Monday, March 24th, 2014
"The 8:50am train, destined for Inaba, is now boarding. Please make your way to Gate 21. I repeat..."
Yu Narukami quickly got up from his seat, a smile plastered on his face.
It had been three years since the great Inaba murder mystery. Now 19 years old, Yu found himself heading back to the rural town. He was planning on staying there for good, and attending University in the nearby Onayama City.
Yu did enjoy his last year of high school back in Tokyo. He graduated with his friends there, and enjoyed the time he had with his parents. However, he just felt that he truly belonged with the people of whom he had met in Inaba. Visiting them on occasion just wasn't enough.
"That's your train, yes?" Yu's father, Kouhei, asked. The silver-haired boy nodded.
"Oh, it's much too early," Makoto, Yu's mom, frowned. "Must you really go?"
"Don't worry, mom," Yu assured, holding his mother in a warm embrace. "I've already told you. I can take care of myself, and I'll make sure to visit often." As Kouhei joined in on the hug, the family shared a brief but precious moment.
"We trust that you'll stay true to your words," Kouhei told his son as they separated.
"I will," Yu promised. After giving each of his parents another tight hug, the boy departed.
As he maneuvered through the busy crowds of the station, the silver-haired adolescent remembered his conversation with his parents a few weeks before.
"At the age of 19, I'm sure that I can handle things on my own. My friends, Uncle Dojima, and Nanako will be nearby, too," Yu reasoned. "It won't be like I'll never come to visit, neither."
"Tokyo University and Onayama are practically equal," Makoto insisted. "What's the benefit of movi-" Makoto was interrupted by her husband's hand's presence on her shoulder. He shook his head at her and then stared at his son with a look of understanding.
"Yu, we, as your loving parents, always want to choose what's best for you," his dad began. "If... If your heart is really leading you back there, as cliché as that sounds, we will support it. Right, Makoto?"
Yu's mother looked at her family in silence. Yu noticed how she averted her eyes and mindlessly observed the furniture around them. Finally, she spoke.
"...I admit, I can't keep you from pursuing your true desires, Yu. And you're right. We work abroad often, and you're perfectly fine. Although, you must visit us every chance that you have, alright?" Makoto sternly looked at her son dead in the eye. As she continued, her face softened. "We'll stop by sometimes as well."
"Thank you," Yu beamed with absolute sincerity. He was close to tears. "Thank you, thank you!"
The silver-haired boy couldn't help but smile. He really loved his parents, and they loved him. It was sad for him to leave, but he knew that they would always be there to welcome him. That was the kind of bond they shared.
"That's the kind of bond that I share with everyone in Inaba, too," Yu thought.
After a few minutes of walking, he had finally arrived at Gate 21. He handed the conductor his ticket, and then boarded the train. A while after, the wheels on the vehicle began to move.
"See you," Yu mentally bid farewell to Tokyo as it disappeared behind him.
"Yasoinaba. The train has arrived at Yasoinaba."
Awoken by the conductor's call, Yu peered out the window. He saw the tall trees and Junes posters of which greeted any visitor to Inaba.
Upon realizing that he had arrived, the boy excitedly got up from his seat and took down his luggage from the cabinet above. He ran out of the train, thanking the conductor on the way. He couldn't wait to see the surprised faces of his friends and relatives!
However, when Yu stepped foot on the platform, the boy was greeted with a surprise of his own.
Confetti flew in his face, and he was surrounded by a multitude of cheers and laughter. Dojima, Nanako, Yosuke... Everyone was there, happily welcoming him back to the town!
"H-How did you...?"
"Your mom called. And you know how word spreads fast around here!" His uncle, Ryotaro Dojima, laughed. He looked the same as ever, with his stubble, dark brown hair, and red necktie. He extended his hand to take Yu's luggage. The silver-haired boy happily handed it to him and promptly thanked his uncle.
"You're back, Big Bro!" Nanako Dojima ran up to hug Yu, her eyes tearing up. Yu noticed that she had gotten much taller over the years, and that her dark brown hair was down, adorned with a cute pink ribbon at the side. "I've missed you..."
"Yeah, me too," Yu told Nanako gently, hugging her back. He looked up again to have even more confetti blown at him.
"Welcome back to Inaba, partner," grinned Yosuke, Yu's best friend. His sandy brown hair was now shorter, and his red headphones were nowhere to be seen.
"It's nice to see you again!" Chie cheered. Her butterscotch brown hair was cut into a fluffy short bob, and an appliqué khaki green coat replaced her signature track jacket.
"You haven't changed at all, Sensei!" Teddie exclaimed. He had gotten much taller, and was almost up to par with Yosuke's height. Other than that, the blonde-haired boy looked the same as before.
"Neither have you," retorted Yu jokingly.
"Well, not like that's a bad thing," giggled Rise, whose wavy auburn hair blew freely in the wind. She hugged her beloved Senpai's arm affectionately. Yu smiled. Everyone was treating him as if he had never really left. It was true; the bonds that he had made here really were irreplaceable.
"Oh yes, we're going to the Amagi Inn to celebrate," Yukiko declared. Yu noticed that she had braided her long black hair into a neat bun, and that, surprisingly, she was not wearing anything red.
"It's already rather late in the afternoon, so we should also get going," added Naoto. She was dressed in a mature, feminine matter, and her short indigo hair had gotten longer. It was obvious that she had stopped dressing as a boy. The group left the station and separated. Nanako and Ryotaro went to his car, and the rest of them boarded the bus.
"Sorry, we've got some things to do at home. Enjoy the party without us!" Ryotaro yelled from his car window. "Oh, and don't get too drunk!"
The tone in his uncle's last remark made Yu notice that he secretly implied to "get drunk so I can laugh about it later but don't get so wasted that you pass out". He chuckled, and then he realized something else.
"It's not funny, dammit!" an angered Kanji Tatsumi yelled. He watched as his Senpai laughed so hysterically that he began to cry. Kanji was the one that had changed the most out of his friends. He had switched his peircings for glasses, and his skull shirts for polo shirts. The tall boy also changed his slicked back, bleached hair to short, styled black hair.
"Y-You said that being mistaken for an oldie was insulting, but," Yu fell to the ground, gasping for air. "Now you look like my dad! What the hell are you trying to do?" In his horrible fit of laughter, Yu began cracking appalling jokes like, "Kanji, more like Veteranji" and "have you already began paying your own tatxes".
"Dude, you've turned him into a mix of me and Teddie," Yosuke told Kanji as he watched his best friend.
"Sensei's true colours are showing..." Teddie remarked.
"He's not even drunk yet," sighed Chie.
After Yu's recovery...
"To Yu!" The group clinked glasses to celebrate their friend's return. As they began to indulge in the aromatic drinks, everyone began to catch up with the city boy.
"Speaking of school, for our senior year's cultural festival, our class did a play," Yukiko informed. "It was Rapunzel, and guess who got to play as her? Chie did, and pfft... It was hilarious!" The girl began laughing as hard as Yu did before.
"H-Hey, my acting wasn't that bad!" insisted Chie. "I mean, Kou had to save me a lot, but we still got tons of applause." Yu smiled. Knowing Kou's crush on Chie, it must have been a thrill to see her with long hair and be her prince.
"So, Senpai, how was the city?" inquired Kanji.
"It was good, but I think I would have enjoyed these past three years with you guys more," Yu admitted.
"Aw, well, you're here with us now, Senpai!" Rise smiled and clinged to the silver-haired boy's arm. "Hmm, although, maybe I should stop calling you that, huh? We're not in high school anymore, so..."
"I don't mind it," the silver-haired boy laughed.
"Speaking of education, we're of age to go to University," Naoto remarked. "Which careers do you all wish to pursue?"
Suddenly, the conversation became even more fast-paced and the atmosphere more excited.
"Oh oh, I want to be a police officer! Beating up criminals in the name of justice, how awesome is that?" Chie grinned and pumped her fists up in the air.
"It's pretty obvious that I'll continue being an idol," beamed Rise.
"I'm going to take over my family's textile business and become a professional knitter," Kanji proudly stated.
"I'm sure you can do it," smiled Naoto. This caused Kanji to blush profusely, and the rest of the group to snicker. Kanji's behavior in front of Naoto was the same as ever. However, their laughter went unnoticed by girl. "As for me, I'll be joining Chie in law enforcement as a detective. O-Of course, I've already been doing it, but I figured that a degree would be nice."
"Ah, I'm sure you all know what I want to do. Inheriting the Amagi Inn is the job I'm destined for, says my family... Not that I mind! I'll be sure to make the inn live on," declared Yukiko, smiling. Yu was glad to see that she no longer wished to run away.
"Speaking of inheriting family businesses, I'm aiming to become Junes' new CEO," Yosuke declared.
"I thought you claimed that your father was naught but a hired manager?" Naoto looked a tad bit confused. "That doesn't count as inheriting a family business, does it?"
"That's not the reaction I wanted..." sighed Yosuke. "Well, he's a part of the business, so sort of, I guess," he continued. "It took some thought, but I can't think of anything else I'd like to do. Junes has... kind of grown on me." He smiled warmly, remembering how Junes played a key role in their investigation. It was their "special headquarters", after all.
"Will I still be the beloved Junes mascot when you become CEO?" asked Teddie as he looked at Yosuke with hopeful eyes.
"You don't even have to ask!" Yosuke reassured. "I'll make you the official mascot of every branch. Sounds cool, right?" He grinned.
"Yo-Yo-Yosuke...!" Upon hearing such words, the blonde-haired boy appeared to grow a sparkling aura of admiration around him.
"How about you, Senpai?" Rise asked, curious.
"I want to become a doctor," Yu replied. "After that murder case, I've realized how precious life is... It made me want to be able to save them."
"Heh, that seems like something you would say," Chie smiled at the boy.
"Man, your futures sound so beary awesome," Teddie babbled excitedly. "As for me, I want to pick up tons of girls and live happily ever after with all of you!"
Everyone couldn't help but smile at how much Teddie wanted to stay with them. They all shared the same wish, in fact.
"It's a promise, then," Yu chuckled as he stuck out his pinkie finger and shook it with Teddie's.
"Yep, we'll always be friends, no matter what," chirped Rise. The rest of the group merrily agreed, and they all partook another toast to certify their promise.
"Ah, by the way, where exactly are we all going?" Yukiko asked the most obvious, but overlooked question there was to their discussion.
"Onayama University," the others immediately replied. There room went silent for a moment, then they all burst into laughter. It was hilarious how perfectly they read each other's minds!
"Pfft, haha, me too, yeah, no problems there! Haha, but anyway, that was priceless! Oh, snrk, hahaha!" Yukiko broke into a loud laughing fit, and the rest of the party was spent in great joy.
That's the chapter! Now it's time for me to upload the rest. (I've already written four chapters, haha.) This is my first fanfic, so I'm not sure how to format it to be pleasing on the eyes... I hope I did well.
(EDIT: Changed quite a few things!)