Have My Card
Inaba - Junes Dept. Store
Every day is great at your Junes! o/~ This jingle is one reason why Junes is so prominent within Inaba. Just one store in a major department store chain, Junes offers many different products at unbeatable prices, from simple groceries to comfortable furniture and even an expansive electronics department, the latter of which has been proven very popular by some of the teenage crowd lately.
The department store is so massive that the elevator is the preferred method in which to go anywhere around the place, with different floors for different departments within it. Although the goods are varied enough that each may as well be their own store, at least several things are constant: the bright and cheery colors, the frequent announcement of some special deal or another going on, and most importantly, the endless looping elevator music of the theme song that can even rival Satomi Tadashi's for sheer catchiness.
Customer Appreciation Day is said to be every day at Junes, but this sure doesn't seem to show with the majority of its employees... especially the part-timers. Lazy, rude, and prone to complaining about their salary, they are not pleasant people. Even so, that hasn't been enough to drive the customers away.
Junes is as Junessy as always. Japanese Walmart sucking up all the town's commerce and driving little stores out of business, while at the same time fostering a cynical and jaded attitude towards work in teenagers and slowly crushing the spirits of the older employees. Hail the almighty yendollar.
Political commentary is the furthest thing from Fumiya Watanabe's mind right now, though. In fact it is rarely on his mind, like so many subjects it just is not his thing. Having just come from the foodcourt, can of drink in hand (red flavored), he spends the evening windowshopping.
He's also keeping a sharp ear out for any Yasogami students who may be in on this whole Midnight Channel thing. You never know, some might be careless and talk about it in a public place. There's always Hanamura.
With summer gone and regular class back in session, you'd think ELEVATOR MASTER Shiki Ichimonji would be less inclined to make long, ill-advised weekday trips to Inaba. You'd think so, but you'd be wrong!
This is why, tonight, Shiki is stepping out of the elevator (he is a master of it, remember) to Junes' electronics section. After all, the boy comes back to his former hometown with stunning regularity because he likes the quiet atmosphere. So naturally, he must /also/ make frequent visits to the monlothic bastion of faceless commercialism that's draining the town residents of their very SOU-- ...anyway.
And luckily for Fumiya, there seems to be a trio of Yasogami High students discussing the very thing he's investigating about! Nothing that should really be new to him, though.
"Hey, hey, did you watch the Midnight Channel last night? What'd you see?"
"Nothing, just static. It's just been stupid lately..."
"I dunno, that talk show girl was kind of cute."
"How can she be my soulmate if I don't even know who she is?!"
This kind of gossip is, however, less familiar to the /other/ flashily-dressed youth in the general vicinity, however! Unprompted, Shiki sneaks up behind the three, and joins the conversation!
"Hey, the Midnight Channel's stupid, you shouldn't watch it!"
"Who asked /you/, dork?"
"What's with that getup? What are you, the world's worst cosplayer?"
The trio leaves, laughing, while the goggled boy remains there, staring ahead, not moving aside from some slight shaking in his tightened fists. Wait, he didn't even try to talk back? What's GOTTEN into him?
Hey it's Ichimonji. Fumiya is not about the miss the worst-dressed person in Junes (after him, but don't tell him that), especially when he starts talking about the very thing he's interested in!
Like some kind of neon ninja Fumiya is suddenly RIGHT BEHIND Shiki as the trio walks away. He abruptly puts a hand on Shiki shoulder and drags him so that they're facing each other. "Hey Ichimonji. Fancy running into you again." His mouth is only partially stained by his red flavored drink, so that just makes his grin look all the more inviting/threatening.
He motions to a bench that just so happens to be conveniently near their location, and he isn't letting go either. "So what brings you out here today?" Besides revealing to Fumiya that you know something about the Midnight Channel. Grin.
Shiki's sudden seriousness goes away just as quickly as it came when he's snuck up on by his fellow flashiness singularity and possible Bizarro World counterpart. "Oh, hi, Fumiya-san!" Shiki smiles, the effect of Fumiya's terrifying Cheshire Vampire grin seemingly lost on him.
Shiki lets himself be dragged to the bench rather easily, because after all it's not like he's got much better to do! He's not the kind to do things like visit another town with a plan in mind.
"Oh, you know, I'm just hanging out. I was thinking of getting myself a MP3 player, and Junes seems to have better prices than those back home!" No, really, it does! Somehow. They're probably made of cardboard.
He plops down on the bench, leaning over forward a bit casually as he looks up to the looooming Fumiya. "So what are /you/ up to?" He doesn't seem particularly eager to bring up the Midnight Channel again, for some reason!
Cardboard? You give them too much credit. They might actually work for a little while if that were the case. Not that Fumiya knows anything about that, he still uses a casette player. One he just got through fixing, but is due to break again in a matter of time.
"I'm not up to much, bro. Just bummed that school has started again. Especially after everything that happened over the break, talk about crazy." Fumiya says as he leans back onto the bench, thinking back on all the supernatural.... stuff that has gone on. For as many people in on this thing as there are, he's had a hell of a time getting information. Perhaps he's not cut out to be a Scoobie.
This doesn't stop him from trying, though. He flings the just-about-empty drink can into a nearby trash, and looks at Shiki with such an intense stare that it's practically visible from behind his green sunglasses. "So what do you know about that Midnight Channel thing?"
Shiki just shakes his head. He, too, has had a pretty hectic summer, although he silently thinks to himself that his own, compared to Fumiya's, probably takes the cake.
And then 80s Kid cuts straight to the heart of the matter, visibly taking Shiki by surprise. He gulps, still looking up. "You heard? W-well, I don't know much, really. I just really wish people would knock it off with the soulmate thing, it doesn't make any sense!"
Shiki shudders a bit. He's seen the Midnight Channel exactly once from the side of the TV Fumiya'd be used to, and Shiki /refuses/ to believe that his soulmate would be a cigar-chomping Tom Magnusson! If that was the case, he might as well go ahead and fling himself off a building right away.
Don't even mention Tom. Just don't. Fumiya's already been scarred by him, he doesn't need to suffer the thought of him being anyone's soulmate.
Fumiya shrugs. "I'm not entirely sure either. I think it's just how the high schoolers who aren't in the know see it, y'know?" Because he already saw Shirou on it once, and maybe they could be considered buds, but soulmates? Heeeeelllll no. "But yeah, I know about it." He continues. "I got messed up in all this stuff in one heck of a manner. Basically, I followed Thora-babe one day, and I wound up seeing her fight this giant dude made of fire. I swear." He insists on this, as if he still thinks people who know of the supernatural would have a hard time believing in a giant guy made of fire. "There was some gothy chick there too, and she wound up pushing that big foriegn dude into a TV."
Folding his arms, he cocks an eyebrow at Shiki. He's keeping his voice down just low enough so he can hear it, but it's really hard not to raise his voice talking about this stuff. It's pretty nuts. "So I've been trying to find out more ever since, y'know. It's like..." He pauses, giving Shiki a once over, remembering what his apparent passions are. "...I wanna help out in fighting all this stuff like a hero." You know, like that Rebellion guy.
Shiki raises an eyebrow at Fumiya's story, eyes widening a little. He's mentioned Thora-senpai... and his story seems to match up with something he's heard of her talking about. In fact, if that particular thing hadn't happened, he would have probably never stepped into the TV to begin with! So at the very least Fumiya's telling the truth.
...and his intentions seem noble, too! Shiki would be happy to hear that the neon kid wants to fight (he even has a gimmick and all, he'd make a fantastic side character!), but then again... "...are you really sure you want to get mixed up in all this?" Huh, he's not even bothering to deny anything.
"I mean..." He shakes his head. "...er... that sort of thing is crazy, you know? If you want to fight, you'd really need a... a..." He pauses. He's not going to just spill everything, is he? "...a special power."
Yes, Fumiya is truthfully telling the truth. Truly. His motives are as pure as the driven snow. He can do no wrong. He died for your sins!
The 80s kid just nods as Shiki starts to bring up the whole super power thing. "Yeah, Thora-babe gave me a bit of an explanation. Persona, right?" Fumiya shakes his head. No, he doesn't have that. And honestly, that's not even his goal. He's after something else entirely. Of course, if he has to look like that's what he's after...
"Don't worry about that. If I get one I get one, if not I still want to help out. I'm already involved anyway, the goth chick and the fire dude saw me. But Thora-babe, she..." He trails off, totally sounding sincere. Honest. "Well she just seems to be worried about my safety, she hasn't told me much more." He leaves out the part where she threatened him not to keep looking into this, or else. "So I'm just trying to learn what I can about this thing, so I can protect myself and help others."
"That's right." Shiki nods, still surprised at what the Inaba resident knows. It's like his whole /world/ is getting dragged into all this! He rustles through his outer pocket, pulling out a candy bar and unwrapping it.
What? This is a serious discussion, but he's also hungry!
Aaaaand he gets up, making Fumiya look much less intimidating even though he's still taller than Shiki is. The boy with the flaming jacket walks past the other, seeming to have something in mind. He seems to be heading towards the electronics section proper, and hopefully Fumiya will follow!
Chomping on his bar, he finishes processing the information. "...Those guys must've been Strega. If they saw you, then that's no good. If you see them again and you're alone, you gotta run or hide, because I bet they'd try to to kill you." Oh yeah, REAL HELPFUL, Shiki!
He, too, tries to keep his voice down, which is kind of a feat considering how usually he seems unable to control the volume of his voice. "...aside from that... there's not much I know about the Midnight Channel, actually. All I know is that the people who appear on it have been shoved in, and they're not acting like their normal selves." No, he doesn't totally "get" the Channel yet.
Fumiya won't protest indulging in a snack in the middle of all this. He's kind of hungry now himself. Though he does get up and follows Shiki, to the GATE OF HELL (ie: The electronics section with the biggest TV in town).
"Yeah, I kinda figured." Fumiya sighs and nods. Well at least he thinks he has the culprit all figured out, and all he has to do is keep an eye out for giant fire dude and creepy goth girl. He'll be fine, really! It's not like there's an entirely normal-looking culprit he has to watch out for or anything.
Though he frowns when Shiki mentions he doesn't know much more about the Midnight Channel than he already does. Man, is this another bust? "No idea what causes someone to be targetted in the first place, huh?" That's the piece he's missing. From what Thora and Shirou have told him, he gets the implication that /something/ can cause this to happen, but he just doesn't know what. Maybe Aigis can fill in the blanks when he gets to speak to her.
Fumiya tries to brighten, and pats Shiki on the shoulder. "Well thanks anyway, Ichimonji." He pauses, as if remembering something. Though he hesitates before speaking again, as if worried about opening the floodgates. "So, how's that manga of yours coming along?"
Shiki just shrugs when asked what could have someone targetted. He honestly has no idea! Neither of the people he helped rescue were exactly normal cases, after all.
Aaaaaand the floodgates are opened! She clenches his fists over what remains of the candy bar, squeezing it out a bit as he begins speaking with uncontrollable enthusiasm. "Oooooh, it's going totally great! I got in the poll results from last week and Captain Rebellion is in the Top 3! And I'm totally pumped about the new story arc, too, now Revolution can punch like 100 guys at once and I just came up with an excuse to get Tsukasa in a nurse outfi--" His speech stops abruptly, as he seems to remember something. Wait, Shiki's willingly refraining from talking about his manga?!
Meanwhile, waaaaaay down below, Satan opens his curtains, sees his entryway snowed in. "Oh, what the Hell..."
Back inside an entirely different PORTAL OF HELL, Shiki considers Fumiya for a moment. ...Nah, he can't just tell him to try and fend for himself, that would be terrible. "...You know..." He starts, slowly. "Anytime you're in Port Island... If you've got a problem with those Strega guys, if no one else can help, and if you can find us, maybe you can call... SEES."
The reference was a complete coincidence, by the way.
Quickly, he pulls a small piece of paper out of his pocket along with a pen (that one from his inner pocket, oddly), puts the candy bar between his teeth, and starts writing something while leaning against the side of a TV (the screen would be a stupid idea). He then hands Fumiya the paper, on which is written the address to the SEES dorm, along with Shiki's very best don't-misuse-this-or-i-will-bite-you-in-the-face look.
Fumiya blinks, and accepts the card. "..SEES eh?" He has actually never heard of them! Despite knowing several people in SEES, an explanation of who they are and what they do, even that they exist, has never come up. Perhaps that just comes with being 'the muggle friend'.
But someday he will show them. He will show them all!
Secret plotting aside, Fumiya places the card in his pocket and gives Shiki his best I'll-do-my-best-but-no-promises look. I mean, there might be hot babes in SEES. Some of them might even be normal!
Fumiya accepts what he's gotten today. It may not have been the answers he wanted, but he'll take connections! Knowing about these SEES guys might just come in handy someday. "Well I'd best be heading home. And I'm sure you don't want to miss a train to Port Island. I'll see you around, Ichimonji." And with that, Fumiya turns to leave as quickly as he can without making it look like he's trying to leave quickly. After all, Shiki might suddenly remember he was asked about his manga.
Shiki grins and gives Fumiya a thumbs-up as he leaves. "All right! Have a nice evening!" And don't get killed by Strega, too, but he'd better not shout /that/ out.
He stuffs down the last bit of his candy bar in his mouth, thinking to himself that he /should/ probably head off to go grab that train. But why did he come to this particular section of the store, again? --Oh, right!
As he leaves, he wads up his wrapper into a ball, then casually tosses it over his shoulder, and straight through the TV screen. Ha! That never gets old.