Putting Our Affairs in Order
Thinking Too Much
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Atlus or anyone who hold rights to Persona 3. It isn't mine, I'm just playing with it.
Spoiler Warning: Complete endgame spoilers. Read at your own risk.
"Yuka-tan sure is running awfully late," Junpei said blankly as he studiously stared out the window. Looking out was always so much better than looking in. He hated hospital so damned much anymore. There was just something about them that seriously got on his nerves. He wasn't quite sure what it was, and he really didn't want to get all touchy feely about it either. Doing so would mean thinking over everything that had gone on before -Chidori- and everything that had gone on afterwards -Minato-. And well, there were just some things that were better left alone. Besides, no one had ever accused him of thinking too hard about stuff, and he'd like to keep it that way if at all possible. He had an image to maintain, after all. Right?
"I do not believe Yukari-san will be joining us today."
Junpei blinked curiously at the monotone answer and glanced back over his shoulder. Nothing had changed since last he had looked. It was always the same. Aigis sat neatly beside the bed, her back ramrod straight -Were androids even capable of slumping over?- with her hands placed primly in her lap. She didn't look his way. Then again, she never did actually look at anybody else whenever she was here. She just stared unblinkingly at the bed and its lone occupant. The machines monitoring him showed more life than she usually did these days.
It was creepy. And disturbing. And so much more welcome than the actual subject of her silent contemplation. It was always the same. Hell, frankly the machines were about the only way Junpei could tell that he was still alive at times. Sometimes he got pissed off and yelled at the lunk to wake the fuck up already -and sometimes, when he was the only one there, he cried-. Everybody was -had been- so damned worried about him. The insensitive prick. But no, no matter what he did, what any of them did, he just kept on sleeping his cares away, as if nothing was wrong.
Everything was wrong.
A coma. Junpei felt an involuntary tick in his cheek as the rage bubbled up a little bit at that thought. Used to be, he wouldn't have been able to help himself. Used to be, he got a lot more pissed off at the unfairness of it all. Used to be was months down the line now. Even he was starting to lose hope, starting to give in to the inevitable. And that usually just pissed him off even more. Man, but he hated giving up. It just didn't feel right.
Grumbling irritably to himself, Junpei turned around and leaned back against the window. He was not going to think about all that at a time like this. If he did, then he'd just start thinking about other things, certain disturbing things, and he just didn't want to lose it in front of Aigis. He'd already done enough of that in front of everybody else to last him a lifetime, and that was even before everything ended. Nope, he'd always lived in the moment and he sure as hell wasn't going to change now.
"Why's that?" He asked curiously as he stuffed his hands in his pants pockets -an old habit-. He was pretty curious, actually. Yuka-tan always came and visited, like clockwork. Holidays, exam days, anyday, it didn't really matter, she always made time. So what in the world could be keeping her to the point where even Aigis didn't think she'd show?
Aigis blinked, the only movement she would afford him, before answering, "She made mention of needing to study more when last she was present."
"Oh," Junpei answered dumbly as he reached up and scratched absently at the back of his neck. Well, that made sense, he supposed. Their entrance exams were coming up, not that he really expected to get in anywhere. Still, Yukari was different. She might never have said anything to him -and why would she?-, but she was the picture of a model student. Surely she had some sort of plan for her future. Really, it made perfect sense now that he thought about it. It just didn't ring true.
Yuka-tan might be a brat at times -and who could blame her?-, but she didn't ever stop cold turkey at something. And she sure as hell didn't give up on her friends. She never gave up. Something else had to be going on. The real question, was what?
Junpei's gaze slid from the living machine to the slumbering form of his friend as he turned that question over and over again in his mind. Used to be, he would sic Minato on Yuka-tan when she was in an obvious mood. Used to be a lot of things. Unfortunately, that option was no longer open to him, or anyone else for that matter. He'd have to get down to the bottom of whatever this was on his own.
That should be tons of fun.
Junpei sighed soundlessly to himself and shook his head. Why couldn't it ever be easy? Why did everything always have to be so damned hard? Life sure sucked sometimes. Grimacing at the vision of torture dancing through his head, because he was sure as hell that Yukari wouldn't make things simple for him, Junpei pushed off from the window. "I guess I should probably head out now," he mumbled unhappily as he skirted around the bed and eyed Aigis dubiously. She seemed less... "alive" nowadays, and he wondered about it sometimes.
...Nah, it wasn't any of his business. It didn't matter much anyway.
"I will return later," Aigis said flatly. It was her usual goodbye of late. He didn't take offense. They were all losing something of late. If he pushed the issue with her by asking about it, then he'd have to admit that he was... feeling something too. And damnit, that was touchy feely territory. No way in hell would he go there voluntarily. Kicking and screaming, baby. Kicking and screaming. That would be the only way they'd ever get him there.
"Okay, I'll see you later then," Junpei shot back cheerily as he gave a little wave and headed out. It wasn't as empty a statement as it sounded. He'd often stayed up late when the others were still out, waiting for them to come back. Maybe he was scared. Maybe he was... something. There was no more Dark Hour left to fear, but its effects still lingered. There was still something there, something inside of him that wouldn't let him rest if he couldn't walk down the hall and be absolutely sure that everybody was safe and sound, snoring the night away. Heh, who would have figured him turning into a paranoid mother hen?
Well, after all that crap, somebody was bound to go crazy. It was a sure bet, and with that in mind it might as well be him.
He didn't much care for taking the bridge home. He could still see the main lanes from the pedestrian walk, and that just left too big of an opening for certain memories to come pouring out. Still, it was better than taking the train. He hated taking the train. One instance of nearly going splat in one of those tin cans was more than enough for him, thank you very much. Walking, even in this place, was ten times better than having to take a damned train. And besides, the memories weren't all bad. Not really.
Junpei eyed the center lanes for a moment as he ambled past that point, then averted his gaze. He missed Chidori. That loss was still so very raw, almost like a living thing that slowly ate away at his insides. But at least the school entrance didn't look exactly like Tartarus. He could almost fool himself into thinking that it wasn't the same place everyday when he entered the main building. It wasn't quite so raw when he did that. But here? It was all the same. Everything looked the same, except for the moving cars, of course. He could almost imagine that there was a shadow hanging over the lanes with three little weird ass statues lined up beneath it. And just over there would be Aigis, looking like hell had invited her over for tea. And right over there would be-
"Damn Ryoji, I didn't figure you for the selfish type," Junpei muttered darkly as he hunched his shoulders and dropped his gaze to the concrete below him. Oh, he knew better. And in his mind's eye he could plainly see just how apologetic -and scared- his old friend had been afterwards, but that didn't change the present. Not one little bit.
Ryoji was gone. Swallowed up by Nyx, or vice versa. Something or other anyway. The point was, Ryoji was... dead, he guessed. And he'd taken Minato along with him for the ride. It was crazy really, but he just couldn't shake that little niggling traitorous thought. Ryoji had been his friend. They'd had a lot of fun together. Hell, they had been bosom buddies. But that didn't change the fact that the jerk had been sealed up inside of Minato for ten years. That had to count for something. And by the way he'd been going on those last few times when he'd still just been himself, more or less, it had to have counted for a lot. He'd wanted Minato to kill him. Had begged him to. That was just so-
God, that was just so damned depressing. What the hell was he doing? He needed to stop thinking about this crap. Chidori was dead. Ryoji wasn't coming back. And Minato probably wouldn't ever wake up again. There was nothing he could do to change any of that. They'd fought tooth and nail for the future, regardless of how it might turn out. That was what they had wanted, and that's what they had ultimately gotten. Maybe it was time for him to seriously start thinking about his own instead of wallowing in the past.
At the very least, he needed to find a way to shake this funk he fallen into. The others were getting on fine, he couldn't let himself be the only one left lingering over could have beens and should have beens. It just wasn't his style. Besides, it wouldn't be very fair to Chidori, or Ryoji, or Minato if he kept going on like this. It wasn't what they would have wanted for him.
...Man, he sounded like such a sap.