Feurox's Den of Sadness [04/26/2020]

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Feurox
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A Country Where the Thunder Goes Notes

Post by Feurox » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:05 pm

This story was written in response to the YA server competition, where we are given pairings, locations, and modifiers to write a yarn. Below are my options for each, though I think really all the modifies apply in some way or another.

Image

A significant amount of this story is inspired by Brythain's Miki arc in AtD, please do me and him the honour of reading it. Of course, massive thanks to Lap for your feedback, help, and proofreading.

Here are some songs that I think fit the theme of this tale:

Her's - What Once Was

Lauv - Tired of Love Songs

JT Roach - Symmetry

Sorry Crafty, only three songs this time. And Mirage - the next one will be a happy one, I promise.

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brythain
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Re: Feurox's Den of Sadness [04/26/2020]

Post by brythain » Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:05 pm

Ah that's some good writing, that is. Good characterisation, obligatory time-blips, has a nice stormy atmosphere of the time just before an end, fin-de-siecle kind of feeling. Or perhaps a new beginning. Melancholia plus a hint of petrichor. It's a winner in my book.

Taro, Miki, Hanako and Suzu are nothing like AtD-versions. But they're good ones anyway. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Feurox's Den of Sadness [04/26/2020]

Post by Hanako Fancopter » Mon May 04, 2020 6:18 pm

Lilly is a centerpiece in everyone's stories it seems. Taro was an interesting choice for a focus character as well. I have to say I think the idea of people mourning at Hisao's funeral is a bit cliched, but this one was still interesting due to the different perspectives and all of the lore-building. I came away from reading it with this image of Hisao as this Gatsby-esque figure throwing all these parties in his and Lilly's mansion with the social world of the Katawaverse revolving around him. Which, honestly, doesn't fit my image of Hisao very well, but it's an entertaining take nonetheless.
An Unusual Friendship (Misha x Hanako Route)
Riposte (Rika Mini-Route)
One-Shots Thread (Random Smut/Meme Stories)

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Re: Feurox's Den of Sadness [04/26/2020]

Post by Craftyatom » Thu May 14, 2020 12:33 am

A Country Where the Thunder Goes
I've seen this scenario come up as an option in a lot of my competition prompt assignments, and have considered it from time to time, but it never seemed that appealing. Specifically, having it be Hisao's funeral always seemed a bit cliche, as copter said - but I also believe you handled it quite well. You gave Hisao a decent lifespan, though it's left kind of ambiguous, and I did wonder at some points how he got such a high academic standing at such a young age. I guess it's some combination of his being a wunderkind and his drive to do as much as possible with the time he has.

I feel like you definitely took my advice on an earlier story about making things a bit clearer to the reader, without overdoing it. The characters are properly assigned names fairly quickly, but in a way that focuses on how they've changed since high school. You did leave the identity of Hisao's widow open-ended for the first section, with some clues here and there before the reveal, which I liked. I also didn't realize that the venue was Hisao's house at first - again, partly because his status is a bit higher than expected at first, and partly because it's not immediately confirmed that he's married to Lilly.

The characterization is good, and the dialogue feels fluid, as always. The way you portray the emotions of people who had varying levels of connection to Hisao is superb, and the theme of conflicting emotions at a wake is particularly powerful. At first, I thought that everyone had the right kind of response except Miki, who seemed too invested for just a random friend from high school, but that got cleared up in the end, and was (again) particularly poignant.
Feurox wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:00 pm
“Things can’t be that bad, you still living in New York?”

“Just outside, it’s a cheap commute to work,” I explain and he nods.
This part felt kind of out-of-place to me. Miki is lamenting how she needs to get her life together and hasn't really accomplished anything in her (now noticeably limited) time. She went to university in Japan, then went to work for a Japanese company in marketing, but was good enough at English that they moved her to work in New York? It's entirely feasible, but the story isn't set up in such a way that we can really find out. Or maybe this is one of those After the Dream references that I wouldn't get because I've never managed to read all of those.

Also, on a less technical note, I don't think anyone working in NY would ever refer to the commute as "cheap"; more like "hellacious, but cheaper than the outrageously expensive alternative". :P
Feurox wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:00 pm
Lilly’s father gives me a hug as I pass him, and we briefly talk about how things are getting on at our respective works. He’s always been very kind to me, and even offered to adopt me a long time ago.
Say what you want about Sisterhood, but I maintain that it leaves an impression on everyone's headcanon. Again, you'll have to forgive me if it's also a plot point in AtD.
Feurox wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:00 pm
“You know,” I begin, and sigh over the balcony edge. “I think he was my best friend, and I don’t think I ever told him that.” It’s a really long way down from here.
Feurox wrote:
Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:00 pm
“At my place? Too small. Nah, but these guys have a balcony, you’re always talking about yours, so it got me thinking about you,” she explains.
I must admit, I really thought this was foreshadowing the cheesiest death ever: Hisao getting too caught up in his conversation with Miki, and accidentally falling off of the beautiful balcony of his own house. Thank you for not doing that.
Hanako Fancopter wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 6:18 pm
I came away from reading it with this image of Hisao as this Gatsby-esque figure throwing all these parties in his and Lilly's mansion with the social world of the Katawaverse revolving around him.
I got that kind of feeling as well - particularly with the mentions of Lilly and her affinity for such things, which seemed to be emphasized. I personally quite liked it, even if there were one or two moments where it got laid on a bit thick.

As with your previous story, I think the quotes got better as the story progressed. The first had a good idea but was poorly worded and rather disconnected from the story's theme, the second was funny and wise (good old Pratchett) but those two aspects clashed with each other a bit, and the third had gravity in both subject matter and execution.

Anyways, overall, quite an enjoyable story! Not even that sad, all things considered! Quite possibly one of my favorites from you.
Main route: COM(promise)
One-shots: Crafty's One-Shots (Dark Winter Sky, Dreamy, Path of Least Resistance, Project Blue Curtain, and more!)
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Re: Feurox's Den of Sadness [04/26/2020]

Post by NoticeMeOppai » Fri Aug 21, 2020 7:34 am

Apologies for how long it's taken to getting around to commenting - apparently it's been four months since you managed to do mine. I have no excuses and having finally read through them regret not doing so earlier - Je suis désolée.

Ekephrasis

Not sure I'd describe it as a Rika x Hisao story myself, but an enjoyable read nontheless. Not really sure whether the romantic switch to Suzu for Lou was quite in keeping with the rest of the story though. I felt it was a little jarring.
I really liked his inner struggle of "am I worth it" finally having made his mind up only to realise he's missed his chance, very poignant.

American Spirit

Harrowing. Poor Suzu and poor Takashi. Really liked Saki's role as a foil for Suzu as well.

Spectral Letters

Got to say, your synopsis on the title page made me expect a very different story. That said, it was well written but otherwise didn't do much for me - feels like well trodden ground.

8 Years

"Now she'd written my accomplished academic work than..."

Had to read this one twice as I completely missed the point the first time. A beautifully melancholic piece that gives you just enough to paint a picture that you fill the details in yourself. Not sure if you've rewritten this since the initial comments but on a second reading it seemed pretty clear to me that she'd hung herself.

I am Disappeared

I really liked this. The pacing and mood throughout were absolutely spot on and Rika's narration draws you in beautifully. A̶l̶l̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶m̶u̶t̶ ̶s̶c̶e̶n̶e̶ ̶b̶e̶t̶w̶e̶e̶n̶ ̶R̶i̶k̶a̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶S̶a̶k̶i̶.̶ I have to admit I also fell for the POV switch at first but don't think it detracts anything.

Requiem for a Heartsong

Damn Feu, I know this is supposed to be the 'feels' trilogy but calm down. Very cute story with an adorable OC.

Time is Dancing

Heavy stuff. Strokes are horrifically terrifying things for both the victims and their loved ones, sorry you had to go through that. You communicate across that sinking feeling of not knowing what to do, feeling obligation and then guilt for not wanting to deal with it any more very well.

When you mentioned the new guy arriving I half expected Suzu to start a relationship with Hisao, further complicating her feelings for Lou. I think I'm glad it didn't go that way but I do love a dumpster fire of drama so probably would have enjoyed it either way.

At the start when she's at her parents' house having flashbacks I definitely thought he'd died and somehow what actually happened is worse. Anyway, a very well written heartbreaking piece.

The Kintsugi Club

I'll start this by saying I really don't like Akio as a narrator here, he's just too bitter and full of self-pity to relate to or really want to root for him. The ending also left me wanting, as Crafty mentions earlier in the thread it feels like Saki's part in the story is unresolved. I feel like he should have pushed the point a bit more - Saki already matters to him at this stage, he's already going to be hurt when she dies. He's also learnt that it's more important to try regardless of the outcome so unless he's very much compartmentalised this revelation it would be good for him to try and get Saki to see this applies to her situation as well.

That being said it's excellently written as always and there's definitely some phrases that will stay with me here ("You can't un-crush a butterfly"? Love it). I also really liked the way Akio complains about Hisao, got a fair few chuckles from those parts.

A Long Way Down

I remember reading this at the time of the contest and I enjoyed it then too. Still not sure how Lilly knew it was Suzu though...

Circuitboard City

Cute little story, liked the two different perspectives and particularly Rin's conviction that she knows sign.

A Country Where The Thunder Goes

I always enjoy these 'what everyone got up to afterwards' fics. The perspective changes are nice although the added time skip of the last one threw me for a minute. It's a nice atmospheric vignette that leaves me wanting more.

The New Year

Haha Hisao giving it the old hoverhand! I like the way it jumps back and forth between the present and her memories (fantasies?). Good twist there, definitely surprised me. I wonder if any of the memories are real or just wishful thinking.

Christmas Spirits, City Angels, A Shanghai Carol

Love the idea of Rika being a Fujoshi! I really like how you've used a different writing style for the two sections, it's very well done.

Writing on the Wall

Not familiar with any of the music choices you've picked for this, but the title has meant I've had Prodigy's Omen in my head throughout.

As for the actual story, it's very well written, despite not being used to writing it you clearly have a good eye for smut. Very much enjoyed it, it captures that feeling of awkward teenage romance and how confusing feelings can be especially when you're still not sure who you want to be yourself.

***

It was fun reading this all through as you can really see how you progress as a writer! Definitely a master of the atmospheric melancholy and I look forward to seeing anything more you decide to write in future!
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Re: Feurox's Den of Sadness [04/26/2020]

Post by Chatty Wheeler » Sat Nov 21, 2020 5:59 am

Analysis of Time Is Dancing

———————————————————

Hello Feurox!

It would appear that I am a year late to this party, but I've finally dipped my heels and toes into the world of feels and woes. I'm not sure I can say much that hasn't already been said by others about this story, but regardless, I'm going to say what I want to.

This was a superb story that I absolutely adore. A brilliant tragedy, a technical marvel, an emotional powerhouse—all wrapped in such a small word count given a story of this scope. I'm honestly struggling to think about where to begin with my thoughts on this story... so I guess that I'll just start from the beginning.

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
Right off the bat, this is a great opening line. Instantly, there is a mystery for the reader to chew their fingernails over. On that subject, get used to me using the word "mystery" in this analysis. If there's one thing that Feurox loves peppering into his stories—the stories that I've read, at least—it's mysteries to keep the reader engaged.

Feurox smartly keeps the amount mysteries in this segment to a minimum. In fact, there's really only one mystery for us to worry about: the subject that Suzu "doesn't want to talk about." This means that the reader can ease into the story without being overwhelmed with too many questions to juggle.

——————————

We spend the rest of this first segment building tension—an awkward family dinner will always do the trick to build tension—and learning small clues leading up to the big reveal:
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
“I miss him.” They both look at me, surprised I’ve even said anything after so long. The room suddenly feels so cold, and everything is so, so blurry.

“I miss him, so, so much.”
Bam. Our first mystery has been solved, and in its place, a whole slew of other mysteries are introduced. Who is "him?" Where did "he" go? Did "he" die?

That last question is what immediately caught my attention. Conventional storytelling trends in addition to the depressed way Suzu was acting in the first segment made me suspect that "he" died, and that this story would be about Suzu grieving over the death of this individual that she held dear to her.

With this theory in mind, it was clear that Feurox didn't want the separation of our two lovers to be a mystery. With the way he set it up, the eventual splitting of Suzu and Lou was inevitable to the reader. Essentially, Feurox reframed the dramatic question of the story from "what happened?" to "how it happened?

I've seen some other commenters argue that reframing the dramatic question like this robs the inevitable tragedy of some of its punch (because we know right from the beginning what the outcome of the relationship is going to be), and while this is a fair argument, I think that what we may lose in punch is more than supplemented with the added tension that comes with framing a story around a "how?" instead of a "what?"

For example, the waltzing scene at the river was magical, but in the back of my mind there was always that tension of knowing that the magic wouldn't last for our two lovers... When Suzu and Lou ran through the city, danced on stage at the restaurant, and Lou gave Suzu the lovely poem for her birthday, there was always a tension in the back of my mind knowing that that would be the last birthday they would spend together... This twinge of tension is felt throughout the entire story, and I think that it was smart of Feurox to frame a tragedy like he did. This kind of structure was used to great effect in a movie like "Titanic," or a movie like "The Social Network," the latter of which being among my favorite films.

——————————

As we move along in the story, all the while jumping—or should I say dancing—between the two time sequences, mysteries or small batches of mysteries are introduced and then solved in a way that is natural and easy to understand for the reader. I would argue that the way that the story hops between times is precisely why the mystery structure works so well here. Often, each scene mirrors, foreshadows, or in some other way plays into the next scene.
  • The first segment (in the future) ends with us being introduced to a "him" that Suzu was separated from. In the second segment (in the past), we immediately learn that "him" was Lou, and we get to learn about why Suzu misses him so much—the two were lovers.
  • The second segment (in the past) ends with Suzu and Lou dancing illuminated by millions of fireflies—completely basked in light. Then, the third segment (in the future) begins and Suzu waking up in her bed, completely shrouded in darkness. To seal the deal, the fireflies that Suzu keeps in a mason jar in her room are not active and not producing any light—the light of the relationship between Suzu and Lou is figurative and literally gone...
  • The third segment (in the future) ends with the fireflies awakening once more—showing that Suzu still has a flicker of hope for her relationship with Lou to return to its former glory. Then, the forth segment (in the past) abruptly begins with Suzu and Lou running through the lights of the city on their way to the dinner date—this is the former glory that Suzu wants to rekindle.
  • Jumping ahead further, when Suzu eventually returns to the Yamaku in the future, she sees Lou waiting for her. We think to ourselves, "wait, Lou did survive his second stay in the hospital?" And to further make us confused as to whether or not Suzu is just seeing a vision of Lou, she comments that she merely sees the "ghost of Lou" waiting for her at the Yamaku gates. Then, we jump back to the past where Lou makes his return to Yamaku after being the hospital, confirming once and for all that he is alive. And, mirroring the last segment, Suzu is now the one waiting for Lou to return to Yamaku.
  • Another example comes in the future when Lou and Suzu see Miki while on their way to the dorms—Miki timidly looks at them before quickly getting out of their way. Just like that, we're given a new mystery: what happened between Miki, Suzu and Lou? Directly after that, we jump back to the past and find out precisely what happened. We see their fight.
  • Not long after, we see Takumi ignoring Suzu and Lou as they pass through the male dorms. Yet again, we're given a mystery: what happened between Takumi, Suzu, and Lou? Once more, we are immediately brought back to the past to see the fight between them which shook their relationship.
I could go on and on with pointing out and explaining each of these mysteries and the clever ways that they are presented, but I think you get the point. There are so many mysteries here, and by having the story jump between the future and the past, the mysteries can be revealed at a steady pace and not risk spoiling the answers too quickly.

Eventually, when all the mysteries have been revealed to us, the two timelines meet up and the story progresses linearly from there. This is a great compromise between the two styles of writing. After we know all of the answers to the puzzle, we don't need to hop back and forth between future and past anymore. Instead, Feurox can focus on tying everything together to deliver a knockout ending in the future... But I'm gonna save that ending for a little later...

——————————

In the meantime, let's take a step back.

One of the biggest twists of the story is that Lou isn't actually dead... He merely suffered a second stroke—one that we find out has severely altered his personality... So, it turned out that my initial conjecture was incorrect, and soon enough, the dramatic question of this story changes again.

As the realization dawns slowly, painfully on the reader that Lou's increasingly toxic behavior is the "how?" that separates the two lovers, the dramatic question that gave the story its tension begins to fade. The reader doesn't need to ask "how?" anymore, so you'd think that the tension in the story goes down, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong. Feurox knew that he needed to keep up the tension in the story, so he did something rather clever... Right as Lou is returning to Yamaku from the hospital in the past, Mr. Lamperogue pulls Suzu aside and tells her that Lou may not have fully recovered, and that if anything seems wrong or goes wrong between the two of them, that Suzu should call him to let him know. And with that, the tension is back in full swing...

After the conversation with Mr. Lamperogue, the dramatic question of the story begins to morph from "how?" to "when?" More specifically, "when is Suzu going to make the call to Lou's father." With the change in the dramatic question, there is still tension felt by the reader even after they know the "how?"

Ever wonder why Feurox decided to have Mr. Lamperogue and Suzu have this discussion at this particular moment? It's because this scene is when "how?" starts to fade, so he makes sure that the "when?" is introduced at just when that happens to make sure there is no gap in tension.

It's brilliant stuff, y'all...

——————————

Alright, before I talk about the ending of this story and give my final reflection, let's talk about some standout lines and scenes that I took note of while reading!

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
"Then he raises his voice. “Our child requires sustenance immediately; shall we prepare the toad and worm stew for her?” He takes a sidelong glance towards me, to see if I’m laughing, I think. I try to give him a smile, but I don’t know how to anymore.
Very relatable bit. I'm not a father, but I've had exchanges similar to the one above play out with my younger sister. I'd always try and make silly little jokes to make her laugh. Sometimes she'd laugh, but sometimes she'd groan and wonder to herself why she got stuck with such a weird brother like myself. :D

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
“I’m hungry.” I finally say.
Suzu says this multiple times as a deflection technique. It's quite a childish thing to do—seeing as how I pulled similar tricks in my youth—which perfectly shows how Suzu is... reverting (for of a better term) back to a state of childlike vulnerability and dependence. After all, she literally returned to her parents' house. Very subtle, Feurox...

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
We waltz in the moonlight, two lights in a million, a sea of firefly stars around us and above.
You deserve a medal for this line.

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
We twirl away, two in a million lights beneath a chandelier moon.
Oh, come on... You're gonna use that phrase again? That's too clever, man...

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
It’s a ballroom…
Oh, you clever son of gun...

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
"It’s not very late, but the sun has started to set and the amber evening makes everything look like we’re driving into heaven or something."
I know this is a small detail, not terribly important to the rest of the story, but I like how you put the "or something" at the end of this sentence. It reminded me of NuclearStudent talking about how adding "or something" to the end of a sentence makes the character seem less sure of themselves or less caring of what they're saying. This perfectly describes Suzu in this situation.

That's right, Nuke. I take your wisdom into consideration when writing these analyses. I think that you're a pretty clever fellow.

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
I had a cataplexy attack a few days ago. As always, Lou was there. He stayed with me until things calmed down.
This is a nice line particularly because of where it was placed in the story—after Lou had his second stroke. It goes to show that even after how toxic their relationship has gotten, a bit of the old Lou is still in there, giving Suzu that little bit of hope that she's desperately clinging to.

——————————
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
Sometimes he’d carry me to class, or to the nurse’s office. Now, with how distant he feels, and how on edge he seems, I just want to carry him in return, but I guess I’m not that strong.
Great line. Not much more to say about it. I's just great.

——————————

Alright. Now that we've finished running through my favorite lines, let's run through some symbolism!

——————————

Symbolism: Light
  • In the first segment, Suzu calls lightbulbs an "artificial daylight."
  • In the second segment, Suzu and Lou become "lights" as they dance.
  • In the third segment, Suzu can't sleep, and wonders where all the stars went. The "stars" being the fireflies that she keeps in a mason jar in her room—they are inactive and not producing any light. To stave off the darkness, she turns on the lights in her room. Suzu feels more comfortable, but remember, the lightbulb is "artificial," so she's not really comfortable, it's an artificial comfort that she's feeling. That's why she came home—to feel comforted—but it's not solving the problem. She's just running away from her problems.
  • In the forth segment, Suzu notes the following: "Every corner we round, we head deeper into the heart of the city, the neon lights dancing around us like pulsating fireworks, appearing, then disappearing as we pass them." Once they enter ballroom, they once again become "lights" as they dance.
—————————

Symbolism: Hand Holding

The increasingly strained way that Suzu and Lou hold hands represents the slow decent into toxicity that their relationship goes through. At the beginning, the two hold hands almost all the time—it's a sort of comfort for the two of them. They're in love, and they hold hands as a silent way of expressing that love.

Then, when Suzu visits Lou in the hospital after his second stroke and she tries to comfort him... this happens:
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
He laughs harshly, and pulls his hand back from me, which startles me a little.

“Nyot oykay.” He finally says, his slur sounding worse than before.
This is the first time we've seen something like this. This is how we know something is wrong. These two usually hold hands all the time, so seeing them not doing that is off-putting. It only gets worse from here...

Next, when Lou returns to Yamaku, Suzu tries to hold his hand and... this happens:
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
“Y-ywou, as -ash – ashwyell.” He finally responds, but he doesn’t squeeze my hand back, and our fingers slowly fall from each other as we follow the others to Takashi’s room.
Once again, they fail to hold hands... There's a growing disconnect between the two of them. Their old connection is being severed, and we're about to see it replaced with a darker, more painful connection...

When Suzu returns to Yamaku from her parents house, she meets up with Lou, and right then and there... this happens:
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
"I guess Lou has noticed me scanning the treeline around us, and he squeezes my hand, hard."
Now, the two of them are holding hands again, but it's longer a comforting feeling, it's a discomforting feeling. The way that Lou squeezes Suzu's hands is a clear parallel for the increasingly controlling and toxic way that he treats Suzu. In addition, the way that the two are so tightly trying to bridge the gap between them may speak to how desperate both of them have become at trying to hold on to one another—they're forcefully trying to reestablish the connection.

—————————

Symbolism: Dancing

I almost don't even need to explain this myself—dancing is probably the most unambiguously important symbol in this story. It's in the title for crying out loud!

Yeah, I don't really need to explain this in much detail, since I'm sure everyone else figured this all out themselves and I don't want to patronize anyone reading this. What starts out as a magical way for our two lovers to connect and express their love turns into a messy, taboo relic of their past relationship. As much as the two try to fix their dance, it never does get fixed, due large in part to Lou shutting Suzu's dance offers down.

—————————

Alright, we've made it to the ending... Where do I begin...

When I started reading this story, and after I reached the end of the first segment, I was almost certain that this would be a story about learning to cope with the grief of death. The tragedy of losing a loved one—especially at a young age—to death is perhaps the most emotionally charged forms of tragedy in all of literature. Despite its emotional resonance, this type of tragedy can become quite predictable...

Instead, Feurox gives us a twist that Lou has suffered a fate that is perhaps worse than death. Not only does Suzu go through the grief of losing the boy she loved, but she goes through the astronomical guilt of not being able to remain by the side of the new boy who inhabits the body of her previous lover. Of course she would feel guilty breaking up with him—it'd feel like she was abandoning him—but after everything Lou did, everything he put his friends through, everything he put Suzu through, climaxing in the gut-wrenching scene in Lou's bedroom, I think I was just hoping that she would let go. I didn't want Suzu to suffer any longer—both of them needed a clean slate. Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to realize that something is horribly, horribly wrong.

Fortunately and unfortunately, gratefully and regretfully, Suzu breaks up with Lou. Despite how depressed she feels and how empty her heart will be for many days and weeks to come, she is reminded that she always has her friends to support her. How beautiful...

I was perfectly content for the story to end right there, but this is Feurox we're talking about, we gotta throw in some feels.

It was this line:
Feurox wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:54 pm
“Cy – can I,” he sniffles, but reaches his hand out to me. “Cayn, I – I Hayve one la- last, one laysht dance.”
It was this line that did it to me. I teared up—making this story one of two on these forums to do so. The only other story to get such a response out of me being Dewelar's Developments.

Returning to the light symbolism from before, during this ending while the two are dancing, the lights of the town are coming on behind them. For just a moment, Suzu, Lou, and the reader are tempted into thinking that maybe the light is returning for our two lovers—maybe there is hope.

But it's too late... Suzu steps back from Lou, rejecting his advance. Lou's face is "shrouded in the dark." The light is gone.

It's over.

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Reflection:

After reviewing Feurox's other story, A Chiasmus Through the Night, he reached out to me and recommended Time is Dancing to me. He called it the work that he was most proud of. I can certainly see why—I hope he feels proud of this. This is a magnificent story executed with grace and skill. Very few writers can illicit such emotion from their works—much less when its a one-off that doesn't have three previous acts or twenty-three television episodes to bounce off of.

I realize that much of this analysis was technical rather than emotional, but I can't help myself—this story is too technically rich for someone like me to ignore. It's rare to see a story on these forms with such an effective use of symbolism—it's certainly something that I will be taking note of for the future. In addition, I personally appreciate the "mystery" structure that Feurox included into this story. You could say I'm a real sucker for mysteries, and this story has that in spades.

I don't cry while reading literature very often. The only KS route that I truly cried for was Lilly's route. The only KS fan-fiction that I've welled up at was Developments, so when I say that I welled up while reading this story, I hope that it's clear that this story packs emotion, and that Feurox did his job fantastically.

Thank you for writing this, Feurox.

Take care, everyone!

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