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

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Reese8
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 5/03/2

Post by Reese8 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 2:21 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Have you considered that not every part of the dorms has to have the same layout as the corridor Hisao and Kenji live in?
In fact very few buildings are that symmetrical.
…You know, it actually never occurred to me.
Helbereth wrote:Personally, I try not to be terribly specific about the interior or exterior design of the buildings because I'm not an architect.
Understandable. My brain just runs away with things sometimes.
If this is annoying anyone, though, please let me know; I wouldn't want to be a bother.


Also, I've been reconsidering a bit; perhaps it would be better to have stair at all four ends of the cruciform hallways and put the lifts in the core?
edit: Like this:
Image

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Leaty
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 5/03/2

Post by Leaty » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:08 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:Have you considered that not every part of the dorms has to have the same layout as the corridor Hisao and Kenji live in? In fact very few buildings are that symmetrical.
Sure, but on the other hand, look at this:
Image
That's one of the buildings on the Brown University campus, the real-life Yamaku Academy. Since all the buildings at Yamaku are done in that architectural style, the dorm layout is actually pretty reasonable.
Reese8 wrote:If this is annoying anyone, though, please let me know; I wouldn't want to be a bother.
Negative, I think it's pretty cool. It's kind of like fanart for this story.
Reese8 wrote:Also, I've been reconsidering a bit; perhaps it would be better to have stair at all four ends of the cruciform hallways and put the lifts in the core?
Yeah, I like that a lot better actually. It would probably be less of a pain in the ass for the wheelchair crowd.

As for fire escapes, they're probably along the exterior somewhere, but I haven't really worried about it since I don't know Japanese building codes and don't plan on using fire escapes for this fic. In fact, now I'm not even sure if a building with only four floors would need so many fire escapes.

Reese8
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 5/03/2

Post by Reese8 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:58 pm

Leaty wrote:Negative, I think it's pretty cool. It's kind of like fanart for this story.
Oh, thanks!
Leaty wrote:Yeah, I like that a lot better actually. It would probably be less of a pain in the ass for the wheelchair crowd.
Aye, that's what I was thinking.
Leaty wrote:In fact, now I'm not even sure if a building with only four floors would need so many fire escapes.
That's a point; now that we've got stairwells at the end of each cruciform corridor, perhaps just put fire exits at their bottoms?


Oh, one flaw with the current design is that the open stairwells will make climate control a bit more difficult. And the lack of fire doors sectioning off the level might be a code violation, but the stairs use the corridors as landings and... Hm... Do you think that this is a problem?

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Leaty
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Scene Ten

Post by Leaty » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:29 am

Been sitting on this one way too long. Thanks again to griffon8 for his beta work.
____________________________________________________
Not So Cute

Another day, another obtuse science assignment.

The morning’s chatter is somewhat muted; short of my quick response to Misha's bright greeting when I walked in, I haven’t actually said a word to anybody since I sat down.

For my part, I’m holding it all together. I woke up just early enough to rush through my morning rituals, pop my pills, and make it to class with dignity intact, though not early enough to have any breakfast. I’ll probably regret that later, but for now I’m trying to pretend my energy drink is filling.

The teacher seemingly isn’t interested in calling me up to the front again for a public demonstration of my incompetence, so it seems I have no other choice than to get started on the schoolwork. Based on a cursory glance at it, I have about a one-in-three chance of completing it to Mutou’s satisfaction; the best odds I’ve had all week, frankly. I guess this worksheet is going to be covered in crimson the next time I see it.

Ten minutes into class, that tall girl whose name I still haven’t bothered to learn drifts into the classroom with the cadence of a frightened doe. As before, nobody acknowledges it. In all honesty, something about it really brings me down… like watching a juggler drop one of his balls mid-performance, though I can’t pin down exactly what it is.

The cynic in me notes that, if I wanted to look like an airhead, I could probably come into class an hour late, and when confronted about it, say that I thought that was acceptable at this school, but of course that notion is completely awful and I immediately scold myself for thinking it.

Suddenly, the teacher decides to announce that we’ll all be breaking up into groups again. It’s more than a little annoying—why did he wait until I was already ten minutes into the assignment to say this? Did he just forget or something?

For that matter, who am I even supposed to group with? Molly always works with her little clique in the front row—I couldn’t join her already bloated collective without the teacher intervening and splitting us off—and Shizune and I clearly aren’t getting along. The teacher obviously expects me to work with the class representative, so I can’t easily ask him to personally aid me on the assignment without putting a spotlight on the growing enmity I have with Shizune.

In search of a solution, I glance at the desk behind me, only to find a very overweight student blithely snoozing in his chair. Great… Rock and a hard place, indeed.

Looking a bit more desperately for some way out of this situation, I peer over the whole classroom, but every student seems to form their usual groups, and in all honesty there’s no reasonable way to go completely across the room and join one without making it painfully obvious I can’t work alone and don’t want to work with Shizune.

In fact, the only student who isn’t already in a group is that tall girl who never speaks to anybody…

Hmm.

Dare I?

No, it couldn’t be that easy, could it?

The tall girl is obviously skittish and asocial; I’ve seen more than enough evidence of that in the handful of occasions I’ve paid attention to her over the last few days. She’s not forming a group, either, and none of the students in the vicinity are making any effort to include her, so at the very least she’s got to be capable of doing the schoolwork solo, which means she’s almost certainly knowledgeable enough to help me survive this assignment. If I walk over there and partner up with her, I’ll appear as though I was simply concerned she wasn’t a part of any group, avoiding publically snubbing the class rep and getting my direly-needed assistance on this assignment.

Goodness… This has to be the most creative solution I’ve come up with all year.

“Molly?” I don’t need to lower my voice; at its normal level it’s already nearly drowned out by background conversations.

“Hmm?”

“That girl who just walked in… what is her name?”

She furrows her brow, no doubt wondering where I’m going with this. “Hanako Ikezawa… why do you—“

“Great. See you,” I say, briskly picking up my chair and inelegantly brushing past Misha and Shizune, who reflexively turn to monitor me the moment they realize I’m fleeing. They’re not the only ones; as people begin to notice I’m moving about the room, several sets of eyes peer at me, no doubt trying to ascertain my destination. I’m not sure what I ever did to deserve this much attention, but I guess this is what passes for interesting at Yamaku.

Absurdly, I begin to feel the pangs of stage fright as soon as I’m within half a meter of Ikezawa’s desk, and I realize I know absolutely nothing about this girl. Maybe she bites people, or something. God, I hope she doesn’t.

Come on, Daidouji, you can do this... Rouse up whatever vestiges remain of the gentle, personable class representative you used to be. You’re not sullen at all; you’re chipper, and unthreatening.

“Hello~! You’re Hanako Ikezawa, right?” I smile, my voice such a poised, saccharine chirp that I nearly expect sparkles to fly from my eyes in a dramatic fashion.

She sits up with a start, as though horrified somebody’s acknowledging her existence, and looks over at me in shock, and for the first time, we actually make eye contact—

OH—!

Oh gosh her face—


No! Focus on the eyes, focus on the eyes, do not look away, do not let her notice that you’ve picked up on the reason she goes to this school, do not scare her off, and do not pause for too long—Move!

“H-hi!” I stammer, doggedly forcing myself to continue on with this corny façade. “I’m, ah, Iwanako, obviously. I saw that you weren’t in a group yet and was wondering if you might like to be my partner? I’m… not too great at this on my own…”

She pauses for a long moment, long enough for me to notice that the entire class has gone silent. For some perverse reason, this girl and I have captured the attention of seemingly every student in the classroom. I have no idea why. Maybe they were hoping I’d look away in disgust and lose face? Or perhaps they’re watching me warily, nervous that I’m going to do something cruel to her?

She’s noticed, too, and to my chagrin, she seems paralyzed by the attention. It makes me feel like a jerk… I never meant to freak her out like this, but I didn’t take the rest of the class into consideration and now a dozen people are staring at us bug-eyed.

Well, this is certainly another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into. She’s going to stand up and rush out of the classroom, and I’m going to have to return to my desk with my tail between my legs, maybe even get in trouble with the teacher… This was a bad idea, a really bad idea… I should have just forced my way into Molly’s group…

“O… okay.”

…Hmm?

Holy mother of pearl, really?

I try to wipe the bewilderment off my face and fail miserably. I can’t believe that worked… But I guess there’s something to be said for looking as unthreatening as possible. Even agitable, evasive introverts like Ikezawa won’t exceed Threat Condition Bravo if you look like they could effortlessly punt you out a window. And I’m probably the shortest girl in class.

“Great!” I attempt to shoot her an award-winning smile, with all the technique of a plumber performing a colostomy. “I appreciate this, really.”

“N-no problem… Iwanako.”

She goes back to hiding in her hair as I pull my chair up to the other side of her desk, and gradually the other students go back to their normal activities, apparently underwhelmed by Ikezawa’s reaction. Cautiously, I peer over my right shoulder to find Shizune glaring daggers at me, but she turns away just as our eyes meet.

Well, looks like she saw right through my improvised gambit, though that really comes as no surprise. It doesn’t matter, since evading her this way helps keep whatever’s going on between us from escalating, at least publicly.

Ikezawa is blinking at me when I turn back to look at her, though she quickly glances down at the assignment. Did she see that, just now? It can’t be that obvious we dislike each other, can it?

“Ah, um,” I say, trying to change the subject, “looks like this is mostly reading, so we can afford to take this at a leisurely pace, then work on the questions at the end together, right?”

Ikezawa offers a quick nod and picks up her copy of the assignment, reading it upright with her hand as if using it to shield herself from me, terrifying harpy that I am.

I begin reading the assignment myself, with a little more dedication now that things appear less hopeless, though I’m unable to avoid occasionally stealing covert glances at Ikezawa’s burn scars. As I’ve only ever seen her from a few meters away, I’d never noticed them before, since she keeps them so well hidden in her hair, but they cover almost half her face and run down her neck. It’s, well, shocking.

They’re horrible-looking, but it seems an easy enough gesture to just dismiss them as a sad, weird-looking characteristic. I’m about to return to the classwork when a giant, terrible epiphany crashes down on me, one that makes my stomach sink.

Her scars are the only meaningful difference between us.

They’re a memento of the worst day of her life. They have to be. And because she can’t easily conceal them, this is the consequence: somebody who melts down so often that they can’t even stay in class for the whole day. A girl so easily frightened from her injuries that even another girl, as injured as she is, can’t easily approach her without being as gentle as possible.

And yet, it all makes sense. It makes so much sense to me that it’s horrifying. If I had those scars instead of my own, I don’t know that I’d behave any differently. I can’t imagine acting differently. It only seems wrong to me now because I have the cruel luxury of this unique through-the-looking-glass experience with Ikezawa.

In fact, even now, I don’t know if I could say I’m any better off. Her self-imposed solitude is carefully maintained, something necessary for her survival, and I exploited it in order to get away from somebody I can’t stand. I look as bad as Ikezawa does… It’s just that most of my scars are on the inside.

Though... Hanako Ikezawa is beautiful, even with the scars, though she’s probably unaware of this—I certainly can’t blame her. Her long, straight hair is nearly flawless, and her large, dark eyes are almost amethyst in color, if one is ever lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them. She isn’t ugly or frightening in the least; she’s just… wounded. Like me.

But the scary thing is… those scars are old, very old… She’s had a while to live with them. If, even now, Ikezawa only hides within herself, then what hope is there for me? Is there more to it than this? Does she know something I don’t?

Suddenly she looks up, finally noticing my gormless stare. She faces me with a startled expression that is a perfect mirror of my own, an endless feedback loop of self-conscious horror.

Finally, she breaks us free. “Are… y-you ready for the questions?”

“Oh, uh, yes,” I reply softly, shaking myself out of yet another contemplative fugue. “How about I give my best shot to the first one, and you tell me as soon as I muck it up?”

She nods, silently and a bit hesitantly—it probably is a bit too much to ask her to call me out on being wrong, but I think that I’ve actually managed to puzzle this one out okay, thanks to some of the corrective guidance Mutou gave me yesterday. I jot down my best-sounding answer to the problem, making ad hoc corrections to my own logic as soon as my mistakes become apparent, and when I’m finally satisfied, I spin the paper around and show it to her.

“Is this okay?”

She takes the paper and reads it over carefully, nodding a couple times in succession, and I almost get my hopes up that I’ve finally succeeded at this subject when she takes out her pencil and makes several corrective scribbles over my elegantly-penned, completely unserviceable answer.

“…Close,” she murmurs apologetically.

I exhale resignedly, though I shouldn’t have had high expectations to begin with. If nothing else, I had the right answer, somehow, even if my way of getting there was obviously incorrect.

“H-here… Watch me.”

Writing with the paper sideways so I can see what she’s doing from the other side of the desk, she succinctly answers the second question, working slowly enough for me to follow her logic in real-time as she writes it. Finally, she finishes the question and spins the paper completely around so that I can review her technique. She’s done a really good job of showing her work; I can actually completely understand how she came to this solution, though I’d never have reached it myself. It’s obvious that she’s really bright, probably smarter than me, though that’s not really a high benchmark.

“I would have been hopeless, doing this by myself,” I say appreciatively. “Thank you for your help, Ikezawa.”

She gives only a gentle nod in response, but then adds, “…You can call me Hanako…”

“Very well, Hanako,” I answer, a little surprised. The corners of my mouth begin to crease toward a smile, and I realize she’s starting to grow on me.

Hmm… Do I push my luck? For all I know, she never wants this to happen again… On the other hand, I’ve already been pleasantly surprised… Whatever. Nothing ventured. And I want to get to know her better… Maybe I have to get to know her better.

“Hanako… Do you think you’d be willing to pair up like this again if there’s another group assignment?”

Another long Ikezawa pause, but I’m used to them by now, and as I watch her hopefully, she slowly nods again. It takes all my composure not to triumphantly pump my fist like Aoi, but I can’t help but grin at this turn of events.

“Wonderful.”

Though the conversation peters out after that, I spend the next few minutes silently basking in my success as Hanako quietly goes over her notes from the previous class. Eventually the teacher collects the completed assignments, and students begin to file out of the classroom for the lunch break.

Hanako doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I turn to her as I stand up from my seat. “Are you eating lunch in here?”

“N, no. I’m… waiting for somebody.”

Huh, so she does have friends. That’s a relief to hear. I want to know more, but I think I’ve probably bugged her enough for today.

“Oh, well, see you in a bit, then.”

“Bye… Iwanako.”

Molly is still making her way to the doorway when I pick up my belongings, so I move to catch up with her as she exits the classroom. Turning my head, I wave to Hanako, and she gingerly waves a hand back.

Maybe she’ll be more at ease with me from now on? Wishful thinking…

“Look at you, making friends left and right,” Molly says, grinning. “Can’t say I expected you to do that. Shizune’s eyes were the size of dinner plates.”

“I don’t… I don’t see why it’s such a big deal,” I mumble, reddening at Molly’s reaction despite myself. “Hanako seems pretty nice…”

“You can’t just talk to that girl,” she sighs. “She usually runs off when group work is assigned. If I’d had any idea you were going to do that, I would have tried to stop you, but then you got ahead of me so I had no choice but to sit and watch the train wreck unfold.”

“Err—“

“I just can’t believe she went for it. She must be in a good mood today, or something.”

Before I can protest her not affording me any credit in the matter, we turn a corner and—

CRACK—

Something hard and fast collides with my sternum, knocking me to the ground with the force of a pneumatic drill. It overruns me completely, and everything goes black as the back of my head collides with the linoleum, and my ears begin to ring like cathedral bells. My entire body sings with pain—

"Aw man, I— Oh, oh crap. Are you all right? Oh my god…"

There's a gentle sensation of someone else's hair tickling my cheeks… strawberries? I open my eyes to an unfamiliar face leaning over me. Urgh… Where am I, again? My head…

"Shit! I'm so, so sorry…"

"Ibarazaki, what the hell?!"

The stranger turns away from me. "She just came out of nowhere—I didn't—" She turns back to me. "You're okay, right? I… do you need me to get the nurse?"

I try to answer her, but as I shift to speak I feel a heaviness in my chest… It's a sharp, sucking pain… I feel as if there's something I'm forgetting, but I just can't… I just can't get it back…

thumpthump

There's a pounding under my sternum, almost like getting hit from the opposite side, but I'm on the floor, now. My jaw hurts, my neck hurts… I can't seem to breathe right… It reminds me of…

?!

…No. No please no. Please stop… Please… Just calm down… Calm down calm down calm down, please…

"Oh my god. I'll get him, Emi…"

Huge, glistening green eyes hover above me, seemingly sparkling more and more as the seconds go by. "I…" she begins, "everything's going to be okay, I—Do you need water? Can you talk?"

I manage to shake my head, though I stop almost immediately when I realize how much the movement hurts…

I… there's something I'm supposed to do here. There is. There is! Somebody said something, there's some kind of… exercise I can do to stop this, I don't think I'm making this all up—

If I believe it strongly enough, it has to go away. It has to. It has to. I… I did my best. I had faith in this. I got a makeover. I made friends. I applied myself. I swam in the pool. I was going to go to the Festival… This was supposed to be my second chance. I'm supposed to get my second chance… This wouldn't happen to me now. It wouldn't. It doesn't make any sense.

So just focus… Just…

thumpthumpthumpthump

No! WHY? Why is this happening?!

Oh, god.

God, it really is.

It's really happening…

…This is it, isn't it? This is all I get… Four months in the hospital, three days in school… and my life is over because this idiot can't watch where she's going. I never should have thought I was safe… It really is that quick, that effortless. You get one shoddy, factory reject of a heart, and as soon as it's gone… that's it, game over. You don't even get to make your own terms.

I can't believe this…

The knot in my chest is tightening… I can still feel sensation in my fingertips, but it's just a matter of time. I remember how this goes.

"No no no… Stay with me, okay? The Nurse is coming, you're gonna be fine…"

You'd like that, wouldn't you? Face it, we're both screwed. Who are you, even? I guess I'll never even know. I'll never know anything.

I can feel the vibrations in the floor as various pairs of feet stomp their way around me. Worried conversations erupt along all sides of me, filling the world with noise. I try to pick out individual voices, but it's impossible. What does it matter anymore, anyway? There's nothing I can do. I'm only here for a little while longer. And then… then what? Then nothing. Then whatever.

…Hands. Hands behind my head, hands under my back, hands under my feet… I'm being lifted onto something… A board of some kind? A stretcher. I guess the cavalry rode in…

The throbbing in my chest intensifies. It's getting harder and harder to stay aware of my surroundings… But I don't even need to be aware; I'm just going to be dragged to a hospital, so I can die without even a single iota of dignity.

Mother, I'm sorry. I never wanted it to be this way. I tried to make this work, I really, really did. I never wanted to make you sad, not like this. I would never have left you without saying goodbye.

In the end, there was never anything I could have done.

Damn it…
______________________________________________________________________
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Last edited by Leaty on Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:15 pm, edited 10 times in total.

TheUnendingVoid
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by TheUnendingVoid » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:14 am

Looking forward to the continuation of this series.

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Helbereth
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by Helbereth » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:40 am

Though the conversation peters out after that, I spent the next few minutes silently basking in my success as Hanako quietly goes over her notes from the previous class.
You either need 'petered' or 'spend' rather than the versions presented. Otherwise there's a tense issue with this sentence.
Before anybody asks: getting body-checked by a fast moving projectile is different for a 5'11", broad-shouldered ex-soccer player than it is for a 4'10 girl who's been frail her whole life.
If Hisao is a hair above 5'8", I'm the Queen of England.

It's good to see this continue. You probably spend as much time in Iwanako's head as I do in that of Aiko, which I'm not going to identify as a good or bad thing--I'm merely pointing it out. Your interpretation of Hanako is sublime, though I'm not sure where you plan to take that situation. Having the Emi scene carry more weight makes plenty of sense, so I'm not sure why you felt the need to justify it.

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by TheCatBeyondSpace! » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:20 am

Well there goes one idea i had for my fic...

Anyway, It seems to be getting better with each chapter so keep it up.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:33 am

Oooh, a cliffhanger!
That's going to make waiting for the next chapter harder...
Very nice scene with Hanako. Usually I'd count being able to handle a situation like this without complications as a sign for "Mary Sue", but you managed to make it believable.
And this time Emi is going to have to face the consequences of her running for once. Looking forward to see how you handle that.
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: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:10 am

Iwanako is a full foot shorter than Hisao? That said, it does make sense she would have a much worse reaction to getting hit, as well as Emi not flying backwards form the collision. Overall, very entertaining chapter. Really liked the interaction with Hanako.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by Reese8 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Oh, wonderful, an update! As (I think) I said, here's an attempt at a more detailed commentary

"short of Misha brightly greeting me when I walked in, I haven’t actually said a word to anybody since I sat down."
I'd suggest rewriting this slightly; currently, the first part only mentions Misha speaking, not Iwanako, which doesn't connect with the second part.

Is your non-use of the Oxford Comma deliberate?

"I’m… not too great at this on my own…"
Good opening, I think, if this is heading into a Hanako route.

"Holy mother of pearl, really?"
Hm, don't think that I've heard that one before.

"Threat Condition Bravo"
Is this made up on the spur of the moment, or is it part of a system of which I'm not aware? The JDF's equivalent of DEFCON?

"a giant, terrible epiphany…"
Interesting…

And this isn't exactly counting as evidence against my Hanako route hypothesis. While a scientist ought to be happy to be proved wrong (since that offers the possibility of correction), there's no shame in being even happier about being right. :)

"Before I can protest her not affording me any credit in the matter, we turn a corner and—"
Oh, right, Iwanako's not met Emi yet, has she? Well, until now.

"You get one piece-of-garbage heart and as soon as it’s gone it’s game over."
Hm… I'd suggest "heart, and as soon as it's gone, it's game over" or "heart and, as soon as it's gone, it's game over". I'm not sure, though. Oh, and I'm finding it interesting that this seems more severe than Hisao's run-in with Emi (or at least we're getting more juicy introspection and description than I remember).

"…Hands. Hands behind my head, hands under my back, hands under my feet… I’m being lifted onto something… A board of some kind? A stretcher. I guess the cavalry rode in…"
Ah, so not my imagination that it's worse, though.

"I black out."
…Urk. Oh come on, you're stopping the chapter there?! …Back to waiting, I guess. Sigh…

"Before anybody asks: getting body-checked by a fast moving projectile is different for a 5'11", broad-shouldered ex-soccer player than it is for a 4'10 girl who's been frail her whole life."
Ooh, good point! I continue to quite enjoy this story and the work that you put into it.
(Though in that particular sentence, I dislike your use of American units instead of metric. It's a thing with me.)

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by griffon8 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:00 pm

Reese8 wrote:"short of Misha brightly greeting me when I walked in, I haven’t actually said a word to anybody since I sat down."
I'd suggest rewriting this slightly; currently, the first part only mentions Misha speaking, not Iwanako, which doesn't connect with the second part.
Perhaps, "short of my quick response to Misha's bright greeting when".
Reese8 wrote:Is your non-use of the Oxford Comma deliberate?
Damn! Missed that. It is not deliberate on my part. Add a comma between 'pills' and 'and'.
Reese8 wrote:"I’m… not too great at this on my own…"
Good opening, I think, if this is heading into a Hanako route.
We shall see, we shall see. :lol:
Reese8 wrote:"Holy mother of pearl, really?"
Hm, don't think that I've heard that one before.
As Leaty explained it to me, Iwanako is not one to swear with vulgarity.
Reese8 wrote:"Threat Condition Bravo"
Is this made up on the spur of the moment, or is it part of a system of which I'm not aware? The JDF's equivalent of DEFCON?
Terrorist Threat Conditions
Reese8 wrote:"a giant, terrible epiphany…"
Interesting…

And this isn't exactly counting as evidence against my Hanako route hypothesis. While a scientist ought to be happy to be proved wrong (since that offers the possibility of correction), there's no shame in being even happier about being right. :)
Again, we shall see.
Reese8 wrote:"Before I can protest her not affording me any credit in the matter, we turn a corner and—"
Oh, right, Iwanako's not met Emi yet, has she? Well, until now.

"You get one piece-of-garbage heart and as soon as it’s gone it’s game over."
Hm… I'd suggest "heart, and as soon as it's gone, it's game over" or "heart and, as soon as it's gone, it's game over". I'm not sure, though. Oh, and I'm finding it interesting that this seems more severe than Hisao's run-in with Emi (or at least we're getting more juicy introspection and description than I remember).

"…Hands. Hands behind my head, hands under my back, hands under my feet… I’m being lifted onto something… A board of some kind? A stretcher. I guess the cavalry rode in…"
Ah, so not my imagination that it's worse, though.

"I black out."
…Urk. Oh come on, you're stopping the chapter there?! …Back to waiting, I guess. Sigh…

"Before anybody asks: getting body-checked by a fast moving projectile is different for a 5'11", broad-shouldered ex-soccer player than it is for a 4'10 girl who's been frail her whole life."
Ooh, good point! I continue to quite enjoy this story and the work that you put into it.
(Though in that particular sentence, I dislike your use of American units instead of metric. It's a thing with me.)
Yes, it's time to meet Emi. I don't think those commas are necessary. Yeah, it's worse. What's better than a cliffhanger? And you'll put up with the units because it's not in the story.

---

If I had managed to be the first one to respond after this chapter was posted, I would have said something like:

"That's all folks. Iwanako dies after being run into by Emi. Because the main difference between Iwanako and Hisao is how frail she is. Leaty, I look forward to helping you with your next story."
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

Completed: 100%, including bonus picture. Shizune>Emi>Lilly>Hanako>Rin

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by griffon8 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:09 pm

Helbereth wrote:
Though the conversation peters out after that, I spent the next few minutes silently basking in my success as Hanako quietly goes over her notes from the previous class.
You either need 'petered' or 'spend' rather than the versions presented. Otherwise there's a tense issue with this sentence.
Yeah, that should be 'spend'.
Helbereth wrote:
Before anybody asks: getting body-checked by a fast moving projectile is different for a 5'11", broad-shouldered ex-soccer player than it is for a 4'10 girl who's been frail her whole life.
If Hisao is a hair above 5'8", I'm the Queen of England.
Agreed.
Helbereth wrote:It's good to see this continue. You probably spend as much time in Iwanako's head as I do in that of Aiko, which I'm not going to identify as a good or bad thing--I'm merely pointing it out. Your interpretation of Hanako is sublime, though I'm not sure where you plan to take that situation. Having the Emi scene carry more weight makes plenty of sense, so I'm not sure why you felt the need to justify it.
I think I can speak with confidence that your and Mirage's opinion of how Hanako's scene was done will be taken as extremely high praise.
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

Completed: 100%, including bonus picture. Shizune>Emi>Lilly>Hanako>Rin

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by Bad Apple » Sat Jul 20, 2013 1:40 am

Oh damn, should've checked one more time in the morning. I've been eagerly awaiting this one ever since your reply saying it's finished. I see other posters have proofread this chapter, so I'll just move straight to my thoughts and impressions (and nitpicking).
Leaty wrote:In search of a solution, I glance at the desk behind me, only to find a very overweight student blithely snoozing in his chair. Great… Rock and a hard place, indeed.
Am I a terrible person for laughing at this line? If so, so be it.
Leaty wrote:In fact, the only student who isn’t already in a group is that tall girl who never speaks to anybody…

Hmm.

Dare I?

No, it couldn’t be that easy, could it?
Oh.

This is when I realize this is the chapter I've been waiting for. How best to react?

Hmm I know. How about OhgodyesthisisthechapterI'vebeenwaitingfor
Leaty wrote: She sits up with a start, as though horrified somebody’s acknowledging her existence, and looks over at me in shock, and for the first time, we actually make eye contact—

OH—!

Oh gosh her face—
OH—!

Dat suspense


I'm not usually at the edge of my seat like that. For a minute there I seriously thought Hanako was gonna bolt halfway through that group assignment. The class's stares merely increased those suspicions. Call me macabre. But then, I was pleasantly surprised when instead, the two shared a touching first (technically second) meeting of sorts. Very good. Looks like Iwanako's gambit paid off—very encouraging. A little bit of social intrigue is always interesting, and almost foreign to KS.
Leaty wrote: Well, this is certainly another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into. She’s going to stand up and rush out of the classroom,
Hmm, I find the wording here a bit odd though. You've mentioned you like to make oblique references to canon, and this was one such intentional reference, right? Regardless, I might have forgotten a fine detail from a previous scene, so correct me if I'm wrong, but Iwanako couldn't possibly know about Hanako's "I'vegottagodosomething!" syndrome yet, could she? If so, it almost makes Iwanako look psychic, metafictional conundrums aside.

Leaty wrote:Hanako doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I turn to her as I stand up from my seat. “Are you eating lunch in here?”

“N, no. I’m… waiting for somebody.”

Huh, so she does have friends. That’s a relief to hear. I want to know more, but I think I’ve probably bugged her enough for today.

“Oh, well, see you in a bit, then.”

“Bye… Iwanako.”
Ah, no Lilly today. Hanako must feel like me right now. Alas. This just means you simply must be onto something. Something good and well and cheerful, surely. A little bit of lighthearted comic relief perhaps? Hmm, I wonder what that might be—
Leaty wrote:CRACK

“Aw man, I— Oh, oh crap. Are you all right? Oh my god…”

“Shit! I’m so, so sorry…”

“Ibarazaki, what the hell?!

“You’re okay, right? I… do you need me to get the nurse?”

thumpthump

“Oh my god. I’ll get him, Emi…”

thumpthumpthumpthump

Well, I’ve had more than enough of this.

I black out.
...:o

God damn.

Cliffhangers now?!


So, excellent as always. I can tell you put great care in polishing these gems before releasing them to the masses. No rush.

I must say though, that cliffhanger felt a little... anticlimatic? Iwanako thinks some things, goes like, "Welp, that's all folks!" then blacks out. I can't describe it, it just intuitively feels off to me, and it could just be me. Unless she turned to a nihilistic sort of mood on her 'impending' death, understandable given the way fate's playing games with her. It also just occurred to me that this is a similar attitude Hisao had in The Deep End, if that makes sense.

It also does make complete sense that the Emirocket would be super effective in this case. It's a bit odd that the collision still happens the exact same way "in spite of a nail" (I vaguely remember something several pages ago about a student desk), but I'm not the Spacetime Police or anything so I'm totally okay with that. I just wasn't expecting it to be the same but worse. You probably thought about this through already anyways.

More importantly, if first impressions are everything, it's probable Iwanako's perception of Emi is completely besmirched straight out of the gate with this one—being nearly killed by Emi's recklessness and all that. I see poor Emi either trying to do everything to make it up to Iwanako (like with Hisao, but more dramatically), and if that were to fail, Emi's screw-it-I-tried nature would probably set in and... bad stuff. Doubtful—just my personal fanwank. Either way it goes it'll be interesting, certainly starkly different from Hisao and Emi's relationship.

Another thing that's gone unsaid so far—day three, new student taken away on a stretcher? Rumor mill, go. Does this mean Iwanako's condition will be more publicly scrutinized than Hisao's ever was? That's a wild tangent if true—and spells doom lots of uncomfortable moments for our heroine.

Last but not least, I have to return to the other highlight of the chapter: Hanako.

I see you've been waiting for a while to have Iwanako monologue about where Hanako stands in relation to herself. I like that, I like where that's going. That's one of those snippets I'll have to reread a few times to fully absorb and appreciate. That's surely the subplot with the most amount of potential now, in my opinion.

Furthermore, I'm with Reese on this one. Given no twists or obstacles, this ship looks to be steaming full speed ahead set on a course to Hanako Route. Shizune's glaring daggers at Iwanako, Molly's just BFF material, and Emi, well...
Leaty wrote:CRACK
Yeah. That. Lilly is unknown (but friends with Hanako), Rin is probably too weird and incomprehensible (and friends with Emi), Momomi is definitely too weird and incomprehensible—although she crosses the line twice and they're dormies, so that's my first second hypothesis still. In the end, I know that regardless of whom you pair Iwanako with, you'll make it work, so I also know I won't be disappointed however long from now that may be.

I hope you don't mind my half-baked speculations; try not to think of them as requests or anything. I don't wish to come across as demanding changes or even suggestions in the direction of your work—I'm not your editor or anything of the sort, as fun as that job sounds. Besides, writing a Hanako chapter simultaneous with my first post is good enough fortune for me. But anyway...

Looking forward to the fallout of Iwanako Heart Failure 2.0. Shine on, ma'am!


P.S.
Helbereth wrote:If Hisao is a hair above 5'8", I'm the Queen of England.
compound Two words: Cowlick.

Alright, alright. Lilly is 171cm (about 5'7) and in canon it's stated that Hisao isn't much taller than that, and it's possible Lilly is even taller.
"Threat Condition Bravo"
So, Iwanako has intricate knowledge of the workings of another nation's department of defense? Damn, girl is cosmopolitan. :P
Last edited by Bad Apple on Sat Jul 20, 2013 4:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by Dumanios » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:02 am

Decided to read this fic after seeing get recommended. I'll be following this... lurking.

As for any criticisms and what not, all that would be is a broken record.

I'm definitely sensing some Iwahanako going on, unless Iwanako gets much closer to Aoi, Keiko, Momomi, or someone else by the festival.

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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence) {u 7/19/2

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Jul 20, 2013 3:55 am

Hm… I'd suggest "heart, and as soon as it's gone, it's game over" or "heart and, as soon as it's gone, it's game over". I'm not sure, though.
The comme before "and" is mandatory. The ones around "as soon as it's gone" are optional, but I'd leave them out or use dashes instead... probably leave them out.
So, Iwanako has intricate knowledge of the workings of another nation's department of defense? Damn, girl is cosmopolitan.
Only thing it takes is watching one foreign spy thriller...
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.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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