chisotahn: ([P4] walk under a brighter sky)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: The Best Medicine
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Yosuke, Nanako, Souji
Summary: There is no summary I could type that wouldn't be spoilery for December, so below the cut it goes! If you fear no spoilers, click on!



Summary/Notes: So! This is a long-overdue fic, also freshly written - a fandom acquaintance of mine, Safelybeds, posted an extremely cute bit of fanart with a request for someone to write fic based on the scene.

I took up the sword. It just took me a while to actually write it - but once I got started, I wrote the whole thing start to finish in a single day. So hey.

Once again, many thanks to Frigoris for her beta work, and to Safelybeds not only for this prompt, but for all the wonderful things she's inspired me to write. I hope you enjoy!





The Junes food court was practically deserted; December's chill had chased off most potential customers from the roof, and the thick blanket of fog had taken care of the rest. Only a few stations were even open, and those were near the doors leading into the main store. The Investigation Team's usual table was thus shrouded in fog, isolating them from the rest of the world quite effectively. It was a sober reminder of why they were there, tensely hunched around the table...

... and an excellent way to cover up the argument currently taking place.

Those seated around the table pretended not to hear, of course; perversely, the fog seemed to amplify rather than muffle the sound. A few feet away, just isolated enough to give some vague illusion of privacy, Yosuke bristled in irritation. "I can still fight, damnit," he repeated for what felt like the hundredth time.

Souji pointed at Yosuke's right wrist, which was wrapped tightly in a compression bandage. "Not with that, you can't," he said, a flicker of impatience in his voice.

"It's nothing - just a tiny stupid sprain! I still have one hand, and this one's not that bad," Yosuke snapped. "Souji, I... we're so close, damnit, so close to ending this. I can't just sit around and do nothing! I'll be fine! Don't you trust me?"

Souji sighed, and Yosuke felt the sound as a twist in his gut. "These are the hardest Shadows we've ever had to fight. You know how bad it can get in there, and it's only going to get worse. I hate it too, but... it's a liability, Yosuke." His voice was tired, faintly ragged at the edges. "Come with us if you want, but I'm not going to put you on the front lines."

Yosuke clenched his fists tightly, feeling - and ignoring - a faint twinge of pain from his sprained wrist. "I can prove it to you, partner-" His knives were at his sides, concealed under the length of his uniform coat. He quickly pulled out one of them, tossing it nimbly into his left hand. "See?" he demanded, easily flipping the blade up, twirling it in the air and catching it, then miming a couple slashes against an invisible attacker. "I'm fine. It's fine-"

As he flipped the blade again, his wrist twinged; his reaching fingertips missed the knife as it came down. It fell to the floor with an echoing clatter.

Face burning with humiliation, Yosuke bent to retrieve the blade. He didn't even want to look at Souji; he could easily imagine the expression on his his best friend's face. Too calm, too controlled, too everything. "What am I supposed to do?" he demanded, returning the knife to its sheath and folding his arms in front of him. One thing was for sure - he was not going to go into the TV world and sit by the exit, waiting for everyone else to save the town without him.

He heard rather than saw Souji's weary shrug. "Pick up supplies for tomorrow? See if you hear anything new around town, if you feel like it... I'd say rest, but I know you won't," and Yosuke tensed again, irritated. "Visit Nanako, maybe, since we've been too busy to spend much time with her..."

"Yeah, I'll do something useful," Yosuke muttered, still refusing to turn towards either Souji or the rest of the team. "Have fun."

Souji paused next to him for a moment, as if thinking of saying something else - but the moment passed, and so did he, moving to speak quietly to the rest of the team. After a moment, they stood and moved away, their footsteps strangely loud.

When Yosuke was sure they'd all gone, he shoved his hands into his pockets, cursing as the movement caused his wrist to twinge again, and headed for the employees only exit. He didn't want to be anywhere near the electronics department right now. Stupid, so fucking stupid... it would've been better if he'd gotten chewed up by a Shadow or something, because at least then it'd be... honorable, a noble wound, or some shit like that. Instead, he'd just tripped over the bag Teddie had left on the stairs - tripped, and fallen badly, wrenching his wrist as he tried to catch himself. None of the healing things they had worked on stupid ordinary injuries.

So there he was. Yosuke Hanamura, left out of what he was sure was going to be the final fight - he'd been there since the beginning, and he wasn't going to be able to help them bring that bastard down. He scowled, barely responding to the few Junes employees who greeted him; he shoved the first-floor exit door open with his uninjured hand and stalked out into the foggy streets.

He didn't know what to do.

Oh, yeah, sure, he could be 'useful' - go poke at supplies and rumors they might not even need tomorrow, if the others tracked down Adachi today. He knew it, and he was pretty sure Souji knew it, too. He also knew he was being an ass, that it wasn't Souji's fault he'd tripped. It wasn't even Teddie's fault, not really, even though the bear should've known better than to leave his crap on the stairs. Nope, he'd sidelined himself... and that was the worst part, really. He'd been there when all this started, when it was just him and Souji, and now he was going to miss the end.

He shook his head and turned down the street that lead to the shopping district; on the way, he tugged his headphones up and hit play, scowling again as it brought up the 'battle' playlist he wasn't going to need. He left the MP3 player silent instead - at least the headphones would mean people probably wouldn't try to talk to him. There were more people along the main street than he expected, talking among themselves, their whispers and chatter also weirdly amplified by the fog. He ignored them as best he could, poking through the usual supplies at Shiroku, then peering at the weapons on display in Daidara's window. He wasn't doing Souji's errands though, not really - just keeping himself busy. It worked for a while, at least until he ran out of shopping district, shifting the bag from Shiroku to his good hand after his left wrist twinged again, reminding him of why he was rattling around Inaba's streets in the first place.

Yosuke stared across the busier street at the far end of the shopping district, but the buildings on the other side were just shadows smothered in the fog. After a moment, he fumbled his glasses out of his pocket and put them on. The fog immediately vanished, and a bit of his irritation melted away along with it - of course, the fog affected their minds just as much. It was ridiculously easy to forget this fact, though. Vaguely shaken by the reminder, Yosuke kept walking.

So he wasn't too surprised, not really, when he ended up in front of the hospital - Souji had mentioned visiting, after all, and it was a destination rather than just wandering around aimlessly all afternoon, as if he were as lost in the fog as everyone else.

"Well, I'm here," he muttered to nobody in particular, and went inside.

He paused at the tiny gift shop in the lobby, poking at a few overpriced teddy bears before dismissing them - Kanji made cuter ones, anyway, and his kouhai would probably shower Nanako with them once he had time. Instead, Yosuke headed to the children's ward empty handed, giving the nurse on duty a sheepish smile when he arrived. "Hi, uh... can I see Nanako-chan? Um, Nanako Dojima. I'm Yosuke Hanamura, I should be on the list," he added, quickly - hoping that Souji had updated the visitor log so they could visit her without him. Otherwise, he was about to look really stupid for the sixth time that day.

"Hanamura... ah, yes, there you are. It's good that you came - she hasn't had any visitors today," the nurse said. She put the clipboard down and walked down the hall, leading him to the small room Nanako had been placed in. The door was closed, and she rapped on it once before pushing the door open in front of them. "You have a visitor," she said, gently, then stepped aside to let Yosuke through. He moved forward, feeling out of place - but the small figure in the bed sat up, her eyes bright.

"Yosuke-nii!"

"H-hey, Nanako-chan," he replied, waving awkwardly at her with his good hand. "Um. How're you?"

"Fine," she said brightly, then tilted, as if trying to look past him. "Is big bro with you?"

"Uh... not today, but he, um. Asked me to come see you. That's okay, right?" he added, quickly.

"Yeah! It's fine," she said, with a nod. The nurse smiled at her, then stepped out, her footsteps retreating down the hall. "Is, um... is he okay?"

Yosuke quickly settled into the chair that had been left by Nanako's bedside. "Yeah, he's fine. Just busy, really busy, with something really important. I've been helping him, but..." He lifted his left hand so she could see the bandage around his wrist. "I got a little banged up too, I guess. So I came to see you."

Her eyes widened. "What happened?"

"I, uh. Just fell down the stairs," he said, sheepishly. "Teddie left some of his stuff on the stairs, and I wasn't looking, so... bam!" He made a face at the word bam.

Nanako giggled. "Bam! But at least you didn't go to the hospital..." Her smile faded a bit, and she turned to look out the window - whatever view the room had was utterly blotted out by the fog, Yosuke realized, pulling his glasses down to look as well. "It's kinda lonely, here..."

"Here, Nanako-chan," Yosuke said, after a moment, tugging his glasses off and offering them to her. She took them carefully, looking up at him as if for permission. "Go ahead - put them on, then look."

"Okay..." She slipped the glasses on, keeping her hands at her temples to hold them against her face, then turned to look once more. "Oh! The fog's gone!"

"Yeah, funny trick, huh..."

"Yeah! Oh, look, there's my school! And Junes, and..." Nanako scooted up a bit more in bed; Yosuke grinned in spite of himself, shifting the chair over so that she had an unobstructed view out the window. "I can see the whole town! Thanks, Yosuke-nii," she said, beaming at him.

"Oh, uh, you're welcome! Sorry, I can't leave them here with you, but..."

"It's okay," she assured him, taking the glasses off and folding them with great care before holding them out to him. "Now I know everything really is out there... my school, my friends... maybe it's not going to be so lonely anymore?"

He smiled back at her as he took the glasses back, tucking them into a pocket. "Yeah, sounds good. And pretty soon, we'll all come and visit you, okay? I promise. There's just something we have to do first... something really important. But we'll do it, and then we'll all come to see you. It'll be just like a party, or something."

"Yeah!" She bounced a little bit in bed, then winced. "Ow..."

"Hey, take it easy," he said, concerned, reaching over and adjusting the pillows behind her. "Just lean back real gently, okay?"

"'Kay," she said with a sigh, settling back; once again, her smile had faded, as if the pain had reminded her of all the bad things that had happened. The vaguely sad, lost expression on her face was nearly unbearable, but he'd already pulled the glasses trick. He wasn't Souji, capable of amusing children at a moment's notice... what else could he possibly do?

The only thing he could think of.

"Hey, Nanako-chan," he said, then quickly pulled the weirdest face he could think of, bringing his hands up and wiggling his fingers behind his head. "Beeeeeeeeh!"

She blinked at him, then giggled. He grinned, sticking his tongue out at her in the process. "Nyah~ come on, Nanako-chan! Show me what you got!"

"Hmm... like this?" She took a deep breath, then puffed her cheeks out and wiggled her fingers at him.

"Perfect! Um..." Yosuke quickly combed his fingers through his hair to make it stick straight up; a peal of laughter met his efforts.

He wasn't sure how long they spent making faces at each other and laughing, sticking out tongues and making silly gestures - all Yosuke knew was that, suddenly, there was a cough from the doorway. Startled, he flinched forward and peered up through his fingers, caught in the middle of putting together another stupid face. To his surprise, he realized it wasn't the nurse in the doorway. It was Souji.

"Big bro!" Nanako lit up, her cheeks flushed with laughter. "You came!"

"Of course I did," Souji said, flashing Yosuke a surprised but approving look before focusing on his cousin. "I had to see how you were... did you have fun with Yosuke?"

"Yeah!" She nodded enthusiastically. "He said you guys were out doin' busy stuff, and he couldn't help, so he helped me instead!"

"Oh, uh, it was nothing," Yosuke insisted, his own face rather red; he quickly vacated the chair, gesturing for Souji to sit down. "Really, um..."

"Thank you, Yosuke-nii," Nanako said, earnestly. "I had fun... can you come back again soon?"

"Uh, sure, Nanako-chan." He grinned sheepishly. "I will, I promise. I bet you wanna talk to your big bro, huh?"

"Hang on, Nanako - I need to talk to Yosuke for a minute," Souji said with a smile.

"G'night," Yosuke added, waving at Nanako; she stuck her tongue out in response, then dissolved into giggles once more.

Souji followed him out into the hall; the instant the door closed behind them, Yosuke turned to him. "So? Did you get him?" he said, quickly, dropping his voice to an urgent whisper.

"No... not today. There's more to that place than we realized," Souji said with a sigh. He looked tired - of course he did, they were all tired, but there was a spark in his eyes that Yosuke hadn't seen lately. "We'll get him, though. And you'll get him with us. It's just a small sprain, right? It'll heal in a day or two?"

"Yeah..." Yosuke looked down at the bandage around his wrist. "It should. Then I can help you."

"You already have," Souji said, simply, with the first genuine smile Yosuke had seen out of him in days. "You made Nanako-chan smile... she got involved in all of this because of me. It's my fault she's in there right now, and my uncle..." He shook his head, the smile fading a little bit. "But you brought her happiness back to her, for a little while, when I couldn't do it."

"Couldn't do it? Of course you can - you're her big bro, after all," Yosuke protested. "I'm just-"

"'Yosuke-nii', huh," Souji said, with another grin. "Seriously, though - thanks."

"... You're welcome, partner," Yosuke replied, after a moment. Hitting Shadows was one thing, but when he thought of Nanako's bright smile, the way she'd lit up when he'd showed her the view free of fog or a silly face... yeah. He could accept that. "Glad I could help."

"Me too," Souji said, reaching out and squeezing Yosuke's shoulder. "Talk to you later tonight? I want to get some 'big bro' time in before visiting hours finish for the day."

"Yeah, of course." Yosuke grinned right back. "By the way, if you can touch your tongue with your nose, she loves that..."

"I, uh... I don't think I can."

"What? Something I can do that you can't?" Yosuke's voice took on a teasing edge, and he lightly punched Souji's arm. "Well. In that case, I'll have to come back again for sure. Fill the void in her life, y'know?"

"Oh, yeah." Souji shook his head with a smile. "Catch you later, partner."

"Yep. Later." Yosuke nodded, waiting until Souji had gone back into the room before moving. Quietly, he crept over to the door and peeked in just enough to see... and sure enough, there was Souji, vainly attempting to touch his nose with his tongue, Nanako's laughter ringing in the air.

The thought kept him warm all the way home.
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let's go, partner!

August 2012

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