"Enigma", Romance/Humor; TMR-12; August 09, 2009 ~ Saiths

She never was able to find out exactly how Souji Seta worked, or why he effected her so much with every small thing he did.

I like to keep things orderly, one of the best ways is that I should start chronologically. This isn't a complete story, it's just one shot into Persona 4. However, it'll begin after the end of Persona 4, since I've never quite gone into it's universe by myself. So to make things easier, we'll start the insane "what if" scenario of Souji Seta returning to Yasoinaba.

Anyway, we all know Souji is a huge player and dates practically the entire female population of Yasoinaba, and while some of them may be interesting, none can compare to our Detective Prince, and I've thought that from the beginning.

The idea for Enigma came from many things, actually. The two things that had the most impact were me playing Persona 4's New Game + for the ??th time, and how people generally have Souji Seta tick, since he's basically dictated by some sort of omnipotent D-Pad and "X" button. However, the most popular one I've seen around is the witty, calm, and composed Souji Seta, that's just a mystery all around, but never unlikable. Thankfully that one's my favorite out of all of them. Building upon that idea, playing through Persona 4 over again was much more enjoyable, since I was constantly thinking "Souji is a very cool guy! Fights shadows with his Persona(s) and doesn't afraid of anything!", as opposed to "he's just a creepy kid that doesn't say much".

This however, later again evolved into the effects that personality had on someone, that someone being Naoto Shirogane, the one that can deduct things the best out of the entire group. How horribly ironic.

Enigma_________________________________________________________________

She sat in the desk chair of her room, in front of her the latest case files from the Inaba Department, organized and highlighted by the small metallic table lamp. She had sat down earlier that night, determined to catch the culprit in a series of automobile thefts, but her mind had instead pondered about a much more important subject. It's priority was much higher then these cases around Inaba, and around this time every night, she had been challenged by this idea that prevented her from doing anything else.

How much longer until he returns to Inaba?

It had been months since they had uncovered the truth and he returned to the city to live with his parents. For a long period of time Naoto felt "uncomfortable", but everyone else insisted that it was properly called "depressed". She was incredibly insecure, and she threw herself completely into her work to take her mind off of it. It had worked to some extent, until he phoned her and happily announced that he would be spending the remainder of his Summer vacation with her. She could only remember that she was overcome with joy, as well as the fact that the days looked remarkably more brighter then usual.

Yet this sudden change was also unfavorable. For the next few days since that phone call, Naoto Shirogane has become more "jumpy" than any point in her life. Since her childhood she had admired the collected and intelligent protagonists of the novels in her grandfather's study, and worked at incredible odds to fill in those expectations she had of herself. But if the Naoto Shirogane of a year ago had looked at her now, she would be an unreliable, emotional, and over-reactive person to be anything like a detective.

Then again, the Naoto Shirogane of a year ago did not comprehend the effects that Souji Seta had on a person. Especially when you were madly in love with him. Even now, Naoto still does not fully understand the enigma that is Souji Seta. In fact, even trying to understand him was futile. All she had was her instinct, and all it told her was : "It makes you flush a very unnatural color of red, and you suddenly desire to speak in a higher tone of voice and dress in such ridiculously revealing clothing."

After minutes of staring blankly at the beige folder filled with case notes, the indigo haired detective sighed in defeat, landing on her bed, head resting on a nearby cushion. Turning to her right, her phone sat in her nightstand, LED light exposing "10:22 PM" on the display. Upon seeing this, her heart started to beat faster. He and previously told her that he would call at roughly 10:30 this following evening. To her, it had been a hellish eternity of anxiety. To Rise on the other hand, it had been : "Naoto-kun, it's only been two days."

"Souji-Senpai, what are you?"

She was surprised that she asked the question out loud, and she wanted nothing more then the ceiling to give her the answer. Last year, the time she spent with him allowed her to fully realize that she was a woman, and she loved him as a woman, rather then hide behind the façade of masculine detectives. In the present it was the same, she still loved him. Yet everything about Souji now seemed to affect her as well. His actions were bold and upfront to her, from his introductions to his confession. He was confident (or at the least, she assumed it was confidence), but it was always reinforced because he was always right in what he had believed in.

Naoto wasn't heartless, she cared about many things as well as cherishing them. But people's normal, everyday actions have never impacted her in such ways like he has. Just like how when she first paid a visit to his room, she was at a new level of self-consciousness. The next few weeks after that, her mind had played the scene of that Christmas Eve. That incredibly cold winter night was much warmer, with just the two of them sitting on opposite sides of his table. Then later that night, they had given each other their gifts, and the one of the things she wouldn't forget was the "Distance : 1 Meter" display of the toy watch. Of course the reasoning behind that was…

Naoto flushed a deep red once again, her body inching towards the fetal position on her bed. Even distances away from her, Souji Seta hadn't failed in making her blush. She was beginning to get annoyed. Not at her beloved senpai, but at the fact that she was rapidly turning into some schoolgirl, the polar opposite of what she had inspired to be.

A sharp noise had bounced around the walls in her room, startling her slightly into the air. Registering that it was her phone, she scrambled over and picked it up.

"G-Good evening, senpai." Naoto shook her head, the excitement had made her stutter.

"Hey! I'm sorry I called late, traffic was pretty hectic so I was in a rush."

That voice had sent a reassuring shiver down her spine. It had made her fade into a state of relaxation, that nothing in the world could shatter the moments she had spent with him. Upon this thought, Naoto realized that she was sounding something similar to a stalker. Looking at a wall-clock above her desk, she noticed that the large hand was just a few centimeters to the left of the "6".

"No, it is quite alright, senpai. I was also… Occupied with other matters."

"I see. Was this a bad time? Shall I call later?" She could hear the smallest trace of disappointment from his voice.

"N-No! Not at all!"

She had received a series of laughs from the other end, and it brought the corners of her mouth to raise slightly. He said something peculiar a few seconds later.

"Naoto, you sound happier tonight." He sounded pleased now, she could just imagine that constantly cheerful look on his face, being even more cheerful than it already was.

"Yes. The news that you're spending a few days in Inaba is something I am looking forward to. That is all."

"Ah, I'm glad then."

Something was a bit off tonight. The line had sounded much more clearer than before, and his breathing was the slightest bit heavier.

"Senpai, are you currently doing something right now?"

"Well, kind of. As I've said, all of this traffic nonsense was busy today, so I recently got off the bus stop. I'm walking right now, so it shouldn't be a minute or so until I'm there."

Naoto looked outside, it had been dark for awhile. She hoped that he was okay, walking in the dark like this.

"How is the weather, senpai?" These Summer nights were getting colder, Fall would be here in just a few weeks after all.

"It's a little chilly for August, but it's bearable." Just a few moments after he said that, he began to chuckle. Naoto rolled her eyes, something told her it was the horrible aftermath of the "bear" puns.

For another few minutes, they had made small-talk and conversed like they had every time they talked to each other over the phone. It was probably these nights of phone calls that kept Naoto in check and sane. The city was quite far from Inaba, and she was much too busy with school and her work to even consider making space to visit him in the city. Likewise, he was also occupied and couldn't make time during the year. It was lucky that he was even allowed to spend just a few days in Inaba like this.

"I've missed you a lot, Naoto."

The corners of her mouth were lifting once more.

"I as well, senpai. I truly am glad that you're coming to Inaba shortly, although I'm not sure I enjoy waiting like this."

A few laughs came from him. "Naoto, I'll be at Inaba sooner than you think, so there's no reason to be that anxious about it."

She had sighed. "Senpai, please do not say such things. That is what everyone else has been telling me. 'Don't worry Naoto-kun, he'll be here in just a few days!' or 'You're being paranoid, he'll be here soon.'".

"No, really Naoto. I'll be there soon. Very soon. You should really stop sounding so helpless, after all, you made something so that we could check how soon, didn't you?"

His voice was oddly playful. She blinked a few times as she replayed the words in her head. Something that… Could check how soon? Over this entire time, Souji had been walking. It was odd that it took so long for him to walk to the bus stop to his own house, he should be there by-

Her heart skipped every other beat. Her mind began to piece things at an incredibly accelerated rate as she crawled over back to her nightstand to pick up her watch. "There is no way this could happen, I'll just be disappointed." is what ran through her head, but nonetheless she picked up her watch and looked at the LED Number-Display in the center of the watch.

"Distance : 54M"

Her eyes widened. That was close. That was very close! She could hear Souji laughing cheerfully on the other end as she jumped from her bed and opened the blinds of her window.

She saw him there, outside of the Shirogane estate. He was illuminated by the nearby street light, one hand holding his phone and the other in his pocket, a smile embroidered on his face as he looked at her own.

"Ah, it looks like I've finally reached home, Naoto."

At that point, she ran. Her phone was recklessly tossed on her bed as she sprinted outside. Souji Seta only grinned even more as he heard the muffled and distant cries of "Senpai, senpai!"

She never was able to find out exactly how Souji Seta had worked, and why everything he did seemed to change her so. Most of all, she never found out how as he did something, she seemed to love him more every time.

End, "Enigma"

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This idea actually went through a lot of changes and edits. Overall, I think I've juggled this idea around for at least a few days. Originally this was supposed to be purely Naoto's thoughts, with the summary being something along the lines of him being so understanding. That idea wasn't exactly appealing to me, so I changed it to this over a long period of time. Also, I was bummed that Souji ended up leaving Inaba after the entire thing was over, and while it was a "True" and supposedly happy ending, it was quite melancholic, and I'm a sucker for truly happy endings. So I merged the idea that Souji would also come back to Inaba, even if it were only for a short while.

The one thing that I truly regret is how in character these two were. I haven't picked up Persona 4 for a while, so my memory must be getting rusty. The truly hardest part about this was getting them into character. Naoto because I haven't really explored how to characterize her, and Souji because… Well he's just a wild shot, you really can't get a steady template to work with just from a series of decisions. Overall, I enjoyed it though. It was refreshing and something that I'd like to think I put my work into, so I sincerely hope you all enjoyed it.

Please drop a comment in as well. Personally as a writer I feel that I write for myself as well as my readers, so just having this out there is content for me. But seeing that beautiful orange tinted "Reviews" text is just awesome. Drop a few criticisms if you feel the need, and thanks as always.