When Saki-sempai died, he had been full of an anger he could exhale, an invisible fire that burned steady in his chest. Now all that's left is a strange sense that he's taken on more than he should have.
That was what that weird guy said inside that room, right? The Magician must initiate the journey.
And as for the continuation, well. The long-nosed man hadn't said it, but Yosuke knew what it meant. You're not the one. So it's only natural that Yosuke isn't made out for this 'hero' thing. The 'leader' thing.
The new boy is steady and calm and cool and knows what he's doing. Souji's Persona awakens not to the torturous realization of his own weaknesses and hidden desires, but because he was walking around in Junes, saw people vanishing into the TV, and--shit, that bastard followed them inside, and his Persona came out because of some lame-assed desire to protect people. To protect Yosuke, the supposed "leader" of this joint.
When Souji offered Yosuke a hand up, Yosuke felt something jolt inside of him. Felt something leaving.
Yosuke wants to be that guy who walks in and saves the day. He wants to be Souji, he wants Souji gone so he can be that guy. But he can't tell Souji, he can't. What is he supposed to tell the new guy, I'm full of raging jealousy toward you, goddamn you for being so good, for being better--I wish you would be my leader.
But he's the leader. And Souji's calm and understanding and polite as he creates and fuses more Personae, and then thoughtfully (thoughtfully! yeah right asshole just wanted to rub it in--) thinks to give Yosuke a list of their strengths and weaknesses and moves. Yosuke invites himself over to Souji's house once, so they can organize the list, and it takes all the self-discipline Yosuke can manage to not whack Souji across the mouth.
Later, though, after Souji serves him dinner and Yosuke looks around the house and realizes how empty it is, how antsy Souji's been getting as they work because his little cousin's by the TV and poor Souji feels bad about leaving her alone. Because Souji's full of compassion for everything and everyone. Because Souji's just perfect.
"Ah." Souji's slurping up noodles. Neatly, of course.
"Do you want it?"
Yosuke recognizes the way Souji's eyes flick to the left as he thinks, processes. He's seen that look before playing across Souji's face when he's going through Personae, thinking through a math problem, puzzling out what things mean, and isn't that wonderful, Mr. Perfect--
"If I gave it to you, would you take it?"
"If it's something you give to me because you want me to be your leader, yes."
"What other reason would I have for it?"
"Spite," said Souji simply. "Jealousy. Because you want to see me stumble."
"No," Yosuke says. But it's true, isn't it? He's jealous of how Souji can make friends, how Souji's special, how Souji so easily attracts charisma. How Souji's suggestions come like orders. "It's... not that simple. I..."
Souji waits. Then he says, "Yosuke." Souji has him by the chin, palm resting flush against his face. He's not smiling. He's serious and resolved and god, for a second there-- "It's not a sign of weakness if you let me."
Yosuke nods. Somewhere in him, something is taking shape; something like the wind, so intangible and invisible, yet undeniably there. Something like that is becoming him.
Souji hasn't moved his hand. When he leans in, Yosuke does, too.