A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Eight Up]

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CloudGrain
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Act Two, Scene Seven*;

Post by CloudGrain » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:24 pm

Act Two, Scene Seven*;

When first we practice to deceive




Yesterday had proven to be somewhat exhausting after getting the phone call from my mom. Up until that point, I'd been able to occupy all the time of my day with alternating merely between hating everything and being bored. In a hospital that's only got basic cable, the second was just an inevitable byproduct of being stuck in a bed for the entire day, with the prospect of another few days before I'd be allowed up for more than the occasional supervised bathroom break. But after the call... well, I had the joy of trying to juggle a few more feelings right off the bat. Anticipation, both good and bad; good because I'll get to see my family for a little while, bad because they just might manage to make me feel even worse . It'd take just a few little things to have their visit shifting from being a welcome reprieve from reality to making things just a little bit worse than they already were.

Fumiko would just need to make a few jokes too many at my expense, to casually mention a few too many things she'd done. Mom just needed to ask a few too many eager questions, want to meet a few too many people, otherwise be her sociable self. She'd just need to baby me around a little too much, to just forget how much I hate her voicing how much she worries about me. Or worse, find out entirely new reasons and ways to worry about me. And Hitomi... even Hitomi... well, she'd just need to ask a few questions. I've never really been able to lie to my youngest sister, as if it'd matter, since she's got an uncanny ability to see right through them regardless.

Trying to shift between a combination of anticipation apprehension, hating everything, and being bored really didn't come all that easily. In the end, it actually made me just go to bed a lot earlier than I'd anticipated. This morning, I tried the same thing and found myself tiring right out. I'd more or less relegated to settling into just the anticipation, boredom, and a much easier to maintain grumpiness about the whole situation rather than a complete and utter loathing of it. Keeping my mind off school, and turned more towards the upcoming meeting with my family made it easy enough to ignore what lay in the slightly more distant future of going back to school.

It's easiest to focus on the present though, the boredom and bit of grumpiness.

The TV has all of forty channels, with nothing to really watch. At best, it's more or less some background noise rather than the sounds of the hospital itself. Since I've woken up late in the morning, all I've really managed to accomplish was flickering through the channels boredly and having a light bland lunch. Much as I would hate to be the one to admit it after just about two days in the hospital, I'm actually somewhat missing Yamaku's schoolwork. I'm not even all that good a student, performing just well enough to get by without too much ceremony most of the time. Usually, I'm actually the first one to complain about an overly long assignment... yet here I am, almost wishing that any of the teachers would have brought me something.

Maybe I just want to have it so that by avoiding it I could pretend that whatever else I was doing was a little more interesting than the work...

Bored, surfing through the channels for the umpteenth time trying to find whatever's least boring, I finally and at long last hear the words that I've been anticipating since waking up today.

"Hey Mina! We're here!" It's announced by Fumiko, leading the little group boldly with a wide smile. She looks just a tiny bit taken aback seeing me... I know that I'm a bit of a sight for sore eyes right now. My nose is pretty much all an ugly mottled purple, as well as just a bit of the skin around it reaching out towards my eyes. Both arms have a nice collection of bruises, and I'm pretty well tangled in all the damn wires and tubes. It just takes me giving her a grin to get one back out of her though as she makes her way out of the doorway to let in Hitomi and Mom.

Fumiko and me have always been told that we could practically pass for twins by people who don't know us too well. Just a year apart; both of us inheriting Mom's looks, as well as her hair, and barely deviating more than a few centimeters since we were about ten or eleven... it's always been a somewhat infuriating comparison for me. Her hair's a bit curlier than mine, her eyes are grey-blue instead of my dark-brown, she's got a somewhat more athletic tone to her than I do thanks to all the sports, the list of minor differences goes on and on. Worse still is the fact that everyone always seems to say that we acted the same; even Hisao had grinned and pointed out the fact when I was describing her to him a while back.

Following Fumiko is my mother, smiling as well. I look just a little bit more like her than Fumiko does, despite what everyone else seems to think. She's got the same brown eyes as me, although she keeps her hair cut just a little shorter which doesn't allow it to have too much of a wave to it. As seems to be far too standard, her smile is colored by just a little bit of worry for me, despite her trying to hide it. While it cuts a little bit, it's so standard that it definitely doesn't cut all too deep. I'm just a little bit happier to see her and my sisters, shoving the apprehension of the future aside, than I'm put off by the reactions thus far.

And, of course at the back of the little line is my youngest sister Hitomi. She's the only one of us to have gotten dad's hair, black and straight, and icy blue eyes instead of Fumiko's grey-blue. It's funny, every time I see her she looks just a bit less and less like the kid that I always remember when I think of her. Just last year, she'd gotten rid of the glasses she'd worn for so long in favor of contact-lenses, and just a few months ago she decided to let her hair grow a little longer. Now, it's already a little bit past her shoulders, well past where I customarily think it is. On top of it all, she's definitely grown another few centimeters, creeping up on the rest of us in adolescence. Despite all the changes though, the shy smile she greets me with is still the same as it's been since she was all of two or three years old.

"Mina, you should know that stairs aren't for throwing yourself down by now. I've even demonstrated the fact for you once." Fumiko starts up jokingly, coming close to give me a quick hug, still leading the group. I screw up my face a little, a few years ago Fumiko had done exactly that, twisting an ankle and getting all of two bruises from falling down an even longer flight of stairs. The whole incident ended in nothing more than a cold-pack Fumiko missing a single soccer game. Meanwhile I get stuck in the fucking hospital for a week.

"Well, nothing quite like firsthand experience. Gotta make sure my skull's as thick as yours, right?" Fumiko snorts, pulling back and rolling her eyes.

"Yeah, well... think you're safe on that account." Both of us can hear mom and Hitomi sigh in sync, and pull off appropriately contrite expressions as we lay off one another with just a bit of a nervous laugh. We'll both be the very first to admit that we tend to be just a little harsh with one another.

Mom, next in line embraces me as Fumiko steps aside, only just barely managing to look contrite. "Good to see you, honey. You're doing okay?"

"As okay as I can be, all things considered." I say, figuring that the statement really isn't too far from the truth. I can feel my mother nodding somewhat in the embrace as she pats my back lightly. "Probably better since I get to see you all for a little while." She pulls away and gives me a wide smile at that.

"Well, of course! Like I said yesterday, we've been planning on coming down to visit, or seeing if we couldn't get you away from school for a while to do something together as a family." She gives a half-apologetic, half-guilty smile. "It's just unfortunate that there's always so much going on that something like this is an opportunity for us to all get together as a family." I can't help but grimace a bit myself at that. Between Fumiko's sports, Hitomi's various club-activities, and Mom working full-time, it really isn't easy for them to find any sort of time. Generally, the house is in a state of just-barely contained organized chaos, which is none-too conducive to adding extra things into the mix. "But! At least things worked out this time." She returns to her usual optimism after that slight hitch, getting a bit of a smile out of me.

Finally, Hitomi comes up and gives me a light hug. She's still positively skin and bones, and with the fact that she's growing seems to be just a tiny bit awkward. "Miss me?"

That gets a grin out of her. "Miss breaking up you and Fumiko's fights? As always, yes." I laugh just a little bit at that, and I can see Fumiko grinning out of the corner of my eye as well. None of the three of us can even really remember why me and Fumiko seemed happier to let Hitomi break up our arguments, just that it's always sort of been that way. I can still remember more than a few occasions that seem pretty ridiculous now where we'd deferred to our youngest sister on issues of all sorts. Mom's never really managed to understand the dynamic either, but since it seems to work has just gone with it as well. "But for right now, no fighting. I've just been on the train for way too long, in the car for too long before that, and helping Fumiko pack before even that. So I'm in no mood for it today. Maybe tomorrow though, if you're good." The haughty voice she puts on, all-too-much like one I could almost expect from Mom gets a grin from me at first, and when Fumiko and Mom both start laughing I can't help but join in.

Hitomi's usually pretty quiet, but occasionally breaks out into much the same attitude that the rest of us have. Maybe with just a little bit better taste and timing though. "Fair enough. Wouldn't want to upset you, after all." Hitomi smiles at that, giving me another quick embrace before taking the nearby seat for herself.

"So... settled in alright here, Mina?" Mom asks, looking around the hospital room. I shrug, not really too keen on the question. It's not like I can bring much with me when I'm spirited away on an ambulance, and the hospital gown is pretty much all I exactly get beyond the TV and bed. The whole room's pretty lifeless.

"I suppose. Not like they'd be happy if I started redecorating it anyways. Especially since I'm supposed to keep connected to all the wires for at least another day." I say, trying to force a grin. It doesn't really work terribly well, with both Fumiko and Mom looking sympathetic and Hitomi only managing a similarly forced smile herself. "But, I suppose there's not too much I can do about it today. Maybe tomorrow we can try." That gets just a little bit of relief out of the rest of them, that I'm not taking being in the hospital all too hard. They all know that I loath hospitals on premise, and have witnessed a few impressive tirades on the subject.

"Replace the dinky little TV with a nice movie projector just for you? Get a popcorn stand and stuff in here, and a nice DVD player?" Fumiko quips, more than happy to break the silence. I'm more than glad to start chiming right in myself, building off the concept.

"Maybe replace the bed and the chairs with some really, really nice armchairs? Bother a few celebrities to get early releases of movies well before everyone else?" It doesn't take much for all four of us to latch onto the conversation happily enough, describing how to renovate the room to make it into an absolutely astoundingly comfortable place to spend the next few days I'd be stuck here. Fumiko going into replacing all of the lighting with atmospheric lighting, as well as a built in sound-system. Mom going into all the little things that we glossed over, the little amenities that'd make it more convenient and enjoyable, even if they were only used one time in particular. Hitomi, on the other hand seems to be the one to point out when things would seem to overlap or be unnecessary, or occasionally make that rare universally better idea than something the rest of us have come up with.

It's incredible how much faster time goes by with just a little bit of amusement, a little bit of interaction. Fumiko more or less bounding around to point out places that things would go, expressing with her arms the shapes of things. Mom does it a little less energetically, more pointing as she thinks about things. Hitomi seems content to watch for the most part, but always seems best able to describe things the most perfectly out of us all with smaller less grandiose movements. I, confined to the bed, can't quite make the impact that I wish I could with some of my statements... but it's still far better than sitting around doing nothing. It's amazing when I look at the clock and see that a few long hours have already gone by, light beginning to fade as the sun sets through the single window in the room.

Mom's always been an early-riser, but always early to bed too, so it's hardly a surprise when she admits that she's been up since much earlier than my sisters and is intent on turning in for the night. They've all apparently managed to rent a hotel room within easy walking distance of the hospital, all of two or three blocks away. Fumiko and Hitomi both pout just a little bit at the prospect of turning in quite so early, and manage to wriggle out of going back with her right now so long as they'll be careful walking back in just another hour or so. Still, with Mom leaving the conversation quickly seems to peter out and wander.

Of course, it doesn't take long at all for things to wander in exactly the direction that I'm uncomfortable with.

"I really can't believe that you fell down some stairs, Mina." Fumiko says with an odd expression of distaste at the fact, almost scrunching up her face a little at the prospect. I make a neutral sound at it, hoping to gloss over the subject even as my splinted arm moves up to try an play with the scarf that's not present. It's a habit that I know I've got when I'm trying to avoid a subject or... embellishing slightly on the details of it. One that I'm sure neither Fumiko or Hitomi have forgotten as they seem to go from just a little bored to locking right onto me.

"Mina?" Hitomi asks simply, managing to get me to look just past her in an approximation of looking at her a little uncomfortably, wishing that I could wiggle out of the situation that I was definitely stuck in now. So, of course, quite naturally the first thing that I find myself doing is exactly that.

"Yeah?" I ask, knowing full what Hitomi's asking about. I get a look of disapproval from both my sisters, Fumiko crossing her arms across her chest and leaning back while Hitomi leans forwards with an eerily similar expression. Maintaining an expression of innocent not understanding is pretty close to impossible, and within just a few seconds I feel the expression breaking into a grimace. I'm almost certain that my expression of distaste, for once, might actually pretty close to mirror Fumiko's as the pair exchange a look before looking at me expectantly. "I did though." I admit, looking down towards my hospital gown intently, grimacing.

I can feel my sisters' eyes boring down on me even now, and bite the inside of my cheek for a moment before Fumiko finally speaks up. "Mina, if someone pushed you or something... I'll be more than happy to be the one to push them down a few much longer flights of stairs."

I snort a little at the offer. Fumiko's always gotten to play the 'big sister' in the regard of dealing with people a little more physically. A few times, I can remember the same types of offers being made to beat people up on my behalf, since I'd likely hurt myself doing it. In pretty much every other regard, she still had to admit that I was the older and tiny bit more experienced of the pair of us. But the familiar offer, made so seriously with Fumiko having so obviously forgotten that she might very well be pushing someone without legs down the stairs, is at least a little amusing while I'm stuck with the inquisition.

"No. Nobody pushed me. I just ran down them like an idiot." I sigh, wincing a little bit as the memory of the whole incident is brought painfully close to the forefront of my mind. Of course, and probably with good reason given my avoidance of the subject it doesn't seem like the explanation is nearly good enough for my sisters. "I got into... a pretty big argument with a friend." I say, the words tumbling out easily enough given the fact that they hurt so much.

Fumiko looks just a little bit relieved, but Hitomi goes from an inquisitor's glare to a simple uneasiness. Her misgivings are easy to read, and even Fumiko seems to pick up on them after a few seconds of apparent relief. Of the three of us Hitomi's always had an uncanny ability to see through whatever things we'd make up, or to come up with the best lies for the misadventure's we'd gotten into as kids. It seems like over the past few years, even with seeing precious little of her, that she's managed to keep up on that. Just like I know that I'd defer to her, Fumiko does the same as her own relief seems to evaporate while the uncomfortable silence pervades. Hitomi's icy blue eyes seem to be searching me for any other explanation, and even though I know that the only real way that she'll figure out what I don't want to tell her would be by telling her, and impossible seeming though it is, I find my own resolve pretty rapidly breaking down.

"My... probably my best friend at the school. In front of a lot of other people." I admit, finding my voice cracking just a little bit as I tell something a lot closer to the truth. I find myself wiping a tear out of the corner of my eye, resolving not to look too pathetic in front of my younger siblings. I probably haven't set the greatest examples for them in everything, but I'd definitely prefer them not to see me being totally pathetic. Both of them are looking at me intently again, willing me to go on with more sympathetic expressions now that I'm opening up a little more to their liking.

"It was... bad." I admit, keeping my voice low to keep it from wavering too much. "We screamed at each other, basically, right in the middle of the hallway with just about everyone in our year watching." I'm forcing the worlds past a lump in my throat now, but feel almost obligated to go on. "It... basically ended with us knowing that we weren't going to be friends anymore." Forcing the words out gets harder and harder, and by the end I'm screwing my eyes shut to try and stem the tide of angry-sad tears that I can feel threatening to overflow. I can hear one of them getting up, and within just a second feel Hitomi pressing me into a close hug. I use the opportunity, more than a little to my shame, to sob into her for just a moment. Letting the floodgates loose, even for a moment, sets me up to make the poor judgement call to continue for just a few more words. "He said that we were done."

While Hitomi continues embracing me, I make the mistake of opening an eye to look over her shoulder at Fumiko. She looks surprised for just a fraction of a second at the new information before giving an unsure but still half-cocky smile. I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as she opens her mouth, making some remark I can't remember even a second after she says it, trying to defuse the whole thing with a tiny bit of humor.

I glare at her, and the smile dies within just a few short seconds. I continue to glare at her, and she looks more than a little uncomfortable... within just a moment or so, she's apologizing and making her way out of the room awkwardly, realizing the apparent gravity of her mistake and admitting defeat by waiting outside for Hitomi to catch up a few minutes. I feel more than a little bad as soon as she's actually out of sight, and realize that I've been half-crushing Hitomi the whole time that I was staring lasers at Fumiko. I grimace as I let go of her, feeling utterly terrible all-around again as the memory of the event is at the forefront of my mind.

"Why did you get into an argument with your friend?" Hitomi asks gently, smoothing out her shirt a little.

"Because I didn't tell him about my hemophilia." I admit, brushing away a few stray tears. Hitomi raises an eyebrow over that, almost back into the realm of denying the validity of what I was saying, but giving me a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. "He was a new transfer... I actually got to hang out with him like a normal person for a few weeks. I figured if he'd figured out he'd treat me like everyone always seems to." I say miserably, Hitomi crossing her arms across her chest and listening as I gloss over almost all of the things that we'd done, leaving off the past few days of the summary. Even with her usual ability to see through the little bits of misdirection, she doesn't seem to notice that last little bit, and when it's clear that I'm done she rolls her eyes at me.

My youngest sister, who I've jokingly called not much more than skin and bone a million times before, punches me in the shoulder with enough force than I'm absolutely certain it'll add to my collection of bruises. "Idiot. He just didn't want you to get hurt or anything." She says simply, shaking her head and giving me another hug to make up for the look I shoot her over punching me. "He'd probably be really, really lost if you got hurt when you guys were doing something. He got angry that you couldn't trust him with something like that, which is pretty important. Look where you ended up just falling down a few steps, Mina."

I grunt, unwilling to accept Hitomi's logic fully, but unable to exactly refute it either. I grind my teeth just a little bit at even the thought of Hisao, and give my sister a noncommittal grunt. Hitomi goes on, somewhat surprisingly, with a bit of optimism. "I think that it'll all turn out okay, Mina." She says it with a wide smile, obviously having conviction in her own analysis of the fact. "Buuut, for tonight, I think that Fumiko's been waiting outside for too long. She might get herself into trouble if we don't head to the hotel soon." She looks just a little perturbed with me again for a minute. "You should be nicer to her." I give another noncommittal grunt, a little bit more lightheartedly, and get a much lighter punch to the other shoulder and a briefer hug to match her action earlier.

"See you, Hitomi. Be safe walking to the hotel... tell Fumiko I'm a little sorry." I say as she turns to head out, she turns, smiling with a single quick nod as she reaches the doorway, heading out.

I sink into my bed, checking the time and wondering what'll happen tomorrow... feeling quite a bit better as I've got Hitomi's optimistic statements to end a much better day on. Tomorrow, I just might get some of the medical wiring and tubing taken away from me. I might be allowed just a tiny bit more freedom, a tiny bit more breathing room. Tomorrow would be a new day, where things definitely could turn out alright.

It takes a little doing, but as the rest of the night begins to drag on, I think that I manage to actually convince myself that it just might be a little bit true. Things might just turn out okay.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:41 pm

It looks like her sisters may be just who she needed to talk to to realize how much if an idiot shes been. I don't expect it to be instant, of course, but she seems to be on the right path.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:36 am

None of the three of us can even really remember why me and Fumiko seemed happier
"Fumiko and I"

...plus one past tense that snuck in that I can't find again right now^^°

Again a very good chapter. Her youngest sister reminds me a bit of a toned down version of Hisao's youngest from Hoitash's stories - a bit too clever for her age :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Seven Up]

Post by TheTealeaf » Wed Nov 19, 2014 3:04 pm

Nice seeing the family unit and their interactions.

Wondering when the old master of romance will show up and how the sisters are going to react!

So Mina's coming clean...

I hear confession is good for the soul, so mebbe it'll be good for Mina.

As always good update, looking forward to more!
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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CloudGrain
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Seven Up]

Post by CloudGrain » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:43 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote:It looks like her sisters may be just who she needed to talk to to realize how much if an idiot shes been. I don't expect it to be instant, of course, but she seems to be on the right path.
Indeed, sometimes it takes getting told the same thing over and over, but especially from a perspective someone trusts before they'll bother to admit the truth. Still a few hard little bits left to go before Minako will actually be willing and able to totally admit her fault, but hey, it's definitely a start.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
None of the three of us can even really remember why me and Fumiko seemed happier
"Fumiko and I"

...plus one past tense that snuck in that I can't find again right now^^°

Again a very good chapter. Her youngest sister reminds me a bit of a toned down version of Hisao's youngest from Hoitash's stories - a bit too clever for her age :-)
Will check back through it! As always, thanks very much for going through things for me and pointing out the few bits that need shoring up, Haven't had the opportunity to read too much of Hoitash's work, but can certainly say that I almost intended for her to come off exactly as such. While Fumiko and Minako are both a little more impulsive and a bit less capable of really understanding people when they're a bit out of sorts, Hitomi's a foil to that.
TheTealeaf wrote:Nice seeing the family unit and their interactions.

Wondering when the old master of romance will show up and how the sisters are going to react!

So Mina's coming clean...

I hear confession is good for the soul, so mebbe it'll be good for Mina.

As always good update, looking forward to more!
Thanks kindly Tealeaf, it'd definitely be telling if I answered any of those questions, so unfortunately not going to right now. :D

---

Just a general update; work's slowing down right now to a near standstill. Hopefully I'll be pulling myself out of the effective slump that I'm in relatively shortly and get back to work, but as always, it's just a little hard for me to predict these sorts of things. So, just a heads up that it's going to be a bit of a crapshoot as to when the next update may come out.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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CloudGrain
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Act Two, Scene Eight*;

Post by CloudGrain » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:12 pm

Act Two, Scene Eight

But for every truth perceived




"Get out, Nakai." Not pleasant first words, and coldly spoken... but they felt appropriate.

Despite the turmoil of emotions brewing inside me as I turn away from the figure in the doorway, my voice is almost perfectly toneless as I stare up at the blank white ceiling. Since my family has come to visit, things have been going well enough... I've been able to keep myself occupied, been able to keep the thought that this might happen in the back of my mind. I made up with Fumiko the morning after I pretty viciously sent her out of my room, Hitomi berated me a little bit for being an idiot, but it seemed like it'd been enough closure. It'd sort of manage to lay the issue to rest for a little while, at least in my own mind.

But... I'd still decided to be prudent today. If anyone from school was going to visit me, they'd probably visit me after school Saturday. And if anyone from the school were to visit me, it'd probably be Hisao.

So I'd deliberately kept my sisters and mother for a little bit after their 'lunch-time' and asked them to pick up a few things for me on their way back to the hospital after they went out to eat. It was just a little bit of 'insurance' against the idea that Hisao might possibly come to try and visit me in the hospital. I wasn't sure what it'd be that I'd feel if he did and wanted at least a bit of privacy just in case things got a little heated. There's still anger I feel for how things turned out... and there are still a lot of other emotions that I haven't quite been able to file away so neatly. I've hardly been able to decide how I might react, right up until the moment that he opened the door.

Even now, while he's standing in the doorway unmoving I've hardly got any idea how I'll continue to react. Even after telling him to just go away, to leave me alone... I'm hardly certain that it's what I really want him to do. When he finally manages to respond, his voice cracks just a little bit.

"Are you alright, Mina?" He sounds completely dejected even as he asks the question.

Something sparks the anger, and my reply is dripping with both sarcasm and contempt. "Oh, yeah. Things are wonderful. I'm just in the hospital, covered in bruises and getting injected with plenty of shit every now and again. It's much more fun than a day at school, especially weekends. I've got about twenty TV channels here, fifteen of them news. I'm catching up on so much. Even now that they've pulled out the IV and taken all the wires off me." Hisao winces, looking down at the floor as my gaze is just about to meet his. As much as I feel like my anger is completely justified, I feel myself feeling bad for being so harsh as soon as I actually look at Hisao.

He looks like crap... as though he hasn't slept in the past few days, tired and drained with bags under his eyes, and a way of holding himself that's just plain wrong compared to how he usually does. My comment looks like it had just about the same effect on him as getting up and slapping him would have as he stares at the floor so carefully. It seems like pushing his gaze from the floor to me is physically painful for him as he bites the inside of his cheek.

"I'm so so sorry, Mina." His response is just barely over a whisper, just barely audible as I stare him down, and he quickly averts his gaze as I do the same. There's a flutter somewhere in my stomach as I find myself suddenly wishing that I could forgive him with just that. Tell him that it was all going to be fine, admit that I'd been at least somewhat to blame on what happened. He hadn't pushed me down the stairs, I'd fallen.

He looked genuinely remorseful for what had happened. He was still Hisao, the same person that I'd managed to find so many good things over the course of the past few weeks. The same person who I'd been so worked up over the idea of being rejected by... It takes just a small extension on that thought to go right back to anger.

Despite all that, he was the same person who yelled at me in the middle of everyone. Accused me, ignored my asking to deal with things a little later, and finally rejected me. He's probably just doing this to try and make himself feel a little less guilty. He made himself perfectly clear back at the school what we were to one another now.

"Fine. Now that you've said your piece, go. I've lived through worse, you didn't push me. No need to feel guilty, so you can leave." The icy tone cuts through the air nicely enough, and Hisao's staring at the floor again. He's probably trying to come up with some flimsy excuse, some little extra thing that might make things seem so much better, some lie that could help to sweeten things up. It's hardly a surprise that he seems to somehow muster the courage, even under my sharp glare to make his way over to one of the chairs next to my bed and find himself a seat. His voice is shaky at best, and the fact that he doesn't even look up as he starts speaking earns nothing but contempt from me until I start to actually process the words.

"I... I don't know if I've ever been as scared in my life, Mina. Even my heart attack... that was just a few seconds before I blacked out." Unconsciously, as soon as I hear about Hisao's heart I immediately find myself pushing my anger aside as I simply listen attentively. "But running down the stairs after you fell... not knowing..." Hisao shudders at that, pausing for just a brief few seconds. His hands are clenched in his lap, knuckles white as he whispers. "Not knowing if you were okay." His voice trembles at that last sentence and he meets my gaze with watery eyes.

Whatever anger was still in me seemed to be just about completely mollified as I suddenly realize just how sincere Hisao is right now. It all seems to click at once, that he looks like absolute crap for a reason, that he can't even meet my gaze right now... that he's feeling so utterly and completely guilty because he does care. It's not that made-up caring face that people put on when they just know that they're supposed to feel bad, he's genuinely been stressing over this.

I feel guilty, realizing the simple fact that it'd be a monumental effort on my own part to try and come in and say the exact same thing if the roles had been reversed. As sour as I still was, looking back on the events of Tuesday, I can't help but admit that I haven't exactly done things 'right' either... Hisao's probably managing to go above and beyond what I could force myself to do if we were in the opposite positions. It's only after a deep, shaky breath of my own that I finally manage to stop myself from being so icy towards Hisao.

"I'm... fine, Hisao." I finally admit, getting him to look up at me as he seems to notice the change in tone. "A few nasty bruises... a really badly sprained wrist... but I've definitely had worse." Hisao takes a deep breath, looking relieved as he gives a few nods. As opposed to earlier, the admission looks like it actually lifts a bit of weight off his shoulders. "I mean... I still hate hospitals, but I'll be out in just a few days without too many problems." I admit, getting an empathetic-looking grimace from Hisao. My mind kinda goes back to an instance where I swear I can remember Hisao mentioning spending months in a hospital, and I can't help but cringe a little at just the thought of it. A day was bad... a week was horrible. But months of being more or less tethered to a hospital bed sounded like a punishment in one of the circles of hell.

Of course, as soon as I've more or less managed to actually forgive him for simply falling down the stairs... it really only leaves one last avenue for the conversation to go in. The direction that's the whole reason for my anger at Hisao in the first place. The reason that I fell down the stairs rather than the simpler fact that I had fallen down the stairs. The explosion in the hallway that'd still be something both of us would have to deal with after I got back to Yamaku in a few days.

The silence manages to pervade for the next few minutes... an uncomfortable heavy thing that seems like it could only promise that either we'd avoid the topic or that if we actually managed to talk about it, it'd be difficult. It's after a few moments of that heavy silence, of that awkward avoidance of the only topic that was on either of our minds that Hisao manages to break the silence.

"I'm sorry for how... things happened. Not just after it was over." He says it slowly, somehow managing to flame my anger back into being. I manage to bite back a few responses though, trying to keep a lid on my anger as he tries to play it off. "I just... I'd asked some people about you after someone was concerned about you being alone. People started saying things about how you really ought to be careful... about how you shouldn't do some things." Despite doing my best to contain the bit of building anger, I can't help but snap a little bit at that.

"So what? Because other people were concerned about me you decide to scream at me in the hallway?" My voice has a scathing edge to it once again, this time though, Hisao seems a little bit more able to stand up to it. The fact that he seems to take it with equanimity makes me angrier still. "Decided that waiting a whole twenty minutes after class, bringing it up quietly when you came over would be way too much for you to handle?" I growl, sitting up on the side of the bed and almost daring Hisao to look away at this point. Instead of the cold anger I'd felt before, it was a hot anger that I felt now. "Because obviously everyone else has a way better idea about what's good for me than I'd know, right? Especially you!" That gets him to look away awkwardly as I tap into the anger towards almost everyone who seems to treat me like some sort of fragile thing. "You had to just keel over before you'd explain to me what was wrong, how could screaming at me asking the same sorts of questions possibly go wrong?" I ask, struggling to keep my voice to a normal conversational volume. People would come running here if you started screaming.

"I..." Hisao seems to choke on the word for a moment, taking a deep breath before attempting to continue. "I... don't..." He bites it off after a moment, raising his gaze to look at me with a pained expression. "I was afraid." He says slowly, seeming to try and choose his words a little more carefully. "What everyone was saying... how they were saying it."

"So what, you believed everything everyone said?" I said, snapping just a bit at the statement.

"Nobody told me anything, Mina. They were all just concerned about you, said that it'd be better if you were safe." Hisao started, exasperated.

"So why did you decide to freak out about it? Why did you decide to go crazy? Why did you make the whole thing into something for everyone to watch and gossip about, you idiot?!" I ask, raising my voice as high as I dare hoping that nobody will come to check up on me. Hisao seems to withdraw just a little bit at that, turtling right back up into whatever shell he had in order to try and avoid the question with some mumbled excuse. "Why couldn't you just leave it alone and let us be happy for a little while?"

"Because I was afraid that I might do something wrong." Hisao says it slowly, once again unable to meet my gaze as I stare down at him. "I didn't know if I could accidentally hurt you... if anything that I'd done was wrong..." He said slowly, chewing over the words. "I didn't want to find out when something had already happened, Mina. I just... I couldn't imagine how badly it feels." He says it miserably, looking as though I've just gone through a rigorous torture session to wring the information out of him."Not knowing if I might have hurt you, not knowing if I could without even knowing it in the future... it hurt." I'm not quite sure what I want to do right now... strangle him or hug him to try and empathize with him.

He looks me dead in the eye, finally seeming to find some reserve again. "You lied to me. For days... weeks." Hisao looks like he doesn't want to say it but he grits his teeth and balls his hands into fists. "You lied to me, Mina." His voice chokes a little as he says it. "Do you know how much that hurt? How much I worried? Wondered if I'd hurt you? Wondering why you hadn't simply told me? I started thinking about it and could only think about the worst things as being true if you'd avoided it. Just... awful things..." His voice peters out as he shakes his head, as though trying to shake out some bad memory or image. He sniffs deeply then moves nearer the bed, gently taking my hand. "Remember watching the sunset?" He doesn't give me a chance to answer, he plows on regardless. "It was perfect Mina. Then finding out a few hours later you'd been lying to me?" He sighs. "I was angry, rash, hot headed and said things that I regret. But how can I be with you when I'm unsure if I can even trust you?"

He looks at the floor and in the silence of the room, I hear a tiny 'plip' noise as a tear hits the floor.

The anger is gone again as I feel him shudder just a little bit, replaced by more uncomfortable feeling of guilt in the pit of my stomach as my mind haltingly manages to grasp what he's been saying over and over. After his little scare when we'd gone out to lunch in town on Sunday... I definitely had an idea of the fear of something happening. It'd taken more than a little time to convince myself that he'd be okay after I left, that since he'd taken his medicine and caught things early that he wouldn't have too many issues. It'd taken just about every ounce of my self-control to not pester him on and on about it, to not go right down to the nurse and risk getting both of us into a little bit of trouble if too many questions were asked. It'd been because I was still so content in hiding my own condition that I'd been able to keep so quiet, giving him the same type of leeway that I so desperately wanted.

All that he'd wanted to really do was make sure that he hadn't hurt me. Sure, it was exactly the same sort of thing that everyone else told me as they were so careful around me, didn't let me do anything for myself. But it wasn't because he was just afraid of letting me hurt myself, it was because he was afraid of hurting me somehow without knowing. I can remember the guilt that I felt, even knowing that it was hardly my fault that he'd had his own condition 'pop up' in town, and can hardly imagine how much worse it'd be if I really had caused it. That was what he was so angry about, what he'd been trying to avoid at all costs by confronting me.

I squeeze his hand a little bit, trying to reassure him as I work the words through a lump in my throat. "I'm sorry too..." I sniff, running my free hand, splint and all across my face to try and keep myself from looking like a complete wreck. "I just... I didn't know what would happen." Hisao manages to look up at me, the faintest glimmer of hope in his eyes. "People always seem to think that I'm... that I'd just fall right over in a stiff breeze. That if I got a tiny paper-cut it's all over. That if I got a bruise it must mean that I'm about to bleed out inside." I find myself explaining, practically gushing out that half-hidden hatred of being 'babied' all my life for the first time. "People just... always think that they know what's better for me, even though I've managed to get this far alright. I just..." I grimace, more or less deciding that I've gone too far to hold anything else back. "It was a big part of what made hanging out with you so special."

Hisao looks a little confused, but a little bolstered by the statement. "I got to do things with you that... well... nobody else would do with me." I admit it, giving a weak smile at the less 'real' guilt of managing to get Hisao to do a lot of what he'd done with me. "Climbing a tree? Playing soccer? Even going out to town with you... A lot of people would constantly be trying to look after me, to make sure that I didn't hurt myself, try to keep me from doing it in the first place. Constantly making sure that everything was okay. But with you I could be... normal. I could do all sorts of things." I say it with a guilty smile-turning grimace. "But... telling you just seemed like a worse and worse idea... especially after... well, the sunset." The guilt of the whole situation settles down in my stomach even as I feel my cheeks warm up just a little bit at the happy memory.

Looking over, I think that Hisao's expression manages to mirror my own pretty closely. Happy, but at the same time the littlest bit put-off by the whole situation. It's his turn to squeeze my hand just a little bit, managing to push aside the worse feelings as he smiles reassuringly. "Okay. I understand." I let out a breath I didn't even realize I was holding at that, a sigh of relief that Hisao had been able to at least say that much. Few enough people seem to understand that much about me even after having been around me for years. I doubt that just about anyone else outside of my family might be able to say if we'd gotten into a fight like me and Hisao had just a few short days ago. Surprisingly, Hisao manages to go a step further than even that. "I forgive you."

That lifts a weight off my chest, out of my gut where the guilt had settled. "I forgive you too." I find myself saying, letting all that pent up anger about the whole situation finally fade as I squeeze Hisao's hand. With things seeming to be becoming just a little bit more... normal, getting the other stuff out of the way I can't help but want to tease Hisao a little bit to clear out the heaviness that still seemed to be in the air. "But so help me God, Hisao, if you try to break up with me like that again Hisao... you'd better sleep with one eye open for the rest of your life." I growl, getting a startled look out of Hisao for a moment before we share a few seconds of laughter as my expression softens.

"Can I come by to visit tomorrow then?" Hisao asks, looking more than a little bolstered by the conversation now. The bags haven't exactly managed to dissapear magically from underneath his eyes, and they're still just a little glazed over from what I assume is a lack of sleep. But he's sitting up just a bit straighter, looking just a little more alert, and most importantly has the ghost of a smile on his face as he asks the question. The change feels just as welcome for me, as I close my eyes contently.

"Yeah... I'd like that." There's a sudden nagging feeling in my gut as I look past Hisao at the clock. It's more than a little past the time that I'd expected my family to be coming back... and I'm absolutely sure that there would be all sorts of stuff I'd hear about it if they found me and a boy holding hands in my room when I'd a little suspiciously managed to get them to head out for a longish while. "Er... Hisao?" I ask, withdrawing my hand with a little bit of confusion from Hisao. "If you... left right now it'd probably save us from a little embarrassment when my family comes back. I kinda haven't told them... about this." I feel my cheeks and the tips of my ears both burning as Hisao seems to come to the realization and blush a little himself. "I can introduce you tomorrow! But uhh... today would be... awkward." I manage to more or less just barely squeak out as Hisao gives an uncomfortable grin and nods quickly.

"Alright, yeah. I understand." He says, standing up and straightening himself out a little bit as he rubs the back of his neck. "I'll see you tomorrow then, Mina." He says it with a smile, leaning in and giving me a quick peck on the cheek before he leaves. Honestly, I want nothing more than to pull him right back to me to get a proper kiss out of him... but I can't imagine living it down if my sisters or mother walked through the door right at that moment. As it stands, I feel like every second is adding just a bit more to the risk of the whole situation. Still, I can't help but blush a little as I wave when he's at the door... realizing that things had turned out so much better than I'd expected. As soon as he's out the door, I find myself settling back into the hospital bed as contently as I think that I've ever been.

Things between me and Hisao are... good, I think. Which is basically the complete opposite of what I'd assumed they'd be when this was all said and done. It'd been the encounter that I'd been absolutely dreading since it happened, and it somehow turned out okay. I'm so caught up in my relief that the voices in the hallway are more or less passing in one ear and out the other for a little while as I just lay back contently. The simple contentedness with the whole situation manages to be just about completely shattered as the door swings open to reveal Fumiko with a downright evil looking grin plastered across her face, Hitomi looking like she's dangerously close to laughter, and my mother absolutely beaming. The combination of expressions between all the members of my family promises absolutely nothing good for me.

"So... your boyfriend seems nice enough. Mom was kinda disappointed that you were trying to hide him from us!" Fumiko says, managing to draw a giggle from Hitomi as I wish that I could disappear into my bed. Mortified really doesn't manage to fully convey how I feel right now as my family is looking me over and, more likely than not, trying to figure out the best possible ways to embarrass me over the situation that they possibly can. Or at the very least... Fumiko's probably trying to do exactly that. My mother somehow manages to do it without even trying.

"Really, Minako, it would've been nice to know about it before!" My mom starts, already getting me to cringe just a little bit as she smiles in way I assume is trying to be reassuring. "But you should be happy! I would've been happy to have snagged such a cutey when I was your age!" I cringe as Fumiko and Hitomi both laugh at that, feeling heat rise to my cheeks and ears. This is going to be a long... long... remainder of a day.
Last edited by CloudGrain on Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a beautiful thing to lose.

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

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:16 pm

Loved it. The talk between Mina and Hisao was well done. Glad to see her finally realize what Hisao was really trying to do and why he was angry with her.

Also, loved everything about the last paragraph. That was hilarious. Nice bit of levity after the heavy topic of the previous conversation.

Also also, stealth post at work for the win!
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Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Nov 28, 2014 2:58 pm

Well, that discussion went a lot better than it had any right to, considering how it started :-)
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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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Eight Up]

Post by Solistor » Fri Nov 28, 2014 5:26 pm

Still reading, still enjoying. I was smiling by the end of the Mina/Hisao conversation, but my suspicions were confirmed when the family was revealed to have been eavesdropping or at least pulled the story from Hisao. I expect many teasings about this in the future. :P

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

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:07 pm

The problem with that is that her sisters have already been depicted as unusually mature, so it would be quite strange if they suddenly started childishly teasing her sister for having a boyfriend.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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

Post by CloudGrain » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:27 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote:Loved it. The talk between Mina and Hisao was well done. Glad to see her finally realize what Hisao was really trying to do and why he was angry with her.

Also, loved everything about the last paragraph. That was hilarious. Nice bit of levity after the heavy topic of the previous conversation.

Also also, stealth post at work for the win!
Thanks kindly! I actually have TheTealeaf to thank for looking over quite a bit of the conversation between Mina and Hisao and steering me more or less in the right direction. It was a really, really annoyingly difficult bit for me to write, and I seriously owe him one for managing to hammer out some general advice and direction for me regarding it. I'm really glad that it's done, because blech, writing hurts both my braincells sometimes. Quite glad to have been able to toss in some of the comic relief at the end via her family. I'd like to think that most of us all know 'that' feeling when our siblings/parents seem to go above and beyond conscious thought in embarrassing us!

Also, quite impressive that you're getting off stealth posts at work, I have to admit. Don't get caught, be sneaky like Kenji!
Mirage_GSM wrote:Well, that discussion went a lot better than it had any right to, considering how it started :-)
Definitely. It's a pretty idealistic universe where neither of them snapped any more at the other and drove the wedge between them deeper, nor lacked the will to continue once things had been started. But hey, idealistic happens every once in a great while, so why not indulge in the fantasy of it happening here, eh? :D
Solistor wrote:Still reading, still enjoying. I was smiling by the end of the Mina/Hisao conversation, but my suspicions were confirmed when the family was revealed to have been eavesdropping or at least pulled the story from Hisao. I expect many teasings about this in the future. :P
Very glad, as always, to continue to entertain. I'll admit that it was a bit... predictably cliche that they managed to catch Hisao on his way out of Mina's room. But hey, occasionally the opportunity arises to poke fun at someone that you just can't quite just ignore! In this case, to at least somewhat lighten things up after some pretty serious stuff... maybe manage to keep Mina a little more humble given her nature too. :lol:
Mirage_GSM wrote:The problem with that is that her sisters have already been depicted as unusually mature, so it would be quite strange if they suddenly started childishly teasing her sister for having a boyfriend.
Have they been? Hitomi I'd admit to certainly being portrayed moreso as an empath than most people would be, and a little bit more capable of holding her tongue. Fumiko's 'intended' portrayal was as almost an echo of Minako's personality in most regards. That's not to say necessarily immature, but it is certainly pretty apt to poke fun at other people where it's tolerated and warranted. Hitomi even has a tiny hint of that same trait in her, though much less pronounced than her sisters might have. As to their mother... well, I think I can pretty safely say that most people have been absolutely horrifically embarrassed by their mother at some point in their life even without their mother making a real conscious attempt to do so. Given the subject matter, I wouldn't exactly see something like that as a 'zero-possibility event'. :)
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Re: A Crimson Route [Act Two, Scene Eight Up]

Post by Oddball » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:27 pm

The problem with that is that her sisters have already been depicted as unusually mature, so it would be quite strange if they suddenly started childishly teasing her sister for having a boyfriend.
Siblings never grow out of childishly teasing each other. :wink:

Now for the story...

Remarkably well paced with some very strong characters. I don't quite get why everyone is treating her like she's made of glass though. With the build up you gave it, I expected something much worse than what she had.

Hisao seemed to loose his temper really easily considering that he has a habit of keeping his own condition a secret as well.
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