AN: Like one full year later, here's the little conclusion to this fic that's been done for like a year but for some reason I never posted it YEP.
Souji wasn't sure that his entire encounter with the mysterious boy named Minato had even happened, after the fact. There really wasn't any way he could be sure it had. He had been severely beaten up and unconscious—or dead, he really had no idea what that misty world was—so it wouldn't be entirely surprising if it had all been a hallucination.
But he wanted it to be true so badly.
Which was probably why he was here, sitting in a police station utterly foreign to him. He felt unsure whether this would lead anywhere or not, but he wanted to try. Minato had asked only this little favor of him, so he at least wanted to try to fulfill it. Even if he might not exist.
His head jerked upwards, abruptly woken from his pondering by his name being called. A young man stood in front of him, his suit-jacket thrown over his shoulder and a badge settled comfortably on his belt. Grey eyes regarded the teen coolly, though his mouth was twisted into a friendly smirk. "The receptionist said you needed to talk about something?"
Souji remained outwardly calm, though his heart was beating heavily in his chest. "You're Akihiko Sanada, correct?"
Akihiko hadn't expected the kid to know his name. When the receptionist had told him a teenager wanted to talk to him, he had assumed he was probably freaked out about something he saw. At no point did he think he had come looking specifically for him, so now all his musings were irrelevant. "Yes? What can I help you with?" His voice was a little more guarded this time, though he was far from viewing this grey-haired boy as a threat.
He didn't miss the way his eyes flickered to the side before he spoke, "Can I speak with you privately?"
"Sure thing. It's almost time for my lunch break, so how about we go get some food?" He answered, happy that this could potentially not interfere with his eating habits. Souji merely nodded in response, rising from his seat on the precinct bench.
The kid had said that he needed to talk. He was sure he hadn't misheard that, right? But Akihiko was already halfway done with his hamburger, and he still hadn't said a word. Most people would probably be a little weirded out, but… Akihiko couldn't really say he minded. In some strange way, this teenager reminded him a little of him.
Souji was lost in thought, so he missed the way Akihiko's eyes softened and he stopped his devouring for a moment. The fact that Akihiko existed as a police man here of all places meant that his meeting with Minato had actually happened, right? But he couldn't help but feel hesitant.
Because the fact that Minato had appeared to him then, and asked him to come here, meant that he was unable to do it himself, and that fact was far beyond foreboding.
That nagging thought kept pressing on his mind, one he had been trying to ignore. The thought that Minato was probably dead. He knew he couldn't let the possible discovery of that fact deter him, though. So, taking one last deep breath to steady himself, he finally broke the silence.
"Minato told me to tell you something."
It was so quiet, so sudden, that Akihiko hardly registered the name. But he had. He set his half-eaten burger down slowly. "Huh?" was all he could say as he stared at the boy, a stunned, uneasy smile on his face. He must have misheard him, right?
"He says he's doing okay, and to tell everyone that." Souji looked away, feeling awkward, like he was intruding on a private moment between Minato and this man.
An uncomfortable silence settled around them for a stretch of time, the two of them in their own little world away from the noise of the burger joint. Souji couldn't bring himself to do anything, not that he'd know what to do even if he could. Finally, after what was starting to seem like an eternity, Akihiko spoke. "You saw him?" His voice trembled mid-sentence, and that was what Souji made him look back.
This confident, bright man now seemed torn between smiling and crying, hands formed in quivering fists either side of his tray. "… Yeah." A small smile spread of Souji's lips, "he seemed… happy. At peace."
Akihiko was leaning forward now, ducking his head in a feeble attempt to hide the fact that he was crying now, a feeble attempt Souji would respect. "I'm so glad." He blurted out, oblivious to the fact his tears were falling onto his hamburger. "I'm so glad."
Souji wasn't sure why, but it felt like he wanted him to keep talking. So he obliged. "It might be hard to believe, but he saved me. He saved the world." He could feel the effect just a few minutes in Minato's company had on himself, so he couldn't imagine how attached the people he had known must be to him.
Akihiko laughed at that, regardless of the tears in his eyes. "Sounds about right."
They stayed like that for a while; Akihiko refusing to look up, still crying but occasionally laughing or providing some small comment while Souji told him everything he possibly could about his encounter with him.
When they parted ways, Akihiko felt like a weight pressing on his shoulders for the past two years had been lifted. Souji waved goodbye, a calm yet content expression on his face that was entirely reminiscent of Minato, and Akihiko returned it, despite his red-rimmed eyes and embarrassment.
He skimmed through his contacts—past the new entry of Souji Seta—to call Yukari.
It was about time they all met up again.