Author's note: I wrote this fic a long time ago while watching Akihiko's full story in P3P. Ah, Persona fic nostalgia.

Story takes place pre-October in P3.


"It won't sting you, if you're worrying."

Minako's words from across the lounge broke Akihiko's trance on a small foreign box sitting smack dab in the middle of the main table. He had been staring at it the whole time since Minako entered through the front doors.

Akihiko stirred, as if woken from long hibernation, a small smile playing across his face. "Oh, Minako, hi. I didn't see you come in."

The petite woman crossed the threshold, wanting to divulge in the contents of the box herself. What a tiring day. A billion assignments due coupled with fighting to stay coherent while answering professors' questions. Beside Akihiko, her book bag slid down to the floor on its own accord, unable to wait for neatness to catch up with its owner as she plunked down on the couch.

The heavy flopping sound of her body weight caused Akihiko to look over at her in concern. "You all right?"

"Mmm?" Now it was Minako's turn to stop falling into hibernation mode. How good it would feel to sleep for the rest of the week and do nothing else. "Yes, my body hasn't broken yet. My spirit remains strong in spite of eternal homework."

At the mention of degenerating physical health, Akihiko frowned ambiguously. Minako didn't understand all of his expressions perfectly, but she knew a frown could contain anger or concern while appearing the same on the outside.

It was only when he eventually spoke that Minako discerned that he was, fortunately, calm. "Y-you're sure you're not pushing yourself too hard? Nothing is as important as keeping up in your health."

The slight change in his complexion gave Minako an indication of his depth of caring. He was always speaking about the pursuit of perfect shape in everyday life. Minako hated him for it on her really foul days, but deep down she didn't mind.

Teasing was something Minako never got enough of when it came to the promising boxer. "Yes, Dr. Aki. Would you like to partake in the examination now or in the privacy of a room?" Minako made as if to unbutton the front of her uniform blouse.

A violent streak of red splashed Akihiko's entire face, though whether it was because of Minako calling him by name or the alluring offer, Minako was left to contemplate. In a fluster, Akihiko instantly grabbed her hands, not letting her go through with stripping. Minako wasn't seriously going to do it, but Akihiko thinking she was about to made the joker inside her juggle its daring feats in delight.

She had a hard time keeping a grin from forming on her mouth at his gullibility. Akihiko saw this and caught on, releasing his hold as fast as it appeared and staring back at the tabletop. "You're cruel, Minako."

"Am I? I do no such thing as torturing others, Sanada."


Minako leaned in to his side and looped her arm around his. "So, you having one?" Her gaze joined his on the bright yellow box. Inside was a world of sugary confections thanks to her trip to the Sweet Shop yesterday. She felt like treating everybody and placed the box where nobody could miss it. Junpei was one happy camper when he had flipped open the lid. He hugged her so tightly as thanks that Minako thought she had lost consciousness from suffocation without her consent.

Akihiko's dubious stare on the box didn't change. "I think so."

"C'mon, I didn't eat any so the rest of you guys could have the first crack at them. There's enough to go around."

"I... need to work out soon." His statement deflected his motivation to eat.

Minako slightly jostled him. "One donut. Newly baked. Here, I'll help and split one with you. I wanted to do it since I got them." She flicked open the box top before Akihiko could argue.

Akihiko had a fondness in his face. "You... wanted to eat one with me?"

The shy way he kept watching her caused her to become a little bashful, too. "Yes. It's not bad, is it?"

Speedy shaking of Akihiko's head confirmed his affirmation. "O-of course not. I like your plan."

Searching for a specific dessert, Minako voiced excitedly, "There is one I haven't had before. It's..." Scanning the scant number of treats left, she groaned in disappointment when the one she wanted wasn't there. "Aw, that was the perfect one to share. I should've called dibs from the start." They were in a very nice mood and Minako it would have been awesome to share the treat she wanted.

Minako thought she detect relief when Akihiko replied a little too easily, "You can buy it later. It's not like they're sold out."

Letting go of his arm, she shook her head in amazement. Leave it to Akihiko to forgo a chance for romance to be practical. Well, he was new to the world of female demands, so Minako let his practicality slide. She will pick another sweet, but it didn't mean she couldn't be let down. "Yeah. I just really hoped to get to the Whirly Heaven. I heard it's so good."

"Whirly Heaven is the name?" Akihiko suddenly straight-backed to attention.

Not understanding his odd reaction, Minako nodded. "I guess we can have it at the end of the week. My free afternoon is Thursday." Today was Monday.

Akihiko remained silent, deep in thought.

How far into space had Akihiko's mind gone to? "I'm going to my spaceship to mutate into an alien, now."

He didn't answer.

It wasn't surprising when Minako added, "Yep, I'm taking over the world with toasters once I've transformed," and still her words fell deaf on Akihiko's ears. So much for sharing any kind of sugary goodness.

She sighed in partial patience and irritation. She was learning he fell into these limbos every so often. Sometimes it was worth it to break him out, and other chances she let him be. The latter was best considering how drowsy she felt. The energy flowing through her insides whooshed out like air from a balloon. The sensation leeched her blood unforgivingly.

She kicked her shoes off. She curled her legs up beneath her and stretched them out behind him to lie down. There was a beloved throw pillow to rest her head.

It took Akihiko the full minute for Minako to make herself comfortable and close her eyes for him to return to reality. Minako heard him blurt, "Geez, I'm sorry. I got distracted. Did you say something?"

Minako gave him some silence of her own as she concentrated on the rise and fall of her chest. God, it felt wonderful to lie down. She realized she just dug herself into trouble; she couldn't move her limbs once she lay down. Heading to her room before doing this was the wiser choice.

"Hey, Minako, come on, tell me." Uneasiness picked at Akihiko's tone when she refused to talk. Minako wasn't explicitly ignoring him out of spite. She was a tad displeased, but the lead in her limbs was beckoning more than anything else.

"You can't fall asleep that fast." Akihiko sounded almost huffy.

Continuing her wordless display, behind closed eyes Minako bemusedly imagined the collected Akihiko fuming. She might be missing the rare sight of the vein in his forehead throbbing as he fell mute, too. The opportunities to witness his calm image distorted by trifling matters were few. Akihiko was the type to rage over the bigger issues. Rampant Shadows. Hurtful betrayal.

The cushion shifted and Akihiko's weight lifted. She didn't blame him for leaving; she'd leave too if she were in his place. Minako scooted her cramped legs to the open and warm spot he vacated. The heat felt like sunshine on her bare legs. Oh, if only summer lasted longer. October almost reared its head. Dropping leaves from trees and chilly breezes already swooped the town.

Minako's eyelids flashed open when Akihiko hovered his weight over her splayed body. His arms were propped on both sides of her head and his knees squeezed her thighs. His naturally gray bangs nearly draped his eyes.

What raced her heart to wake her was the hungry look in those gray orbs. Akihiko's cheeks were flushed, but the steely expression he pinned her with was nothing like she had ever seen from him. Not the killing glare used against fighting enemies, determination when tackling challenging assignments, nor confrontation when defying others. Minako couldn't read what it meant at all.

"Aki... hiko." His name gulped down her throat.

"I'll take you up on that offer for your exam. Free of charge, naturally." The smooth timbre of his declaration belied the timid blushing.

Widening her eyes in a growing state of panic, Minako explained. "I'm tired. I didn't hear you."

"Three tries and I didn't get through? How can I fix this to prevent future inconveniences?" Akihiko asked in a sing-song way, again surprising Minako. His signals were shouting loud and ostensibly clear with Minako's attention fully on him.

A breathy giggle expelled from Minako. "N-no need to fix. I promise to not space out like you do."

Akihiko's shoulders shook in a quiet laugh. "Insults lobbed at me, hmm?"

"An observation. Observation. It's not the same-" The breath in Minako caught when Akihiko dipped his head. His teeth snagged the tip of the red bow tied at her chest. His gaze flickered through his lashes, staring intensely at her from his low vantage point on hands and knees. The trail of crimson in his mouth, torrent of lust and resolve overtaking his logic; Minako didn't know who he was when he gazed at her like this.

His chin jerked upwards, loosening the meticulous knot which shaped the bow. The thin fabric unfurled with a rasp and ribbons messily cascaded onto her chest.

He wanted to play, did he? Minako's fingers curled around the lace of black tightened around his collar and yanked. The tie came undone and the white collar at his neck fell open. His Adam's apple bobbed in a nervous swallow.

Akihiko's lips crushed hers. Or maybe Minako's mouth collided on his first. Either way, she pulled his waist closer and he was all but willing to comply. His sliding legs rubbed deliciously on hers and his ragged breath was heated. He was really into this liplock.

Or, he was. Minako gasped when his wet and warm mouth tickled her neck. Her fingers threaded through his soft hair and dug into the shoulders of his cotton vest. Minako was melting, melting-

The dorm entrance resounded with a bang as one of the double doors flew open. As if the bang were a whip snap across his back, Akihiko jarred and his head flew up to see the person who waltzed in. Minako couldn't tell anything aside from her blocked view of Akihiko's chest. Not that she minded.

"Shinji." The name choked out of Akihiko's lungs in horrified surprise. He froze completely, as if Ikutsuki had found them and not one of his closest friends.

"Hey guys." The greeting came out genial for the stoic Shinjiro. Footsteps came over. Minako saw a quarter of his face past Akihiko's shoulder and smiled the best she could.

Shinjiro amusedly glanced at the compromising positions of the heavy-breathing lovers and whistled low. He clicked his tongue at Akihiko. "I might not have a girlfriend, but isn't this kinda thing a behind-the-doors deal, Aki?"

With Shinjiro standing right there watching them like a tourist attraction, Minako became acutely aware how high her skirt had hiked up and how heavy her lower half felt snugly braced between Akihiko's firm legs.

"I-I know. We, um, didn't expect anyone to arrive at the dorms. Y-you're early." Akihiko seemed intensely embarrassed because he kept clearing his throat as he talked. He never let himself go in public like this.

The aloof Shinji shrugged. "Nothin' to do today. I thought I'd come before midnight for a change to mix up the schedule. I see I've made the right choice."

The sneaky smirk forming on his face was so rare that Minako sat up on her elbows with a big grin. She spotted the opened snack box on the table and remembered there were enough donuts and cake slices inside for the three of them. Excitement blazed through Minako's system at the idea of them eating together. Shinjiro almost never returned to the dorms with the others.

"Shinji, do you want to join us? We can make room for you." Minako beamed. What a great plan to get those treats. They could nibble on them together for a change and chat about their day.

Minako didn't get it when the raven-haired man blanched in an aghast twist. Akihiko followed suit with the color of fire. As though now realizing his provocative straddling state, he scrambled with much haste to extract himself off her. Akihiko essentially cleared the proximity of the couch when he was off her.

Shinjiro evaded her eyes and scratched his cheek in weird embarrassment. "U-uh, no thanks. I'm not into that."

Sitting up and smoothing out her clothes, Minako pointed at the table. "They're really tasty. You've gotta try one. We can split one."

The guys shared a befuddled look between themselves. "Sweets?" they mumbled simultaneously.

"Yes," Minako said like it was obvious, flitting her vision from Akihiko and Shinjiro. "That's what I meant. What did you mean?"

Now the men's uncomfortable expressions pointed in opposite directions.

Author's note: I don't often burst out laughing when I write, but the end of this chapter did just that when I wrote it. Always a good sign for a dramatic piece such as this. Stay tuned for next chapter. ^_^