I don't own these guys, Atlus does, I just borrowed them for a little while!
Rated- M for language. They are both Sweary McSwearypants'.
Category- Romance. There is a bit of angst and humour as well though!
Canon? I don't think there is anything in here that is impossible to the storyline of the main game.
This is my first published fanfiction on here so I apologise for any formatting issues- the user guide isn't very friendly if I am honest.
September 2011. Inaba.
Yosuke leaned back against the bench in the pagoda by the Samegawa River, his eyes closed. He was nervous as all hell and really not looking forward to the conversation he was about to have. There was a crunch of gravel behind him and he felt the shift as another body sat down. He kept his eyes tightly shut and let out a long sigh.
Kanji Tatsumi looked at his Senpai with both concern and confusion. What the hell was this all about, and why was the usually relaxed Yosuke so stressed?! When Yosuke had asked him to meet him after school he'd been very surprised; to be frank, the older teen had been pretty dickish towards him on more than one occasion, and he reckoned without their leader Souji the boy would have had nothing to do with the younger punk. Kanji had of course agreed to meet him, but he was understandably reserved about the whole thing. Was Yosuke setting him up? Was he trying to see if he could push him into doing something wrong so that he could tell Souji and have him kicked out of the investigation team? Maybe he'd arranged for some of the other homophobes in school to join him in a gay-bashing? Kanji didn't know, but he wasn't some chicken; he'd go take whatever was coming to him like a man. A manly man. He braced himself.
Yosuke opened his eyes and turned to look at Kanji. He cleared his throat and said a shaky "hello". He cleared his throat again, and Kanji noticed he was wringing his hands together. This was really weird; Yosuke was usually so chilled out. He could only think of two reasons for this behaviour. He sounded resigned as he spoke again.
"Oh-kay Senpai, spill it. You've either done something awful or you're about to say something awful. I'd rather know which sooner rather than later, it's not like I've got nothing better to do than deal with your shit."
Yosuke looked at the younger teen. Was he really that bad that Kanji would assume the worst? Had he really tormented him to the point that there was no fire in his speech any more? Where was the punk attitude he was used to? He just sounded deflated. God, this only made him feel all the more awful.
"Man, I've really been a dick to you, haven't I?"
Kanji blinked. This wasn't what he'd expected.
"Uh, well honestly? Yeah. I mean, things are tough enough on the team without someone giving me attitude, but I deal with it. I mean, I can understand why make you uncomfortable, I mean hell I still make –me- feel uncomfortable sometimes…"
At this point he paused, thinking of how to put what he wanted to say next.
"Really though, what bugs the shit out of me, no hurts actually, is the fact you don't feel safe around me. Whatever I am I'm not a- well- y'know. I wouldn't do anything anyone didn't want me to. It disgusts me you'd even think that."
Kanji shook his head. He didn't even seem angry. Again, Yosuke wondered what mental torture he'd put the young man through to make him so damn passive. He was Kanji Fucking Tatsumi, scourge of Inaba! He was supposed to be TOUGH! Nothing was supposed to bother him. Yet Yosuke had brought him to this defeated state with his treatment. It made what he had to do all the more difficult.
"I don't think that, not really. I don't think I ever did."
Yosuke's reply came as a half whisper. Kanji only –just- heard it and blinked again. Now he really was confused.
"Sorry, uhh what?"
Yosuke repeated himself but a little louder this time.
"Well… thanks. Why the hell did ya-?"
Yosuke held his hand up.
"Kanji, please. Just let me talk?"
Kanji shut up- Yosuke rarely called him that, it was generally a 'Tatsumi' with a slight sneer. Yosuke cleared his throat again and closed his eyes.
"I really feel awful about how I've treated you. It's had me in bits thinking about all the harsh things I've said to you, wondering how it must feel to have someone judge you for being different. Hell, I didn't even know for sure if you were gay or not- I mean, my shadow said stuff I don't really think all the time, it's just a little niggle at the back of my mind sometimes. I just let my own stupid mouth run away with me. You didn't deserve it, and I'm sorry. I wish I'd never said any of that shit."
Kanji just looked at him in amazement. He had expected more abuse, even a stern talking to about looking too closely at some guy or other. This was just bizarre. In a good way. Except, no wait, he looked at Yosuke. Was that…? Were those…tears? Was his Senpai crying?! Kanji shifted uncomfortably. He never knew what to do when someone cried.
"Uh, thanks for the apology Senpai, I appreciate it I really do. There's no harm done though, so there's no need to get so… emotional."
Kanji gave a forced laugh and slapped Yosuke on the back convivially. He really wanted his damn Senpai to quit crying, it was too bloody weird. He though a manly slap on the back might ease the tension. His plan backfired- it didn't seem to help - Yosuke's sobs seemed to get louder.
"No, it's not okay. You must have felt so alone and I made it ten times, no a hundred times harder for you. What the hell gives me the right to treat you that way for something you can't help? It's not your fault who you like, is it? You can't help how you feel?"
Kanji was at a complete loss by this point. Sure, the older boy was right. He had made it even harder for Kanji to work out what he wanted/didn't want. It was hard enough without someone judging him, making him unsure of himself. All he'd wanted was some time alone with his thoughts, but of course when the whole investigation team had seen his shadow in the TV world, he'd not had this option. Chie had been okay, Souji and Yukiko had been bastions of discretion, Teddie had just been a bit nonplussed because he wasn't to know guys maybe liking guys could be considered odd… but Yosuke? Yosuke had really caused him to loathe himself. And now he expected forgiveness and pity?!
"Yeah, you're damn right you can't help how you feel! I didn't know WHAT I was. Gay? Straight? Bi? No idea. Still dunno. Maybe there isn't a word for what I am because honestly I just don't fucking care about guys/chicks… it honestly makes no difference to whether I like someone. It was bad enough having thoughts like this, feeling so alone and scared and going crazy. But YOU had to come along and make it worse! Why the hell it bothered me so much I don't know cuz it's not like we were friends before. Fuck, maybe that was it; at least if you'd known me at all I coulda understood it but you didn't. You just waltzed in with your big mouth and made me feel so fucking worthless!"
Kanji was shouting now, his face flushed with anger. All those months of being made to feel like shit, like he didn't belong; it had been bottled up because he'd felt-hell- he'd felt he deserved it for being so abnormal! When it wasn't like that at all. His punk ass attitude had come back with a vengeance, and he looked as if he wanted to pound on Yosuke.
"That's it. Tell me what a sack of shit I am. Tell me how spiteful and nasty I've been. You deserve it. Hell, you deserve to kick my ass. So do it if it makes you feel better about things! I don't fucking care anymore. You hate me, I get it, and I deserve whatevers coming to me, so go ahead!"
Kanji looked open-mouthed at Yosuke. What the fuck had gotten into him?
"Yeah, well, solving things with violence hasn't really done much good for me so far. Thanks for the apology Senpai- I don't really understand why you felt the need to make such a big drama of it all. You coulda told me this at school without all the theatrics. I mean, I'm glad you're sorry and all but if that's all this was I'm outta here!"
Yosuke made a sort of half laugh, half sob.
"Actually, that was only part of what I wanted to say to you. I actually wanted to talk to you about something kinda personal."
"Well I dunno why you picked me. It better be fucking important because if it's not I'd go talk to the Leader or one of your friends-" he practically spat the word "- and leave me the hell alone for a while".
"No, it has to be you I talk to."
Kanji had to admit he was intrigued. What was so important that the Junes Prince couldn't talk to his beloved Souji, seeing as how he generally followed him around like a bad smell? Not that the silver haired teen minded- he seemed to have been born with the patience of a saint. This, come to think of it, made the fact Yosuke wanted to talk to him even more interesting…
"Go on. I'm listening"
He noted the other boy steeling himself. He recognised the stance from times he'd had to face the music with his mother after he'd been in trouble again. What was going on?!
"Kanji. I haven't spoken to anyone else about this, not even Souji, because I wanted to tell you first. I think it's only right. If you want to tell the world then I wouldn't blame you after how I've behaved towards you. I'm so sorry I've been such a hypocrite, I think I was using you as a shield to deflect anyone noticing me and it wasn't fair. Please know I don't hate you, and I hope in time you won't hate me, although as you said I have no right to ask you for forgiveness."
Kanji just stared at the boy.
"Tell everyone what Senpai? You're not making any sense?"
Yosuke just smiled sadly.
"C'mon Kanji. Not even you could be that dumb."
Oh. Ohhhhhh! Kanji Tatsumi was speechless for the first time in his entire life. He'd just had no idea! Well no, wait. That wasn't entirely true. There had been a few times he'd wondered why Yosuke was so defensive but he'd assumed he'd maybe had a bad experience in the city. Hell, the boy had always been mad on chicks, wouldn't stop talking about them!
"Say something Kanji, please- or hit me for being such an asshole. Do something. You're kinda freaking me out when you just stand there and you aren't saying anything."
This jogged Kanji's memory of the school campout. How Yosuke had seemed both disgusted but also oddly curious…
"How long have you known?"
Yosuke looked at Kanji in surprise. He'd expected shouting, maybe even violence. Not this calm questioning.
"I only fully made up my mind these last few weeks. It's been on my mind for some time though."
"Huh. What about when you were fighting my shadow? Were you confused about it then?"
Yosuke nodded and hung his head.
"That explains your behaviour then. I remember when I first got a bit confused about that stuff. If the same had happened, you bet your ass I would have reacted bad. I really hated myself, y'know? Thought I was some disgusting freak. Hell, it's only been since my shadow I've been at least a little comfortable with myself. I mean, it doesn't need to be a big deal, right? When I said it made no difference whether Naoto was male or female, I meant it. I really don't give a fuck and that means I don't give a fuck whether other people give a fuck! Y'know?"
Yosuke listened to all this in silence, taking it in.
"So you're probably bi then?"
"Nah, I wouldn't say that. I'd say I'm whatever I am with whomever I'm with. If Naoto and I'd stuck together and she'd really been a 'he' I wouldn't have cared at all. I don't need a label. I just do what feels right. Maybe you shouldn't be so bothered about labelling yourself either. You might feel differently in the future."
Yosuke shook his head.
"No I won't. I'm definitely gay. There's no question in my mind anymore… Fuck. That's the first time I've actually said it out loud!"
Yosuke's eyes went big and he clamped a hand over his mouth! Kanji laughed again.
"Bet it feels kinda good though!"- Yosuke nodded- "Well Senpai, I'm glad we had this talk. I kinda understand you a bit better. Thanks again for the apology and for the trust. You took a real gamble telling me this- appreciate your honesty. I promise no one will hear it from me; you just tell people when good and ready. The guys though, they'll be cool; the only one who was even bothered about me was you, and now we know why!"
Kanji gave Yosuke a wink and Yosuke laughed and stuck out his toungue.
"Thanks Kanji man. You're ok. Again I'm sorry about-"
Kanji cut him off once more.
"Stop apologising. It's in the past. Done with. Finished. Now I better go help Ma with dinner before she gets mad at me. I'll see you tomorrow! Oh and if you ever need to talk things out, just give me a call."
With that, Kanji gave Yosuke another pat on the back and trotted off in the direction of the shopping district.
A few weeks later.
"Partner, I'm gay"
Yosuke had thought about how to phrase this, where and when to say it, but it had just popped out one day during one of their rooftop lunches. The other teen just quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Uh, okay. Any particular reason you felt the need to share this right now?"
Yosukes rejection must have been felt because the silver haired young man continued hastily-
"No no, don't look like that. I don't mind at all. I just wondered why you wanted to tell me this about 2 minutes before the bell goes rather than waiting until after class when you're staying at mine tonight anyway? Or did you think I wouldn't want you in my house once I knew? Because if that's it I'm a little hurt Yosuke (Yosuke winced)- you should know I care about you too much as a friend to let something like that bother me!"
"Sorry Partner. Actually I hadn't intended to say anything yet at all- I just blurted it out!"
At that both boys laughed.
"Well there's the bell Yosuke. We can talk about this later at mine. Don't worry, I don't expect you to pounce on me or anything. I'm just glad you told me!".
"Haha. Don't flatter yourself!" Yosuke stuck out his toungue as they walked into class.
"I must admit, I did wonder about you Yosuke"
The boys were sat in Dojimas living-room, Nanako too engrossed in the TV to pay them any attention. Yosuke looked surprised.
"How so partner?"
"We-ell. You were always so hard on Kanji. Came off as a little defensive to me. Plus you went on about girls more than even the horniest blokes I knew in the city… I mean, what kind of person goes into another mans room and looks for his p-" he looked at Nanako "- uh, stash? It was a bit odd to say the least. Plus, I kinda saw the way you looked at Kanji's shadow" he whispered finally.
Yosuke had just taken a large sip of soda at this point and it went down the wrong way, coming out his nose as well as being coughed back up. Some of the flying drops hit Nanako and she wheeled around really fast.
"Sorry Nanako. Choked"
Yosuke wiped his eyes after his violent coughing. Souji looked sideways at him, wondering if he should ask the one question really intriguing him.
"Did you ever look at me like that?"
Unfortunately Yosuke had just taken another drink of his soda.
"Ewwwww! Big Bro, if you're going to make him do that can you go upstairs? I reeeeally want to watch this cartoon!"
"Sorry Nanako" both boys chorused, and they traipsed off up the stairs.
Once in the bedroom Yosuke rounded on their leader.
"Why the hell would you ask me that? Man, I'm uncomfortable!"
Souji just looked at him waiting for an answer.
"Oh, come on, you can't possibly expect an answer to that man, you're insane!"
Souji just folded his arms across his chest. Yosuke knew he wouldn't get peace until he'd been answered, and he also knew Souji would know if he was lying. Great, this was so awkward.
"Fine. Yeah. Okay. I'd be lying if I said I'd never thought about you like that, but please don't read anything into it; it was when we'd just met- remember how I crashed my bike? It's cuz I was too busy staring at you… it's nothing though, I got over it really quickly. I just want you as a friend, so please don't be grossed out!"
It'd all came out in a rush, like so many things these days. Souji just chuckled.
"It's cool, I wouldn't have asked if I hadn't wanted an honest answer. I'm flattered, really, and I don't fear you're going to try ravish me during the night!"
Yosuke took off a sock and threw it in Soujis face.
"Anyway, what the heck did you mean about Kanji's shadow in the living room?"
The silver haired teen let out another laugh and threw Yosukes dirty sock back at him.
"I mean that there was a naked Kanji in front of you, and you seemed to be looking everywhere BUT his face! I mean everywhere! How no one else picked up on it I don't bloody know! They must have been too shocked by the words coming out of its mouth but believe me I noticed!"
Yosuke resembled a sunburnt lobster by this point.
"Well if you noticed that, why the hell didn't you say anything? You coulda stopped me being such a loser to Kanji!
The leader actually looked a bit uncomfortable at this.
"I know, and believe me I feel awful about it, but how could I? I could see the pain Kanji was going through, we all could because of his shadow. I didn't want to force you to talk about something you weren't ready to talk about. It was hard enough knowing you were going through that in silence. Believe me, I was going to bring it up this evening anyway, that's why I invited you over- to braid hair and talk about boys"
Yosuke stuck out his tongue.
"You're my best friend. I couldn't watch you tear yourself apart any longer. I mean, I can't say I know what you're going through; you know how much I like the ladies"- Yosuke chuckled a bit at this – "but I couldn't stand you hurting. I just want you to know I'm here for you, and it doesn't gross me out if you want to talk about guys you like or anything. It's all fine."
Yosuke was welling up again, but this time it was out of relief and happiness. He was accepted and he wasn't alone. Their leader looked suddenly stern though.
"Although there is one thing you need to do- apologise to Kanji for your shitty treatment of him."
Yosuke looked down at this point. Damnit. Was his best friend going to feel betrayed because he'd opened up to someone else first? He hadn't thought of that at the time, he'd been so sure he was doing the right thing.
"Uh actually partner… Kanji already knows."
The silver haired boy grinned at him.
"Ohhhh, so you two are…"
Yosuke blushed and went bug eyed again.
"No no, nothing like that. I just felt that after being such a dick to him he deserved to find out first before anyone else could possibly tell him. I thought I owed him at least that much, as well as an apology of course. He's a good guy. I hope you're not angry I didn't tell you first."
Souji looked genuinely pleased by this point.
"No I'm not angry. You did the right thing. I'm incredibly proud of you Hanamura. You've grown up so much since we first met. How did Kanji take the news?"
"He took it really well- he's surprisingly easy to talk to. I wish I'd got to know him sooner. He's a really good guy."
Souji chuckled again.
"That's twice you've said that about him. With that and the fact you were ogling his shadow… shame he's into Naoto."
"… He's not. He mentioned it when I first told him."
"Oh, reallllly? Did he mention if he actually likes guys?"
"Uhh… he didn't say he didn't like guys like that. He said he's whatever with whomever he's with'… whatever that means. I don't quite get him but he seems happy with himself so it's cool. W-wait a minute, what are you suggesting?"
"I'm suggesting Yosuke oh dense one, that you ask our dear Kanji on a date- you do seem to have a thing for him!"
"Uh, partner. Have you accidentally overdosed on the dokudami tea again? You know that stuff makes you go crazy."
"No, I think it's a great idea actually!"
"Yep, definitely overdosed. Might I point out that I haven't actually said I like him? Even if I did like him, what's to say he'd be interested? I mean I've been an absolute cock towards him so far, why the hell would he want me? Plus, I doubt I'm his type even if I was interested. Which I still haven't said I am."
Yosuke crossed his arms in a huff.
"You haven't said you aren't either."
"... oh, forfucksakes FINE. I Yosuke Hanamura am absolutely not interested in Kanji Tatsumi. Even if he is bloody gorgeous… although who's to say he'd think that of me… and he's a really nice guy… and I –might- have thought about kissing him once or twice… Crap didijustsaythatoutloud?"
Souji was laughing hard by now.
"Yeah, totally not into him at all."
"Ok partner, you got me. But just because I like him, doesn't mean he'll like me. Just cos I'm a guy who likes guys and he might be a guy who likes guys doesn't mean we're automatically compatible! I just don't think he'd like me in that way."
"Maybe that's for me to decide-" a gruff voice came from the doorway.
"Oh crap- how long have you been there? SOUJI!"
Souji looked completely unrepentant.
"I'll leave you guys alone for a bit whilst I get Nanako some dinner"
He shut the door and Kanji looked at Yosuke who was blushing furiously, wishing the room would just swallow him up. Why the hell did these things happen to him?!
"I got a text from Sensei about 20 minutes ago asking if I wanted to come over and hang with you guys. Nanako let me in and I came upstairs, and since your conversation sounded so interesting I decided just to be nosey and listen in for a while."
Yosuke had never been so embarrassed in his live. Souji must have text him when they'd left the living room. Sneaky bastard probably planned this; he'd be having words with him later tonight!
"Kanji, I'm sorry, look I'm not expecting anything, and I really didn't want you to hear that! I'm going to MURDER him!"
"No… I'm glad I did. It's given me something to think about. I can't say how I feel about it yet, gimme some time. I'm not saying no it's just… new, ok?"
Yosuke nodded silently. He knew he shouldn't but he felt rejected. Kanji could obviously tell and he crossed the room swiftly to sit beside him. He put his arm around Yosukes shoulder to reassure him.
"Hey, don't look sad. Whatever happens, we'll still be friends, right?"
Yosuke nodded imperceptibly.
"Aw man… just… ah screw it!"
Yosukes eyes widened as he felt a pair of lips touch his own. It was just the briefest of touches, before Kanji pulled away.
"But I thought you said-"
"Yeah well. I changed my mind."
Another brief peck on the lips.
"We'll work this out together. Take it slow. See what happens. Does that sound okay?"
Yosuke nodded and shyly placed his hand on Kanji's.
"That sounds perfect"