Hi y'all. Mister Peaches here.
This was written before I even completed Persona 4. There are three continuations of this story, and a lot of them might be rendered not in-canon, or make no sense. If something seems wrong, you're probably right. But I hope it isn't too distracting.
That One Kid With The Hair
Morooka-sensei was, once again, lecturing the class, and Yosuke was, once again, not paying attention. Lately, he had been questioning the real value that an education would have for him, as adolescents often will. His old man would just put him in some dead-end job at Junes, he figured, so what was the point of taking philosophy? Besides, it's not like King Moron actually ever taught them anything. The entire class was just one big lecture about the teens of today, with the occasional useless Socrates or Descartes quote sprinkled between the profanities. It was also equally frustrating that he was sent home with an assignment he couldn't finish, because Morooka was too busy ranting over stupid shit he can't control that he couldn't do what he was paid to do!
Yosuke found it hard to believe there were people getting actual good grades in the damn class, but there were. A fine specimen of such a student sat right in front of him, quietly bearing Morooka-sensei's long-winded nonsense. Souji, thought Yosuke, is there anything you DON'T do well? I mean, just look at your hair!
Yes, Souji's hair was a great source of envy among young men and women alike at Yasogami High. Every day, without fail, Souji attended school with his thick head of gray hair in impeccable shape. He managed to make a color normally attributed to the elderly look refreshing and stylish—and boy, was he admired for it. Sitting behind that glorious, glistening pewter hair every day sent Yosuke into fits of nearly uncontainable jealousy.
He ran his hand through the brown mop perched atop his cranium. Unsurprisingly, it was caught in the "rat's nest" his father often picked on him for. He attempted to work out the knots with his fingers.
"Hanamura!" barked Morooka-sensei, pelting some unfortunate students in the front row with saliva. "Why did Descartes become a lawyer?"
"If you weren't so intent on preening yourself like some conceited canary," Morooka snarled, "maybe you could've given me the correct answer! Of course, I can't expect much from an idiot like you! Maybe your boyfriend could actually say something intelligent!"
Snickers were heard from a corner of the room.
"Your boyfriend, you fag!" Morooka hissed, the homophobic slur crawling down Yosuke's throat. The kid who was chuckling before could hardly contain his howls now. Two girls a few desks away twittered to each other concernedly, glancing at him with unbearably pitiful eyes. Someone gasped.
"I… I don't know who you're—"
"Oh, could you just try not to be such a moron? You know who I'm talking about! That one kid with the hair!" He jerked his head to Souji, who was looking understandably baffled with the whole situation. "You know why Descartes became a lawyer don't you? Or should I just give up on you retards right now?"
Souji cleared his throat, wide-eyed. "U-uh… his father urged him to."
Morooka scowled. "Well, wasn't that a lucky guess. Be sure to make sure your little ass slave manages to do his homework tonight. You! In the back! Calm the fuck down! This isn't the goddamn Laugh Factory!"
Yosuke nestled his face between his arms and pretended he didn't exist.
A lot of the other students in his homeroom, especially the girls, were unnaturally kind to Yosuke that day. They would walk up with these sickening looks of pity on their faces, speaking in soft, saccharine tones that could rot your teeth. "I'm so sorry, Yosuke-kun!" "You should report him to the principal!" "Are you sure you're okay?"
All this attention was more of an act of guilt than actual care, Yosuke observed. They probably just felt like it was their duty to pretend to be nice to me so they could feel like they were really fuckin' special. Any other day they wouldn't give a shit about me.
Yosuke also noted a suspicious lack of his "friends".
He leaned against the wall and grunted. How stupid was he to think that he could really rely on Chie and Yukiko and everyone else. He was just a punching bag for Chie. Comic relief for Yukiko. A human shield for Souji. His head started to pound from all of the stress.
Then again, I haven't done that much for them. They've saved my ass countless times… they probably want nothing to do with me.
… Still. What I wouldn't have given for Souji to save my ass again.
He felt something firm press down on his head and ruffle his hair.
"Yes, it fucking hurts, I said that…" he looked up, to find nothing other than Souji, hopefully coming to save his ass. The fact that he was smiling made Yosuke tense up in rage.
"You know what else hurts?" Souji said, removing his hand from Yosuke's tangled mane.
"Me about to punch you in your pretty face?"
"Nope." Souji's expression softened. "Seeing you like this."
"If it hurts you so frickin' much," Yosuke mumbled angrily, "You would've said something to defend my sorry ass back there."
Yosuke's arms and hands suddenly became very animated. "No! You're so goddamn perfect all the damn time. Everyone loves you, you get excellent grades, you have the ability to use every-single-fucking-Persona, and yet you couldn't stand up for me, just once? It's ridiculous."
"Just listen to me! I wanted to apologize." He put a hand on Yosuke's shoulder. Yosuke flinched from the contact. "… Yosuke. You're shaking."
"No shit, Sherlock!"
Souji leaned forward, so that it appeared that he was towering over Yosuke's shrinking frame. "Listen Yosuke, there's no reason for you to be such an asshole!" he suddenly shouted. The bell rang, signaling the end of the lunch period. Souji sighed. "I understand why you're angry, Yosuke. I wanted to hang out with you, after school, to make up for what happened and help you get your mind off of it for a while."
Yosuke's heart sank into his stomach.
"I… ah… alright. S-sorry…"
Souji softened once more, smiling. He patted Yosuke's shoulder and turned to leave. "I'll see you after school, okay? Try to make it till then." He gave him a sympathetic look, and left for his next class. Unlike the other looks everyone else was giving him, this one didn't make Yosuke want to vomit.
As promised, Souji and Yosuke ended up at Souzai Daigaku after an awkward, silent walk. The heavy clouds hung menacingly over the whitewashed shopping district, making everything seem a hell of a lot more gray than it already was. A freezing breeze had just picked up. Nearby, two stern looking women chatted against the backdrop of a shop, closed down with the recent arrival of a certain superstore. Yosuke always had a pretty good sense of hearing (probably because he had to hear orders screamed from one end of Junes on noisy afternoons at work), and could hear their hushed exchange.
"How…manage…show his face?"
"I don't… ugh, is he looking at us?"
The women turned their backs and lowered their voices.
"What's the matter, Yosuke? You look pale."
Yosuke's head snapped up. "N-nothing. I'm just… getting goose bumps." He rubbed his arm nervously.
"The wind is pretty cold out here, isn't it?" Souji stated. "Well, maybe your croquette will warm you up."
"It… isn't the wind." Yosuke glanced momentarily at the women, who were glaring at him with such malice that even Souji shivered a little.
"… Yosuke, do you want to come home with me?
Yosuke blinked at the strange wording of the inquiry. Glancing at the women again, he agreed, albeit shakily. Souji stood up, and started to leave; noticing that Yosuke hadn't gotten up yet, he stopped. "What's wrong?"
Yosuke got up, smiled, and shook his head. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a bizarre frog-shaped wallet—and produced a fair amount of yen from it. He handed it to Souji.
"Well, I didn't touch the food, so I figured that it would be fair to pay you back." He winked and smiled, in the usual fashion. Souji couldn't help but join in. Together, they walked, and everyone's disapproving stares just didn't seem to matter anymore.
"I'm home!" Souji shouted as he entered the Dojima residence, startling little Nanako, who had been engrossed in the television as always.
"Big brooooo!" she cried, "I told you not to do that!"
"Hey, it wouldn't scare you so bad if you weren't hypnotized by that television all the time!"
"It's just a cool show- Yosuke!" Suddenly, with Yosuke's entrance, the quarrel between Nanako and Souji was forgotten. Nanako bounded up to Yosuke. "Are we going to Junes today?"
Seeing all that childish hope in her eyes made Yosuke very reluctant to say no. "U-uh…"
"Sorry Nanako, I'm afraid we can't… we'll go some other time, okay?"
Nanako sighed, nodded, and trudged back to her favorite floor pillow.
"Sorry about that, Yosuke. She gets so worked up about going to Junes, she talks about it all the time…"
Yosuke gulped, his eyes darting around the room. "It's-it's fine." Why am I getting so anxious? I've been in his house before… Yosuke's mind kept swimming as he followed Souji up the stairs. It's weird. He's great around everyone. He doesn't get flustered when put on the spot, like I do… He grimaced at the steps at front of him. I get it. I'm jealous.
"Earth to Yosuke." He suddenly noticed a hand waving around in front of his eyes. Watching the quick motion of Souji's hand made Yosuke quickly remember his headache. He squeezed the pressure point between his eyebrows and nodded. He had been so wrapped up in his thoughts that he didn't notice that they had reached the second floor already…
"Ugh, sorry, my head hurts like hell."
Souji laughed a little—even a little noise was enough to make Yosuke wince. "No wonder you've been so out of it!" his face faulted suddenly. "Oh, sorry." Souji pushed the door to his room open. "Just stay in here, watch T.V. or something. I'll go downstairs and see if we have something for headaches."
"Thanks," Yosuke grunted, and unenthusiastically shuffled in. The muted colors of Souji's room were a welcome sight for the throbbing receptors behind his gradually blurring brown eyes. He literally fell onto the sofa, not caring that he looked like an absolute tool with his limbs falling ungracefully onto the floor. He wasn't a graceful person. Souji was.
Not bothering to move too much from his surprisingly comfortable position, he attempted to throw his hand to the table to fish for the remote like he always did at home. He had underestimated the distance he had to reach from the couch and, thus, ended up landing painfully on his left shoulder.
"Hey-um, Yosuke, you alright?"
"'M fine." He flung his arm onto the couch and attempted to lift himself up.
"Then why are you on the floor?" Souji asked, much like a mother would when seeing her child doing something absurd.
"'Said 'm fine." Yosuke found it harder and harder to move… everything he tried to do to regain his footing ended up with him pathetically slumping back onto the rough carpet.
"Yosuke, get a hold of yourself." Something grasped him by the arms, pulling him upwards. He felt himself relax against a soft cushion, his head falling against something that was cushioned as well. His brain screamed. All he could see was this big, gray blur hanging over him, and it was saying something he couldn't understand…
"Yosuke! Yosuke… I have a pill right here that's gonna help with the headache, okay? You'll feel better, just swallow this for me…"
He didn't really understand, but he tried to take the pill… he coughed, and choked, and nearly drowned when water was forced in to help him take it. But, it eventually went down. The pain dulled slightly, and his vision cleared a little… to see a really panicked Souji standing over him.
"Dear God, are you sick or something? You nearly gave me a heart attack!" Souji sputtered, rubbing his neck in anxiety.
"I-I dunno…" Yosuke whispered, quite truthfully actually.
Souji fell to the seat next to Yosuke, breathing a sigh of relief. Yosuke's head lolled to the side to look at him. Souji rubbed his forehead.
"I think I know what happened. You must have had one hell of an anxiety attack… what was going on in that head of yours?"
"I… dunno." Yosuke repeated, still just as truthful as before.
"Well…" Souji huffed. "We have no choice but to wait and see if you have another one. Just try to relax for now…" He achingly reached forward, using that elusive remote to turn on the television. They were playing some old movie from decades ago… some guy in a space suit was floating through the halls of some space station, while some eerily calm voice playing from the speakers repeatedly asked him to stop… Yosuke still couldn't understand much, but from what he could gather… the movie was really, really tedious. Even Souji was starting to shift around in his seat.
"Stop it, Dave… Stop it Dave." The computer's voice from the movie cooed.
"What the hell is this?" Souji said, his eyebrow cocked. "Looks American."
Yosuke strained to look at the flickering picture on the television. He was so exhausted that he couldn't hold his head up, so he resorted to leaning on Souji's shoulder for support, so incoherent that he didn't entirely realize what he was doing. Souji didn't seem to mind; in fact, he leaned his head on Yosuke's in turn after some hesitation.
Yosuke awoke to the light of an orange afternoon sun gleaning into his eyes from between the parting clouds. His head still buzzed horribly, but at least he had the mental clarity to realize whom he had been sleeping on. Yosuke felt his ears burn.
The movie had long since ended; now some weird thing about cowboys hugging had taken its place. The sheer length and lack of interesting content must have put Souji to sleep… but why did Souji let Yosuke sleep on him in such a position? They were just friends, after all.
But still, after all that Souji had done for him, he felt like it would be best to let him sleep.
As you can imagine, it has to be monotonous to stay in one position for a long position of time, so Yosuke had to come up with things to keep himself mentally occupied, since the movie brought up way too many personal epiphanies that he'd rather not deal with at that moment. Yosuke's mind drifted from one topic to the next—from Saki-sempai to Morooka to the TV world to Shadows to Morooka's homophobia back to Saki-sempai and then arriving, oddly, at the impeccable state of Souji's hair.
Why is it so soft? He has to use a metric shitload of gel on it…
He mentally likened it to a helmet. He imagined a Shadow launching itself at Souji, who bends down and blocks the attack with his hair. Yosuke couldn't contain himself.
Souji's eyes fluttered open, and lifted his head. Lazily, he mumbled, "Why're you laughing?"
"Oh, um, I was laughing at… the movie!"
Souji rubbed his eyes and looked at it. The woman, apparently the wife of the cowboy-hat wearing man, was screaming at him for being caught with another man.
"You were laughing at that?"
"Well, um, no, to be honest, I was—it's hard to explain…"
Souji smiled. "C'mon, at least try."
"Well, uh… your hair kinda… reminded me of a helmet, and, I thought how—" he snorted, and broke out into giggles. "Sorry, I—"
"You imagined me fighting a shadow with my hair, right?"
Yosuke guffawed. "Yes! How'd you know?"
"Chie thought the exact same thing."
Yosuke laughed harder. "Sorry, sorry, I hope I didn't offend you or something…"
Souji smiled even more. "Don't worry about it. I'm just happy to see you're feeling better."
Yosuke wiped a tear from his eye, and giggled a little. "Yeah… I certainly feel better. Thanks… and sorry."
"Sorry for what?"
"I was acting like an asshole because… I was jealous. You're just so talented, and together, and… I'm not."
In a startling gesture, Souji brought his arm around Yosuke, and squeezed his shoulder. "C'mon, don't say stuff like that…"
"Well, it's true!" Yosuke laughed. "I mean, just look at your hair!"
"Hey, it's not I was born with this! I had to work for this hair!" Souji was laughing too.
"Yes! Lemme show you."
Souji got up, and moved to the shelf in the northwest corner of the room. Peering into a box on the shelf, he retrieved a photograph-obviously an old one, because it was quite faded. Yosuke snickered again.
"What?" Souji said, through a smile. "Am I that strange looking?"
"No! It's… it's just so cute!" Yosuke exclaimed. The photo was of Souji; he must have been only six or seven years old in the shot, around Nanako's age. His hair was scraggly and looked unmanageable. Just like Yosuke's.
Suddenly, Yosuke's face faulted. "W-wait, maybe 'cute' isn't the right word for it—"
"I'm gonna tell everyone at lunch you said I was cuuuute!"
Yosuke, grinning, launched himself at Souji, and pinned him in a hug.
"I'm not letting you!"
The two laughed uncontrollably. They heard the door click. Behind the door was Dojima, leaning in.
"Hey Souji, I came home early so I thought I'd let you—uh…" he observed the two grown boys hugging each other and pulling at each other's hair like five-year olds. They stopped when they noticed the puzzled older man.
"I, uh, yeah, just wanted to let you know…" He closed the door with a blank look on his face.
Yosuke and Souji looked at each other for a second, and then nearly died laughing.
Yosuke tried to calm down for a minute. "Oh God, he probably thinks we're… Hah!" He broke out into his fit again.
Souji, quite seriously, looked at him and said, "Well… aren't we?"
Yosuke suddenly stopped laughing. An innocent question, but it sure had a lot to think about behind it.
"I… I don't know." He flopped down on the ground, suddenly feeling a bit weak. Souji inexplicably joined him on the floor. "I… never really thought about it before." He looked at Souji. The look on his face was something he never really saw before on the usually strong young man. He looked serious, yet, somewhat disappointed, or anxious, in a way. His head started to turn again. He winced. "Augh… it hurts…"
Souji got up and walked a few steps over to sit next to him. He placed his hand on Yosuke's head, which caused Yosuke to blush furiously, which Souji didn't seem to notice. Souji gaped. "Holy crap, you're burning up! We should get you home, you're sick."
"I-I don't think that's it… I'm just a little tired, that's all." He rested his head on Souji's shoulder.
Souji hugged him protectively. "I really think we should get you home."
Yosuke smiled into his jacket. "I really think that I don't want to go home."
It was pretty obvious that Souji had his answer.