"I'll ride with Chie," Yukiko says quickly, taking two girls out of the equation right off the bat. What a prude, Yosuke thinks disparagingly, then checks himself in case Yukiko turns out to be able to read minds or something; he really wouldn't put it beyond her. Hidden depths of evil, that girl.
"Uh, okay," Yosuke says. Rubs his head. He certainly can't object to-- "Fine, then, how about it, Rise-chan?" but even as he says it, Rise has sidled up to Naoto's side and is shaking her head firmly.
"I'm going with Naoto-kun," Rise says, and smiles perkily. Naoto, impervious, is scribbling something in her notebook.
"Seriously?" says Yosuke. "Naoto over me?" The line edges forward so he motions everyone else to follow; they'll be up next. "I can't actually think of anything more boring than going on a ferris wheel with Naoto. I mean, no offense, but you're the hugest buzz kill I've ever met."
Naoto raises one eyebrow slowly, then lowers it. "No offense taken," she says.
"You see?" Yosuke says. "Seriously the only thing that gets a rise out of you is if someone tries to grope you--"
"Are you twelve?" Naoto says, eyes narrowing in a flash, which just proves Yosuke's point.
"Okay, fine," Yosuke sighs, long-suffering. It's a hard decision, but he's just going to have abandon Kanji to Teddie. "I guess I'll just have to go with Souji."
Souji blinks implacably at Yosuke, then very possibly rolls his eyes -- an almost imperceptible movement. It could just be a trick of the light. "Thanks," he says.
"No prob," Yosuke says, punching him on the shoulder. "What are friends for, right?" The attendant is taking Chie's ticket now and punching it, and Yosuke sighs again. "Man, it's no fun going on a ferris wheel with a guy."
Better Souji than Kanji though, but he doesn't say that out loud.
"Bo-ring," Yosuke pronounces, once they're all off and have congregated in the shade of a concession stand. They lick their ice cream cones quickly, battling against the sweltering July heat. It is, Yosuke has to admit, one of the few disadvantages to life after the fog.
"Well, I thought it was nice," Yukiko says, daintily sucking some chocolate off her knuckle.
"Woulda' been nicer if some people didn't insist on segregating by the sexes," Yosuke says. "Don't you know what ferris wheels are for?"
"Oh, please," Chie says. "Dream on. As if any of us would be interested in you anyway, Dorksuke."
"That's true," Yukiko agrees. "You're really like a brother to me, Yosuke --" which hits Yosuke right here in the heart, seriously! painful! except for the part where Yukiko is evil -- "and besides which," she continues, totally blasé, "I'm gay, anyway."
"Excuses, excu--ses?" Yosuke doesn't shriek. "You're what?"
Yukiko blinks at him, all innocence. "You didn't hear me?" she says.
Gay and evil. Yosuke is speechless.
He possibly gapes at her the whole rest of the day.
When he's gotten over it to a sufficient degree, he realizes there's only one course of action he can take at this point, and that is to set Yukiko up with the hottest girl in the world and then make them make out.
"I don't know if that's such a good idea," his soon to be ex-best friend tells him, looking mildly dubious. Yosuke had invited him over expecting him to help, but instead, all Souji has been good for is sitting on Yosuke’s bed reading a really girly-looking book (Witch Detective volume 15) and occasionally piping up to rain on Yosuke’s parade. What a party pooper.
"You have no sense of adventure," Yosuke counters, and ignores when Souji points out that he had, in fact, thrown himself into an alternate world inside of a television back when Yosuke and Chie both thought he was nuts, which was really pretty adventurous as things went.
Well, screw Souji; if he isn’t going to help, Yosuke can do this on his own. It’s an awesome idea, and at least one person here knows it.
"Operation set Yukiko up, commence!" Yosuke says, all fired up from his own mental pep-talk, and starts flipping through the school directory.
After a moment, Souji expresses concern over the likelihood of Yosuke finding the hottest girl in the world in the school directory.
"Shut up," Yosuke says. "Risette is totally the hottest girl in the world. I'm just looking for backup options in case she freaks out."
Rise doesn't freak out. They corner her in the menswear department at Junes, holding up two ties to an impassive Naoto's face and squinting at her. "Ew," Rise says, when Yosuke shows up. "Are you stalking me? Our picnic isn't till tomorrow."
"What? My family owns this place," Yosuke says, aggravated. "How could I be stalking you in my own department store?"
"I think the blue one looks nicer," Rise says by way of reply. "It matches Naoto-kun’s eyes. What do you think?"
Yosuke ignores her and presents his proposal.
"Nope," Rise says, not even pretending to think twice.
"What a childish joke," Naoto comments. She fingers the tie and says to Rise in the mildly bewildered tones of one completely out of her depth, "I defer to your better judgement on the color."
"Who asked you?" says Yosuke.
Rise rolls her eyes. "Honestly,” she says. “You two doofuses are so dim. If you really want to know, I think Yukiko-senpai and Chie-senpai are probably already going out." She cants her head slightly at Souji, who's here under protest, not that Rise needs to know that, and bats her eyelashes. "I at least expected you to figure it out, senpai."
"Wh-aa-aaaat?" Yosuke says, letting the insult slide. "Chie's gay too?"
Chie confirms the next day, sitting cross-legged in the long grass on the other side of the tv (the whole gang lured over for their picnic lunch by Teddie's promises of actual breezes) and her face flushing red as she demands, "Why are you even asking?"
Why? Well, Yosuke just doesn't like leaving things half-suspected and unconfirmed; call it his investigative nature. Okay, also, maybe he's a little nosy.
But here's the thing, though, you know? He looks around himself and counts out loud: "Yukiko, one, Chie, two --”
Kanji he counts three in his head because Kanji evidently still has complicated feelings about this, what a dork, and then there's Naoto who is just -- like, Yosuke doesn't even wanna touch that subject with a ten foot pole, but he definitely did see her last month reading a confession letter from the cutest girl in her grade (I mean, what the hell) so she's just going to count whether she likes it or not --
"Seriously," Yosuke says, exasperated. "Is everyone here gay?"
There's an alarming silence, Kanji chokes on an apple, and then Teddie says, brightly, "Well, Teddie's not gay! Teddie looo-ooo-oooooves ladies!"
"You don't even count," Yosuke says, waving him off. "You're a bear."
Rise shrugs. "I don't know," she says. "I mean, I do have a music video where they had me kiss a girl. I didn't mind it."
Yosuke turns in desperation to Souji, his last hope unless he's planning on a sparkling mysterious entity in a seriously dumb bear suit being his only straight friend in the whole world, but Souji has the audacity to look away and not volunteer an answer.
No way, Yosuke thinks in a blind moment of panic as the world grinds to a stuttering halt, and then his mouth is running off without him and he hears himself saying, kind of mildly hysterical, "Oh my god, seriously? Oh my god, you are all actually gay. You are, aren't you?!"
After a pause during which everyone gives him a dirty look except Kanji -- too busy looking gruffly embarrassed -- and Souji -- maintaining a careful neutral -- Naoto says, a tiny crease between her brows, "That's a very simplistic way of looking at sexuality, actually," and launches into the most boring-ass lecture ever, which Yosuke doesn't listen to at all, because he’s not a masochist.
Does this change how he looks at Souji? No, it totally doesn't. Not even a little. Okay, maybe a little. A tiny bit. A very tiny -- okay, maybe a little more than a tiny bit.
They've made plans to go out shopping (Yosuke will punch anyone in the face who says it's girly, hello, newest sneakers, coolest ever, his young masculine pride depends on his having them). Junes, Yosuke is sad to admit, doesn't always have the best and newest selection -- a side effect of being located in Inaba -- so they're off to Okina City, and if Yosuke spends the whole train ride fidgeting and shooting sideways glances at Souji (still calmly immersed in Witch Detective 15), it is so not his fault.
Two stops from Okina, Souji folds his book shut and turns to Yosuke looking mildly exasperated -- which, dude, that's not cool, Yosuke is not annoying! "You can ask me whatever you want to ask me," he offers.
"How-- how did you," Yosuke says, before he's even really thought about whether he wants to ask Souji a question or just keep staring at him like the alien he is, "How did you even know you were gay?" He hisses the last in a whisper, in case someone overhears, but Souji just looks even more exasperated.
"I'm not," Souji says, bemused and unfazed, like he knew Yosuke was gonna ask that. He points out that he has, in fact, gone out with girls before, which Yosuke realizes all of a sudden is true. Which, speaking of which, why does Souji always get all the girls?
"I just," Yosuke splutters. "That's not fair! And if you're not gay, then why did you--?" He's turning totally red right now, which is also unfair, since Souji's the one who's gay here. Yosuke can't even believe what an amazing friend he is; he's even being embarrassed on Souji's behalf.
Souji seems to think about his next line pretty hard before he says it. "I just," he says slowly, frowning. "Sometimes, I just want to do this." He raises his hand slowly and puts it on Yosuke's cheek.
If Yosuke could stare any harder his eyeballs would seriously fall out of his sockets. His mouth is suddenly dry, and is the train going in circles or something, because--
Souji raises one brow. "Can I?" he asks.
There are times when Yosuke really regrets having a mouth that says things without consulting his brain, but he's not sure this is one of them. "Yes," he says, before he realizes with a slightly sinking feeling that he maybe really means it. "Yes," he says again.