A/N: It has come to my attention that in my... admittedly long absence two of my stories have been deleted. Considering that the absence started because I noticed someone hijacking my ideas and I wanted to see where they would go with it, I feel a little dissapointed that most of my work is gone. Anyways, I'm back, and most of the story that I managed to upload from before had undergone a revamp of sorts and I am also once again able to play P3P, it should go a bit quicker this time and allow me to go on with this two part series. I do not have a Beta so any mistakes are my own and both criticisim and any help finding errors or typos are welcome. Just don't be a dick about it.
"Hey, where have you been?" Hamuko faltered slightly in her stride, foot in mid-step, caught off guard at being addressed by Akihiko. The silver haired boxer had never really deigned to speak to her in S.E.E.S. business, with a few exceptions. Still, it was a rare thing. She had kept it mostly mutual, not having much to say to him in the first place; not when most of her days were full and him being constantly trailed by his fangirls.
"Volleyball practice…" Hamuko trailed off, leaving him to connect the dots himself, not that he would. Yukari cast a sympathetic glance in her direction though Hamuko shrugged it off. Supposedly they were supposed to have some sort of female camaraderie but Yukari didn't know a thing about what she had to go through. She swore by whichever god looked upon her that she was cursed. Social Links just had to be the most tedious thing Hamuko had faced, save for a thirty thousand piece puzzle she had tried. Still, obliging several people a week, sometimes in a single day, was a bit much.
Akihiko simply shrugged the meaning of her words likely passing right over his head. And why shouldn't they? He had no idea of what she had to do to empower her personae. None of them did, and it would stay that way because she didn't want to risk anything.
Hamuko stared at him for a moment contemplating if attempting his social link would be worth trying. He seemed a bit distant, almost even to the point of being completely disinterested in anything but fighting. She wondered if that applied to girls as well.
Quickly, she ran up to her room to drop off her bag, before returning to the lobby. Junpei now lie sprawled over the couch nearest to the wall, arguing with a very irritated Yukari. Within moments of listening, Hamuko decided that they were fighting over what was quite possibly the stupidest thing she had ever heard. Of course her actually interfering was unlikely considering the problems occurring when she went to complete her link with Yukari were a very real possibility. Besides, the worst Yukari could do to Junpei was a few bruises; nothing that could stop him from going to Tartarus on his turn.
Speaking of Tartarus, Hamuko thought looking over to the newest member of their group. He was silently brooding against the wall, blank faced and an odd aura surrounding him. She couldn't tell if it was because of a Social Link or something else, but there was something about him. It pulled her in and made her want to know the dark enigma called Aragaki Shinjiro.
As if sensing her stare, he looked up, dark eyes questioning. Hamuko swallowed the lump that seemed to appear in her throat the moment he looked at her and made her way over to him.
"What's up?" Hamuko bit her lip, mentally smacking herself for her lack of courage, before asking the question she was sure would be rejected.
"Do you wan't to grab something to eat, senpai?" Shinjiro looked at her for a moment, gaze almost appraising, before he nodded.
"Sure, whatever." Hamuko felt her heart having a spasm in her chest; to think it was only over his voice. She held her hand over her chest, trying to calm down as she followed Shinjiro to the door. Shrugging as she caught Yukari's accusing glance she noticed that Akihiko had disappeared. It was a little strange how she wondered if this would make Akihiko's link any more difficult for her.
"Hagakure okay with you?" Hamuko was jerked out of her thoughts quickly and sped up to walk in step with Shinjiro.
"Ah… Sure, I'm good for anything really." Hamuko felt her cheeks warm when she saw what she thought was a smile on her senpai's lips.
'I'm acting like a goddamn thirteen year old.'