Once again, spoilers lurk beyond this point, especially in the story-specific sections. You've been warned.
| 'Needing, Wanting'
'Return Your Love'
'The Second Farewell'
So, why did I do it?
As the end of 'New Blooms' approached, I started wondering what the next KLS fanfic I wrote would be about. It wasn't a question of if I'd write one after all, I'd started out thinking I'd just write a few KLS stories to ease my pain, and that would be that. I'd get over her, and myself, and move on.
Seventeen chapters later, I realised that I wasn't going to get rid of Kana quite that easily.
At some point towards the end of 'New Blooms', an idea for a single episode occurred to me. Kana lying in a hospital bed on a dark, rainy night. Taka holding her hand and crying. And two little girls their daughters huddled in the background. Kana passed away. Taka took the girls' hands and walked out with them into the night.
And I knew I had to write it. But it seemed like too much of a leap just to jump in and say, "Yes, we're twenty years older now, and we have kids, and we've been living together happily, so goodbye now, Kana. We'll miss you." I needed to set things up better than that, and give some context.
So the Todo daughters started developing personalities. They were generic little girls without much identity of their own (or even names), to start off with. I started building up a picture of Kana and Taka's family life: what they'd been doing since they rode away in that taxi on their way to Osaka. And the darn story kept growing.
At some point, when the plan for my 'one chapter' idea had swelled to about six chapters, I realised that telling this story was going to be very important to me. I didn't want to keep telling random KLS stories, throwing complication after complication into Kana and Taka's lives. That didn't feel real to me. I wanted to make things finite, and give this fanfic some resonance.
So the game's themes returned to me. Illness. Grappling with the reality of death. Grief. Coping. And the notions of incest and taboo.
Somewhere along the way, it became Rika's story. That worried me as well not only the fact that I was making up an entirely new character, but that I was making her the centre of my story. Not Kana. Not even Taka. But someone entirely removed from the familiar cast members.
It became a matter of my convictions. I knew the story I wanted to tell, and I knew how I needed to tell it. I wanted to give Kana's life some meaning, even after she died.
I hope everyone's found the journey to be worthwhile. It wasn't always easy or comfortable, but I'm happy with what I've done, and I'd like to thank you for taking this journey with me.