Persona 4 Arcana Life
Chapter Summary: Rise snoops around and tries to discover Souji's crush. All for his own good, of course. (And maybe her own curiosity, but that's a secondary factor.)
Word Count: 1230
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( Reversed )
Slowly, slowly, he’s learning how to do it, to repeat and memorize steps and movement. Yosuke wasn’t wrong. Fighting did have things in common with dancing, despite how dissimilar the two might seem. It’s just that, in fighting, it’s entirely instinctual, in Souji’s experience. You don’t use the same exact moves in every fight.
One day, though, he’s tired and reacting mostly on instinct, and he ends up following the moves without even really thinking about it. There’s just enough energy to put feeling into dancing, and he vaguely finds himself enjoying it, waking up just a little. When he opens his eyes, he finds Yosuke’s staring at him with shock and pride and awe. It takes him a moment, which is impressive because Souji’s rarely seen The Magician entirely speechless.
When at last the brunet finally does react, he strides over very, very quickly, nestles both hands in grey hair, and pulls him into one of the most intense kisses he’s ever had in his life. If pressed, Souji would swear there were actual sparks.
When Yosuke pulls away, Seta’s head is utterly void of thoughts, and his lips won’t stop tingling. He can’t help but blink at the star, who, unfortunately, other than the slight blush and trace of the same daze, looks unaffected. The Prince breaks out into a grin and pulls Souji close again into something very much like a hug, murmuring into his collar bone, “That was amazing. You need to do that on stage. Though, hopefully, the audience will be impressed but not that impressed, because I wouldn’t be happy.”
This close, Souji can hear Yosuke’s sped up heart rate and breath, and takes some comfort in the idea that he’s not alone. He smiles and finally is able to move, placing hands on Yosuke’s arm and back. He’s earned this respite, brief as it might be from the polite yet no less demanding taskdriver the Magician had become.
“Can you teach me how to play the guitar?” Souji asks breathlessly, having run up to Yosuke’s locker after school. He’s not sure why it’s so essential, really, other than the fact that he really wants to impress the star. He’d prefer to learn the violin, but he knows that’s not an instrument Yosuke plays.
The brunet looks a little worried, not ready for the question. He seems to have frozen in the middle of taking something out of his locker. “Uh, I’ll talk to Kame.” As Souji looks about to protest, he shakes his head. “You do not want me teaching you music, trust me. I do everything by ear, to the point I can still barely read sheet music but play a melody for me once and I can practically play it back note for note. I have no idea how to do anything the normal way.”
The comment that that’s typical is quickly squashed out by the surprise that that hadn’t been in any of the interviews.
“Well, the good news. The arcade games aren’t the best, but they’ll still have given you a sense of rhythm, taught you some moves, and other basics that are really hard to teach if you don’t have them already. Also, I’ve seen you fight, so I can tell you your footwork is really good. The bad news is? You have to get all the moves down, which generally can only happen if you practice a song ‘till you get sick of it, which is kind of a crap job in the amount of time we’ve got. Never mind learning, what. Four songs?” Reluctantly, Yosuke stands and lets go of the hand in his own.
“Why are we learning so many? We’re not performing all of them, are we?” Souji had grown proud of his stamina while fighting Shadows, but he was still a little worried if it came to that.
“Nah, don’t worry. It’s a little unorthodox, but I think she’s using the others as training devices. The song the studio’s wanting to use is pretty difficult, so you have to work up to it.” Yosuke catches a glimpse of Seta-kun’s worried face and laughs. “Don’t worry, I believe in us. I wouldn’t have agreed to this if I didn’t think we were up to it. Like I said, we’re pretty good at fighting, and that definitely has similarities to dancing. With the added incentive that if we screwed up, we’d die. This isn’t like that. Ignore Miss Stick-Up-Her-Butt and just dance. If you make a mistake, fine, whatever. Just keep going. It’s not the end of the world. The audience only tends to notice you’ve made a mistake if you draw attention to it. Like so much else, be confident, and if you’re confident, that’s what people notice. Have fun, and they’ll have fun. You know all that Jung stuff with personas? This is the exact sort of situation we’d use them. Not that we can call our Personas out into the real world, but still. And like everywhere else, you’re not alone. People will be paying the most attention to Risette.” Souji’s still looking overwhelmed, so Yosuke reaches over and squeezes his shoulder. “You’re just lucky I’m teaching you dancing, since that’s a thing I actually can teach.”
“Okay, so, what do you know about dancing?” Yosuke asks quietly. He hasn’t let go of Souji’s hand yet.
Souji’s a little surprised, but not displeased. If asked, he would’ve said that Yosuke would be a more hands-on sort of teacher, not spending time talking like this, but he misses his boyfriend, so just sitting and talking like this, even if admittedly it isn’t accomplishing much, is nice.
“I used to spend a lot of time at the dancing games at the arcade,” he admits. He’s a little embarrassed, even if he can’t explain why. But Yosuke’s grinning.
“Me too!” he exclaims with enthusiasm. “You used to barely be able to pry me out of one. My parents practically hated them. I think that’s half of why Dad came up with the idea of Arcana Life and pitched it to Junes. I could dance, and instead of spending money I could make it. I wasn’t allowed to go after they started having AL songs in the arcades, though.” He looks depressed for all of two seconds before grinning again. “I bet you spent a little more time in there after they got our songs in. Pity they were worried about me being recognized and getting mobbed by crazy fans, or we could’ve met earlier. Not that, you know, it wasn’t good as it was, and I’ll shut up now.”
Souji smiles and squeezes the brunet’s hand, figuring he doesn’t really need to say a word with his face so expressive.
“You know, I get why Rise wants me to help out with all this. There’s only so much a single idol can do to get everybody stage-ready. At the same time, though, pairing the two of us doesn’t seem like it’s going to be very productive.” Yosuke’s biting his lip, staring at Souji without really seeing him.
Still, the grey-haired student can’t help but pout. “What do you mean?”
It takes a moment for the words to register, at which point Yosuke flushes. “I didn’t…you jerk, that’s not what I meant and you know it.” The slug on the shoulder hurts a little, but Yosuke’s not really putting his strength into it. “I’m not implying you’re not, you know, good at dancing or anything. I’m just saying, you know, the two of us. Getting distracted is definitely a possibility. Sometimes I wonder whether Rise’s the voyeur type.”
Souji frowns. “What do you mean?”
“Dude, you don’t read any manga, do you? Some of the stuff she says is pretty fishy. Yeah, practicing at the studio is convenient for both of us, now that you’re in the city and I’m doing another Junes event, but Rise could also wander in at any time.” The brunet rolls his eyes, but there’s a hint of a smirk.
Souji shudders. “Witch Detective was enough for me.” If he never even has to think about the book again, it’ll be too soon. Unfortunately, it seems to be stuck in his brain, popping up at the oddest moments, like a parasite.
That definitely brings out the smirk in full force. “Yeah, but that’s an actual book with paragraphs. Nerd.” The faux insult is accompanied by the smirk softening to an affectionate grin and Yosuke reaching out a hand. “Let’s see what we can do, huh, Partner?”
It’s somewhat normal for Souji to be in Junes, since he’s kind of become a silent, in awe shadow of Yosuke already, no matter how many times he protests. It’s not quite as normal for him to be behind Yosuke every time he turns around, and as nice as the attention is, he finally has to speak up. At least Souji didn’t pull this behavior at concerts that much, or security would’ve arrested him already and that would be awkward.
“Okay, I hate to ask this, but since you didn’t end up with a herd of cats did you decide to become an obsessive celebrity stalker instead? This is the third time I’ve nearly tripped over you today.”
“I don’t stalk Risette,” comes out of Souji’s mouth faster than his brain can warn him.
The grin he gets in return is equal parts blinding, bewildered, and amused. "Uhhh, okay." Yosuke shakes his head and picks up the box again. "Well, I can't fault you for wanting more of someone as irresistible as me, but if you wanted to hang out, you could just say so." There's a wink accompanying that statement, and it's too flirty. It'd be suspicious, if Souji wasn't acting even more so right now, but it's not like he can just come out and tell Yosuke about the TV world. "You know you're one of my favorite fans," the brunet admits, but is gone, box and all, before Souji can process that statement.
“Hey, Partner.” Yosuke, as always, is surprisingly casual. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile The Magician and Yosuke Hanamura as being the same person, in his mind, but then, Souji remembers being shown the dressing rooms at his first concert and remembers that, oh, yes, The Prince of Junes was just as laid-back, wasn’t he? “I’ve got some kind of awkward news about the LMB thing.”
Souji blinks as he types, phone cradled between shoulder and ear. “It’s…is it bad news?”
“Nah, just kinda awkward. I’m gonna be performing.” Of all things, Yosuke sounds…apologetic?
“We all are. Aren’t we?” Of course, Souji was really worried about dancing, next to Yosuke of all people, who apparently even before becoming a member of Arcana Life was a great dancer. The brunet looked up to him so much, thinking he could do everything, but it was Yosuke who was the dependable one, Yosuke who never stopped being an idol, Yosuke who’d quickly moved to indispensable partner, Yosuke who helped pay for weapons and armor when they’d become broke, Yosuke who worked full-time between Arcana Life and Junes and somehow managed to keep decent grades. Not that Souji hadn’t, but…that was out of necessity. It was work. Yosuke made it look effortless. If he messed this up…Yosuke would laugh, not meaning to hurt, but would he lose that admiration that the Investigation Team Leader had come to crave?
“That’s still on, from what I’ve heard, though I’d watch out for Uchimizu. She’s got a really bad rep, so head’s up.” At the silence, Yosuke laughed softly and continued, “She’s the one putting on the event.”
That explained a little, but not much. “Are you going to tell me what you mean, Partner? Or am I supposed to guess?”
“What, you can’t read my mind?” Sometimes the teasing is a little much, but…it is Yosuke. He expects nothing else, really. “Okay. Arcana Life is performing, apparently, and they didn’t bother to tell me until now. Or apparently Dad did. While I had headphones in and was studying for a test, and he didn’t bother to actually make sure I’d heard him. It’s typical, but what’re you gonna do?”
Souji’s heart shudders to a halt. True, dancing in front of Yosuke, much less anyone else, was a little intimidating, but the idea of dancing with Yosuke was both thrilling and terrifying, and he didn’t want to give it up. “Are you—” he asks, feeling the disappointment welling up. Of course Yosuke would say yes. He was the responsible one, when on the job anyway. However much he joked about Souji being too straight-laced.
“Woah, man, slow down! It’s gonna be okay, I promise!” The slightly panicked tone provokes a slight smile. “I can’t say no, it’s true, but it’s not like they’re both performing at the same time or anything. I’ll just have to change and get my star on between acts. At least Kanamin Kitchen’s performing between the two, so I can catch a break. But you just might have to carry out a passed-out me from the dressing rooms.”
Souji’s cheeks feel a little warm. Still, he’s smiling. “Your fans might mind. But if you do lose consciousness, I’ll take it as my duty to make sure you make it home safely.”
“My hero.” It’s half teasing, half genuine.