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[personal profile] athenablackquill
APRIL 12, 2012

Chie sat outside on the upstairs balcony, looking out into the city. She'd never been in such a place before, with so many large buildings, so many people. The closest she'd been to a place like this was Okina City, and that looked like Inaba compared to Los Angeles. The others had gone out some time ago to do some investigation, but Chie couldn't focus. "Ichijo..." she said, rubbing her knee. The pain had dissipated a day or so after Margaret had given her the ointment, but rubbing the knee had become a sort of nervous habit when she was thinking about things.

Would Ichijo look for her? She'd never told him about what happened last year, about her adventures in the TV World, the kidnappings, the murders. He wouldn't have believed it. Who in their right mind would? So if she disappeared... Chie sighed. She didn't even know when she'd be able to get back home, if ever. Margaret had told Yu that someone was interfering with their ability to contact home. Phone calls from the crew, regardless of what phone was used, would result in, "This phone number has been disconnected." Emails to Dojima and Yosuke's dad would bounce. When they tried to buy plane tickets, they were told there were no flights to Japan at this time, though the next people in line would have no problem buying their own tickets to Tokyo. Margaret insisted that their loved ones were safe, and used a TV to show them Nanako and Dojima, Ichijo, Kanji's mother, and others, to show they were still alive and well, but something--or in this case, more like someone--was preventing them from having anything to do with Inaba.

Until they figured all of this out, no one was leaving Los Angeles.

Chie had asked Margaret if it'd be possible to get a letter, anything to Ichijo. Margaret had been oddly quiet, almost sad. She'd said no, but that she'd keep an eye on him and let Chie know if anything important happened.

"Ichijo..."

What if she never got home? Would he move on? How long would that take? She could see Ai Ebihara now, digging her claws into him as he mourned Chie's disappearance. That bitch. In truth, Ai wasn't that bad, especially the last few months, but she still liked Ichijo. A lot. Ichijo had asked Chie out instead, surprising both her and Yosuke, though Yu of course was not surprised in the least. Yu never was.

"Ugh." Chie buried her head into her knees. Yosuke. He'd told Chie he liked her only a week before Ichijo asked her out. She hadn't known how to respond. No one ever liked her; they always liked someone like Yukiko or Rise. Not someone with ugly legs like her... (Though she remembered Yu saying he liked her legs fine.) And now two guys liked her. She'd panicked when Yosuke told her, and that panic amplified when Ichijo had asked her out... But after all she and Yosuke had gone through, nearly dying on multiple occasions, fighting off Adachi and Namatame and everyone else... He had been too close. He knew too much about her, about what scared her, what she didn't like about herself. She didn't feel comfortable with that. So when Ichijo had asked her out, she'd said yes. Yosuke didn't talk to her for two weeks after that, and even now...

"Hey..."

The voice startled Chie back into the present. Chie looked up, seeing Yosuke. Her stomach turned. "Hey..."

"How's your knee? Can I..." He motioned to the chair beside him, and Chie nodded.

Chie rubbed her knee. "It's fine. The ointment Margaret gave me worked great. ... I thought you were with everyone else? Are they back?"

Yosuke smiled. "Uh, some of us are. Me and Naoto, and Kanji. I think Rise should be back soon." An awkward silence fell between the two of them. "So... I... I guess you're worried about Ichijo, right?... Has um, has Margaret said anything?"

Ugh... "No, I guess I just... I dunno." Chie really didn't want to talk about this right now, especially not with Yosuke. She barely wanted to talk about it with Yukiko, and she could talk about anything with her.

Yosuke shifted uncomfortably. "Are you... worried about like... him forgetting or something... or like..."

"Yosuke."

"I-I-I just want to make sure you're okay!" he responded defensively. "I just... hate seeing you sad, or worried..."

Chie turned away, staring at the ground. "Look, Yosuke. I'm okay, alright? I can do this on my own. Margaret will tell me if something happens. I don't know why you keep asking about it."

Yosuke frowned, standing. "Look, it's not my fault you led me on!" he blurted, immediately regretting it. "Just... After everything, I just want to be there for you!" He started as Chie whipped her head around. "I-I... You're the first person I trusted since Sake, okay? And I know you better than Ichijo and it doesn't make sense. None of it makes any sense! Forgive me for fucking trying to make sense of it!"

"I don't owe you anything!" Chie yelled back, standing. Her hands were clenched into fists, and her eyes shot daggers. "I like Ichijo--"

"--Oh really?" Yosuke shot back sarcastically. "You barely knew he existed until he asked you out!" This isn't what he had wanted to happen at all, but what had he expected? Both he and Chie had short tempers. Did he expect her to start crying and let him hold her? Did he expect her to admit she didn't like Ichijo? What had he wanted out of this? He didn't know anymore... He could only feel anger at his situation, at their situation, at Chie... "I've been through hell the past three months!"

"I can date whoever I want, Yosuke! It's none of your damn business who I date! Why don't you just go date Rise or something, the way you're always fawning over her?" Chie felt her blood boiling. She knew it wasn't fair to bring Rise into this, especially with how close the two had grown in the past few months, but she had stopped caring about logic a few moments ago. Now, she was just pissed.

Yosuke scoffed. "Rise? She's awesome and an idol! That doesn't mean I like her! I just... It's cool being friends with an idol, especially one as nice as her!" What are we even arguing about anymore? "Are you jealous or something?"

It was Chie's turn to scoff. "As if," she responded quietly. "I have a boyfriend."

That was the last straw. I don't need to take this shit, not from her. "Yeah, a guy who is probably gonna leave you for Ai in like a week!"

"D-Don't you say that!" Chie responded, tears welling up in her eyes against her will. Please, don't let him see me cry. "Don't you say that, you jerk!" Her arm reached out against her will, her hand making forceful contact with Yosuke's face. Immediately, she recoiled, as Yosuke just sat there in silence, a shocked look on his face. "I... I hate you," she managed to say, though she couldn't tell if she was saying it to Yosuke or to herself. She turned and ran inside, slamming her bedroom door behind her.

"...Chie..."

"What the hell is all this noise?" Kanji said, coming up the stairs, ready to fight if need be. He saw the pained expression on Yosuke's face, as well as the red mark, and could hear Chie sobbing behind her bedroom door. Even he could put two and two together. "Hey, come on man... Let's take a walk." Kanji walked out to the balcony and went to put his hand on Yosuke's shoulder to lead him downstairs.

"Get away from me," Yosuke said, turned his back to his friend.

Kanji took a moment to take that in. "Tsk. Fine. Have it your way." Kanji turned and went back downstairs, waving his hand nonchalantly.

"I'm... still the same." Yosuke looked at his hand, clenching in into a fist. "I'm still the same loser I was, back then..." He remembered Sake's smile and laughter at all his jokes, thinking that meant she liked him. He'd been wrong then, just like he was wrong three months ago, thinking Chie could love him. "I'm... so stupid..." Yosuke hit his hand on the balcony fence and pain shot up through his arm. Why had he said those things to Chie? She didn't deserve it, any of it.

"I don't deserve love," Yosuke said to himself after a long silence. He hadn't felt this alone since he first moved to Inaba.

He hadn't ever felt this angry.

February 2017

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Athena Blackquill
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