A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Eight Up]

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CloudGrain
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Re: Act Two, Scene One;

Post by CloudGrain » Thu Nov 06, 2014 11:22 pm

Act Two, Scene One;

Unusually Routine



I'd like nothing more than to say that I'm getting a hang of my new life here at Yamaku, because it definitely feels like I am.

It's really not all that different from my life before I got sent here, to be perfectly honest. Since having both my parents working long or late days just as often as not had been so common, 'fending for myself' was a series of simple tasks I'd learned years ago. The schoolwork, though a little more intense than it'd been back home still wasn't much of a serious issue. Even on the nights where I've got particularly long seeming assignments, I can usually finish everything up in just a few short hours. The biggest thing, managing my newly-found condition... well, it's as simple as choking down the various pills and capsules that line the dresser next to my bed. Most of them are just for mornings, although a few I'm supposed to take before bed as well. Keeping a water-bottle next to the bed, I'm rapidly finding it more and more unnecessary as I the motion of swallowing the pills becomes more automated.

I feel like I'm even beginning to fit into the school just a little bit better, managing to get a little bit of conversation in with some of my classmates besides Shizune and Misha.

Miki Miura and Suzu Suzuki, sitting almost in front of Misha and Shizune are both pretty easy to get along with. Lezard Valeth, sitting right in front of Misha, seems a little bit of a know-it-all, but a generally decent enough guy. His usual partner for group-work, Akio Hyashi, another member of the book club seems to be a lot more reserved, and from what I hear actually a little more knowledgeable. I've even made just a little bit of a point to chat with Molly Kapur, Taro Arai, and Ritsu Tainaka, the other students who're a little closer to me in the classroom. Just a little bit of small-talk, trying to get to know people a little bit better so long as I'm here. It's funny, but I think that Shizune actually approved when I pointed out that joining another group for a little while might help me to get to know my class-mates just a bit better; up until the point that me, Lezard, and Akio finished the assignment before she and Misha had, of course.

I wouldn't exactly say that I've made any more friends quite yet, but I get a few friendly smiles or a nod of acknowledgement from a few people when I'm walking around now. But it's a good start to expanding my social circle just a little bit more... taking just a little bit of the initiative for myself rather than relying on a few exceptionally kind strangers to do most of the work for me.

Most of them, I've seen around and managed to have at least a couple more conversations with.

Shizune and Misha I obviously see and usually at least say hello on a day to day basis, thanks to being in the same class. With Hanako... well even being in the same class doesn't seem to be a good reason for her to be comfortable talking with me. I tried to talk to her before classes, just saying hello and trying to start a bit of a conversation with her without much success. After a few attempts to hold a little bit of conversation with her she started coming to classes just barely on time. I've found that keeping my distance and just acknowledging her seems like a far better compromise for both of us, and after a few days if she was coming to class at all, she began coming at her more customary time. I suppose that it'll have to do, although it makes me wonder about her.

I've managed to bump into - with a lot less drama than the first time - Emi just a few times too, usually in the hallways when I'm heading to lunch or after classes. There's not a single reason I can think of for a person having half as much energy as she seems to, or such an upbeat attitude about having just managed to flunk an English quiz. Of course, when we're heading in the same direction she manages to be leaps and bounds ahead of me after just a few short words. It's really no surprise that she's apparently the star athlete for the track-team, practically running everywhere that she goes, despite the rules against exactly that the school has in place.

I met Lilly again in the library, apparently in the middle of helping Yuuko categorize a few books in braille. Between the two of us, we actually managed to keep Yuuko from going just a little crazy at the fact that the books were going to be at best still a few days late. Volunteering to help the pair, it dawns on me quickly that Yuuko's job is actually rather hard. Lugging some of the heavier braille books around and placing them precariously high, shifting equally heavy books to try and find the room on the shelves. Still, my help is definitely appreciated by both of them, and it feels good to actually be contributing just a little bit.

Of course, beyond all the random-seeming and somewhat infrequent encounters, there's been Mina.

It's not every day that we hang out, but it seems like we end up doing something more frequently than not. Last week, there were two or three times that I noticed a message from her either after classes just got out or dinner was just about over, suggesting we'd hang out. I'd ended up sending similar texts twice too, having had nothing to really do on Thursday or Saturday since I'd finished my homework pretty early on. Saturday, I finally asked her something that'd been nagging me, why she'd been hanging out with me alone. I've actually spotted her at school a few times, at lunch or between classes. Usually just a glimpse, and only ever noticeable because of the crimson red scarf, but never for long enough to really have a chance to call out to her or anything. Usually, it looked like she was hanging around the same few girls from her class... I can't exactly help but be a little confused as to why Mina hadn't introduced me.

I got a rehearsed look of too-dramatic shock, and asked if she wasn't good enough company, as well as a few dryly sarcastic jokes before I get to the heart of it. Apparently, she'd been shielding me from conversations that revolve around a few nuances of fashion, gossip of all kinds, a few inside jokes, and more gossip. Of course, as soon as she sees my expression at the idea of joining in the conversations, she immediately offers to bring introduce me and do her best to make me a part of the group.

It was an offer I backed away from without a second thought, getting an almost evil laugh out of Minako, my reaction obviously having been expected.

Still, it's not something that I can exactly complain about. Hanging out with Mina has been fun, taking walks into town or through the woods, exploring the less-frequented parts of the school's grounds. True to what she's said a few times, Minako isn't exactly the most routine person that there is. It seems like we're always doing something either completely new, or just different enough to seem new. There's been a few times where I've actually had to remind her of the fact that I'm in no real condition to be running around or overexerting myself, and she's always accepted the fact with equanimity, coming up with a new suggestion after just a little bit of thought.

It's funny... hanging out with Mina is always fun, but in the end she seems to be the one who acts like I'm doing her a favor. Even though she's usually the one to come up with the ideas and the one to cave if it's something that I admit I can't exactly do. Although, it's not exactly an unwelcome thing to feel like I'm more or less helping her in some way by hanging out with her.

Like today, Friday, when I agreed happily enough to walk into town with her; despite the dark gray sky practically promising to pour buckets. The only thing I'd needed to do was to grab my umbrella before we headed out, deciding to adhere to the age-old adage of 'better safe than sorry'. By the time that we'd made it into town, it was drizzling just a little. By the time that we'd made our orders in the small cafe we ducked into for coffee the rain was coming down in sheets against the window. Getting coffees though, it's all but impossible to admit that it's almost a cozy feeling. Spacing off just a bit, looking out the window and enjoying the atmosphere, I'm brought right out of my thoughts with a kick to my shin under the table.

"Ow!" I say, turning to Mina and feigning real pain as she grins. It'd been more or less just a tap, but I think that her usual dramatization of things is rubbing off on me as I hang out with her more. "What was that for?" I ask, rubbing the spot slightly to see if it really might leave a mark or not... I'm going to probably go with not, based on the fact I barely notice it just a few seconds later.

"Ignoring my question and staring out the window like it was your job." Mina says, shaking her head in a little bit of exasperation.

"Ah... and the question was...?" I ask innocently enough, getting Mina to roll her eyes.

"How. Is. The. Coffee?" She asks deliberately slowly, trying to get a reaction out of me. It's almost become something of a game between the two of us to try and just somewhat annoy one another in some way shape or form. Not to seriously make the other angry, but just enough to get a reaction from one another. I can't help but think that you more or less lose no matter how you react, but just based on reacting. I'd like to think that I've gotten just a little bit better at the unofficial game in the past few weeks.

"Pretty good." I admit, taking another sip as if to prove my point with a blank face, getting just a little bit of disappointment from Mina at her attempt falling on its face. "I was actually just thinking that it's really nice to have a cup of hot coffee and be inside on a day like this. It's really just... nice." I find myself saying, settling on the one-word description for it all right now. It really is almost exactly that... just nice. Everything in the world seems to be fairly well in its place right now, settling in comfortably. Sort of like I think that I've done at Yamaku, waiting out the whole 'storm' that my heart seemed to have caused in my old life. Of course, it's not like I can go back, or the storm will ever really end. But it's still a safe, warm place that I can relax for a little while.

"And you don't even compliment the company for helping the whole situation?" Mina asks, giving an exasperated sigh. That, I can't help but grin at and get a grin in return from Mina.

"Alright. The company definitely helps the whole thing. Glad you suggested we come out here today." I admit, getting her to change from a grin to an outright beaming smile. "Although..." I start, getting Mina to look up with obvious interest. "It'd be even better if the company didn't kick me in the shins every now and again to make sure I've heard them." Mina's eyes roll, and she kicks be a little more sharply again with a laugh to prove the point invalid. I manage to more or less flinch out of the way this time, getting just a graze for my efforts.

After the attempted retaliation, she seems more than happy to look out the window and agree with me. "It is nice."

The conversation stops, comfortably enough as we watch the rain and drink our coffee. Each of us finishing our first, and the rain apparently unrelenting we each order a second cup to try and delay the inevitable return back to school in the awful weather. It's unsurprising after another moment or two when Mina asks me a question. The past few days have been filled with them, since it's the easiest way to really get to know people.

"So... do you like the rain?"

I shrug, being as close to impartial as one can get with rain. On one hand, I know that it's pretty necessary for rain to come to keep everything alive. But on the other... its managed to ruin more than a few soccer-games, or plans that I've had with friends in the past. At worst, rain has only been a mild inconvenience to me before. But, seeing as I'm not a farmer who needs the rain for his crops, it certainly hasn't done too much good for me either. "Eh..." I trail off, more or less just shrugging in answer again as Mina looks a little surprised.

"You mean that you don't like it?" She asks, just a little incredulously. "The way everything smells after a good rain? The way that the sound can put you right to sleep? You really don't like it?" She asks, almost oddly passionate about the subject as I continue shaking my head somewhat. In the city, the smell after rain wasn't exactly all that fantastic, and there were plenty of other background noises that were just as easy to fall asleep to. "Both of my sisters would think you were crazy." Minako says after briefly inspecting me closely, as if daring me to break face and prove that I was lying. I raise an eyebrow, family hadn't ever really come up in a conversation before. I wasn't exactly certain if it was one of the topics you didn't really ask about at Yamaku... but as long as it'd been breached. . .

"You've got two sisters?"

Mina gives an odd grin at that, half proud and half annoyed. "Yeah... Fumiko and Hitomi. Fumiko's just a year younger, while Hitomi's three years younger. Me and Hitomi were both absolute angels compared to Fumiko for our mother." She says, before seeming a little discontent with her answer. "Well... maybe not perfect. But Fumiko always seems to need to be doing something crazy to keep herself occupied." I can't help but laugh at that, especially considering some of the things that Mina had dragged along to do in the past few weeks I've been here. "What? What'd I say?"

"Fumiko sounds... a bit like you." I admit, getting an incredulous expression out of Minako for just a moment as she seems to try to register the idea. She seems to screw up her face just a little, obviously none-too-happy with the comparison. "I mean... I get the feeling that sitting right under the fireworks isn't exactly something the school encourages. Or sneaking into the basement just to see what's down there." I point out, finally managing to get Mina to roll her eyes, seemingly coming to a resolution in her mind.

"Right, but I don't get myself or other people into trouble." Mina says, smiling as though she's got a trump card.

I can't help but immediately see the big hole right in the middle of that argument, being the offending object myself. "Right... you're just happy to drag me along to possibly get into trouble." Pointing it out just redoubles the exasperation as Mina has to consider the comparison again, looking just a little bit defeated in the fact as she opens her mouth a few times to try and dispute it before simply closing it again without saying a word. I feel just a bit guilty as she just shakes her head, apparently deciding to drop the conversation. "What about Hitomi then?"

She brightens a little bit at the mention of her other sister. "She's probably more mature than either me or Fumiko. Or... at least in how she can deal with both of us. I think that I can actually remember a few times where our mother left her in charge of the house instead of either of us." She says it with a wide grin, getting a raised eyebrow from me. It's a bit of an odd seeming scenario in my own mind, letting the youngest child be in charge. But the way Minako is saying it seems like it was actually the best compromise. "What about you, any brothers or sisters?"

I shake my head as Mina blows on her coffee to cool it off a little before taking a sip. "Nope, an only child. Both parents work a lot too, so back at home I had pretty free reign." I admit, getting a combined look of envy and sympathy from Minako. "I still have some cousins I see every now and again." I point out, trying to mitigate the fact some.

Mina shakes her head, smile much the same as the look I'd gotten just a moment earlier. "It's just not the same though." She says simply, looking like she's trying to find a more elaborate way to explain it. "It's... as much as I usually can't get along with Fumiko, we've both got a lot of really good memories with one another too. Just, with Hitomi there's a lot fewer fights I can remember. But the three of us would all do almost anything for each other if they needed it." Mina says, surprisingly seriously as she seems to think on the fact. "It's actually kind of impossible to imagine being an only child." She admits.

"Pretty impossible for me to imagine having siblings too." I point out before sipping at my own coffee, getting a nod from Minako at my point.

"I guess not. But they'd both still think you were crazy for not liking the rain. Or especially thunderstorms." She says, smiling contentedly at a few memories. I can't help but shrug at it, being unable to really curb the fact that rain was just rain to me. Both of us finishing up our second cup of coffee and decide that heading back to school doesn't seem like too bad an idea. Breaking out my umbrella, we step out into the deluge. For once, it seems like the rain is coming straight down instead of at an angle, and there doesn't seem to be a breath of wind to knock the umbrella everywhere. Even in the relatively tame rain, I almost immediately step into an ankle-deep puddle.

Drawing in a quick breath, I can't help but wonder out loud... "How could you like the rain?"

Minako giggles a little next to me, jabbing me lightly in the side as she skirts around the same puddle just a little more carefully. "I never said I liked being out in the rain. It's nice to be inside, warm and cozy when it's raining outside. Drying off after a big thunderstorm and drinking cocoa." She admits happily enough, helping me to put my mind off the fact that one foot is now thoroughly soaked. "A couple warm blankets and a movie, thunder and lightening are even better. Everyone in the family sleeps through thunder storms better than anytime else." As we continue walking, Mina continues on as a story seems to strike her.

"I can actually remember one time, when all three of us were pretty young... Hitomi was just a little bit more than a baby, and me and Fumiko were still both really little too. It was one of those big, big storms that everyone always warns everyone else is coming. The kind where you'd have to take everything inside that you didn't want to blow away when the storm hit. Mom even stocked up on some things like fresh water, batteries, and other stuff in case the power went out for a while."

"Hitomi had some sort of an ear-infection or something, I can't remember exactly. But I remember that she was just... screaming, all the time. For days and days while this big storm was coming, whenever she was awake, the neighbors probably knew it. I got to get away to school, and Fumiko got to get away to a friend's house pretty often, but mom stayed home with Hitomi all day every day while she was sick. I can't imagine how, since both me and Fumiko were sick of it whenever we'd been home for just an hour or two. I think that if we could've bottled the noise, we probably could've given it to the military and won a few wars. We still tease Hitomi about it all the time." Mina admits, laughing lightly before continuing.

"But... the storm finally came, and it was just as big as everyone kept saying it would be. Even though it was almost the middle of the day, it was dark outside. The wind felt like it was actually rattling things outside, and the rain coming down like the clouds could hold whole oceans. And the thunder and lightning were just... unbelievably loud and close-by. The type of stuff that you can feel almost every time that a lightning bolt hit something. Mom had all three of us in the living room with her, huddling together on the couch. A few candles lit and everything turned off in case the power went off."

"And do you know what...?" I raise an eyebrow in response to the question, oblivious. "Mom and Hitomi both fell asleep within about three minutes of it starting. Hitomi just sort of stopped screaming, looking around for a minute before dozing right off. Mom didn't care at all about the thunder and lightning, falling asleep as soon as Hitomi stopped screaming for a few minutes. Me and Fumiko just laughed and laughed for a few minutes, poking Mom to try and make sure she was asleep before ransacking the kitchen for a few snacks and falling asleep too. Dad came home really, really late, since he'd been at work and had to wait out the storm, and found all of curled up in a big pile on the couch. He couldn't believe that we'd managed to sleep through it at all... let alone the whole thing." Minako's smile is ear-to-ear as she recounts the memory, and manages to make me grin at just the happiness I can feel through her.

I can't help but be just a little bit jealous; both for the idea of having siblings and for having such a fond memory of a storm like that.

Almost impossibly-seeming, the story managed to take us almost all the way from town back to Yamaku, allowing me to focus on something other than the squishing of my wet sock in my shoe. "Usually though, here at Yamaku I can just watch a movie when it gets like this outside. Some warm blankets and a good movie." She admits happily enough, leaving me with an opportunity to tease her just a little bit.

"That sounds awfully close to a routine."

Minako scowls at me, sticking out her tongue as she formulates a response. "I'm allowed to have some routines you know... like going to school, eating three meals a day, all that kinda stuff. Why not just toss one more little one in there? Besides, today I didn't do that. I hung out with you instead, and it was just as fun." She says, grinning. "Although, with all the questions you just might be starting to push me back towards the movies instead." I roll my eyes as we head towards the dormitories, passing under the gate. The wind is starting to pick up just a tiny bit, and it makes the umbrella's protective circle just a little bit smaller. Minako keeps on with the tangent as she moves a tiny bit closer to stay out of the rain. "I could've been warm and comfy, maybe with some popcorn. But instead I chose to hang out with you today!"

I can't help but chuckle at that, especially the usual Minako-style slightly melodramatic delivery of it all. "Ah, but you made the right choice by hanging out with me, didn't you?" I ask, turning her own usual style against her with a grin. Mina grins back, looking just a little red in the face as we make our way the last few steps to the girl's dormitory entrance.

"I think so. It was fun." She admits, looking at the ground as she steps into the building. She holds the door open for a minute, turning around with an open-mouth before seeming to think better of whatever retort she might've been coming up with. Turning just a little red as she shakes her head a little and finally comes up with something else to say. "Thanks, Hisao!" She says simply, giving me an oddly halfhearted seeming smile as she lets it go. I hold up a hand in farewell, turning towards the boys dormitories and finding my mind stuck on the idea of simply changing into something warm and dry... as well as wishing that the room itself wasn't quite so cold.

It really would be nice to be able to follow Mina's advice, and just be warm and cozy while the storm wears itself out. But unfortunately... I've got homework.
Last edited by CloudGrain on Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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AntonSlavik020
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene One Up]

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:38 am

That was nice. Really liked the bonding between them. I can see where Mina is coming from. I love a good rain storm when you're inside.

I also liked the fact that Hisao seems to be talking to more of his classmates, and not just Shizune and Misha. Also, I have no idea why, but when you said his classmates were waving to him as he walked around the campus, I imagined him strutting around like a ladies man, girls waving and smiling at him left and right. :lol:

Also, I wonder what MIna was originally going to ask or tell Hisao before changing her mind? Maybe inviting him inside?

Anyways, enjoyed it as always. Keep up the good work!
Best girl
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Oscar Wildecat
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene One Up]

Post by Oscar Wildecat » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:46 am

I'm another fan of rain storms -- especially ones in late spring and early summer. Everything seems much more colorful after a good rain. I also grew up (and still live) on a farm -- so there is the garden to consider. :)

By the way, I'm loving the story so far!
I like all the girls in KS, but empathize with Hanako the most.
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TheTealeaf
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene One Up]

Post by TheTealeaf » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:14 pm

CloudGrain wrote: few nuances of fashion, gossip of all kinds, a few inside jokes, and more gossip. Of course, as soon as she say my expression at the idea of joining in the conversations, she immediately offers to bring introduce me and do her best to make me a part of the group.
Typo 8) "As soon as she sees my expression"

Also, Mina doesn't strike me as the type to gossip. I dunno seems odd. Meh, me overthinking things.

This was a sweet scene, although I thought at one point she was going to invite him back for a movie.

Loved the details about the family life, are we going to meet said sisters at any point? :P

Thunderstorms are awesome. When I lived on the coast, watching lightning strike the sea was wonderful, powerful and terrifying all at once.

Keep up ze good work!
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
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CloudGrain
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene One Up]

Post by CloudGrain » Fri Nov 07, 2014 7:25 pm

TeknikRevolt wrote:Hey CloudGrain, I made an account to wish you luck. I love your Mina. I really like how you've made her unique and she really stands out to me as a well written character. Thanks for working on this.
Thanks kindly! I'm definitely flattered that you bothered to go through the trouble to make an account just to wish me luck on this. I assume you're /u/tjtk41197 on Reddit, and I'm more than glad to help you out whenever you need someone to bounce ideas off of! Just toss me a message, either here or on Reddit. :D
AntonSlavik020 wrote:That was nice. Really liked the bonding between them. I can see where Mina is coming from. I love a good rain storm when you're inside.

I also liked the fact that Hisao seems to be talking to more of his classmates, and not just Shizune and Misha. Also, I have no idea why, but when you said his classmates were waving to him as he walked around the campus, I imagined him strutting around like a ladies man, girls waving and smiling at him left and right. :lol:

Also, I wonder what MIna was originally going to ask or tell Hisao before changing her mind? Maybe inviting him inside?

Anyways, enjoyed it as always. Keep up the good work!
Thanks, as always Anton! I wouldn't say that Hisao's quite to the point of walking around and breaking out the swaggervest to watch all the girls on campus practically melt as they watch him go by. I might've more intended just that he was actually managing to interact with a few classmates besides the usual main five girls and few supplemental characters we see in the VN. But hey, definitely an amusing mental image when you put it that way. :P

As to the wondering what she was going to say... well, that'd be telling, now wouldn't it? ;) I'll do my best to keep up the good work, cheers!
Oscar Wildecat wrote:I'm another fan of rain storms -- especially ones in late spring and early summer. Everything seems much more colorful after a good rain. I also grew up (and still live) on a farm -- so there is the garden to consider. :)

By the way, I'm loving the story so far!
I'm very glad you're enjoying the story thus far! In fact, I think that just about everyone everywhere would have to disagree with Hisao on the whole idea of not liking rainstorms. Everyone in my own family definitely likes them as well... just maybe not the resulting issues that can occur from them. But yeah, the colorfulness of everything after a good rain, the smell... all that good stuff! (God, I wish that it hadn't just started actually snowing today...)
TheTealeaf wrote:
CloudGrain wrote: few nuances of fashion, gossip of all kinds, a few inside jokes, and more gossip. Of course, as soon as she say my expression at the idea of joining in the conversations, she immediately offers to bring introduce me and do her best to make me a part of the group.
Typo 8) "As soon as she sees my expression"

Also, Mina doesn't strike me as the type to gossip. I dunno seems odd. Meh, me overthinking things.

This was a sweet scene, although I thought at one point she was going to invite him back for a movie.

Loved the details about the family life, are we going to meet said sisters at any point? :P

Thunderstorms are awesome. When I lived on the coast, watching lightning strike the sea was wonderful, powerful and terrifying all at once.

Keep up ze good work!
Typo, fix'd, thanks for spotting it! As to the whole thing about Mina not being one to gossip. :evil: You're ruining my master plan to destroy things here, Tealeaf! Arrrrgh! I'll admit that you're right, but for the sake of the story-to-come withhold anything beyond that. Also, arrrgh to other statements of your analysis. You're seeing through my charade too easily! On a side-note to yet another comment about the rain; I've never really been near the sea for any real period of time and seen a 'real' storm (or at least what I'd classify as a big storm) when I was nearby. I can certainly imagine that with the effect turbulent weather has that it could be a really impressive sight.

I'll be doing my best to keep up on the work! Just do the same yourself! :D
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 Two;

Post by CloudGrain » Sat Nov 08, 2014 4:54 pm

Act Two, Scene Two;

Routinely Unusual




Despite Saturday being the shortest day of actually attending classes, sometimes is can absolutely feel like the longest day.

Yesterday's storm has bled right into today, nowhere near as heavy but still gloomily managing to persist. Managing to even get out of a nice warm bed today proved to be a downright herculean task... I'm not surprised by the fact that a few of my classmates are mysteriously 'missing' today, and that most of us who actually managed to drag ourselves into class today are pretty unenthusiastic about the fact. I really wish that I could follow Suzu's example and just quietly lay down for a nap... especially if I could only be woken up twice by someone before they gave up trying to keep me up. In fact, even with Miki having unofficially tasked herself with trying to keep Suzu awake, she looks suspiciously like she's taking a nap herself.

Mutou seems to have the exact same contagious attitude as the rest of us today, looking almost asleep at his desk as he reads some scientific journal without terribly much enthusiasm. It was a good thing that he hadn't come in with the lecturing attitude today, preferring to instead just write problems from the book onto the board for everyone to do. I've got a feeling that even if he'd told us that the fate of the world depended on us all staying awake through a lecture today, the world might be in some serious trouble; even if we didn't count Suzu.

Making it all the way through the half-day was an almost impossible task, even without completing a hundred percent of the homework that Mutou had assigned us. But still, somehow, the whole class manages to avoid any catastrophes until the much-anticipated bell finally rings. I slip my phone out of my pocket, checking it for messages, and slip it back into my pocket before getting my things ready and leaving the classroom. It's become almost habitual as of late, to check just in case Mina sent a message during class. No such luck today... although it might be a good thing, forcing me to get a few other things done instead. Like the homework I still need to complete by Monday...

Unable to suppress a yawn at the fact, I stretch a little as I toss my books into my backpack while the rest of the class filters out of the room, Mutou taking the lead. Just as I begin to entertain the thoughts of getting things done though, my pocket buzzes once. Going through the same motions, flipping my phone open, the thoughts begin to fade.

Its still raining! :D

I can't help but roll my eyes a little, the text alone more than enough to have Mina's voice echoing through my mind with just a little too much enthusiasm for the fact.

Yeah... Ready to go to bed already. Maybe read for a bit

Even as I text my thoughts back to Mina, I can't help but feel like yawning again, trying to remember if I've got any decent books back in my room that might be worth reading today. Even just a half-day of classes felt oddly draining today, and I still do have to complete my homework... plus, with Mina admitting that she actually had a bit of a routine on days like today, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if she decided to actually stick to it. Managing to finally get out of the classroom and into the hallways, I'm a little surprised that my phone buzzes in my pocket before I've even managed to make my way all the way downstairs. Usually, Minako's replies take a few minutes. Still, not wanting to just be at a standstill in the middle of the hallway I make my way downstairs and duck to the side before checking my phone again.

Thats no fun Hisao Movies are cooler!

I can't help but feel like she's rubbing in the fact just a little bit, presumably having a TV in her room; I feel almost compelled to point the fact out.

Some of us don't have TVs in our rooms

This time, I manage to make it outside and into the rain before I think I notice my phone buzzing in my pocket. This time though, being out in the rain I don't simply pull to the side to check the message, walking quickly back to my dorm, trying not to get completely soaked by staying out for too long. Still, even walking quickly doesn't exactly help, and I can't help but curse the fact that I'd decided against bringing an umbrella with me to class today. Luckily, getting out of the school's main building means that I can walk and look at my phone without too much fear of bumping right into someone and looking like an inconsiderate idiot.

I'll share if you ask nicely :P

That gets a bit of a raised eyebrow out of me, wondering a little bit as to what she means. As usual, the best way to ask seems like just asking directly.

What do you mean by that?

It's not surprising after the past few texts that I've got a response before I even manage to make my way back to my room.

Come on over for a movie dummy. Ill make some popcorn too! I'm room 17, come over in like 30?

That response is a little unexpected, although at the same time with Mina being Mina not the most surprising thing in the world. After yesterday's admitting that she'd enjoyed watching movies on days like today, as well as her usual enthusiasm for movies in general, it's definitely not surprising that she'd make the suggestion. At the same time, with the amount that we've hung out in the past few weeks it shouldn't exactly be all that surprising or odd that she'd invite me over for something like that. Still, there's the oddest feeling somewhere in the back of my mind about the whole situation... an almost anticipatory nervousness about the idea of it. Still, just as soon as I notice it the feeling disappears.

I check the time on the text, making sure that I've got an idea of the correct time to show up.

Sounds good. See you then.

It doesn't take terribly long for me to change out of my wet clothes and into a new set of school clothes, this time grabbing my umbrella and setting it next to the door for myself when I go back outside. While the rain looks a bit lighter now than it's been all day, I wouldn't be surprised if it went right back to pouring cats and dogs in the next few hours. Better to not risk it.

It leaves me with just enough time to get my homework out and stare at it for a few minutes, half-attempting just a few questions before it finally looks like an appropriate time to leave. Grabbing my umbrella on my way out, it takes just a minute before I need it for the short walk across from the boys' dormitory to the girls'. Even so, I'm definitely grateful for it with the rain continuing to come down. The girls' dormitory is, surprisingly, not at all set up like the boys'. But nonetheless, finding room seventeen on the ground floor isn't a terribly hard thing to do, just by wandering around for a few short minutes. A couple of quick raps on the door, and I hear Mina cheerily enough telling me that I can come in.

Opening the door, the scene's just a little different from what I'd expected... even though I hadn't exactly been expecting anything in particular.

The room is pretty immaculately clean, at least by my standards, set up with very similar standard furnishing as my own room. A single bed, desk, chair, a few drawers and a closet... but it's all set up just differently enough to make it alien. Especially considering the desk has been more or less 'commandeered' for a fairly decent sized television, and the chair has been pushed away and used as an impromptu shelf for some books. Underneath the desk, where the chair should be, there's a huge rack holding a multitude of DVD's. A few posters are up on the walls, making it just a little bit more personal than my own room is. I can't help but notice that the curtains seem to be of a heavier material than the ones in my room, much more effective at blocking out every little bit of light.

Then, of course, there's Mina in what I assume are her pajamas, sitting cross-legged on her bed with a big bowl of popcorn. She's just wearing a white t-shirt and black and white checkered flannel pants... but it's just different enough from her usual attire that it gives me pause. Her usual scarf is even missing, tossed right next to the television, occupying the tiny bit of space left on the desk. It's strange, seeing her in a short-sleeve shirt for the first time, her arms looks just a little pale. Then again, while I assume that she's constantly going on walks, we have just gotten out of the winter months where a long-sleeved shirt is so much more comfortable.

I quickly slip my shoes off, leaving them by the door as Minako looks over at me. I can't help but feel a little like I'm being judged for over-dressing, given Mina's attire and grin.

Of course, I'm proven wrong as she tosses a piece of popcorn at me with one prolonged word accompanying it. "Laaaaaate." As soon as the piece of popcorn bounces off me without much impact, I find myself looking at my watch, hoping to prove her wrong. Of course, she's technically right by about a whole minute, getting me to roll my eyes in just a little bit of exasperation. I stoop over to pick up the piece of popcorn and lay my umbrella against the wall next to the door, noting that either Minako doesn't have one of her own, or has it in her closet. "I almost watched the whole movie without you, could've probably gotten through one and a half waiting for you." She teases, getting a bit of a chuckle out of me as she sets the popcorn down next to her and gets up, heading over to the curtains and shutting them. Like I'd assumed, they manage to block out almost all of the little bit of light coming from outside.

Turning my attention to the TV, which is facing the bed set up against the wall to double as a couch, I'm a little surprised at the movie's title; Howl's Moving Castle. As much as I wouldn't consider myself an avid movie-goer I've actually heard a lot of good stuff about the movie, even though I haven't seen it. Of course, after a few months a lot of the hype died right down about it, and I was able to put it out of my mind... but now, I can't help but find my interest in it piqued again.

Minako must catch my interested gaze as she turns from closing the curtains, grinning. "Even seen it before?" She asks, getting a shake of my head and grinning even more widely. "Good! Then I won't spoil it." I take a seat on her bed as she does the same, although she grabs a blanket from the foot of the bed this time and more or less wraps herself in it before again placing the bowl a little awkwardly on her lap. "I think it's even based off a book, if you absolutely need to read it even after seeing it." She teases, leaning over to say it before presumably hitting play on a remote control hidden underneath the blanket.

I'll have to admit that, although a definitely... strange-seeming movie in a lot of ways, it's still more than able to capture my attention. The story's one of both a strange fantasy world and a character's own personal transformation through her 'quest' to free herself of a curse and finding love along the way. The animations themselves are absolutely captivating as well, supplementing the strange, bizarre, world in a way that'd probably be impossible using just cameras, actors, and computers to try and simulate it all. It's astoundingly easy for me to find myself slipping into much the same mindset I've got when I get lost in a good book... at some point, slipping my shoes off to sit cross-legged on the bed, mirroring Minako, occasionally grabbing a few pieces of popcorn as I watch the story unfolding in front of me.

Just as the movie's beginning to approach what I assume is a climax, the castle crumbling to pieces around the characters ears as they struggle to reach Howl.... Mina cruelly pauses the movie. Making me blink for a moment or two, wondering if the disk had been damaged and if I'll miss the bits that the whole movie seemed to be building up to. Of course, looking over at her with a little bit of surprise and confusion, she quickly just laughs at me. "Admit it, movies are better." She says, using the moment to try and get just a little bit of leverage on the topic. To her amusement, I get more than a little tangled up, ending up sputtering something fairly nonsensical as I try to get her to simply start the movie right back up.

"Come on, Hisao. Movies are better than books, just say it." She says, almost too cheerfully as an arm shoots out from underneath the blanket to jokingly punch me in the shoulder.

I can't help but stand my ground here, having been almost conditioned by Mina to oppose her whenever and wherever I can. "I've got a very, very strict policy in regards to things like this, Minako. I don't negotiate with terrorists. Although, I might just be willing to agree if you let me watch the movie to the end." I say, lending a false air of incredible seriousness to my voice for a second and cracking a grin as I hear Mina giggle in response. Shortly after, she delivers her most dramatic possible sigh and resumes the movie, moving around just a little bit on the bed to make her seating a bit more comfortable. True to what I'd thought earlier, it looks like a major point in the story-line, and really helps to resolve a lot of the thoughts I'd had earlier.

All-too-soon, it's rolling the movie's credits, and Minako's back to poking me in the side to try and coax the answer she wants out of me. "So...?"

"That was a really good movie, I'll admit it. I'd need to read the book too, so that I could tell you which was better though." I say, getting her to scrunch up her face just a little bit, clearly wishing that she'd had an outright 'victory' rather than a sound-plan for a compromise. The now-empty bowl gets placed onto the dresser next to Minako, and she hops up to briefly part the curtains and look outside. Based on the pathetic amount of light that the action of opening the curtains lets in, and Minako's contented expression, I can't help but assume that it's still raining out there. Stretching just a little bit where I'm sitting, I can't help but wonder if I'm supposed to be heading out... but just as soon as I'm thinking it, she's ejecting the disk from the DVD player and loading another one from a case I can't quite make out right back into it.

Almost as though Mina's able to read my mind as she heads back over and plops down onto the bed, she grins and says. "You'll just have to stay here until you're convinced otherwise then! I could definitely binge-watch a few movies I haven't seen in a while!" I give a good-natured groan in response, which earns me Minako rolling her eyes at me and looking tempted to break out of her blanket to poke or prod me just a little bit. All in all, I could definitely think of worse things to do than to watch a few decent movies on a Saturday when I've got nothing else to really do. I can definitely see Mina's perspective now though... just sitting back and doing something like this on a rainy day is so much more appealing than trying to do anything that'd take any real effort. Although, before we can even make it through the previews to the next, unknown movie, I find myself yawning just a bit.

Minako shakes her head, looking amused. I can't help but raise an eyebrow and a question. "What?"

"Casual." She says with a wide smile and a bit of laughter as I open my mouth, trying to search for some counter-argument in vain.

"I thought the whole point of this was to be lazy though... ignore homework and everything else and just watch movies." I point out as Mina leans over to the side, grabbing another blanket and tossing it over to me. Gratefully, realizing that it is just a little bit cooler in the room I find myself similarly wrapping myself up in it to how Mina had.

"Yeah. But you're not supposed to be tired after just one movies. You're supposed to watch until your eyes are just about ready to pop out of your head. Six, seven, maybe eight movies down the line. You're not doing it right unless you start getting confused as to why there are pirates inside what you think is a sci-fi movie!" The worst part about the whole joking tone that Mina takes with the statement is that I can't exactly tell where it either starts or stops... making it almost a bit intimidating. Of course, she grins afterwards. "But of course, probably not unless you're able to build yourself up to it. Years and years of practice." She says, tone a little more obviously joking now.

"That... sounds a bit unhealthy." I admit, getting a shrug out of Minako.

"Only once in a rare while... and probably spread out a little more than it sounds." She admits, shrugging off the concern without too much effort, looking over to the screen, I notice that it's finally made its way to the title-screen, Pirates of the Caribbean. I crack a bit of a grin... this movie I have seen, albeit not in a while, and definitely enjoyed. "But, you've gotta admit... better than doing homework!" She says it with a grin, pointing from underneath her own blanket to the pile of books seated on her chair with an expression of distaste. I can't hide my own similar expression as I recognize the fact that I'll have to do my own homework tomorrow as well.

"Way better." I agree, gesturing with my chin towards the television. "So let's forget about the homework for a bit, start the movie!" I say it just a little impatiently, to get a grin out of Minako. I think that I definitely managed to gauge her reaction well as she does exactly that, hitting the play button.

By the middle of the movie, we've both agreed that we're hungry... and keeping with the theme of overall laziness, Minako's pulls out a huge list of take-out places that deliver to the school from a drawer. We settle on a nearby pizza place that's got guaranteed thirty-minute delivery. Before the movie's three-quarters the way through, we've got our pizza and are happily enough digging into it while watching Captain Jack Sparrow's adventure. I pay for it, despite Mina's protests that she wanted to split the cost, saying that it's my treat. The man who delivers it to us can't help but comment on the weather, looking like he'd just dove into a pool before coming by the school.

By the time that we've somehow managed to polish off the whole pizza, both of us probably feeling more than a little bit guilty and gluttonous for having done so, Mina pops in yet another movie, another animated film. Luckily, she manages to save us from having to go outside to find drinks by having a ready stock of a few soft-drinks in her closet. As much as it kills me to admit it I don't know if I'd be actually able to summon quite the needed effort to get up and find a vending machine. I've got a feeling that if the Nurse knew about how much I was more or less just indulging myself right now, he'd probably do his best to push me right back towards the track to get a bunch of exercise. Even worse, I could actually see him trying to pair me right up with Emi, or someone else equally as full of energy to try and get me right back into shape. The thought alone right now proves to be a bit too much of an effort to be comfortable.

I think that right now, a little too full and having been incredibly lazy all day, I'm just about as comfortable as I've been in a long time. I'm finding myself yawning again, almost in tandem with Mina as we're leaning a bit further back from where we were sitting on the couch earlier, against the wall for a little bit of extra support. I can't even really remember the name of the movie that we're watching right now, or any of the plot-line of the past thirty or forty minutes as I find myself dozing a little bit, enjoying the whole situation. I'm just... comfortable. Sitting here with Minako, watching a few pretty good movies, a full stomach and warm despite the weather outside being pretty abysmal. Exchanging a few little jokes, half-whispered so as not to detract too much from the movies.

At some point, I'm vaguely aware of Minako changing out the movie yet again as I'm yawning as more or less spacing out. The only real things that I notice are the simple, good things in life right now. That I'm feeling good, nice and warm, and in good company without too many other real responsibilities I'm neglecting. That everything feels right and normal and good in the world... I catch myself dosing off just a little bit a few times, and even catch Minako doing the same thing, despite her assurances that she was so much 'more experienced' with watching so many movies and generally being lazy than I was.

Still, leaning against the wall with the nice warm blanket to insulate me, I figure that it shouldn't be too hard to wait out this one last movie. I think it's based on something about spies before I head back to my own room to get what feels like it'd be some much appreciated sleep. Although... walking back just might be a little harder on a full stomach. I let loose one of those jaw-cracking yawns, the type that feel like they last almost an entire minute all by themselves and make you tear up a bit as I settle back comfortably against the wall, intent on waiting it out.
Last edited by CloudGrain on Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:29 am

Two points about Japanese culture:
1. Hisao would never enter Mina's room with his shoes still on - especially on a rainy day like this. Usually you take them off at the house entrance. Not sure about a dorm, but definitely before entering the room.
2. No tipping in Japan.
As much as I wouldn't consider myself an avid movie-goer I'd actually heard a lot of good stuff about the movie, even if I hadn't seen it myself.
And one line that accidentally slipped into past perfect.

The end of the chapter really surprised me. I felt certain that they both would simply doze off...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:39 am

I'd have to side with Hisao on this one, books are better. And whenever there is a book based on a movie, or vise-versa, the book is almost always better. That said, Mina has a good taste in movies. I don't watch many animated movies, but any movie made by Miyazaki worth a watch. And I always take my shoes off when entering a house,(or in this case their room) especially if they're wet or dirty. It's just common courtesy.
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Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Act Two, Scene Three;

Post by CloudGrain » Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:08 pm

Act Two, Scene Three;

Argot




There are a few sounds that are incredibly universal no matter where you hear them. Unfortunately, one of the more annoying ones, and the one that's piercing through my mind right now is that of an alarm clock. An alarm clock, but not my alarm clock. I'm vaguely aware of a weight suddenly rapidly shifting itself off my shoulder as I open my eyes to the menu of the last DVD me and Minako had watched last night in an otherwise dark room. It takes a long moment before the vague sensation of simply being in a weird, almost wrong situation finds its roots. I watched the movies in Mina's room last night, and don't exactly have a television of my own in my room. The alarm shrieking, which has just stopped, isn't my alarm... I feel heat rushing right to my face as I realize that I must have unintentionally fallen asleep in Mina's room last night, despite my intention of leaving just after the last movie.

I managed to, completely unintentionally fall asleep and spend probably the entire night in a girl's room... on her bed... presumably with her right there.

This whole thing is exactly the sort of deal that can cause a lot of trouble for everyone involved. It could spark all sorts of nasty rumors if someone manages to catch me leaving her room early in the morning, or if someone somehow managed to note my absence from my own room overnight. As panicked thoughts begin to stack one on top of another, another simple one comes right to the forefront of my mind at another simple realization a moment too late. The alarm going off a minute ago meant that, in all likelihood, Minako had turned it off.

Turning with an expression probably suited to a horror movie, I look over to my left, where Mina had been sitting next to me last night, and see her stretching for a moment. In the low-light, I can more or less just make out her silhouette as, after stretching she turns towards me... promptly practically falling onto my shoulder with a groan. I'm suddenly very aware that the shoulder she's on is already warmer than the rest of me, as well as the fact that I feel like my cheek has been resting on something fairly solid all night. My mind finally working just a little bit faster, it doesn't exactly take a genius to realize that we've probably been sleeping leaning right up against one another the whole night.

My sleepy mind finally begins to somewhat lurch into a real gear as I take a few seconds to calm myself down and just try to appraise the situation.

It's all but impossible to know if it's light or dark outside with the curtains still up and blocking any light from getting in, but craning my neck to see the alarm clock, I'm surprised to see it reading five-forty-six. With Minako, I'd always more or less assumed that she wasn't a morning person... especially with the whole fact that she'd been more or less able to turn off the alarm and fall right back to sleep on top of me without noticing a thing. The heavy sleeping may well work to my advantage in getting out of here without having to explain too much.

It's still probably pretty dark outside this early in the morning... and there really shouldn't be too terribly many people up, or at least up and outside, or looking out their windows. That's good, because it makes my chance of getting seen leaving the girls' dormitories in the morning all the lower. As soon as I get outside, I'm almost home-free so long as nobody's decided that today was a great random day to check my room for me.

Of course, I bring myself to wondering exactly what would be the shortest route from this room to the nearest exit pretty quickly. The whole layout of the building is... not exactly the most intuitive for a dormitory. Picking my brain for the best method is more just trying to optimize getting out using the same way I came in a little more quietly, and hopefully more stealthily. It is a Sunday, so I'm more than a little hopeful that Mina's the only person on the floor with either a completely broken, or somewhat improperly set-up alarm clock. I can't think of too many people who'd be up willingly at this hour... even on a school-day with the school being so close, it seems almost excessive.

Mind working just as fast as it can so early in the morning without coffee, I quickly review the plan I've come up with one last time. Operation; please-don't-fail-and-get-me-and-Mina-into-trouble.
  • Step one, extract myself from underneath Mina, which seems like it might actually be somewhat feasible without waking her up.
  • Step two, grab my umbrella and shoes as I quietly get myself out of Mina's room. The umbrella part of this step is key to potential partial-success if I'm seen leaving the girl's dormitories.
  • Step three, get out of the girl's dormitories, hopefully without being seen. Upon exiting the dormitories, immediately open up the umbrella and hold it over my head somewhat closely.
  • Step four, walking casually, but still avoiding anyone, make it all the way back to my own dormitory. Lose the umbrella if anyone's nearby.
  • Step five, back to my room. Immediately change into something casual, just in case.
Satisfied that I can do it all and hopeful that I'll able be either to completely avoid, or at least able to mitigate my chances of getting into a sticky situation, I mentally prepare myself to carry out step one.

Of course, even the best made plans can be pretty easily shattered when you forget some crucial little piece. Like the fact that many alarms have easy-to-hit 'sleep' buttons and harder to hit on/off buttons so that you're forced to get up when the annoying little devices blare out whatever they're programmed to in order to wake you up. And that these 'sleep' buttons only give you from five to ten minutes before the alarms go off again... making the motion of getting Mina off me carefully pretty much immediately disappearing as a possibility as she immediately begins to murmur and stir.

Mina's confusion as I rapidly try to disengage from pushing her off of me gently, and the ensuing tiny bit of a tangle that we get into in her haste for turning off the alarm and mine for not accidentally coming off as a complete creep is pretty justifiable. The words that she's mumbling tiredly, again reinforcing my idea of her not being a morning person sound vaguely like curses that could make sailors blush... although maybe I'm mishearing her. Still, it seems like this time I don't have quite the same amount of luck in Minako wanting to just go right back to sleep as she sleepily seems to be looking in my vague direction for a long, long moment. I'm glad that I don't think she can see the blush that's crept right back into my face.

"Hisao...?" The question is bleary as Mina rubs her eyes sleepily.

"Er... Yeah." I admit, surprised by Mina's rather simple reaction to it.

"Haaaaa." She starts out, still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, even with the tiredness of her voice I can practically make out the invisible grin on her face by her tone when she continues. "You did fall asleep. Knew it." The only real accentuation to the statement is a long yawn before she shakes her head, causing her hair to go about a little wildly for a moment as she tries to wake herself up. I'm a little surprised for her whole... lack of concern about the situation. She turns around for a moment, looking at the clock and grumbling something inaudibly before getting up and turning on the lights. Just as I begin to consider pointing out the situation to her, I'm floored by the fact that she simply opens the door and leaves. My jaw drops, and my mind screeches to what I feel is an almost audible halt at the fact.

I'm not exactly sure if Mina simply doesn't care, or if she's just tired enough to really not have put two and two together quite yet. Now that she's awake though, the whole situation is even weirder seeming. Within just a minute, which is just long enough to pick my jaw up from the floor, Minako comes back into the room, almost silently. Just as I'm about to ask her what she was thinking, she brings a finger to her lips.

"Nobody's in the halls. You're clear." She says softly, letting loose another jaw-cracking yawn as she grins slightly at my confusion. "Set the alarm for early, since you looked almost asleep. Now... I wanna get back to sleep. Unless you really wanted to stay." I feel my ears and cheeks heat right up as I look away while Mina says the last bit with a giggle, apparently all set from the get-go to tease me. Figuring that time is of the essence though, I immediately stand up and bow ever-so-slightly in relief at her scoping out the hallways for me and setting the alarm for an ungodly hour.

"Thanks, Mina. I'll uh... head out." Minako shrugs tiredly, grabbing one of the blankets from the floor and wrapping herself in it, mumbling some sort of a tired affirmative. Frizzy hair, half-lidded eyes, and slouching posture. . . I can't help but feel more than a little guilty about being the reason for her lack of sleep and abrupt awakening this morning, far, far too early. "Thanks for watching out for me... saving me since I was too lazy yesterday."

The dazzling, if tired smile that I get back in response is the tiniest bit confusing; as is the sudden warm embrace, even through a blanket. The response, more or less mumbled into my shoulder and into her blanket is a little better reflecting of what I'd expect from Mina in the mornings. "Yer w'lcme." With that, she totters over to her bed tiredly, eyeing the alarm evilly to make sure that it's in fact off rather than merely sleeping, and flops down into it. I can't help but watch, a little amused, even knowing that my definitely 'safe' timer is becoming less and less accurate with each passing second. Minako seems equally as aware of the fact as she opens an eye, grins a bit and makes a shooing motion with her hand. "See ya later, Hisao."

With that, I finally make my far-too-belated departure. Slipping my shoes on, grabbing my umbrella and flicking the light-switch off as I leave the room. I'm fairly certain that I hear a barely-mumbled 'thanks' for the last action.

After being accosted in the hallway by Kenji, the only real 'hitch' in my getting back to my room unhindered and assuring him that I hadn't been brainwashed, I'd decided to follow in Mina's footsteps and get a few more hours of sleep in. Today though, it seems like my absolutely abysmally lazy streak won't continue. Tossing and turning for a while, I might've managed another hour or two with the sun coming up and the thought of the homework just a few feet away laying undone. Begrudgingly, I finally pull myself up to just get it out of the way... no shortage of yawning while my mind wanders to thoughts of breakfast; despite the fact that I really shouldn't need to eat for the next few days after last night.

Applying myself to my schoolwork, it's actually done a bit quicker than I'd anticipated. Glancing at my watch as I lean back in my chair, I can't help but wonder at the fact that most of my day seems to be pretty much 'done' by eleven in the morning. Leaning back in my chair I stretch myself out as I begin letting my mind wander just a little bit, finally freed from the rigorous logic of physics and math.

My mind immediately finds itself focusing on the most obvious thing, the fact that I'd accidentally fallen asleep in Mina's room. The fact that she'd apparently hardly minded setting things up so that I hadn't really been in danger of getting into any trouble, despite the simple fact that it'd probably be just as easy for her to have woken me up with a few chastising remarks. Hell, it would've been easier, and more like her to have woken me up laughing just a little bit at me for being a 'casual' movie-watcher. I find myself more or less automatically in my little 'stash' of pre-made food and drink as I muse over the fact, popping open the top to a can of coffee as I entertain my thoughts.

That little bit could be pretty easily explained by Mina simply deciding to be nice, because we're friends. Watching out for me, and for her while still letting me be comfortable, it could pretty easily just be a really nice gesture on her part.

I can't help as my ears turn red at a few of the other parts though. Like the fact that she'd been sleeping against me for at least a little while before I'd woken up, and even after the alarm had gone off the first time. But that could be just as easily explained, right? After all, lots of people move around a bit when they sleep. Moving right back to the same position you were in after slamming your alarm off the first time in the morning was absolutely natural too. I can remember more than a few times that I've actually hit the sleep button on my own alarm more than two or three times before I could finally drag myself into consciousness, Mina being more or less still asleep after just once wasn't a big deal.

Even the words and actions after she'd woken up and 'scouted' outside of her room could probably be explained by her still being sleepy. She definitely looked the part of someone who was still fighting it, and she went right back to bed afterwards, almost underscoring it. Jokingly saying that I could stay was right up Mina's alleyway for trying to get a rise out of me, and the warm embrace could probably be explained by the sleepiness, right? There's a nagging voice somewhere in the back of my mind, trying to tell me that people wouldn't say things like that unless they really might not mind it potentially being taken seriously. But the more logical voice, reinforced by the coffee and intent on getting rid of the awkward feeling that the nagging voice is causing, points out that Mina's almost always more than happy to push my buttons to get a rise out of me.

Doing my best to immediately banish a few of the remaining thoughts, feeling a little more fortified now that I've had some coffee, I go back to my homework to double-check a few of the problems. By eleven-thirty, I'm absolutely confident that my work is all as good as it's going to get, and decide to grab some lunch. Despite having had enough pizza yesterday to easily justify missing breakfast, I've got a feeling that skipping out on two meals afterwards would probably be pushing it just a little bit. Peeking outside, and seeing a bit of sunshine for the first time in almost two days, I can't help but sigh in relief as I don't feel the need to grab my umbrella on my way out to the cafeteria.

I can't even feign surprise as soon as I get outside my dorm at seeing Mina exiting the girl's dorm, probably with exactly the same intent. It's almost impossible-seeming, the fact that she's managed to get herself all the way 'put back together' since just a few hours ago. Her hair's back to being relatively straight and out of the way, just a few curls instead of a pretty frizzy mess, in the school's uniform, save her usual scarf back in place around her neck. She's got a bright smile as soon as she sees me, and waves as she walks over to join me.

"Reading my mind now... lunch after skipping breakfast, right?" I ask, getting a nod from Mina as she seems to be pushing towards the gate instead of the cafeteria. She's managing to more or less push me in the same direction, which gets a look of confusion.

"Right! But, I was figuring in town." She says, getting me to realize that I'm being half-dragged along to lunch with her.

Falling right back into my usual habits with her, I find myself wondering out loud. "The town hired you to bring more business in from the school, didn't they?" I ask with a little bit of wonder, as if coming to a profound realization. Mina punches me in the shoulder at that, getting me to chuckle at her response.

"Actually, I was planning on treating you to lunch since you paid for the pizza yesterday. Figured that cafeteria food would probably be pretty bad repayment for pizza." She says, getting me to tilt my head just a little as I look over at her. It'd taken a few minutes of back and forth yesterday to convince her that I could cover the cost of the pizza without too much of a problem... but I suppose that she still wants to pay me back somehow. I fall right back into the comfortable habits of conversation with her immediately.

"So, you were just assuming that I was going to head out around the same time as you? Or were you planning on bringing back lunch for me?"

Minako rolls her eyes at that. "I was planning on texting you and seeing if you wanted to come along. But since I saw you as soon as I went out, I figured you were good to go. Duh!"

We fall right back into the comfortable habit of joking with one another as we head down into the town, grabbing a quick lunch in one of the town's cafes before just wasting some time going around town now that the rain's finally stopped. It strikes me after a while that we've already got a few inside jokes between one another... just little things, regarding stuff like the few more impromptu 'soccer-games' we've had, the few walks around town, and even now it was starting to incorporate the movies we'd watched yesterday. It's all incredibly reminiscent of so many times I'd hung out with my friends back at home, with so much of the same attitude seeming to be the same between me and Mina.

Of course... things aren't quite all exactly the same anymore. After all, there's a reason I'm here at Yamaku in the first place.

"Hisao, you alright?" Mina asks as she sees me rubbing my chest yet again, trying to rub away a dull aching sensation. It'd been something that I'd caught myself doing just a few times as we've been walking around today... mostly by catching Minako looking at me with a bit of obvious concern.

"Y-yeah." I say, stammering slightly, to my own confusion as I suddenly realize that the words are strained.

There's no reason that I should be feeling like this, forcing the words out of my mouth... feeling a bead of sweat suddenly on my forehead as the dull ache continues on. I haven't had a single real 'hiccup' at Yamaku since I've started school almost a month ago. I've been going on walks like this fairly frequently, a few times a week... been eating alright, save the past few meals... been taking my medic- My eyes shoot open wide as I realize that I've forgotten at least one dose of most of my medications, and two of the few I need to take at night. Minako's expression of concern causes me to immediately do my best to hide my own concern.

"I... We... need to get back to school." I grunt, the hand massaging my chest somewhat tightening over it even as I try to keep myself calm.

The doctors had all told me plenty of times... 'if you ever find yourself in a stressful situation, do your very best to calm yourself down, it'll help the situation'. As easy as it all sounded in theory, just taking deep breaths and trying to 'think calm thoughts' didn't really come quite as naturally now as I'd hoped. My chest hurts, and I feel more than a simple pang of guilt as I look over and see Minako's absolutely terrified expression.

"Are you okay, Hisao? Do I need to call an ambulance?" She's asking breathlessly, phone already in hand, ready to dial as I find myself shaking my head while still concentrating on my breathing. Continuing to walk right now just seems like a bad idea... and we're just a little bit outside of town anyways, on a sidewalk that wasn't exactly all too used. I find myself sitting down on the concrete, staring down at the ground guiltily. Ignoring my condition wouldn't make it go away... even if sometimes it felt like it did. The frustration I feel, with myself, with the fact that I'd been cursed with the heart of an eighty-year old before my twentieth birthday comes crashing down all at once. Clenching my jaw, I just stare at the concrete defeatedly as I hope against hope that the dull throbbing will go away. "Hisao?"

Biting back my anger, I look up at Minako, more ashamed of the fact that it'd happened in front of her than anything else about the situation. "Are you okay?" The concern in her voice and eyes cuts deep, even as I'm aware of the fact that the aching is slowly subsiding. I can't maintain eye contact for more than a few seconds as she looks down at me fearfully.

"I-... yeah. I'll be okay." I say past a lump in my throat, concentrating on my breathing for another moment or so. I'm not quite confident in my ability to judge myself as being a hundred percent 'ok' for a few more minutes as I sit here, vaguely aware of the fact that Mina's sat down next to me awkwardly. It's just... shameful. That I can't even go for a walk on a day where I've forgotten my medication, just a light walk and not feel like I'm about to suddenly fall over and scar whoever I'm walking with for life. It's pathetic. I feel a hand on my shoulder for reassurance, and feel myself flushing at the fact that I so obviously need support right now.

I'm not quite able to force myself to look over at Mina as I feel the words slowly begin to roll off my tongue for the first time since I've been diagnosed.

"I've got... a really bad heart." I admit slowly, between deep careful breaths. The dull throbbing's all but gone, replaced with a sensation deep in my gut... guilt. "And... well, forgot to take my medicine this morning. Even with the medicine, I'm supposed to take it pretty easy." I say each word slowly and deliberately, practically chewing on them before I finally spit them out. "Apparently, without taking it, I can't even go for a walk without problems." The last sentence is injected with an absolutely toxic dose of self-loathing as I screw my eyes shut. It just... looking so weak in front of Minako feels worse than I could've possibly imagined.

"Can you make it back to school?" The response is soft and thoughtful, giving me just a small measure of relief.

"Probably... taking it easy." I admit, feeling a shift as Minako stands up next to me, and a hand appears in front of me to help me up. Reluctantly, I grab it and pull myself up, aware of the dullest pain in my chest as I do so. A hand remains on my back for just a moment as I carefully test a few steps forwards, content that with a slow pace I probably won't overexert myself. I'm a bit surprised to hear the sigh of relief in stereo, and manage to look over to Mina for the first time in what feels like ages. She's pretty obviously concerned, the weight of it tugging down at the corners of her mouth until she notices me looking at her. As soon as she does, she gives me a reassuring smile, carefully putting a hand on my back.

"That was... scary." She admits, letting out another sigh of relief as we continue back towards the school at a grueling pace.

I grimace. "I'm sorry..." Minako looks surprised at that, blinking as she looks over at me.

"Why?"

I can't help but being equally as surprised at that, practically mimicking her as I blink and try to find words to explain it. "Because... I should've remembered my medicine, should've been more careful, shouldn't have ignored it until it got that bad, realized it a little earlier so that it didn't scare you." I say slowly, listing off all the reasons and means by which I've screwed things up. Minako gives me an odd smile, one of cautious relief.

"But you caught it before anything really bad happened, right?" I nod, getting a long sigh of relief as Minako's smile gets wider and more optimistic.

"Then everything's okay. As long as you're okay, everything good. I was really, really afraid for a few minutes there that things were going to get worse." It's accompanied by another long sigh of relief as I realize just how pent up Minako had been... scared on my behalf. The rest of the walk back to Yamaku, taking far longer than the walk down had is in near-silence as Mina half-supports me and we take it all easily. She insists that she helps me up to my room even when we get back onto the grounds, helping me to sit on the side of my bed and handing me my medications as I point them out on my bedside dresser.

I'm absolutely exhausted... no doubt thanks to the episode with my heart as I choke down pill after pill as Minako hands them to me after carefully checking the bottles for the proper dosage. Strangely, it looks like after each pill I take a little more tension actually leaves her rather than me. By the time that I've finished taking all of them, I'm ready for nothing more than to go to sleep for the rest of the day... to wish that I could forget about the whole episode. Still, I feel absolutely compelled to thank Mina for all that she'd done, even if I wasn't quite sure if I could look her in the face after this whole ordeal I'd put her through.

"Thanks... Mina." I say, staring at the floor as I'm vaguely aware of her sitting down next to me, forcing the words past a huge lump in my throat.

I'm surprised as she throws her arms around me, hugging me tightly against her for a moment. "Don't ever scare me like that again." She says, tone a little scolding even as her voice cracks for a moment, pressing herself against me almost urgently, as if making sure that I really am real and solid. I can't help but steal a glance over at her, noticing that her cheeks are matching her scarf and that there's what looks like a trail from a single tear on a face that expresses nothing but complete and utter relief with closed eyes. Before she opens her eyes she dips her head against her scarf to clear away the tiny bit of wetness, and disengages herself from the embrace with a strangely sweet smile.

"You can't just keel over to get away from me, Hisao. You're stuck with me." She says, getting a weak grin out of me as she stands up. "A hundred-percent sure you're okay?" I nod, the simple movement redoubling her smile. The sigh of relief is less pronounced than earlier, but still definite. "Good..." Her face is still flushed as she nods, apparently at an unusual loss for words as she heads towards the door. "I'll... see you around, alright Hisao?"

"Alright." I croak out, awkwardly rubbing my neck as Mina does the same as she closes the door with a smile.

I feel like my face is probably mirroring hers, completely red as I mentally find myself replaying the feeling of her against me and the obvious relief at my admitting I was alright, even the stubborn joke at the end of it all. I can't help but feel like, if it were at all possible, Minako really would be the type to fight death over who had the rights to me. It's... an oddly reassuring, but at the same time oddly nerve-wracking feeling. Despite not knowing quite how to feel about it, I end up falling asleep with just a bit of a smile on my face.
Last edited by CloudGrain on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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

Post by TheTealeaf » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:00 pm

Two words cloud.

Fuck you.

I actually had a fucking tear in my eye then right at the end scene.
CloudGrain wrote:Don't ever scare me like that again." She says, tone a little scolding even as her voice cracks for a moment, pressing herself against me almost urgently, as if making sure that I really am real and solid
THAT LINE.

THAT LINE.

Also this:
CloudGrain wrote:Minako really would be the type to fight death over who had the rights to me
That made me giggle.

This scene was good. I mean really good. I didn't notice any glaring grammatical errors and this scene went from hilarious (when reading the list I had the mission impossible theme going in my head) to feeling sorry for Hisao (I gotta say his anger is almost palpable in that little bit) and then that last bit at the end!

Bravo good sir... this route is going on my alert list!

Keep it up!
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.

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AntonSlavik020
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Three Up]

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:06 pm

Loved that last scene. Very well written and emotional. Hisao revealing his heart condition is always a scene I look forward to in a story, and this one didn't disappoint. Now that he's told Mina what his condition is, I wonder when her's is going to be revealed or manifest itself like Hisao's did. Anyways, looking forward to more!
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Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
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SirKaid
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Three Up]

Post by SirKaid » Mon Nov 10, 2014 3:18 am

I've got to echo the others about the last scene. It felt very real. Kudos.

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

Post by Solistor » Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:39 am

I am enjoying this one quite a bit. Mina's a really engaging character, and I like how you've included just the tiniest hints of what her condition could possibly be without outright tipping your hand. Nothing's really felt forced so far, and it gives me an odd fuzzy feeling to learn that, for the most part, the term "original character" is not a death warrant for a fic. You've got a good thing going, man; keep it up. In the meantimes, this is definitely a story I'm putting on my watchlist.

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

Post by CloudGrain » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:21 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Two points about Japanese culture:
1. Hisao would never enter Mina's room with his shoes still on - especially on a rainy day like this. Usually you take them off at the house entrance. Not sure about a dorm, but definitely before entering the room.
2. No tipping in Japan.
As much as I wouldn't consider myself an avid movie-goer I'd actually heard a lot of good stuff about the movie, even if I hadn't seen it myself.
And one line that accidentally slipped into past perfect.

The end of the chapter really surprised me. I felt certain that they both would simply doze off...
Thanks kindly for the quick bits of advice as to making everything just a little more true to the setting, as always. Did my best to quickly amend all the issues. As to the ending of the chapter somewhat surprising you... well, intentions don't always find themselves being followed through. As always though, thank you for the review Mirage!
AntonSlavik020 wrote:I'd have to side with Hisao on this one, books are better. And whenever there is a book based on a movie, or vise-versa, the book is almost always better. That said, Mina has a good taste in movies. I don't watch many animated movies, but any movie made by Miyazaki worth a watch. And I always take my shoes off when entering a house,(or in this case their room) especially if they're wet or dirty. It's just common courtesy.
Hey, I can't disagree with that logic. It's a pretty rare movie that manages to even live up to the standards of a good book. I did amend the chapter to have Hisao taking off his shoes, my mind somehow decided that while it probably happened I didn't need to write about it. Temporary short-circuit of some sort or another. Regardless, thanks kindly for the review, as always Anton!
TheTealeaf wrote:Two words cloud.

Fuck you.

I actually had a fucking tear in my eye then right at the end scene.
CloudGrain wrote:Don't ever scare me like that again." She says, tone a little scolding even as her voice cracks for a moment, pressing herself against me almost urgently, as if making sure that I really am real and solid
THAT LINE.

THAT LINE.

Also this:
CloudGrain wrote:Minako really would be the type to fight death over who had the rights to me
That made me giggle.

This scene was good. I mean really good. I didn't notice any glaring grammatical errors and this scene went from hilarious (when reading the list I had the mission impossible theme going in my head) to feeling sorry for Hisao (I gotta say his anger is almost palpable in that little bit) and then that last bit at the end!

Bravo good sir... this route is going on my alert list!

Keep it up!
Bah, flattery! I'm really glad that you think I'm doing the story justice though, and certainly hopeful that I'll be able to keep up the same standard of work for a while to come. After all, only in the middle of Act Two as it is, plenty to look forwards to in the realm of what I've got planned. :D As always, thanks for the encouragement and the bits of support that you've lent to me in the conceptualizing areas of the story, Tealeaf, I've definitely felt like they've been a great help to the development of the story!
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Loved that last scene. Very well written and emotional. Hisao revealing his heart condition is always a scene I look forward to in a story, and this one didn't disappoint. Now that he's told Mina what his condition is, I wonder when her's is going to be revealed or manifest itself like Hisao's did. Anyways, looking forward to more!
Exceptionally glad to not be disappointing on the revelation scene! Definitely feel, like you, that it's a pretty important point in the story, so I'm really glad to have done it justice. As to the rest... well, time will tell. Much as I'd love to spoil things, I feel like it'll be much more fun to have them progress as planned. As always, thank you for the review Anton! Always brightens my day a bit.
SirKaid wrote:I've got to echo the others about the last scene. It felt very real. Kudos.
Thank you very much, like I've said a few times, I'm very glad to be doing it justice!
Solistor wrote:I am enjoying this one quite a bit. Mina's a really engaging character, and I like how you've included just the tiniest hints of what her condition could possibly be without outright tipping your hand. Nothing's really felt forced so far, and it gives me an odd fuzzy feeling to learn that, for the most part, the term "original character" is not a death warrant for a fic. You've got a good thing going, man; keep it up. In the meantimes, this is definitely a story I'm putting on my watchlist.
Thank you. I'm usually one to write with all the subtlety of an axe coming through a door, so the fact that hints are being more or less picked up rather than outright 'obvious clues' or 'pointers' is definitely something that I'll take as high-praise as I continue to develop my style. That I'm managing to maintain something close enough to Katawa Shoujo's canonical roots, even with an original character, is also something that I'm exceptionally happy to hear. So again, thank you. Definitely makes my morning to hear things like this when the opposite reactions were exactly the sorts of things I grind my teeth over a bit re-reading updates. Cheers!
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:49 am

I agree this was a very nice chapter.

As to Mina's condition, I have a few theories based on the hints you've given, but nothing definitive yet...
The revelation shouldn't be too far off, though.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
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