Learning to Fly is a Katawa Shoujo Fan Fic by Eurobeat Jester, started in November of 2013. Can also be read at Fanfiction.net, although the version on the forums has associated artwork inserted at relevant parts in the story.
While doing a favor for Misha, Hisao gets lost in looking for art supplies and finds himself at the performing arts building at Yamaku. He runs into a girl who asks him if he is lost and needs help. From here, Hisao comes into contact with a person that will affect his new life at Yamaku.
This girl he meets has brown hair, brown eyes and red earrings, and goes by the name of Saki Enomoto. Saki is a non-canon April Fool's character that the KS team came up with to prank people with on April 1st, 2012.
Saki has a condition called Spinocerebellar Ataxia, which is similar to Hisaos condition of arrhythmia, in that it is likely to shorten their lifespans in Saki's case, by a lot.
In the introduction, Eurobestjester set out what drew him to Katawa Shoujo in the first place, along with how he felt about some of the routes in the game not exploring the potential mortality of Hisaos condition. The third act was completed in August of 2018.
This fic contains examples of the following tropes, in addition to those already present in the source material:
- Anguished declaration of love: In Glamorous Glennis after Saki's admission of feeling like she'd used Hisao and her plans of suicide she plans to break up with Hisao and fully expects him to go along with it. His feelings of hurt at her actions and her replies of just wanting a response is what leads to it.
- Ascended Extra: Saki Enomoto goes from being a non-canon April Fools joke route character to being the main girl of her own route.
- Beach Episode: More Than a Love Song sees Hisao and Saki go to the beach, along with Chisato and her boyfriend Mitsuru.
- Blatant Lies: Chisato does this in Ask Me No Questions. Hisao asks if she was looking for him. She says she just happened to run into him when her destination was clear on the other side of the building.
- Curtains Match the Window: Saki has light brown hair and brown eyes that help to give off this effect to her character.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Clumsy because of her condition (she must use a cane to walk), and indeed cute. Takes her clumsiness in stride.
- Disabled Means Helpless: Saki averts this in general. She may have to live with a horrifying degenerative disease, but she tries her hardest to be outgoing and fashionable. She even challenges herself by engaging in activities such as swimming, being in the art club and playing the violin that require fine motor control. In Ask Me No Questions however, Saki confesses to Hisao her general fears of this happening to her as her condition worsens..
- Chisato is a type one diabetic, only being hindered by having to wear an insulin pump on her waist. As a diabetic, she has to watch what she eats, but allows herself to indulge in sugar-free ice cream, much to Saki's disgust.
- Driven to Suicide: Played straight and then played with. When she was younger, after being rejected by her cousin and realizing she had been rejected by most of her family Saki sliced her wrist attempting suicide. While she obviously didn't succeed she claims she killed the part of herself that wanted to die. She does plan to perform medically assisted suicide once her condition progresses too far but sees it as going out on her own terms instead of escape or doing it out of despair like before.
- Fanart: Many pieces of fanart have been commissioned by the author to show certain events within the story, along with title cards for each act as well. These are visible in the thread on the main Katawa Shoujo forums.
- Fanservice: Saki in her swimsuit counts as shown in The Life Aquatic Saki Swimsuit, along with some other pieces of art.
- Heart Trauma: Hisao with his heart condition of arrhythmia. Nurse goes into great detail about it when he does a check-up with Hisao in Chapter A Spoonful Of Sugar.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each chapter has a title that tends to relate to certain things in the chapter they are named for.
- Insane Troll Logic: Kenji deduces that Hisao was on a double date at the Shanghai because no one just goes to Shanghai for tea as well as because Hisao is too smart to be alone with three women and women know all about the divide and conquer trick so they wouldn't go with three men. Played with in that he's actually right but as Hisao puts it, "I have no idea whether to be insulted or impressed at his reasoning. While the outcome was correct, the scope of the mental gymnastics needed to get from point A to point B makes my brain hurt just trying to imagine it."
- Jerkass: Maeda, Sakis ex-boyfriend has so far been shown to be a very insensitive, cold and bitter person whenever he interacts with people, although Saki and Chisato state that some of his attitude is due to the pain from a recent surgery to help his hearing. The fic has hinted to their breakup being ugly and causing him to become a jerk in the first place.
- Saki's father also definitely qualifies with his attempts to control her and uncompromising attitude about her choices in life.
- No, You: In Valse A Rosenthal, Chisato has this response to Saki telling her to wait up when they go to see the piano at the recording studio by replying.Chisato: No, you hurry up!.
- No Accounting for Taste: What Chisato accuses Saki of in Valse A Rosenthal, when it comes to her ex-boyfriend Maeda. From the few scenes hes been in so far, it has been implied that there was an ugly break up with Saki sometime before the events of the fic.
- Saki snipes back at Chisato for having not the best of taste in boys as well.
- Original Character: The fic has a few OC's in it, with Sakis best friends Chisato and Noriko the most prominent examples and in later chapters Chisato's boyfriend Mitsuru becomes somewhat prominent. Sakis teacher Mrs. Sakamoto is another OC, adding to the teaching staff of Yamaku.
- Another OC is mentioned in Kittyhawk, from a set of pictures Hisao notices while killing time in the band room.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Hisao does this in Ask Me No Questions, when hes trying to ask Saki about her ataxia.
- Precision F-Strike: Saki does this when Hisao tells her about his conversation with Maeda. Maeda learned she was in a wheelchair, after her leg gave out coming back from a shopping trip to the city with Hisao and her friends. Maeda wasn't surprised at this.Saki: That asshole, That fucking asshole...
- Perpetual Smiler: Saki in general tends to always have a smile regardless of her mood, though later chapters hint to her being a Type A Stepford Smiler.
- Shrinking Violet: Sakis Friend Noriko is overall quite shy and usually tends to say little when she is around Saki and Hisao.
- Subverted in Valse A Rosenthal and Manly Fishbowl Rocks, where she is rather outgoing once she's outside of Yamaku.
- The Stations of the Canon: Only for Act One, where Hisao gets caught up in Shizune and Lillys argument on student council work.
- Instead of helping either Shizune or Lilly, he ends up getting roped into working at the festival with Saki and Chisato.
- Meeting Saki while helping Misha out with her chore after she interrupted his talk with Mutou in Act One.
- From Act Two the story follows its own plot points and development.
- This Isthe Part Where...: Saki gives this line to Hisao in Ask Me No Questions when the two of them are having a frank discussion about their respective conditions.Saki: So...I guess this is the part where I tell you about my ataxia, right?
- Tomboy: Zigzagged with Sakis best friend, Chisato - she acts and talks often in this manner to Saki and Hisao (although she doesnt dress tomboyish as shown in both the fic and fanart commissioned for Valse a Rosenthal by Word of God). Best shown in Ask Me No Questions when she hilariously sits on a chair backwards with her arms on the top of it.
- Tranquil Fury: Saki displays this several times so far:
- In Ask Me No Questions, she gets angry at the thought someone told Hisao about her ataxia, fearing that it will become a subject of gossip.
- In Kittyhawk, during an argument with the art teacher, Nomiya. Saki tells Nomiya she's leaving the art club. He doesn't react well to this, but Saki holds her ground.
- In Glamorous Glennis Saki starts out this way as she tells Hisao about her father taking her to the assisted living he intends to send her to eventually. Averted in that she doesn't maintain it.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Saki and Chisatos friendship has a good amount of this going on, with the two always taking friendly snips at one another. Topics include ex-boyfriends, swimsuits, sugar-free ice cream, and guilt trips.
- Whamline: Saki, when talking to Hisao. When discussing her ataxia, she says she has a bad type, though she doesnt come out and say which type she has to Hisao.Saki: You read about how some types were better than others?...I don't have one of those types,
- Wham Episode: In Glamorous Glennis Saki reveals to Hisao her father's plans to leave her in assisted living facility after graduation, her own plans for medically assisted suicide once her condition develops too far,and that she feels they should break up since she feels like she used him in their time together. Hisao's refusal to accept the latter on either count culminates in the previously mentioned anguished declaration of love.
- In From The End To The Start it's revealed that Saki's friend in first year, Kayoko, committed suicide after learning that Saki coped with her condition by planning medically assisted suicide when her condition progressed too far and that this is why Maeda has such a problem with her.
- Your Days Are Numbered: One of the main themes of the fic, along with it being the main focus of Hisao and Sakis character development with the potential mortality of their conditions.
- Sakis disability severely cuts down on her life expectancy. It's hinted in Ask Me No Questions she has one of the worst types of SCA to which in the same chapter she feels very strongly on when talking to Hisao about it.
- In Glamorous Glennis Saki reveals to Hisao she plans to commit suicide before she becomes unable to control her body. She speculates this will be in just a few years.