I come bearing another Souji/Naoto oneshot.. and this one is new if compared to Reasoning. I am quite happy, or sad rather, with how this turned out although I have to cut some parts so that this fic doesn't become too long... While in fact it is still under 4000 words. OTZ Forgive your fail writer, please! But anyway, enjoy!
Disclaimer: The Shin Megami Tensei series and all its related/unrelated spin-offs are Atlus'.
Everytime Naoto opened her eyes in the morning, her eyes would immediately capture the sight of Souji looking at her own eyes, smiling lightly. It had been always like that for years. Naoto once had voiced her thoughts to Souji regarding his creepy so-called morning activity of watching Naoto sleeping. Yet Souji retaliated, saying that he was just happy to see Naoto still by his side, and that he was not simply dreaming. Blushing, Naoto lightly punched Souji's arm, telling him that he was just being silly. Souji only smiled, and commented that there could be possibly no better way to start his morning but to see Naoto's lovely blushing face. Then Souji would kiss Naoto's forehead softly, like what he would always do every single morning. Naoto was happy, happier than what she would imagine her days to be when she is together with Souji.
Then her thoughts would drift away, as she recollected her memories when she was twenty-two. She was wearing a frilly white dress, her hair was done in an extravagant way. Oh, and don't forget the make-up. Never once she thought that she would look and dress that way, clearly showing that Naoto is indeed a female even when looking at her from miles away. And there was Rise, standing in front of Naoto, with a satisfied in her eyes. The idol squealed, and said, "See, Naoto! I told you before, you will look magnificent today with my help!"
"I do not believe that 'magnificent' is a right word to say, Rise-san," Naoto sighed, her voice down. This was not her, or at least that was what Naoto repeatedly told herself. Naoto wondered, what kind of evil had possessed her thought when she agreed to Rise's idea that she should be wearing a dress for such a special occassion? Sure, it was her marriage day--Naoto still could feel the butterflies in her stomach at the mention of that word--but surely she was not required to dress extravagantly. Or to be exact, she did not think that a reception party was needed at all. A simple ceremony should suffice. Her groom, Souji, had agreed with Naoto that she wanted their marriage to be simple and uncomplicated. Or at least he seemed to. Yet his parents wanted the occassion to be celebrated thoroughly. Naoto turned into her Grampa, pleading him to take her no-party side, yet he supported Souji's parents instead. Then Naoto looked away to see Souji, her blue orbs captured a joyful smile in Souji's lips. It had been his doing, Naoto was sure of that.
And there, back in the dressing room where Naoto was still sitting nervously. The ceremony had been over, but the nervousness was still there. Naoto's hands were visibly shaking, more furious than what they had been before the ceremony. It was all the dress' fault, she thought.
"Oh, Naoto! I shouldn't be keeping you here! You should be going now, it's only ten minutes left!" Rise squeaked, pulling Naoto's hand. Naoto stood up and walked to the door awkwardly, she did not want to step on her own dress. Suddenly, the door to her dressing room was opened, and Naoto's eyes immediately caught the glimpse of a silver-haired man opening the door. Upon seeing Souji, suddenly all her worries subsided although the nervousness was still on the air. Souji himself only looked at Naoto, speechless and still. Naoto smiled to herself, perhaps it was a good idea to dress up sometimes.
Naoto then would giggle, the memories of her wedding day were still as clear as if she just experienced it several minutes ago. The glimpses of people visibly staring at her, the way Yousuke forgot his bestman speech halfway due to nervousness, and the way Souji whispered at her, telling her that she was strikingly beautiful that night. The happiness, and the nervousness as well, still felt real to her although it had been years. She was grateful that she went along with the idea of holding a reception party, for it gave her so much pleasant memories to remember. Even after years passed by.
Afterward, Naoto would get up from her bed, and took a quick bath. She would dress herself, and do the tasks that were given to her. Naoto would have to wake up their son and make sure that he was ready for school, while Souji would prepare the breakfast. Naoto was still embarassed to acknowledge the fact that most cooking in the house were done by Souji. She had barely any knowledge about cooking, and her cooking skills did not seem to improve after years had gone by. Or rather, as what Souji would always tell her, Naoto was not destined to be in the kitchen, cooking. Naoto frowned whenever Souji would tease her like that, but she could not deny that Souji was telling the truth. Although Naoto would like Souji to tone down his teasing on how Naoto was unable to cook, she was grateful that her husband was able to fill out the gap of what she could not do as a wife. Cooking, was one of them. She would smile whenever she saw Souji entering the kitchen, and she too, would be heading to their son's bedroom.
When Naoto entered their son's bedroom, her lips would immediately curve into a smile. Their only son Raidou, named after an accomplished detective from a movie in hopes for him to be a great person like the one bearing the name in the said movie. Their only son Raidou, who entered their lives after two years long of waiting. Naoto still remembered her frustation at her apparent inability to bear a child, especially after seeing how Chie or even Yukiko were already blessed with a child even after a few months after their marriage. It was true that she disliked the traditional role of women back then in her youth, on how women are treated as simply a tool to give birth. However, after getting married, her perspective on child-bearing changed. She wanted to build a perfect family with Souji. She wanted the Shirogane line to strive considering what Souji had sacrificed--what he had done to fulfil her wish to keep the Shirogane family alive.
Naoto once thought that the Shirogane name would die along with her, as there would be no more males to continue the name. Yet there was Souji, telling her that he would be the one entering Naoto's family. She could still vividly recall the serious look on Souji's face, showing his determination. Naoto would be lying if she said that she was fine with what Souji had told her. She was uneasy, she did not want Souji to go that far for her. In fact, Naoto had desired people calling her Mrs. Seta, after Souji's family name. Besides, Souji was also the lone child in his family. If he became a Shirogane, what would happen to Seta? Naoto told Souji this particular concern of her outright, at which Souji only smirked and said that his family will strive in another way. Naoto did not understand what Souji meant at that time, not until she saw what Souji meant with her own two eyes.
Everytime the sleuth looked at her son, Souji would always come first in her mind. Everything about Raidou always reminded her of Souji. His hair was perfectly silver, his eyes in the same tone as his hair. Raidou looked like a clone of Souji and Naoto could not help but wonder whether Souji was like Raidou during his childhood. At first, she could not understand why Raidou was like a duplicate of Souji. Not until she compared Raidou to Souji and Souji's father, then she was able to make the connection. Naoto was not the only one to wonder regarding Raidou's striking resemblance to his father. She would then remember when the investigation team, or rather ex-investigation team, visited her in the hospital days after she gave birth to Raidou.
She was still weak from childbirth by then. It was an arduous task, both pregnancy and birth-giving, and she found a whole new appreciation for mothers after going through the whole process. There were only a few visitors, her Grampa and Yakushiji, Souji's parents, and the Doujima. Naoto had predicted that her friends would come and visit her, yet none of them came. It was disheartening, although she fully realised that her friends had other things to tend. Souji also was always by her side, only leaving her when she was asleep to check on their newborn baby. She was glad to have Souji by his side, yet she could not deny that she wanted to share her joy after what seemed like decades of waiting with her closest friends. She did not ask for much, did she?
It was one fine sunny day, when Naoto was just regaining her strength after childbirth approximately two weeks ago. Souji was away, he was checking on their then-nameless son. Suddenly, the door to her room bursted open, and she could clearly hear Rise's high-pitched cry, "Naoto! I am so sorry that I am visiting you only now!"
From behind the door, Naoto could see the whole ex-investigation team storming inside. It was Rise first, who ran to her and hugged Naoto tightly. Then Naoto could see Kanji, followed by Yousuke, Chie, Yukiko, and Teddie. She could not help but to smile, she was happy seeing her best friends finally coming to see her.
"Maybe you should let her go? She's still weak, you know, from all those kind of things," Kanji said, directed to the idol who was still tightly hugging Naoto.
Rise seemed to suddenly came into realisation, and let go of her tight hug with a loud 'ah'. "I-I am sorry! It just that I really want to see you and your baby, but Senpai kept on telling us that.." the idol suddenly stopped, her hands covering her own mouth. Naoto's expression suddenly changed at the mention of her husband. What did Souji tell them? She was just about to ask when Rise let out a sigh, and continued, "See, you were really weak by then. I came too before, but you were sleeping... and you looked extremely exhausted. Senpai was worried about you and he limited the amount of visitors so that you won't over-exert yourself. But now you are better, so he told us to visit you since he said you really want to see us."
Naoto was relieved upon knowing the reason. It was just like Souji to worry over her, although she was sure that she could take all visitors who had come to visit her. "True, I want to meet all of you and share the joy I feel.. Thank you for visiting us."
"Aww, Nao-chan!" the bear suddenly said, "You don't need to thank us! We are friends!" He looked around, his blue eyes trying to capture a certain sight he had always wanted to see, but to no avail. "But where is the baby?"
Then there was a click and the door was opened again, revealing Souji and the baby. The attention was quickly diverted from Naoto to the baby. Naoto could hear that her friends were admiring her baby, and it made her proud somehow.
"Well, he does look like Souji a lot, eh? I guess Souji is really the dominant one," said Yousuke with a chuckle. He received glaring stare from both Souji and Naoto directly afterwards, in which Yousuke immediately attempted to divert the glare, "But he is not named yet? You should find a good name for him!"
And then the talk went along the path of Chie getting offended at what Yousuke said, as apparently they had a small argument over what name to give to their son. However, the argument ended abruptly as Souji threatened to call the security if Yousuke and Chie did not tone down their argument as it was disturbing Naoto and the baby. Yet Naoto knew that Yousuke and Chie were always like that even since high school. They would fight, and then made up like nothing had happened the next day. It was strangely refreshing for her to see her friends back like what they had always been.
The memories of that day was still clearly engraved in her mind, even after years. Naoto would always instantly recollect that particular memory from her mind when her hand smoothed Raidou silver hair in the morning as an attempt to wake her son. There were other memories too, but for some reason, that particular event always came first. Maybe that was because she was genuinely happy at that moment. Or maybe that was the time when she could feel entirely sure that she had become a mother after two years of waiting.
Then Raidou would instantly wake up, his sleepy eyes directly looking at Naoto. Raidou was similar to Souji not only in appearance, but also in attitude. He knew that it was time for him to wake up just by seeing Naoto's eyes, and he would quickly proceed to prepare for school without much protest. It gave Naoto time to go to the kitchen, where Souji would still be cooking. Naoto would help Souji with whatever she could do, and afterward the family would have a breakfast together. It was a short occassion, one in which they did everyday. But Naoto would still look forward for it, as she enjoyed every time she could spend with her family. Although she did not move around to do investigations as much as she had to before, she just wanted to spend more time with her family. Naoto was raised without her parents, and although she saw her Grampa and Yakushiji as parental figures, she could figure out that it was still different. She simply did not wish her son to experience the same parentless childhood like what she had experienced. And she was more than happy to know that Souji intended on doing exactly the same as her, as he was rather distant from his parents and he did not want his son to experience the same thing as him.
After Raidou had gone to school, it would be only Souji and Naoto left at home. There was no time for them to relax, though, as there would always be mountain of cases left for them to solve. The workload coming for them increased even more after Souji officially entered the Shirogane family, and it even increased after Naoto's Grampa passed away. She felt down during that time, she could barely hold herself together. Naoto had always been close to her Grampa, her Grampa was the perfect example of a detective she wanted to be. Naoto knew that she would break apart if it was not for her little family--Souji and Raidou--standing beside her, supporting her all the way. She realised that they were all she had left. She understood that they were, too, saddened whenever they saw her down due to her Grampa's death. Naoto was sad, devastated even, at the time of her Grampa's death. She also was worried about the continuation of the Shirogane family after her Grampa had passed away. Yet the cases were still coming, and it gave her hope. If she was still there, it was because of her family, and she was truly grateful for having them.
Her detective work was always draining, but she was glad that she had Souji around. Souji would always help her, finding out the clues and drawing conclusions together. He would always know when she was stuck at a case, and his out-of-the-box insight would always help her to find the light. Or at rare times when there was no cases to be solved at hand, she would find herself sitting beside him, her head laying on his shoulder. She would listen to him teasing her, she then would blush, and he would continue to tease her. And then Souji would tell Naoto that he loved her, and she would reciprocate with a kiss. Then she would be in his embrace, where she felt safe and happy.
At night, when Souji and Naoto had done working and after Raidou had finished his homework, the three of them would simply gather at the living room, talking about whatever thing they had experienced that day. The talk could be repetitive at times, but Naoto still could feel happiness surging in her heart whenever they talked. She was happy, happier than what she could ever ask for. She was grateful for everything, for Souji, for Raidou. It never came across her mind that a youth who had asked her for information one day at Junes would be her source of happiness for years coming by. That he would be everything to her, and that she knew that she was everything for him, too. And add their son in the mix after they had been blessed with him. Naoto wanted to feel this way forever, for she was extremely content with what she had, and she would ask for nothing more but to keep this happiness forever with the two most important men in his life.
But, alas, people do say that every story comes with an end.
There is Naoto, standing in front of a grave. She kneels, her hands softly touching the tombstone, her eyes are fixated on the writing there.
Naoto inhales deeply, her eyes are still fixated on the tombstone. Her hands are visibly shaking. She inhales one more time, before saying, "It has been a long time, hasn't it?"
She stops, and inhales more. It is indeed hard, no matter how much she has done this before. Naoto sighs, and continues, "I hope you are well there, Souji. I come here... bearing some news. I thought you would like to hear them.
"Do you know? Doujima-san has retired, and Chie-san takes his place. She is one of the few females in the top ranks, at least in the Inaba Police Department," Naoto says, chuckling weakly. She stops for a while, and continues, "And Nanako-chan is now the assistant manager in Junes. Well, you know that Yousuke-san is now the manager, yes? He says that she shows so much determination that he is considering her to be the next manager. His sons are more interested in music, and I heard they are preparing for an album for their band.
"Rise-san has stopped acting, and she is taking the tofu shop seriously. Kanji-san, too, is taking the Tatsumi Textiles further by introducing sewing classes. He seems to be determined to make his sewing classes well-known in Japan, as his brand of mascots are already well-known. And Yukiko-san is doing well, too, the Amagi Inn prospers in her hands. Teddie.. he is still working at Junes, and now it seems that he is up against Nanako-chan for the position as the next manager."
Naoto stops, again. The tremble in her voice becomes more obvious as she says further, "But you know all that already, I suppose? I believe I should get to the main point. Our son, our Raidou, is a fine man by now. He resembles you so much." That sometimes it hurts. By that point, almost all of Naoto's body is visibly shaking. Yet she presses on, "He is also a fine detective now. A worthy successor of the Shirogane line of detectives."
Naoto stops again briefly, and then she continues, "Do you know that he is getting married? His bride... is an European, with blue eyes and pale skin. He met her when he was abroad. A beautiful and smart girl, I am grateful for him to be able to marry someone like her.
"He sincerely wants you to be able to stand beside him in the ceremony, giving him support. But it is impossible, isn't it?" says Naoto, forcing out a smile. Her smile weakens, and she continues, "And now he will have his own family."
Naoto knows fully well the meaning behind her last words. After Raidou gets married, he will have to live his own life, with his own family. She has gone through that process herself, and she knows how she had wanted that moment to be spent just with her and Souji. Just the two of them.
"You know, it has never been the same without you."
Never once in her life Naoto has wanted her story to end right away, so that she could progress to her epilogue where she can stay happily ever after with Souji. The nights without Souji at her side, the mornings when she does not find Souji looking warmly into her eyes, the breakfasts and dinners when she has to rely on bought food, the afternoons when she has to work on her cases alone. The days without Souji beside her, embracing her and easing her worries and pains away. It has been too much for her, now that half of her has gone away. However, Naoto has promised herself that she will not cry...
because he's watching over me.