Series: Persona 4
Characters: Yosuke, Souji, Ensemble
Summary: route_29-verse. After being in Johto for years, Yosuke is torn back to Inaba and forced to deal with the sudden shock. He remembers everything -- now it's a matter of finding out if the same goes for Souji.
Notes: IDK IT'S ROUTEVERSE. So there's lots of Pokémon talk and references to Yosuke's CR and in some later chapter there will probably be mentions of Kaito/fish.
Something about waking up this morning doesn't feel right for Yosuke. The sheets felt too old, too worn in; the sun that was peeking through the cracks of the blinds was coming in from the wrong side of the room entirely. He figures it's all in his head though, letting out a small groan and pulling the comforter over his head. It's probably just a weird dream, anyways. He thinks it, but as he drifts back into a state of unconsciousness, he can't help but feel this steady-worsening pit of anxiety forming in the pit of his stomach.
That horrible feeling never goes away, though he never once open his eyes and concedes to the fact that he should get up and get ready for the day. He had things to do - taking Hisoka and Kana to the Pokémon Center before a noon shift in the Breeding Centre, maybe a trip to the department store for some assorted supplies if there was enough time. If he didn't do something soon, Souji would probably stand over the edge of his bed and just do that thing where he stares intensely until you could feel his eyes on you. The thought elicited an immediate shudder - he hated that. It reminds Yosuke of his dad, and right now, that's the last thing he wants to think about.
Dad -- when was the last time he really thought about his parents, anyway? Or most things back home, really. At first, he thought about it every day. How long it would be before he was home, working his part-time job at Junes and counting the days down to Souji's Golden Week visit. How long until he could finally use the money he was saving for that bike, now that he wasn't pitching in whenever he could for weapons, armor, and other battle supplies. But as the days passed - each step taken in Johto, each new friend he'd made, each new Pokémon caught - Inaba, hell, Japan in general began to feel like the foreign concept to him. He liked Johto. He felt at home; his makeshift family was something as irreplaceable as his genetic family. He was successful, he had friends, and he had things that amounted to so much more. He didn't get bored, he didn't resent anything but the times that people would disappear. Well, that and when they'd return with no memory of being there before.
But it's a way of life. It's a way of life that Yosuke truly connects with. He's come to terms with so many parts of himself he never could in Inaba, and for that, he doesn't want to imagine his life without it. And maybe that's why everything feels so strange. The way the light shone into the room, the comfort of the sheets; it didn't feel like the bed he'd grown accustomed to over the last four years. Actually, it felt like--
His eyes shot open and he sat up so abruptly that if anyone had been in the room, they surely would have thought he heard a gunshot.
March 28th: Goldenrod City, Johto. Year 3.
"Still snowing?" The tone is curious, but not necessarily surprised.
With a heavy sigh, Yosuke turns away from the window, adjusting the curtains and making his way back to the sofa. He flops down, and there's no effort to the way Souji catches him. They are a well-oiled machine at this point, and there are very few people who don't know that, not after this long. It's instinct to just bury his face in Souji's neck, wriggling to get comfortable. "Yeah," He finally answers, though it's muffled. "Johto's really the only place that manages to dump six feet of snow in half a day. In March. I kinda wish the others would've gotten back before it really set in. I know they'll be fine at the Center, but it's probably cramped from the other travelers, you know?"
"I don't," Souji gives Yosuke a light tap on the head, prompting him to look up. His smirk was devious, and though he didn't say it he'd stopped listening somewhere around they'll be fine and didn't second guess it. The house was rarely empty, wishing for a full house seemed nothing short of complete sin to him. "It means we get the whole house to ourselves."
It didn't matter how much time passed, even after nearly two and a half years of being together, the heat always rises directly into Yosuke's cheeks (and his ears, though Souji never mentions that when he kisses them) when Souji made those implications. It never matters what they do, or when they do it. For some reason, the acts themselves are always far easier to deal with than discussing them. Yosuke is okay with this, though. He doesn't mind being touched; he doesn't mind doing the touching. He just doesn't want to talk about it. Souji knows this, but when it's just them, it's fun to tease. He likes seeing Yosuke get flustered, and though to an outsider that may sound cruel, he does it out of nothing but love. It's that constant teasing that helped them progress as far as they have in the time they've been together. But before Yosuke can coyly utter the word 'dude,' Souji has already changed the topic.
"You know what day it is, right?"
Souji asks the question, but he does it fully knowing that the answer is yes. It's not the sort of day you forget when you live in Johto. Yosuke simply nods, his smile fond and sheepish. "It's kind of hard to miss, dude. Three years to the day."
Three years. When Yosuke arrived, he was just shy of his 18th birthday. He was coming up on his 20th now - he was no longer the self-loathing, insecure teenager he'd been when he arrived, which had already been a far cry from how he'd been in the year before their arrival to the foreign world. No, now he was secure, far more self-assured, and close to being in business for a third year. He has come leaps and bounds in that time and Souji can't help but give him a proud smile. It's not enough though, and he lifts his head just enough to kiss the corner of Yosuke's mouth. He doesn't mind; kisses in that spot are their trademark - something that came about only due to how clumsy Yosuke can be, but it's special to them. It's a small gesture that only they understand, so the only response he gives is a grin for just a brief moment. It's short lived, though. Yosuke's eyes are clouding with worry, and Souji isn't sure why. He shifts, aiming to sit up, but is stopped by Yosuke wrapping his arms tightly around Souji's torso. It's a silent plea not to move, and he complies.
"How long can we do this for?" Yosuke's tone is quieter, more somber.
Souji stiffens, and immediately, Yosuke realizes what he said. "N-no, not... I don't mean this. Us... I just..." He quickly backtracks, trying to regain his train of thought. "Stay here, I mean. In Johto. There's not many of us left - not who remember. I mean, there's us, and Rise, Chie, Teddie and Merlin. Nanao-san too. A bunch of others that we don't talk to as much. But everyone else has come and gone. How many times are we going to have to explain to Naoto, Kanji, Yukiko what's happening. Why we're older, why we're... together..." He winces slightly. It was the third time in the two years he had to deal with scoffs from Kanji - incessant fights and threats of his ass being renovated over just this topic alone. It's not easy - it never gets easier, either. "We're tempting fate."
There's something in those words that manages to choke Souji up. Yosuke's voice sounds so small and vulnerable, and all Souji wants to do is squeeze him tightly and tell him it won't happen. It's been three years - they'd have been taken if that was the case, right? He wants to say that no matter what, they'll be together. Not even Johto can tear apart a bond like this. Even if it changes, it can never, never break. That's a truth, but there's another truth; either of them could disappear and never remember a moment of this time when they get back to Japan. It scares Souji just as much. It's something that is constantly on the forefront of his mind. He never tells Yosuke this though. He can't, because he is still the leader. He's still the one who has to remain strong and somehow find a way to reassure him.
"You're doing it again." Yosuke interrupts his thought, that desperate search to say the right the thing, and Souji flinches. "You don't have to try and make me feel better, or like... reassure me or something. I know. We both know. We... can't run from it, right?"
Those words are hard to say for Yosuke. Leaps and bounds from how he used to run away, yes. But his heart always races and his throat gets dry. He can't even lick his lips without his tongue sticking to them. It's terrifying. The thought, every time, makes him feel like the world is going to crash around him. So even though he is trying to assure Souji that he can be vulnerable, it's that same vulnerability that strikes a chord in Souji. His motion is sudden, firm, and reassuring all in one dosage. His lips meet the corner of Yosuke's mouth for a second time, and when he pulls back, brown eyes are widened with surprise.
"We'll always have that. It's ours, right?"
It was the most comforting thing he had ever heard anyone say to him. Souji was right.
Things would continue on in just that way for another year and a half.
March 28, 2011: Inaba, Japan.
He wants to scream. He wants to cry. The world is spinning around him and in that instant, Yosuke realizes one simple thing: he's home.
No. No, it's not home. It's his old house. It's Inaba. Home is Goldenrod, and this isn't hit. He can't see straight, and his first instinct is to reach over to the nightstand for his glasses. Sleek silver frames they are not, though. They're clunky orange plastic.
Right. I don't wear glasses yet here.
It's the most rational thought he's had since his eyes opened. His body is seventeen, his brain is twenty-one, and as far as anyone else is concerned, Yosuke's only been asleep for six hours. He has to scramble, trying to fumble his way around a room that was growing to be a distant memory and try to remember where he kept any important papers he had: work schedules, Yasogami's opening ceremony information, and Souji's new address. He has to, because he's not sure if he's supposed to work today. He has to, because he has no idea when school starts, or how to visit Souji.
I have to see him.
I have to know.
There is nothing but panic. Eventually, he'll calm down, but right now, he can't even stand. He crumples onto a floor that is disastrous - papers, CDs, dirty clothes strewn about - and cries. Hot, salty tears stream down his cheeks, and they show no sign of stopping.
"Dammit!" He manages to choke out between his sobs. But it's not helping. It's not changing the fact that he's not in Johto. He's left Souji - his one, his only partner in that place. And it's not just Souji he cries for. It's Jiraiya (the Slowbro). It's Chie (the Scyther). It's Hisoka, it's Kana, it's Luigi. It's his family. There is no recovery. There is no sense of closure. There is nothing but the feeling that his heart has been ripped from his chest and stomped on by the filth on Adachi's shoes. All he can feel is the hurt. That and the sensation of sickness.
Yosuke barely made it to the bathroom before he vomited in the sink. Six times, until there was nothing but bile and his entire body hurt from the heaving.
For Yosuke, it's hard to tell if this is the end of an old world, or the beginning of a new one.