Series: Persona 4
Characters: Yosuke, Souji, Ensemble
Previous Parts: Part 1 | Part 2
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.
These days, Yosuke unconsciously uses the pad of his right hand thumb to make semicircles around the base of his ring finger.
He doesn't notice that he's doing it; the feeling is as empty as any other at this point. Most of the others don't either, but Chie sees it. Each day in class, he makes the motions idly and Chie can do nothing but frown. It hurts her to see him in this state, if for no reason more than there being nothing she can do about it. She's spoken to Souji on more than one occasion, but he never mentions that Yosuke is acting strangely, and when she drops subtle hits, he never seems to acknowledge them. She wonders if Souji says nothing because he doesn't remember, or because every last one of them fears bringing the topic up so explicitly. Whatever it is, her heart sinks into her stomach for their sake; this isn't like the first time. She's not oblivious to their feelings - no, she may be the only one who really knows the extent of their, or at least Yosuke's, feelings.
April 26th, 2012: Inaba, Japan
"Is Yosuke-senpai still acting weird?" Rise's voice crackles through the phone and Chie can practically hear the way she's pouting.
"When isn't Yosuke acting weird?"
"Oh, come on, Chie-senpai!" Rise is protesting; she knows Yosuke is weird sometimes, maybe better than most. "But he hasn't gotten any better since I left?"
Chie is quiet for a moment. She contemplates the possibilities: would Rise remember? Would she just write it off as crazy if she brought it up? There's no telling, but it's getting under Chie's skin. It's been three and a half weeks at this point. She's constantly ducking out of conversations, pretending she doesn't know what's happening, or what's getting under Yosuke's skin. The more time passes, the more noticeable it's becoming. His skin is pale, cheeks are gaunt; Chie knows that he's not sleeping or eating much. It was classic Yosuke, after all. Any time he ever had a problem he was seriously suppressing, especially when it was Souji-related, he would cut himself off in this way. It was never something that happened often once they got together - they always managed to pull one another out of a funk - but prior to that, she could recall a few times where this happened. Maybe it's better if I just tell her. It's something of a test now, given how much better Rise knew him in Johto than she ever did in Inaba. "I didn't want to worry you while you were working, Rise-chan. It's kind of hard to tell, but... I don't really think he's been eating or sleeping much lately."
Rise's breath hitches audibly in her throat, but Chie doesn't see this as a sign of anything but concern. "Yosuke-senpai... that..." She pauses, as if searching for the words, but concern has turned to pure anger. "That idiot! Doesn't he know how much Senpai will worry if he finds out? He always does this! When will he learn?"
"...Always?" It's the only word Chie can manage after Rise's outburst. Had Yosuke ever done this before in Inaba? No - no, it couldn't be that. There's never been an instance where those two were apart for more than a couple of days until now, and they never fought. They had spats sometimes, or would beat each other up for fun, but never the distressing sort of fight that could cause this reaction from him. "Rise-chan, do you--"
"--Oh, crap! I have to go before my producer kills me. I'll call you in a few days, Chie-senpai!" Rise is vigilant in cutting the conversation short, the connection going dead before Chie can get an answer. Sheesh.
On the other end of the phone, Rise is alone, and she is shaking.
November 27th, Year 3: Olivine City, Johto
Yosuke has conflicting feelings when it comes to their anniversary. It's a happy occasion, of course; being able to overcome their differences and realize that being together was more important was a huge step for the two of them. In the time since, they've had their fights, arguments, issues, and a plethora of other things. Things weren't perfect, Yosuke knew that nothing in life could be perfect. At the same token, there were so many bad memories that came with it. The feelings in the weeks before, the struggle to get to the point they finally reached - Yosuke always got melancholy when these dates began to roll around.
Souji knows this, and he understands. That first year was the most difficult, the two of them dealing with feelings they weren't sure how to express. Both had said and done things that could have completely ruined everything including their friendship. It hardly helped that the sun was setting by 5PM, there was a distinct chill in the air; it lacks certain warmth and Souji knows this too. It's why he suggests Olivine City as a getaway. Even though the air is chillier with the breeze that comes off the water, it's an excuse for them to stay close, to use their bodies to keep each other warm. They're curled up on the couch in a rented house, one that overlooks both Glitter Lighthouse and Olivine Port fabulously. They're covered by a fleece blanket, Yosuke's head resting on the other's shoulder.
"You're okay?" Souji asks, closing his eyes. Yosuke's been quiet for a while, which usually means he's thinking about the past at this time of year. Yosuke only replies with an affirmative noise, giving his head something akin to a nuzzle. Understanding the gesture, he cranes his neck slightly - just enough to kiss the top of Yosuke's head. His hair smells like the apple shampoo he uses, and Souji knows that it suits him perfectly. It reminds him of walking into the kitchen late at night, only to find Yosuke peeling apples as a middle-of-the-night snack. Yes, that's Yosuke. That's his partner, and he wouldn't change that for a damn thing in the world. "Need to get something real quick."
Yosuke doesn't expect that, but he's not bothered. "Yeah, sure." He shifts as Souji stands, wrapping the blanket more tightly around him now that he's short a body to give him extra heat. It seems abrupt, sudden to Yosuke, but he figures it's nothing. He's probably gotta piss or something. He thinks to himself. He briefly considers getting up and giving him a sneak attack; as hilarious as the idea is, knowing they'll have to pay for the damages when Souji pisses on the wall. He laughs anyway; he can save that for another day. Back at the house would be best -- then, at the very least, they can blame Jiraiya. Or Teddie. He laughs to himself, which prompts Souji to quirk a brow from the other room. He knows that's a devious laugh, but he's not about to question what is so funny. Souji wasn't kidding about being quick, though. By the time Yosuke finishes laughing (which isn't long), he's already tugging the blanket away from Yosuke so he can sit and get comfortable again. "That was a quick leak, partner. You sure you washed your hands when you finished?"
He's giggling again, and Souji is arching a brow for the second time in five minutes. "That's not what I was doing."
"I know, I know. I was kidding." Okay, so he wasn't really kidding, but Souji looks so serious that he feels the need to cover up. It doesn't matter though, because Souji can see through it, and his stone-faced expression breaks as he leans in to place a kiss on the corner of Yosuke's mouth. There is a flush of the cheeks followed by a flustered exclamation. "Dude, what--"
"Don't think I really need an excuse." There's a smirk in response. "I just like doing that."
There's an instant flush to the cheeks, and Yosuke wants to sink under the blanket. It never fails to embarrass him when Souji speaks so forwardly, even after three years. He's not given the chance though, interrupted his hand being clasped gently. "I got something for you."
His eyes widen, sitting up a little straighter. Yosuke guesses that he should have expected that; Souji was the type to always get presents for every relevant occasion. But when he looks over to Souji, it's the other's expression that surprises him. His cheeks are flushed as well, and he's looking down at their hands. It's uncharacteristic, which causes Yosuke to emit an awkward chuckle. "Uh... unless your gift is a bad impression of me, I'm kinda lost here. Haha..."
There's still silence, and there's still a lack of eye contact. It's worrying in its way - Souji is usually strong, leaderly and never shy about anything concerning the two of them. Not anymore, at least. He still doesn't let go of Souji's hand, instead gripping it a little bit harder before letting go. He shifts a bit uncomfortably, reaching into his pocket. In his hand is a box, it's small and maroon, and something Yosuke can instantly recognize. There's no response, no words. Yosuke is now frozen in his seat, eyes wide and mouth agape at the sight. Their eyes lock for a moment, but this time, it's Yosuke who averts his eyes. Nervously, he's biting on his lip; if that's what he thinks it is -- and shit, that's definitely what it looks like -- he's not sure how to react at all. Souji tries to remain casual as he opens the box, but he's visibly tense as he pulls out the small, silver-colored band. "It's not that." Souji has to specify. He was planning to anyway, but judging my Yosuke's expression, now would be better than in another thirty seconds.
"Wear it on your right hand," He begins to explain, holding the ring out to him. There were times when he would purposely take advantage of the situation - tease him, get on one knee, even slip the ring on Yosuke's finger himself. But on this day, Souji is extremely serious. Yosuke can see that he's nervous - Souji Seta is visibly nervous. That's almost scarier than a proposal, no matter how fake it could be. "I'll do the same. It's... for us. You don't have to explain it if anyone asks."
It's extremely considerate, Yosuke realizes. He understands how wary Yosuke gets when it comes to people knowing their relationship. If they were far away, in a city where nobody knew them, maybe it would be different. But this is Johto, and unless you're an NPC, you're connected. Their housemates knew, their closer friends knew. Souji understands all of this, and he knows that it's not that Yosuke is ashamed. He knows it's for the better, so he respects it. Yosuke swears to himself that it's not that big of a deal, and before he knows it, he's letting out soft chuckles as he takes the ring and puts in on his finger. The band is smooth and cold, simple and tasteful; a contrast to their relationship itself, and somehow that works.
When Souji realizes he's accepting the token, he's also seeing that through Yosuke's laughter, he is crying. They're the happiest kind of tears, and Souji doesn't hesitate to pull him close, embracing him in a way that says "Thank you."
April 29th, 2012: Tokyo, Japan
Yosuke Hanamura <firstname.lastname@example.org>
i kno we never email but i kinda has a ? 4 u
u ever have a dream that felt so real
like u swear it rly happnd but u wake up and its not real at all
She stares at the screen, and tears are forming. She's shaking again, just as she did after getting off the phone with Chie. Her fingers move across her phone's keypad furiously. She cannot possibly reply to this e-mail fast enough.
Rise Kujikawa <email@example.com>
yosuke senpai!! <3
it's ok, i like when u email me!! (^_~)
i have before tho! i guess we all get them sometimes, lol!
i want 2 talk to u actually
we haven't since i left and i've been wondering a few things
i hope u don't mind answering an idols questions, yosuke senpai!
it's rly important, so call me as soon as you get this, got it?
i wont go 2 bed until u do! ☜(⌒▽⌒)☞
It takes her 10 minutes to word this right. To make it sound as if nothing was wrong. She couldn't ask him this way. Not via e-mail. Her thoughts are so clouded with all the possibilities - she's faltered in her work more than once because of it. It's hard not to worry about Yosuke sometimes, not with the way he acts when things get strange between he and Souji. And if what she's thinking is right (and she suspects it is), then she's going to have to intervene as soon as humanly possible.
It's times like this she wishes she still had Merlin around to scream to.