I'm not exactly sure where the idea for this came. It hit me one day, out of the blue. What did it all look like to someone outside of their group? After all, they did have all their meetings in exceptionally open places. It would be rather surprising if someone hadn't heard them. Classrooms are rather small and Junes tables were out in the open. They never really made much effort to whisper either. So I decided to write an incredibly short novelization of the major points of the game from the perspective of an outsider. It came out a lot longer and a lot more indepth then I had originally planned it out to be. I rather liked it when I was done though, and was quite happy that it didn't turn out completely random. So I hope you enjoy, and would love to hear what you thought about it. Thank you,

Disclaimer; No I don't own anything in this story. All original characters and concepts are owned by Atlus and co. I do own the story and idea for it though, and shall not be too happy if you were to steal it.

Sidelines


Ishina Takena was an observant girl. She had always been and probably always would be. She was always the first to find things out about her classmates; oftentimes before they themselves knew it. That's why when the transfer student stepped into their classroom she knew something would be going down.

It might have been the way that Chie Satonaka's head cocked, or the way Yukiko Amagi actually took time to observe him, or even the way Yosuke Hanamura's eyebrow shot up. Any one of those gestures might have clued her in but it wasn't until two of the three started hanging around him that it really hit home. She could sense this Souji Seta was different. She didn't know how, just that he was exceptionally different. Special even.

Whatever the case Ishina had known he would change things. The silence that he seemed to keep, the way he stood up to Morooka and never once got detention, the eerie intelligence he had. It was all what made him different in a way that no one could explain. She knew he was causing quite the stir; he was good-looking as well as strange so of course he would be gossiped about. Perhaps the biggest piece of gossip though was the fact that he had seemed to beat the ever-difficult 'Amagi Challenge'.

Yukiko had warmed up to him pretty well. As soon as she had returned from being kidnapped she was much warmer to him than she had ever been to any other male. Ishina saw it and took note of it.

Chie had also seemed to feel a spark for the boy. The girl had never become angry at him, even when it seemed that he might hurt Yukiko (for she looked on the verge of crying whenever he was seen hanging out with a certain Ai Ebihara) and had even gone as far as to blush for him. Ishina marked that too.

Yosuke was perhaps the biggest wonder though. It was a known fact that he had no friends. Sure he talked and joked with people but Ishina had always known he felt nothing akin to friendship. Most of the people who even made a move to chat with him were all doing it as to better themselves anyway. She knew it, he knew it, the only people who didn't were the ones still trying. He hated Inaba, hated Junes, and wanted nothing more than to go back to the city. Seta (another quirk that made him odd; no one, save for Yosuke, no matter how close they deemed themselves, had the nerve to call him by his first name) had changed him completely. After a short while the two had become completely inseparable. Yosuke smiled -he no longer bore that funny half-smile that never reached his eyes and always turned sardonic afterwards- and actually made an effort to truly befriend people.

The four of them had formed a rather odd group. Though Chie and Yukiko had already been joined at the hip, and it wasn't a surprise to see the two city-boys hanging around together, the four of them were quite the sight. Ishina had marked it off as nothing serious. They were just friends, nothing more, nothing less. That was until she continually saw their conversations together.

The first three had been extremely serious when Yukiko disappeared. Ishina thought it very natural. They were worried about their friend who had been kidnapped by the murderer. It was only after Yukiko had been returned and they had continued to keep up their serious act did she start to get suspicious. It was rather unnatural for a group of students like them to be so upset with the weather, and the Midnight Channel. She had heard of it, that otherworldly program. You were supposed to see your soul mate on the TV when you watched it on a rainy night at midnight. But to be talking about it so gravely was odd. Why would anyone look like they had seen death when conversing on something like that?

It probably hit home when she had seen them at Junes. It wasn't odd, Yosuke's father owned it after all. But they were at it again, talking about the TV, and murder, and weather. Ishina convinced herself it was nothing and went back to what she was doing.

But their odd behavior continued and soon, the next victim, Kanji joined them. He contributed to their weird conversations and even inputted other, just as weird, ideas. The delinquent came to school almost every day, and even visited their class to join the group from time to time. The classroom normally became almost vacant when he did.

When their grades went on the camping trip, Ishina was pleased to note that they lost their seriousness. She was finally able to believe that nothing truly weird was going on. The only oddity she found was when she had awoken up in the night to a chorus of quiet screams. She had gone outside to investigate only to be almost run down by Yukiko and Chie. After hearing their explanation she had only smirked, nodded, and left them to their business. It was in that moment that she decided they were normal teenagers after all and she would spend no more time trying to decipher their odd habits.

Ishina was able to keep this creed until the arrival of their resident idol. It had happened when she was walking past the tofu shop. The two city-boys walked out, expressions mixtures of contemplation and giddiness. It was the severe seriousness in their eyes though that really got to her. She decided it was much better for her to ignore it and continue on with her business. She was unable to ignore it any further when she chanced upon them chasing and catching the supposed murderer.

It was at that moment she truly began to pay attention.

Risette disappeared and the group gained their seriousness back at once. Or perhaps she had just let herself notice it once more. Their meetings and talks continued and she caught whispers of their plans amongst each other. She remembered hearing Midnight Channel and TV much more than she thought healthy for them to talk about. The thing that truly confused her though, was their constant talk on shadows. Ishina didn't understand how such a mundane thing caused them so much worry and grief. Shadows were harmless after-all.

When Rise returned and started school, Ishina wasn't surprised at all to see her join the rag-tag group. The girl would have been more surprised if the idol hadn't started taking part in their meetings. She clung to Seta like a lovesick puppy, and the girls, although still good friends, regarded her with murder in their eyes when she touched him. Seta didn't seem to notice, though even Yosuke looked a little green when his position next to the boy seemed like it could be threatened. They were as serious as before, though it wasn't surprising that with the addition of an idol they also became more lively.

They also were getting much more attention.

She supposed it wasn't surprising. After-all they were a rag-tag group, one that normally wouldn't have had anything to do with each other. For another they were all exceptionally eye-catching individuals. They consisted of two girls who had ultimately dominated the school for quite some time, (of which neither of them had realized, of course.), a delinquent who had nothing to do with anyone until this moment, a transfer student who was hated by all and hated them in return, an idol, and a separate transfer student who was as mesmerizing as mysterious. Apart they were amazing. As a whole they were impossibly alluring.

So it shouldn't have hit her so hard when she realized that she wasn't the only one noticing them anymore. Several classmates constantly watched them, waiting for the next interesting thing to happen. There were debates over who would start dating who. (There were even -though not surprising considering they obviously shared something much deeper than mere friendship- debates over who, in the relationship between Seta and Yosuke, was the male. In most's opinion, it was Seta.) Several people went as far as to discuss whether they were all in a gang. Kanji Tatsumi was a member of them after-all. There were a few though, mostly those who sat near the four in their class, that also wondered about the TV. They would whisper amongst themselves, conversing about what they had seen and what was so interesting about it to the weird group.

There was another oddity as this went on. They had apparently found a new member, a blonde foreigner who had somehow managed to create a mascot for Junes. The first time she had seen him she had to take a second glance. It had come as a shock, for they (although all had friends outside the group; Seta and his close friendship with Kou and Daisuke and followings of girls was a prime example of such) were all quite unsocial outside of their group. It wasn't that they were rude and unfriendly, it was more that they didn't connect with anyone. They each had a chip that they could all understand, and connected them to each other. To see someone else with the group was exceptionally surprising. But when they called him Teddie, a name that had come up frequently in their chats, she had realized that he had been with them all along. Perhaps he had come out from the TV, she had mused one day. Chuckling to herself over her silliness.

It was shortly after that it was announced the murderer had been found. The group became quite excited and energetic. They all wore looks of wonder and chattered constantly. Of course they always kept that seriousness about them, but it was much more motivated this time. The real surprise, and indication, came when she was harmlessly walking through the Junes food court. Chie (possibly the only one of them she had a somewhat friendship with) called her over and she was stopped dead when her eyes met those of Souji Seta's.

The boy asked her what the best way to talk down a murderer was. She paused a moment before telling him to 'feed his ego'.

Souji gave that knowing smile and nodded. He thanked her and let her go on her way. The group looked baffled but none of them said anything as they watched her retreating form. That was the moment that Ishina knew he had known about her all along. He had already known what she would say, it had just been his way of showing that he knew. She gave her own smile and couldn't help but chuckle. She realized that in some way, she was privy to their secret as well. Whatever secret it was.

They "found" the murderer three days later, and the lot of them were exceptionally more vibrant. They all chattered about parties and celebrating. But Ishina wasn't surprised to note she saw a twinge of sadness in each their eyes. They regretted being done. It was over, which was great, but being over meant that their meetings were not to be held anymore. They had nothing left to do.

For a while they held up this slightly depressed attitude. They didn't break off from each other, but the groups within the group became more pronounced. Chie and Yukiko left earlier more often then not, Kanji barely came to the class anymore, Rise would only go along somewhere if Seta was going, and Yosuke and Seta were seen more alone together than with the group as a whole. Despite the fact that she had never been a part of their group Ishina couldn't help but feel a bit of remorse as well. It was incredibly depressing to see such a tight bond wither and fray at the seams.

This was all over quickly when another disappearance occurred. Naoto Shirogane, this one was. The boy detective who was all the rage, and had claimed to be the culprit behind Mitsubo's capture. (It had been quite amusing to see them all converge at Seta's desk and violently grouch about it the morning after.) It was amazing how easily they flowed back into their routine once more. As if they all knew something like this would happen all along. As if they had been waiting, wishing, praying that maybe they had gotten the wrong person so they wouldn't have to stop. So everything could go back to normal.

Ishina found herself fully understanding.

They didn't take long at all to rescue him. It was revealed that he was in the hospital, and after a few days it was furthermore exposed that 'he' was actually a 'she'.

Naoto returned to school and joined the group. Their meetings were more frequent and more full of vibrancy. She believed that now that they'd had a taste of life without it, they would throw themselves full force into their mission. They would preserve the present, stretch it out for as long as they could.

She couldn't say she blamed them.

There was a shift in the group though. It was becoming more obvious as time wore on that there were definite sections in them. Chie and Yukiko, as normal, Kanji and surprisingly Rise, and the previous group of Yosuke and Seta added Naoto to their ranks. The foreigner was more often then not clinging to Seta as well. As time wore on they bonded closer, but it was increasingly obvious that the groups who had broken apart before, would fall into line when it happened again. They were preparing themselves for when it happened.

It was this grouping though, that reminded Ishina about who it was who started everything. Seta was the glue keeping the fragile structure of the group together. They loved each other, would die for one another probably (at least that was how they made it sound in some of their more energetic discussions), but none of them would have been able to come together, or even stay together, without aid from Seta. If their lives had been a chess board, he would have been the King.

She was also reminded that he was still the most mysterious of them. While Naoto had her androgynous charm and fuzzy background, Seta had his aura. Everything about him screamed ironies and mysteries. He was both calming and frightening. Safe and dangerous. It was becoming more apparent with each passing day, for most girls in the school were beginning to become restless. They asked for him everyday, his shoebox was always jam-packed with letters and presents, and several of the more restless girls had even gone so far as to sabotage Naoto and Yosuke (who was still considered a very possible rival for Seta's heart). The group itself was becoming antsy and desperate. They made sure that every possible moment was spent with each other, becoming either angry or dejected when one of them couldn't join the rest of them on an activity.

And that was when it started to go downhill. Ryotaro Doujima, Seta's uncle and landlord, and the head investigator in the police department, got into a near-fatal accident. Said accident was caused by chasing after the real culprit, who had successfully kidnapped a Nanako Doujima, daughter to Ryotaro, and cousin to their own Souji Seta. This was the most desperate she had ever seen the group.

Each of them were incredibly shaken up. The girls -minus Naoto of course, who probably wouldn't even cry if she were fatally wounded- all had literal tears come to their eyes several times a day. Kanji was much more irritable, and the foreigner, when seen, had lost the energy and brightness in his eyes. Naoto and Yosuke had a silent agreement with each other that they were to be much more gentle with their leader, and never seemed to leave his side unless asked. Seta himself wasn't the same. He was either violent, a trait never seen in him before, or he was completely emotionless. Either attribute was frightening on him and several of his fans (who had hoped to console him) found themselves staying very far away in fear he might lash out at them. The segregation between them all was even more pronounced when he would only talk to Naoto and Yosuke. The group itself though, didn't seem to notice this.

They eventually were able to save the girl, a feat that was finished in an exceedingly shorter amount of time than any of the other rescues. But there was still an obvious amount of strife. They left early for the hospital every day, every morning returning with no news of her recovery. After a while there was a large scare in which it was thought that the poor girl had died. On the same night it was discovered that the man who had kidnapped her was recovering in the same hospital. The girl lived, to everyone's relief, but the damage had been done. They had figured it out.

The next day she got a call from Seta. Their friend Teddie, the foreigner, had gone missing. Ishina had joined the search, hunting all over the city for him. Eventually she ran into Seta himself. They were both surprised, her more than him (for she was rather astounded that he was alone. Anyone would have figured one of his "love interests", as they called the other two, would have been with him.) He got over his surprise far quicker than she, and a tired smile graced his face. They talked for several minutes as if they were old friends.

In the end he told her, 'You know everything don't you. It's not surprising. You're very perceptive.' She was surprised to note that she wasn't surprised. 'In the end, you probably know even more than us. It's sad how one can't even look into their own soul.' Those were their parting words, and she left feeling a little warmer inside.

After that, the fog came.

It had started as something gradual. They all had thought it would do it's funny thing, stay for a few days, and then be over with. They thought it would leave. They were all incredibly wrong.

She had known from the start that it was linked to them. The way they pondered over it, wore funny-looking glasses when they weren't at school. It was the way it frightened them. And of course, in doing this it frightened her. They barely paid attention in school anymore, and it was indeed a rare sight when one of them was alone. Ishina deducted they were protecting themselves. They knew something no one else did, and knew that it would hurt them if it could.

It wasn't until Seta called her out to the roof one day that she got wind of how serious it really was.

'If I die, I want you to take care of them,' he told her. 'Especially Naoto and Yosuke. Neither of them would be able to deal with losing any of us. They break far too easily.'

She understood and agreed. Before she was able to tell him to 'be safe' they were interrupted by the two people they were just talking about. Both Naoto and Yosuke gave her rather violent looks before stalking over to their leader. She smiled and told him she would do everything in her power.

The next day all of them were absent.

It was about a week before anyone caught wind of any of them. There were few occasions that someone swore they saw one of them (most accounted sighting Chie or Rise to be precise) at either the metal smith's or the pharmacy. It was baffling that they would be there of all places, especially when they were missing from school, and no one could fathom why. When Ishina herself was asked about it she shrugged and said nothing. They told her they figured she had a close relationship with Seta. She was surprised they had noticed.

When they finally came back, it had become sunny once more. The group was badly injured and looked horrible, but they smiled and laughed giddily. They were happy. She was happy for them.

After that it was only a matter of time before Seta was to return. On his last day there was a rather unexpected storm, and she stumbled upon who else, but Seta and Yosuke in the middle of the road. To her shock and utter surprise there was another person with them. This woman wasn't human though, she bled an aura that was intensely evil and made her quake from her position far behind them. Seta saw her, raised a small hand to his lips in a gesture to keep quiet, before he played it off as wiping away the rain from his face. She obeyed and hid herself in the nearby tofu shop.

They disappeared shortly after, taking the rain with them. For the rest of the day she didn't see so much as a trace of any of them. She figured they had gone back to their 'TV'. (She still wasn't sure whether they really went into one. It had sounded like it, but the thought was completely asinine -not that most of what she knew had happened wasn't- and it was much more likely that it was a codename for something. For what she hadn't a clue.) None of them were seen until Seta's train departed.

As the last time they had reappeared after an absence, they all looked incredibly tired and beat down. But they had the same giddy expressions as they had before.

She felt happy for them, but also slightly out of place. She had never been part of them, no matter how Seta believed she contributed. He had said 'moral support' on the roof that day, when she had ventured to ask how it was she was helpful. Moral support would have done something at least. All she had to give was her gift of perception, and the knowledge that she knew what they had done.

It was then that it hit her. That was all he wanted her to do. Know exactly how they had helped mankind; saved it from something that even she, in all her awareness, had never quite figured out. As she stood mulling this over, he walked over and patted her cheek. Ishina was shook out of her thoughts, and both her and Seta shared a knowing smile.

When he spoke she couldn't help the light chuckle that escaped her lips and she waved him off. There were no glares at her this time. They seemed to realize that she had done something to help them, whatever it might be. She was also their beloved leader's friend.

Seta stepped onto the train, and for that moment she swore she saw a gray-haired woman dressed in blue behind him. Smiling sweetly with a twinge of sadness in her eyes. Ishina filed it away as her imagination.

His words came to mind as the train started off and she turned to leave. She didn't have a place there, along the friends who had done so much with the knowledge they would never be recognized. Her place had never been among them, but at the sidelines.

"Thank you. For watching us all, for knowing everything and yet nothing at all. We love you for it."

Ah yes. They did love each other didn't they? In a way that would never turn into anything more than a child's romance. They loved each other, all of them and her, very much.


As said before it turned out very different than how I originally intended. I actually was never going to have Seta know about Ishina's knowledge. In the original she was to surprsie them all by showing up at the station and thanking them. I rather liked how it ended up though, I think Seta and her slight friendship gave the story more depth. I know the ending was weird and random, but it was the only way I had to end it. Anything else felt really awkward to write at the time so I think it fits. However weirdly it sounds. Whatever the case, I hoped you enjoyed it. Please tell me what you think. This is the first time I've written something like this and want to know how it turned out to everyone else.

Thanks again, Years