AN:Intense chapter, and I guess is is the part where I go (whispers) SPOILER ALERTTT!
"So lemme get this straight..." Junpei began, allowing the explanation Minato and Akihiko had offered to slowly pervade his consciousness.
"You two... are a thing... and... you really like each other?"
Minato bit his lip nervously, and Akihiko grumbled, "Yeah, you could put it that way..."
Neither of them were a big fan of awkward confrontations, and the conversation that they had just had by far surpassed qualifying as one of those. But it was a necessary evil, as they couldn't very well sidestep Junpei's questioning, having been caught in the act.
Junpei sighed shakily groaning out an "And I suppose I'm not allowed to tell anyone, or Akihiko-Senpai'll beat me up?"
Minato started, glancing skeptically up at Junpei and finding, to his surprise, that he wore a strained smile.
"Don't worry, guys... your secrets safe with me. Although, I gotta ask...y'all seemed pretty intimate..." At this, the idiotic teenager waggled an eyebrow suggestively.
Minato and Akihiko only sighed in unison, letting out relieved chuckles upon Junpei's apparent acceptance of them.
Minato smiled, and extended his hand towards Junpei, offering a handshake. Junpei eyed his hand, before clasping Minato's hand firmly. Minato nodded as they shook hands and said "Thanks, Junpei. It means a lot. We'll do our part to be more subtle but... next time... knock for chrissake!"
Behind him, Akihiko nodded in agreement.
Junpei made a face. "You don't have to tell me twice! You think I wanted to see that?"
Minato bit his lip, "Well..." he said, shrugging in unison with his lover.
Junpei groaned "Ugh that image will forever be burned into my memory!"
"Well you shoulda knocked, wise guy" Akihiko grumbled, his annoyance far overshadowed by the relief he felt at Junpei's general apathy regarding their newfound relationship.
Minato merely chuckled, "So... we're good?"
Junpei looked Minato in the eye, and saw emotion in them that their apathetic leader rarely displayed.
It caught the goateed boy off-guard. Minato was actually... he felt something for Akihiko.
Junpei decided in that moment that he would give the internal battle that had been raging inside him closure once and for all.
So, he took a deep breath, before uttering with a smile: "Yeah... we're good."
"Man am I glad tomorrow's a holiday" Akihiko sighed, flopping back onto the bed behind him. He and Minato were in his room again, after an uneventful- not counting the morning's encounter- Sunday. "I know, huh... hopefully things'll stay relatively calm..." Minato answered.
He was there to wish Akihiko goodnight before he departed to his own room. They had decided to attempt to draw less attention to themselves, and at least put up the pretense of sleeping in different rooms as to not welcome in any more suspicion.
But both of them knew that one couldn't stay away from the other for very long. It wasn't too late into the night before they were together again in the same bed, after careful tiptoing, whispers, and slipping stealthily through the obstacles presented by doors and sheets.
They spooned comfortably, sharing the kind of whispered conversation reserved for lovers drifting off to sleep in each others' arms. They felt so lovely, so tranquil- content and at ease.
The stillness was shattered, however, when an urgent voice tore through the night, startling the cuddling couple into awareness.
"Hate to wake you all but... this is urgent... and... uh..." the voice of Fuuka was hesitant for a moment before continuing "I had no idea you two would be together, I uh,sorry to interrupt but could the two of you please prepare for battle?"
You could almost hear the flush in her cheeks reflected in her voice.
"Just our luck..." Akihiko muttered, scratching the back of his head nervously. Minato only sprung out of the bed, cheeks hot. "Well, you heard her, Akihiko! Come on!" huffed the normally composed, unaffected teenager. The whole being walked in on thing was not something he was fond of, to say the least.
Regardless, the two of them met in the designated place of meeting, their strong senses of professionalism allowing them to put on a strictly business front as everyone assembled in front of Fuuka, who was in full persona use.
"Other persona users!" she began in that echoing voice, "Outside of Tartarus!"
Ken nearly jumped, uttering with a gasp "Don't tell me it's..."
"Strega..." Mitsuru finished, an expression of menace flashing over her delicate features.
Just then, in an alarming moment, Fuuka's persona was taken over by a familiar redhead.
"Long time no see" Chidori began, eradicating Fuuka's influence over the persona and implementing her own.
No one in the room at that point was more shocked, or was in a greater sense of desperation than Junpei. This remained true as the team made their way to Tartarus, full of ominous premonitions that whatever transpired tonight... would surely result in disaster.
The team arrived at the entrance of Tartarus to meet an estranged Chidori bent on battling the group of teenage vigilantes.
"I can't stand the sight of you all anymore, so I've decided to do something about it!"
The battle that ensued thereafter was quick- but exponentially damaging on the emotional level. As Chidori sunk to her knees in defeat, and Junpei rushed to her side with a pained shout, the team that had just been fighting, which included Akihiko and Minato, found themselves wondering if what they had done was the right thing.
They had no time to linger in thought however, as footsteps approached not long after.
"There you are, you sons of bitches!" Akihiko shouted as the other two members of Strega strolled out of the gloom.
Words were exchanged, shouts and gasps were let out in indignation and fury alike, and the world seemed to be swirling in a tumultuous cloud around this group of teenagers.
But all that seemed so trivial in comparison to the sound of one gunshot.
Junpei fell with a sickening rumple of clothing and dead weight, the deafening roars of his fellow students enough to drown out a generation of problems.
Who knew though, that he would be saved, at the expense of a life.
Chidori and Junpei were surrounded by an unearthly, almost heavenly glow, as her life force flowed from her to the one she loved.
"Unbelievable..." Akihiko gasped, breathlessly. "She's reviving him!" Minato couldn't help but feel a sense of gut wrenching horror, a filled with a vision so terrifying he felt nearly incapacitated by its' mere implications.
He had never understood what it must have been like losing someone you cared about. He had never really cared about anyone. But seeing Junpei wail like a child over the dead body of his love terrified Minato. It was terrifying because, for the first time, Minato could conceptualize that kind of pain... because he realized he had that kind of love. The sense of empathy was so overwhelming, that he was lost in himself, barely on the edge of reality.
So much so, that he didn't realize anything going on around him. It wasn't until he heard the voice of Akihiko- his Akihiko, who was safe and sound, telling Junpei "This life was given to you!... don't waste it..." that he snapped back to reality.
And the next thing Minato knew, all hell broke loose.
Junpei was screaming, outraged. "Don't WASTE it? Well fucking great advice coming from you, isn't it senpai!" Tears were starting to stream down his face, as he continued desperately,
"Yeah It's easy for you to say, when your fuck buddy is safe and sound right next to you! Must be nice to know that when you two get back to the dorm after this, that you'll have HIM waiting for you! HE's still alive!"
Minato started, and opened his mouth to protest as a feeling of panic dropped into his stomach, but before he could get in a word, Junpei turned to look at Minato with an absolutely tragic expression. "And you! I bet all you're thinking about right now is whether or not I can keep a secret, huh? I bet you're just hoping I'll shut my mouth and you can go home and just have lots of sex with Mr. I-know-everything over here til you forget all about it, and that no one'll ever be the wiser! Well I'm done, guys! I-I.. " at this he trailed off, sinking to his knees and sobbing uncontrollably, leaving two wide eyed, guilt tripped lovers in a group of desperately confused and shocked shadow-fighters. This night would long be remembered as one of the worst nights of any of their lives.
AN: I know, short, and I know, mean, but hey! i'm probably going to only be able to update once or twice more, because as of June 13 I will be gone for about two weeks as I am going to study abroad in Spain! WOOT! But I'll update before I leave. I hope :)
Love! And reviewss! But love!