A/N Beta Readers and co-writers as of 4-20-18: kurobook (AKA, Kuro), PartyFavors (AKA, Jadecore), Lyrecho/Echo (AKA sealingdesigneejosephine/memoriesofpurelight), Alitcitzen, AngraArbitually(AKA, ShadedCat), ludi/ludivine (AKA, Evanescentfacade), UnstableFable (AKA, ladybloo/Bloo), Lilith (AKA, YuukiLilith), Grim-Izanagi
Yosuke and Yu are talking to each other as they had some time to spare before classes began. In that moment, Chie practically barges into the room.
"What's wrong, Satonaka?" Yosuke asks.
"Is Yukiko here?" Chie looks concerned.
Yosuke blinks. "Amagi-san? Nope, I haven't seen her."
"Crap! What should I do?" Chie frowns.
"Did something happen?" Yu asks.
"Last night on the Midnight Channel…" Chie trails off.
Yosuke nods. "Oh, yeah, we were talking about that this morning…"
"I think it was showing Yukiko…" Chie remarks. "I've seen her in that kimono before. It's super cute on her, but more importantly…She just wore it during that interview with that jackass reporter."
Yosuke turns to Yu, who is wide-eyed. She'd suspected as much, but still… The woman in the kimono really was Yukiko…
Yu stands up abruptly from her seat. "Satonaka, have you heard anything from her?"
Chie looks down. "I've been texting her, but she hasn't responded…"
"Have you tried calling?" Yu needs to know.
"It goes straight to voicemail…"
Yosuke bites his lip. "You don't think Amagi-san—"
"Don't go there!" Chie snaps explosively.
All eyes are on Chie after her outburst. Chie looks sheepishly at everyone and mutters a quiet apology before going to her desk.
"She's okay…" she reassures herself. "She's probably just busy…or she could have lost her cell."
"She might be busy helping at home…" Yu recalls yesterday's news with how Yukiko was taking over for her mother temporarily.
Chie immediately perks up at the suggestion. "Right! That's gotta be it! She's always working herself over so hard... I'll run by the inn."
"You're leaving?" Yosuke asks, looking around the classroom as Chie starts dashing towards the door as fast as she can without jumping onto anyone's desks. "But the bell's about to ring!"
Just as Chie was about to make it out the door, her cell phone starts ringing. She stops to answer her cell phone and grins ecstatically when she hears who it was. Yu could practically see her ears perk up like a dog.
"Yukiko!" she practically breathes, a weight lifting off her shoulders. "Thank god! You're there! Yeah, yeah! I see. Nah, it's nothing. I'll text ya later!"
Yosuke and Yu sigh in relief as Chie shuts her phone. Chie turns to them, smiling with glee.
"What a relief!" she says as she makes her way back to her desk. "She's been busy 'cause a group came in without reservations."
Yosuke arches his brow. "So if it wasn't Amagi-san…who was on the Midnight Channel?"
"Crap, what if it was Sada—ah!" Yu blinks as Yosuke roughly pulls her towards him by the collar of her shirt. Her silver eyes stare in surprise at how intense his own brown eyes are. One part of her brain helpfully points out that on TV, this sort of intense eye contact usually triggers a fight-or-fuck response, before a more sensible part kicks its ass and makes it shut up.
"Narukami, don't bring her up around Satonaka…" Yosuke hisses. "Satonaka hates anything horror-related…especially when it involves her."
Yu blinks and nods. "Okay…can you let me go?"
Their noses are just about touching, and she is close enough to tell what sort of toothpaste Yosuke used in the mornings. Thankfully, he had used toothpaste, otherwise this would be repulsive rather than just slightly blush inducing.
"Sorry about that…" Yosuke rubs the back of his neck. "Just…"
"I understand…critical hit to the nads?"
"Critical hit to the nads."
"By the way, Hanamura…what the hell?" Chie scowls at Yosuke. "Making me worry about Yukiko like that! She's totally fine! And not in trouble at all!"
Yosuke looks nervously at Chie. "S-Sorry…but there is a reason we thought that."
"Oh yeah…? What?" Chie looks questioningly at Yosuke.
"Well…we thought people show up on the Midnight Channel because they're already over in that world…" Yosuke explains.
Yu arches her brow. "What do you mean by, 'we'?"
"Teddie and I, since you decided to pass out," Yosuke replies with a shrug. "Anyways, it makes sense, right? People show up on TV because they're inside the TV…but Amagi-san's still here, in our world. We might want to see what this is about. Alright, let's meet up at Junes after school."
"What's that?" Yu asks as she looks at the notebook in Chie's hands.
Yosuke looks over Chie's shoulder. "Whoa, that handwriting sucks!"
Chie lands a solid kick on Yosuke's stomach, heel impacting solidly into his gut, knocking the air out of him and crumbling him from the hips down. "I took notes for Yukiko…"
Yosuke clutches his stomach as he stares at Chie, struggling to breathe. "G…Got it…"
Yu blinks as she watches Yosuke collapse onto the floor, left panting painfully on all fours. She sighs and walks over him. "Take care."
Yu is about to follow after Chie, but the posters on the bulletin board catches her eye. Looks like both the soccer and basketball clubs are recruiting new members.
"Hey! You the transfer student?"
Yu turns around. "Th-That's right…"
Two male students approach Yu. One of them has dark, blue hair and gray eyes and is wearing the standard Yasogami High school uniform. The other, however, is wearing his Yasogami High jersey. He is a head taller than the blue-haired male student is and has a more muscular build in comparison. He has short brown hair and brown eyes and has a brown band-aid on his nose. Both students have their eyes on Yu, making her feeling rather awkward.
A small bead of sweat rolls down the side of Yu's face. "Umm…"
"Played much basketball?" the blue-haired student asks.
"N-No, not really…" Yu replies nervously. "Crap, I'm getting recruited…"
Why did it look like they were moving closer to her?
"Hey!" Chie calls out. "Let's go!"
Yu inwardly sighs and made her way to Chie, but not before bowing to the blue-haired student. She wonders why he was blushing, but decides to ignore it on the account of teenage awkwardness. She's mostly just glad she doesn't have to deal with being recruited. Right now isn't a good time for her as she, Yosuke, and Chie needed to talk to Teddie.
Yosuke, having recovered from the painful kick he received from Chie, pats the blue-haired student on the shoulder as he passes him. "Tough luck, Ichijo."
Ichijo blinks and turns to Yu. "We'll be waiting for you if you change your mind, new guy! Even inexperienced second-years are welcomed."
Yu blanches. "Dammit, now I want in…"
It'd be an offer she couldn't refuse...
The electronics department of Junes is more crowded than usual. Yu had been explaining to Chie in detail what happened the other day, but only managed to get to the part where she was fighting Shadow Yosuke when said Shadow's source interrupts.
"O-Okay, I think that's more than enough about my sorry escapades." Yosuke rubs the back of his head.
"If I hadn't seen the place first hand…I'd never have believed a story like that…" Chie remarks.
Yosuke nods. "Yeah, no kidding. Anyways, we need to know what's going on inside—"
He trails off when he notices the uncomfortable glances he's getting from one of the customers. Things are getting awkward…
"How?" Chie asks. "By talking to that Teddie guy?"
"Yeah," Yosuke replies. "Too bad there's so many customers around… I forgot there's a sale in the electronics department today…I got it! C'mere a sec."
Yosuke walks over to the flat screen television and beckons Yu. "Try sticking your hand in and calling him over. I bet that bear's wandering around the entrance anyway. Hey Chie, stand over here. Make a wall with me."
"A wall?" Chie walks over to Yu's right, with Yosuke on her left.
After a quick look around, Yu sticks her hand into the television and tries beckoning Teddie over, mimicking Yosuke's gestures from a moment ago. Just… into air she can't see.
Yu yelps and pulled out her hand. Red marks marred her fingers… "That little bastard!"
"Wh-What's wrong?!" Yosuke asks a little too loudly.
"Shh!" Chie hisses. "Not so loud, you idiot! D-Dude, is that a bite mark?! Are you okay?!"
Yu winces as she rubs her hand gingerly. "I think I'm gonna cry…"
"Ohh, c'mon, don't cry…" Chie says softly. "Sheesh, that stupid bear must've done it… Hey, you! We know you're in there!"
"Ooh, ooh, is this a game?" Teddie asks eagerly.
"No, it's not a game!" Yosuke scowls. "Can you sense anyone inside there right now?"
"Who's 'anyone'? I'm a lonely little bear like always. This land feels so bear-ren…"
"Shut it!" Chie snaps. "So there's no one inside…? You're sure?"
"I'm not lying! My nose is running as good as ever!"
"Hmm…" Chie frowns, clearly not completely buying it. "I'm gonna go warn Yukiko anyway. Since she'll be busy this weekend helping out at the inn, I doubt she'd go anywhere alone, but still…"
"Better safe than sorry…" Yu mutters as she stares at her hand. "Hmm…"
"Yeah…you'll walk with her to school on Monday, right?" Yosuke asks Chie.
Chie nods. "Sure, I'll go pick her up at her house."
"Maybe we'll find out more on tonight's Midnight Channel…" Yosuke sighs. "Cross your fingers that this is all just a misunderstanding… By the way, Narukami, what's your cell number? I'll call you when I watch it tonight."
They pull out their cell phones and exchange numbers. Yu feels her heart skip a beat when she sees Yosuke's number in her contact list. Aside from Dojima, he's the only other person that Yu has in her contact list.
…it feels satisfying.
"Alright, don't forget to watch tonight," Yosuke says after pocketing his cell phone. "And Narukami…I got you that job you wanted."
Yu blinks. "Really? That fast—what happened?"
Yosuke sighs as he awkwardly rubs the back of his head. "Just follow me…I'll tell you along the way…"
At the Employee Changing Room,
Yosuke waits outside the changing room Yu currently occupies, recounting how exactly Partner is now also Coworker.
"So how does this work out? I mean, I took out the remaining supply of sake in stock and cost Junes money… How did I get the job?"
"Well, compared to a potential lawsuit in an area where small businesses are closing down and the remaining ones that are still open are possibly looking for any little chance they can find to hold against Junes…"
"So you're saying this job is basically a bribe to keep me quiet about the incident…"
"That pretty much sums it up, Narukami…hey, I got you the job, didn't I? And best of all, your uncle knows nothing of it!" Yosuke grins with a certain satisfaction as Yu exits the changing room.
"True…" Yu is now wearing a long-sleeved white shirt with a pair of jeans and a Junes employee apron. "Why the new set of clothes?"
"Dad didn't want you working in your—er, my school uniform," he replies as he looks over at that nice new Yu. "Looking good, Partner!"
She tilts her head to the side. "Are you hitting on me?"
"What? No!" Yosuke waves his hands as he shakes his head frantically. "I'm just saying…never mind! Forget it…"
Yu blinks owlishly and laughs to herself. She was going to enjoy working with Yosuke. "So…what's my first job?"
"You're going to help me out with the upcoming sale in the grocery department—what's with that look in your eye?" He notices the gleam in her eyes.
"Take me now…"
"Narukami, you're scaring me."
"Well, that sale ended fast…" Yosuke remarks as he watched Yu walk away from the containers of food with multiple overstuffed grocery bags in her hands. "Seriously, I'd expect this from Satonaka to buy up most of the meat on sale."
"Hanamura, you've only known me for a few days," Yu replies as she re-adjusts her hold on the bags. "I happen to have a certain affinity for meat, especially since I have plans for dinner tonight!"
Arguably, she could blame her preference for eating meat on her parents, Yu thinks as Yosuke glances away with red cheeks. If he can't stand her meat, get out of the grocer's. She was usually brought along with them when they were invited to business parties, which happened on a near monthly basis when she was a child. The choices in food varied, but most of the time, there was some sort of meat dish, such as steak. When Yu was home alone, independent and living off of an allowance, she had to limit her intake of meat. So with Junes currently giving away meat at such a low price, she can't exactly pass it up. Hell, she can't pass any sale on food up… after all, she has to stock up on food because she has an actual family to feed.
"A family to feed…" Yu blinks a few times and smiles as a blush tinges her cheeks. Her heart practically skips a beat at that thought. She'd grown accustomed to feeding only herself before coming to Inaba. So when she had made dinner for Nanako and Dojima, she found herself feeling so…complete. "I think—I think I like this feeling…"
Yu and Yosuke go their separate ways after work. She doesn't really mind that it's still raining or that it's gotten pretty late. Instead, she's more focused on what exactly she should make for dinner tonight.
"I wonder if Dojima will be home tonight…" Yu has to put some consideration on what sort of dinner would be easy to reheat and eat. "Maybe some roasted ginger pork?"
"Looks like we've found all we're gonna find here. And we've still got nothing that points directly to a suspect."
"We don't know if this is a homicide."
"Homicide?!" Yu almost drops her bags. She looks ahead and swallows hard when she notices the number of policemen scouting the area. A closer look reveals that a certain detective and his assistant were there as well. "Shit…"
She really isn't supposed to be late out at night. She's also most likely intruding upon the investigation going on involving the recent deaths of Yamano Mayumi and Konishi Saki. With Dojima out and about collecting information, together with all that, Yu knows she's potentially screwed if he runs into her like this…
"Well, it's not like I don't have an excuse…" She does have Yosuke to back her up if Dojima wanted actual proof to explain as to why she was out late at night. "Might as well keep going…I'll just look suspicious if I just stand here, and Nanako is probably home alone…"
That thought alone is enough to make her pick up the pace.
"Well, what else could it be? There's no way a body could end up like that by accident!" Adachi's voice grows louder as Yu got closer.
"I know…" Dojima sighs before turning around. "We haven't found the cause of death for the first vic, and now we've got a second one just like it… If this is a murder case, there's no doubt we're dealing with a single perp. But if that's true, then what the hell is going on?"
"Hey, what are you doing here?!"
She stops in her tracks. "Wait, what—augh!"
Yu's vision blurs momentarily, having just been tackled by Adachi. Stopping in her tracks had…probably made that a little easier for him than it should have been. Her bags were now on the ground, as was her umbrella. The handcuffs placed on her wrists are what bring her back to her senses, making her scowl in annoyance. "What the hell?!"
"You're intruding upon an investigation scene," the rookie replies as he pulls Yu off the ground. "And furthermore, what's a high schooler like you doing out so late at night?"
Yu, more concerned with the pigs in her shopping bags than the one on the verge of roughing her up, scowls at Adachi. "You better hope my groceries are okay or I'll—!"
He blinks. "Is that a threat?"
"Adachi, you idiot—that's my nephew!" Dojima yells at Adachi.
Adachi looks at Yu and then nervously turns to Dojima. "N-Nephew?"
"I'm his mother's younger brother—now let him go!" he snaps.
Adachi fumbles with the keys before removing the handcuffs off of Yu. He smiles sheepishly at her, while she just glares at him. "S-Sorry…"
Yu shakes her head and picks up her bags and umbrella off the ground. She is relieved to see that her groceries are fine, but it's not enough to improve her mood, having just been tackled onto wet pavement. "Then again, I should have known what I was getting myself into…"
"What are you doing out late at night?" Well, she'd been expecting the question, but it's no less uncomfortable having anticipated it.
"Shopping," Yu replies simply. "Oh, and I got a job at Junes."
Dojima arches his brow. "A job?"
"Hanamura got me a job at Junes the other day…his father is the manager of Junes." While she explains, Yu slips her bags over one arm while awkwardly trying to raise her umbrella properly once more. "Look, I have to get home and make dinner…can we talk about this later when we're not in the rain?"
"Fine, but you still owe me an explanation for the empty house I came to in the morning." Dojima looks sternly at Yu. "Don't think I didn't notice."
Yu isn't sure just how awkward and sweaty she looks right now to the detective's experienced perp-buster peepers, other than just more than she'd like. "I'm gonna need Hanamura for this…"
Taking her silence as consent, Dojima turns. "Now get in the car, I'm driving you home…Adachi, I'm leaving the rest up to you."
"R-Really?" Adachi is blatantly stunned.
"You heard me." The boss nods firmly. "Now let's go, Yu. It seems I need to go into full detail with the rules I've laid down for you…"
Yu looks nervously at her uncle. "Crap…"
Yu grimaces as she makes dinner. Her uncle looms directly behind her, going into full detail about the rules set out for Yu, with the inclusion of some additional rules.
"You are not to spend the night at a friend's house without notifying me beforehand, especially when Nanako is involved." Dojima's voice is firm. "And if you're going to be coming home late from work, call me so I can at least know of your whereabouts and give my colleagues heads up. And by colleagues, I mean Adachi. I don't want another incident like today's happening again."
"At this point? I would rather take Adachi over this…" Yu gripes internally as she cuts the meat into pieces. "Got it…"
"Are you two fighting?" At the sound of Nanako's voice, Yu and Dojima stop what they've been doing. The six-year-old looks at the two from the living room, her quiz show muted due to a commercial break sadly bereft of any great days, at Junes or otherwise. Yu and Dojima look anxiously at the little girl.
"N-No…" they both answer.
Nanako frowns. "Don't fight!"
After that, Dojima leaves Yu alone, freeing her to concentrate on making dinner. He sticks around for dinner—some succulent roasted ginger pork—that night, much to Nanako's delight. Her initial discomfort over her uncle laying down a little law is eased as she watches Dojima and Nanako enjoy her cooking once more. When everyone's plate is clean, Nanako helps Yu wash the dishes, and Dojima, surprising himself as much as anyone, joins in.
Dojima would find it out of character of him to do something such as this, but after seeing just how close Nanako's already gotten to Yu…
"Am I really jealous of a high schooler?" Dojima thinks as he dries a wet plate that Nanako gave him.
Saturday, April 16th, 2011
A lot has happened since I last wrote in this journal—a whole lot. Where do I even start?
Right, Konishi Saki…she died the other day in the same way Yamano Mayumi did. I feel really bad for Hanamura…really bad. He really liked her and after the incident in the TV World…he must be really hurting.
Well, I guess one good thing came out of getting drunk: Hanamura didn't spend the rest of the day alone. Aside from that, I can't really forgive myself for doing what I did—getting drunk, that is. But…I just couldn't help it. I could have died, but I didn't…
Instead, I survived. I saw Hanamura while he was at his most vulnerable. I opened up…and remembered the things I didn't want to remember. I know that Hanamura will never exactly be the same person…just like me.
I just wanted to forget all of that…is that too much to ask for? Considering my situation and status as a minor, I guess it is. At least I'm not alone…and I still can't believe Hanamura didn't notice, but it's just nice knowing he's actually worried about me. I have an actual friend…
I have never felt so accomplished, but this is just the start. There is so much more than just this. I still have to fulfill a promise I made with Teddie. I have to keep an eye out on the Midnight Channel and, with Hanamura's help, rescue those who are thrown into the TV World. That was the plan we decided on today during our shift at Junes…
I'm not alone…and neither is Izanagi. We have Hanamura and Jiraiya by our sides.
The Persona Disco Ninja Frog, Jiraiya—I can't believe my mentality under the influence of alcohol. Still, I can't help but find this hilarious. I hope I didn't give Hanamura too much trouble…
I finally got my origami paper, so I'm going to end this entry here so I can get a start on the first of the one thousand origami cranes I'm going to fold. Here's to me actually accomplishing that feat.
Yu makes it to over one-hundred and twenty origami cranes by the time the Midnight Channel pops up on the television screen. For her trouble, she's greeted by the most shocking scene that she's ever seen and after yesterday's incident, that's saying something.
"Good evening!" the girl on the television croons. The fair skinned, dark haired, familiar but not too familiar girl is clad in a pink, flowing ball gown decorated with roses, matching pink arm-length gloves, and a golden tiara. She holds a microphone of a similar color up to her mouth. She smiles sweetly as she said, "Princess Yukiko has a surprise!"
Yu stares wide-eyed at the Yukiko on the screen. "W-What?"
"I'm going to score myself a hot stud!"
A small bead of sweat rolls down the side of Yu's face. "What…the hell am I watching?"
A/N I am SO fucking sorry for not posting this chapter when I did, because It's been done SINCE NOVEMBER, but I forgot and got too caught up with FGO, Babylonia and Solomon eventually taking up the entirety of my time. But yeah, just as a heads up, I wrote this chapter originally while I was in a hotel in Paris, so how it was originally was just as much as I could get done at the time.
By the by, rural France is better and I also spent time in England, though it was very cold because I had to have the luck of coming at what has been the coldest March in I forget how many years…yeah, THAT sort of luck.
ANYWAYS, ROLL CALL!
"just put in whatever, it doesn't matter" - ShadedCat
"A long time coming to be sure, but it's a solid chapter for setting up the transition into Yukiko's palace proper. We had to make sure it was done right, right? The fodder for some extra jokes amidst improving the phrasing here and there is juuuuuuust a bonus. Totally.
Oh, if you're reading this, you're probably in the mood for good fanfics, so when you're done here, I highly recommend reading Danganronpa: Operation VK by KinuNishimura. Even if you don't know that much about Danganronpa, it's a genuinely fantastically written story in its own right, and it finally reached its conclusion recently as one of the fandom's longest fics. Going into more detail would probably be spoilery, so give it a shot yourself!" - Party Favors
"just shove it all out at once" - Alicitzen
A good story can be like a recipe, all you need is a good plot, engaging characters in a somewhat relatable setting, mix in some comedy, sprinkle a bit of action along with a dash of angst, then heat it all up in an oven of fiery emotions, aaand you're done! - Grim
Kuro was too busy talking about ships to help with this chapter, but they still provided moral support and that's good enough.
And with that out of the way, it's time for some shout outs!
Reviewer #310: YellowPhoenix29
Reviewer #320: iLike80sRock
Reviewer #330: SuperNova23
Reviewer #333: Animeflutist
Reviewer #340: Apocryphax
Reviewer #350: Fate Faeron
Reviewer #360: Tyrant Overlord Killidia (originally BlackTyrantValvatorez)
Reviewer #370: Lemo
Reviewer #380: Rei13Reaper
Reviewer #390: Nunas The No Name
Reviewer #400: HikariNoTenshi-San
Honorable mentions: Paper Crease, HikariNoTenshi-San, Animeflutist, Apocryphax, Meia42, SuperNova23, Youko Artemis, UnstableFable, allywayjack, Stepping Stone, RYNO IV, Mitsumi Hanazono, Anonymous Reviewer Marina (thank you so much for telling me about the distinction!), RuAlf, ConstructiveWriter, watertribewolfe, MisterAngelo'0, SkrubLord (I'm super happy to hear that!)
Review if you wish, because I ALWAYS crave that validation! That's enough for this chapter! Wait patiently for the next one and until next time, KD out!