I need an AU where Ryoji and Minato are in a LDR. AKA, AU where Ryoji actually lived overseas and he’s not the appraiser at all; he’s just a normal human being that coincidentally has a lot of similarities to Minato. Basically, “EVERYBODY IS ALIVE” fix-it fanfic. More under the cut because uh, I wrote 1.3k words to explain these two being mutually pining idiots in a long-distance relationship (featuring hamuko)
For the most part, the AU starts off fairly similar to canon (minus Ryoji being the appraiser, and Pharos existing, etc.). Ryoji transfers to Gekkoukan High School, and quickly befriends Minato. The two maintain the Helper’s Club together (I will never let go of these scenes, it is peak Ryomina), and they learn that they get along really well! The two get some keepsakes on the Kyoto trip, and their bond is going swimmingly… until Ryoji is called back home. Before he leaves, Ryoji and Minato exchange Discord IDs with each other (OR Skype if you want to be accurate to p3 taking place in 2009-2010, lmao. The time doesn’t really matter for this AU. Ryomina is timeless, okay? that aspect of theirs makes me insane). They promise that they’ll keep in touch- and Ryoji goes back home at the start of December.
This is where the AU part starts to kick in. On Ryoji’s (excruciatingly long) flight back home, he’s hit by a truck at the realization that he’s in love with Minato. So technically!! The first part of this AU is basically Ryoji hopelessly pining for Minato and wishing that he had a chance to tell him that he loves him (and that they could’ve had some romantic experiences together). Ryoji practically spends his flight frustrated since long distance communication gets rid of a lot of communication cues, which makes it hard for him to get his feelings across. He’s effectively only left with his ability to type words (okay, more like, paragraphs) across text- and maybe his voice + hand gestures if he has the chance to video call with Minato.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop Ryoji from trying. Of course, time zones are an obstacle to the two getting to talk on a regular basis; but it doesn’t stop him!
At first, they just text each other about their daily happenings, making Ryoji very nostalgic toward his memories and times at Gekkoukan. Many of Ryoji’s responses towards Minato’s texts are generally some variation of “I miss being at Gekkoukan with everyone” (aka Ryoji trying to hint that he misses Minato while deliberately trying to filter himself so that Minato doesn’t realize that he loves him).
Recognizing that Ryoji almost seems sad over text- Minato takes it upon himself to ask Ryoji what he’s been doing overseas. And oh man!! Minato was not prepared for how long-winded Ryoji’s explanations of his days would be- but it made Minato happy to see Ryoji back to his enthusiastic self. What Minato was also not prepared for, was being hit by a wave of, “DAMNG, I miss being around Ryoji.”
(I should also mention that if these two send pictures to each other, it’s always of other objects/people, and never themselves. boohoo for the both of them because they miss seeing each other but they don’t have the balls to directly say that they miss the other one ALKFHLSDHSD i just want them to be pining for each other in the stupidest way possible okay!! i’m insane!! yes i know i have a magic hand that makes these two never send selfies of themselves to each other but so what!!! these two are going to suffer in overthinking their relationship and you will enjoy it too)
After a month or so of near daily texting, they move into a stage where they talk to each other over voice chat (because Ryoji said that “typing messages is time consuming especially when I can explain it better out loud,” TOTALLY. Are you sure about that, Ryoji Mochizuki? Are you sure it wasn’t just, “I missed hearing Minato talk even though I have to be the one to draw out whole sentences out of him?”). Sometimes their voice calls are just Ryoji being an enthusiastic and unreliable narrator, while other times, they’re simply listening to a selection of Minato’s favorite songs together (listen you cannot convince me otherwise that if these two LDR they wouldn’t listen to music together to emulate the idea of “being together in the same room.” it’d be illegal if they didn’t tbh /s).
In any case!!! Once these two start voice chatting, their levels of pining go off the charts. Like, man. Imagine not seeing your “best friend” in person for nearly two months; and not hearing their voice for that same amount of time! Dude, I don’t know what to tell you, but they’re going to be run over by a truck at that moment when they realize that they love each other (again, lmao. they’re very dense and keep attributing each other’s signs as their brains playing tricks on them).
And also! Imagine how much these two would do that Freudian slip phenomenon over voice! Minato could be talking about something that he was doing at Gekkoukan and Ryoji would just respond with something like, “That’s great Minty! I wish I could’ve been there to see it with you!” ONLY TO END UP panicking because he didn’t mean to verbally express his mental nickname of Minato aloud. (Poor Ryoji but also not really he did this to himself by asking to voice call with Minato /s). Or for Minato, he ends up muttering something and Ryoji somehow manages to pick up on what he said (and tries to get Minato to elaborate).
On the note of these two voice chatting, I like to think that Hamuko knows what’s up. I mean… there is no way that Hamuko isn’t aware that her brother is hopelessly pining for Ryoji. I mean, the dude is actually talking to someone on his laptop rather than just looping music so??? Of course she would notice LOL. Being the good sister that she is- she teases Minato about it while they’re going to school together, much to his chagrin. Or, if she’s feeling bold, she’ll stop by Minato’s room to drop something off and leave by saying something like, “Hey Ryoji!! Minato won’t stop talking about how much he enjoys talking to you. He really likes your voic-oh he’s telling me to leave now, bye Ryoji!” Either way, I think Hamuko would be a very vocal advocate for Ryoji and Minato to stop beating around the bush about their feelings (while also being a great person for Minato to confide in and ask advice regularly too, even if he wouldn’t want to bring himself to do it out of embarrassment).
Anyways, I know a lot of this is just “hehe mutual pining but they don’t know it’s reciprocated because they’re too caught up in their anxiety making it hard for them to decode the hints and signals.” BUT! I promise you that they will get together and become their most open and authentic selves (probably because Hamuko set them up or something, she recognizes that they’re too dense LOL).
When they do end up together though!! Well… they’re still pining (because grrr distance), but their relationship is a lot more relaxed since they know that their feelings are mutual. I think they’d only really start doing video chats + sending selfies on a regular basis after they get together, but!! I think even across distance and time zones, they would be really good at communicating and making each other feel loved. Ryoji would be the type of boyfriend who sends a lot of gifts over mail; Minato would be the moral support boyfriend who gets Ryoji to open up (so that Ryoji doesn’t have to shoulder everything on his own).
At the end of the day, all that matters is that these two love each other! When their semesters wrap up- they find a way to reunite in person again (so probably July or August?)... and uh, yeah. Let these two have a happy AU!! And maybe get Ryoji to go back to Gekkoukan for Minato’s last school year (if that’s even possible. I don’t even know and I’m too tired to research that).
If you read to the end- thank you for reading! I have many thoughts about these two in a LDR and I think it’d be interesting to see unfold!