Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 2015-4-1}

WORDS WORDS WORDS
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Leaty
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — An Iwanako Campaign

Post by Leaty » Fri May 18, 2012 1:48 am

griffon8 wrote: … Proceed.

Finally, a Misha path!
I wouldn't get your hopes up for me to write one. Right now, I don't want to get any more ambitious than a parallel story to Act One (which is why the story is titled what it is.) Writing a Misha path would essentially be tantamount to rewriting Shizune's path, replacing Hisao with a borderline-OC, and revising the conclusion of the story, which is a close enough prospect to rewriting The Girl Who Lived that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn't help that Doomish has already begun to write a Misha path and it's better than anything I can do in that area, nor does it help that any Misha path I tried to write would now be tainted by my having read it. And, at any rate, as much as I adore Misha, I don't really care for Shizune, so writing a ton of somatic dialogue for a character I don't find that exciting really doesn't make my life any easier in that regard.

I'll say this, though; if, after all is said and done, I haven't provided a springboard for somebody else to write a great Iwanako/Misha romfic, I'll have failed at what I'm setting out to do.

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Guest90206
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — An Iwanako Campaign

Post by Guest90206 » Sat May 19, 2012 12:46 pm

Leaty wrote:Words words words Shizune no Misha no words words words.
All I'm hearing here is DIFFERENT GIRL.

Shit, son, in my opinion, if you can make Iwanako, whom we know nigh upon nothing about, work as a character, you can probably work with just about any character.

But that's just me.

And no, I'm not a yuri fanatic; I see this as having legitimate promise for a unique storyline.
But that's not to say I don't enjoy a good yuri-fic... >=_=>
Hanabro to the end.

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Leaty
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Scene Three

Post by Leaty » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:14 pm

Slow Code to China

I don’t remember anything else about that day. I was ushered out of the hospital so quickly, it felt like a jailbreak, as if my parents worried the doctors might soon change their minds.

I spent that night at home for the first time since my heart attack. I thought my room would feel reassuringly familiar after so long in the hospital, but enough time had passed that the tables had turned. I’d spent a lot of time personalizing and beautifying my room, but now it seemed… uncanny. It wasn’t how I remembered it. The atmosphere felt heavier, somehow. The air didn’t smell right.

The flowers I’d placed in the windowsill in February had died from four months of negligence. Now, nothing remained but dried brown husks, jutting out morbidly from macabre pots of dirt. Besides that, nothing about my room had changed. My bed was still prepared the exact same way I’d left it four months ago, and an unfinished homework assignment was sitting on my desk, waiting, absurdly, to be completed. My desk calendar sat faithfully behind it, still displaying that date in February when my entire life fell to pieces. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to correct it.

The recently-laundered school uniform I’d surely never wear again. The posters of musicians whose music I no longer had any desire to hear. The book on my nightstand I didn’t remember starting and didn’t think I’d ever finish. The photographs of vacations and class trips so nebulous in my memories, they felt like mythology. The stuffed animals whose friendly, earnest expressions made me want to weep.

My room was filled with my belongings. So why did it feel so much like I was invading a stranger’s room? How come none of my possessions felt like my own? Why couldn’t I overcome this chilling sensation that I was excavating the bedroom of a girl who’d recently passed away?

It felt so ghoulish just to lie in my own bed. I didn’t think I’d ever get to sleep, but I underestimated the potency of my nighttime medications. The enforced drowsiness ushered me into unconsciousness, careless of my waking anxieties.
Image
My mother gently shakes me awake, and by the time my eyes open has already assembled my morning medications, next to a steaming cup of tea.

Right now, I’m too groggy to make out much of what she’s saying. She’s stroking my hair, though, and smiling warmly, so I can’t help but smile back. It’s too early for me to recall my feelings about anything.

I take a sip of tea. It’s the good stuff, Baihao Yinzhen with rose pearls and a touch of lychee honey. Sweet enough that I’m able, however temporarily, to forget the bitterness of the endless pills and tablets she eases into my hand. The last time I remember my mother pampering me like this, I was just a little girl. I can’t even remember the last time anybody’s come into my room to wake me up. I’ve always been early riser.

Or, at least, I used to be. Now, it’s anybody’s guess.

It’s an important day for me. Tomorrow, I’m starting school at Yamaku. This is the last day I’ll be spending in this city, at least for a while. The first day since my heart attack that I’m free to walk around like a normal person.

It’s the first day of the rest of my life. Since everything that’s happened, what was once an insipid platitude now has a disturbing sort of resonance with me.

I think it’s an important day for my mother, too, though she’ll never say it aloud, not to me. It’s the first day of her restitution towards me. She feels guilty for everything that’s happened to me, like she’s somehow directly responsible for my suffering. Of course she isn’t; no one is, but could anyone convince their mother otherwise?

Truthfully, if anybody feels guilty, it’s me. I’ve understood for a long time now that I was not my parents’ favorite child, but as long as they held any affection for me, at all, I never felt much envy or resentment. Since yesterday, however, it’s started to feel like I’ve dragged them into caring for my well-being, like I’ve manipulated them into treasuring the time they spend with me. It feels like acting out.

“Come on, honey, take a shower and get ready,” she says. “We’re going shopping today, remember?”

I nod. “Right.”

I smile again and disembark from the bed, drifting towards the bathroom like a dislodged cobweb. I already know she’s going to shower me with gifts today. With any luck, it’ll make the two of us feel better, distract us from our problems, maybe make the pain go away a little. I can’t say that the whole time I was lying on a hospital bed, I was dying to go to the mall, but as far as quick fixes go, this one definitely bears more promise than most.

I need new clothes, anyway. I’ve lost too much weight. This negligee used to be flattering on me, but now it may as well have been the hospital gown.

I pull it over my head and fold it up next to the bathroom sink. On the interior side of the bathroom door, I can see my whole body in the full-length mirror. Waifish. Emaciated. Even my face seems different, more angular and gaunt. There are dark circles under my eyes that I never had in February.

I never thought myself one of the great beauties of our school. I looked… nice, I think. I think I received a respectable amount of attention. I remember the compliments. This is the first time I’ve really looked at my body in natural light since being hospitalized, though, and… I don’t think I’ll get those compliments anymore. I look frightening, even without the angry scarlet line cascading down my sternum.

As the warm water from the shower caresses me, my mind begins to wander. I can’t help but think about tomorrow. Yamaku Academy… It’s a school for ruined and defective youths like me. But that’s all I really know about it. That could mean anything.

I remember seeing something on television, some kind of educational show or news program or something. It was about a baby in America with some kind of rare genetic mutation. As a result, she was born without a face. Her entire head was some sort of misshapen, malformed monstrosity, barely recognizable as human. It suddenly occurs to me there could be kids at Yamaku with that problem. There could be several, even.

The girls could all look like that, I suppose. Compared to them, even now, I suppose I’d look like a goddess. So beautiful, I could have my pick of all the mangled boys in the school.



Ugh. I’ve never been so disgusted with myself in my life. What kind of person would think this way? When was I ever this deranged?

This is something I need to work on. I’m not worthy of anybody’s affection with such horrible things in my head. And everybody’s counting on me to force them out.
Image
In spite of how many horrible thoughts I had today, I still enjoyed a fairly rewarding shopping spree. Karma, assuming it actually exists, doesn’t seem to know what to do with me. It’s like I’m constantly ricocheting in and out of grace, these days.

Going to the shopping center was… strange. I’m unused to being around so many people now. I have to admit, I expected to be stared at, even though my scar was well-hidden under my shirt. Even my tightest clothes felt loose on me, and I thought I looked ridiculous. Maybe I’m already beginning to regard myself as grotesque.

I managed to find clothes that managed to make me look like something other than a cadaver, though; mostly items with high or otherwise nonexistent necklines, to keep my scar concealed, and long skirts to downplay my increasingly bony legs. I’m leaving it up to faith that a situation won’t come up where I’ll be forced into a swimsuit. I suppose in that case, I could cover up the scar with some foundation, assuming I didn’t have to actually go into the water.

There were moments I thought for sure a piece of clothing I liked was too expensive to purchase. My mother was adamant, though. We’ve always been... fairly well-off, but this display of generosity made me squirm a little. The idea that she’d be so determined not to let anything obstruct my happiness makes me feel really sheepish. She’s never treated me with such importance before.

She’s doing a good job, though. I was skeptical that a shopping trip would have any ability to lighten my spirits, but with the bags in my hand, I’m starting to feel, well, renewed, in a way. It’s like the opposite of that foreboding feeling I felt in my room last night. These are all new things. No baggage from the past. No regrets.

To cap off the day, my mother took me to get a haircut. It’s been awhile since the last time I’ve gotten one. This isn’t the same salon I usually go to, though—this is an upscale one with ridiculous prices. The waiting area is filled with posh, trendy-looking women wearing cutting-edge fashions. At least, I think they’re cutting-edge. It’s been four months since I’ve seen any clothes other than scrubs and lab coats.

I expect to be waiting a while, but not long after the clock hits what my mother informs me is my scheduled appointment time, a cheery and chic-looking stylist calls me over to her chair and wraps me in a cutting cape.

“So, what were you looking to do today?”

I freeze, as though struck with stage fright. As foolish as it sounds… I honestly don’t know the answer. In the past, I’ve always worn my hair just to my shoulders, with a fringe. I don’t think I’ve changed it from that simple formula since grade school. My hair grows relatively fast, though, and in its current, neglected state, it’s the longest it’s ever been. The fringe is gone almost completely, having settled into a simple rift straight down the middle, and I can feel my hair tickling the center of my back.

The elegant solution would be simply to go with the haircut I’ve always had, but… No. I can’t bear to do it. It’s just… obsolete. Obsolete like my room, my old clothes, that calendar on my desk. Outmoded, in a way I find more than a little jarring. It feels like denial. Like pretending I never collapsed in the snow back in February. Like pretending I don’t have these dark circles under my eyes.

I’ve got no interest in going down that road. I can’t help but feel certain it would only harm me.

“I think I’m going to grow it out, so just a trim would be fine, please.”

The stylist grins, and shoots me the thumbs-up. “You got it.”

I feel a fluttering in my stomach, but it’s a good sensation as the stylist’s scissors begin to tap away at my hair. My eyes slowly begin to shut, my body beginning to enter a sublime state of contentment. Despite my very real apprehensions about going to Yamaku, it’s liberating, knowing I won’t have to undertake some effete struggle to restore the things I’ve already lost.

Everything right now is such a mess, but I’m being allowed to just leave that mess where it sits and move forward. Even if that just means something as simple as retiring a haircut that doesn’t work anymore.

After a couple moments, the tapping of the scissors slows to a stop, and there’s a brief silence before I look up to see the stylist contemplating me with a mildly chagrined expression.

“Um, miss? Would you like me to add color today as well? To darken it a little?”

I can’t help but raise a baffled eyebrow at her. My hair is completely sable. It’s not going to get any darker. “What for?”

She pauses, as if trying to come up with a diplomatic answer, before pulling a hand mirror off the table and holding it close to my face, gesturing to my temples with her thumb and forefinger.

”Well, you can see it’s a little lighter here and here.”

…?!

Grey.

Not many. Just a couple of strands on both sides of my head, at the roots. I had never even noticed until this moment. But they’re there, completely obvious if you’re looking for them, grey as granite. I… this… I don’t even know what to say. This is horrifying.

I’m not even eighteen yet. How could this possibly be happening to me? Those roots weren’t grey four months ago. Was the stress and anxiety from the surgery enough to make me start going prematurely grey? Or is this just… some sort of serendipitous misfortune? Why would my own body be so perfectly devoted to crushing my spirit?

“Miss? Are you alright?”

I know she’s waiting for an answer, but I need to take a moment to address the implications of this first.

“I… sorry. I need a moment to think.”

I glance over to the waiting area. My mother’s still sitting there, casually reading a book, oblivious to my state of disturbance. Mother is only forty years old. In spite of that fact, or perhaps because of it, she’s still incredibly beautiful, almost absurdly so. My father’s always made more than enough to provide us with an embarrassingly carefree lifestyle. I wonder if Mother was ever troubled by anything before my heart revealed itself to be so unserviceable.

She doesn’t have any grey in her hair yet, not that I’m aware of. I can’t help but realize that I’m not even going to live to be as old as she is at this moment. They say I’ll be fortunate to live past thirty.

If I’m going to die at thirty, than aren’t I already over the hill? I’m more than halfway through my life. Speaking in terms of our lifespans, aren’t I actually older than Mother, now? Maybe it’s only fair that I go grey before she does.

She finally notices me staring at her, and smiles, winking at me. Even now, she’s so poised, so unflappable. Preposterously, I feel a pang of jealousy for mother’s youthfulness.

I heave a sigh. This is stupid.

The moment I begin to turn my truncated lifespan into an identity, I may as well give up on self-improvement entirely. I didn’t just buy a whole new wardrobe’s worth of fashionable clothing and accessories just to go around feeling like an old woman. And I can think of nothing more characteristic of an old woman than going out of my way just to bring my hair back to its original color. Just to restore what’s been lost.

Dying at thirty doesn’t mean I’m an old woman. It means I’m never going to be an old woman. It means I’m going to die beautiful. Perhaps if my attitude was a little more like my mother’s, these grey roots would never have appeared in the first place.

So let’s do something crazy. Something youthful.

I make eye contact with the stylist, who has been waiting patiently for my wave of angst to disperse. “Um, I don’t really feel like dyeing my hair just to cover up a few strands. Couldn’t we do something in the opposite direction?”

She rubs her chin contemplatively. “What, like a blonde streak?”

I nod vigorously, running my fingers across the locks of hair at the front of my face. “Oh, blonde streaks, could you do that?”

She nods. “Sure, it’s kind of eccentric, but under the circumstances… Yeah, I could definitely make it look cool for you. How about just lightening everything in front?”

I nod. “Please do what you think is best.”
______________________________________________________________________
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Last edited by Leaty on Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:00 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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Leaty
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Scene Four

Post by Leaty » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:17 pm

The Shallow End

My mother keeps moving, vexed, from one side of the gate to the other, looking for some kind of cleverly-concealed electronic panel with which to page the school. After four fruitless cycles of this, she moves back over to me and places a hand on her hip, looking defeated.

“Well, I’m out of ideas,” she sighs.

It’s certainly an impregnable-looking gate, and it’s kind of puzzling to me that it would be closed like this at the start of the school day. This is the only entrance I can see, though. I take a step forward and push lightly on the left door. It opens, without any resistance at all.

Mother blinks at me. “Oh, I thought we tried that already.”

We kind of stand there awkwardly for a moment, before I decide to end the tension and head in. Mother follows along silently. I won’t tell anybody about this if she won’t.

Inside the gate, there’s a paved path surrounded by some impressive and fairly expensive-looking landscaping. It’s more like what you’d see at a golf course than a school. With what I’m given to understand about Yamaku’s funding, it’s almost certainly professionally maintained.

I’ve always loved natural beauty, but this isn’t really my style. I prefer nature preserves and arboretums to any kind of heavily-engineered landscape architecture. This sort of stodgy aesthetic tends to go over well in retirement centers and nursing homes, the kind of place where caged finches are put on display in day rooms for the lukewarm amusement of geriatric spinsters in squeaking wheelchairs.

Well, Yamaku ought to have the “wheelchair” part down, at any rate.

That’s a nasty thought, though, and counterintuitive. I wanted to be here. For all intents and purposes, this is where I belong, at least for the time being. It’s unrealistic to be unhappy just because this place can’t make me forget I have a problem.

My mother makes a comment about the buildings looking nice. I nod in agreement. They’re certainly different from what I’m used to. It gives me hope that there are other pleasant surprises to be found here.

We got here early, so there are a handful of students walking to their morning classes, but not many. I don’t get a good look at any of them, but from far off they look okay — no girls without faces or conjoined twins or anything like that. It’s kind of reassuring. I’d probably feel like I was trespassing otherwise.

Before long, the path forks and I realize my mother and I are going to have to part ways. I need to head down to the main building, while Mother’s going to bring my belongings to the dorms before heading home. This is… probably the last time I’m going to see her for a while.

Well, it’s not as dramatic as all that, actually. She said she would visit on the weekends if I wanted, and I’m sure I will, eventually. I certainly enjoyed our outing yesterday. Anyway, Mother doesn’t maintain a busy schedule by any means.

Even though I’ve already resolved not to think of this as a momentous occasion, it doesn’t stop my mother from pulling me into a loving embrace, cradling me in her arms and whispering reassurances into my ear, like I’m still a kindergartener. It’s a little embarrassing, and there are undoubtedly bemused students watching, but I don’t have the stamina to resist it. And, frankly, I have to admit it’s sort of nice, after all this time. I can’t help but think about how finite these moments are, especially now.

“Mother… I’ll be fine,” I finally say. “I’ll be sure to call you this evening.”

She pulls away, and the air that fills the space between us feels cold against my skin. She doesn’t look at all troubled, but there’s a sort of amateurish quality to her mannerisms, as though this is the first day of a new job.

“Is there anything you need me to get you before I head back home?”

I shake my head in the negative. “If I think of something, I’ll call you, I promise.”

She sighs, and gingerly runs a hand through my hair. “I guess we’ll see each other later, then.”

Not wanting to drag this moment out, I nod and smile, resolutely turning toward the main building before she can present me an opportunity to gaze morosely at her.

As I stand in front of the distinguished-looking building, I feel as though I’m overlooking something significant, but this isn’t the time or the place for navel-gazing. It’s a pastime I’d be best-suited to giving up entirely, were such a thing possible.

The handle of the front door feels light against my fingers. A surge of anxiety flares up inside me, and I try to focus on my reflection in the glass window. The newly-golden streaks in my brand-new haircut. The immaculately-applied premium cosmetics. The sparkling moonstone earrings. My white gold claddagh ring and silver charm bracelet. All the blessings my mother rained upon me yesterday.

Who is that girl? I think, trying to force sincerity upon myself. Wow, she’s totally cool!

My reflection quirks an eyebrow, as though wordlessly asking if I’m an idiot. Oh, to hell with this. I open the door.

A tall, sloppy-looking middle-aged guy is looking straight at me as I head inside. I suddenly realize from his side of the door, he could have been watching me making faces at my reflection in the window. Just like clockwork, I can feel my face going crimson.

“You must be… um…Daijou… Daito…”

“Daidouji,” I interject, trying my best to meet his eyes. They’re weary ones.

He nods, and shows no reaction to his obvious failure to remember more than one character in my name. I get the impression that these sorts of encounters are something he’s good at through repetition, not any kind of social savvy.

“…Daidouji. It’s nice to meet you. I’ll be your homeroom and science teacher. My name is Mutou. Welcome.”

We shake hands, though mine is practically tissue paper.

“The head nurse wanted to see you for a brief check-in. You’re here early, so we can get it done now, if you like.”

This seems like one of those illusory options. “Ah, y-yes,” I stammer. “Since we have the time, and all…”

Mutou nods again, a little too vigorously. “Well, then, if you’ll just follow me… It’s actually back outside. It’s the next building over.”

He holds the door open for me to head out, and the morning sun shines down on me once again, a little bit earlier than expected.

It’s a surprisingly brief walk down a paved path from the main building. I actually hadn’t realized this was a completely separate structure, at first glance. There’s not much distinguishing it from the rest of the Yamaku architecture.

“This is the administrative building,” Mutou explains tiredly. “There’s nothing ‘fun’ about it, but try to keep it in mind, since the nursing staff has their offices here.”

He’s not a good tour guide, but I suppose he doesn’t need to be. Truthfully, I shouldn’t get attached to him, because he’s going to despise me as soon as he discovers how bad at science I am.

As we walk inside, he leads me to a door and loudly raps on it before I get a chance to examine the placard. A muffled voice chimes back from inside, so Mutou pushes the door open and walks inside. I’m not sure what to do, so I stand in the hallway until I’m called in.

“I’ve got that new student here to see you,” Mutou says, brusquely, to a man out of my field of vision.

“Oh, cool. Great timing; I’ve actually got her file in front of me right this minute. Send her in,” a much younger man’s voice says from behind him.

“Send her in…?” Mutou turns around, bewildered, to discover me still standing in the hallway.

“Oh,” he says, walking back in my direction. He gestures to the door with his thumb and forefinger. “Go ahead, this is the Head Nurse. I’ll wait outside until you’re finished.”

He slumps against the wall of the hallway, looking bored, and I nod dumbly and enter the room. It smells faintly of latex and antibacterial soap.

The man in the office chair is surprisingly young-looking, and handsome in a coltish way. He’s got these vivid blue eyes with a lively and sardonic bent to them. It’s a little jarring. I feel cold air on my lower lip and wonder how long they’ve been parted.

“Um, good morning,” I offer weakly.

The Head Nurse grins, and it’s so mirthful that a part of me wonders if I’m at the right school, after all.

“Hi there! Nice to meet you. I’m the Head Nurse, like he said. Feel free to call me ‘Nurse,’ though, everyone does.”

He’s holding his hand out, and I move to shake it, managing to give a firmer handshake this time around.

He leans back into his chair and gestures to an open binder on his desk. “So,” he says nonchalantly, “Iwanako Daidouji. Chronic arrhythmia and a related congenital heart deficiency. Ah, and it looks like you needed a neurothekeoma removed, too.”

He gestures for me to sit down in one of the other chairs. I’m more than happy to do so; hearing about that neurothekeoma is starting to make me feel sick all over again.

I realize he’s been silent for a few seconds. Is he waiting for me to affirm what he said? It’s all in the file, right?

“That’s… that’s correct,” I say, my voice barely greater than a squeak.

He nods. “Right, well, I’m sure you’ll hear all about the school grounds soon enough, so I just want to get you up to speed on a few things.”

He explains to me the medical facilities they have available, and reiterates the 24-hour staff on hand that I think my parents said something about.

Another silence. Those blue eyes are like searchlights, chasing down my own. “Well, that’s very reassuring,” I finally say.

He doesn’t respond right away, and his eyes narrow. I’m not quite sure how to take it. I wasn’t being sarcastic, or anything.

Finally it breaks, and he turns back to the file. “Well, then, it looks like you’ve already got your medications, that’s good. Don’t forget to take those. Other than that, do you partake in any kind of, ah, athletic activity? Maybe… naginata-jutsu?

It’s a joke. I know how to force myself to laugh at a boy’s jokes, so I giggle politely, though I think thus far I’ve been a little too laconic for the gesture to convey any real sense of sincerity.

As for athletic activity… No. I’ve always been terrible at sports. I never liked them, either.

“Definitely not,” I answer.

He nods, as if that was what he was expecting. “Well, at any rate, any kind of concussion to your chest area could be very dangerous to your heart, so I’m going to have to recommend you stay away from any activities like that. For now, anyway.”

He scratches his head, looking pensive. “The previous heart attack wasn’t caused by a concussion to the chest area, was it…? Your file doesn’t say.”

The question feels uncomfortably invasive. I find myself breaking his gaze to stare down at my lap, considering how to handle the question. It’s a crime, how obvious I’m being.

“N, no.”

Another pause, but he leaves me be and looks back in his file. “Well, still, you need to keep your body healthy, so a little exercise will help with that. You got that nasty myxoma excised, so if you had dyspnea problems before, they should be a lot better now.”

I don’t want to hear about that anymore. It’s horrific.

“Just take it easy for a while,” he continues, “brisk walks, light jogging, that sort of thing. Or you could swim, even. Did Mutou mention the pool here?”

I shake my head. “I don’t know how to swim, though.” And, anyway, there’s that whole swimsuit issue to deal with.

He chuckles. “Don’t worry about it. Just walk around in the shallow end. I wouldn’t want you diving or swimming laps right now, anyway. You shouldn’t overexert yourself.”

I give him a wan smile. “I know.”

His expression gets more serious. “Absolutely no risks. Take care of yourself. And, ah, there’s one more thing.”

He looks a little uncomfortable.

“You know you can’t take oral birth control, right?”

…!

Did he just

I stop dead in my tracks, and look up at him, aghast. “Wh, what?”

He holds his hands up in the air, as if to defend himself from a beating. “No, I didn’t mean… I’m just letting you know, with the medications you’re taking, that sort of thing really isn’t an option for you. Even if there weren’t any adverse effects from taking them with your medications, they’d still by their very nature exacerbate your condition, so… just keep in mind that you need to use a different form of—”

I nod vigorously. “I understand.” The easiest way to end this conversation is to acquiesce to everything.

The Nurse sighs, obviously glad he’s gotten through that part. “Good, that’s it then. Come to me if you need anything.”

“Y… yes. I’ll be sure to,” I stammer, standing up from my seat considerably faster than feels natural. Bowing forward politely, I wish him a nice day and exit from his office as quickly as I can without breaking into a run.

I’m starting to feel nauseated. I know he was looking out for my best interests, and that is, after all, why I’m going to school here — but I wish, more than anything, that birth control was a subject he’d elected not to touch upon. That was a lost cause, though; there was never any chance he wouldn’t mention it. It is, after all, a very significant complication of my condition. One I’ve been aware of for a long time now.

Making love will kill me.

Well, basically.

Oral birth control will kill me. The exertion from lovemaking might kill me, hypothetically. If I were to become pregnant, though… I’d absolutely die.

I learned that two months ago. My cardiologist explained to me that it’s not medically recommended for women with my condition to have children. Even if I somehow made it all the way through pregnancy, I’d have virtually zero chance of surviving the final stages. My heart is just too weak to carry me through it.

Even on the most fundamental level of being a woman, I’m broken. Nonfunctional. Inadequate. The Nurse unintentionally reminded me of that. Forced these thoughts back to the forefront of my consciousness, so that I don’t forget how much of a piece of glass I am.

And now, in this state of mind, I’m expected to introduce myself to the people I’m going to spend the entire year with.

…I already want my mother.

“Are you finished?”

I turn my head and realize Mutou’s still waiting for me out in the hall. Immersed as I was in my own thoughts, I’d forgotten he was there, or even where I was.

I’m in too sour a mood to do anything else than nod. I feel like garbage. Starting the day out by seeing the head nurse was a horrible idea. If my condition is allowed to be the center of attention for even a moment, its gravity swells up and sucks everything into it. I just want to sit down and stare at a wall for a few hours.

“Well,” the teacher says, realizing I don’t have anything else to add, “We should head back to the classroom. Everybody should be waiting.”

I spend the next couple of moments focusing on my own breathing as he opens the exterior door and we exit the building.

______________________________________________________________________
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Author's Notes

Post by Leaty » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:09 am

Author's Notes were here. I'm getting rid of them for now.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by crushinator » Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:16 pm

I like it. A part of me hopes it will be a Yuri storyline.

I don't have any literary criticisms to contribute unfortunately. I do however look forward to the next instalment.

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by Leaty » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:40 pm

It will be a yuri storyline. Try as I might, I can't bring myself to write an Iwanako/Kenji story.

I'm starting to realize I'm not very good at ending scenes. This is the second time I've had to go back and tack on more to a chapter to make it feel more "complete." I think I'm just too eager to put my stuff up. Anyway, Chapter Four should now feel much less abrupt. I wanted to dwell on the birth control thing a little more.

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by griffon8 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:16 pm

It's a perfectly good place to pause the story. The scene is about to change, so that works.

Heck, check out how short the chapters are to my stories. I had some comments that they were too short, but the breaks were at points that I felt were natural pauses in the story.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by atw_ah » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:23 pm

I would say that the original ending of chapter four was good enough as it was. It ended the chapter with a bit of comedy. But considering how you are writing your Iwanako, I think that the extension was the better solution. Your Iwanako is still in the transitional stages of being in Yamaku so ending with something funny wouldn't have fit with the tone of the other chapters. Your extension reveals more of her current state of mind by how she warps the situation into a cold and hopeless realization of her future.

Also, since you have said that you're going to make this into a yuri storyline, the extended ending is a good starting point for Iwanako's change in sexuality. I think it's better that she realizes that a relationship with a man would be hampered by the fact that having a child is out of the question instead of her one day going "Oh look, this girl is a lesbian. She seems moderately attractive. Why don't I be lesbian too?"

I just realized, how would a Iwanako/Kenji storyline even start without Hisao being in Yamaku in the first place?

Either way, excellent piece of fiction you've made for yourself. I can't wait to see how your Iwanako interacts with the cast.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:56 pm

atw_ah wrote: I just realized, how would a Iwanako/Kenji storyline even start without Hisao being in Yamaku in the first place?
Easy: You just have to make up the situation where they are meeting instead of copying it from the VN.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by Leaty » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:39 am

griffon8 wrote:It's a perfectly good place to pause the story. The scene is about to change, so that works.

Heck, check out how short the chapters are to my stories. I had some comments that they were too short, but the breaks were at points that I felt were natural pauses in the story.
Well, my standing policy is not to upload anything less than 2,000 words, but that wasn't the main reason I was unhappy with the ending of the fourth scene. As a general rule, for this fic, I'm not out to upload a ton of really wordy chapters, because I'm trying to maintain roughly the same time frames and word count as the VN's scenes (which is why, of course, I don't usually call them "chapters.") The fourth scene just didn't work because it ended on a quote from Nurse, and it didn't set up the next scene at all (which is obviously going to be the class introduction scene.) Plus, I felt like the childbirth angle was both the major takeaway of scene four and my most important contribution to the writing, so to touch on it so briefly didn't feel right.
atw_ah wrote:Also, since you have said that you're going to make this into a yuri storyline, the extended ending is a good starting point for Iwanako's change in sexuality. I think it's better that she realizes that a relationship with a man would be hampered by the fact that having a child is out of the question instead of her one day going "Oh look, this girl is a lesbian. She seems moderately attractive. Why don't I be lesbian too?"
As far as I am aware, the only three canonical lesbians in the game are Misha, Natsumi and Naomi. Misha's not going to happen for reasons I mentioned earlier, and Natsumi and Naomi aren't going to happen because as far as I'm concerned, they're a couple, and they're very happy with each other. That being said, it's not entirely clear who in the game isn't bisexual. I think we can effectively rule out Lilly and Shizune, based on elements in their particular storylines. Emi and Hanako are... iffy, but I'd be inclined to say they aren't likely. Rin... Whether she is or isn't, she's not going to be the love interest. Her path was probably my least favorite.

That being said, I promise promise promise all these characters will appear frequently in the story, because those are the characters I believe people generally read KS fanfic to see. And, anyway, Iwanako has to share a dormitory with those girls.
Mirage_GSM wrote:Easy: You just have to make up the situation where they are meeting instead of copying it from the VN.
How I'd do it is, while Kenji is almost always in his room, there's several other locations he "canonically" is at during the timeline. For example, during Act One, no matter what happens, at the end Kenji goes to the roof with his bottle of whiskey. If I wanted to set up an encounter, I could move Iwanako there during that point in Act One. Of course, I don't intend to write a distaff version of "The Deep End," unless I'm in a really fatalist mentality.

Hopefully the Direct-VN-Copying should mellow out after this next act. These are the formalities I feel I have to go through in order to tell the story I want to tell.

Frankly, I'm surprised nobody got angry about Iwanako's hairstyle change. The idea behind it was to ensure that she look as different from Hanako as possible, as she would otherwise look fairly similar. I wanted her to look distinct in a yearbook photo, and my opinion is that what we see of her in game isn't quite up to par, so I came up with a bunch of fruity contrivances to give her a unique appearance. Aesthetics are important to me, even though this is a purely text-based exercise, but I thought this would piss off some purist somewhere. I remember reading some terrible Daria fic a long time ago where a magical witch or something cast a spell on her and she permanently because some chesty blue-haired dream girl.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by nemz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:37 am

I continue to hope you'll be mostly fleshing out the oft-ignored parts of the student body. Here's hoping you hook her up with somebody nobody has used yet, maybe even an OC from one of the other classes, such as the mysterious 3-1.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:23 am

Natsume and Naomi are not canonically lesbian.
There is one fic where Naomi is paired up with Hanako, while Natsume is explicitly straight.
There is another recent fic about Miki and Suzu where Natsume and Naomi are referred to as a couple.
There might be one or two more fics I am forgetting at the moment, but there's nothing in the source material that would suggest that.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by griffon8 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:22 am

Leaty wrote:Frankly, I'm surprised nobody got angry about Iwanako's hairstyle change. The idea behind it was to ensure that she look as different from Hanako as possible, as she would otherwise look fairly similar. I wanted her to look distinct in a yearbook photo, and my opinion is that what we see of her in game isn't quite up to par, so I came up with a bunch of fruity contrivances to give her a unique appearance. Aesthetics are important to me, even though this is a purely text-based exercise, but I thought this would piss off some purist somewhere. I remember reading some terrible Daria fic a long time ago where a magical gypsy or something cast a spell on her and she permanently because some chesty blue-haired dream girl.
I'm surprised you considered it an issue. I thought it was very well done. I didn't see it as a way to keep her different from Hanako, I just thought it was a great way to give Iwanako a problem and a way of dealing with it.

As for doing that to Daria, well 'terrible' and 'magical gypsy or something cast a spell on her' are redundant. :lol:

Changing the genre of a story for a fanfic can be done well, but it usually isn't.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako) (u. 6/3/2012)

Post by Beoran » Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:50 pm

Yeah, I liked the hair color change too, one that would be quite shocking for her Japanese mother. It mean's she looks like a "Yankee" (a delinquent, rebellious youth). In Japanese context, it would be her way to say "screw it all, I don't care anymore." Also, this makes her close in her ideas to Misha... I can only say WAHAHA~to that. :)
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