The first quarter of the year was always hard to adjust to. Getting used to the new year, planning out how to go about the year, and for some students….it would be their final year at high school. The crowds were ever so bustling as the bullet train stations were dropping people off at Tokyo or taking people away from Tokyo. There was usually never anything too eye-catching here, but today was different for the staff that worked here. One way or another, someone’s eyes would always turn to the girl sitting by herself. Her most prominent features was her striking blond hair, and for some who managed to catch a glimpse of her face, her bright blue eyes made it seem like it reflected the bright aqua-colored sea or the azure plain that covered the sky. She happily hummed as she sat there by herself, no one knew if she was waiting for someone or if she was waiting to leave. As people were guessing the girl’s reason for being here so early, another train arrived and this one finally made the girl look up from her phone. One by one, passengers of all sizes and ages came out until eventually, a handsome boy stepped out of the train.
His curly hair made you just want to ruffle it up even more. The smile he had made you think he was a gentleman at heart. His attire was very casual, but he made it work to his favor. His dark grey eyes seemed focused on the blond girl who had been sitting by herself and she, in return, also gazed at him. The train station staff were watching the two as it seemed like the perfect moment for-
-and there it was. The two, seemingly now confirmed, couple entered each other’s embrace giving the bystanders a warm fuzzy feeling as they watch the young lovers seemingly reunite. After a couple of moments in the embrace, the girl looked around and noticed the attention they were gathering. She stumbled out of his embrace and gestured him to stop and not make a scene.
“Let’s go. I don’t wanna bother the people here with….all we’re going to talk about.”
Ann smiled as she mentioned that. It had been a long time since they met each other in person. A couple months actually as they were both busy for the new year’s, so they couldn’t see each other during the winter vacations. Ren held her hand, the first time in a while. It was just as small and soft as it was the last time he held it.
“Yeah, let's go. We have a lot to catch up on.”
The two lovers were on their way out of the train station when they were stopped by a staff member.
“Um, miss? You’ve seemed to have forgotten something?”
The lady gestured towards where Ann sat, and Ann noticed she had left her bag right next to her seat.
“Ah! Thank you for reminding me! Wait for me here, okay?”
Ann didn’t wait for Ren to answer as she already knew what he would say and left Ren with the staff member. The staff lady glanced at Ren.
“You really managed to land yourself a lucky one, young man. She waited here for nearly an hour and a half for you.”
‘Wha? She did? She told she only got here about 20 minutes ago.”
The lady lightly laughed as she heard Ren’s surprised response.
“Did she tell you that? She was here giddily humming to herself for nearly the whole time.”
Ren looked at Ann who was coming back with her bag, a smile on her face as she looked at Ren. The staff lady felt today was one of those days that made the job she had interesting and worth it. She had seen these scenes many times in her long life, but she never got tired of them.
“A girl like that is special. Be sure to treat her right, and you might end up having that special someone to spend the rest of your life with.”
Ren blushed slightly but still thanked the lady for her encouragement. Ren let her know he intended to do that the moment he told Ann he loved her. The staff lady let them be finally and Ren and Ann left the train station. As they were walking to Shibuya square, Ren started telling Ann what the lady told him.
“Umu…..Why’d she have to say that?”
“You didn’t have to wait for that long…..”
“…I wanted to. It’s the first time in a while right?! How could I be so nonchalant about it?!”
Ren chuckled as he knew what Ann meant. Ren wished he could grow wings and get to Ann much quicker than the bullet train could take him. Ren looked at her as they arrived at the Shibuya square. He paused as he suddenly went back two years…. when he first arrived in Tokyo.
“You know, Ann, when I first saw everything here, I wonder how my life would turn out from that point on.”
Ann stopped right next to Ren and listened.
“I had gotten a criminal record with no hope of revoking it. I assumed my life would be over at that point. My family had treated me a bit well, but I noticed they were disappointed in me. When I stood here….I thought it would be a steep climb to even get back to where I once stood. I had truly felt lost.”
Ren reminisced that moment…when it all changed. Ren pointed to the middle of the Shibuya Crossing.
“Do you know what I saw there, Ann?”
Ann shook her head. She had never heard Ren talk about his first day in Shibuya.
“….I saw him….I saw me…”
“….Do you mean Arsene?”
The concept of Persona, even though their journey started 2 years ago and ended one year ago, the adventure was still fresh in her mind. The Phantom Thieves even had their artistic friend make a painting of each of their Persona’s from when they got them, to when they awakened. Ann still had the Carmen and Hecate portrait hung up in her room. Ren smiled as he remembered the gentlemen thief who accompanied him on his long “rehabilitation”.
“At first, I wondered why I saw myself as this crazed lunatic who stood in blue fire and loose chains…. but now I know….that was who I wanted to be. I wasn’t crazy….I was free… I wanted to be free from the chains that held me down and be that free spirited person who almost… seemed a bit insane if you looked at it another way...”
Ren laughed as he ridiculed himself. Ann gave him a peck on the cheek.
“You’re not crazy…. well a little bit I’ll admit.”
Ann giggled at his short outburst.
“But you knew how to control yourself. I still remember the guy who chased me all the way from Shibuya Square to the subway underground…..and at that point, I was at my lowest too.”
Ann started recalling her troubled times at Shujin. Kamoshida and his insistent advances towards her. As they were going down a trip down memory lane, Ren stopped them for a second.
“Hey…You know how we were gonna think of how to spend Valentine’s day tomorrow? I have an idea now.”
Ren got close to Ann’s ear and started whispering his idea. As Ann finished listening, she felt it would be a nice way to spend the day, and they would never run out of things to talk about either.
“Let's go to Leblanc, everyone’s waiting there right now.”
“Oh! That reminds me.”
Ren unzipped his bag.
“Sorry Morgana, I kinda forgot about you, hah.”
Ann lightly slapped Ren’s shoulder.
“How can you forget about Morgana?!!”
Morgana popped out of the bag.
“It’s fine Lady Ann. I was trying to not disturb you two.”
Ann scratched his chin like old times.
“It’s good to see you too, Morgana.”
Morgana had long since found out about Ren and Ann’s relationship and he had also gotten over his initial crush on Ann. He was just glad Ann had managed to find someone who’d take good care of her. Of course, he had to tell that to Ren every now and then, so he wouldn’t forget it.
“Why didn’t everyone come with you right now?”
“They said they wanted to give me some alone time with you…..which if they thought about it is impossible since you came with Morgana.”
Morgana’s ears drooped down.
“I’m sorry, Lady Ann.”
Ann quickly waved Morgana off, indicating it was fine.
“It’s fine. Today’s not the day we’re going to be alone anyway.”
Ann locked her arm with Ren’s.
“I have him reserved for tomorrow though.”
Ann knew she wasn’t the only important person Ren had met in Tokyo in his one year of probation. There were tons of people he most likely wanted to meet today, so she wanted to let him be for today so he could have a clear mind when it was just the two of them tomorrow.
“C’mon let’s go! We don’t want to make them wait that long!”
Ann grabbed Ren’s hand again as she pulled them along to the train station to Yongen-Jaya. Ren looked at that bright cheerful face and only thought one thing. He smiled as he was reminded once again how lucky he was.
“I love you….Ann Takamaki.”