Title: Like a Matchstick
Length: 435 words
Summary: A vignette of Hamuko Arisato, who is more complex than she lets on. Shinjiro should know.
Fandom: Persona 3
Hamuko Arisato was much like a flame; quick and bright, and when you drew her ire, so utterly painful.
Shinjiro has never been on the receiving end of her temper, and honestly hadn’t thought she had one for a long time. She was constantly smiling, laughing, and in general so consistently in a good mood that Shinjiro never thought she could even get upset, much less mad.
It was when they were walking, passing through the back alley of the station when he saw some kids kicking a cat, the same one Hamuko had pointed out to him as the one she’d saved from going hungry, and when she caught sight of them, she didn’t do what he had expected. He had expected some anger, maybe, but mostly tears. He had been expecting to scare the kids off.
What he didn’t expect was the quick white-hot flash of fury, or her smile dropping into an ice-cold frown. He certainly didn’t expect one of those kids to get kicked in the shin so hard he started crying.
That was the first time Shinjiro noticed her temper, but from there forward he noticed the delicate dance she performed with wanton destruction. There was no other way to describe it. She was enchanted by fire, whenever she saw it, even when she once caught sight of a burning building. She told him once how she had accidentally set a battery on fire in physics class, and how much she wanted to do it a second time. Her eyes inevitably strayed towards displays of raw power, and the utter mayhem they brought in her wake.
When he thought about it, Shinjiro thought that made sense. She herself was like a force of nature; no matter where she went, she always called the spotlight with her bright smiles and friendly attitude. She was quick and intense when she found something she liked, her mind keeping it in a vice-like grip until she eventually burned out. The girl had single-minded determination he had never seen before.
But it was that temper. She never showed it unless she was really insulted or saw something that spat in the face of decency, but he wondered if underneath the smiles and determination there was a sun inside her, burning impossibly hot, making her shine the way she did. He decided that it was a definite possibility after she kissed him for the first time.
(He never wondered whether or not that fire would last, and he had never heard the adage that the brighter the flame, the quicker it burns out.)