I had the sudden urge to write this story... Please forgive me if it turns out weird... Yes, an EPIC FAIL.
Full Summary: Naoto completely breaks down after her last and most loved relative leaves her forever. She convinces herself there is no value left in her life, and attempts to commit suicide. Will Souji reach her in time, or will he let her slip past his fingers for eternity?
Disclaimer: All characters featured here are solely ATLUS', I only own Naoto's grandpa's name, which suddenly just popped into my head out of nowhere.
Useful critics are welcome, so please R&R...
The first winter snowflakes floated down gently from the sky. Naoto bent down and touched the cold gravestone that had her grandfather's name carved into it. She traced the words slowly. Her face was red and her cheeks had trails of tears left in them. Naoto Shirogane had never felt this alone in her entire life. She was completely alone, no one was going to be there for her. Her mother, father, and now grandfather, were permanently gone.
Alone. The word itself seemed scary. She had never imagined this would truly happen to her. She had read countless tragedies about parent loss and children too young to take care of themselves become an orphan. She had never believed such saddening events really occured. It was frightening, and she prayed countless times at night so she wouldn't be one.
But now she was here, experiencing the exact same thing that happened in those stories. She had no relatives left. No one was there for her anymore. She was alone. She was an orphan.
Her cellphone buzzed in her pocket, signaling her there were new messages from her friends, but she didn't bother to read it, let alone open the cover. She was too numb to do anything. Her unfocused gaze was stuck firmly to the stone in front of her.
-You have 6 new voice messages- BEEP~
"I'll be over there in a jiffy! Don't go anywhere, got that!? Stay right where you are! I'm gonna be a little late, because my manager just asked me to shoot a short commercial."
~くじかわ りせ (Kujikawa Rise)
"Naoto, you okay? I'll be there in a few minutes, after I finish my errands Ma sent me to do."
~たっつみ かんじ (Tatsumi Kanji)
"Naoto-kun? Are you alright? Please stay calm, we are on our way there. I have just finished serving some customers, and I'll be there as quick as I can."
~あまぎ ゆきこ (Amagi Yukiko)
"Naoto! Pull yourself together! We're coming over, so don't you dare go anywhere! But I may be a little late because of my martial-arts practice, but I'll come for sure!"
~さとなか ちえ (Satonaka Chie)
"Hey buddy, are you ok? We're almost there. Stay put, got that? I got to stock on stuff a bit more then I'm off!"
~はなむら よすけ (Hanamura Yosuke)
"Teddie will be there in a moment, Nao-chan! Please don't go anywhere until we arrive! Yosuke is being such a lazy bum!"
~クマ (Teddie/ Kuma)
-End of voice messages.
She gripped the headstone like it was her only refuge. Her previously expressionless face became emotional and a tear spilled out.
"Grampa... don't leave me here alone... I don't know where else to go... Why? Why did you have to leave me? We won't be able to be together again like always... Every single one I love... gone..." Her voice was strained and hoarse. "I should... do the same... if it meant that we could be together again, I'll do it..." She took out a knife from her handpocket. The blades were sharp, it would be capable of injuring- or even kill- anyone with a single swipe.
A voice echoed loudly in the background as Naoto prepared to fatally cut her vein in her hands. Just as she was about to do so, a body crashed into her, knocking the poised Naoto out of position and sent her knife flying out of her hands. She gasped in shock and surprisement as both of them slammed to the floor.
"No... the knife... where is it!? Just as I was about to succeed!!" The young blunette shivered and tried to break free of her attacker's firm grasp, while looking around frantically for the dangerously sharp object.
"Naoto, no! Don't do it! Don't throw away the only life you have left! Your relatives wouldn't want you to do this!" There was the mixed tone of concern growing exponentially in the voice.
"But I don't have anything else to live for!!" Naoto finally wrenched herself free and stood up abruptly, staring fiercely at the figure who spoke. "You don't know, senpai, how much I've been through! My pain is something you can't and won't understand! Everytime someone precious gets taken away from me, a hole appears in my heart, and it gets bigger with each loss I endure!!" Fierce tears shone clearly in her silver-blue orbs. Her hand was shaking wildly and clutching her head in an immense pain. "My father, my mother, they were killed and left me when I was still young! You have no idea how I had felt that time! To lose them was like losing a huge part of me that can and will never be replaced... But no, you wouldn't understand, no one will understand the pain I suffer, the burden I will be forced to carry for the rest of my life!"
"I understand how you feel Naoto, if you would just let me speak--"
"NO, YOU DON'T!!!" Naoto's voice cried out as she slapped the arm that was reaching for her. "You don't understand, because you haven't experienced it yourself! Losing someone..." She hiccupped a few times before finishing her sentence. "Losing somebody you love... You don't know how that feels like!!! You're still lucky, senpai, that you have your parents, Dojima-san and Nanako-chan to look after you! But I... I... I'd be better off dead if this continues!! Maybe I can also reunite with them if I die! A lot has already been taken away from me, I can't stand it anymore, let me do it!"
"Naoto." Without any further delay, he pulled the struggling Naoto into a tight embrace. The sleuth tugged and pulled, but no matter how hard she did, those strong gentle hands wouldn't let go. "You have to let them go someday. Whether it's too quick or not, fate is the one who decides. We all have something to lose."
"Let... go... senpai..." She muttered quietly, but painfully. The warmth of the embrace was making her vulnerably weak. Her voice was near its limit after all her shouting. "... Don't make me feel this way..."
"You're not alone, Naoto. You have us with you. Chie, Yukiko, Rise, Kanji, Yosuke, and Teddie. Aren't they always there for you, too?" His voice took a softer tone as he whispered gently. "I'm here for you. I am, and will always be by your side, even if you don't realize it. Tell me everything Naoto, anything. Your fear, anger, grief, everything. Anything that you're willing to tell me."
That was it. The voice was just too much for her. No one had been this caring about her. Everyone always treated her they way she wanted them to treat her. They didn't dare go even further inside the barrier Naoto had built. But not Souji. Ever since they had met, the silver-haired youth always treated her differently, for which she couldn't describe in words. He talked to her as a girl, not a detective. Never a detective, always a girl. He treated her in every way she despised, because it gave her the image that she was weak, defenseless and helpless. She wanted everyone to think of her as a strong, serious and calm personality. Trust Souji to break all that she had struggled to keep standing to piles of rubble.
She broke into heavy sobs as she no longer resisted the heart-warming embrace. Her hands gripped the hem of his shirt tightly and buried her head in his warm chest. She began to let out everything that had bothered her, she had kept her distance to other people because she was afraid of having to lose them if she were too close to them. Her stubborness and coldness, all that was to protect herself from any more grief. She explained that she was tired and fed up of having to cope with loss. She was obviously searching for someone who would understand her pain and suffering, however harsh she may be on the outside.
He listened quietly as he stroked her hair affectionately. He could feel the hurt and pain radiating from her body. Her sobbing dissolved into little sniffles as he continued to stroke her gently, with her still in his arms.
"... Why do you care about me so much...? I'm nothing to you. I'm not the one you love or cherish, or your relative. Why? You didn't have to go through all of this." Naoto spoke as she became more stable.
"Hm... I wonder about that. Let's just say you're special to me." She looked up to see him smiling down at her.
"... Special?" Naoto's eyes glistened in the dim light of the lamp posts coming to life, giving a certain air around them. "I'm special to you? In what kind of way...? As far as I remember, I haven't done anything for you that could make me special." The hurt in her eyes weren't so visible now, as they were overcome by growing curiosity.
"I'll tell you, but not through words."
"How could you possibly tell me anything without words?" Naoto giggled lightly, a slight look of humor appeared in her eyes. She was completely and utterly clueless about what Souji meant.
"Then I'm going to prove it to you, that not everything is spoken by words." Before she could respond, Souji pressed his lips delicately against Naoto's in a soft kiss.
She was stunned and paralyzed. Under normal circumstances she would have pushed him away and slapped him. But because of her current condition and after the current events that happened, she couldn't and didn't resist. It was too soft, too tender. It was the perfect but unexpected cure for her awfully appalling day. But then again, it was her first kiss, and she didn't know how to react. Suddenly she knew what Souji had meant by 'special'.
He pulled away gently and looked to see a shocked Naoto, her agony completely wiped out and replaced by astonishment, slowly hold up her fingers to her lips. "You... is that what you meant by 'special'?"
"Yes, Naoto. I love you." He whispered implicitly. "That is the only reason I am here for you. I grieve the loss of your beloved grandfather, too, but I'm sure he will be happy if you are, Naoto."
"Senpai..." She choked back a sob before she flung her hands around his neck. "I'm sorry. I was so selfish I didn't realize that you had those kinds of feelings for me... I'm sorry..."
"... You don't feel the same way?" His eyes were uncertain and it clearly showed that he was anxious. Afraid of being rejected. Well, it did make sense in a way. Normally men would confess their love at the right time and place. This was unambiguously the contrary. Confessing to a woman on the day her much-loved relative died? It was unbelievably preposterous and absurd. He was almost certain she would deny him. By then he wouldn't know what to do.
But to his surprise, she did not release her grip yet. "Frankly, I don't know how to respond to your... confession." She smiled wrily and deliberately released the grasp while placing her clenched hands on her chest. Her eyes were downcast. "I don't know, but, right after you said that, I get this... fluttery feeling inside my chest and I feel like I'm standing in thin air. I feel so... giddy. My face feels hot for some reason, but I'm sure it's not because I'm sick."
"I... don't know what love is..." Naoto continued diffidently. "But... I'm sure that I can find out..." She looked up at Souji with a different kind of affection from her cerulean eyes. "... With you."
They passed a long while, praying for her grandfather in each other's comfort. By now, her loneliness started to fade, and was replaced with deep warmth that was never going to fade, as long as someone will keep it bright for her. And that someone will always be Souji.
"Call me Souji."
"Er... Sou... Souji-kun..."
Why did you have to confess your true feelings to me at that moment? I believe you could have done that at a much better timing." Naoto inquired curiously.
"That was just the first thing that popped to mind."
"What!? So you didn't mean it!?"
"I do mean it, Naoto," He chuckled before he leaned forward and took another peck at her mouth. "That was also the only way that you didn't have to entirely burden yourself. Just think of me as another person sharing your pain."
Numerous footsteps pounded through the cemetry and approached them rapidly.
"Naoto, are you okay? I'm so sorry this had to happen..." Rise hugged her friend dearly. One by one they started to embrace her in a friendly way.
"Yes, it's alright now. I have no idea, but I'm feeling blissfully content right now. Thank you everybody, for being here with me." Naoto beamed at every single one of her special friends, her eyes lingering on the one she thought most special of.
'Grampa, I hope you're listening to me even now. I cannot express my gratitude to you enough. You have taught me a valuable lesson about friendship and rivalry. Those I will never forget, because I have them right here. I have friends, friends that will walk with me to the very end. And love. Love is such an unfathomable thing. It chooses to come whenever it wants to, and it brings happiness that I cannot merely describe in words. Even though I'm still inexperienced, I am willing to find out, with the man I chose and love, and I'm not alone at all. All of them are irreplaceable. Even when you're gone from my sight, but you, mother and father will forever stay here, in my heart, looking after me. Thank you.'