Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

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Talmar
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Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Wed Nov 13, 2019 10:58 am

Okay, uh, first things first.

You might notice that there's two threads with the same title, and the same subtitle. By God I hate my past self for being so naive. It's essentially the same story, just with the corrections and proofreading done, and most importantly, ONE CHAPTER AT A GODDAMNED TIME. God, why did I trust that bastard who told me to just dump the entire thing in a massive sequence of chapters, limiting any form of response to each, and making it tedious to anyone who hadn't read it, which was literally everyone. I HATE my past self for being so naive. Second, I'll compile all the close parallels into two post, the prologue belonging here, so if anyone wants to skip them, they can do so with ease.

I must thank Feurox, Mirage, ProfAllister, and many others for helping me get here. Along with all their lectures, which is understandable. I can be dumb sometimes.

Here's the link to the old one, for posterity: Obsolete

Third, okay, proper introductions to anyone who hadn't found this yet. For those who had, skip down to the table of contents.

I found KS a lot later than many of you veterans, but I found it nonetheless. Never thought that KS would be the one to lift me up from a lifelong depression, but here we go. But first, a bit of a summary about myself. Name's Talmar, or just call me Tal, like everyone else. I used to write a lot as a hobby, but not really a writer with published works, no no no. Just, a hobby. So I'm familiar with writing in general, and this is my first fan fiction for Katawa Shoujo.

I was born with severe atopic dermatitis of the whole body - in other words, my immune system thinks that my skin, the entire thing, is the enemy, in conjunction with asthma and rhinitis. While the latter two is easily manageable, the former had culled any form of attempts I have at forming a proper social life. I was scarred, like Hanako, but less collected and more scattered, and people often leave me alone, thinking I'm a ... for the lack of a better word, a weirdo, to say the least. I suffered from declining vision due to autoimmune attack on the eyes, and over the years I noticed the pattern of increasing strength in my glasses' prescriptions. I suffered from declining hearing due to the very skin in my ear tubes decaying and scarring. I have been hospitalized once a year, and emergencies twice - one from a rampant herpes infection, the other an unknown paralytic septic arthritis. I thought that I was destined to live a lonely life, unable to see properly, unable to hear what other say, and made it a sole goal of mine to find a cure, and make it viable for the masses, so no one else can suffer this fate. That's why I'm here, in university, majoring applied biology with plans on immunology. Grand ambitions, right? I know, a bit too ambitious. I'm even reconsidering it, right now. Maybe.

And when I first started, I thought I could persist this lonely life. I mean, I had gone through 18 years alone, so why not now?

Halfway through the first year I snapped. I refused to go to class, I refused to eat, I refused to come out. I spent the days in my hostel, running around the Internet and reading stuff out of sheer chance, whatever seized my interest knowing I'll lose it the next five minutes anyway. I thought I lost it. I felt like, I can't go on. I felt lost, alone, in an environment I barely understood, far away from anyone or anything familiar. But somewhere along the way, while on a binge through TvTropes, I found this. Katawa Shoujo - a visual novel dedicated to the disabled. Curious, I decided to find a way to their website, download it, and play through, like many other games I found and played because I had little else to go on.

And here we are. Who would have thought that a crippled girl dating sim would teach me how to feel happy again. It took me a week to play through it all, and at the end, and finding so many others who loved this game and with similar predicaments as mine, I no longer felt alone. I felt like I found some comrades at long last.

Who is Ritsu Tainaka?

Originally an unmentioned side character named Aoi by the 4LS developers, in the middle of their development K-On! was aired and Aoi and Ritsu shared too much a likeness. So they cut the chase and made her a cameo of K-On! in Hisao's class. A 'retcameo', as one of the devs called it. On the classroom CG, she sits behind Misha and is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. Officially.

So, why Ritsu?

"Can you move on to the next?"

Initially, I came to know of an existing Ritsu route written by SemisoftCheese, but he chose to take Ritsu as an original character entirely and rushed the ending, which resulted in undoing all progress made. In other words, going out with a bang instead of a whimper. But when I first found it, I figured, why not. At the time I was looking for a topic to start writing, as means to stave off the return of my depression (and after messing up my attempt at getting close to my crush, I kinda needed it; hey, I have zero experience, but at least I learned something, and am trying to move on), but as I worked around the details of this story, I felt that Ritsu deserved a story of her own, especially considering her background in K-On!

Ritsu is nothing if not ambitious. In K-On! she was an aspiring drummer, a cheerful and sanguine leader, if a bit lazy, a bit stubborn, but she does her best to keep everyone happy and entertained. But there was one thing that overshadowed everything; her dreams to perform on the big stage. It was the thing that made her form the band that K-On! was known for, Hokago Tea Time. That is, until she got caught up in her friends' shenanigans, slowing her progress to a crawl, but for those who watched the show, she did achieve it in the end. And all of sudden, she's here, in a school for the disabled, diagnosed with a crippling disability that forbade her from drumming again, lest she'll seize up and lose sensation of her hands entirely. Whichever dev gave her the carpal tunnel syndrome, he's one mean sadist, hahaha.

I'm not really a fan of K-On! to be honest. It's just that once during my depression I stumbled upon it and watched the entire season, both of them, in one go. After my reawakening, I noticed the contrast in Ritsu's expression in the classroom CG in Katawa Shoujo, and her natural expression in K-On!. All in all, I felt like she deserves a story of her own. A returning star rising, but must learn to restrain herself before losing this chance forever.

Is this going to be a crossover fic between K-On! and Katawa Shoujo?

I fully intended this to be a purely KS fanfic, but with Ritsu's background, it is inevitable that she will have to deal with her past at some point. Splitting Hokago Tea Time like this will be a product of angry words both wishes to take back, broken friendships both wanted to heal, and regrets and shame that keeps both sides apart. Ritsu had kept a lot of that suppressed. It's time for someone to take it off and let her heal properly. And I do intend to take things realistically, taking into consideration her relations with her old friends and the effect of her absence on them. Mio in particular. Overall however, I will try to make this as friendly and understandable to those who hadn't watched K-On! at all, but if you hadn't, don't worry. There's no spoilers for the show.

Great! Anything else?

I will be rewriting the entirety of Act 1, due to the different take Hisao has on his disability. I feel like the standard canon way Hisao understood his depression is, on one hand, overdone, and in the other, incomplete. I dislike how in most KS routes he simply places his attention at the girl he ended up with. That is unhealthy. Yes, I know, it was granted attention in the Hanako's Neutral Ending, but so far only that was given any attention. In Emi's, he simply focused on her, excessively even, so much that Emi had to physically remind him to take his medications. The same in Lilly's, to a destructive degree. Only in Rin's route Hisao had gotten over the initial shocks of his arrhythmia, and accepted himself as who he is now. So here I intended to pull him back a bit. By a bit, I meant the stage of depression he's in at the start.

And I know, there is a host of original characters here, so if anything sticks out as wrong, do point it out. I'm still trying to iron things, and I feel like the original characters are one thing I feel particularly weak on.

Well, any other questions I will try to answer properly. Oh also, I already written a lot of Act 1 beforehand, hence the almost complete list of scene titles down below, but I will post the continuations once I get some corrections on any errors I missed. Anyhow, thanks in advance for coming by, and I appreciate any criticisms given. Oh and I am completely a greenhorn when it comes to forum boards like Renai. Never touched 4chan in my life. So, I have no clue how to use this. But yeah, I am now under your care, any visitors ambling about in here, and I welcome any and all criticisms, corrections, and other comments!

And so we march, to a greater future!

Switching Dynamics
Act 1: Life Expectancy
0: Bundle of Hisao - [You are here]
1: Gateway Effect - Link
2: Enter Stage Left - Link
3: In the Nursery - Link
4: Late Induction -
5: Smalltalk -
6: Tryout -
7: Short Trip -
8: Lunch Evolution Theory -
9: Intermission -
10: Revival -
11: Downtown Dinnertime -
12: Twilit Philosophy
13: Morning Blues

Scene 0: Bundle of Hisao

It had been four months since my first heart attack. In that whole time, you could could the times I had been left in this hospital ward unsupervised on one hand. Four months was a pretty long time when you’re left alone with your thoughts, and even then I could barely remember the early days. Nevertheless, I had plenty of time to come to terms with my situation, if I ever did at all.

Arrhythmia.

It was a strange word, and still is, a foreign, alien one. It felt like something you don’t want to be in the same room with.

It was a rare condition. It causes the heart to act erratically and occasionally beat too fast. Or too slow. Or stop.

It can be fatal.

Apparently, I had it for a long time. The doctors said it had developed from something I had since I was born. The genes in me was the tinder, the heart attack the spark, and now the ash left behind was arrhythmia and I was choking in it. They had said it was a miracle that I was able to go on for so long, without anything happening.

Was it really a miracle?

I guessed it was supposed to make me feel better, more appreciative of my life.

Honestly, it didn’t really do anything to cheer me up.

It felt like my parents were hit harder by the news than I was. Since that surgery, I already had the full length of time to digest everything I could. To them, after it all happened, it was all fresh. They were even willing to sell our house in order to pay for a cure.

Of course there wasn’t any.

Because of the late discovery of this … condition, I had to stay at the hospital, to recuperate from the treatments. When I was first admitted, it felt as if I was missed. For about a week. For that time my room was full of flowers, balloons, and cards, wishing me the best of luck in making a full recovery, ignorant of the fact that there were would be no such recovery. Soon enough, the visitors soon dwindled, and all the get-well gifts trickled down to nothing shortly after. I realized that the only reason I had gotten so many cards and flowers was because sending me their sympathy had been made into a class project.

Maybe some people were genuinely concerned, but I doubted it.

Maybe my friends were genuinely concerned, but I never saw any evidence of it.

Maybe she felt guilty for causing it all, but at the time, I hadn’t really cared.

By the end of the first month, I barely had any visitors. Only my parents and Iwanako came by on a regular basis.

And after six weeks, she too, had disappeared. I never saw her again afterwards. It was fine by me at that point. We never had that much to talk about when she visited anyway; I had nothing to say about my recovery, and she didn’t want to bring it up after the first aborted attempt. I didn’t want to hear news of the outside world, humming along without me. Nor did either of us want to talk about what had brought us to that snowy wood, and it’s aftermath. I wondered if she felt guilty about, but I never asked.

I had lost everything. Thanks to a simple note in my textbook, I had lost everything I knew.

The hospital? It wasn’t really a place I’d have liked to live in. The doctors and nurses felt so impersonal and faceless. I guess it’s because they were usually in a hurry and they had a million other patients waiting for them. I could understand that. Nevertheless, it made me restless. For the first month or so, I asked the head cardiologist every time I saw him for a rough estimate of when I’d be able to leave. I wanted out, and a month was nothing if I needed to catch up.

He never answered anything in a straightforward way, and instead told me to wait and see if the treatments and surgeries worked.

The only thing I could ever do was idly observing the scars those surgeries had done on my chest, slowly changing appearances over time. No one knew how much I missed being back in class, in my old life.

Nobody bothered to ask.

I was just another name on the list. They simply execute the typical routine, and move to the next.

In the months afterwards, I regularly asked the head cardiologist about leaving, but my expectations were low enough that I wasn’t really disappointed when I didn’t get an answer. The way he shuffled around the answer showed that there was at least some hope.

At some point, I stopped watching TV. I don’t know why, but I just did. Maybe it felt like it was the wrong kind of escapism for my situation. I had wanted to do what I always did, but that wasn’t an option. Left with nothing else, I started reading instead. There was a small … library, for lack of a better word, at the hospital. It had the appearance of a storeroom better than a library, but it served the same purpose, the staff said. With little other things to do, I worked my way through it, one small stack at a time.

After consuming them, I would go back for more. In the silence of the ward, I found that I liked reading, and I thought maybe I had become addicted. Just like the first few days without my guitar, I felt naked without having a book in hand. But it helped. It helped put my mind elsewhere, somewhere not here. That’s what my life is like in those four months; scratching at the metaphorical wall, finding the only escape I could in books.

The days soon became increasingly harder to distinguish from each other, differing only by the book I was reading and the weather outside, from what I could see in the windows. It had felt like time blurred into a single gradient of tones that I was trapped inside, instead of moving within. A week could go by without me noticing it. Sometimes, I paused in realization that I didn’t know what day of the week it was. But other times, all the things that surrounded me would painfully crash into my consciousness, through the barriers of nonchalance I had set up around myself. The pages of my book felt sharp and burning hot, and the heaviness in my chest would become hard enough to bear that I toss aside whatever was in my hand and laid down for a while, staring at the ceiling as if I was going to cry.

But that happened rarely.

And I couldn’t even cry.

***

One day, the doctor came in and gave me a smile. He seemed excited, but not quite. I could tell. It was like he was trying to make an effort to be happy on my behalf. On the other hand, my parents came in after him. It had been a couple of days since I had last seen them. Both of them were even dressed up. Was it supposed to be some sort of special occasion. It wasn’t a party, that was for certain.

Nevertheless, it didn’t stop the head cardiologist and this ritual of his. He took his time sorting his papers, and then set them aside as if to make a point on the pointlessness of what he had just done. Then he would casually sit down on the edge of the bed next to me. In any other days, he would drone about whatever progress I had made, and I heard it often enough that I would toss it out of my mind the moment he was gone. This time though, he looked at me in the eyes for a moment. “Hello Hisao,” he said, clear and concise as usual. “How are you today?”

And like a ritual, I didn’t answer him, replying only with whatever smile I could muster back at him.

He cleared his throat, and began his part. The first few words he uttered made me furrow my brows in suspicion, immediately realizing the break from the routine. “I believe you can go home;” he said, “your heart is stronger now, and with some precautions, you should be fine. We have all your medication sorted out. I’ll give your father the prescription.”

The doctor then handed a sheet of paper to my father, whose expression turned wooden as he read it quickly. The only comment he could muster was, “So many …”

I seized it from his hand to take a look at myself, before immediately feeling numb. How was I supposed to react to this? The absurdly long list of medications staring back at me seemed insurmountable. They all blended together into a sea of letters. It was insane; side effects, adverse effects, contraindications, and dosage were listed line after line with cold precision. I tried to read them all, but it was futile. I couldn’t understand any of it, and attempting to only made me feel sicker.

All this … for the rest of my life, every day?

“I’m afraid that this is the best we can do at this point,” said the doctor, before turning up his tone as if trying to cheer me up. “However, new medications are always being developed, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that list fade over the years.”

Years. What kind of a confidence booster was that? I wanted to sit up and punch him in the face. What kind of a pick-me-up line was that then it would have felt better if he hadn’t said anything at all? Before I could let my anger bottle up, he continued.

“Also, I’ve spoken with your parents, and we believed that it would be best if you don’t return to your old school.”

I snapped. Whatever expression I made, it reflected my anger perfectly as my father immediately stood up, alert. “Please, calm down Hisao. Listen to what the doctor has to say …” I wanted to snap back at him, at the doctor, at anyone. The way the doctor said it told me he knew full well I wouldn’t like it. Was I going to be homeschooled? Whatever my concern showed, it was ignored as the doctor cleared his throat again and continued.

“We all understand that your education is paramount; however, I don’t think it’s wise for you to be without supervision. At least, not until we’re sure your medication is suitable and stable. So, I’ve spoken with your parents about a transfer. It’s a school called the Yamaku Academy, specializing in dealing with the disabled students.”

The term ‘disabled’ shocked me. Was I counted among the disabled now?

“It has 24-hour nursing staff and it’s only a few minutes from a highly regarded general hospital. The majority of students live on campus. Think of it as a boarding school of sorts. It’s designed to give students a degree of independence, while keeping help nearby.”

“Independence?” It was a school for disabled kids. I wanted to shout at him; don’t disguise the fact. If I wanted to be independent, I would go back to my own school. I was independent back then, as much as I wanted to be. If this one was really that ‘free’, then there wouldn’t be a ‘24-hour nursing staff’, and you wouldn’t make a hospital being nearby a selling point. I wanted to say all that, to scream at him. But no matter what I thought, I couldn’t get a word out. It ad been so long since I spoke that it felt like I had forgotten how to.

“Of course,” my father intervened. “That’s only if you wanted to go. But … your mother and I aren’t really able to homeschool you. We went out there and had a look a couple of weeks back; I think you’ll like it.”

I could only scowl at him. Who was he to decide if I would like something when he was never at home except at night? But I couldn’t keep up the scowl for long. My shoulders fell and I stared again at the blanket which had been lain on my legs. It looked like I didn’t have a choice either way.

“Compared to other heart problems,” the doctor spoke up this time, “people with your condition tend to live long lives. You’ll need a job one day and this is a good opportunity to continue your education.”

If I could scoff at that pitiful attempt, I would. “It isn’t an opportunity,” I mumbled to myself, “don’t call it an opportunity. Don’t call it a goddamned opportunity.”

Of course no one had listened.

“Well, you should be excited at the chance to go back to school,” the doctor continued. “I remember you wanted to return to school, and while it’s not the same one …”

It was a special school. When I said I wanted to go back to school, he knew perfectly well which one I meant. But this alternative, I received it as an insult. That’s what I had wanted to say. It was a step down. Again, the expression I gave made my dad speak up again. “It’s not what you think, Hisao. All of the students there are pretty active in their own sort of way. It’s geared towards students that can still get around and learn, but just need a little help, in one way or another.”

“Your father’s right,” the doctor said. “And many of the graduates of the school had gone to do amazing things. A person doesn’t have to be held back by their disability. One of my colleagues in another hospital is a graduate.”

I didn’t care what they had to say. A person doesn’t have to be held back by his disability? Isn’t that the definition of disability? It was, and it still is. I really hated that something so important to me was decided for me, with no input from my own self. But what could I do about it? At the time, I believed I was broken. No matter how much resistance I would put up, it won’t surpass the sheer wall of counterarguments that would only serve to tire me out thanks to this faulty heart of mine. A “normal” life was out of the question now.

Regardless, I wanted to protest. I wanted to blame my lack of reaction on shock, or fatigue. Even if I could only do it once, I would have easily yelled out something now - something about how I could go back to my old school. But not, I didn’t say anything. The four months trapped in this hospital had conditioned whatever natural instincts I had to suppressing anything in order to avoid interaction with others. I was trapped in this wall I had put up. The hospital, the doctors, my condition, everything. I didn’t see anything that would make me feel any different.

I could barely remember how my old life was anyhow.

A clean slate wasn’t a bad thing.

I sighed. At least I still had something; even if it was a “special school,” it was something. It was a fresh start, and my life wasn’t over just yet. But, no matter how much I tried to focus on the positive end of things, I just couldn’t. I built so much on the other side that I found it hard to let go.

I never gave so much of an approval than the barest of nods. At the very least, I’d try to see what this place was. Perhaps if I tried to petition to come back, they’d listen. Or maybe not. Maybe, if that was the case, I’d find a way myself.
Last edited by Talmar on Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Talmar
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:45 pm

Scene 1: Gateway Effect

The gate looks far too pompous for what it is. In fact, most of them seem to do that, but this one especially egregious. The tall walls are made of red bricks, black wrought iron, and gray plaster, all assembled into a whole that didn’t feel welcoming at all. If it weren’t for the bright afternoon light, I would’ve assumed that this is a mental asylum. They did say the school is special, so I might not be far from the truth.

It didn’t take long for the heat of the afternoon to reach its peak, and now the sun is high above my head, blazing away at me, and any poor passerby caught outside. Trying to find shelter, I enter through the gates at a brisk pace, immediately entering the shade of a few dense trees. A bit more relieved, I look around.

I’m alone. There’s supposed to be someone waiting around here for me, but I don’t see a single person around this courtyard. My parents have already gone up ahead of me to take whatever I could from my old home to the dorms, so they’re not here to keep me company. Not that I want that; them being here would just add to the awkwardness of the situation. Other than that, the yard is deserted; the grounds here are incredibly lush for the dry heat of summer, filled with green, and the light brown dirt walkways going past the trees are wide enough to fit a car. Above the evergreen trees are swaying in the light breeze, and all around me is the smell of freshly cut grass. I stand at a four way intersection, and both left and right leads nowhere I see to be places I’m supposed to be. Ahead is the door.

Come to think of it, it’s been a while since I walked around outside. When I stepped out of the hospital, I was too preoccupied with the prospects of my new life to appreciate even the fresh air. Now that I’m here, I can finally absorb it all in.

I press on towards the door.

Up ahead is this grand building that I presume to be the Academy itself. It seems to have been built to be deliberately imposing; a great wall of red bricks and gray plaster, dotted with heavily crenellated windows and supports. The architectural style reminds me of those illustrations of factories and palaces of the Victorian era. I realize I’m standing out in the open, and quickly retreat back to the shades. I hope whoever it is that’s supposed to greet me would hurry up..

This place doesn’t really look like the kind of grounds a school would have. It looks more like a park, and the building up ahead, a repurposed old structure. Words like “clean” and “hygienic” pop up in my mind, reminding me of the hospital. I shudder at the thought.

Come on, old buddy. I don’t need those memories popping up right now; it’d just get in the way. I get it; I don’t want to be here, but that doesn’t mean I’d just spend missing stuff I can’t get back.

I stare at the building ahead of me. It feels far too big for just a school. Everything seems off; the unorthodox approach clashes with what I know as the standard of a Japanese senior high, ranging from the architecture, to the design, to even its sheer size. My old school wasn’t this large, and the doctors mentioned only about 200 students study here.

Irritated by the complete absence of a single soul, let alone the person who was supposed to greet me, I let out a sigh and start making my way to the grand wooden double doors. I would try to peer from the distance into the windows, but they’re tinted. The trees above hum with the wind, and the green hues flashing all around. It reminds me of the hospital again, how they said operating rooms are painted green because it’s a calming color. I take one last look behind me.

Now I get it; why the gates unnerved me like they did. It was the last chance I had at turning back. I could’ve run, but God knows what that would do. I can only remember vague warnings from the lectures about my condition, but I don’t remember strict limitations on excessive movements. Regardless, it’s not like I want to dwell on the idea; it’s a hefty distance from anywhere I could go, and I’m far from home. With a deep breath, I push the doors open.

The first thing I notice is the grand, open-air entrance hall, as tall as the building is. Up above are walkways that I presume are for the upper floors. At the back are entrances to what seems to be an elevator hall. Observing the surroundings, my curiosity is broken by a firm voice. “You must be … Ni … Na … Nikki?”

The voice belongs to a tall man in a dark brown peacoat. The way he shuffles around looks awkward, like an anorexic figure attempting to fit in. I stop wandering immediately, surprised to see him there. Nobody told me he’s waiting inside. “Uh … Nakai, actually,” I correct him.

He looks at the piece of paper in his hand, and back at me. “So you are. Excellent. I’m your homeroom and science teacher here, and my name is Mutou.” He extends a hand, and gives a wry smile. “Welcome.”

I accept his hand. The handshake feels neither firm nor sloppy, but it doesn’t seem to mind him. After a moment, he looks at the watch in his hand. “The head nurse asked you for a brief check-in visit,” he says informatively, “but there’s no time for that now.”

A check-in visit? “Oh, should I go later?”

He nods. “Yes, the afternoon is probably fine. We should get going and introduce you to the rest of the class.” He starts walking to the stairs. I pull the straps on my bag and follow him. “They’re waiting already.”

Waiting for me? The idea unnerves me for a few moments. Did I hold him up from teaching as I was hesitating outside earlier? I don’t really like being at the center of attention when I don’t want to, especially when I don’t know any of the people who’ll be looking at me. Eh, I guess it’s inevitable, with the situation as it is.

Thinking, I almost miss what the teacher is saying as he stands at the top of the stairs, waiting for me to catch up. “Do you want to introduce yourself to class?” I decipher.

Huh? Should I? I’m not really sure, but what else can I do? I don’t want to suggest something outlandish, especially to a stranger, and he himself said I should go to the head nurse later. I mean, it’s standard after all. I set aside my worries, and put my trust in whatever improvisation skill I still have. “Yeah, sure.”

“Hmm.”

I mean, it’s better to do it now rather than delay it for another day. If anything, I should be the one to give the first impression of myself. Quietly I tag behind him, and pondered on what first impression I want to make.

Scene 2: Enter Stage Left

I snap out of my thoughts when we reach the doors to the classroom I’ll be part of for the rest of the year until graduation. I’m uncertain on following up. I still had no idea what exactly what first impression I wanted, and right now seems to be a bit too late to decide. I look around, partly so I won’t have to meet the curious gazes of the students in there. The classroom is pretty spacious; high ceilings, wider than usual spaces left over and in between desks. On the far wall, the wall-spanning blackboards and the high, old-fashioned windows serves to only make the hall seem larger. Again, not exactly what I thought of a classroom seems to be the case here.

The students’ desks on the other hand are just standard wooden desks with a shelf underneath for books and wooden chairs with metal frames. Simple and efficient, but a stark contrast to the style to the exterior of the building. Perhaps the whole repurposed thing I thought about was on the mark.

I follow the teacher as he sits down on his chair to the side, while I stand in front of the classroom to face the students. Shoot, I can’t avoid it now. With a deep sigh, I steel myself. At a glance they all look normal, like any other students in any other school. But if that’s the case, then why would they be here? It took a second glance to notice the various little … errors, for the sake of a sufficient but polite word, like the girl in front of me seemingly missing an entire hand. It’s jarring to say the least.

Mutou clears his throat, bringing me back to reality, and starts his introductory speech. I quickly tune it out, keen on keeping up my exploratory momentum, scanning left to right at the very back. Two girls in the corner stare at me with interested glances, but then whisper to one another. Another girl sits next to her, sporting really long straight hair. When she notices that I’m looking at her, she quickly cover her face with her bangs, as if it’ll make her invisible. Besides her, a boy with a cane leaning against the lockers sits quietly, eyes closed. It’s strange to see someone around my age already relying on a cane.

Turning slowly to the right, I notice a girl making hand motions. Sign language? She peeks at me over the rims of her glasses judgingly, and then goes back to whatever she was doing. The doctors said the classes are divided into the audibly, and then visually, impaired, and the rest are all other disabilities. Why is she here? I quickly pass to whoever she was ‘talking’ to, a cheery-looking girl with distinctive pink hair and drills. Either the school has a really lax uniform code, or she’s an exception for some reason. I don’t know how I missed her the first time.

And behind her is another girl, with a muted yellow hairband, looking out the window. She doesn’t seem to be paying any attention to the class, let alone me. Here I am expecting a thousand pairs of eyes to drill into me, and there she is, looking away, disinterested. Not that I mind; it’s nice for a change that I’m not being treated like a test subject, or a statue to wish well to.

“...and so please welcome our newest classmate.”

As Mutou’s speech comes to a close with a clap of his hands, everyone breaks into applause, except for the one-handed girl in front of me, and the hairband girl at the back. I bow in thanks to whatever caused the applause to begin with.

What follows is a collective silence, telling me it’s my turn. I clear my throat. “…So, uh, my name is Hisao Nakai.”

I subconsciously stretched my fingers with my thumb on my right hand as I think of what to say next.

“My hobbies are reading, playing guitar, and uh … soccer. But I don’t really play that anymore.” A deep breath. “I hope to get along well with everyone, even though I’m a new student.”

Come on, anything else to say, me? The teacher still looked like he’s expecting more, with his silence. But I don’t know how to continue. Talk about my old life? We might as well take a chair and have the rest of the class to do that, and I don’t want to. Talk about my favorite subject? Well, it’s physics, and I have no idea what is the current class right now to interrupt. Whatever it is, I’m certain everyone here’s expecting something interesting. I keep goading myself to say it, guess it.

In the end, not another word. Thankfully, the teacher picks up from there.

On the flip side, maybe everyone’s just expecting the teacher to do that. They all seem satisfied even with what little things I said. A few of the girls whisper to each other, throwing glances at me. I frown. What are they talking about? Regardless, it could’ve gone worse. In the meantime, the teacher keeps going on about something, about getting along, while letting me continue looking around. Those that aren’t chatting listen intently to him, apart from the sign language girls, and when he’s done, they clap their hands again. This time though, the girl with the missing hand claps as well, with her one hand against her other wrist that I notice ends with a bandaged stump.

I feel a little bad. That seems like it could hurt.

“We’re going to do some group work today,” Mutou says, turning to me, “so that will give you a chance to talk with everyone. Is that okay with you?”

I nod. “Yeah, it’s fine with me.”

“That’s good.” He looks around for a moment. “You can work with Hakamichi. She’s the class representative, and can explain anything you might want to know. And who else would be able to do that better, right?”

I can only stare at him wordlessly as a reply. What should I say in response to that? And how am I supposed to know?

The teacher gives me a copy of a worksheet from the pile on his desk before working his way around to distribute the rest. Left behind, I make my way to the only empty seat available, next to the pink-haired girl. As I turn to ask, I realize I have no idea who this Hakamichi is. Could’ve been across the class. The teacher thankfully notices me floundering. “Oh right, Hakamichi is near you. Shizune Hakamichi.”

As he calls out her name, the bubbly looking girl with bright pink hair perk up to him before turning back to me. So this one is Hakamichi huh. I extend a hand as a greeting. “Hey,” I say, “I guess you’re Hakamichi, right? It’s nice to meet you.”

She laughs, catching me off guard. What?

“It’s nice to meet you too! But~! I’m not Hakamichi! I’m Misha!” She leans back a bit to show the girl she had been signing with, the glasses girl. “This is Hakamichi, Shicchan~! She also goes by Shizune!” It looks like she had been staring at me the whole time. She nods nonchalantly to show that she acknowledged my presence. I frown, before recollecting myself to wave, albeit awkwardly.

“Well, uh, nice to meet you.”

She immediately looks at Misha, who smiles and makes a few quick gestures with her hands. Hakamichi nods and makes a few gestures of her own. I can’t help but frown again; maybe the teacher is messing with me saying things like ‘you’ll be able to talk to people’ and ‘who better to explain things to you’, because it seems like this Shizune Hakamichi is deaf-mute.

Misha turns back to me as I take my seat. “I can see you’re a little confused, right? Right? But I can understand why you’d think I was Shicchan! You see,” she says as she makes more gestures, “she’s deaf!”

Thought so.

“So I’m the person who translates things back and forth for her.” She looks back at Shizune, and back at me. “I’m like an interpreter~! She says it’s nice to meet you too!”

The blue-haired glasses girl makes some more hand gestures, and Misha translates. “You’re the new student, aren’t you? Well, Shicchan, of course he is! If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have been standing up there for no reason, right? Right~!” Now both of them turn to me. “He seems like a very interesting person, doesn’t he~?!”

I can only glance away awkwardly, looking back occasionally. Too many things are running in my mind. First, is this what it feels like to be a transfer student? Being the subject of conversation? Second, the speed between her translations and the sign language seems almost superhuman. Third though, is the attention. Misha’s voice is several octaves too high and I could see some eyes turned this way. She didn’t seem to notice it at all though, continuing to translate just about everything they’re ‘saying’ so I won’t miss out.

“We knew there’s going to be a new student, but we didn’t know you would be here today. So soon! Hicchan, right?”

Wait, what. Hicchan?

She nods appreciatively at the sudden idea of a nickname. “Yup~! It fits, doesn’t it?”

Did I say that out loud? I was just surprised to hear it here, because for a good while it was something my mother used to call me. I never liked that nickname, and even less so now. In the meantime, the two look expectantly at me. What do they want? I fold my arms to appear as if in thought, and keep quiet. Perhaps if I stay shut up they’d tell, because I have no clue what’s happening. After a few awkward moments, Shizune taps her fingers on the desk to get Misha’s attention, before exchanging series after series of hand gestures between them. Misha looks a bit overwhelmed.

“Shicchan wants you to know that she’s the class rep,” she translates, turning to me, “so if there’s anything you need to know, you can feel free to ask her.”

The glasses girl signs some more.

“Do you like the school so far? We can show you around a little if you haven’t had the time to walk around and … familiarize? - yourself with it!” She stumbles a bit over the last few words, making it a bit noticeable compared to the flawless interpretation so far. I relax a bit to let off the tension from my silence, and nods appreciatively. Well, there’s that option to consider; at the very least there’s someone to ask.

“Thanks,” I reply, “that would be pretty helpful. And yeah, I just kind of came straight to class today.”

Misha laughs as she received another series from Shizune. “That’s no good! You should always try to learn as much as you can about where you’re going before you go there! Not just the school either~! Always!” She nods some more. “Even to the convenience store! Really, Shicchan? Hahaha~!”

I stay silent throughout the speech. I mean, it makes sense to learn what’s up where you’re going, but I was in no mood to try. I came here at my parents’ and doctors’ behest, nothing more, nothing less. Needless to say, if they’re going to actually drag me around, the prospect of having someone to ask about things seems less pleasant. They do seem amicable enough so far, but I’m reluctant to keep up the act. What do I add to the conversation anyway, after it ended like that. Agreement? That would just lead to another dead end. Denial? I can’t think of a good enough reason to support it.

After a while, Misha signs something that ends with a shrug. What was that? It seems like something about me. I feel like slumping in my seat, assignment be damned. Both of them are smiling, but the shrug hit me unexpectedly deeply. I guess all that effort standing up there and keeping up just went down the drain. No, I shouldn’t be this negative. When did I get so anxious?

Misha looks at me more closely, concerned. A brief thought wants me to push her away, but I shove it down the hole, avoiding her gaze instead. “You look down, are you okay?” she asks, turning around to toss another series to Shizune, who promptly replies. “Don’t take it the wrong way, please~!” she turns back to me, smiling again, “I hate it when people are afraid to ask questions! That’s how people learn things, by asking! Asking for help is perfectly normal, as much as needing help! Stop looking like you just failed a test!”

Misha laughs at the end of that. Her - or their, I’m not sure - concerns are misplaced, but I pull myself together for a reassuring, albeit thin, smile. “All right.”

Shizune signs something. “Ah, another thing,” Misha translates. “You don’t have to call Shicchan something so formal like ‘Hakamichi or ‘Class Rep’ all the time! Just call her Shicchan~!” She stops, and turns around to Shizune, who was noticeably blushing and rapidly signing a panicked series of gestures. “Ahaha~!” Okay, maybe that’s too casual. Maybe Shizune would be appropriate?”

She nods, satisfied, and Misha continues. “Yup, yup~! Shizune is fine!”

I take in a deep breath, and sigh. Perhaps being apprehensive earlier was a bit uncalled for. Both of them seem friendly, and especially Shizune. She was judging me so seriously when I was introducing myself, so I thought she would be all business. Well, she still seems like that, just less so, I guess.

Speaking of business, she signs something. “Huh? Oh right, we haven’t touched the assignment! We should start working right now, or Shicchan will get mad!”

I turn back to my table, and quietly bring out the stationery to start working. Not a bad start I suppose, for socializing with the students here, although something tells me it won’t be the same elsewhere. I quietly wave it away as I notice the numbers on the clock, and pay attention to the assignment instead.

We finish a few minutes earlier than anyone else, I notice, despite our late start. Although a partial credit can be reasoned by Misha’s overtly loud volume, which without doubt had distracted at least some people, regardless of how used to it they would be. But still, they’re quite different from those I usually hang out with. The class rep is as calm and professional as she looks, while Misha seems more playful and girlish. Not to mention a little more easily distracted. And to be honest, they did most of the work. I feel a little guilty about that.

Soon enough the clock tower bell rang, signaling the end of the period. Time for lunch. Without knowing what else to do, I take up on their offer of questions and tours, following Misha into the hallway and down the stairs as they wait for me.

Actually, did the girl behind her do anything at all?
Last edited by Talmar on Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Talmar
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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:32 pm

Scene 3: In the Nursery

I follow them as the two girls descend downstairs, toward what Misha calls the cafeteria. The more I look around, making mental notes of where things are, the more this building gets more confusing. Surprisingly, there’s a floor below the lobby of the main entrance that also opens up to alternate entrances to the building. When I see there’s a window here on our way to the cafeteria, I thought maybe this building is built on the side of a hill. Anyhow, that’s not entirely strange; I heard of such limitations before in other schools.

Contrasting that however, as the duo leads me in through its double doors, the cafeteria is far too spacious and oddly modern in contrast to the Victorian exterior. Windows as tall as the ceilings occupy one side of the wall to my right, through which I’m provided a view to a much larger courtyard. In the distance I could spy several more isolated structures across the grassy field and trees. Offices? Dormitories? They did say students live here.

Misha strides in front of us and splays her hands wide with an enthusiastic grin. “It’s the cafeteria~!”

Her excessive enthusiasm of the statement of the obvious managed to draw some attention from the people around us. I stay shut, reluctant to tell her to tone it down, but it didn’t seem like she cared. The attention however makes me feel uneasy, so I merely nod an acknowledgement and join the queue up ahead at the serving tables. Thankfully the two tag along.

There is a rather long list of menu stated up above, which confuses me for a moment before realizing that since this is a special school, there’s probably special diets too. It reminds me of the time a dietician came to my room back in the hospital, asking me what things I’m allergic to. I mentally silence myself of the thought. No, no need for negativity on the first day; the duo are already thinking I might have an issue, most likely. I pick something belonging to the general course, and follow Shizune to the table, sitting opposite her while Misha’s off to get some more.

Well, we’re here now. What do I do? Shizune’s deaf, so I have no idea how to talk to her, not without Misha. As I nibble indifferently at the food I’d rather not eat, Misha returns with a loaded tray and pokes me in the side to get my attention. I was about to give her a piece of my mind for prodding me in the ribs like that, but she points at Shizune. The class rep proceeds to sign something at me, to which I could only reply with visible confusion. She glares at me for that, as if angry I didn’t get it.

I mean, I don’t understand sign, so the point escapes me. Why isn’t Misha translating? Who am I supposed to look at for this conversation? That is the general convention anyway, but doing it here doesn’t seem productive.

Thankfully, Misha finally decides to speak up. “Do you want to know something?”

“What?”

“About anything! We’re your guides, so you should ask if there is something~!”

I take a moment. “Hmm.”

Well, is there actually anything I wanted to ask? I came to this school with little ideas on what I want to know. If I want to go sightseeing, I would rather do it myself. After all, I’ve been freed from the hospital after four months imprisoned in there. Tying myself with other people seems counter-intuitive. I just feel reluctant to even ask anyone. I mean, I ended up here because of other people deciding for me. Maybe it’s just general distrust. Nevertheless, now that I’m here, what should I do? What is there that I want to know?

As I ponder to myself, I look out of the windows. Outside, students are scattered everywhere, minding their own businesses in this lunch period with their social circle. I somewhat envy them, having someone to talk to without having to be wary. Maybe after the sensation of being a new transfer student wears off I could be like them at some point. If there is anyone willing to take me in, that is.

I continue to scan the field when I spot some students still lingering behind the windows of the flanking wings of the building. The idea escapes me for a moment before I remember. Extracurricular activities are a thing, and it slipped my mind after all those months in the hospital. How did I forget about that? Hell, I was part of one for most of my--

“Ahem~!”

Misha clearing her throat drags me back to reality. I consider the question again before deciding this seems suitable. “What are the clubs here?”

She blinks, before looking at me surprised. She didn’t seem like she was expecting that. Her hands are already interpreting my question to Shizune, who then fires back a volley of her own. In a moment, Misha turns back to me, occasionally looking back to catch more of her friend’s ‘speech’.

“Well, Hicchan,” she says. “There’s a lot actually. We have the literature club, the largest in the school. Yep~! They’re big enough that they’re not in the clubhouse wing at all, but is instead based in the library instead. We have … Shicchan, what’s that? Oh okay~, we have the sports teams like the archery club, the track team. You can ask the sports manager for that~.”

No, none of them interest me. And track could probably kill me. Just as I’m about to sigh and go back to eating, Misha keeps going.

“Speaking of, there’s the music club …”

“Music club?”

She nods. “Yep~! It’s led by Saki, a friend of ours.”

Shizune seems to frown at the mention of the name. “Hicchan,” I hear Misha interrupting. “Are you interested in music? I remember you mentioning that~.”

“Interested?” Music was something that I was involved in, in my old school. Perhaps I could join them again. But … what can I do? It’s been almost an eternity since I last touched my guitar. Can I still play? I mean, I did say I was interested in the introduction, but that was mostly because I didn’t have anything to add. And it is still something I sorely missed back in the hospitalization. I nod indecisively, mixing it with a shrug. “Maybe.”

Misha looks at Shizune, and then back at me, beaming. “Well that’s great! I heard they’re open to newcomers, so if you want to, you can go today~!”

“Hmm.” Should I?

With that, the girls turn to each other to sign animatedly, throwing sideways glances at me. Misha refrains from translating, however. Maybe they’re talking about secret girl stuff. But I don’t care enough to ask. More time for to think.

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

Or maybe not. Just as I finish swallowing the bland bread down my throat the bell rings and Misha drags me back to class. We arrive in the classroom early, but we’re not the first. The dark-haired girl I noticed earlier is slumped over her desk. She almost jumps a little when Misha crashes into the room with the elegance of a rhino, causing her to attempt to shrink deeper into her seat.

Misha really needs some restraint.

I can feel her tension all the way from the front of the class, as if she would just turn into stone from our presence if she could. Misha and Shizune on the other hand don’t seem to notice, or don’t mind. Or don’t care. I guess every class has their share of strange students, and she’s one of them. They simply walk past her and began to converse again, seemingly picking up from where they left off.

Glancing behind me, I notice that the girl with the yellow hairband isn’t here. Before I can
ponder where she might be, the teacher saunters into the class to begin the lesson, and the missing girl slips from my mind.

*******

Getting into the rhythm of school feels strange; it’s as if my brain remembers how this is done, but my body doesn’t. Every once in a while, I have to coerce myself to pull out the correct book, or go to the correct classroom. Granted, I don’t have a good layout of the school in my head yet, but there was one point I had to remind myself to come along with the others, and another moment I seemingly forgot I was in Yamaku, and not my old school. Hospital time had seemingly sap a lot of the muscle memory away, and cast it off into the endless sea around me as I’m stuck on a deserted island.

Towards the end of the day, I yawn and start counting the minutes left. Honestly speaking, I shouldn’t be this tired on my first day of school; hell I stayed up past midnight on a regular basis, practicing my guitar back in the day, and went to school like nothing happened. Now I’m feeling physically weak. I don’t like it; it reminds me too much that I have this affliction.

Not before long, the final bell rings. School is finally over for the day. Beside me, Misha and Shizune are having a short conversation. Earlier in the class, the hairband girl came back, a little harried. I look back at her seat; she’s absorbed in a book now. Where did she go in the meantime? The library? After a moment of deliberation, Misha waves her hand in front of my eyes. “Hey, Earth to Hicchan~, are you there?”

I push her hand away. “What is it?”

Misha pouts, before continuing as Shizune pack up her stuff alongside her own behind her. “Unfortunately, we can’t stay to show you the clubhouse today, Hicchan~. We’ve got to hurry already, since there’s a lot of work for us to do.”

Work? Are they involved in clubs as well? Seeing the haste the two are in, I drop my intentions to keep asking about it, and sigh. “It’s fine. I can give it a look tomorrow.”

She quickly recovers, turning to Shizune as she signs something, before back at me. ‘You’ll find your way around here, I’m sure of it!”

Is that her talking, or Shizune? Actually that question had been in the back of my mind since I first met them this morning; which one is talking when Misha speaks. Just as they start to leave after pushing their chairs in though, I remember the note from the homeroom teacher about the visit to the Nurse. “Hey, wait!” I call out, quickly picking up my bag to catch up. ‘The teacher said I have to see the nurse. Where do I go?”

The girls stop to allow me to tag along. “Oh that?” Misha says, looking at Shizune as she translates my question to her, back and forth. “We can at least show you that much~! Come on, the nurses have their own building, so we have to go outside.”

And so I find myself following the two again.

We join the flow of students leaving their classes and down the stairwell, on to the outside via the lobby. Misha offhandedly points out class 3-4 on the way out, mentioning something about danger. When we reach outside, the girls lead me down the left path, around a large wing attached to the main building, to a smaller building right next to it. It’s built in the same 1800s American style of red bricks and gray mortars, so it actually looks like a part of the main building from some angles. Just as we arrive at the side doors of this annex, Shizune stops and signs something.

“This is the auxiliary building here~!” Misha translates cheerfully. “There’s a lot of official and important stuff inside, like the Yamaku Foundation office and all the nurses’ office. They even have a swimming pool!”

I raise an eyebrow at the final comment. “How is that official?”

Apparently my remark isn’t entirely welcomed as Shizune glares at me for a split second. Misha laughs instead, before catching up to her friend’s flurry of signs. “Don’t be silly, Hicchan! It’s for physical therapy of course. Anyway, all the nursing staff facilities are in there too. The head nurse’s office is on the first floor You’ll be fine from here, right~?”

I nod. Physical therapy, huh.

“We’ll be going then! See you tomorrow~!” Misha waves as they walk through one of the nearby side doors of the main faculty. I simply wave back at them weakly, before turning inside.

An entire building, built for nothing that has to do with actual education? I suppose it’s necessary for a place like this. I mean, it is a private academy, so the main office being on campus makes sense. But an entire independent medical wing? Sounds preposterous and unnecessary at first, before reminding myself why I’m here. A school for the disabled. I don’t like it. Reminds me too much of why I’m here.

I don’t know myself how I subconsciously blotted out the various more visible disabilities of passersby throughout the day.

Nobody stopped me to ask what I’m doing, so I march in. As I explore my way through the building, I find a lot of things that befits the sign above the main entrance of the annex earlier: “Physiotherapy and Medical Center”. I’m guessing the main office is on the third floor, because it’s pretty tall here. There’s an entire hall with the swimming pools Misha mentioned, accessible only via the first floor. There is another set of entrances on the other side, though, so I guess we just didn’t see it.

Further exploring the floor, I finally find what I suppose to be the head nurse’s office. A white door, with a green cross stuck on it, and the nurse’s name on its nameplate. A voice inside responds almost immediately when I knock on the door, but I can’t quite hear it. Whatever, sounds like an invitation, so I come in.

The room, or I suppose his office, doesn’t seem as large as the classes, and the smell reminds me of the chlorinated sterile halls of the hospital. In an instant I don’t quite like it, but I shut those thoughts out. A friendly looking man turns around on his office chair to face me as I enter. His desk, sitting against a wall next to a cabinet of medical supplies, is neat and tidy aside for a bunch of coffee-cup rings scattered around a corner. The bin under his table is overflowing however with waste paper.

“Hello there,” he speaks up, breaking me away from my study of the place. “What can I do for you today?”

My attention shifts to the man. He’s a young-looking man and sort of rugged, but the dimples on his cheeks wash away the impression as he flashes a disarming grin. I felt a slight twist in my stomach when I note how familiar it looks. Just to be sure, I go ahead and ask, “You’re the head nurse, right?”

His grin doesn’tbreak. “Why yes, I am. It says so on the door, right?” He takes a moment to sip on a steaming cup, and puts it down to stretch out a hand. “You can call me by my name, or just ‘the nurse’ like everyone else. I handle the general affairs.”

I let go of the door handle and accept the handshake as I take a seat on the open stool in front of him. “Right.”

“So?”

Oh right yeah. “I’m a new student here, and my homeroom teacher told me to come and meet you. Name is Hisao Nakai.”

His eyes brighten at the mention of my name as he pulls out a clipboard from a drawer. “Oh, the new guy? Yeah, I just read your files. Something about chronic arrhythmia caused by congenital heart muscle deficiency, right?”

I shrug and nod. I never really paid any attention to the doctors when they lectured to me about what went wrong that day; I didn’t want to hear about it. All I wanted back then was to get out and fix things. Maybe more on the former. So one might say I have my wish, coming here. With that, he continues.

“Good. Well, you’ve probably been briefed about the school enough, so I’ll go over this quickly. We have all kinds of facilities available, mostly physical therapies and such. There’s always someone from my staff around, even at night, so don’t hesitate to call us if there’s a problem.”

“Oh right, the twenty-four-hour nursing staff. It’s like a hospital.”

I mean, it is.

He gives me a sideways glance and a raised eyebrow. “Well, not exactly. We don’t do surgery here for example.”

Wait, what? That joke manages to surprise me, enough to make me shut up for a moment to realize how my remark sounds far more abrasive compared to his. Feeling a little guilty, I look away at the window behind him instead. Fortunately, it seems that he notices the sudden change in atmosphere and quickly change gears. “You’ll get used to it.”

“Yeah, um,” I stammer out, “it’s just that for a school, I didn’t expect this many medical staff and stuff.”

“Not so much a school than an entire Primary and Secondary level institute in one,” he answers definitively, “so we have to cater to the young ones as well.”

Huh. So that might explain the separate buildings I saw in the cafeteria. Maybe this academy holds a lot more students than they said. With that, he stays silent as he flips through his clipboard, muttering to himself as he scans the papers. “Now, let me find your files again … tch, wrong clipboard.” He suddenly stands up and turns to the drawers under his desk, by the sound of them being drawn out.

In this moment of silence, I let myself observe further what else is in this office. It is, in general, the epitome of the generic, reminding me a lot of the nurses’ office in my old school. The beige walls, the gray ceilings, dark gray laminate flooring; even the equipment here is largely the same, along with those ridiculous educational posters posted all over the place - urging to eat properly, three times a day, with all those food groups in careful balance.

“Ah, found it.”

I turn back to the nurse, who keeps his grin as he produces a large binder from a drawer. How many students did he have to sort through to find mine? He sits down on his chair and reads off the folder, occasionally looking back at me every now and then. “So, you already have all the medications for the arrhythmia,” - I flinch a bit at the mention of the term - “Just remember to take your pills every morning and evening, or as the doses said you should. The effects of missing them are less than pleasant. Apart from that …”

He shuts the binder with a clasp. “Do you do any sports? Rash stuff, like … I don’t know, boxing?” He grins at his joke, but I only stare at him in reply. To be honest, I didn’t get the joke.

“Not really,” I say after a short moment. “I played soccer occasionally, but that’s about it.”

His grin doesn’t go away, but he does raise an eyebrow. “Alright. I’m afraid I’ll have to tell you to stop that. At least for the time being, got it?”

I nod silently, looking around. I’m listening to him, but I don’t want to stare more than what is necessary. His own image is reminiscent to the doctors of the hospital, and already, almost instinctively, annoyed and exhausted me, I decide to keep things short, and honestly speaking, I’m not bothered by him forbidding me from playing around with a ball in a field anyway. It wasn’t my thing. I’m just tired of doctors and nurses.

But this nurse continues on still, now with a more serious tone. “Any kind of concussion might be very dangerous to your heart, and risking another attack is definitely not a good idea. Was the previous one caused by a sudden concussion to the chest area? There’s no mention of the cause in your papers.”

Ah.

That event.

I feel my stomach twisting into a knot and my breath growing shallower at the mere mention of that day. I tried my hardest to forget about that, and I thank whatever deity out there for not making the doctors take a testimony from her. Or maybe she didn’t want to talk about it.

Makes sense. Do the deed and forget about it.

They treated you like a toy.

I grit my teeth to hold it down. Now’s not the time, and I don’t want the doctors of this place as well to worry about my mind. Deep breaths.

In, and out.

In. And out.

I eventually find my calm again. I’m not sure exactly how I do it, but whatever expression I managed to makeis enough to give him the cue to not stick to the question.

“Okay, sure.” He frowns a bit. “Still, you need to keep your body healthy, so some exercise will be beneficial. We have physical therapies and such available, as I said, but I don’t think you really need such heavy … measures. Just some light exercises regularly. Brisk walks, or even light jogging, jumping rope, that sort of thing.” He puts down the binder. “Swimming maybe? There’s a pool here.”

“So I was told,” I say offhandedly. The irritation still lingers.

He tilts his head in amusement. “You were? Very good. At any rate, and I’m sure you’ve been told this before, you just need to take care to not overexert yourself.” He wags his finger to emphasize the point. I only furrow my brows in response; I’ve heard the same thing, or a variation of it, a thousand times already, and counting apparently. “Absolutely no risk. Take care of yourself.”

He finishes with a query. “Any questions?”

I look up a bit, and off to the side. Maybe the music club have some warnings about loud stuff since, well, they’re a music club. “One.”

“Fire away.”

“What about loud music? You know, like chest-thumping ones?”

“Oh that?” He chuckles at the thought. “No need to worry. Just don’t sit there for too long.” He reads through my papers in the binder one more time, and closes it, obviously content. “Good, that’s it then. Come meet me if you ever need anything else, alright?”

With that, I’m quickly ushered out before I even realize it. He wasn’t kidding when he said it’d be a quick visit, huh.
Last edited by Talmar on Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 08, 2019 1:43 pm

Okay, to sum up my main gripe with this story, here is a passage from chapter 1. I took the liberty of colouring present tense blue and past tense red...
The front of the building up ahead, I presumed, is this Yamaku Academy they talked about. It was built to almost surround you as you entered the main courtyard. Similar manner of architecture, red brick walls with grayish white plasters formed the exterior, reminding me of those illustrations of factories of the Industrial Revolution in history books. Flanking me are two wings of the main building, where it sloped down to reveal another floor exposed by the large windows, each of them decorated almost as excessively as the gates. Not wanting to attract attention, I walked back to the courtyard, looking for the doors.

The place doesn’t really look like the kind of grounds a school would have. It looked more like a park, and the building up ahead a repurposed old building. Words like “clean” and “hygienic” pops in my mind. It made me shudder.
There are a few more minor issues, but if you can just fix the grammar that will be a major improvement for the story.

As for the story itself, so far there are only a few diversions from the events in the LN. If anything I would recommend to leave those rails sooner rather than later to tell your own story. Most people on these forums have read about this first week in various iterations already, so a story that adheres too closely to the original can put off some of them.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Oddball » Fri Dec 13, 2019 11:56 am

I'm going to be honest, I really just skimmed through this. Most of this I've already read before and there's not really enough of a di9fference to catch my attention. The only thing that stood out was Hisao asking about the music club and even that was only a few lines.

If you need to use a time skip, do so, but you really need to get to the point where your story actually starts.
Not Dead Yet

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:08 am

I'm going to be honest, I really just skimmed through this. Most of this I've already read before and there's not really enough of a di9fference to catch my attention. The only thing that stood out was Hisao asking about the music club and even that was only a few lines.

If you need to use a time skip, do so, but you really need to get to the point where your story actually starts.
There are a few more minor issues, but if you can just fix the grammar that will be a major improvement for the story.

As for the story itself, so far there are only a few diversions from the events in the LN. If anything I would recommend to leave those rails sooner rather than later to tell your own story. Most people on these forums have read about this first week in various iterations already, so a story that adheres too closely to the original can put off some of them.
I was just about to post the original scene after this, but some IRL things happened and I had to postpone it. But thanks for dropping by. Everything after these three are fully original; albeit some shared content here and there with the canon but that's about it. Right now, just going through the slog of proofreading as Mirage proposed earlier; I'm bad at English, my second language, so, tch, yeah. Kinda to be expected when my attention span is as long as an ant and a memory just as short.

Anyhow, thank you very much for dropping by. I'll get to fixing them and replacing the chapters earlier with the grammatically fixed and rewritten ones. Feurox contacted me elsewhere through Discord recommending me to rewrite in totality, because if these grammar issues persisted through the initial 4 scenes, it's also likely to be entrenched elsewhere, and I got 14 scenes (short, KS-style in novel form) already written. So, the update to this is further delayed as I send the old, broken versions to the proofreaders for tense issues and other grammatical flaws, I rewrite them to befit the past perspective, and send the new ones back to the proofreaders. If they're willing to stick with me throughout this whole endeavour, hahahaha, haaaa. ... Finals next week. Need to study, and then family issues warranting a flight back home. Hopefully I can drag the laptop with me so I can get to work.

Thank you very much, you two, for dropping by. Again. I'm well aware that this is a massive project I came up spontaneously, but hey, if I start something, I'll do it to completion, no matter how long it takes.
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:05 am

Yeah, I was expecting those tense issues to be (at least partly because of the rewrite of the VN-material from present to past tense...
Seems you have proofreaders now, so I'm looking forward to the next chapters.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Talmar » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:00 pm

RIGHT! I'm back! Just in time for another 4 week break in which I'll be offline again. Shoot.

To any readers coming here, I overhauled the previous four scenes, three of which to present tense. I sense that it's the core of my tense issues, and lo and behold, no more tense problems in proofreading. Anyhow, here's scene 4.

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

Scene 4: Late Induction

It’s getting late, and I don’t think anyone else would be loitering in the main building at this point, let alone in the clubhouse to check stuff out. I didn’t bother looking around once I’m out of the physiotherapy center. With the end of the day coming up, I decided to take myself on a personal tour of the greenery between the main building, the auxiliary, and the grand fences to the main gate I first arrived through, observing the surroundings as the setting sun slid down the sky.

What else am I going to do with my life, eh? Get tossed around, and now that I’m given a chance to do things on my own, here I am. Pathetic.

While I’m walking around, I could feel the stares of students passing by on their way home, or the dorms. I’m not wearing my uniform, so I could understand why. On the other hand, it’s the first real look that I have at the other students. While they watch me from afar, I sit down under a tree to see the traffic pass by. Most of them don’t even look like they belong here, except for the occasional cases like that girl with a pair of crutches, or the guy in a wheelchair. Then again, neither do I. Does that make me one of them? One of us?

I take a moment of deep breath. No I’m not. I know I’m not.

As the sky turns orange-yellow above me, I realize I should be going somewhere, lest the security here escorts me outside or I get lost. Dinnertime is approaching too, but with the chaos of today, I feel more exhausted than hungry. With that, I pick up my bag, and join the throng of the crowd, walking along a red wall by the small street deeper into the campus. The signs say the dormitories are this way.

It’s a little way away from the main faculty and the auxiliary, further into the campus grounds. The street first enters through the main road gate next to the pedestrian entrance, before immediately turning right and around the main building, which is bigger than I thought it would be. There’s an entire wing I didn’t see from the front courtyard. Is that the clubhouse? The entire structure is built on a raised platform, so all along the street is lined with a red brick supporting wall. Down this tiny road, I follow the crowd as it went tightly around this newly discovered wing before I could see the residential quarters across a small creek and its bridge.

I take a good look at where I will live for the rest of the year. Only two buildings are designated as the senior high school students’ dorms, but they’re pretty tall, sitting on what I assume to be a corner of the campus. The male dorm is the furthest one from the main facility behind me, overlooking a large expanse of grass as it sits on a small hill. There’s a garden between the school and the dorms; shrubbery, flowers, and the overbearing smell of freshly cut grass fills the atmosphere. It seems to be everywhere here, and I don’t really mind now.

As I walk up to the residential quarters, I notice something poking out of the side. Curious, I decide to take a look. Sitting below the raised platform the female dorms were built on top of is a rudimentary stage under construction. Coils and wires are scattered around, still lain strewn on the grass or in boxes, and planks of plywood sits in the corner. Only the metal skeleton of the backstage is set up. I wonder for a moment what the hell is this doing here, before being drawn back inside by the increasingly dimming sunlight.

As for the buildings themselves, they’re still built in the same ornate structure as the main complex. As I enter the main doors of the male dorm, the interiors contrasts heavily with the outside, just like the main facility; new, functional, and honestly, boring. It reminds me of the hospitals, with the halls and doors built wide to accommodate wheelchairs. I poke my head in the common room door as I pass by, out of curiosity. Inside, a few students, already out of their uniforms, are watching the television on a sofa, ignoring the other scattered entertainments. One nods and give a quick wave when he notices me, before turning back to the TV.

I wave back, even if he didn’t notice. It seems like only the girls around here are sociable, and even then some examples stuck in my mind as exceptions. I suppose that’s perfectly fine with me.

Just as I turn back to the hallway, I nearly crash into a student carrying a really big rectangular box, deftly avoiding it by a hair. “Woah there,” I exclaim, surprised by his sudden presence. The student stops right in his tracks, and I notice that the damned box is blocking his vision forward. “Oh! I didn’t notice you’re there,” he says apologetically, poking from behind the box. “Sorry man.”

The boy is almost the same as many others I’ve seen with the exception of the dark, Prussian blue, ruffled hair, and a bandage over his left eye. Did he hurt himself somewhere? I take a step back to let him pass, but that nearly sends him tumbling. I quickly catch the upper end as it tilts, gesturing him to change the orientation so it would be more horizontal. He seems to understand that quickly enough and changes hands. “Hey, thanks,” he says, grateful that he can now see forward by the sigh of relief he lets out.

“No problem,” I reply offhandedly. “Next time, hold it like that, or God knows who else you’re going to run into.”

“Haha, I’ll keep that in mind.” He stops. “I put it upright because there’s someone upstairs in a wheelchair. Figured I didn’t want to get in the way.”

“Ah.” Right, that’s a thing.

“Well, take care man.”

“Take care.”

With that, he stumbles onward down the hallway. I have half a mind to help him carry the thing, but frankly, I’m tired for the day. Unnaturally so, for reasons too many and uncertain. I quietly hoist my bag up my shoulders and continue ahead, stopping momentarily at the stairs.

I know they said I should take the stairs, especially so if my room is one or two floors above. But the choice of the elevator down the hallway feels irresistible; I’m tired for one, and there’s nobody around to catch and chastise me for the other. Nobody knows why I’m here, so even if someone catches me, I’ll just say I have a heart issue. Half-truths are better than outright lies, in my opinion, and I’ll use the stairs tomorrow and onward. The elevator dings, and I press the button for the second floor. Likewise with the hallways of the ground floor, it’s also as wide as the cargo elevator in here. I come out to one of the ends of the T-shaped hallways, and four doors.

“Room one-one-nine…”

Seeing no matches, I head down to the other side. Both ends seem to hold four rooms, and in the connecting corridor between are two open doorways to the community toilets and bathroom, and another recreation room. This one is however abandoned and empty. Seems like I’ve been put in a rather empty floor here, as there’s little to no activity anywhere. About halfway down the corridor, I spy number 119 in a corner. The name plates on the room adjacent to mind are blank,while light shines from under the door of 117.

I guess there’s only two of us here.

More out of courtesy than anything, I knock on the door of 117 with the intention of introducing myself to what would be my neighbour for the rest of my time here. After a moment of silence, I call out. “Hey, is there anyone home?”

From inside I manage to catch a few movement sounds, and then clicking of way more locks than I warrant the doors of a dormitory needed. After another moment, the door squeaks open a crack. A bespectacled boy is peeking through the gap, staring at me very intently through really thick eyeglasses as he scans up and down. What is he doing? I feel unnerved.

After some very long moments of being keenly scanned at, he opens the door wide and finally speaks up some words. “Who is it?”

Is he blind or what? Wait, if he is, then why would he wear glasses? A part of me wants to take his damned glasses off, but I shove it away; no need to make enemies with my only neighbour here. But he’s not making it any easier to keep the desire suppressed as he leans close to me until our noses almost touch. His breath stinks of garlic. I push him back to allow myself a chance to get my words in. “Hisao Nakai here,” I say briskly, still astonished by such an introduction. “I’m moving into the room next door, and felt like I should introduce myself.”

His face brightens at the mention of my name and in an instant his attitude did a complete 180. He stands back, upright, and thrusts out a hand with a smiling greeting, almost straight at my diaphragm. “Oh, ‘sup dude? The name’s Kenji.”

I gingerly take his hand, trying my best to not scowl at the attack on my torso. “Ah, hi.”

His hands are sweaty, but I’m still rattled by the sudden change in behaviour and vehement welcome to try and pull my hand off in an instant. Before I could get another word in, he speaks up. “There were some suspicious-looking characters going in and out of your room earlier.”

Suspicious-looking characters in my room? “It’s probably my parents.”

“Your parents? You sure? ‘Cause they could’ve been some other people too. You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Wait what. The out-of-place proverb takes me a moment to register as it’s left hanging awkwardly between us for yet again a few more moments. What does he mean, other people? I distinctly remember them telling me that they’re going to the dorms before dropping me off at the front gate. “I … would say that they’re probably were here. I’d seen them off earlier.”

He shudders, and makes some exaggerated hand gestures. What is up with this man. “You’re a brave man, Hisao. Me, I don’t think I’d trust my own memories. Who’s to say that they haven’t planted in your head?”

What. Who’s they? Ugh, that’s it.

“Then how sure are you that you’re not living a fake life too?”

The bespectacled boy stares at me, shocked, before nodding in agreement. I can’t tell if he closed his eyes or not, but if he did, it’d go well with the faux thoughtful pose, one hand on his chin and another crossed under its elbow. He’s really starting to weird me out. “Hmm, good idea. Damn, you’re smarter than you look. Probably. What do you look like? I hope not smart.”

I could only furrow my brows at that retort. He squints his eyes a bit, by the contours of his face, and leans in to get another look at me. I push him out of the way. At this point I don’t care. Thankfully he gets the message. “Never mind probably doesn’t matter.” With that, he turns back to his room, fumbles for a moment for the door handle, and slams the door behind him.

Honestly speaking, I’m not sure what to say about him, but I could tell he’s nothing but trouble. Something about him gives an air of a delusional freak, talking about things that by all likelihood aren’t real. For example, who is this “they” he mentioned? Planting memories? Impossible. Not that I mind it, but I will appreciate if he would stand a bit of a distance away from me. But with the given respite, I let out a sigh of relief as I slide the key into the lock of the door to my room. Room 119.

Bleak beige walls, white linen, a desk made of some light wood. Ugly drab curtains, bare concrete floor. It’s no one’s room; completely impersonal, like how my hospital ward was. The air feels somewhat musty, but I reckon it would’ve been worse if it isn’t for someone opening the window to let it out. My bags are sitting at the foot of my bed, looking a lot emptier than I last saw them in the back of the taxi this morning. A closet, sitting in a secluded corner, is open, stocked with my clothes. I spot a few unfamiliar pieces of clothing among the small collection that I have, until I realize they’re this school’s uniform. A note is pinned to the sleeve of one of the shirts.

Hi Hicchan! We’ve unpacked your things and made your bed. They said if these don’t fit, then you should go to the office tomorrow. If you have problems, you can always call us.

Love, Mom and Dad


I look outside. It’s still too early to go to sleep, or bathe, or anything really. I put the note down on the desktop, and take a lie down on the bed, feeling utterly drained. Lying there staring at the ceiling, I wonder to myself how did I get here. I don’t want to be here, yet here I am. They said I wouldn’t survive in my old place, my old life, after all that had happened to me. I know what happened, but it’s still so hard to believe.

How? How was it that this condition laid hidden from me, from my parents, from Takumi, the others, everyone? I was an active kid when I was younger; running around with Takumi and others made a major part of my early childhood. Then followed by football in primary school. Sure, it was never an active part of my life, but it made evenings fun when my parents weren’t around. Which they never were.

And then there’s senior high school.

A part of me regretted pining for Iwanako back then. She was the princess of her class; regal, honorable, faultless. Her close friends sheltered her from the vulturous eyes of the boys who sought for opportunities to ask her out. She always rejected them if they had the chance to even approach. Even Shin was shot down, and after that mess Takumi wisely advised me to stay out, and focus on our own things, our activities. Little did I know, somehow my crush on her was answered and she had her eyes on me.

Me.

And thanks to her, I was sent tumbling into a mess not one soul except for some deity with spite and a wicked sense of humour had foreseen.

I hated that my wish was granted.

I hated what had happened.

I hated that everyone left me behind.

And back then, I hated her too.

But I couldn’t say a word.

Some spiteful part of me kept on repeating the same words over and over. It’s all a trick. They treated you like a toy. It kept on repeating them in the dark recesses of my mind, all throughout the four months in that place. Every time it came up, I shut it down. It doesn’t make sense anyway; how could she planned to pin me down with a heart attack if no one knew I had this … thing. My hand unconsciously trace the scar down the sternum of my chest; one constant reminder why I’m here.

I bet she’s floundering in the aftermath of that heart attack. Serves her right.

There it is. Just, shut up.

I need to do something. Anything. How was it that I wasn’t consumed by hatred back then? Reading? Right. Reading was a thing I picked up, after the visits faltered and I spent days alone in the ward. I feel like the hospital had conditioned me a bit into wanting at least have a book on hand when there’s nothing to do. The restless urge just keeps growing until I have to stand up. Tomorrow, I’ll go borrow some books from the library or something. If this place has one. Surely there is one. I know I said I wanted to distance myself from that habit, but I needed to do something in the meantime.

Yeah, I’ll do that. But for now …

I rolled over to the side table, where my bottles of medications are neatly arranged under a table lamp. If I ever need another constant reminder why I’m here, it’s this. I pick up one, and shakes it just to hear the contents rattling inside, before reading the glued-on pharmacy label on it .

HISAO NAKAI

2 TABLETS TO STAY ALIVE

It doesn’t really say that exactly, but it could have, and it would mean the same thing anyway. It’s kind of twisted, having your life depending on these artificial things. I resent them, the fact that I need it, at least a little. I lost everything, and here is what I got in return. What choice do I have? Die? Get implanted with a pacemaker and be treated like an old man? With a sigh, I unscrew the bottle and shake the right number of pills out. With a mug of water, I down them. One by one. All of the bottles.

17 pills in total. And an eye drop.

Ridiculous.

I lie down again, letting the hollowness and exhaustion to fill in. Anything to not let the hatred occupy everything. I keep staring at the blank, unfamiliar ceiling for a while. It didn’t start looking any more familiar; not even darkness fell and long shadows stretch themselves across the room from the windows like fingers. Where do I go from here? What do I do with my life? Anything I’ve done so far doesn’t feel like it’s worth it, since I feel no joy nor elation. Just the fact that it’s done, and that’s it. Semi-consciously, I change into my night clothes, and wrap myself in the neatly folded bed sheets. I raise my hand into the darkness.

The sheets feel slightly more comfortable, warm and nest-like, against the chill that passes for room temperature this far north. Soon, the lighter shade of darkness that is the ceiling looks like every other ceiling does at night, and it becomes the only thing I recognize any more. The night beckons me to sleep, to pass the time until the unfamiliarity of tomorrow comes.

I keep drifting further from the world I knew, starting today. And where do I go now?
"They say, the best way to improve yourself is to believe in who you are. You are but a blip in the lives of many you pass by, so why worry? Be yourself - life is too short to worry about the minor altercations here and there.

"So, get out there. Break the chains that holds you back - and embrace the freedom ahead of you." - me

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Re: Switching Dynamics - A Ritsu Pseudo-Route (Properly)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:16 am

Tense issues are almost completely gone, except present tense of "could" is "can".

Every time I read about "male" and "female" dorms I have to fend of the mental picture of two dorms making love to one another trying to convceive little dormitories... :roll:
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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