Hey everybody! I didn't realize it was Makoto Niijima Week until I started seeing the most recent fanfic submissions online. It was timely because I've been working on this story for some time now...and it KINDA fits the theme of Day 4 "Fears." More like fears for the people who want to mess with Makoto. Haha.
I know that most of my works aren't about Makoto but she's still great! Very cute! Anyway! Hope you guys enjoy!
Note: The Facebook page Idea in the story was actually inspired from real ones I've seen online. Haha.
"Bye Makoto! Have a nice day!"
"Thanks! You too!"
Makoto Niijima leaves the student government office for the day. It was another cool afternoon on campus. The young lady was on her way back to her apartment after a productive day at school. Makoto was now a freshman at a top university in Tokyo. She was already 5 months into her first year of her course. She was planning to get a degree related to her law studies. It was a stepping-stone towards her goal to becoming a police commissioner. Makoto relished the life on campus. It was full of exciting things and interesting people. University life introduced her to so many new experiences. It was very thrilling and she felt productive being there.
This was a normal day for Makoto but recently, she's been getting the strangest feeling something was different. She had the strangest notion that she was being watched these last few days. Makoto could thank her intuition from her training with the Phantom Thieves for that. However, whenever she looked around, there was nobody suspicious in sight. It got worse when there were crowds of people around her. It also didn't help that this feeling only happened when she was on campus. There were numerous other students there and they could all be the culprit causing this feeling of being watched.
When it came down to stalkers, Makoto could handle them. She was quite physically capable especially due to her training in Aikido. The problem was, for several days, there wasn't the notion that these people would be approaching her in the open. Makoto thought it possible that maybe they were just planning to watch her from afar. But then what was the point? Why were they so interested with her? The feeling of being watched constantly bothered her.
She hasn't mentioned it yet to her best friends, her sister, and her boyfriend yet. However, she felt it has gone on long enough that maybe it was time for her to ask for help. Today after heading back home for a bit, she was going to catch up with some of the former members of the Phantom Thieves for a regular catch-up session at LeBlanc. Today was also special due to the fact that Akira was back in town. He arrived last night. His school had some days off due to building renovations and he decided to visit Tokyo.
Makoto was delighted by the news of her boyfriend coming to visit. She didn't openly admit it, but she terribly missed his company. She was glad to know he missed her as well. This fact left her with butterflies in her stomach. The anticipation with having more alone time with Akira was definitely enticing for her. Now however, Akira was someone she hoped could help solve the situation she's been having.
As Makoto walked back her usual route, she waited for the usual feeling of being watched. As she anticipated it, she noticed… nothing was unusual. It was gone. No longer was the feeling there anymore.
"Hmmm… Strange…" she said.
She tried walking a bit slower.
"Still nothing…" she quietly said.
After a few minutes of walking cautiously… but not too obviously, she decided to let it go.
"Might as well be on my way…"
Later that afternoon, she arrives at the familiar setting of LeBlanc. As she opens the door to the smell of coffee beans, she sees a few familiar faces. On the counter there was Haru Okumura, Ryuji Sakamoto, Futaba Sakura, and finally Akira Kurusu.
"Mako-chan!" Haru said.
Makoto smiled and waved at her friends while she was warmly received. She looked towards her boyfriend who began to stand up and walk towards her. He stops right in front of her. The warm smile she loved was displayed right in front of her.
"Hello." he said.
"Hi." she sweetly said and smiled back.
"Come on, dude! Do something! Don't be shy!" Ryuji suddenly mentioned.
The young couple turned around and saw the remaining three friends were smiling with small teases. It was mostly just Ryuji and Futaba. Haru only tried teasing for a moment before she went back to her coffee.
Without warning, Akira leaned in and did a quick peck on Makoto's cheek. Red starting to permeate through her face.
"Hmm. Not bad, Joker." said Futaba.
The young couple couldn't help but giggle. They decided to join the rest at the counter. After settling in, Makoto was curious where the rest of the group was.
"Where's Sakura-san?" asked Makoto.
"Oh. He went out shopping for some ingredients."
"What about Ann and Yusuke?" asked Makoto.
"Yusuke suddenly had an art event he had to attend for his latest work. Ann also got a last minute call for a model needed for her job. They both apologized that they wouldn't make it tonight. They'll meet up with Akira sometime this weekend." said Futaba.
"I see… That's a bit unfortunate. Well. As long as we're here, we can still enjoy our time with each other."
There was a short pause, as Akira seemed to want to say something. Everyone turned to him before he spoke.
"Makoto…is there something bothering you?" asked Akira.
Makoto halted for a moment. When did he notice? She only spoke for such a short time.
"W-what? How could you possibly know that?"
"W-well… Whenever you're upset, your posture is off, and your eyes tend to look away from whoever you're talking to."
Makoto was surprised that Akira noticed these little quirks of her. She should actually fix that. It might not be good for her job in the future.
"What is it, Mako-chan?" asked Haru.
Makoto starts explaining what she's felt these last few days. Those eyes she couldn't find. As soon as she finished, she waited for their reactions. Ryuji was the first comment.
"Damn creeps. Makoto, if you ever find out who it is, don't hesitate to call me." Ryuji roughly said. His face showing a bit of anger.
"Uhm… Let's not send anyone to the hospital, Ryuji. But thank you for the support. I'll be sure to call you if I need help."
"Same goes for me. I'll do some online research about your school." Futaba quickly said.
"Me too. I may not be the same course as you, but I'll learn what I can from around campus." Haru said.
Makoto really appreciated both Futaba and Haru for their support. Futaba's online wizardry actually might help. Haru being in the same university might hear things she herself might not know. That would be helpful. She then looked towards Akira. His eyes were serious, and showing concern. He however seemed calm.
"What about today? Anything strange today?" he asked.
"Hmm…Now that you mention it… No. Nothing today." she replied.
Akira smiled and held Makoto in a sweet embrace. She blushed even more.
"That's good to hear…But If there's anything you need… never hesitate to call me… okay?" Akira said in a reassuring tone.
Makoto felt glad that she found such a great guy.
"All right. I'll let you know."
Her friends all smiled as they continued their conversation. About an hour later, Makoto had to excuse herself. She still had a lot of work to do.
"Sorry everybody. I have to go on ahead."
As soon as she stood up, a hand pulled her down. She found herself flinging forward as Akira catches her. He was so quick. Before she realized it, Akira was leaning in… and giving her a sweet kiss.
She was shocked, embarrassed and happy at the same time. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the sweet gesture.
After a moment, they let go. Makoto shows a sweet smile to him. Then begins to reprimand him.
"Don't you surprise me like that! Everybody's watching!" Makoto said. But she was only half telling the truth. She tried hiding her enjoyment. But she was as red as a beet.
Akira smiled. It seemed like he saw through her facade.
"So… See you for our date tomorrow?" he asked.
"Y-yes. See you tomorrow." Makoto said happily.
The four friends say their goodbyes as Makoto leaves.
As soon as she steps outside, Makoto does a deep breath. She felt so invigorated. Ready to do anything. She really loved her friends. She starts making her way to the train station.
*Back inside LeBlanc*
Akira takes a peak outside of the door to see if Makoto was gone.
"Is she gone?" asked Futaba.
"Yeah… We're in the clear."
It was a unanimous sigh as all of them began to relax. The person who had to relax the most was Ryuji.
"MAAAANNN…. I never had to keep a straight face this long in MY LIFE." he said.
"I'm proud of you, bro. And thanks for the help." said Akira.
"Anytime. For Makoto, it's no problem. She's like my big sister. Love her to bits. And a request from you, Akira. No questions asked." Ryuji said.
"Yeah. I'm guessing our little operation worked." Futaba proudly said.
"Yes. I think everything went perfectly." Haru said.
"Still… I should have realized how popular Makoto would have been in the university." Akira said. He recalled the conversation from two nights ago. It was Haru, Futaba, and himself only.
*Two Nights Ago*
Futaba asked Akira to come a day early without telling anybody. Only Haru and herself would know. It was an SOS. After begging, Akira promised to Futaba not to tell anyone he was there a day early. It didn't affect his schedule much. He just had to pack earlier. As soon as he arrived at LeBlanc, Futaba and Haru were waiting for him. Futaba began explaining why she wanted him there that evening. She showed him a website and started explaining.
"Cutest Faces In Tokyo U?" said Akira.
"That's right! It's a Facebook page! It's a public page where you post photos from your school's most good-looking students. It's like a gallery of the most popular students or the ones being crushed on." said Futaba.
"So these people sign themselves up on this website?" asked Akira.
"No-No. It's usually friends who post for the people who are featured there. It's usually for good fun. Most of the time, they just like to tease their friends by placing their photos there. Then they're liked, and talked about."
"Yes. Apparently. it's quite… a popular page." Haru sighed.
"What's wrong Haru?" asked Akira.
"Haru's sighing because her photo is on the website too. You're pretty popular Haru! They're calling you the Cotton Candy Princess!"
"Futaba! Please don't remind me!" Haru blushed.
"Let me see!" Akira excitedly said.
"N-No!" Haru seemed like she was begging. It was too late as Futaba showed it on her laptop.
Akira smiled as he saw a pretty nice photo of Haru enjoying a coffee at a university coffee shop. It was a candid shot as Haru wasn't looking at the camera. It was a side shot that actually made her look really pretty.
"It's a nice photo, Haru." Akira honestly said.
"Uhm…Thanks I guess. But that was taken without my permission! It was a friend of mine who posted it… She told me it was cute… And the comments… are embarrassing."
Akira starts reading the details. Haru's photo was labeled with her name and title.
"Haru Okumura - Freshman Batch 20XX The Cotton Candy Princess"
It had over 1,500 likes.
"WOW. Haru. You have a lot of fans." Akira teased.
"Mmm…." Haru pouted.
Akira continued as he read some of the comments. They were varied. Some of them were straight up declarations of love. Others were big admirers.
"I Love You, Haru!"
"OMG. She's so cute!"
"We're classmates in 2 subjects! I'm so blessed!"
Akira smiled. But it then hit him why they were showing him this.
"So… wait. Are you telling me… Makoto has a photo here too?" he asked.
Futaba typed quickly and showed him. Akira's eyes went wide as he saw a picture of his lovely girlfriend. It was quite similar in style. A nice candid shot of Makoto. She seemed to be studying in the photo. It had a nice filter that made the photo actually quite professional looking.
"Makoto is VERY POPULAR." Futaba said.
He checks the description.
"Makoto Niijima. Freshman Batch 20XX - The Queen"
"Wow.. How… ironic her name is. Haha." Akira could't help but chuckle.
He looked at the likes and his mind was blown.
Isn't that like a whole batch worth of people from your school?" asked Futaba.
"Yes. That's about the population size of the freshmen this year." said Haru.
Akira continued to read the comments.
"GAH! MAKOTO IS SO PRETTY"
"I have a huge crush on her."
"She picked up my dropped notebook the other day! I'm in love."
"Is she single?!"
"Wow… Well… I mean… Makoto is really pretty… It kinda boosts my ego a little that a lot of people like her…Hehe. But I'm also kinda worried now… I wonder how many people are vying for her?" Akira thought about this. He then thought that this photo shouldn't be a problem if it was all in good fun.
"But what seems to be the problem?" asked Akira.
"Well… the thing is. This photo wasn't posted by any of Makoto's friends. In fact… I'm sure Makoto doesn't even know about the website." said Futaba.
"How do you know that?"
"I checked her phone and web history." Futaba said with a smile.
"Oh…. Well… Should've expected that."
"I tried tracing the photo but it seems to be someone using a device which is preventing me from stopping his posts. I can triangulate his area but that's it." said Futaba.
"So you want me to find who this is and stop him? Is that it?" asked Akira.
"Well… I thought you'd be game to stop this guy." said Futaba.
"I'm not happy someone took a photo of Makoto without her consent. Definitely not. But I don't want anyone getting into trouble by chasing this guy down. It's one photo. Maybe it's best we tell Makoto as well about the situation.
Haru and Futaba however paused. It seemed like there was more to the situation.
"W-what is it?" Akira cautiously asked.
"Well… It's not… just… ONE photo." said Haru.
Futaba started typing quickly and showed her laptop to Akira again. His eyes went wide as he saw there was a GALLERY of different posts of Makoto in various shots. They were all secretly shot too. Ranging from her studying at the library. Eating something at the cafeteria. Speaking in public. Walking along the campus hallways. Etc.
"What the hell?…" Akira started to get mad.
"Is he some kind of stalker? The one who's taking this photos?" said Akira.
"Maybe… He keeps posting it on the website. People continue to like the photos. I tried contacting the admins but they can't stop him from posting either. They're being hacked as well." said Futaba.
"If Mako-chan finds out… I'm not sure what she'll do. Maybe she'll be embarrassed at first, but I don't know what hell will break loose if she finds out. We… don't want her to worry too. Someone might end up trying to hurt her. They're pictures first…but it might escalate further." said Haru.
"That's why… we need you to stop him!"
Akira thought hard. He had to do this but he was only one person.
"I need Ryuji."
*Thursday Afternoon* (The Day Before Makoto Met Up at LeBlanc)
Akira and Ryuji were staying in a certain spot on the university campus of Haru and Makoto. They weren't sure whom the person taking photos of Makoto was. But they knew he was taking photos almost everyday recently from Futaba's research.
Akira took a peek around the corner and saw his girlfriend from the distance. She was sitting on one of the benches around campus. It seemed like she was enjoying her afternoon with a friend outside to enjoy the fresh air. He couldn't help but think she became even more beautiful since the last time he saw her.
"God… I miss her." he said.
Ryuji smiles as he rubs his shoulder.
"Don't worry bro. You're supposed to see her tomorrow anyway. Right now… We got a mission."
Akira was shocked to see how Ryuji was so serious and determined.
"Wow dude. A lot has happened since I left. You're a lot more mature. Haha."
"Well… When I see the punk being a creeper to Makoto, that's when I'll go all out."
"Hey…Remember. We're not sure what kind of person he is. Stick to the plan."
After waiting patiently and keeping an eye out for anything strange, Akira then noticed who they were looking for. It was a thin scrawny guy with really unkempt hair. He looked very fidgety but what was definitely apparent was the fact that he was stealthily trying to take a photo of Makoto. If you were trying to look from the direction where Makoto was, you wouldn't see him. He hid himself pretty well. But Akira wasn't his target, at the same time, Akira was definitely good in finding hidden things. His third eye ability was still really useful.
"Okay… game. Let's do this."
Akira began circling around as Ryuji started to approach. He began walking really fast intentionally towards the man. But he made himself appear that he wasn't paying attention to where he was going. Soon enough, the man noticed Ryuji. He seemed cautious. Ryuji continued to walk carelessly.
Ryuji bumps hard into the man. The man gets frustrated too from the impact. He drops the camera phone he was using. He gets made and places it aside first.
"HEY DOUCHEBAG! WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING?!" said the man.
"ME?! You're blocking MY WAY!" said Ryuji.
Ryuji's strong attitude suddenly intimated the man. He however got his courage back and started shouting back.
"YOU'RE THE ONE AT FAULT HERE. I WAS MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS. YOU BUMPED ME!"
"YEAH…WHAT WERE YOU DOING STANDING HERE? PROBABLY NOTHING IMPORTANT! CAN'T YOU SEE IM BUSY?!" said Ryuji in an intimidating voice.
The man began to panic a little as he thought of what to say. All the while though, Akira snuck around and placed the bug on his phone. It was a quick drop while he walked past the man and Ryuji from behind. The man never noticed. After a few minutes of shouting, Ryuji finally left. The man angrily stepped away as well. All the while, Makoto from the distance was none the wiser.
Akira and Ryuji went around the corner and congratulated each other for the success.
*Back to the present*
"I'm guessing that bug of yours scared him off already." said Akira.
"Yup! I made sure to not activate it until I got through all his equipment such as his computer and so on. Then I began working… Took down the gallery. I don't think we'll see him trying anything funny anytime soon unless he wants everyone to know what kind of person he is…and me crashing every gadget he owns." Futaba triumphantly said.
"Thanks everybody." said Akira.
"So… Akira. I know you don't like how there was a gallery of Makoto's pictures… but… are you interested in seeing the photos for yourself?" Futaba snickered.
"Y-you… got a copy?" Akira said.
"Yup… You are the boyfriend… Maybe…. just maybe it's okay for you to see it…" Futaba winked.
"N-no… I can't. It's wrong."
Akira tried looking away. He turned around for a bit only to see Ryuji and Haru looking at the photos on Futaba's laptop.
"Guys! Come on!"
The three friends were enjoying themselves as they saw through the gallery.
"Mako-chan really is photogenic." said Haru.
Ryuji and Futaba nodded.
Akira couldn't hold himself back. He walked to the rest and started looking too.
"It's a secret… okay?" He asked them.
They all agreed.
Just as they were about to scroll through more, the door to LeBlanc opened.
"Hey guys! I think I left something back here…." said Makoto.
The four of them froze.
"What's everybody… looking…at?" Makoto asked.
"Uhm…" they all said in unison.
That evening became a night the four of them will never forget… Ouch.