Author's note: I don't like referring to the Main Character by name, since he doesn't have one used in canon (unlike P2's Tatsuya and P4's Yu), but he'll be known as Minato Arisato here for convenience's sake.
Special thanks to RareKuma for his ideas and input. You're, like, totally da bomb.
I super appreciate any and all thoughts and/or criticism anyone might have. Please review, k?
Deep within Iwatodai Dorm, specifically inside the shared dorm refrigerator found inside its seldom-used kitchen, a lone pudding rested peacefully on top of a nondescript white plate. The plate's only defining feature was an inscription, seemingly left by a marker pen.
It read 'YUKARI'S. DO NOT EAT.'
A looming shadow lurked in the darkness, searching for a target. Searching for a victim.
Searching for a chance to strike.
The fridge door opened and the shadow reached for the plate that so majestically carried the frail, weakened pudding. Completely and mercilessly ignoring the message written, the shadow pierced the pudding's defences with a small, shining tea spoon.
With mechanical efficiency, the tea spoon cut down the pudding until there was nothing left of it.
The pudding was no more.
As if it had never existed.
Realising what they had done, the shadow returned the plate to its original place in the fridge and made a hasty escape. They looked around for any witnesses.
No one was there.
The perfect crime.
The only evidence was slowly digesting, and soon it would vanish from this world.
The shadow slowly shuffled upstairs and retreated to the safety of their room, not seen by any.
OR WERE THEY?
Case of the Pudding
Part I – The Crime
Starring Yukari Takeba
and Aigis as 'Lovely Cyber-Detective Ai-Chan'
Written and Directed by ExtraSaber
"Damn, that monk had some issues."
"You two have that in common, Junpei."
"I'll have you know I'm probably the most stable person here."
"Pfft, as if."
Yukari and Junpei were just returning home after having spent most of their Sunday wandering around Port Island. Their last stop had been the esteemed (?) Club Escapade. Their excursion today had been a strictly 'friends-only' deal, as the idea of Yukari and Junpei dating was equal parts scary and ridiculous.
Yukari, being more fashion conscious than most, had on a plaid miniskirt, black thigh-highs, and a particularly charming, frilly sleeveless top emblazoned with the cryptic sentence 'Love Nuke for Life and Eternity'. She had absolutely no idea what that meant, but the top was pink and decorated with pretty love hearts, so she didn't really care.
Junpei's get-up was less admirable, being but a simple dark-green down vest over a black sleeveless shirt and basic jeans, along with that cap he so loved. Functionality over style, as he'd always say.
Yukari walked into the lounge and smiled mischievously at Junpei.
"Anyway, I have a wonderful pudding waiting for me in the fridge, so I'll be off."
"Pudding, you say? Don't suppose you have some for me, do ya?"
"Yeah, as if I'd give YOU pudding."
"You're so greedy, Yuka-tan. Junpei sighed, "Guess that's why you got such fat thighs."
"What was that?" Yukari glared at Junpei and curled her hand into a fist.
"What was what? I didn't say anything."
A cold sweat ran down Junpei's face as Yukari sighed.
"Well, whatever." Yukari shrugged and walked off to the kitchen.
Junpei sat himself down on the lounge sofa and sighed. He began to read a nearby magazine in peace and quiet until silence was broken by two horrible sounds.
One of them was the sound of breaking glass. The other was Yukari's very loud screaming.
"Yukari! What happened?" Junpei had rushed into the kitchen, alarmed by the alarming combination of sounds.
Standing in front of the open fridge was a gaping Yukari, her face frozen in an expression of shock and anger. A few feet away from her was her personalised plate, now shattered to smithereens.
"My… pudding… no…" Yukari whimpered, her face white as a sheet.
"…your pudding tried to kill you?" Junpei said, a look of bewilderment on his face.
In that instant, the stage of denial ended and Yukari skipped straight to anger.
"Who the hell ate my pudding?"
"In every generation there is a chosen one. He alone will stand against the aliens, the mad scientists, and the forces of darkness. He is Phoenix Ranger Featherman R!"
Minato was secretly watching Phoenix Ranger on his room's modestly sized TV, clad in his usual lazy day ensemble of white boxers with pink polka dots and a white t-shirt emblazoned with four hearts, two of which were outlines rather than red, and the word 'EMPTY'. Yukari had always been interested in knowing the origin of said t-shirt, a question Minato would tend to avoid.
Over the sounds of cheesy tokusatsu action, Minato could faintly hear some rather panicked screaming coming from downstairs. He paid it no mind, as it was most likely just another of Yukari's mood swings.
Back at the kitchen, things weren't going very well. Yukari was now dead silent, something that terrified Junpei more than anything.
"Listen, Yuka-tan. We'll find the one who did this. I swear, we will not let him get away with this." He said, putting his hand on her shoulder.
Yukari turned to face him, still furious.
"You ate it, didn't you?"
"You ate my pudding, Stupei! Admit it! Admit it and buy me five new ones! This pudding was expensive, y'know! A real, genuine L'excrétion Affreux pudding! Five!"
"Why five? And no way, I did not eat your pudding!"
Yukari was now breathing heavily. Junpei didn't think he had ever seen her that mad before, and he was most certainly one to know the wrath of The Terrible Yuka-tan.
"Yuka-tan, we were together all day. That pudding was there before we left! I couldn't have eaten it without being telekinetic, y'know."
"Yeah… you're right. Sorry, Junpei." Yukari was now calming down once more. Her mood was one of the world's most volatile factors. "Now let's find whoever did this."
Yukari brushed off Junpei's hand and proceeded to storm out of the kitchen.
"…say what, now?" Junpei blurted out.
Yukari turned around once more. Her eyes were shining with the fire of a thousand suns.
"Did I stutter? We're going to apprehend the culprit, and we're doing it now." With all the pleasantness of a sledgehammer to the face, Yukari walked off in search of the truth.
"H-hey, wait up!" Junpei called out, running after the girl on a mission.
Yukari headed upstairs to the second floor, her footsteps heavy and full of rage.
"What are we doing, Yuka-tan?"
"Isn't it obvious? We'll be doing some detective work, questioning everyone here. It had to have been someone living in the dorm, right? I doubt someone would break in and take only my pudding." Yukari explained, her logic super flawless like always.
"I guess, but shouldn't we begin with, like, scanning the crime scene for clues? That's always how they do it on CSI."
"Not a chance! This way is a lot faster, see."
Determined to uncover the truth, Yukari walked up to the end of the second floor's hall. With no regard to the resident's privacy, she slammed it open and pointed dramatically at said resident.
"Minato-kun, you ate my pudding!"
Minato, in a panic, scrambled for the remote and turned off the TV. No one could know about his guiltiest of pleasures.
"Y-Yukari! Junpei! You guys are… here!" Minato said as he sat up, sweating.
"You don't have to hide it, Minato-kun. I already know you watch that show." Yukari shrugged. "I've seen how your face lights up at the sight of merchandise when we walk around town. It's pretty cute, really…"
Yukari blushed, her thought train having passed its stop a long time ago. Junpei cleared his throat. It was the Ace Detective's turn to shine.
"Hey, Minato. You eat a lot of food, right?" He asked as he sat himself down on Minato's bed.
Minato slowly put down the rather large sandwich he had been munching on up to this point and placed it on his desk.
"No, not really. Why do you ask?"
Approximately twenty seconds of complete silence followed until it was broken by Junpei's lovely voice.
"So, someone ate Yuka-tan's pudding, and…"
"…you think I did it? Why would I do it?" Minato said, sincerity oozing from every orifice. "Hell, I haven't even left the room all day!"
"It is true. Minato-san has been stationed inside his living quarters since he woke up today at noon."
Everyone turned their heads to see Aigis the Stalkerbot standing in the doorway. Their eyes were wide and full of questions.
"You were spying on me again?" Minato sighed.
"I believe the appropriate term here would be 'keeping tabs on'. However, my answer is negative. I have been on stand-by for the day, monitoring the actions of the dormitory's residents."
Yukari snapped her fingers, startling Junpei.
"That's it! If you know what everyone has been doing, you could tell us who stole my pudding!"
"I am sorry; I am not at liberty to divulge information of that calibre."
"…what did she just say?" Junpei asked, scratching his head.
"I think she's saying that she doesn't know. Right, Aigis?" Minato said as he looked over at the robot. She looked as she always did, red ribbon and all. Aigis didn't respond, her face completely static.
"Well, that sucks." Yukari groaned. However, a small smile returned to her face shortly after. "Anyway, I'm glad you didn't eat my pudding, Minato-kun. I feel like I can trust you with anything."
"She says that, but she was dead-set on accusing me a moment ago…" Minato says under his breath, quiet enough for Yukari to not hear him.
"Hey, Ai-chan. You wanna help with the investigation? We could use your roboty charms on this case." Junpei stood up and winked at Aigis.
"You want me to help with your questioning of the dorm's residents, correct?" Aigis said, not breaking her eye contact with Minato, who was growing more uncomfortable by the second.
Yukari shrugged and started walking out of Minato's room. "If you want to, I guess. Whatever."
Aigis finally blinked and nodded her head.
"Understood. I shall assist Yukari-san and Junpei-san with their investigation." Aigis confirmed the situation and followed Yukari out, leaving only Junpei and Minato.
"Maybe I could—" Minato started, but was quickly interrupted by Junpei.
"B-but I'm the leader here. I never get to be leader…" Junpei said, his voice growing a tad shaky.
Minato had an amused grin on his face. "Fair enough. I hope you catch the pudding fiend soon."
"So, where to next?" Junpei said as the three walked aimlessly around the dorm.
"I guess we just randomly question everyone until we get them to 'fess up. Any objections?" Yukari said, having calmed down a lot.
"I guess that works. D'you know if everyone's home, Ai-chan?"
Aigis took a short while to look into her data bank, and eventually replied.
"I can confirm that everyone is present, save for Mitsuru-senpai. She has stepped out on a personal errand."
"I guess it's probably student council or Kirijo Group stuff. Nothing we have to worry about." Yukari shrugged once more, and suggested their next course of action. They'd check up on the least likely suspects first, starting with one Fuuka Yamagishi.
"Hey, Fuuka. You in there?" Yukari said, knocking on Fuuka's door.
"Y-Yukari-chan? Is something wrong?" A timid voice sounded behind the door. She seemed a bit startled.
"We just wanna ask you something, if that's cool." Junpei said in the most non-threatening voice he could muster.
"Junpei-san, too? I-I'd prefer it if… no one entered…" Fuuka's voice now sounded panicked, as if she was hiding a dead body in her room. It just made her seem more suspicious, in fact.
"Dammit, I can't open the door. She locked it." Yukari said, her frantic violation of the doorknob growing more intense with every passing moment. Aigis decided to step in to preserve Yukari's sanity.
"Stand back, Yukari-san. I shall take care of this door." Aigis said in confidence.
"What, are you going to pick her lock? Cool!" Junpei said as Yukari stepped away from the door, a sour expression on her face.
"Initiating battle mode. Disabling inherent limiters. Locking on… firing."
One explosion later, there was no door standing between the three detectives and suspect number two anymore. A pile of ashes and burnt wood was all that remained of the once majestic entrance to Casa de Fuuka.
Sitting in front of a very expensive-looking desktop computer was an extremely startled Fuuka, who obviously didn't take her of her looks. Her hair was messy, she had thick-rimmed glasses on, and all she was wearing were red jogging trousers and a BlazBlue t-shirt.
She was completely speechless for several reasons, the most pressing of which were the destruction of her door, and the fact that three of her friends had seen her unattractive 'days off' visage. The three stepped inside, everyone still dead silent. Junpei opened his mouth and prepared to speak, something Fuuka very much dreaded.
"Oh, you're into BlazBlue, Fuuka? That's the pre-order t-shirt for the console version, isn't it?"
Everyone stared at Junpei. Yukari's stare, in particular, was one of annoyance and contempt.
Fuuka snapped out of her funk long enough to form a coherent reply to Junpei.
"Er, y-yes. Well, no. I, uh, I only play it a little bit in my spare time…" Fuuka said as she removed her glasses. "Why did you blow up my door…?"
"You weren't opening it for us, so we had to use force. Mitsuru-senpai is richer than God so replacing it'll be done like that, anyway." Yukari shrugged yet again, clearly not interested in Fuuka's plight. "Anyway, you ate my pudding, didn't you?"
Junpei sighed. "Is every interrogation going to start like that?"
Fuuka's eyes appeared to be spinning. The current onslaught of information made absolutely no earthly sense to her mostly human brain.
"Pudding? What pudding? What's going on…?"
Aigis looked intently at Fuuka, then at Yukari.
"She is telling the truth. She was not aware of your pudding's existence until this point in time." Aigis stated, clearing Fuuka of all suspicions.
"Oh. Well, that's cool, I guess. Let's go, Junpei." Yukari said as she got ready to depart. However, Junpei had just found his soulmate.
"Who do you play? I mostly use Jin, myself." Junpei's voice was filled with childlike glee and excitement.
"I guess I use Hakumen sometimes…" Fuuka smiled weakly, still rather shocked at the implausible sequence of events she had been in the middle of.
"Hakumen, huh? How very pro of you. Hey, is that Magical Witch Moerin you have as your wallpaper?"
No one may have cared, but Junpei established the Fuuka Yamagishi Social Link of the Priestess Arcana that day.
"Can we just go already? Quit your yapping, Stupei!" Yukari quite clearly ran out of patience a while ago.
Aigis forcibly pulled Junpei out of the room, leaving Fuuka alone. She didn't know what was going on, but she did know that she would never forget this day.
End of Part I