Yosuke insisted that they go back inside, that the rest of the team would be looking for Teddie. They would understand. And he understood. He didn't say that last part, but he didn't have to. Souji stood out in the cold, snowflakes falling down and freezing in his hair as tears ran down his cheeks. Nanako. She meant more to him than he ever thought family could, with distant parents who behaved towards him with this coldness that not even the snow outside could match. Then Dojima and Nanako showed him the opposite of that.
They were family.
And now the epicenter of that family was gone, taken by that hell of a world that he'd thought would be fun, at first. Save people. Fight the monsters. Beat the bad guy. Make the world safe for her, because Souji Seta wanted to be a hero. That would be his purpose, because he truly couldn't find another in his life. Yosuke let him drape his arms around his shoulders, press his face into his shirt and cry. In fact, he wrapped his arms around Souji and hugged him, as he'd hugged him at the Samegawa.
"I hate this," he muttered, his voice hollow and emotionless, "I feel...I don't feel. I'm nothing. I'm useless. I'm empty." Yosuke shook his head, drawing Souji closer to him. Yosuke tightened his grip, burying his face into silver hair and letting his own tears fall. Souji figured that he'd forced himself to stop crying earlier-put on the brave face, for the rest of the team. Take his place as second in command.
"You are not empty," Yosuke stated in a shaky, but strong voice, his fingers trembling as he hugged Souji, "You are everything. You've done so much for all of us, and it's like you don't even realize it. Idiot." Souji thought he felt Yosuke press a kiss to the top of his head, but brushed it off as just a heavy snowflake. Yosuke drew in a ragged breath, his lungs clearly aching from the cold. The snow continued to fall around them as he spoke again, "You helped Yukiko figure out her future. Chie, her boyish charm," that earned a small laugh, "Kanji's girl issues, Rise's singing, and Naoto learning to be herself. And you saved me," his voice almost cracked during the last phrase, but Yosuke just pressed on, "You always save me. Just...what the hell kind of partner would I be if I didn't save you back, once in awhile?"
Souji pulled away from Yosuke and stared at him, barely noticing that the redhead had placed his fingers against his wrist, as though he was taking his heartbeat. Yosuke gazed at him with an intensity he'd never thought possible as he brought Souji's hand up to his face. He studied his own hands, briefly. Broad, pale, calloused from the sword, regulation nails and no freckles. Plain hands. Without a personality.
"Those are only good for killing shadows," Souji whispered, blinking back another round of tears, "And barely that." Yosuke gaped at him before surprising Souji by pressing a quick kiss to his palm. His lips felt soft, and his breath warm against the calloused skin of his hands. At that moment, Souji realized that Yosuke didn't care about how the rest of the world perceived him. Not right now.
"These hands are good for killing shadows," Yosuke repeated back to him, the slightest of smirks on his lips, "Yeah, partner, we all know that. But they also played with Nanako. They make coffee for Dojima, now. I know they cook dinner for us, the weird band of mystery-solving misfits. And, Souji...these hands pulled me up off the ground after I faced a part of myself that made me wish I was dead." The sheer honesty of Yosuke's voice took Souji off guard. He didn't know how to respond other than to let the tears spill down his cheeks again as he placed a hand against Yosuke's cheek. He remembered the look on Yosuke's face after he defeated that shadow. He always would.
"Yosuke..." he whispered, squeezing his eyes shut as the memories seared his brain. Yosuke wrapped his hand around the back of his head, softly bumping their foreheads together.
"Souji Seta," he breathed, "Don't be an idiot. Don't call yourself useless. Empty. You just don't know...I dunno if you'll ever know, how much we all need you." Especially me, went unsaid. "You're my partner, and we're going to finish this together, right?" He pressed the softest of kisses to Souji's forehead, shocking the both of them. The moment of intimacy passed in silence, save for the soft gusts of wind that blew the snow around. Hesitating briefly, Souji returned the kiss, this time to the cheek. Yosuke smiled softly, pulling Souji's weight against him.
"I'm sorry," Souji murmured. He never expected this. Yosuke's hand rested at the back of his neck, a reassuring warmth in the midst of this freezing cold. Souji felt sob after shakier sob twist through his body as he leaned into Yosuke with his hands curled into fists because the world wasn't fair and he couldn't always be the stoic, silent hero and he couldn't always save the day.
"Don't be" Yosuke replied, holding his partner as the snow fell faster around them, "It's going to be okay, Souji...everything's going to be okay."