Author's Notes: First of all, I'm sorry for taking such a long time to update. Recently my laptop was infected by a weird virus and it prevents me from writing. But well, it's okay now. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter as well…

Disclaimer: Shin Megami Tensei along with the Persona Series, are all Atlus'…


~Single Key of Two Hearts~

:o: Her Side :o:

I've never thought that… everything will turn out this way… That meeting them would change me so much. They taught me how to have faith in others, as to how it'd feel to have friends… But, I do realize, the one who changed me most, the one who changed me from my every core is… him. He always made me feel that I'm… I'm precious, I'm needed, but unlike the others, he never saw me as a tool, which would be thrown away when my usefulness has dried up…He always sees me as who I really am… It's like, we… needed each other… He needs me, and I need him. And most importantly, he's the one who taught me the most important thing which no one else can teach me. Something that has became an answer to my every existence, which made the pain I endure all this time become worthwhile… He taught me how to… love someone dearly…

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Shirogane Residence (Inaba)

Evening

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"I'm home." The detective said while opening the front door of her house.

"Ah, welcome home, Naoto-sama."

"Thank you, Yakushiji-san."

"Dinner will be ready soon, Naoto-sama."

"Oh, sure, I'll eat dinner after I take a shower first."

After saying so, the detective walked the stairs and get into her room. Her room was a blue-centric one, with some neutral colors of the property. She put her favorite hat on her study desk and opened her wardrobe to draw some clean clothes. Before entering the bathroom, she unbuttoned her coat, revealing her pale, white skin. Just when she takes a step to head to the bathroom, she'd just realized the grip of the watch on her left wrist. In the watch was displayed:

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18.10 PM

Distance: Out of reach

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She returned to her study desk, releasing watch from her left wrist and put it on the table. She takes a very good care of the watch, just like every item in her possession, even so, the watch always gets an extra treatment from her than the other items. Even though the watch is water-proofed, she wouldn't risk it to be wet. And other than those times, the watch was surely resting around her left wrist. Well, the reason of all that are obvious enough, it is the watch she made by herself and more over, the watch has a clone, which is now resting around the wrist of her most beloved person on earth. She smiled while giving the watch a last glance on her table, then proceeded into the bathroom for a shower.


After taking a shower, the detective took her digital handmade watch from her desk and put it back on her left wrist. She left her room, taking the steps of the grand circular stair, heading towards the dining room. By the time she reached the dining room, her grandfather's secretary, Yakushiji, along with her dinner, a sushi set, has been waiting for her.

Giving a glance towards the dining table, the sleuth pulled one of the chairs and sat on it. She drew a clean plate and a pair of chopsticks, before she took some pieces of the sushi, she asked the secretary.

"Is there anything special occurring today? It's unusual for us to have such a dinner…"

"No, there's nothing special. By the way, Naoto-sama, how's Shirogane-sama?" The secretary asked the sleuth with a formal tone in his voice.

"Oh, you mean grandpa… Really, Yakushiji-san, you should've stopped addressing me and grandpa so formally, I believe grandpa had told you this several times too… As for grandpa, I believe that he must've been on the plane by now, on his way to America… By the way, Yakushiji-san, have you eaten your dinner yet? The detective asked curiously with a pair of chopsticks lingering in her grip.

"Well… As the matter of truth, I haven't—"

"You're more than welcome to join me, then." The sleuth said swiftly. Feeling that more resistances will be coming from the secretary, the young sleuth continued on. "And, once again, as what I and grandpa have ever said to you, Yakushiji-san, please stop being so modest around us, moreover, I don't think I can finish all of this by myself. I believe it'll be a shame to discard this, won't it?

After hearing the detective's statement, the secretary understood that further resistance will be futile. He sighed, then pulled a chair in front of the sleuth and sat on it. He took a clean plate and a pair of chopsticks.

"Well then, let's eat."

After saying so, the youth glanced at her dinner and started to pick some of them to her plate. She picked some kani roll, maki roll, unagi, tuna maki and not to be forgotten, her favorite california roll. As she took her favorite sushi, her lips formed a soft smile. Then she took some wasabi and poured some soyu before she ate her dinner. Soon after the sleuth finished taking the sushi, the secretary took some pieces to his own plate as well. When the secretary took a bite of a california roll, he was surprised. In his opinion, the taste was incredibly good, but at the same time, he could hear the youth in front of him muttered: "His california rolls are still the best…" Hearing that, the secretary has an inkling of who might the detective meant, on his reflexes, he said, "Seta-san, is it?"

"H-huh? Wh-what?" The youth's eyes widened when she heard the name, obviously flustered.

"Oh, forgive my rudeness, it's just that I heard that Seta-san is quite a cook."

"W-well, it's true… But, how could you know that?"

"Information spreads fast nowadays, Naoto-sama, especially in a small town like this. And now, I think almost everyone knew about his talent in cooking as much as they knew about his relationship with y—"

Having an idea about what might the secretary'll say, the blue-haired girl stood up suddenly and cut her grandpa's secretary's unfinished words, "Th-Thank you for the meal!" Just after she said that, she took her dirty plate and put it into the sink in her kitchen. Before she climbed the stair, the detective said, "G-Good night, Yakushiji-san" without even looking at him, trying as hard as she could to hide the crimson shades on her cheeks.


"W-what was that?! I didn't know that everyone knew about… Ugh! No wonder grandpa asked me about those things earlier…He suddenly asked me whether I'd found someone who's special and very important to me. As he asked me that question, I can feel heat rising to my cheek. I lowered my visor and look down, as an attempt of hiding the blush on my cheeks. And at last, I braced myself to answer my grandfather with a little squeak of "yes". The detective sighed as she thought of the incident which occurred when she stayed with her grandpa for the weekend. Then, she headed to the bathroom to brush her teeth and returned to her bedroom to rest herself on her bed.

As she rested herself on her bed, she stares blankly at her room's ceiling, memories of the past she spend with him rushed into her mind. She recalled meeting him for the first time at Tatsumi Textiles, when she investigated the murder case and to warn Kanji Tatsumi, whom she believed will be the next victim since he had appeared in the local TV news. She sighed and her lips formed a soft smile, "At that time, I've already had an inkling that they're connected with the case, and when I thought of it now, I guess I already had an interest for them… well, him." Memories kept on flowing in her mind, her transfer to Yasogami High, her shadow, her persona, and also the starting point between them, the mysterious challenge card from the so-called Phantom Thief, "At first, I got myself transferred to solve the case with a better approach, but then, I found myself stuck with all of them, to the Port Island, the club… The youth chuckled when she remembered the events happening in Escapade club in Port Island, how the idol and one of her senpai got drunk just because of the atmosphere there which results in the crazy events going on there. But… "When I asked them about their connection to the case, Yukiko-senpai and Rise-san told me something about the TV world and Personas… Of course I didn't believe them, but when I think of it now, it will be ridiculous either way, whether I'd believe them, or not. I remember seeing Yosuke-senpai and Chie-senpai's faces lose some color when they said it, while I sense that senpai's face glitches a bit, but still, who'll believe that kind of thing if you didn't actually experience it yourself?"

The sleuth thought to herself while turning her body to face the wall beside her bed, reminiscing the time when she finally understood the group's activity, "That time, I know that I'm putting my life on the line by using myself as bait. I know I shouldn't have trusted anybody because of my job as a detective, but I wonder why, even at that time, I believed that they will come to save me, just like they'd saved everyone else, or maybe when I thought of it now, it's because of the one who seems to be their leader, the one who've piqued my interest. As a detective, I always know how to read someone, but nevertheless, he is the first one who I've failed to read. I ended up in some sort of an army base, deep down I felt anxious for some reason, and it got even worse when someone came to me. She looked a lot like me, and started to state some things which I know was right, but I kept rejecting those things, because I hate to be weak, and I know if I accepted those things and admitted it, everyone will look down on me. So I rejected everything she said, and just when I felt enough of her, they came. I look at them, and there he stood in the front line, with a cautious stance. Seeing them coming, I said that I'll go back with them, but then it all began from there. The girl, who was my shadow self started to act in a childish gesture and cried while begging me not to leave. I resisted, I really wanted to leave the place as soon as I can, as I'm feeling even worse though in the same time, sensed a familiarity about the place. Things developed to the direction which I despised the most, my shadow started to reveal my deepest secret, and before I could even stop her, I yelled at her, with my concealed pitch of voice which I've never used for years. I didn't really remember much after that, but then, I felt that it's time for me to face my self, my true self, the one I've locked up inside me for so long, and so I did, and they saw everything."

As the detective reminisced about that part, her eyebrows furrowed, she never really liked the place, or even the reality that her shadow really existed inside her. But now, she had accepted it, and even felt a little grateful of it, because if it's not because of those events, maybe things wouldn't be as it is now. But then, as more memories flowed in her mind, her lips formed a wider smile than before. "Yeah, it's those time, the time I spend together with him… He just came to me one day and handed me a white card, saying that he received it from someone who said that I would understand when I saw the card, the challenge from the so-called Phantom Thief which turned out to be an attempt by Yakushiji-san and my grandpa to remind me of my original reason to become a detective. At first, I didn't want to make involve him in this, but he offered to help me out, and wonder why, I can't really refuse his offer, so I said "yes" to him. We worked side by side to solve the challenge from the phantom thief, and also talked about various things. When I'm around him, I always tend to say something about myself, the topic which I always stayed away from, he also ever told me that he's glad that I'm a girl, which surprised me a lot, since no one ever told me that thing. But then I remembered that I ever asked him about his childhood, and that I wished that I could see him at those time. His reaction will never be erased from my memory, as he suddenly looked surprised, as if nobody beside me has ever asked him. It was that time when I saw his sincere smile for the first time, the different kind of smile that he usually shows to everyone and told me more about himself. Until one day, we encountered the phantom thief himself at the shrine… Things unfolded too fast that day, he tried to protect me, my emotion control broke down, and he… revealed his feelings for me..."

In the midst of her thoughts, the watch on her left wrist beeped. She raised her wrist and threw a glance to see the watch, which displayed:

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00.00 AM

Distance: Out of reach

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The sleuth raised her eyebrows, indicating that she didn't realize the flow of time. As detective glanced at the watch, she thought, "I guess I'll spend my time with him tomorrow, it's been quite a while…" As the words in her thought crossed her mind, the youth fell into her slumber with a soft smile on her lips.


When the detective came to her conciousness, all that she could see was darkness, and nothingness. She tried to look around, but her efforts were futile, she couldn't see anything. She tried to raise her hands, only to see the same darkness and not even a glimpse of her own hand. The girl started to feel anxious, and afraid, but something urged her to move forward in the midst of the darkness. She walked and walked trying to find something, after a while, she started to run, her body started to feel heavy, as if she's been running in water. When fatigue almost got the hold of her, she suddenly saw something, a small light.

She made her way to reach out for the light ahead, at first, she walked, but then she started to run. In the dark and nothingness, there're several times when she was tripped over by something, but she didn't even bother to look at her wound, she just keep on running without turning her eyes from the light, and then, she saw it, the shining object she's been striving for in the darkness. It's a door. The door was huge, like the ones in the grand castles, and it radiates blue lights around it, but the door has no doorknob or anything else, it only radiates light. She could feel that something was behind the door, something which would get rid of the darkness around her. The blue-haired girl tried to open the door, she extended her right hand and tried to push it, but the door won't budge. As she tried another attempt to open it, she felt even more anxious, and frightened, she desperately tried to open it, but her efforts were in vain. She fell to her knees and looked up to the grand door in front of her.


She woke up with a slight jump, she could feel herself breathing heavily. She remembered that she had a dream, but as the youth felt sunlight pouring rapidly into her room, she look at the watch which wraps her left wrist. The watch displayed:

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07:30 AM

Distance: Out of reach

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"Oh, darn it, I'm going to be late!" the sleuth said as she rose from her bed and prepared herself to head for school.


Yasogami High School

Class 1-1

Afternoon

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"Naoto-kun… Naoto-kun? Hey! Naoto-kun? Did you hear me??"

"H-huh?"

The sleuth returned to the real world and realized that she had been daydreaming for the whole class. She looked around, and realized that her class was empty, except for her and the girl in front of her.

"Naoto-kun! Everyone else has left to change for the PE class!"

"Oh, yes, I-I'll go right away."

She searched for her PE uniform which she placed in her desk's drawer and drew it out. The youth walked along the corridor and head to change her uniform. As she walked towards the field, she thought to herself, "What was that dream last night? Ugh! Forget it, Naoto, brace yourself, it's just a random weird dream, it doesn't have any meaning whatsoever! Wait, by the way… I haven't seen any of them today, but well, I guess I'll meet him after school." Just after she thought of meeting him after school, her heart lightened.


Yasogami High School

After School

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*Ding-dong*

"Phew, at last it's over…" The youth said to herself as she stood up and packed her belongings into her bag. She hasn't being able to concentrate on her lessons today, since some part of her were still giving her dream some thoughts, which she had casted away for many times, in the end, she spent her time by thinking about her plan this afternoon, which is now.

"Wait, Shirogane-san!"

Hearing her name being called, the high school detective turned around and replied, "Yes, Ms. Kashiwagi?"

"Help me to bring all this papers to the faculty office!" Ms. Kashiwagi said with a wicked smirk on her face.

Just after Ms. Kashiwagi asked the detective to bring all those papers, she could hear the entire class whispering.

"What? She asked Naoto-kun do bring it all? I'd say that we needed at least two guys to take 'em all at once!" the student behind her whispered.

"Did she do that on purpose?"

"Hey, did you think that she was being jealous of Naoto-kun because of the beauty pageant?"

"What?! Oh, man! Even if Naoto-kun weren't participating, I doubt she'll earn even a single vote!"

"Well, if the contestants themselves can vote I'd say she'll get a vote... from herself."

"Or maybe she can cross-voted each other with Hanako!"

Hearing her classmates whispering here and there, Naoto sighed, she stepped forward, knowing that it's no use to resist, she wouldn't risk herself to get a detention she nearly got this morning just by disobeying this weird teacher and get all her plan for the afternoon ruined. Before she reached the teacher's desk, a student asked, "Miss! Is it alright for me to help Naoto-kun to bring the papers?"

"What?! I only ask for Shirogane-san and not you!" The teacher answered annoyingly.

"Thank you for your offer, but I'm sure I'll be perfectly fine by myself." The detective answered calmly.

"What are you waiting for now? Bring it to faculty office now!" The teacher said while walking out of the class and slammed the door back.

Naoto picked all the papers up in one try, and well, it indeed was heavy, but she managed to carry it on her own. When she reached her class' entrance, one of her classmates opened the door for her. She walked out of the class while saying "Thank you" to her classmate and head to the faculty office. On her way, she can still hear her classmates gossiping loudly from her class.

"See? She really did that on purpose to Naoto-kun!"

"Ugh! Does she even own a mirror? I mean, a teacher holding a grudge against her student?!"

"Yeah, and over the beauty pageant… How immature can grownups be?"

Hearing her classmates gossiping each other, the young detective sighed, and proceeded to the faculty office.


"Ms. Kashiwagi, I'll put the papers here." The detective said while putting the papers on the teacher's desk.

"Wait! Who told you to put it there?! I wanted to mark my class' test papers now! Put inside the drawer over there!" The teacher answered her with an annoying tone in her voice.

Naoto sighed, just when she thought that she won't be able to do anything this afternoon, someone came into the faculty office and saw her carrying a huge stack of papers on her own.

"Shirogane-san? What are you doing?" Mr. Kondo asked her with curiosity in his voice.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Kondo. Well, Ms. Kashiwagi asked me to put all this papers into the drawer and…"

"What? She asked you to do this on your own? Thanks for your help Shirogane-san, I'll take care of this from here."

"But, Mr. Kondo…"

"Nah, it's okay! It's not really a student's job to organize the papers, usually teachers do it on their own, you can just go home now." The PE teacher told her.

"Well then, thank you very much, Mr. Kondo." The detective said and head to the exit. Even though when she was walking past the office, she can feel that Ms. Kashiwagi was staring at her, but not wanting to try her luck, she decided not to meet her gaze and leave the office.

Just when she left the office, she saw a familiar figure coming down from the stair, heading to the first year class corridor, in her reflex, the sleuth called out, "Senpai!"

The senpai turned his back, facing her, while she walked swiftly towards him. When she finally reached him, her senpai smiled and greeted her, "Hey, Naoto…"

"Umm… Souji-san… Can you spare some time for me today? I… I'd like to go somewhere with you…" She stares at the hallway floor while asking the question, too shy to look at him in the eye, since most of the time, it's her senpai which asked her out.

After she asked him, the sleuth waited for his answer. Usually, the grey-haired boy will say yes and accompany her, but today, she felt that he took a while to answer, which is usually a bad omen.

"I-I'm sorry Naoto, I have something I must take care of today, did you mind if I accompany you some other time? I'm really sorry…" As he said the words, he shook his head and his expression indeed shows that he's very sorry to say that.

The detective, after hearing her senpai's words, lifted her head and shook her head too. "Oh, no, no… It's okay… You don't need to apologize for that, I'm not forcing you or anything… Ummm, next time then!" After saying those words, the detective walked away while waving her hand and smiled softly. The leader waved his hand back at her and saw her leaving by the school gate.

On her way back from school she started to think, "Well, why must my bad feelings always come true? I guess I'll just head to the hill myself…" Just when she thought about going to the hill, she realized that her she wasn't holding anything in her hands, probably because of the slight pain which the papers had given them, making them feel heavy enough as if she'd been carrying her bag. "Darn it! I forgot to take my bag from the class! I guess I was too absorbed in what he said… Oh, well…"

Intending to retrieve her school bag, the detective turned around and walked back into the direction of her school, but at the time she almost reached the school gate, she could see three familiar figures walking ahead of her from the school ground. Her eyes fixed on the figures ahead of her, whilst at the same time thoughts started to pour in her mind.

"Kanji-kun, Rise-san and… Souji-san? B-but he said that…" Loss in words, the youth thought as she shook her head in disbelief.

-To be continued-


Author's Notes: Well, how is it? I think I made her reminisce too much… But I really hope I get Naoto's feelings and personality… Please tell me whether I've made any OOC in here… Also, please forgive if I've done any mistakes in grammar or even choice of words… One more thing, did the paragraphs were too long? I'm just wondering that maybe it made the readers experience some difficulty in reading… (If it's so, I can try to fix it in the next chapters) And as usual, reviews please…