Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 08/01/2019

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Feurox
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Re: Gravity: A Molly Psuedo- Psuedo Route. Updated as of 07/19/2019

Post by Feurox » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:53 am

Many thanks to everyone who has read the rebooted series.
PKMNthiefChris wrote:
Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:12 am
You really can tell you've grown since then as a writer. Greatly looking forward to reading the relaunch further.
Thank you. I suppose you're someone who's seen that growth first hand as I started reposting around the time you joined!
Scroff wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:28 pm
I really enjoyed the original, but I agree with PKMNthiefChris that you're more accomplished now than when you started this.

I've got a real soft spot for Molly so I'm very much looking forward to where this goes!
Thank you as always Scroff. Our writing has always been compatible, so many thanks for continuing to read my stuffs! I hope it hasn't disapointed so far, I quite like Molly too ;)
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:06 am
NIce to see this... Well "continued" is not quite right, so... Nice to see more of this.
It's been quite a while, but I don't remember there being much wrong about the story - but on the other hand it's been so long I don't remember most of the details, so I can enjoy this one as almost fresh. :-)

I don't think you had Lelouch and Lezard in the first version... Nice to see some less-used characters get some spotlight. I particularly like Lelouch, since I have fond memories of trying to write him in one of my own stories.
As always, great to see you're enjoying this Mirage and thank you for the amendments, stuff always seems to slip through the cracks. I've been re-reading my stuff several times just to make sure I'm not still making that 'sat' versus 'sitting' mistake aha! Also, I'm pretty fond of Lelouch too, given Ekeprhasis and the like. Just glad you're still a fan of some Molly, especially since your feedback usually puts a smile on my face, even if you're complaining about my purple prose! (I'm trying I swear!) ;)

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:29 am
One heck of a cliffhanger, though one that was telegraphed quite heavily...
I didn't think it was that obvious, but then, I know the plot points before so... I'll try to keep things more subtle, I think I have a few surprises up my sleeve yet. Especially with regards to what's changed from the original route and what's stayed the same.


I'd like to give a huge thank you to Brythain who gave some incredibly thoughtful feedback with regards to the first chapter of this reboot.

I'd also like to give a huge thank you to Lap, who has been proofreading and catching all those awful typos and tense-switches I'm guilty of in my drafts. It's not easy deciphering some of my prose sometimes, so my utmost thanks go out to you! Also, CONGRATULATIONS on finishing Avenues of Communication! What a journey it was.

I hope everyone enjoys the next update.

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Feurox
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Redshift PT1

Post by Feurox » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:55 am

Redshift PT1
Even Broken Hearts Can Tessellate.

The library has this unusual smell. Like the air is stale or something. Another reason to believe it was devised by sadists, and not by anyone with a human heart. From across the table, I can see Lelouch is struggling to answer this week’s Chemistry worksheet, so I tap my pencil on the top of his paper, sliding my own answer sheet over for him to correct his answers. He smiles, and returns my sheet after correcting his own.

It’s probably a good thing I’m in the library this afternoon. The conversation I had with Suzu last night sent a lot of things that I’d thought were safe spiralling out of control, and I’m not in the mood for a lunchtime of possible awkwardness.

After the walk up the hill, Suzu nearly collapsed onto me. I hadn’t been sure when we would talk about what happened between her and Taro, but I certainly hadn’t expected it to be after coffee with my brother; It had clearly been preying on her mind all day until it nearly broke her. That being said, she didn’t really talk about it once she’d brought it up, she just kept repeating that sleeping with Taro had been a mistake, and a big one at that.

With Suzu’s condition, outbursts of emotion like that can be kind of dangerous. She didn’t really want to delve into how she was feeling, so we sat outside the dormitories and she kind of just… cried quietly, whilst I held her hand and stroked her head a little. When she showed up to class this morning, she seemed a little bit better. Maybe. I hope she was able to let a little bit out last night, because I really don’t know what else she can do, or really, what’s wrong to begin with.

The potential awkwardness of lunch today isn’t the only reason I’m in the library instead of the cafeteria; more like fortunate timing. Every Tuesday, during lunch break, Lelouch and I study together. I think it was our Chemistry teacher’s idea, but Lou was the one to ask me to help him go over the syllabus regularly. I don’t mind doing it; it feels nice to help him out with this, and the extra studying helps me stay ahead of the curriculum.

“Hwyo d-do you fi…” Lelouch takes a deep breath and tries again, “Hyow do you figure owt this one?” He taps the paper in front of him with his pencil, highlighting a question about Boyle’s Law. I smile at him, and he mock frowns in response. I can’t help but giggle at that.

“It’s a law about the relationship between the pressure and volume of gas.” He’s giving me his full attention, so I sketch a crude diagram on my own paper as I explain. “Basically, it says that at a constant temperature, the pressure and the volume of any given amount gas is inversely proportional.” To illustrate that, I write the words volume and pressure and draw two arrows between them. It’s not a very effective diagram, but Lelouch seems to understand anyway, and writes an answer on his worksheet.

From the beanbag behind Lelouch, Hisao looks up and smiles at me. I return it, and Lelouch settle back into the rhythm of his work.

When the morning classes ended, Hisao was keen to follow through on his words from yesterday, about wanting to join me for lunch. He didn’t seem put off that I would be heading to the library, and ended up joining me and Lelouch, much to the dismay of Taro, who will now be having lunch with Suzu and Lezard… Oh, if I could be a fly on that wall…

I’m not sure why Hisao chose hanging out here with us over hanging out with Taro, especially since the two seem to have become quite friendly since we hung out at the Shanghai last week. That said, Hisao and Lou seem to get on just as well, and he’s definitely nerdy enough to enjoy studying. He’s currently got some Physics book in hands, something about ‘Phenomenology’, whatever that is.

A few more minutes of silence pass whilst Lelouch works through the sheet. He bites on the end of his pen every time he gets stumped, but he doesn’t ask me for any help again, so it seems at least a bit of my tutoring is getting through to him.

“You know you can sit with us if you want,” I say to Hisao, which has the side effect of getting Lou’s attention too. He smiles at Hisao, and pulls the chair beside him out. But Hisao chuckles and shakes his head.

“I’m fine being an observer. Besides, I’m really comfortable.” He responds in the hushed tone necessary for library communication. I’m sure somewhere behind me Hanako and Yuuko are appreciating the quiet.

“Molly ish a goid tu-tutor Hishaio, trusht mei.” It’s sweet of Lelouch to say that. It’s only been, uh, I think three weeks, but it’s really starting to feel like I’m helping.

“I don’t doubt it.” Hisao replies. “I was struggling to keep up with her in Yamada’s class yesterday.”

I’m blushing again. At least this time it feels justified; doesn’t everyone blush when they’re complimented?

“Yeah, well she is a little bit nerdy.” The hushed voice takes me by surprise, and I turn around to face the source of it. Rika, twirling her white braid and smirking playfully at me approaches and places her hand on my shoulder. “Hey Hisao, good to see you again!” Her cheery tone quickly rises from her initial whisper, and she’s grinning like an idiot. “Hey Lou.” It’s sweet how her voice softens when she says his name. Hey, I’m the only one she didn’t say hi to!

Rika pulls the chair out from beside me and sits down at the table. I guess Hisao’s worried about being left out, since he gets up and joins us in the seat Lelouch offered him, setting his book gently down on the table. Rika notices the title, and starts giggling.

“Looks like you’re a bit nerdy as well, eh, Hisao?” She points to his book and immediately he goes a little red. Rika looks me in the eye and winks. What?

“I didn’t claim otherwise!” Hisao retorts. He does that thing again, where he rubs the back of his head awkwardly.

Lelouch taps the table in front of me, getting my attention and the attention of everyone at the table. He looks around at everyone, and seems visibly embarrassed, like he feels bad to be asking for my help. I try to give him a reassuring smile, but it’s not much use, so I press on.

“What’s up?” I ask, and he slides his paper across to me before tapping an answer near the bottom of the sheet. He’s progressed quite a bit since he last asked for my help. He doesn’t need my help anyway, since he’s got the answer right. Which makes him smile, and I notice Rika and Hisao smiling too.

“So, Hisao,” Rika asks in a soft voice, “Have you settled in yet?” I return to the worksheet in front of me, but keep my attention on Hisao. I’m curious to hear his answer, to hear what he says when it isn’t just us.

“I think so, for the most part at least.” Rika doesn’t say anything, just waits for Hisao to go on. “I still have to… come to terms with a few things.” He gives a quiet dry laugh. “And I guess it still feels like I’ve been sent away to nowhere.” Before we can get too depressed (or offended) by that observation, he adds, “But I’ve met some nice people, so I’m feeling good, I think.”

Lou taps his pencil on the corner of Hisao’s book, the book Hisao hasn’t really been managing to read since we keep talking to him. “Evewewyhere ish swomewyhere Hishao. Eyven heyre.” I don’t really understand what that means, even after carefully dissecting Lou’s words over again in my head. From the looks of things, Hisao doesn’t either, but he smiles anyway.

“What does that even mean?” I ask. I’m trying to keep my voice quiet, but the urge to giggle at his peculiar remark makes it come across a bit louder than intended. Rika nudges me in the shoulder.

“It means you’ve got to make yourself belong, right Lou?” Rika says. I’m now more lost than before, but after a moment or two of contemplation, Lou nods his head in agreement. Hisao looks at me, seeming equally confused, but I guess he’s not in the mood to press it. Whatever. I guess Rika and Lou really get each other.

I return to the last few questions of my worksheet, as does Lelouch, whilst Rika and Hisao chat idly about some things I’ve already heard, like where Hisao is from, and about his peculiar hallmate. From the way he’s talking about him, it’s kind of hard to think that they’re not at least kind-of friends though. I think he sounds interesting, if a bit eccentric.

The last minutes of the lunch break pass in a similar manner. Rika has some catching up to do, with regards to getting to know Hisao I suppose, since she missed his impromptu introduction at the Shanghai last week. She seems particularly interested to hear that he’s started running with Emi Ibarazaki, but she doesn’t reveal why. Even though there’s no bell in the library, we hear the distant chime from the hallway, signifying the end of the lunch-break, but before we can head off, Rika addresses us all excitedly.

“Wait, wait, I almost forgot!” By this point, she’s not even trying to whisper, but I doubt Yuuko is going to scold her, we’re leaving anyway. “Do you guys have any plans tonight?”

The three of us look to each other, and everyone shrugs and shakes their head to confirm that we don’t. Rika seems pretty giddy, it’s a little contagious, and I find myself getting excited about whatever she’s going to ask.

“No? Great! There’s a new film on in town, they’re screening a new film!”

“Really?” I ask, equally excited now. Even Lelouch looks surprised and is visibly excited. Hisao looks understandably confused.

“Uh, what’s the film about?” He asks, not really understanding our excitement. That’s understandable though.

“I have no idea!” Rika replies excitedly as we pass through the double doors of the library and into the hallway. The disparity between the emptiness of the library to the crowded hallways causes us all to stop for a moment, before we slip into the current of people heading towards class. Hisao looks even more confused than before, so I think it’s time to explain.

“The theatre in town is really nice, but it’s been showing the same three films since I arrived here. Since it’s family owned, they can’t really afford to get the latest stuff in, so it’s always showing older black and white films. Since there’s something new on, we could all go down and watch it!” I explain, Rika and Lou nodding along with me.

We’ve reached the staircase by the time I’ve explained both the theatre and our own weirdness to Hisao. He doesn’t seem put off by my explanation. In fact, he’s chuckling a little bit as well now.

“I haven’t been to the movies in a long time,” his smile falters noticeably, but he tries to recover his earlier mood. “I think it sounds nice, and I haven’t got any plans tonight anyway.”

Rika claps her hands excitedly as we step onto the staircase. “Well it’s settled then. Should we invite the others, or do you want it to just be us?” She asks with a wink.

That’s a good question. It’d be weird not to invite them, but I’m also a little worried that Suzu and Taro’s problems might start to bleed over into the group as a whole. Is that a selfish worry? I hope not, but even if it is, I think it’s a valid one. Lelouch has reached the top of the stairs before the rest of us, and is patiently waiting for us to reach him. I’m a little surprised to see both Rika and Hisao look physically drained. Well, I’m not surprised to see Rika like that, since her heart condition makes her tire easily. But, Hisao doesn’t look as tired as she does, so maybe I’m imagining things. Regardless, I’m still the last to summit, as it were.

Everyone is looking at me to answer Rika. I don’t know why that responsibility falls on me, but the longer I take to respond, the more likely they are to think that something’s up. So, I just get it over with.

“Yeah, we’ll ask them in class.” Hisao and Rika give me what I think are honest smiles, but Lou seems to have noticed my struggle answering. I get the feeling Taro and he have been talking as well, so it’s not especially surprising for him to look dubious.

“Where should we meet, and, uh, when?” Hisao asks, looking at his watch. Maybe he’ll set an alarm or something, can his watch do that? Wait, can mine?

Rika doesn’t respond since she’s noticed a friend from her class and is waving them over. So, I take over the planning. Rika’s a bit too scatter brained to form concrete plans anyway.

“Let’s meet up at 7, at the main gate? We can all head down together from there, it isn’t a long walk.”

Everyone seems okay with that plan, excited even. We wave a temporary goodbye to Rika, as she and her classmate venture off down the hallway, whilst Hisao, Lelouch and I head into our classroom.

I rouse Suzu, who beat me back to class today, and let her know the plans for tonight. Maybe it’ll cheer her up, who knows. Lou makes his way to his seat at the back of the class, and so he fills Taro in. I was hoping Hisao would talk to Lezard, but he seems to have been captured by Misha and Shizune.

I guess that leaves it to me. What a crappy way to end an otherwise nice lunch.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The afternoon classes passed lazily, and before long I’m changing out of my school uniform into a hoodie and a skirt for tonight’s plans. It’s a bit colder outside now, but I don’t have to worry about my legs feeling the chill, and so with Rika and Suzu beside me, we make our way to the front gates of Yamaku, bathed in the gold of the setting sun.

There’s something magical about Yamaku in its evening splendour, from the low chirping of the birds, to the smell of cut-grass that seems to permeate the lawns and flower beds, it feels so far removed from anywhere I’ve ever known. It used to feel so timeless, like nothing was ever changing, and I was all right with that. I know now that things were never entirely static, I’d just fooled myself into believing that. Even before things really started spiralling, we all had our problems. It’s strange how the arrival of Hisao has finally made me realise that we’ll be leaving Yamaku soon, that our time here is running out. I don’t know if it’s entirely fair to say I’m feeling that way because of Hisao, but there’s certainly correlation, if not causation.

The subject of my musing is standing before the gates, talking with Taro about something I can’t make out from here. Lelouch and Lezard are there too, and Lezard gives Lou a friendly punch on the shoulder as we approach, causing them both to laugh; they must have been joking about something. It’s nice to see everyone together again, even if after last night’s talk with Suzu, I’m starting to fear for the longevity of our group of friends.

Taro steps forward from the wall and bows deeply, which has the added affect of dropping his slung arm forward like a cat-flap.

“Ladies. Would you do us the honour of joining us fine gentleman for a trip into town?”

We all giggle at that, especially Suzu, who gives him a gentle push as he straightens up from his display. He immediately starts smiling, and the two head off through the open gates before us all. I really don’t understand her. Or him, for that matter. Whilst everyone is still chuckling, we head on after Taro and Suzu, with Lezard, Rika, and Lelouch slipping ahead of Hisao and me.

This is the second time we’ve ended up walking down the hill together, but unlike last time, Hisao seems more confident in himself. Despite that, he looks like there’s something bothering him. Maybe a memory from earlier that made him frown.

“Hey, Molly, can I ask you something?” We’ve already started to fall behind the rest of the group; I don’t know if he’s walking slow for me or for some other reason, but I appreciate it anyway.

“Sure, ask away.” I highly doubt he’s going to ask me something I’m not comfortable answering. Still, he takes a deep breath, which isn’t a great sign.

“I was going to ask you last week in the Shanghai, but it didn’t seem like the right time.” Okay, I’ll admit, I’m beginning to get a bit concerned. “I was going to ask, where are you from?”

Ah.

I was wondering when he would ask that.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m not fully Japanese. If anything, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for him to ask. That being said, it’s not exactly a simple story.

I’m really curious about Hisao too. I want to know more about him. I want to know why he frowned when he mentioned his old friends. I want to know why he’s here at Yamaku, what his family is like, who he really is.

If I want to know those things, I’ve got to be honest too. Even if it hurts. Especially if it hurts.

“Yeah,” I begin. We’ve slowed down considerably by this point, and the group in front of us are well ahead. That’s, that’s good. That makes things easier, I think. “I was born in Japan, but I’m only half Japanese,” he looks at me patiently. I mean, I guess maybe that was obvious. “My father is Japanese, but, but my mother, she was Indian.”

He clearly flinches when I say ‘was’, but there’s no helping it. I knew it would hurt to bring up again, it always does. But he’s, he’s smiling again. That really patient look from the fireworks. Maybe lowering my walls has lowered his too; it’s a pretty thought. He looks really tired.

“So, your mother… she’s not, uh,” He stutters out.

“No. She’s not.” I reply with finality.

I didn’t realise we’d stopped, but I guess we have, not that the others have noticed. Hisao’s still looking at me, waiting patiently. I don’t know if he’s waiting for me to say something else, there isn’t really anything else to say. ‘She was’, says all I want to say. I think he’s searching for the right words. A part of me wants to cry, but I’m fighting that urge. I’m not the same little girl who cried all the time eight years ago.

“I’m sorry.” He finally whispers, but neither of us start walking again. There’s something in the air between us, it’s not necessarily uncomfortable, but, something’s missing. I think he feels it too. There’s something that needs to be said, like the fireworks are going off again behind our eyes.

I don’t want to keep leaving things unsaid though.

“I was in the hospital recently.” He finally says. The golden light of the evening seems to slow everything down around us, like we’re stood in front of headlights colliding. “I used to go to the movies with my friends, but when I was in the hospital, they stopped visiting.” He sighs, I don’t know how to console him. I was in the hospital too, a long time ago, but I was so young, and Amir was always there. Hisao must have felt so alone, like he’d be left behind. Unless…

“Do you have any siblings?” I ask, and we start walking again, the chill of the evening enough incentive for us to catch up with the others. I think my question takes him off guard, but it really feels like one of his walls has come down.

“No. I’m an only child. Do you?”

For a minute I’m confused that he’s asking, but I quickly remember that he wasn’t present for yesterday’s lunch, and so he missed it when I received a text from Amir. “Yeah, I have an older brother, Amir. He visited last night.” The others have noticed the distance between us, and have slowed down in order for us to catch up.

He looks like he might say something else, but I carry on my train of thought.

“I was in the hospital too, a long time ago. But Amir was always there. I didn’t really need anyone else, and I was pretty young, so the staff kept me entertained.”

Hisao bites his lip in a thoughtful way, like he wants to ask me something but doesn’t quite know how. Even if his last question sent us into a bit of an intense conversation, I want him to keep asking me things. I want to know him more, and if knowing me more gets us there than I’m happy for us to keep swapping. He works up the nerve, and swallows.

“Is that, why you’re here?” He asks timidly. I guess that’s the safe way of asking me if was born without my legs or not.

“Yeah. I was in the hospital after an accident. I woke up like this” I gesture up and down my body,” more or less.”

Despite the atmosphere that we’ve somehow found ourselves in, Hisao chuckles. Rather confusingly considering the subject matter we’re discussing. He notices my confused look, and his smile already eases me, somehow.

“You woke up years older, great at chemistry, and enrolled at Yamaku?” It takes me a moment to understand the joke he’s making, but I can’t help by grin stupidly when I do.

“Okay, last time I tell you anything,” I respond, my tone light enough for him to be sure I’m joking.

He laughs, but he looks a little more serious again. Before we’ve fully caught up with the group, he gets a little bit closer and whispers to me, with a thoughtful look on his face.

“Thank you, Molly.”

It feels really warm here, really warm, despite the chill in the air.

“Thank you, Hisao.” I can feel the crimson in my cheeks again, so after a moment or two of awkward silence, I cough and look away, and he does the same.

We hurry to catch up with the others, don’t want the movie to start without us, now do we?

Maybe that would be nice…


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Last edited by Feurox on Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:52 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Feurox
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:03 pm
Location: England, Oxfordshire

Redshift PT2

Post by Feurox » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:56 am

Redshift PT2

To everybody’s surprise, the film being shown was a fairly new adventure flick about two young gentlemen adventurers, who stumbled across an ancient city and released a curse. It ended up having one of those corny morals, about how the treasure was ‘the friends we made along the way’, which was a little hard to believe, when they were in a city of actual, genuine gold. Surely that’s the treasure; physical, tangible treasure…

It was pretty awful, all things considered, but the experience itself has still left me giddy and happy, probably because the cheap popcorn and soda Suzu and I shared was so ridiculously sweet.

It’s a bit jarring to emerge from the pitch black of the movie theatre, but, the sun has pretty much completely set by now, so the transition isn’t nearly as extreme as it would be if it were mid-day. Still, I have to blink a few times, as I take in the view of warm white lights from shops and homes, the street lamps, and the moon mixing in an evening waltz.

It takes everyone a few moments to adjust to the evening light, and some of our friends look a little worse for wear. Rika and Lelouch look really tired, but, at least in the case of Rika, I understand why, her condition is pretty physically taxing. The cinema is a significant walk from campus, and had I not been swimming semi-regularly since I arrived here, I’d probably feel pretty tired too.

Taro stops before us, clicking his fingers together to get our attention. He’s got a surprisingly loud snap, but then, he can’t exactly clap.

“Would anyone care to join me for a drink before bed?”

Lelouch and Rika shrug and seem generally uninterested in his offer, as does Lezard, who I’d almost forgotten had joined us. Suzu immediately says yes, despite clearly being quite tired, but Hisao looks at me as if for… permission? He’s probably just concerned that he’d be a third-wheel if I didn’t join them.

“Sure – I owe you for yesterday’s lunch anyway.” I reply. Taro bats away my comment and spins on his heel gracefully, before leading the way down the backstreets of town towards the Shanghai.

We pass a few other students that I recognise from the year below, but other than that, we don’t see a soul. Once we arrive outside of the café, Lelouch, Rika, and Lezard bid us goodnight and depart for an earlier night.

Sometimes it feels like there are two sides in our group; it’s hard to explain, but when the four of us remaining enter into the quiet atmosphere of the café, that arbitrary division feels real and tangible, if only for a moment.

That’s a thought that’s been in the back of my mind a lot, and not just recently either. What happened to the three musketeers? It was meant to be Suzu, Taro and me against the world. It used to be, before Lelouch started hanging out with us, and before Rika and Lezard joined him.

Still, I’m grateful for their addition. For Hisao’s too. I’m not angry at Lou for our groups dynamic changing, I don’t think. It wouldn’t be fair if I was.

Is it fair if I’m angry at Taro and Suzu though? When they first started hooking up, it was behind my back. Hell, they’re not dating, and Suzu has made it quite clear she doesn’t love Taro, or, if she does, it isn’t in the same way that he loves her. The two of them changed the dynamic of our friendship, perhaps irrevocably, and I didn’t have a say in it. It doesn’t feel fair that they could change it all, and it doesn’t feel fair that I’m angry. Nothing feels very fair, I guess.

We make our way to a booth by the window, and a waitress (still no sign of Yuuko!) takes our orders. Two coffee’s and two hot chocolates, with the two coffees going to the pair sitting opposite me, Suzu and Taro.

It’s strange how quiet the café is now, considering how busy it was last night. I mean, sure, it’s a bit later than it was when I was here yesterday, but other than one elderly man at the front, it’s empty. Suzu notices me looking around and taps me on the hand.

“A change of pace from last night, huh?”

“Sure is, I could barely hear you over the crowd yesterday.” I reply. How is she being so natural around Taro, when she was in tears about him last night? She doesn’t make much sense.

“This place gets busy?” Hisao’s question is interrupted by the waitress depositing our drinks onto the table with a practised clink. He continues after pulling his hot chocolate a little closer to him. “I got the impression this place was always quiet like this.”

“For the most part it is, but every now and then it’s just bustling with people, and we’ve never figured out why.” I respond, and the other two familiars of the Shanghai nod their head in agreement.

The table falls silent. It’s not necessarily uncomfortable, but I’m grateful that Hisao is here, otherwise it may well be an awkward one. He doesn’t seem to mind the quiet, which seems like a good thing to me.

“So, Hisao.” I guess the silence between us was starting to bother Taro. He’s never really enjoyed prolonged silences, comfortable or not. “How’s it been going at the track with Ibarazaki?” I don’t know if Taro is being playful when he mentions Emi, since his tone doesn’t betray much, but Suzu raises an eyebrow inquisitively anyway, and I feel a bit on edge for his response myself.

“Well,” he starts, seeming to consider his drink rather than sip from it, “I wasn’t very keen on the early starts, or the running for that matter, but I feel much better for it now.” Taro seems to know something about Hisao that Suzu and I don’t know, because he makes an ‘ah’ noise in acknowledgement. Hisao continues, “I’ve actually been meaning to ask you guys something.”

Hmm?

It seems, I’m not the only one interested by this, as Suzu has moved from her lethargic position against the window to lean forward and listen intently.

“I know you have your own thoughts on Emi,” he gestures towards me and I feel a little guilty, “but I was hoping you three would join me in watching the track meet this weekend.”

Taro laughs and takes a sip of his coffee. “Don’t fancy hanging out with that Tezuka chick?” Hisao can’t help but cringe at her mention, but it doesn’t really seem like that’s the reason anyway. Before he can explain, Taro continues. “Sure, I’ll be there. In truth, I was planning on it anyway. It was that or tackle this week’s English homework.”

Everybody sighs at the mention of that, especially Hisao. Maybe he’s struggling to catch up. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his position, and I certainly can’t help him with it – I’m barely keeping up as is.

“I’ll come too, Ibarazaki isn’t the only one on the track team after all.” Suzu waits a moment before adding, “She’s just the fastest one,” in a bitter tone.

Hisao looks at me to answer.

It’s true that I don’t really want to watch Emi race. We’ve never really gotten on, despite, as Taro once said, some obvious similarities. We’re just fundamentally different people. Hell, even our prosthetics are different; hers a below the knee, hence why she can run. I don’t think they even make running blades for my kind of amputation; not that I’ve ever considered running a very enjoyable way to stay fit. I always felt far more comfortable in the water, even before the accident.

I don’t hate the girl. I even understand why so many look up to her. I’ve just always felt that she was brilliant because of her disability, not in spite of it. Her prosthetics are a part of her identity, mine are not. At least, I hope they’re not.

Like Suzu said, it’s not really important that Emi’s racing. There will be others racing that I do get on with, like Miki from our homeroom, who always makes jokes about Suzu faking her condition.

Really, it’s just another opportunity for us all to hang out together. I want to take as many of those as I can, especially if it means I can keep learning more about Hisao. I think curiosity killed something or another…

“Should be fun.” I finally say, and I could swear Hisao looks relieved. I wonder if he’s been thinking about me in the same way I’ve been thinking about him.

“She’s got her hooks in you, hasn’t she?” Taro asks with a playful tone, and I immediately start blushing. Hisao, looks at him confused.

“Who?” He asks, sipping the remnants of his hot chocolate.
I don’t think Hisao is very good at observation, despite his scientific disposition.

“Emi, obviously.”

Oh. Maybe I’m not so good either.

Suzu glares at Taro, and probably pinches him. If she does, he doesn’t react, and keeps looking at Hisao with a morbidly curious expression.

Hisao laughs awkwardly. It’s pretty easy to tell that the question makes him uncomfortable. He even does that silly thing with his hair again. “It’s not really like that, I don’t think,” he says, much to Taro’s disappointment… and, my joy.

“Awww shame, she’s cu – AH!” Taro starts, but is cut off by a jab to the side courtesy of Suzu. He definitely felt that one, and everyone at the table laughs, including Taro.

“Say, have you ever had a girlfriend before?” Taro asks after he’s calmed down from his laughter. I’m not really sure where this line of questioning has come from, but he looks far more serious than before, like he isn’t really being playful anymore, but actually wants to know more about Hisao. It’s a feeling I share, so I turn to face him, intrigued.

“I, uh,” Hisao seems even more uncomfortable than before. “I guess the answer is… maybe? It’s complicated.”

That answer makes something inside me feel peculiar.

“Ah”, Taro says, before some kind of realisation comes over him, “Oh, right!”

What has Hisao told Taro? He sure seems to have a lot of inside information. Maybe I can worm it out of him sometime.

The science of discovery isn’t always moral, after all.

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With the drinks paid for, we left the Shanghai and headed into the night. I used some of the money Amir gave me, maybe accidentally taking Hisao out on a ‘hot-date’ as Amir had suggested in the process.

We’ve only been walking up the hill for about seven minutes, but Hisao has slowed down considerably. Taro isn’t exactly a fast walker anyway, so me and Suzu ended up taking the lead, quite a distance away from them, though I can just about over-hear what Taro and him are talking about from behind us. I think Suzu might be eavesdropping too, but we’re both being extremely covert, obviously.

“It’s like, just when I start feeling normal again, or like I’m finally settled in, something reminds me that I’m here for a reason. Also, I really don’t know ho -” Hisao says to Taro, but a car passes us, cutting off the rest of his sentence.

“…it’s to be expected, you’re still coming to terms with everything, your condition included.” So, Taro does know Hisao’s reason for being here. Interesting. “Regardless, don’t make the mistakes I have.” What? What mistakes? What did Hisao say when the car drove past us and blocked it out?

Suzu squeezes my hand, drawing my attention away from the boys.

“Come on, we shouldn’t snoop.” She tries to pull me ahead, but I can’t speed up much more.

She’s right, I guess. But I’m still really curious, and I think she’s probably just worried that they’re talking about us. Maybe they are, maybe Suzu is the mistake to Taro. It would make sense, they don’t exactly have a healthy relationship… but then, what kind of advice was Taro giving?

By the time I’ve ‘accidentally’ tuned back into their conversation, they’re talking about soccer, and my interest wilts.

By the time we arrive at Yamaku, it’s gotten late enough for the campus security to be patrolling. They’re not enforcing curfew yet, but within the hour they will be.

This evening has given me a few things to consider, and since I’m not tired just yet, I could do with an opportunity to relax, but I’m not sure I have the energy to go swimming.

“Molly?” Hisao asks, and I turn to face him. Behind us, Taro and Suzu are sneaking off into the girl’s dormitories together, so I don’t really want to head back just yet.

“Hmm.” I end up responding. I’m not trying to be rude or anything, I just can’t stop thinking about a few things Hisao said today.

“Is everything alright?” He asks, he’s holding something in his hand.

“Sure, I’m just tired.” I respond, making sure to give him a smile in assurance. “What about you?”

“Yeah. I had a lot of fun tonight, so thanks.”

“You don’t have to keep thanking me you know.”

“Yeah, but I want too. You’ve made me feel really welcome here.”

I take a moment to consider that. Have I really been that welcoming? I’m glad, I just didn’t think I had. “Well, you’re welcome. I’m glad I met you.”

He seems relieved, and opens his fingers to reveal a phone. “I was just thinking; it might be useful to exchange numbers,” he says.

scientific fact.

Or maybe he just doesn’t want to head back to his room yet.

scientific theory.

“Good idea,” I respond, automatically fishing my own phone out from my hoodie pocket. “By the way, if we’re going to be at the track meet this weekend, we should try and get that English work done before.” I add. Then I tell him my number.

“Yeah,” he’s entering my number, so he’s preoccupied. “Why don’t we do it together? I could use the help, honestly.”

I laugh, and my phone vibrates with the text he’s sent, It reads [HISAO NAKAI]. I giggle again and add his number to my contacts.

“Okay two things. First, I’m not much help with English, you’d be better off asking Suzu.” He looks a bit disheartened before I continue, a little softer than before, “I still think we should do it together though.” His smile is contagious, especially when it’s half painted in the electric light of the pathway lamps like that.

“You said there were two things?”

“Well,” I show him the text message he just sent me. “You don’t have to text in all capitals.”

He mock sighs, “Just making sure you knew it was me.”

“I appreciate that.” I smile at him, and he smiles back.

A yawn escapes my lips unwillingly, and he chuckles dryly.

“I guess we should call it a night then, otherwise I probably won’t wake up in time for my morning run.” He says, though he looks a bit put down.

“Yeah, we can tackle that English work tomorrow after class?”

“I look forward to it,” he says, as we split up and head in the direction of our respective dorms. He turns around just before he enters. “Goodnight, Molly.”

“Goodnight, Hisao.” I reply, waving goodbye and heading down the winding path to my own dormitory.

I didn’t get to go swimming, and nothing feels very resolved. I still don’t know why Hisao is here. I still don’t know what’s going on with my best friends.

Yet, somehow, despite everything, I don’t feel quite so hopeless as I did last night. I don’t think I’ll mind doing that English homework if it’s with Hisao. Time is a peculiar thing.

I enter my bedroom, adding the letter that’s been slipped under my door to the pile on my desk. After my nightly routine of brushing my teeth, showering, and applying cream to the parts of my legs that are connected to the prosthetics, I’m ready for bed, so I slip under the covers and use the remote to kill the lights.

Just as I’m about to drift off, I hear a thumping sound from across the hall-way, where Suzu’s room is. I hear a few, and blush, before smothering myself in my pillows to try and drown out the noise.

Those idiots really want to hurt each other.


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Zerebos
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Re: Gravity: A Molly Pseudo- Pseudo Route. Updated as of 08/01/2019

Post by Zerebos » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:21 am

I really enjoyed this reboot. It's definitely got a different feel from the first one, but a good different. Can definitely tell that into act 2 you really picked up on Molly's inner voice. Although that could just be Molly finding herself since she's dealing with so much at once :)

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