The seventh in my 100-themes challenge series. I don't know if anyone was aware, but I changed the story "Gestures" to "Simplicity" making it the fourth theme challenge. I will likely rewrite a new story for that theme once I hit 100, but for now--I know it is (slightly) cheating, but as I wrote the story recently I wanted to include it within the 100. Still, should I finish the challenge early I will write a new story for the "Simplicity" theme. I just felt that it fit nicely...
In any case, here is the next story. I realize there was only implied SoujixNaoto in this and a (tiny) amount of YosukexChie. Given the theme title, I know that isn't what the original intent of it was but when I saw it... I felt I had to do to the theme justice and pull something oddly illrational.
"Everyday's great at your Junes!"
Naoto bit back a groan as she heard the tune for the one-hundred and sixty-third time that afternoon. The infamous 'investigation squad' had gathered together for a group study session, and so far the only people who had actually managed to study anything at all were herself, Souji, and Yukiko. From the moment they took their seats, the jokes started and not a single book had been opened.
Teddie, the ring-leader of the chaos, was laughing loudly as Yosuke leaned across the table, failing madly as he struggled to grab the bear's fur.
"TED! I swear if you don't take it back-!"
"Yosuke, calm down!" Chie shouted, grabbing Yosuke's shirt and forcing him back into his seat. "T-Teddie was only joking… Right, Teddie?" The martial artist's tone had turned bitter and Naoto immediately recognized it as Chie's 'agree-if-you-know-what's-good-for-you' voice.
"Kidding!? Kidding!? He wasn't kidding at all! He-"
"Come on baby, don't fight over me." Teddie cooed, only adding fuel to Yosuke and Chie's fire as he winked, causing unrealistic sparkles to fly from his figure. Naoto blinked, frowning as she watched the yellow substance shimmer in the air.
"Naoto? Are you alright?" Souji asked, leaning closer to get a better look at the face of the girl sitting next to him. "You look like you're getting a migraine."
"It isn't even worth applying logic to this phenomenon," the sleuth muttered. "When one is goes into a world beyond the TV almost daily after school, the idea of logic is fairly warped. Still…" she trailed off, watching as one of the 'sparkles' landed on her paper and sparkled weakly, finally dying and fading into nothing. "…I can't help but question how he manages to pull such unusual occurrence off. On demand at that. It—"
"Yeah!" Souji and Naoto jumped as Rise—who'd unbeknownst to them had been listening in on their conversation—jumped up, pointing at Teddie. "Naoto-kun is right! How are you able to sparkle like that!?"
"Huh?" Yosuke and Chie looked up, abruptly forgetting their fight as they stared at Teddie, who was staring at Rise, looking like he wasn't sure if her question had been serious or rhetorical.
"How do I… huh? Sparkle?"
"Yeah!" Rise ran around the table, leaning in to examine Teddie closely, as if expecting to find a hidden packet of glitter hidden down the young blond's sleeves. "I mean… Where do they come from? They can't just appear out of nowhere can they? You must be hiding them!"
"Teddie isn't hiding anything, Rise-chan. I just sorta… make them."
"But how!? You don't have anything to make them with and—" Rise stopped, eyes going wide, gasping sharply as she stared at Teddie in awe. "Oh… No way!"
"…What?" Teddie blinked, looking even more confused than before. "W-what? I don't get it! Rise-chan, what's wrong?" The bear looked to Yosuke, who shrugged and turned his attention to Rise, waiting for the idol to explain herself.
"I know why you sparkle…" Rise muttered, a serious look falling on her face, nodding slowly as she silently answered her own questions. "I get it…"
"Get what?" Teddie whined, looking upset. "Teddie doesn't know why he can sparkle! He just does! It—"
"You're a vampire, aren't you!?"
"…Wha-?" Teddie blinked, looking completely flabbergasted as Naoto, across the table, choked on her drink, causing Souji to jump up and start patting her back, trying to calm the sleuth's violent coughs. Kanji, who'd been trying to silently keep out of the entire mess nearly swallowed his topsicle whole as he gapped at Rise, unsure if she was joking or not.
"A… vampire? How the hell…?" Yosuke began, frowning. "What do sparkles have to do with vampires?"
"Everything!" Rise shouted dramatically, throwing her arms in the air. "Don't you know!?"
"…No. I don't," Yosuke muttered. "And I have a feeling I'm better off not knowing… I'm gonna go grab something to eat. Does--"
"Yosuke Hanamura! I want-!"
"Fine… Fine! Geez..." Yosuke rolled his eyes, holding back an annoyed groan. "Come on Chie, let's go get your stupid-"
"Steak! Steaaaak! And Yosuke pays for everything!"
"The things I do for you..."
"You know you love me."
"Yeah, yeah... Just hurry up before my wallet changes its mind."
"Steak!" Chie cheered happily again. "Free steak!" Jumping around the bench, Chie grabbed Yosuke's arm, dragging the 'Junes boy' across the food court and over to the food counter.
"Rise-san," Naoto gasped, taking in a deep breath as she finally recovered from inhaling half the cup of water she'd been holding. "I hardly think that Teddie—"
"Naoto-kun! You can't deny it! He has all the signs!"
"All the—Rise-san, you're just—"
"He's pale," Rise pointed to the blond's skin, "He's cute—"
"Aw, Rise-chan! Do you really think I'm—"
"He's definitely not human."
"Hey! Teddie is—"
"And he sparkles!" The idol slammed her fist against the table as if her statement had settled the matter. "He must be vampire!"
"Rise? What… what are you talking about?" Souji spoke up hesitantly, wondering if he'd regret bringing himself into the conversation at all.
"How Teddie is—"
"—a vampire. I understand that. But what—"
"Twilight." Souji blinked, turning to look at Naoto in awe, who was—in turn—staring at Kanji who'd spoken at the same time as herself.
"Kanji-kun? You've read Twilight?" Rise asked, her attention completely pulled form Teddie as she started at the—now very nervous—male. "You—Really?"
"I… uh… w-well… uh…" Kanji sputtered, looking around the area for an excuse to leave the table. "I—Y-yeah. I mean… I've only seen it. It's not like I read the entire series or anything. I just happened to see a lot of people in my class with the book and I wanted to see what the big hype about it was so…"
"Isn't your class mostly girls?" Rise asked, grinning. "Oh! That's soooo cute! Kanji-kun! I can't believe you actually read it! And I thought it was shocking for Naoto-kun to read it but—"
"I did not read it." Naoto growled, a light blush dusting her cheeks. "You forced the book into my hands claiming that if I didn't complete it…" the sleuth trailed off, her cheeks doubling in color.
"That if you didn't read it…?" Souji leaned in, now genuinely curious. "What was Rise going to do?"
"N-nothing," the detective muttered, opening her science book with more force than needed. "Now—"
"I said that if she didn't read it that I would tell you—"
"That is enough, Rise-san. In the end I finished the first novel just as you requested. Now, I believe we came here to study, and I think we should resume doing so before it gets late and we're all forced to return home."
"But, Naoto-kun! We haven't found out if Teddie—"
"Rise-san, sit down. Teddie isn't—nor will he ever be—a vampire."
"How can you be so sure? He sparkles!"
Naoto bit back a groan as she hid her face in her hands, silently wishing she'd never answered the phone that morning when Yosuke had called to tell her about the study group.
"I dunno, Rise… I think Naoto might be right. I mean… Teddie doesn't have super strength or speed or anythin' and 'sides. His eyes are like… blue. Not gold. If anything his Shadow would have been the vampire."
Rise's eyes went wide as she stared at Kanji, nodding furiously, pigtails flying all over. "Oh man! I didn't even think of that! We gotta go back to the TV world! Come on, Teddie! We have to bring out your shadow again!"
"Wha-!? W-wait! Teddie doesn't want his Shadow to come back! W-wait! Rise-chan! Uwaagh!"
"Hey! Wait for me! I wanna know if he's a vampire too!" Kanji scrambled off the bench, running after Rise—who was dragging Teddie, leaving the other three behind.
Souji bit back a laugh as Naoto began rubbing her forehead, eyes closed tightly, attempting to calm the throbbing sensation that had started in her temple. He reached over, pressing his thumbs against the back of her neck as he began to give the sleuth a massage, and smiled as he felt her relax under his hands.
"Um…" Yukiko, who'd been silent nearly the entire time, began, looking confused. "So… What is Twilight?"
Naoto groaned, making Souji wince as her head hit the table with a small 'thunk'.
"Hey, where did Rise-san and the others go?" Yosuke asked as he walked up to the table, holding a plate of freshly cooked steak croquettes out of Chie's grasp. "They go home or something?"
Yukiko shook her head, frowning. "No, they went to find Teddie's Shadow. Kanji-kun said he might be a vampire."
"What? You mean that wasn't settled? Geez, I thought we came here for studying…"
"Oh… Now that I think about it... That would make sense." Chie said thoughtfully, "I mean after all, everyone knows vampire's have yellow eyes, and Teddie's are blue…"
"Senpai?" Naoto's muffled voice drifted up from her arms, causing the silverette to look down.
"Hm? What is it, Naoto?" He asked, moving closer to hear her better.
"…You're far stronger than I've been giving you credit for. You've been putting up with this since you arrived in Inaba, haven't you?"
"Well—" He started, cut off as another voice could be heard.
"Aww!" Rise whining as she, Kanji ,and Teddie made their way back towards the table. "I guess he wasn't a vampire after all… How disappointing. I wanted to meet Edward."
"…Guess not," Kanji sighed as he sat back down, looking almost as disappointed as Rise. "…Whoa. What if he's like… a vampire-werewolf hybrid or something!?"
Another dull 'thunk' could be heard as Naoto hit her head against the textbook again, fighting the urge to groan loudly in frustration.
Souji laughed lightly, grinning. "Naoto, you have no idea."
Vampire or not, the true question is... Can Teddie out-sparkle Edward?