Disclaimer: I don't own Persona 4
Happy Valentine's Day!
Beta: ARIGATOU teh 321 stars for betaing. Always so helpful in so many ways...like laughing at my stuff (in humor?) or helping me find this...pig for my piano.
Beta: LOL, thanks to PhantomBlaze for betaing my story on LJ. Rofl, man, go take a break. I know you're busy.
Technically, I missed V-day, since it's the 15th in Japan. Which means V-day was on a Friday. But for the sake of the fanfic, V-day shall be on an American Saturday. However, I by the time I finished this fanfic, it was no longer V-day. Sigh...it doesn't matter anymore.
One-Shot: Of Whims and Love
It was the pinnacle of his life; never had he felt so ecstatic about the month of February. Even though his departure from Inaba was in a couple of months, he couldn't have felt more complete, more happy. He had a loving family and of course, a wonderful, no..., AWESOME girlfriend to come with the package: Shirogane Naoto. He felt a puff of pride when he was finally able to win her love and affections. Things such as "accidentally" bumping into her and the sorts was harder than it looked, it took months of meticulous planning at night. Ah, it was pure bliss: a blushing Naoto or a flustered Naoto that was now targeted towards him alone.
He felt like a kid, hightailing towards the rising sun on a pair of roller-skates. Naoto was his love and his alone.
At least that was true until a few weeks ago.
For whatever reason it was, his precious navy-haired detective had been avoiding him. He would wave to her in the hallways, only to get a curt nod before the detective pivoted her heels and walked away.
Then, there were the times when he called her. It was his absolute, unbending ritual to give her calls at random times throughout the week for the sole purpose of hearing a babbling Naoto trying to collect her mind from the surprise. Afterwards, when she finally got a hint of his actions, she no longer had full-blown astonishment in her words but a tinge of anticipation in each syllable. Now...there was nothing but a "hi" and then a "sorry, I'm busy with [insert excuse]" in less than a couple of seconds. There was always a reason why she was busy, and at first, he never suspected anything because she is a famous detective who belonged to the renowned Shirogane Family.
However, she could at least spare him a few moments, right?
Those thoughts ran rampant in his mind as he sat on the slab of cement, which stretched for meters on the rooftop of Yasogami High School.
"I...I think...Naoto...Naoto no longer loves me." Souji voiced in defeat, head hung down in total despair.
Yousuke, who had been called up to the rooftop by a gloomy Souji, had been standing in expectation of some end-of-the-world news. Upon hearing Souji's words, he gagged on his strawberry soda and coughed profusely; a hand pounded onto his chest to collect his breath.
Yousuke finally wheezed, "Huh?!"
A brief silence fell onto the pair as Souji planted his elbows onto firm thighs, resting his chin on interlocked fingers.
"Naoto...doesn't love me anymore." The silver-haired boy lowered his face and rubbed the bridge of his nose, expelling a deep breath. He swallowed and then peered up to Yousuke, who was still standing in shock from the statement.
"I mean...she hasn't been talking to me lately. I...would call her, but she never has time for me. I don't even see her outside of school anymore..." Souji trailed off, silver orbs staring solemnly at the pale gray pavement.
Yousuke contemplated for a few moments, refusing the urge to raise a eyebrow in utter disbelief. This was practically a talk that you would hear from a deprived female who had lost her boyfriend to a celebrity. Plainly, Souji was the female of the relationship.
"Well," Yousuke tested his words nervously, "maybe...maybe she's busy?" The orange-head chuckled softly in an attempt to lighten up the atmosphere around them, which had now turned into a stagnant fog of unrequited love and worries.
Suddenly, Souji threw his arms up in the air in frustration and yelled, "That's the thing!"
The former leader now got up and paced over Yousuke, grabbing onto his jacket collar and tugged at it desperately.
"I thought she was busy at first, but she's been avoiding me for a month already!" Souji tugged back and forth insanely. "For a month!"
"Woah-woah, man! Calm down!" Yousuke was rocking with the momentum; he held onto his strawberry soda for his dear life, while his free hand made a lunge for his darling headphones.
Slowly, the silver-haired boy let go, slumping his shoulders; his arms gradually returning to his body and hung in sadness.
"Even Nanako is avoiding me..." Souji whispered woefully.
Yousuke frowned slightly, finally catching the graveness of his pal's situation. There must be something wrong if even Nanako was avoiding him. Considering the possibilities, Souji has been a bit weird lately, so perhaps he's been scaring the females--excluding Chie, who might be a bit more...manlier than the rest. Yousuke shook the last part out of his head and screamed an apology in his mind; he didn't want the possibility of Chie giving him a critical hit to the nads, even if it was a just figure of his imagination.
The orange-head placed a reassuring hand on his pal's slumped shoulders. Souji looked up in response as Yousuke winked. "Hey, don't worry! I'm sure they've just been busy studying for exams or something...or Naoto might be tangled up in some hard case, and...hmm, Nanako might've made some new friends."
Oh man, that last part wasn't good. Quickly, Yousuke continued, chuckling nervously. "Nanako is a girl, haha. Sh-she does need some girls to play with every now and then."
The orange-head heaved a big breath and finished with a wide grin, giving his friend a thumbs up. "Don't worry, man. Today's Valentine's Day after all! Without a doubt cupid will be with you."
A small smile tugged at Souji's lips; they rose slightly from the words. Hope lit his visage as he closed his eyes and replied. "You're right. I'm just overreacting. Well," the silver-haired boy turned around and grabbed his bag. He turned back to Yousuke, "Thank you."
The pair gave each other a friendly high five.
The headphones-clad teen, "Anytime, man. Friends help each other in times of need."
Souji nodded, exiting the rooftop. Yousuke continued grinning until the sight of his friend was gone. Finally, he sighed, taking a sip of his strawberry soda as he thought to himself.
Souji, you lucky bastard...
XOXOXO XOXOXO XOXOXO
Feeling a bit down still, Souji decided to go home. He wasn't in the mood for basketball practice, so after the final bell rang, he padded towards Kou to give him a heads up. However, his friend was no-where to be found. He contemplated that he might've been inside the blob of girls who were screaming the basketball teen's name with fervor. Naoto was no-where to be seen as well.
Souji sighed again, reaching his shoe locker, hoping that some sign of Naoto's affections might be in there. The little metal door clanked open and some love letters and chocolate fell out. He bent down, picking everything up simultaneously. He glanced in anticipation at the names of the senders. Heartbeat quickening, he double checked the items. Then, he slowly stood up after tucking the presents into his bag, shoulders slumping.
Naoto's name was not in the pile. He expelled another breath as he walked back home.
XOXOXO XOXOXO XOXOXO
"I'm home!" Souji called out, shutting the door behind him. Instead of silence or "welcome back," he heard lots of clanking. Sudden footsteps could be heard, getting louder by the second. He paused hesitantly as Nanako appeared, running towards him at full speed. Then, she stopped abruptly, panting slightly.
"Wel..welcome back onii-chan!" Nanako gave a weak smile. Souji gave a soft grin in response. "I'm home." He made his way towards Nanako, in hopes of seeing what the commotion was. The child's eyes widened; she waved her arms frantically to prevent him from entering the house any further.
He raised an eyebrow suspiciously. "Nanako...what's wrong?" Nanako now clung onto his waist for dear life. Despite her protests, Souji continued his mission, dragging Nanako with him and turned for the kitchen.
"No, onii-chan!" Souji was shocked; silver pools glistened with surprise. His mouth was agape as he let go of his bag; it fell onto the floor with a soft thud. Everything happened too quickly. He took in his surroundings, observing every object in overtime. There was the kitchen; yes, he knew that. On the stove were two pots; yes, that was normal. Ah, on the kitchen counter were bowls of various sizes placed everywhere. Then, there was also this dark brown powder flung everywhere. It littered the kitchen floor unbelievably. He twitched his toes, feeling a bit of the powder on them.
His eyes snapped to the most prominent figure in the room, swallowing for reality. The apron, the light blue apron that hugged the figure's curves so perfectly, sent his heart-rate sky-rocketing. Those bits, those pinches of powder that made a comfy home out of the figure's precious cap and the tip of her nose, nearly caused a sudden knockout. Then, there was a trickle of a trail of thick, brown liquid that streamed down one smooth, alabaster cheek.
Souji breathed in deeply, taking in the rich aroma that filled the air. Expelling the air from his lungs, he looked carefully at the figure.
"Se-sempai..." She replied in a startled tone, blushing at the sound of her name. She was frozen at the sight of him. There was nothing to be guilty of but she felt a twinge of it anyways as she quickly hid the wooden spoon behind her.
"Um..." Nanako dug her foot into the floor, rubbing the surface with her sock nervously. Her innocent eyes swirled in shame as her head hung down; small pigtails gave a minuscule swing in the air.
"Na-Naoto-oneechan...didn't want onii-chan to know..." The little girl finished in a tiny voice; face flushed. Souji felt his heart skip a beat at the scene. He calmly placed a hand on his chest to soothe his quickening heartbeats, while his mind flew off to lala-land. Of course, a good boyfriend always acts placid in front of his love. Never will he ever show his worried face or his fan-boy moments to her.
"Go-gomenasai!" Naoto apologized with deep bow; eyes squeezed shut.
Taken back by her words, Souji's mind was sent whirling in confusion. He thought for a second before replying carefully.
"What are you apologizing for?"
Meanwhile, Nanako voiced something about the laundry and took the chance to get away from the situation. The pair was left alone. A hand went to shift her cap back and forth as Naoto resumed her posture.
"Please give me time to collect my thoughts," Naoto peered at herself and noticed how her clothes were in a disarray, "and perhaps time to change into more suitable clothing. I'll...I'll explain everything afterwards." With that, the navy-haired girl made his way past her, grabbing a bag of clothes she had bought with her and padded softly towards the restroom. Souji picked up his bag as well, placed it on the couch, and then proceeded to wait outside his house.
XOXOXO XOXOXO XOXOXO
"Sorry to keep you waiting." Naoto appeared from the door an hour or so later, fully cleansed of all foreign particles whatsoever. Clad in her school uniform, Naoto held onto her school bag. She faced at Souji with a composed visage.
"Shall we discuss this over at the gazebo near the floodplains?"
The older teen nodded in affirmation and soon they were walking side by side. Silence fell upon them. The sound of dissonated footfalls reverberated in his ears. He cast a side-glance towards Naoto every now and then, waiting for the young girl to say something. The pair finally arrived to the floodplains after what seemed like perpetual muteness; Naoto abruptly slowed her pace. Lips parted, voicing collected thoughts.
"I was busy..."
The silver-haired teen knew that probability years ago; his ears perked up for more, slackening his pace as well.
"At first, I sought to prepare for this day earlier. However, I possessed zero culinary skills. Please, do not tell Satonaka-sempai, Amagi-sempai, or Kujikawa-san this... but, pertaining to culinary matters, I would rather not entrust myself to them."
Souji chuckled softly, expecting the detective to do the same. However, he noticed her mind was in full contemplation. Soft winds blew by as the pair took a few more steps, this time into a shadow.
"Thus, there was no one to instruct me on how to formulate...some homemade chocolates. Since, I did not want to rely on...manufactured goods, I pushed my plans towards a further date. That day...became the next...and then the following..." Her voice trailed off.
They stopped upon Naoto's cue. He could tell his love was struggling to find the right words; sometimes, just sometimes, he wished she wasn't so formal in her explanations. Even though her formal way with words was a habit, Souji was sure that she had difficulty with terminology at times.
Tilting her cap down with a free hand, that told Souji she was ready to continue.
"Somewhere along the way, my grandfather received a new case, so I became his assistant. In the meantime, I avoided you because I did not want to disappoint you; I knew your perceptiveness would immediately see through my plans. I resolved to avoid you until I was ready. I...never knew how long that would take."
The pair was out of the tree's speckled shadow. The sky was a gradient of blue, absent of clouds. Bright yellow rays fell onto them, painting the couple in a buoyant glow.
"In my free moments, I would search the bookstore for recipes; yet, the recipes in them were made for no beginner. Hence, I would sulk here, while I thought of other possibilities."
They padded towards the final shadow, which covered their visages. Souji had kept quiet throughout her entire explanation, unable to find his voice. He was astounded to find out the lengths in which his Naoto was going through in order to make him some chocolate. Yet, his chest panged with guilt when he also knew how much turmoil she faced as well. He cursed and thanked Saint Valentine silently in his heart.
They stepped out of the shadow again.
"Then...one day, Nanako appeared before me, questioning what was wrong. That was a week ago, but before I knew, today arrived."
Naoto and Souji fell into silence. They pivoted their heels slightly and turned for gazebo. Blades of grass flattened in their wake; Souji was able to hear a morsel of dampness in his footfalls.
They stopped now, a couple meters away from the gazebo. Naoto turned towards her love. She closed her eyes and listened to nature. The hand that held her bag angled higher to a greater elevation, while another unclasped its lock. Slowly, the free hand dug in and pulled out an item. Wrapped in a simple bow, the item had a clear covering, which showed the contents inside. Souji flushed with glee; it was a bag of homemade chocolate.
"I...I have no clue as to the taste." Cheeks gave off a red hue. "But...but, I hope you will accept this!" She protruded the small baggy so fast towards him that it nearly knocked out his breath.
Souji simply gave a soft grin, accepting the present with two thankful hands.
"Thank you, Naoto. Can...I try it?" He received a quick nod as an answer. Hopeful, bluish gray orbs stared as the blushing girl requested politely.
"Is...is it possible for us to sit under the gazebo?"
XOXOXO XOXOXO XOXOXO
The blissful teen gave a sigh of utter felicity as he plopped another chocolate in his mouth. It was a taste of heaven. He believed fully well at that moment that it was. His soul was about to fly away as he closed his eyes in mirth, feet desperately wanting to swing in delight. The touch of rich cocoa melted on the tip of his tongue. As the coating of chocolate dissolved, a mixture of ripe blueberry and strawberry filling flooded his mouth with a declaration of adoration.
The feeling of a kid, hightailing towards the rising sun on a pair of roller-skates, returned to him.
Naoto watched her Souji with care; bluish pools emblazoned with affection. Despite all the setbacks, she was pleased to see him in such a cheerful mood. Chuckling to herself, the navy-haired detective mustered the courage to surprise Souji for a second time. Gradually, the lithe body leaned towards the stronger one; young, lustrous lips edging for unsuspecting ones.
Soon, their watches gave a soft, synchronized beep.
Their distance was less than a meter...actions tinged in rich cocoa and the smell of fresh fruit, hidden by the helpful shadow of the gazebo.
"I love you."
Ah, I was almost late...or I am late for Valentine's Day! Hmm, well I wrote this considering how Naoto might've prepared for Valentine's day. Since I'm a cook and a girl, I found this highly amusing to write.
I might make a sequel for White Day, where Souji gives something back, haha. This Souji might've been a bit on crack, since I wanted to have a fanboy-chara Souji.
Review and show me some love -winks-.