Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Directional Influence [22/1/24]

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Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Directional Influence [22/1/24]

Post by Sharp-O »

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Further side quests featuring the expanded cast of Flutter!

Level Select:

Mirror Match - Fuuka and Akio find their match in each other.

Act 3.5: Co-Op
Ludonarrative Dissonance - My name is Saki Enomoto...
Player Two - Hisao Nakai schools the competition!
Multiplayer - Choose Your Fighter!
Degrees of Freedom - The gang make some moves!
Delayed Inputs - Latency issues strike! (18+, mild smut)
Okiagari - A (Social) Link's Awakening

Directional Influence - Saki is punished and attempts the comeback.

Last edited by Sharp-O on Mon Jan 22, 2024 12:59 pm, edited 14 times in total.
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Mirror Match [1/10/23]

Post by Sharp-O »

This day has taken a real turn for the worst. I don’t even know why I bothered getting up. Or why I even bothered with this

“…Selfish asshole! I hope your fucking dick falls off!”
“…Utter space-case! You can’t dump me! I’m dumping you!”

I can’t believe I trusted him! I should have known better but it feels good to curse him out as I back out into the echo of the dorm halls, cursing his name for everyone to hear.

“If you ever come near me again - it’s on sight, Dai Shundo!”
“If you ever try to talk to me again, I’ll end you, Haru Suzumiya!”

With that; I slam his door shut with a mighty clatter and snort a satisfied grunt into the air. Showed him! I turn and realise that I’ve not been the only angry redhead shouting in the boy’s dorm today. I guess I should say hi.

“‘Sup, Red.”

-----------

~~~~Fuuka~~~~

So… Boy trouble?” I ask, somewhat rhetorically, to the dishevelled upper-classman hobbling beside me as I roll toward the elevator.

“That obvious, huh?” He looks back at the door he came from, a little look of sadness. “Yeeeeah, pretty sure that bridge has now been burned. What’s up with you and Shundo?” He asks, a curious eyebrow creeping up his forehead. Oh yeah, Akio would know him, since they’re both in the Lit Club.

“Thought we had something but actually didn’t. Do you know a second-year girl missing her whole left arm?” I solicit for more information about who I just found in my fuck buddy’s room as my expression sours.

“Can’t say I’ve had the pleasure… But I’m guessing Shundo has?” Akio asks with a nonplussed expression, to which I simply nod. I spin on the spot and reverse back into the elevator as he hits the ground floor button for me.

“That wily little shitheel…” He shakes his head with an incredulous, crooked smile. “Want me to go give him some shit for you? Seriously, I’ll go back there and break my hand on his face.”

“How noble! Who knew you were such a gentleman, Hayashi-senpai!” I place a hand on my chest and ham up my surprise. He’s got a cute laugh. And a cute butt.

“Don’t tell anyone, will ya? I’ve carefully curated this ‘affable asshole’ routine for the better part of three years. I’ve got a rep to protect.” He smirks down at me and strides forward as the doors open. “You got plans for the rest of the day?”

“Well, I was planning to get my hanky-pankied but that’s out the window…” I admit, a little too earnestly than I should have. When I realise what I’ve let slip, I look to the upper-classman who is bracing himself on his cane and quaking with laughter.

“Hanky-pankied! Oh, man, I’m gonna have to remember that one!” He grins broadly and brushes his hair out of his face. “You’re pretty funny, Fuuka.”

“Oh, um, thanks…” I blush. A lot of people don’t really like my humour. Hell, Rika barely tolerates it sometimes.

“Hey, since you’re free, how about a bit of sad-sack solidarity?”

“A bit of what?” I ask in confusion.

“You. Me. Shanghai. We’ll talk shit about the men in our life, put the world to rights, that kind of thing. Whaddya say?”

Well, I don’t have anyone better to do since Shundo is an asshole… Rika and Hisao are in the ass-end of Sendai and Molly went to the movies with Taro… This handsome upper-classman offering to take me to my favourite tea shop is my best option and I’m not even a little mad about it.

“You’re on!

-----------

Akio Hayashi… I only really know him through Rika’s boyfriend but he seems cool enough. He’s got a wicked sense of humour and I do enjoy some witty banter. It’s more than I get out of half the folks in my class. It’s… refreshing. Almost as much as the ice-cold lemonade I ordered.

“It was bound to happen eventually,” Akio admits to me as I idly turn my glass on it’s coaster. “He’s always been aloof. But the moments when he’d hyperfixate on me instead of the track team or any of the dozen hobbies he has… It made me feel special, y’know?”

The boy sitting on the opposite side of the table to me is taking his break-up pretty well, all things considered. Though I guess he knew what he was getting into, unlike me. I rest my chin on my hands and let out a dreamy sigh.

“It does. But a proper relationship is give and take.”

“Oh, there was plenty of that…” His smirk disappears behind the neck of his glass bottle and I roll my eyes at him, my own smirk forming.

“You’re incorrigible! But, seriously, this’s something I talked to Rika about,” I close my eyes in thought, recalling the conversation. “Hisao and her are so good together and it looks so effortless. I know it hasn’t been, but those two are such relationship goals, y’know?”

-----------

~~~~Akio~~~~

Her candidness rings true for me. I’ve struggled to find a partner who matches me in a way that I didn’t really know how to express until I saw those two.

“I get you. That weird, spooky kind of unspoken bond that links two people. I’ve seen it in a couple folk here but never really found that person for me.” I say nodding along.

“I’m sure you will, Red.” She blushes, sipping her lemonade with both hands.

“Right back ‘atcha.” I raise my bottle of soda to her. “So what’s your type anyway? Boys, girls, either, neither, both? Anyone I know?” I lean in, goading her into telling me her secret crushes.

“I don’t have as many options as you do, unfortunately.” Fuuka chuckles, leaning toward me, arms folded on the table. “But there’s a few guys I have my eye on.”

“Then spill the beans, sister! And I’ll tell you some of mine.” Fair’s fair.

“Takeo Ishida, Moriya from 3-4, the Taichi brothers - not at the same time, obviously…” Her cheeks burn crimson and I can’t help but poke at her a little.

Boooooring! Give yourself a challenge!” I jeer, the names are mostly unfamiliar but her descriptions match with a couple guys I’ve seen around the dorms. “Anyone else?”

“Yamato Nomiya; no, not the teacher before you start. Wiseass.” She’s got me there, I was going to say something. “And then there’s… um…”

Some are cute, some aren’t my type, but the last name jumps out at me - and it wasn’t the long pause and her shiftily looking around before saying it out loud, albietly quietly. “Taro…”

“No, no, I see it.” I ponder Fuuka’s final pick, which she all but admitted was a little embarrassing for her. I don’t see why, I’d take a run at him if he wasn’t straighter than a ruler. “Taro’s plush and cuddly, he’s a really nice guy, and I know a couple girls who have favourable reviews.”

“Like Molly?” She raises an eyebrow with a suggestive smirk. Oh boy…

“Nah, those two are too much alike.” I say, knowingly. They like each other but they’re better as geeky cultural exchange partners. “Miki, on the other hand…”

Fuuka’s eyes bulge at my revelation and I rub the back of my head with a bemused look on my face.

“Yeaaaaah, that was a whole thing in our first year. But that speaks to how good a little contrast can be. Like my choices, which are a little more eclectic.” I chuckle and start to reel off the shortlist I have. “First up is Molly because she’s exotic.”

“That feels racist…” Fuuka scrunches her face up and I quickly wave my hand in front of my own face.

“No, no, I mean have you heard her natural accent? I’ve never heard English like it. It’s probably all the extra U’s she puts into words!” I rush to explain my reasoning, already fumbling this way more than Fuuka did.

“Yeah, okay…” She eyes me suspiciously and, honestly, fair. That did come off as way worse than I intended.

“I would say Miki but I’m pretty sure she would destroy me and not in the fun way.” Fuuka laughs but I’m only half-kidding. She’s super-hot but she’d break every bone in my body just for asking.

“Shin Kyokan, the grey-haired dude in my class. He’s got that man of mystery vibe and I wanna see how far his armour goes…” I lick my lips subconsciously as I think about what his schelroderma feels like to touch.

“There’s also one of the guards whose got a real cute butt but there’s probably a dozen rules against that kinda thing.” I smirk and Fuuka tilts her head in thought. Maybe she hadn’t thought about folks outside of the student body. It’d be pretty taboo so I can’t blame her. That's the sort of trouble I’d rather not get into. It’s fun to imagine though.

She thinks on my choices as the Newspaper Club comes into the Shanghai with their newest member. Naomi and Natsume spot me and immediately begin whispering to each other. Oh boy… That can’t be good. For me or Fuuka. Those two combined are the second-worst gossip mongers in school - hell, just my class.

My deskmate Hanako, meanwhile, is nice enough to throw me a small wave with a genuine smile after quickly glancing between me and Fuuka. I return the favour, glad to see her hanging out with her new friends.

“Soooo, who’s that?” Fuuka asks, looking at Hanako curiously as I turn my focus back to her.

“That’s Hanako. She’s… Hanako.” Amazing answer, Akio. Try to wipe that stupid transparent smile off your face before you give Fuuka more context. “A lot of people just see her as the super-shy burn girl with severe anxiety, but sometimes…”

“What?” Fuuka looks at me, a genuine look of curiosity. “There something about her?”

“Hmmm, I dunno.” I do know, but this one is very personal to me. Sometimes I catch Hanako listening to my conversations with the others and even laughing to herself at my jokes. I like that I can make her laugh. God, she has a really nice laugh. There’s no way someone as sweet as her would like me back though. “I guess I just like seeing people improve.”

“Aw, Akio! I never pegged you as such a softie!” Fuuka laughs and I should really deflect from my reddening cheeks.

“You haven’t pegged me at all, Fuuka! You should work on that.” A wicked smirk, some smutty humour, and she’s back to blushing herself. Classic diversion.

-----------

“Slumming it with the second-years, Hayashi?” I can only roll my eyes as I hear the most annoying voice in the world behind me.

“Guess Nakai isn’t the only one who can’t handle the fine women in your class, babe.” Okay, second most annoying.

Fuuka can see my expression sour but I’m not gonna let Ritsu and Shura slide with that remark. I don’t appreciate people talking shit about my friends. I lean my arm onto the back of my chair and see them cuddled up like always.

“If Ritsu is your definition of fine women, Shura, then you’re as tone-deaf as she is.” I smirk with a scowl. “Or is your taste so bad because you have your nose up the music club president’s ass all the time?”

“The fuck you talking about?” Man, it’s a good thing he’s semi-good looking, because he’s dumb as rocks. Ritsu, on the other hand, is definitely the brains of the outfit.

“And how’d things go with the space-case?” Ritsu smugly smirks and something in my brittle bones tells me she already knows - because of course she fucking does. She’s the majority shareholder of the Yamaku Rumour Mill.

“Better than how it went between you and Taro.” Yeah, I’m poking that wound, bitch.

-----------

~~~~Fuuka~~~~

Ritsu’s face twists and she clearly wants to say something but her boyfriend seems to think better for her and pulls her away, glaring at Akio as he does. “Fuck you, dude.”

“You wish!” Akio laughs as the couple head up to the counter.

“Really? She dated Taro?” I ask incredulously and Akio chuckles. “She doesn’t seem the type.”

“I’m telling you; Taro is a charming motherfucker when he wants to be.”

“Yeah, I’m starting to believe you.” I purse my lips a little and Akio snorts.

“Hey, don’t rebound with my best friend!” He playfully flicks a sugar packet at me. “He’s too stupid not to catch feelings.”

“Maybe feelings are something I wanna catch too…” I admit with as nonchalant a shrug as I can muster, not quite looking at Akio.

“Then you can do better than Taro.” He says and I look up at him expectantly. Does that mea- “Not me either, dummy.” Akio punctuates his point with another sugar packet to my face. Daaaaaamn it… I throw it back at him and completely miss. Argh, it’s unfair that he’s so hot when he’s teasing me!

“Then who, huh?” I pout, folding my arms. Let’s hear your oh-so-wise insight, senpai.

“Someone you actually like and likes you back, duh! If you don’t have one right now, trying to force it isn’t going to work.” Kinda like I did with Shundo… Damn it.

“And in the meantime?”

Akio’s head drops, seemingly looking down at the table but I see his eyes drift over to the table that Hanako is sitting at. He smiles a little and then looks up at me with a sniff. Man, he’s got it bad for that girl.

“I dunno, prayer?” He chuckles, bitter-sweetly.

“You should go talk to her, Akio.”

“Nah, she can do better too.” He folds his arms with a perturbed expression.

“Maybe she doesn’t want to.” I gesture with my eyes and he glances sideways to the same booth, Hanako now side-eying him in much the same way he was. He purses his lips and she looks away, visibly flustered.

I’ll be damned. Good eyes, Red.” He compliments and my cheeks flush.

“I’m more than happy to play wing-woman if you need it. I’ll make you sound like you invented sex and blueberry pie.” I grin devilishly and he laughs. He looks better when he laughs.

“I’m stealing that line too, just so you know.”

“Just as long as you use it to describe me to the cutest boy you know; it’s aaaall yours.”

“Ehhh, Hisao’s the cutest boy I know, sorryyyy…” He winces and I laugh. Of course it is, Rika’s so damned lucky.

“But I think I know a guy who likes… pie.” He gives me a sultry smirk, reaching for his phone. Should I be worried?

“Yo, Shiraki! Still fondling balls, my guy?” A torrent of tinny curses erupt from the phone as Akio holds it away from his face with a devious grin on his face.

-----------

~~~~Akio~~~~

We made our way out of the Shanghai and back up the hill to school. Fuuka was grilling me the entire way about the boy I said I’d introduce her to but I was happy to be vague. There’s no fun in it if I just told her everything about him. We reach the stairs just in front of the dorms, where my athletic contact waits in his training uniform, looking a little sweaty.

He’s got his running blade on so he must have come straight from training. Eager or desperate, either way, that’s a good sign. His height is a little intimidating to a lot of people but he’s a real sweetheart. Just can’t say no to a cute girl. I step ahead of Fuuka and offer the guy a fist bump.

“Akio, you dog, what did this poor girl ever do to warrant your presence in her life?” He does have a mouth on him though; one of the reasons I think he and Fuuka will get along. It's why I like him; I love a bit of banter.

“Jiro, you slob, you couldn’t have showered first?” I comment quietly to him before sweeping my arm around to present the girl in the wheelchair behind me. “Haaaaave you met, Fuuka?”

He breezes past me and thrusts his hand forward. “I haven’t, but I’m always happy to meet other people interested in cooking! Hi, I’m Jiro Shiraki.” He grins earnestly and Fuuka’s eyes go wide in wonderment. It’s on you now, Red.

-----------

~~~~Fuuka~~~~

Wow. Tall. Cute and tall. “High-hi, I’m Fuuka Onodera! Akio said you know how to bake a, um, blueberry pie and I’ve always been, uh, interested in learning, hehe.” I smile as sweetly as I can, taking hold of his firm handshake. He casts a disbelieving look sideways at Akio.

“Did he now?”

“I just said you were a master baker.” Akio smirks, trying his best not to laugh and I can’t help but snicker. Shiraki shakes his head at Akio before turning his attention back to me.

“Well, Fuuka, I’m more than happy to give you some pointers on the fine art of cooking. Are you free in half an hour?” Yes! God, yes!

“I can be.” I can be whatever you want me to be.

“Cool, meet me in the boys’ dorms common room and I’ll run you through a basic pie-making.” He blushes a little and so do I. Guess it’s a date.

“I’ll leave you two to it then. I’ve got things to see and people to do.” Akio announces, patting me on the shoulder before walking towards the main building.

-----------

~~~~Akio~~~~

“Hey!” I turn sideways to look at Fuuka as she rolls up to me. “Thanks for today, Akio.”

“No problem, Red. But can you do me a favour?” I smile genuinely before leaning in, my cane holding the brunt of my weight. I glance at Shiraki before whispering “You better climb that boy like a fucking jungle gym.”

Her eyes go wide for a second before settling on a sultry look while Jiro looks on bemused, his natural state.

Image

“I’ll do my best… Red.”

Heh, attagirl. I trot off towards the gardens, I think I've earned some peace and quiet today. Crossing the quadrangle, I catch sight of Hanako and the Newspaper Club returning from the Shanghai. Hanako spots me and waves. I wave back and continue to the gardens.

~~~~~~~~
Next Main Story Level
Last edited by Sharp-O on Thu Oct 12, 2023 8:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Mirror Match [1/10/23]

Post by StealthyWolf »

This was cute. I was wondering what went down with Fuuka while Hisao and Rika were gone... A meeting with Akio was not exactly what I was expecting, nor was the way the meeting went. I love the world-building and expansion, and seeing as you've made a thread and set it up to have multiple stories, I'm curious and eager to see what's to come in the bonus levels of Flutter!
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Mirror Match [1/10/23]

Post by Sharp-O »

StealthyWolf wrote: Sat Sep 30, 2023 11:45 pm This was cute. I was wondering what went down with Fuuka while Hisao and Rika were gone... A meeting with Akio was not exactly what I was expecting, nor was the way the meeting went. I love the world-building and expansion, and seeing as you've made a thread and set it up to have multiple stories, I'm curious and eager to see what's to come in the bonus levels of Flutter!
Thanks, Stealth! This takes place at the same time as Level 30 so I jumped the gun posting it :roll:

But if my work on the Mythology says anything, I love to build out the world. Fuuka and Akio having a 1-on-1 was inevitable since they're the same character though I like this more mature Akio who is way more comfortable with his sexuality :lol:

The thread set-up was essential because of Flutter SEO (I didn't want these to get lost in amongst my other one-shot thread) and I can't wait to show folks what I have in store for some other characters and stories.
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Mirror Match [1/10/23]

Post by Feurox »

This was a great one shot, and the potential for more Flutter side quests makes me very happy ;) It was lovely being able to talk with you about this as you were writing it, and the finished story was worth the wait! Fuuka continues to be an amazing OC !

Many thanks!
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Mirror Match [1/10/23]

Post by Sharp-O »

Feurox wrote: Wed Oct 04, 2023 11:44 am This was a great one shot, and the potential for more Flutter side quests makes me very happy ;) It was lovely being able to talk with you about this as you were writing it, and the finished story was worth the wait! Fuuka continues to be an amazing OC !
Many thanks!
Thanks, mate! I can't wait to get to some of them and maybe you'll see some of the BTS details :wink:
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Ludonarrative Dissonance [24/10/23]

Post by Sharp-O »

My name is Saki Enomoto and I am full of shit.

“So yeah, I can’t wait to get to know you all better and I hope we become good friends!” I cheer, lying through my teeth to an entire room of strangers. Not a single one of them have any goddamn clue how easy that was for me. I bow as the Class 1-1 gives me an appreciative round of applause.

I retrieve my cane, left propped against the homeroom teacher’s desk while I gave yet another performance to yet another clueless audience. I take my time back to my desk in the back row, basking in the jealous smiles and lurid looks of my new classmates as one of them takes my place at the front of the class. My attention on this ‘Florian’, as he denotes by writing on the blackboard, is drawn away by the boy sitting next to me.

“You play a lot of instruments. I play drums. You joining the music club?” He asks, whispering out of the side of his mouth. I glance him up and down. Not bad looking. Brown hair and blue eyes, strong chin.

“Maybe, I’m gonna check out the art club too. Why? Wanna play together?” I answer with a pointed innuendo, a demure smile on my lips that makes him blush. Too easy.

“Uhh, I mean, I might join the music club too soooo… Yeah?”

“Cool, let’s talk at break…” I try to tease his name out of him and he just looks at me confused. Is he that dumb or…

“Sh-Shura. Shura Noda? I introduced myself before you.” He did? Heh. Oops.

My name is Saki Enomoto and I’ve got options.

“I’m Ritsu Tainaka! I play piano and drums!” The enthusiastic brunette raises her arms high with huge grin. She’s the last of the music club to introduce herself and is trying a little too hard for my tastes. Five of us total, not counting the three or four separate second-year music club members who are all deaf.

Yuki Asahina, an awkward bookish type who can play the bass guitar. Shura Noda, the drummer from my class. Kazuki Yamada, a self-described master of brass who can, and I quote, ‘play anything you can blow’. I don’t think he knew what he was really saying but it made me laugh at least. Myself, with violin, piano, and singing, and then Ritsu.

Quite the eclectic assortment. If nothing else, we could form a ska band, I guess…

My name is Saki Enomoto and I know everything.

About a month in and putting names to the faces of the art club is becoming a easier, little-by-little. I mean, I could just name them for their obvious… quirks, but I wouldn’t care much to being called Dead Girl Walking so I can at least extend a little courtesy to my club-mates.

Case in point; Taro Arai. He’s the fattest kid here at Yamaku by a laaaarge margin but that’s not his ‘thing’. He just can’t use his right arm at all. Heh. Just more useless weight adding to the rest, I suppose.

“Doing things you can’t do… Just because you can…” Arai muses as he speaks to the space-case Rin Tezuka. I don’t have anything for her, I just think she’s crazy. This Freak Factory is definitely freakier than I was expecting.

“That’s pretty spot-on, Tezuka. I think that’s partly why I joined the art club, too. How about you, Enomoto?” Arai turns his attention to me, his face becoming pinker when he notices I’ve been staring right at him with an indifferent gaze this entire time.

“Hm? Sorry, Taaarooo~!” I quickly switch to my cutesiest, most appealing persona to address his question. My façade of friendliness. “I think that’s kinda true for me too!” Kinda. Sorta. I enjoy art but my parents have monopolised it, much like my music. Music still moves me but, unfortunately, more and more of it is catered to my parents’ tastes. And the tastes of their friends and business associates. Their perfect prodigy.

“Oi, tons-of-fun! You in here?” A crass voice cries into the art room. I frown as my eyes catch sight of a violet and brown blur shifting past me to grab Arai in a headlock. “What’re you always sayin’ about keeping a lady waitin’?”

“You… Don’t… Count…” Arai chokes out, half-laughing as he lifts his tomboyish bully into the air with his good arm. Whoa. She looks heavier than I am but he made that look effortless. Must be some muscle beneath all that flab.

“Put me down, fat-ass!” The girl cackles, playfully batting her hand and… stump… at Arai as he puts her into a fireman’s carry and walks towards the door.

“Pipe down, Miki.” He playfully jostles the girl on his shoulder. “Sorry, ladies, but this one demands my attention and like she said…” He offers an embarrassed smile and a shake of his head before disappearing out of the door. I’m left alone with Tezuka, utterly dumbfounded by what I just saw.

“What the fuck was that about?” I ask rhetorically but Tezuka cogently answers anyway, much to my surprise.

“Foreplay. Probably.” She shrugs.

What!? Those two are fucking? How? This place is freakier than I thought if someone like Arai can hook-up with someone so quickly into the year… Still, if that’s something we can just do here and not be judged for it…

My name is Saki Enomoto and I always get what I want.

Shura rolls off of me with a satisfied groan and I retrieve his abandoned, ill-fitting condom from inside me. He grins from ear to ear, seemingly happy with such a piss-poor performance. God, that felt like an eternity. I’ve been dragged to functions by my parents that didn’t drag on like that. Maybe I should have put a little more thought into this but I got so swept up in the idea of finally being able to choose something for myself that I just jumped at the first option. Chalk this up to a learning experience.

“Was that good for you, too?” He beams as he slips back into his slacks. He doesn’t do me the courtesy of helping me off the floor of the music room’s closet-turned-makeshift sound booth. I thought it would be a good idea to do it in here in case I made noise but I didn’t even make a squeak.

“It felt like time stood still, Shuuuraaa~.” I say with a teasing smile as I hand him the saggy condom, now tied at its neck. “Be a good boy and trash this for me, please?”

“Yeah, no problem, babe.” Ugh. ‘Babe’. I finish buttoning up my blouse and follow him out into the music room proper as he drops the condom into the trashcan next to the teacher’s podium. Idiot.

“Wanna go get some food, Saki?” I think you’ve wasted enough of my time today, Shura…

“Um, no, I think I should make sure the room doesn’t smell like us before I go.” Because you’re stupid enough to leave evidence behind, moron! “I’ll catch up later though! Ciao~!”

As soon as he’s out of the way, I go about opening windows and retrieve the air freshener from the supply closet, sighing as I cover my mouth and blitz the sound booth with spray. I don’t want the egg carton foam to reek of disappointing first-time sex the next time someone wants to do something actually worthwhile in there. I put everything back how it was and take the trash bag from the can with me as I lock the door.

My name is Saki Enomoto and I love the attention.

“I just want to say what an absolute honour it is to instruct such talented young woman, Mr and Mrs Enomoto!” Nomiya’s sycophantic rubbing of his hands is as transparent as his hairline. “She’s been an insightful and dedicated member of the art club and we are so proud to display her pieces alongside the others.”

I don’t know who this ‘we’ is. The man is a stooge, only wishing to ride the coat tails of those more talented than himself, especially those he deems… ‘unique’. Myself, Tezuka, Maeda, and Kintsugi. Out of his current favourites, the only thing that outwardly defines me is my good looks while everyone else has a visible disability.

Talented or not, it reeks of a sideshow attraction and my parents are most definitely thinking of this little exhibition as such. Their perfect prodigy is still the best, even if it’s the best of a bad bunch. My diagnosis put the brakes on a lot of their plans for me. The suitors mostly stopped calling and now I’m only wheeled out for special occasions. Like a cheap party trick.

“I’m glad to see our donations are being put to good use. We’ve always been big patrons of the arts.” My father puffs his chest out, his hands clamped tight on my shoulders. Only to boost your own reputation.

“Oh, most definitely! Much of the materials used by Saki were bought with said funds.” Nomiya says, gesturing to the mixed media pieces that Taro has been quietly moving from the rear of the room to the display easels. I didn’t ask him to, he just offered. Said something about giving a helping hand. “Please be careful, Mr Arai! Miss Enomoto’s beautiful pieces aren’t to be man-handled so… roughly.”

Taro looks a little incredulously at Nomiya and then to me. He’s been handling them with just as much care as he had Kintsugi’s sculptures and Tezuka’s canvasses. I feel myself cringe slightly and Mother is immediately whispering in my ear to correct me.

“Straighten up, daaarliiing~. Big smile. The nice man is praising you.”

“What do you think of my daughter’s work, Mr Arai?” Father pointedly asks Taro as he delicately places a swirling gouache painting onto it’s designated easel, adjusting it slightly so it’s centred properly.

“I’m n-not one for abstracts and impressionism, sir, so I don’t feel I can offer any constructive criticism.”

Criticism?” My mother eyes Taro like a predator. Craaaaaap.

“He meant feedback! Didn’t you, Taro?” I say, locking eyes with him. Take the hint, Arai. This isn’t a fight you want.

“Um, sure, I don’t really work in this medium so my… feedback wouldn’t be nearly as insightful… as you’re looking for…” His explanation slows as he sees my parents disapproving gaze turn from him to the other pieces in the room.

“And which of these are yours, Taro?” Mother asks, her nose almost pointing straight up as she looks down it at my club mate. Here we fucking go.

“I wasn’t asked to showcase.” He says, a slight tone of annoyance. Nomiya doesn’t appreciate Arai’s more manga-inspired work and this is just the latest snub to him. “I’m just giving a helping hand to my fellow club members.”

“I see, so you’re just the help.” Father asks, still holding my shoulders firmly. I go to speak up but Mother’s daggers turn on me and I wilt at the look.

“Mr Arai, I think you’ve done an excellent job but there’s no more pieces to move and we should save room for the visitors so why don’t you head off for the evening?” Nomiya suggests but I can see Taro eyes narrow at him, then back at my parents, then finally to me. I daren’t speak to his defence in front of my parents and I don’t bother meeting his eyes. Stupid, useless Saki.

Fuck this…” He quietly mutters as he storms out of the art room. Nomiya chastises Taro as he leaves and Mother enters my field of vision.

“Quite a rude boy, that one. Why don’t you introduce us to these other… talented young people?”

“Y-yes, mother.”

My name is Saki Enomoto and I don’t need anyone.

I peek out of the curtains to scrutinize the young man that accompanied my parents to this year’s festival. Not that they bother to come last year… The boy’s the son of one of my father’s business associates. Apparently he wants to win my parents approval to ‘court me’. His literal words. Who even says that anymore? I limp back and forth a little, biting my thumbnail before Shura appears in the wings of the half-full music auditorium. Fucking finally!

“What’s the big emergency, Saki?” Shura asks and I grab him by the collar, pulling him into the music room with a passionate kiss. There’s only ten minutes before show time but I know he won’t take that long. He wrestles himself out of my embrace with anger in his eyes.

“What the fuck, Saki!? You know I’m with Ritsu now!” He growls, wiping his mouth. Only because Taro didn’t much care for her attitude towards his friends, especially after I let it slip that he and Miura used to be a thing. You were just the nearest warm body after her tantrum got her nowhere.

And? I need something to take the edge off before the show.” I place a hand on my hip and he looks at me like I’m crazy. I must be to be calling your useless ass for a booty call but I need something to remind me I’m in control of my life before I have to put on yet another performance for my parents.

“You can’t fucking do this, Saki! I’m not gonna come every time you whistle anymore!” He says but he doesn’t move to leave.

“And yet here you are. Now are you gonna finally grow some balls or are you gonna fuck me in the sound booth?” I lean in with a coy smile as the anger in his face falters. His eyes dart around but mine remain locked onto his.

God fucking damn it.” He quietly curses and I coil my fingers around his tie and pull him towards me. He frowns again and places a guilty finger on my lips. “No kissing. That’s off-limits.”

Huh, so you’ve got some spine, at least. I can work with that.

My name is Saki Enomoto and I’m sure you can take it.

“Well, well, well! Welcome back, cute little first year!” I shriek excitedly at the pale girl coming out of one of the cubicles in her school uniform as I hobble into the changing room. After the first time, I was sure I’d never see her at the pool again but here she is! She looks pissed but a little hazing won’t hurt her.

“Ugh, what do you want?” She looks at me incredulously as she groans. Her reactions are positively adorable. It just makes me want to tease her more.

“I just wanna know if you’re happy with that drab thing or if you’re gonna pick out a cute swimsuit like me?” I smirk, pulling the bikini top out of my swim bag and holding against me.

“No, I don’t need one…” She mutters, her eyes moving away from mine.

“But you’ll never get a boy in that ugly-ass thing! I can totally see you in a cute little red number. It’d match your eyes.” I’m actually complementing her that time but she shivers a little at my comments.

“Just leave me the heck alone, okay?” She sneers back at me, those same piercing red eyes staring daggers at me. Oooh, a little fire in this one.

“I’m just offering a little bit of free advice, first year! C’moooon, can’t we be friends?” I ask and she spins on her heels, narrowing her eyes at me.

“My name is Rika and I don’t make friends with bullies. So shut the hell up or…”

“Or what, Riiikaaa~?” I ask with a grin. C’mon, girl. This is the most interesting interaction I’ve had all damn day. She stops - maybe realising she had nothing after the ‘or’ - then scoffs and storms out of the changing room. Awww. Maybe next time, Rika…

Ciao~!”

My name is Saki Enomoto and I am strong.

No, no, no, no! Not here, please, not now… I clamp my eyes shut as my legs buckle under my own weight. Almost every muscle in my lower body rebels against me at the same time. Almost. Small comfort but it’s the only silver lining to be had. I reach for the easel to steady myself and only succeed in knocking it over with a loud clatter as I hit the floor with a wet slap - right into a puddle of my own piss.

I whimper as the shame overwhelms me and tears stream down my face as easily as the yellow liquid continues to leave my lower body. God, if you’re listening, if you could just kill me before I’m seen like this, I’d really appreciate it.

“Is everything alright, Saki?” Arai comes jogging over from the far end of the art room. Thanks for nothing, God, you fucking bitch. “I heard a cra-ah-haaoh, fuck…”

“Don’t fucking look at it, Taro!” I shriek at him but he’s already facing away as I start blubbering uncontrollably, my speech becoming a useless as the rest of me. “G-get owwwwwt! You d-didn’t s-see anyth-thing!”

“I can’t just leave you, Saki. Is there anyone I should call?” He turns his head slightly back at me but his eyes aren’t looking at me.

“N-n-no!” I cry out. “F-f-fuck off!”

I cover my face and pray again that I’ll die on the spot. Again, I’m denied. I look to where Taro was and he’s thankfully gone. I sniffle and look at the mess below me and my lower lip just won’t stop shaking. My vision is soon obscured by shadow as something big and heavy envelops me.

“Um, here. I know you don’t w-want me to l-look at you so I thought my hoodie could cover you up.” Taro’s voice says softly from behind. I shake the hood off my head and look at the deep blue hooded jacket Taro threw over my shoulders. It’s his and it’s at least two sizes bigger than me.

“I t-t-told y-y-y-you-” I stammer as I look back at him to see he’s looking away again.

“I know what you told me but I couldn’t just leave you alone like this.” He says gently. “At the very least, that can cover you up while you tell me how I can help.”

I look down and quickly tug up the hem of the open jacket so it doesn’t soak up any of the puddle. Why is… he… so…

“Do you need help standing? Should I get a wheelchair? IcouldcarryyoubutIwouldhavetolookatyousorry, sorry, I’m rambling…” Taro panics a little before he takes a deep breath. “Just tell me what you need, Saki.”

“I… I…” I don’t even know where to start. Everything is such a mess. I’m such a mess. He moves away and I watch him retrieve a roll of blue towels and puts it on the closest desk. He holds it in place with his head as he tears several large handfuls from the roll and places them on a nearby chair.

He then turns to me, his eyes looking slightly off to the left as he approaches. He must only be seeing me in the very corner of his vision as he crouches down next to me.

“I’m gonna lift you onto the chair, okay? Can you hold onto my neck?”

“B-but I’m covered in…”

“I’m trying not to think about it… Can you help me a little? I’ve only got the one arm, remember?” He asks with a crooked smirk and I slip my arms into his hoodie and then wrap my arms around his neck. His hand slips under my thighs and I shiver at the thought of how utterly disgusting that must feel for him. He lifts me as effortlessly as he did Miura that one time two years ago. I don’t think he even needed me to hold on as he cradles me and guides me onto the chair.

“There we go… Much better.” He rises to his full height, shaking his wet hand away from us both. I wince at the wet patches on his knees but the roll of blue towels is thrust into my hands before I can say anything. “Here, dry yourself as best you can.”

“Th-thanks.” I do as I’m told as I watch my club mate right the knocked over easel and fetch a mop and bucket from the supply closet. He’s diligent and singularly focused on cleaning away any evidence this happened. He doesn’t even look at me but I don’t think it’s out of disgust, it’s because I told him not to. I pad away a lot of the moisture from my bare legs and shoes but my skirt and socks are soaked. I take my socks off and throw them onto the pile of wet towels.

Taro props up a wet floor sign with a satisfied nod. “All done. How’re you feeling now Saki?” I stare at the towels for a moment, then to where I collapsed, then to Taro’s pitying smile.

“So what do you want to keep your mouth shut, Arai?” I narrow my eyes at him and then look off to the side as the bitter reality of the situation dawns on me. I’m right where he wants me…

“Huh?” Taro looks back confused, placing the mop back into the bucket.

“Don’t play dumb, fatass! I just pissed myself and cried like a baby! This is primo blackmail material. You want money? You want me to blow you or some shit? Just tell me what the fuck you want so we can get this over with.”

“What!? Do you really think I’d take advantage of you like that?” He steps back, looking disgusted at me. If our roles were reversed; I know I would!

“There’s no way you’re gonna be this nice to me and not expect something in return.”

“You were in trouble… I thought I could help.” He says quietly, an uneasy and hurt expression on his face. If this is an act, he’s in the wrong club. I almost believe him.

“No one is that good, Arai. There’s always an angle.” I spit venomously, wiping my gross, pruney hands. To my surprise, he chuckles as he sits on a chair as far from me as he can but still be heard.

“I don’t think I’m all that good…” He brushes his face with his forearm, I wouldn’t want to touch my face with unclean hands either. Hand. Whatever.

“Bullshit.”

“Look… I get angry sometimes, for no damn reason. You seen how I am with Maeda? He hasn’t done a damn thing to me but I look at him and just think ‘fuck that guy’! Nomiya’s a fucking asshole too but he deserves it. I’m gonna come right out and say I don’t like your parents either.”

I chuckle a little at that admission. Can’t blame him, they deserve it too.

“Hell, I’m not even speaking to Molly at the moment because she… She turned me down. I respect her decision and I agree that we work as friends but I still kinda resent her for it, y’know?” He sighs, sitting back and looking at me dead on, a serious expression where there is usually warmth.

“I’m not all that good but I’m not that bad either. So - with no expectation of anything from you and purely out of genuine concern - how are you feeling, Saki?”

I blink disbelievingly at him a few times. Why would he tell me all that shit? Why would he tell me his friend thinks he’s an un-dateable loser? Why… would he embarrass himself… Fuck me…

“Like I could collapse into a black hole of cringe…” I answer honestly, kicking myself internally for thinking so little of him. He gets out of his chair and closes the distance between us.

“Well, let’s see if gravity is feeling a little more forgiving first. Can you stand?” He asks, offering out his hand. I reach out for it but hesitate to touch him, only to have his hand meet mine with a soft yet firm grip. “Come on. I got you.”

I pull against him as he eases me onto my feet. I shake a little but more out of embarrassment than anything. I look up at his face and his eyes meet mine with his usual warm smile.

“There we go! And if I just…” He deftly connects the zipper of his hoodie and pulls it up to my chest. It’s length falls to just above my knees and looks like I’m wearing a big blanket. “Heh, sorry, it looks pretty silly but it’ll cover you up until you can get sorted out. Do you need to see the nurse or will you be okay going back to the dorms?”

“No, I think… I need a shower. I… I d-don’t know what to s-say…” I sniffle, rolling up the sleeves. This has been awful but Taro has been so amazing. I don’t even know how to say thank you for something like this. No one has ever been this kind to me. Not without a caveat or a catch.

“You don’t need to say anything at all.” He hands me my cane then retrieves his phone from his pocket.

“D-don’t t-tell anyone!” I croak and he shakes his head.

“I’m not, just gonna ask Miki to open one of the fire exits at the rear of the girls dorms so we can avoid the common room.”

“W-we?”

“Oh, s-sorry. I thought I’d help you get back to the dorms but if you can manage it, I’ll tell Miki to just wedge the door open.” And she’d do it, no questions asked? What kind of relationship do you two have where that’s a reasonable thing to ask?

“N-no. I still feel a bit wobbly so-so if y-you wouldn’t mind?”

He smiles down at me and for the first time in half an hour, I feel like everything is gonna be alright.

My name is Saki Enomoto and I guess I didn’t know everything.

“You’ll be dead and gone loooong before I waste my time on you.” Rika whispers, the venom in her voice is unlike anything I’ve ever heard from her. As she turns away, I’m left to wonder how she knew so much about me. She must be way smarter than I ever really gave her credit for. And fiercer. Damn.

My legs are shaky as I clamber down the ladder into the pool. Between what happened in the art room and Katayama blowing up at me, my mind spirals with thoughts of how little I actually know about the people around me. As predictable as people like my parents or Shura are, there’s still people who can surprise me…

My name is Saki Enomoto and I should have known better.

As Rika finishes her cigarette, I offer out the soda can so she can dispose of it. She’s looking a lot less tense, that’s for sure. I’m glad. I understand how she could think this is a trap or a trick. Maybe it would have been not too long ago but recently I’ve been hit with some hard truths, a couple from the very girl sitting next to me.

I can’t continue the way I have been, I know that for damn sure, but what that actually means for me and the monster I created is a mystery.

“In the spirit of honesty, Saki,” Rika dreamily says, tilting her head towards me. “I’m glad we could bury the hatchet. I don’t think I could go into my Fontan Procedure with all that guilt.”

Fondant? Like the cake?” I ask, a curious eyebrow creeping up my forehead. She laughs.

Fontan. It’s the operation that’s gonna fix my heart. Well, mostly. It’s still not gonna be the same as a regular undamaged heart, but it’ll be the best it can be for me.” She looks down at the gravel. “Still kinda worried what that’ll mean for me going forward though. With me and Hisao.”

“It means you can be whatever the hell you wanna be.” I say, slightly jealous at the idea of a future with some real potential. “And that boy is clearly crazy about you so you better hold on tight to him.”

“Oh, I intend to.” She blushes with a coy little smile. God, I wonder what that feels like. To have someone like they have each other.

“Hey, don’t worry about this shit, ‘kay?” I gesture between the two of us with my spare hand as I pull out another cigarette. “You just focus on your Fondant thing.”

“Thanks, Saki.” She looks at me with those ruby red eyes again as I spark up my cigarette.

“Now get on outta here, you shouldn’t be inhaling this shit!”

My name is Saki Enomoto and I wish I had been honest from the start.

[Shura just told me that bitch who yelled at you confessed to her boyfriend in front of all the boys. What an attention whore!]

I read Ritsu’s text a couple times trying to think what answer she’d be expecting but sigh and say what I really feel. I’m too comfy in this warm blanket of a hooded jacket to play the part I’m expected to.

[So?]

[So? We hate her, right? We should totes spread some shit about her!]

I frown as I pull the huge floppy hood from Taro’s jacket off my head and type furiously.

[“We” aren’t gonna do shit, understand? Katayama’s getting a pass.]

[Since fucking when? Did you go soft?] She replies and I have to resist the urge to throw my phone against the wall.

[You wanna see how soft I am, fucking push my buttons, see what happens. She’s getting a pass until I say otherwise, got it?] I hope this little game of chicken works because I honestly don’t have anything I can use against Ritsu to make her back off. Well… One thing…

[God, are you on the rag or what? Fine, I’ll leave the bitch alone.] I breath a little sigh of relief and toss my phone to the side, nestling back into my new comfort zone.

My name is Saki Enomoto and I am truly sorry.

My eyes widen as Hisao explains what happened to Rika. I can’t imagine how hard this must be for him, he looks like hell. But here he is - striding into another kind of hell, my music room, to make a proverbial deal with the devil. That’s the reputation I must have from his perspective.

This is the most I’ve ever said to him but ever since I was honest with Rika, a lot of my outlook has changed and I think it’s only fair that I’m as open and honest with him as I was with her.

We share notes about our conditions, and my heart actually hurts thinking about what he and Rika have gone through. What the fuck.

“From everything you told us - all the pressure you've been under, all those expectations foisted upon you, and even all those damn lies weighing you down… All of that would crush any normal person, it certainly would me.” He says as he pinches the bridge of his nose. I don’t know about that, Hisao… You’re still fighting and I bet Rika would be proud to know that if she was here.

“Whether you fall or not… I’d say you’re way past learning to fly, Saki. It sounds to me like you’re defying gravity.” He looks me square in the eyes, a look of determination behind the deep bags under his tired, sunken eyes. I can’t help but giggle as he unintentionally references my favourite musical, much to his surprise.

“That’s kind of a cute thing of you to say, but being too cute has it’s drawbacks too. Someone might take advantage of you.” I say, using my fake sultry voice to illustrate my point. “Someone like me.”

Will you?” His straightforward question, however, cuts through any illusion I could put up.

“…No.” I answer honestly, my shoulders slumping. It’s been taking so much more effort to perform the lie recently.

“That’s why I’m even here, even considering this… Because she thought you were worth trusting.” He smiles a little as my shocked eyes meet his. Rika… thought I was trustworthy?

I think about what Taro told me back in the art room. I don’t need to be good, I just need to not be bad. I think I can manage that. For her.

“Tell me what you need, Hisao.”

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Ludonarrative Dissonance [24/10/23]

Post by Silentcook »

Sharp-O wrote: Mon Oct 23, 2023 9:29 pm

Stuff and things.

Hunh. Interesting. Maybe a bit too Western-tinged, what with all the open hostility as opposed to covert, but intriguing style of narration all the same.

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Ludonarrative Dissonance [24/10/23]

Post by Map217 »

Seriously love your take on Saki, and especially enjoyed that you took some time to specifically explore her here.

I will say though, that last section has me really wanting to know what the fuck you are cooking?

I'm a bit late to all this huh?
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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Ludonarrative Dissonance [24/10/23]

Post by Sharp-O »

Silentcook wrote: Mon Oct 23, 2023 10:54 pm

Hunh. Interesting. Maybe a bit too Western-tinged, what with all the open hostility as opposed to covert, but intriguing style of narration all the same.

Siiiiillllleeeeeeeennnnnttttt!!! Missed you, buddy! When I decided that Saki would be a habitual liar (either to others or to herself) and decided on the title, I knew I had to do something weird with how it was written.

Map217 wrote: Tue Oct 24, 2023 1:57 am

Seriously love your take on Saki, and especially enjoyed that you took some time to specifically explore her here.

I do love to world build so I'm glad you liked this deeper look at Flutter!Saki and her particular story.

Map217 wrote: Tue Oct 24, 2023 1:57 am

I will say though, that last section has me really wanting to know what the fuck you are cooking?

Find out next time on Flutter Bonus Levels!

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Ludonarrative Dissonance [24/10/23]

Post by hdkv »

Sharp-O wrote: Mon Oct 23, 2023 9:29 pm

you’re way past learning to fly, Saki

I see what you did here.

Sharp-O wrote: Mon Oct 23, 2023 9:29 pm

what happened to Rika

poor Rika -_-

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Ludonarrative Dissonance [24/10/23]

Post by StealthyWolf »

Been meaning to leave this comment for a bit now, so I'll get right into it.

First off, really enjoyed this story. When we first met Saki in Flutter I thought she'd be the type of character we'd just see a few times, hate, and move on from. But the recent expansions to her character in Flutter and now this story have been a wonderful read. I love how we can quickly deduce why she is the way she is and see how her past has turned her into the cold person she is today. Her world works largely on transactions. her parents birthed her, raised her, and gave her a good home. Obviously she has to pay them back by being talented and good for the family name. This also quickly plays into her diagnosis and how the effects that caused on already strained relationships. Then she meets people at Yamaku like Taro who show her there are a lot more to people than transactions. And there are people who change, like Rika. And maybe, just maybe, she can become a little more like them.

Next up is the next big reason I wanted to comment here and now. THAT FUCKING LAST SECTION. [Spoilers for Flutter main through to Level 32 for those who haven't gotten up to date.]

First of all, my anxiety has now worsened tenfold. Thanks for that. My heart sank the moment I read

My eyes widen as Hisao explains what happened to Rika.

and it never came back to the surface after that. That said, it is - either by mistake or very intentionally- very vague as to what happened. I said before that I thought it was unlikely that a medical event in Flutter would end in tragedy and you just had to prove me wrong, huh? Cause now it looks likely. So I'm going to huff that copium harder and say that no, Rika doesn't die, but she winds up in a medical coma or something of that sorts and her fate is to be determined. Rika's mom determines, after some grieving, that pragmatically she doesn't think Rika will be able to pull through and/or this is exactly the type of scenario Rika wrote the letters for. So we'll see what she wrote.

Here comes the hard part. Flutter has, thus far, been 100% from Rika's perspective. I'm gonna get a little bit meta here, but I don't think that's going to change. How sure am I of this? 60%. So I also see it as completely possible that I'm wrong here. That said, I do believe Level 33 of Flutter will be from Rika's perspective given that she lives, but it won't be the direct continuation of the story from Level 32. I predict we'll get more "Bonus levels" that are from the perspectives of other characters and that'll be how we discover the pieces of what's happened, how long passes, and what's transpired since Rika went under. With my earlier comment in mind though, it's also completely possible and viable that this moment goes so far as to change the structure of Flutter and a perspective shift occurs. I mean, after all Rika isn't the only one experiencing "flutters" in this story. Hisao is too. We've just never been in his eyes up to this point. I see this route as slightly less likely, and I know what I'd do if it were me with the pen, but that's not that case (definitely for the better, cause Sharp-O, you write Flutter really well). Just trying to understand possible routes for the story with that perspective.

So yeah, that's my predictions for what's coming. Either way, my heart can't take this stress. I just want fluffy gamer girl to be happy :( In any case, I'm excited to see where this story goes next, no matter the outcome you have planned.

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Player Two [02/11/23]

Post by Sharp-O »

“What do you mean ‘she died’!?” Fuuka all but screams at Rui and it’s taking everything I have to stop my heart from exploding on the spot. My blood ran ice cold when Rui messaged us via Rika’s phone and asked to meet us at the Shanghai. The few other patrons around us look over curiously but Rui holds up an apologetic hand to them.

I’d spent the majority of the day pretending to be okay but it was only when Rika’s mom, not Rika herself, sent me a message after school finished for the day that I kinda broke. Fuuka was a great help as we took the long walk down the hill. All that effort to calm me down seems kind of futile now.

“Exactly what I said, Fuuka, now please just let me finish.” Rui continues in a detached tone. I recognise it from my time at their home, after Rika’s syncope episode; this is Dr Katayama, not Rika’s Mom. The professional detachment must make this a little easier for her but even I can see she’s struggling to explain what happened to Rika.

“As I was saying: Rika's heart stopped beating during surgery. I'm not going to lie; it's a very serious problem, even when the heart is already being operated on directly. But it can be, and was, corrected. However, her haemophilia complicated things. They were able to resuscitate her, but her brain was briefly deprived of oxygen... so yes, she was clinically dead for a short time.”

“Oh, so she only died a little bit! Maybe lead with that next time, Doc!” Fuuka’s face is a pained mix of panicked and frustrated as she looks at me. Unfortunately, I’m too busy trying to maintain a steady breathing rhythm while my mind races through the implications to offer any sort of support. “I-I’m sorry, Rui, that’s n-not… I’m just…”

“It’s alright, Fuuka. I understand.” Rui croaks a little, the strong veneer cracking ever so slightly. I know that feeling. I’m barely holding it together.

“Hisao, are you alright?” Rui turns her focus to me and reaches across the table to place a hand on one of my balled, quivering fists. I nod, blowing air slowly out of my lips. “Just keep breathing, sweetheart. I’m past the worst of it.”

“Right now, Rika’s currently in a medically induced coma while her body recovers from the surgery. She’s being constantly monitored by an amazing team so you don’t have to worry about that.” Rui smiles gently but with a slightly worried expression, a little more of her motherly concern revealing itself.

“Can I-” I finally speak but stall as I glance sideways to Fuuka. “Can we go see her?”

“Yeah, can we?” Fuuka leans in expectantly.

Rui sips at her tea for a moment, clearly taking this precious moment to think before answering.

“I have to speak with Dr Miyagawa in the morning but I should think its okay.” She nods.

“Rui, I know it’s stupid to ask but…” I begin and she looks at me with misty eyes. “Are you going to be okay? I assume you’re going back to the hospital?”

“I’m as good as I can be, Hisao, thank you for asking… But no, there’s nothing more to be done there at the moment so I’m going to head home soon. I know from experience what kind of toll this sort of situation can have on loved ones so I’m gonna take some of my own advice and get some rest while the doctors do what they do best.”

“Is there anything we can do to help?” Fuuka chimes in and Rui smiles softly at us both.

“You kids have enough on your plates without me adding to it. I’ll be okay. Are you two going to be okay?”

Fuuka and I share a look that says more than we can really articulate. How can we be?

“I’ll feel better when I can see her.” I speak, determined to convince myself as much as the two people with me.

“Same, I just want to tell her how much she’s loved and we’re all waiting for her.” Fuuka adds.

“That’s good; she’ll certainly appreciate being talked to.”

Rui finishes her tea quietly as I let my coffee grow colder. I don’t even know what to do with myself right now. Rui rises and hugs us both goodbye and promises to let us know as soon as she knows when we can visit Rika. I settle the bill and follow Fuuka out into the cool evening air.

“What the fuck do we do now, Hisao?” Fuuka quietly asks as she stops rolling, staring at the path ahead of her.

“I don’t know…” I answer honestly. I really, really don’t. It’s only when Fuuka begins sobbing that I know one thing I can do. I wrap my arms around the red-headed girl’s shoulders and hug her tightly from behind.

“She’s going to be okay, Fuuka.” I whisper as Fuuka reaches up to grip my arms. The tears stream from her eyes and I have to clamp my own shut to stop the emotion flowing out of me. “She’s g-gonna be…”

The strength leaves my legs and I collapse onto my knees behind Fuuka’s wheelchair. She spins around and takes hold of me this time. This is all we can do in this moment.


We finally managed to get back to Yamaku before curfew but it was slow going. I was even pushing Fuuka at a certain point. As much to help her as to keep myself from collapsing again. We reach the dividing line between the dorms but look at each other confused as we’re clearly going in the opposite directions we ought to be. I’m heading to the girls’ dorms and she’s heading for the boys’.

“I, um, I was going to go see Jiro…” Fuuka sighs, looking away with a guilty expression. I can’t help but smirk a little as Akio’s influence gets the better of me.

“Well, if that’s who you need to do to feel okay right now then go ahead.” I offer as much of an encouraging smile as I can and Fuuka scoffs in return. Rika would laugh at that.

“That’s awful… But thanks, Hisao. Call me if you need anything at all.” She sadly smiles before I raise an eyebrow at her. “N-not th-that! Ugh. I’m just gonna go.”

“Take care, Fuuka. Keep in touch, call if you need anything.”

“You too, Hisao.”

We wave and part ways. While Fuuka has an idea of what, or who, she wants to do right now. I think I’m only going to Rika’s room because it’s the closest I can be to her right now. I make my way past the common room and somehow manage to slip past a bunch of other students without anyone I know collaring me.

I’m not ready to tell anyone else right now. It feels… It feels like it’ll be too real if I start to tell people. I reach Rika’s door and instinctively go to knock on it before catching myself. That’s so stupid; she’d have laughed at me for doing that.

Silly senpai…” I mutter with a chuckle as I reach for the key she sneakily palmed into my slacks this morning and unlock the door. I guess all those hours gaming gave her a bit of skill in sleight of hand. The door slides open and I lean in through the door frame and look around. It’s obviously impossible for her to be in here but I let myself hope regardless.

I step into the quiet room and feel a shiver rocket up my spine. Just like I did when stepping into Rika’s grandpa’s room. I’m being fucking ridiculous. Get your act together, Nakai, for god’s sake! Rika’s alive! She’s being taken care of! She’s not dead! This is just her room, not a damn shrine.

I shake my head, trying to dislodge those maudlin thoughts as I take a seat on her bed. I take it in and immediately begin thinking that it doesn’t feel like her room. Is it only her room when she’s in it? That’s stupid, of course it’s hers. I pull my legs up into a cross-legged sitting position and lean my elbows on my knees.

I begin my breathing exercises again. My heart doesn’t feel like it’s going to explode anymore but it still feels bad. I don’t know if this can help heartache but it definitely can’t hurt. I close my eyes, try to empty my head of thoughts, and focus on my breathing.


“H-H-Hisao? Is everything o-okay?” A series of taps and a small voice wakes me up. Wake… I find myself sideways along the edge of Rika’s bed, my legs tangled together in a very uncomfortable way. I look around and realise that not only is my head towards the foot of the bed, but it’s dark outside the window towards my feet.

“H-Hisao?” The voice calls again and my eyes snap to the half-open doorway, a small ‘eep’ coming from the violet-haired girl peeking around the frame.

“Hanako?”

“Y-y-yes, it’s me. I s-s-saw the d-d-door was open and w-wanted to ch-check everything was o-okay.” She peers into the room with big curious eyes. I rise from my prone position and gesture for her to come in.

“I must have fallen asleep while… Doesn’t matter.” I groan as I stretch out my back and then my arms. Hanako stepped just inside the door but closed it a little, analyzing the foreign room before settling her eyes on me.

“Is R-R-Rika n-not here?” She asks and I have to double-take at my class-mate in surprise.

“I didn’t know you knew each other?”

“I d-d-don’t! I just kn-know you’re d-d-dating a g-girl called Rika and I h-have to assume y-you don’t just f-fall asleep in r-random girls r-rooms.” She blushes as she giggles. She might still be stammering but she doesn’t outwardly seem like the frightened girl I met all those months ago.

“Um, yeah, this is Rika’s room and she’s not around right now. She’s in the hospital.” I admit grimly, looking down at the ground. Hanako takes a step forward in my periphery then steps back, clearly unsure what she should do.

“O-oh. I’m s-s-sorry to hear that! Is she alright?”

“She’s… She’s in a coma.” I nod, speaking it aloud for the first time since I heard about it.

“O-oh…” Hanako says quietly and, just as quietly, shuffles towards me and takes a seat beside me. “Are you alright, H-Hisao?”

I tilt my head towards my class-mate who wears a concerned expression on her face. The fact that her concern for me, and for Rika, is overriding her anxiety speaks volumes to me.

“I don’t think I am. I don’t think I will be until I can see her in the hospital.”

“I s-s-see. That m-makes sense. W-will you be going soon?”

“I guess I should… I bet it’s near curfew.” I sigh, pushing against my knees to rise off the edge of the bed, only for a hand to be placed on mine and then quickly retracted when I look down at Hanako’s hand.

“S-sorry, I just m-meant going to the h-hospital to see her.” Hanako clarifies as I sit back down.

“Oh, yeah, hopefully tomorrow but I have to wait to hear back from Rika’s mom before I can.”

“O-okay… Well, if there’s… If you n-need…” Hanako begins several times but I simply nod when she scowls at her own inability to find the right words.

“I n-n-need to g-go b-but you kn-know where I am if you w-want t-to talk or if you plan on skipping cl-classes t-to see her and need notes t-taking.” She smirks a little as she rises, a cheekiness that sort of reminds me of Akio. I guess proximity to him will do that, even to the shyest girl in the class.

“Thank you, Hanako. You’re a good friend.” I say genuinely and she smiles a little wider before becoming stoic again.

“You’re welcome, Hisao. S-see you in cl-class.” She nods and leaves, leaving the door slightly ajar again. I sit for a few more minutes and take in some more of Rika’s room before rising to my feet and heading out the door, locking it behind me.


My friends rallied around me throughout the next day of school. Taro, Akio, Miki, and Molly all offered to help in whatever way they could. I thanked them but there’s little they could do for me when all I want is to see Rika. They all dragged me out into the fresh air at lunch time. As well meaning as they are, they only seem focused on dissecting the situation which isn’t really helping my anxiety.

“I dunno man, shit; can we get you like bereavement pass or somethin’? You shouldn’t have to worry about Math and shit while this is going on.” Miki ruffles her hair in frustration, sitting on the back of the bench outside the dorms.

Dude! Rika’s not… Don’t use that word!” Akio bats her arm with a horrified look.

“Hang on… I think she might be on to something…” Molly ponders, tapping her chin with her chopsticks. “Could we get him some special consideration?”

“Yeah! That’s what I meant!” Miki points excitedly toward Molly and then hops off the back of the bench. “I’ll go collar Shizune, I bet she’d know!”

“Guys, hang on!” I finally speak up as Miki attempts to run off. “I appreciate what you guys are doing, really, but can we just sit and talk? I just wanna focus on anything else right now.”

“Yeah, man, sure. Anything you want.” Akio smiles before turning his attention to Taro with a devilish grin. “So why is the queen bee walking around the girls dorms with your hoodie, wide-load?”

Akio’s pointed question earns him dual spit-takes from Taro and Molly who share a shocked look. Okay, not what I expected but this works. What the hell did Taro get up to now? I cast a glance toward Miki and she just smirks, folding her arms across her chest, intent on listening.

“Um, I, lent it to her because…” Taro begins before clamping his lips shut and looking away. The deep crimson of his cheeks is only shared by Molly who looks at him disbelievingly.

For real, Taro?” She asks quietly, a note of incredulity in her voice.

“She needed it. I can’t r-really tell you why…”

“You’re such a mark for pretty girls…” Miki shakes her head with a knowing smirk. “She needed help and you just had to play white knight.”

“Something like that, yeah.” He offers a goofy grin towards his best friend before looking confused. “Didn’t think she’d be wearing it around the dorms, though.”

“That seems like painting a massive target on her back considering…” Akio offers with a pensive look.

“Why?” I chime in.

“Ritsu is Saki’s friend, so Saki wearing Taro’s jacket might be drama brewing. Bloody hell, Taro, you really know how to pick ‘em…” Molly blows air out of her lips, surprised at the developments. I guess that would be an issue, Ritsu is quite… prickly.

“Didn’t even think about that…” Taro’s eyes widen a little, causing Miki to laugh.

“You never do, tons-of-fun. You’re hardly a master of romance.”

The group laugh and it’s exactly the distraction I needed. At least for a little while. During group work in the afternoon, I took the opportunity to pick Shizune’s brain about Miki’s plan. Even badly-worded, it’s a good idea.

“So what do you think? Is there any way I can get some time off so I don’t have to rush to the hospital?” I ask Shizune but take note of Misha’s diligent interpreting, despite her worried expression. It’s almost like the colour’s drained from her hair.

Shizune tilts her head in thought, looking into the middle distance. She opens her mouth a few times but then turns another way, as if she’s arguing with herself. She leans onto her elbows and rubs her temples before signing, Misha translating for me.

“I’m not entirely sure, honestly. You’re already being given a fair amount of special consideration with your grades because of your transfer. Unless it’s a family member, I don’t think they’ll let you skip periods to go see your girlfriend, even in her current condition. But that’s so unfair, Shicchan!” Misha adds her own addendum to the explanation but I nod in agreement.

I offer a ‘thank you’ in sign to Shizune, one of the few signs I’ve been able to pick-up, and she returns my gesture with what I presume is a ‘sorry’ and a small, sad smile.

“It’s okay; it was a long shot anyway.”


“Yeah, I tried talking to the nurse about getting a few days off so I can go for longer but he was less help than usual.” Fuuka pouts, tapping away at the controller in her hand.

“I’m sure he knows how much it means to us so I doubt he said no without a damn good reason.” I counter, lazily doing quarter-circle combos. We’d agreed to meet in Rika’s room and hang out until we heard from Rui about when we can visit.

It’s been a couple hours and our days were so frustratingly similar that we ended up playing Tekken just to have something to do with our hands while we talk.

“You hear about that whole thing with Molly and Taro?” I ask and Fuuka groans.

Just… Don’t. I thought I was bad with relationships but that Taro is so clueless. Molly was telling me he gave Saki his hoodie or something and honestly, I don’t have the mental bandwidth to deal with that kind of nonsense.”

“I get it, but it gave me something else to think about for a while.” I admit, frown a little as Fuuka puts me in a corner trap. “It was nice to think about regular nonsense instead of life-or-death nonsense.”

Fuuka chuckles a little but it’s almost performative. I think we’re both just trying to focus on anything else and we both know it’s not working. I really shouldn’t ask but it’s the only other topic that might prove distracting enough.

“How was your evening with Shiraki, by the way? Did you have fun?” I ask, obviously taking her aback as she looks at me and I capitalise and win the round.

“Oh, that’s dirty! You really are a cheating scrub, Nakai!” She protests while blushing.

“That good, huh?” I smirk, channelling my inner Akio.

“Shhhhut up!” Fuuka’s cheeks turning as red as her hair.

“And there was me thinking I was hanging out with Fuuka, who loves to regale us with all her sordid sexual exploits.”

“They’re n-not always sexploits. Sometimes they’re… romantic.”

I’m about to needle Fuuka a little more when my phone buzzes and we both react, Fuuka leaning off the bed a little to press her head against mine where I hold the phone up to my ear.

“Hello? Rui? How is everything going?” I ask quickly as Fuuka reaches up to my hand to turn the mouthpiece toward her.

“Hi Rui! I hope you’re okay!”

“Ah, you’re together, that makes this easier. I’m okay, guys. As okay as I can be, anyway. I hope you two are doing well.” Rui asks and we affirm that we are, whether or not we actually are isn’t important right now.

“That’s good. I got off the phone with Dr Miyagawa a little while ago and Rika is still stable, her recovery is progressing well and, most importantly, I’ll be able to bring visitors to her tomorrow.”

I didn’t even know the tears were forming in my eyes before they streaked down my cheeks as I whispered quietly.

Thank you.”


I never realised how much I hate hospitals until I was at the entrance of one. My heart is pounding, my mind is screaming, and my body is flat-out refusing to cooperate.

“Hisao? Are you coming?” Rui asks, her eyes scanning me up and down while Fuuka turns on the spot to face me.

“I… I haven’t been in a hospital since…” I say, staring at the entrance and absentmindedly reaching for my chest. “I thought I’d be good. I want to go in but my body…” I curse myself for being so weak in this moment.

“It’s okay, we can wait.” Rui smiles sympathetically but I shake my head.

“No, no, go ahead. I just need to gather my thoughts.”

“Are you sure?” Fuuka asks and I nod, smiling despite myself.

“I know which room it is, so yeah, go on.” They’re just as desperate to see her as I am and I refuse to let my anxiety stop them. “I’ll be right behind you.”

They look at me wearily but do as I ask as I step back from the entrance and sit on a nearby bench. My head falls into hands as I glare at the ground. Come on, Hisao! This isn’t about you, this is about her! What kind of loser can’t even go into a hospital to see the girl he loves?

It’s a selfish desire but I want to be the first person she sees when she wakes up so why can’t I act on it? What do I do if I can’t go see her?

That horrifying thought is the slap in the face that I need to ask for help. I know someone who has been in this position before. She’ll know what I’m going through. I pull out my phone and make the call.

“Hi, Iwanako.”

“H-Hey, Hisao! I wasn’t expecting to hear from you, is everything going well at Yamaku?” Her voice is so sweet and soothing that I can’t help but smile as if she was sitting right beside me.

“It’s… School is fine. How’s things on your end?”

“Oh, you know… Ups-and-downs now that the semester has started again but Shin and Takumi have been really helpful.” There’s a twinge of sadness in her voice that makes me feel guilty that she’s still stuck there in Meguro taking abuse for what happened to me. I’m glad my friends are helping her though.

“That’s good. Tell them I said hi and I’ll hopefully see them soon.” I comment wistfully, not really sure how to segue to the reason I called in the first place. Seems a little manipulative on my part now that I’m actually talking to her.

“How’s Rika doing?” Iwanako asks and it’s the opening I wanted but actually talking to her about it… Ugh, dammit.

“She’s… She’s actually in the hospital, ‘Nako.” I admit grimly and have to pull the phone away from my head as she screams down the line.

“What!? Wh-what h-h-happened? Is she okay?!” Her voice lowers as I bring the phone back to my ear.

“She went in for a routine procedure, the final step to fix her heart but there was… Problems.” I hear her gasp on the other end of the line. “She’s currently in a coma.”

“Holy shit, Hisao, I’m s-s-so sorry to hear that! Are you okay?”

“Honestly, no…” I sigh heavily, rubbing my forehead with my free hand. “I’m sitting outside the hospital right now. I’m meant to go see her but I can’t quite make myself go in.”

“Oh… And you wondered if I might have some insight for you?” Iwanako says but I’m having trouble pinning down the tone. A little angry, a little sad, a little sincerity.

“You always were smarter than me… Sorry, I know it’s digging up old wounds but I just wondered if you ever struggled to come see me when I was in the hospital and how you got over it.”

The line is silent for a few moments before Iwanako breathes out a sigh with a slight whimper.

“I, um… I never got over it. It was really hard - every time.” She sniffles loudly and my heart breaks for her all over again. “But you n-n-needed me, even if you didn’t w-w-w-want me.”

“I’m so sorry, Iwanako, I didn’t mean to drag this all up for you.”

“N-no, it’s fine. Okay, that’s a lie…” She whispers.

“I may not have said it back then but… Thank you, Iwanako. I may not have appreciated you at the time but I definitely do now. You helped more than I was ready to say and more than I really deserved.”

“You don’t have to say that… But thanks.” Her voice sounds a little less sad, but maybe I’m just projecting. “Do you love Rika, Hisao?”

Her question hits me out of nowhere but I answer honestly and she giggles a little.

“I’m glad. Now you get your ass in there, Hisao, you tell her that, and you hold her hand until she wakes up!” Iwanako’s voice is commanding and assertive in a way I never thought possible.

“Thanks, Iwanako. I’ll call you again soon.”

“Keep in touch and give my love to Rika too.”

I hang up the phone and stare at the device for a second, smiling a little before turning to the hospital entrance and striding forward. Rika wouldn’t give up, Iwanako didn’t, and neither will I.


I thought I was prepared, I thought I could handle it… But as I entered the Rika’s room, I knew I was out of my depth. I almost hold my breath as I take in the sight before me.

Amongst the bundles of wires and tubes, all inserted into various ports in her arms and face, lies Rika. Deathly still and utterly silent, so unlike her. The ventilator hisses softly as the ECG beeps in a familiar rhythm. It looks grim and dredges up even worse feelings, knowing that I was in a similar position less than a year ago.

“Hey, Hisao…” Fuuka said quietly, looking back over her shoulder at me while she sat at Rika’s bedside, holding her hand. “Rika? Hisao’s here now.”

I gulp hard and look to Rui, who stands just behind Fuuka. She smiles sadly and gestures with her head for me to come further in. My steps are slow and cautious as I make my way to the opposite side of the bed.

“H-hey, Rika…” I stammer as I reach for her hand but hesitate when I see the IV plug inserted in the top.

I steel myself and slip my hand under hers, furrowing my brow at how cold her hand is. It’s limp and colder than I expect but I take hold of it, wrapping my fingers around it tightly.

“I was just telling her how I beat you at Tekken.” Fuuka speaks but doesn’t take her eyes off Rika.

“Oh r-r-really? That’s n-not how I remember it.” I snipe back warily, casting a glance sideways. “She got distracted talking about her boyfriend, Rika. It was a legit win, I even used that combo you showed me.”

“I don’t… I don’t know…” Fuuka blubbers a little and rolls backwards. “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Fuuka rolls further back and toward the door, opening it and leaving with tears in her eyes. Rui looks to me and I indicate to follow her. Rui purses her lips before acknowledging it and leaving too.

“Don’t be too hard on her, Rika. I nearly didn’t come in.” I admit to my girlfriend, whose placid expression doesn’t portray any emotion. “I, uh, I had to call Iwanako for advice. She sends her love by the way.”

No response, just more ambient sounds from the machinery around us.

“Damn it, I feel just as silly as I did back at your house. I still don’t get how you can talk to your grandpa. Talking to you isn’t nearly as fun when you don’t talk back.”

I sigh and reach for her face, brushing her bangs out of her face a little. Her face isn’t nearly as cold as her fingers but kinda clammy. I stroke her cheek with my thumb, being careful not to disturb any of the tubes she needs to breathe.

“I hope you wake up soon, you’ve only missed a couple days but there’s already so much to tell you. I miss you.”

Silence again.

“I love you, Rika.” Please wake up.

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Player Two [02/11/23]

Post by hdkv »

Oh. Oh. Oh.

/screaming/ She's ALIIIIIIIVE!!!!!!!

Calling Iwanako for advice? Hisao, you have no damn sense of tact.

Very good chapter, worth the wait. Looking forward for next bonus levels.

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Re: Flutter Bonus Levels (One-Shots) - Player Two [02/11/23]

Post by Lap »

First off, there isn’t a doctor (or friend) in the world who would lead off with “She died,” unless they’re a sadist who hates the person they’re talking to. That’s something that comes up in conversation later on, while filling in the details. That kind of opening just comes off like a cheap shot to provoke the readers. (And why is Rui having such a sensitive discussion in the Shanghai of all places?)

Secondly, if her heart was being operated on directly, she most likely would have already had her heart “shut off” and the blood pumping being handled by a heart-lung machine. (I had my heart shut off for 2 1/2 hours during my open-heart surgery. Nifty!)

The rest was lovely, as always. Hisao’s mini panic attack at the hospital was spot on, and I especially liked him turning to Iwanako for advice—a simultaneously smart and emotionally tone-deaf move on his part, right in character.


Scarred Muse Hanako and Rin.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots
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