Summary: Kanji Tatsumi is not having a good summer. Stuck with only Teddie to hang out with, things only get worse when a detective friend returns….
Reunite 1: Arrival, Departure, Arrival
At first glance, Kanji Tatsumi was one scary guy. He had piercings, blonde hair, and a solid, structured, threatening face, not to mention his gruff personality and violent temper. A third year high school student, it had been about over a year since the Midnight Channel incident, where he, six other young teenagers and their mascot bear friend had solved the mystery and saved the world, even defeating a god. And since then, peace has fallen over Inaba. Granted, the town always had been peaceful to some degree, but now there were no more corpses hung up on antennas, and people disappearing into TVs.
Peace hadn't exactly fallen over Kanji's life though. While he was still doing well with his work at the family textile shop, and was actually doing well at school, Kanji had never been good with a lot of things. Especially when it came to wooing girls, for a number of reasons, while most girls didn't really want to hang out with him thanks to his scary appearance and his odd habits, there was also the other problem: his confusion over his sexual orientation.
For a long time, Kanji had been torn over his orientation, and it was not helped at all when he came in. Smooth skin, piercing dark eyes, purple locks, and that cold, smooth, mysterious attitude, Kanji was taken in. He couldn't help but find himself be pulled in by the charisma of that mysterious, aloof boy. At first, this only helped further his doubts about his orientation, with what his need to be a manly man, yet his love of designing stuffed things. This caused him to be thrown into the TV World, where he had encountered his Shadow, a flamboyant piece of work. Luckily though, he was saved by the Investigation Team, and he joined to help their cause.
But that boy would not stop trailing them. He would go around trying to find clues, and he was rather aloof and even smug about it. And at worst, the boy actually took a major turn to try and solve the case. He let himself be kidnapped.
But, in the TV World, it turned out he was actually a she. Safe to say, he was very relieved. The hot guy was all along, a hot girl. Even that didn't really settle his orientation issues, but thanks to the hard work of Narukami, Kanji began to feel more secure in himself, as a man and as a person.
And even though he did like her, thought she was very cute, wanted to comfort her and make her feel safe, it seemed all it was going to be was an unrequited crush. And that was how it ended up. He didn't blame anyone, and really, it was worth the good times, then to risk heartbreak.
Now a third year, everyone had moved on with their lives. Yu Narukami was back in the city, sempai Yosuke Hanamura, Chie Satonaka and Yukiko Amagi were applying for colleges, Teddie still worked for Junes as their mascot, Rise Kujikawa had gone back to her career, and had made waves by taking control of her own music (a rarity, especially in the Japanese idol scene), while she had moved on from Inaba.
Kanji had tried to call, he had sent messages, emails, and texts, but she rarely replied. She was too busy with cases and schoolwork, and while he understood, there was always that gut feeling inside of Kanji that things might have been different. He had moved on as best as he could, but at the same time, his mind was stuck on her. Back around early last year, when she had told them all she was leaving, he remembered his chest tightening, and his heart miss a beat. But he didn't feel too devastated; as he remembered the good times he had with her and the Investigation Team. Yet, it still hurt.
But, you don't appreciate things until you lose them. That was definitely one moral he learnt.
Little did Kanji know, that he would get a reunion with a very special person...
Day 0: July 14th, 2013
Day 0, 6:00AM
Kanji had thrown himself out of bed after his alarm sounded off with thrash guitars. It immediately entered a powerful riff, in a song called Keep Yourself Alive III. Kanji, despite his soft side, both figuratively and literary, still loved rock though. That was one thing 'manly' about him. But the sudden scream of sound took him by surprise, his legs got tangled up on the sheets and he fell onto the floor with a thick thud.
"Argh!" yelped Kanji. He kicked his legs free from the duvet, rubbed a hand past his blonde hair, and scowled at the musical alarm clock, before shutting it down. "S'maybe rock ain't the best thing to wake up 'ta," muttered the young man, mostly to himself. "Maybe I should set it to something quieter..."
That was when, from the corner of his eye, he noticed his mobile phone lying on the floor, its screen glowing with an indication. Kanji's hand grasped at it, and he moved it up to eyeview, when, to his surprise, he saw a mailbox image, the signal that indicated he got a new text message. "Huh?"
He clicked to it, and read it carefully. He gulped. He must be dreaming.
"I AM COMING BACK TOMORROW. ARRIVING AT 10.
Shirogane. Shirogane. That one word spoke more than dozens of mispelt letters ever could. Kanji shook his head, and his entire face began to twist in shock, his brows rose up and his mouth dropped.
"No." Kanji said in denial. Apparently she had gone far away from Inaba, to help her grandfather with work. He read it again. The same message over and over again. His eyes darted past the text, over and over again, as his eyes widened further and further. His brows narrowed, moreso in shock if anything, and his cheeks seemed to glow red.
"No." Kanji closed his eyes, perhaps he was in a dream, and he would wake up? He then opened his eyes. There it was again. He even read it again and again to make sure he wasn't dreaming.
"I AM COMING BACK TOMORROW."
It was written in the clearest font, with her last name, clear as crystal, printed on LCD, on the simplest form. Kanji's entire body was shaking, mostly in disbelief and the pure shock of the sudden announcement.
Kanji's eyes almost widened to spheres. That no-nonsense texting, the anarchic style of writing, it was her alright. She was coming back to Inaba.
Naoto Shirogane was returning to Inaba. And he had only a day to prepare.
Had the entire gang been able to catch up with her, Kanji wouldn't have stressed out, at least as much as he was doing now. But, granted she was finally coming back, it was only really him, Teddie, Nanako and to an extent, Dojima. Yukiko was hard at work in the inn and had almost no time for breaks, while Chie was studying to become a police officer. Yosuke had just finished applying for colleges, but then had went out of Inaba for a family vacation.
"Oh man. This is bad," Kanji thought out aloud, his face red. "Really bad."
When he had breakfast with his mother later that morning, Kanji's mother noticed her son had a red face and an even more focused expression than he usually did. "Kanji? What's the matter, dear? Troubles?"
He only turned his head away, "Nuthin's wrong."
She wasn't fooled that easily. Ms. Tatsumi knew her son was someone who tried to project the tough guy image, but was really a sweet soul underneath, "Come on. Are you upset over anything? It is your summer vacation, after all. You shouldn't have to worry about things during this time."
Kanji looked back slightly to his mother, but gently shook his head, "Nah. I'm not bothered."
Ms. Tatsumi chuckled to herself, maybe this was something Kanji was able to solve by himself, "I see. Just tell me if you need to get something off your back, okay?"
Kanji couldn't help but flick a small smile over to his mother. She always cared for him so much, it wasn't funny. "Sure. Thanks, Mom."
She only nodded back to her son, sharing his small smile. The two ate breakfast quietly afterwards, and soon after, Kanji had to go to Junes.
He had to hold back a scowl, he had to tell that goofy bear about the news.
Day 0, 10:10AM
"Every day is great in your Junes~!"
The happy sing-song anthem of the franchise department store echoed in Kanji's ear as he entered into the food court. Junes, along with Inaba as a whole, hadn't changed a bit since the murder mystery two years ago. Of course, Yosuke still worked there, but since he was out of Inaba for a family vacation, the only person he still knew who worked in Junes was, well….
The adorable mascot of Junes arrived to the food court with full energy. His familiar round costume, draped in red, blue, yellow, with a cream colored face, came into view, and he waved enthusiastically at the delinquent as he plodded his way towards him. Kanji couldn't help but crack a small smile at the lovable bear, "Hey Teddie."
"Kanji! How bear-y nice to see you again!" Teddie tried to get his small arms around Kanji for a hug, but Kanji put his hands in front of his oval face, so Teddie was stuck plodding in place, arms held out. Finally, he quit, looking rather upset, "Ah, you're mean~" but his expression went back to its usual happy gaze, "but bear-nough about that. You don't usually come to Junes often bear-a-days, what brings you here on this sunny day?"
Kanji immediately froze up, he really didn't have much ways of explaining it to Teddie, without totally embarrassing himself. The young man only let his knees sink down, and he pressed his bottom onto a seat next to a table, "S'long story."
Teddie quickly helped himself to a seat, and tried to fit himself in between a chair and the table, with some form of success, "Oh do tell! And you're bear-lushing!"
He touched his cheeks, damn, they were hot! Kanji narrowed his brow at Teddie, "'ey, don't do that man! It's not cool!" but after that episode, Kanji quickly calmed down, and folded his arms on the table. He looked away from the cartoony mascot bear, who watched him curiously and pursed his lips a little, before he finally came out with the answer.
"She's coming back. She'll be arriving tomorrow morning. At 10 o' clock."
When he heard that news, even the fun loving bear had to freeze up. He knew exactly who Kanji was talking about, and in fact, his heart felt much lighter, he was very happy to hear that! "So… wait a bear-cond. Are you talking about… Naoto-chan?"
"Damn right," replied Kanji. He sank his head towards his arms, and his expression got a lot lighter from his stern glare. Heck, he even seemed to smile, which made him look a lot more relaxed about this whole situation, or so he hoped, "but it can't 'ave come at a better time, ya know? We've got ta 'hole summer off, an' hell, it's nice to see 'nother ol' friend again."
Teddie nodded in agreement. But he also giggled at what he was seeing in front of him, "Hehe, Kanji-kun!"
Kanji glared at the bear, irritated, "What?"
"Your face is bear-tally red! Like a tomato!" laughed Teddie. Kanji pressed his face onto his arms, and it was, again, hot! People stared out at the scene in front, Kanji's face was totally red! So red, that it could have served as a traffic light!
Realizing this, Kanji tried to hide his bright face by burrowing it in his arms, but to no avail, "Shut up ya stupid bear!" he growled, "Ya better not be like this when Naoto comes back!"
Teddie giggled once again at Kanji's reaction, his entire face lightened up with his energy, "Hehehe, you really are a tomato! Hehehehe!" but he got up from his chair, and spun around on one foot. "But trust me Kanji-kun, have no fear, because..." he then put his hand up in the peace sign, and winked. "I'll be as sweet as honey!"
"Like I'd believe that…" muttered Kanji. Something told him that this wasn't going to be easy….
Day 1: July 15th, 2013
Day 1, 9:45AM
The next morning, Kanji and Teddie were sat on a bench at the train station, relaxing in the summer haze. Kanji was wearing a tanktop with his Jolly Roger printed on it, and some black jeans with a small chain attached to the side. Teddie was in his human form, wearing his flashy 'playboy' outfit, his typical white shirt and black pants. Really, should Naoto see them now, she would notice that they hadn't aged much in a year, since the last time they met.
Teddie rotated and gyrated on his seat, pursing his lips and lowering his eyelids with boredom written all over him, "Kanji-kun~ I'm so bo-ear-ed~ when's Nao-chan gonna get here~"
"She's comin' soon, so shut up!" Kanji said through mostly gritted teeth. It was bad enough that he hadn't been prepared to see his crush in well over a year, but the only person able to hang out with them was Teddie. Granted, he was glad that it was Teddie, if it were Yosuke… well, having a peaceful week would be a pipedream.
The cute bishonen boy only glanced over at Kanji, "You're bear-y excited for this, but you're taking it out on innocent ol' me~"
Kanji reeled back in his seat, already blushing, "I'm not!"
Teddie was about to joke further with Kanji, when he heard a whistle. Teddie pulled his head up and pricked up an ear, he listened out with surprise on his face. He then put his hand over his forehead, as if he were scouting out something, and saw a train coming in, much to his delight, "Oh, bear it comes! It's her train! Nao-chan's train is arriving!" beamed Teddie.
The blonde young man pulled himself off his chair when he heard that, and put his hands in his pockets. His throat began to feel very dry and sticky, even if he were to think up the best welcome back line ever, his throat would not be able to pronounce it. While he had tried to restrain himself, he was still very nervous around her, and given that they hadn't seen each other in over a year, well… things do happen.
The carriages eventually pulled to a stop. Once they were completely halted, Kanji and Teddie gazed, wide-eyed, as the doors opened up. People flooded out, but there was one more person to come out. Kanji gulped down, trying his best not to blush red, but failing either way. Teddie just covered his mouth with his hands, his bright blue eyes just staring in awe.
Both Kanji and Teddie tried to look into the train, as their old friend arrived. The familiar small, slim shape began to emerge. Teddie gasped childishly, while Kanji's jaw slowly dropped in fascination. Feet clad in brown loafers stepped forward, legs clad in plaid pants followed above, with a male swagger to them. A blue coat with cuffs, with a white undershirt clothed the figure's upper body. The figure held a suitcase in the left hand, with the right hand tucked into the coat's pocket.
The androgynous figure eventually pulled her face up, her short purple locks hid by her signature hat. Her pretty features were revealed to the two boys. It really was Naoto.
The first to react was Teddie, "Hey Nao-chan~! I'm so glad to see you again! It's been so lonely without you! Come let me flirt with you~" Teddie practically jumped for joy, the blonde-haired bishonen's hair almost bounced in rhythm. He jumped to glomp Naoto in a tight hug, but Kanji caught his shirt, holding him in the air. Teddie turned over and pouted at Kanji, "Aw, spoilsport!" but, seeing Kanji's expression, guffawed, but was unable to hold his laughter and burst into a fit.
The tough delinquent and stuffed animal designer's cheeks stained a further crimson, and he nodded faintly. He clenched his teeth slightly, and his eyes seemed to grow wider. His nose puffed out, his lips tried to form a smile, only to puff his cheeks and form a half-smile. It only resulted in Kanji looking really stupid. Really, he looked like a puffer fish.
"N-nice to see you again."
Naoto's slender fingers tipped her cap to Kanji and Teddie, smiling slightly. Luckily, she hadn't bothered taking notice of Kanji's ridiculous facial expression. "It's good to see you too. You two are just as I remember."
And as if to twist the dagger further, those words only made Kanji's face burn beetroot red. "R-remember~?" he whispered, mostly to himself.
Kanji's greatest challenge in months had just only started. Reunion Week had begun.
Hope you enjoy this one. Critique, feedback and such are always welcome. There's a reason I put in Teddie. ;D For those wondering why I use Yu Narukami over Souji Seta, I was introduced to the series through the anime and announcement of the fighting game, so I know him as Narukami.
In case you're wondering, I may or may not be going for the straight route for Kanji. I'm a tricky troll~ :P