Learning the blues. Act 3: Scene 2 revives from the grave

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TheTealeaf
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Learning the blues. Act 3: Scene 2 revives from the grave

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:06 pm

Hi there! This is what my muse has been bugging me about recently and it started with some characters coming to life in my head... you can meet them here!

http://www.reddit.com/r/katawashoujo/co ... _hello_to/

Beware I do not have a beta reader. I've checked and triple checked but I'm pretty sure most of my punctuation is not up to scratch (I'm a technology teacher not an English one dammit!) Also if my post is to large, I'll chop it down.

So this is the beginning of the route. -Takes a deep breath- Updates will try to be once a week but I make no promises due to the nature of my job. I hope you enjoy this piece.

We begin in the 'Cold war' Scene in act 1.
--------------------------------------
Contents
Act 1: Life expectancy
Scene1: Improvvisato
Where Ayane rams a train into Hisao's crossroads of choice
Scene 2: Take a walk on the wild side
Ayane loses her temper and takes a bike ride with her sister
Scene 3: Fever Dreams
Horror films before bed are never a good idea.
Scene 4: If we could live like everyday was Sunday
It's festival time!

Act 2: Finding your feet

Scene 1: Louder than words
What you don't say is louder than what you do say.
Scene 2: A few angry words.
Unrequited love can make people do dickish things
Scene 3: My little phantom
Hisao learns a little more about what makes Ayane tick.
Scene 4: Lean on me
A small literary excursion for Ayane and Hisao.
Scene 5: Through the fire and flames
Hisao braves the older Tsukino siblings and takes Ayane on a date.
Scene 6: Don't have to settle no goddamn score
Ayane gets some bad news and has some choice words for one of Yakamu's runners.
Scene 7: Shake, rattle and roll
Life can sometimes come back and bite you on the butt.
Scene 8: Sister Morphine
Hospitals are never fun.
Scene 9: Dance the night away.
A surprise vistor to Yamaku and HIsao begins to learn to dance.
Scene 10: I can feel it in the air tonight
Dancing, shopping and film night
Scene 11: 'Doin the jitterbug.
Ayane gets nervous about the upcoming ball, some family history and teenage angst
Scene 12: 'The nightingale and her golden cage"
Home sweet home... kind of!
Scene 13: Don't forget to live for love
Can you do a favour for grandmother Ayane?
Scene 14: Dancer in the dark
Time to put your dancing shoes on Ayane
Scene 15: Because it's time to say goodbye - to the things we love and the innocence of youth.
Can you finally say goodbye Ayane?

End Act 2

Intermission/Interlude

Interlude one: All of our days
Time is running out Connor.

Interlude piece 2: The things we do for love (RWBY crossover piece)

Act 3: Singing in Harmony

Scene 1: Seven Sins
Even pride and stubbornness has a breaking point

Scene 2: A little more conversation a little less action
Talking is harder than it seems you know?

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

Act 1: Life expectancy

Scene 1

Improvvisato

Shit, shit, shit and double shit. I sigh and pinch the bridge of my nose. The boy in front of me fidgets uncomfortably but stands his ground holding tightly onto the hand of the girl next to him.

Another deep sigh cuts through the mostly empty classroom like a gunshot. The girl flinches slightly at the noise and I feel myself relax and relent, my body uncoiling from its tense position.

“You’d best hurry up and get packed then eh Ichigo?” I say finally, a small grin winding its way across my face. The pair of them are adorable but at the same time have handed me a massive mess.

“Thanks” Ichigo says, shuffling in place “I know it’s not the best time with the festival coming up but I really want to be there for Tatsuki” A small, sad smile flits across the petite girls face as Ichigo speaks, her sightless eyes downcast and forlorn.

I step aside from the classroom door as the pair begin to leave.

“Ichi” I say as the pair leave the classroom “Take care of her alright? It’s going to be rough” The tall boy nods solemnly and ushers Tatsuki out of the classroom one hand on the small of her back. I watch the pair go for a moment down the corridor where my feet have taken me of their own accord. I need to find the class rep and give her the bad news.

I frown at the classroom behind me. It’s my homeroom and normally Lily is a little early and in homeroom already. Today she isn’t here and I’m beginning to wonder where she is. The festival is two days away and we’ve just lost two of the best chefs for our stall. I bite my lip in frustration for a second and then blow out another explosive sigh. Where could she be?

I have my answer less than five seconds later. I can make out Lilys voice, raised (which is unusual) coming from the classroom next door.

I venture up the corridor and poke my head into the doorway. The tableau presented before me is one that strikes a fission of fear in my spine. Lily Satou and Shizune Hakamichi, locking horns in a verbal spar, aided by the ever-faithful Shiina Mikado.

There is an innocent bystander caught in the middle. He’s new as I don’t recognise him and I’ve been here for three years. He’s got adorable messy brown hair that for some reason gives me an insane urge to run my hands through it and mess it even further. It even has an ahoge bless him!

He looks world-weary though. Beaten and bruised. Sad. Distant. That look is familiar, very familiar. I wore that look myself once, still do sometimes. I want to remove that look from his face, see a smile make those eyes sparkle and a grin etch itself upon his features.

The argument reaches a crescendo, and three sets of eyes pin the poor new kid to his desk. They want an answer. This is a crossroads, an important decision that will alter this young mans life.

Lets ram a train into that crossroad of choice eh?

I clear my throat loudly. I feel suddenly as though I’m a bug pinned to a lab slide by the razor sharp gaze of the Student council president.

I can feel my palms begin to sweat. This was not one of my brightest ideas. My brother is the one to do this kind of stupid spur-of-the-moment shit. “Lily” I say eventually, my voice quiet. “We may have a problem with the stall” Lily winces at my statement and I swear I see a spark of vindictive satisfaction flash in Shizunes eyes.

“What kind of problem?” Lily says after a moments pause.

“Ichigo and Tatsuki have gone home. Tastsukis Mum is really unwell. School gave them permission to leave. Don’t know when they’ll be back.”

Out of the corner of my eye I see Mikado translating for Shizune and the new boy heave a relived sigh at the attention being removed from him.

Ok Ayane, step one completed, now to move on to step two. I stride forward into the classroom, knees knocking from the look I’m being given. I feel as though I’m in a nature documentary and I’ve stumbled into a predator’s territory and they do not appreciate my presence here at all.

I ignore all of this and instead focus on the boy in front of me. Dark eyes meet mine and I smile widely, thrusting a hand out in front of me. “Hi!” I say, trying to sound chirpy “Tsukino Ayane, a pleasure to meet you!” The young man takes my hand and shakes it, looking oddly bemused and returns my greeting.

“Nakai Hisao but please just Hisao!”

“Only if you call me Ayane” I fire back, a small smile dancing across my lips. Our eyes meet and for a moment I want to somehow to simply tell him ‘it’ll be all right’

“It’s rude to ignore people Hicchan!” That moment vanishes under the sweet voice of Mikado, who obliterates that moment with all the subtlety of a chainsaw. Still step two accomplished… one more, no two more steps to complete.

I turn to Lily and I can see the subtle signs of frustration skitter across her face. She’d had an argument with Shizune no doubt, probably about the festival, or student rep business and then I’d gone and dumped more bad news on her. Still it’s not like it was exactly my fault that a car had hit Tatsukis Mum. “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news Lily. Please don’t shoot the messenger” I grin weakly, meeting Hisao eye with a grin and a shrug.

“It’s not your fault Ayane” Lily says “But Ichigo and Tatsuki were two of the best options for the chefs on our stall”

Shizune steps in then, with her mouthpiece translating those rapid, dagger like hand signs “So what are you going to do then class rep? Is your stall going to sink or swim?” I can almost taste the smug satisfaction in the signing and I have to prevent a grin from stealing across my face.

“Lily, may I suggest an idea?” I keep my tone even, trying to prevent the confidence out of my voice. Lily gives me a nod in my direction and I turn to face Shizune. My hands begin to sign and I see Mikado falter as I address Shizune directly and aloud for the benefit of Lily and Hisao.

“[I know a thing or two about cooking from my elder brother, I’ve done a fair bit of cooking too]”

[And your point is?] Shizune signs back, far quicker than my own clumsy signing.

“[Arashi knows his way around a kitchen too, so that’s two to cover the food all we need is one more person to cover the till]” I pause and look sideways at Hisao “[and if Hisao agrees to it, he can manage the till, we have Ichigos and Tatsukis shift covered and Hisao does his part for the festival]” I see Hisao frown at this and I mouth a quick ‘sorry’ at him. I was taking a gamble as I had only caught the tail end of the argument.

I could almost see the cogs turning in Shizunes head and I heard a sigh of relief from Lily. “If Nakai and Tsukino agree, it solves the problem entirely and I’ll have your paperwork to you by the end of the day President.” Lilys voice seems to smooth some of the doubt out of Shizunes eyes. She turns to Hisao and raises an eyebrow as if to say ‘Well?’

Hisao thinks for a moment “How long will a shift be?”

“Two hours” Lily says “I believe the shift that you would be covering would be eleven till one pm if I’m not mistaken”

“That’s right” I meet Hisaos eyes again “I’ll double check and get the information to you later if that’s ok” He nods in response and I feel a little guilty about it. “And afterwards, me and Arashi my brother will take you round the festival. Least we can do, am I right bro?” The last part of my sentence is addressed at the young man that has appeared in the doorway of the classroom. I smile at my brother, my fraternal twin and wave at him. I get a sleepy wave back and he yawns silently as he signs [what have you got me into now oh sister dearest?]

“Helping out with our stall at the festival. Two of our chefs bailed due to a family emergency and I’ve roped the new guy Hisao into doing register for us whilst we cook. Then we’ll take him round the festival afterwards”

Arashi blinks sleepily then simply signs [ok, sounds good].

“Feeling better then?” Mikado asks, a wide grin across her face.

[All the better for seeing you and the wonderful Ms Hakamichi. Hi new guy! I’m Arashi, been ill, which is why you haven’t seen me in class] Mikado dutifully translates and my brother shakes hands with Hisao, an easy grin across both boys face.

Fingers’ snapping breaks the atmosphere Shizunes signs imperiously, [however, Hisao must spend some of the evening of the festival with myself and Misha] She smirks after this, a bobcat grin of challenge sparkling in her eyes. For a moment we lock eyes and I have to stop myself from saying something stupid as I can see Hisao is wary of this turn of events.

[Of course, that is acceptable. I’ll need time to redo my hair and put my yukata on after being on shift anyway, so that makes sense] Several things happen after this statement. My brother raises an eyebrow at me in surprise Shizunes grin widens and Hisao seems lost the poor boy.

Maybe I’ve been a bit too forward? Well all steps of my improvised plan have been met now. At any rate Hisao will still have to spend some time with the council but my brother can deflect some of their ‘recruiting efforts’ now he’s better.

“Shall we get to class now Lily? Bells about to go” I say, heading to the door. Lily follows after me, and as we leave to our homeroom, I poke my head back into the classroom “Hisao?” His head jerks up from the desk at my voice “You’re cordially invited to lunch with me and the lug” Arashi rolls his eyes at the last statement and as Hisao agrees, I see Shizune tip a nod in my direction.

Ayane scores one point!

I wave goodbye then head back to class, quickly thumbing out a text as I do so.

Why did I say I’d have a yukuta? I don’t even own one!

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

Lunchtime traffic in the halls is a nightmare and with my own lousy depth perception sometimes avoiding the student body can be tricky if not limb risking. Today is no exception and I step to one side of the corridor and let the sea of students flow past me.

The silence after they leave is almost deafening and I almost jump out of my skin when a hand clamps on my shoulder. Without even turning I know who it is. “Not funny Arashi” I snarl, turning and glowering at my smirking brother. Hisao is behind him, one eyebrow raised in mild amusement. It’s something of a routine with my brother. He delights in catching me unawares and normally at inopportune times the sneak. Arashi bows, presenting two bento boxes to me in a mocking fashion, as if one would present a great gift to a queen. I snort and roll my eyes “It was my turn to cook idiot, guess that means we have four lunches now”

[Isn’t that a good thing then?] Arashi signs at me.

“Yup!” I grin at Hiaso “Feel worthy for you get to taste the Tsukino family brand of cooking!”

He doesn’t seem amused by my proclamation “Are you that good a cook?”

“I think my elder brother Akihiro would be offended if we didn’t have some minor talent at the least” I can see Arashi roll his eyes again and feel a grin tug at my lips “He gave us lessons when we were growing up and we worked in Papas restaurant when we hit fourteen. So… I’d say yes!” I can feel Arashi giving a cheesy thumb up besides me and handing one of the boxes over to Hisao.

I take the remaining box from Arashi and he takes one of mine from my shoulder satchel. “Do you have anywhere you want to eat Hisao?” I ask.

He looks surprised for a moment, almost as if he didn’t expect me to ask his opinion and slowly, almost carefully he states “I… I haven’t seen much of the school” He states neutrally “But I would prefer to not eat in the canteen” He pauses and he grimaces as if he just bit into a particularly sour lemon “It… reminds me of hospital”

An interesting piece of information there. I nod and Arashi signs [Weathers good. We can have lunch outside. Might even run into bleeder]

“What did he say?” Hisao asks, his eyes focused on Arashis rapid hands.

“Suggested we eat outside as the weathers good and that we might run into a friend of ours. Sound good?” Hisao nods and we begin to make our way outside, stopping at the vending machine on the way for drinks.

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

Outside the weather is very nice. Bright clear skies with only a few clouds in sight and there are a few students milling around on the grass. We plonk ourselves down on the grass and for a moment we say nothing, simply enjoying the respite from work.

“Have you got any chopsticks?” Hisao breaks the silence as I route around my bag. I do have a spare set as I’d brought one from brother dearest but he’d brought his own set and one spare for me. He’s ill for a couple of days and we forget our schedule. Oh well, spare lunch never hurt anyone… I think.

There is contented silence as we fill our stomachs. The silence does not last long as I suddenly get nailed in the head by a flying object. It came from my right, my blind side and as I lay mildly stunned on the ground, I can only curse and swear mentally in my head. A hand helps pull me up. It’s Hiasos and his hand is warm and soft and I can feel a flush creeping up my neck as I realise my brother is doing nothing to help as he’s silently laughing himself sick at what happened. “Thanks” I mumble, finding the object that hit me.

It’s a copy of Full Metal Alchemist, dog eared and well read, it’s impromptu flight adding more wear and tear to its general well loved and abused appearance. Wait… I last lent that to. I turn around and nail my gaze on the offender, a boy our age, dressed in his track wear with a stupid grin on his face and a headband holding his hair up.

“Haruhiko” I can see the boy laughing under his hand as he waves a greeting. “YOU PRICK!” I yell “That hurt! Stupid fucking bleeder! Why’d you do that?!”

A laugh “Because I was bored maybe?” He shrugs, hands in pockets now and his eyes narrow as his gaze meets Hiasos. “Oh it’s the FNG,” he says with a lazy grin “What’s up?”

“I was having lunch” there is a terseness in his voice and I can tell he’s not amused by Haruhikos antics. “Ayane and Arashi treated me to one of their bentos”

“First name terms already? I’m wounded Tsukino, why can’t I have that privilege?” He mock swoons a grin never leaving his face.

“Maybe because you’re a massive asshole bleeder, ever think of that?” I fire back waspishly.

“Bleeder? FNG?” I hear Hisao mutter under his breath.

Haruhiko snorts “I’ve got haemophilia and princess there graced me with the name one day after I’d pissed her off and it stuck. FNG means…”

“Freaking new guy” I cut in, my one eye narrowing at Haruhiko. “And he’s Suzumiya Haruhiko, resident of class 3-3, all around pain in the neck and track and field member”

Hisao looks at Haruhiko and then frowns “Suzumiya… Haruhiko?” I can see Hisao fighting back a guffaw of laughter as a dark look crosses Bleeders face. “As in?”

“Yes I am named very similarly to a particular anime related character. I have no idea what my parents were smoking when they named me and yes it still haunts me to this day and no I do not believe in espers, ghosts or anything else even remotely similar.” He huffs in frustration and then grunts as I lob a bento box at him. “Thanks?” he says looking down in puzzlement.

“We had a spare. Enjoy it but gimmie the box back when you’re done.”

“Uh… how’d you?”

“You’re in your track gear. Practice?”

A grin crosses Haruhikos face as he jogs off, voice drifting back to us “Yeah, thanks for the lunch dorks! I’ll give FNG the box tomorrow in class!”

And with that, he swans off into the school.

“Is he always like that?” Hisao asks eventually, his empty bento at his side.

[Mostly] my brother signs [But he’s generally a good friend, he just has an odd streak to him and he can’t resist riling up Ayane]

I translate this to Hisao and another frown swims into view. “Can I ask what’s wrong with…” he trails off and grimaces “sorry I’m still getting used to…” He sighs heavily and I pat his shoulder.

“It’s alright, I understand, took me some time to get used to here as well” My tone is soft, even and I feel some of the tenseness leave Hisao. “You ok with telling him?” I ask.

[It’s fairly obvious what’s wrong with me] Arashi signs with an eye roll. I frown at him and he relents pulling a mini white board from his own bag and a marker pen. He scribbles on it briefly and then shows it to Hisao. I don’t even need to look at the board, as I know what it will say. My brother is mute, has always been mute from birth as he was born without his vocal cords. He can hear perfectly well and prefers to communicate either through sign or his white board. My hand is still on Hisaos shoulder and I can feel the tenseness leave him further.

“Nakai. Hisao Nakai. Pleased to meet you” The boys shake hands again and a massive grin, teeth and all flashes onto Arashis mouth as he scribbles.

[Tsukino Arashi, pleased to meet you too! : )] He even drew a damn smiley on the board. I roll my eyes at the ‘male bonding’ and then I hear my phone go off, the first few bars of ‘Kishi Ou No Hokori’ blaring from my phone.

I flush as I scramble to retrieve my phone from the depths of my bag, as I see Hisao cock an ear as if the tune is familiar. I already know who’s on the other end of the phone as only one person on my contact list has that song as their ring tone. “Hi big sis saber” I say a grin upon my lips. A ‘humph’ comes from the other end of the line and I see recognition dawn in Hisaos eyes. Oh gods please don’t let him think I’m some crazy otaku, please!

“Refer to me by my proper name Ayane, or I will not help you” My sisters voice is steely over the phone and I can literally hear her teeth grind in frustration. She hates the nickname, but honestly her resemblance to the character is uncanny.

“Sorry Akiho, I’ll behave” I say contritely. I do need her help and it would be best to not piss her off.

“Better” she says, voice becoming gentler. I see my brother distract Hisao slightly as he gets the feeling this is a private conversation and bless him he draws Hisao into a conversation via whiteboard about the school. “I got your text. A yukuta? It’s very unlike you to dress like that”

I can feel another blush coming onto my cheeks. Damn it. How the tables have turned on me! “Uh… yeah. I… look there’s a boy and –“

“A boy?”

I can hear the incredulous tone in Akihos voice “Yes… and I said I’d show him round the festival on Sunday and…” I drop my voice to a whisper and shuffle away slightly from the boys “He’s a new transfer and…” I sigh “He looks so damn sad sis. He reminds me…”

“Of you?” Akiho sighs and I swear I can hear her biting her lip “I can understand you wanting to help but a yukuta is so out of character for you”

“I want to one up Shizune too” I confess finally “She’s trying to sink her claws into Hisao and well…”

“You want to help your brother out. Does he know?”

“No and I’d prefer it be kept that way. I don’t think he’s even realized it yet” A noise of agreement comes from the other end of the phone “And… well, he is kinda cute”

That elicits a small giggle from my sister “So not entirely pure motives then hmmm?”

“I want him to be a friend first and foremost, then we’ll see if and only if anything happens. I’m not sure… I’m not sure I can be anything more, not sure if I can feel that way anymore”

There is a hiss of in taken breath from my sister. “It’s been nearly two years now Ayane. Have you…” her voice trails off limply.

“Not since the funeral” I say softly, feeling tears prick at the corners of my eye. “I…” My voice cracks and I can feel two sets of eyes boring into my back.

Akiho sighs and decides retreat is the better form of valor today “I’ll see you Saturday after class then. We’ll go into town and we’ll have a girly afternoon and sort a yukuta out for you”

“Can we swing by the normal place as well? I want some new titles for my collection” I admit.

Akiho laughs, “Only if we go by bike”

“Deal”

“Then I’ll see you after class on Saturday” She says softly, her voice warm and smooth like fresh honey.

“See you then. Bye big sis saber” A final sigh from Akiho and the call disconnects.

I can feel my brother staring at me. He knows part of the discussion and I can feel his worry resonate in the air. Hisao looks concerned too and the pair of them in an odd synchronicity asks:

[Are you alright?]

“Are you alright?”

I smile and wipe my eye with a tissue. I can see Hisao looking at the edges of my eye patch, hidden mostly by my dyed lock of hair. I raise the lock of hair and the eye patch and I can see it takes all of Hisaos will to not recoil.

I know it’s not a pretty sight to behold. There’s minimal visible scarring around my eye but the eye itself has no visible pupil. There is simply a murky, glassy looking iris and bloodshot sclera. I have dark, dark eyes and the effect I’m told can be quite disconcerting to those new to seeing it. “One of the reasons I’m here” I say softly. I feel a pair of hands grab mine. I expect my brother but instead it’s Hisao.

“Would it be…” He trails off and sighs “sorry”

“Don’t apologize” I say softly “It’s only human nature. If the festival goes well you may have earned some of my secrets” I give Hisao a playful wink with my good eye and he smiles softly. “Did you enjoy lunch?”

His smile widens and I feel as though it’s the sun beginning to poke through the clouds of the storm going on in Hisaos heart. “You two are pretty good cooks. I think your elder brother would be proud”
[Not if he had anything to say about it. He’d probably call it an offense against all that is good food] Arashi signs sardonically, hands lazy, belly full of food, fat and content like a lazy housecat ready for a nap.

“Well I would defend your culinary skills” Hisao says suddenly and I can’t help it. I burst into laughter, the face of my elder brother cursing and swearing through a cloud of cigarette smoke at Hisao is too funny an image and I’m haplessly reduced to incoherent giggles for the rest of the lunch break, two clueless boys shrugging in unison at the mystery of the opposite gender.

If I could freeze this moment in time and frame it I think I would.

Maybe I should improvise more often.

End scene 1
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:11 pm, edited 45 times in total.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by CloudGrain » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:28 pm

Your writing style really translates very well into something similar to Katawa Shoujo's, and makes it that much more interesting to read as an offshoot of sorts. Despite what you said on your thread on Reddit, I don't see any major jump-in-your-face grammatical mistakes that detract from the story's merits. That being said, the only thing that comes to my mind besides being interested in reading more of it in the future would be the slight variance in descriptiveness. Your first segment, with the interaction between Lilly, Shizune, Hisao, and Ayane seemed to capture a lot between all of the characters; whereas the transition and content of the other segments seem just a little bit more rushed.

Of course, this might just be a bit of my own personal taste when it comes to reading. I'm of the rarer opinion that one can hardly ever overdo description while most do value story-progression somewhat more. Either way, hope to continue reading some updates to this story as it progresses! Great concepts, plausible and interesting characters, and an overall promise of some decent quality stuff to come.
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Zykes
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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by Zykes » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:57 pm

Just a common about length and such, You are about 4000 words and you used about 320 lines for your whole post. (If you are curious about that.)

Anyways

For the most part the writing is good, though some issues with grammer and punctuation, but I hadn't noticed enough to merit very heavy concern.

As for the story itself..

the only thing that stands out to me as odd is how quick things seem to come up to her and Hisao connecting or the want to connect. It takes the main girls weeks to months to build that kind of connection or desire to have that kind of connection.
"I look down as I step forward, passing by all those that stare, and hold fear in my heart. I stop and look up, I realize I am not afraid of what others think of me. I am afraid of of what I think of myself."

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by brythain » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:08 am

I enjoyed this piece. The characters are very alive, although your Act 1 seems to be progressing a tad too quickly. But that's all up to you. You do need an editor, but I'm sure someone like Mirage_GSM will come along and make it good. The community here is pretty helpful, really. All the best!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 10:00 am

Seems pretty enjoyable so far. Not a huge fan of using words like "otaku"(I'm not an anime fan so I had to look that up), and the relationship with Hisao did seem a little rushed, but besides that it seemed solid.
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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:27 am

You do need an editor, but I'm sure someone like Mirage_GSM will come along and make it good.
Well, there was nothing about grammar or spelling I really feel the need to point out. I agree about the pacing being a bit fast, though.

The only other thing was that calling out the similarity of Haruhiko's name to the anime character sort of kills the joke. And at the time he received that name, the LN hadn't even been written yet, so his parents should be blameless.
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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by TheTealeaf » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:54 pm

First, thank you for all the kind words. I'm very flattered. I was sure that there were going to be some very major errors!

The concerns about speed. Yeah I should probably re-write those sections to be a little clearer. Ayane at the moment recognises someone who feels very, very lost in Hisao and simply wants to help him out and she dislikes Shiunes pushy attitude to some extent (Although Ayane can be just as guilty of that) She also has an ulterior motive as she believes that Arashi fancies one of the pair and she's trying to do a little bit of match making.
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Seems pretty enjoyable so far. Not a huge fan of using words like "otaku"(I'm not an anime fan so I had to look that up).
Hmmm should I use something more universal then? Simply refer to her hobby as nerdy or geeky?

As for the name joke... that's me. I often miss jokes ><

So that post wasn't too large? I thought there was a 100 line limit or something like that.

I'm ahead of schedule too, so Scene 2 may be up today! :D

(And does the name of the route sound ok?) Still debating route names!
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:04 pm

TheTealeaf wrote:
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Seems pretty enjoyable so far. Not a huge fan of using words like "otaku"(I'm not an anime fan so I had to look that up).
Hmmm should I use something more universal then? Simply refer to her hobby as nerdy or geeky?
I would appreciate it. Kinda takes me out of the flow of the story when I don't know what a word means. Same thing goes for her name for Hisao's hair thing.

TheTealeaf wrote:So that post wasn't too large? I thought there was a 100 line limit or something like that.
Nope. It was just fine. I've read longer posts.
TheTealeaf wrote:I'm ahead of schedule too, so Scene 2 may be up today! :D
Looking forward to it!
TheTealeaf wrote:(And does the name of the route sound ok?) Still debating route names!
I don't have a problem with the name, but I'm pretty easy to please in that regard.
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Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

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Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by TheTealeaf » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:08 pm

Authors notes: And so here we are Scene 2, well ahead of schedule. I'm not happy about the scene in the pool, it feels a little off. This scene sets a few breadcrumbs down for future plot points so pay attention! Bonus cookie for those that spot the song reference.

Scene 2

Walk on the wild side

I don’t see much of Hisao for the next two days. From the lone text I got from my brother (Whom I haven’t seen much of either) I gathered that the student council were still trying to recruit him and were keeping him busy. Fortunately my brother was keeping some of the heat off of Hisao and was being ‘the male presence’ in Hisaos remarkably girl filled school life.

Seriously, I’d heard he’d been seen running with Emi, tea with class rep Lilly, painting with the oddball Tezuka and someone had even spotted him having a conversation with Hanako in the library. I was a bit bemused about the whole thing as even with all these presences, Shizune and Shiina were still trying to be his biggest influences at school. I know the council really is short on members but man they must really want new blood. I thought after my brother had indebted himself to Shizune (the idiot) that they had all the bodies they wanted. I guess not.

Still it is now Saturday, a glorious half day. I can feel myself drifting off in the muggy classroom as my English teacher drones on. She’s not into the lesson at all, due to the heat and her pregnancy she’s not feeling the best and it shows on her face. The class can tell that she’s not bothered by our lack of attention and most of the class have either drifted off into la-la land, on their phones or doing homework.

English is easily one of my best subjects, so I’m not too bothered. I rest my head on the desk and wait for the bell to go. After that it’ll take about an hour, hour and a half for sister to get here. I’ll probably kill some time with some manga or possibly a swim and grab a bite to eat before meeting sister at the front gate. She’ll be on her bike so I make a mental note to not put a skirt on. My thoughts drift about lazily as I vaguely register the other members of the class.

They all look as bored and listless as I feel. I try to stifle a yawn and the teacher drones on, her voice droning on like an annoying insect around my ear. She’s reading Oliver Twist to us and whilst I would normally be interested, today I’m not and no-one else is either. Seriously this heat is oppressive.

I sit right in the back right corner of the class, as it gives me the best view of the class and I don’t have any immediate blind spots either. Makes me feel safe.

My one good eye focuses on my only female friend, Fujiko and on lazy, lazy days like this she can be a godsend in the distraction department.

Today however she is away with the fairies in dreamland. I think she might even be snoring.

Yes, yes she is snoring. Fujiko you bore! Distract me! I scrunch up a piece of paper and lob it at her head. I score a direct hit and she snorts and stirs and groggily looks at me though sleep filled eyes. She muter and mumbles something that sounds oddly like ‘Murgle’.

I hide a giggle behind my hand as she drags herself up from slumber. Fujiko is a delicate waif of a girl, looks like a good breeze would blow her away with her porcelain looking skin and crystal like blue eyes framed by brunette hair.

She’s here due to something she was born with. I believe it's called Goldenhar syndrome. Whereas I have no vision on my right, the left side of Fujikos face, her eye and ear in particular, never really developed, meaning she's deaf in one ear and blind in one eye and her whole face has a 'droop' on her left side. She's a lovely girl doesn't have a bad bone in her body.

“What do you want Ayane?” She yawns, mouth opening wide, like a cavernous beast.

“Bored. Heats a killer too” I reply, shrugging my shoulders. We’re conversing quietly and teacher hasn’t noticed but we’re still keeping the conversation low key.

Fujiko glances at the clock “Only ten minutes left of class dear, can’t you keep yourself entertained?”

I gesture at the rest of class with a small movement “Everyone’s feeling lazy Fuji, you were snoring a few moments ago!” A smirk twitches at one corner of my mouth and I see a light flush creep up Fujikos neck.

“A lady does not snore!” She insists, crossing her arms in a huff.

“Good thing you’re not a lady then eh?” I jab at her, grinning as she splutters at my retort.

“Excuse me Ayane? Who’s the one here that only owns two skirts and the rest are all boys’ clothes? You even have a couple of pairs of waist coats!” Her friendly rejoinder commences the good-natured bickering.

I roll my eyes “Sure, sure, what ever you say princess” I say with a laconic drawl an a shoulder shrug “It’s comfortable, so sue me”

“Heathen”

“Spoiled brat”

“Yankee hair dyer” That one makes an eyebrow rise.

“And how long have you been wanting to use that one?” I ask finally a wry grin settling on my lips.

Fujiko grins, her perfect pearly whites gleaming “A while” She admits. “You aren’t a delinquent though my dear Ayane, just a tomboy and a nerd with a book and anime fetish”

I mock swoon in my chair and I see teacher shoot me a glance over the edge of her book “Your words wound me so my dear Fujiko”

A not so delicate snort erupts from her “I highly doubt I’ve wounded you, after all it is the truth.” She leans a little nearer to me, scooting over on her chair and her voice drops to an even quieter whisper. “Just as a heads up Ayane, music club has a new president and he wants to head hunt you for lead –“

“NO” My voice is loud, too loud and it cuts Fujikos sentence off like a butchers cleaver swinging through a piece of meat and heads swivel in our direction at my outburst. Fujikos baby blue eyes widen as I feel an angry snarl bubble up unbidden from my chest “No. You tell whoever this idiot is Fujiko that the answer is no. Not ever. That chapter of my life is over and I am never, ever re-opening it again. It died with my father”

The room is suddenly too small, too tight; too warm and I can feel my head throbbing. Eyes are focused on me and I can see concerned, worried; pitying eyes playing over me like lasers. I sag, feeling like a deflating balloon all of a sudden. “I…” my voice echoes in breathless, muggy silence. I say nothing more; I simply pick my bag up and stride from the classroom. Ms Miyagi does nothing to stop me leaving and I slam the door opening, the noise cannoning around the corridors outside as my temper bubbles to a screeching, screaming boiling point.

“SON OF A BITCH!” The explosive outburst cools my ire a little and I swiftly march down the corridor. My dorm room calls to me with its siren call of safety and hiding and locked doors. Once I cool off further I’ll apologise to Fujiko. It wasn’t her fault but she prodded a delicate point on me and she unfairly earned my wrath.

My thoughts turn in turmoil over and over, until I suddenly realise I’m at my door. My sanctuary opens and I quickly secrete myself in my room and lock my door behind me. My phone buzzes twice rapidly and I narrow my eyes. It buzzes again.

Three texts. Fujiko, Arashi and Akiho are the senders. I check Arashis first.

“Heard you stormed out of class, are you ok sis?” I ignore his text. I don’t need hand-holding Arashi.

I check Akihos next.“Just left work, will be with you in an hour and a half if traffic holds”

Fujikos simply reads, “I’m so sorry” My heart gives a funny lurch in my chest. I’m sorry Fuji… I close my eyes. For the moment my head is spinning too much, my heart aching like a swift, sharp tug has been given on my heartstrings. For a moment I can smell my papas cologne, cinnamon and leather filling my nostrils with its phantom scent.

I slam that memory shut with a brutal wrench and rest my head against the cool wall, breathing slowly. No Ayane, do not go there. Papa is dead and buried keep him that way. No memories, no hallucinations or daydreaming.

I focus on keep my breathing even. I need something to distract me. My eyes skim over my selection of books, manga and light novels. The Dresden Files won’t distract me now, nor will anything that I own reading wise. I walk to my closet and pick out my swim gear. A swim for an hour will clear my head and stop my thoughts chasing tails like over eager puppies.
-------------------------------------------------------------
The pool is exactly what I needed. The scent of chlorine clears my nose and I breathe in deep, relishing the cleaning of my nasal passages.
It’s a lovely pool, deep and clear and today set at a lovely temperature. It’s just got that chill on my skin, briskness that adds an extra ‘pep’ to my motions and it also helps that it’s totally deserted at the moment.

I swim laps brutally for close to twenty minutes before my arms and legs start complaining. I rest in the deep end, treading water slowly, my nostrils just above water level. I’m tired and I can feel my muscles aching as I laze in the cool water. Footsteps echo in the cathedral like silence as someone enters the area. My good eye focuses on the intruder and I feel confusion ratchet across my brow as I regard the interloper. “Haruhiko?” My voice echoes and the confused tone is as plain as a bell in my voice.

He approaches me and squats down near me, still in uniform. He says nothing for what feels like a long, long moment. He reaches out a hand and I think he’s going to ruffle my wet hair and I move away from his touch. A hurt expression flickers across his eyes like storm clouds. “You ok?” he says finally, still squatting by the edge of the pool.

I shake my head slowly in the water, mouth hidden under water once more. “Want to talk about it?” He asks slowly, as if I’m some skittish animal liable to twitch and run at any moment. I’m not that waif Hanako, Haruhiko I think bitterly and immediately regret such a vicious thought.

I shake my head again and say nothing, simply regarding Haruhiko with both my eyes. He takes a deep breath, as if steeling himself for something. “Would you talk to Nakai about it?” His voice is bitter, like a dark coffee and I feel my hackles rise at his tone.

“I don’t know” I say quietly and the admission makes Haruhiko flinch.

Haruhiko pleads with his eyes and his voice “Why not me?”

I can’t meet his gaze and look away from him. First time someone’s ever beaten me in a stare down. “I’m not sure I can talk to anyone Haruhiko”

“I can help” His intentness to help is beginning to grate on my nerves that I had just recovered.

He opens his mouth to speak again and I cut him off. “Please… Just don’t Haruhiko. Don’t. Don’t push me on this or we will both end up saying things that we regret.” There is silence and my last weak plea echoes faintly.

I watch Haruhiko walk away from me, and I begin to swim like a woman possessed again, until my limbs are jelly and weakly, feebly drag myself from the pool and towel myself off.

Dammit Haruhiko, I know you want to help and I have an inkling of what you want from me but I don’t think I can give anyone that. I can be your friend Haruhiko but not your lover.
---------------------------------------
I’m thankful to be out of my school uniform in this heat, my cotton clothing is lovely in the sun. The gate behind me makes me muse for a moment. You can checkout any time you like but you can never leave. My mouth twists into a dark smirk. Not entirely true you leave the place physically when you graduate but does a place like Yamaku Academy ever really leave you?

A rumbling in the distance, like an old predator that time forgot, interrupts my ramblings. That would be Akiho and her mammoth bike. She adores that death trap of a machine ever since she brought it. The bike comes up over the hill, gunmetal chrome gleaming sinisterly in the midday sun.

She pulls up to me and I can feel the questioning looks from other students near me. She dismounts expertly cutting a quite a figure in her form hugging jeans, mans white shirt and her leather jacket, pulling her helmet off and shaking her blond ponytail free, her green eyes gleaming from adrenaline and the rush of her bike as she grabs me in a firm hug.

“Ready for this little sister?” She jokes, her breath tickling my ear.

I laugh and return the hug “Look who’s talking, I’m taller than you, have been for a while now!” She laughs in return and moves back from me, opening up a hidden compartment on her bike and handing me a silver helmet and a jacket in my size.

We remount the bike and she pulls away from the school, the world muffled by my helmet. Akiho is a speed maniac on this bike and as I grip tightly on her, I feel a scream burst from me as she kicks the bike into high gear and careens down the road into the city.

At least… if we survive the trip.
----------------------------------
Twenty hair raising minutes later and three pissed off car drivers later, we reach town, my heart going about a bazillion miles per hour as I idly wonder if Hisao would enjoy a bike ride with my sister.

We dismount the bike and stash our helmets as my legs feel like they’re made from spaghetti as we walk into the shopping area in town.

“I have some news for you Ayane” Akiho says suddenly. “Akihiro has opened a restaurant here in the city, so you may be seeing more of him in the future at Yamaku”

I process that sentence for a moment as we wind our way through the hustle and bustle of humanity in the city. The thought of my sweary, smoky and gangly brother showing up at school makes me crack a grin. He’d probably scare some poor student witless and give them a heart attack in a cloud of nicotine vapours. I cackle slightly at the thought as it tweaks my slightly morbid sense of humour.

“His own place or one of the chain?” I ask finally, when the crowds subside somewhat, Akiho leading me down a side street.

“It’s… one of the chain, but he’s the boss for it, with the caveat that if it does well, he can go independent” Akiho says finally, her eyes darting over shop signs. “Here” she says suddenly, dragging me down another side road.

It’s a gaudy looking shop, with yakutas in the window on mannequins, in various poses and styles. Some of the colours make my eye hurt. The owner, a lovely looking and curved lady seems to know my sister as they seem to be discussing a previous order. Akiho has ordered from here before. I wonder what occasion the yukuta was for. A date?

I can’t help myself and burst into laughter and feel two surprised looks. “Sorry just had a funny thought,” I confess, grinning sheepishly.

“About?” My sister inquires, her head tilted to one side slightly.

I’m probably going to get a smack for my next comment but at the same time, I cannot help myself. “Wondering if your yukuta was for a date” and to my eternal surprise, a light blush appears on my dear sisters cheeks and I feel my jaw drop in surprise.

A stunned silence falls upon us for a moment, before the shopkeeper spins me away for a fitting and away from interrogating my sister. It’s a whirlwind of discussion on colour choices, bow choices, fitting and styles and I can feel my head spinning until I eventually say, “Look, I know very little about yukutas. You’re the expert do as you see fit. I’m at your mercy”

What follows next passes in a rapid blur as an almost sinister grin lights the shopkeeper and my sisters face.

Finally the torture stops and I’m dressed in a yukuta for the first time in years. It’s a light forest green, with a spiralling pattern of bursting fireworks, with a crimson obi to tie it all together. During my final fitting Akiho went and organised some accessories for me and finally, after everything was paid for and packed we could leave…

Back via the death trap motorcycle of course…
--------------------------------------------------------------
We don’t head back to school straight away. We stop off at the Shanghai on the way and after being greeted by a flustered Yuuko we’re sat and order some food.

I nibble lightly on a slice of lemon meringue and sip a milkshake, whilst my sister daintily eats a slice of chocolate cake and drinks a coffee. There is a soft, familial silence as we slowly eat and drink our respective meals.

Akiho breaks the silence. “Arashi texted me whilst we were out” she says softly, green gaze meeting my dark eyes. I say nothing and slowly keep eating. A tick forms above one eyebrow as Akiho struggles to keep her temper “I understand you had an outburst in class” she says finally, finishing her cake with a final, savage bite.

I say nothing again.

Akiho sighs and her hands reach for mine and she entwines her strong fingers with mine. “I know that it is hard. I know that you miss father but you cannot lash out at your classmates like that. I know that you are hurting sister but consider Akihiro and me. We have lost both our parents and I do not consider that…” She pauses as if she’s bitten into something sour “Thing” she finally spits out “as any member of our family”

“I’ve never considered her my mother either,” I say softly, squeezing Akihos hands. “I owe Fujiko an apology, I know that but…” I let out a breath. “My life is my own sister. I know that both you and Akihiro have lost both mama and papa but what happened” I feel a sob coming and I choke it down. “Can we change the subject please?”

Akiho weighs me carefully in her eyes, calculating and measuring behind her glasses. She nods once in acquiescence and slips me a business card of some kind and it slips into my pocket.

The rest of the meal passes in silence and the ride back to the school gate is as quiet as the grave.

End Scene 2

Enjoy! (Not sure how to link like the next thing I've seen on other routes! Will figure that out later!)
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 5:37 pm

In Japan the teachers change classes, not the students, so her friend would be in all her classes.
Anyways, the only real complaint I have is more of a personnel preference of mine. Characters that say things like(I'm not sure I can ever love again) annoy me. I also don't like it when character's refuse to talk about things or accept help. Is it realistic? Sure. It's just something that's always gotten on my nerves. Not saying it's enough for me to stop reading, because its not, but it is annoying.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by CloudGrain » Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:12 pm

I'm enjoying the fleshing out of your characters somewhat, wishing that it went into even deeper detail to give myself and other readers even more insight into the original character's you've created. Still; it makes sense to have things revealed more and more over time as you lay out that breadcrumb trail for us to follow.

Pacing still seems to be a bit odd in places; I don't see the need for separation of some segments from other much longer segments. It'd flow much better in my own mind to have a single continuous event rather than small 'skips' between them. Once again, a personal preference for me myself and I rather than something I could concretely point out as being objectively a problem rather than a style-preference. Still, the disjointedness of sorts does seem to clash with your natural writing style, the suddenness from which Ayane goes from cold to perfectly content in contrast to the obvious and fairly extreme, but explained, rage earlier. Just my two cents.

Regardless, impressed with the speed of your wordsmithing here, hope that the breadcrumbs you're leaving to a further and deeper story will indeed return exactly what they seem to promise. Keep it up!
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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Sep 15, 2014 8:06 pm

Good second chapter.

The canonical English teacher of class 3-2 is Miss Miyagi, and you might want to drop a reason why a girl with a middle-ear problem is in the class for the vision-impaired somewhere in the next few chapters.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by LilyKitsune » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:36 am

Just a note, Lilly Satou has two Ls together. They are both common names (mine has one L!) But hers is the "double L" kind.

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by TheTealeaf » Tue Sep 16, 2014 12:25 pm

HI all, thank you so much for the feedback so far!
AntonSlavik020 wrote:In Japan the teachers change classes, not the students, so her friend would be in all her classes.
Anyways, the only real complaint I have is more of a personnel preference of mine. Characters that say things like(I'm not sure I can ever love again) annoy me. I also don't like it when character's refuse to talk about things or accept help. Is it realistic? Sure. It's just something that's always gotten on my nerves. Not saying it's enough for me to stop reading, because its not, but it is annoying.
Anton: Don't worry that is going to be addressed soon, Early Act 2. I'll say it involves a scene with Ayane and her older brother and leave it at that. Thank you for your kind words so far though! Also fixed the class thing, still in British teacher mindset :lol:
CloudGrain wrote:I'm enjoying the fleshing out of your characters somewhat, wishing that it went into even deeper detail to give myself and other readers even more insight into the original character's you've created. Still; it makes sense to have things revealed more and more over time as you lay out that breadcrumb trail for us to follow.

Pacing still seems to be a bit odd in places; I don't see the need for separation of some segments from other much longer segments. It'd flow much better in my own mind to have a single continuous event rather than small 'skips' between them. Once again, a personal preference for me myself and I rather than something I could concretely point out as being objectively a problem rather than a style-preference. Still, the disjointedness of sorts does seem to clash with your natural writing style, the suddenness from which Ayane goes from cold to perfectly content in contrast to the obvious and fairly extreme, but explained, rage earlier. Just my two cents.

Regardless, impressed with the speed of your wordsmithing here, hope that the breadcrumbs you're leaving to a further and deeper story will indeed return exactly what they seem to promise. Keep it up!
Yay breadcrumbs! I think that it's better to show characters piecemeal as they develop and you'll get some more detail soon, the older brother gets some more fleshing out in Act 2 as he's not around until then. As for the breaks, that is an old habit from my FF.net days... better to leave the breaks out then?

Ayane is a bit flip-floppy but she likes to try and present a calm front to her family, when in reality she's like a pot boiling on the stove with a lid on!

I'm just glad people are enjoying my random words!
Mirage_GSM wrote:Good second chapter.

The canonical English teacher of class 3-2 is Miss Miyagi, and you might want to drop a reason why a girl with a middle-ear problem is in the class for the vision-impaired somewhere in the next few chapters.
Fixed and fujiko has been ret-conned. She now has 'Goldenhar' Syndrome. I work with a child that suffers from it so I know what it's like. Teacher fixed as well! Thank you for the heads up!

The lilly spelling is fixed too... this is why I need a beta reader.

Scene 3 should be up tonight as all my planning is done for tomorrow so I have the evening free!
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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Re: Learning the blues (HisaoxOC route) (working title)

Post by TheTealeaf » Tue Sep 16, 2014 4:50 pm

Act 3! Just shy of 3k words. Most of my chapters seem to be around the 3-4k mark hoping to have some hit 6k.

This here: http://rwby.wikia.com/wiki/Neopolitan/I ... urtsey.png is my mental image of Ayane in her casual wear (Minus the umbrella)

There may be mistakes, even though I've read through 3 or 4 times. But with that said... let us begin!

Act 1: Slow recovery

Scene 3

Fever dreams

When I reach the girls dorm, I feel so drained of everything, physically, emotionally and mentally. All I want is a book and bed, in that order so I can be ready for the festival tomorrow.

Arashi is probably going to be pissed at me but I’ll deal with that when the time comes. I’m a big girl I can handle myself. I feel a snort bubble up from me, as I know that there are some days when I’m a blubbering wreck and I do need help.

Ah well, pride cometh before the fall. I know what I’m doing is unhealthy in the extreme but my stupid sense of pride stops me from admitting to those that care about me, that yes I am afraid of facing my memories from that day and that those fears have stopped me, still stop me from doing what I used to and still do love.

My private musings are cut short by a slight figure on the dorm steps. It’s Fujiko. She’s trembling in the cool evening air and she’s cutting it close to curfew. I wonder how long she’s been here, waiting for me. I feel my shoulders droop further.

I don’t deserve a friend like Fujiko. I really, really don’t deserve her. She spots me and I see her tear streaked face wobble into a smile. I feel as if I’ve just kicked a puppy. “Fuji…” My voice trails off into the cool, crisp evening air. I say nothing further and simply open my arms and she rockets into my open arms, her frailty, hiding impressive hug strength.

I can feel hot wetness soak through my thin t-shirt and my heart clenches further. Ayane you can be such a bitch sometimes, I scold myself. I close the hug and hold the shorter girl close, the shopping dropping to the floor as I bury my face in Fujikos lustrous hair. “I’m so, so sorry Fuji” I mumble into her hair. I feel her hiccup through the hug and feel my heart twinge further. “You didn’t deserve that Fuji and you didn’t deserve me ignoring you like that. Sorry doesn’t cut it I think,” I say softly, making sure my words are heard on her good side.

Fists clench into my shirt “It’s ok” she mutters, “I’ve just never seen you that angry before. You scared me Ayane” she admits, her good eye meeting mine.

Guilt slams me over the head like a bludgeon. I scared her? I must’ve cut quite the sight in class. Shit, I should probably apologise to teacher too. “I don’t know why you hang around with such a bitch like me Fuji”

She pulls back from the hug and giggles, wiping her eyes “You’re not a bitch, Aya” Aya, haven’t heard that one in a while. “You’re my friend” Fujiko continues, her voice growing more certain “You might be a big nerd, dress terribly, swear too much, scare people witless sometimes and be a little rough around the edges but you’re Tsukino Ayane, my friend who during first year gave me a hug, fed me lunch till I was fit to burst, took me to the masquerade ball your family hosts every year, took me on my first double date and helped me find the confidence I wouldn’t have had in me otherwise!” Her voice rose to crescendo and I felt my jaw drop.

“I’m not that nice Fujiko” I say, embarrassed to meet her gaze. “I’m a terrible friend and sister”

Fujiko laughs suddenly and it sounds like wind chimes in the night. “Arashi adores you Ayane. He’d move heaven and earth for you and I’d know you’d do the same for him and for me. You’re my friend Aya and a little spat isn’t going to stop it. I know you’ve got your reasons and your baggage but it doesn’t matter to me. I’m your friend and that’s what counts”

You silly, naïve, beautiful slip of a girl. “You’re too forgiving Fujiko” I smile through tears. “I feel blessed by you sometimes Fuji” She hugs me again and I press a kiss into her hair. She pulls back, giggling and then notices the bags.

I move to slow to stop her and she snatches the bags away from me off the floor and begins to nose in them. I see her jaw drop as realization dawns onto the bags contents. I can hear the sheer incredulousness in her voice “Aya… is that a yukuta and obi?”

My silence answers the question as she stares at me. “No way!” She says, clapping her hands together in child-like glee. “Why? I’ve never seen you in a yukuta!”

I can feel a flush creeping up my neck and I shuffle my feet, like a child caught in the cookie jar. “It’s for the festival” I say eventually, hoping my game face is enough.

“I knew it was for the festival dummy” Fujiko retorts, her eyes gleaming. “Any reason why?”

I resign myself to my fate. “I’m showing the new guy round the festival after my shift on the stall and after he’s spent some time with Hakamichi” Fujikos eyes go saucer like and I hastily raise my hand to cut her off “It’s not…” I sigh and drop my head. Fuji isn’t listening to me anymore.

I swear to all that’s holy that she actually says “Squeee” Or a noise close to it. She grabs me by my hand and drags me into the dorm and up to her room, talking at a million miles per hour, the only sentence I manage to catch during the rush is “You mean Nakai is the new guy right, right? He’s cute and with that adorable hair! Oh Aya you should’ve said something sooner!”

The whirlwind that is Fujiko Jakuzure does not stop until I’m sat down in her soft animal filled room, ice cream in hand with spoons and my yukuta being analysed by her focused stare.

I feel a little as though the rug has been pulled from under my feet. Fujiko for all her frailness, general awkwardness and shyness, is a sucker for romance. She’s probably already day dreaming about me going on a date with Hisao…

Pfffft, as if that is ever going to happen. Oops. Must’ve made that noise aloud as she’s regarding me very intently now. “You do know how to put on a yukuta, right?”

“Um…”

Fujiko’s eyebrows shoot up to somewhere near her hairline. “When does your shift finish?” she asks, hands on hips.

I blink rapidly, slightly stunned by the rapid change of subject. “One pm –“

I don’t even get the chance to ask why as Fujiko nods and hurries over to her desk and starts sorting stuff into what looks like a bathroom bag. She flings it at me and I catch it, slightly bemused. “Take that back to your room later. I have early shift, so I finish at eleven. When you’ve finished your shift, knock on my room and I’ll help you get ready. Keep that bag safe Ayane!” I nod, slightly off kilter at this rare side of Fujiko. I can count the amount of times I’ve seen her like this on one hand, so I enjoy it whilst I can. She bustles around for a few more moments sorting what looks like some kind of soap or shampoo into another bag and that gets placed with the first bag she gave me.

She then sits down and serves herself some ice cream and leans on my shoulder. “Make sure you hang your yukuta up,” She says softly, munching on her ice cream. “Want to watch a movie?” she asks softly after we’ve polished the bowls off.

“Sure” I respond lazily “You choose” Fujiko scrambles over to her collection and picks something out at random. I can’t see what she’s picked but I’m not overly concerned. No wait, it’s Fujiko, for all her fluffy décor in her room she’s a die-hard horror fan. I wait as she turns the DVD player on and her television and as I see the movie begin I stifle a groan.

Alien.

Joy. Is there a pillow I can hide behind somewhere? Or a stuffed animal I can offer up as a sacrifice?

Four hours later I beg off from seeing the fourth in the series and make my excuses to get to bed, which is a short way down the hall. There are goose bumps on my forearms that have nothing to do with the cold. I glance at the clock. It’s late, well past my scheduled bed rest and I do normally stick to my routine.

Not tonight though. Sorry Nurse but I need some good literature to get the images of xenomorphs out of my skull. Thanks Fujiko for potentially giving me nightmares. I browse my shelves before finally deciding on one of my new gifts from my older brother, book eight of the Dresden files: Proven Guilty.

I change into my sleep wear and then settle down on my cosy bed and proceed to lose myself in the world of Harry Dresden, wizard and detective in Chicago.

I don’t know what time I drift off to sleep.

Rarely, I have rather vivid dreams. Tonight appears to be one of those nights. I’m sitting in an old playhouse, empty seats surrounding me on all sides, like old gnarly sentinels of the abandoned stage.

It’s dark and grim in the playhouse with dust and must the relevant themes of the night. Faded red curtains and what was a once golden yellow tassel flutter fitfully in the passing breeze on the stage.

A muted groan rumbles through the chairs and the room, as power begins to pour into the room. Spotlights creak into life, flickering as they begin to beam onto the dilapidated stage. Speakers crackle and mutter into life, dust falling from them, making it hard to breathe in the chairs.

Music comes through the speakers, muffled and muted. It sounds like something you would hear in an old Vegas act, something from a corny television show. The curtains jerkily pull open; the mechanics appearing to be rusty and ill cared for.

It is at this moment I realise that I am not alone in this theatre. There is what appears to be an older man in the front row, several rows ahead of me, his head of dark hair beginning to silver with age. I can only see his back and he appears to be wearing a well-worn suit.

I can detect a faint smell of cinnamon in the air, under all the dust and must and something twists uncomfortably deep in my gut. A figure walks out onto the stage, spot light highlighting him against the stark bare background of the stage.

It’s a man in his late twenties, fair skinned, lanky, five o’clock shadow on his face, about six foot four, dressed in a dark leather duster. He has a wooden staff in one hand and I can feel a burp of laughter bubbling in my throat. I guess reading about him before bed meant he’s going to appear in my dreams.

Harry Dresden, fictional wizarding hero detective of Chicago is on the stage. He clears his throat and his baritone American tinged voice echoes throughout the seats. He spreads his arms wide as he approaches the edge of the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome tonight to our show! It’s a show of magic, mystery and wonderful show tunes!”

The twist in my guts settles in chips of razor sharp ice. Dresden smiles widely and bows to one side as the first act on, looking oddly like Hakamichi and Mikado taming a big black cat of some kind, that has an odd resemblance to my brother.

It’s still only me and the mystery man in the seats and during the interval between the first acts, Dresden scuttles up the aisles and approaches me, looking serious.

“Hells bells grasshopper, where have you been?” He hisses, tugging at my sleeve. “You’re due on stage the act after mine and I’m going on next”

My mouth suddenly goes dryer than the Sahara desert. On… stage?

My lack of response frustrates Dresden and he drags me from my seat, taking me backstage via the staff routes. I’m frozen and helpless to resist even though I’m screaming in my head. Dresden drags me to the wings of the stage as the curtains open and he performs his magic act. I can’t pay attention to what he’s doing as I still feel so numb.

In what feels like seconds, Dresden wraps his set up and bows to the audience of one. He strides off stage briefly and comes back on stage with a microphone. My heart starts pounding like a jackhammer.

Dresden steps forward to the edge of the stage again and one spotlight focusing on him, whilst the other focuses on where I will emerge from the wings on stage. “And now!” His voice booms into the seats “The act you’ve all been waiting for! The one, the only and back from retirement…”

“TSUKINO AYANE! Performing live on stage tonight only, a selection of her favourite tracks” his eyes glitter like obsidian chips under the lights and they slide slyly towards me, waiting in the wings “The voice you’ve all been dying to hear…” He steps to one side and bows to me as he leaves stage left and I enter stage right.

I can’t control my feet. I walk forwards robotically, the scent of cinnamon and old leather getting stronger and stronger as I approach the microphone. I’ve kept my eyes closed during the walk to the microphone but as my hands grasp the mike involuntarily, my eyes open and focus on the man in the front row seats.

Glassy dead eyes meet my good eye as a torpid trickle of blood slowly oozes from one nostril of the dead mans face in the front row seat, his hands permanently fixed in a gesture of silent applause. My heart feels like a thousand pneumatic drills going at once and as I open my mouth…

All that comes out is a scream bursting from my throat like a wounded animal, tearing at my vocal cords in it’s panic to escape.

A scream that goes on and on and on…

I’m shaken awake still screaming and it is abruptly swallowed by my sudden awakening. I’m covered in cold sweat and I struggle violently as I’m seized in a hug. The smell of vanilla and nutmeg fill my nose and I relax as I realise that Fujiko is hugging me. She has a spare key to my room in case of me fitting or needing assistance in the night.

“I heard you screaming,” She whispers into my ear. Her eyes are bloodshot; she must’ve been indulging in a movie marathon during the night, she doesn’t look like she’s been to bed yet. I hear whispers in the doorway but they’re dispersed by what sounds like Lilly.

Uncertain footsteps approach my bed and Fujiko pulls away from me. Delicate hands wrap over my more calloused ones. “Are alright Ayane?” Lilly asks.

I think I choke out a ‘no’, but I’m not quite sure. My throat feels fucking awful, no small surprise there. “Most of the dorm heard you I think” Lilly says diplomatically.

Wonder-fucking-ful. Now the whole dorm must think I’m having some kind of psychotic break down. Lillys hands leave mine and a glass of cold water and some painkillers are pressed into my hands. I gulp both down quickly and I begin to feel more human. “Nightmare” I rasp out eventually “really bad one”. Lilly says nothing but I get the feeling she wants me to continue. “About…” My voice trails off.

Can I do this?

My families’ faces swim in my vision. Concern is written over Fujiko and Lillys faces. I can do this. I need to do this. “About… about my father. When he died.” Fujiko buries me in another hug and the glass tumbles from hands to the bed. The pair says nothing, one wrapped around me and the other looking inscrutable.

Lilly breaks the silence first “Do you need anything Ayane?”

I lick my lips “Can Fujiko stay the night?”

A soft, small smile graces Lillys lips “I do not think that will be a problem Ayane. Will you be able to sleep after this?” Concern is evident in her voice.

“I’ll try” I choke out, still feeling rather emotionally shocked.

“Good” Lilly says, rising from her position near the bed. “Then I shall bid you goodnight and to have more… pleasant dreams.” She leaves the room, my door shutting and she leaves me and Fujiko in the dark of my room as we tangle ourselves in amongst the sheets and settle down to sleep wrapped tightly around each other to guard against the dark fever dreams of the night.

Sleep does not come easily to me for the rest of the night.

End scene 3
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Tue Sep 16, 2014 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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