A kind of drabble-ish work, written purely out of desire to write fluff about Souji, Naoto, and coffee. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: Persona 4 and all its elements are the property of Atlus.

The first time she saw him, there was a spark of interest that made her curious about him. The strange hair colour, the strange irises, the strange way of dressing. It reminded her of the time when she was small, when her grampa often asked her to accompany her to have afternoon tea. Although in practice the only one having tea was she, as his grampa often switched his tea for a cup of jet-black liquid. She was curious, she wanted to know why such a visually unappealing drink was so liked by her grampa. She wished to taste it herself to know why, but her grampa always told her that she was too young to drink it, too young to understand the acquired taste. Not ready yet, but one day, she would.

It was the same with him. She wanted to know about him more, wanted to know why he had attracted people who were kidnapped, and why they seemed to follow his lead with such zeal. Wanted to know about his involvement in the murders. It was easy to investigate about him, about his background, about his reasons for coming to Inaba, about his activities. However, it was hard, even for her, to approach him. There was something telling her that she was not yet ready to know him better, not yet ready to know him personally. She wanted to break through, but her instincts told her not to, as she would not be able to come out once she jumped in. And she had trusted those instincts, until the time when she convinced herself that he and his friends were indeed involved in her case.

She enrolled into his school, went with him and his friends during the school trip, get to know some of them better. But not him. She was intrigued even more as she learned more about him, but she could not find out anything about him other than the obvious. It reminded her of her teatime with her grampa, when she would only be allowed to see the black liquid, but not to touch or drink it. Too hot for her young tongue, too bitter for her tastes. In the back of her head, there was always a voice telling her that she was too young in comparison to his friends, who were around him nearly all the time. She did not have what his friends had, she would not be able to understand why they insisted on being with him. After all, it did not take a genius to realise how closely knit the group was, and how it seemed difficult for outsiders to enter. She understood. Her reasons for getting along with them were for the sake of the case she was working on, and not for the sake of friendship. She did not want to be attached, she had been used to being alone.

However, sometimes what life had to offer was beyond one's understanding, and truth was sometimes far beyond ridiculous. Her attempt to prove that the true culprit was still around and kicking, was both successful and a failure. A success, since her points regarding the murders were proven right. A failure, as she became a helpless victim who needed to be rescued. The whole experience tasted bitter in her mouth, her shadow revealing all her deepest secrets and fears to people she had barely known. To him, the man who had always intrigued her since the first time she met him, the least person she expected and wanted to know the truth regarding her. She had everything laid bare, all things she had been keeping as a secret for years revealed in a matter of minutes.

Her world turned one hundred and eighty degrees in a matter of minutes.

She tried to stay strong. She approached the group, telling them that she wanted to join them as now she had the same powers. Coupled with her experiences and deductive abilities, she could be a great asset for the team. He agreed, and he let her enter the group. It was then she could understand the strange attachment the other members of the group had to their leader. The initial experience was bad, was bitter, was unpleasant. Having your shadow revealing everything you kept for yourself for years, it was something that no one would want--including her.

He knew her secrets, he knew her fears, he knew things that even her grampa did not know. Her first experience in 'knowing him better' was not like what she had expected before, exactly not by her shadow spoiling everything she kept inside. It made her unsure, and never had she felt that way to someone. Still, there was something stirring inside her, something that she had not experienced before. It whispered in her sleep, in her days, every time. Saying things like how she would be even closer to him one day. Not now, but later. And she definitely would. She did not know how to react properly to this; she never experienced this kind of feeling before. What she could think was that the others were probably feeling the same way towards him, and they were already that close to him. It explained the closeness of the group, although she felt that she did not quite fit inside.

However, she could not shake off the attraction she felt towards him. It was like the first time her grampa allowed her to take a sip from his cup. What his grampa had said was true, the drink was bitter. It left a strange aftertaste in her mouth, a taste she could not exactly shake off. Yet it left her wanting more, she wanted to have more from his grampa's cup. She did not know what kind of sensation it was--it just did. He was the same, she did not know why she could not take her eyes off from him. Perhaps it was because of his appearance. Perhaps it was because of him saving her from the TV world. Perhaps it was because of other factors. She did not know, did not understand, did not comprehend.

And it just happened. Again, she did not realise when exactly it started. Before she knew it, she was already involved in another case, a case that brought her fond memories of her childhood. Before she knew it, she could not organise her thoughts properly when he told her that he was glad that she is a girl. Before she knew it, he confessed his love to her, and she reciprocated his love.

It was just by then she realised why she had those feelings for him. She loved him, it was just that plain and simple. What she still did not understand was when exactly she began to feel that way towards him, but did that really matter? As long as he was with her, she was content. Then she just could not help but to compare him to a cup of that caffeinated drink. At first, it tasted bitter, not exactly like what she thought it what its taste would like. However, it left her wanting for more. He made her wanted more of him, more and even more. She just could not help but to feel that way towards him.

He tingled her senses in more than one way. She loved it when he kissed her lips tenderly, when she could feel his warm breath against her skin, when he caressed her softly, when she could feel him inside her. She wanted to see his tender gray irises with her own blue-gray eyes. She wanted to enjoy the nice smell of his hair with her own nose. She wanted to taste the sweetness of his lips with her own tongue. She wanted to hear his soft whispers telling her how much he wanted and loved her with her own ears. She wanted to feel his warmth with her own skin. He was creating many strange sensations inside her, making her feel the indescribable. She did not want to simply close her eyes when he was nearby, she did not want to lose the sight of him.

It was easier for her now to stay awake at night, only thinking about him would make her giggle and unable to sleep. Reality was better than what she could ever ask for. She would dream of him, but deep down she knew that he was capable of doing more than what she could dream of. Dreaming about him would only make her suffer, as she would find herself awake in the middle of the night and not finding him beside her. It disappointed her, it made her night even more unbearable knowing that she would not be able to see him until morning arrived. And it was a long time of waiting.

There is one thing, which makes that particular black drink a favourite of many, including her grampa. It might be different from person to person, but there was a certain something that made it capable of causing addiction, making the addict unable to carry out his day properly without having it. The same could apply for her, as he was becoming an important part of her life, so much that it was as if they were practically one person, separated in two bodies. He gave her the energy and confidence to go on, and she gave him the reason to believe in bonds once more.

He--was her own personal caffeine.