Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (#61—'Paralysis')

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Gamma
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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (15—'Takoyaki') (20150211)

Post by Gamma » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:01 am

Please tell me the most recent one-shot is considered cannon in the After the Dream-verse. Please say it is so. Because if it is cannon, I think that was the shortest amount of time elapsed from Yamaku to a "happy ending" you've ever done.

That was an incredibly sweet and enjoyable one-shot that had me squirming in delight. From this and 72 hours, I really want some more stories about Taro. No pressure or anything.

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (15—'Takoyaki') (20150211)

Post by azumeow » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:50 am

Wow, thanks you jerk, you gave me diabeetus!

Haha, but seriously, that was fucking adorable. Great work as always, and glad that it didn't make me want to curl into a ball and cry myself to sleep.
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (15—'Takoyaki') (20150211)

Post by brythain » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:21 am

Gamma wrote:Please tell me the most recent one-shot is considered cannon in the After the Dream-verse. Please say it is so. Because if it is cannon, I think that was the shortest amount of time elapsed from Yamaku to a "happy ending" you've ever done.

That was an incredibly sweet and enjoyable one-shot that had me squirming in delight. From this and 72 hours, I really want some more stories about Taro. No pressure or anything.
My Taro stories are so far canon as to their physical events. Their metaphysical (or psychological or supernatural, or however you want to interpret them) events are impossible to evaluate, just as when Hisao finally answers Lilly on Tanabata's last night in 2074. :) Thank you very much; I had much joy writing this one, and also the other one!
azumeow wrote:Wow, thanks you jerk, you gave me diabeetus!

Haha, but seriously, that was fucking adorable. Great work as always, and glad that it didn't make me want to curl into a ball and cry myself to sleep.
Hey! :) As I've said before, I ain't all bad. Thanks!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Valjean Lafitte
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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (15—'Takoyaki') (20150211)

Post by Valjean Lafitte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:34 am

Man, that just left me with a huge smile on my face. :mrgreen:
Gamma wrote:I really want some more stories about Taro. No pressure or anything.
The only thing that made me kind of sad was the scene with Miki and Taro on Mount Aoba. Please say that after graduation Miki doesn't have to become a "whore in Tokyo" to support herself. :(

Unless that's exactly what happens in Miki's Story, which I still haven't read. :|
Last edited by Valjean Lafitte on Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (15—'Takoyaki') (20150211)

Post by brythain » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:27 am

Valjean Lafitte wrote:Man, that just left me with a huge smile on my face. :mrgreen:
Gamma wrote:I really want some more stories about Taro. No pressure or anything.
I second that request!

The only thing that made me kind of sad was the scene with Miki and Taro on Mount Aoba. Please say that after graduation Miki doesn't have to become a "whore in Tokyo" to support herself. :(

Unless that's exactly what happens in Miki's Story, which I still haven't read. :|
Wait, wait, one should not be making oneself a target for swift gastronomic processing. Ahem.

But yes, Miki's arc does talk about Miki. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (15—'Takoyaki') (20150211)

Post by Valjean Lafitte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:24 pm

brythain wrote:
Valjean Lafitte wrote:Man, that just left me with a huge smile on my face. :mrgreen:
Gamma wrote:I really want some more stories about Taro. No pressure or anything.
The only thing that made me kind of sad was the scene with Miki and Taro on Mount Aoba. Please say that after graduation Miki doesn't have to become a "whore in Tokyo" to support herself. :(

Unless that's exactly what happens in Miki's Story, which I still haven't read. :|
Wait, wait, one should not be making oneself a target for swift gastronomic processing. Ahem.

Yikes! How did I miss that? :shock: Nice catch, thanks.

On topic though, I really loved the story! I guess I'll have to read Miki's arc to get the scoop on what fate has in store for her.
"I wonder what is it about the rain?"
"Everything."

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Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by brythain » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:04 am

This was meant to be a Valentine's Day piece. It's a bit late because I got distracted.
This isn't in the AtD continuity, of course. But it was an alternative I'd considered, just like many pieces in this thread.



In Our Hands

I’m looking out over the Sanshiro Pond. Lectures are over for today, in this third year of our time here. It’s warm and beautiful, and for a moment I forget that I was once a depressed and hopeless teenager at a high school for people with difficulties. But if that had been all it was, I wouldn’t have found myself in this situation.

She snorts a little, half asleep. A hair has drifted over her left nostril and it is irritating her. Most such things do. Very carefully, I tease the offending strand away so that it doesn’t tickle her nose any more. Her head is heavy on my arm, but most of the warmth and beauty around me comes from her.

We’re twenty-one years old now. Three years ago, we said we’d consider a reunion after ten years, which is the customary sort of thing. But somehow, we’re here. There hasn’t been a need for a reunion, because we’ve been together since then.

I forget myself for a while, lean down and whisper, “Let’s get married.”

Her eyes flash open, startled. Of course, she says nothing in reply. Instead, she sits up, still half-asleep, and vigorously taps her ear where I must’ve blown into it by mistake. Then she turns her upper body into my arms and says: [Did you just blow into my ear? I thought it was a fly at first.]

[Sorry, Shi’chan, my fault.]

[Apology accepted. Are you hungry?]

[Not really. My appetite for you is the only one I’m experiencing now.]

She squirms a little, making herself more comfortable. [Want to escort me home?] She has that catlike smile on her face that says she’s caught me. I have to admit she has—in fact, that that’s what she has done for more than four years now.

[My home or yours?] I say, satisfied at this weak parry because it will mean that she won’t feel she’s got her own way too easily.

There’s a pause. I swear I can see her mental gears compute the difference in travel time between the university and our respective homes. I wouldn’t be surprised, because I once foolishly bet her that she couldn’t memorise all the train schedules for metropolitan Tokyo. Fortunately, she had been in a good mood when she won: as her reward, I only had to take her to Disneyland. I’m sure the travel times are roughly the same, but I’m also sure that she knows them down to the last minute.

[Wait. Did your parents get you the small apartment?]

[No. They still think it’s best not to go easy on me for now.]

[I’m tired. I have no idea what mood Father is in. Can we go to your home?]

I nod, taking in the slightly floral, slightly woody scent rising from her slightly damp skin. Shifting her body a little, I reply: [Always, the answer is yes.]

She dimples a bit at that, her eyes flashing with mischievous fire. [Always?]

I bend towards her and gently touch my nose to hers. She takes that as a ‘yes’, I think, because she rubs hers against mine briefly and then presses her lips against my cheek. Our jawbones bump as she disengages. She stands up, brushing down her orange dress, almost as if performing the first step of a dance, and I follow suit.

We gather our things, two undergraduates at the end of a long and weary day. But there’s a spring in our steps as we saunter down towards the Red Gate and our train. It will take a bit under two hours to get home, time enough to warn my mother.

*****

I remember the first time I brought Shizune home with me. She was wearing a modest dark blue dress, the kind that has a skirt that narrows down to the calves and then opens out a bit. A sort of cherry-pink sash belted her up in the middle. I’m sorry, I’m bad at describing these things.

But she was very prepared. She wasn’t shy at all on the ride there. [What are your parents like, Hisao? Tell me again. I can’t afford to make a mistake.]

[Dad is a bit more relaxed, laid-back. But he is the traditional-minded one. Mom is always a little tense-looking. She’s careful about doing things right, but she is also more open-minded.]

[Yes, got that. Do you think they’ll like my dress?]

[You look beautiful in any dress.]

[No, the dress, not me!] She dimpled a little, made that odd half-smile that meant she was pleased but also a little exasperated.

[It is a lovely dress. It suits you well. Also, that blue is my mother’s favourite colour.]

[I thought so.]

[How did you know?]

[Silly, when we were shopping in Muji the other day you told me.]

[Ah, so I did.] My smile broadened as I recalled that simple, pleasant, relaxing experience. Shizune shops like a girl, but when it comes to rounding it up, she’s very decisive. The right thing to do with her is follow her everywhere unless she says not to, and then agree with her choices.

We got off the train near Kibogaoka and I pointed out the high school I’d been in before Yamaku. Her eyes followed the line of my arm and she looked thoughtful for a moment before turning to me.

[You know, this sounds strange. But I really want to thank your friend for making it such that you ended up at Yamaku. Otherwise we would not have met.]

I didn’t know what to say. I could understand the idea, though. I too was very glad to have ‘ended up’ at Yamaku. I didn’t think I was really happy to have been a depressed, sullen, hopeless idiot of a boy—but I was glad that there had been a Shizune Hakamichi to get me out of it. And, of course, her friend Misha.

We walked through the vegetable market and the familiar stalls and shops. I think I was feeling a bit nervous. My parents had sounded excited, welcoming. I’d told them about Shizune being deaf, but they seemed fine with that. But there was always something. And Dad might crack an off-colour joke.

Shizune tightened the crook of her elbow around my right arm. [It’s OK, Hisao. Your parents can’t be worse than Father. No point being tense about it.]

[Am I tense, Shi’chan?]

[Very. Either that or you’re showing off your right arm muscles to me.]

She was right. I had tensed up all along my back and into my arms and legs, but I hadn’t quite realized. I withdrew my arm from hers and she immediately stopped and looked at me, a question in her eyes. I smiled quickly and put my arm around the middle of her back. She smiled back, and we continued.

Things went smoothly, later. When we got to the house, her only moment of uncertainty was when, like an actress before the play begins, she asked: [Am I neat? Do I look all right?] Of course she did, and I told her.

She’d prepared notecards for introducing herself. There was a whole deck of them in her handbag. When the door opened, I greeted my parents and we bowed to each other. I think we were both surprised when Dad put his hand up and brought us all to a stop. Then he began to sign, slowly but clearly: [Greetings. Sorry. Little slow. Mother faster. You must be Shi-zu-ne. Pleased to meet you.]

I think my mouth was hanging open. Shizune responded more appropriately by bowing again and then signing just as slowly: [Shizune is respectfully pleased to meet the parents of Hisao.] I’m not sure what she signed exactly, because I was still recovering. Dad had learnt to sign. Dad!

*****

It looks like we’re in time for dinner. Mom’s been looking out for us, because the door slides open even before I knock. [Good evening, Aunty Nakai] signs my lovely girlfriend, bowing. A little wrapped gift of my mother’s favourite chocolates passes smoothly from hand to hand. There have been many such gifts, these last few years.

She takes time to appreciate Shizune’s clothes and new ear-studs, and after I greet her, the two of them indulge in light conversation while getting dinner ready. It’s an odd conversation, because it’s hard for them to sign while their hands are full. My role is confined to setting out the utensils, but as always, Mom looks a little dubious at how I’m doing it. [Shizune can do that, son.]

I gently put a bowl down and reply: [I should do all that because otherwise it’s hard for you two to talk.]

Behind Mom, I see Shizune grin. Her hair is a little longer than when we were in high school, and she’s switched to light titanium frames for her glasses. With sunset’s light behind her, she looks even more beautiful than usual. On impulse, I tap my mother’s arm and she turns to see what I’m looking at.

“Oh!” she says. [Shizune, you look wonderful in that light!]

“Ah,” says my father, just in through the doorway. “Your girlfriend is very good-looking. Reminds me of Mother when she was younger.” [Hello, Shizune. Looking good.]

Shizune is blushing as we go through another round of greetings. [Good evening, Uncle Nakai.]

We sit down for dinner, a little symmetrical family, two men and two ladies around a low wooden table. It feels comfortable, full of a blend of feelings and sensations I realize I have missed. The meal is slow and leisurely, providing for our communication needs.

[So when are you and my son getting married?] my father eventually signs, taking great pains with the last bit. I almost choke on a morsel.

She shoots a slightly panicked glare in my direction, then mounts her usual kind of pragmatic response. [Uncle Nakai and Aunty Nakai’s son is a great credit to his parents. He will do well at university, and I will try to do well also, and then we can find good jobs and settle down.]

I give her a look of suspicion in return—‘try to do well’ is uncharacteristically modest for someone who has often topped the lists. Her body language is utterly demure, with both her hands on her lap in between sentences and after speaking. Not a trace of a smile, and her eyes are downcast. That’s not Shizune, I almost think. But of course, it is.

[Shi’chan,] Dad signs carefully, [We are very happy when you visit. No need to be modest. We know you are much more hard-working and clever than our own dear son. Some day, you’ll have to take care of him.]

[That’s unfair…] I sign, playing along, but not sure who I’m playing along with.

[True.] Shizune signs unambiguously, while producing ambiguity of meaning. I admire this economy of communication. It’s like watching her roll her last two dice and knock someone out of Kamchatka while playing Risk, drawing a card, cashing in, and going on to win the game. Happened to me once. And just as she did then, she smiles happily.

[What’s true?]

[As much as you want, Hisao-san!] she replies emphatically.

[Are we getting married, Shizune-san?] I reply similarly.

[If you say it properly, I’ll say yes. I can’t prevaricate in front of respectable people.]

At one shot, she’s raised the stakes to the max. But I know that it doesn’t really matter. I reach across the corner of the table and gently hold her hands in mine, stilling her voice for now. They are small, bony and warm. I could hold them forever, except that then we’d be silent forever.

She curls her fingers around mine. Regretfully, I slowly release them.

[I’ll say it properly with all the proper things. Otherwise it’s not serious enough! But I promise I’ll do it.]

[Hisao, your parents are witnesses. Now there’s no escape.]

[Why would our son want to escape?] says Mom, smiling. [He has found someone that anybody could be proud of.]

[Yes, now he has to keep her. Mustn’t let her get away.]

Thanks, Dad. I reply firmly: [I won’t let something so precious leave my hands.]

*****

I never have.

=====
alt index
Last edited by brythain on Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

azumeow
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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by azumeow » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:49 am

Aaaaaaaand you found out how to make Shizune interesting to me again. Some part of me wishes this had been the real story and Emi was the alt take, but that may be because I think things would likely have ended....much differently.
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by brythain » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:43 am

azumeow wrote:Aaaaaaaand you found out how to make Shizune interesting to me again. Some part of me wishes this had been the real story and Emi was the alt take, but that may be because I think things would likely have ended....much differently.
I had this insane thought a couple of weeks ago that I could have written 'After The Dream' for each possible ending of the VN, but because I'm a split personality, I never figured it out. And now the barriers between are beginning to leak... but no, that would truly be insane. So while, clearly, some part of me also wishes this had been the 'real' story, it's its own story. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by azumeow » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:56 am

brythain wrote:
azumeow wrote:Aaaaaaaand you found out how to make Shizune interesting to me again. Some part of me wishes this had been the real story and Emi was the alt take, but that may be because I think things would likely have ended....much differently.
I had this insane thought a couple of weeks ago that I could have written 'After The Dream' for each possible ending of the VN, but because I'm a split personality, I never figured it out. And now the barriers between are beginning to leak... but no, that would truly be insane. So while, clearly, some part of me also wishes this had been the 'real' story, it's its own story. :)
Oh. God. I don't think I could survive such a thing, brythain. One is almost too much.
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:42 pm

brythain wrote:
azumeow wrote:Aaaaaaaand you found out how to make Shizune interesting to me again. Some part of me wishes this had been the real story and Emi was the alt take, but that may be because I think things would likely have ended....much differently.
I had this insane thought a couple of weeks ago that I could have written 'After The Dream' for each possible ending of the VN, but because I'm a split personality, I never figured it out. And now the barriers between are beginning to leak... but no, that would truly be insane. So while, clearly, some part of me also wishes this had been the 'real' story, it's its own story. :)
It sounds like you need upgrade your firewall. :wink: I found the story cute, BTW. It almost seemed that Shizune and the elder Nakai's had planted that trap for Hisao ahead of time...
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by Valjean Lafitte » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:50 pm

[That’s unfair…] I sign, playing along, but not sure who I’m playing along with.

[True.] Shizune signs unambiguously, while producing ambiguity of meaning. I admire this economy of communication. It’s like watching her roll her last two dice and knock someone out of Kamchatka while playing Risk, drawing a card, cashing in, and going on to win the game. Happened to me once. And just as she did then, she smiles happily.

[What’s true?]

[As much as you want, Hisao-san!] she replies emphatically.

[Are we getting married, Shizune-san?] I reply similarly.

[If you say it properly, I’ll say yes. I can’t prevaricate in front of respectable people.]

At one shot, she’s raised the stakes to the max. But I know that it doesn’t really matter. I reach across the corner of the table and gently hold her hands in mine, stilling her voice for now. They are small, bony and warm. I could hold them forever, except that then we’d be silent forever.

She curls her fingers around mine. Regretfully, I slowly release them.

[I’ll say it properly with all the proper things. Otherwise it’s not serious enough! But I promise I’ll do it.]

[Hisao, your parents are witnesses. Now there’s no escape.]
Dialogue like this is why you're my favorite fan-fiction author, byrthain. Your grasp of these characters is almost uncanny -- there wasn't a single line of dialogue in this whole story where it didn't seem 100% like something that character would have said. And it's not like it's easy to imagine the sorts of conversations that Hisao and Shizune might have as a married couple... But then again, maybe it is easy for you -- you are married to a Shizune, right? :lol:

Just one question, though: Shizune and Hisao are both 21 when the story begins, and he's just introducing her to his parents for the first time. Then there's a time skip to a few years later (they still haven't gone to university?) and Hisao has yet to put a ring on Shizune's finger. What's he waiting for? Is he reluctant to make a life-long commitment because he knows he likely won't live as long as her?
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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by brythain » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:00 pm

Valjean Lafitte wrote:Dialogue like this is why you're my favorite fan-fiction author, brythain. Your grasp of these characters is almost uncanny -- there wasn't a single line of dialogue in this whole story where it didn't seem 100% like something that character would have said. And it's not like it's easy to imagine the sorts of conversations that Hisao and Shizune might have as a married couple... But then again, maybe it is easy for you -- you are married to a Shizune, right? :lol:

Just one question, though: Shizune and Hisao are both 21 when the story begins, and he's just introducing her to his parents for the first time. Then there's a time skip to a few years later (they still haven't gone to university?) and Hisao has yet to put a ring on Shizune's finger. What's he waiting for? Is he reluctant to make a life-long commitment because he knows he likely won't live as long as her?
Awww... thanks for the great compliment! Re story: the middle section is a flashback to the first time Hisao brought Shizune home; the last section continues from the first after they decided to go to his place instead of hers—he brings her home as he has been doing for three years, and he finds himself... surprised. :)
azumeow wrote:Oh. God. I don't think I could survive such a thing, brythain. One is almost too much.
I thought so too. :)
Oscar Wildecat wrote:It sounds like you need upgrade your firewall. :wink: I found the story cute, BTW. It almost seemed that Shizune and the elder Nakai's had planted that trap for Hisao ahead of time...
Ready to be triggered when Hisao asks the fateful 'your place or mine' question? :D Thanks!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by Path » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:58 am

I finally have time to read some of your one shots, and I regret not reading them earlier. This story made me all teary eye and happy to see how Hisao and Shizune relationship developed. Can't wait to read your other works.

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (16—'In Our Hands') (20150218)

Post by brythain » Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:19 pm

Path wrote:I finally have time to read some of your one shots, and I regret not reading them earlier. This story made me all teary eye and happy to see how Hisao and Shizune relationship developed. Can't wait to read your other works.
I'm glad you feel that way! Sometimes I wonder if I might have made a mistake in writing a piece, and it's nice to know you don't think so.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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