madimpossibledreamer: Izanagi|Souji in full costume holding out a hand (izanagi|souji)
[personal profile] madimpossibledreamer
everything is frustrating today
~dreamer~

Main Points:
Persona Superhero AU
Summary: Souji didn't remember how difficult just studying without social contact was.
Word Count: 2047
Rating: K
Note: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE PERSONA SERIES.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Dedicated to City of Heroes.  Paragon City will live on through its heroes.

 

          Souji realizes that he’s lonely, early on.  He doesn’t see his new neighbor much, but he underestimated how much work would be required to join in late.  He’s lucky his grades were good enough Seven Sisters would let him in at all.
          Early on, this had been his life.  Studying late into the night, waking up early the next morning, cooking only for himself, being polite and distant and barely seeing a soul. Before he’s been a superhero, before Inaba.  His parents didn’t approve of the superhero work, which had turned to grudging respect once he’d caught Magatsu-Izanagi.  (With the help of his friends, but they were inclined to ignore such things.  When it came to group work it was as if he was the only one that existed.)  Dojima had privately told him that he and his sister had several arguments on the subject until one day she’d finally told him, “Well, at least if he has to be a Persona, at least he’s a strong, famous one.”  It’s still not proper, but it’s good for PR and he’s sure they’re milking that for all they’re worth.  He’s sure that his father would echo similar sentiments if asked, but they’d sent family to talk to family because they didn’t think it’d be polite.  Dojima wouldn’t care, but then, he wasn’t one for appearances like his sister and her husband.  Only overachieving would please his parents—not a problem for him, before, but they didn’t care for him being so popular, either—a ‘distraction’ from his studies, just like the Persona stuff.
          Fortunately, he was at the point where he could ignore them.  He’s getting an education—in Sumaru, no less, which while it’s not Tokyo is still a reputable city—and between part-time work, Persona fees, and the Setas’ own desire for him to get a degree, he’s not worried that they’re going to threaten to cut off funding or anything.  He stopped caring about what they thought of him about the same time that he started caring—more than just as a courtesy—what Dojima-san thought of him, and what Nanako-chan thought of him, and while Dojima-san worried about his safety, he’d seen that Souji could take care of himself.
          Still, he’d gotten used to not only completing his homework, but doing superhero work and hanging out with friends and family, and this sudden void has him feeling empty.
          He tries to remind himself that it will only be this bad until he takes the second test to prove that he can catch up to the material so far during the semester.  That so far he’s made one friend who understands him faster than anyone but the Inaba Investigation Team had, and that he’s good at making friends, and he will be doing exactly that once he actually attends.  That at least he gets near-constant (almost unreadable) texts from Yosuke (usually when he’s bored, it looks like) so it’s not like the guy’s avoiding him, just understands that he’s busy (and even sends encouraging ‘you can do this’ sort of texts in ‘requires translation’ textspeak—which at least he’d had practice reading due to Shirogane).  And that just because he’s farther away, he’s still a train ride away, and his real friends still text him and are plotting the best way to surprise him with a party (he knows about this because Teddie, whispering like he’s a spy in some goofy American TV show, helpfully informs him about all plans made and discarded).
          Which is why it’s a shock when there’s an urgent knocking at the door.  He’s in the middle of studying, and the test is in two days, but he’s good at trusting his instincts to get him through things, and he’s had practice juggling school and superhero work, which is why he’s across the room to the door as fast as he can go.  He’s still feeling shaky and unsure but most of the studying by this point is for his own sanity rather than because he doesn’t know the material.  He throws the door open, almost breathless, to discover a bemused Yosuke on the other side.  “The jerk back?” he asks, because he’s ready and willing to help out in any way he can, and Yosuke just looks confused.
          “Um.”  He bites his lip thinking, and then the meaning of the question finally dawns on him, and he looks sheepish and shakes his head, shifting from foot to foot.  “No.  I just…uh, I got an idea and I was a little too excited about it, I guess.”  Guilt turns to concern as Souji stands there and continues to just concentrate on his breathing.  He reaches out a hesitant hand to touch Souji’s shoulder, and it’s greatly appreciated as an anchor on reality reminding him that everything’s fine and Izanagi’s not needed.  “Sorry to worry you.”
          “I worry about absolute strangers a lot.  And you’re more than an absolute stranger, so…”  Souji shrugs and goes to get another ramune from the fridge.  His hands are shaking a bit, but hopefully it’s not enough that Yosuke will notice.  He’s generally better at hiding his true feelings, too, but he’s gotten out of practice.  “I’ve been studying so much I guess I’m out of shape again.”
          “Well, I’d be happy to work out with you or whatever.  I’d ask Junpei but he seems to be allergic to anything involving effort.”  That’s a bit shocking—he hadn’t thought Yosuke would be the type to actually enjoy exercise—but now that he’s looking Hanamura is fairly muscular, so of course he has to actually work out to maintain that.  Maybe it’s to get girls?  Given how they’d met, and how Yosuke hadn’t treated it as out of the ordinary, he probably had romantic trouble a lot.  Probably.  He reminds himself not to read too much into it, despite his bad habit of making up fictional lives for everyone he sees.  The brunet hesitates, then adds, “Uh, as long as you’re aware that stuff tends to come up a lot, so I might have to bail now and then.”
          “Usually, I’m the one saying that, so I understand,” Seta acknowledges, panic easing into his usual calm now that they’re back to the usual talk.  The vague phrasing is back again, he notes.  For such an open guy, the brunet seems to have trouble talking about himself.  He doesn’t comment on it, though.  “Part time?”
          “Yeah, konbini.”  Yosuke shrugs.  If it’s close enough, maybe he’ll visit, just so Hanamura gets a friendly face.  Souji’s good enough at defusing anger, but a fair number of customers aren’t happy or friendly, and he knows how amazing it can be just to see a friend show up during a shift.  “It’s not much, but it helps.  I also do some online work.”
          “What kind?”  He can tell that the guy’s reluctant to talk about it—maybe even being uncharacteristically humble, but he’s always been…well, curious is one word for it.  Nosy is another.
          “Consulting.  Like, for websites and security and stuff.”  He’s squirming a little.  Yeah, he was put on the spot.  But at the same time…
          “That’s interesting.”  Hanamura peers at him for a moment, probably aware that from most people that’s a platitude, but appears to be quickly realizing that, no, it’s genuine.  He’s the type to talk to people he meets jogging in the opposite direction every day.  He’d be the town gossip if he actually talked about anything he was told, but instead he just listens to people talk, usually, and finds it fascinating.  It’s exciting how many different lives exist, and different ways of looking at the world.  Once he’d actually gotten into talking to people out of more than just boredom, it was a little addicting.  Everyone needs a hobby, right?  “Maybe you can show me sometime.  I’m okay with my computer, but I’m no genius.”
          “I’m not either,” Yosuke replies quickly, and then appears embarrassed by the outburst.  He’s still standing awkwardly at the doorway, so Souji just reaches out a hand and pulls him inside, and he startles and looks even more sheepish, but he doesn’t say anything about it.  Just continues his thought like nothing had happened.  “I just…augh.  I used to work for Junes.”
          Seta perks up, a fond smile already sneaking its way across his face.  “My cousin Nanako would love you, then.  She worships anything Junes.”  It’s too bad that he hadn’t worked at the Inaba Junes.  Souji would’ve loved having him as a co-worker.  The others were friendly and fun enough—well, aside from the two that refused to come in on weekends and were rude about it—but he didn’t really have anyone who he could talk to as a friend on the job.
          The brunet meets that with a mock look of horror.  “Oh man, they don’t need anything else feeding those massive egos,” then chuckles.  “I wasn’t fired, exactly, but…uh, I was pressured to quit.  Not that I missed much of anything besides the paycheck.  And there were a couple cool employees.  Sakiko-senpai for one.  So I had to take on another part-time job.  University isn’t cheap.”
          “That it isn’t,” Souji agrees.  “Well, if you need any more part-time jobs, let me know.  I still have a job folding envelopes and paper cranes.”  It’s more out of a desire to still have some sort of contact with Inaba—well, as much of a contact as he can, through the Investigation Team and everything else he can think of—without still living in the town, than the need for money, but he doesn’t need to tell Hanamura that.  The brunet would probably just laugh and call him a weirdo but in a lighthearted way, and not judge, but he doesn’t want his new friend to think he’s pathetic.
          Yosuke raises a skeptical eyebrow.  “How the hell do you transport paper cranes across a distance without destroying them?”
          “Very carefully,” Souji responds, deadpan.
          “Ha ha,” his friend mock laughs.  “Seriously though.”
          “Seriously?  In a plastic bin.  And with lots of practice.”  His grey eyes are the only indication he’s smiling.
          “I bet you messed it up the first couple times,” Yosuke teases, grinning good-naturedly, and then shrugs.  “Course, I’m one to talk.  You caught me at a good time.  I’m finally starting to grow into my body and losing the clumsiness.  I probably actually could do something by this point.”
          “I’d welcome the company,” Seta states quietly, and then realizes he’s forgetting something important.  After the second entrance exam.”
          Yosuke blinks, and then snaps his fingers.  “Oh yeah, that’s right, Mr. I’m Gonna Sidetrack You.  I was thinking—Saturday evening, that’s after the test, right?”
          He waits for a nod, then continues.
          “Concerts probably aren’t your scene, but Junpei’s already made arrangements with his Not Girlfriend, and I don’t know who else to ask.  Gas Chamber’s playing at Sumaru Prison—don’t worry, it’s not actually a prison, I have no idea why anyone thought they should name it that.  And we haven’t really gotten to hang out much, so…at least think about it?”  Hanamura’s trying to hide it, but he’s really begging, and Souji hides another smile.
          “I like having new experiences, so sure.  Will it be loud?”  From what he hears, all concerts are loud, but he could be wrong.
          Yosuke’s shaking his head, though.  “Man, don’t get me started on music; I will talk your ear off and leave you no time to study.  I’ll try to give you the abbreviated version.  There’s three members for now—a couple others are overseas or taking a break or other stuff.  And one of them, Kashihara Jun, doesn’t like it to be so loud, so they aren’t.  They’re over the top in other ways, as you’ll see if you come with me, but they don’t use amps at their highest settings or…”  He trails off, looking sheepish and rubbing at the back of his head.  “I warned you.”
          Souji walks over to his calendar and marks the Saturday with ‘Yosuke concert’.  “I’ll appreciate it later, but for now, if you want us to study together…”
          “I’ll make myself scarce.  Gotcha.”  Hanamura throws a goofy salute and disappears.
          Souji smiles to himself as he returns to his studying.

 

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