Shin Megami Tensei and Persona 4 are owned by Atlus. Names and likenesses used here without permission.
by Mayumi-H, AKA BonusParts
Yousuke stands over her shoulder as she writes her name on the timesheet in a girlish script, amused by the delicateness of her writing. But it's the characters that she uses that make him pause.
One thousand words.
That's what her name means?
That kind of makes sense, now that he thinks about it, since she talks almost at that speed per second, even when she's snarfing down half his paycheck in steak korokke from Souzai.
Would one thousand words do her justice, he wonders, as he watches her scribble little anecdotes about how it feels to be a good service person to customers (that's not what the line "Position description" is for, but he doesn't tell her that), and he snickers to himself.
He's used a thousand words to scold her, whenever she's gotten knocked down in a fight with a Shadow, because girls are supposed to be soft and demure and protected, not jumping into the front lines to get in the first hit, no matter how dangerous her kicks are.
He's used a thousand words to shut her up, whenever she gets it in her head that she's smarter than he is, or figured something out before him, or just plain used her impressive volume to drown him out in one of their countless arguments.
He's used nearly a thousand words' worth to summon Jiraiya for her bruises and bashes...and the Persona uses almost as many words of his own to needle him in his seemingly perpetually snickering, aethereal voice that she only has to be healed because he's not man enough to protect her in the first place. (He only needs one word to respond to that. Two, if the Persona really needs a talking-down.)
And he's used a thousand words to convince her that he doesn't need anybody to help him up when he falls, certainly not a girl who no less than a few months ago would have just laughed at the mess of his poor bike (oh, Arashi, you beautiful, loud, speedy demon, you) and him whenever he'd end up crashing head-first into the bins that smell of cat food in front of Shiroku.
He's used a thousand words to describe her to his family, who keep asking him about his friends, especially the girls he's been seen with at the food court. His mother says she's pretty, but he never knows which girl she's talking about (and he never asks, because that's not playing it cool at all), and instead he just tells her, She's all right, not really caring to which girl she's referring because he doesn't care, either...because no girl could ever be like senpai, especially not a girl whom he can't even describe in less than a thousand words.
He's used a thousand words to try and start a real conversation with her, but it almost always happens late at night when he's got only the case and the beautiful face of Konishi Saki on his mind and he wants to forget about all of it and just be a regular guy, but all that usually comes to mind is the latest joke heard in the boys' lavatory. And she usually just tells him he's a sick jerk and hangs up on him anyway.
He's used a thousand words to find out about her from Souji, because he's seen Souji sometimes training with her down by the river bed, playing fighter. Souji just mutters that those kicks of hers are as painful as they look, and he has to snicker and commiserate...and then he has to tell Jiraiya to shut up again when his Persona asks him, And just how close do you think Mister Leader Man has gotten to her, that he's gotten to feel those kicks? Closer than you, I'd wager.
He's used a thousand words to tell himself that he doesn't care how close Souji has gotten to her; he'd be happy never to have to feel one of those neutering blows to his groin ever again. He tells himself that Yukiko's a better match, anyway: Amagis' heiress is quiet, sweet, and pretty (...just like Saki...); she comes from a family with standing, too, which would make his parents happy – legitimization of Inaba's nouveau riche. He tells himself that it doesn't matter that he doesn't know Yukiko that well, not enough to ask her to help out at Junes, at least, and certainly not enough to call her on the phone out of the blue. Not like her; not like Chie.
And then he thinks of the thousand words that he's felt catch in his throat when he's seen her fall on the battlefield and heard her pained scream when he couldn't reach her in time...
And the thousand words that he's written and erased and written again on his sheet music, as he's tried to capture the way that she spins with such grace and power when she kicks her leg high above her shoulder...
And the thousand words he's uttered when he's been alone in his room holding his dick, as he's pictured her behind his eyelids: her bright eyes, her laughing smile, the hint of her small but pert breasts beneath her jacket, the curve of her calves and thighs and the secret sacred place between them that always pushes him over the brink...
...And the thousand words he's used to curse himself because the warm, sticky evidence in his hand is just proof positive that she's right about him, and at his core he's just a coward who can only just imagine her rather than take the time to really get to know her.
She passes him the completed timesheet with a little flourish and a smile. "Now can we eat?" she asks, looking hopefully at him.
He chuckles, almost despite himself. Because of all of the thousand words that come to mind right now, all he can think of to say is: "Sure."
But it's a start.
Just a quick and self-indulgent one-off that I had to get out of my head after talking with an artist about it, and to take a break from my Chie story, "1 More Chance!"
The Japanese kanji used for Chie's name can translate to "1,000 Words" - which I thought was an interesting springboard for a little vignette. I wrote this in about an hour, so I guess this should be considered a draft. It took some doing to get it to 1000 words exactly, but I rather enjoyed this as an exercise in albeit angsty brevity and perspective.
If you like it, let me know! I always appreciate hearing from readers!