Sorry for the long update on this one. Even though about 1/3 of it was written, it basically had to be heavily edited. Then I had to deal with my flurry of end of year assignments and projects (still on going), then I had a family visit, and to top it all off a lightning storm cut my internet for 3 days. Been a busy few weeks.
Anyway, the next chapter after this may also be a while longer than usual, do to the aforementioned assignments and such, but almost done then I'll have the summer to finish my story ideas. Hawaii will likely be next, and I plan to have at least 2 chapters minimum focusing on it. After that, I guess I'll see.
Special mention goes out to Freinoir, who's wonderful artworks are a must see for any fan of AkiraxMakoto, or for any fan of Persona in general. Their AkiraxMakoto art has given me the energy to keep creating myself, and even given me a few ideas! You can find them over at their Twitter or Tumblr. So, with that, please enjoy the chapter.
Makoto came to a stop by the front door of her home, placing a hand against a wall and leaning against it as she panted for breath. She could feel the sweat streaming down her body and moved a hand to wipe her brow clean, pushing her fringe out of the way as she did so. After a few moments, she grabbed the door handle and pulled it down, taking a few shaky steps into her house. She glanced quickly around the living room, empty, as she suspected it would be, and moved to get herself a glass of water.
As tired as she felt after it, Makoto had been enjoying her morning jogging sessions. Even this early in the morning, the blistering heat was nearly unbearable, though, and she always felt gross by the time she got home with how much sweat she'd be covered in. It was worth it though. The way her body had ached after they had finished with Kaneshiro's palace, she had to admit to herself that was she not incredibly athletic. If she wanted to increase her efficiency as a thief, she'd need to start seriously getting into shape. She'd gone to Ryuji and asked for advice, reasoning his background in athletics would make him a valuable source of information, and he had been more than happy to suggest the best workout routines, the best meals to have and when before an exercise session, even down to his favourite brand of running shoes. It had been very informative. The fact he'd seemed so happy to have someone to share his knowledge with as well had made her happy, she'd never seen Ryuji so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about something.
Makoto let out a satisfied sigh as she placed the now empty glass of water on the counter. She reached down, peeling off her shoes and placing them by the door at the front entrance, then immediately made for the bathroom. Peeling off the rest of her clothes, which had stuck to her through the sweat, Makoto turned on the shower and let it run for a moment. As she did this, she leaned against the sink and looked at her face in the mirror. It was red, her forehead in particular being shiny still, and her hair was a complete mess from where she'd pushed it aside. It felt good though, physical appearance notwithstanding. She felt accomplished, light headed, but not in a bad way. This must be what Ryuji called the "runner's high."
Removing her hairband, Makoto stepped into the shower, and let out another happy sigh. As she began to run her hands through her hair, she thought back to the events of the last few weeks.
The Phantom Thieves had successfully helped Futaba, and as a result stopped the Medjed threat as well. This had also led them to recruiting Futaba into the Phantom Thieves as well. She was a welcome addition, with her scanning abilities surpassing even Morgana's, and her affinity for technology in the real world being the only reason they managed to stop Medjed in time.
The experience with Futaba's palace had been drastically different from their previous infiltrations and had given her a lot to think about.
Futaba's awakening seemed so much more peaceful than my own, and from all accounts, the others'. She confronted her own shadow directly, and made peace with it, then awakened her Persona from it… I wonder, was that a fluke? Futaba is a genuinely good person at heart, so it makes sense that her shadow wouldn't be necessarily evil… Confronting your own shadow and making peace with it… What a funny thought. Makoto mused to herself. With her thoughts on the battle at the top of the pyramid, it was inevitable her thoughts would once again go back to that moment.
"I messed up so badly…" Makoto sighed, reaching to start applying shampoo to her hair. Just thinking of how Akira had needed to save her still embarassed her. She should've been more alert. After that incident, she had convinced herself that Akira would only ever see her as a burden, someone he would need to protect, never to be an equal. But, once again, Akira surprised her, as he always seemed too. The events of a week ago had once again proven how clueless she truly was about love.
I love you, Makoto
Makoto brought her fingers to her lips, smiling at the memory. It was a moment of her life she knew she'd never forget. Before he took the initiative, she'd been struggling to find the words. She didn't even know if she should say them. At that point, she was only telling Akira so she could get the weight off her chest. Her feelings for him had been distracting her, leaving her unfocused and unsure. She had convinced herself that telling him would allow her to accept the rejection and move on, so they could get back to being close friends and she could re-dedicate herself to her duties. The thought that he'd loved her back never crossed her mind.
But now, they were officially together, a couple. To finally be open about her feelings to him, and to know that he reciprocated them, all the previous worry, the anxiety, the weight on her chest, was gone, replaced with a new energy she'd never felt before. Sadly, since then, they hadn't had any time alone together. Between helping Futaba readjust to society, catching up on the sheer amount of work she had fallen behind on, along with how busy Akira had been with his own studies and whatever it was he got up to in the evenings (he had said "meeting with our confidants?), there simply hadn't been an opportunity. She was hoping they'd get some time together, even if it was only a moment, when the group went to the beach together, but even that didn't work out as she'd hoped.
Makoto finished washing the shampoo out of her hair and turned the shower off, grabbing a towel from the cupboard and drying herself. The beach trip… It was a lovely day, and I'm so glad Futaba enjoyed herself… but I still ended up embarrassing myself in front of everyone. Makoto sighed. After her, Ann and Futaba had returned from their trip on the boat, she had asked Akira what he and the guys had been up too when they were gone. Ryuji had taken Akira and Yusuke to go "babe hunting" as he had called it. Akira had been telling her about how Ryuji had failed again and again when it happened.
"So, they just didn't show any interest then, huh?" Makoto asked. Akira shook his head.
"Na, but ah well, what can you do?" Akira said.
"But you were very popular with the women, Akira." Yusuke said. Akira glanced at Yusuke, then back to Makoto.
"What, me?" Akira spluttered. Makoto stared at the floor, immediately feeling dejected.
"I-I mean… No, I-" Akira had began. Ryuji, who had been listening to the conversation, interjected.
"What? Don't listen to him, Makoto. He was a babe, magnet," Ryuji started "it honestly made me jealous." He finished. Almost immediately Ann slapped him over the head.
"Idiot!" She snapped. Ryuji rubbed his head and looked at Ann confused.
"O-oh. I-I, see…" Makoto said. Akira's eyes widened in alarm.
"It wasn't like that!" Akira shouted.
"Don't be so modest, Akira, it was almost as if you had an entrancing aura these women simply couldn't resist." Yusuke had chipped in. Makoto continued to stare at the floor.
"Though, it was very rude of you to brush them away like you did, Akira. Why, you hardly said a word to them! Not only that, your eyes never once moved to ogle their bodies! The poor women must have felt utterly shamed." Yusuke concluded. Makoto looked at Yusuke, then back to Akira.
"Yeah, he just kinda ignored 'um. Didn't even send them my way." Ryuji sighed. Akira began to awkwardly play with a strand of hair.
"Y-yeah, well…" Akira mumbled. Makoto had looked at Akira, the icy knot that had been forming in her stomach melting instantly. She didn't even realise she had a big smile on her face.
"I-I see! Good! That's good! I mean… Er, that is…" Makoto spluttered. Makoto looked around awkwardly. Akira was looking away from her, still playing with his hair.
"Heh, guess we all know why ya turned them away though, eh?" Ryuji said, throwing an arm around Akira and playfully punching him in the ribs. Makoto looked away and over at Ann, who was staring at her with a huge grin. Makoto realised how widely she'd been smiling at the news that Akira had turned the girls away, and stopped immediately.
"W-what?" Makoto asked Ann.
"Oh nothiiiing." Ann replied, in a sing song voice. Makoto glanced at Akira, who met her gaze and gave her a gentle smile. Makoto returned the smile and turned back to Ann, who was now giving a double thumbs up. Makoto stared at the ground and let out a groan.
At the time she was incredibly embarrassed, but now she found herself smiling slightly. It's not that she didn't trust Akira, she just couldn't help get flustered at the thought of all of those girls after him, especially since she'd had such little time with him. Makoto wrapped the towel around herself and walked to her room, opening her cupboard and looking through her clothes.
"The last day of the holidays… I'm going to see him today!" Makoto said to herself with conviction. With school returning soon, they'd have even less time together, and the second year Hawaii trip was soon as well, so they'd be separated even longer. She was determined to get one day alone with him before that. Makoto began to look through her selection of clothes. She knew she didn't have the kind of collection that some girls had, but she had a respectable amount of choices. But they were all very much "her" style. Simple, practical, reserved, yet still with a sense of style.
"What to wear…" She mused. Makoto accepted that she was clueless when it came to what being a girlfriend entailed. She wasn't sure what she should do to make sure Akira was happy and excited to be with her. So, she had decided to ask Eiko, who, after a very long phone call that went on to the early hours of the morning, she had finally made up with.
"Oooh, I read something about this in a magazine once!" Eiko had said.
"Magazine?" Makoto had replied.
"Yeah, it was called Vague. It said that, to surprise your man, turn up at his place unannounced." Eiko had said.
"Unannounced…? Isn't that inconvenient? What if they're not there, or busy?" Makoto asked.
"That's the romantic part! You take the risk! It also said to tell them beforehand you're busy that day, so you're gonna' give them an extra big surprise!" Eiko had exclaimed.
"I… Are you sure this is a good idea?" Makoto asked.
"Of course! You gotta trust me on this, Akira-kun will go crazy for it, he'll fall for you all over again for how decisive you are!" Eiko had said excitedly.
"W-well… If you're sure…" Makoto had replied.
So, in accordance with the plan, Makoto had told Akira last night she was going to be busy all day and wouldn't be available. He had seemed disappointed, and she had wanted to end the plan right there and ask him to spend the day with her, but she had to trust Eiko and her magazine of relationship knowledge. It was always best to refer back to the teachings of the masters at times of uncertainty.
Makoto had finally decided on what to wear, and placed the assorted clothes on her bed. She had always strived to look presentable when going out in public, but looking "good" had never been one of her main concerns. Eiko had reinforced how important it was to blow Akira away when he saw her, so she'd picked out something a bit different today. It was the only dress she owned, and it was appropriately summery, with a soft white colour, and gentle flower decorations. It went down to her knees, so it was fairly modest, and the sleeves only went halfway down her upper arm. She thought about sending a picture to Ann and asking if she thought it was okay, but found the idea far too embarrassing. Finally getting dressed, Makoto went back into the bathroom and placed on her braided headband. If she left now, she should be able to get there in just under an hour. She smiled to herself.
That'll give me a full day with him. This is going to be great. Makoto thought to herself, and made to leave.
Nearly 2 hours later, thanks to missing the first train due to forgetting her bag in her excitement, then unexpected delays, Makoto finally arrived Yongen-Jaya walking down the backstreets and heading to LeBlanc. The delay had frustrated her, but she was determined not to let her spirits drop. As she got closer and closer to the café, she started to get worried that this was a bad idea.
What if he thinks I'm being too forward? Will it make him uncomfortable? I should've just told him I'm coming… She thought to herself.
No.. No, I have to trust Eiko and those with more experience. I'm… I'm sure this will go fine.
Leblanc was less than a minute away now. She tried to steady her breathing.
This will be fine. Makoto assured herself. She turned around the corner and walked down to Leblanc's entrance. She peered inside, there was only one customer and Sojiro-san was behind the counter, no sign of Akira. She took a deep breath and entered.
"Sorry to intrude." Makoto said, smiling meekly at Sojiro. He waved her in, not looking surprised to see her.
"Ahh, Niijima-san." Sojiro said.
"Hello, Sakura-san." Makoto said.
"You must be here for Akira, huh? Well, he's upstairs, go on up, I think he's waiting for you." Sojiro said. Makoto's mouth opened slightly.
"T-To his room? Alone? W-waiting for me?" Makoto stuttered. Sojiro raised an eyebrow at her.
"Well, I mean… You won't be alone but… Yeah, his room. Head on up." Sojiro said, turning back to look at the TV. Makoto swallowed nervously and nodded. He was expecting her? What did he mean by not alone…?
Makoto reached the stairs and slowly began to walk up them. She could hear sounds coming from the room.
He and Morgana must be watching TV. She thought to herself. No turning back now.
"A-Akira, I'm sorry to-" Makoto began as she reached the top of the stairs, but stopped talking as all eyes turned toward her.
Akira, Ryuji, Ann and Futaba were gathered around the TV, each holding what looked like a game controller in their hands. On the bed, Morgana was lounging, though he too now looked toward her.
"Er…" Makoto began.
"Makoto?" Akira asked, immediately putting the controller down and standing up to meet her.
"Y-yes. Hello." Makoto said. Ryuji, Ann and Futaba all waved and said hello, looking surprised and happy to see her.
"What are you doing here?" Akira asked, a huge smile on his face despite the blunt question.
"I… I came to see yo- I mean, I..." Makoto spluttered. Akira tilted his head.
"I thought you were busy today?" He asked. Makoto tried to think of an excuse.
"I… Er… I, something changed and… Well, I have time now, so I…" Makoto stuttered. Akira's smile never left his face.
"Well, I'm glad you could make it. You should've said you were coming, I'd have met you at the station." Akira said. Makoto quickly shook her head.
"O-oh, no, that wouldn't have been necessary. Plus I… Er…I just forgot, I guess?" Makoto lied awkwardly.
"Well, it's no problem, you can come here anytime you like." Akira said. Makoto immediately felt her face start burning red and she glanced away. After a few seconds, she looked back at everyone in the room.
"So, what's everyone doing here...?" Makoto asked.
"We'd promised Futaba we'd come play her new game with her today." Ann said, gesturing at her and Ryuji.
"I thought it would be cool to take it over here and we could play with Akira, too!" Futaba said. Akira looked back from the group to Makoto.
"When you told me you was busy I thought I'd join them. It's been fun." Akira said.
"Now even Makoto is here! Come on, you gotta play too!" Futaba shouted. Makoto was still in a near stunned silence. Akira seemed to sense this, and smiled apologetically.
"You three carry on without us, we'll be back in a bit." Akira said, tapping Makoto's shoulder and pointing at the stairs.
"Where ya going?" Futaba called.
"Just going to get some drinks for us all." Akira said. The group called out what they wanted, coffee for Futaba, a soda for Ann and Ryuji, and went back to the game. Makoto turned around and went down the stairs ahead of Akira.
"Mona, tag in!" Makoto heard Futaba cry as she turned the corner. She smiled to herself, relaxing slightly, slightly disappointed she couldn't hear Morgana's reply. She reached the bottom of the stairs and walked out onto the main floor and waited for Akira, glancing around the shop, noting the one customer from earlier had already left. Sojiro gave her a questioning look, which he then turned to Akira as he stepped out behind her.
"Oh, are the two lovers sneaking off?" Sojiro asked. Makoto felt her face burn red instantly and looked away. Thankfully, Akira spoke up with far more composure.
"Only if you count grabbing drinks for our guests as sneaking off." Akira smirked. Sojiro let out a short laugh.
"Well, I'm gonna go grab some smokes. If a customer comes in, don't let them catch Niijima-san clinging to your leg again, alright?" Sojiro grinned. Makoto didn't think she could ever be more embarrassed.
"I… I-" Makoto began to stutter.
"Better hurry to the shop, Boss, they might run out of smokes." Akira snickered. Sojiro nodded his head and left without another word. Makoto still stared at the floor. As Sojiro disappeared out of sight, Makoto turned to Akira.
"I'm-" She began, but was immediately cut off by Akira pulling her to him and kissing her deeply. Makoto was too surprised to react at first, but within seconds she fell into the kiss, breaking away only after remembering where they were.
"A-Akira-" Makoto began. He cut her off again by pulling her into a hug.
"I've missed you." Akira grinned.
"Y-you saw me two days ago…" Makoto mumbled into his shoulder.
"Yeah, I know, but the others were there, so couldn't exactly do this, could I?" Akira smirked.
Makoto sighed contently and relaxed into the hug. After what seemed far too short a time to her, Akira broke the embrace and moved behind the counter.
"I'm gonna get the coffee started." He said. Makoto nodded as Akira grabbed an empty coffee cup, feeling her face turn red as she saw him glancing at her, his eyes running over her.
"You look lovely." Akira said honestly. Makoto nervously tugged at her dress.
"D-do you think so?" She asked.
"Of course. I've never seen you wear a dress… It's really different. Good different…. beautiful." Akira said. Makoto clung to her dress, attempting to will herself into composure. It was new for her, being this flustered around someone else. She'd never really had trouble socialising before and had always managed to maintain a calm, measured demeanour… But with him...
"Want anything for yourself?" Akira asked as he began boiling water.
"A water… Please." Makoto said. Akira nodded, moving to the sink and filling up a glass of water, handing it to her.
"Take a seat." Akira insisted, pointing at one of the stools at the bar. Makoto nodded and did so. Still silent.
"So, what really happened today?" Akira asked. Makoto flinched. There was no hint of annoyance in his voice, just genuine curiosity.
"W-what do you mean?" Makoto asked.
"You said you were busy and couldn't make it, then turn up quite early in the day, unannounced. Cancelling plans I can understand, but turning up without warning? That's not the Makoto I know." Akira said, pouring the coffee. Makoto didn't know what to say.
"I… Er…" Akira looked up at her and smiled apologetically.
"I'm not trying to accuse you of anything! I just want to know if something's wrong, that's all." Akira said. Makoto shifted uncomfortably in her chair. There was really no point lying to him now, she just had to accept the plan had been foolish.
"Well… I was trying to figure out ways to make you happy… I know I'm not going to be the best at being a bubbly, cheery girlfriend, so I asked Eiko for advice…" Makoto said. Akira winced.
"No disrespect to Eiko but er… Love advice from her?" Akira asked. Makoto glanced aside.
"We'd just made up… I didn't want to upset her. Besides, she said she'd read it all in a magazine. That I should tell you I'm busy, then turn up to surprise you completely unannounced. It was meant to make you happy…" Makoto murmured. Akira bowed his head and grinned.
"Well, it certainly was a lovely surprise." Akira said. Makoto looked up at him and smiled.
"Really. Though, if you had let me known you were coming… we probably could've been off on a date right now…" Akira droned playfully. Makoto bristled slightly.
"But, at least we get to spend time with the others. Though it's a shame Yusuke isn't here too if we're all gathered." Makoto said. Akira nodded.
"Ann did text him, but he said he was busy today. Plus I'm not sure he's much of a gamer." Akira said. Akira finished making the coffee and moved to the fridge to grab the sodas.
"You know… We could just… sneak off." Akira said slyly. Makoto shook her head.
"W-what! We can't just leave the others!" She cried. Akira waved his hand apologetically.
"I know, I know, I was joking." Akira said as he set the sodas on the counter. Makoto huffed slightly, though there was a small part of her that was tempted to take him up on the offer. She sipped at her water as she watched Akira pour the glasses.
"Going to help me carry these up?" Akira asked. Makoto nodded, finishing the rest of her water and grabbing a glass of soda in each hand.
"You're staying, right?" Akira asked. Makoto looked at him, lips parted slightly, and nodded once.
"Of course, if you want me too." Makoto said. Akira nodded.
"I do." Akira said simply. With that, he made his way to the stairs, Makoto following him closely behind, smiling gently.
As they reached the top, Makoto couldn't help but smile as she saw the three immersed in their game, Futaba with a look of smug superiority on her face as she was no doubt crushing Ann and Ryuji.
"Got the drinks." Akira said, placing them on the coffee on the counter by the stairs. Makoto placed her glasses there too. She turned and looked around the room. There were four chairs pulled around the TV, and from the looks of it Futaba had brought her own console from home. Akira glanced back at her.
"Want the chair?" He asked.
"I don't mind." Makoto said. Futaba, who must've just finished winning the race, looked over at Makoto.
"Come on, Makoto, come play a race!" She said. Ryuji and Ann kept going, competing for second place.
"I'm… Not much of good at games, especially racing games. I'd probably be awful." Makoto said. Akira glanced over at her, raising a sceptical eyebrow.
"But this is the new Marty Kart game!" Futaba cried. Makoto smiled at her, then jumped slightly as Ann let out a triumphant yell.
"Yes! Second place!" Ann cried. Ryuji huffed and crossed his arms.
"That was bull, you just hit me with a blue bell at the last second!" Ryuji shouted. Ann ignored him still basking in her triumph of second place. Makoto mused to herself that they must've given up on beating Futaba a while ago and now just competed for second.
"You know…" Akira started "This one let's you ride on motorbikes as well as karts…" Akira said. Makoto glanced at him, mouth open slightly.
"Motorbikes too…?" She asked. As she was thinking of the possibilities, Makoto didn't even notice Akira and Futaba share a grin and a thumbs up.
Akira glanced over at Makoto from his spot on the bed. It was certainly a sight to behold. Her tongue was sticking out in sheer concentration, and her entire body moved with the controller as she took tight turns. Though she still had no chance of beating Futaba, Ann and Ryuji looked on in horror as, sat upon a motorbike that took her 15 minutes to choose, the Queen of the Phantom Thieves tore through the virtual race track.
"I… I can do it, I'm in second place!" Ann shouted as the finish line neared. Watching the map though, Akira saw Makoto was on her tail. She swerved to hit an item box, and he couldn't help but be slightly scared by the look of intensity in her eyes as she awaited the item. Finally, it landed on a green bell, an item that had to be thrown and expertly aimed.
"Ha, you can't do anything with that!" Ann shouted. Makoto's eyes only narrowed. Akira recognised the look of intense thought in her eyes, she must be calculating trajectory and… Makoto launched the green bell, angling it in a way that seemed nonsensical. Ann let out a triumphant cry, assured in her victory.
"Heh." Makoto laughed. Akira couldn't help but grin at her confidence. The bell bounced off an angle on the wall, launching itself in the complete opposite direction… Straight into Ann's kart.
"W-what?!" Ann cried out. Makoto swerved around the corner, over taking Ann, and blasting through the finish line, taking second place.
"That's so unfair!" Ann cried as, letting out another mortified cry as Ryuji overtook her at the last second, finally catching up.
"Heh, sucks, don't it?" Ryuji bragged.
"You still all lost to Futaba, though…" Morgana mumbled from the bed, glancing over at the ruckus. Makoto placed the controller on the floor and glanced over at Futaba.
"That really was fun!" Makoto said, smilin. Futaba nodded enthusiastically.
"That was amazing, Makoto! Man, if I gave you a crash course training camp, we could make a pro gamer out of you!" Futaba cried.
"Only if the game involved motorbikes in some form." Akira chuckled. Makoto brushed her hair back with a confident smile.
"I don't know about going pro, but we should play together again, Futaba." Makoto said.
"Oh, then let's do it now, another round, another round!" Futaba said. Ryuji and Ann glanced toward each other.
"So, we'll get a chance to settle this." Ryuji said.
"Prepare to be destroyed, Sakamoto." Ann growled, though she was trying to stifle a grin as she said it. Makoto looked back at Akira.
"Want to take my place?" Makoto asked. Akira shook his head.
"Not at all, keep going." Akira said. Makoto smiled at him, a mixture of warmth and giddy excitement that she got to have another race. Akira couldn't suppress a genuine smile. As Makoto turned back, Akira noticed Morgana was looking at him.
"What?" Akira asked, the smile still on his face.
"Mwehehehe." Morgana giggled. Akira rolled his eyes, and sat up to get a better look at the race.
After about an hour, in which Akira finally tagged in and raced against Makoto, which led to a very close match where she managed to inch out victory by what had to be milliseconds, Futaba stood up.
"Right! Movie time!" She proclaimed. Akira nodded, standing up and going to grab the DvD she'd left on the counter.
"Oh, we're watching a movie as well?" Makoto asked. Ann nodded.
"Yup. Futaba just bought it. Said it would be "more fun to watch it together." Ann said. Akira opened the DvD, getting the disk out and placed it into the DvD player.
"We're short on space now. Ryuji, help me move the couch over." Akira said. Ryuji nodded and stood, going on one side of the couch. Akira went to the other, and nodded his thanks as Ann and Makoto started moving the chairs to make room.
"So, who get's the couch." Morgana asked.
"Oooh, good question." Ann said.
"Should we play rock paper scissors to decide or something?" Makoto asked.
"Hey, it's Akira's place, so he should get one of the seats." Ryuji said. Everyone nodded in agreement to that.
"Oooh, cuddling on a couch during a horror movie, a classic teen situation!" Futaba said.
"Horror...?" Makoto whispered. Akira, Ann and Ryuji all seemed to click at once.
"Oh… Yeah, it's a horror movie." Akira said. Makoto looked at him, her eyes wide.
"I-I…. see…" Makoto said. Futaba clenched her fists in excitement.
"Not just ANY horror movie! They actually put a warning on the box to not watch it if you have any heart conditions!" Futaba said.
"Hm… I think Makoto should get the couch spot next to Akira…" Ann said. Ryuji nodded in agreement.
"Y-yeah… That, err… seems fair." Ryuji said. Akira glanced at the two, they were no doubt remembering that incident at Sojiro's house. Between that and the various times she'd clearly been spooked in Mementos, they all quickly realised that Makoto was not going to enjoy the film.
"O...Okay…" Makoto said. Akira took his place on the couch, with Makoto sitting on his left. The couch was angled slightly in front of the TV, with two chairs seating Ann and Futaba to his left, with Morgana sitting on Futaba's lap, and a chair with Ryuji on to the right. Makoto was as stiff as a board even before the movie had turned on.
"Alright, I'm hitting play!"
Less than 30 minutes into the movie and Makoto was already holding Akira's hand so tightly he was sure bones would soon crush.
"Whoa, she shouldn't go in there!" Futaba cried out, excited. Akira looked around at the others. Morgana was staring at the screen, as wide eyed as a cat could possibly get. Ann had a pillow up to her face, clearly frightened, but was peaking over it. Even Ryuji looked slightly unnerved.
Where the hell did Futaba find this thing? Akira wondered. He fancied himself having nerves of steel but he had to admit, this movie was creepy. He glanced at Makoto, who was leaning toward him now, her usual shyness replaced with utter fear.
"Oooh, she's going in… She's opening the door, and… And!" Futaba narrated. Akira was knocked back by what happened next. It wasn't the horrific, demonic abomination that appeared on screen and wrenched the poor victim into it's lair. No, it was the terrified scream of the person next to him, Makoto, as she quite literally dived onto him, wrapping her arms around him and burying her face in his chest.
"OhGodohGodohGodohGod!" Makoto muttered over and over. Akira put one arm around her back, leaving the other awkwardly flopping off the couch. He glanced around to see the others, Futaba was staring at them both with a massive grin. Ann was burying her face in the pillow, no doubt trying to hide from the monster on the screen. Morgana was no longer on Futaba's lap, but has sprinted away and was now hiding under the bed. Ryuji, to his credit, only seemed slightly frightened. Finally getting his wits about him, Akira threw the other arm around Makoto and started soothingly stroking her hair. He glanced at Futaba again, who was still watching.
"I ship it." Futaba said.
"What." Akira said, flatly. Futaba laughed and turned back to the film, where the victim was still being mauled. Akira glanced at Makoto and whispered.
"Want to go downstairs?" He asked. Makoto nodded into his chest.
"We're gonna go down stairs and get a drink." Akira said.
"Want me to pause the movie?" Futaba asked. Akira shook his head as he walked, one arm still over Makoto's shoulder, to the stairs.
"I don't think that'll be necessary." Akira said. Him and Makoto reached the stairs and Akira let her walk in front of him. As they arrived on the main floor, Sojiro was behind the counter cleaning up.
No customers, good. Akira thought to himself.
"Another getaway?" Sojiro asked. Akira shook his head and pointed at Makoto, who still had her head in her hands.
"Oh… Er…. She okay?" Sojiro asked awkwardly.
"Er… I'm fine… Sorry." Makoto muttered.
"Futaba's choice of horror film may have just been a…. tad too strong on the horror aspect." Akira snickered, gesturing for Makoto to take a seat in one of the booths and then taking a seat behind her.
"Ah, I see. Want a coffee, Niijima-san?" Sojiro asked. Makoto shook her head.
"N-no thank you, Sakura-san, thank you for the offer." Sojiro nodded and glanced at the clock.
"Well, business ain't exactly booming today, and all that ruckus upstairs would just drive away customers. Guess I'll close up early." Sojiro said. He grabbed his coat and hat and left with a small wave. Akira saw him flip the sign to closed then walk off.
"I've made a fool of myself again…" Makoto whined. Akira chuckled slightly.
"It is quite a sight to see the fearless Queen of the Phantom Thieves be… well, fearful." Akira said. Makoto simply let out another embarrassed sigh.
"S-sorry, I've just never really been good with scary things, like the dark, or horror films." Makoto sighed.
"Well, we'll just stay down here till it's finished. Futaba said it was really short anyway, just under an hour left of it I think." Akira said.
"N-no, we can go back… Or, you could go back and I'll just-" Makoto began.
"Oh I see, turning down an opportunity to spend some time with me." Akira teased. Makoto went to say something, then blushed slightly.
"You love getting me flustered, don't you?" Makoto said.
"Only because you make it so easy." Akira said. The pair sat together for a while, talking little, just enjoying the comfortable silence. Akira rested his head against Makoto's as she leaned into him.
"Looks like the weather is starting to take a turn." Makoto said. Akira sat up and glanced at her, following her gaze out the window where he could see a grey overcast replacing the blinding light of the sun.
"Huh, maybe we'll get some rain. I hope so, this heat has been killing me." Akira sighed. He'd been sleeping without a blanket recently, but it hadn't really helped much since Morgana still insisted on sleeping on his chest. That cat gave off a surprising amount of body heat.
"I wish I'd just told you I was coming." Makoto sighed.
"Well, I did get the lovely surprise component." Akira said. Makoto glanced up at him.
"So, you really were happy to see me?" Makoto asked. Akira nodded.
"You really would fail a test on love, huh…" Akira snickered. Makoto gently pushed him.
"Come on…" She said, laughing gently.
"I'm glad you came. Watching you slaughter Ann and Ryuji on that game was certainly something t-" Akira stopped talking as Makoto moved up and gently kissed his cheek. He paused momentarily, train of thought utterly halted.
"You were saying…?" Makoto asked, her face the picture of innocence.
"I, er.. Ahem." Akira coughed into his hand to buy some time so he could regain his composure.
"I'm saying you're welcome here anytime, all the time." Akira said. Makoto wrapped an arm around his waist and nuzzled into his shoulder.
"So, I wonder how the film is go-" Makoto began, before a shrill cry that could've only belonged to Ann pierced through the store. The sound of heavy footsteps could be heard, and seconds later Ann was rushing down the stairs. Akira immediately felt Makoto pull away from him as Ann came into view.
"No no no! God I can't take that anymore!" Ann cried.
"I think that's your answer." Akira said, looking at Makoto.
"Are you okay, Ann?" Makoto asked. Ann looked at them, and shook her head.
"Whoever made that film must be seriously twisted!" Ann shouted. She moved to the booth the pair were at and sat opposite them.
"Is it okay if I stay down here with you two?" Ann asked. Both Akira and Makoto nodded.
"Of course." Makoto said.
The trio sat together for the remainder of the movie, chatting about various things. Ann complementing Makoto's dress, the pair telling Ann about what had happened with Eiko and the time they went to Mementos alone together.
"You say it was wielding two huge guns and was wrapped in chains?" Ann asked. Akira nodded.
"I've never felt power emanating from a shadow like that before. Even when we've fought the shadows of Palace rulers, it was nothing compared to that thing." Akira said. Makoto nodded in agreement.
"It truly was terrifying. We'll have to be careful exploring Mementos in the future, even more so than we've usually been." Makoto said. They talked a little more, until eventually, Futaba, Ryuji and Morgana came downstairs.
"Futaba, I seriously can't believe you enjoyed that." Ryuji said. Futaba looked positively giddy.
"I know, it was soooo scary right?" Futaba asked.
"You don't seem very scared…" Morgana said, looking slightly spooked.
Ann glanced up at the clock, then outside at the ever worsening weather.
"Right, I gotta head off, got a modeling shoot this evening." Ann said, standing up.
"Yeah, Mom wants me home to help go shopping for a new table for our living room today, too." Ryuji said. Saying their goodbyes, Ann and Ryuji left for the station together.
"Right, guess I'll be heading back home too then!" Futaba said. Akira saw her look at him, then Makoto, and grin widely.
"Mona! Want to come back to mine and watch another movie?" Futaba asked. Morgana glanced up at her, then over to Akira.
"Oh, er, sure! That sounds good, but nothing that scary!" Morgana insisted.
"I'll leave the console here for tonight, Akira, I'll get Sojiro to bring it back with him… Thinking of it, where is Sojiro?" Futaba asked.
"He left a while ago, said he'd close up early 'cause we'd just drive away customers." Akira said. Futaba puffed her cheeks.
"Pssht, he probably just wanted an excuse to head home for the day." Futaba huffed. With that, she waved her goodbyes, and left the café with Morgana. Akira stared out the window, watching them turn the corner. Makoto still sat silent next to him.
Just the two of us, huh? Akira mused to himself.
"The weather… it's started raining." Makoto said. Akira snapped back to attention and saw that it had indeed started pouring down outside.
"Gotta love the summer rains. Maybe now I'll make it through the rest of the evening without melting." Akira grumbled, causing Makoto to giggle slightly.
"S-so… Everyone's left…" Makoto said. Akira turned to face her, wondering if she was going to suggest she leave.
"Sojiro has closed up shop too, so… I was wondering, would it be okay if I stayed for a while? There's still a good few hours before the last train, so…" Makoto said, casting her eyes downwards. Akira smiled, happy that she'd asked. He knew she'd wanted to stay anyway, but it was nice to hear her say it and not have to ask her.
"You can stay the night if you want." Akira said, already grinning in anticipation of her response.
"D-do you mean it…?" Makoto asked, looking up hopefully. Akira swallowed hard.
"I, er, I mean, yeah, sure. You can." He insisted. He'd expected her to get all flustered and deny it. He didn't think he'd get this far… Suddenly though, Makoto closed her eyes and smiled widely.
"Well, we have school tomorrow, so unless you have a spare girl's Shujin's uniform around here, we're out of luck." Makoto said.
"Huh, well as a matter of fact I do have one that was left here…" Akira said, trailing off, determined to get a response. It seemed to work, Makoto shoved him slightly and crossed her arms.
"Psh, jerk…" She muttered. Akira pulled her into a hug and kissed her forehead.
"I'm kidding! Of course I'm kidding. Other than Morgana, Yusuke is the only other person I've shared that room with." Akira said earnestly.
"Yusuke?!" Makoto yelped. Akira nodded enthusiastically.
"He was a cherished guest." Akira said. Makoto shook her head at his silliness and let herself collapse into his embrace.
"So, want to go upstairs?" Akira asked. Makoto nodded her head timidly.
"O-ok…" She said.
The pair left the booth and went upstairs, Makoto helping Akira put the chairs away and moving the couch back. By the time they were done, the rain outside had turned into a torrential storm. Akira found the sound incredibly soothing. He glanced back at Makoto who was looking at him shyly. He took another chance to take her in, how good the dress looked on her, how beautiful she looked, smiling shyly, a very faint hint of red in her cheeks.
"I'm so glad you came today." Akira reaffirmed. Makoto nodded.
"Me too… All I've wanted is just some time together, the two of us alone. With school starting back, and the trip to Hawaii, I was just worried it would be a while. We haven't really had a chance to do anything as a proper couple." Makoto said. Akira stepped toward her, snaked an arm around her waist and pulled her into another kiss. Makoto pushed into it more than he expected, wrapping her arms around him. Akira eventually broke the kiss, smiling down at her.
"We're getting better at that, I'd say. Still need to "study" it more though." Akira said. Makoto shook her head, smiling shyly.
"How can you say things like that with a straight face?" She laughed. Akira kissed her forehead and moved to look out the window at the rain.
"So, what do you want to do?" Akira asked, glancing to his side as Makoto moved to be next to him.
"I'm… Not sure." Makoto said.
"Days like this are perfect for reading. Sitting on the bed, window open, listening to the rain…" Akira said. When he didn't get a response, he looked at Makoto, only to find her staring at him with a big smile.
"I-I… I love doing that too." Makoto said. Akira nodded, not at all surprised. Suddenly, an idea clicked.
"You got a book with you?" Akira asked. Makoto nodded. She hurried over to her bag, pulling out the sci-fi novel she'd packed.
"I don't get a lot of chances to do leisure reading lately, but I've been following this series since I was a kid, and it only came out a few days ago. It's one of my favourites, it's about a man who gets chosen to represent humanity in a giant, multi-race galactic federation a-... Hey, what's with that grin?!" Makoto asked. Akira shook his head.
"You're just so damn cute. Who knew that Miss President was also such a nerd?" Akira smiled. Makoto glanced aside, flustered.
"I-I'm not, I-" Makoto began. Akira moved forward, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her to sit on the bed next to him, wrapping an arm around her.
"So, what do you think? Want to read together?" Akira asked. Makoto nodded, holding her book up to her face to hide the redness of it. Akira smiled, and reached over to his nightstand, grabbing his own book.
"It's a high fantasy piece, written by a Western author. It's about a world where humanity lives on huge floating island, each as big as a small country, with the seats of power being the various city state capitals. They never go down on the surface as they've been told it's inhospitable, but the truth is, er well… Maybe I can get you to read it?" Akira said. Makoto smiled softly.
"See, we can be nerds together." Akira chuckled and moved up the bed, resting his back against the wall, motioning for Makoto to come sit next to him. She did so, taking a moment to get comfortable, which ended up her in snuggling up right next to him, the back of her head resting on his chest.
"Comfy?" Akira asked.
"Y-yes…" Makoto said. Giving her a quick kiss on her head, the both of them began to read, enjoying the comfort of each other's presence and the sound of the heavy rain outside.