Shin Megami Tensei, Persona, and Persona 4 are owned by Atlus. Characters, names, and likeness are used here without permission. This is a work of fiction, and any relation to real events or persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
This story is Rated M for Mature. If you are offended by sexual scenes or adult language, please do not continue.

Persona 4: "1 More Chance!"
By Mayumi-H, a.k.a. BonusParts


Arc I: Signs of Love

1: The Call
4 April 2017, Tuesday, Afternoon.

In the middle of the break between the winter and spring semesters, while enjoying an uncommonly leisurely day at the Yasoinaba Police Department, Officer Satonaka Chie got what she'd later refer to as "The Call" on her mobile phone.

"Hello, Chie-chan?"

Chie smiled at the sound of her best friend's voice. "Yukiko-chan! What's up?" Turning from staring at the clock – her usual afternoon duty as low officer on the ladder – she glanced outside. It had been overcast all day, but, at that moment, a ray of sunlight poked through the clouds, as though prompted by Yukiko's call.

"I'm sorry to bother you at work," Yukiko said. "But, I was wondering if you were free on Thursday evening?"

"For a party?" Chie asked, jumping to the conclusion all on her own.

Yukiko chuckled. "Just a small one."

Chie grinned. "This wouldn't happen to be about somebody's engagement, would it?"

Amagi Yukiko had taken over the managerial duties of her family's generational innkeeping business a few years earlier, and part of those duties was to find herself a capable husband, preferably of similar social stature. For herself, Chie considered the idea of arranged marriage horribly old-fashioned, but Yukiko had accepted it in stride. And, while she'd agreed to participate in a miai for her family's sake, the Amagis' only daughter nonetheless had made it quite clear to anyone within earshot that any acceptable husband would have to be her friend, first, before she married him.

Chie had been very proud of her for that.

As luck had it, Yukiko hadn't had to look far for such a man. The Ichijou family's adopted son, Kou, while not an heir to their lineage, came highly regarded in the circle of Inaba's wealthy elite. He'd been a classmate of theirs in high school, though Chie hadn't actually seen much of Kou since then; Yukiko mentioned once he'd gone to university overseas, to study sports medicine therapy. Still, no one could deny his potential success, not to mention his pleasant disposition. He certainly had Yukiko wrapped around his finger. Or, maybe, it was the other way around.

"I'm so excited for you!" Chie told her now, giggling.

"Chie-chan." To anyone else's ear, Yukiko's voice might have sounded annoyed, but Chie knew her well enough to recognize that tone as simple embarrassment. "Don't go spreading that around, please. You're not even supposed to know, yet!"

Chie laughed as she swung around in her chair. "As if you could keep something like that from me!"

Yukiko hummed back at her, and Chie got the distinct feeling of being scolded. But the other woman quickly chuckled again, while she asked, "So, do you think you can come?"

"For you? Anything." She straightened herself in her chair, just as Detective Doujima Ryotarou, laden with case files, came her way.

"Oops!" Chie muttered into her phone. "Got to go. Message me the details, and I'll be there. Later!" Without waiting for Yukiko's goodbye, she hung up, then sat up, in an effort to look attentive for her one-time mentor. "Sir."

"At ease, Satonaka," Doujima told her, waving one hand. "Your shift's almost over, isn't it?"

Chie smiled. "Yes, sir." She relaxed a bit, leaning over her arms as she asked, "How's Nanako-chan doing?" She asked mostly for conversation's sake, but also because she sincerely liked Doujima's tween-age daughter. She might have drifted from some of her other friends over the years since high school, but she still considered herself a kind of surrogate big sister to Nanako.

Doujima plopped his armful of files on the desk and nodded. "She's fine, thank you. This is her last year of primary school."

"Wow. I'll bet she's excited!"

Doujima grunted. "Her old man's not thrilled," he muttered. "I can tell you that much. She's getting to be more and more like a young lady every day."

Chie stifled a snicker. She liked Doujima himself, too, but he reminded her of her own father in too many ways: hyper-sensitive, hyper-protective, and hyper-concerned about his only daughter. Of course, it would probably always be the way of fathers to want to their little girls to be little girls forever. She shuddered to think what her own father would say – or do – if he knew the things that had gone on in Chie's head, or come out of her mouth...or happened in her bedroom.

Doujima sighed. "Well, it's neither here nor there." He tapped a file to straighten the papers inside, and jerked his head back over his shoulder, toward the doors. "You should head straight home tonight," he said, reminding Chie once more of her father. "We're supposed to get heavy rain."

She saluted him, but with some affection. "Yes, sir."

He answered with a less formal salute, then went into the station proper.

Chie watched him go, then got up from the desk to peek out the doors. The brief sunshine she'd noticed while talking with Yukiko was but a memory, now, the clouds having converged on the town like revelers at a party.

. . .

Evening.

. . .

Clutching her towel around her chest, Chie looked for something to wear in the piles of clothes scattered about the floor. She had a strong sense of discipline when it came to work, or to her training, but it simply didn't extend to her housekeeping skills. Luckily, she didn't have that much space in her studio apartment for such negligence to cause too much a mess.

She pulled a pair of panties from one file of folded laundry and slipped into them beneath her towel, then began to root around for a shirt.

She lived alone in her flat near the town's main road, but she still felt uncomfortable walking around naked, especially in front of the television. Yukiko would have called such paranoia silly, but Chie worried that Kuma – or, worse, someone else – could see her through the TV. A few times, she covered the screen with a blanket or towel, but that just made her feel stupid. Of course, it was just as stupid to be so worried about a TV, but she'd never liked examining her own faults, so she didn't push it.

Thinking about Kuma, she paused.

No one had heard from him in a long time, and she hadn't ventured into the TV world since the last time the old Investigation Team had gone inside together, over five years ago. She wondered suddenly if she could even go in at all.

She pulled on an old, short-sleeved PE shirt, doing a shimmy-dance out of her towel at the same time. When she opened her eyes again, she found herself looking directly at the television's blank screen.

Rain pelted against the sliding door of her patio, and she was, abruptly, reminded of another rainy night like this, when she'd dared a new transfer student and that loudmouth Hanamura to gaze into their blank TV screens at midnight, to see their soulmate...and they'd ended up seeing a murder.

Glancing at the clock next to her futon, she felt her heart stop a moment.

"Midnight," she said softly, to no one.

Swallowing back a lump in her throat, she turned back to the screen.

Maybe there were still some remnants left of the magic that first created the Midnight Channel and its otherworldly visions. Maybe Kuma would appear to her, to ease her loneliness. Maybe, this time, she really would see her soulmate.

She stared for a full minute, but nothing happened: no snowy interference, no Shadowy apparition. No soulmate.

"Stupid," she scolded herself.

Slipping beneath the blanket of her futon, the cool fabric offered a familiar – if disappointing – shock back to reality. She wouldn't find her true love by staring into a TV screen.

So, snuggling against the pillow, she closed her eyes, to dream of what could have been, and what might be.


AUTHOR'S NOTES:
This story takes place approximately five years after the True Ending of the game, so spoilers abound throughout. It's based on the Japanese version of the game, and, since it is set in Japan, you'll see references to Japanese culture, language, and customs throughout.

This is also a Mature-rated story, with adult situations of a decidedly sexual nature. There is fluff, and drama, and angst, but primarily this story is about Chie's friendships and loves, most notably with her fellow Investigation Team members. Everyone has a part to play here, though (and I do mean everyone), so it's not all about Chie, with no one else getting a chance to shine.

This story is a long one, but I like to think no one's story of finding love and finding yourself can be told in only a few thousand words.

I welcome your feedback, so please don't be afraid to leave a review, or to send me a message via my Author Page.

Thanks!

NEXT TIME:
Chapter 2: Together Again

The gang's all here...save two.