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

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:24 am
by brythain
This thread is going to be just the little one-shots that I didn't have the inclination to put anywhere in particular.
They're all based on weird ideas that came up while writing 'After The Dream', and which got rejected.
They're also, in some cases, partly consistent with AtD, because of that; the most AtD-compatible are marked with an *asterisk.
I haven't indicated much more information than that because some of the stories contain surprises.


01— 'If On A Winter's Night, A Traveller…' : Time travel!(After this list, in this post.)
02— 'Scottish Play' : Three witches!
03— 'Cold Iron' : Rin's painting!
*04— 'Curiosity' In the city!
05— 'Alternative Ending' : Ghosts from the past!
06— 'Cold Comfort' : Misha and comfort!
07— 'All My Yesterdays' : Hisao's wife!
08— 'Wingmen' : A reunion!
09— 'Silent Knights' : Once upon a time!
10— 'Tetrad' : Stranger Rin paradise!
11— 'Up' : PvP!
12— 'Slightly Different' : Lilly ending!
*13— '72 Hours' : Romance under pressure!
14— 'Wrong Book' : Weird tale!
*15— 'Takoyaki' : Fishy story!
16— 'In Our Hands' : Home visit!
*17— 'Interesting Work' : Rin's tribute!
18— 'A Bear Discovers Fire' : Family drama!
19— 'Moment of Transition' : Hit and run!
20— 'Fighting Words' : Choosing sides!
21— 'Warmth' : Five stages of life!
22— 'Less Taken' : Secret route!
*23— 'Relatively Slow' : Slow and steady!
24— 'Support' : Mixed endings!
25— 'Leaving' : Unusual path!
26— 'Zoological' : Molly Kapur!
27— 'Sleeper' : Suzu Suzuki!
28— 'True History' : Entanglement!
29— 'At Swim, Two Birds' : Cuteness!
30— 'A Game of Risk' : The fate of the world!
31— 'Ghosts' : In the spirit of things!
32— 'First Base' : Getting there!
*33— 'Between' : Somewhere different!
34— 'Lanyard: An Interlude' : Oops!
35— 'Courtyard: Another Interlude' : Good news?
36— 'Cabin Fever' : Lilly's return!
37— 'Course Selections' : Career choices!
38— 'Thinking' : Unlikely comrades!
39— 'Reflecting' : Rin's new best friend?
40— 'Vineyard: Postlude' : Dinner date with destiny!
41— 'Sketch' : Kenji, lead programmer!
42— 'Legwork' : Emi's secrets!
43— 'Ethicality' : Professional instincts!
44— 'Wingbeats' : Wingmen, again!
45— 'A Bear Discovers Tears' : Friendship doesn't die!
*46— 'Ghostbusted' : Be careful what you hunt...
47— 'Singlehanded' : On one hand...
48— 'Manhood': Origins!
49— 'Sinistra': Miki's mystery!
50— 'Source Code': It's all a game!
*51— 'Call And Response': Mother's influence!
52— 'Truth and Consequences': Secret Santa!
*53— 'Festival': Secret Santa!!
54— 'Night Terrors': Are you awake?!
*55— 'Clubbing': Secret Santa!!!
56— 'Comfort': Notable relationship!
57— 'Unwritten Rules': It's been almost 12 years now!
58— 'Compromise': More notable shipping!
59— 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes': Cat on a hot thin roof!
60— 'Roofrunning': Kenji 'good ending'!
*61— 'Paralysis': Sleepover!

=====

This is a one-shot, I think. It's a sort of response to a certain forum member who somehow couldn't find any good time-travel pieces in the fanfic section.
At least I can now say I've given it… a shot. A short-shot.

(Note that all these names are more or less canon. Hisao mentions them in the VN when thinking about his friends from the old days.
Except for Rika, and we all know where she's from.)

(Extra credit: here's a simple guide, Sean Carroll's 'Rules for Time Travellers'.
There are also embedded links to some scientific literature, courtesy of Akio Mutou.)



If On A Winter's Night, A Traveller...

February 25th, of course. The one day in the whole year that it snowed, he reflects, in his hometown back in 2007. It was so damn cold for Yokohama, sixty years ago.

Nothing to be done, but to be done, he says to himself. The reverse helix, the star-of-David ruthenium molecules, the sudden quantum effect. Oh, Rika, if you could only see me now.

He trudges back into the house that he once shared with the Ghost of Noda, his late wife, the fabulous Dr Katayama. The few pictures he has of her have been turned to face the wall. She had been slim, pale, tall, her silver braids there to be played with, her delicately pointed nose meeting his whenever they shared warmth, a kiss, an embrace, the tender convulsions of a life together. And then, her heart had gone, and so had his. His brown hair too is silver now.

There is a little thought. A very little one, she'd left to him. If it is true, she'd said, this is the key that will unwind time and space around you, through the helices of your DNA, and who knows?

Not her. She'll never know, now. His bitterness is like iron in the mouth, and he can hardly breathe. Time machine? Stupid idea. At best, a game, to see if it would have worked out better for anyone else. The kicker: you can't see what you did, so who knows what bastard universe you would create? It is just that you might have made life better for someone else, or made someone else exist who wouldn't have. You would also make yourself not exist, in doing so... the joys, he smiles bleakly, of the laws of conservation.

The fluid links he's stolen, the strange architecture he has used to set up his molecular templates, they beckon. He will not see tomorrow, but he will, he is fiercely determined to, see yesterday. And yesterday, and yesterday, creeping backwards to the first syllable of this unrecorded time.

*****

He steps out of the room without doors. It is February 25th, 2007 - the one day of snow in the whole year, that year. He has, conservatively, five minutes to do something. He peeks through the trees. Hisao Nakai is standing there, and Iwanako is late. Any moment now, Hisao will step back into the warmth of the school building. Iwanako will freeze outside, then catch a chill and die. And he will mourn and leave and everything will go as it has gone before. Hisao will kill himself. Mai will become a Buddhist nun. What will happen to Shin? He doesn't see if things would be better, but he has to try.

No. He will make a new world, he will rescue them all even if it won't save him, won't save Rika. He rustles the dead branches, crunches some snow softly under his feet. Hisao pauses, looking worried, anxious, slightly afraid; the young man breathes into his cupped hands and rubs them together furiously. All the old man has to do is keep Hisao there for a few more minutes. It's already 4.15 pm. Where the hell is Iwanako?

He prowls around Hisao, casting tiny shadows where there shouldn't be any. Hisao hesitates, as if realising that there's something, somebody else in the little wood with him. It is enough. He can see Hisao make up his mind. And there she is, the girl they both loved, walking towards the young man she loves. ""Hi… Hisao? You came?"

The world begins to unravel. Too late for himself, he understands. But he has seen the feelings in Iwanako's eyes. Hisao, you're a lucky man, he thinks. Lucky.

It is the last thought Shinichi Shirakawa has before the Katayama effect removes him forever from this universe.

END

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:41 am
by Comrade
I think i am missing something.

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:42 am
by Blasphemy
Huh, interesting. I think you did a good job holding back information just long enough to leave me guessing and "ah" a few times. Am also thinking about this for quite while now, which is a nice accomplishment with such a short...well short.

edit:
Not that could you now but, don't worry Shinichi...Hisao and Iwanako will surely live happily ever after!

Re: Alternate Dreams (Time-Travel!)

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:43 am
by AntonSlavik020
Interesting set-up for how the VN actually began. Not sure if Iwanako really would be so stubborn to stay outside so long the cold would kill her(I know I wouldn't), but it works for the story, so I won't complain.

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:02 am
by Mirage_GSM
Blasphemy wrote:Huh, interesting. I think you did a good job holding back information just long enough to leave me guessing and "ah" a few times. Am also thinking about this for quite while now, which is a nice accomplishment with such a short...well short.
I think you held back too much information until after the story ends^^°
I'm still not entirely certain what happened there.
How did Shinichi meet Rika?
What exactly did he do to make Hisao not leave?
What exactly is he trying to accomplish?

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:12 am
by brythain
Comrade wrote:I think i am missing something.
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Interesting set-up for how the VN actually began. Not sure if Iwanako really would be so stubborn to stay outside so long the cold would kill her (I know I wouldn't), but it works for the story, so I won't complain.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Blasphemy wrote:Huh, interesting. I think you did a good job holding back information just long enough to leave me guessing and "ah" a few times. Am also thinking about this for quite while now, which is a nice accomplishment with such a short...well short.
I think you held back too much information until after the story ends^^°
I'm still not entirely certain what happened there.
How did Shinichi meet Rika?
What exactly did he do to make Hisao not leave?
What exactly is he trying to accomplish?
Dammit, I think I'll have to start another mosaic now. :)
(No, no! I'm kidding! Really! I'll be good now, don't hit me!)

Shin's history with Rika will have to remain a mystery.
It's experimental back-story, and I don't think I'll go much into it yet.

But those are good points for a slightly longer story. I'll do a bit of editing. Thanks, everyone!

Re: Alternate Dreams (Time-Travel!) (v1.1 20140925)

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:38 am
by Oscar Wildecat
Nothing to be done, but to be done, he says to himself. The reverse helix, the star-of-David ruthenium molecules, the sudden quantum effect. Oh, Rika, if you could only see me now.
I don't know why, but this line -- as well as the whole story -- seems to me very Ray Bradbury-ish. (Which is a very good thing, IMHO.)

Re: Alternate Dreams (Time-Travel!) (v1.1 20140925)

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:40 am
by Tormound
Interesting. Confusing but interesting.

Re: Alternate Dreams (Time-Travel!) (v1.1 20140925)

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 10:48 am
by brythain
Oscar Wildecat wrote:I don't know why, but this line -- as well as the whole story -- seems to me very Ray Bradbury-ish. (Which is a very good thing, IMHO.)
He's one of my favourite authors, along with Italo Calvino and others. I'm glad you think so!
Tormound wrote:Interesting. Confusing but interesting.
Thanks! After all, it was written because of your interesting quest for T-T stories.

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:54 am
by Silentcook
brythain wrote:I'll be good now, don't hit me!
Your history with that is... lacking. :evil:

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:07 pm
by brythain
Silentcook wrote:
brythain wrote:I'll be good now, don't hit me!
Your history with that is... lacking. :evil:
I'll say that Mirage_GSM made me do it…

Actually, the original title was 'Mean Breakdown to Time'. :D

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:21 pm
by Comrade
brythain wrote:
Silentcook wrote:
brythain wrote:I'll be good now, don't hit me!
Your history with that is... lacking. :evil:
I'll say that Mirage_GSM made me do it…

Actually, the original title was 'Mean Breakdown to Time'. :D
If you would have gone through with that i'd have sworn fealty to you

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:30 pm
by Leaty
I like it. I love time travel fics in general (especially if they don't insult my intelligence with stable time loops,) and this was fun. I don't get why Shin has the same family name as Yuuko, though, or where he ever would have met Rika to begin with.

(Fun fact: saying the name "Iwanako" is my bat signal.)
brythain wrote:Actually, the original title was 'Mean Breakdown to Time'. :D
Haha!

Honestly, speaking metatextually I always kind of liked the idea of the entirety of MTtB being caused by some kind of time crash, even though my story is staying down-to-earth. Though I consider it a divergence story, I've pointed out before that there wouldn't be any change to the timeline large enough for Hisao's arrhythmia to literally commute to Iwanako (at least not without a million other things also changing.)

Re: Alternate Dreams (Time-Travel!) (v1.1 20140925)

Posted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:31 pm
by forgetmenot
Ooh, juicy! I love minimalism. Nothing extraneous. Well-written.

Re: Alternate Dreams

Posted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:08 am
by brythain
Comrade wrote:
brythain wrote:Actually, the original title was 'Mean Breakdown to Time'. :D
If you would have gone through with that i'd have sworn fealty to you
I was actually deathly afraid that I'd have Leaty swearing at me instead. :)
Turns out that this fear was misplaced and I am left sadly pondering what might have been…
Leaty wrote:I like it. I love time travel fics in general (especially if they don't insult my intelligence with stable time loops,) and this was fun. I don't get why Shin has the same family name as Yuuko, though, or where he ever would have met Rika to begin with.

(Fun fact: saying the name "Iwanako" is my bat signal.)
brythain wrote:Actually, the original title was 'Mean Breakdown to Time'. :D
Haha!

Honestly, speaking metatextually I always kind of liked the idea of the entirety of MTtB being caused by some kind of time crash, even though my story is staying down-to-earth. Though I consider it a divergence story, I've pointed out before that there wouldn't be any change to the timeline large enough for Hisao's arrhythmia to literally commute to Iwanako (at least not without a million other things also changing.)
In 'After The Dream', Shin is Yuuko's younger brother. The thing is, there are always information communities springing up. In Japan, where disabilities are often things to be hidden or disguised, there's a stronger bond between members of such communities, and much info-sharing. That's how all of the kids end up at Yamaku (or at least, it's one of the ways). So Yuuko's parents recommended Yamaku to Hisao's parents when Hisao had his disability surface.

The Rika bit comes from yet another possible continuity, which I haven't yet explored. It isn't AtD continuity at all (and neither is this piece). I am glad that I was able to pay a kind of side-stream tribute to MTtB without causing pain and suffering. :)
forgetmenot wrote:Ooh, juicy! I love minimalism. Nothing extraneous. Well-written.
Thanks! Very appropriate. :)