Number 13 of the 100-themes challenge, 'Reflection'. I hope these are coming fast enough, as I realize my updates have grown much slower then they used to be. Still, I've finished over one-tenth of the stories, so that's enough to keep my going.
This story is dedicated to Rise Kujikawa of Stroke of Midnight, the Persona fandom/role-play forum I run (the link is in my profile). She was kind enough to take on the task of drawing my OC, Shizuka Kumori for me and I am very grateful to her for that. Although, I must admit the excessive "YosukexChie" fluff in this story was a tip of the hat toward ToastedWhiskers.
Once again it is SoujixNaoto and I hope that you all enjoy this. Please be sure to leave a review and let me know how I am doing with the challenge thus far, I don't wish to bore anyone.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Chie muttered as she leaned closer to Yosuke, peering over the male's shoulder to look beyond the tree trunk that she and most of the investigation squad were hiding behind. "I mean, remember what happened the last time we tried this?"
"Sure I do," Yosuke whispered, tilting his gaze upward to look at Chie. "Kanji caught us, but this time he's with us. Besides, those two are way too wrapped up in each other to notice us anyway…"
"Ooooo!" Rise squealed to Chie's right, pushing her way forward. "Look! Look! Naoto-kun is blushing! Hehehe! I wonder what Senpai is saying to her."
"Dunno…" Kanji's rough voice muttered through the leaves of a bush next to the tree. "I can't hear nothin', we're too damn far away. You sure we can't like… move closer, Yosuke-senpai?"
"No!" Yosuke hissed sharply, glaring at the mass of leaves he assumed Kanji was in. "Do you want them to catch us? I mean, Souji wouldn't do anything if they did, but I wouldn't put it past double-oh-junior to turn us all into a fresh batch of Swiss cheese."
"Oh! Oh! Isn't that the white one with all the holes? That stuff is great! The ladies in the dairy department let me try the samples all the time! It's really—"
"Shh! Teddie, hush… They'll hear you." Yukiko sighed as she covered the small blond's mouth. "Are you guys sure this is a good idea? If they see us…"
"Yukiko-senpai, you worry too much!" Rise giggled, "It'll be just fine, as long as we're careful."
"…That's exactly why I'm worried." Yukiko muttered as she turned her attention back to Souji and Naoto, who were sitting outside a small restaurant in the shopping district, sharing the same plate of croquettes and talking with one another. Souji said something and Naoto smiled as she stifled a laugh with her hand, earning another small squeal from Rise—who was in turn elbowed by Chie who hissed at the idol to 'be quiet!'
"Hey… Have you guys ever noticed anything… weird about those two?" Yosuke suddenly spoke up as Souji and Naoto slowly made their way down the street, stopping near a bush as they started talking again.
"Weird?" Chie repeated, leaning forward to peer at Yosuke over his shoulder. "What do you mean 'weird'? We're not exactly what you'd call a group of 'normal' kids."
"I mean—here, look at them. Don't you see it?"
"Just look at how they're standing!"
"I see them, what am I supposed to be seeing? They look perfectly normal to me."
"…Oooh. Oh! I see it!" Rise jumped up, slapping Yosuke's shoulder in excitement. "I get it, Yosuke-senpai! I see what you mean."
"See what!?" Chie cried, in exasperation throwing her arms in the air. "I don't see what you—"
"Just… Shut up and listen. Look." Yosuke shifted and pulled Chie next to him, moving around so that he was standing behind her.
Carefully leaning over her shoulder, he pointed to Souji and Naoto, positioning his finger so that Chie could look down it like a guns scope. With a faint blush, the martial artist leaned forward to look where Yosuke was pointing, raising an eyebrow slowly.
"Look at Souji… and look at Naoto-kun. They like… reflect each other."
"…Huh? What the hell sort of stupid-?"
"Just LOOK! Geez. See how Souji stands with his hand on his left hand on his hip and Naoto with hers on her right? And look… When they speak, they move they their arms in at the same time in like… the exact same way! How are you not seeing this it looks like—"
"Whoa… You're right. Almost like watching them in a mirror!"
Yosuke rolled his eyes, groaning softly as he turned his attention back to Souji and Naoto, curious to see if he could notice anything else. Behind him, Kanji leaned to the left, sticking his head out from behind the cover of the trunk as he frowned.
"Hey… I noticed something else. Look at how they're dressed… Senpai keeps his jacket open and Naoto keeps hers closed. They're like complements in that sense."
"Complements…?" Rise tilted her head to the side. "Don't you mean, like… 'opposites'?"
"No, complements," Kanji repeated, nodding to himself. "They complement each other in that sense. Kinda like how Senpai has really light hair and Naoto has dark hair, but their eyes are almost the exact same color. They—what?" The male blinked slowly as the group stared at him in awe. "Wh-what? Why are you all—am I really the only one who noticed?"
"Wow, Kanji… You really do have an eye for the finer details, huh?"
"I-I… well… I mean, it was kinda obvious, ya know? It's just something I… noticed."
"That's impressive, Kanji-kun!" Yukiko smiled. "I never would have caught on to something like that without someone pointing it out to me. What else have you seen?"
"Well…" Kanji began, only to be cut off.
"Shh!" Teddie hissed loudly, having spoken for the first time in the longest silence any of them could remember hearing from the bear. "You're all being too loud! They're looking over here! Quick, hide!"
"Quick! Defensive maneuver three!" Yosuke yelped, scrambling backward.
"Defen—wha? Huh? What is th-! Ack! Kanji-kun! Wh-what are you doing!? H-hey! P-put me-!" Yukiko squealed as Kanji darted out of his bush and dived behind the tree where the others stood and scooped the girl into his arms.
"H-hey! Yukiko-senpai! Ouch! Stop hitting me! I'm just helpin' you into the tree! We gotta hide before—"
"They're looking over here!" Chie groaned, pressing herself against the trunk.
"Hurry… hurry!" Rise squealed, tugging on Yosuke's shirt. "They're going to see us climb up!"
"Just shut up!" Yosuke moaned, "Hey, Kanji, help Rise-san up now and—no he's not going to look up your skirt, Rise-san! He'd pass out if he did. Just let him help you up! Before—ah! S-shit! They're coming!"
"Wh-what!?" Chie peered around the tree, eyes wide. "W-wait! We can't all get up there in ti—mmgh!"
The rest of Chie's cry was muffled as Yosuke covered her mouth with his hand and dived into the bush that Kanji had previously been occupying. They landed in tangled mess of limbs with Yosuke on top, who was too busy staring up at a tree branch with wide eyes just as Kanji's legs disappeared into the leaves to notice how they'd landed.
"Mmmnn! Mmmgh! Mm!"
"Chie, shut up! They're going to—"
"Shut—ouch! Y-you bit me!"
"Y-you're crushing me!" Chie hissed as her cheeks doubled in color.
Yosuke looked down, his own cheeks turning a red that could have rivaled Yukiko's sweater as he rolled to the side, apologizing under his breath. Chie opened her mouth to protest was her words were cut off by the male's hand against as he covered her mouth, pointing to a black pair of shoes that could be seen just inches away from a small opening at the bottom of their bush.
Oh man... Yosuke moaned silently, we are so dead!
"Naoto, is something wrong?" Souji's voice could be heard followed by a soft pair of footsteps as a second pair of shoes joined the first.
"…I heard voices over here." Naoto replied, as the small pair of shoes moved closer to the bush. "They sounded like… Yosuke and Chie-senpai."
The brunette male paled as he tilted his head upward, meeting the wide-terrified eyes of the three occupants in the tree branches above him. Rise's hands were clasped tightly together as her mouth moved silently in rapid movements, muttering a useless prayer. Yukiko was frantically looking from the two bush-dwellers to the couple in front of it, trying to figure out a means of distraction.
"Voices?" Souji sounded amused as he followed Naoto closer to the bush. "Now, why would those two be in a bush?"
"I'm not sure, I just thought that—" Naoto trailed off, staring at the bush in front of her with raised eyebrows. "Senpai, have you ever heard of a sneezing bush before?"
"I certainly haven't…" Souji smirked, shaking his head. "It's highly unusual. You should try shooting it, detective. It might be capable of screaming as well."
Naoto turned to Souji, giving him a surprised look. He smiled at her and nodded toward the bush, amusement dancing in his eyes.
"Well, if you insist, Senpai. Please make sure no one is looking, I'll use my silencer to keep from drawing any unwanted attention. I usually keep it right—"
"W-wait! Don't shoot!" Yosuke cried as he jumped out of the bush, looking disheveled and still quite red in the face. "D-don't… shoot the bush. It… I… crap. I failed…"
"An epic fail," Souji smirked in a mocking tone. "Are you sure there wasn't anything of yours in the bush with you?"
"I-I… uh, well…"
"Then I'm free to fire at will?" Naoto asked, reaching toward her hip. "If there is nothing in the bush, then…"
"Wh-what!? Hold on! Wait!" Seconds later, Chie's stumbled out after Yosuke, pulling several twigs from her hair and looking even more embarrassed than the male had.
"…Would you care to explain what you two were doing in this bush, Chie-senpai? Yosuke-senpai?"
The two 'spies' looked at one another, paling as they did their best to avoid looking up into the branches above. Yosuke gulped and glanced at Souji, giving the silverette a silent look that plead for forgiveness that Souji gracefully avoided by focusing on a small pebble on the road, a look of deep thought on his face.
"Well, we were, um…" Chie began nervously, scratching her cheek.
"You…?" Naoto crossed her arms, turning her gaze to Yosuke as she waited for an answer. "Well?"
"We…" Yosuke began, stopping abruptly as Souji began speaking.
"Don't interrogate them, Naoto. It'd be cruel for us to force that out of them."
"Huh? What are you talking about, partner? We—"
"You don't have to worry, Yosuke. I won't let what you were doing reach your parents."
"Wh-what!?" Yosuke paled, then blushed furiously as he began waving his hands in front of his face. "Wh-whoa! We weren't doing anything!!!"
"Of course you weren't…" Souji nodded in understanding, offering Yosuke a sympathetic smile. "If you say so."
"Wha!? Dude! Seriously, we weren't doing anything!" Yosuke cried desperately as Souji raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"W-we weren't!" Chie sputtered, eyes wide. "He was just showing me, uh… uh… um… he was showing me… Well, something…"
"Something that he learned in one of his magazines?" The level of causality in Souji's tone caused Naoto to turn sharply, staring at the silverette with wide eyes as she glanced between him and the two—now very red—bush dwellers.
"Wh-what!?" Yosuke yelped, his face—if possible—turning six shades of red darker. "M-maga… P-Partner! You… that… I didn't… we… but…"
Above them, the leaves of the tree rustled, earning a curious look from Naoto. Yosuke gulped as he chanced a glance upward, biting back a groan as he saw a frantic Kanji—happily only visible from his stand-point—trying to keep a hysterical Yukiko from making any noise, while Rise wrestled with her own silent giggles while holding down Teddie who was trying to move closer to them.
"You shouldn't tease them, Senpai…" The sleuth muttered as she finally pulled her attention away from the tree, giving Yosuke and Chie a disapproving look. "While I believe their choice to partake in such, ah... extracurricular activities in public is highly inappropriate and inconsiderate of the younger population that often passes through these parts, we should allow them to make their own choices in the times they pick in which to, ah... practice such past-times."
Yosuke and Chie stood frozen as Souji chuckled and wrapped an arm around Naoto's waist, leading her past the tree where everyone was hiding. The leaves shook again as a loud sneeze emitted from one of the higher branches, causing Chie to whimper and hide her face in her hands.
"Hello, Kanji." Souji said nonchalantly in response to the sneeze. "Bless you."
"Hey, Senpai. Thanks, I…" the voice from the tree trailed off, followed by a soft string of curses as Yosuke groaned loudly and smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand.
The branches shudder violently again followed by a snort and a burst of hysterical laughter. Something red fell from one of the higher branches followed by a childish cry of "Yuki-chan!" as another blond blur leapt down from a lower branch and dived for the falling Yukiko.
They landed in a tangle of limbs as the raven-haired girl continued to laugh hysterically, unable to remove herself from atop a very winded looking Teddie who was looking to the left of Yukiko's shoulder with crossed eyes.
"Whoa… did I… score?"
The laughter stopped almost immediately as Yukiko let out an offended scream and turned over, slapping Teddie before leaping to her feet and storming over to a very pale Chie.
"…We are so dead." Yosuke muttered, rubbing his temple. At least Rise-san didn't get caught. She's—
"OH. MY. GOD!" A high-pitched voice shrieked from the lower braches of the tree. Several leaves fell to the ground as Rise scrambled downward, pointing, wide-eyed at Naoto, who was much closer to Souji then she had been several seconds to go. "D-did… she just… just-!? She just kissed Senpai! ON THE LIPS!"
The idol waved her free arm around in the air frantically as she continued to point at the couple, giving a—slightly pink—Naoto a look of shock.
"You… you kissed him! KISSED HIM! On the lips!"
Souji raised an eyebrow, glancing down at Naoto as he tried to figure out why the idol took such surprise to this. Surely it hadn't been the first time they'd kissed in public before, though when he thought about it, it was probably the first Rise had seen.
"I did…" Naoto finally admitted quietly, turning to face Rise fully with crossed arms. "I would be more grateful if you took note of this and kept it in mind. Yes, I just kissed Souji-kun." A small glare graced the detective's features that dared the idol to say anything more on the subject. "He's mine."
The note of possessiveness in Naoto's tone pleased Souji as she turned back to him, gesturing down the road indicating that she wanted to move on and avoid the attention of the small crowd that had gathered on the far side of the street. Nodding, he slipped his hand into hers and they walked away, completely unnoticed by the group of teens who were all looking at each other as if they'd never seen anything quite like what had just happened before.
Finally, the silence was broken when Teddie spoke. "…Did she… use tongue?"
They all turned to the dazed looking blond in shock, mouths hanging opening. While Teddie talked about 'getting the girl' and 'scoring' his mind had always been an innocent one. There was no way the young bear could have learned about such a thing unless someone told him about it.
"Wh-what?" Chie sputtered. "Where did you learn—YOSUKE!"
"Oh crap! Kanji! Defensive maneuver four! Angry Chie Edition!"
Kanji nodded and dropped down from the branch he'd been sitting on in the tree. Glancing at one another, the two boys took off down the road in the opposite direction that Souji and Naoto had taken as fast as they could. Looking back meant death.
"What the hell does that—Hey!!!" Chie cried angrily, "Yosuke Hanamura!!! Get back here! I know where you live! Yosuke! YOSUKE!"