Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story [Updated 10/26/15]

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by Craftyatom » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:43 am

Lovely! Felt a little short but I'm guessing that's because the ending cut off so abruptly, or because a fair amount of text was spent in a flashback.
I'm liking the time being put into backstory, I didn't think I'd be fond of a break in our protagonist's actions but here I am.
Oh, and regarding this line:
bubeez wrote:Shizune turns around, looking over Hisao’s arm. She gives me a look of cold death, seemingly shouting the words “this is your fault.”
Nobody ever actually says that they think it's Seiki's fault, all that we know for sure is that Seiki feels somewhat at fault and Shizune is clearly not happy with Seiki, which is something that has come up before. Now, whether or not said dislike/anger is justified or not is unknown - I still think there may be an actual cause (that Seiki's forgotten), though it is entirely possible that it's just Shizune being envious - but it certainly doesn't mean that Shizune believes that Seiki caused Hisao's problems, just that she happens to be at odds with her.

Splendid little chapter, I'm excited for more, keep up the good work!
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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:19 am

Thanks for the feedback! I definitely spent the most time thinking over how Shizune plays a part in all of this.

Next chapter out by next week. Kind of a bold statement, but i'm feeling up to the challenge.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:48 pm

Last edited by bubeez on Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:07 am

Can You Remember Me? Chapter 9

I find myself dangling my legs off of the cliff again. This time, alone. Hisao was just swept away from me, for reasons I’m very unsure of. There are two mysteries I find myself thinking about as the breeze gently flows through my hair. My eyes are aching slightly- did I cry? Either way, that’s not the real mystery. First off, what happened to Hisao after he pushed me on the swing? I didn’t see any blood. It must be an internal thing. It’s also the first time I’ve seen Hisao in such pain.

The first mystery won’t solve itself easily. The possibilities are endless... I can’t ask the Nurse either. He’s probably sworn to secrecy, lest he perish. More importantly, that might be the worst way to go about finding what I need to know.

The second mystery is just as confusing. Why does Shizune have a problem with me? This has obviously gone from mild annoyance to pure feminine ferocity… in an amazingly one-sided way. I hardly know her. I even respect her, especially after seeing the festival today. President of the student council? Sure, nobody else wanted the position… but even so, she earned it. That’s all I know about her, really. And I’m fairly certain she knows even less about me. I’m no “student council president.”

These two ideas spin in my head, in rhythm to my swaying legs. One worry, then the next. Rinse and repeat.

I guess I must look like a total loser right now… I can hear the sounds of a grand festival just a short walk away, and here I am, alone. Again.

My hands are set flat on the ground behind me, so I can look up at the sky comfortably. The grass is tickling my hands. I decide to play a small game with myself, one of my old favorites.

I like to find music to match the atmosphere around me. First, I take it all in. The most important elements. The shining sun. The cool yet gentle breeze. The softness of the grass under my hands. I close my eyes.

This feels like a slow, solemn piano piece. Short, yet meaningful pauses in between each note, gently prodding along with the flow of the melody, somewhat reluctantly. It’s as if each note is just barely on time, hanging on to some notion that the song will change before it has to perform.

Thoughts of Hisao begin to occupy my mind. About meeting him, when he had barely transferred in and took my seat. About waking up under a tree, only for him to find me. About having the most fun I’ve had in a long time, just from something childish like a rope swing. Fun because of him, mostly. The thoughts blend well with the piano of the atmosphere- calm, dreamlike. But not perfect.

The thought of Hisao’s sudden collapse brings the song to a violent close- a mashing of the keys so different from the song’s earlier, dainty sounds. The sound itself is a lot to handle- not only does it demand to be heard, but it offers no choice. I don’t want to hear that sound.

I don’t know if today will be a victory anymore. Maybe we were just pretending to be normal.

The wind picks up, blasting me with a harsh cold front. I shield my eyes with one hand, but the wind only gets stronger. My other hand, now alone in the grass, trembles as it tries to support my weight. Soon enough, I’m pushed back by the force of the gust, forcing me to lay down on the grass and face the sky.

The music composed in my head is calming down again- slower, calmer. Well, I force the music to become calmer. My arms are spread wide, my legs still dangling off the cliff. I feel like I’m submitting again.

What can I do, though? Get lost again? Lie to him again? Forget he even exists?

My sheer helplessness runs rampant through my thoughts. I’ve lost yet again. The wind shoves me down yet again. The music crashes yet again. And no matter how many times I find myself newly lost, it always seems like I’ll be lost forever. In the music, in the wind, in my own thoughts. In whatever.

I need to be somewhere else right now…

The only place that comes to my mind is back to the festival. Although, the atmosphere doesn’t feel the same as when I left it. It seems that someone has put the festival on grayscale. The festival is physically the same as when I left it, almost perfectly so. I still can’t shake the feeling.

I move like clockwork, without any real sense of direction. The festival is whizzing by me with its delicious smells and loud noises, the loud conversations of students especially jarring.

I find shelter from the crowd by squeezing through some stalls, finding myself just outside of the festival. A few straggling students are spread here and there, probably just taking a break until they can go to the festival again.

My head feels lighter than usual. Each step I take doesn’t really feel like my own. Before I can snap out of it, I’ve already wandered away from where I thought I was. I round a corner, not very aware of where I am.

The first thing I notice is a tree and some stairs leading up towards the main building- an unusual flash of red catches my eye after further investigation.

“Hey, Rin.” I call out to my lofty-headed friend. It’s nice to see a familiar face after such an unfriendly crowd. A memory from earlier today clicks into my thoughts. Didn’t Emi say something about Rin when we were in the library…?

She moves her gaze towards me, which is the best I could ask for, considering who I’m talking to. She blinks at me a few times, maintaining a curious gaze as I approach her. As I walk closer towards her, I notice a particularly colorful painting just next to her. It’s a large mural, painted directly on the wall by the stairs. Has that always been there? I do walk by here a lot… Rin is in her usual outfit, a boy’s uniform and her sandals. Not conventional, but it leaves an impression. Her surprising height makes the whole outfit work well, even though she is hardly any taller than me.

“Hello, girlfriend.” She says, staring at the tree next to me.

Right. I forgot about that. I’m getting used to this ‘girlfriend’ business, anyway. It seems almost like a trademark. Something is off, though. I notice a distinct weight to her voice, when she usually sounds so concerned about things not pertinent to the current situation.

I decide to investigate before prying in on her emotions. Even if I asked, I doubt she would have any words to say about it. She’s a mystery, mostly to herself. “Enjoying the festival?”

Rin pauses, blank expression still ablaze. She shrugs, the small knots at the end of her sleeves forced to swing with the movement of her shoulders. Even her shrug is somewhat of a blank expression- it’s still a step in the right direction, though.

I try to continue after Rin has seemingly nothing to say. But it’s not like I really have anything to say, either. The mural catches my attention again. I can see the hard work put into it, although it seems to have a rather broad message. The blending faces give a feeling of mastery, the colors coming together while remaining so very different. The composition is chaotic, though- each face twirling into the next, some completely disappearing into the void. Combined, the mastery and chaos seem to be both undoing and complementing each other at the same time.

I notice a few people from the festival looking this way, as well; all I hear are a few murmurs of “what is that supposed to be?” I guess what they see is the paint on the wall, not the painting.

I’m no art critic, but I can understand when appreciation is to be given. Rin has noticed me staring at the piece as well, but she is staring directly at me attentively. I lean in towards the mural. “I really like this painting.” I search for a signature, but I don’t see one. I’m glad it’s not signed, though- I think the mural would have lost some importance if there was a single written line on it. “I wonder who painted this?”

Rin shrugs again. “Seiki, you are a strange person.”

Should she really be telling me that? I haven’t done anything particularly strange… I guess. “Huh? What did I do?”

Rin gazes at the mural behind her. “You ask who, but you don’t ask what.”

I’m dazed and confused by her usual Rin mannerisms. “You’re going to need to make that clearer for me.”

She doesn’t seem affected by my response. In fact, she’s frozen in a questioning gaze.

I guess I need to be clearer for her, too. “Try to make sense.”

She focuses on my words, and wags her head in contemplation. It must be hard to convey things without full body language. She always takes time to digest her words. “It is like cake.”

Oookay. Trying to make sense is clearly failing. “Cake?”

“The cake is right in front of you. Why do you need to know who made it? I think it is strange.” Her thoughts concluded, Rin closes her eyes in a scholarly fashion, as if she just concluded her thesis… on cake….

My answer isn’t hard to find. “So I can thank them for making it?”

Rin obviously hadn’t thought of that before. She’s more wide-eyed than usual, but is gathering her thoughts like always. She looks up at the clouds gently floating ahead, pushed by just a little wind. This might take a while…

While Rin is busy contemplating, I turn my eyes towards the festival just ahead, opposite the mural. It’s still in full swing. The crowds still haven’t really thinned yet. I would rather not go back into that madness.

Watching the mob of festival-goers, it takes a while to realize that someone new altogether has decided to stand right next to me. Actually, it seems to be a pair.

“Hiya!” a voice shrilly says. Ahh, it’s the Comet.

“H-hello again, Seiki.” A voice barely squeaks by. Ahh, Hanako. I’m glad it’s these two, and not another nightmare-ish pair that I was thinking of.

“Hey, you two.” I greet the both of them together, somewhat strangely. I’d never thought these two would really mix.

Emi notices Rin, idly standing by behind me. She waves towards Rin, but Hanako remains passively standing. I notice that Hanako occasionally glares at the crowd, as if constantly bothered by it.

Taking Hanako’s reaction into account, I point towards the tree and mural, accompanied by Rin. “Let’s talk over there?”

Now under the shade, I lean against the tree and place my hands in my skirt pockets. It’s a little chillier when I’m not being constantly subjected to the sun’s rays. Hanako stands on her own side of the tree, using me as a slight barrier between her and the crowd. I happily oblige.

Emi and Rin are busy having their own little back-and-forth. Emi keeps Rin on her toes, peeping out sentences every so often. “-and then they had to escape before the ship exploded but then Darth-“

I decide to refrain from listening any longer, since the look on Rin’s mesmerized face tells me they’ll be talking for quite a while. Emi is holding a very familiar book in her hand. It’s the one I’ve seen Hanako holding a few times, and quickly hiding right afterward. I peer at Hanako, who is busy fiddling with the bookmarks in her other book. I smile for the first time since I left Hisao earlier. “It seems you’ve inspired someone, Hanako…”

Hanako looks up from her little bookmark, fixing her hair so it hides her scars before completely looking at me. “U-uhmm… I guess s-so….” She’s turning red, still careful with her words. They do seem to be coming out a little faster than usual, though. Maybe she has to worry less about talking with me. “B-but… Seiki… y-you’re the real… inspiration....”

I didn’t expect such a compliment. It makes me smile before continuing. “I’m not sure what you mean… but thanks, Hanako.”

Just as I’m ready to drop the subject, Hanako pipes up louder than usual, even going so far as slamming her book shut. “I-it’s true! Y-you make it look… e-easy… talking to p-…people. It kind of…. m-made me w-…want to try…”

I feel a rush of gratitude come towards me, making me turn a shade of red. Hanako has definitely changed, if just a little. I never would have thought it was because of me, though. “You know, I still get really nervous talking to people, too.” Hanako and I begin to watch Emi and Rin talk as if it was a spectacle. “I’m nothing compared to these two.”

Hanako laughs in her usual reserved manner. “T-they’re… a… a little loud… b-but I like them.”

I nod, smiling warmly as Hanako and I enjoy the shade. I eyeball the mural on the wall again. It really is a fantastic work. Hanako also takes a passing glance. I direct my voice towards Hanako. “I think this might be my favorite mural now.”

Hanako, still looking at the mural, begins to speak. “I-I think it’s… really interesting.”

Our conversation seems to have caught the attention of the two endless talkers in front of us. Emi is giving me a look of appreciation, while Rin cracks the smallest of smiles. I don’t really understand the situation.

Before I can fire off a question, a pink blob of hair falls into sight. Pink hair…? What’s-her-name from class... and if she’s here, then… “Oh god.”

I scramble to my feet and run to the other side of the tree in a feeble attempt to hide. I bend down nervously. Hanako stays where she is, only needing to turn the other way to see me. Rin and Emi only slowly realize that I’m trying to hide.

Emi is the first to speak up. “Seiki? What’s going on?” She asks me, bending down near me. Rin and Hanako also seem eager to hear an answer.

I check behind the tree. Just as I thought, the pink-haired girl is with Shizune, too. They’re walking towards us, but they are still too far. The crowd is in the way, too. The only way I noticed them was the oddly bright hairdo. Shizune looks as passive as always, unlike the glare she gave me earlier. “It’s Shizune…”

Rin answers almost immediately, not even looking at where Shizune is. “She is the one who disturbs my naps the most.”

Emi spots them from across the busy crowd, still making a beeline towards us. It makes sense. The girl’s dormitory is this way. I can see it from where I’m hiding. “What about Shizune?” Emi asks me curiously.

Where do I start? She seems to have a vendetta against me, she carried away my date, and she scares me to death. I decide to tell Emi the one that’s most on my mind. “She… kind of took my date earlier…”

I decide not to tell them that it was in a state of emergency, for Hisao’s sake. I don’t think he would want me telling everyone about what happened earlier. “I-is it H-…Hisao?” Hanako asks me, probably out of her own intuition. I don’t answer, letting my silent nod answer for me.

Shizune and… someone else…. Are almost here, making their way through the crowd. I only have about a minute left until they get to where I am.

Emi springs up from her crouching position. “Okay, Seiki, it’s our turn to help you!”

“…Wha?” I ask, dumbfounded. Help with what, exactly? And how?

Emi points at Hanako with her Star Wars book in hand. “Hanako, Seiki! Stay right there! Rin! Stand over there and look natural! Here we go!” Emi barks out commands. I would have called it adorable if not for the direness of the situation. Hanako and I do as we’re told, keeping the tree between us and the incoming duo. Rin shrugs and slowly walks to the spot she had been standing on since I got here. Emi walks back to me, and whispers to me. “Seiki! Thanks for cheering up Rin… She was a little moody… but I’m glad you talked about her mural like that. So I guess this will make us just about even!”

I fail to absorb most of what Emi said… except that Rin drew that mural. Which is amazing, given that Rin is… well. Yeah. I do notice a more animated expression on Rin’s face compared to when I saw her earlier. She turns my direction and gives me a blank look of… approval? I think.

Are they doing this for me? I think they’ve just given me a chance. A chance to fight against the wind and fight for what I want.

Hanako and I wait silently by the tree as the two duos are just about to clash. The tree is just wide enough to hide both of us, and from where Rin and Emi are standing, we can be seen pretty clearly. From the direction of the crowd, we’re practically invisible. I’m still unsure of what ‘the plan’ is, but it’s too late to go back now. Shizune and company have just made it out of the crowd, leaving just a short walk before they meet Rin and Emi.

At first, it seems like Shizune and the other girl are ready to walk right past and head for the stairs. However, before they get very far, Emi calls them. “Shizune! Misha! Heeey!” Emi runs up to them, just in case they go up to her and they end up spotting me and Hanako behind the tree.

I can barely poke my head out from behind the tree, just enough to see what’s going on. I don’t think I’ll be spotted. Hanako is very nervously gripping her book behind me, even if she doesn’t have anything to be actually afraid of.

I see blazing fast hand movements come from Shizune and Misha. However, only Misha seems to be speaking “Hey there~.” Another few hand signs pass between the two before Misha continues. “Shicchan says hi too~”

Emi is being a chatty person as usual, but she’s leaving an obvious air of mischief. “Soooo. How’s the festival?”

Misha continues without consulting Shizune. She probably didn’t even consider it given that she answered so quickly. “It’s perfect! Everyone’s having a great time!” She puts her hands on her hips, stuck in a pose like a statue. “Its all thanks to me and Shicchan!” Misha looks ready to be showered with pride and thanks and applause.

Emi is still looking for ways to beat around the bush, keeping the conversation as casual as possible. Student talk. “Anyway…”

However, Misha’s laughter washes out Emi’s attempt at a new line of questioning. “Wahaha~”

Misha runs over to the mural and closer to Rin. “The mural got done! We were scared it wouldn’t be finished.” She eyes the painting, giving small humming noises to indicate that she’s evaluating it. She seems very concerned with exaggerating her gestures. “I love it! Wahaha~”

Shizune walks over to Misha’s side, giving noncommittal nods and signing rapidly again. It’s still Misha acting as her voice, though. “I’m glad you finished it. It’s really different from how it looked yesterday~”

After hearing it for a little while, Misha changes her tone to differentiate Shizune’s communication and her own. When she speaks for Shizune, it becomes less bubbly and each word becomes less of her own word and more of just the word in general. She puts none of her own bombastic enthusiasm behind each phrase, but speaks coolly and calmly.

Emi huffs defiantly, obviously brokenhearted from getting interrupted. “Anyway…”

Shizune notices that Emi is speaking, turning her direction. Misha, on the other hand, notices nothing out of the ordinary. She looks back at the painting, the completely opposite direction from Emi.
Emi begins yet another speech. “I was kind of looking for a friend of a friend. He was at the festival today. He…”

Shizune is watching intently, but saying nothing. In the end, all she does is wag her head in confusion. An attempt at sign language is futile, and the utter miscommunication is complete as Emi fails to understand the sign being directed at her.

Hanako and I are still safely tucked behind the tree. Hanako doesn’t seem as engaged in the conversation- just her usual, worried self. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’m hiding here too, after all.

Emi is devastated, but her spirits remain uncrushed as usual. She gets ready for another round of trying to get to the point, her running blades squeaking as she psyches herself up.

Misha has finally got her fill of the mural, turning back to Emi, Shizune and Rin. “Did I miss something~?” She returns to Shizune’s side, who exchanges sign with her. “Shicchan says you can talk now that I’m here!~”

Emi appears grateful that she can speak uninterrupted and with their full attention. “Do you-“

“Where is Hisao?” Rin, who has remained completely silent up until now, says with the bluntness characteristic of her speech. Emi, once again interrupted, gives up entirely and simply pouts.

Hearing the name Hisao made my hair stand on end for just a few seconds. Finally, the plan moves onto the next step. Good job, Rin. A for effort, Emi.

Misha is dumbfounded by the question. She acts out a moment of thought before she consults Shizune, probably regarding what Rin has just asked. She’s obviously concerned about what to say… I wonder why? Sensitive information?

Hanako and I lean in closer, careful to remain hidden. She’s much better than it than I am. Her hiding and peeking is nearly perfect. Hanako whispers something in my ear. “…I-I wonder… if they know…”

Her question gets me thinking. Do they know? Maybe they just found help for Hisao and don’t actually know where he is. Or maybe he’s in the evil Student Council room like I imagined, cold and afraid. “We’re about to find out...”

I feel anxious just watching their sign language. Even without understanding, it feels like an argument between the two. The way each finger cuts through the air, every eye following the movements as each hand position flows into the next, the worried look on Misha’s face as Shizune begins to speed up.

After a moment has passed, the hands stop and Misha puts a single index finger up in the air. “Depends! Who’s asking~”

What does she mean by that? Hanako and I exchange quick looks of confusion, shared by Emi and Rin just a few steps away.

Misha continues on, sharing another giggle with us beforehand. “Wahaha! Are you asking… or is that girl behind the tree asking~?”


Busted. My heart skips a beat, and it feels like the entire festival just went silent. Hanako has a worried look, even more so than usual. I take quick, quiet breaths, clutching onto the tree in front of me. The tree bark is grinding on my hand. How could they have known? Did Hanako or I go too far from the safety of the tree? What could it have been?

Misha and Shizune throw a few more signs in the air as Emi and Rin stand there, no longer saying anything. Emi, after reeling back for a few seconds, regains her composure. “Uhh….”

She’s at a loss for words as her metal foot taps on the floor. Misha happily waits a few moments before continuing. “Well~?”
They have us beat. Whatever Emi’s plan was certainly didn’t account for this glitch in the matrix. We’re going to need a miracle. At this rate… Hisao is only getting farther and farther away. Did I overstretch my boundaries again? Did I fight the wind only to fall over…?

A hand on my shoulder wakes me up from my gloom thoughts. Hanako is giving me kind of an awkward look. Like a mix of trying to give me a confident smile while being nervous herself at the same time. I return a look of mixed confusion. What is she even doing?

Suddenly, she gets up from her crouched position, making a rustling noise as the bush around her is disturbed by the movement. She takes a small breath in, and I notice a look of confidence on her face that I have never seen in her before. She turns around and begins to walk away...

I’m left utterly confused. I can only watch, still hidden behind the tree, as Hanako nervously strides towards the girls, who have now all noticed her presence. They all look equally surprised to see Hanako emerge from behind the tree.

I have a feeling Hanako gave me that look as a sign that she’s sacrificing herself for my sake, and to not be afraid. Even though it looks like she’s just as scared out of her mind as she is confident right now.

Hanako closes the distance between herself and the rest of the girls. “H-hi….it… it was m…me…”
Last edited by bubeez on Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:07 am

This chapter is so embarrassingly late. I promise to update more regularly next time! Hope you enjoy.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:48 am

Wow, Hanako taking the heat for someone? I'm surprised.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:55 pm

After hearing it for a little while, Misha changes her tone to differentiate Shizune’s communication and her own. When she speaks for Shizune, it becomes less bubbly and each word becomes less of her own word and more of just the word in general. She puts none of her own bombastic enthusiasm behind each phrase, but speaks coolly and calmly.
Hmm… That's exactly NOT how she does it in the VN. Or is Hisao as the VN's narrator just not able to pick up the difference?
I have a feeling Hanako gave me that look as a sign that she’s sacrificing herself for my sake,
Well, it's not that Shizune is mad at her or anything...

Good chapter, though I think you could have done without a cliffhanger there...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:38 pm

Looking back at my first few entries, the way I write has really changed. It used to be single-action lines with very little "connective tissue" in between each line. Now it seems to be more thought-oriented paragraphs with as much "connective tissue" as possible before moving onto the next action.

I think for the next chapter i'm going to try and go back and emulate how I wrote before. We'll see how it goes!

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by Solistor » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:27 am

Yeah, the former style kind of fits its protagonist. We'll see, indeed. :)
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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:31 am

I just lost about 10 pages of writing.... AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH :x :x :x

I would have honestly called it the best chapter I've written, too. Someone build a time machine :evil:

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by Gajzla » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:03 am

Blah, that's awful. I lost part of my fanfic and its really hard re-writing what you've already done.

Here's hoping the next chapter will be with us soon.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by emmjay » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:21 am

bubeez wrote:Someone build a time machine :evil:
Sorry, the Doctor Who Lego set isn't out yet and I didn't get the Back To The Future set.
Seriously, though, that sucks. Ten pages? Good pages, from the sound of it? Damn. Here's hoping you can get back on your literary feet.
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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by HoneyBakedHam » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:44 am

Google Docs. Saves everything.

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:26 pm

Thanks for the suggestions :D

After it was deleted, I spent the next three or four hours furiously rebuilding the lost pages before too much time passed. So I would expect a new chapter relatively soon!

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Re: Can You Remember Me? An Amnesiac Story

Post by bubeez » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:01 pm

Can You Remember Me? Chapter 10

“Wahaha! So it was you!” Misha looks genuinely surprised as Hanako comes out from hiding. She and Shizune sign each other, but at a slower pace than usual. It seems like Shizune is tired…

“Y-yes…” Hanako barely manages to peep out. Emi and Rin are there by her side… but that might be doing more bad than good right now. But right now, the situation is resting on her…

I feel a little ridiculous for believing in a girl who barely believes in herself most of the time… but that smile she gave me still lingers in my mind. She can see this through.

Misha loudly continues, contrast to Hanako’s gentle voice. “Well, then! Why do you want to know~?” While the sentence may have been threatening from anyone else, Misha’s lightheartedness makes the sentence less blunt.

Hanako has no answer, and is left to stand there sheepishly. Emi quickly jumps in. "Well, Hanako is his classmate! I ask about classmates all the time!"

Misha interprets this sentence for Shizune, who responds to Misha. "Shicchan says that it may be true for you, but its surprising from Hanako~!!"

Rin moves in between the two groups, as if what she says will break up the stalemate. If I know Rin like I think I know Rin, it probably won't. "I would also like to know. For reasons."

While it doesn't solve anything, it seems that Rin has momentarily confused everyone... including me. Shizune isn't reacting much... in fact, she has a sad look on her face. Right now, she's not the intimidating girl I remember her to be...

I lean forward to get a closer look at Shizune... when I notice that Misha is glancing at the tree from the corner of her eye.

...Did she see me? If she did... it's all over. Council servitude for the rest of my amnesiac life. I feel Hisao getting farther and farther out of reach...

I accept my fate, but remain behind the tree. I can't go out there right now, even if I know the result already...

Misha interjects, disrupting my thoughts. "Okaaaay..." she drags her first word. "Since you went this far... i'll tell you where Hisao is~"


Everyone seems just as shocked as I am. Hanako and Emi turn to each other, as if they don't believe what each of them has just heard... Meanwhile, Rin remains stoically in place.

"But!" Misha continues, not skipping a beat. She puts a finger in the air for emphasis. "It's on one condition~!"

I feel worried over what the condition might be... and the only one sharing my sentiment seems to be Hanako. Or that may just be her worried look. I know how difficult this must be... I was in the same position not too long ago.

Misha doesn't change directions, but makes herself especially loud. "Seiki, meet me at the Shanghai tomorrow morning~!"

...she did see me. But I also notice that she hasn't made any signs in a while... and Shizune remains distracted and spaced out. So... Misha is the mastermind of this right now. I didn't expect that... what is she planning?

Suddenly, Misha hugs Shizune, spreading her arms quickly and capturing her friend in an embrace. Shizune seems the most surprised by this, but doesn't try to push Misha away. She must do that a lot... instead, Shizune is actually looking at Emi and Hanako curiously. It's as if she expects Emi or Hanako to explain for her...

I notice that Misha is pointing at a building, obvious to everyone but Shizune as they are locked in a hug. Its the main school building. "The Nurses Office!" Misha blurts out as she points.

The Nurse's office... okay, Misha. I don't know why you want to meet, but... thanks. I'm going to trust you.

She lets Shizune go, who seems to be blushing after the hug. She faces us one more time, no sign language included. "I'm doing this for Shicchan, too~!"

With that, she collects her friend and practically pushes her up the stairs to their destination... What just happened...?

To be honest, I don't remember how the conversation began... it seemed to have spiraled out of control and out of memory very quickly.

Making sure that I'm truly safe, I wait behind the tree for another moment. I give the tree a celebratory pat, near the place I was hiding. Thank you, tree. I'll make sure to never sleep under a different tree again. While I feel a little crazy talking to a tree, it only seems fitting after what I just experienced.

"I guess... we did it?" I ask as I come out of hiding and rejoin the others. I should be the most excited right now, but that's impossible as long as Emi is around. Her jumps for joy are not taken for granted, however. Rin is still pensive to the point that it worries me a little. Hanako is short of breath, slightly panicked...

I can't help it. I walk towards Hanako, the girl who just saved me, and give her a hug. Well, more like hanging my arms around her shoulders since Hanako is pretty tall. Her initial reaction is a surprised gasp, but she doesn't move from where she is... Woops. Did I go too far?

Surprisingly, I feel Hanako return the hug lightly. I might not have noticed if I hadn't paid attention. I pull away from her. "That was awesome of you, Hanako!"

Hanako recovers from the hug relatively quickly... although one doesn't normally need to recover from hugs. "I-it was n-..nothing..." she smiles mid-sentence. "...Y-you needed m-my help..."

Aww. That was adorable in every sense of the word.

I'm not the only one who seems to be thinking similarly. Emi seems to be beaming with joy and pride. "Yeah! Friends should help each other out!" She shoots me a smile... it brings back a memory. I call her the Comet. I had forgotten that for a little while. Her smile brings me back to her tour guide days, when she showed me I wasn't the only one who got lost around here. I smile in return... and it occurs to me that she has done nothing but make me smile ever since we met. So much that its a little tradition to smile at each other now, without an exchange of words...

Hanako gasps as the word 'friend' is uttered, as if the word is surprising to her. Emi and I both notice simultaneously, and we share our smiles with her. She seems taken aback... but eventually she smiles back. Nervously, but happy.

With Emi's old smile and Hanako's adorable moment, I find it harder to tell myself that I might not remember this moment. How could I not? I'll remember this.

I notice Rin is still standing to the side. I feel like I need to apologize to her... we must have scared off some people and no one has come to look at her mural... I can't help but it feel it was because of me. "Rin, sorry-"

Before I can finish, Rin falls onto me with the gracefulness of a girl without arms. It's only being this close to her that I remember her missing appendages. Her chin meets my shoulder, where she lets her head rest while she wiggles the sleeves of her shirt. "This is a hug. Girlfriends should hug, too."

A final rush of happiness reaches me, removing the gray cloud that's been above my head today. What would I do without you all?

"Thank you... Rin. Emi. Hanako. I'll never forget-" I bring Rin in for a deeper hug, resting my head on her shoulders this time. The last word is muffled into Rin's shirt. 'You' is what I wanted to say. I don't care if I have to write all of your names down until my arm is completely covered in marker... I will remember. I promise.

Our goodbyes are short promises to meet later. The time is fitting... the sun is setting, and the crowds have spread out enough that Hanako felt okay to leave by herself. Emi and Rin are headed to the stalls, which neither of them have seen yet.

I head to the main building on my own. Despite protest from the Comet, I promised I could find the Nurse on my own. Besides... they've done enough. It's my turn.

I make it to the stairs where I met Emi earlier today, and I remember her enthusiasm. I try to mimic it as I push the doors to the building open. The first thing I do is head to class... which is a number. And numbers are not my friends.

Good thing I keep my enemies close... I roll my sleeve up to my elbow and examine my forearm. "3-3" is written in fading black numbers... How long ago was it that I wrote this?

No time to get stuck in the past. I fix my shirt and continue on, denoting the classroom numbers very carefully. As I walk, I jog my memory to Emi guiding me through the halls. Where did she go, and where should I go?

Although the numbers written on the classroom doors could help just as much, I give my memory some much-needed exercise. The halls begin to form themselves in my mind. She took a left here... and then a right.

Another right... my memory begins to fall apart here, and I find myself in doubt. This hallway is unfamiliar, although a sense of fear grows in me. Something really is familiar about this one...

On the other end of the hall, I see a set of stairs and an empty classroom near them... Oh!

This is the hall I was in during lunch quite some time ago. And that classroom... I had met a very interesting girl in there. Good memories! And I had my first kiss in there, too... Mostly good memories.

I remember leaving by using those stairs. I walk over to them and... was it down one floor, or two?

Picking back up from Emi's memory of walking me to class, I feel like we went down two floors... I take a gamble.

I walk slowly down the stairs, until I notice the orange sky pouring down from a window. It's this late already?

I rush down the stairs, skipping the last step and sending a small shock through my leg.I know I'm panicking for no real reason, but... I think of the worst case scenario. I completely forget what I was doing or where I'm going or who I'm going to meet. What happens then?

Before I know it, I'm in front of Class 3-3... it was just a short walk from the stairs. Now to the Nurse's Office... Nurse's Office....

I turn away from the door, acting as if the Nurse is right behind me, waiting for me to take the lead. Come on, Seiki. You do this almost every day. You can do this.

Down this hall, take a left. Now a short walk. Turn right... the Nurse writes something down when we pass by this window... which means I got it wrong.

I turn around and go the other way, leading me to a set of stairs. This is a little more familiar. His shoes make a very loud tapping noise as we come down here.

At the bottom of the stairs, I end up in a circular room. Three hallways... Oh no. It's THAT room. I find myself a little panicked just from being here. Each hallway exactly the same, no obvious end in sight for any of them, my waking nightmare...

Okay, okay. What do I do here? I stop, tapping my foot in contemplation. Left... no, right... middle? What do I do? Just leave?

Think, think, think. Remember. I clench my fists as I start to fill with anger. I squeeze my eyes shut, as if cutting off one of my senses will help me focus. Still, the "eureka" moment doesn't arrive. I hate being like this. This isn't fair... This isn't...

I stop in the middle of my frustration. A flash of memory seeps into my mind, something about this room... a lame surprise.

I turn around, slowly. This feels more like muscle memory than anything. I hold my breath and reopen my eyes.

In front of me, is a hidden entrance. It's blocked by the stairs until you turn around and look...

Anyway, Nurse's Office. I'll celebrate this later! Maybe I'll remember this the next time the Nurse takes me through this maze...

I walk down the hidden area, which has opened up into a large corridor. A small sign is visible at the other end. "Nurse's Office." I made it! The orange sun is still up, but its falling fast...

I start a very light jog, a smile radiating on my face. I feel like I accomplished something today. Left, right, left, right, left, right....


I stop at the door of the Nurse's office. My heart is almost beating out of my chest, but... why?


What am I even doing here?

My hand is halfway to the doorknob, but I don't know why I'm reaching for it. All I know is... the Nurse's Office is important right now. For some reason or another. I think I came here to meet someone? I stand there, completely still and concentrating hard, on what exactly is hiding on the other side of this door.

I follow my heart and gently twist the handle of the door. It swings slowly open, the slightest creaking sound coming from it... the orange glow is especially bright in this room... the lights are off, and the setting sun is giving an eerie glow to the room. Some corners of the room are getting dark and shadowy...

I don't see the Nurse around, although hints of him being here are everywhere. Some spare coats are hanging nearby, disorganized papers shuffled on his desk, a few open drawers.

I must be here for some reason. I take a look around... I haven't fully explored the room, either. The room has several beds, but several are hidden behind curtains... the room is shockingly quiet, though. I do remember meeting the Comet here. She exploded into the room and broke something... but that was a while back.

I sit down on the nearest bed not obscured by curtains. I kick my legs back and forth... Did I kick like this earlier today?

Whatever brought me to this room... isn't here. I think. Maybe I was just lost again?

As a joke, I call out to the empty room with a musical tone. "Hellooo....."

To my surprise... somebody answers. "Seiki?"

I jump up from the bed, wondering where the voice is coming from. From what I see, nobody else is in the room... but these curtains... it just occurred to me that somebody might be in there. "Uhh... hi."

"Hey." The voice is male, kind of raspy, and coming from the bed right next to me. The voice is so faint it sounded far away, and the thick cloth surrounding the bed certainly didn't help. "Did you come to see me?"

Did I? You're asking the wrong person... rather ironically. "Well, first of all... who are you?"

I hear a laugh come from the other side. "Ha... It's Hisao." He has a rather joking tone.

I think hard. It's true I came here for a reason... but to meet someone I don't even know? But, he does know my name. Classmate, maybe? "Sorry... I don't think I know a 'Hisao'."

Another small laugh, and a slight cough afterward too. "Hmm... Team Coffee?"

I scratch my head as I sit back down... uhh? "Well, I like coffee..."

It feels funny, talking to someone I can't see. Or particularly know. Strangely, talking with this 'Hisao' is very comfortable. It's like we've skipped all the awkward motions of first meeting someone.

"...Physics Club?"

Again, I'm clueless. I didn't even know we had a club like that. "Sorry, I'm in the Astronomy Club. You know, telescopes. Come check it out some time." I know this isn't really the time to be recruiting somebody, but we are short on staff...

"Well...What about today's festival?" His voice continues in its whimsical tone. It seems weaker, though. I wonder why he's in the Nurse's Office?

To answer his question... I don't know. The only thing that comes to mind is Rin's mural that I saw today. And then she and I talked for a while... I think it was about cake. Rin definitely would have a conversation about cake. But was that all?

Either way, he's probably just asking to make a conversation with me. "I had fun."

This is the first time he doesn't laugh. "Uhh... Aren't you going to ask?"

Uhh. I'm not really sure what he wants me to ask. "...Ask what?"

There's an awkward silence before he continues. "It's okay, you know."

I'm definitely missing something here... "Really, I don't know what you're talking about." I ask plainly, with the upmost of honesty in my voice.

He laughs again, but its not a real laugh. I can plainly hear how forced it is. He speaks again, still muffled by the curtain. "...Alright, the joke kind of hurts now."

After saying that, he remains silent. I can hear his breathing, but no words come out anymore. I try to think about what he meant by 'joke.' I've been speaking pretty truthfully...

I decide that enough is enough, and move to open the curtain. "Listen, I don't-"

The scene in front of me stops me mid-sentence. The first thing I notice is his bare chest... A large scar is running across the left side... right over his heart. The skin has barely recovered and has obvious stitch marks... has he been this hurt the whole time we've been talking?

I finally look up to his face... and his eyes. Those... eyes... A diminishing light, slowly fading as the seconds tick away. Eyes that are becoming shallow with worry, almost despair. Eyes that are fighting to hold up a fake smile. Lost... in time...

It all comes crashing down. A sharp pain rings in my head as the memories reawaken like wildfire.

He... took my seat in class. We talked for the first time at the Shanghai... Team... Team Coffee... He walked me back to Yamaku... fell down... on top of him...

I... I lied... Physics Club... Astronomy Club... someone took him away... but I found him... under a tree...

Almost forgot... festival... he found me...

...A cliff... with a swing... but he fell down, and...

...Had to find him...


Oh. Hisao.

"Seiki? What's wrong?" His voice huffs out.

Oh... I'm crying.

"H-Hisao..." I barely manage to say in between my quick breaths... I can't even stop to wipe the tears off of my face. They don't seem to be stopping any time soon.

I try to walk calmly next to him, but my crying causes me to stumble a little with each step. In the end... my emotions catch up to me, the tears flow faster... and I fling myself towards Hisao.


I practically scream into his shoulder... although, after a while, even I don't understand what I'm saying.

All of these thoughts crash down on me as I cling onto Hisao's shoulder. He says nothing as I let my emotion pour out, only holding onto me gently. His breathing has calmed down.

I finally stop crying after a few minutes, but I don't move away. Hisao notices my silence. "Are you okay now?"

I find it too awkward to move right now. "I should be the one asking you that."

Hisao doesn't move either... we just talk. Comfortably... as always. "...Says the one who came in here crying."

Haha. Laugh it up, Nakai. "...Says the one in the Nurse's Office."

He laughs. A nice, relaxed laugh. I'm glad he doesn't feel the need to build tension right now. "Fair enough... I'm just fine now. Your turn."

I blink a few times. My eyes burn a little from crying. "...Yeah, I'm okay."

"Maybe I should introduce myself again."

Ahh... the elephant in the room. I move away from his shoulder. I take the chair next to the bed and bring it close, letting him sit up as we supposedly introduce ourselves again.

He straightens himself up before looking me in the eyes. "Hisao Nakai...." He points at his chest, specifically to the scar. "...Arrhythmia."

I meet his eyes... mine are still a little wet from crying. "Seiki Misato..." I pat myself on the head. "...Amnesia."

I don't really tell people my last name, for personal reasons... but this is important. Maybe one day, I'll even tell you that story, Hisao.

Before either of us can say another word, the Nurse comes into the room. He doesn't look up from his clipboard as he walks in. "Hisao, I think it's safe to say your clear to... oh, Seiki too? Did you come to visit him?"

I nod my head. "Yeah. He had me worried all day!" The last line is a bit of a stab at Hisao, but its still true.

"Hey! That was your choice." Hisao says defiantly. He's in much better shape than when I came in.

The Nurse laughs at our banter and asks me to leave the room so he can check on Hisao... so I end up waiting in the hallway. The orange light is completely gone now... but the sky isn't dark. The festival lights are still illuminating the clear night sky. Wasn't there something special about this festival closing?

Hisao comes out of the Nurse's Office, meeting me in the hallway. Before the door closes, I notice the Nurse cleaning up his desk and shifting messy stacks of paper around. Looks like he's got the late shift here.

Hisao looks out of a nearby window, out into the sky. "So... Astronomy Club, huh?"

I look away. It feels pretty bad to be caught in a lie. "Yep... sorry about that."

He turns to me, an energetic expression on his face. "Well, impress me! I might still join you." His face tells me he doesn't really plan to refuse... but I'll humor him.

"Oh, that won't be a problem at all." I turn around. "Come on, then."

Before I start walking, Hisao stops me by tugging at my hand. "The door is over there." He points at an obvious exit... not before laughing at my expense.

He wins this round.

The door leads right to the festival, just a short walk away. The crowds aren't as lively, but the festival feels far from over. Hanging paper lanterns light up the stands, and the smell of food is still lingering in the air. The heat from the stalls is leaving a comfortable aura as we walk past.

We walk past everything, taking note of certain details. Like all of these yukatas... I wish I had one, just a little. They looks so fancy. My school uniform is a little plain. We pass by a coffee stand, and I'm just a little tempted to have a drink.

In the end, we walk right through the festival and make it to the front of the girls dormitory. It only occurs to me now that it might be strange to bring a guy here...

"Wait here, okay?" I ask Hisao. "I'll be right back."

Hisao agrees and I make my way to the stairs... I should be fine to do this on my own. The stairs are either straight up, or straight down. No getting lost here.

I make my way up, looking into each floor as I pass by. Its virtually empty, save for a girl or two just passing by. Everyone must be at the festival...

By the time I make it to the top, I'm gasping for breath. I am truly out of shape... Maybe I can get the Comet to train me. She is a pretty fast runner, especially in school hallways.

My telescope is nicely packed in a thin rectangular box, under the stairs to the roof, where I've always left it. It has been a while since I've taken a look at the stars though... I'm actually excited.

I'm more careful heading down the stairs, the box resting on my shoulder as I carry it in my hands. By the time I make it back down, I'm no longer winded.

Hisao is standing exactly where I left him, hand in his pockets. I think we've both had a very long day.

He sees me and takes the box from my hands, putting it in his own. I ask him worriedly. "Are you sure you can...?" I don't want to hurt his pride or anything, but I think its better than getting himself hurt.

He smiles. "I'll be fine. You just worry about impressing me." He seems set on carrying the box, so I relent.

I give him a stern look. "Fine, but don't overdo it. You'll 'guilt trip' me again." I say this with a laugh.

"Wouldn't dream of it." he says as we start walking. You want to be impressed? I'll show you impressed.

We don't walk into anyone as we make our journey. The route we're taking is nowhere near the festival... and there's no way I'll get lost. It's practically an open field of grass. We're typically quiet as we walk through the grass.

Finally, we make it to a certain cliff. With a swing nearby. Hisao sets the box down near the tree, sitting on the swing himself. "Ahh. This is probably a great place for stargazing."

I get to work unloading the box. Hisao offers to help, but I decline. This is my delicate, beautiful equipment. Hands off. "Yeah, this is the dark side of Yamaku." My phrasing reminds me of something... I hope I remember so I can tell Hanako about this. She'll probably laugh... or run away.

I set the telescope not too far from the edge of the cliff, but still out of harm's way. The dark sky is above us, and we can already see a large mass of stars above us without the telescope. But, Hisao wants to be impressed? I can't take that challenge sitting down. "Have you ever done this before?"

Hisao moves from the swing and stands next to me. He's still surprisingly tall when he's close by. "No, I used to live in the city. It was too bright for something like this..."

"Oh, this is going to be easy." I taunt him a little before leaning towards the lens.

I look into the telescope to test the sight. I would be lying if I said I wasn't waiting to see it for myself too. The stars could impress me even if I looked at them every day...

And tonight is no exception. The twinkling masses fill my vision, with a blending of colors you would never see elsewhere... this is a countryside view. This is the galaxy, just behind a piece of glass. It's breathtaking and grand in scale, as always... Dream-like, but so realistic its terrifyingly beautiful. I love that about watching stars... you can go from awe, to amazement, to fear, to calmness, to downright terror... but you never want to look away.

Hisao clears his throat, and I'm reminded that he's still there. And while I don't want to look away... I want him to see this even more. I move away from the telescope, and motion for him to take a look. He takes his time, slowly leaning into the lens as I just did.

For some reason, it makes me really tense. I wonder what he's thinking right now... does he see them like I do?

After a long pause, Hisao moves his face away from the telescope, a thousand yard stare in his eyes and a smile on his face. "Okay. Wow. You win." He rubs his eyes.

A big grin blooms on my face. Success. Was there ever any doubt? "We'll worry about that later. Unofficially, Hisao... Welcome to the Astronomy Club!"

As the words leave my mouth, a flash of light and an explosion go off in the distance...

Hisao and I are both distracted by the sudden sensory overload. Another goes off... this one is a blue color.

Hisao whispers. "Fireworks..."

I look up at the explosions, too. I'm taken aback by their beauty as well. "They're beautiful..."

One after another go off, building towards a grand finale. Hisao and I stand there, feet planted on the ground. It's... surprisingly human.

The finale comes, illuminating the sky in a flash of brilliance that I had never seen before. Again, Hisao and I are left wordless as the sky darkens again. I see a smile on Hisao's face, and I feel my own face get stuck into a permanent smile.

What did I say this morning... it feels so long ago, but I remember. 'Today will be a victory.'


Today was a victory.


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