OOC: Guess who picked p3p back up? And just finished Shinji's social link? I want to try and make this my fluffiest piece of work; let me know if I go too dark. :3 And yeah, my shinji's probably pretty ooc. I'm trying anyway. -shrug-


"Where's my coat? Dammit, Aki, I told you to stay out of my room…"

Feeling naked without his typical trenchcoat, Shinjiro left his room in just a white shirt and his dark pants, as his hat had vanished along with his coat. Yet he was still more upset about the coat than the hat. Storming down the dorm stairs, he was a bit surprised to see no one but a certain girl in the lounge. For a moment, he was glad he was without his coat—he felt heat course through him. Must be the summer heat getting to him…Or his fever…

Actually, for once, he didn't feel feverish. His breath came easy. His body didn't feel sore and tired. Today was actually amazing.

Relief cooled his jets about the coat, and he approached the girl, who was sitting with his coat in her lap and texting idly as she waited. Sitting on the arm of the couch across from hers, he tilted his head a bit. "Why do you have my coat? You didn't…bait me, did you?" He smiled a bit. Feeling healthy was really helping out his mood. And seeing her... Damn, seeing her always made him happy. Especially after the other night…

She gave him a coy smile, briefly peeking up from her phone, then she finished her message and put the phone away. "You kept sleeping. You're going to sleep the summer away like this."

"Summer? It should be early October. Or late September. I don't really remember, actually…" It didn't seem that important. In fact, a lot of stuff felt kind of fuzzy like that. Actually…Now that he thought about it, it certainly felt like summer. It was hot. And bright. Curiously he went to the window and saw it was far from October—it had to be July or August. He'd never seen an October or September so bright…vivid…Alive.

"What about the Shadows?" he heard himself asking. "There's one we have to fight on the fourth. Of October."

Setting aside his coat and joining him, Minako Arisato, in her orange summer outfit, touched his shoulder and forced him to turn and look at her. "Don't worry about it. I was waiting for you to come down. Let's go get something to eat. Just the two of us."

She took his hand, which after first he felt pretty awkward about, but after a moment he lightened a little. "You're so pushy and bossy," he mused. "But then again…You know it doesn't take much to push me around." Grip tightening on hers, he let her lead him out and into the brightness of a hot summer day.

They detoured on their way to the Strip Mall, heading instead to Naganaki Shrine. He wasn't real hungry yet and apparently neither was Minako.

Shinjiro watched her nimbly climb the jungle gym, and when she was at the top, she smiled at him and gestured for him to join her.

"I'm the king of the world," she taunted. "You can't dethrone me."

"Wouldn't you be a queen?"

"Why can't I be a king?"

"That title is reserved for men. And I know you're not a man."

Smile intact, she winked at him briefly before becoming more focused on watching the sky. A soft breeze tousled her hair…Her lean figure contracting against the bright, cloudless sky…That heat rushed through Shinjiro once more. It reminded him how different everything was.

It wasn't that Minako wasn't usually this coy, but…that night had been one night. In early October, he would swear. This…This didn't seem…right. But he was free of pain, stress and—for once—guilt. He felt…Free. Truly free. Free from all of his demons.

Mounting the climbing structure with ease, he was soon settled beside her, giving her a confident smirk and tilting his head to look at her from the corner of his eye. "So how's that? Think you can share your throne?"

Minako tilted her head back, letting her feet swing.

"I suppose. On one condition, Shinji-senpai."

"I'll accept your condition if you accept mine; don't use that 'senpai' shit. Just call me Shinji."

With a bit of a look, she smirked and continued, "You can share my throne, senpai, if you promise me something."

"Spit it out already. I don't have all day."

She met his gaze, her eyes soft and sweet. Shinjiro knew he was powerless to say no. She was the only one, other than Akihiko, to know him this deeply…Not even Mitsuru knew the deepest parts of him. It had just been a matter of a few weeks and he was helpless to tell her no.

"Promise you'll have fun this summer with me."

Tilting his head, Akihiko felt that uncomfortable stirring in the back of his brain—something wasn't quite right, but it wasn't really wrong either…But the stirring faded, and the hatless, coatless Shinjiro Aragaki wrapped an arm around her shoulders and brought her closer.

"Yeah, fine. Promise. We would've had fun anyway. You're some kind of fun magnet."

"You think?"

"Do I need to say it again? What are you, deaf?"