s got their own way of doing things I suppose.” she sighs and stands up, stretching out her arms and staring down at us with a cool calm. “What can I say, I’m a woman of action!”

“So,’ woman of action’. I got a question for you. What’s going on with you and Yuuto anyway? Are you a thing or is it like a fading fling.” Suzu question causes Miki to pause, forcing her to take a deep breath and let it out into a long sigh. She shrugs her shoulders and begrudging admits “I don’t even know.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah that.” she says pointing to Suzu her voice taking on a much more serious tone. She leans against the wall and scratches her head “It’s...frustrating…”

“Frustrating? I thought that things were going pretty well. You sure do like to tease each other after all.”

“Yeah, but...I don’t know. He just acts weird sometimes. Like different from how he usually is...does that make sense?” She tugs at her hair frustrated, scrunching up her face as she tries to figure out exactly the right words she wants to use. “It’s like one minute he can be funny and it’s awesome to be around him, but there are times when he just shuts off and acts cold...and it…it pisses me off.”

“Like yeah, it’s fun as hell being around him and I like teasing him and watch as he acts all cute, but he never talks about his feelings I just kind of have to guess and it’s so fucking hard. Sometimes I worry if he even does like me. It’s like running over hurdles and not knowing where and when to jump. It’s not like I can even guess right either, because honestly I don’t even know that much about him. Most times we just talk about random stuff or talk about me and my life, hell I don’t even know his favourite colour.”

“Oh...well..ugh have you asked him?” Suzu replies, her voice just as confused as Miki’s raving.

“That’s the thing. I can’t, when I want to I end up feeling too shy to ask him. It’s such a stupid thing to feel, but I almost feel like I’m standing in his shadow most of the time. He never seems to lose his cool and calm personality, and even when he does accomplish anything he acts like it’s not a big deal. What the hell is with that? At least give me something to go off of ya’ idiot.”

Miki looks as if she really is getting flustered. I’ve never seen her get so heated about something, especially on something I thought was locked down. I think we all know her and Yuuto like each other, but I know exactly where she’s coming from. I know that exact same feeling. The only difference is that it’s not just with Hisao that I feel that way, it’s with everyone. It’s almost like you’re a mouse standing in the shadow of an elephant, where even your accomplishments are small compared to theirs. You end up comparing yourself to them and it sucks, because your goals end up being based off of theirs and you can never live up to the bar you’ve set.

“It’s like standing at the foot of a giant…” I mumble softly to myself, feeling my hands begin to fidget with the strings on my pants. I know exactly how she feels and I wish I could help, I really do, it’s just...I don’t even know what the hell to do without failing.

If Miki is feeling that way about a boy, what hope do I have with Hisao? Miki’s got a million times more confidence than I have, and even she’s flustered with how they act. Man boys are so stupid...why can’t they do all the work? It’s almost like there waiting for everything to fall into their hands. It’s not fair, It really makes you want to give up before you’ve even started.

It’s so much easier when somebody else does something at least that way you can react, gauge their reaction.

“If he won’t allow you to figure out things about him have you thought about forcing him to tell you?” I say, more to myself than anyone else. It might seem like backwards thinking, but maybe she needs to try thinking about this backwards. Maybe she’s the one who needs to make him react.

“Force him? I appreciate the input here, but that doesn’t seem likely. I already told you, I don’t know how to.”

“Y-you said it yourself. ‘Just walk straight up and tell him.’ Force him to give out a reaction. He’s good at getting you to react right? Maybe...maybe he’s afraid of the same things you are, afraid that he might not accomplish the goal he’s set for himself...so he sets himself up for things he knows about. They say you only understand gambling when you realise that you need to set yourself up for failure so you can get an even bigger win down the road. It’s not about winning every time, but winning when it counts.” I say, shifting my glance from Suzu and Miki. They both stare at me silently, their faces blank and devoid of any expression or indication that they understand what I meant. I guess it was kind of poorly worded and stupid…”Ugh nevermind, forget it.” I say waving my hands back and forth, hoping that I have the power to erase my memories with my hands, at least then I won’t look like an idiot.

“No...that’s…actually pretty smart.” Suzu says, followed by a surprised agreement from Miki “Yeah, that’s actually a pretty good plan...here I was just thinking you were another pretty face.”

I feel a smile spread onto my face. That made sense? Hell yeah it made sense, of course it did! I knew it would! Miki gives me an exuberant thumbs up, overshadowing her former expression into one of confidence. I return her thumbs up, hoping that it doesn't look too awkward.

Suzu gives out a short laugh before sticking out her thumb as well. “So this is where you get your advice Miki? Here I was thinking that I was your rational part, little did I know I was just one of two.”

“I’m pretty lucky aren't I? I have two great friends who know exactly what to say to keep me on my feet.”

“Always.” Suzu and I both say, almost simultaneously, causing both of us to giggle before standing up to face Miki. She gives us another bright smile before wrapping the two of us in an affectionate headlock. I can feel my heart swell with happiness as the three of us laugh and stand next to each other in glee. I look over at Suzu who looks over at me, a tired expression of happiness evident on her face, her green eyes falling over me like a hug. Miki gives me a coy wink before letting the two of us go and grabbing her can from the window sill.

“I guess this is it.” She says, tipping the can to her lips and guzzling down the last few mouthfuls like a sports car eagerly fuelling up on gasoline for a race. Suzu picks up her can and raises it up as a show of encouragement before she takes a sip. I do my best to quickly follow suit, but the moment has already ended by the time I take a swig.

Miki takes her phone out of her backpack and begins to slide on a pair of sleep pants. She holds the phone to her ear as she tries to tie the strings together in a bow with her hand, after fumbling for a few minutes Suzu steps in and ties it for her, receiving a hand ruffle her hair as a show of gratitude.

“Hey Yuuto?” she opens as soon as the person on the other end answers. “I need you to meet me between the residences. There’s somethin’ I need your help with.”

She gives the two of us another smile and a nod “See ya’ in a bit.” She clicks the phone shut and takes a deep breath, trying to reassure herself. “Here we go boys.”

She quickly puts on a pair of running shoes and heads out of the room, leaving Suzu and me to quickly run after her, each of us finding it hard to keep up. We quickly run down the stairs with a large amount of noise, doing our best to avoid the bevvy of first years who are trying to head up to their rooms.

Miki throws open the front doors and walks out into the still night, stepping out into the orange glow of the school lamps that light up the pathway. The sound of Miki’s feet echo around and the shape of her back grows smaller as she walks closer to the lamp that marks the halfway point between the two residences.

Suzu goes to take another step out to follow her, but I gently grab onto her arm and shake my head “I-I think she’ll be able to keep her cool if we keep our distance.” She gives me a slow head nod and proceeds to lean on the door, each of us propping open up the residence entryway as we stare out at the two meeting figures. It’s hard to make out who the other figure is until they reach the light. Yuuto walks over, the tie around his neck is loosely hanging from his collar and he bears an expression of confusion as he walks up to Miki.

He has both of his hands in his pockets, slouching forward as he wanders over. We can only imagine what is going on his head, but for the first time in my life, I can definitely tell he’s confused. Boy will he be even more confused in a minute.

As they get closer he gives her a casual wave and a smile, before he knows it Miki has slapped her two hands on the side of his face like a vice and is kissing him. His eyes widen in surprise and even at this distance you can see him quickly process what’s going on. He recovers faster than I was expecting and closes his eyes and wraps his arm around Miki’s waist as he leans into the kiss. They barely have a minute to enjoy the embrace before a chorus of cheers breaks out from the third floor of the boy's residence.

A large group of boys are hanging out of the window, clapping and cheering as they stare over at the kissing couple. The group is making as much noise as they can, either in a show of support or in an effort to embarrass the two. Oh I can only imagine the blush that is evident on both of their faces.

While I can’t make out the faces of the crowd sticking out of the windows like a game of whack-a-mole, I can make out two figures that look vaguely familiar. The two aren’t cheering nearly as loud as the crowd, but they can be seen clapping along with them. The taller of the two figures raises his hand up and waves in large arcs while the smaller of the two figures settles for a smaller, more reserved wave. I’m surprised they can see us, especially because we’re obscured by the door frame of the girl’s residence. I’m gonna take a guess and assume that’s Nori and Hisao, who else would wave to us?

I raise my hand, eager to wave back, but quickly lower it when a loud chorus takes hold of the atmosphere. The once jubilant cheering quickly turn into rambunctious laughter, forcing the kissing couple to turn around and stare over at the boy’s residence. Miki begins to laugh, throwing her head back while holding her stomach, stepping away from Yuuto as he awkwardly rubs the back of his head. All eyes have turned to the chaos now flooding from one of the windows. A small guy is hanging from the window, being held back by his belt and pants as he flails his arms, no doubt terrified that he may impact with the ground. The figures eventually drag the guy back into the building, ushering in a quick bow to the couple as a show of apology for ruining the scene.

I roll my eyes and giggle slightly, I shake my head and look over at Suzu who is trying her best to keep her laughter under control, hoping that she won’t ruin the moment anymore than it already has been.

I’ve made up my mind. I bite my lip and look over at the figures of Hisao and Nori, fortifying my mind for the decision ahead. I’m going to confess to Hisao.

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Last edited by YutoTheOrc on Wed May 09, 2018 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-10-31

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:14 am

Nice to see that you got back to your usual kind of writing. The previous chapter felt somewhat out of place in this story.

Okay, a few comments on this chapter:
I gather up all my things before heading off towards my room; doing my best to avoid as many people as possible.
Since boys are allowed in the dorm's hallways, I don't think many girls leave the bathroom in just a towel...
While I can’t say I’ve shared many words with her these past four years I still know who she is.
Yamaku is High School only, i.e. only three years.
and I tried to get him to go running with you
"with me"
I can hear Miki’s audible voice yell for me to come in.
If it wasn't audible, she wouldn't be able to hear it...
unsure of how to broach a continued conversation.
You can't "broach" a continued conversation. "Broach" implies something new being started not something being continued.
doing my best to let her not
to let her know
I think we all know her and Yuuto like each other,
"she and Yuto"
It’s almost like there waiting for everything to fall into their hands.
"they're"
“Y-you said it yourself. ... , but winning when it counts.”
That part really came from your Kirino?
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:2016-10-31

Post by YutoTheOrc » Wed May 09, 2018 4:55 pm

Act 2: Out of Shadows
Scene 7: When Sea Birds Fly

A few weeks laze past since Yuuto and Miki have officially started dating, which doesn’t really amount to much considering everyone’s been relatively busy studying for exams. All of us are eagerly anticipating Tanabata, more so as a break from the studying than a sense of cultural appreciation. Since exams are so close, and my grades are still below average, the idea of asking Hisao to be my boyfriend has been pushed to the darkest, dustiest corner of my mind for fear of inciting a panic attack. It hasn’t been the easiest thing to avoid thinking about, considering my mind is 100% dust and dark—finding any bit of knowledge is a struggle onto itself. Even now I find myself running through scenarios, my face buried in a Japanese Literature book whether to hide my awkward blushing or an attempt to diffuse the knowledge of the book into my brain even I don’t know.

Sometimes I just want to hop out of my body for like a month, no like a year and just relax somewhere peaceful without having to worry and then just come back to this exact time; as if nothing ever even happened. Hide away in my dorm room watching anime with no responsibilities, order delivery every night; oh the life I could live! I wonder if kids of rich billionaires have to worry about boring stuff like school and exams? Probably not, I bet those fancy private schools just pump information into your brain like a plunger. Would it work like that though? I mean Yamaku is a private school, and it’s not exactly cheap...so what does that mean for public schools?

Huh...I can’t say, I’ve never really been... does that mean I’m sheltered?

Maybe I’m the spoiled rich kid?

Nah, Dad doesn’t make that much money considering… I don’t even know how much he does make actually...

It’d have to be a decent sum considering we went from living in a 1k apartment in Sapporo to a 2ldk in Tokyo, that can’t be cheap. Aren’t Tokyo apartments like two-hundred thousand yen or something? Per month along with my schooling, food, allowance, his apartment in Vancouver for work, his food...I trail off, leaning away from the book and beginning to count on my fingers. The numbers swirl around my head as if I were just hit in the head with a calculator.

I glare back down at my pages, the equations that already had confused me now appear as foreign as Russian. A half-baked mess of nonsense symbols and random letters for, what feels like to me, some sense of sadistic joy of the creator. I glare around the table once more, watching the Japanese literature book mingle next to a science assignment, all of which remains covered by a heavy series of math equations and rough work.

When did my workplace become this messy!? AHHHHH!

“Something wrong Kirino?” Suzu asks, her voice lazily gliding through the air from across the table.

“All this work…”

“Exams certainly are a pain...oddly panic-inducing as well…”

Oddly?Oddly!? Literally, our entire futures are decided by the results of tests…

“Why don’t we all take a break? We’ve been going at it for a few hours.”

I give her a pleased nod and begin to pile up my loose sheets of paper, organising them into some sort of understandable order. The sounds of the pages hitting the wooden table as I shuffle them, giving me a sort of pleasure as they fall into place.

Suzu stirs Miki, causing her to flinch and slap a textbook into a garbage while giving a startled grunt. “Ughhh.” she groans, lifting her head up and wiping a bit of drool trailing from her bottom lip.

“You know putting an English book over your head won't transmit the knowledge through osmosis right?”

“Osmosis?”

“Yeah...the transfer of solvents through a semi-permeable membrane in cells, allowing for equilibrium. It’s a major example of the Le Chatalier Principle.”

“Huh? Did I ugh mishear yeah?”

“Miki...this is gonna be on the exam Mutou is having…”

“Ughhh…”

“Have you even looked at the stuff we need to study, or have you been ignoring it?”

“I’ve looked at it...a bit. Hey, I can say ‘pickle’ in English without an accent.”

“No, you really cant”

“Oi, get off my back lady.”

They share a few jabs back at one another, well when I mean ‘jabs’ it’s mostly just Suzu nagging her and being brushed off. Miki’s even become so relaxed she is leaning back in the chair, clearly not a care in the world; least of all now. Oh Miki, how I wish I had at least some of your ambivalence. I think I care too much about most things…

“Hey Kirino, you’re a halfie aren’t you?” Miki asks, choosing to ignore Suzu entirely and turn her attention to a less vocal centre.

“W-What?”

“A halfie, you know half Japanese. Your Dad is an American isn't he? So you can speak English right?” Suzu gives up and lets out a puff of hot air, clearly fed up with being ignored this readily. She turns her attention towards me, giving me a look that screams “maybe you can talk some sense into her”.

“I can speak English...fluently...My D-Dad is Canadian though...not an American…” I whisper softly, worried that the librarian might come over and chew me out for being too loud. I shrink down in my seat and peer around quickly, this other librarian who subs in for Yuuko freaks me out. At least if it was Yuuko I’d be able to communicate, if at a torturously nervous pace.

“Isn’t Canada a state though?”

Suzu groans and mutters that she needs to learn geography too.

“Why don’t you help us out? We can trade bits of knowledge. Suzu is good at Japanese literature and I’m good at P.E., it will be a great trade!”

“I-I’m not doing that bad in Japanese Literature though...do we even have a P.E. exam?”

“Haha, then consider it a personal favour to me. I hear they’re quite useful. Speaking on Yuuto’s behalf”

Okay..eww. I did not need that visual, ever, but it will take my mind off my troubles if for a little bit. Sure I’ll bite, don’t know how much I can exactly teach them, especially considering the test will mostly be grammar rather than oral skills.

“Sure..but let’s leave the library...I don’t want to get yelled at for t-talking…”

“Bleh, you’re always afraid of drawing attention to yourself. Sometimes you just need to be HEARD!” She screams the last word, causing my blood to turn into ice and glance at Suzu who remains frozen like a statue. A slim girl peers with one eye from around the corner of a bookcase, timidly curious as to what is going on and who is making so much noise.

I guess we’ll have to go somewhere were we...she...can scream if need be. Sounds a bit like a horror film when I put it like that…

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

We end up going back to Suzu’s room, which has almost become a ‘homebase’ for us ever since I started tagging along with them, which is nice..really nice. I’ve never been much of a people person, but it feels nice to be included...to belong. It’s a sentiment I’m glad to cherish, even if it may not last long.

“The robin blank across the road in search of blank. What are the blanks?” I ask, looking down at the English workbook laid out in front me, waiting for them to choose one of the four generous multiple choice answers. The one thing that is pretty clear, is that at least two of the options are correct, even if one of them is not ‘professional’.

Suzu is the first to respond “C. Walked and seeds.”

“B. I think? The Walked and woods?” Miki responds, her face somewhat contorted as she peers down at the paper, expecting some sort of answer to pop out to her.

“S-Suzu is right. The robin walked across the road in search of seed.”

“Why is she right!? What I said makes sense.!”

I guess...maybe in some places that speak English?

“You should only use ‘The’ when describing a noun, not a verb. I-It’s a structural thing…”

“Ughhh.” she groans, letting herself fall backwards onto a pile of pillows. Landing with a soft thud before emitting another groan. Suzu just shakes her head and goes to put on another cup of tea. Maybe some tea will calm her and allow her to think easier. I get up from where I sit in and walk over to help Suzu prepare the tea. Least bit I can do, especially considering we started off with her helping me with math despite her and Miki(surprisingly) both doing decently well in the class.

“Thanks Kirino.”

I give her a soft smile in return, busying myself with grabbing the three cups from atop the small table in her room. She gracefully moves the kettle from the cupboard and begins to fill it with water from a water bottle. She stumbles and falls a bit before she gets a chance to plug it in, spilling a bit of water on herself in the process. I react quicker than expected of someone my size, wrapping my own arm around her waist and the other steadying her hand to avoid any flooding for the poor neighbour downstairs.

“Sorry. I’m...I’m feeling a bit woozy right now.” she says sheepishly, before setting down the kettle on an adjacent table and looking as if she’s about to pass out standing up. I go to flash a panicked look at Miki before Suzu’s weight takes me down along with her, but I already find her holding Suzu up, easing her towards the bed where she can lie down; away from any relative danger.

Suzu has her eyes closed and seems to be sleeping peaceful, a soft snore emerging with every exhale of breath. I lean forward and wipe a few strands of her hair away from her mouth, just as Miki casually flings a blanket on top of her.

It’s gotta be hard to just suddenly go like that. I panic about my insulin levels, but at least they’re predictable, this is just...just crazy. I can only imagine the panic that Nori and Suzu face when the mood strikes them, that’s if they even register it before they’re suddenly gone. I give a frown as I look down over her sleeping face, wondering just how much trouble her narcolepsy has caused her.

“Come on.” Miki says, motioning for her to follow me out of the room and into the hall “Let’s let her sleep and come back after a little break.”

She closes the door behind her gently, letting it click softly behind her. I fidget nervously to myself, waiting for Miki to break the silence. She just stands there, back facing the door and staring at the wall for a few moments, lost in thought. Her greyish eyes remain motionless and dull, her face strikingly beautiful. I’ve never quite seen her like this before, quiet and pensive.

While she is undoubtedly beautiful, it’s almost rugged in its expression, like a sculpture that’s been weathered by the wind. The way her jawline curves at a fine angle, to the slight tilt in her nose from too much rough play, even the way she holds herself when standing is eye-catching. I bet Yuuto feels like quite the lucky man, a tall beautiful girl who will be just as likely to give back to him what he puts out.

She lives her life so naturally, so seamlessly, as if she has all the confidence in her own abilities. I envy her sometimes, the way she walks into the room and lights it up, making it her own in her own small way. Compared to me she almost seems to have herself figured out already, as if she can see the path laid out before her.

What’s that quote…”We grow neither better nor worse as we get old, but more like ourselves.”?

I wonder if it’s possible that some people are just more suited to life. If some people are like a manga versus an anime. Where some people have much softer colours of their personality, but you can see how far they have come to establish themselves or how others are brilliant flashes of colours and noise where each scene flashes by in an instant for them.

I wonder what kind of person I am? I’d like to think I’ve come a long way, but that’s not really for me to say is it?

I let out a long mental sigh.

One thing for certain is that I fixate on useless aspects of life...that is for sure.

“Want to go grab a bite? Caf should be dead, not too many people wait until this late anyhow.” Miki says, snapping out of her thought and flashing the spotlight onto me.

“O-Okay.”

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

Much to my joy, the cafeteria has as much life to it as a graveyard, little more than eight people seem to be picking away at their food—each equally far away from one another. Miki and I sit near the centre, making idle conversation about classroom gossip and daily goings-on. It’s a nice change of pace from studying, and it helps take my mind away from Hisao...well...it did.

“So I told Yuuto that I’d visit his home in Kyoto over the summer break. He was against the idea at first, especially considering his sister gave me an interrogation over the phone. I told you about that didn’t I?”

“A little…”

“Weird kid. She reminded me of you in all honesty, in a more annoying nerdy kind of way!” She chuckles, taking a swig from a bottle of apple juice “Maybe if I don’t get the job I’ll let you handle the interview, out nerd the little girl. She asked me if I knew what a Cubone was.”

I raise one of my eyebrows up at her in response as I pluck a chunk of rice into my mouth. Wondering how this ‘interrogation’ has even come around to being.

“Yeah! Apparently, it is not the weird skin thing on your nail. Who would have guessed a dinosaur thing with a skull?”

To be fair even I didn’t know that, but while I pride myself on anime and manga knowledge, somethings tend to fall away from my spectrum of information. Apparently, dinosaurs and bones are where I cross the line.

“How are his grandparents?”

“His grandmother sounds alright, his grandfather sounds a bit...eccentric.”

“Isn’t he some big bureaucratic honcho?”

“Yeah, he's the CEO of Musashi Banking Firm, he's just a little weird… or just old. You know how certain old people are man”

“Old and weird?”

“Yeah, he fought in the Pacific war, so he’s like… he’s like in his 80s...I think. According to Yuuto he has as much energy as a cherry bomb...Isn’t that kind of strange? The oldest person in my family is like 60s...maybe.”

He does sound pretty old, I mean Dad is only in his late thirties. Well, I don't think all parents have their kids when their in their late teens; maybe I'm just a special case.

“I don’t even know, but hey, it’s on the way back to my home. Stop by for a few days then come right back here. Hopefully, my brothers will be less annoying this time. I tell yeah Kirino, be glad you’re an only child. Having siblings is a fuckin’ drag.”

I give her a slight nod and poke away further at my food, not nearly as interested as I should be. My mind is now filled with all sorts of crap I’m having trouble discerning where one thought begins and another end. I’m half expecting Hisao to be pictured as an old narcoleptic with a fear of exams, picturing that in my ‘mind’s eye’ or whatever it’s called.

“Haha, you don’t seem to be too excited there. Rather hear about stuff involving Hisao I bet.~” she grins, her voice trailing off like the hiss from the snake causing me to blush and drop my chopsticks.

“Ehhh….Ummm...no...no...n-not really….”

“Not good at that sort of thing kiddo. Have to be careful or boys will play you like a fiddle...not bad if that’s your sort of thing.” she giggles, causing me to blush further and stammer out a series of excuses, all of which are less convincing than the last.


“Gotta lock that down before he gets eaten by anyone else. I do hear the madam dictator has her eyes on him.”

“Wah!? R-Really?”

“Oh yeah!~ I always see them talking in class...well not really talking, but like interpreting through Pinkie.”

“Pinkie? Misha?”

“Eh.” she shrugs “More fun to give people a nickname, besides It adds to my amusement.”

“Oh…”

“Don’t sound so defeated, you’ve got the lead from what I can tell. All you have to do is….Jesus Fucking Christ.” She stops her advice for a moment, spilling out into a surprising series of muttered angry curses and swears. I narrow my eyes at her and follow her line of sight, my blood turning to ice as I catch the glare of a small pack of girls; one of whom I am all too familiar.

“Isn’t that the chick who picked a fight with you in class? I’m pretty sure it is, Nori painted a pretty good picture of her. Want me to go trip her or something?”

I ignore Miki from the moment, appreciative of her suggestion, but not entirely convinced. It’s not that we still have a problem, at least I don’t...it's just...super awkward. Especially since she stopped coming to class and the issue kind of just washed away into the sea of high school drama and hormones. The thing that’s making my blood turn to ice, is the fact that she’s staring at me with a predatory gaze.

Saki Enomoto.

I go to quickly clean up my food, hoping to flee from the scene as quickly as I can. Miki takes note and begins to do the same, not seeming to break the angry glare she shoots off at Saki and her friends. Looking as if she were a mongoose, rearing up to lash out at the approaching predator. While I can’t deny feeling nervous, I’m reassured that at least this time I have someone standing by my side.

Saki gives me a slight wave, a flash of indignation highlights her face before she whispers for her friends to remain behind as she takes a few hesitant steps forward. Each step clicks in the near silent cafeteria, sounding as if they’ve travelled the entire length of the world; lifeless shuffling.

“Hey...Kirino…” she says, positioning herself so she stands at the end of the table, one of her walking crutches held tightly in both hands as the other dangles over top, as if mimicking a child’s game of leapfrog. She looks nervous, which is good, because I feel like my body is going into complete shutdown. She hasn’t come over to reen me out for some other perceived problem I hope, pray really. Just when I thought my life was finally delving back into peaceful obscurity.

“You hear for any reason, or just to freak her out?” Miki replies gruffly, not even letting a moment go by so I could even try to form a response.

“I...ughhh...just wanted to…” she stutters, her eyes darting back and forth like a nervous doe, and the sounds of her audibly trying to wet her tongue make me slightly more comfortable. At least if she’s nervous I know she's not here to explode on me again, at least I hope. I throw a nervous glance towards Miki, looking as if a lamb to slaughter.

Saki lets out a long sigh, finally get what she wants to out “I just wanted to apologise for showing a rather ugly side of myself.” She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and shifts her weight from one hip to the next, standing up straight in the process.

“I’ve thought about my actions recently and realised that I was unjustly cruel towards you, and for that, I wanted to apologise.”

Apolo-what now?

“I guess by now it’s no secret, that I had, and still do have a crush on Yuuto. Looking back on it now, you weren’t exactly the right choice for my…jealousy.” She says that last point with an irritable tinge to her voice, breaking eye contact with me to give a quick knowing glance to Miki. “I have come to realise…that…calling you out was not the best choice of action. If I knew exactly what was going on and hadn’t assumed I wouldn’t have yelled at you. For that reason, I’m apologising.”

Is that even a true apology? She never said that she was sorry for what she did…rather she was sorry for what happened. Is that even a proper apology? Maybe I’m just picking things apart too much. What’s that old saying? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?

As she let her last sentence slip from her lips I darted my eyes towards Miki to gauge her reaction before I made my own. She stared over from the table, her eyes unblinking and her expression no more informative than a pro gamblers. She was completely devoid of any emotion really, which surprised me. We only met each other as a result of what happened between Saki and me, and she didn’t seem to be too happy with what was going on then. Yet right now she doesn’t even give the vaguest hint as to what she’s thinking.

I guess I’ll be on my own for this one, which probably isn’t the greatest considering my track record. I let out a mental sigh and begin to turn my wispy thoughts into a coherent opinion. I let myself stare somewhat at Saki, who waits expectantly.

“I-I forgive you…” I blurt out suddenly, taking myself back at my own turn of behaviour.

The sudden acceptance hangs in the air like a floating feather. Neither Saki nor myself willing to take the point further. I’m not sure who’s more stunned by what I just said: Miki, Saki, or myself.

‘I forgive you’? Seriously!? After what she did to you? You’re just gonna up and accept that fact? You should have told her off! Yeah! Yeah! Turn the tables on her! Well, turn the tables when you would eventually figure out what to say that is…If you could…Okay, well maybe accepting the apology was the best thing to do? It makes you look like the bigger person too, which is good considering how small you actually are. It’s also better to not try to stir things up or cause more of an issue. Hey, look at this way – you get to say you’re a forgiving person.

“Thanks, Kirino. I…I don’t know what to say actually. Honestly, I was expecting you to blow up in my face or just outright reject me. I…feel a lot better than how I’ve been feeling. Guess I should take people’s advice more often.” She lets out an awkward laugh and shifts her shoulders uncomfortably before continuing “ Well… I…ugh…I’ll see you in class I guess. Take care of yourself I guess.” She gives me a little awkward wave, not eager to pry into this any more than she needs to. Briskly walking away from me she joins her two friends and they promptly leave the cafeteria with as much as gusto as the king of social awkwardness would deem appropriate.

Well, if I can say anything about this week, is that it’s been…interesting.

I turn sharply on my heel and swiftly walk back to my spot next to Miki, visualising myself floating across the linoleum floors like some sort of social-awkward ghost. I keep my head low until I sit down, brushing a strand of my hair away from my eye and behind my ear. I turn to look over at Miki, still looking as expressionless as a robotic toaster.

“Are you okay with that?”

I take a moment to think on what she said before answering with as much confidence as I have in me.

“Yeah.”

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Edible_Funk
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Re: The Bells of Life-Kirino Kage (OC) Update:2016-10-31

Post by Edible_Funk » Wed May 09, 2018 11:49 pm

It's back!

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