Was it supposed to be a right at this hall or the next? Yukiko sighed, staring the imposing hallways of Gekkoukan High. Finding the exit was beginning to feel like navigating those confusing corridors in the TV world. Dead ends were bad enough when shared with friends, but she didn’t even have that. Serves her right for taking that bathroom break right when everyone began to leave to gather for lunch.
If being lost in a hallway was a nuisance, why not traverse to the top? This school had a roof like Yasogami High; let’s see how big it was.
Yukiko felt giggles coming on as she casually made her way to the upward stairs leading to the rooftop. She couldn’t wait to tell Chie about her daring detour.
Not spotting any teachers from either Yasogami or Gekkoukan, Yukiko took one last survey around her before twisting the knob to the roof.
She almost fell forward when the knob didn’t turn but the door itself flew open because of its already unlocked state. Yukiko caught herself just before she landed on her stomach.
“Unbelievable, isn’t it? It’s been about a year,” a reminiscent female voice floated across the open space to Yukiko.
Instantly bowing in apology, Yukiko realized the question wasn’t directed at her. She looked up and at the far end of the roof she saw a girl her age speaking with a guy of similar age. Both of them stared out past the fence surrounding the building and Yukiko could only make out small details of their appearances from the back. Short silver hair on the guy and long maroon tresses for the woman.
Yukiko turned around to leave, but stopped short at the next shocking words she heard from the guy.
“Yeah, it’s hard to imagine that whole deal with Shadows and Personas wasn’t some horrible nightmare, huh?”
The grip on the doorknob grew clammy in Yukiko’s palm. Shadows? Personas? Who were these people and how did they know about those? Before Yukiko could stop herself, she quietly closed the door.
The other girl, appearing somewhat sad, looked over at her friend. “Thanks to our efforts, especially his, we wouldn’t be here, Akihiko.”
Her comrade, Akihiko, seemed to agree. He gently touched her shoulder in reassurance. “Is being here too hard for you, Mitsuru? We can leave.”
Yukiko felt glued to her spot. She shouldn’t eavesdrop, but her feet wouldn’t leave. She could make out their profiles.
“It wasn’t all horrible, was it?” Mitsuru spoke as if Akihiko hadn’t.
“No. We’ve been through a lot together. He even taught me some things I wished I could unlearn.” He chuckled lightly, falling back into memories, too.
Mitsuru smiled, a more positive expression gracing her face. “Nothing too traumatizing?”
Shaking his head, Akihiko’s hand on her shoulder slid down her arm. “I shouldn’t say. But I did get some very helpful tips about girls.”
Mitsuru opened her mouth to retort when her eyes shifted and locked on to Yukiko’s. Even from their far distance, Yukiko saw her visibly stiffen. Akihiko noticed Mitsuru’s odd reaction and turned towards her eyesight.
Now was the absolutely proper moment to bow. Yukiko did so at the waist. “S-sorry, I thought this area was empty.”
The visitors shared a slightly alarmed glance towards each other, and then Akihiko let go of Mitsuru. He watched her walk in Yukiko’s direction before he followed along.
“Did you hear anything we said?” The comfort and openness Mitsuru acted around Akihiko had sealed up and all Yukiko sensed from her was an authoritative air.
Yukiko thought it best to play safe. “No. I, um…” She scrambled for something not lame to tell them. She switched her vision from Mitsuru to Akihiko who stood half a pace behind her. Yukiko saw his grey eyes flash Mitsuru a concerned look between his severe glaring at Yukiko. As soon as Yukiko saw this, she muttered, “I saw you two were sad.”
The honest reply made them glance at one another again. Akihiko moved closer and eyed Yukiko’s uniform. “Well, we were students at Gekkoukan. Lots of adventures. I take it you’re not from here?”
“Inaba. I’m visiting with a class.” Yukiko was relieved when Akihiko’s question diffused his and Mitsuru’s unreceptive stares. Yukiko felt intimidated by such a beautiful and strong woman. As for him, well, Yukiko wasn’t lying when her heart beat faster at meeting an equally strong man in both the physical and mental sense.
Appearing more at ease, Mitsuru cleared her throat. “Inaba is quite a trip. Though we’re not students here any longer, might I welcome you to Gekkoukan, nonetheless?”
Yukiko blushed at Mitsuru’s substantial manner change. Prickly attitude to an ambassador in an eye blink. “S-sure. Thanks.”
“Do classes consist of one nowadays?” Akihiko joked.
Mitsuru brushed her bangs off her rose eye. “If it’s private tutoring, then yes.” Akihiko gave her a disappointed look and ruefully shook his head at her pragmatism.
Joining in on the fun, Yukiko giggled. “Oh, I got lost. I’m supposed to go to the courtyard and then somewhere else with my class.” She could feel her laughter about to slip away from her control and she reeled herself back from secret espionage not scheduled in the trip’s itinerary.
“Shall we show you the way out?” Akihiko raised his brows at Mitsuru as if asking if she was ready to leave.
“We shall.” Mitsuru took one last appraisal of their spot and Akihiko did the same. The sadness they carried earlier had transformed to a kind of deep contentment that stemmed from overcoming tough experiences. If they were Persona wielders, Yukiko didn’t need to know any more than that to understand them.
They began to walk to the exit. Akihiko fell into step with Yukiko and she felt that excited flutter happen again when he half-smiled at her.
“What’s your name?”
- THE END -