Note: First off: I know Morooka is dead by the time Rise comes in. BUT. I had to use him because I liked how it flowed, and call me a canon-killer, but it's a minute thing and I didn't feel it was worth tweaking. So…hopefully this is sweet enough to make you not care about that. Read on!

Clandestine Valentine

"Whoa, look at that."

"Is that Souji?!"

"Dude. Leave it to the transfer kid to take on the Amagi challenge."

It was the strangest feeling fluttering within Yukiko's breast: being light as a feather, yet shaking to the core. She guessed she should've expected it. After all, falling in love was supposed to be inexplicable, wasn't it? Her fingers hooked onto his school jacket, and Souji smiled down at her as she whispered into his ear, "Sorry. I didn't mean for everyone to stare at us."

"Don't apologize," he murmured back, and his arm tightened about her shoulders as they parted the hallway crowds. He remained so calm, so composed. It really didn't surprise Yukiko that his Persona had appeared without a Shadow; nothing seemed to faze him. He paused in his walk to look at her, and he asked, "Something wrong?"

"No, not at all." Yukiko blushed. "This is just…nice." The warning bell ringed, and she fluttered her lashes as she glanced away. "S-so. Class, then."

"Class," he repeated, and a soft kiss linked them both for a single, beautiful second, before the screaming of "No public displays of affection in my homeroom, Seta! You're on my shit list!" interrupted them both.

Thus did a blushing Yukiko go inside, and thus did Souji Seta receive his first detention at Yasogami High.

"So, is it true?" Chie propped her chin on her hands and stared Yukiko down from across the Junes food court. "Are you and Souji…y'know? Together?"

"Wh-why would you ask?" she protested. But the coke was trembling in her hands and Yukiko was biting her lip; Chie knew her too well for this to slide by.

"There've been rumors floating about this morning. Listen," Chie sighed, "I'm happy for you if you are, but…but you didn't tell me? C'mon!"

Yukiko blinked. "Um—"

"I mean, I'm just mindlessly helping everybody save the world, and I've totally missed the fact that my best friend has gotten her first boyfriend! What's up with that, Yukiko? I need to know these things!" She crossed her arms and frowned at her. "Like, we didn't have long phone conversations or anything. Rip-off."

Okay, so Yukiko admitted she should have told Chie. She meant to, really. But…but it seemed so silly, what with the murders, and the kidnappings, and the finals… Not to mention it was embarrassing. With Rise following Souji around every second, who would've thought anyone else could have a chance with him?

"I thought you'd laugh," Yukiko said finally.


"Because it's so….predictable."

Her best friend snorted. "Seriously? That's your excuse? Oh, Yukiko…" Shaking her head, Chie patted Yukiko's head fondly. "I swear, sometimes you say things dumber than me sometimes."

"What? Something dumber than Chie?! Impossible!" Yosuke grinned at them both as he threw his backpack on the chair, adding, "There's no such thing."

"There is, and I'm looking at it," Chie retorted.

"Ouch. Someone's in a bad mood."

"Blame Little Miss Giggle-box for that," the brunette snapped, and it was true; Yukiko had started laughing so hard her face was red. An idea sparked in Chie's eyes, and she turned to Yosuke, inquiring, "Let me ask you something, Yosuke. Who's your best friend?"

He didn't hesitate: "Souji. Why?"

"Okay, so if Souji were to hypothetically date someone, you'd know, wouldn't you?" Chie began.

"Yeah…?" Yosuke raised an eyebrow. "Oh, wait a sec, I see what you're doing! You want to know if you have a chance with Souji, huh? Man, you aim high."

"Shut up, I'm not—!"

"Well, Souji would tell me if he was interested in any girl at the moment," Yosuke continued. Counting on his fingers, he listed, "I've caught him talking to Yumi from the drama club, and then there's that snobby Ai girl, oh wait! There's some nurse he visits at nights—?"

Yukiko stopped laughing. "He's dated…all of those people?" she squeaked.

"Well, yeah. I mean, I don't know exactly. He talks with 'em a lot." Yosuke shrugged. "But then again, I talk to you guys a lot, and I'm sure as hell not dating Chie."

"You are so full of it, you—!"

"Ooh, did I come in time for a lover's spat?!" Rise skipped over to her seat and giggled at the flustered three. "Geez, you all look like I've caught you doing something dirty. Where's Senpai?"

"One-track mind," Chie muttered.

Yukiko piped up from her seat. "Oh, he's in, um, detention."

"Detention? My Senpai, in detention?!" The idol covered her mouth and let out a sharp gasp. "But that's so unlike him! Are you sure we're not talking about Kanji?"

"No, Souji's in detention," Chie stated, a mischievous gleam in her eyes as she gazed at Yosuke. "I'm definitely sure Yosuke here can tell us why. You're his best friend, aren't you?"

"How the hell should I know?" Yosuke retorted. "I was late this morning, and you know it. Plus, that guy only talks when he absolutely has to…and how was I supposed to know he had detention?"

Rise pouted. "So…are we just going to wait for him here?"

"Well, I don't know. Yukiko, when does Souji get freed from King Moron's speech on how to treat the female species?" Chie questioned. The inn heiress paused in the midst of sipping her drink and blushed.

"O-oh, um, it's about an hour after school. He told me he'd come here right after."

"Isn't it funny," Chie continued, "that Yukiko knows this, and Yosuke, the best friend, doesn't? Huh. Guess he's closer to her, wouldn't you say?"

"Yosuke feels close to Senpai?" Rise gasped. "Well, I must warn you, Yosuke-senpai—I have ample feminine charms to combat you with. I shall not lose Senpai without a fight!"

Chie coughed. "Actually, I meant Yukiko and Souji are close."

"Oh. Well, then." She whirled on Yukiko instead. "Then I must warn you, Yukiko-senpai—I have ample feminine charms to combat you with. I shall not lose Senpai without a—!"

"Oh, come on," Yosuke groaned. "If Souji were dating someone, I'd know it." A pause. "Uh, especially if it were me. Which it wouldn't be, because I totally don't swing that way."

"Would you bet on it?" Chie asked slyly.

"Dude, I totally would. First off, I'm straight—"

"No, no, about Souji dating. Would you?"

He snorted. "Uh, yeah. Guys know these things."

"How much would you bet?" she prodded.

Yukiko blushed scarlet. "Chie…!"

"Like, I don't know, a week's paycheck?" Yosuke shrugged. "Why does it matter?"

"STEAK'S ON YOSUKE!" Chie crowed, standing up. She danced from left to right, singing, "Steak's on Yoooosuke, steak's on Yoooosuke—"

"Like hell it is!" he sputtered, standing up. His cheeks were hot; his eyes were wide. "W-what are you saying, Chie? Souji isn't dating anyone."

The brunette smiled wickedly. "Yukiko, would you care to enlighten our poor befuddled Yosuke? Steak is involved."

Yosuke threw the girl an incredulous glance, and Yukiko squirmed in her seat, wishing to sink lower and lower until she could become nothing at all. "Th-that's…I mean, Chie, it's just…"

"I don't hear any proof," Yosuke said, smug.

"She's red as a tomato! What more proof do you need?"

"Yukiko-senpai has a delicate complexion," Rise explained matter-of-factly. "And Senpai isn't dating anyone."

Yosuke nodded. "Right. What Rise said. Dude, idols don't lie."

"Oh, God forbid a celebrity lie. That's totally never happened before."

"And here comes the 'tude again…"

Rise watched with lit interest and Yukiko shyly slurped her soda as Chie and Yosuke screamed at each other, the words "steak," "jealous," and "liar" coming up a few times. "And people say I'm entertaining," Rise quipped. "Those two are like their own romance drama, minus commercials." Then the idol cocked her head at the girl beside her and smirked. "But is it true, Yukiko-senpai? I'm just curious. I mean, if I were dating Senpai, I don't think I could keep it a secret this well. Spill."

Yukiko trained her eyes on Chie and Yosuke as they continued bickering; Rise brought her face closer, and Yukiko laughed nervously. "Y-you're pretty serious when it comes to romance, Rise-chan. Um…Souji and I…uh…"

The idol leaned nearer. "Yeeees?"

"Okay fine, we're dating!" Yukiko stood up, cheeks aflame, and blurted out, "We've been secretly dating since summer, and I made him keep it quiet because I didn't want to jeopardize the team or embarrass anybody or—"

Yosuke's mouth dropped. ("What the hell, Teddie's outfit and now this? How much money do these people think I have?")

"—make anything awkward if we broke up, because I'd hate for people to tease him or me, and besides, so many girls like him and I didn't want to stir any ill feelings or sound spoiled or conceited or vain—"

Rise giggled. ("Figures. Oh, well, Yosuke's still open. Or Kanji…maaaaaybe. But hey, if they break up, Senpai is gonna need a shoulder to cry on. And I've got perfect shoulders!")

"—so I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be inconsiderate, and I'm sure Souji didn't, either. We're dating. Now you know." The heiress could feel her head filling up with white noise and her heart slowed down from its furious beat to something more natural and relaxed. "Now," she sighed out again, "you know." Then she sat down and resumed drinking her soda.

For a few moments, no one said anything. Yosuke twitched; Rise fidgeted; Chie slapped her friend on the back with pride and set her eyes on Yosuke triumphantly. "Well, I guess someone's buying steak! S-T-E-A-K!"

"Actually steak sounds great right now," Rise agreed.

"Non-fattening, please," Yukiko added. "Something light."

"Why don't I just get you all a freaking menu?" the Junes worker grumbled, but when that comment received cheers, he stomped off to the food court with a heavy heart and a lighter wallet.

"Sooooooooo." Rise smiled wickedly as she scooted by Yukiko. "Now that the lone male is gone: is Souji a good kisser, or what?"

"I gotta say, Senpai, it was weird seein' you there." Kanji laughed and scratched his head as Souji gathered his things at his desk; "You just don't seem the troublemaking type."

"Well, you know Morooka. Finds an excuse for anything, really." The boy shouldered his bag and shrugged. "It's no big deal. Besides, now we can go to the Secret Headquarters together."

"Y-yeah." The first-year cleared his throat. "Uh, Senpai, I actually heard a rumor that you…uh…"

The leader raised an eyebrow. "I what?"

"N-nothing! Nothing. Forget it, a'ight? Let's just go."

"One sec. I want to grab something out of my locker." Souji dialed the numbers on his lock, twist turn pull, and opened the door. Then, one by one, little silver tubes of lipstick rolled out onto the floor; there was cherry, ruby red, scarlet flare, all the possible types sold in Inaba, which meant, basically, all the types sold at Junes. Souji stared at them all blankly and Kanji nodded in understanding.

"So about that rumor…I guess this pretty much clears that up, huh, Senpai?"

Before he could reply, the phone in Souji's pocket buzzed: "at Junes; got free steak; btw, they no about us now. sry." Then, immediately following that text came another from a different source: "r u a good kisser? Yukiko-senpai says so, but u no rumors. Gotta find the truth on ur own, rite? Fight the fog of confusion!! So call me, k? ;)"

"Kanji," Souji said finally, closing the phone shut.


"About girls." He laughed and shook his head. "I don't blame you for swinging the way you do."

"But I—! Oh. Oh, I got ya. That was actually kinda like a compliment, right?"

"…Something like that, Kanji. Something like that."

The next day at school, boys were cheering as Souji walked in. People were making kissy faces. Guys were high-fiving him and praising his name. But Yukiko didn't seem to mind, not really. She squeezed his hand all the tighter and kissed him on the cheek before entering homeroom, murmuring, "I'm sorry that I told them. I just couldn't take it anymore, you know?"

"Don't be sorry," he answered. "To be honest, I'm kind of glad you did, too."

They leaned in closer for another bout of PDA, and a man's voice shouted, "What are ya lookin' at, punk? Haven't you ever seen a guy kiss a girl before? Shut your face and leave 'em alone! Just 'cause you can't get a date doesn't mean you have to peep like that. Stupid bastard."

After all, Souji and Yukiko thought to themselves, having a personal bodyguard was nice, too, in its own strangely endearing way. And free steak every once in a while wasn't awful, either. Being honest felt wonderful, freeing, and enlightening, even if it meant getting written up on Morooka's shit list from time to time. But compared to free steak, what kind of punishment was that?

"Don't you dare get detention again," Yosuke snarled from behind him in homeroom. "My poor wallet won't be able to take it. If I hear 'free steak' one more time, I'm beating you and Chie like a piñata."

Apparently, Souji thought at the serious glint in the boy's eyes, a harsh, harsh punishment indeed.

End Note: Okay, so, the ending needed work. But. It wasn't bad. I actually had a lot of fun having Rise act her teasingly flirtatious self (I hope I didn't bash her, 'cause I love her to bits), Yukiko being blushy, and Chie and Yosuke duking it out. I would've done more with Kanji, but, well, he was in detention. And I know my Souji lacked all personality. This is my first real lighthearted attempt at…well…anybody in this game.

So, hopefully even after my silly nitpicking, you enjoyed this. It was at least fun for me to write, haha. Thanks for your time!

(EDIT: People are having issues with the lipstick thingy. I meant, basically, that people were whispering about Souji and Yukiko kissing in the hallway and as a prank, lipstick got put in his locker (you know like when a guy dates around and certain Trojan items wind up in his locker? This is a milder version of that, haha). Also, the Yosuke x Chie thing isn't supposed to be in-your-face, just flirty bickering. Didn't mean to be so vague, guys! My bad.)