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

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Leaty
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence){u 10/20/2

Post by Leaty » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:09 pm

Comrade wrote:Who are the two members of the tea club? Are they supposed to be Hanako and Lilly?
Just random people Momomi doesn't like. Probably both first-year students.

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griffon8
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence){u 10/20/2

Post by griffon8 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:48 pm

I suppose it's only within other fanfic that it's mentioned, but would clubs have a minimum membership to exist? Student Council being an exception; that has to exist.

Then again, if people want to get together for the "Sit Under The Big Tree In Front Of The Dorm After Class" club, who's going to stop them?
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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Leaty
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Re: Mean Time to Breakdown — (Iwanako, Divergence){u 10/20/2

Post by Leaty » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:10 am

The Science Club was just Hisao, so a two-person Tea Club doesn't strike me as that unbelievable. Presumably the teacher in charge of that just grades papers while the girls chitter about pointless subjects.

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Scene Twelve

Post by Leaty » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:21 am

Báthory in Her Castle

I know I survived the night because I can feel the needle. That is to say, the one in my arm.

Opening my eyes, I’m greeted by a familiar expression on an unfamiliar face: that of a bored nurse trying to collect blood from somebody without too much fuss. I wish I could say that this is the first time I’ve ever woken up this way, but if I’m being perfectly honest it’s more like the twentieth; I can’t even feign surprise at this point. People tend to assume I’m trypanophobic, which I’ve always found more than a little insulting.

“Good morning,” the nurse murmurs to me once she realizes I’m awake. “I’m just drawing blood for a test.”

“I noticed…”

“There, done,” she says, twisting off the vacutainer and discarding it. “You can go back to sleep, if you like.”

As if I needed permission…

Without so much as a moment of eye contact, she hands me my morning medications and a glass of water, waits for me to swallow them down, and exits the room. Glancing over to the clock, I can see that it’s a little after six. Breakfast will probably be served in the next half hour, barring some kind of calamity.

My vision has cleared up, and the nausea apparently faded, though I’m wary of a recurrence. My head still throbs faintly, however, and despite sleeping fairly soundly last night, I still feel profoundly exhausted. Whether that’s an effect of the concussion or the heart medication—or both—is nothing but a pedantic distinction at this point. I am hungry though, no doubt owing to my having completely vacated the contents of my stomach a few hours ago.

God… My mother. Damn it…

Weary as I am, it hasn’t stopped me from being furious with her. How a person can be as utterly clueless as she is I have no idea, but I really, honestly believed for a moment that the single saving grace of my nascent heart problems was that she was going to start considering my feelings. Maybe throwing money at me and packing me in a proverbial polystyrene cage is all she knows how to do. Nobody ever accused her of having a broad skillset.

Would I be happier if she spent most of her time worrying about me? If she was plagued with nightmares about my coming to harm, or worse? If she began to panic if she went more than a few days without hearing from me? No, I can imagine I’d find that pretty stifling, bordering on obnoxious. Then again, there’s more than a bit of middle ground between that and absconding to carouse in Europe as soon as your daughter is out of the hospital.

I don’t think ill of her—she’s a happy person, has almost always been a happy person, and if she ever slowed down, I think I’d be more than a little troubled—and she’s basically all I have, anyway, but there’s no denying that last night she failed on all counts. Her only job was to be my mother and she couldn’t even be bothered to show up. And the really, really aggravating part of all of this is that I should have seen it coming from ten kilometers off.

But I have to stop thinking about this, because I’m just going to grow more miserable than I already am. She’s never going to change, and I’m never going to be strong enough to reject her, so even sulking over it is an exercise in futility.

Before I’m even able to consider trying to go back to sleep, a nursing aide comes in with breakfast, so I spend the better part of the next hour distracting myself with that.

Though I'm pretty sure hospital eggs are freeze-dried, I actually had a bit of a craving for tamagoyaki, so it’s slightly disappointing to be greeted with a bland-looking western-style breakfast. Cornflakes, orange juice, and toast—not what I would have asked for, if the choice ever came up, but it’s all edible. At least there’s coffee here, but the dirty little secret of every hospital is that, unless it came from the employee lounge, it’s probably decaffeinated. Hospital coffee is powered by the placebo effect.

Strangely enough, I have more of an appetite this morning than I’ve had since I was discharged from the previous hospital, and I hungrily devour the majority of the offerings. Afterwards, though, as I try to get up off the bed to go to the restroom, I'm suddenly struck by a rush of dizziness that forces me to grab onto a guardrail for balance. I have to take a moment to clear my head before I feel comfortable proceeding, after which I head to the bathroom to wash my face.

I catch a glimpse of myself in the stainless steel mirror. I still look like a corpse. A fresh corpse, maybe, like one of the glassy-eyed cadavers in those Victorian memento mori daguerreotypes, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I look alive. Part of me wants to put on makeup, but there’s no point when you’re confined to a hospital like this.

Actually, my mother would disagree. Hikaru told me once that, back when she was pregnant with me, as soon as she realized she was about to go into labor, she got dressed in something presentable and went to the bathroom to touch up her makeup for forty-five minutes before finally getting in my father’s car to go to the hospital. It’s one of those stories that would seem perfectly absurd unless you were acquainted with her.

…Okay, I seriously need to stop thinking about her. I’m going to go crazy if this keeps up.

The hospital gown I’m wearing feels gross and uncomfortable—I want to change it out for the P.E. uniform Mutou brought over, but first what I really need is a shower. All of my nice bathing supplies are still in my dorm room, but that obviously can’t be helped. If I can’t be happy, at least I can be clean.

I flag down a nursing aide and inform her of my plans; after getting me some micro bottles of soap and a clean towel from the supply closet, she leads me to the shower room on this floor and lets me be.

The shower is pretty much what I expected to be: successful, but not particularly satisfying. The water is tepid at best, and can’t be coerced to get any hotter. I soak in it just long enough to get myself clean and turn the water off, which immediately seems to cause me to freeze solid. All in all, this morning doesn’t seem to be getting off to a great start. Skipping school really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Mutou’s class is going on right now, I suppose. When you’re stuck in a hospital like this, it can be hard to remember that time passes outside, that your classmates are attending lessons and making memories you’re not a part of. Time never moves in here, so it’s always a little hard for me to remember it still goes on elsewhere. I was discharged from the hospital on a Saturday, but the only reason I know that is because I started school on Monday. Prior to that, I hadn’t known what day it was for months.

Consequently, it’s still hard for me to think about the time that passed while I was recovering from my heart attack; to think about how, the morning after I collapsed in the snow, class would have started normally and homework would have been turned in. Maybe in that first month I would have occasionally been on some people’s minds, but it would never have gone any further than that. Even the Tea & Ikebana club would have been fine without me. I may have been the vice president, but in practice that really didn’t mean a whole lot unless the president went absent.

Hisao, too, still has his longtime posse of loyal friends: Shin, Takumi, and Mai, who was our one mutual friend. I’m sure they wouldn’t have let him dwell on me, assuming he was inclined to dwell at all. His life is probably normal again.

Mai’s the only one I worry at all about. Our friendship was probably always destined to end once I had my heart attack, but I never got a chance to reassure her that she did nothing to trigger it. She may have persuaded me to act on the feelings I had for Hisao, and facilitated my confession, but she couldn’t have known it would have the consequences it did.

I could always fix that, I guess. I feel like a phone conversation would be too awkward, after all this time, but I don’t know… Maybe I could send a letter.

On the other hand, Mai was always bullheaded and strong-willed. She probably isn’t the kind of person to assume the blame for that kind of thing, and if I presumed she did, she would most likely consider the gesture arrogant or insulting. I don’t know if I could write a letter subtle enough to seem apologetic one way or the other. I probably should apologize for the frosty way I received her the last time we spoke, but if I know Mai, she’s completely forgotten about it by now.

I shouldn’t be living in the past, anyway. It’s only going to make me more unhappy, and the only person really affected by it is me.

An unwelcome discovery awaits me when I open up the duffel bag Mutou brought over. I find the bloomers and T-shirt easily enough, but after a few moments of increasingly frantic searching, I realize that the Nurse never packed a tracksuit. There’s just a summer uniform in here. That’s just great; nothing like totally bare legs in a freezing cold hospital.

Whatever. I throw on what little clothing I have available, discard the hospital gown and make my way back to my room, feeling more than a little wobbly but managing to stay upright. I’m sure I look bizarre, walking down the hallway in my bloomers and hospital slippers, but I’m past the point of caring. I tumble back onto the bed and quickly wrap myself back in the covers.

There isn’t anything to do until lunch—daytime television is enough of a headache without a concussion—so, after lying in bed and staring at the ceiling for a while, I finally cave and dig through the homework Mutou brought over. I don’t plan to do any of it, at least not for the time being, but maybe there’s something I could read, like my history textbook. In my experience, so long as there’s absolutely nothing else to do, reading a history textbook cover to cover is a decent way to pass the time. I actually enjoy watching historical documentaries, but the way the subject is presented in textbooks generally borders on criminal.

There aren’t any textbooks here, though, just handouts, and the most interesting of them is an assignment for Miyagi’s class with three paragraphs in English about the Golden Gate Bridge. Not a particularly challenging one, either, as I understand it all completely in a single pass. People tell me that Miyagi is a tough teacher, but I think she could stand to be a little tougher. Though, really, the problem is that I accidentally became fluent.

I stare at the handouts for a while, though I avoid the chemistry homework entirely—if there’s any subject that’s liable to give me a stroke, that’s the one. Eventually I cave, and ask a nursing aide if there aren’t any newspapers lying around. She winds up bringing me a paper from yesterday with several sections missing. I count my lucky stars that it’s still readable.

Eventually lunch is served, and it’s pretty much elementary school-style: a milk carton, some slices of watermelon, curry on rice, and a salad. As soon as I see it, I immediately know it’s going to be the high point of my day. I eat it with great relish, taking as much time to eat as possible since I know I’m going to go back to doing nothing as soon as I’m finished.

When a nurse aide comes into the doorway, I initially think it’s to ask for the fifth time if I’m done with my meal, but instead she asks me if I’m in the mood for a visitor.

“I have visitors?”

“Yes, there are two people here to see you.”

What…?

Not my parents—Father wouldn’t visit me on a weekday, and Mother couldn’t get back from Europe that fast even if she were so inclined. Not any students, either, since school is still in session. Shizune and Misha might have the ability to sneak away, but I doubt they’d abuse it for my sake. It has to be members of the faculty. Nobody else would know where I was or have any cause to come see me.

“You can send them in,” I say calmly. I’m not really in the mood to speak to officials from the school, but I’ll probably have to get this over with sooner or later.

“Very well,” the aide says, stepping out of sight. I’m still sitting on the edge of the bed; as I silently take a moment to debate whether or not I should be sitting or standing, I hear a woman’s voice say “I’ll wait out here” from behind the doorway. I watch the entrance curiously, waiting from behind my overbed table like a company president at his desk, my office in the middle of nowhere.

To my slight confusion, it's a girl my age who winds up walking into the room, making a weird clicking sound as she carefully takes a few steps inside—it’s like wearing taps or something. She's semi-formally dressed, in a blouse and skirt, strangely reminiscent of the way my parents looked on Saturday, as though I'm somebody you can only speak to in business casual. She appears to be around my height, maybe a little shorter, with a cherubic face and fine, strawberry blonde hair held up in twintails.

I haven’t the slightest idea who this is. My eyes meet hers...

…!

…With a flash of alarming clarity, my entire body goes rigid with tension.

The rich, vibrant forest green color of her eyes might strike me as beautiful under other circumstances, but here, now, they arouse memories I’d thought I was lucky enough to have forgotten. Memories of the darkness closing in, the pounding in my chest and my certainty that I was going to die… Thinking that in a single moment, any chance I’d ever have of achieving anything was ripped away from me…

This girl is the reason I felt that way. She’s the reason I’m here. The would-be Destroyer of my World.

I don’t know what she’s doing here. I can probably come up with a few ideas. But one thing I know for sure is that seeing her here makes the bile rise to the back of my throat.

"I... er, we've never been formally introduced," she says, before I can acknowledge her verbally. "My name is Emi Ibarazaki. I'm in class 3-4… I'm sorry I'm meeting you like this…"

She bows, then stands there for a moment, her hand going to the back of her head, overwhelmed by the awkwardness of the encounter. For my part, I can't think of anything to say. Well, that's not correct. I can't think of anything appropriate to say. I want to scream at her. Just having her near me is causing my heart rate to quicken. I’m so furious with her—so overwhelmed—that only a well-drilled sense of propriety is restraining me.

My hands begin to tremble, and I have to fold them in my lap to conceal them. I manage to keep my face an expressionless mask, because I don’t know what emotions are liable to rise to the surface if I don’t actively suppress them.

“I’m Iwanako Daidouji, but I suppose you know that already,” I answer coolly. Though I never decided to stand up—this meeting is starting off highly informal and is most likely going downhill from there—I do remember my manners, for whatever that’s worth anymore, bowing my head slightly in her direction.

She pauses, glancing at the linoleum nervously, as I continue to observe her with what I can only imagine are cold, steel eyes. I can tell I’m probably making her uncomfortable, but I don’t care. My headache is starting to buzz into focus again, as though loudly resonating in the presence of the person who created it, and if I have to be miserable and uncomfortable, then I don’t at all care how happy she is.

Finally she makes eye contact again. “I—look,” she says a little more resolutely, “I’m really… I’m glad that you’re okay.”

That word. ‘Okay.’ I almost guffaw.

I’m starting to hate that word, the ubiquitous, weaselly adjective that seems to follow me around like goldfish feces. ‘Okay,’ as if the fact that I’m not room temperature means that nothing she did was that big a deal. I don’t have traumatic brain damage, so I’m ‘Okay.’ It’s a word predicated on a self-aggrandizing lie.

Of course, I don’t actually say any of that. But maybe I should.

“…Thank you,” I say, my voice soft yet deliberate, like a leak in a pneumatic machine.

Her expression is noticeably penitent, and I can see her eyes starting to become nacreous, like yesterday, when I was on the ground and it was starting to dawn on her how doomed she was.

“If anything had happened, it… No, this is the worst thing I’ve ever done.”

I furrow my brow silently.

“People… are always reminding me not to run into the halls, and I’ve never listened.”

My hands clench, and I can feel my heart start to pound heavily in my chest.

“I… last year, I even had a close call with a guy with brittle bone disease, and even then, I ignored it. I just kept running in the halls when I was running late. I knew there was a chance something like this could happen, and I just kept going…”

Ignored it?

Are you kidding me?

Go to hell!

This
is your stupid apology?! You knew the risks but since it wasn’t your neck on the line you dashed around like a moron anyway? And now you want me to forgive you?

No more apologies. My cup runneth over with goddamned apologies. What I want is for this pressure inside me to go away. I want this anger to die… I’ve been restraining myself for so long and the sight of this girl makes it so. hard…!

Even now, I can’t say anything as she continues on through her inane speech. I can just stare at the table, stare at the empty lunch tray, at the crumbs on the plate, anything to take my mind off of what I’m feeling…

“I’m in huge trouble at school now… I,” she stammers, her face lachrymose. “I’ve been suspended from school, forbidden to attend the Yamaku Festival, and ordered off the track team. They told me that if this happens again, I’ll be considered for expulsion… So… basically, everything that could go wrong for me, did.”

She pauses, as though waiting for me to respond, but I continue to glance away. So she was punished. She probably deserved to be punished. Does she want my sympathy? Does she want me to apologize?

“I… I’m really not good at these,” she finally continues. “This is… this is the first time I’ve ever screwed up this badly. What I’m trying to say is… I’m really, really sorry. For all of this.”

I manage to meet her eyes again; her expression is understandably contrite, her facial features beautiful in sort of this nebulously vulpine way, but despite all this presentation I find myself almost entirely unmoved. Maybe it’s the fact that I could have telegraphed this encounter from leagues away, maybe it’s the looming suspicion that this girl routinely gets away with murder, maybe it’s that I’m just so damned sick of always being the one at a disadvantage in these conversations, but I’m not any less angry at all. In fact, I’ve been continuously on edge since she stepped through the doorway.

She searches my eyes hopefully for some kind of reply, and though I’m mostly too weary to answer, too lost in my own thoughts, the pregnant silence that passes between us tells me pretty clearly that she won’t go away until I come up with some kind of response.

“Fine,” I say, my voice solemn. “You’re sorry.”

It’s probably the rudest thing I’ve said in ages, something that makes her search my face with surprise, and her forehead wrinkles with concern.

“I, er,” she stammers, thrown off by my terse reply, “I want to make it up to you…”

“Don’t.”

“Huh?”

“Don’t try to fix this,” I answer flatly, my tone level and steady. “Just put it behind you and move on.”

She pauses, clearly beginning to get agitated. “No, look, really, I’d—”

There’s a flash of color behind the doorway, and as I look up I realize I’d forgotten about the other person the nursing aide said had came to visit me. Though it should have become obvious who the woman was, I was too distracted to see it until now.

It’s her mother…

The back of my neck is starting to burn up, and I can feel my pulse throbbing in my wrists.

My mother is off somewhere completely ignoring me while hers is here to provide emotional support for this asinine goddamned apology. My family has completely disappeared and the person who did this to me still has hers all ready to go.

It’s at this moment, amidst this unexpected rush of jealousy and anger, that the very last of my overtaxed restraint crumbles away. It’s at this moment that I lose control entirely.

“—really like to make things better here—”

“Look,” I practically snarl, “What the hell is it you want from me?!”

Her eyes widen, and she jerks back from surprise. “What—”

“Is it forgiveness? You may as well hit the road, because that’s never going to happen. Do you seriously think I’m okay? You nearly killed me, do you understand that? Why the hell would I ever forgive you for that? I’m not the goddamned Pope. I don’t have to grant you a tabula rasa just because you only almost ruined my whole goddamn life.”

She pales noticeably, taking a step back. “I—”

“And you’re seriously telling me that this isn’t even the first time that this has happened? You go to a school for the disabled and you just, what, ignored a dozen warnings? What kind of freaking idiot are you? Sure, you’re remorseful. Good for you. I don’t give a damn. How are you any different from some drunk driver who only feels bad after he finally spins out and murders half a family?”

She makes a noise that’s somewhere between a gasp and a sob, as though I’ve touched upon a particularly sensitive spot, but I’m too far gone to stop now. My heart is racing and I can feel my face turning crimson.

“And, yes, I’m not dead, thanks for noticing, though maybe you’ve knocked ten years off my life, for all I even know. And that’s not even mentioning the concussion you gave me, thanks for that.”

My voice is rising in volume, almost to the point of shouting, and my voice quavers from the lack of control. It’s as though my feelings about everything that’s happened to me this year are coalescing into one violent, cacophonic conflagration of emotion. I only note in passing that a few rogue tears have begun to stream down her cheeks.

“And I didn’t tell the school to do a single goddamn thing, so don’t blame me for whatever they did. Sorry, not my problem. You should have thought of that before you went sprinting through the halls. You want me to feel better? You want to make things right? You can start by getting out of my life. God knows it’s short enough already without you in it!”

I shove the overbed table out of the way, getting to my feet, as she backs towards the door.

“What the hell are you waiting for? Get out,” I growl, practically shouting, violently gesticulating with my hands to wave her off. “Get. Out!”

Speechless, she glances into my eyes with a look of profound hurt and disdain, then briskly turns around and rushes out of the room. From behind the wall I hear her mother call out her name, and then silence.

What, that’s it?

I stand there in the empty room, my palms sweating, my legs shaking and my heart pounding, for what feels like minutes, staring blankly into the empty grey rectangle of the doorway, but she’s gone… they’re both gone. Whatever it was that just happened… it’s over now.

Are you kidding me? That’s it, we’re just done here? No, to Hell with it, as long as I’m on a hot streak, let’s get the entire cavalcade of boneheads in here so that I can shout at them, too. Hakamichi, Hikaru, Mutou, Mother, that idiot doctor… I can keep going. Let’s just have a goddamned marathon!

Let’s just…

Just…


There’s a sudden sensation like the door swinging open on a cold winter night, and I can feel my heart pulsing so excitedly in my chest that I very nearly fall to my knees. It’s a miserable feeling, like hanging upside down and getting punched in the stomach.

What… what the hell is wrong with me?

My whole body is still rigid with unresolved tension, and my stomach and chest feels sore, as though I ate something that disagreed with me. My head seems to be burning up, and even the overpowered air conditioning of the hospital doesn’t seem to be sufficient anymore.

I finally turn away from the doorway, leaning my elbows onto the hospital bed, just trying to find my center, but I can’t seem to make the feeling go away. It’s like an agitation, a feeling like I just committed a serious crime and know I’m going to be caught for it. A feeling like I just broke something I can’t ever replace.

Glancing over to the pillow, I grab it off the bed, rushing into the restroom and shutting and locking the door behind me. I set it against the rim of the sink, burying my whole face into it. I scream at the top of my lungs, muffling it with the pillow, pressing my head against the cold ceramic of the sink, and scream, and scream, until my voice has given out entirely. Then, utterly deprived of energy, I slink onto the floor, leaning against the bathroom door, panting slightly.

No… This must be rock bottom.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so exhausted in my entire life. Or confused. Or disgusted. It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore.

What was that back there? When have I ever been so wantonly callous?

I’ve never lost my temper like that before. Never in my entire life. I usually can’t even raise my own voice without feeling self-conscious. And yet… that just happened. I completely exploded at a total stranger, in the most crass way possible. It’s like… like I don’t even know who I am anymore.

What the hell is going on with me? How am I ever going to function normally in society if this is the way I act, now?

My face is still hot… my whole body is. Pulling myself to my feet, I stagger over to the air conditioning unit by the window and turn it all the way up, letting the cool air wash over me and clear my head.

This really isn’t working, is it? This whole Yamaku experiment is just a mess. When I realized I was steadily becoming a worse person, I thought that going back to school like this would reverse the damage, but I’m clearly just getting worse. I hate myself now more than I did four days ago, that’s for sure.

Just lying in here sulking about it isn’t going to make things any better, though. I have to think. I have to come up with a solution, because the ones other people have come up with for me have all been unmitigated garbage.

Do I stay at Yamaku? What would the point be anymore? Can anything even be salvaged from this? The whole thing has been a disaster. Much of that has been thanks to Emi Ibarazaki, but I have more than a few reservations about other aspects of the school, as well. I don’t think there’s any chance that I can be happy there, anymore. Or even any chance that I can feel safe, really.

No, I think I have to leave. But how would I even do that? Where would I go? Yet another high school? Yet another clean slate? How many will I even need until one of them finally sticks?

Maybe I never should have transferred out of my old school, but that ship has sailed now, too. Anyway, it wouldn’t be a good idea to try and make my way back there. I’ve burned my bridges with basically everybody I knew there. Nothing short of a total disaster would ever make me come back.

I can’t completely discount the nuclear option: What if I simply drop out? Nobody’s forcing me to go to high school. If I were to simply stop attending, nobody would be able to stop me. What are they going to do? Throw me in jail? Deny me my medications unless I agree to go? My parents might be a little unhappy with me, but who even cares? I never see my dad, and my mom’s in no position to judge me. I could probably spend all my time in our condo in Shibuya, doing nothing all day. Maybe I could take up the piano again, or practice my cooking skills, or just watch a ton of movies like I did back in the hospital.

The idea of spending the rest of my life mooching off my father isn’t very attractive, but then none of these choices are. In the end, maybe quitting school is the best option. I’d never have said that before my heart attack, but, well, the paradigm has shifted. I’m not a normal person anymore, and I won’t ever be again. My outburst a few minutes ago has shown me that much.

The air conditioning is starting to nip at my bare skin, so I turn it back down and return to the bed, where I while away the next few hours, staring blankly at the ceiling tiles and emergency sprinklers, mulling over my many terrible options. Dropping out is, sadly, starting to seem like the most appealing choice.

Hypothetically speaking, if I were to hop onto the Shinkansen as soon as I was discharged from the hospital and sneak back to our condo in Shibuya, would anybody be able to prevent me? How long would it take for people to realize I was gone? A week, perhaps? And even when they found me, it’s not like they could drag me back.

Then whenever my mother got back from Europe, she and I and father could have another discussion about my future. A real one, not simply a preordained discussion with them filling out transfer paperwork while I gather dust in a hospital bed.

Maybe it’s worth a try. Not like anything good is going to happen at Yamaku from here on out…

“I… Iwa…o..”

Huh? What was that?

“I, Iwanako?”

The soft voice is so quiet that, for a moment, I think I’m imagining it.

I lift my head, surprised to hear my name. To my surprise, when I glance over to the doorway, a very familiar amethyst-eyed girl is peering at me cautiously from behind the doorway, her nose hidden behind the door frame.

Huh?!

“Hanako?!”


Then another voice chimes in invisibly from behind. It’s a smooth, refined voice, one I’m sure I’ve never heard in my life.

“Oh, is she in there?”
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Thanks go to griffon8 for editing this scene, and helping reassure me that I didn't utterly fuck up Emi here. This one, for what I should think are obvious reasons, was a pain in the ass to write, even though I knew what I wanted to happen way ahead of time and even had all the dialogue already planned out.

For those of you who might think Hanako is being uncharacteristically forward here for such an early stage of the game, all that I'll say is that there's more here than meets the eye. I'd also like to restate my main goal in writing this fic, which is to make my readership forever look at Iwanako in a new, three-dimensional light, and I'd like to think I'm doing a good job of it. If you'd like to comment on my work but you can't think of anything to say, you can at least tell me whether or not I'm succeeding.

Lastly, I'd just like to state that, for the record, Emi is one of my favorite characters, if not my absolute favorite, and that one of my IRL best friends has more than a few similarities with Emi, so this scene is not simply me torturing her for my own delight. In fact, in an earlier envisioning of this scene, Shizune was in the Emi position, but it simply didn't work out.

Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Leaty on Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:23 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:53 am

Great chapter! I don't have a whole lot to say, except that you are the master of cliff hangers. This is at least the second very good one in this story. I can't wait for the conversation between Iwanako and Lilly. I can't help but feel they will get along well.
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Solistor » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:39 am

I place the thousand curses of my Irish ancestors upon thee, you magnificent, glorious bastard. This chapter was incredible and well worth the wait. I'd wish I had a time machine so i could jump to when this story was finished, but then I wouldn't get to have the experience of being a "regular" :P

I await the next chapter with bated breath.
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by bhtooefr » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:12 am

Wow, I think Emi can now have twice the anal she could have before, with how Iwanako tore her a new one. Shame she's not on the track team any more, and therefore can't use the shed. :P

And, she really deserved that.

Looking forward to how you handle Hanako and Lilly here.
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Comrade » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:15 am

Haha! Take that emi!
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:20 am

How are you any different from a drunk driver who only feels bad after he finally spins out and murders half a family?
Ouch!
I can't wait for the conversation between Iwanako and Lilly. I can't help but feel they will get along well.
You think so? I can't really picture Lilly getting along with someone as jaded as Iwanako is right now...
Great chapter again. I'd say you hit Emi's character perfectly.
I was a bit surprised Iwanako was starting to regret her words so soon. Makes me hope they'll still make out up sometime in the future when she's calmed down more. I actually think the two of them might have gotten along quite well if it hadn't been for the incident. Iwanako might just need someone as chipper as Emi to pull her from her depression.
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Kyler Thatch » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:56 am

I don't see any problem with Hanako suddenly popping up for a visit. Almost expected it actually. The different sort of encounter Iwanako has with her (compared to Hisao) is enough to convince me that there could be a very different dynamic going on. That's the sort of thing I love about this story, to be completely honest. All the ways in which Iwanako is not simply a genderswapped Hisao.

If anything, what surprises me is that Lilly is also there. Though one could probably chalk that up to Hanako not wanting to venture into the city (or wherever that hospital is) on her own.

Also, I imagine Emi must be absolutely devastated. Not only because she was thoroughly chewed out by Iwanako, but because she was forced off the track team. No more Emi at her Emiest.

Also also, how do you forbid someone from attending a festival?

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:23 am

Also also, how do you forbid someone from attending a festival?
Easy. Confine her to her room on that day.
Also, I imagine Emi must be absolutely devastated. Not only because she was thoroughly chewed out by Iwanako, but because she was forced off the track team. No more Emi at her Emiest.
No, Iwanako's accusations probably hit her much harder, especially since they are completely justified and probably hit a sore spot as well.
Being taken off the track team doesn't mean she isn't allowed to run anymore - it would be hard to forbid anyone from doing that - just that she can't participate in competitions.
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Blasphemy » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:09 am

This kills the Emi.

Excellent chapter, poor Emi got obliterated in that room :(
No matter how you look at the delivery, Iwanako's message does contain some truths. Emi's behavior simply was extremely negligence considering the school she's at.

Still man, while I can totally emphasize with Iwanako's outburst, there was obviously no real malicious intent with this attempt of an apology. Emi was even very honest (don't know if necessarily on purpose) and admitted that she's almost screwed up before and got cautioned many times. That didn't help matters here though obviously, neither did some other choices of words.

Coping with all this, especially knowing that Iwanako's accusations are true, will be tough. Doubt she can run that off anytime soon... Doesn't help that Rin probably isn't the best at consolation and I imagine part of the student body is going to antagonize her for her actions. Almost killing another student out of negligence, uh oh. That probably doesn't go well.

Well, I must imagine there is still much to come with Iwanako and Emi. Iwanako feels bad for her outburst, even if kinda justified, and the both of them would probably try to avoid ever running (pun intended) into on another from now on. So I'll look forward to see how this conflict evolves. Unless suddenly Iwanako's dad becomes furious knowing about all this and demands Emi's expulsion and that's that?!? Who knows!

Also man, that must be a terrible feeling for Meiko, waiting outside and listening to her daughter getting chewed on like this, uh oh.

I'm curious about Hanako's and LIlly's appearance, but since so far you keep delivering I'll expect this to make sense. Cannot exactly remember how her encounter with Hanako went, so I'll have to reread that.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Reese8 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:36 pm

Ah, the Emi introduction!
"The would-be Destroyer of my World."
Well, the second Emi introduction. Yeah, not a very good first impression there…

"nacreous"
Yay, it's back!

And the probability of an Emi route just jumped off a cliff, not that that was too terribly unexpected.

"What was that back there? When have I ever been so wantonly callous?

I’ve never lost my temper like that before. Never in my entire life. I usually can’t even raise my own voice without feeling self-conscious. And yet… that just happened. I completely exploded at a total stranger, in the most crass way possible. It’s like… like I don’t even know who I am anymore."
Well, um, to be fair, she did nearly kill you. Not deliberately, sure, but "through extreme negligence" isn't exactly a free pass.

"Nothing short of a total disaster would ever make me come back."
"go back", I think it ought to be.

Hee, and the probability of Stonefish* Stoneflower is climbing! :D

Oh, and the Lilly meeting, too.

Aaaand that's the end of the chapter. The responsible part of me is relieved, as I have homework that I really ought to be doing, but most of me much prefers reading this to working PDEs. :)
Kyler Thatch wrote:The different sort of encounter Iwanako has with her (compared to Hisao) is enough to convince me that there could be a very different dynamic going on.
Right; I still think that that's not just important but pivotal.
Blasphemy wrote:I'm curious about Hanako's and LIlly's appearance, but since so far you keep delivering I'll expect this to make sense. Cannot exactly remember how her encounter with Hanako went, so I'll have to reread that.
Iwanako, having no idea that the prevailing opinion was that Hanako ought to be handled with kid gloves if at all, walked right up to her and asked her for help.


*edited to correct wrong name
Last edited by Reese8 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by bhtooefr » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:41 pm

Stonefish as a ship name would mean that Iwanako would practice self-love.

Surely you mean Stoneflower? ;)
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Re: Iwanako: Mean Time to Breakdown {updated 11/20/2013}

Post by Mader Levap » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:05 pm

Emi deserved it. She should be happy they did not expelled her on spot (for sure Nurse doing - he did everything he could to prevent that). Mentioning drunk driver would be a little too much, if Iwanako knew about it, but well. Accidental obliteration is accidental.
Presence of Hanako and Lilly IS surprising. Wonder what business they have? Do they know about obliteration of Emi? Will see how it goes.
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