Author's Notes: Well, there's not much to say here. This is a genderbender, so somebody's got boobs, now. KhamanV did the beta for all these chapters. I thank her for that. If you're at all into Lost, definitely check out her fics. They're amazing. Without further adieu...
Billie Jean, chapter one: One Day In Your Life
In ten years, where did he see himself?
Junes. Junes, Junes, Junes in deserted Inaba, a ghost town with an inn and a store you could find anywhere else in Japan. Or maybe all the cute little niche shops would vanish and in their place would stand sleek, unidentifiable office buildings: the new civilization Junes had bought. Either way, in ten years? Yosuke would still be at Junes.
He was right. Junes was still there, Yosuke was still there, and some of the shops had closed. There were new buildings in the area near Junes. This was Inaba's new "commercial district". What used to be the central shopping district was now the "historic" district, a title that boggled what remained of the Investigation Team in Inaba. He wasn't greeted with as many sneers and disapproving whispers there as he had been ten years ago, but most of the people who reacted to him that way had moved out or didn't linger around a place with so many bad memories. Meanwhile, of the eight members of the Investigation Team, only he, Chie, Yukiko and Teddie remained in Inaba. Everyone else had moved away.
Compared to most his classmates, his job in the upper management of Inaba's Junes wasn't bad. Only a small percentage of students in any school would grow to be successful. That was as true for Yasogami High as it was for any other school; but of his small group of friends, he stood out as the only person who hadn't decided what to do with his life. Sure, he could say Chie and Teddie were in the same boat if he defined "success" as national or international acclaim, but Chie and Teddie were doing what they had wanted to do and were doing well under the circumstances. Yosuke never had a clue what he wanted to do, had kept working at Junes, waiting for the answer until it was ten years too late to have found it.
Meanwhile, the faces, the voices, the careers of his other friends were all about him in Junes. They were Inaba's golden children, even the ones who weren't originally from Inaba. It was due to most of them that a handful of stores survived in the central shopping district. Because of them Inaba got a tourism and commerce boost, a blessing and a curse, as it also attracted the developers who created the bland new commercial district around Junes. Yosuke lived in one of the newer apartment buildings off the good salary he made working. For all that one could find a building like this elsewhere in Japan, Yosuke's apartment was a nice one. He lived comfortably, finally had that motorcycle he always wanted, didn't have to pinch yen to make ends meet and had plenty of benefits working at Junes. None of his friends looked down at him because he was still working there. Hell, Chie liked him enough to date him and had been doing so for two years. Theirs wasn't a grand, sweeping romance, but it was good enough for the both of them. Really, there was nothing to be dissatisfied with his life on the surface, nothing missing except
He blinked, and the wall of computer accessories came into focus. He was standing in the electronics section, late in the morning, too early for students on summer break flood in and paw at the trendiest merchandise while chatting up the kids who had to work here. And yet, the person who had mentioned headphones was a teenager. At least that's what he sounded like. Was he here with a friend? Perhaps Yosuke could use his antiquated knowledge of headphone technology to help sell a product to this kid; after all, wasn't he once a teen with a pair of headphones perpetually attached to his person? He walked out from the computer accessories aisle, making a turn into the aisle full of portable music accessories, and
--dodged behind the next row, narrowly avoiding a keyboard. He hoped, and prayed, and hoped and prayed that she didn't see him. To hell with the kid—what the hell was he doing here, anyway? He didn't look young enough to be her son, and he knew she didn't have any young male relatives. Stealthily, he peered over the edge of the aisle in time to see them walk away. He let them go a safe distance before following them, watching them, the woman's hand on the boy's shoulder in what seemed strangely to be a protective gesture. He watched as they stood in line, as they made their purchase and walked out, and he watched as they walked out to the woman's car, a sexy black little number that sped out of the garage with a roar.
"Hanamura-san, are you stalking a customer?"
He turned to face one of the teenage cashiers, giggling with the first of what was sure to be a gaggle of teenagers. He frowned. "No. And you should be working instead of talking."
She rolled her eyes. He walked away.
"Oooooh yeah, that's right. I forgot to tell you she was coming back to town." They were sitting at one of the few Inaba restaurants to have survived Junes, one of Chie's old favorites. She was feigning innocence, or so he interpreted.
"How could you forget to tell me something like that?" he groaned.
"I had other things on my mind. Like the vacation."
The vacation she wasn't taking him on. "Why aren't you letting me go with you, again?"
"Because you're busy and this was the only free time I could get. And I needed some time alone." She shrugged, prodding her food. She seemed distracted, restless, not at all like she usually was in this place. In fact she had been that way since they first walked in. Yosuke just now realized this through the fog of his surprise.
Tentatively, he extended his hand, reaching for the one of hers that wasn't stabbing her food. "Everything all right, Chie?"
She pulled her hand away. "Well, ah, I've been doing some thinking and..."
"You're breaking up with me?" It was just a guess.
A very good guess by the way Chie was staring at him.
"I...w-well, you know..."
"It's just not working out."
"I thought it was working out just fine!"
She quickly rose to her feet, digging out her wallet and throwing some yen onto the table. "I gotta go back to work. But we can still be friends, right?"
He was speechless.
She patted his shoulder. "I'll see you at Dojima-san's tonight."
And she left before he could come up with a response.
Chie, Dojima, Nanako, Teddie and Yukiko (when she could spare the time) made quite the cozy little group after high school. They had taken to eating dinner with each other every now and then. With one exception, everyone else who had moved out of town made the occasional appearance. They generally had a good time. That was when neither of the guests had suddenly become exes, and when no past acquaintances had showed up in town without warning.
Tonight? Yosuke wasn't looking forward to tonight, those two things considered.
He had no doubt that she'd be there, and Chie, too. To be honest he wasn't particularly upset about Chie. He liked her well enough and thought she liked him, too, but neither had grown comfortable enough to do much more than date and spend the night. There had been no talk of cohabitation, no talk of marriage. Maybe her sudden resignation as his romantic interest was due to her finding somebody else? Chie wasn't a gold digger, but he wouldn't blame her for trading him in for someone less pathetic.
He was going to walk to Dojima's house. He didn't have the mental capacity to bike his way there. In his confused mood he'd crash into something, thus incurring the hatred of yet another resident of Inaba. Presumably, the dinner guests would want him there in one piece, so he could sit around Chie with nothing to say because he couldn't think of anything that wasn't incredulous gibberish. Why didn't he just call in sick like all the kids did at Junes?
No, he was here already. Here and—staring at that sexy black number he saw driving out of Junes this morning. He sighed, and peered inside, seeing that all parties, including that strange boy, were occupied and unable to notice Yosuke lurking outside. It wasn't too late. He could always run away—only Chie saw him before he was about to make a run for it and dragged him inside, as if they were still bickering high school friends and not ex-lovers.
"Oh, stop dragging your heels," she said as she brought him through the threshold of the front door. Much to his consternation, she announced his presence to all within earshot, including the tall woman cutting up part of that night's dinner, the very same woman he had seen and hid from Junes this morning. She was staring at him with a fond smirk and shake of her head.
"Took you long enough, Yosuke," she said.
"Yeah. Hello to you, too, Souji," Yosuke replied.