Comment on where it hides, curled and wounded

  1. art source: migii, Sarazanmai manga

    Sorry for taking a few days to comment! I really wanted to sit with this one and think about it, since you really provided me with a lot to sink my teeth into.

    I could tell even from the second paragraph that you really nailed Keisuke's characterization. Keisuke, feeling so unworthy of being around Akira, because he's weak, because he's a coward - which doesn't really matter to Akira all that much, but it matters so much to Keisuke that he's forever in Akira's shadow. But he never begrudges Akira for it - it just makes him feel like a lesser person. :( Poor guy! And the back and forth of "Oh I shouldn't be feeling this... but Akira is right here and I can't stop myself from feeling it, which makes me an awful person"...! You totally nail that emotion right from the start, and I love it so much.

    But still, sometimes Keisuke looks at himself when he gets home in the afternoon, at his callused hands and his coveralls scuffed and oil-stained, and he thinks about how this is a gray, boring job for a gray, boring man, and it stings, sometimes, to know that is exactly the kind of person he is.
    Agghhhh. 💔 This is another thing I love about the way you wrote him. Like, Keisuke would never say it out loud. He knows that he should be grateful for what he has; a lot of people don't have it as good as him. But it's never enough, it's never exactly what he wants, and he suffers because of it. And he feels like he doesn't even have a right to talk about that suffering!

    Akira is not a gray, boring man. In a certain light, Akira's hair gleams platinum; when he fights, his eyes flash like mercury and his body moves like quicksilver.
    I love the wording of this. All of those adjectives are reminiscent of grey, but they have this extra quality to them that Keisuke lacks. It's like they're cut from the same cloth, but... not, at the same time. Just out of reach. This is so evocative and great.

    Keisuke could tell the exact moment that Akira caught sight of him--Akira's eyes narrowed minutely, and he straightened, just a bit. The next heartbeat it was gone, Akira's expression gone blank once again, but it was enough to make Keisuke's heart leap into his throat.
    This seems so distinctly them that it always makes me gasp irl when I reread this segment. I really love your take on them so much.

    Akira never looked at Keisuke like that.
    Ahhhh! 😭

    there are still traces of him everywhere--in the indentation in his pillow, in the handful of metal hangers dangling from the rod in the tiny closet, in the trash can stuffed full of Solids wrappers.
    He's got it so bad. I love that he picks up on these little things, though - Akira really isn't the kind of person to keep things around, as you said, so Keisuke has to grasp onto something, and he always finds it without even trying to look too hard. Ahhh.

    The whole scene with him purposefully punishing himself for thinking about Akira in that way is just so... 😭😭😭 And Akira coming to check up on him, because Akira does care about Keisuke in his own way, it just might not be the exact way that Keisuke cares about him!

    "I guess an idiot can catch a cold after all!"
    I love this so much! It also reminds me very strongly of the whispered line he says at the end of his good ending, so this stung especially in the best way possible. Aghh.

    Okay and that next section might have made me tear up a little. It's such a beautiful scene, much more true to life, but that makes it all the more wistful. Oh man...

    And then Keisuke, innocently hoping against hope that everything will be okay as long as he and Akira are side by side, and then Akira is ripped away from him and he can't do anything to stop it... damn... I hope this isn't a really boring comment and I'm just repeating everything back but this fic is really making me feeling it and I wanted to tell you!!

    Keisuke is dying. Or hallucinating. Probably dying.
    I felt the exact same whiplash that Keisuke is probably feeling in this moment and I love it, haha. I silently cheered for him while knowing at the same time that it would come to nothing. He is so cute, though!

    Oh man, and your take on that first scene between them in the game. You really got down Keisuke's thought patterns! His insistence that Akira doesn't need him really hurts, ahhh. And then that repetition of what Akira doesn't want really drives the point home.

    (Akira does not want, but Keisuke does. There is something ugly and misbegotten inside him that wants, stubbornly, pitifully, stupidly. He wants, with a passion and a desperation that are unbefitting of the smallness of his existence. But Keisuke is a weak man, a weak, cowardly, pathetic man, and he does not have the strength to reach for what he wants.)
    This hurts so much!! I love it! And I love the thought that Keisuke's like "I could go after him, but Akira doesn't care so I won't", which seems like it definitely could have happened in canon (even though it didn't).

    And that ending is so chilling! It's so intense in what it implies without saying what happens exactly. It leaves things open to a lot of horrifying possibilities. And Keisuke will never know, probably! Poor guy! 💔

    Truly, thank you so so much for the beautiful gift. I love it dearly.

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    1. Hee, thank you so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. As soon as I read your letter, I thought, "Ooh, someone who likes all of the same things about Keisuke that I do!" (Clearly you are an individual of excellent taste.) "I know exactly what to do with this!" I absolutely love Keisuke's brand of pining, and I was very happy to get the chance to dig into it and make him miserable in all the best/worst ways.

      It's like they're cut from the same cloth, but... not, at the same time. Just out of reach.
      That's exactly it! Keisuke and Akira grew up together, in the same environment, subjected to the same treatment in Project Nicole... and yet (in Keisuke's mind) Akira became someone so much more impressive than Keisuke. Poor guy has a huge complex about it, and Akira unwittingly contributes to it just by being himself. ;-;

      /begin blabber about KeiAki and its impact on the plot of TnC

      Keisuke's pining for Akira is so wrapped up in how he puts Akira on a pedestal, which I've always liked. The game shows us in excruciating detail how Keisuke's obsessive love for Akira + his own sense of inferiority can make their relationship turn completely pear-shaped, but while Igura really exacerbates all that, it didn't create it. The seeds were there from the beginning, you know? In canon, Keisuke basically snaps and decides to prove that he is good enough, that he can help Akira--but I've always felt like he very well could have snapped in the exact opposite direction, surrendered to his own sense of inferiority, and decided to stay out of it because if he got involved, he would only get in Akira's way. (Which... kind of, yeah. I love you, Keisuke, but you do kind of throw a wrench into things.)

      I also found it really interesting how big of an impact Keisuke has on Akira's story, even in other routes. His descent and ultimate demise do impact Akira in other characters' routes, and quite significantly in Nano's, which makes me wonder how much the story would have changed if Keisuke hadn't been there. Would Akira have died? Maybe, maybe not. But it does have the potential to turn into a pretty different story if Keisuke drops out before it really begins, and it was fun to explore that possibility a little.

      /end blabber

      Anyway, I'm really glad that you enjoyed this! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write it and share it with you.

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