The Week of Brash Mishaps…
The train's rattling, on the tracks, only heightened his unease and slowly growing regret. And, with each passing second, his discomfort grew. This wasn't right. It wasn't a logical course of action, was what he kept telling himself. But something kept nagging him, pestering him throughout the day and tempting him at night. It beckoned him for a straight month until he finally phoned Yosuke–his best friend–on the matter. To his astonishment, Yosuke agreed with the preposterous suggestion; and now, a week later, they had arranged an entire week of missing school.
Of course, the duo wouldn't conduct the act by themselves. No. The other members of the Investigation Team would never allow it. So, despite all their daily responsibilities–school, Yukiko's training at her family's inn, Kanji assisting his mother, Yosuke's job, Teddie's fixation with popsicles, Chie's fixation with meat, and Rise's ongoing career as an idol–they agreed to the idea without hesitation.
A small smile crept on his pale features. YU NARUKAMI considered himself the luckiest guy in the world for having such loyal friends. He stood tightly gripping the support belt by the exit doors as his anxiety prevented him from sitting at ease. It was deathly silent inside the train. Yet, he expected this, as he was the only passenger.
His destination was the artificial city, Tatsumi Port Island. A city that he hoped would shed some light on the incident during Golden Week in his favorite town, Yasoinaba. Yu's other hand, gripping his duffel bag–which contained the basic toiletries and enough clothing for a week or so–tightened. The fighting tournament, seasoned persona users, mysterious hacker and, to top to it all off, malevolent entity. So many mysterious shrouded in shadows.
But, the uncertainties of the situation didn't discourage the silver-haired Fool, because he was a member of the Investigation Team. They solved the mysterious murders that plagued Inaba, and in doing so prevented a catastrophe direr than any of them had ever imagined. Solving mysterious, no matter how bizarre, was their specialty. Yu loosened his grip on the support belt. He was arriving soon to where his friends were gathered.
The train began to decelerate, a hissing screech, until it slowed to a crawl and stopped. Next to the Fool, the doors opened.
The terminal was as vacant and lifeless as the train. Dim lights shined overhead from the wide panels displaying the train times. Another wasn't scheduled until the next morning. Yu traveled toward a flight of stairs by the back wall. He slipped a hand into his pocket as he walked and fished out a folded piece of paper. It contained directions of the preselected location his friends had chosen, designed by Naoto, along with pictures and short messages.
Kindergarten scribbles of a bear were to the right corner, without a doubt from Teddie, the word partner hovered below that, Yosuke, and a illustration of a cute bunny was drawn a tiny space away.
Occupying the left corner was a dopy-eyed smiley face, Chie, a message that said "see you soon", Yukiko he figured, and lastly, dozens of shaded hearts from Rise.
A shaky breath escaped him, followed by a grin. Words couldn't describe his excitement upon their reunion. It had only been a month since the events in May and now it was June. He was currently–or supposed to be–continuing the first semester at his new high school. A lot of it was routine. Arriving every day to the same lectures with a hint of new material, participating in whatever sport interested him at the time, and then exploring the streets for any new activity. All of it was an attempt to spend as little time as possible at his temporary residence; an apartment, provided by his parents, where he stayed in solitude.
Maybe that was why he suggested his absurd suggestion to Yosuke. To escape another day trapped by four bland walls and boring routine. Then, in some ways, the incident during Golden Week was a blessing. Even if it was for a short time–with huge repercussions–the team was back, ready and determined.
The directions on the map led Yu to a barely populated intersection, which was understandable considering the time. He checked his watch. It was eleven fifty-six. It was late enough that he couldn't deny his growing desire for sleep. Yu increased the length of his strides, passing tall buildings, glowing under the moon's silvery glow. A small group crowded the side of the street–three males and two females–with lilted cigarettes and cans of liquor. Using his peripheral vision, he noted that the individuals looked hardly of age to drink. They reminded him of the usual bad crowd that populated nearly every school he transferred into.
He ignored their stares and focused on the map. After a while, under the map's guidance, he turned down a sketchy alleyway that seemed out-of-place with the rest of the city. The copper stoned street presented a majestic, tacky scenery. The suggestive atmosphere from the glowing pink building beside him only added to the sense of wrongness.
Yu stopped abruptly then looked at the building. Memories of pink water beds, pink rooms and Teddie twirling half-naked surfaced from the depths of his mind. He spared a glance at the map, and, sure enough, the directions ended where he stood. Disbelief riddled his pale façade.
Yu walked toward the bleak entrance gate–maintaining a healthy distance–and stared at the building's distasteful appearance. Suddenly, a hollow zoom echoed from the automatic doors and his friends stepped out in a group.
Sweat rolled down Yu's face. You've got to be kidding me. Here's where we're staying?
Before he could react, someone flew into him, sending him to the ground, flat, duffel bag falling out of his reach. Regaining his bearings, Yu realized it was the blond shadow, Teddie, snuggling against his chest.
"Hey, Teddie! Not fair!"
Rise hovered over them and despite her words; she was smiling mischievously.
"Alright, bear," said a voice that could only belong to Kanji. "Get off!" Gripping a fist-full of Teddie's white collared shirt, he tossed the blond shadow a few feet into the air.
As Yu sat up, rubbing the back of his head and shooting Kanji a smile, Yosuke walked over with his duffel bag. "Sorry about that," he said and offered a hand. "He's been super hyper all day. I swear we need a leash on that bear." With Yosuke's support, Yu stood to his feet, and within seconds, his friends–minus Teddie–surrounded him in a curved circle.
Chie welcomed him first with an enthusiastic, "You're here!" That cued the others and their own welcoming responses.
"It's good to see you," Yukiko said with a genuine smile.
"Senpai, it's been way too long," Kanji said.
"Yu-senpai," said Naoto, tipping her hat low but not enough to hide her own smile, "It's been roughly a month, yet it feels like it's been so much longer. It's good to see you again. I hope the map didn't led you in any turns."
Suddenly Yu recalled his initial discomfort and spared a quick glance at the hotel his friends had undoubtedly chosen. He reached for the paper, but realized it must have fallen to ground after Teddie's assault.
After a while, he offered a smile that was meek at best. "The directions were spot on, but…" His eyes wandered to the building radiating pink temptation. Confusion and discomfort danced behind his eyes.
An awkward silence filled the area. Yosuke looked bashful. Naoto made a half-hearted attempt at clearing her throat; Teddie was unconscious, Chie laughed nervously; Yukiko diverted her gaze and Kanji looked as confused as Yu felt.
Finally, the group, collectively–except Yu, Kanji and of course Teddie–stared at Rise. The redhead Idol was reduced to stammering at being the center of attention in a fashion she wasn't use to. "I-it was just a suggestion," she managed. "I mean, it was the cheapest hotel around at such short notice and, umm…the inside isn't that bad-looking."
Her emphasis on the building's interior only increased Yu's unease. He focused on her with a cocked eyebrow.
"Wait," she said, frowning at being the scapegoat, "it may have been my suggestion, but you guys didn't have to agree with it." She pointed a finger at Yosuke. "Jeez, Yosuke-senpai, you pretty much agreed when you found out how much you would save on your motorcycle." She shifted her attention to Chie and Yukiko. "And, Chie and Yukiko-senpai, you two just wanted to try the water beds again. And, Naoto you…actually…why did you agree?"
"Anyway," Naoto interrupted, steering the conversation toward more neutral grounds, "there are a number of reasons for this facility to act as our temporary residence, despite its history."
"It used to be a love hotel–"
With lightning fast reflexes, Yosuke placed a hand over Yu's mouth. "Shh! Dude, you just got here. Please don't make this situation anymore awkward then it already is."
The Fool nodded and moved the Magician's hand away to sigh. Their current predicament was anything but ideal, but they had come too far. Invested too much to allow a minor–mayor in Yu's eyes–setback to deter their mission. And while their temporary residence was anything but ideal, it was more of a pleasure than necessity.
He sighed again, dreading the decision he was about to make. "Why don't we go inside and I'll go situate myself? You guys look like you've already taken care of that. We'll discuss our sleeping arrangements later."
His decision was rewarded with smiles and nods as the team ventured back inside the hotel's entrance lobby. Yosuke, to ease some of his stress, volunteered to take his belongings to the room they were most likely sharing. With them back inside, Yu was alone in the space between the entrance gates and the lobby's automatic doors. He took the brief moment of silence to again question the hasty decision of venturing to Port Island.
Would they really find answers in this city or were they just deluding themselves? Either way, there was no turning back now. Whether or not their course of action was flawed, they had already taken the first step. They had already abandoned their responsibilities, knowing full well of the consequences. Yu only hoped the reward outweighed the risk.
An unholy moan snapped the Fool from his pessimistic thoughts, and he looked at Teddie's disheveled form. The human shadow rose, grunting in the process, and snapped his head in every direction. When his eyes finally met Yu's, he repeated the act of diving straight at the Fool, but this time with no one to pry him off.
June 17, 2012 (Tuesday)
The sleep he so craved the night before never came. Between the room's wrongness and Teddie's rampage, Yu was surprised that he even managed to close his eyes.
Last night, after Yosuke returned to retrieve Yu–saving him from Teddie in the process–they decided on the room arrangements. The girls stayed on the upper floor, paired in a room. Yu and Yosuke shared a room on the second floor, while a few doors down stayed Kanji and Teddie. Almost immediately, Teddie complained about the overabundance of testosterone.
So, early in the morning, he exited the room, attempting to sneak into one the females' room. Luckily Kanji phoned Yosuke when he did or it would have been a reenactment of the Amagi Inn tragedy. Together, extremely early in the morning, they apprehended the loose shadow and restrained him in Yosuke and Yu's room.
All those memories returned to Yu as he lifted his torso from the fluffy pink mattress–that was spinning?
On the couch, in front of the spinning bed, was Teddie, his hands tied behind his back by Kanji's belt and his expression peaceful. Half of Yosuke's body was occupying the couch, while his legs were crossed on the floor. And, Kanji was unconscious, sprawled on the floor and snoring incredibly loud.
Yu managed to step off the bed without falling over and trudged to the bathroom, which was also pink like everything else the hotel featured. He gazed at his reflection from a mirror above a pink sink. His silver eyes were bloodshot with a heavy black shadow under them and his hair looked a bowl with wings extending from the top. As he pushed down on his hair, his cellphone beeped. He pulled it out from his trousers, flipped it and checked his messages. He had four unread texts. The latest was from Chie.
Chie 11:45 AM
Hey u guys better wake up! Were headin for bf in like 15 mins.
It took Yu a matter of seconds to realize that bf stood for breakfast and that he had fifteen minutes to wake Yosuke, Kanji, and Teddie and somehow look like he hadn't been caught up in a hurricane.
It took them roughly thirty minutes to prepare. The girls had already left, leaving directions by text. The boys rushed out like criminals, escaping the authorities. As much as Yu wanted to explore Port Island and sightsee, he detested being late. They passed sceneries of structure buildings, crossed intersection–while obeying all traffic laws–then decided to take short cuts by traveling through the back streets of neighborhoods, which probably wasn't too smart considering the number of heated looks they received. Luckily, Kanji with his black skulled jacket repelled any unwanted attention.
They met the girls at a newly established diner, outside the perimeter of the popular shopping mall: Paulownia mall.
"Woah," followed by a snort of laughter was what they received upon entering the diner. They girl's sat at a booth, near the entrance doors, and eyed them with the same general bewilderment. Yu wasn't too surprised, considering how well-kept they appeared.
Chie and Naoto wore clothing similar to their usual getups, while Yukiko and Rise attempted to innovate. Yukiko wore a bloused red shirt, a pair of black jeans, secured by a black belt, and slip-on shoes. Rise wore a causal orange shirt–with an illustration of a heart pierced by an arrow–black pants that wrapped around her legs like a second layer of skin and sneakers.
"Wow," Rise said in mock shock, "you guys look like you had a rough night?"
"Shu-t up," Kanji said in-between breathes. Yosuke wordlessly sat on the booth behind the girls.
"Yosuke-kun," Yukiko said, "you do know your shirts on backwards?"
"Huh, wha?" He looked down to see a white tag sticking out under his chin. "Oh, what the hell! Why didn't you guys tell me sooner?"
Yu wiped the bead of sweat near his brow and smiled. He had noticed, as it provided something to laugh about during the duration of the run.
"Aw, Yosuke," said Teddie, wagging a stern finger, "you need to take a beary good look at yourself in the mirror."
A vein literally bulged over Yosuke's forehead and Yu speedily covered his mouth to prevent any colorful words from being said. "Let's try and not make this situation any rougher than its already been," the Fool said, smiling, mimicking the Magician from the night before. He muffled a reply, which Yu took as an affirmative. The boys took their seats with Yosuke and Yu sitting across from Kanji and Teddie.
Rise glanced back at them from her seat. "Hey, um, Yosuke-senpai, why don't you take Teddie and go to the restroom. You know, fix up?"
The sweetness in her tone stirred Yu's intuition, but he shrugged the feeling away. He hadn't seen her in over a month. Maybe it was the lack of sleep that sprung the notion.
"Huh, oh, yea I guess." Yosuke looked thoughtful. "Can't look like a train wreck on day one."
He waved Teddie to follow, but the blond shadow refused with a plain "I don't want to." A simple reminder of his growing popsicles debt quickly changed his mind and the two wandered to the nearest restroom. Yu was on the verge of joining them, conscious of his own appearance, but a certain scarlet jumped in Yosuke's seat.
"Senpai!" Rise squealed, latching onto him and cutting the circulation to his already pale arm. "How've you been? Did you miss me? How's your new semester going? You didn't get a girlfriend…right?"
Yu gulped, contemplating a response and which of the rapidly fired questions he should answer. Thankfully, salvation appeared in the shaped of a stoic waiter. He placed colorfully decorated menus for each of them–except the duo in the restroom, so Naoto politely asked for two more. She thanked the waiter when he went to retrieve some, and no later, Yosuke and Teddie returned, looking slightly more presentable.
"Hey, what the heck?" The brunet voiced. In the background, Teddie took Rise's old seat and conversed with Chie and Yukiko.
Rise regarded Yosuke with a faint smile. "Oh! Hey Yosuke-senpai. You look so much better with your shirt on right."
Yu bit his tongue to stop from laughing at Rise's sarcasm, which was without a doubt infuriating his partner.
"D-don't hey me! You planned this, didn't you?"
Rise offered her most innocent expression, worthy of a teen idol, near faultless.
"Just give up," Chie said with an amused smirk. "You know how convincing she can be."
"Yea, but…argh!" Yosuke groaned. He wiped his head back, and Yu could already imagine the thoughts circling around in his head.
Well, I guess I can sit with Chie, Naoto and Yukiko. I mean, sitting with two beautiful girls and a steak addict. Who gets to do that every day?
Or something along those lines, Yu thought.
Another wave of disappointment hit Yosuke when he saw Teddie in his desired seat. He reluctantly sat next to Kanji.
The waiter returned with the two extra menus then proceeded to note down their orders. Kanji plucked out the highest-calorie item available with Chie, second, ordering a steaming hot plate of meat. Rise, Naoto and Yukiko chose something more moderate and Yosuke mimcked Yu's choice of omelet rolls. Within a few minutes, Teddie's order, a grand ice-cream banana split arrived.
As the blond shadow munched away at his breakfast–desert–Naoto took the opportunity to address the team. "As our orders arrive, wouldn't now be an ideal time to review." It was a statement in the form of a question.
Yu rolled his head back, as much as he could with Rise on him and the booth's peak that reached up to his chin, and nodded. Naoto produced a tan folder from out under the table and set it down. Thankfully, Rise released his arm, so Yu could glance back more easily. The separation between the booths made it an unattractive location for a briefing. Naoto opened the folder and began to recite from an aged article.
"The Kirijo Group is a multinational company that provides most of Japan, and other countries, with their electronic demands. This applies to cellphones, laptops, computers and so on. They're also known for their many construction projects. This city, for example, was only possible because of them."
Chie's order arrived next. A wooden plate hovered over a portable grill with piles of meat and steaming vegetables. A breakfast fit for a carnivore. She quickly snatched the closest chopsticks and scoped a mouth full. "Oooh," she moaned, patting her cheek. "This. Is. The. Pinnacle of Meat!"
She noticed everyone's eyes on her and blushed a little. "And, um, the Kirijo Group sure is great…yep."
"Fail," Yosuke muttered under his breath.
Naoto continued as if they had never spoken. "They were originally part of the Nanjo Group…but later separated. To this day both companies work closely together." She waited until the waiter set Kanji and Yukiko's order down then continued when he left. "Starting from 1999, the leader of the group was Kouetsu Kirijo until his son, Takeharu Kirijo, took control."
"Takeharu Kirijo," Yu murmured thoughtfully. "…Mitsuru Kirijo's father?"
Teddie looked up from his desert, face smothered with ice cream, and Yukiko's chopstick hand lowered.
"Yes senpai," Naoto confirmed. "Up until 2009, Kirijo's father was the head of the Kijiro Group."
"Up until 2009…? What happened?" Yosuke asked, curious.
Yu frowned. While the information was common knowledge, it was becoming less noteworthy throughout the years. Maybe it was the Kirijo Group's intent at preventing their clients–and the populous–from harboring doubt in their company. Using time as an instrument, stealthy placing a new head, and then shifting the people's attention elsewhere. Brilliantly deceiving.
"He passed away," Naoto explained in a monotone voice. "No true explanation was ever given except for speculation of a bullet wound."
The mood darkened. Chie's eyes widened like saucers. "H-her dad died?"
Yukiko blanched. It seemed she was also unaware. She admired Kijiro and this new bit of knowledge only increased her admiration. They both dealt with situations related to family inherences–Mitsuru's a tad more extreme–so it only natural Yukiko felt some sort of kinship.
The members of the Investigation Team were silent, unmoving until Kanji recovered and spoke for the first time since the briefing began. "Alright…so what else it say?"
At times Kanji's brash personality was like a storm, blowing away the hesitation and clearing their minds for the moment. Naoto blinked, allowing an invisible tug to arch the corner of her lip. "Well," she flipped the paper to a more modern article. "After the death of Takeharu Kirijo, his daughter took possession of the company in the late 2009 to now…" She pressed her lips. "Quite a heavy burden for someone her age."
No one disagreed. The waiter returned, skillfully carrying a wide circular tray in one hand, with the rest of their orders. Yu's mind was so preoccupied; he never noticed the waiter's presence. He didn't even register the omelet rolls under his nose until Rise gave him a slight nudge.
"Senpai, you ok?"
He blinked, returned to reality. He nodded curtly, picked up a set of chopsticks then began to eat. So much thinking nulled his taste buds.
"We'll discuss this a later time," Naoto said, closing the folder and laying it on her lap. A nonverbal "yes" was given from each of them.
The sun, shining bright, was exposed, glowing over the city and its inhabitants. The fragrance of blossoming flowers, the ocean breeze and activity filled the streets. Summer was here and in full swing. Stomachs full, minds eager, the team continued their discussion over coffee: Chagall Café at the Paulownia mall.
Yu recalled the Chagall Café located in Okina City and its very eccentric owner who would offer wise, cryptic advice. The Café featured the same interior as its duplicate in Okina City. Polished to the point of shine, fancy and a wonderful place for a sip of coffee. The team was seated on wide circular sofa that managed to contain them all.
A waitress appeared, wearing a maid outfit. Yosuke and Teddie openly gawked as she scribbled on a small note pad. Teddie, insatiable, ordered another large desert, while Yu, a cup of black coffee. He only hoped that the taste wouldn't render him unconscious like at Okina City. The rest of the group was fine, full and content.
Naoto opened her tan folder to the article. She sat at the center, being the briefer, with Yu to her left and Kanji to her right. The former was conspicuously twitchy, sitting straight, arms crossed.
"Somewhere after her father's death, between 2009 and 2010, Kirijo-san created a spec ops squad, unofficially known as the Shadow Operatives." Naoto paused. That bit of information wasn't in any news article, Internet page or anywhere else, publicly. It was all an educated guess from what they did know about Mitsuru Kirijo and her band of persona users. Tapping a finger on the table, she said, "…Can any of you recall the Port Island incident. It occurred roughly twelve years ago."
Chie blinked then shook her head. "Twelve years ago…I would've been five years old. Sorry Naoto, but nothing's coming to mind."
"It's quite alright," Naoto replied with a thin smile. "That information is foreign to many and, now that so much time has passed, almost useless to today's populous. To make matters even more difficult, it's shrouded in wild theory and speculation."
"Didn't an explosion happen, because of some accident," Yu suddenly interjected.
A few of his friends looked at him like he had grown a second head. Yosuke snapped his fingers. "Oh yea! I remember reading about that online. Some big explosion happened and…the Kirijo Group played a part…right?"
Kanji jumped to his feet, and slammed his fists on the table, wobbling it a little. "You sayin' they blew up the city!?"
His outburst attracted the attention of the few bystanders currently in the café. Kanji grunted when something struck his shin under the table. The culprit? Rise, sending him an annoyed glare. Yukiko was busy keeping her giggles at bay.
"Keep it down, Moranji," Rise whispered, shooting apologetic glances to the other paying customers. "Don't assume anything yet," she continued, "And listen to what Naoto has to say." Her annoyance quickly shifted to amusement. " Plus, girls like good listeners." To prove her point, she once again latched onto Yu's arm. Their leader's practiced poker face gave nothing away. "Wouldn't you want a certain someone to think that way about you," Rise concluded.
A certain someone was, metaphorically, in another world, skimming through the pages in her folder. Kanji stared at her, looked away and sank into his seat, flushed. "…S-shut up," he murmured in a child-like whisper. Rise, satisfied at the reaction, smiled brightly. Bearing the lovers arcana, anything involving love and relationships was in her domain. Yu had lost track of her numerous attempts at, indirectly, suggesting the bleach-haired male to express his obvious affections for the female detective.
Having found the desired page in her folder, and oblivious to Kanji's inner turmoil, Naoto placed it down. It was a newspaper page, torn and tarnish, but understandable considering the date and title.
Explosion on Artificial Island
Yosuke read the date out loud then winced. "This page is as old as the incident. How'd you get your hands on it Naoto?"
It was only for a moment, but the question cracked Naoto's cool façade. Kanji eyed her keenly. The female sleuth cleared her throat. "The documents," she began, threading carefully, "well, most of them were notes belonging to my grandfather."
"Your grandfather?" Chie asked, bewildered. "What does he have to do with this?" Her eyes widened, realizing the rudeness in her own question. "Ha-ha, sorry. What I meant to say is how exactly is he involved?"
"I don't know." Naoto massaged her forehead. "I couldn't ask him directly, because that might've given suspension of me coming here. But I believe he had, at one point, investigated Port Island. And on more than one occasion." She searched her folder and produced another piece of paper. This one was hand-written and–from the looks of it–by someone highly intelligent. The date at the side read 2010.
"Apathy Syndrome…" Chie narrowed her eyes. "What's that?"
"Chie, you seriously don't know?" Yosuke looked at her incredulously. "What hole have you lived in for the last couple of years?"
"Wha–hey! I bet I'm not the only one," she protested.
"Actually, I'm not surprised you don't know, Chie," Yukiko inputted. Chie looked at loss of words at her best friend's betrayal. Yukiko stifled a giggle. "What I'm trying to say is that the incident that happened here never really reached Inaba. I only know about it because of some guests at our Inn."
"To be honest," Rise added, "I don't much about it either. Remember when I said I was doing a secret concert here that got canceled. Well, my concert would've happened the same time as the illness." She shivered, increasing her grip on Yu's arm. "What if the concert did happen and I got the Apathy Syndrome?"
Yosuke smirked, crossed his arms, and snickered a little. "Then I guess you would've been a zombie. I heard the people who got affected were like the walking dead."
Rise shirked and next to her, Chie's complexion paled. "Y-Yosuke, you better shut up, before I make you!"
The Magician held up his arms in mock surrender, yet still maintained a comical smirk.
"Jerk," Chie muttered, still somewhat pale. "Naoto, what does the rest of the paper say?"
Naoto read the paper's full contents. It went into great detail of a mother whose daughter had caught the Apathy Syndrome and her daily struggles. For months on end the daughter would scream in her sleep, "It's coming, it's coming, it's coming!" And as time went on, the symptoms only worsened as the daughter refused nourishment. Another case explained a woman's husband who was found unconscious in a shady love hotel–Yu grimace at the mention of his current housing–without any recollection of how or why he ended up there–supposedly.
The note continued with similar stories, but the conclusion was what caught everyone's attention.
"Around the start of the February, of the new year, the symptoms of the Apathy Syndrome began to drastically disappear and by the end of the month, it had all but vanished." Naoto stopped and surveyed everyone's expression.
"That's…freakin' nuts," Kanji said. "So, that Apathy sickness makes everyone into freaking zombies and then…just vanishes?"
"It is pretty unbelievable," Yukiko agreed. While his friends indulged more in the mysterious illness, Yu narrowed his eyes at the last bit of the paper that Naoto hadn't read. What was visible, past Naoto's strategically placed elbow, was a fine sketch of a boy's face with long bangs that obscured one of his closed eyes. Scribbled underneath that all was, "Rest in peace."
Yu's heart rate tripled. It was happening again. The strange sensation that had washed over him the moment he had left Inaba, after Golden Week. The same sensation that beckoned him for a month straight until he finally phoned Yosuke.
Static buzzed around him, which was actually occurring in his head, and a fit of anxiousness brew in his abdomen, leaving him faint. But never had the sensation struck so strongly. It was as if–he was nearing the source.
Naoto noticed his intent stare and immediately returned the paper inside her folder. Apparently, she wanted to keep that certain bit of information private.
Yu trained his gaze on her. His eyes expressing an extreme desire for the knowledge she possessed. In return, Naoto sent him a silent plead with her eyes, "please drop it."
Normally, he would have respected her wishes, but something, other than his common sense and free-will, protested.
"S-senpai?" Rise's voice broke the invisible hold. "You're trembling."
Yu blinked, his self-awareness suddenly returned. Everyone was looking at him, Naoto especially. "I…" He scanned their faces, and then stopped at the empty spot next to Yukiko. "…Where's Teddie?"
Realization dawned on them that Teddie hadn't spoken a single word since they sat down, meaning they had actually made some progress, and that he had gone AWOL. With everyone silent, Yu could hear two hushed voices, conversing not too far away. Rise released him and they stepped off the sofa with Yosuke and Chie. They followed behind Chie to the front half of the Café and stopped at the sight of Teddie sitting across from the waitress that was supposed to be bringing Yu's coffee and Teddie's desert.
And then Yu saw, on the table they were leaning close against, a cup of black coffee that was probably his. Rise cleared her throat, alerting the couple. The waitress noticed them first, jumped then walked away, but not before scribbling down her number and leaving the receipt.
"Wait baby, I still want to eat your cake," Teddie moaned. Yu sighed then plucked the cup of coffee from table. Teddie practically radiated sunshine upon seeing him.
"Sensei! You just missed the nicest lady ever! She gave me a lot complements and gave me free cake, and…" His mouth clammed shut, staring at the three individuals behind the Fool. "S-sensei, why do Rise and Chie-chan look so pissed and Yosuke looks like he's going to pop!"
Yu took a sip of the liquated caffeine. To his delight, he hadn't fallen unconscious. "That, my furry pupil, is a woman's wrath. Oh, and Yosuke's jealous. Now come on, let's get this coffee to go, before it gets cold."
Author's Note: Hello everyone, it's good to be back. I'm sorry for the extremely long update time but I hope this first chapter of the RE-write makes up for that. If you enjoyed the original, Persona: Fool's Epiphany, then don't worry as this story will eventually follow the same plot with the same setting, characters and so on.
This first chapter, along with the next two, will explain what happens after Persona 4 Arena and it leads to the beginning of Fool's Epiphany, my original. Also, I changed the story for Mature to Teen. Although the story will have its dark, gritty moments, and some small sexual snippets, I think I can keep it borderline Teen/Mature. At any point though, it could change back to Mature depending on the reviews and how gritty I'm feeling. (Joke)
Please like, favorite and Review as it does wonders for my motivation. I will try to update as frequent as possible, although my current situation will make that a struggle. The ups and woes of Military life I suppose. Alright everyone, hope to write to you soon.