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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Well. This happened, again.
I think Shadow Yosuke or various alts tend to be flirty (in their dangerous way) because they don’t see a reason for them not to go for what they want. If they're interested and don't find something boring. If Saki-senpai had been alive in various worlds, they'd probably be creepily flirty with her. And they like wordplay, being shocking.
Persona 4 Ghost in the Shell inspired au
Summary: The Shadow Virus strikes.
Word Count: 635
“Chie!” She hears the newbie call her name and he’s not good-natured or amused like he usually is. (She realizes, as she’s sitting there, as if frozen, that it’s a defense mechanism. That he could get frustrated or swear or whatever, but people are wary enough when he’s not covering the nanotats with makeup. If he’s quiet, friendly, helpful, people are less likely to stare at him with suspicion or tell him to get the hell out.)
She feels someone tackle her and she hits the ground hard enough to break a rib or three. In fact, she hears the crack on impact, feels the instant of agony, and then it’s gone. But that’s impossible.
“Sorry about that,” Hanamura manages, voice strained. She glances at him. He’s pale, like all the ghosts in those stories Yukiko tells—no, don’t think about that!!
Think about what? She’s panicked enough she’s broadcasting. Embarrassing.
Don’t worry, not everyone’s hearing this. They’ve got some sort of interference up. What’s really worrying is that he sounds as tired in the channel as he does when he’s actually speaking, which means that he’s somehow managed to exhaust himself already.
“Are you frustrated?” she asks, and he frowns at her and suddenly the fuzziness in her head disappears too. But that was just from getting up early, not from a concussion. He’s going overboard, and exhausting himself in the process. She’ll just have to corner him in the station, where he can’t run away and maybe can do a bit of self-defense practice, work out some aggression, because that approach can’t be healthy.
“Shooters. Stopped time. Small area. Catching back up.” He stops to catch his breath, then rolls off her. “Healed ribs,” he adds.
“How hard was that to do?” she asks, knowing, in awe, worried.
“Hard.” What’s creepier is that as he loses colour and substance, his tattoos appear to have been gaining an unearthly glow. “Conscious for now.”
She takes a deep breath and begins dragging Yosuke behind a convenient truck. It’s a good thing she works out, honestly.
“Hanamura.” He’s left part of himself running in reality, just because he’s terrified that if he jacks in with his Magician powers he’ll get trapped forever, and judging by the almost-comatose victim it’s not a place he’d want to be. So he hears the voice behind him. It’s the Captain. Still, it’s hard to pull himself out of it.
“I’m almost sure the perp edited her perceptions, at least slightly. I’ll fixed what I can but he did some real damage. We should check to see if she had any brain scans, so I can do a better job,” he finds himself answering, still shivering, and in response a trenchcoat is gently set around his shoulders.
“How would that help?” The voice is softer, now. Like how they talk to victims, but he’s got residual trauma, now.
“Well, I created a copy of what she looks like now. Which, yes, will fly in court, assuming you can get a hack bank to sign off on it. I can see some places where it’s obvious what damage was done, so I can fix those, but he basically went in and took a weed whacker to the inside of her head. There’s so much damage it’s hard to see what was there before. It’s hard to tell what was normal. If she’s had any brain scans, that’ll give me more to work with.” It’s only after the fact that he notices the boyfriend is still here and listening in on every word. Dammit, Hanamura, I know you’re out of it but you gotta stop doing this.
He doesn’t realize he’s broadcasting until Narukami offers him a reassuring smile, at which point he just sighs. Come on, pull it together.
“She did,” the man says abruptly.
“What?” Yosuke asks, caught off guard.
“Have a brain scan.” He takes a deep breath. “She was gonna get implants, but her sister caught the Shadow virus. Which is when she swore off ‘em forever.”
Eyes wide, Yosuke nods. “That’s a good reason,” he croaks, and is confused when his throat is dry. Yuu pulls out a water bottle and offers it. You realize I’m gonna chug this whole thing down, right? That earns the slightest hint of a grin around the eyes—he’s still getting used to Narukami’s quiet expressions—and drinks the whole thing down fast enough he thinks he might make himself sick. He doesn’t, though, which is the main thing, and then tells the man, “Okay, that’s good, because that’ll make it a lot easier to put her back together, okay? Before you know it she’ll be back.”
“They won’t want her as a witness?” the man asks, and he has to remind himself—oh yeah, Unplugged.
“The state she’s in, you think she could be a witness for anyone?” Yosuke asks mildly, then adds, “Besides, we’ve had echoes—that’s copies of people—as witnesses for years, just for cases like this. It’ll be fine.”
If the man can derive any reassurance from that, he’s done his job.
“Hey, Hanamura,” Narukami calls, and the brunet slows, turns quizzically.
Hanamura’s really a cheerful person. Smiles a lot. But they haven’t really talked, and he wants to get to know the people on his team better.
“You want to get some ramen?” he asks casually, and that’s definitely a smile in return.
“Oh, man, I’m starving. Just lemme grab my gear.” Then he pauses while pulling on his shoes. “This is okay, right? I haven’t memorized that giant tome of a manual thing yet.”
It earns just the slightest of tugs on the side of Narukami’s mouth. Which is more emotion than he usually shows. “You couldn’t just write that into your memory?” he asks, curious, and the brunet pauses.
“Huh. Yeah, I probably could. I never considered it before. That could’ve been really useful in college,” he states thoughtfully, before shrugging. “But then, rewriting people is always dangerous, so I shouldn’t do it casually like that.”
Yuu blinks. Hanamura hadn’t discussed that before. Then again, wasn’t that what this was about? Learning both the man and the skills?
The brunet picks up the beaten orange messenger bag from the locker with his name and nods. “Okay, lead on, Captain.”
You cling to this ‘girl’ persona for all you’re worth. It’s the only thing keeping you sane. “If you wanted to date anyone here, who would it be?”
The representative is about to speak, but Yosuke shakes his head. “I’ve got this,” he states with determination. It’s the same sort of confidence he gets in battle, channeled, nervous surety that always gets your heart racing.
This scares you a little.
He stares straight at you. “Seta.”
Instantly, there’s protest. Chie kicks him, if his yelp is any indication, and hisses, “That’s not funny!”
He waves it all away. “This isn’t a joke. Believe me,” he takes a deep breath, then continues, “…I might be a jerk sometimes, but I’d like to think I’m not that cruel.” He rubs his leg a little. “I’ve had a long time to think about this. Actually, I was hoping that this exact situation would come up when I put in the suggestion for the Group Date Café in the first place. Guy or girl, I don’t care. I realized, well…” He rubs the back of his head a little, the tips of his ears glowing red. “Aside from the guy thing, you’re exactly my type. You’re an amazing cook. And that’s, like, eight-tenths of the battle right there.”
He winks. Your mouth’s been open a while. You’re really hoping that you don’t look like a complete idiot.
“You’re funny. You’re shy, though when you start talking you open up and it’s amazing to see. You’re really intelligent and you do sports and you play my stupid obscure games and read the same manga and I don’t feel like such a loser, you know? You’re responsible and talented and everyone looks up to you, even some of the senpai. You’ve got a huge heart and you’re an amazing hero, and you’ve seen everything that makes me feel like I’m worthless and still like me for me, and someone that amazing doesn’t come around too often.”
By this point, Chie and Yukiko are listening with rapt attention, and even Daisuke’s impressed.
Yosuke meets your eyes, and for the first time you catch that he, too, is nervous. “So, I guess I’ll say it again. I’d date you, Seta.”
You smile for what feels like the first time in months and reach out a hand, and he takes it.
“So, this really is a group date, now,” Yosuke jokes, beaming ear to ear, like this was all his idea (which you now know it really kind of was). It’s far too goofy to be smug, though, and you’re wearing a matching grin.
You’d almost imagine the conversation never happened. There are a few days where Yosuke’s a little more hesitant to swing his arm around your shoulders, but that passes and it’s like nothing’s changed. It’s nice. It’s frustrating.
He doesn’t ask you if he’s the last person to know, though by now he must be reading the signs. It’s only by his behavior—subtle changes, but he’s putting more thought into his actions sometimes. Which is disconcerting. Weird.
He doesn’t tease Kanji—not about that, anyway. Not much in the grand scheme of things, honestly, but.
He doesn’t make any more jokes about the girls, and he certainly doesn’t call you late at night to talk about girls in your class.
“Let him in.”
“Are you sure?” The way he’s looking at you, Dojima knows what’s going on.
“I’m not leaving until I know he’s okay,” Yosuke states firmly. He shrinks a little from Dojima’s glare but stands firm.
You bring him up to your room and close the door. You sit on your bed, cross-legged, and stare at the wall. Only when the silence becomes uncomfortable and Yosuke shifts, about to break it, do you speak.
“I’m gay,” you state bluntly, and to his credit Yosuke doesn’t miss the point or try to joke it off. He’s really quiet, though. “So excuse me if I don’t join you in freaking out about Kanji.” It comes out more bitter than you’d like.
“Crap, I’m sorry.” Well, that’s better than you hoped, anyway. He puts a hand on your shoulder and it’s a little more than you can handle right now. “I’d say I was joking around, that I didn’t mean a lot of the things I said, but that probably just means I shouldn’t have said them, huh?” That’s…surprisingly thoughtful. And mature. “I-I want to say the thought of a guy flirting with me doesn’t freak me out, but…you’re my best friend. I’m a pathetic friend, huh?”
Usually, you’d defend him with more vigour, but right now you’re feeling lousy and all you can manage is shaking your head.
Unfortunately, when Yosuke’s decided to stop being oblivious, he’s actually pretty observant. He pauses and then stares. “U-um. You’ve been flirting with me for a while, haven’t you?”
You make a frustrated groaning-sort of noise, and fight the urge to flop dramatically on your bed.
“How long?” He still hasn’t removed the hand.
“Since I thought you asked me out on the second day of class,” you answer. He can be persistent when he wants to be and you don’t want to find out his interrogation techniques.
He blinks. “S-Souji, that’s…”
“I know,” you growl and try not to cry.
He sighs, then pats you. “Well, I’ll try to be better about it, and we’l rescue Kanji like all the others, so—try not to worry about it. Try and get some sleep, okay?” He leaves, closing the door behind him.
Sleep is a long time coming.
“Lay off!” you yell into the phone.
Yosuke’s taken aback. “P-Partner, you all right?”
You sigh. “I’m fine. Just tired. Sorry about that.”
“Oh-okay…” He doesn’t sound all that convinced.
“I can’t leave it alone,” you say, and Yosuke winks at you.
“I’m glad to know you’re that kinda guy,” he says, and his voice is soft and grateful and you try not to blush. Apparently, you’re appear even if you don’t trust your voice, because he turns to Chie.
The victim is too out of it. The police asked a few questions, and it stressed her out enough that she’s not responding.
The couple and their friends are Unplugged. Yosuke’s going to call them by what they want to be called, especially in this situation. She’d been barely functional before then.
The only one who can jack in is Yosuke. He’s not a little scared, but he has to be strong.
“Hi, my name is Hanamura…”
He’s interrupted by an accented voice. He doesn’t quite recognize the accent, though he’s pretty sure he’s heard it somewhere before. He’s definitely a foreigner, which is interesting. “Haven’t you people done enough?”
Yosuke looks at the man straight in the eye. “Is the bastard caught yet? If not, then no.”
The man has no idea what to say to that. The loss in his eyes makes all the anger drain away leaving pain and loss in his eyes. “So, the idiot who came before?” he finally asks, voice hollow.
“That’s the traditional police. We’re the Inaba Investigation Team. They’re good enough for usual circumstances, and I don’t want to talk bad about them in any way, but we are better.” He nods. “I’ll tell you how this is going to work. I’m a Magician.”
There’s recognition in those blue eyes, but no fear, which Yosuke appreciates a lot.
“So I can jack in. I know you two as Unplugged may not like that, but it’s better than asking her questions and making her relive it.”
That’s a slightly worse reaction. “Jacking in won’t make her relive it?” he asks quietly, and Yosuke shakes his head.
“I can separate that, put her in a healing sleep.” He’s never done it before, so he’s going to be careful and create an extensive backup.
“Do it,” the man says, and Yosuke nods, takes a deep breath, and gets to work.
Yosuke’s Shadow calling you boring almost hurts worse than the wind attack. Figures I’d be weak to him. A treacherous voice in your mind whispers but it’s true, isn’t it. I’m boring, and Yosuke doesn’t care about boring things.
You angrily shove the voice aside and concentrate on the fight.