A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Eight Up]

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CloudGrain
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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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- Virginia Woolf

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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!
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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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Solistor
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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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CloudGrain
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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!
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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

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Act Two, Scene Four;

Post by CloudGrain » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:21 pm

Act Two, Scene Four

Thief in the Night




Despite how simply screwed up Sunday turned out... everything somehow, miraculously, seems to be fine by the time that I woke up and went to classes on Monday. My medicine, allowed to do its thing, seems to have the dull throbbing in my chest well under control. It's a simple fact that I've taken for granted up until this point, really... that I haven't exactly been able to feel just how different I was after my heart attack all those months ago. But after the scare on Sunday, it took more than a few cautious moments before I allowed myself to really return to an optimistic feeling of being 'normal' thanks to my medication.

Best of all on Monday was the fact that not a single person looked at me any differently when I walked into class. That not a single person bothered me all day to ask if I was feeling better, having seen me yesterday. That none of the teachers, or the nursing staff had stopped me to try and see what'd happened.

Somehow, the entire episode had been completely contained between me and Minako.

The simple words 'thank you' didn't exactly seem like they'd be able to convey the gratitude I had for Mina not immediately going to the nurse. Not freaking right out and calling an ambulance to pick me up on the side of the road as I'd sat down, almost a bubbling mess as I realized what was going on. For sticking by me on the long trek back up to Yamaku, despite the whole thing feeling like it'd taken literally forever. Helping me back into my own room, into my bed, getting my medicines for me and double-checking everything before I'd taken it. Whatever the highest medal for going well above and beyond the call of friendship was, I honestly felt like it wouldn't be quite enough to convey the thanks that I had for everything she'd done.

Looking back on the whole situation, I have to admit that I'm almost in awe at just how well it went, despite how badly it could have gone.

I'd been more than a little disappointed, to say the least when I'd gotten a text from Mina later in the day admitting that she had a headache and was going to turn in early for the day. I'd settled for profusely thanking her in my reply as opposed to in person, wishing her well. It's strange, because at the same time that I was a little put-off by the fact that I wouldn't get to hang out with her, it'd be a lie to say that I wasn't just a little bit relieved too. Sunday hadn't exactly been a day that I would've wanted anyone to see me, and I while I'm more than grateful that Mina had been there for me, I really sort of wish that she hadn't. I really wish that she hadn't seen me at my very worst, that she hadn't been put into a position where she needed to help me out. Where she wouldn't have been put into a position where she was forced to admit that I managed to scare her by being so frail.

The fact that I'd upset her and caused her to cry... even in relief, is unnerving.

Having had a day to think, to get my head just a little bit more clear after the screw-up of a day that was Sunday was probably a good thing.

When my phone goes off in my pocket at the end of classes today, I'm immediately hit by a much milder bit of the same trepidation as I'd felt yesterday at the thought of meeting up with Mina. Wondering exactly how things between us might have changed after the events on Sunday. Still, it's an automatic motion as I flip my cellphone out of my pocket to read the message.

Meet up at the side-gate @ about 5?

I can't help but raise an eyebrow at my phone, even though I know that my phone isn't exactly going to divulge any answers if I give it a questioning stare. Five isn't exactly a 'usual' time for us to meet up to hang out and do anything... usually we give one another enough time to just throw our bags in our respective dorms, with a few extra minutes to account for things along the way. Three or four times, we've met up after dinner to just finish the day hanging out and doing something around the school. Five is when dinner is just starting to be served in the cafeteria, and seems like a somewhat odd time to meet up to go and do something. Still, I can't exactly find any reason to shoot Mina down for not being routine.

Sure. Why 5? Seems late.

Its a surprise just meet me @ 5. Trust me. :)


The response comes after just a moment, getting me to blink once or twice in surprise and do nothing but make me a little more anxious for the whole thing. Still, the best thing to do would be to place my faith in Mina right here. It's not exactly like I've got any reason not to trust her after the past few weeks that I've hung out with her. Whenever I've pointed out that I shouldn't do something, she immediately dropped it even before she knew about my condition. She'd gone out of her way when I'd went over to watch movies with her to ensure that I didn't get into any trouble... and then gone well above and beyond the call of duty as a friend Sunday.

Letting out a pent-up breath, I simply nod and choose to do exactly that, putting the bit of fear to the back of my mind.

Alright 5 then. See ya

It should leave me with just enough time to get some of the odds and ends of my homework done anyways...

I manage to half-ass most of my English homework, including a reading piece before my watch finally reads four forty-five, giving me an excuse to head outside and towards the gate just a little early. Keeping focused on my homework was all-but-impossible as my mind kept finding its way right back to wondering exactly what Mina was up to. Because honestly, there are plenty of things to both fear and look forwards to seeing her for the first time since Sunday. Things could either go well, or badly... at least in just about every situation that my mind had managed to conjure since the end of school a few hours ago. It could either turn out to go right back to how it was, with a stronger bond between us because of what'd happened... or it could all get all sorts of screwed up because of my forgetting to take my damn medicine that one time.

A little bit of anxiety doesn't exactly feel particularly out of place when I get to the side-gate and don't see Mina around, until checking my watch I realize that I'm about five minutes early. Forcing myself to relax after checking my surroundings to make sure that Mina isn't simply hiding, I settle myself as comfortably as I can against the brick wall, facing the school grounds as I wait. Of course, unfailingly, Minako still manages to surprise me.

"Boo."

I flinch immediately as it's said right into my ear as I stare intently at the school's main building, wondering exactly when Mina would come down that way towards the gate. It's more than a little disarming that she came in through the gate, from outside of the school to scare me. Still, the immediate laughter I hear afterwards when I turn to look at Mina is enough to put me just a little bit at ease. Surprisingly, she's wearing her usual black sweater and jeans instead of her school uniform today, immediately reinforcing the idea that we're going off to do something.

Immediately, I find myself looking at my watch... unable to keep myself from smirking as the hands tell me that I've got at least one familiar advantage on Mina.

"Late."

Mina sticks out her tongue, disapproving of my analysis as she checks her own watch and screws up her face. "By a whole minute." She says, with just a bit of annoyance at the fact itself. "But!" She starts off enthusiastically. "I got things done, so... come on!" I'm immediately being pulled along, almost reminiscent of my first few days here at Yamaku when she'd been dragging me along with her to show off a few of the sights around Yamaku. I can't exactly complain, feeling a bit of the weight disappearing from my gut as things seem to be more or less normal between the two of us. Granted, there's still the question of exactly what Mina's been doing, and is so intent on showing me... but it seems off to a decent start.

"So, I'm guessing that it'd spoil it if you told me what this 'surprise' was?" I ask, completely expecting the look that Mina shoots me of 'well, duh!', rolling her eyes as she continues to lead on with an obvious destination in mind, vaguely in the direction of the forest. "Do I even get to know where we're heading?" That question gets a bit of a pensive expression from Minako for a moment before she brightens up to pretty simply shoot down even that suggestion.

"Nope!" The monosyllabic response, cheerful as it is pretty much manages to make me drop the subject, figuring that pursuing it will be futile. Still, even with avoiding the subject of what exactly it is that she's got planned, she manages to keep the conversation alive. "So... finish much of the English homework today?" The question's asked innocently enough, but with a glance cast at me to judge my reaction as I groan. While we both share an intense dislike of English, Mina's scores from the most recent few tests blew mine right out of the water. After last week's lording my science scores over her, it's not exactly unexpected that she'd pull something like this.

"Mostly, I think. That's pretty much all I've spent the past few hours doing." Mina makes a slightly amused sound as we reach the forest, beginning to take one of the paths that I haven't been down before. "Why, did it take you just a few minutes?"

"Nah. I didn't have to do it, since I did decent on the last quiz." It takes me a minute before I remember our English teacher adding exactly that stipulation to the last quiz that my own class had taken. That any student who got above an eighty on the pop-quiz wouldn't have to do homework, because they'd obviously spent enough time studying to make up for it. I can pretty distinctly remember being none-too-thrilled that I'd gotten a seventy-seven on the test... and aired it to Mina at some point last week, though her class hadn't gotten their grades back yet. "Eighty-two!"

I can't help but groan at the fact that she's rubbing a bit of salt in the wound, especially given just how much I hated the subject. Still, as she pushes me and laughs, I can't help but crack a grin at the teasing. The back and forth banter is pretty much the bread and butter of our friendship. Throwing in the few little adventures and misadventures that we've already been together on, it's pretty easy to see that it's just being good company for one another that we really rely on. The sense of everything being pretty normal when we're doing something, just two teenagers hanging out and having fun. Not necessarily two teenagers who go to a school for kids with disabilities, even when I've pointed out that I had to be careful not to overexert myself... just... two teenagers. With just about everything that being a teenager entails.

As we're wandering the woods, just talking, it's not exactly surprising that my mind starts to wander in a direction I've been half-consciously avoiding for the past few days. It'd felt beyond just bad to look so weak in front of Mina... not just in the same way that it'd felt bad to have had my friends look at me when they'd visited in the hospital, not even in the same way it'd felt with my parents. It'd felt like the first few times that Iwanako had visited me in the hospital. When I couldn't meet her gaze, when I'd had to absolutely force every word out of my mouth whenever I chose to speak. The sense of relief though, when Mina had more or less accepted it, when she'd been just relieved to see me 'okay'. That was something that I'd never gotten to experience with Iwanako. To Iwanako, I'd always been 'broken' after my heart attack.

Following Mina and having a lapse in conversation, I can't help but follow the vein of thought that only comes to mind every once in a long while with her.

Looking at her... there's nothing that I can see really 'wrong', just like when people look at me. There's no prosthetic, cane, bandage... nothing that's ever set off anything I can remember beyond a little bit of discomfort. Granted, she's been relatively 'laid-back', but I get the feeling that it's been more for my behalf instead of her own. Looking back, it's hard to see many places at all where she'd even somewhat faltered at something. A few times where she's looked like she was in just a little bit of pain after doing something, sure, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a little sore after playing a bit of soccer too. Or a little ill-at-ease when we'd decided to climb a tree for the first time and jumped off it.

Longish brown hair, mostly straight with just a little bit of a curl to it... dark brown eyes that always seemed to be shining with an accompanying smile. She's always full of energy, except for the one experience I've got seeing her right after waking up. Always more than happy to come up with a joke, ready to break any bit of tension without issue, even when she's tired. Seemingly ecstatic just to have me along with her sometimes. There's a pang of guilt as I find myself wondering at the fact, especially when I find myself coming up with all sorts of terrible things in the back of my mind. The sorts of thoughts that hurt just as much as thoughts of my own condition.

As we continue walking, in what seems like an incredibly roundabout pattern, I push the ugly thoughts to the back of my mind.

"You're not just leading me in circles to tire me out before another game of soccer, are you?" I ask jokingly, getting a grin out of Mina.

"Nah. I could kick your butt if I wanted to anyways. But, I'm making sure that where we're going is a surprise!"

I decide to take a shot in the dark, more or less just guessing. "So, it's somewhere that you've taken me before then? If you feel the need to walk in circles forever before we get there?"

Minako's surprise, and afterwords poorly feigned indifference at my guess isn't a performance that I think is going to win many awards for her acting talent. The snort of laughter at how she tries to hide it manages to get her to drop the act as she pouts a little, having been found out. "Well. Yeah." She finally admits, making it seem like I'm pulling teeth as she slowly admits it. "But, all different... ish." She says before smiling again, obviously more than happy with the fact that at least some part of her grand plan hadn't been found out.

It's not like I think I can remember all the places that I've seen in the forest anyways... and if she's promising that it might be different-ish, I can't exactly say I'd be surprised if it was changed significantly. I decide to drop the line of inquisition, figuring that if it'll make Mina happier to show whatever to me as a surprise that I might as well just go along with it. A few minutes later, I begin to notice as we're talking that we're definitely going up an incline... and have been for just a while. The sunlight's already beginning to fade just a little bit, and Mina's ushering me on to go faster up the unfamiliar hill, which seems to be leading just somewhat out of the woods.

We've almost gotten to where we're going before I realize where we are.

It's another route, a longer, but much gentler way to go up the hill that we'd watched the festival's fireworks on during my first weekend here at Yamaku. Despite Mina's claims that it was different-ish, all that I can see is a pair of folded blankets on the top of the hill, but Mina looks proud as I finally reach the hill's cusp to see them. "We're going to watch the sunset. Maybe see some stars. We'll see how it goes." She explains very simply, pointing to the event that's already underway as she grabs the top blanket and lays it on the grass. To my surprise, there are a couple of drinks underneath the top blanket, one of which she hands me before sitting down on the blanket and patting the spot next to her.

I pop the top on the drink as I sit down next to her, grinning and shaking my head at Mina's strangeness sometimes. It's a bit like how she'd been so happy to show me around, and so keen on playing a game of soccer with me. The situations always seem to be just a bit impulsive, a little weird... but usually turn out to be great fun.

"So... you're luring me up here so that you can hold my hand on the way back down again in the dark, aren't you?" I accuse, grinning at the memory that comes to mind as well as the expression that the accusation draws from Mina. She turns just a little red, and seems to half-choke on the sip of her own drink as she turns to me with an indignant expression, pushing me over to the side as I laugh while she coughs for a minute and struggles to regain her composure. Somehow, I just barely managed to keep my own drink from spilling too much as I was pushed to the side and righted myself. Fully recovered after a moment, Mina rolls her eyes and grins herself.

"Nah. Luring you up here to push you all the way back down in the dark. It's all part of the grand master plan." Now it's my turn to roll my eyes as Mina gets her own jab in, grinning at me for a moment before returning her gaze to the slowly setting sun. "Besides, I'm sure you're just projecting what you were hoping for, saying that." She teases, still just a bit red in the face as she says it, managing to get me to squirm just a little bit as I feel a bit of heat come to my own cheeks.

"Oh...?" I ask, looking towards the setting sun myself, trying to keep my cheeks from burning.

"Mm-hmm. If I wanted to hold your hand, I would anyways. Not much you could do to stop it."

I can't help but let out a snort of laughter at the fact as I feel a little more comfortable, because it probably would be a fact for Minako. If she'd wanted to hold my hand, I'd suppose that she would. Hell, if she'd wanted almost anything out of me, I'm sure that she'd be pretty upfront about it. There wasn't any real reason that I had to be afraid of making too much a fool out of myself if I ever tried to pursue her... if she'd wanted to escalate things, she'd be the one to do it. The thought that I'd barely been allowing myself to skirt around, let alone directly think, lays itself to rest for a moment as I finish up my drink with a quick swig and lay the empty can down in front of me, watching the sunset... musing just a little bit.

My heart feels like it leaps in my chest when, just a moment later, I feel Mina's hand take mine. Looking over, she's looking at the sunset with an expression of absolute contentedness, with a completely uncharacteristic blush on her face. I decide to emulate her after a deep breath, squeezing her hand just a little bit as I feel a stupid smile cover my face.

We sit there for a good long while, watching the sun set, and then the sky darken as the light slowly fades from the sky. The silence isn't something that I'm used to when I'm with Mina, so much more accustomed to filling the time with simple jokes and conversation. But tonight... it's incredibly comfortable, something that we're more or less sharing with one another just like we usually share conversation. I'm actually surprised when Minako breaks the contact after something that felt like forever, scooting over and grabbing the remaining blanket. Throwing part of it over me, and part over herself she gets closer, leaning against me as she takes my hand again and rests her head on my shoulder.

I've got a feeling that even without my heart condition, I'd feel the pounding my my chest right now as I finally manage to get myself to speak.

"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." It's almost an impossibly strange and silly seeming situation... saying these few words after sitting up here for probably well over an hour just contently looking off into the distance. Dancing around the subject that'd be painfully obvious to anyone if they wandered up here.

"So..." I start off, feeling incredibly awkward to be breaking the silence as I look down at Mina, finding myself trailing off as she looks at me with just a little bit of surprise.

"So?" She asks, grinning as she mocks me a tiny bit. I can't help but grin and shake my own head, glad as she continues. "What next?" She asks, getting a nod from me in agreement that it was along the lines of the question that I had to ask. "I have, literally, no idea. The movies only get about this far."

I can't help but laugh at the non-answer, getting a wide grin out of Minako.

Right now... I couldn't possibly describe myself as being anything other than happy. Going off Mina's expression, I think that she'd say the same. Freeing my hand for a second, to Mina's momentary distaste, I wrap my arm around her, bringing us closer together. Not to be undone in her earlier statement, Mina latches right back onto my hand with her own, grinning as she does so.

Right now, there's nothing wrong with the world. I'm sitting outside underneath a blanket... underneath the emerging stars with a girl who's managed to do more for me by just hanging out with me in the past few weeks than it felt like months of surgery accomplished. She makes me feel normal... no, even better than that, she actually makes me feel good about my life here at Yamaku. I look down at her covertly, seeing a smile plastered across her face that no doubt matches my own as she stares up at the sky a little dazedly. Suddenly, her eyes shift as she seems to notice me, locking onto mine.

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.
Last edited by CloudGrain on Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 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.

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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!

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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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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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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.
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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.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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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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