"An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit."
-Pliny the Elder

Marin Karin and Sexy Dance.

He can't help if he's weak to those—he is a guy after all. No one else seems to understand that. Akihiko-senpai surely doesn't; man, he's never seen such an awkward pickup line like that before. Only Akihiko-senpai can spout such lines that make Junpei smack his forehead and want to give up on babe hunting. And Shinjiro-senpai…uh, let's not even try and go there. And Minato just naturally attracts chicks, even when he doesn't want to. Lucky bastard.

But back to the point. In Tartarus, he can't help if he's weak to charm attacks. Plus sometimes the shadows aren't half-bad looking. Of course they look nothing like humans, but something about the color and posture they hold…

Junpei shakes his head, following after their leader. It doesn't last long, because usually someone can cast Charmdi and his super weird infatuation with those monstrous things disappear. God, the things that he thinks sometimes, under charm…

Minato tilts his head to signal them, runs forward, and stabs the blade of his shortsword into the black body of a shadow, and the battle initiates.

Junpei curses under his breath when he sees the regal mother; Minato starts off with a simple swipe of his sword, giving the shadow a good amount of damage. Silently praying that he can attack or someone else finishes it off before he goes; he curses again when the regal mother casts Sexy Dance.

He feels his mind go fuzzy.

Charm, charm, charm.

Yeah, since he never had any of that around him when he was little, things with charm always attracted him. His dad was always an alcoholic, his mother left them…what kind of 'charm' did a family like his have—and him, a product of that lack of charm?

He tried, he did. In school, people just think he's stupid when he tries to be funny. He's not smart, he's not athletic, and he cares about that stuff. He wants to be someone, he wants to have that charm and charisma that make people like him.

He can't do anything. Junpei Iori is a loser; he has nothing.

And that is why he is so jealously attracted to things that do. Shadows have beauty, strength, power, cunning—he doesn't have any of those. Even his leader, Arisato, the new guy—he was automatically popular. He has natural charm and charisma, although he looks like he doesn't want it.

Goddammit he has nothing to be fighting for. Why couldn't he be something more…just something more?

The haze wears off and dazedly, he rushes forward to land a critical, finishing blow. He looks around him and sees Yuka-tan trying to heal the others. Minato is slouching; he's injured, and so is Akihiko-senpai. He has literally just saved them all.

"Nice one, Iori," Akihiko huffs, wincing at the shadow-wound. "Nice timing."

"Io! Diarama!" Yuka-tan yells, and Minato stands up, brushing himself off. She hurries over to Akihiko-senpai to do the same. "Not bad, Junpei," she smiles, rushing past him.

Junpei blinks, surprised. He feels two light pats on his shoulder and it is Minato, congratulating him in his silent way.

When the team is healed up they prod further into Tartarus, and Junpei trails behind the skinny-ass back of Minato.

He doesn't realize it, but he does have charm. There's a reason why the others can work together with him, there's a reason why Yukari and Minato put up with his stupid jokes, and there's a reason why Minato chooses him to come along into Tartarus. There's a reason why when he's being an ass, Minato waits for him to cool down and accept him back.

Junpei Iori isn't anything special.

But he has the simple charm of being a friend.





Ending Notes: I'd like Junpei for a friend. He seems pretty cool, when he's not being an ass, but still, you can see where he's coming from. Inadequacy is a terrible feeling. :S He's the plainest guy in the game I suppose, but he's a natural friend—he's not easily thrown off if you're awkward, he's friendly, and he's pretty funny. I like that about him, he's a good guy. :3

This fanfic will be featuring all the SEES members, except Minato and Fuuka, since Minato is well rounded in personality traits and Fuuka never actually goes into battle so she's never afflicted with ailments. Guess who gets matched up to which ailment? :P

Also, they all still have their initial Personas; Hermes, Io, Polydeuces, Penthesilea, etc.

Next chapter should be coming soon; I have them all written out, ready for editing and uploading~