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Persona 4: Filling the Silence [Irreplaceable Days 2/9]
[Artwork] firebird's child
chisotahn wrote in ikuzeaibou
Title: Filling the Silence
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Souji/Yosuke
Summary: November's rescue, the aftermath, and delicious bento.

Notes: This will spoil you in the face for November. Second in the 'Irreplaceable Days' fic-sequence; direct sequel to Heartbeat Heartbreak.




Souji had never pushed them this hard before - but, then again, they'd never had this good a reason to move quickly. Yosuke's memories of the day were blurred; it had all happened so fast, with Souji dodging past the waiting Shadows and the rest of them following, their leader animated by a single-minded intensity that they all understood only too well. The small fry weren't worth their time, not now. Not with Nanako-chan on the line.

And then there had been the summit, and Namatame, and Yosuke remembered that part sharply because of the anger and bile in his throat, and of how much he had to struggle to stay in place and not just leap at the man, at the person who had killed Saki-senpai; he might have, if it hadn't been for Naoto's calm, urgent logic and Souji's own iron self-control. Part of him had been hoping Namatame would resist, so he was almost happy when the Shadows came together around Namatame's screaming form and became something new and twisted, something he could hurt.

After that, it blurred again - there was the familiar rhythm of battle, of working together with Souji, Chie, and Yukiko to down the damned Shadow, and Yosuke's triumphant, righteous anger more than burned away the exhaustion of coming this far in one day. There were moments when they dominated the battle completely, a few frightening seconds when it seemed they would be the ones to lose, and a terrifying instant when the Shadow extended its will over them - but then it was over, the Shadow evaporating and leaving behind a broken man and a broken child.

The rest of it - leaving the TV, turning Namatame over to the police and trailing both him and Nanako-chan to the hospital, waiting anxiously in the hallways - were just details that faded along with the adrenaline rush, dulled under a wash of exhaustion. For the second night in a row, Yosuke found himself stumbling home, half-asleep on his feet, Souji walking at his side. Yosuke hadn't asked the other boy if he wanted to stay over again; Yosuke had just gone home, and Souji had followed him, and if he had any objections he hadn't voiced them. They were both just too damned tired.

Morning came far too soon, and Yosuke stumbled through the motions of getting ready for school, not really caring about the novelty of having Souji there with him. He slept through most of the morning's classes, only really waking up at lunchtime, but as the afternoon wore on he slowly began to shake off his exhaustion. After all, they'd won - hadn't they? Nanako-chan was safe, Namatame was in police custody, and so... it was over, then. Wasn't it...?

Yosuke wasn't sure if he was excited about that or not.

As soon as the last bell rang, Yosuke stretched and poked Souji in the back to get his attention. "Hey, partner-" He realized, then, that Souji had his cell phone out and was dialing; the other boy made a quick, apologetic gesture for silence before turning his full attention to the phone. Yosuke settled back down into his seat with a huff, then felt a little guilty as Souji began to talk and he realized what was going on. Oh... right, of course, the hospital.

Yosuke waited while Souji asked questions, trying not to eavesdrop (at least not too obviously) and fiddling with the assorted crap in his desk, stuffing things into his bag with deliberate slowness so he wouldn't be ready to go before Souji was. At last, Souji closed his cell phone with a click, and Yosuke looked up to see the other boy giving him a tired smile. "Sorry about that."

"Oh, don't worry about it," Yosuke said, quickly. "How's Nanako-chan? And Dojima-san?"

Souji sighed. "Stable. No real changes, and neither of them are allowed visitors right now, either."

"At least they're okay," Yosuke offered, then pushed back his chair and stood up. "And at least I don't have to work at Junes today. I'm still pretty much beat from yesterday." Still, despite the remains of his exhaustion, Yosuke was definitely feeling better, with the prospect of a free afternoon ahead of him. "Do you want to go hang out or something?" he added, with a grin. "I think we deserve a little celebration. Steak skewers, on me?"

To his dismay, though, Souji just gave him that same tired smile again. "Maybe some other day."

"O-oh. Okay." Yosuke looked abashed for a moment, then stepped back, giving Souji room to get up. "Well, hey, we can hang at my place. I'm sure my parents won't mind if you stick around, you know, while Dojima-san's in the hospital and all that - I mean, Teddie's already there, the more the merrier, right?"

Souji stood up, and Yosuke suddenly realized just how exhausted his best friend looked - not in the tearing, heartbreaking way he'd been two nights ago, but still enough to be vaguely worrying. And, knowing Souji, he hadn't slept through any of the lectures like Yosuke had. The other boy was still smiling, just as before, but he was shaking his head. "Thank you, but... I couldn't impose. Like you said, Teddie's already there. And I really can't doom you to that lumpy futon forever," he added, a hint of teasing in his voice for just a second.

"It's no trouble, man-" Yosuke began, then stopped and bit his lip as Souji bent down to pick up his bag. No, this really wasn't going to happen, was it? He knew from experience how stubborn Souji could be, and if Yosuke kept pushing Souji might well get irritated at him... and that would be worse, yeah. That would definitely be worse. So Yosuke had an understanding look on his face by the time Souji stood up and focused on him again. "Fine, I'll walk back with you, at least. I don't trust you not to fall asleep on the way," he added, with a wink.

Souji laughed that time, and it helped a lot, stupidly enough - yeah, he's just tired, it's not because I'm annoying or anything. I think. "Sounds good."

So they walked together, as if it was any other day; Yosuke tried hard to keep up a good, snappy patter, regaling Souji with every dumb, amusing anecdote he could think of. For his part, Souji smiled and nodded and responded when appropriate, but he mostly kept silent and listened. And then they were at the turn-off, and Yosuke could see the Dojima house down the street, now free of cop cars since the suspect had been apprehended. Yosuke hesitated at the corner for a moment, hoping vaguely that Souji would change his mind, but the other boy just gave him a friendly nod, as usual. "Thanks, Yosuke. See you tomorrow."

"Seeya," Yosuke echoed as Souji kept going down the street without him; he stood there for a moment longer, then sighed and ran one hand through his hair, self-consciously. He only started moving once Souji's retreating figure got close to the Dojima house, and then only so that Souji wouldn't be able to turn back and see him still standing there on the corner like some kind of idiot.

Yosuke wandered back to his own house at a slow pace, and tried to not think much about anything. It worked up until a point - up until when he got home, let himself in, kicked off his shoes in the entryway, and was promptly interrogated by his mom. He waved off her curious questions about how Souji was doing, why the other boy hadn't come back with Yosuke, and if Yosuke had heard the latest news on that murder case he seemed so interested in. Souji was fine, but he didn't want to impose - "It wouldn't be imposing, you know that-" "Yeah, yeah, I know, I told him, but..." - and yes, he was very much acquainted with the recent news, much more than she knew, though of course he didn't tell her that.

Finally, he was able to escape, and darted up to his room with an aggrieved expression on his face. Teddie wasn't there, thank goodness - he didn't need interrogation round two - but when Yosuke entered his room, he nearly tripped over the stupid lumpy futon. It was still sprawled over the floor where Yosuke had left it, though his actual futon, the one Souji had used, was neatly folded up and put away. Of course it was.

Yosuke scooped up the damn pile of lumps and carried it back to the storage space, shoving it in with extreme prejudice, then went back to his room, closed the door, and flopped down on his tiny sofa. He tugged his headphones up into place and hit play, not really caring about what songs were queued up, so long as the music saved him from thinking too much. But it didn't work too well - the playlist was the same one he'd taken with him into the TV world yesterday, and all the songs were saturated with remembered stress. Damn, no wonder Souji looked like death warmed over... aaand there he was again, thinking. Yosuke yanked the headphones off, irritated.

But he just couldn't get the thought, the worry, out of his mind - he dealt with stress and loneliness by surrounding himself with people, by cracking jokes, by teasing smiles back on to people's faces. If he was in Souji's place, he'd be freaking out, but here Souji was heading back to his own, extremely empty house. No Dojima-san, no Nanako-chan, just the remains of a freaking crime scene.

That's not home.

Yosuke sat up with a sigh, then shook his head. Maybe Souji would think he was annoying, but damn it, a guy had a right to be worried about his best friend at a time like this. There had to be something he could do. Yosuke started to go for his cell phone, then paused, another idea percolating through his mind. Souji had seemed so tired, and Yosuke had seen the frequently dubious contents of the Dojima fridge...

Perfect.

Yosuke grinned and jumped to his feet, darting down the hallway and somehow managing not to trip over his own feet on the way downstairs. "I'm going out - don't wait up," he told his mom as he quickly put his shoes on, and he was out the door before she had any time to react. His shaky yellow bike wasn't a speed demon by any stretch of the imagination, but it'd be faster than walking, and what with the time he'd wasted moping it was getting close to dinnertime. But Junes wasn't too far away, and Yosuke knew exactly what he wanted.


.............


It was dark by the time Yosuke pulled up in front of Souji's house, his legs aching from all that pedaling. As he got off his bike and leaned it against the lamppost, he realized how empty things seemed, even from out here - there weren't really any lights on except for one on the second floor, the light in Souji's room. But at least that one was on; that meant the other boy was home, and probably awake. Yosuke grabbed the Junes bag and walked up to the door, hesitating a bit at the doorstep. What if Souji really did think he was annoying? What if he'd already eaten? What if-

Oh, just ring the stupid doorbell. Yosuke rolled his eyes at his own insecurities, then reached out with his free hand and pushed the doorbell before he had a chance to stop himself.

For a moment, there was no answering sound, and Yosuke's heart began to sink - but then he heard footsteps descending the stairs inside. There was another pause, and then a click, and then the door was open and Souji was there, giving Yosuke a surprised look. "Yosuke?"

"H-hey, partner - um." Yosuke remembered the bag, then, and grinned, lifting it up so Souji could see it. "I thought you might be hungry, and no man should have to make his own dinner after a hard weekend of fighting Shadows, y'know? So, uh... I mean, it's just Junes bento, and it expired yesterday... but it's still completely good to eat! You know me, I wouldn't bring you Mystery Food X, right?" Yosuke ran out of words and closed his mouth, looking at his best friend, the Junes bag still held high in one hand. "Uh."

Souji blinked, then started to laugh - but not unkindly, not in the least. "Come on in," he said, shaking his head, a smile on his face. "I was just thinking about eating, but with the fridge the way it is now... I think I wouldn't have had any option but delicious, homemade Mystery Food X."

Relief flooded Yosuke, and he relaxed - why had he gotten so tense? he hadn't even noticed, not until now - and held out the Junes bag to Souji, who took it. "I guess it's good that I brought two then, huh?" he said, with a relieved laugh of his own.

"Definitely." Souji stepped to one side to let Yosuke come in, and Yosuke was pretty sure he wasn't imagining the relief on Souji's own face. "Dinner always tastes better shared. Always."

"Unless it's Mystery Food X," Yosuke reminded him, grinning hugely, and stepped forward into the no-longer-empty house.

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Yeah, gonna go with insane.

ilu!! ♥

ilu too~ ♥ I just hope I can keep it up, but I think I can, I think I can...

You better or else I shall poke you mercilessly until you do. ;)

I'm so glad this is going on... *runsofto3~*

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