This has been re-ordered as the Prologue got shortened so some comments may not match the chapter they're near.
Cast: (Updated as drawn)
Here are the contents that fit into my Swim Story world.
Act 0: Prologue Act 1: Swim Partners
- Chapter 2: First Lessons
- Chapter 3: A Helping Hand - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 4: The Swimming Pool - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 5: Impromptu Meeting
- Chapter 6: Conditions - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 7: Lunch Time - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 8: Talk - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 9: Epilepsy - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 10: Pain - Part 1 Part 2
- Chapter 11: Wake Up - Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- Chapter 12: Surprise - Part 1 Part 2
- Extras - Kanpaii!
- Extras - Fall For Me
Chapter Word Count:3,592
I wrote this chapter even without full notes of the full story because I wanted to get this out before my birthday (12th August). I ended up writing this within a few hours of constant work. After, I did do a quick proof-read of the chapter but I have a feeling I may have missed some stuff. This chapter is written from the first person perspective of Ryuunosuke Shibanuma. The original 3 chapter prologue has been rewritten and condensed into one chapter of a higher quality 11 months after it first being written.
Chapter 1: Prologue
Opening my eyes I see a bright blurry ceiling. Even with my blurry vision I can tell it is a different colour from my room, the one in my room being beige compared to this white one. Where am I and why am I on someone else’s bed? My eyes slowly adjust to the light levels, and I take a quick look around - only to quickly realise that I am in a hospital room. What happened? I try to think back to what happened. I remember Miyu - one of my friends - shouting something, and it distracted me, and I remember turning my head to look at her, only just noticing how beautiful she is. If I remember right, I think she shouted a confession. I feel my mouth twisting into a smile as I think of it. Did I think that I might be ready for a relationship again? I think I did. I can’t remember anything else apart from that…
As my mind goes silent, I am drawn by a beeping sound coming from my right. Turning my head, I notice the sound is coming from a heart-rate monitor which I then notice has wires leading to me. I start to feel some discomfort in my arm, and I notice a tube going into it. I follow the tube and see it is connected to some sort of drip. From my experience watching those subbed western medical shows, it looks like a saline drip. If it is then it would be a bad idea to pull it out, not to mention painful. Something serious definitely happened to me then, but what? I scan the rest of the room, and my eyes fall on a person sleeping in a chair - my father. I wonder how long he’s been there. The way he’s sitting looks quite uncomfortable. I realise my throat is dry, so I look around to see if there is a water source in this room. I soon spot a full glass of water on a bedside cabinet. Reaching for it, I try to grasp it, but my hand only meets the air, confusing me. I feel like something may have gotten stuck to my face while I was asleep. I go to peel it off and notice it isn’t something similar to a piece of paper like I was expecting - It feels like a bandage. I trace where it goes and find it is covering my left eye. As I pass across my eye, I accidentally press down and receive a subdued, but shooting pain through my head causing me to breathe in sharply. I remove my hand quickly and the pain gradually subsides.
A cough rings out from my left causing me to look in that direction. I see my father is now awake. I watch as he slowly stands up and stretches. As he bends his back backwards, it clicks and cracks multiple times. He straightens it and comments “God, they need comfier chairs.” He then looks over to my direction and sees I’m awake. “Ahh good, you are awake again.” I give him a slightly confused look. “You woke up for a few minutes yesterday before going back to sleep. Now, I have already dealt with Hakamichi, but tell me why you and he decided to use sharpened katanas!” A displeased look crosses his face, and my vision is interrupted by a flash of sharpened silver followed by red before returning to normal.
I try to remember why we decided to do that, but I can’t. I tell my father this, and he still doesn’t look happy. He then looks me over before determining that I’m good, at least that’s what I’m assuming he’s doing. After doing so, he proceeds to lecture me on how stupid I was for using a sharpened katana; not only because of the dangers, but because of the damage it does to them too. After his lecture, he tells me that because of mine and Jigoro’s stupidity, I have lost the sight in my left eye which explains the bandage thing on my eye. My father then looks at his watch and tells me that he is late for an assignment of his. I wish I knew what these assignments are, he never tells me what they are and always dodges any questions I have about them. He bids me goodbye and starts walking. As he reaches the door he turns to me once more. “I should return within a few days. I will make sure you have some books to read too next time I’m here,” Before I say anything, he walks out the door.
Several days pass by since my father visited me. He has been my only visitor, however I’m not surprised as I am quite far from my hometown, and most of my friends don’t have the means to get here. As my father hasn’t returned yet, I have been bored and resorted to watching the TV in my room. This program I’m currently watching is some weird game show where the contestants have to eat an everyday object to see if it is a sweet or not. The current contestant has to eat what looks like a shoe and as he bites into it, a relieved expression crosses his face. I assume it was some kind of sweet.
I start wondering about what my doctor told me when he came in after my father had left. He wore glasses and was holding a clipboard in one hand. He told me his name was Ichimonji, and after doing some cursory checks, he explained some more of what happened, including that my left eye was permanently damaged by a sharp object and that the object also sliced the tear ducts leaving me with a condition called Haemolacria and that I would have a scar going across that side of my face and eye. I wonder what blood randomly trickling down from my eye will feel like, possibly like normal tears I would assume. I’m assuming the culprit was Jigoro’s katana.
Ichimonji went on to explain I was connected to a drip was because while they were trying to repair my eye the best they could, there were apparently some complications, which they thankfully corrected.
A few days after my father had left; the bandage around my head and eye was removed. The fresh-ish air feels nice and relaxing on the newly bare skin.
I hear a knock on my door quickly followed by a gruff voice saying “Calm down already, you are causing a scene out here, and he may well be asleep.”
The muffling of the door makes it hard to know what the other person speaking to my father says, but I can tell it is a female voice. The door opens revealing my father, leaning to one side due to a bag he is holding. The bag itself looks like it is straining under an immense weight. How many books did he bring? I shift my eyesight back to his profile, and I see someone behind him with long pinkish-purple hair, constantly shifting side to side trying to find a gap past my father. With how short the person looks, I have a strong suspicion of who she is.
“Good, you are awake again. I hope you are feeling well and are ready for some hyperactive company,” my father says, upon seeing me. He barely takes two steps forwards before the person behind him squeezes through the gap he’s made and coming running to me. There is one person this could be: my best friend, Hitomi. I am about to greet her, but my vision is blocked by her long hair as she reaches me and hugs me tightly, almost catching the tube going into my arm. She may be small, but she can clearly run across a hospital room in no time at all.
As her hair rests on my face, I find a bit of it go into my mouth. As I try remove the hair, Hitomi squeals “Oh Ryuunosuke! I was so worried when your dad told me you were in a hospital. Why did you have to get injured so far from home? If you were closer I would have been able to visit you daily. I am so glad you are okay. Well, except for your eye, but that’s why I’ll be your extra eye.”
After fully grasping what’s happening, especially after Hitomi’s barrage of words, I let out a small laugh and reciprocate her hug. “Calm down Hitomi, I am still alive, so you don’t need to hug me so tightly.”
“Yes I do!”
I hear a deep chuckle from behind Hitomi. “Come now, Honma, give the boy some breathing room.”
“I don’t want to,” she cries out.
“You want to suffocate me?” I ask her jokingly while I pry her off me. She reluctantly lets go. I see she is pouting. She then punches my left arm. Thankfully it isn’t the one with the tube going into it. I look at the girl in front of me and see she has decided to wear her usual blue top, which is her favourite colour.
“You are really stupid, you know that right?” I look to my father who has made his way across the room and makes a gesture indicating I’m on my own here. Thanks father. “Your dad told me what you and Hakamichi did during your demonstration. I would have shouted at Hakamichi too, but, well, he’s too scary…”
I can’t help but let out a laugh at the image of this one and a half meter girl shouting at someone like Jigoro. The laugh earns me another punch and a hurt look from her.
“Ow!” I call out. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop myself,” She glares at me which has no effect. Neither does the annoyed sound she makes. Still glaring, she takes a seat on my bed as I sit myself up straighter.
“Ryuunosuke,” my father calls me, and I look to him. “Jirou and Tamiko offer their apologies for not being able to come here. Tamiko is somewhere in Egypt, and Jirou has a fast approaching deadline. Mizuki couldn’t get time off work.”
“Shame, I wanted to see them,” I say.
“Another time perhaps.”
I look back at Hitomi and notice she is staring at something. I follow her line of sight and see she is looking at the pipe going into my arm, “What is that?” she asks.
“This? Oh, it’s keeping me alive.” Her eyes widen at my joke. “I’m joking, it has some use, but I’ve forgotten what the doctor told me it was for.”
Hitomi narrows her eyes “Don’t do that to me,” she then tries to hit my legs, which are under the covers, but misses.
“Why? It’s as if you like me or something,” I say with a knowing smile. My comment makes her blush a deep red. The bag my father brought me catches my eye reminding me that he brought it. “Say, Hitomi, could you pass me that bag please? I want to see which books are in it.”
My father, who has been sitting a bit away, watching, smiles and makes an approving sound. I assume it is because I can tell what’s in the bag without looking in it although it isn’t that hard to guess. Sometimes it is a shame that my father doesn’t seem to be much of a talker – the complete opposite of Hitomi here.
Hitomi goes to the bag and lifts the straps; she tries to pick it up but ends up nearly losing her balance. I smile but stop when she gives me her death glare. She takes the sensible option and opens the bag where it is. She takes the first few books out, and I notice one of the things isn’t thick enough to be one of my books. I try to grab it but it is just out of my reach. Hitomi notices and passes it to me while smiling. I look at it and see it is a brochure for a school called Yamaku. I believe that’s the school my uncle and his wife went to. Judging by Hitomi nonchalantly passing and seeing it, she knows something, right?
Sitting in the living room of our house, I stare into the fireplace watching the licks of flames twist and intersect each other. Even though this is the fireplace that scarred my chest fourteen years ago, the flames seem to calm my nerves. My nerves are slightly frayed as this is the last day I’ll be in this house. Tomorrow I’ll be starting at Yamaku Academy. I look away from the fire to grab the glass of water on the table In front of me, and I catch sight of my father beside me reading one of my uncle’s books. I reach for the glass but instead of my hand grabbing it like I intended, my hand ends up knocking it over. I curse audibly.
I hear a slight chuckle form next to me. I look over to see my father is no longer reading his book and is holding out a roll of tissue for me. I take it and start drying up my mess. “The way you act reminds me a lot of how your mother was during school,” my father says.
I would ask him more about my mother, but every time I do, he changes the subject. I notice he is rubbing the knuckles on one of his hands where it is quite reddened and says “Who knew Hakamichi’s jaw was so strong...”
He changed the subject like he always does. I let out a chuckle and my father’s gaze goes from his hand to me “Are you sure you are ready to start at Yamaku tomorrow? As I said after you read the brochure, it will be quite different from your current school.”
“Yes, I am sure. It will feel odd, since I’ll be living on the campus, but I feel I will be able to adjust to it,” I say. At least I hope so...
I turn my head back to the fire, and the sound of a book page being turned signals that my father has gone back to his book. As I stare into the chaotic flames, I notice that they start to merge in a way that resembles two humanoid figures fighting one another and a third figure moving away. I blink a few times, and the shapes I saw disappear as if they had never been there.
I suddenly wake up, and after a few seconds I notice I’m drenched in sweat. My room doesn’t feel that hot or humid, so that can’t be the cause. I try to figure out what other causes it could be, and as I do so I notice the morning sun creeping into my room. Judging by how low the sun is, it is still very early. I suddenly remember what woke me up and what most likely is the cause of me sweating - a nightmare. I haven’t had a nightmare for close to two years. My nightmare was the same as the ones I used to get – ones consisting of my ex-girlfriend, Shiori, covered in blood and then being replaced by what looks like a grim reaper figure holding a scythe.
This nightmare actually had an extra part in it. The extra part had the grim reaper saying his usual bit about how I failed Shiori in her moment of need but then followed by him letting out an unearthly laugh before telling me he has come back thanks to my near-death. The image of him laughing is now stuck in my head. I get out of my bed and get dressed before walking to my window before looking out and getting slightly blinded by the rising sun. I shake my head to try get rid of the grim reaper’s visage and stare outside. I remember today is the day that I will be moving to Yamaku Academy; the school for the disabled. It will be hard to leave what few friends I have here, namely my best friend Hitomi. I chuckle as I remember her pleading to her mother to let her skip school to come with my father and me to my new school. It is a shame she said no.
I stare out of the window for I don’t know how long until I am interrupted when I hear a knock on my door. I know precisely who that knocking sound belongs to - Hitomi.
“I’m asleep,” I call out in a monotone voice.
She opens the door and says “Oh a sleepwalker. Let me fix that.” Oh no, what is she going to do?
I turn my head to the right slightly so I can see her out the corner of my eye. I see her approaching me a bit faster than walking pace. I put my right hand up in her direction and she walks right into it. I hear a muffled yelp as I feel her face hits my palm. I turn, and she forces my hand down, causing a small amount of pain which I purposefully don’t show. I turn my body to face her, and she scowls at me while rubbing her nose. “Why did you do that?”
“Because you would have done something to me,” I reply. As I do, Hitomi’s expression turns sad.
“Of course I want to, after today I won’t be able to do much, unless-“
“Unless you visit me at Yamaku, right?” I say, finishing off her sentence, to her surprise. “You know you can visit me at any time. Although because of how far it is, you’d probably need to ask my father or your mother to allow you to.”
“My mum would definitely let me, not sure about your dad though. In any case I will miss you.”
“Now you’re making it sound like I’m going to my death. I’ve had enough with death and coming close to it,” I say in a playful tone. I’m not going to tell her about the grim reaper returning to my dreams as it will only worry my best friend again.
My reward for my jest is a punch to my stomach, keeling me over. Hitomi may be small, but she can pack a punch when she wants to. “Don’t say that!” she says, her voice raised a bit. I touched a very sore nerve.
“S-Sorry,” I splutter, rubbing my stomach where she punched me. “We’ve both lost ones we cared about. Me, Shiori and you, your sister. Pleasedon’thitme.”
Hitomi raises her fist again and says “Don’t tempt me,” complete with an attempt to look angry.
“You know you are too cute and small to look convincingly angry, right?” My rhetorical question causes her to drop both her arms while blushing. “It is good I know how to easily stop you, too. I don’t want to end up like Hiroto did after you finished with him.”
Hitomi looks down and walks towards me. She leans her head on my chest and says “He deserved it. Seriously though, if anyone tries to bully you again, like at school, tell me and I’ll make them pay.” I can’t help but let out a chuckles and Hitomi buries her head into my chest more.
“Of course, after all you’re my third, well second eye now, always looking out for me.” I chuckle as I put my hands on top her hand. She immediately swats them off.
Hitomi acts a lot like a protective sister, younger because she is a year younger than me. Her mother came to work at this house as a housemaid just after I obtained several scars on my chest, from the fireplace.
I come back to the present world and notice that Hitomi is now looking up at me with her head cocked. “Do I have something on my face?” I ask her, nonchalantly.
“No, you just looked melancholic.”
“Ha.” I let slip a laugh. “Today is a big change in my life. I just hope this change is for the better.”
“It will be,” she says in a serious tone, complete with a serious face.
“Ahh, there you are Hitomi. I’d thought you had gotten lost on your way to wake Ryuunosuke up, instead it turns out you’re flirting,” a cheerful voice says from the door. I look up and Hitomi spins around, flushed.
“Mum! I-I wasn’t flirting!” I chuckle at Hitomi being flustered as she starts walking to her mother.
“Sure, sure. Ryuunosuke, Ryouichi called saying he is running slightly late. Hitomi was meant to tell you but she clearly got distracted.” I’m not sure if her mother is chiding or teasing her.
I put my hand on top of Hitomi’s head and say “Thank you. If he’s running late then what’s for breakfast?”
Hitomi’s mother warmly smiles. She is a lot like Hitomi herself, except taller and not as hyper. “I’ve cooked your favourite, Ryuunosuke.”
Upon hearing that, Hitomi stops walking as she breathes in sharply and lets her arms hang loose. A second passes before I remember she can’t stand spicy foods, especially Mapo Doufu. Having Mapo Doufu as breakfast is quite odd but I like it. My father however, doesn’t like that idea, so I can only have it that early when he’s away.
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