Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

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TomokoNoKokoro
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Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by TomokoNoKokoro » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:15 pm

Hey everyone. I'm a (fairly) new writer, and I'm trying my hand at writing with fanfiction, and so I'd appreciate some (brutally) honest feedback, since I really want to get better at this. Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind!
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It was sometime during the second semester of junior year that I began to notice a certain girl in my class. I tried to ignore the feeling at first; nothing good has ever come of feeling this way. And yet, here I am, staring at her while Mr. Sekai is droning on about World War 2, taking in her luscious locks of black hair, her slender figure, her rounded cheeks. Before I know it, the bell for class rings, catching me a little off-guard. I hurriedly begin to pack my bag, lest she see me staring at her for too long and think I’m a creep.

I head out of the classroom and walk towards the cafeteria, sitting at the same table I always do, eating my lunch by myself. I try to shake the image of her from my mind, but it’s not working. I try to think of anything else... what my friends and I are going to play at the arcade after school, the report on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki I have to do, my Calculus homework….
Until she walks in and moves towards the table that is two tables down from me, like she usually does. My train of thought is interrupted, and I catch myself staring at her as she walks. She just looks so… perfect. I don’t know what it is about her, but whatever it is, I like it. She seems to scan the room for something, and I hurriedly look away and bury my head in the book I brought, some book about robots or something. I look back up after a minute or two, seeing if it’s safe. She’s sitting at her table with three of her friends, her back turned to me. The table is angled in such a manner that none of them can really see me. I resume staring at her. The cafeteria’s relatively quiet, with only a few hints of conversation, so I try and listen in to that beautiful voice, curious as to what she and her friends talk about.

Suddenly, a familiar voice interrupts my surreptitious eavesdropping session.

“Like what you see, Hisao?”

Slightly startled, heart pounding a little faster than I’m comfortable with, I turn to see who dares disturb me. It’s my friend Takumi, sitting here with my other friends Shin and Mai. Crap. My face is beet-red. I try my best to not look flustered.

“Hmm? What, uh, what are you talking about?” I ask, doing my best impression of innocence. It’s not very effective, evidently.

“Oh, come on, you know what we mean. She’s pretty, isn’t she?” Takumi says with an impish smile, and then raises his eyebrows twice, as if to say Got you now.

As much as I’d love to agree with them, I’m not tipping my hand to anyone, not even my best friends. “I don’t know what you could possibly be talking about.” I must’ve said that with a little more sarcasm than I intended to, as Takumi gloats a little. Dammit. He’s caught on. Well, I was never very effective at hiding my emotions anyways.

Uncomfortable with where this is going, I try and change the subject. “So have you guys tried the new Final Fantasy yet? It’s pretty fun, huh?” I said, slightly nervously. Too nervously.

“Don’t change the subject,” Shin interjects in his playfully aggressive manner. “We get it. You like Iwanako. Nothing to be ashamed of.” He leans in closer. “So when are you planning to ask her on a date, man? You gotta take the first step, you catch my drift? She’s not going to wait forever, you know. Some jock will pick her up one day, and then where will you be?”

Everyone laughs as my face somehow turns even redder and I sweat a little bit. Why can’t they just leave me alone about this?

“I don’t like anyone-“ I began, but Mai interrupted me, then punched me lightly in my right shoulder. “Come on, man, we’re just joking. It’s alright. So tell us-”

“Shin, have you turned in your forms yet?”

I sigh internally, grateful for the distraction. The voice belongs to none other than the student body president. It’s club week, and he’s making sure everyone has his paperwork turned in.

“Yeah, man, I turned them in yesterday,” replies Shin.

“Good. Now remember to come to the meeting on Monday. Don’t forget,” He emphasizes, then turns and walks away.

Before Mai can resume his interrogation of me, the bell saves me. I begin to walk to class with my friends.

I swear I see Iwanako looking at me out of the corner of my eye.

As I sit through science class, I begin to imagine myself and Iwanako together. I know I’m moving way too fast for my own good, but I can’t help it; I’ve become infatuated. So this is the feeling that they call a crush… I shake my head and chuckle a little bit.

And here you were, thinking you’d never like anyone. You stupid, stupid idiot.

Shut up. It’s not too late. Maybe I can push this out of my head.

Yeah, good luck with that. You’re thinking with your heart, not your head. You can’t stop now.

Yes I can.

I try and silence the voices of dissent and reason, but it’s no use. I sign a little as I’m forced to admit the truth to myself. I have a crush on a girl that I know next-to-nothing about. I’m already fantasizing about us being together. God help me. I’m even getting flustered. Come on, Hisao, what the fuck are you doing? The thought causes me to return to Earth just in time to notice her staring at me again, but her eyes dart away damningly. Maybe this isn’t so one-sided after all… Nah, who am I kidding, she probably thinks I’m creepy, just sitting in my desk, staring like a moron. I chide myself for not paying attention to the lesson because of a crush.

I’m amazed that all it takes to turn my world upside down is a simple chemical reaction. It’s true what they say about the heart, I guess: It really can’t be controlled. Logic be damned, emotion wins here. The last bell of the day rings, and I begin to pack up and leave the classroom. I walk out the door and meet up with Takumi, Shin, and Mai. We walk towards the arcade together. She’s still on my mind…
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Iwanako began to pack her bag, flustered.

He looked at me… he looked at me…

Iwanako wasn’t sure what to make of these feelings she’d been having lately.

She’d been fantasizing a lot about Hisao.

Just… about being with him. About being a couple.

She tried to shake those thoughts from her mind and compose herself before her friends saw her. When she approached her friends/part-time bullies Yuri and Nise, however, she could immediately see that they knew what was going on. She saw Yuri and Nise exchange looks of understanding, and her stomach dropped a little as she saw exactly what kind of understanding they had. Yuri, always the brave one, spoke first:

“I see someone’s in love,” she said in a playful tone, and with an impish grin on her face.

“Yes, do tell us, Iwanako; we know you want him. You really like him,” Nise piped in, smiling devilishly.

Iwanako’s heart skipped a beat, but she tried to maintain her composure. “W-what are you guys talking about. I don’t like anyone-“

Yuri laughed out loud. “Suuuure you don’t. Tell us, who’s the lucky guy?”

Iwanako blushed, her cheeks a rosy red. “Honestly, I don’t like anyone….” she said, her voice trailing off. Nise then grabbed Iwanako’s bag, and tossed it to Yuri, who tossed it back. They proceeded to
toss it back-and-forth to each other.

“H-hey, what the hell guys? Give me that back!” Iwanako reached for the bag, but Nise slapped her hand away.

“Uh-uh-uh. Not until you admit it. Tell us who you like! Otherwise, well, I can’t promise anything,” said Nise. “Is it Tanaka? Shin? Mashiro? Or….” She paused for a moment, “is it Hisao? It’s Hisao, isn’t it? We see you staring at him.”

Iwanako tensed up at the mention of his name. “M-maybe,” she replied quietly, embarrassed that her secret was known so easily.

They stopped tossing Iwanako’s bag to each other. Yuri squealed at this not-terribly-surprising revelation. “I knew it!” She nudges Iwanako’s ribs. “You like Hisao!“

Iwanako had had enough. “Sh-shut up! Both of you! Someone’s going to hear you!”

Yuri laughed at that. “Like we care! Besides, what’s a little harmless teasing among friends? So when are you going to ask him out?”

Iwanako looked away. “I… wasn’t planning to…”

Yuri laughed again. “So, what, you’re just gonna stare at him while he stares at you all day? That’s it? Iwanako-chan, you need to do better than that! He’s not going to ask you out anytime soon, you know. So you should ask him out. Besides, isn’t that what two people who like each other do anyways? This isn't some anime where you act awkward around each other for 5 years and never say anything!”

Iwanako froze up at the thought of having to make the first move. I… I can’t. “Why are you guys doing this to me….?” She asked apprehensively and defeatedly.

Yuri’s expression changed to something resembling sympathy and warmth. “Don’t worry, we’re not gonna make you walk up to him. You don’t have to, of course. But if you really like him, you should.”

She appeared to think for a moment. “Hey, how’s this: you write a note telling him to meet you after school? That way, no one will be watching. No pressure,” she added with a sarcastic smile.

Iwanako thought about it for a moment, and decided that that was an acceptable compromise. “O-Ok. I’ll do that. You guys can’t watch me, though.”

“Don’t worry, we won’t. But if he says yes, you have to tell us how it goes,” she said with a wink. She then tossed Iwanako’s bag back to her. Iwanako caught it and stumbled backwards. “See ya, Iwanako! And… do let us know if you need any help from us!” Yuri and Nise both said as they turned and walked away. Iwanako began to think of what she would write as she walked home. When she got home, she went straight to her room and searched her desk for something to write on. A card with flowers on the border caught her eye. She picked out a pink pen and began to write,

"Hisao,

Meet me after school at 4 P.M. by the forest."


She briefly considered adding her name, but she had a feeling that Hisao would know exactly who was going to call him over. Her heart skipped a beat.

I’m finally going to ask out the guy I like.

Oh my god.

Ican’tbelievethisisreallyhappening.

She laid down on her bed and stared at the ceiling, a mess of emotions. She picked up her teddy bear and held it close to her chest, squeezing and rubbing it. It’s something that always seemed to work to calm her down. She briefly closed her eyes, her head spinning and butterflies in her stomach. She breathed deeply.
It’s going to be OK. I’m going to be OK. It’s OK.

The rest of the day went on uneventfully, and she went to bed, wondering how tomorrow was going to pan out. She dreamt of the forest, of Hisao, and…

of his heart being ripped out by a bear. Huh?!

She awoke with a start and bolted upright, sweating from the terror. What?! What just happened? She again held her teddy bear close to her chest, fighting off tears. Maybe I shouldn’t do this… maybe I should just leave it alone. She paused for a moment, and shook her head.

No, I have to do this no matter what. It must happen.

She went back to sleep, clutching her teddy bear tightly.
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The next day, Iwanako arrived at school a few minutes earlier than usual, her plan at the ready. She rehearsed in her mind what she was going to do: First, she was going to ask Nise to place the note in his math textbook when he wasn’t looking. Then, she was going to wait through the day until school got out, then wait by the forest for him. She’s then pop the question… this part made her apprehensive, but she nevertheless trudged on.

She searched for Nise and Yuri, and found them chatting at their usual spot. As she approached them, Nise turned to look at Iwanako, and her eyes lit up in anticipation.

“So, did you decide to go through with it?” she asked expectantly.

“Y-yes, I did. I was wondering if you could help me, actually…” Iwanako asked, her voice trailing off out of habit and nervousness.

“You want us to give him the note, don’t you?”

“Could you? Since you sit right next to him and everything…”

“Sure. I’ll slip it in his textbook or something when he’s not looking. I’ll make sure he sees it.”

Satisfied with that answer, Iwanako gave Nise the note. Nise and Yuri both looked it over.

“That’s it? Just “meet me in the forest”?” Yuri asked incredulously.

“Yeah, I don’t want him to know it’s me quite yet,” Iwanako replied firmly.

“OK, OK, whatever. We’ll do it,” said Nise. Suddenly, the bell announcing the start of classes rang. Iwanako started to run off towards her class. She trudged on through the day, until finally the last bell rang.

She then immediately took off for the forest, nervous the whole time. She looked up at the snow falling off the deciduous trees, little flakes of the sky falling off barren trees. As she approached the mouth of the forest, the air thickened, and time seemed to slow down to a crawl. It was completely silent, save for the sound of the blood rushing through her veins and her heart beating in her chest. She put her hands together in front of her, not able to keep them still for even a moment. As she approached the top of the small hill, her mind began casting doubt again.

What if he’s not there? What if he didn’t get the note, or thought it was from someone else? Or… thought it was a joke and threw it away?

She shook off those thoughts and continued to walk over the hill. It seemed as if the hill suddenly became much steeper and the snow much thicker, for she found it harder to trudge through it. Her hands started shaking as she saw a shadowy figure over the top of the summit. When she made the connection, her mind let itself go and went in every possible direction, and time absolutely stopped. She knew there was no turning back now; she made a promise to herself, and she was going to see it through.

“Hi-Hisao? You came?”

Her heart raced as she asked the question, barely audible. He turns to face her…
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The next few hours end up a blur. I vaguely remember popping the question, and then Hisao falling to the ground. Everything seems to move in slow-motion, and I think I scream for help and call an ambulance. I hold his hand as I wait for it to arrive. After it begins to take him away, I race to the top of the hill, where I find Yuri and Nise waiting for me, most likely with shocked looks on their faces. They ask me what happened, and I only have to time to breathlessly respond “He collapsed.” I don’t register their reaction to the news as I head towards my bike and mount it.

I immediately head off towards the hospital, ignoring everything around me. My mind is racing as I’m heading there. Did I cause that? Did I manage to shock him into collapsing? Is this all my fault?! I’m hit with many emotions at once, most prominently guilt. I don’t have time to register exactly what all the other emotions are, as I’m focused solely on one thing: finding out Hisao’s condition. I arrive at the hospital and lock up my bike and head inside, directly to the front desk:

“Excuse me, miss, did someone by the name of Hisao arrive here a few moments ago?,” I ask frantically.

“I’m sorry, who are you?,” she responds, halfway between suspicious and bored.

I take a moment to think of something to tell her. “I’m his… sister. He just collapsed at school, and an ambulance brought him here.”

“Just a sec, dear.” She looks through her computer for a moment, then looks up at me. “Looks like he’s in emergency surgery. You’ll have to wait out here for him.”

I don’t respond as I go to sit on one of the waiting room chairs. I still can’t think straight. I feel tears come to my eyes, and I bury my head in my hands. It hurts so much, to think that I caused someone, even someone I barely knew, to possibly have a heart attack. I’m a complete mess, barely able to keep any of my emotions from reaching the surface. I don’t know how much time passes before someone approaches me, dressed in surgical scrubs.

“Miss Nakai?,” he starts.

“W-who…” I begin to respond, then I remember that I’m passing off as his sister. “Oh, yes, that’s me. Is… is my brother OK?”

“He had a heart attack, and we had to perform an emergency surgery to save his life. He’ll be in recovery for a few days. We can’t allow visitors until then, unfortunately; if you leave your info with us, we can call you when he’s ready to accept visitors.”

“O...ok. Thank you, doctor.” I leave my number with the receptionist, and begin to bike home. I’m in complete shock and awe as I ride home. It begins to rain, and I let tears flow freely, wracked with guilt and pain. I don’t remember arriving home and storming to my room and plopping on my bed. I don’t think I dream that night.

The next six go by in a little bit of a daze. At first I’m visiting him once a day, then down to once a week. We start talking less and less, and growing further and further apart. It pains me that that happens; the last time we saw each other, I peeled him an apple, sat there for half an hour in silence, and left. All this time, I felt so guilty, so ashamed of myself. He never said anything. In a way, I despise him for that. I know I shouldn’t, but deep down, I do. He could’ve said something to allay my guilt. Even a simple “it’s not your fault, Iwanako,” to reassure me.

Before I left, I placed a book on the table next to his bed. I don’t know if he ever saw it or not, and I’m not sure if I really care.

I didn’t even look him in the eye as I left for the last time, never to see him again.

Sorry, Hisao. Maybe it’s for the best.

Last I heard, he transferred to a new school. I don’t know what to make of this. I no longer feel anything for him. I think I’ve moved on. Maybe one day our paths will cross again… you never know what the future holds. But I’m not waiting for it.

Some time later, I decide to write to him and bring closure to both of us. I pick up my pen and begin to write...

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forgetmenot
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Oct 22, 2014 2:41 pm

This is actually pretty good. You have some issues with keeping tenses consistent, but since you only seem to switch after section breaks, I suppose it's not really a mistake so much as a weird style choice. The content is solid, the dialogue doesn't seem stilted, and your take on Iwanako is believable from what little we see of her in the VN (if a tad uninspired, but for a piece this short, there's not much room for subtlety anyhow).

I assume this is staying a one-shot? Seems like you've told all the story you need to. If so, good job. Just keep practicing!

TomokoNoKokoro
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by TomokoNoKokoro » Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:27 pm

Thanks for the feedback! This is just kind of a getting-my-feet-wet piece, a jumping-off point of sorts.

Yeah this is just a one-shot, I'm not planning on making it into a whole separate Iwanako "route" or anything.

I'll definitely be writing more, I've discovered I really like to do it recently.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:21 am

While I agree with forgetmenot, one thing I found more jarring was you switching between narrative modes:

You start with a scene from Hisao's point of view in first person perspective.
Then you switch to a few scenes from Iwanako's pov with third person perspective.
The final scene is from Iwanako's pov again, but with first person perspective.

While changing pov between scenes is okay and can be used to great effect, I recommend choosing and sticking to one narrative mode.

Also, while your story goes into great detail for the "normal" parts (boy loves girl loves boy etc.) you gloss over everything after the heart attack - the part where it actually gets interesting - in a hurry. I think that is a missed opportunity.
Up to the heart attack this is a generic teenage romance like you can see in any number of Anime, VNs, dime novels and other media.
Exploring both Hisao's and Iwanako's feelings, the reactions of their friends and classmates, family teacher etc. would have been a chance to set this story apart from all that - though of course it would also have been a more demanding task, so maybe it's good you didn't try it for your first story.

Apart from that the story is sound in grammar and characterization.

Oh yes, almost forgot: Welcome to the forums ;-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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brythain
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by brythain » Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:56 am

Iwanako here sounds awfully much like Hanako. Otherwise, it's a nice little piece which could have been a lot larger and perhaps more complete, as Mirage_GSM says.
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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AntonSlavik020
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:47 pm

I enjoyed it. Can't really say much without echoing what was already said, but for a first piece, it was solid. The only thing is I always thought Mea was a girl. I can't remember if Hisao's friends are mentioned in the VN or are just accepted fanon(It's been way too long since I've played through Act 1), and that that was the mutual friend who gave the note. This works though.
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dewelar
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by dewelar » Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:19 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote:I enjoyed it. Can't really say much without echoing what was already said, but for a first piece, it was solid. The only thing is I always thought Mea was a girl. I can't remember if Hisao's friends are mentioned in the VN or are just accepted fanon(It's been way too long since I've played through Act 1), and that that was the mutual friend who gave the note. This works though.
Yes, they are canon, and Mai is typically a feminine name in Japan. I also can't really picture Hisao using the phrase "luscious locks", but maybe he did pre-heart attack :) . Otherwise I also liked this piece.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

TomokoNoKokoro
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by TomokoNoKokoro » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:17 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:While I agree with forgetmenot, one thing I found more jarring was you switching between narrative modes:

You start with a scene from Hisao's point of view in first person perspective.
Then you switch to a few scenes from Iwanako's pov with third person perspective.
The final scene is from Iwanako's pov again, but with first person perspective.

While changing pov between scenes is okay and can be used to great effect, I recommend choosing and sticking to one narrative mode.

Also, while your story goes into great detail for the "normal" parts (boy loves girl loves boy etc.) you gloss over everything after the heart attack - the part where it actually gets interesting - in a hurry. I think that is a missed opportunity.
Up to the heart attack this is a generic teenage romance like you can see in any number of Anime, VNs, dime novels and other media.
Exploring both Hisao's and Iwanako's feelings, the reactions of their friends and classmates, family teacher etc. would have been a chance to set this story apart from all that - though of course it would also have been a more demanding task, so maybe it's good you didn't try it for your first story.

Apart from that the story is sound in grammar and characterization.

Oh yes, almost forgot: Welcome to the forums ;-)
Bit of a late reply, been busy with schoolwork - but thanks! :D

I couldn't figure out how else to open this except for the generic love story approach, and now I can see how that's not the most important part even though that's most of the story so far. I'm not amazed with my opening here, and I'll try and kick it up a notch in terms of quality in the rest of the story.

I'm now going to expand it, and maybe rewrite it as all third-person, so I can more easily include all the other people affected by the events (like you suggested). I'm still trying to find my "groove" in terms of narrative mode, I'll try sticking to one this time.

Funny thing is, I somehow "forgot" that I could continue past that point and not just stop when the VN begins. The original idea was that this was a direct transition into the VN, but I do see an opportunity to expand and tell the unseen story of everyone in the background.

Thanks for the ideas on how to expand!

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dewelar
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Re: Before Yamaku - the events leading up to KS

Post by dewelar » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:36 pm

TomokoNoKokoro wrote:I'm now going to expand it, and maybe rewrite it as all third-person, so I can more easily include all the other people affected by the events (like you suggested). I'm still trying to find my "groove" in terms of narrative mode, I'll try sticking to one this time.
Looking forward to seeing what you do with it. It's definitely an approach that hasn't been done to death :) .

And, just so you know, Mai is canonically female. I was just rereading a scene from Lilly's route where Hisao refers to Mai as "her", so you'll want to fix that.
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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