chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (frump)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: Ten Steps
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Souji/Yosuke (eventually); ensemble
Summary: AU, longfic; fill for this prompt on [livejournal.com profile] badbadbathhouse; details in the first part, here.


Notes: This will spoil you in the face for events up to August + elements of November. This is part two of sixteen.




Inaba was tiny - one train station, one gas station, and that was about it. The bulk of Junes seemed to dwarf everything around it. So it was patently ridiculous for Yosuke to get lost on the way to school, but he managed it somehow. Fantastic. One more reason for that asshole teacher to yell at me.

Somehow, Yosuke made it in before the morning bell, though it was a near thing; he darted into the classroom and hurriedly sat down just as the other door opened to admit their homeroom teacher. Yosuke tried to hunch down behind the silver-haired boy in front of him, quickly grabbing his stuff out of his bag and shoving it haphazardly into his desk.

Fortunately, either his hiding trick worked or the teacher had better things to do than pick on him; Morooka launched into the lecture without incident, and Yosuke relaxed a little. He stared at the blackboard, trying to pay attention, but he couldn't really focus. Stupid teacher - what the hell was his deal, anyway? Stupid town, too, while he was at it. He hadn't asked for this. It had all been so sudden, with just a month's warning. Your father's been promoted - branch manager of the brand new Junes in Inaba. Congratulations for his dad, and a raw deal for him.

Stupid freakin' Junes-

"Hanamura!"

Yosuke jumped and met Morooka's gaze. Crap. The teacher was giving him a sharp, almost gleeful look - he knew he'd caught Yosuke out. "Y-yessir?"

"Answer the question, Hanamura - what's the meaning of the root word 'pend'?" Morooka's smile widened as Yosuke just stared. Damnit-

"To hang." The words were spoken quietly, and Yosuke resisted the urge to look at the source of the sound, lest he give it away. Instead, he repeated the answer quickly and (he hoped) confidently... and Morooka scowled, just a little.

"That's right," the teacher grunted, and continued the lecture.

Once Yosuke was sure he was safe, he relaxed again, relieved - though he did try a bit harder to actually pay attention to the lecture this time, so as not to waste the reprieve he'd been given. When the lunch bell finally rang, Yosuke quickly tapped the boy in front of him on the shoulder. "Hey, uh... thanks."

The other boy turned around with a smile. "Oh, no problem. I hate it when Morooka jumps on people like that. He did the same thing to me when I transfered here a few months ago."

"Really? I guess I just have to wait for some other poor sap to transfer in and take the heat off." Yosuke laughed, then shook his head. "But yeah... thanks for the hint."

"Hey, Souji," said the short-haired girl who also sat in that row, "you ready to go?"

"Yeah, one second," the silver-haired boy said with a nod, then turned back to Yosuke and held out one hand. "I'm Souji Seta, and this is Chie Satonaka."

"Yosuke Hanamura." Yosuke took Souji's hand after a moment and shook it, bemused, then gave Chie a friendly smile. "Nice to meet you."

Chie nodded cheerfully. "Nice to meet you, too. Don't take King Moron too seriously. He'll get tired of it after a while." She poked Souji in the back, though, as she stood up. "Yukiko already went to get her lunch. I'll meet you on the roof, okay?"

"Yeah, I'll be there." Souji got up too and grabbed his school bag before turning back to Yosuke. "I'd better get going - but hey, tomorrow's Saturday. If you're not busy after school, maybe I could show you around."

Yosuke blinked, surprised. "Huh? Uh... sure, I think I could do that."

"Great." Souji smiled. "See you later, then."

And then Souji was gone, walking out of the classroom and leaving Yosuke behind. He blinked, bemused, until the growl of his stomach reminded him that he hadn't bought his own lunch yet.


..................


The inside of Junes was a vast, echoing cavern at this stage, filled with noise and employees swarming everywhere. The actual building had been finished a few weeks ago, but the inside was still a work in progress, with tons and tons of product needing to be stocked and shelved. It was a madhouse, and Yosuke hated it. Oh, sure, he'd worked part-time at the local Junes back home, but that was different. Back there he was just one of the crowd; here everyone knew his name, usually followed by the words "the manager's son".

His job right now was in the back, scanning endless boxes as deliveries flooded in, bringing everything they needed to have a fully-stocked store for the grand opening. The repetitive movements quickly made his arms ache, and he jammed his headphones over his ears and turned the music up full-blast to try and drown out the increasingly obnoxious beeps of the scanner.

They'd talked about how great the grand opening would be, but nobody had mentioned the colossal amount of work needed to get to that point. Inaba was disappointing, Junes was disappointing, and school was rapidly heading that direction, too. He was supposed to be the big fish in a small pond, the fascinating, instantly popular city kid - and for a while, it seemed that would be the case. He'd had plenty of curious students around him right after he'd arrived, chatting after school, asking him questions over lunch, but inevitably their conversation would turn to either the city he'd left behind or to Junes. And while showing off his knowledge of far-off places and his connections with Junes was fun at first, it lost its luster quickly.

Even though Yosuke wasn't really sure he wanted to know more about this dumb town, he had to admit that he owed his classmate. And this Seta kid was a transfer student too, or so he'd said. Maybe they had something in common? Apparently, he also came from the city too - and that reminded Yosuke of another sore subject. He stopped scanning for a moment and fumbled in his pocket for his cell phone, eyeing the readout blankly. Still no messages, no missed calls, nothing. Here he was, recounting all the stories of the people he used to know, the things he used to do - and none of said people seemed interested in even answering his text messages. Didn't any of them care? He'd have to text them later. Again.

Ugh. Stop thinking about depressing crap. Yosuke shook his head and shoved his phone back in his pocket, then fumbled for his player and switched playlists to the most obnoxious, upbeat music he had on the damn thing. At least he was going to legitimately hang out with someone tomorrow - maybe that'd go better. If nothing else, Souji probably wouldn't ask him about the city.

Yosuke stretched, then picked up the next box and kept scanning.

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let's go, partner!

August 2012

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