I started off with a plan for this story, but by the time I'd written it it came out completely different then I'd originally planned it. My BETA said that it would still fit under the theme it needed, but I felt as if I were stretching it greatly--Rather, I knew I was.

Naoto is fairly OOC in this story, which I apologize for, but happily it still got the needed effect across.


Naoto watched silently as Souji walked past, as if he hadn't even noticed her, making his way down the hall as if he hadn't even seen her. She extended a hand forward, as it to grab his shoulder, freezing as she saw another girl run forward.

"Hey, Senpai! Right on time!" The sleuth watched in silence as Rise approached Souji, latching onto his arm the moment she was within reach, a bright smile on her face. "Ready to go?"

Souji nodded, an awkward smile on his face as he glanced around, the smile slowly melting into a frown. That's odd…

"Senpai, is something wrong?"

"I—No, it's nothing. Let's go." I could have sworn I saw Naoto… It doesn't matter; I'd rather she didn't know about this.

The two left the school quickly; unaware of the silver-blue eyes watching them through a small opening in the classroom door. W-what's going on!? This… this has been going on what has been fourteen days. Why is he-? Naoto slammed the door open, startling a second year who was walking down the hall as she stormed out of the room, eyes flashing as she ran to the front of the school, just in time to see Rise and Souji disappear around the corner.

"Th-that… How could she!?" Naoto's fists clenched at her side, eyes flashing dangerously as she turned around, storming back into the school. "She knew-! She knew I was going to—That today I wanted to tell Senpai-!"

Students dived out of the way as the sleuth stormed toward her locker, nearly ripping the metal door off its hinges as she opened it and pulled her shoes out. Rise-san… How could…? I trusted you. I trusted you when I said that… Tch… I knew… I knew getting close to others was—How could I have been so… so…

Naoto's movement's slowed as she stared dully at the card resting on top of her shoes, her own neat script visible on the front of the envelope. Her throat tightened and vision blurred as she reached for the card, starting at the elegant writing that read Souji Seta. Biting her lip, Naoto dropped her shoes to the ground, slowly switching them with her uniform shoes before setting them back in her locker.

"…Stupid," she muttered to herself. "You're a fool, Shirogane. A fool." I didn't think that Senpai would… "Arrgh!"

A loud clang echoed through the hallway as Naoto slammed her fist into the row of lockers, not so much as wincing as she tore away several layers of skin, causing blood to drip down her hand and down to the floor.

"H-hey! Shirogane-san, are you alright?" A third year asked, approaching Naoto from behind. "Y-your hand! Shouldn't you do see the—"

"I'm fine," Naoto muttered darkly, pushing past the student. "I'm going home. Good day."

"B-but…" The student could only watch as the sleuth walked from the school building, rubbing her eyes stubbornly. I… I never should have trusted Senpai. Never… I was so stupid to think that… And Rise-san… Who wouldn't want someone like her? Talented, pretty, popular… She's any male's 'dream girl'.

The detective's vision began to blur again, eyes narrowing as she rounded a corner, quickening her pace, nearly taking out several small children as she walked.

"I won't forgive them…" Naoto looked at the letter clenched tightly in her first, glaring at the envelope, as it hoping it might suddenly burst into flame. Her jaw clenched, eyebrow twitching as she turned, balling the envelope best she could before throwing it across the street as hard as she could.

"…I… I hate them," she muttered softly under her breath, turning sharply as she ran down the street, not caring where she was going or the condition of her hand.


The next day, Souji took the eastern stairs to get down to the first floor, smiling as he approached Naoto from behind. He reached out, gently grabbing her shoulder as he started to speak, jumping backward when she jerked away sharply, rounding on him as she glared.

"What do you want!?" Her tone was dark and bitter, eyes flashing with an anger he'd only seen there once before.

"N-Naoto? What's wrong? I—"

"What's wrong?" Naoto shouted, causing several other students in the hallway to stop and stare. "What's WRONG!? You should know perfectly well what's wrong! You and Rise-san both!"

"Why are you shouting!?" Souji cried, looking alarmed. "What are you talking about 'You and Rise-san both'? What did we—" The silverette stopped abruptly, eyes widening as he stared at Naoto, a feeling of dread rising from the pit of his stomach.

"N-Naoto, wait a moment, I—"

"You…?" Naoto's face contorted in anger, taking several steps forward, making Souji step back in turn, gasping sharply as he hit the wall. "You never replied to my phone call last night, Senpai. You've been avoiding me for the past two weeks! T-tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Rise-san knew I had planned to give you a letter asking—And yet she still—Couldn't you have at least declined if you were going to spend the night with another girl—or anyone for that matter! ?"

"I—"

"I wanted to spend it together—"

"—Nao—"

"—But… I-I don't know why I bothered to think that—"

"—aoto—"

"—with a 'plain' girl like me when you have someone like—"

"NAOTO!" Souji shouted, causing the sleuth to stop in mid-sentence, staring at him with wide eyes. "I'm not spending Christmas Eve with Rise."

"I—What?"

"That's not what was going on, Naoto…" Souji stepped forward, making the detective flinch as he reached a hand out, cupping her cheek. "Is that what this is all about? You thought… I was going to spend Christmas with Rise?"

"I…" Naoto opened her mouth to speak, finding she had nothing to say, closing it once more. Now that she was hearing Souji say it, a feeling of guilt and self-disgust turned in the pit of her stomach. I…I've acted so childish. To think that I allowed my temper to… I embarrassed not only myself but—I… completely neglected my own self control… He must think I'm so…"

"I'm sorry, Naoto…"

"W-what?" Her gaze jerked upward, a guilty look falling across her features. "N-no, Senpai I… I'm the one who—I shouldn't have shouted like I did. I-I just…"

"I should have said something to you." Souji stepped back and reached into his bag, producing a mass of white fabric. "Rise-san… she's been coming with me to Tatsumi Textiles every day after school for a while now. They—Rise and Kanji that is—have been teaching me… how to knit."

"…H-huh?" Naoto looked dumbstruck as Souji unraveled the white fabric, draping it across Naoto's shoulders, slowly bringing one end up to wrap around her neck, allowing it to fall limply when he finished. "Wh…"

"A scarf…" Souji muttered softly, producing a second scarf and what appeared to be a pair of gloves from his bag. He draped the scarf around his own neck, holding the gloves out to Naoto. "I'd been hoping it would be a surprise… but… given my behavior the past few weeks, I guess you deserve your gift a little early."

"I—Souji-san I—"

"Don't apologize," Souji muttered sofly, shaking his head.

"But I acted completely—"

"Naoto, would you come to my house? Today… and tomorrow? I'd… love nothing more than to spend Christmas Eve with you. The reason I didn't reply to your message... My phone was off, I didn't want to be distracted by anything, because I didn't believe I'd be able to finish in time if I hadn't. Rise was supposed to meet me there after school yesterday, I didn't expect her to wait for me to walk together… That's… when you saw us I assume. I… I thought I saw you in the hallway…"

Naoto bowed her head, hiding her eyes behind the rim of her hat as she gazed at the snow-white gloves in her hands. They were soft, almost watery to the touch. Slipping them on, she found the inside to half a silky texture that was both very warm and soft. They fit her hands perfectly, shaping around figure of her hands.

"Senpai, they're—" A finger was pressed to her lips, causing the sleuth to look up, blinking in surprise.

"Let's forget it all happened, him?" Souji smiled. "It's natural to feel jealous."

"I—Wh-what!?" Naoto blushed furiously. "I-I wasn't jealous I-!"

"Naoto."

"Wh-what?"

"You're shouting again."

Naoto mouthed wordlessly, too embarrassed from both her actions as Souji's words to say anymore.

"Then let's get going before it starts snowing, hm?"

Souji's hand grasped Naoto's as he gently pulled her down the hall and out the doors of the school. As they walked silently down the road, the sleuth's eyes flickered down to her jacket pocket, a light blush gracing her cheeks as she remembered the two matching items she put in there this morning. I… hope he likes them.

"If it helps… Had it been you, I would have been jealous as well. We're only human after all, right?"

"…Y-yes. You're right. I… I'm sorry for how I…"

"Forget it," Souji grinned. "I'd have been worried if you weren't jealous. It…" his cheeks darkened. "…It shows just how much you really care."

"I—Of course I ca—" She stopped, blinking as something white landed on her nose.

The pair looked up as all the negative emotion of the situation melted away, leaving just them and the silent sound of snow falling around them.

"…Merry Christmas, Naoto." Souji muttered, tugging the sleuth closer, wrapping an arm around her shoulders for warmth as they began to walk again.

"…Merry Christmas, Sen--Souji."