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Photographs of Master Blue

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photo 1

"The lighting in here sucks," Rise tells Kanji. "And you can't have a photoshoot with just a camera and a bench."

"What the hell are you complainin' for?" Kanji says, trying to get the curtains to open up. The cloth tears in his hand, which solves one problem and opens up another. "You're the one who picked the location."

"And you're the one who provided the camera," Naoto points out, and snaps an experimental shot of Kanji getting tangled up in the curtains.




photo 6

By concensus (meaning that Rise said so), it's decided that Naoto will take the pictures when they're going to see the others. Kanji's not a bad shot, but leaving him alone with the camera leads to him photographing flowers on the side of the road and kittens instead of people—and besides, whenever he's taking pictures of Rise or Naoto, his eyes glaze over and he's too busy staring at them to check if he's getting a good shot or not.

This one, though, they get Kanji's mother to take. It's the three of them, Kanji in the middle, grinning down at Rise, Rise on one of his arms, Naoto standing in front of Kanji, her head tilted up and hat falling over her eyes. There's one of the three of them smiling at the camera, but Naoto's smile is a little too ironic, a little bit pained; so she takes this one, instead.




photos 8 and 9

"Going away pictures, huh," Yosuke says, squinting at the camera. “That’s the kind that needs film, right? I haven't seen one of these in forever. Do your pictures all have this weird 70s tint to them?"

"Dunno yet,” Kanji says.

"Cool," Yosuke says. "It's got a nostalgic—damn it, Teddie, what are you doing?!"

"Teddieeeee... power!" Teddie cries, cranking up a hand-powered flashlight and pointing it at the pets department--namely, straight at the birds, which start kicking up a fuss immediately. One knocks over its own cage, and the door swings open. Then, squawking, it dives right for Yosuke's face.

Naoto snaps two pictures of Yosuke, with feathers in his hair and multiple small cuts on his face, strangling Teddie: one for Rise, and one for herself.




photo 12

"Woof," says the dog, staring up at Naoto. Naoto barely has any time to react before it jumps on top of her, and... and steals her hat. Then it runs away, while Rise dissolves into giggles in the background, and Kanji gawks, helplessly. Naoto already knows the signs; he's infatuated. Completely gone. So she runs after the dog by herself.

Chie finds a still giggly Rise, a disgruntled, wheezing Naoto, and a smitten Kanji when she finally catches up with her dog.

"Oh, you got him!" She's carrying two halves of an old, frayed green leash in her hands. "Sorry! He didn't cause any trouble for you, did he?"

"None at all," Naoto manages to say between gasps, shooting the dog a dirty look. The dog wags its tail, and woofs.

"What's his name?" Kanji asks gruffly, or as gruffly as he can manage when there's a dog licking his face. "He doesn't bite, right?"

"Don't worry about his bite, Muku's a perfectly sweet dog," Chie says. Then she spots the camera. “Hey, it’s one of those cameras! Man, it's been ages since I've seen one! Everyone's moved onto digital. What's the ocassion?"

"Well, I am going to be going back to the city," Rise says. "So I decided to take a few pictures of everyone before I leave. Oh, senpai! Let me have your picture!"

"What? Oh, man, my hair’s a mess—”

Rise grabs the camera. Then she grabs Naoto's hat, and fits it on the dog. Chie stands next to it, and makes a peace sign. Kanji's behind them, petting the dog with an obsessive fervor, and Naoto's glaring at everyone else.


"I hate you," Naoto says to the dog, who is now gnawing at her shoe.




photo 13

"Rise-chan, Naoto-kun, Kanji-kun," Souji says, smiling as he answers the door.

"Quick, give me the camera," Rise hisses.



photo 14

"What the..." Souji blinks rapidly, trying to get the afterimages out of his eyes. "Oh, you guys have a camera."


photo 15

"Rise-chan..." Souji says, holding his hand in front of his eyes. He's laughing, though.

"Hi, senpai," Rise chirps.



photo 16

"You're going to run out of film at this rate," Souji says. "Have you already seen everyone else?"

"Nearly,” says Naoto. “So far we've visited Yosuke-senpai, Teddie, and Chi—”


"Stop that.”


photo 17

"Oh, hi, everyone!" Nanako says, looking away from the TV and beaming at all of them.

"Senpai, put Nanako-chan on your shoulders!" Rise orders. He obliges, bending over so Nanako can climb on top of him.

"Oh, pictures! I love having my picture taken!"

"Me, too," Rise says, stepping back to set up the shot. Kanji and Naoto are raiding the fridge.

"Senpai, why's there grass growin' in your fridge?" Kanji asks.

"Senpai, why does it look as though someone's tried to eat it?" Naoto asks.

"Don't worry," Souji says, balancing Nanako on his shoulders. "It's edible."



photo 19


“Just because he said it was edible didn’t mean you should’ve tried it,” Rise says.


“Goddamn it, Rise, put down the goddamn camera for once!”

“Or what?” Rise says. “You’re going to spit moss at me?”

“Fuck you!”

Souji covers Nanako’s ears and looks away politely.


photo 21-24

“One shirtless picture, senpai,” Rise begs.

“I’m taking the camera back now,” Naoto says.

“Let me find my swimming trunks."


photo 25

(“Hah,” Rise says when they get the pictures back from Junes. “You took a picture for yourself, too.”

“I did not,” Naoto says. And to prove it, she shows Rise a picture of the ceiling.)




photo 31

“You don’t need to take so many pictures of the Inn, Kanji-kun,” Rise says.

“You can use this for promotional material and shit, right?” Kanji says. “Yukiko-senpai’s been sayin’ how the murder cases is puttin’ a dent in the business.”

“But I only have two rolls of film, and I’m not letting you take a million pictures of the flowers, Kanji-kun.”

“Oh. Sorry.”




photo 37

“Welcome to the Amagi—”




photo 38

“Sorry,” Kanji says. “Got a hair trigger.”


“… I don’t get it, senpai. Was it something I said?”


photo 39

“Have you thought about getting everyone together later on?” Yukiko says. “I bet they’d all be glad to take a group photo.”

“Ooh, good idea, senpai,” Rise says, whipping out her phone. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.”

“I suggested it before this even started,” Naoto says. “You ignored me.”


“Precisely my point.”


(“Why did you take that picture?” Naoto asks Kanji later, who was aiming, for some reason, at Yukiko’s body. Not at her chest or her hips, but just at everything below the neck.

“She didn’t get that kimono from our shop. S-so I wanted to get a nice shot of the fabric and the pattern and stuff. Y’know. Just t’study from.”

“… Ah.”)




photo 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

They meet up in Junes, and Yosuke gets one of the cooks to take a picture of all of them, standing in front of the vending machines. The cook gets a few other nice pictures, too: one of the four senpai sitting at a table, smiling at one another. One of Rise sitting on Souji’s lap while Teddie sits in Yosuke’s, and Yosuke’s twitching in barely contained jealousy. One of Teddie blowing an air kiss at Yukiko, and Chie looking at her steak skewer like she’s seriously considering how many different ways she can use it to expedite Teddie’s premature death. One of Naoto and Kanji sipping soda from the same can. One of all eight of them sitting at the table, laughing their heads off.

She ends up making copies of those pictures and giving them to all her friends before she goes.




photo 50, 51, 52, 53

Rise wakes up late at night and finds Naoto taking pictures of her. It’s technically her and Kanji, but Kanji’s over on his side and is about to fall off the bed if he’s not careful.

“Mmnn, Naoto-kun?”

The shutter goes off.


“That’s kind of creepy.”

“I apologize. It’s just that taking pictures is… addicting.”

The shutter goes off again.

“Come back to bed, Naoto-kun,” Rise urges, and pats the empty spot next to her. Naoto takes one last picture of Rise, and then lies down beside Rise.

“You’re hogging the blankets,” Naoto tells her. “And you’re pushing Kanji-kun off the bed.”

“No I’m not.” But she moves over a bit, and she and Naoto drag Kanji back off from the edge. Naoto turns off the light. It’s not hard to see clearly in Naoto’s room, because Naoto likes the blind open so she can see everything from the height of the second floor, but it still takes Rise a moment to realize Naoto’s eyes are open, and she’s watching both Kanji and Rise.

“I hope you can stay in Inaba more often,” Naoto says. “Once you’ve reestablished yourself in the industry. It’ll be… lonely.”

“You’ll have Kanji-kun,” Rise says.

“Ain’t gonna be the same,” Kanji says. Rise and Naoto both jump a bit in surpise.

“How long have you been awake?” Naoto asks.

“Er, since you turned on the lights to take pictures,” he says. “Didn’t want t’block your view.”

“Stupid,” Rise says, and lets him roll over a bit more. She snuggles up to his chest.

Kanji, casually, slings his arm across Rise’s body to touch Naoto’s shoulder. He yawns and says, “C’mon, guys, let’s go back to sleep.”


All of their eyes fly open.

“Did you hear that?” Rise whispers. Kanji moves to get up, but Naoto pushes him down.

“It’s probably just Yakushiji-san collecting evidence for Granpa,” she says.

They’re almost asleep again when Kanji asks, a little uncomfortably, “What kind of evidence?”

“Best not to think about it.”