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Persona 4 Awesomely Steamy and Kinkily Kinky Kink Meme, part 7


What? - This is the anonymous kink meme for Persona 4, formerly hosted at badbadbathhouse.livejournal.com, by the FABULOUS Kanji. Anything goes here EXCEPT porn involving kids. Everything else, from the fluffiest of fluff to the dirtiest of depravity, is not only allowed but embraced...MWAH!

Earlier Parts -
part 6
part 5
part 4
part 3
part 2
part 1

Marukyu Revue (compendium of fills and requests, updated frequently) - hi!

The Original BBBH - hi!

Anon discussion meme - hi!

Rules - Be nice to each other. White out spoilers. Don't post porn involving kids. Thanks!

Updated rule about Teddie - It has been brought to my attention that although Teddie does not have an official age, he comes across as a child. So the policy on porn involving teddie is as follows: you can post it ONLY if you age him up. You can't just say he's 18, then write him as he is in-game - he must have gained the maturity to act like a teenager, not like a child. Otherwise, stick to judy blume type stuff (he can have crushes, be romantic, have his first kiss, experiment non-explicitly with masturbation), but not blatantly get his dick out or get fucked.

***IMPORTANT!!!*** - It's no longer possible to post to parts 1-6 of the meme. But if you want to fill prompts from those parts, it's OK and encouraged! Just repost your chosen prompt here, and fill away.

Always read the small print

(Anonymous)

2011-12-13 11:40 pm (UTC)

The Velvet Room contract contains a tiny amount of small print that our protagonists have never bothered to read - because they always think their first encounter with Igor is just a dream. Let's be honest, everything about that place is a bit sinister and not just his nose.

The small print dictates that, if a Velvet Room guest fails to complete their journey, their destiny is taken away and they must serve as an attendant ala Elizabeth/Margaret/Theodore (always wanted to know why those three seemed to be Wild Cards too).

So...cue the day Souji falls in battle and a member of the Investigation Team somehow gains access to the Velvet Room and encounters him. Bonus if he loses all his memories as part of the contract too and they have try desperately to snap him out of it.

Re: Always read the small print

(Anonymous)

2011-12-14 02:26 pm (UTC)

This is a great idea. Not sure yet how long it'll end up being, but I am totally on it!

Re: Always read the small print

(Anonymous)

2011-12-16 01:10 pm (UTC)

I'll look forward to it! Would love to see your interpretation.

Every Mistake (1a/?)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-06 12:24 am (UTC)

Yeah so - this is turning into a small monster and I'm not sure I want it to, but okay I guess I don't have a say in it anymore D: I'll try posting it in big chunks when big chunks get done

______


.1 [Fool].
Dec 11 2011

Somehow, he’s not entirely surprised when he’s called to the Velvet Room that first night.

He’s on a train he doesn’t remember boarding, sitting in an enclosed compartment upholstered entirely in soft blue fabric. There’s a small table standing a foot away from him in the centre of the compartment, and on the other side of that, two figures on the other seat - directly opposite him, a small man with bulging, bloodshot eyes and a long nose, and closer to the compartment window, a pale boy in a blue-and-black conductor’s uniform with an open book in his lap and his head bowed low toward it.

“Welcome to the Velvet Room,” says Igor with a smile that treads on sinister, and Yosuke has one last precious second to enjoy playing his comfortable role of trusted lieutenant before Souji’s responsibility becomes his.

He signs a contract. Igor explains, about Personas, about bonds, about the thread that’s been severed but has now been replaced precisely because of the strength of those bonds. Yosuke sits quietly and stares at his hands, and listens, to him and to his borrowed destiny and to the constant, rhythmic clack of wheels on the tracks outside. He feels out of place. He’s not the one who should be sitting here, and he knows that - but he also knows the choice is out of his hands.

He has to do this. He’s made a promise.

“You will find, however, that you do not need to bear the burden of your responsibilities entirely on your own,” says Igor. With a sweep of his hand, he indicates the youth seated near the window. “Allow me to introduce my assistant.”

His eyes flicker again to the boy seated in the corner, who in turn looks up from his book and offers him a small, polite smile from under the brim of his uniform hat. It’s the gentlest possible gesture, but Yosuke jerks backward at the sight of it like he’s been kicked hard in the chest, eyes wide and mouth gaping.

It can’t be.

“Hello,” says Souji with a perfunctory nod. Yosuke chokes; speechless, for once in his life, and at the worst possible time. It’s him. It’s
him. He’s done it, he’s found him, he’s not gone, and damn if that isn’t the brightest thought he’s had since it happened. He starts to smile, the corners of his mouth just beginning to creep upward, a laugh halfway to his lips - but Souji abruptly cuts him off, utterly heedless of his teetering on the cusp of a messy emotional outburst. “My name is Sebastian. Pleased to meet you.”

His half-formed smile falters. The room swims for a moment; the figures sitting opposite him sway absurdly in his line of sight. Suddenly, there’s no air to breathe at all in that tiny compartment.

“Sebastian’s role is to assist you during your coming trials,” says Igor. “I suggest you avail yourself of his help while you-”

“What... what the hell is this?” His hands have started trembling. He curls them into tight fists at his sides to still them, knuckles whitening, bitten-down nails pressing jagged marks into his palms. “Souji... what are you doing?”

Souji’s brow furrows beneath the brim of his cap, and he glances uncertainly at Igor, who laces his spidery fingers together under his long nose and offers him no assistance. When he turns back to Yosuke, it’s with a hesitant tinge to his eyes and his voice. “I’m sorry. Are you speaking to me?”

Yosuke exhales sharply, a hard, rasping breath that rattles his lungs. No. No, this isn’t real. This isn’t happening, this
can’t be happening. He tries to inhale again and can’t catch his breath. A cold, clammy hand flies up to his chest and feels it nonetheless heaving, feels his heart starting to pound faster behind his ribcage.

“Are you all right?” asks the boy with Souji’s face, but Yosuke can’t answer. The window is shrinking and the compartment interior suddenly feels like it’s cramping down around him, and this - this isn’t happening. He’s going crazy, he’s losing it.

Souji’s dead.

Every Mistake (1b/?)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-06 12:26 am (UTC)

Souji’s dead, he’s just making all this up, just to torture himself, it’s just a stupid dream because of the funeral and he’s shutting his eyes and driving the heels of his palms into his sockets and his chest is going to burst if he can’t - breathe -



He wakes up gasping in the dark of his bedroom, cold but sweating and half-tangled in his bedsheets. His chest heaves for air, over and over until finally he’s sure that this is reality and not just an extension of his nightmare, and then his wheezing hitches into a hard, creaking sob that he can’t suppress. He rolls over and stifles the rest of it into his sweat-dampened pillow. He doesn’t want to hold it in anymore, all this frustration and grief, but he also doesn’t want to wake Teddie, asleep in a futon on the other side of the room. Teddie needs a good night’s sleep. Yosuke does too -- but he’s not so desperate yet that he dares close his eyes again to get it.

Every Mistake (2a/?)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-06 12:30 am (UTC)

.2 [Star].

He pretends to be asleep when Teddie gets out of bed that Sunday morning. It seems to take him a long time to leave the room, but Yosuke lies there and waits, listening to him shuffling around as he gets dressed and ready for the day and then finally closes the door behind him on his way out. He opens his eyes, turns over onto his side and pulls the blankets up to his nose, and stares at the door for a while.

They’ve shared a room for the last five months. Mornings have become a routine of noisy arguments and thrown pillows, and before now Yosuke’s never thought he’d actually prefer that to the gloomy silence of the past week.

He waits almost an hour before finally getting up, then delays some more by taking his time getting dressed, tending more carefully than usual to his bruised arm and leg, and lingering by the window. He brushes the curtain aside just a crack and peers out into the street, and his stomach clenches with apprehension, even though there’s nothing to see. Cloudy skies and thick fog again today.

They can’t ignore it forever.

It’s close to noon when he trudges down the stairs, listening for the sound of his parents but hearing only the low, staticy murmur of voices coming from the living room television, a sound that abruptly drops off into silence when he reaches the bottom. He finds Teddie on the couch with his legs pulled up to his chin and his arms tucked under his knees, but he sits up a little straighter when Yosuke comes as far as the living room doorway.

“Morning, Yosuke,” says Teddie. It comes out quiet and flat and all wrong, not at all like the Teddie who’s been happily crashing at his house and waking him up too early for school and screwing up his computer. But he’s trying, so Yosuke mumbles the same back to him anyway. “Are you hungry? I made breakfast.”

Yosuke almost starts toward the kitchen - not because he’s hungry in the least but to check out what kind of disaster Teddie must have left in his wake that he’ll now have to clean up - but he catches himself at the last second. “Thanks, Ted. I’ll eat in a bit.”

Teddie frowns and shifts a little, playing with a string on the hem of his trousers while Yosuke hovers awkwardly. “Okay,” he says, “But aren’t you working today?”

Shit. He turns to look at the hallway clock and realizes Teddie’s right, as much as he wishes it weren’t the case. His stomach sinks. Why had he thought this was a good idea? His parents had even given him an out, offered to let him take as much time off as he needed to, but in the end, lying around being useless will just make him feel worse. He thinks, anyway. It’s definitely not how he feels this morning. This morning he’d rather lock himself in the bathroom and vomit his guts up so they can’t churn around in there anymore. Funny how what he needs and what he thinks he needs never seem to line up. “Dammit... I totally forgot. Thanks, Ted.”

It makes him a terrible person, he knows, but going to work also gives him an excuse not to be here, and he can’t deny the shade of relief he feels as he turns from the living room doorway, and away from Teddie’s sombre face. It’s been days and he still can’t think of what to say to him. He can’t even get it straight in his own head, what’s supposed to make him feel better and what he’s supposed to do now. Putting it into words Teddie will understand feels beyond impossible.

But he hasn’t made it halfway down the hall toward the kitchen before he hears his name being called behind him. Yosuke shuts his eyes and breathes deep, stalls for a second before doubling back to the living room doorway. “What’s up?”

“Um...” At some point since he’d been out of Yosuke’s sight Teddie had moved to perch stiffly on the edge of the couch, but now he’s stock-still and uncomfortable again. “Do you think you could...”

Every Mistake (2b/?)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-06 12:34 am (UTC)

He trails off and pauses for a long time. Yosuke’s impatience spikes in a hot burst, his fuse made shorter by depression and lack of sleep, and before he can think better of it he grates, “C’mon, Ted, spit it out. I’m gonna be late.”

“...Can you not go today?”

Yosuke’s anger flits away from him as quickly as it had come, leaving him stunned and ashamed of his selfishness. How can he act like this toward Teddie? He needs him. Fuck, they’ve been living under the same roof and not talking about it, and here he is, wallowing in his own self-pity and self-loathing while Teddie’s - Teddie, who has only ever wanted to look out for him is -

“Yeah,” Yosuke croaks, and then tacks a chuckle onto the end of it to cover it up. “Yeah, I... That sounds good.”

The brightness doesn’t entirely return to Teddie’s face as Yosuke picks up the phone and tells his parents he’s not coming in, but that cringing tightness around his mouth and eyes goes away at least. As he hangs up, Teddie is already halfway up the stairs, proclaiming he’ll be right back with another one of Chie’s borrowed DVDs for them to watch.

It’s not much, he guesses. A first step, maybe, a fraction of the way back to a “normal” he doesn’t honestly believe he’ll ever reach again. But maybe it can’t hurt to hope. It’s better than standing still, anyway.

Yosuke turns the TV back on to get the DVD player ready for when Teddie comes back. The news is on, he notices - dimly, at first, and then with a growing coldness in his heart as he recognizes the intersection being shown in the video feed in the top corner of the screen.

He turns the channel as fast as he can manage.





When he’s not dreaming about trains he dreams about cars - about glass on the pavement and the stench of burned rubber and a solid weight clinging to the front of his jacket. There’s warm wetness rolling down the side of his face, leaking past his eyes and back toward his temples and hairline, and sometimes he smears his hand through it as he wakes up and stares at it in the dark, fingers trembling, unable to calm down until he’s sure it’s clear and not a thick red.

Despite all that, it’s the train he hates the most.

The car, he can understand. That’s trauma. He wakes up sick and shaking like it’s happening all over again, but at least he understands it. It’s real. It’s a
thing, and he’s good at dealing with things. In contrast he doesn’t understand the train, and isn’t sure at first if it’s real or if he’s just going crazy, and that’s always worse.

Igor isn’t there the next time he steps into the Velvet Room, called again through his dreams during what few scraps of sleep he’s managing to get. Souji - or whoever he is - sits alone in the train compartment, cutting a deck of what looks like tarot cards and carefully laying out some of them on the table. He doesn’t look up to greet him right away, choosing instead to finish his task before cautiously meeting his eyes and offering him a rather neutral, “Good evening.”

Yosuke can’t do much of anything except stare vacantly back. This is insane, but... there’s no way it’s not Souji. Same face, same voice, same body language. Only his eyes are different - yellow where they should have been grey, and although the sight initially fills Yosuke with panic when he notices, he knows that what he’s afraid of simply isn’t possible.

This has to be Souji. He doesn’t know how, but it has to be.

“My master is away at the moment,” says Souji. “He’s instructed me to wait for you, in case you decided to come back.”

“Did you...” He pauses, wets his lips. “Did you think I wouldn’t?”

“You didn’t. I called you here.”

“You did? Why...?”

Every Mistake (2c/?)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-06 12:38 am (UTC)

Souji tilts his head down slightly, hiding below the brim of his cap; it helps Yosuke a little too, not having to look him in the eye. “To apologize. Our last meeting seemed to have been upsetting for you.”

“Upsetting...? Souji, you’re-” He can feel his pulse starting to pick up again, and forces himself to take a few calming breaths in response. He panicked the last time he’d been here and the dream had lost hold of him, but now that he’s made it back he’s determined not to lose this chance again. “You’re - you
are Souji, aren’t you?”

“...No,” he says with a soft frown. “Didn’t I introduce myself? I’m a resident of the Velvet Room, like my master. My name is Sebastian.”

“I swear to god... If you’re doing this on purpose, Souji, I swear to god...”

The unspoken threat hangs in the air between them for several long moments. It doesn’t seem to have any effect on Souji, however, whose frown turns a little sympathetic as he watches Yosuke struggle over his words. At last, he says, “My master selects the shape of this Room and its residents, based on the current guest and his or her destiny. But sometimes the guest can influence the Room as well. It seems... I’ve taken the form of someone you know.”

Yosuke shuts his eyes and nods.

“Would you prefer I look like someone else?”

That’s his out. He opens his mouth to say
god yes, please, someone else, anyone else - but he can’t. The shock of seeing his face again had been awful and horrifying... but something isn’t right. There has to be a reason for this, doesn’t there? If this person isn’t really Souji, if he’s just a projection with Souji’s face, there has to be a reason for him being here. Forcing him to change his shape will just bury that reason, and then he’ll lose his chance at it forever.

Assuming he’s still sane, of course, and not just imagining that he’s been talking with his dead best friend for the last two nights. Put like that, being sane is starting to sound like a bit of a stretch.

“...No,” says Yosuke. “No, you... You don’t have to change.”

“Are you sure?”

He nods. “Yeah. You’re... fine the way you are.”

Sebastian blinks once, appearing slightly taken aback by that admission, but then he smiles - guardedly, perhaps, but genuinely nonetheless. “What a nice thing to say to someone. I think we’ll get along fine.”

He reaches for one of the face-down cards on the table to turn it over, and then pauses with his gloved fingertips hovering over it for a moment before drawing his hand back.

“I know we’ve only just met,” he says thoughtfully, leaning back into the seat cushions, “but you’ve piqued my interest. My master informed me that you’ve chosen to carry the burden of a destiny that wasn’t supposed to be yours. That’s quite impressive.”

Yosuke doesn’t know what to say to that at first. It’s hard, almost too hard to look at that face and not think about the night he last saw it, when he’d accepted that burden with only the faintest idea of what it would entail. Being congratulated for it falls a little flat. It’s not like he wanted this, like he wouldn’t go back to any day before the accident in a heartbeat if he could. “I have to. I promised.”

“I see. I wonder if you have the strength to carry out that promise.” Sebastian looked him over appraisingly for a moment, before seeming to come to his decision. “Can I ask a favour of you?”

“Yeah,” Yosuke breathes. “Of course.”

“I want you to show me your potential.”

“Huh? What do you mean?”

“Time is short, and you’re new to your Wild Card ability, so I want you to test it. My master will teach you about Persona fusion. When he does, bring me a Garuda that knows Mediarama.”

Healing is really more Yukiko’s thing, but Yosuke agrees. If he’s going to be honest with himself, he hadn’t planned on actually using any of Souji’s Personas - that feels like crossing a line somehow, and anyway he’s too used to Jiraiya to even want to - but it looks like he can’t avoid it.

Every Mistake (2d/?)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-06 12:42 am (UTC)

“Then I’m looking forward to seeing what you can do,” says Sebastian with a smile, and before he can respond, the room fades to darkness and Yosuke feels himself slipping out of the dream into wakefulness.




Dec 12, 2011

He’s still not ready to believe one hundred percent that all this is really happening, but finding the entrance to the Velvet Room in the shopping district helps a little. On the one hand, it’s a glowing blue portal that he’s never seen before and apparently only he can see now, and that doesn’t bode well for his grip on reality; but on the other, the little blue key Souji had given him seems to glow and pulse with energy in his pocket when he approaches it. And getting the key, at least, had been real. He remembers that part more painfully and clearly than he wants to.

Igor explains the fusion process to him, and he thinks he understands now where Souji must have gotten at least half of all those other selves. It takes some trial and error, but eventually he manages to produce the Persona Sebastian is looking for, and he turns to show him the tarot card with a sort of cautious optimism.

Sebastian smiles at him. “Very good,” he says, as he records Garuda’s new form in the heavy-looking book on his lap. “Thank you for indulging me. With some practice I think you’ll be more than capable of facing your destiny.”

When he’s finished speaking, he looks down at the open book and studies the picture of Garuda. Yosuke cranes his neck a little to see what he’s looking for, but he can’t quite make anything out from this distance, and upside down. After a moment, Sebastian murmurs something too quiet to hear.

“Sorry... what?”

“...The Star,” repeats Sebastian, and he closes the book and meets Yosuke’s eyes once again. “It’s a good card. It indicates fresh starts and renewed hope. Healing.”

“Oh...” says Yosuke. He slumps back in his seat and stares at his knees, not wanting to engage in that kind of talk here if he can help it. “Yeah. I guess. Don’t think there’s much of that to go around right now though.”

“But doesn’t he make you want to try?”

He snaps back to full attention, drawn back by the unusually warm tone of Sebastian’s voice. Is he...? No, he can’t mean- “Wait a sec...” he says slowly, sitting up a bit straighter. “Are you... talking about Teddie?”

Sebastian has a strange, uncertain look on his face, like even he doesn’t know what he’s just said. Yosuke doesn’t miss the way Igor is watching him keenly in his peripheral vision. “No,” he answers, and Yosuke is seized by disappointment to hear his voice calm and neutral again. “My apologies. I’m not sure what came over me.”

“You’d best be going,” says Igor with a grim smile and a wave of his hand. “Your time is borrowed; my advice to you is not to waste it.”

Yosuke nods and gets to his feet, eager to leave and process what just happened, that weird blip of familiarity, of Souji in Sebastian’s otherwise stoic demeanour. Just before he reaches the sliding compartment door, however, Sebastian calls out to him.

“If you can manage it,” he says, “I’d like to see what else you can do with your power. Next time, see if you can bring me Thoth immune to Mudo.”

“...Okay,” Yosuke promises, and swiftly takes his leave.

On the other side of the compartment door, he’s relieved to find himself back in the shopping district with his feet on solid ground. He’s still standing close to the Velvet Room’s door, still bathed in the strange blue light it emits, but no one passing by gives him even a cursory second glance. He turns around to face it, and when he’s sure no one’s looking, gives it one good, firm kick with as much force as he can muster. His heavy winter boot connects solidly with the door; the vibration shakes all the way up his leg.

About as real as it gets, he figures.

Yosuke pulls his coat collar closer around his neck against the damp and the cold, and heads off through the fog toward home. As much as he doesn’t want to do it, he’s been warned about their dwindling time limit twice now: it’s time to call the others and plan their next move.

Re: Every Mistake (2d/?) (Anonymous) Expand
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Every Mistake (3a/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-27 03:12 am (UTC)

Ahhhh thanks for the support guys! Sorry I'm taking so long with this - so busy. ;^; Okay I really should be in bed but wanted to get this out tonight, so let's gooo

______


.3 [Emperor].

Dec 13, 2011

Ordinarily there’s a decent view of Inaba from Yasogami High, but today Yosuke doesn’t see much of anything when he hooks his fingers through the chain link fencing at the rooftop’s edge and peers down. Thick fog conceals all but the tallest of buildings at the foot of the hill, and he struggles to remember whether it was quite so bad yesterday. The weather hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of his mind lately.

He’d met Teddie at the school gates just after class let out, and he’s sitting on the ground beside him now with his back against the fencing. He hasn’t said much since they arrived, both of them content to keep to their own thoughts while they wait for the others, and though ordinarily Yosuke would be worried about that, he isn’t right now. It’s an easier silence than the ones that have been passing between them for the last week - a stronger, more determined one, a silence fuelled by having things to think about, things to do.

His fingers flex convulsively around the fence links. He still has Teddie -- and he swears to himself, no matter what he has to sacrifice to do it, he’s not going to lose him too.

The others arrive in solemn clusters, Chie and Yukiko first, then Kanji, Rise and Naoto after them. It’s the first day they’ve all been at school together all week -- skipped the first couple of days, then took the others in shifts if they thought they were up for it -- and consequently the first time they’ve all gathered as a group that wasn’t at a funeral. Not that he hadn’t wanted to be with everyone, deep down, but he’d been injured, then depressed, and then the prospect had outright terrified him.

It still does. Even now, when they murmur hellos and gather around each other, they unconsciously leave a space in the circle for someone who won’t be joining them.

“I didn’t realize how bad the fog looks from up here,” says Chie, standing beside him and gazing out over the town like he’d been doing until just now. “It’s just getting worse...”

“Yeah,” he replies. “I thought so, too.”

“We have to go to the other side,” Yukiko says, every word slow and infused with reluctance, “don’t we...”

That’s certainly why Yosuke had called them all, to make sure everyone would be at school today. Now that they’re together like this, however, he doesn’t know how to start. What gives him the right, anyway? There’s no point in trying to jump right in and rally the troops and expect them to go along with it, like he’s the new leader or something. The mere thought of it turns his stomach. Like anyone could ever fill a role like that after the loss they’ve all suffered. He doesn’t even want to try.

No, if they’re going to get through this, it’s going to be as a unit, and holding that thought in his mind, he looks at each of them in turn as he asks, “Is that what you want to do?”

"What kinda question is that?" Kanji asks gruffly. Yosuke glances at him when he says it, to get a better read on him -- Kanji's tone always comes off rough, even when he doesn't mean it to -- and he's struck by what he sees when their eyes meet. While the others are looking wherever they can, at Kanji, at their shoes, at the fog-choked horizion, Kanji's staring a hole into him with an intensity that unexpectedly turns his knees to water. "What other choice do we got?"

"We can't not go..." agrees Rise, though she sounds uncertain enough about that statement that she doesn't follow it up with any compelling argument as to why.

"Hey, I wasn't saying we shouldn't... I just, y'know... wanted to hear what you guys think..."

Nothing but heavy silence follows his feeble explanation, and Yosuke starts feeling more and more insecure the longer it goes on. Dammit - is there something wrong with him? He shouldn't be ready to go back to the other world so soon after... after Souji. Is that it? That must be what the others are thinking. Saki-senpai all over again. Who cares about the danger, he just wants some excitement, just wants to play the hero --

Every Mistake (3b/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-27 03:13 am (UTC)

He thinks he feels him for a moment, deep in his core and surging up inside him to the point where he feels like he’s going to vomit. It isn’t until Naoto speaks up that he manages to fight the sensation back down.

“We’re so close,” she says, and though her tone is flatter and duller than usual, that thread of steely resolve still running through it calms his frayed nerves. “If we don’t go after Adachi now... If we don’t finish this...”

"I don't think I could live with myself if we didn't," says Chie. "Not after we've come so far..."

Yukiko nods. "Yeah. If not now, when?"

Another murmur of agreement passes around the circle, and Yosuke feels the invisible pressure on his shoulders ease a little, letting him stand up straighter. It's the right answer, and the right thing to do -- he knows it himself, but it still makes him feel better to hear it from someone else. "All right. Let's not... rush it or anything though. Let's make sure we're prepared this time."

Kanji makes an impatient noise and turns that sharp glare on him again. "What're you sayin'? We've got no idea what that guy's up to in there, and this damn fog's just getting worse every day. We gotta go after him before we don't got a choice anymore!"

Yosuke's weakened grip on his resolve is further shaken by that harshness, and he doesn't know how to respond. Before he can either snipe back or give in, Rise interjects hesitantly on his behalf. "Hey, Kanji-kun... Yosuke-senpai's still hurt, y'know? We shouldn't be hasty..."

There's a moment when it seems like Kanji's about to argue; Yosuke casts his eyes to the ground, not wanting to see the expression on his face if he does. Rise's not wrong, exactly. His left arm and leg are still scraped and bruised and sore, and half of his body creaks like rusted metal when he moves -- but that pain is already becoming a distant ache, far away and clouded by the fog of pain medication and his new reality. When he looks up again, Kanji's expression is slightly less sour, and more apologetic.

"...Sorry, Senpai," he mumbles.

Yosuke shakes his head. "No, it's fine. I can still fight. I just don't want us all to end up completely wrecked if we can help it."

"Let's be cautious, then," says Naoto. "We'll go in today, as far as we feel it's safe to do so, and come back if it seems we're in trouble."

"Yeah," Yukiko agrees. "We won't let Adachi lure us in there on his terms. We'll take it at our pace."

With that settled, they agree to go to Junes together and start their last journey into the other world. As they leave the rooftop and file down the narrow stairwell leading back into the school, Kanji stops halfway down, letting the others get ahead of him and letting Yosuke walk right into his back.

"Argh - hey...”

Kanji doesn't turn around. "Are you sure you're serious about this, Senpai?"

Yosuke's mouth goes dry. He just stands there, eyes fixed at a point right between Kanji's shoulder blades, not saying anything until the others have rounded the corner and gone on ahead of them, out of sight and out of earshot. He's not sure what's got Kanji acting like this, but he's absolutely scared shitless to ask. Now that they’re alone, suddenly all he can think about is every jerkish thing he’s ever said to him, and Kanji certainly has every right to pay him back for it. Now’s as good a time as any.

"Of course I am," he answers at last, though it comes out sounding considerably more feeble than it had in his head. “How could I not be?”

Kanji turns his head at that. Not all the way around -- just slightly to one side, more like he’d started to look back and thought better of it. He opens his mouth and Yosuke waits for him to speak, but he doesn’t; he just grunts and shoves his hands into his pockets, and then makes his lumbering way down the stairs after their friends.

Every Mistake (3c/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-27 03:14 am (UTC)

Yosuke waits until he’s gone around the corner to exhale the shaky breath held tightly in his lungs.





As hard as every day without Souji has been until now, Yosuke quickly discovers that nothing has been harder without him than battle.

He drags himself back to his feet with a groan and makes the mistake of trying to look around before his head has stopped spinning. For an instant he can't make sense of the landscape, losing track of where rubble and asphalt and police tape bleeds into the hellish red and black sky, and he blindly gropes around for something to hold on to before he falls again. It's Teddie he stumbles into, and he tucks his head down into the fur of his big bear suit until the merry-go-round sensation passes.

It was never this hard before, he thinks bleakly. How the hell are they going to be able to do this?

"Senpai, are you okay?!" Rise calls over their weird mental connection. "I-I was trying to warn Naoto-kun about the other shadow... I guess I missed that one. I'm really sorry..."

"Don't worry," Yosuke assures her aloud. He cringes when he rolls his shoulder and feels something grinding there that probably shouldn't be, but bites back the pained noise that wants to follow. "You're doing your best. Keep it up..."

They trudge ahead into Magatsu Inaba, but it's already clear to everyone that they won't get far today. They're swimming against the current, struggling to overcome even the weakest of shadows they encounter, to the point where they have to stop for a rest after almost every fight. There's no momentum. Nothing's clicking into place like it should. Nothing's coordinated, and Rise can't spool out information fast enough for them to do anything with it. Their attacks are flying all over the place, and their attendant frustration with their progress is only making it worse.

Yosuke grits his teeth and raises his kunai when they round a corner and come into range of the next group of shadows. They can't waste time like this. What is it going to take to get back to where they should be?

Chie lunges for the shadow closest to her without waiting for anyone else and manages to get in one good kick before it can gather enough of its wits to retaliate. Teddie's right behind her with his claws flashing, then Kanji swinging his shield in a wild arc after him, and Yosuke's momentary sense of victory is dashed when he notices that the battlefield has descended into chaos. He stops short of summoning Jiraiya, not wanting to start carelessly flinging spells into the fray and risk hitting his friends, and Yukiko hesitates next to him as well.

"Rise," he calls out, "see if you can find us an opening to attack."

"Got it," she responds. But instead of feeding him the data he needs, a second later he hears her gasp, "No, wait, Kanji-kun--!"

Yosuke sees the blinding blue light of Kanji summoning Rokuten-Maoh, then the crackling Maziodyne spell he flings at the shadows. And then, before it even registers in his mind that he needs to get the hell out of the way, the spell bounces off the enemy and comes arcing back toward all of them.

He doesn't remember hitting the ground -- just the pain, the live-wire spark of the spell and a smoke-and-burnt-ozone smell on the air that makes him queasy. Through the ringing in his ears he thinks he hears Chie screaming, and when he cracks his eyes open he sees her (right next to him, she sounds so far away), cradling Yukiko's bloody and limp body in her arms.

"--Hang on, Yukiko, please just look at me--!"

"Someone help them!" Rise's voice, at least, is unaffected by the tinny noise in his ears. The panic he senses there forces his eyes the rest of the way open and his heart to beat faster. "Yukiko-senpai's hurt...!"

He pushes himself to his hands and knees, every limb trembling with the effort. Blood's running warm and wet down his face and dripping into the dust by his hands. In his peripheral vision, he sees Naoto firing her gun at the encroaching shadows, and then summoning Yamato Takeru when it becomes clear that won't be enough.

Every Mistake (3d/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-01-27 03:15 am (UTC)

"Guys, watch out!” Rise screams. “It's coming again!"

Yosuke sees it, the shadow closest to them rearing back and readying itself to cast a spell of its own. They won't survive another hit like that. If Yukiko doesn’t come back to her senses --

I want you to show me your potential.

Yosuke's head jerks up. Shit. Of course -

The glowing tarot card appears in front of him instantly. The pain in his shoulder is nearly unbearable, but he sits up and slashes it with his kunai in one vicious strike, and shouts "Garuda!" as the large birdlike Persona appears and blankets all of them in a protective, healing light.

The shadow's attack still lands, and it's brutal - but all of them are able to get to their feet when it's done, even Yukiko, glasses and headband knocked clear from the last blow. Yosuke stands back and heals them all again, and the others lunge ahead on the offensive with renewed strength and vigor.

When the creatures are dead, Chie's the first to turn to him. "How did you do that?" she rasps, her brows knitted together in worry and pain. "Yosuke - you..."

"Yosuke! You're like Sensei now?" asks Teddie. "What happened?!"

He can't bring himself to look at any of them as they all gather around demanding answers. This isn't what he'd wanted at all. They don't need this reminder of Souji all the time, and he doesn't need to use them - dozens of Personas, other selves that don't feel right because they're not him, they're Souji...

"I'm... sorry," he starts out lamely. "I didn't - know how to tell you guys. I didn't want you to worry about it..."

"Perhaps we should discuss it on the way back," suggests Naoto. "I think we've done enough for today."

They agree to that, and a few moments later, they're standing back in Mayumi Yamano's creepy room after Teddie warps them all to the exit. They trudge back to the entrance hall in a quiet group, Yosuke dreading having to explain how he inherited the Wild Card in any great detail every step of the way, but no one seems willing to bring it up until they're safe on the other side.

He and Kanji are the last to leave through the stack of televisions in the entrance hall. But just like he had in the stairwell at school earlier that day, Kanji stops when it's his turn, letting the others get ahead of him and leaving only Yosuke behind.

"That Persona...” says Kanji quietly. “Souji-senpai gave it to you, didn’t he? You’ve got the others, too, right?” When Yosuke doesn’t respond, Kanji heaves a sigh and shakes his head. “Y'should have said something, Senpai."

Yosuke flinches. "I know. I'm sorry, I really am. I just... I didn't want to have to use them. God, I... I didn't want..."

"Dammit, will you shut the hell up with that?!"

Yosuke's entire body locks up as Kanji whirls on him, his eyes wild and dark and angry.

"It ain't about what you want anymore, Senpai. It's about us - about all of us!"

"H-hey, what's gotten into you, anyway?" Yosuke finally bites back, unwilling to take Kanji's accusations quietly any longer. It hurts, dammit, it hurt to see that Persona come out of him, and he can't - he just can't... "You've been looking to pick a fight with me all day. If you've got something to say, just say it, dammit!"

His voice gives out on the last word, draining all the venom out of his retort and leaving him feeling like he's on the edge of tears. He's too tired for this. If only this weren't happening. If only Souji were here. If only, if only, if only...

"I know what you’re doin’, Senpai,” Kanji says, surprisingly calmly. "And I think - I think it’s really good of you."

He blinks, taken totally by surprise by that statement. "Huh? What do you...?"

"We were a mess today - no point in pretendin' we weren't. And no one wants to say it but it's... it's just so friggin' hard without him, y'know? We relied on him so much. And you - you’re tryin’ not to do things like Souji-senpai did, and... I get it. I do, a hundred percent. But right now you gotta knock it the fuck off.”

Yosuke’s jaw drops.

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Every Mistake (4a/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-02-08 04:13 am (UTC)

(In case anons prefer to avoid reading about car accidents for various reasons - just a note that from here the details of what happened to Souji start to become more clear/specific)

__________________________

.4 [Chariot].


Dec 14, 2011

He’s slower to get to school now that he walks everywhere, so he starts leaving extra early on Wednesday morning so that he can take his time getting there. The streets are eerily deserted, empty of students who either aren’t yet headed out this early or simply aren’t going to school anymore with the town blanketed in cold, thick fog. Yosuke can’t blame them. His body feels even more sluggish than usual this morning, slower than the early hour and yesterday’s training run can fully account for, and he allows himself one brief moment of longing for his bed before turning his thoughts toward getting through the rest of the day.

“Ah!” a voice calls out behind him, and he turns to see who else is up and moving at this hour. It’s Chie, dressed in a tracksuit instead of her uniform and covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and she gives him a little wave as she jogs up alongside him and slows to match his pace. “Morning, Yosuke.”

“Hey. You’re up early.”

“Hah, yep! No time to train after school now, so... gotta do it first thing in the morning.” She eyes his school bag and notes, “You’re headed in awfully early...”

“Mmm. Felt like taking my time today.”

"Ah, I see..." Strangely, she sounds a little disappointed, like somehow she should have known he's suddenly being responsible and walking to school on time -- and alone -- now that he doesn't have a bike anymore. He doesn’t get it. It’s not like it’s been terrible or he’s been secretly suffering because of it, so why would she be worried? Despite the fact that he's been friends with her the longest out of any of their group, Yosuke feels like he doesn't quite understand the way she thinks sometimes. "So, hey, are we going over to the other side today?"

"Yeah, if you guys are up for it."

"Of course! I was just thinking... urgh." She laughs off her own idea before he can hear it. "Ah, no, forget I said anything."

"Huh? No, what were you going to say?"

"Nothing!"

An irritated scowl crosses his face before he can stop it. "All right, sorry I asked..." he grumbles, and then he immediately regrets it when he sees her guilty expression. He hefts his bag awkwardly and starts trying to think of how he can change the subject when she speaks up again and saves him the trouble.

"It's just - it's kinda weird out here by myself. Way too quiet, y'know? And we gotta keep up our strength, so I was thinking you should train a little with me. Like - in the mornings or something."

He blinks. "Huh? Oh - uh. Sure?"

She looks faintly surprised by his acceptance. "Really?"

"Yeah. I mean - why, though? I think we'll do a lot better on the other side than we did yesterday, so..."

"Hey, we can always improve!" she says, clapping him on the shoulder. When she doesn't let go right away, he sends her a curious sidelong glance. "And I have to make sure you're keeping up," she adds, rather more seriously than she probably means to. "We're counting on you now."

Yosuke resists the urge to look away. He grips the strap on his bag tightly in his hands, and nods instead.

Chie nods back, smiling a little, apparently satisfied with the way that conversation had gone. “Okay then! I gotta go home and get ready. See you in class!”

They wave goodbye and she jogs off again through the fog. Yosuke watches her go until he can’t see her anymore, feeling like she’d taken what little cheer there was to be had with her when she’d gone.





Dec 15, 2011

The train compartment is eerily silent and nearly pitch black, save for a dim light that comes in through the window and hits the empty seat opposite him. Igor isn't here again. There's no sense of forward motion, no noise from the tracks outside - nothing. The table is bare, the Compendium missing. Empty.

Every Mistake (4b/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-02-08 04:18 am (UTC)

But he's not alone. Someone's at his left side, sitting so close their elbows and knees touch. Sebastian, probably -- but Yosuke doesn’t dare turn his head to look.

"You keep coming back," murmurs Sebastian. One at a time, in Yosuke’s peripheral vision, he peels off his gloves and sets them down neatly on his lap. "Why is that?"

Yosuke clamps his mouth shut in a firm frown and resolves not to respond. A newly-bare hand slides across the meagre space between them and covers his own, clenches it into a tight fist for him. The skin that touches his is freezing.

“You don’t have to. You could just stop.”

He tenses tight as a coiled spring when Sebastian’s free hand reaches up across his chest, and makes icy contact with his right cheek. The hand applies pressure, trying to turn his face toward him, but Yosuke resists, terrified of what he’ll see if he lets that happen.

“Yosuke...”

Stop it,” Yosuke rasps, when he isn’t holding his breath. “What’s wrong with you? You aren’t -- you’re not him...”

“It seems to me like the only person who needs to be convinced of that,” whispers the voice at his ear, “is
you.”

That startles Yosuke enough to turn his head at last, and he’s deeply relieved to see it really is Sebastian sitting next to him, and not some kind of nightmarish vision of Souji like he’d feared. They sit there facing each other, frozen in place, nose-to-nose, Sebastian’s eyes shining golden in the dark like a Shadow’s. He’s absolutely otherworldly, Yosuke thinks. Despite their closeness he can’t see his reflection in those eyes, can’t feel any breath at all on his lips but his own. The cold hand at his cheek slides down his jaw, his neck, his chest, and then grasps the front of his uniform jacket -- and then Sebastian leans forward and his mouth touches Yosuke’s in a soft, tentative kiss. Yosuke’s eyes widen and his body goes still, but otherwise he doesn’t respond. He does absolutely nothing as the other boy presses a slow series of chaste kisses against his lips, over and over, and when the last kiss takes a turn toward searching and deep, he opens his mouth beneath his and lets him do that, too. It tastes like nothing, like water, so subtle and light like it isn’t even happening -- until suddenly his mouth is filled with a sharp, metallic tang and he jerks back, bewildered and alarmed.

He feels cold and damp all the way down to his bones. His left arm and leg are singing with pain and he winces and whines when Sebastian tugs on the front of his jacket and leans back, pulling him forward so that when he’s sprawled on his back on the seat Yosuke has to brace himself on the cushion and lean down over him, or simply fall.

The darkness gives way to streetlamps, the cushion turns to asphalt. The arm he supports himself with burns with bleeding scrapes and bruises that haven’t formed yet and tiny pebbles embedded in his skin. The silence is shattered as the compartment is suddenly filled with the blare of sirens and the rush of people talking, wheezing, crying,
shouting--

Sebastian’s eyes are still open and gazing up at him - grey instead of gold now and deeply, uncharacteristically afraid. A thin trail of blood runs from his mouth down his cheek and pools on the pavement beneath him. There’s no longer anything in Yosuke’s world but hands: the ones on his shoulders and around his chest trying to pull him away, but also the trembling one that grips him by his jacket and draws him close, and the one that keeps his fist closed around the small blue key pressed into his palm.






He’s almost late to meet Chie that morning because he can’t find his phone. He tears his whole room apart in his search -- quite a feat in the darkness and while trying not to wake Teddie -- and he looks in his closet, his dresser, and the pile of laundry on the floor before finally finding it lost in the tangle of blankets on his bed. He breathes a sigh of relief to feel its weight in his hand, reassuring like a lifeline. He doesn’t dare leave the house without it now.

Every Mistake (4c/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-02-08 04:22 am (UTC)

Chie seems genuinely surprised to see him when he meets her at the door of her house. He’s not sure why. Didn’t he agree to this? A long history of being desperate to prove himself worthy of the “friends” he’d had before coming to Inaba has left him in the habit of not breaking plans unless he can’t help it. Whatever the reason, she seems to forget it as she grabs a bottle of water from her kitchen counter and urges him off toward the sidewalk.

Even though they’re all in decent shape from fighting in the other world, Yosuke has always hated running. It absolutely bores him to tears, and it’s more the dullness of the activity than the pain in his leg that makes him want to call it quits soon after they’ve started. Chie doesn’t seem to share his dislike. She chats animatedly with him as they run and waves to an elderly man they pass on the road, apparently in her element despite the god-awful hour and miserable weather. Seeing her like that ensures he keeps his mouth shut, no matter how much he wants to complain. He has to keep up.

They stop for water at the gazebo on the flood plain. It’s lighter now -- he can see the hazy outline of the sun rising on the other side of the Samegawa, so dull behind the blanket of fog that he can look straight at it without squinting. Yosuke sits and watches her as she bounces from foot to foot and practices her kicks, an endless fountain of energy.

"You can't be tired already," she admonishes, pausing to wipe her forehead on the back of her wristband before resuming her kicks. "We've still gotta make it back home."

"I'm not a morning person," he groans. "How are you even awake yet?"

"Early to bed, early to rise. You stay up way too late. Speaking of..." She stops kicking the air and turns to him. "What's up with that text you sent last night?"

He frowns. "I didn't send you anything."

"Yeah you did. Look." She digs her phone out of her pocket, finds the offending message and shows it to him.

Hanamura Yosuke
Dec 15 2011 - 03:32

please tell me it isn’t you


"Are we fighting and I don't know it yet?" Chie laughs nervously. "That kind of freaked me out this morning, not gonna lie..."

That’s definitely his name in the sender’s field on Chie’s phone, but that doesn’t explain anything. Wordlessly he finds his own phone in his pocket and navigates to his outbox. Same message, 3:32 a.m. Chie Satonaka in the header. Why would he have--

Oh. Yosuke’s heart sinks when he remembers: he’d had a nightmare last night. It comes lurching back to him like a monster out of the recesses of his memory, and he quickly flips his phone shut again to banish it. Satonaka. The name Seta comes right after hers in his contact list. He must have done it sometime during the night.

"Sorry," he mumbles. "...Think I texted the wrong person."

Chie frowns and sits down beside him on the gazebo bench. "...Is everything okay?"

Everything besides the obvious, he assumes she means. He's actually not overly worried about skirting around that issue with her -- she's as clumsy with words and emotions as he is, so he feels pretty safe that she won't try to get him talking about anything he doesn't want to. Which, weirdly enough, does kind of make him want to.

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Every Mistake (5a/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-03-01 10:16 pm (UTC)

.5 [Lovers].


December 16, 2011

By the time the end of classes rolls around on Friday, Yosuke’s starting to lose steam. This morning’s run had been harder than the last -- he feels achy all over and his bad leg hurts more than usual. Pushing too hard, he figures. Yesterday had consisted of training with Chie in the morning, lectures he could barely pay attention to all day, and a trip into the other world after school, and he’d been so exhausted by the end of it all that he’d fallen face-down into bed immediately after devouring the leftover dinner his parents had saved for him. Thanks to all the physical activity it had been the first day in over a week he’d had much of an appetite; they’d seemed happy about that, at least.

He takes the stairs to the first floor slowly, keeping a firm grip on the railing and letting other students pass him on the way down. His left leg trembles under his weight. No good. There’s nothing to do but stay off it for the rest of the day and hope it’s better by tomorrow. The others will have his head if they catch him trying to go into the other world like this.

Pushing too hard. But what else can he do?

As he’s heading for the door he glances toward the shoe lockers. Souji’s has been gradually stuffed full over the past week, filled with flowers and trinkets and sealed notes that won’t ever be read. It’s not surprising; he’d been well-liked by almost everyone who’d known him. The locker is overflowing, errant flower stems poking out of the box or already fallen to the floor, cards wedged in every which way so they’ll fit. Yosuke examines the offerings as he shuffles past and wonders who each gift is from, and whether any of them are from people he knows or if this is all the work of strangers.

Then he spots it -- there’s a letter in his own shoe locker, too.

Yosuke halts and stares a hole through it. He’s never gotten anything in his locker before that wasn’t some kind of passive-aggressive thanks for ruining my family’s business, Junes bullshit, and even that had stopped after he’d started hanging out with Souji. He’s certainly never gotten a confession or one of those cutesy love notes sealed in a fancy-looking envelope. He’s not sure what this is, and he examines it closely as he picks it up. There’s nothing overly special or elaborate about it, just a small, sealed, plain white envelope with a subtle, flowery design on the upper right corner and the word ‘Senpai’ written in feminine handwriting. He glances around in all directions, feeling certain that someone’s playing some kind of joke on him, but none of the handful of students still hanging around are paying him any attention. He shoves the letter into his bag and leaves in a hurry anyway, just in case.

He puts as much distance between himself and the school as he can manage before his leg and his curiosity both finally get the better of him. He sits down on the stone steps that lead down to the Samegawa’s riverbed and pulls out the envelope, tears it open and unfolds the crisp sheet of paper inside. The note barely takes up any space on the page, even written as it is in large, flowing handwriting, and it only takes him a few seconds to read the whole thing.


Senpai,

Even though I know you won’t respond, I think it will help me to write it down. I just
wanted you to know that you don’t need to worry about me. You don’t need to worry about
any of us. Everyone is doing their best. We’re going to be fine.

Everything is going to be okay.



Rise

Every Mistake (5b/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-03-01 10:19 pm (UTC)

He reads the note so quickly that he’s reached the last line before he realizes it was never meant for him at all. When he sees the signature at the bottom he throws it down like it had grown teeth and bitten him, embarrassed at having read something that he had never been meant to see. It must have been accidentally put back in his locker by someone else, he thinks, picturing Souji’s overflowing one and the flowers and notes on the floor underneath it.

He’s been asking a lot of Rise. She’s been so strong, and almost hyper-vigilant in the other world now, and it’s not hard to understand why. But maybe she’s not doing as well as she seems. And why would she be anyway? Nobody else is.

Yosuke picks up the discarded letter and reads it again (guiltily, but he figures the damage is already done). He has to put this back where he found it. He’ll need a new envelope for that though. He’s pretty sure he’s seen this type being sold at Shiroku, so he decides to go there on his way home and buy some.

Maybe he’ll write his own letter, too. Ha, yeah -- and say what, exactly? Sorry I insisted on taking you home. Sorry I let it happen. Sorry I didn’t say goodbye, I didn’t think you’d-- There’s nothing he can say now that will make anything better. Rise’s a nice girl, but she’s fooling herself if she thinks writting a letter like that is going to change anything.





It turns out his suspicion was right, and he finds the envelopes he’s looking for near the counter at Shiroku. He’s standing there holding the new package of envelopes in one hand and comparing it to the one that had contained Rise’s letter in the other, just to make sure, when a blur of motion at the edge of his vision catches his attention. He looks up, sees Rise standing at his shoulder, and jumps a mile.

“H-hey!” he stammers, quickly hiding his hands. “What’re you doing here?”

“Hey, Senpai.” She lifts one delicate forearm, showing him the heavy plastic bag she has draped over it. “My grandmother asked me to make a delivery to old lady Shiroku. I’m surprised to see you here.”

“Ah... yeah, well, we uh, needed some supplies for our next run, so...”

Rise laughs lightly. “Senpai, you should have said something! There’s no reason for you to come all the way here when I practically live next door.”

“Oh? Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Do you want some help?”

“S-sure. I mean, if you have time...”

“Of course. Just give me a second to take care of this.”

As soon as she turns around and walks off to the back of the store where old lady Shiroku is busy cleaning, he shoves Rise’s envelope back into his bag and puts the pack he’d been looking at when she’d arrived back on its shelf. When she comes back, they spend almost half an hour weighing their funds against what they need, and finally walk out considerably poorer but with Yosuke’s bag stuffed full of various medicines.

“Seriously, Senpai,” says Rise, as they arrive at the front entrance of Marukyu Tofu and he prepares to leave her and continue on toward home. “It’s okay to rely on us a little, you know? Why don’t you let me or Kanji handle this from now on?”

Yosuke shrugs. “I guess I just... figured it’s my responsibility. But, hey, if it’s not any trouble...”

“Of course it’s trouble! That’s why we want to help.”

He laughs at that, and hefts his bag over his shoulder. He’ll have to walk around the block and go back for the envelopes, but he has to admit hanging out with Rise for a bit had been a nice distraction. “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. See you tomorrow?”

She smiles broadly and nods, but when he turns to go, she makes an uncertain noise that draws his attention back to her.

“...Something wrong?” he asks.

Rise bites her lip. She’s staring at his bag; his hand twitches against it. “That envelope you had, back at Shiroku... That was mine, wasn’t it?”

Every Mistake (5c/10)

(Anonymous)

2012-03-01 10:24 pm (UTC)

Yosuke freezes up for a second as the initial burst of guilt rushes through him. He could lie, he supposes, but doesn’t see what good saving a little face will do in this situation, and in the end he feels horrible enough that he fishes it out of his bag and hands it over to her.

“I didn’t mean to read it,” he explains. “It was in my locker, honest, it just... probably fell out of his and someone put it in mine. I’m sorry.”

“His...?” she says with a frown. “You mean... Senpai’s?”

“Yeah.”

“...You know I wrote it to you, right?”

Yosuke blinks, and his mouth falls open a little as all that guilt abruptly starts churning into confusion instead. “You - you did?”

“I put it in the right locker, didn’t I?”

“I didn’t... oh.” A month ago he would have been flabbergasted and thrilled for Risette to write him a letter, but their current circumstances sap all that hypothetical excitement out of him, and all he can think to do is stand there in awkward silence. He stopped seeing her as her idol persona a while ago, but they’ve never been particularly close -- he has too many guilty memories of photoshopped pictures of her, and she’d mostly had eyes for Souji. Outside of the murders, what do they have to talk about? “...You could have just told me this, couldn’t you?”

She puffs up indignantly, arms crossing in front of her chest as she looks away. “Well - yeah, I guess... Hey, what are you complaining for?! I was trying to encourage you!”

“S-sorry! Not that I don’t appreciate it!”

He thinks he gets it, though. As friendly and outgoing as Rise is, standing there with that defensive posture she looks at least half as awkward as he feels. It’s a weird thing to just strike up a conversation about, he supposes.

“I used to tell that to Senpai all the time,” she says fondly. “Not to worry about any of us. That I’d watch over everyone and we’d all be okay. I thought maybe you might need to hear it now, too.”

“...What about you?”

“Well... yeah. Senpai used to tell me the same thing. It used to help me a lot.” She lowers her eyes a little and her smile turns wistful. “It’s hard, isn’t it? Depending on someone you love and then... not having them around anymore. I really thought we’d have him forever.”

Yosuke doesn’t dispute her word choice; he can admit that much to himself, at least. When people like Souji come into your life that suddenly and leave it just as fast, you don’t screw around with stupid insecurities. He’ll never say as much in exactly those words, but he’d loved Souji like he loves all his friends -- and maybe a little more than that, if he’s going to be honest with himself. He doesn’t know, and probably never will now. It’s not the same kind of love as Rise’s, starry-eyed and exuberant, the kind he’d foolishly harboured for Saki-senpai; it’s not the same as Teddie’s, single-minded and utterly unconditional. But it’s not like any bond he’s ever had with anyone else, either. It was stronger and more intense and more honest and no one has ever made him feel so fucking awful and amazing and needed and confused in his life, but...

But it doesn’t matter anymore. Souji was someone important, someone special to him, and even if he’d never gotten the chance to say it, that’s all he needs to know for sure. He doesn’t want to pin his memory down and examine it like a pretty insect; he’s happier just letting it be whatever it was and leaving it at that.

“I... “ he starts at last, after he’s decided to keep all of those thoughts to himself. “We all depended on him. Maybe too much.”

Her smile falters a little. All the time she’s spent in Inaba is starting to show, he thinks; she’s not as good an actress now as she had been when she’d arrived. “He made it hard not to. He was always there to push us out the door, huh? I guess I just... thought he’d always still be there when I turned around. But it’s time for us to take care of ourselves, huh?”

“Not just ourselves,” he promises. “We’ll take care of each other.”

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Every Mistake (6a/10)

(Anonymous)

2013-02-25 02:27 am (UTC)

quietly continues posting after like a damn year
----------------

6. Fortune

December 18th, 2011

Despite the resolution he'd reached just yesterday, his argument with Sebastian leaves him feeling like crap this morning. It should have been a good night's sleep for once, one of the few he's had in what feels like forever, but despite the distinct absence of dreams about or actual visits to the Velvet Room, Yosuke feels slow and groggy as he rolls out of bed with a frustrated groan. He rubs the sleep from his eyes, pulls the curtain back from his window, and squints at the grey haze outside. It looks thicker than yesterday, colder and damper - just looking at it makes his bones ache. He whips the curtain closed again and crawls back under the covers.

It's Sunday, so there's nowhere for him to be today. He'd thought it would be the perfect day to regroup -- to recover from the week of school, fighting in the other world, even his morning run with Chie -- and to go over what he'd learned about the Velvet Room and Souji's fate. His resolve had been firm last night, the way it is when a cushion of sleep stands between you and your responsibilities; but now, in the cold, pale light of morning, thinking about it makes him sick.

Tethering your happiness to the dead will only bring you pain.

Yosuke grits his teeth and buries his face into his blankets. Somehow, he’d shown his hand too early. Sebastian had seen right through his plans, had known his intention to save him almost as soon as he had formed it, and had deftly taken it apart. Whatever help Sebastian had promised him, Yosuke knows it doesn’t apply to this. If he wants to rescue Souji from an eternity in the Velvet Room, he's going to have to do it on his own. And he has no idea where to start.

He spends close to half an hour mustering the strength of will to get out of bed again, and in the end only manages it when Teddie begins to stir on the other side of the room. He doesn’t want Ted to see him like this. Regardless of his own insecurities, he's not going to worry him anymore. No more hiding in bed all day -- they've got things to do.

Before he can even gather his clothes together to get ready for the day, however, his phone beeps, alerting him that he has a text message. He digs around in his bag for it and pulls it out, and is slightly bewildered to find a message from someone who usually doesn’t go out of her way to speak with him.

Shirogane Naoto
Dec 18 2011 - 10:45

senpai if u have time today i would like 2 meet. plz respond asap


Yosuke takes a second to appreciate that he’s finally found someone who cares less about their text grammar than he does, then fires off a reply. It’s strange for Naoto to want to talk to him one-on-one, but he doesn’t feel apprehensive about it at all. She can be hard to talk to, but he feels like he can rely on her to stay focused on what needs to be done. She won’t stand for any self-pitying nonsense. Whatever she wants to meet about, it’ll be all business. So when she tells him she wants to meet at the gazebo on the floodplain, he doesn’t hesitate in replying that he’ll be there.

He offers a hasty explanation to a half-asleep Teddie that he’s going out today and then gets ready as fast as he can, but before he’s even made it out the front door he already knows he’s going to be late. Still can’t judge how far away things are by foot, rather than bike. Looks like he won’t be skipping Chie’s morning run after all.




“Good morning, senpai,” says Naoto as Yosuke approaches her, still catching his breath. She frowns and adds, “I’m sorry if my message sounded urgent. There was no need to hurry.”

“It’s cool,” he assures her, resisting the urge to cough in response to the burning sensation in his throat. It’s hard to tell if he’s just tired after so much exercise this week, or if it’s actually getting harder to breathe as the blanket of fog seems to settle more heavily over the town. He thinks of the intense pressure and fatigue he’d once experienced in the other world without wearing his glasses, and wonders if things will eventually get that bad on this side, too. “Just not used to not having a bike. Didn’t want to be late.”

Every Mistake (6b/10)

(Anonymous)

2013-02-25 02:28 am (UTC)

“Ah,” she says. “I see. Still, you should be careful not to strain yourself. We need you at your best in the other world.”

Naoto indicates with a wave of her hand that he should sit opposite her at the gazebo table, and he does. He also notices the way she gives his arm and leg a quick once-over as he takes his seat. She’s just being cautious, but he’s feeling stubborn this morning, and the gesture combined with her reminder about his role in the investigation seems almost carelessly challenging to him. Maybe it’s just his inferiority complex rearing its ugly head again, but it’s always seemed to him that in Souji’s absence, Naoto would have been the obvious choice for a surrogate leader. She’s always been calm, rational, and level-headed; she would have led them to victory for sure. Souji had certainly trusted her. Instead, the team’s stuck with him, unsure of himself and what to do, and now injured on top of that. He knows she probably isn’t thinking anything like that at all -- but that doesn’t stop the seed of doubt from wriggling its way down into his gut and taking firm root there.

“So... what’s up?” he asks. “Is there something wrong? Sounded like there was something on your mind...”

Naoto nods curtly. “There is. It’s been more than a week. I thought I should check in with you. See how you’re handling taking the lead in the case.”

“Fine,” he responds, maybe too quickly. “We’re making progress, right? We’ll get that bastard soon, don’t worry.”

“I know. Please don’t mistake my concern for doubt. I simply think we’ve lost too much not to be completely honest with each other.”

“Yeah, I guess I get that. It’s kind of a lot to handle, but I think I’m doing okay. Rise and Kanji are helping out with gathering supplies, so that’s good -- I mean, I think we’ll be okay there, I had a lot of money saved up.”

“You did?”

“Yeah. You know, for my motorcycle, but... this is kinda more important.”

“...I see.”

He threads his fingers together nervously. They may not know each other very well, but they’re on the same team and they count each other as friends -- so why does he feel like he’s being interrogated? “So... you said you wanted us to be honest with each other? Is there something you think I’m lying about?”

Naoto sighs. “No, not exactly... Senpai, allow me to speak frankly. Chie-senpai told me you said something strange to her a few days ago. She said you felt like Souji-senpai may not really be gone. Is that true?”

Yosuke closes his eyes. Shit. This is the last thing he needs to happen, for the rest of their group to start thinking he’s losing it just as he’s beginning to realize he isn’t. “That’s not... exactly what I said...”

“But you did say something.”

“...Yeah.”

Naoto leans across the table toward him, her voice low and her eyes fixed directly on him, leaving him no escape from her scrutiny. “And do you still think that way?”

Yosuke scarcely dares to accept the thought that occurs to him in that moment, as she locks eyes with him and waits for his response. She’s not investigating anymore; she’s talking in that cool, confident way she does when she wants to confirm something she already knows is possible. Naoto believes him. “...Yeah,” he says again, more firmly this time. “I know it sounds crazy, and for a while there I actually thought I was, but... I think he’s still alive.”

She frowns a little at that. He hastens to explain himself.

“Not -- not alive, maybe, I mean we... we know he’s gone, there was a funeral, and... I know he’s dead. I know that. That’s not what I mean.”

“But you’ve seen him, and you believe it was real. Is that what you’re saying?” Naoto pauses long enough for him to nod once, and then settles back into her natural posture. “I see. Please, Senpai, if you don’t mind... I’d like you to start from the beginning. Tell me everything that’s happened.”

So he does. He’d already told their friends about the Wild Card and how Souji had entrusted the responsibility of closing the case to him, but now he shows her the key he carries in his pocket and tells her everything, about his borrowed Personas and the Velvet Room and, most importantly, about Sebastian and the contract.

Every Mistake (6c/10)

(Anonymous)

2013-02-25 02:29 am (UTC)

“It’s him,” he insists. “When I make these Personas for him, he gets... weird. Like he remembers everything for just a second, and then it’s gone again. So I’ve been bringing him all these Personas and hoping one of them -- I dunno, snaps him out of it.”

“Do you think that will work?”

“I don’t know. But I don’t know what else to do.”

Naoto sits quietly for a moment, processing the new information he’s provided. Finally, she says, “This is... a lot to take in.”

“So you believe me? That it’s really Souji?”

“Yes. Or more accurately -- I believe you believe it’s him. I can’t see it for myself, so I’m reluctant to say for certain. But given what you’ve told me about this contract, it’s... difficult not to come to the same conclusion you did.”

Yosuke breathes a deep sigh and relaxes his shoulders, which had unconsciously gone rigid while he waited for her reaction. “Thanks. Ugh, I felt like I was losing my mind... You have no idea how much better that makes me feel. So I guess the question is... what do we do now?”

“Well... two things. One: for now it seems like you’re the only one in a position to help him, so you should keep trying. But we have to keep going after Adachi-san, too. I understand trying to coordinate our trips into the other world and planning our routes is taxing, so please let me help with that. And if I can do anything to help you rescue Souji-senpai, I will.”

“Thanks, Naoto. I think I really needed to hear that.”

“Don’t thank me yet. The other thing you need to do is tell the others what you just told me.”

Yosuke grimaces. He’d been afraid she was going to say that. “Yeah... I know.”

“You should do it the next time we meet to enter the TV. It will be hard for them to accept, but they need to know what’s happening. I’ll do what I can to back you up.”

He nods silently. Now that Naoto’s pushing him along and urging him to share his suspicions with the people closest to Souji, the whole thing is sounding more and more ridiculous in his head. Souji’s alive. But not really. In fact, I don’t actually have any proof at all that it’s him, just a guy that sometimes looks like him and a contract I was dumb enough to sign and he probably wasn’t. The more he thinks about it, the more it sounds like he’s digging up painful possibilities for nothing.

“There is one other thing I’d like to help you with, if it’s all right with you,” Naoto says, and Yosuke tilts his head curiously as she stands up and gestures for him to follow her. “I’d like to show you something. Please come with me.”




They make their way into town, toward what Naoto tells him is the apartment she’s been staying in since she came to Inaba. It’s a small two-storey complex, and though he’s curious about it, he doesn’t get to see what her living arrangements are like in any closer detail. Instead of showing him inside, she takes him around the back to what looks like a tiny storage locker, not even wide enough to fit a small car inside. She unlocks it and pushes up the metal door, and allows him to go in first. There are boxes stacked neatly at the back and along the sides, and what’s probably a small collection of unused furniture hidden underneath some sheets. Naoto hasn’t had much time for unpacking or settling in with the case going on, he supposes, and he says as much aloud to her as he looks around.

“I’ve been busy,” she agrees. “Honestly I was never sure how long I would be staying in Inaba, so unpacking seemed a waste of time. It’s a work in progress.”

Yosuke tries to stay out of her way when she moves toward the back of the storage unit, leaning into a pile of boxes to make room for her. She goes to the sheet-covered furniture pile and grasps the fabric in both hands, apparently about to remove it, but she pauses before following through and turns to face him instead.

“I’m... sorry about Souji-senpai,” she says quietly. “I lost my parents when I was very young. It was a car accident.”

Yosuke stares openly at her as his heart sinks, sure that he isn’t going to like the way this conversation is probably going to head.

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Every Mistake (7a/10)

(Anonymous)

2013-07-14 10:43 pm (UTC)

.7 [Justice].

Dec 19

They gather at their special headquarters after school on Saturday, the first time they've done so without Souji. They've been fighting in the other world, of course, but they could never bring themselves to stop here first -- and now that they've finally come back, it isn't to prepare for battle.

Fog sweeps up and over the edges of the rooftop food court, leaving them adrift in a sea of cloud. Yosuke had been the one to suggest this as a meeting spot. Wherever he'd decided to gather them today, he needed to be sure they wouldn't be disturbed, and even knowing the food court would be abandoned by people desperate to stay indoors and out of the fog, he couldn't have hoped for a more secluded spot.

Being here is painful, too -- but everywhere in Inaba is painful for them right now. And considering what he's brought them here to discuss -- what he needs them to believe -- being somewhere that reminds them of Souji might not be the worst idea he's had to date.

"I, um..." he begins, hands clawing at his pantlegs beneath the table where the others can't see. Naoto is sitting to his immediate left, ready to support him as she'd promised, but he doesn't look to her yet. Not until he's sure he can't do it on his own. "There's... something we need to talk about."

He looks up, and meets Chie's eyes accidentally -- they're wide and fearful, mirroring the expression she'd shown him when they'd talked about this a few days ago. She quickly glances at Naoto, and then Yosuke knows for sure that even though he hasn't told anyone why he wanted them to meet, she knows exactly what he's about to say.

And despite all the resolve it had taken to get this far, that's the thing that finally makes him stumble.

"We, um... w-we need to visit Nanako-chan," he blurts out, instead of what he means to say. Naoto makes a soft noise of surprise next to him, and Chie looks taken aback. He ignores both of them. "It's uh, it's been way too long, y'know?"

"You’re right..." says Rise immediately, much to his relief. "We're on a tight schedule, but Nanako-chan could probably use some company."

"I haven't been visiting either..." Teddie sniffs. "I'm an awful friend..."

"H-hey, no one's saying that," says Yosuke, though as much to make himself feel better as Teddie. It isn't like he'd remembered to visit before now either. He'd even promised Souji and everything, but he'd let himself get too bogged down in grief and the investigation and his own injuries to think about others. Even if he's just trying to avoid telling his friends about Sebastian and Souji, this course of action is probably for the best. "There's been a lot going on. It's not too late though. Let's go now while all of us are together."

"Um, Yosuke-kun..." Yukiko says gently. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"

"Huh? Why not?"

"All of us... aren't together..."

His stomach plunges. "...Oh. Right. Sorry, I didn't think..."

"I'm not saying we shouldn't go," she continues quickly. "But seeing all of us in a group without Souji-kun might be upsetting for her, so... we should be prepared for that."

"If we're goin', I wanna stop by my place," says Kanji. "I've been workin' on these knit dolls for her and stuff..."

With their plans for the day decided, they gather their things and shuffle toward the elevator. Yosuke tries to hang back from the rest of the group, but predictably, Naoto won't let him be alone. He cuts her off as she opens her mouth, before she even has the chance to reprimand him for backing out of his plan.

"I know," he hisses, under his breath so the others can't hear. "I screwed it up. I'll do it right next time."

Mercifully, she nods, apparently willing to leave it at that, and they say nothing more to each other as they leave Junes and head toward the bus stop in the shopping district.





When they arrive at the hospital, they go directly up the hall to Nanako's room -- only to be stopped outside the door by her father.

"...Hey," says Dojima, closing the door behind him. "I was just leaving. Are you here to see Nanako?"

Every Mistake (7b/10)

(Anonymous)

2013-07-14 10:50 pm (UTC)

He's talking to everyone, but his eyes fall on Yosuke, at the head of the group. So he nods. "Yeah. Is it okay to go in?"

Dojima hesitates. His face is pale and tired; there are dark rings under his eyes, and heavy lids above. On top of being injured, his daughter being hospitalized, and the betrayal of his partner, he's now lost another family member, one who had ultimately been in his care. Yosuke has always felt a little intimidated by Dojima, but now it's hard to feel anything but sympathetic -- a connection born from living through a common tragedy. At the same time though, it makes him feel childish; he thinks he's having a hard time, but how does Dojima even find the strength to get out of bed after enduring so much?

"It's fine," says Dojima at last. "But don't mention... I haven't told her yet."

"I... I see..."

A scowl darkens Dojima's face. "I don’t know if that was the right thing to do or not. How the hell do you know these things? Either way... I'll tell her soon. When she's better. She needs to keep her spirits up now..."

"We'll be careful not to mention anything," Naoto promises.

"Thanks. She's awake now. You can go on in."

The group files past him one by one, but when it's Yosuke's turn, Dojima takes him by the arm and won't let him enter. Yosuke freezes in place. They don't say anything until the others have all gone in, and only then does Dojima release his arm.

"Some of my colleagues are keeping me up to date on the investigation," Dojima says quietly. "There probably won't be charges laid -- against you or the driver. He shouldn't have been riding on your bike like that, but since that's not really what caused the accident... Well, with the time of night and the weather conditions, they'll likely find that nobody was at fault."

Yosuke exhales slowly. "...Okay."

"I know it's not what his parents wanted to hear, but... dammit..." Dojima grimaces and holds his injured side. "One way or another, it'll be good for everyone to put this to rest."

"Yeah..."

An awkward silence passes between them. Dojima sighs deeply and tiredly, and says, "I don’t know what happened, exactly, but I know that somehow I have all of you to thank for saving Nanako. He was a good kid... You’re all good kids. So whatever you do... don't let yourself get caught up in wondering if things could have been different. Take it from me: there are people here and now who need you. Don't lose sight of that, no matter what."

Yosuke bites his lip and faces Nanako's door, and can't bring himself to respond. Dojima pats him once on the shoulder, and Yosuke watches as a nurse walks him back down the hall to his own room. He supposes he should feel relieved that responsibility for the accident won't be officially his, but in reality, he doesn't feel anything. He's already assumed responsibility in his own mind; having it be a matter of public record would have simply been the next logical step.

He follows the others into Nanako's room. Teddie is already at her bedside, talking excitedly at her, and Nanako's face is beaming bright to see her crowd of visitors. And though he's still not sure if Dojima did the right thing by not telling her about Souji, Yosuke thinks that when he looks at her face right now, he can at least understand his reasons.

"Nana-chan, Nana-chan!" Teddie leans toward her, conspiratorially. "Guess what? Kanji brought you presents!"

Nanako gasps. "Presents? For me?"

"H-hey, I was gonna tell her!"

"But Kaaaanjiiii, I can't stand waiting around while there are presents! Hurry up and give them to her!"

Kanji empties a bag full of adorable knit rabbits, kittens, and puppies onto her bed, and Nanako squeals in delight. "They’re so cute! Thank you! When I can go home, can we make some together?"

"S-sure, Nanako-chan! Anything you want."

"Oooh, me too!" says Teddie. "Kanji, all the ladies swoon when you show them cute things like this. Teach me your secrets!"

"Oh, this sounds like a bad idea..." Yukiko murmurs.

They spend a while chatting together and enjoying the warm sound of Nanako's laughter. It isn't long, however, before she asks the question they've been dreading.

“You’re all here,” she says, “but... where’s Big Bro?”

Every Mistake (7c/10)

(Anonymous)

2013-07-14 10:57 pm (UTC)

An uncomfortable silence blankets the room for a moment -- but Yosuke is ready for this. Just as some of the others begin to voice uncertain sounds around him, Yosuke says, "He couldn't make it today, Nanako-chan. But he said to say hello."

"Oh..." Nanako lowers her head a little, disappointed, but smiles again after a moment. "That’s okay. Did he get into trouble at school?"

"Yeah... something like that."

"Okay. Then you'll rescue him, right?"

Naoto glances at him. Yosuke's throat cramps too tightly for him to respond.

"Big Bro said something like that once. Sometimes when he comes home he's really tired, and one time when I asked him why he said, 'I was playing a game with my friends after school. We were fighting some scary monsters and they almost got me. But Yosuke rescued me, so I’m okay'." Nanako giggles. "He thought you were really cool. So... you can rescue him again, right?"

"Y-yeah..." Yosuke answers with a strained smile. "I can. I will."

"Good! Tell him to come visit next time, okay?"

Yosuke nods and says, "Okay", and then slowly drifts toward the back of the group, allowing everyone else to step forward and give their well-wishes to Nanako. And when he reaches the edge of the crowd, he keeps going, back toward the door and out of the room, and he barely stops long enough to close it behind him after he's gone.

He's not five feet down the hall before Chie follows him out and catches up with him, grabs him by the elbow and shoves him into the nearest wall. "You idiot... Why would you say something like that?!" she hisses, tears shining in the corners of her eyes. "We can't let her think he's waiting for her when she gets out of here! That's... that's too cruel. That's just--!"

"I have to go."

"Where?! What's gotten into you lately? A week ago you could barely even say his name and now suddenly you're the one who's got it all figured out?" Chie searches his face for answers he can't -- won't -- provide, and she sighs in frustration. "Souji-kun may have wanted you to take his place, but you are not the only one shouldering this. You have to tell us what's going on!"

"I know."

"Well?"

"...Not now."

"I can't believe you...!"

Yosuke wrenches from her grasp and starts backing away, indicating with an outstretched hand that she shouldn't follow him. "I will -- I promise. Bring the others back to Junes when you're done, and... and we'll talk. I swear. I have something I need to do first."

"Yosuke!"

"I'm sorry!"

He breaks into a run; Chie doesn’t follow. He knows he's making it worse right now, but he'll deal with it later -- right now he's possessed by the need to right a wrong -- a tragic situation that he feels, despite Dojima's assurances to the contrary, is his fault.

He has to rescue Souji. He's the only one who can do this.

He reaches the bus stop just in time to catch the next bus back to town, and when he gets there, he goes straight to the Velvet Room.






Yosuke still remembers the Persona Sebastian had requested of him last time, and when he arrives in the Velvet Room, he manages to fuse it with Igor with almost no difficulties. It's getting easier, he thinks; maybe he's finally starting to get the hang of it.

Sebastian watches him quietly from his seat next to Igor, while trying to pretend he's not doing anything of the sort. For the most part he keeps his attention fixed on the open Compendium in his lap, but he sneaks glances now and then while Yosuke is busy. He can't say it while Igor is in the Room with them, but he seems embarrassed about his behaviour yesterday, or maybe worried that Yosuke is still angry with him -- which he kind of is, but it hardly seems to matter right now. Seeing Nanako again has filled him with a sense of purpose, a renewed drive to set right the things that are so obviously wrong before it's too late.

He catches Sebastian's skittish glance once, the last time he does it, and flashes him a wan smile to let him know that things are okay between them. Sebastian quickly averts his eyes, but the line of his shoulders seems to relax after that, and he closes the Compendium and stops trying to pretend like he's more interested in it than in what Yosuke is doing.

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