A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Eight Up]

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TheTealeaf
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Four Up]

Post by TheTealeaf » Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:09 pm

Cloud the last 50% of this scene was sweeter than the peanut butter chocolate cheesecake I was eating at the time.

Damn those last few paragraphs had me grinning ear to ear.
CloudGrain wrote:"I don't think I'd mind if you held my hand anyways."

Mina giggles at the absurdly late statement, squeezing my hand as she snuggles up to me just a little bit closer underneath the blanket. "Good. Because I don't really want to let go right now."
This line gave me cavities.
CloudGrain wrote:The smile turns just a little mischievous for a moment as her eyes sparkle, and before I can ask what's on her mind, Minako steals a quick kiss from me.
And that is the Mina we all know. Slightly mischievous, impulsive and incredibly cute.

Bravo on this scene!
Tealeaf. Old cockney rhyming slang for 'thief'. That is what KS did to me. It tealeafed my heart straight from my chest. Especially you Rin. Especially you.

One cannot think well, sleep well, love well if one has not dined well
- Virginia Woolf

Cooking is like love. Enter with abandon or not at all

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Solistor
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Four Up]

Post by Solistor » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:33 pm

Mina wrote:We're going to watch the sunset.
Made me smile.

I'll have to conform to Tealeaf's opinion on the ending scene as well; I've been diagnosed with diabetes because of this story. Really looking forward to the chapters to come!
~Links to recommended fics
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AntonSlavik020
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Four Up]

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:03 pm

I'm like the previous posters, I'm pretty sure I have diubeetus too. :)

Seriously though, that was really sweet. Pretty much everything from when they arrived at the spot on was great. And I'm not surprised their first kiss was Mina stealing it. Thats just like her. I'm sure Hisao was able to reciprocate right after.

My only thought is if we're gonna see anyone besides Mina, like her friends maybe. Adding another character or two could add some variety.
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HazelKim
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Four Up]

Post by HazelKim » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:23 pm

To add my compliments to the bundle, this has rapidly been turning into a very sweet story so I feel like I gotta say something.

Mina is great, her characterisation is spot on. The repetition of her blushing being as red as her scarf is very nice. And sweet.

Sweet is really the word to sum this up. So far. I have a nagging sensation that her disability is going to be life-wrecking. Like, even more so than Hisao's. Some sort of crisis must be on the way, and hopefully I won't cry. I will continue to wait patiently for your updates.
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CloudGrain
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Four Up]

Post by CloudGrain » Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:46 pm

TheTealeaf wrote:Cloud the last 50% of this scene was sweeter than the peanut butter chocolate cheesecake I was eating at the time.

Damn those last few paragraphs had me grinning ear to ear.
CloudGrain wrote:"I don't think I'd mind if you held my hand anyways."

Mina giggles at the absurdly late statement, squeezing my hand as she snuggles up to me just a little bit closer underneath the blanket. "Good. Because I don't really want to let go right now."
This line gave me cavities.
CloudGrain wrote:The smile turns just a little mischievous for a moment as her eyes sparkle, and before I can ask what's on her mind, Minako steals a quick kiss from me.
And that is the Mina we all know. Slightly mischievous, impulsive and incredibly cute.

Bravo on this scene!
As always, thanks for the review, Tealeaf! It wasn't quite the original concept for the update, but I think that it turned out fairly decently nonetheless. Really, really quite glad that I can make something memorable enough to have lines being directly quoted from it. :D
Solistor wrote:
Mina wrote:We're going to watch the sunset.
Made me smile.

I'll have to conform to Tealeaf's opinion on the ending scene as well; I've been diagnosed with diabetes because of this story. Really looking forward to the chapters to come!
I really ought to buy some stocks in insulin-producing companies... But in all seriousness, thanks very much. I'm really glad that I'm keeping up the quality thus far!
AntonSlavik020 wrote:I'm like the previous posters, I'm pretty sure I have diubeetus too. :)

Seriously though, that was really sweet. Pretty much everything from when they arrived at the spot on was great. And I'm not surprised their first kiss was Mina stealing it. Thats just like her. I'm sure Hisao was able to reciprocate right after.

My only thought is if we're gonna see anyone besides Mina, like her friends maybe. Adding another character or two could add some variety.
As always, thanks, Anton! The title to the whole chapter didn't exactly make the fact that Mina stole the kiss terribly surprising, but I'm very glad that I'm managing to convey her character well enough that it's unsurprising.

The next few chapters are going to be fairly... ah... interesting in and of themselves content-wise. Bigger plans on the whole variety thing, so I really hope that I won't disappoint on that account.
HazelKim wrote:To add my compliments to the bundle, this has rapidly been turning into a very sweet story so I feel like I gotta say something.

Mina is great, her characterisation is spot on. The repetition of her blushing being as red as her scarf is very nice. And sweet.

Sweet is really the word to sum this up. So far. I have a nagging sensation that her disability is going to be life-wrecking. Like, even more so than Hisao's. Some sort of crisis must be on the way, and hopefully I won't cry. I will continue to wait patiently for your updates.
Thank you very much for the kind words. The imagery of comparing her to her scarf really seems like a pretty natural thing to do, given the coloration and it's omnipresence.

As to a crisis on the way... yes, you're absolutely and painfully correct. Work on the next segment's already begun, but is taking somewhat longer than my 'usual' process. I've got a feeling that things are going to be slowing down very shortly here, because of the difficulty I'm going to have keeping the quality up as the focus and themes shift somewhat.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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CloudGrain
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Act Two, Scene Five;

Post by CloudGrain » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:47 pm

Act Two, Scene Five;

Boiling Point [Hisao]




Yesterday... yesterday felt like a dream. That's the simplest way to describe it.

Neither Minako or I had exactly confessed to one another, but I don't think that words were exactly necessary after Mina stole her first kiss from me. Sitting on the hill, knowing that Mina reciprocated the sort of feelings I'd been unable to even think about myself... it made the time that we were up there absolutely timeless. I've really got next to no idea about exactly how it all happened, just that somehow, some way, it managed to fall into place spectacularly. It's easy to say that, on my own end, there was relatively little that I felt like I'd done to make Mina feel the same way as I do. She'd been more than willing to sacrifice her own time and energy initially just to hang out with me. She'd been the one who was able to support me when my condition flared up due to my own oversight. She'd been the one who'd more or less always managed to set things in motion.

I'd say that I felt a little guilty for it, but I'd probably be lying if I tried to say that I didn't think that Mina is just as happy with everything as I am. And the mere fact that she's happy makes me happy.

Neither of us had really spent the effort to look at either of our watches last night. Somehow, we managed to slip back into the school-grounds without too much trouble. While I'm almost certain that at one point we'd been spotted by one of the night-time Nursing patrols, nobody called us out. I can't help but think that sometimes, the school's staff might just turn a blind eye to a few little escapades like these. After all, in a high-school there's bound to be students who decide that they're more or less right for one another.

I got to bed a little late, with Mina jokingly saying that she wanted to watch the sunrise with me too. Given her lack of apparently waking up too quickly in the mornings, it'd been something I'd dismissed pretty easily.

And it's the last thought on my mind as a hand clamps over my mouth to wake me up. "The invasion's begun, Hisao. Or at least the preliminary eliminations of high-value targets. I'm going to need your help to get out of this alive, the sniper missed with their cold-shot. You'll need to run interference." After a moment of legitimately being scared for my life, the hand comes off of my mouth at roughly the same moment that I realize who's speaking in my completely dark room. I almost growl out the name.

"Kenji."

The red light of my alarm clock glares off the thick glasses for a moment, proving me right as I vaguely detect some motion of his silhouette. "Yeah, dude. I'm gonna need you to run interference for the sniper. Trust me, things are about to go down. We're gonna need to stick together if you want to have any real chance of surviving the next forty-eight hours. We're gonna need to get out of strike-distance of the major-" Kenji's ranting begins, and I immediately find myself tuning him out as I realize that my heart's still in the process of slowing down from the scare he'd given me.

I can see why the hallway's otherwise deserted. If Kenji's pulled stunts like this before, he's probably lucky to not have been thrown out a window. Irritable at having been woken up from a pretty blissful sleep, I finally find my voice to cut him off.

"Kenji. What the hell are you talking about?"

I get the feeling that he's somehow believing that he's got the right to look at me judgmentally right now as he pauses. The red glare off of his glasses is more than a little disconcerting, and I'm really beginning to wonder just how safe I am with this near-psychopath living in the room right across from me. All of the locks that he's got on his door really should be reversed so that people only need to deal with him when they're well-prepared for the ordeal. "The feminist infiltration, man! The shit that I've been trying to tell you was gonna happen is happening! I woke up to a sniper trying to take me out with blind-fire into my room. I'm just lucky that I switched where the bed was, else I'd likely be laying in a pool of my own blood and brains right now. Mankind's best hope, gone!" He says, exasperated as I pinch the bridge of my nose, somehow doubting the fact. "I'm telling you, silenced feminist snipers!"

Something just sort of snaps inside me at that. As much as I'd rather avoid confrontation with Kenji, I suppose that it was inevitable.

"Kenji. There are no evil feminists out to kill you, you idiot." Kenji's rant stops suddenly at that. "I don't know what sick twisted reality you're living in, but I know that it sure as hell isn't this one. Go back to your room and go back to sleep." It's insane that I feel like I'm telling a three-year old to go back to bed after having a nightmare... even worse when Kenji's silence abruptly ends with him speaking again instead of leaving my room and even temporarily deciding to accept reality. It seems like my fuming at him didn't accomplish a single thing, or at least nothing beyond the moment's respite.

"Hisao. There are snipers outside ready to give me a lethal dose of impromptu high-speed lead poisoning to the head if they notice any movement now."

With a few choice words, I decide that the best way to deal with this might well be to treat it exactly like a toddler's nightmare. I get up, pushing past Kenji towards his room, shaking him off as he tries to 'warn me against going back for the documents'. Luckily, his doorway is now apparently some sort of a ward against demons of insanity and he stops short of entering with me. I'm more than glad, based on the mostly-shadowed objects of the room that the lights are off. I feel like the contents would definitely reflect Kenji's absolutely insane theories. Stepping over, and on, several odd objects and happy that none of them trigger a booby-trap of some sort, I reach the heavy curtains and tear them down.

The glass is completely fine, rather than shattered by a stray bullet.

"See, Kenji? All of this is-"

I'm interrupted by a 'ping' behind me from the glass as something strikes it. I'm almost, for a full few seconds, willing to entertain the thought that Kenji might not be so wrong after all before I witness the cause of the sounds as it's repeated. A white pebble, maybe the size of my thumbnail gently coming in an arc and rattling against the window before falling down. Tracing the arc back down, I see a certain red scarf that makes the whole situation just a little more bearable, if confusing.

Breaking into a grin, I turn on my feet and head towards my room, intent on changing into some casual clothes quickly and grabbing a jacket to go outside. The first thought that comes to mind is that Mina probably decided that she really did want to see the sunrise with me, and thought that she was hitting my window with the pebbles. Being right at an odd 'corner' of the dormitory building, with Kenji's being the opposite and only the one time she'd come up to my room to go off of, it'd be unsurprising. Of course, in the hallway, apparently continuing to freak out over the whole incident, Kenji's got no idea about why I've just apparently woken up and decided to get prepared to go outside.

In an already significantly better mood, I decide to somewhat humor Kenji for the moment.

"Don't think it's as bad as you thought. Dealt with this situation before, I should be back in an hour or two, right before classes start." My eyes more adjusted to the light, I can see that Kenji looks downright taken aback by my change in attitude.

"You're sure?" He asks, his voice wavering slightly.

"Positive, I've ran the numbers half a dozen times." Where pointing out logical facts failed miserably... spouting the exact same vaguely insane conspiracy nonsense seems to loosen Kenji up like a charm. "Wait about ten, fifteen minutes, and you should be good to resume operations. Alright?" I ask, clapping him on the shoulder once as I go to leave. I turn around to make sure that Kenji's more or less got the plan when I get halfway down the hallway, to see him smartly saluting me with a grave expression on his face. I give him one of my own as I walk backwards a few steps before turning and continuing on my way out, resolving to put in for a room transfer.

It doesn't take me more than a few minutes to make my way out of the building and out to the corner of the building where Mina's tossing an occasional pebble with an adorably annoyed expression, presumably because I'm taking just a little too long for her liking. Managing to sneak up on her, I actually manage to scare her just a tiny bit when I get close enough to speak without her noticing me.

"You know, that's the wrong window." She's startled for a fraction of a moment as she turns to face me, then replaces the expression with a wide grin that makes my heart leap in my chest for a moment. The same simple rightness of yesterday seems to come back without a problem as Mina tosses the pebble in her hand at me, sticking her tongue out before closing the distance between us and embracing me. She gives me a quick peck on the lips to make up for tossing the pebble at me, getting a wide smile from me. Returning the hug, I continue speaking. "And you managed to get Kenji to think that he'd just avoided being assassinated. Not my favorite way to wake up." I admit, getting Minako to pull back for a second with an expression and a single word that pretty much perfectly sums up my own mind when dealing with Kenji.

"What...?"

I chuckle as I begin to explain the whole situation, mindlessly beginning to walk with Mina, hand in hand in as light starts to come over the horizon. Mina's own laughter quickly manages to come forth as well as she shakes her head in disbelief. I think that Kenji's one of those cases that reality is actually stranger than a lot of the more crazy stuff that I could come up with on my own. We end up more or less wandering over to the track and sitting on the bleachers as we realize that the sun's coming up from almost a perfect angle to watch from there. The seats are just a little bit less comfortable than sitting on top of the hill had been last night, but with Mina back to leaning on my shoulder in exactly the same way as yesterday... I don't think that I could bring myself to complain.

Strange as it seems, watching the sunrise in complete silence with Mina is just as comfortable as all the times that we've talked about absolutely nothing of importance. I'm pretty sure that I'm still wearing the same wide grin that I think has been plastered to my face since last night, save a few minutes when I was dealing with Kenji. I barely think that I need the jacket today... it's brisk, but otherwise promising to be a near-perfect day. The sunrise is pretty, although a little less spectacular than yesterday's sunset if I'm honest. Still, with Mina leaning up against me and an arm around her, I can't exactly say that I'm unhappy to have missed another hour or two of sleep for it.

I feel Mina shifting against me for a minute, and hear a slight discontent mumbling from her as she apparently checks her watch.

"Sorry. I've still got some homework I forgot last night, and need to get ready for classes... I should probably head out" She says, screwing up her face a little to show her distaste for it all. I can't help but grin, both sympathetically wishing that she could stick around for a while longer and at the fact that I poke her in the side to get her going. Mina yelps just a little bit at the poke, and shoots me a slightly evil look for a moment before rolling her eyes and grinning.

"Best get going then. Can't have you failing classes on my account. That'd probably make me a bad boyfriend, or something. I think I'll wait around here for a little while, wait out Kenji." Mina snorts at that, but looks pretty happy nonetheless as she leans over for a quick kiss goodbye. I oblige without a second thought, getting a bit of a blush out of a more-than content Minako as she stands up and begins to head off the bleachers. I can't help but wonder when we'll be able to hang out again, and feel like now might be a decent time to ask the question. "Mina, free after classes today?" I ask, just loudly enough for my voice to carry to her. She turns around, grinning in the way that she does.

"Yep! Come on over to my room like twenty minutes after classes, alright?" I grin, giving her a thumbs up, more than pleased with the arrangement.

Comfortable, I sit back in the bleachers and close my eyes... suddenly coming to the realization that I'm still missing out a few hours of precious sleep. Within just a moment or two, I find myself dozing ever-so-slightly, simply and pretty perfectly content. Of course, by the time that I've just barely managed to begin to really doze off, I'm woken up by something a little unexpected.

"Is that Hisao?" I crack open an eye, looking for the source of the voice. I'm just barely surprised to see Emi, her running legs on, standing off to the side of the track with a somewhat confused expression that changes to a bit of a grin as I push myself a little more upright. "It is! But you're not dressed to run, which is no good. I didn't think you were the type to get up early at all though." She says it all cheerfully enough, poking just a little bit of fun at me for not running. I rub the back of my neck, aware once again of Emi trying to rope me into being a little more active... she's probably right, after my latest 'incident'. Although, I've still got my doubts about running as being the sport for me.

"Normally I'm not." I admit as Emi stretches and apparently gets herself ready to hit the track at this ungodly hour. "But I ah... woke up a bit early to watch the sunrise." I say simply, remembering somewhere in the back of my mind that Emi's a part of Mina's class, and that Emi's not exactly the close-mouthed sort of person. I don't think that it'd be the best thing in the world for my relationship with Mina if I were to tell Emi about it before she'd even had a chance to talk to any of her friends about it. Emi suddenly looks at me a little suspiciously for a moment, she stops stretching as she cocks her head and seems to examine me for a moment. If I'm not completely wrong, there's a bit of concern in her eyes.

"Was there a girl out here too when the sun was coming up? Probably wearing a red scarf?" I blink once or twice, confused at the bit of concern added to the question.

"Er... yeah, Mina was out here too." Emi seems to relax just a little bit at that.

"Oh! Good, she even introduced herself." Emi says, smiling just a bit before seeming to pick up a little bit of my confusion. "She's ah... it's usually best if there are people around, just in case something happens." She says simply, getting me to furrow my brow even more deeply. "What's wrong?" She asks, looking a little more concerned at the explanation not clearing things up.

"Emi. I've been hanging out with Mina pretty much since I've started here at Yamaku."

Emi looks a bit shocked at that. "Really?" She asks, the question making me realize that as this conversation goes on, more and more of the happy, calm, content feeling is fading away with a startling speed. I give a curt nod, finding myself on my feet and heading down to the bottom of the bleachers, wide awake. "I just... I dunno. Nobody really seemed to notice, I guess. Minami's always been pretty hard to follow." Emi frowns at that, fairly intently, apparently disapproving of it. "Even if it's better for her not to be."

The strange new perspective isn't helping me at all as I find myself steadying my breath. The way that Emi's talking is... not at all good, and contributing to an unwelcome feeling somewhere in the pit of my stomach. Replacing contentedness with some sort of combination of fear, anxiety, and doubt in the idea of even being content. "Emi, why would it be concerning that she would be out here by herself?" Emi's eyes pop open in just a little bit of actual shock at the question.

"She didn't tell you?!" Emi immediately looks almost angry, before suddenly seeming to register that she'd stepped over some boundary. It's impossible to ignore some little bits of etiquette in this school... and the number one rule, the one I'd known without asking, innately was not to ask about why a person was here. Even in a case like Emi's, there probably was some sort of a story behind the obvious reason that she didn't want to relive on a daily basis. And true to that single unspoken rule, Emi clamps her jaw shut as soon as it's evident that she's gone a bit too far. Concerned or not... I doubt I'd get a single word out of her. Even for Minako's own well-being. I find myself clenching my jaw shut, not out of fear of talking, but at the tiny seed of anger that's been planted somewhere in my stomach.

Emi had been concerned about Mina being even just out along. That makes me concerned about just what in the hell Emi's was concerned about... and feel somewhat like I've somehow missed, or simply not told some crucial detail. Something that would concern Emi, being just in the same class as Mina, not even as a friend should be something that concerns me. It should be something that I should probably know, since I've been around her so much. It should be something that hasn't been kept somewhat of a secret from me. It's not exactly a high-note to leave a conversation, but since pressing Emi won't help, I figure that I might as well head out and try to get some idea of what's going on.

"Yeah. Alright. Thanks Emi." I say, struggling just a little bit to try and keep my tone at least flat as I turn on my heels and walk back to my dorm-room.

Kenji's nowhere to be found, and I can't say that I particularly care.

I take a long, hot shower as I try to put my mind off the brief conversation that I'd had with Emi.

Maybe Emi was exaggerating things.

Maybe Mina had just somehow really managed to have the whole thing slip her mind, or had thought she'd explained it to me at some point.

Maybe I'm over-reacting, and everything's not nearly as bad as the pit in my stomach tells me it is.

All of the thoughts that I find myself thinking, wishing that I could believe in, are pretty easy to dismiss.

Emi... I don't think she would be genuinely concerned if something wasn't genuinely concerning.

Mina... she's impulsive, sure, but she's still a pretty smart person. She can remember all of the jokes between us, little facts I barely remember telling her, manage to put two and two together pretty often. It's not like she would just 'forget' to tell me something that was apparently so important.

And me... I'm probably justified in this sickening feeling in my gut.

I go through the motions of my morning routine with rigid, mechanical motions as I try to keep all of the angry and fearful thoughts locked up. There should be a few opportunities for me to find out, if not the actual full facts at least some part of whatever Mina's been hiding from me over the course of the day. It doesn't take too long to convince myself, at least at some superficial level that I might hear something to contradict my earlier thoughts in the shower, taking my own medication. Maybe, just maybe, Emi was concerned about something not unlike my own condition that could be managed by pills. Maybe she'd just thought that Mina being out and doing things early in the mornings meant that she might have forgotten them. I push the memory of her room, of the lack of prescription bottles anywhere out of my mind with a reminder of all the drawers they could be in. After all, she'd presumably had some time to prepare the room a little bit before I went over.

With a few deep breaths and steadying thoughts, I finally finish my preparations for classes, grabbing my bag and heading towards the main building... it hardly matters that I'll be about forty minutes early.

Classes... hardly make things any better. If anything, I'd have to admit that they make the anxiety and fear, the feelings of betrayal and being lied to worse.

My usual partners for group-work, Lezard and Akio dance around the subject even more lightly than Emi had.

"You guys know a Minako Minami who goes here?"

"Minami? Yeah, I've met her a few times. Nice enough girl, yeah... but... y'know..." Lezard twirls his pen between his fingers, biting the inside of his cheek. "I'd probably put her on the same list as Akio for people I don't envy. No offence, Akio." Lezard admits, looking a little nervously over to Akio across their desks. From what I've gathered... whatever Lezard's reason for being in Yamaku was, it wasn't an immediate 'threat' to his well-being. Or if it was, it was something that was pretty well managed. He's fairly active within the literature club, and seems to hang out with most of the members of the club pretty often outside of the club-meetings. Akio... on the other hand. He'd admitted very casually his own condition when I'd finally asked about the cane a week or so ago. Osteoporosis, a disease that causes his bones to be exceptionally fragile.

If I were to knock him out of his seat right now, he'd probably suffer half a dozen fractures. If he were to just fall, even catching himself fairly well, he'd still likely suffer some fractures. The cane is very simply a tool for him to ensure that accidents like that didn't happen. Since I've met him, he's always been just a generally careful person. Extraordinarily precise and careful with his movements, as well as his speech and homework assignments. On the majority of the Japanese or English groupwork that the class is given, he really manages to lead the way for our group.

"No offence taken. I believe that you're right though, Lezard." Akio says slowly, closing his eyes as he looks as though he's mulling over a somewhat amusing thought. I've learned that Akio's sense of humor is sometimes a little... morbid and strange. He's stated several times that it helps him to 'cope' just a little bit, saying that if you couldn't poke fun at everything, you probably shouldn't poke fun at anything at all. He's a brutally logical machine most of the time, but sometimes, in a few things it feels just a bit like the logic might just be the tiniest bit off. Still, I can't help myself from asking the question most times anyways, and with potential to get a tiny bit of insight into Mina's own reason for being here it's all the more reason to ask.

"Penny for your thought?"

"I remember once, in the first year when I was in the same class as her being told that if the two of us were thrown together as one person that as soon as the resulting hybrid tripped, it'd be the biggest mess imaginable." Akio says very simply, snorting at the thought. Lezard gives a very slightly uncomfortable grin at that, while I just shake my head at how useless the statement is to me. "Why, Hisao? Not interested in going after her, are you? Might as well try to woo me while you're at it." Lezard snorts at that one a little more comfortably, and I just roll my eyes and shake my head, somehow managing to keep myself from being caught in a lie. We get back to the work without too much of an issue.

After lunch, I decide to do the science group-work with Misha and Shizune, to Akio and Lezard's indifference, barking up the same tree. The pair look surprised at my roundabout question, with Shizune apparently seeing through my nonchalant question, and Misha translating the conversation at an uncharacteristically low tone. "Hicchan, are you asking about her because you think you might'v accidentally hurt Minami?" Misha's expression is serious... or at least, as serious as anyone's face can be when they've got two massive pink drills framing their head.

"No." I admit, my gut sinking slightly as the fact that it was their first conclusion makes my one hope, that perhaps somehow the situation seemed exaggerated, die a small death. "I'm asking because..." I sigh, conceding defeat, deciding to be honest. "I've hung out with her for a while now, and the topic's never come up. I mean, we went into town, the forest all sorts of-"

Shizune gets as close to blowing up as I think is possible as Misha is translating, signing hot and heavy for Misha to translate. Misha looks appropriately flustered, at a loss as Shizune continues on signing with just a tiny bit more control as Mutou casts a glance over at our group for a moment. I think that a few questions and answers go back and forth between the pair while I sit back, slouching in my chair, feeling drained, as though I've done something wrong and am waiting to be chewed out by a parent.

Misha finally looks like she understands what she's supposed to say, flashing a grin of triumph at having gotten things down and a last sign to Shizune before turning to me with a suddenly serious expression. "Hicchan. Shicchan says that it was irresponsible of both of you to go out so far from the school, but that at least Minami brought someone with her. Minami's probably just as stubborn as Shicchan about a few things-" The last bit is said with a smile, I've got a feeling it's an embellishment. "-but..." Misha's expression gets somewhat downcast. "there are some things that she should definitely tell you." She winces, actually winces at the last few words. The simple movement cuts through me somewhere deep in my gut, that apparently the topic is just that taboo. "There are reasons that she wasn't allowed to work at the stalls or anything during the festival; and reasons why she's not supposed to be doing too much outside of the school either."

I find my jaw clenching shut as I give a very simply nod of understanding rather than pursuing the topic any further. Minako had told me that she'd been working, not just one, but several stalls during the festival. And there'd never been a single word about the fact that she shouldn't be wandering around. I get the feeling that whatever her condition is... it's serious enough that not having the proper supervision is a real danger to her health. And for whatever reason, she'd apparently never found fit to share any single word of that with me.

I feel sick.

I plow on through the rest of class, wishing that it was over sooner so that I could confront the issue. When they're over, I find myself going with the flow of students mindlessly.

That's when I see the familiar flash of red, just a matter of down the hallway. As much as I know that this whole thing could wait until just a little bit later, some urge to get this feeling out of my gut. To have Mina admit something, have her tell me that it wasn't at all as bad as it seemed takes over. Twenty more minutes of my life without the doubt that Minako had lied to me over and over on purpose for some unknown reason would be well-worth whatever awkwardness was caused by me barging through a few people.

"Mina!"

Mina turns towards me, looking just a little confused, but managing a smile. "Uh, hey, Hisao?" She says simply, looking more than a bit confused now. "You alright?"

"No. We need to talk." I say simply, stone-faced. Minako's own expression falls, suddenly getting all too serious. It almost looks like she's got some idea about what I'm talking about before I even say it. "Why am I hearing all about the fact that 'Mina should be more careful' when I mention your name. And why do I get people looking at me like I'm crazy when I say that you and me went out to town, or into the forest? Why am I getting told that you've been lying to me." My voice is startlingly low, almost a growl as Mina stares at the ground. People in the hallway are starting to look at us, more than a little confused at the occurrence. Why shouldn't they be? After all, apparently, somehow, Minako's managed to make it so that the pair of us are never seen together. My eyes feels like it twitches as that small fact seems to come to mind as well, another damning bit of evidence.

"Can we talk somewhere else?" Her voice wavers as she refuses to make eye-contact with me.

"No!" Minako flinches at the word, as well as a few other students all around us. Every bit of concern that I have is being channeled into exactly the same voice that every bit of my anger at being lied to is, with Mina's apparent half-admission to the lies. It's no wonder that the word comes out so forcefully. I manage to get out one more word, practically chewing it out. "Why?"

Her posture is one of complete and utter defeat as she refuses to look up at me. "Because..." She starts, then stops, shaking her head as a sob racks her frame. Much as I might feel terrible for doing this to her, much as I might feel like a horrible human being for confronting her like this in the middle of so many people, I need an answer. I don't think that I can even back down now... if she didn't look so guilty as soon as I told her that we'd needed to talk. If she hadn't tried to somewhat avoid the whole thing just by asking to talk somewhere else... this would all be so much easier.

"Mina. Why?" I ask, a little less forcefully this time. Minako lets another sob rack her frame, finally looking up at me. I'm more than a little surprised at the emotion I see... it's not the same guilt, the same feeling of defeat that'd been in her posture just a second ago. As she takes a deep breath, I see her drawing up from some reserve deep down, her expression more or less reflects the same anger that I feel somewhere deep inside me.

"Because it shouldn't matter!" She snarls at me, voice incredibly quiet. The whole hallway's gone silent as the grave by now, students frozen as they watch the scene unfold. I've got no doubt that soon some teachers are going to be out, ensuring that something terrible hasn't happened. "Because it shouldn't matter, Hisao!" She repeats, gaining just a little bit of volume. "Because every time that someone knows, they'll treat me like a fucking doll, and I didn't want you to! Because when you dropped on the ground the other day, I didn't feel the need to tell anyone!" By now, she's nearly shouting it in my face, tears streaming down her face. She tries to collapse into my chest, but I find myself stepping back, somehow unable to make myself take her in my arms as she breaks down again.

She lied to me.

She lied to me, because she wanted me to treat her differently.

She lied to me, because she wanted me to treat her differently, because the way that everyone else treated her... was because of something for her own well-being. Because they wanted to be able to keep her out of some sort of harm's way. But me? I apparently wasn't worthy to know what it was that I should be aware of doing when around her. When I was a stranger, that was acceptable. But when I'd become an acquaintance? A friend? Would she have even bothered to tell me now that we're together? What would've happened somewhere down the line when I managed to hurt her...? By the way everyone else had spoken about her, it definitely wasn't an 'if' question, it was a when. How would I be able to deal with it?

There's a sour taste in my mouth as I say the one thing that I think just might somehow be able to set things right. I can only do my part though, and I've got a feeling I know the answer.

"Tell me."

Minako's jaw sets, and I know my answer before she says it.

"No."

"Then we're done."

Minako's jaw loosens just as suddenly as it'd set, and she screws her eyes shut with a look of complete and utter defeat, taking off in the vague direction of the stairway. I feel dead inside, and begin to walk in the same direction that Mina had taken off in, trying to ignore the stares of everyone around me. They part in front of me, as if making a path so that they can witness my misery for as long as possible. I think that I even spot a few teachers somewhere in the audience, shame and self-loathing are quick to replace the non-feeling in my chest. The whole school seems just about silent, as if everyone in the whole school had been listening in on the conversation. Based on the shouting match that it'd become... I wouldn't be surprised if they had.

Heading down the stairs, I suddenly hear sounds and shouts from down the staircase... where even more students seem to be frozen, staring down the way that Mina had gone before me. There's only one the sounds of one person moving quickly down the stairs... for a brief moment. The ensuing noises manage to add to the feelings of shame and self-loathing a few even more gut-wrenching feelings. Fear, and guilt. A short shout of surprise that sounds like Minako, cut off abruptly and followed by dull thuds that I can practically feel. There are some mumbled curses, presumably be anyone who'd been impacted by it, before a sudden collective gasp from several onlookers. Casting a glance down the middle of the stairwell, I can see a crimson scarf on the floor of one of the landings.

"Shit! Don't just stand around, someone call an ambulance for her, NOW! Shit, shit, shit!"

Before, or after my heart-attack doesn't matter... I don't think that I've moved any faster in my life as I bolt down the stairs.
Last edited by CloudGrain on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Minion of Chaos
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Re: Act Two, Scene Five;

Post by Minion of Chaos » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:27 pm

Welp, there goes the neighborhood....

Interested in seeing how things will be mended. My only critique would be that there are a few instances of "sunset" where I think you meant to put "sunrise"

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CloudGrain
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by CloudGrain » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:29 pm

Minion of Chaos wrote:Welp, there goes the neighborhood....

Interested in seeing how things will be mended. My only critique would be that there are a few instances of "sunset" where I think you meant to put "sunrise"
Indeed, up in ashes.

Great catch on the sunrise/sunset thing, thanks kindly! Pounded out the majority of this all in one sitting, so unsurprised by a brain fart like that happening.
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by azumeow » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:40 pm

MASTER OF FUCKING ROMANCE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!

Good chapter. Just realized what it was halfway through. When Akio mentioned how bad of a mes it'd be if the Minakio fusion tripped.

Still, must be majorly bad if the whole school is as worried about her situation as they seem.
"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: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by CloudGrain » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:48 pm

azumeow wrote:MASTER OF FUCKING ROMANCE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!

Good chapter. Just realized what it was halfway through. When Akio mentioned how bad of a mes it'd be if the Minakio fusion tripped.

Still, must be majorly bad if the whole school is as worried about her situation as they seem.
Thanks kindly for the review.

I'd like to point out a major reason that everyone Hisao's talked to is concerned about her condition though. Minako and most of the other students at Yamaku have been part of a community for just over two years at this point. This means that for certain things, even generally non-visible things, there's probably going to be some incident that happens in front of someone somewhere that makes it obvious. And it only really takes one incident to really freak people out sometimes... But I will admit that in many aspects, yes, Minako probably deserves the concern about her situation and condition. However, that certainly doesn't mean a thing as to whether or not she wants the attention due to it.

Would love to see your thoughts on her condition, if you wanted to PM me your theory.
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by brythain » Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:27 pm

Maybe Minako had a brain fart cerebral haemorrhage. :(
But whatever it is, it would be black comedy indeed if Hisao bolted down the stairs, tripped, and wound up in a wheelchair himself. Or a morgue.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by HazelKim » Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:05 am

Good chapter, Shadow of the Truth coming on near the end for me made it doubly dramatic. I'm less informed on disabilities, so I'm not sure what it could be.

One thing to note, it could have done with some more proofreading, as there were some small errors in there. But they weren't so much that they detracted from the reading. Good job again, :)
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:34 am

Jesus Christ what a chapter. Talk about a tone-shift. My hands were actually shaking when I started typing I had so much tension. And that has to be one of the best cliffhangers I have read in a long while.(Right up there with Emi giving Iwanako a heart attack in Mean Time to Breakdown)
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by Solistor » Thu Nov 13, 2014 4:51 am

I only have two words:

God
DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN
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CloudGrain
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Five Up]

Post by CloudGrain » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:44 am

brythain wrote:Maybe Minako had a brain fart cerebral haemorrhage. :(
But whatever it is, it would be black comedy indeed if Hisao bolted down the stairs, tripped, and wound up in a wheelchair himself. Or a morgue.
Bah, I don't think that I'm that cruel! -briefly does another scan of the chapter, feeling the same bits of horror in myself clawing at my gut as I realized I'd been planning this for a long while- Well... not intentionally... it just happens sometimes, alright? But, on a somewhat positive note, I can confirm that there won't be too much black comedy here!
HazelKim wrote:Good chapter, Shadow of the Truth coming on near the end for me made it doubly dramatic. I'm less informed on disabilities, so I'm not sure what it could be.

One thing to note, it could have done with some more proofreading, as there were some small errors in there. But they weren't so much that they detracted from the reading. Good job again, :)
No worries on not being able to discern Minako's disability, already had a few wrong, and a single right guess on it. Several of the indications are pretty hard to think out if you're unfamiliar with a few of the less-common conditions. But, even more 'less-worrisome' the truth should be coming out pretty soon, from Minako's own perspective nonetheless!

As to proofreading, I'll be doing so shortly to hopefully hammer out a few of the dents. Got the majority of it all out in a single sitting, and was pretty glad with just quickly glancing it over rather than doing a longer proof. Thanks very much for the heads up, I'll certainly spend some time today doing that! :D
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Jesus Christ what a chapter. Talk about a tone-shift. My hands were actually shaking when I started typing I had so much tension. And that has to be one of the best cliffhangers I have read in a long while.(Right up there with Emi giving Iwanako a heart attack in Mean Time to Breakdown)
Thank you. I'll have to admit that the whole latter... half... two-thirds of this piece were a damn demon for me to write. I was definitely concerned about quality given the tone-shift, there's a huge difference between writing the happy-contentedness of before and this new gut-wrenching stuff. Gonna be working hard to keep the quality up as things continue to shift around quite a bit... I don't think I've got any more cliffhangers of the same magnitude planned for a while though!
Solistor wrote:I only have two words:

God
DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN
This was the intended reaction. :mrgreen:
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