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

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CloudGrain
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 7 up!

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

Ahh... How reality always manages to strike so forcefully right at the moment someone seems to have it all.

Very enjoyable, noticed a single instance where you misspelled Hisao's name (Hsiao) by what was probably just the usual ill-timed keystrokes, otherwise nothing came out and struck me as being particularly out of place in the spelling/grammar portion.

I'll have to agree with both AntonSlavik and Griffon that Shizune's reaction seemed... A little over the top perhaps for what we see of her in the VN by the same point. But, I can admit to actually being a little more partial to the idea with Shizune's later-revealed personality in the VN's route for her as being more true here; simply because of the fact that it's mentioned that the whole pursuit of a relationship has taken place over several months time. Otherwise, everything else seems pretty spot-on for what we readers might expect from the characters of both the VN and those you've created in addition to the universe.

Otherwise, definitely enjoyed the update. Resolutions of unspoken issues, hints at the past tying into both the present and future, all that good stuff. Also enjoyed the slap in the face at the end of it, the reality that they are in fact all at Yamaku for a reason being portrayed so vividly even in the midst of some celebrations.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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TheTealeaf
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 7 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:23 pm

griffon8 wrote:Agreed that Shizune’s reaction is over the top. Japan has a strong social pressure against such public displays of affection.

As people have mentioned before, your writing is quite good, but could use polishing. It’s never to the point that your meaning isn’t clear, but it does draw me a bit out of the story. Perhaps a small revision would be in order when you’re done, for the benefit of future readers.
I've been hunting for a beta reader since the project began but alas no luck. I will go over and give everything a going over with a fine tooth comb yes once I'm finished. Act 2 still has another 8 scenes to go.

I've gone back and edited shizunes reaction, i should probably change the crowd reaction too (apart from the immediate friends of course) cultural stuff has been biting me on the bum for this project. I had forgotten about that taboo although i do believe that younger generations are more open to it.
CloudGrain wrote:Ahh... How reality always manages to strike so forcefully right at the moment someone seems to have it all.

Very enjoyable, noticed a single instance where you misspelled Hisao's name (Hsiao) by what was probably just the usual ill-timed keystrokes, otherwise nothing came out and struck me as being particularly out of place in the spelling/grammar portion.

I'll have to agree with both AntonSlavik and Griffon that Shizune's reaction seemed... A little over the top perhaps for what we see of her in the VN by the same point. But, I can admit to actually being a little more partial to the idea with Shizune's later-revealed personality in the VN's route for her as being more true here; simply because of the fact that it's mentioned that the whole pursuit of a relationship has taken place over several months time. Otherwise, everything else seems pretty spot-on for what we readers might expect from the characters of both the VN and those you've created in addition to the universe.

Otherwise, definitely enjoyed the update. Resolutions of unspoken issues, hints at the past tying into both the present and future, all that good stuff. Also enjoyed the slap in the face at the end of it, the reality that they are in fact all at Yamaku for a reason being portrayed so vividly even in the midst of some celebrations.
Mmmm that slap has been planned for a while. Been dropping hints for several scenes as well! Poor people, witnessing a grand mal seizure is never a fun experience! Cloud your reviews always make me smile.

Be my beta reader? :D
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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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 7 up!

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:41 pm

Okay... a bit too much flowery language at the beginning:
Sometimes how I curse thee for thy gifts you bestow...
the clammy, sticky sensation on my skin is soothed away
I decide to indulge myself in the bath
I float serenely in the water
Any one of those would be okay (exept for the first one - that's also grammatically incorrect... okay questionable - but here it's just too much at once...
Also, I've never yet heard any girl describing their own cuves as "petite"
“It’s just a check up, make sure I’m not over exerting myself”
"overexerting" is one word
with me returning the favour just as equally
instead of just a little more or less equal?
Fujiko and me grab the boys, Shizune and Misha joining us down to the cafeteria.
"Fujiko and I" and "down in the cafeteria"
and partake of nutrition.
Flowery language...

Oh, and I agree with Anton that Shizune's reaction is a bit over the top...
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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CloudGrain
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 7 up!

Post by CloudGrain » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:44 pm

For the nominal fee of your soul, signed away for eternal servitu-

No wait, wrong script.

Honestly, quite flattered by your asking me, but I'd have to decline on the basis that I don't think that I have either the grammatical expertise nor the ability to respond in the timeliest manner given your rapid-fire posting habits. Especially once timezone differences begin to get taken into account, I don't manage to get home until what'd equate to something like 22:00 or later across the pond most weekdays, between work and a few other obligations. Toss in the odd occurrences of life and the like, and it'd be entirely likely that I could get a beta-level chapter and be completely unable to look through it with the attention that it deserves for twenty-four to forty-eight hours after you've already managed to do the same yourself. While a second-opinion through a beta-reader is certainly worthwhile, I don't think that waiting twice as long for a singular review as it took you to write the entire segment will do you very much good.

Throw in the fact that, once again I want to stress this, my grammar skills are decent at best and you've got the qualities of a fairly mediocre beta-reader at best. My own grammar errors tend to be much moreso in the overuse of punctuation and having extremely long-winded sentences. So they're one of the few 'major errors' that I'm overly aware of when reading things, and one of the things I don't notice in your own work. So besides catching the little errors that you might not see in a glossing over of the material you've just written, I'd likely be just the level above using spell/grammar checking tools. Probably wouldn't have as many false-positives and the like, but I'm no English Major who knows all of the rules and can spot something which violates them from a mile away.

So, in short, thank you very much for asking but I feel as though my involvement would likely be very detrimental to the rapidity which you manage to get posts up, while inversely being nearly useless in regards to improving the quality of grammar or descriptiveness at all. Wouldn't want to slow you down just to get the limited feedback I would be able to provide for you, especially since there are evidently quite a few others looking to get their fix and posting comments so shortly after you post an update!
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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TheTealeaf
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 7 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:34 pm

Mirage: All those issues, fixed! you have eagle eyes!

Also Ayane has been beating me over the head about using purple prose. Which is Ironic as I can't see the colour purple!

Cloud: Thank you for the honesty. Mirage has offered to step up to the plate. Ayane wants to keep you in the loop though!

To my readers: First thank you for sticking with me so far. I understand that my work has minor errors in it but as Mirage has offered to beta, hopefully those minor quibbles should be ironed out with a slightly slower update rate.

Also after Act 2 is finished, I have two 'extra' scenes and are titled as thus:

'Akihiros day out (and Yuukos worst day ever)

The Yamaku dance A.K.A Hisao learns bass guitar
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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TheTealeaf
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:13 pm

Enjoy! (For those anime purists, there is a large reference at the end and yes I'm aware it doesn't match KS and when the anime itself was published but I just had this mental image I had to type out...)

Also a massive shout out to Mirage for him beta reading this! Cheers!

------------------
Act 2

Scene 8


Sister morphine.

Beep.

Beep.

Beep.


Is that my alarm clock? It doesn’t sound right for it.

Where am I?

I can smell antiseptic, clean linen and a faint scent of lime from nearby.

My eyes refuse to cooperate with me and won’t open. I don’t think I’m at Yamaku anymore.

I can feel myself start to panic, breathing quickening and hands clenching. What happened? The last thing I remember is the… cafeteria.

Shizune and Arashi kissing, me kicking Misha in the shin and then…

The sensation of falling and blackness. My last clear memory before waking here, wherever here is of course. A hand grasps mine. I try not to flinch, but my eyes still won’t open.

“Hush Ayane” Akiho’s voice reaches into the gloom, the scent of lime becoming clearer. “I’m here, rest easy.”

“W-w-what happened?” My voice is rough, my throat scratchy. I sound terrible.

The rim of a glass is pressed to my lips, and I feel blessed cold water trickle into my mouth. I swallow greedily, but Akiho only keeps a trickle going. “You had a seizure,” she says softly as I gulp down the water. “It was a bad one according the nurse, and you hit your head on the table edge on the way down. You’ve probably got a concussion, so you’re in the hospital nearby.” The glass is removed from my lips, and I can feel my eyes responding slowly.

A crack of light shines into my left eye, and I hiss at the sensation. Akiho is sitting next to me and is placing the glass on a small table. She looks worried. There are stress marks round her eyes, and she seems tired. “How long?” I ask.

“How long what?”

“How long do I have to stay?”

“The doctors want to keep you for twenty four hours, just to check. You’ve been asleep since your seizure ended. Its almost ten pm now. You’ll be released at some point tomorrow evening after the doctors check you and only if they’re happy with what they find.” Akiho explains this patiently, her hand in mine, squeezing gently. “What happened?”

“Messed up” I croaked. “Sleeping pattern got screwed up, stress, period began. Lots of small things. It is still Monday right?” I cough after speaking and the glass is returned to my lips.

“It is still Monday” Akiho assures me. “So it was lots of small things. Why didn’t you talk to the nurse?” I give a small shrug, and Akiho gives a deep sigh. “Ayane, I do not mean to lecture you but surely you must know better than this. You’ve been managing your condition for nearly five years now!” I just give another weak nod.

There is another sigh, and the room falls silent except for the quiet beeping of the monitors nearby. I feel heavy and tired, aching all over.

Clonic tonic - or grand mal seizures as they’re more commonly known as - really take it out of you. I feel as if I’ve been thrown into a washing machine on rapid spin and then left to bounce all over the machine. My tongue feels heavy as well; I may have bit it during my seizure. “Hit my head?” I ask with a wheeze.

“Yes,” comes the prompt, slightly sharp reply. “Hit it on the edge of the table as you fell.” Another sigh. Lots of that going on today, sister. “I imagine the nurse will have some words for you when you return to school”

Oooo boy, I imagine he will. Probably some pretty sharp ones. I can feel my eyes drifting closed again. “Sleep, little one” I hear Akiho’s voice as if it comes from far away.

Little one… I haven’t been called that in a long while. As I slowly drift away into slumber I faintly hear Akiho’s gentle alto singing a childhood lullaby that Dad sang to me once upon a time as the currents of sleep pull me into the realm of dreams.

Angry voices and an odd sound wake me briefly from the grip of sleep, but I feel a hand run through my hair and a whispered voice says, “Hush, little one. All is well.”

I fade to black again.

***

I waken slowly much later as sunlight hits my good eye. I mumble and groan feebly, stirring and twitching in the bed sheets. A few more incomprehensible noises later my eyes slowly awaken to see an unfamiliar ceiling.

“An unfamiliar ceiling” I mutter, throat and voice sounding better. I am on my own in the sterile white room, a monitor steadily beeping beside me, my heart beating regularly.

Early afternoon light streams in from the window to my right and bathes the room in a gentle glow, offsetting the sterile tone of the private room. Crisp white sheets rustle every time I move around, and the noise is unnaturally loud in the room.

Flopping back into my pillow I wonder where anyone is. My mind immediately strays to Hisao. I hope he’s okay... I’ve been told witnessing one of my seizures is not fun. School should be finishing soon, so I wonder if I’ll have any visitors. I’d like to think I will, but who knows.

Faint noises from outside the room draw my attention. It sounds like Akihiro and Akiho arguing with someone. Male, gruff voice... sounds like a heavy smoker. Also sounds vaguely familiar. A memory skitters at the edge of my consciousness, and I frown.

My attempt at remembering is cut short by the door opening. Akihiro and Akiho stride into my room.Both of them have grim looks on their faces. What the hell has happened? Akihiro looks ready to kill someone too. I see someone in the doorway, and my blood chills. Amber shaded glasses and a beard.

Oh no, why is he here?

One of my four uncles, Kurosawa Gendo, is outside my hospital room. A lovely piece of work - violent, mean spirited and all around a general prick. The only job he’s been able to keep down is acting as my mother’s driver and bodyguard. He’s good at the second part as well, really good. I’ve seen him with my own eye spar and hold his own against various forms of martial artist masters. The man is fucking lethal, so why is he here and not at my mothers side like he’s supposed to?

Akihiro slams the door in his face then stands guard in front of it. “Someone get me up to speed” I insist. The sight of my uncle has shaken me.

Akihiro growls from the door. “Mother sent the asshole extraordinaire. Said it was because she didn’t trust hospital security, total bullshit”

Akiho smiles briefly. “You had some visitors whilst you were asleep just after Kurosawa arrived. He didn’t want to let them in. Arashi and young Mr Nakai insisted. Kurosawa suggested they leave, at least until the boys got the staff involved.”

“Really? I’ve seen how stubborn he is”

“That was until Akiho twisted his arm” Akihiro interjects from the doorway. “And I do mean literally” He adds, an amused smirk on his face.

Wow. Big sister is a bad ass. “Are they still here?” I ask.

“Down in the cafeteria,” is Akiho’s prompt answer.

“I want to see them,” I plead.

Akiho smiles indulgently, “Of course, Akihiro?” He nods and opens the door.

I see uncle lurking in the doorway. “Oh, uncle dearest” I trill sweetly. The glasses fix on me, his dead, fish-like eyes hidden behind the ugly shade of yellow. “Did mother put you up to this?” He grunts and says nothing, his gaze lingering on my sister. Mother is the only person who Kurosawa is afraid of, I think Akiho got added to that list just now as well.

Akiho sits near me primly, but I can see her muscles are tense under the shirt she’s wearing. She keeps casting wary eyes towards the door, where uncle looms like the shadow of an ogre or some other hideous fairytale creature. Less than two minutes later there is a large commotion at the entrance to my hospital room, and in a burst of movement people bundle into the room.

Everyone has come to visit: Hisao, Arashi, Shizune, Misha and Fujiko. I blurt the first thing on my mind. “How did you all get off school?” There is a beat of stunned silence, and then Misha bursts into her distinctive ‘Whahahahahaha’. That sets everyone off, and the room fills with giggles that make the room lighter.

“You really did hit your head” Fujiko remarks. “Schools finished, has been for a while!” I pull a face. Keeping track of time here is hard.

Hisao is the first to approach the bed, and Akiho rises, vacating the seat for him. He takes it gratefully, and his hand slips into mine. I squeeze it weakly and give him a wobbly smile. “Hi”

“Hi to you, too” is the soft response. There are bags under Hisao’s eyes. I don’t think he’s slept at all. “How’re you feeling?” Hisao asks softly.

“Like I’ve been beaten black and blue,” I joke feebly. I’m aware of people moving into a corner of the room and sister drawing my bed curtains closed, to give us some semblance of privacy“I’m sorry you had to see that Hisao”

“Don’t apologise” His words are firm and a little fierce. “Don’t apologise for something that is a part of you. It would be like me apologising for my arrhythmia”

“Is that what you’re taking all those pills for?” I ask, meeting his eyes.

Hisao’s eyes meet the ceiling. “Yes. I told you I had a heart attack when I was confessed to. My heart… It beats irregularly. If I put too much strain on it, or if I’m hit in the chest my heart could stop beating, and I will die. I’ll live a shorter lifespan than most people as well. I could literally drop dead any day” His tone is cold, clinical - almost as if he’s recalling it from rote his eyes never leaving the ceiling the whole time he talks.

“Is the running going to help?” I ask.

“It should. Help tone my heart up, get it better, fitter to help me live for longer” He moves his gaze from the ceiling. “I’m not sure how much time I have left Ayane, not sure how much time I can give you” He gives a very dry chuckle. “I spent four months in a room like this. I came to hate the same familiar ceiling day in and day out, the same walls the same smiling nurses. I came to hate it all.”

“Don’t you dare say that, Hisao” My voice is even, but the tone stops Hisao dead in his mental tracks. “Stop talking about time and dying,” I command. He sighs, and I grasp his hand tighter. “I hate hospitals, too, Hisao.” I take in a breath. “I have epilepsy. I’m not sensitive to light but other factors can give me a fit. I have to sleep right, take my medication; hell even having my period gives me a higher chance of having seizure. Hisao the first time I ever had a seizure I lost the use of my right eye.”

“How?” Is the soft question asked.

“When we were a little younger, Dad let Arashi and me work in his restaurant on Sundays and during holidays. We’d do little things, cleaning, peeling vegetables, some chopping and the small tasks you know? I was doing some cleaning, and I was going to mop the floor. I was using some pretty nasty chemicals, and undiluted this stuff is evil. I had my first ever seizure as I was handling these chemicals, and the type of seizure I have means my muscles spasm. I ended up getting some in my eye, and the rest as they say is history.”

There is silence. “I spent a lot of time in the hospital after that too. Not as long as you, Hisao, but long enough. Hearing the empty platitudes and words.” Time for some bluntness. “I don’t give a shit about your condition Hisao” He appears visibly shocked. “I mean I do care about the condition and what it means for you but I’m not measuring time Hisao. I can have a seizure anytime if I’m not careful, and that could kill me if I fall wrong, or I could choke to death.”

I pull his head to me and give him a slow, sweet kiss. “Don’t do this to yourself, Hisao. Don’t drive the people you care about away. Recently I’ve realised I tried to do that when Dad died, and it was only due to people’s sheer stubbornness that they stayed. Don’t push me away. Please”

The last word is a whispered plea, and this time it is Hisao who cracks and breaks, he flops to the side of the bed, sobbing faintly. I whisper sweet nonsensical nothings and gently run my hands through his hair.

He looks up at me a few moments’ later, eyes wide and watering. “Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why approach me that day?” He asks.

“I thought what was happening was unfair.” I say, recalling the day in question. “You looked lost, unsure, and the pressure from Lilly and Shizune wasn’t helping things. I just wanted to help. Wanted to help you smile... You looked like you hadn’t smiled in a long time.” I smile gently. “Sorry it’s mostly gibberish.”

He shakes his head softly and pulls his chair closer, head sinking into my side, breath tickling the side of my breasts through the thin hospital gown.

“You also reminded me of me,” I add. “You had the same look I wore after Dad died. I know that I’m broken in a way, still am, and I know it sounds silly, but with you, Hisao, I can feel that break mending slowly.”

He says nothing again but kisses me softly on my cheek. I cup one cheek in my hand, and he leans against it with a small sigh.

“I’m sorry about scaring you.”

“Don’t be,” is his soft, almost sighed reply. “Don’t be sorry. Yes, it scared me, I had no idea what was going on, but don’t apologise for it. That would be like apologising for the sun shining or water being wet.” That earns a small giggle from me. “I was just worried about you when that… person in the glasses tried to stop me from getting in to see you. He looked like he wanted hit me, but your sister stopped him”

Kurosawa, you monumental prick. “That,” I say with a sigh, “delightful example of humanity is my uncle Kurosawa Gendo. Please don’t antagonise him. He’s a rather dangerous person when he wants to be, and the only person keeping him on a leash is my mother”

“I already realised he was dangerous when I met him”

“Good, this is a great example of why my family is toxic. He’s exhibit A” I say with a nod to the door.

“Are they all like him?”

I snort, “No. In some ways he’s the easiest to deal with as he’s so blunt. The others are more manipulative, twisting words and stabbing you in the back.”

“You are not exaggerating, are you?” Hisao asks, eyes narrowed.

I shrug. “Maybe a little, I am rather jaded and cynical when it comes to my family. I’d like to spend summer with you,” I say out of the blue, the idea seeming more and more appealing.

“I don’t think I’ve spoken to my parents since I’ve started” Hisao admits, seeming slightly shocked.

“You should probably call them,” I say with a small smirk “Tell them about the pretty girl you’ve got hanging off your arm and snogging you in your room”

“Sneaking into Hisao’s room? My how bold!”

Hisao and I both flush red and turn to the intruder. Fujiko is poking her head through the curtains and grinning at the juicy piece of gossip I’ve dropped in her lap.

“Please tell me my siblings didn’t hear that” I say in a stage whisper.

“Just the one!” Fujiko chirps, leading Shizune, Misha and Arashi into the room. “The other two are outside having a smoke!”

“Akiho smoking?” I ask.

[She’s stressed] Arashi signs. [Not surprised]

“The ball” I say with a nod. “Akiho hates going back home” Arashi gives me a nod at this, and I see interest in others’ eyes. “Speaking of the ball, given an invite yet?” I ask cheekily. Arashi frowns at me and makes a chopping motion at his throat. Fine, fine, I’ll let you off. I see Shizune has that bobcat grin again. She knows full well what we’re on about, and she knows that invite is as good as hers. Just hope she’s ready to deal with the storm that comes with the ball.

“So?” Misha asks, “When are you coming back to school?”

“Sometime later this evening I think. Doctors will want to check me, see how my head is.” There are pleased nods after this, and we engage in small talk for few minutes. The thing on the grapevine at the moment is - surprise, surprise - Shizune and my brother. Some of the reactions have been hilarious, and I do wish I hadn’t missed them.

Shizune has already had to state to several people via Misha that public displays are still not allowed. Most of the male population seems to be congratulating Arashi on still keeping his manhood after that stunt.

“Can we enter, or is it gossip fucking central?”

“You can come in, Akihiro,” the whole room says in odd unison. There is beat of silence, and then we all burst into laughter.

“That was fucking creepy,” my brother murmurs as he slides into the room. Starting to get a little crowded in here now.

“Hey,” I call out to him as he moves over to the window. “How’s your dancing?”

“It’s okay.” Akihiro says, an odd look in his eyes. “Why you asking?”

I jerk my thumb at Hisao and myself. “I’m rusty, and he needs to learn.”

Hisao grimaces and nods in agreement.

“Oh. Given him the plus one then?” I nod and Akihrio call Akiho in. “What’re you doing on Sunday?”

“Not much,” is the response from Akiho. “Probably a little organisation for later in the month.”

“Fancy teaching these two to dance?” Akihiro asks with a sadistic grin.

Akiho nods and turns a querying eye at Hisao. “So, you’re going to meet the rest of the family?”

“So I’ve been told.” Hisao gives a nervous laugh.

“I’ll meet you at school and pick you up,” Akihiro says. “One p.m. sharp”

With that arranged we all begin to chatter again. Uncle is ignored as he lurks in the corridor outside.

We talk for about fifteen to twenty minutes, before a doctor comes bustling in and removes everyone except for Akiho and Akihiro. I’m poked, prodded, get those funny penlights shone in my good eye and asked various questions.

Eventually I’m given the all clear and am allowed to be discharged - not without the stern warning to come straight back to hospital if I feel any light-headedness, dizziness, nausea or double vision. I dress, leave my room and head down to the entrance, Akiho and Akihiro by my side.

Uncle trails behind at a short distance, like a particularly unpleasant shadow. When we reach the entrance I’m stunned to find everyone still waiting for me. “I thought you headed back to school!” I can feel tears building in my eye. These are good friends, and some of them I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t particularly think much of a couple of weeks ago.

“We’re your friends, Ayachan!” Misha cheers, giving Fujiko a one armed hug. “Of course we’re going to wait! The doctor said you’d be sent home soon.”

Home. An odd feeling rises in me. Is home Yamaku? No, not really. “Dummies,” I say, “home is with you guys!” That draws smiles from everyone.

“Do you have your car nephew?” The gravelly low voice of my uncle lances through the conversation like a pin popping a balloon.

“I ain’t your fucking nephew” Akihiro snarls at Kurosawa. The angry retort draws no emotion from uncle, apart from a slightly raised eyebrow.

“Do you, or do you not have your car?” Is the calm question asked again.

Akihiro relents. “Yes.” he says through gritted teeth.

“It’s alright” Hisao says, meeting my uncles gaze evenly. “School is not that far away and it’s still early enough for the bus”

I see people nodding and clustering around me protectively, like a herd protecting an injured member from a predator. “We’ll take the bus” Fujiko says. I can hear the waver in her voice.

Uncle measures us all with his steady, implacable gaze and then finally, as if a judge delivering the verdict to a condemned criminal says “Fine. Do as you will” He turns on his heel and heads towards the carpark.

The tension in the air dissipates. Akihiro and Akiho make their goodbyes, reminding Hisao and I about our Sunday appointment with them.

We find our way to the bus stop from the hospital and take the bus back to Yamaku, my head on Hisao’s shoulder, half awake, half asleep as the bus rumbles back to the academy. I drift off halfway through the drive.

***********

We walk to the gates from the bus stop. I can feel myself yawning still. Having a seizure takes a lot out of you, and I’m still feeling the aftermath.

“Looks like Ayachan needs her bed!” Misha chirps.

I nod, give Hisao a kiss on the cheek and stumble off to the girls’ dorms, leaning on Misha on the way. When I reach my room, the siren song of my bed is too much to resist, and I’m asleep before my head even hits the pillow.

When I wake up and look at my clock I realise that I’ve missed most of Wednesday. There is a note slipped under my door, though, and it tells me that the nurse is expecting me at some point today in his office. Joy.

Well no time like the present. I shower and dress and take a slow walk over to the nurses’ office. I knock, and the nurse’s voice beckons me to enter. He spots me as I enter the small room. “Ah, Ms Tsukino” He says, picking up, what I presume is my file and opening it. “Sit, sit,” He says, gesturing at the bed. I plonk down on it and say nothing as he gets up from his computer and comes to stand in front of me.

“Well” He says eventually, “Had an eventful day on Monday, didn’t we?”

“You could say that.”

He frowns. “Ayane you haven’t had a seizure in nearly a year, then this one comes out of the blue. You normally spot the symptoms well before this and come to me, and we work at it. What happened?”

I sigh. “I got distracted. Sleeping pattern has been off for several weeks, stressed and my period started. I know it’s not a huge factor but I know it can influence things.” I look from the floor and spot nurse frowning.

“That’s not good Ayane. What’s been wrong with your sleeping routine? You know how important it is for you to have a regular sleeping pattern” Nurse presses on, and I realise he’s taking notes.

“Nightmares. Worrying about stuff. Usual things. Not something that’s an easy fix.”

“Of course not. I don’t want to give you sleeping pills –“

“I won’t take them anyway” I interject. “I don’t want to become dependent on them”

Nurse nods amicably, more notes being jotted down. “Well that’s one reason, and medication interaction is always a tricky thing.” He pins me with a serious gaze. “You need to keep to a sleeping schedule Ayane. It really does help. Of course getting a boyfriend might mess around with that sleeping pattern.”

My head shoots up, jaw hanging. “How?” I sputter.

The nurse laughs. “The aloof, lonely Ms Tsukino, approaching the new transfer student and being seen with him at the festival? Tongues will wag Ayane, and I have spies everywhere!” He has a ‘eureka’ moment, turns around to his desk and rattles around with something in his drawer. He spins and holds up a box and a piece of paper with a broad grin. That’s a… I feel blood rising to my cheeks.

That smug bastard nurse has a box of condoms in his hand. He’s still grinning as he throws the box at me. I catch it and fumble the box due to my poor depth perception. I pick it up and I can feel a scowl on my face. “What’s the piece of paper” I ask grumpily.

“A prescription for oral contraceptives” Is the cheerful reply. “Should help with your monthlies too, I know you’ve complained about cramps before” I stare at the paper as if it’s a vile animal of some kind.

“Not sure whether I should thank you or curse you,” I say aloud as I take the paper and rapidly scan it and sign it.

“How about neither?” The nurse says wryly and then presses a small A5 journal in my hand, taking the prescription from me. “Record your sleeping patterns for the next two weeks then come back to see me, and we’ll talk shop alright? Now shoo.” I take that as a dismissal and hop off the bed and leave. I’m halfway down the corridor when I realise that I’ve got the incriminating box still in my hands.

I look down at the offending item and make a snap decision. I sprint back to my rooms, blushing the whole time. Damn you nurse for your sensible precautions!

When the item in question is hidden away, I make myself something to eat - just a quick snack - and take a nap.

My phone ringing awakens me. Yawning widely I pick up and answer with a sleepy “Hello?”

“Evening Ayane.” Hisao’s smooth voice wakes me up better than a shot of espresso.

“Evening Hisao,” I say sweetly. “How are you?”

“Tired but feeling good,” is the simple reply.

I consider things for a moment then ask. “Want to come over?” I ask.

“Okay…” Hisao sounds a little hesitant.

“I’ll order some take-out, and we can lounge around and watch some anime. Come on… We can have a lazy evening. It’ll be fun!” I whine gently, trying to persuade him.

“What kind of take out?” Is the first question.

“There’s a pizza place in town, it’s not bad”

“Haven’t had a pizza in a long while” Hisao says wistfully. “Oh alright you’ve twisted my arm, just don’t let Emi know about the pizza”

“You can have an off day,” I say with a chuckle. There is a noise of agreement from Hisao. “Right, see you in a little while? I’ll order the pizza now”

“Sure. See you in about fifteen minutes?”

“Okay.” I hang up. I dial up the pizza place and place an order for a large pepperoni pizza. Very American, but I’m having an odd craving for it.

Hisao turns up about fifteen minutes later. I welcome him into my room, and I wave the choice of anime at him.

“It’s pink,” is his first reaction.

“Mmmmm hmmmm”

“It’s a magical girl anime. You want me to watch a magical girl anime with you. Surely Fujiko would be a better choice?”

“Not for this one” I grin. “Trust me. You’ll like it. Please?”

Hisao gives in, and I pop the DVD in.

We’re partway through episode two when the pizza arrives. I nip to the gate to pick it up, taking it back to my room. We tuck in, and the series continues.

We get to the end of episode three. I pause it, and Hisao turns to me. “Did that just happen?”

“Yup” I grin.

“In a magical girl anime a character just got their head bitten off” His tone is amazed, shocked and slightly awed.

“Want to watch the rest?” I ask with a grin. Hisao nods, and we settle back onto my bed, arms looped around each other and watch the rest of the series.

Hisao’s reaction to one character’s explanation of entropy is hilarious. He actually rants for a whole minute before we continue on with the series.

When the series runs to a close, he stays the night on the futon I have. We give each other a small kiss goodnight and drift to sleep.

A nice way to recover from a bad Monday. Anime with the boy I like.

Not a bad way to drift to sleep at all.

End scene 8.
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:43 am, 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
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 3:44 pm

I could totally see Nurse throwing a box of condoms at a student like that. Makes me wonder if he brought it up with Hisao too(knowing him, it's almost a certainty), and whether or not he did the same thing to Hisao, minus the oral contraceptives of course.
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by CloudGrain » Thu Oct 02, 2014 5:54 pm

Another solid act to add to the collection, definitely enjoyed it.

Finally being exposed to at least a tangential bit of the source of Ayane's cynicism (her less-direct family). Having a few little barriers broken down between Hisao and her in regards to their respective conditions. Cool stuff, tearing down a few walls and breaking normalacy in order to reinstate it a little differently. It was fantastic to check my phone getting out of work and realize you'd gotten an update out that I could read when I got home; and it certainly didn't disappoint on any level. Always stoked to see an update of yours out, usually manages to leave me with some sort of a grin at the end of the act.

Definite props to Mirage as well, looks like the little errors that I might usually find were already hammered out by him (and probably even more I wouldn't notice).
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by griffon8 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:28 pm

I have yet to get around to watching it, but I’m sure that the anime mentioned is Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Sat Oct 04, 2014 1:41 pm

Indeed it is, although I snuck two Evangelion references in there as well. One very blatant and the other a bit more sneaky.

I just had the mental image of Hisao raging at the inaccurate science of one of the chracters and couldn't resist, even though the release date of Madoka was in 2011, I couldn't resist. I know the time line is inaccurate but meh the idea was too funny for me.

And everyone, thank you for the feedback so far, it all helps! Scene 9 will be off to Mirage tonight, so hopefully update tomorrow!

Love you all! 8)
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. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by Silentcook » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:57 pm

When you start playing the references game that means you're doing it wrong, though.
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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by griffon8 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:57 pm

TheTealeaf wrote:Indeed it is, although I snuck two Evangelion references in there as well. One very blatant and the other a bit more sneaky.
The blatant one is the uncle. What’s the subtle one?
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

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Re: Learning the blues. Act 2 Scene 8 up!

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:32 am

It comes from episode 2, where Shinji wakes up in the hospital after his first foray in unit 1. HIs first words as he comes to are I believe "An unfamiliar ceiling" It's also one of the titles for episode 2.
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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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Scene 9: Dance the night away

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:29 pm

Beta'd now! Cheers Mirage!

Dance the night away

A surprise, some dancing and a date.

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

Act 2

Scene 9


Dance the night away

The awakening process for me today is slow, like rising through quicksand. Very comfortable quicksand, though, as I feel very comfortable, warm and safe - like I’m wrapped in a giant ball of cotton wool.

My left eye cracks open, and the image I’m greeted with is Hisao’s uniform clad chest. Have I left my bed again and gone to join Hisao on the futon? No, I’m covered in my duvet as I can see the fetching shade of green. I look down; I’m still in my casual clothes from the evening before, rumpled from sleep. Hisao is still in his uniform from the previous evening as well, looking similarly rumpled.

I’m snuggled against Hisao’s chest, one side of my face against his front, my ear faintly picking up his irregular heartbeat.

He smells good. I can’t quite place my finger on what it exactly is that makes him smell so good even without a shower, but his natural scent is just yummy. He smells like a mix of vanilla, apple with faint hints of black coffee.

Hisao is still asleep; the gentle rise and fall of his chest with occasional small snores is oddly soothing, and I feel myself being lulled back to sleep by the rhythm of his breathing. Oh no, Mr Sandman, I’m awake now, and it’s a school day. Hisao is sleeping near to the wall, and I have a deliciously wicked idea.

I slowly wiggle out of his grasp, and he grumbles in his sleep. I roll him gently onto his back and feel him begin to stir out of slumber. I straddle his waist; feeling most sinfully wicked as I do so. Hisao is beginning to come around so I swoop down, and just before I kiss him I whisper “Good morning sleeping beauty.”

I then kiss Hisao gently, my lips just brushing his in a feather light motion. Once, twice, three times I repeat this feathery kiss, simply savouring the touch of my lips on his.

I pull back as Hisao speaks, seeming slightly bewildered, “Well that’s one way to wake up.” His hand then curls gently into my hair and pulls me down to him. I don’t resist and meet his lips again. The kiss is more demanding this time, harder than the light kisses I just placed on him. I gladly reciprocate and bask in the sensations generated by our kiss.

I feel warm and fuzzy as we kiss, delightful tingles running down my back as the hand not in my hair, skims up and down my spine over my thin t-shirt. The kiss begins to deepen, tongues entwining, hands tangling in hair, one of Hisao’s hands resting on the bare skin of the small of my back.

I move backwards, and a jolt of something sends shivers up my spine. I suck in a breath, and Hisao’s wild gaze meets mine. I rock again, and we both hiss in unison.

We are treading very, very dangerous water here. I meet Hisaos gaze, he shakes his head in a faint warning and gives a gentle sigh. I gently slide off him, coming to rest besides him on the bed, one leg hooked over his legs.

“Good morning,” I murmur softly, stealing another kiss from him (not that he resists) “How’d you wind up in my bed?” I ask sleepily, a quiet yawn escaping from me.

“You… You were crying in your sleep,” Hisao says softly. Ah. I don’t remember the dream, or nightmare, whatever it was, likely the former rather than the latter. “You… You asked me to hug you when I went to check on you, then… dragged me in and refused to let go.” He runs a hand through his hair awkwardly.

“Sorry, didn’t know I talk in my sleep, I don’t even remember asking you to hug me,” I admit. Hisao just gives a gentle laugh and gives me a peck on my cheek. “Didn’t mean to drag you in.”

“I’m not complaining,” Hisao says with a small chuckle. “It was a rather comfortable sleep.”

“So I’m only good as a pillow then?”

“Skinny pillow,” is the immediate retort. I give him a little push in retaliation and he envelops me in his arms, eliciting a small squeal of laughter from me.

“Thank you, Hisao,” I say against his chest.

“For?”

“For caring enough to check on me.”

Hisao turns languid eyes on me. “Anyone else would do exactly the same thing.”

“Not anyone else would be in my room,” I retort sarcastically.

“Not even Fujiko?” He asks, genuinely curious.

I shrug. “I’ve had some girly evenings. Not often. Fujiko does have a key but that’s for emergencies. Arashi has a key as well but he doesn’t use it, knocks instead when he visits, which isn’t often mind you.”

“Well, you see each other regularly in school as it is?”

“True.” I concede the point with a nod. We lie there in peaceful silence for a few minutes more, basking in each other’s warmth. “Don’t you have running to do soon?”

Hisao’s grimace tells me exactly what he thinks of that. He does begin to get up reluctantly, though. “I hope I’m not spotted by anyone,” He murmurs under his breath.

“Risk versus reward,” I whisper into his ear as I hug him from behind. “You’ve had the reward but now comes the risk.”

“I think the trade-off is worth it,” Hisao quips back.

I give him a quick swat on his behind “Go running or face the midgets wrath” Hisao pecks me on the cheek as a goodbye and then gently eases my door open, trying to be as stealthy as possible. I chuckle to myself and begin to get myself ready for the day. Before I get on with my day, I jot down times and how I slept in the sleeping journal nurse gave me.

I’ll need to try to get my schedule back on track over the next few days. Not sure how I’ll be able to do that, but I really do need to try.

My morning routine runs past me in a blur, and I head into school, eating breakfast on the move.

Thursday passes in a rush, my body still exhausted from the seizure earlier this week. I half sleep through all my lessons. The only thing keeping me going is the fact it’s weekend soon.

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

Friday morning I wake up feeling remarkably more human. Today is an easy day, Japanese, English, Maths, History and Science. The only subject I struggle with on Fridays is science, so apart from that; the day will probably be fine.

I go about my morning routine, showering, dressing and taking my medication. I also fulfil nurses request by filling out my sleep diary. Part of me is tempted to start the entry with ‘Dear diary, last night…’ but I’m not sure Nurse would appreciate the joke.

As I enter the dorm corridors I see Fujiko leave her room. She spots me and gives me a wave, wandering over to me, a bright cheerful morning grin on her face. Morning people. How I loathe them.

I give her a grunt in response to her cheerful morning face, and she pulls a face at me. “How’re you feeling?” she asks as we walk side by side.

“Ninety percent more human than yesterday,” I respond dryly. We bypass the dorm kitchen and walk across the grounds to the cafeteria. I’m in no mood to make breakfast today, and apparently neither is Fujiko, so by unspoken agreement we decide to brave the cafeteria breakfast.

As we enter the cafeteria I spot a familiar head of hair. “Hisao!” I call and he turns, a smile breaking across his face as he spots me. The smile makes him seem more childlike and carefree, less worn and weary than he can be. He already has breakfast in his hands and gestures with his head towards the table Arashi is sitting at. I give him a thumbs-up, and he nods back as Fujiko and I join the breakfast line.

We get our respective breakfasts quickly, Fujiko settling for cereal and toast, while I have something a little more traditional: some rice, miso soup and grilled fish. We join the boys at the table, Arashi lazily signing [Good morning] at us, before placing his head on the table and taking a small nap.

Guess someone didn’t sleep well.

I look at Hisao sitting opposite me, and I realise the bags under his eyes have gotten worse. I snake a hand out and grasp his gently. “Are you sleeping okay?”

Hisao shakes his head, punctuating his speech with a wide yawn. “No. Had a nightmare, odd for me, normally it’s the insomnia that causes the bags.”

“About?” I query Hisao. He shakes his head at me gently, and then pointedly looks at Fujiko. She sighs dramatically and turns so her deaf side is facing Hisao and me. “Better?” I ask.

He gives a nod, then issues a long drawn out sigh. “I had a nightmare about the hospital” Hisao pauses and twists his mouth into a grimace. “Well more accurately it was about our very recent visit to the hospital, instead of getting the staff involved, Arashi and I pushed your uncle a bit further. He lashed out… hit me in the chest.”

“Hisao –“ I try to speak but he carries on, looking grim.

“I had a heart attack, bad one, and I woke up in the room you’d be staying in but… none of you came to visit, and I was stuck there, alone, exactly like before.” It looks like it takes a lot for Hisao to admit that, and it looks like the nightmare really shook him up. I walk around the table, sit next to him and wrap him in hug.

“That isn’t going to happen” I reassure him, using the tone of voice I’ve dubbed ‘Akiho’s teaching voice.’ It’s a firm tone, meant to inspire belief and hope, and it looks like it works as Hisao brightens slightly at my words and touch and gives me a small hug in return.

Fujiko mimes retching into her bowl of cereal as we cuddle gently. “Enough!” She says dramatically, sliding my food that I’d left on the other side of the table over to me. “Eat your breakfast, and then lets head to class… after waking your brother.”

I smile gently at Hisao, and then nod my thanks at Fujiko. She knows when to lighten the mood, and her timing is always good.

I finish breakfast with one hand in Hisao’s bigger hand, giving a reassuring squeeze every so often as I eat.

Gently, we rouse Arashi... Well, by gently what I mean is that Fujiko pokes him with chopsticks in his ribs until he squirms awake. The flat eyes look he gives Fujiko when he stirs awake is priceless. It’s like watching a grumpy bear emerge from its lair after hibernation.

We leave the cafeteria as a group, heading towards our respective classrooms. I walk with Hisao to his classroom, and as he walks inside I reach up and give him a quick kiss on the lips, a small gesture to help cheer him up. I hear a chuckle from inside the classroom and see Miura gently laughing. I wonder why she’s laughing and then realise why. The look on Shizune’s face says it all. I don’t think she is pleased about this small public display, although she’s one to talk. I simply give her a cheeky wave and step aside, letting my brother into the room as I head to my own classroom.

Fujiko meets me at the classroom door with a small grin on her face. We go to our seats and begin to face the school day.

First period, Japanese is relatively easy. The teacher seems zoned out so I coast along the lesson - like most of the class does - and the first period rapidly becomes the second.

Ms. Miyagi waddles in and places her bits down on the desk. She smiles widely at us. There is silence for a moment, as the class seems puzzled. Normally Ms. Miyagi starts the lesson pretty promptly, so why the delay?

“Well, as I told you before the festival, after the three day weekend, I shall be leaving you in the capable hands of another teacher. She’s come by today to take today’s lesson!” An assortment of curious voices rise at Ms. Miyagi’s proclamation. There’s a rapid knock at the classroom door, and Ms. Miyagi grins and says, “That’ll be her now.” She raises her voice. “Come in!”

The door opens, and time - at least for me - slows to crawl. The blond hair in a ponytail, the dark trousers, shirt, suit and tie, the eyes that glimmer like emeralds. All these fine little details make my jaw drop to the ground as my sister walks into the classroom, her pale skin seeming to have a soft, almost glowing sheen in the late morning light.

She smiles widely at the class, and as she bows I can hear whispers from those who are partially sighted like myself, describing Akiho to the blind members of my class. She opens her mouth to introduce herself, and the class falls silent.

And that’s when I open my big mouth without engaging my brain first and blurt out, “Big sis saber?”

The silence after that little outburst is almost deafening. I can feel Fujiko goggling at me from the seat next to me, and I want to vanish into a hole in the ground. Someone giggles quietly in the silence, and I can feel Akiho’s gaze boring into the top of my head.

Kill me, kill me now, please!

I can feel my face is a flaming mess of red blush. Why oh why did I have to blurt that out? She’s going to kill me, as that nickname will follow her for the rest of the school year at least, now that it’s out there. The whispers are rising, and I hear brief snatches of a few conversations in the classroom.

“Saber? Like the…”

“Big sister? But they look nothing alike!”

“So Tsukino knows her? Family?”

I want the ground to swallow me up right now. I’m not embarrassed that Akiho would be teaching me, I’m fine with that. I’m more ashamed by the fact I blurted out her nickname in front of my whole class!

It is Akiho who rescues the day in the end. “Quiet, please!” The statement is not shouted, or yelled but is said in such a way, - even though it is spoken gently - there is no question that it is a command issued.

The class falls silent instantly, the whispers and chatting dying as though wheat falling before a scythe. My sister pans her gaze around the classroom, her eyes stopping on me briefly. “As you’ve been told, I am to be Ms. Miyagi’s replacement after the three day weekend.” Her eyes traverse the classroom once more, taking in everyone. “I am Ms Tsukino.”

There is silence in the room as she writes the Kanji on the board, the traditional symbols for ‘Moon’ and ‘field’. I hear more murmurs as again people whisper to others, letting them know what’s going on.

“I will be clear about this,” Akiho states. “Yes, my sister is in this classroom, but while we are in school she is my student. Nothing more and nothing less, no favouritism of any kind. She is here to learn, as are all of you. Am I clear?”

The response is a chorus of “Yes, Tsukino Sensei!” and the smile that blossoms on my sister’s face is dazzling.

She launches into the lesson with aplomb, and I have to say it is the most interesting English lesson I’ve had in a long time. Akiho has mainly been teaching in - and I hate to use the term - a normal school, but she has prepared printouts in Braille, and she handles the lesson in what she calls an ‘immersive’ style. We speak nothing but English for the lesson. Some of my classmates do struggle, but she helps those who require it gently.

When the bell rings for break, the rest of the students disperse from the classroom. Akiho is talking to Ms. Miyagi, and I wait patiently for them to finish their conversation. Ms. Miyagi notices me loitering and wraps up speaking to Akiho. Akiho notices me and comes over to me, guiding me by the shoulder over to a corner of the classroom for a private discussion.

“Are you angry with me?”

“Why would I be angry?” I ask genuinely confused. “I’m shocked, more than a little embarrassed at my outburst” – Akiho frowns at that – “But not angry, no!”

Akiho nods and breathes a relieved sigh. “Good. I wanted to surprise you which I think I’ve succeeded in doing.” She gives a small chuckle and I just frown at her. “I hope to surprise Arashi next,” she says with a small grin, “So don’t spoil it!”

I agree, after apologising for my outburst in class, which she waves off. She then takes her leave, watching through a slightly open classroom door. When the coast is clear Akiho darts from the room, presumably to her next class and to surprise Arashi.

At least he can’t blurt anything out like I can. That mistake is going to haunt me for a while. I sit down at my desk and rest my head in one hand. A clunk of a can on my desk stirs me from my stupor, and I look up to see Fujiko’s beaming face. It’s a can of mango soda, and I pop the can gratefully, chugging the sweet drink rapidly.

“Well,” Fujiko says sitting at her desk next to mine. “That happened.”

I make a noise of agreement while drinking and nearly end up with soda up my nose.

“Guess we’re being taught by your sister.”

I let my head rest on the desk. “Don’t remind me,” I mutter. “I can’t believe I blurted out her nickname. I’m never going to live that down.”

“Ah, so it was a family nickname.” The sound of the class representative jolts me up from the desk, and I meet her cloudy eyes as she stands near my desk, cane clacking against one of my desk legs.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack, Lilly,” I grouse, finishing the soda off.

She raises one hand to her mouth and gives a little giggle, “My, my, a little twitchy today are we?”

I huff a breath and glower. I wish Lilly could see my facial expression; it would communicate things a lot better. “If you had a sister show up and become a teacher here, out of the blue, you’d be a little twitchy, too.”

“Mmmmm. If Akira did become a teacher here I would be worried,” Lilly admits.

“Akira?” Fujiko chimes in. “You have a sister?”

“An older sister.” Lilly inclines her head in Fujiko’s general direction. “She’s a lawyer in my father’s company. So if she suddenly decided on becoming a teacher… Yes, I would be most surprised.”

“Sister has always been a teacher,” I confess. “I just… didn’t expect her to end up here.”

“What does she look like?” Lilly asks. “I didn’t catch any of the class’s comments”. I describe Akiho to Lilly, and all of a sudden she bursts into giggles. “Give her red eyes and you’d have my sister,” she says, laughter lighting up her face. “Does she like to drink?”

“Bit of a wine connoisseur,” Fujiko answers, while I shoot her a glare. We shouldn’t be divulging some information to future students. Lilly laughs gently, one hand over her mouth again.

“If I didn’t know any better, I would honestly think you’re describing Akira.”

“They even have similar names,” I say with a small laugh. “It’s going to be a little odd though, having to address her as Tsukino sensei.”

“You mean Ms. Tsukino” Lilly corrects me in English. I snort a short bark of laughter as the bell rings and Lilly bids us goodbye, heading back to her seat.

The next two classes pass in a blur, and when I get out at lunchtime, after the rush of students, I find Hisao waiting for me with a small smile, two bentos in one hand and a pair of drinks in the other. “Surprise?” He says with a small laugh. I simply smile at him and give him a small hug, taking the drinks from him at the same time.

“I’ll see you two later!” Fujiko says with a wave as she saunters down the corridor, chatting to... one of the newspaper clubs members, I think. I give her a wave in return as she turns the corner, out of sight.

“So,” I say, eyeing the bentos. “Are you trying to dazzle me with your cooking?”

“I’ll be honest, I made a deal with Arashi,” Hisao admits. Good, he’s being honest. I like that. “He helped me make these. Although I did most of the work, he did help.”

“What did you have to do in return?” I ask. My brother can be highly mercenary at times and may have extorted Hisao.

He wriggles under my frank gaze. “A double date on Sunday with Shizune and him.”

I process the sentence and then nod. All in all it’s not too bad. “Is Arashi arranging this?” Hisao nods, and I lean in, giving him a quick peck on the lips. “A date with you is a price I am more than willing to pay, Mr. Nakai,” I tease. “We’re going after dancing lessons I assume?” Another nod.

We then leave the school, going out onto the front grounds, where we first had lunch together I notice with a small sense of irony. Except this time the roles are reversed. “Do you know what Arashi is planning?” I ask curiously.

Hisao swallows his mouthful of food and then answers. “I have no idea. I just know that he’ll meet us with Shizune at your brother’s restaurant and we’ll go from there.” I nod and snuggle into his side as we lay back on the grass. We both finish our lunch and lie there, bellies full and feeling content.

“Afternoon, Ayane.” A voice, one I haven’t heard for a while, snaps me out of my reverie. I roll around so I’m lying on my stomach (and partially on Hisao’s legs) and look up at Haruhiko who’s wearing a small, sad frown. He doesn’t have a black eye anymore so it’s either recovered, or he’s covering it up. I notice Hisao’s eyes have narrowed as he regards Haruhiko.

I settle on a neutral “Afternoon” instead of a number of other choice words I may have for him. Haruhiko shuffles under the combined gaze of Hisao and me.

He struggles to find the words and looks almost like he won’t say anything until a girl comes up to him and gently presses her hand into his back. She’s not someone I recognise - possibly a second year. She’s a redhead, unusual for Japan, so possibly some foreign blood in her somewhere, a dusting of freckles across her button nose and brown eyes. She’s in the standard Yamaku uniform, but I notice what looks like an instrument case, possibly a flute, slung over her shoulder. Haruhiko seems to draw strength from her presence and bows deeply to me apologising as he does so.

“I’m sorry for my thoughtless words earlier. I… wasn’t thinking straight,” he admits.

I don’t want bad blood between us. It reminds me uncomfortably of my misinformed grudge against Emi. I stand up, dust my skirt off and extend my hand. Haruhiko takes it, seeming surprised as I say, “Apology accepted, brave of you to do that.”

“I ah… had some help with that,” he admits, eyes shifting over to the girl next to him. She regards me with some wariness as if I’m treading on her territory.

“I can see that,” I remark dryly, my eyes flicking over at the shorter girl. “Get going,” I say as I see the girl shift from foot to foot. “Looks like you have somewhere to be.”

Haruhiko gives a little nod, and the pair heads off towards the school gates, leaving me to idly wonder where they’re heading.

I settle back down next to Hisao and rest my head on his stomach. “Wasn’t expecting that,” I say idly, staring at the sky.

“Neither was I,” Hisao says in return. “He’s been in class the past few days but was actively avoiding Arashi and me.”

“Nice of him to apologise” I say idly, fingers idly tapping on one of Hisao’s hands. Hisao gives a grunt of agreement, and we idly while away the rest of the lunch break, before we have to face lessons once again.

Just after classes end for the day and I’m in my room, my phone lights up with a text from Arashi. He’s not amused that I didn’t tell him about Akiho and her new position.

Whoops?

End part one of: Dance the night away
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:36 pm, edited 4 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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TheTealeaf
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Location: England

Scene 9: Dance the night away part 2

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:34 pm

Part 2 of: Dance the night away

Saturday passes into Sunday fairly rapidly. The talk of the school is - of course - the new English teacher. I’ve had no end of people ask me about my sister, but I’ve remained tight-lipped. If she’s to be a teacher here, the less the students know about her the better.

Akihiro stated in the hospital that he’d pick Hisao and me up at one, but I’m already up and ready at ten a.m.

I head down into the kitchen to grab a drink and spy Fujiko standing in the lounge. She appears to be waiting for someone and is dressed up, even wearing what I think is a light amount of make up. I observe her covertly; she’s wearing a light green skirt, some kind of light coloured t-shirt covered by a denim jacket – I know that jacket, I was there when she bought it – and is wearing what appears to be a little beret hat… thing, perched upon her head and she has her hair in her usual style. She doesn’t notice me, and her hand dives into her handbag as her phone goes off.

She checks it and nods, beginning to leave the lounge. I scuttle back to lurk in the kitchen and then begin to follow her at a distance. I’m curious about what she may be up to. Fujiko does always have a certain taste in fashion, and she prides herself on being well dressed, but makeup is unusual for her. It’s something that she gets from her mother, as she insists that there is nothing better than a ‘female’s natural beauty’.

So if dear little Fuji is wearing make up…

So Fujiko is going on a date. Odd. She rarely goes on dates. In fact the last one I recall was with me on a double date during our first year! By the time I get near to the gate Fujiko is just heading through further ahead. I think I see a flash of pink near her, but I can’t be quite sure. I’m stumped. If I see Fujiko later I’ll try to subtly interrogate her.

Subtle? Who am I kidding? I’m about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

With that mystery tickling my curiosity, I decide to go visit my boys and pester them before Akihiro picks us up. I send a text to Arashi as I head over to the boys’ dorm.

By the time I reach the dorms, Arashi is already holding the door open and is regarding me with a weary expression. [Morning,] he signs as I shimmy past him.

[Morning,] I sign back, giving him a quick hug. He seems surprised by the hug, but hugs me back.

[How’re you feeling?]

[Good,] I reply as we walk down the corridors. [Want to tell me what the plan is for tonight?].

[Nope,] is the quick response. How Arashi even makes his hand signs seem sarcastic is beyond me. [You’ll find out later.] He gives me a cheeky grin and a wink.

[Fine.] I pout, and he just shakes his head.

[Are you going to visit cowlick?] Arashi asks. I just sigh and nod. [Fine, but keep the noise down please.]

I just splutter as Arashi vanishes into his room, eyes twinkling like a damn cat that’s got the cream.

Screw you brother dearest… Oh wait that’s what Shizune will be doing to you in the future. I shudder at the rails my thought process has gone down and quickly derail it before it can contaminate me further and I need brain bleach to scour my mind clean.

I knock on Hisao’s door but find that there’s no answer. I give a gentle push, and the door begins to open. My curiosity gets the better of me, and I open the door fully to find Hisao fast asleep on his bed, mouth open and small snores escaping his mouth every so often.

I venture over to him after I gently close his door. He looks adorable as he sleeps, his face fully relaxed, the drawn lines that normally adorn his face absent. I set an alarm on my phone for half past twelve then slide into the bed besides him, gently nudging Hisao to one side. He doesn’t even stir as I move him and wrap my arms around him. I quickly fall asleep as I listen to his rhythmic breathing and have his warmth and scent envelop me in an invisible hug.

My phone blaring its ring tone wakes Hisao and me at the same time. I say nothing as he comes to and groggily rolls over me to get my phone I left on his desk. He stops as his weight rests on top of me, and his eyes clear from sleep. “Ayane?” he blearily murmurs.

I gently grasp his waist and pull him down to me. His weight settles fully on me, and I realise as I kiss him that he’s a little underweight but the same slight thrill from earlier in the week dances across my nerves.

Hisao sleepily kisses me back, and then pulls away suddenly as his brain finally kicks into gear. My hand darts out and silences my phone by flipping it open. “Ayane?” Hisao asks again, sounding very confused.

“That’s my name,” I giggle. “Are you awake now, sleeping beauty?” I ask impishly, and I feel a grin form on my face. I crane my neck up and draw him into another kiss.

“What’re you doing in my bed?” He seems dazed as he asks the question.

“Not happy to see me?” I pout.

Hisao shakes his head. “Happy to see you just… confused as to how you got here.”

“Your room was unlocked” I confess with a guilty grin, “I came in, and you were fast asleep, and I couldn’t help myself but to join you in your comfy bed.” Understanding dawns in Hisao’s eyes. “I would kiss you more,” I say with a leer, “but we’ve got less than half an hour until Akihiro arrives, so lets get up and about shall we?”

That shocks Hisao awake, and he gets up, his weight leaving me and for a moment I have a pang of regret almost missing the pressure from him on me. “What do I need to wear?” Hisao asks, rooting through his wardrobe.

I roll onto my side and face him saying, “Something light, so that means no sweater vests as adorable as they are but bring a change of clothes. Double date afterwards!” I sing song at him.

Hisao rummages further through his clothes and settles on some light clothes. He packs some smart casual stuff in the bag I brought along before gesturing at me to turn around. I comply, rolling over to face the wall as I hear the rustle of clothing being taken off and put back on.

I am tempted to look, but I do manage to restrain myself. “I’m decent,” Hisao says softly. I turn back over and get off the bed, giving Hisao a hug. He seems slightly upset over something. I think, as he mentioned in hospital, he has arrhythmia, so that may mean he has scarring on his chest from surgery, which may explain why he asked me to turn around.

“Silly man” I chide him gently. “You’re not the only one who has scars here Hisao. I’m not going to judge you for it” There is a beat of silence. “Remember the first day we met?” Hisao nods. “You saw my eye. You didn’t flinch or look away. I’m not going to look away from your scars, Hisao”

There is a deep sigh from Hisao, and he presses a kiss on the top of my head. He doesn’t say anything, but I know the kiss is his silent way of saying ‘thank you for being so patient’.

No more words are exchanged between us as we make our way to the gates for pickup. We don’t need to exchange words. We’ve said everything that needs to be said about that subject.

When Hisao is ready, he’ll share it with me.

Akihiro is already waiting for us at the gates. His car is a sleek, sporty thing in a rather fetching shade of red. “Sling your stuff in the back” Akihiro says, popping open his back storage. I pop the bag in the back and then sit down in the backseats, Hisao joining me. “No funny business back there!” Akihiro jokes before pulling away in a squeal of tyres.

Akihiro drives like he usually does: Aggressively. I think it’s a combination of his temperament, his job and his general attitude, but he’s a decidedly angry driver, and although he gets us to where we’re going it’s a decidedly hairy journey, and Hisao looks rather pale when we arrive.

We arrive at a set of apartments and go up to the penthouse where Akihiro opens the door. Akiho is waiting for us, dressed in a light blue dress, her hair back in a bun, held by a pair of ornamental chopsticks. “Whose place is this?” I ask.

“Mine” Akiho answers. “The extra money from our lovely stepmother goes quite a way to paying the bills, although the pay rise from teaching at Yamaku is a pleasant bonus compared to my old wages.” The living area is covered in laminate flooring, and Akiho has moved all of her furniture to one side for the dance lesson.

Hisao coughs, gaining everyone’s attention and says softly. “Before we begin, I have something that needs to be said.”

I already know what Hisao is about to say but I move to him, giving him some much needed support.

His hand grasps mine as he begins to speak. “I’m at Yamaku for a heart condition” There is silence for a moment before Akihiro breaks it.

“Wow. Well that fucking sucks.”

I scowl at Akihiro at this rather blunt statement.

Akiho nods and says “So, what does this mean for today?” she asks evenly and smoothly remaining unruffled.

“I need to avoid straining my heart.” Hisao takes a steadying breath, my comforting presence giving him fortitude. “I’ve been running under orders of the nurses with a friend, and my condition has begun to improve, but I do still need to be careful. If I feel weak or dizzy at any point then I’ll need to sit down”

Akiho nods. “Nothing we’ll be doing today will be particularly straining. Still when it actually comes to the ball I would recommend dancing only one or two dances as the ballroom at home can become rather warm when it gets crowded”

“Like a fucking furnace” Akihiro chips in helpfully.

I bite my lip. I didn’t think about how Hisao’s condition would affect him at the ball; I just simply dragged him along with me. “We don’t have to do this, Hisao,” I say softly. “If it’s going to be too much then–“

Hisao cuts me off with a kiss. I can feel Akihiro’s eyebrows shoot up, and I can see Akiho’s lips set in a firm line. How bold of you Hisao!

“I want to do this,” Hisao says softly. “When the time comes for the actual ball, we will simply have to be careful. I’m sure you’ll be keeping a good eye on me anyway,” he adds with small smirk.

I simply nod dumbly, my head still spinning slightly from the sudden kiss.

Akiho steps forward and grasps Hisao by his arm. “You’ll be with me for the moment, learning the man’s part of the dance, Ayane will be with brother and learning her part, we’ll put you back together at the end and see how you do.”

Hisao steps away from me, and Akiho picks up a remote from her table and clicks a button. Music springs to life from speakers hidden somewhere in the room. I think the music is Chopin, but before I can be certain I’m already whisked away by Akihiro.

We take a break after an hour of dancing. Hisao seems okay, though there is a light sweat on his brow and he seems a little winded. After the break Hisao and I are placed together, and we start to dance.

I’m pleasantly surprised. He only steps on my toes three times, although judging by the way my sister is moving around, I think she got stepped on a fair bit more.

We dance, and we twirl around the small floor, Hisao holding me close. If Akihiro and Akiho weren’t here it would be rather romantic, but with the two of them watching us closely it rather kills the romance. The dance is rather rough and ready on both our parts, but we have time to refine and learn our parts. We arrange a time for another practice, the same time next week and get dressed into something more suitable for a double date.

It’s then that I notice a problem. I don’t want to bring the bag with us, but I can’t just leave it. I mention this to Akiho as she ties my hair back in a bun like she has and secures it with another set of chopsticks she has lurking around. She reassures me that she’ll give the bag to Akihiro, and he’ll pick all four of us up later and drive us back to school.

The final touch before I’m ready is swapping out my plain eye patch for the one Fujiko gave me. It’s rapidly become my favourite, and as I wore it to the festival, it already holds some important memories for me.

We leave Akiho’s apartment and head out into the streets below, Akihiro giving us a lift to his restaurant where Arashi and Shizune are waiting for us. We arrive a bit early, but Arashi and Shizune are already waiting for us.

My brother is smart casual, in his usual wear for such a situation and - dare I say it - Shizune is looking kind of cute. A white halter top, a red belt and dark dress, she certainly looks well dressed and matches Arashi’s own red and dark theme.

Arashi gives us a wave, thanks my brother for the lift and then puts us in a taxi that was summoned earlier, leaving Akihiro on the pavement behind us yelling that he’s too young to become an uncle just yet.

“So,” I ask in the taxi. “What’s the plan?”

[Food,] Shizune signs after Arashi translates what I said. [After that… I don’t know. Arashi has been very secretive about this.] Even her signing is frustrated; I’m guessing she doesn’t like being kept out of the loop.

I frown at Arashi as he quietly converses with Hisao via his phone, and I shrug signing back. [I don’t have any idea either; both the boys have let nothing slip. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what they have up their sleeves.]

Shizune huffs silently before signing [I really want this to go well.]

That’s odd coming from the normally uber confident council president, so I cock an eyebrow at her.

[I’m just worried the boys will do something silly.] And there’s the council president again.

[I’m sure it will be fine,] I sign back, lounging back in the taxi. It’s only a few moments later when the taxi pulls up and Arashi signs that this is our destination. We appear to be eating at a sushi place. I feel my mouth begin to water. I adore sushi.

[Not a bad choice,] Shizune admits as we troop in, Hisao acting as our spokesperson and getting us led to the booth we’ll be sitting in. Not a bad choice? This is one of the more upscale places in the city.

This is going to be good.

***

The dinner is good and passes by in a haze of delicious sushi. I think my brother is beginning to regret bringing me here, as he knows my appetite for sushi. I’m pretty much a bottomless pit. Shizune seems pleased as well, delicately patting her lips with a napkin and giving a silent sigh of satisfaction. Hisao seems stunned at the amount I put away. “Where’d it all go?” He asks, half shocked, half amused.

[She probably hopes her bust will increase,] Arashi signs with an eye roll, only to get jabbed in the shin by my foot. Part of me is glad Hisao can’t read sign and Shizune doesn’t appear amused by the comment either.

“I have hollow legs when it comes to sushi” I say with a sage nod. “Now, is this the extent of your planning?” I taunt.

Arashi grins, and Hisao calls the waiter over. Arashi pays the bill while Hisao takes a piece of paper from Arashi and phones what I presume is a taxi company. “While we’re waiting we,” I say indicating Shizune and myself, “need to freshen up”. When I have repeated everything in sign Shizune nods, and we head to the bathroom.

[Everything okay?] I ask when we’re in the bathroom, washing our hands.

[I’m surprised. I thought Arashi would take us to your brothers’ place again,] Shizune admits.

[That’s the thing about my brother: He’s never predictable.]

Shizune gains her bobcat grin. [Oh, I know that all too well. He well and truly surprised me on Monday]

[I don’t need reminding about that.] I really, really don’t. That image is pretty much seared into my brain.

That basically kills the conversation, and we head back into the restaurant, to find the boys waiting for us. [Taxi’s here,] Arashi signs. We leave the restaurant, climb into the taxi, and it rattles off on the planned journey.

In relatively short order, we arrive at our destination on the edge of town. A carnival, it’s bright lights and noises illuminating the senses. I shoot a look at Arashi. I wonder if he planned this without knowing about Hisao’s condition. Wait, he was in the hospital on Monday. He probably overheard us talking about it. So he’s either being a complete ass, or he and Hisao have planned something else taking Hisao’s heart into consideration.

I’m hoping its option b.

We get out of the taxi, and Arashi dramatically signs as I translate for Hisao [Welcome! This is where our evening splits up as several factors, which were planned for, come into play. Enjoy!]

He offers his arm to Shizune and leads her into the carnival, the lights and sounds swallowing the pair up in a short time.

“You planned this?” I ask Hisao, slipping my hand into his.

“Arashi’s idea,” he says with a shrug. “There’s plenty to do here, and Arashi did say that you’re not good with the fast rides”.

This is true; I’m not good with roller coasters or anything like that. I’m honestly surprised that Akiho and Akihiro’s driving doesn’t make me throw up on some occasions. Still I do enjoy carnivals, and as Hisao said there is plenty to do here.

“Well?” I ask with a grin, the lights reflecting in my eye. “What’re we waiting for?”

We enter, and Hisao pays for the tickets. It isn’t long before we’re playing silly games at the stalls trying to win prizes. Most of the games are rigged of course, as is to be expected, but I can’t help myself - especially when I see the large stuffed dragon.

I’m not a fluffy toy person but it’s a dragon! I can’t resist the temptation and shell out for several tickets on the stall. It’s a hit the moving target game, and due to my poor depth perception I end up wasting all my tickets.

“Hold on,” Hisao says, as I slump my shoulders in dejection. He pays for three tickets. His first attempt seems pretty poor, his second goes just the same, but he seems to learn something from the two attempts.

The third attempt he nails all five of the targets and gets me the bright green dragon that he knows I’d been aiming for. The damn thing is about half my size, and I laugh as I squeeze it tight.

“Thank you,” I say with a massive smile.

“My pleasure,” Hisao responds, and I give him a kiss for just being, well, himself.

We finish the night on the Ferris wheel. I’m good with heights; it’s just roller coasters I’m not good with. I snuggle up next to Hisao as we go up in our own cage thing. The night air is fairly cool, and Hisao is warm. We’re reaching the top when I lean up and kiss him very thoroughly, our mouths and tongues entwining in a dance that’s as old as mankind itself.

There’s no need for words. Hisao knows what I’m trying to say. It’s a perfect end to the perfect day.

Thank you Hisao.

Thank you.


End scene nine.
Last edited by TheTealeaf on Mon Oct 06, 2014 1:38 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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