2/05/2012 (Last edited on 2/19/2013 – Some revisions made to the dream sequence, along with a lot of other tiny changes.)
Hello, people of Fanfiction dot net. This is my very first fanfic that I have ever written in my entire life. I do apologize in advance if my writing is terrible or if my descriptions of things are terrible or if the character's personalities are a little off. I've been visiting this website for years but I've never made an account until recently. Clannad is my favorite anime series of all time, so I felt compelled to write a story of my own. I hope you enjoy it. And any feedback that you can provide would be nice and very appreciated. ^_^ And with that, here is chapter 1:
Paragraphs in italics denote a flashback.
Chapter rated T for: Brief language and suggestive themes.
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance/Slice of Life
Pairing: None at the moment
Author's Note #1: One last thing, the beginning of my story starts at the very beginning of episode 18 of the first season, Counter Measures (逆転の秘策, Gyakuten no Hisaku). (Just in case you're wondering where my story fits in) Of course, things are eventually going to deviate quite a bit from the continuity of the anime series. I've never played the visual novel, so Kyoto Animation's anime adaptation will be where I'm drawing most of my inspiration from. But, I am aware of certain things and events from the visual novel, so I'll probably incorporate some elements from there, too. And, I assume everyone who is reading this has finished all of Clannad and Clannad ~After Story~.
Author's Note #2: I'm still debating as to whether or not I want Tomoya to end up with someone by the end of this long story that I'm about write here. Though I still have no idea how I want to end this story yet (since this is going to be a very long story), I might take into consideration feedback from whoever might read this story of mine. Of course, I might just stick with my own ending that I come up with later on. It's still something that I'm debating in my head...
Author's Note #3: This story will be told mostly from Tomoya's point of view. There will be some instances where the perspective will switch over to another character or to a general third-person perspective, and it'll be pretty obvious as to when that happens. But otherwise, it'll mostly be Tomoya's perspective that the story is told from.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything Clannad-related, even though I wished I did...
Clannad ~Different Days~
-The Everyday Arc-
Vague Synopsis - It's not quite the same story that you might remember, even if it feels strangely familiar. A different world, different relationships, different events...different days...
Chapter 1 – A Half-Remembered Dream, Part 1
I think, a long time ago, a woman once told me that "Pain is in the mind." I guess she had a point since our brains are the very reason we can even feel physical pain to begin with. And it begged the question… How much pain can our minds endure before we crumble? How much suffering can our hearts take before we break? If we ever reach that point, if we ever hit the bottom of the barrel, what do we do then? How do we escape the pain? Do we lie to ourselves in order to be happy? Do we choose to believe in another world outside of our own mind? Do we continually feed ourselves lies in order to escape reality? How far is a person willing to go in order to believe in their lies? Everyone is guilty of lying at least once in their life. We all have our reasons for doing so, selfless or selfish as they may be. Sometimes, we don't even have much of a choice to begin with. We do what we must... in order to survive. I think it must be human instinct.
It all began with a single drop of snow that came from the night sky. Slowly, it fell, drifting downwards until it joined with the snow that had already permeated the ground. Soon, more began to fell from the heavens, until it appeared like droplets of raining that were falling in slow-motion. It was mesmerizing to behold in its silent beauty, surrealistic to the senses, like something from a dream, a winter wonderland of sorts. Even without uttering a single word, I couldn't help but be entranced by the sight of it. And yet, at the same time, I felt melancholic.
I was merely watching this scene unfold behind the comforts of a building and a room alit with candles. I was not actually outside to be able to fully drown myself in the cold weather. The windows kept me separated from the outside world as I stared outside in longing desperation. I couldn't explain it, but… there was something… oddly familiar about that snow.
Regardless of whatever my opinions were, there was one fact that I knew for sure…
I was tied to a chair.
It only took a few seconds, but I realized that I was tied to a wooden chair with some rope, abdomen and legs both constricted, unable to freely move. There was this unusual pain that had subsided for the most part, disappearing as quickly as it came. As I turned my gaze upward, I saw that my friends were just silently staring at me. I couldn't tell what they were thinking, but their faces spoke of sadness…and disappointment? Maybe I was imagining things.
And then I turned to gaze at my surroundings, as far as a guy tied to a chair could anyway. I immediately recognized the room that I was now sitting in. It was the room where the Drama Club called its home. From the boxes full of old theater props from years past sitting in one corner of the room, to the way the desks and chairs were arranged to leave an empty space near the middle of the room, I knew exactly that this was the same room.
"I can't believe it's come to this, Okazaki."
"Wait, is that you, Sunohara?" I tilted my entire head backward as far as I could and saw Sunohara upside-down, standing quite a ways behind the chair that I was now tied to. At his worst, he was a nuisance, and at his best, he was an enduringly loyal friend who's been with me for the past few years now. The fact that he apparently had some role in my being here right now… certainly wasn't comforting.
Under normal circumstances, me being tied to a chair with some rope and surrounded by several beautiful girls should sound like the ultimate erotic fantasy, the stuff that a young male teenager like me… occasionally fantasizes about. But then you have to take into account the fact that I couldn't remember how I even got here, and the fact that my so-called best friend was just conveniently standing a few paces behind me while I was in such a… binding state, I couldn't help but feel… a little worried about where this was heading. Nothing about this situation felt right in my mind…
"Tomoya, you can't run away from us forever, you do realize that, right?"
"Tomoya-kun, are you scared of us?"
"Okazaki-san, it's probably my fault that you're in this situation right now."
"All of us here have something important that we want to say to you, Okazaki-kun."
I found myself asking why I was able unable to remember how I even got into this classroom to begin with. How did I even get here? No matter how hard I tried to focus my brain, I couldn't recall a single memory at all. Why was I having trouble remembering anything? A sense of panic was beginning to build up inside of me.
"Wait, can someone please explain what exactly is going on here?" I figured that Sunohara wouldn't be of any help in this situation, so asking him would prove useless. Knowing him, he was probably getting a kick out of all of this. Hell, he was probably the one who strapped me to this chair to begin with! But then again, considering all of those times where I had pranked him, I suppose this was… adequate payback in a sense.
One of the girls standing in front of me stepped forward from the tiny group and slowly approached me. It was Nagisa.
"You have to choose, Okazaki-san. You must." Choose what exactly again? This had to be a nightmare of some kind. Maybe if I just willed myself, I would be able to wake up... right? That was what I wanted to believe.
"You know the answer, Okazaki." My gaze shifted from Nagisa over to the source of the voice, Tomoyo.
"I'm dreaming." I kept muttering that tiny phrase over and over again, my eyelids forcibly closed shut now, unwilling to look at anyone anymore, hoping that repeating that line would end this bizarre dream. Why did it exist at all to begin with? But if this really was a dream, maybe it wasn't supposed to make any sense to begin with. Then again, I couldn't remember the last time I had a lucid dream. Those were really rare…
"The obvious choice!" I couldn't tell who just spoke, considering that my eyes were closed. And yet, at the same, there was something… about her face… that reminded me of… a memory... a memory that was on the tip of my tongue, waiting to be uttered aloud, waiting to come back to me in an epiphany.
And then, I heard a cry. Somebody was crying loudly, but judging by its volume, it was a long distance away from this room. It was full of unbearable sadness and sorrow that made me slightly wince. My eyes flashed opened immediately, wanting to know what direction it was coming from. Turning to look towards the windows, I had this… bizarre feeling that it was coming from outside, beyond the windows that were before my eyes. The snow kept falling, gently and slowly as it had earlier. The more I heard the crying, the more I felt…that it somehow…
…sounded nostalgic to me, like a far-off memory from long ago. Something about this scenery felt familiar…
It was a peaceful spring day. I was lying fast asleep under the comfort of my bed sheets. I could faintly hear the twittering of birds outside of my windows. I didn't want to get out of bed today at all, but I was awoken by a familiar voice.
"It's morning, Okazaki. Wake up!"
Realizing that it was Tomoyo's voice I heard, I turned my head to the other side as I groggily opened my eyes, struggling to awaken my body from its slumber. I must've not slept well from last night at all. My body was struggling just to give a proper response to the girl. My eyes came into contact with a magenta red apron that Tomoyo was wearing, different from the white and blue school uniform that I typically saw her wearing. Staring a little more closely, I noticed that her uniform was underneath the apron all along. I wondered how early she comes over here just to wake me up and judging from the apron, she was here to make breakfast, too.
"What are you doing here?" I asked her, only half-conscious at the moment.
"What do you think? I'm here to wake you up, of course."
Right, wake me up. Wait a minute; I just remembered… I had been suspended from school. I closed my eyes again briefly and thought back to the reason behind my suspension. Tomoyo and I were about to walk home from school. A horde of thugs appeared, wanting revenge against Tomoyo. Two days ago or so, Sunohara had used Tomoyo herself as a form of intimidation against some punks on the street. They probably didn't like, not one bit, to put it mildly. Tomoyo, wanting to teach those guys a lesson, was about to fight them herself, but I intervened at the last moment. She had plans to run for student council president and being caught up in a fight would surely screw her chances over. I couldn't risk that at all. The fight only lasted a few moments, but a teacher came by shortly afterwards. All of those punks ran away the moment they say him. Before Tomoyo can admit her role in this mess, I took full responsibility for the event and was subsequently suspended as a result. And that's how things are up to this point.
I quietly groaned as I reopened my eyes again, trying to stay conscious again. I would have to make a mental note and… repay Sunohara for his idiocy. I wouldn't be in this position that I've found myself in if it weren't for him.
"I'll be ready in a few minutes. Think I can get some time alone to prepare?"
"What if you fell asleep again? Maybe I should stay here and watch over you for a bit."
"Watch me…while I'm changing my clothes?"
It wasn't until the question was fully asked that I realized what Tomoyo just asked from me. I felt a sudden rise of heat creeping slowly onto my cheeks. I noticed her cheeks mirrored my own as she had to turn her entire head away to divert her gaze from me.
"On second thought, maybe that's not such a good idea." A nervous, stifled laugh escaped from her mouth. It was an awkward moment indeed. I felt that changing the subject would help make the situation more bearable for Tomoyo.
"Heh, I'll go make some breakfast for the both of us, okay, Okazaki?" I was greeted with a warm gentle smile. Seeing Tomoyo's face beaming like that made me feel warm inside. Her sapphire eyes were shining with sheer brilliance as I began to lose touch with my surroundings, simply staring at her form. It wasn't until I realized what I was doing that I snapped back into reality once more.
"Yeah, sure. I'll be out in a moment." It was a good thing that Tomoyo didn't realize I was staring at her for a moment there. I probably would've provoked an unnatural response from the silver-haired girl. Well, at least she was more reasonable than say, Kyou…
Tomoyo simply nodded her head as she slowly made her way out of my room, gently closing the door behind me. Taking one big yawn that involuntarily escaped my mouth, I gradually got out from under my blanket and off my bed and slowly walked towards my closet, grabbing my school uniform. Putting on my shirt and blazer, I began contemplating about Tomoyo once more. The two of us have become closer over the past few days, haven't we? In fact, now that I stopped and thought about it, she had been hanging around me a whole lot more frequently than before. She must really… like me… if she was going out of her own way just to wake me up and make breakfast. In fact, most guys would dream of having a beautiful girl pampering them like that every single morning. I struggled to admit that she might like me, for the implications of being in any kind of romantic relationship right now would be bad, since I have my own suspicions that Tomoyo isn't the only girl who likes me. Choosing one girl over all the others, one girl ends up happy and all the others with broken hearts. And I would be the only one at fault. I didn't want to bear that burden. I didn't want to lose my friends. I didn't want things to change at all.
Change... I remember a few weeks ago, I was walking to school one morning, contemplating as to whether or not anything in my ordinarily mundane life would ever change. I had no dreams or aspirations for the future. I was merely a drifter of sorts. I didn't pay attention in class 'cause I just didn't care. I know a senior, a third year student, shouldn't be so pessimistic about what direction my life will head in once I graduate, but up until a certain point, I really had no emotional attachments to the school that I've been attending and to this little town as well. A part of me just wanted to flee from this place, to escape from the monotony. I thought my life would've stayed this way forever... And then… I saw her…
I met a certain auburn-haired girl beneath a sakura tree…
That was the first time I met her. It was a chance meeting... that lasted less than 45 seconds. 
And ever since then, my life has been slowly changing. I befriended that girl through the time that we have spent together so far and I now found myself with a goal, even though it was just a short-term one: to help her bring the Drama Club back. Even though I still didn't know what the future holds for me, my life was looking far less bleak than it ever did. At least, I could concentrate on the present, on helping my friends and enjoying what precious little time I had left with them.
Within my thoughts, my mind subconsciously wandered back to the girl who was now downstairs preparing breakfast for the both of us. Tomoyo Sakagami, a junior at Hikarizaka High School. Silky long silver hair that reached all the way down her back. Radiant sapphire eyes that you could get lost in if you stared at them for more than a few seconds. A black headband rested on top of her head, keeping the hair up there in one neat place. I first met her in the track and field area a few weeks ago when three thugs randomly decided to stop by the school to cause some trouble. Or at least, that was what I had initially thought. I mean, what are the chances that three thugs just decided to show up one day at school anyway? And what are the chances that some valiant hero shows up at the last second to defend us all? That's something you don't see happening every day. Anyway, Tomoyo kicked all of their asses with zero effort. Made it look so easy, too. Nagisa, Sunohara, and I, along with a bunch of other students were watching the entire scene unfold before us. Barely even took her a whole minute before all three of them were lying on the dirt, unconscious and bruised, both in pain and in pride. Sometimes, I wondered if she was even human. She was very athletic as well, which might explain all of that power she possessed and those impressively strong and smooth legs she has. Despite that, she had told me on one occasion that she wanted to act more feminine. In passing, she said that she was under the impression that she "was acting like a girl and not some bully" at our school. At first, I thought Tomoyo was speaking figuratively, but if she really meant that… literally… If she really was a bully of some sorts before coming to our school, that would certainly explain a lot of things…
As I continued to slowly dress myself, my mind began to drift back, slowly warming up, trying to recall the immediate past. A lot of things have transpired within the past few days. I remember that Sunohara and I were accompanying Tomoyo home one day. Sunohara had the stupid idea of guiding us through an area where a bunch of punks were residing. I assume that they had their own beef with him, but the moment that they saw Tomoyo's incoming figure, they were cowering in fear already, rushing to get away from our little group. Her mere presence had the ability to invoke absolute fear. She was already beginning to feel skeptical about Sunohara's choice of a route home, so I decided to improvise and intervene. I saw the sadness in her eyes, those sapphire eyes of hers that were about to shed tears any moment now.
"I see, so you just wanted to come to this coffee shop?" The next thing I knew, the three of us were sitting in this quaint little store, drinking a few cups of coffee. Our table was right up against the window which overlooked the street right before us. I was sipping on my cup of java, staring into the orange-lit sky. It was late afternoon and the sun was setting soon. Even so, the sun was still piercing bright at this point in the day, but it dimmed beyond the horizon enough for me to gaze out the window for a little while. Tomoyo's abrupt comment broke my quiet reverie as I turned my head from the twilit window towards her.
"And guess what? All of this is Sunohara's treat. See, he's not such a bad friend after all!" I had to continue this façade that I was building for Tomoyo's sake. I suspected that she was able to see through it, but I had to try nonetheless.
"Mm-hm. And from now on, you can consider me a friend too, okay, Sunohara?" She was smiling radiantly at my comment. Maybe it was working after all. Maybe I was being too optimistic.
"Yeah, it will be my pleasure." Sunohara responded nervously. I threatened to expose the truth to Tomoyo if he didn't go along with my plan. She would've pounded his ass like usual, not like that was a bad thing, though. Somebody has to keep his idiocy in check every now and then.
"You know, it's always been his dream to bring a girl to this place."
"Really?" Tomoyo's innocent question promptly brought a slight blush onto Sunohara's cheeks as he silently consumed the coffee he was holding in his hand.
The dream that I had... before I woke up just now... Tomoyo was in it, along with everyone else. What exactly was that dream trying to tell me anyway? Was it... really a dream... or was there... something that I was missing here? Nothing about that dream made any logical sense. But then again, some dreams tend to be like that. It was in their nature. I decided that this was a matter that I should save for another time. I needed to find Tomoyo before I worried her even further. She was probably wondering why I was taking so long.
"Where's my dad?" I found myself asking Tomoyo as I stared at the breakfast that she made for me.
"I'm not sure. He wasn't here when I showed up." I wondered where he could have gone. He didn't leave for work until later, so his absence was a little… strange.
"Sorry that you ended up making me breakfast. I'm sure it was a pain." As I looked at the table full of food that Tomoyo prepared for me, I couldn't help but wonder how early she got up just to make all of this. It'd be a shame to let the food go to waste.
"I'm the one who should be sorry. If I'd been more careful, then you wouldn't be in trouble right now."
"Don't say that."
"I know it was your choice. But I should have been suspended, not you. Honestly, I'm still torn up about all this. I appreciate what you did, but I can't help but feel like I should go to the office and tell them the truth."
"That's the last thing you should do. Like I said, no matter what else happens, you have to be elected student council president." I made that sacrifice for her sake, for the sake of the Drama Club, so that Nagisa's dream could finally come true. And I would do and say anything to make sure that Tomoyo's sacrifice didn't go to waste. Hearing something like that made me feel a little depressed, I mused to myself.
"For the Drama Club, right? But still, even if I would...Oh..."
"Oh, what have we here?" Turning to the source of the voice, I noticed that my father had returned from wherever he was. Where did he go anyway? Not that I cared, but curiosity sometimes gets the better of me. Luckily, now was one of those times where I was able to suppress the urge to ask.
"Oh, good morning, sir! Why don't you sit down and have breakfast with us?" Tomoyo happily greeted my old man. I seriously hope my dad didn't decide to sit next to me… But as luck would have it, I ended up jinxing myself just for thinking of something. The mind can be a terrifying thing, and I would eventually know just how terrifying it would be before I reached the end of all of this…
"That would be nice. We haven't had a real breakfast like this in quite a while. Thank you very much. Here, I'll sit down next to Tomoya." …I just had to say that, didn't I? Needless to say, I now found myself in a very awkward position right now. My dad, a man who I harbored bitter feelings of resentment for, had decided to sit next to me at the table for breakfast. Tomoyo being here in my house didn't help matters at all. Sooner or later, she was going to notice something wrong with me. The last thing that I wanted to do was to draw attention to myself over a personal issue that I had with my father. Before I get ahead of myself, I should probably explain, for those who didn't already know my… personal history. About three years ago or so, when I was in ninth grade, my dad and I got in a bad fight and my right shoulder was injured as a result. The best doctors tried to fix the problem, but all of them failed. I used to be on a basketball team. Been playing since my middle school days, but due to this injury, I don't think that I can ever play basketball ever again. The incident drove me and my father apart in an emotional sense. We became strangers living in the same house, unable to hold any meaningful conversations for long. I guess it was partly my fault that we didn't get along anymore, since whatever pitiful attempts my dad made at reconciliation, I drove him away with my pissed-off anger. A deep-seated issue like this couldn't be resolved so easily, not in a day, or a week, or a month, or a year, or a decade, or ever… But maybe, a small part of me probably did want to become a family again, but I was too stubborn to admit ever admit it.
That about sums things up. It may be brief, but you get the general idea, I hope. Talking about my injury doesn't really make me feel any better about it. In fact, bringing it up just makes things a bit more depressing for me…
To avoid arousing too much suspicion from Tomoyo, I decided to eat her warm breakfast, silently and swiftly. I didn't make any eye contact with either my dad or Tomoyo. I felt a little guilty on the inside, but the resentment that I have toward my father isn't going to die any time soon. Little did I realize that regardless of what I did, Tomoyo was watching me very carefully. I only took a very quick glance in her direction and I saw her eyes meeting mine. I had to look away immediately, embarrassed that she might've gotten the wrong idea.
"Thanks for the food. It was good." I quietly replied to Tomoyo, finishing up my share of the meal. I wanted me to eat more, but I wanted to get away from my father too. I knew I had to get out of there quickly before I did something stupid and regrettable.
"Okazaki, wait! What's wrong?" I heard the worried tone in her voice. Now the guilt inside of me was starting to build, but I couldn't bear to be around my father any longer. I rushed to the front of my house, quickly put on my shoes, and left my house. Before my right hand was able to close the front door entirely, I heard my father talking with Tomoyo. I guess she would be the one to explain the situation to her. I would have to apologize to her sometime in the future, if I can remember to do so…
"I think I should be the one to explain this…" That was all I heard, before I slowly shut the door behind me and left for Sunohara's apartment.
I now found myself sitting in Youhei Sunohara's apartment right now. He gave me a spare set of keys just in case I needed to crash here for a bit. When I got there, the guy was still sleeping in his bed. I wish I could afford that luxury right about now, to be able to sleep peacefully with a dumb smile on my face. I could faintly hear him mumble "You punks..." in his blissful slumber. He was most likely referring to those rugby guys down the hall. His muttering gave me an idea. I do need to repay Sunohara after all. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't even be suspended to begin with. I had a small pang of guilt for what I was about to do, but at the same time, I needed to get some retribution for what the stupid bastard put me through…
"Sunohara, wake up!" I found myself yelling at him. Before that, I found a pair of boxers that he left on the floor. For my own amusement, I decided to stick it on his head. I wondered if he was going to notice anything. Knowing how oblivious Sunohara could be at times, probably not.
"What do you want? It's too early."
"A girl's here to confess her love to you." I knew that such a comment would definitely get his attention, and I wasn't disappointed in the least, grinning at the sight before me.
"Are you for real? Woohoo! Blast off!" I could always count on Sunohara to be as predictable as ever. He immediately leapt out of his bed and left his room running, door slamming shut. Shortly afterwards, I heard some yelling coming from the rugby guys who were down the hall. I guess they noticed the pink boxers on Sunohara's head by now. He returned back into his room several moments later, slightly disheveled now, most likely due to the rugby team.
"Argh!" Well, at least I feel a bit better now, seeing Sunohara roughed up like that. His overreactions were ever amusing as always. Yes, I'll admit, I can be a sadistic bastard… and a terrible human being for saying such things. But the guy had it coming to him after the trouble he put me through. He was… mostly to blame for my suspension to begin with, after all.
"Chance can be a scary thing." I whimsically mused at him, grinning smugly at the sight before me.
"So, is that your idea of fun?"
"Pretty much. Well, if nothing else, at least it woke you up."
"Woke me up? Are you kidding? That guy knocked me out!" He took one long drawn-out, deep breath before continuing on. "Anyway, I'm about to head off to school. You gonna stay here all day?"
"Yeah, say hi to Kyou and the others for me."
Just as Sunohara was about to open the door to leave, he turned around and asked me a simple question. "You're probably gonna leave the apartment, aren't you?"
"I might. Need to move around and whatnot." I probably was going to leave for a bit, but on the off-chance that I didn't, at least my response would've been honest either way.
"Figured you would. Just remember to lock the door before you leave, okay?"
"Yeah, got it." I flashed him a thumbs up and a small smile to go with it. And with that, the door closed and Sunohara was gone. I lingered around in his room for a bit, sitting on the floor and staring off into space for no particular reason at all. I thought about where I should go when I leave Sunohara's room. Should I just wander around town? I found myself asking that question in my mind. I would've been bored unless I had at least one clear destination in mind. But where would my destination even be to begin with?
…And then, an idea came to me from out of the ether. Something compelled me to visit the shopping district of the town. It would take me a long while if I went there on foot, so I knew I had to hop on a bus. On days where I wanted to avoid going home to my father, I would usually take a detour through the shopping district, usually wandering around aimlessly or buying something to eat. Maybe I would find something… or someone interesting there today. With that motivation in mind, I got up and left Sunohara's room, being driven by an emotion that was undefinable by mere words.
Author's Note #4: Chapter 1 ends at about the ~3:52 mark of episode 18, with some liberties taken, of course.
 – A reference to episode 1 of the 2007 Studio Shaft-animated/Shin Oounma-directed anime series ef: a tale of memories.
Well, that's the end of chapter 1. If you actually made it to the end of the chapter, then I salute you for being able to put up with my story. If it's not asking too much, any kind of feedback, be it pointing out spelling/grammar mistakes, suggestions, or just your thoughts and feelings on this chapter, anything would be great. All I ask is that you remain civil and keep things constructive. That's all. ^_^'
If I get some positive feedback, I'll continue on with this story. :) If I don't, then I obviously failed as a writer and as a Clannad fan and that'll be the end of that. XD