Souji didn't know when exactly he'd fallen for his best friend, or even how, but it had happened and there wasn't much help for him now. Perhaps the fact that he represented the Fool arcana had some significance. Only fools fell in love, after all, or so the saying went.
He and Yosuke weren't on a date. They were just friends having an after school snack at Souzai Daigaku.
"–and then she demanded to see the manager." Yosuke laughed. "It was like, 'Lady, don't you realize the manager is my dad?' Ahh, customers. Can't live without 'em."
Souji maintained the indulgent smile he always wore when listening to his best friend ramble on. He could half-listen to Yosuke talk all day like this. Half-listen, because a good portion of his mind was dedicated to his daydreams.
He could pretend. Pretend he was on a date.
How pathetic was that...? Souji held in the sigh trying to escape. Why did it have to be Yosuke? Why couldn't it have been that guy in glasses that hung out in the second floor hallway after class? Maybe it was because of all they'd been through in the TV World, or maybe it was because of how much neck that boy had. He always wore those v-necks. In fact he was wearing one now. Souji could imagine kissing the boy from his shoulder all the way up to his ear...
"Hey, partner," Yosuke said, tossing the remains of his steak skewer into the nearby garbage can. "You ready to go?"
Or maybe that was it. 'Partner.' Souji had misunderstood Yosuke's meaning back when he'd first used it and continued to think it might mean something more than simple friendship. Or at least, pretend it might mean something...
Souji stirred in his seat, blinking back into the here and now. He nodded and pushed out of his seat. He and Yosuke began to walk down the central shopping district.
He could pretend it was a date, but... he couldn't hold Yosuke's hand. It was swinging at his side while they walked. Yosuke had once said that Souji seemed good with his hands, but Yosuke had long fingers of his own. They'd be good for playing piano, or maybe guitar. Souji imagined those fingers threading through his hair, maybe tugging just a little...
They arrived at the overlook. Yosuke leaned against the railing, resting his arms flat along the top. He looked out over the town. Souji pretended to do the same, but he was really watching Yosuke from the corner of his eye. The sunlight caught on his hair, making it seem lighter than its dyed hue. The wind blew in a gust, stirring up some of the fallen early autumn leaves. It was a scene right out of a romance movie. Souji could imagine Yosuke turning to him with a sudden, needy look. 'Kiss me,' he'd say.
And Souji would pretend to be all shy, then move in and kiss him long on the lips. They'd be warm and then, and then they'd pull apart and stare into each others eyes and...
Just like that, almost! Yosuke's eyes were such a soft brown, they matched his hair perfectly. Souji smiled hopelessly at him. "Yeah?"
Souji blinked at him several times, and then frowned. He was getting his fantasy mixed up with reality. "Huh?"
"K-kiss me, please," Yosuke stammered.
The puzzled look remained on Souji's face. He worked his jaw as he struggled to come up with a coherent response.
"I'm not stupid," Yosuke said. "I've seen the looks you give me when you think I'm not looking."
The shock had worn off, leaving Souji merely bewildered. His mind seemed to be chugging along at a snail's pace.
"Look," Yosuke said frankly, "if you're not gonna... I guess it's up to me."
Before Souji knew it, Yosuke stepped right into his personal space. Suddenly those lips that had looked so kissable earlier were coming right for him.
When they were there, pressed against his own, that's when Souji sighed, a long sigh full of all the relief he felt in that moment. It caused the kiss to break apart for a moment, but he was quick to draw Yosuke into a longer kiss, one that made Yosuke make a noise that sounded very close to a moan.
"There," Yosuke whispered less than an inch from his lips, so close that his next words brushed their lips together. "Was that so hard?"
"Yosuke, I..." Souji began, but Yosuke shushed him.
"It's all right," Yosuke said. "I've known for a while. That you're not just my best friend."
"It's... It's okay to want to kiss your best friend," Souji managed.
"Not the way I want to kiss." Yosuke's eyes were narrowed, focused entirely on Souji's mouth. There was a moment's hesitation, and then he closed the distance.
Their noses bumped and their teeth clashed, but it was okay, because Yosuke was so eager, it felt like it was out of a dream. "This is real, right?" Souji stopped to ask.
"I could pinch you if you'd like," Yosuke offered. "But..."
His hesitation only made Souji curious. "But what?"
"I might..." Yosuke paused again, his face turning a deeper shade of red than it already was. "I might... pinch your butt instead."
There was no way this was real.
"It's real," Yosuke assured him. "I like you, and... I don't know. It's a little frightening, but I've never felt this way about anyone before."
"Me neither!" Souji said. "That's why it was so hard to..."
"Sometimes," Yosuke said, "you just need to reach out and grab it."
Dream or not, Yosuke was asking for it. Souji put his arms around Yosuke and grabbed his ass with both hands. "Like this?" he breathed.
"I-I thought I was supposed to be the one pinching you!"
Despite his embarrassment, Yosuke didn't pull away, instead he squeezed his arms under Souji's so he could do exactly the same thing. It felt weird, having hands on the seat of his pants, but Souji was too deliriously happy about this turn of events to care.
"I like you," Souji was inspired to announce.
"Yeah," said Yosuke, smiling softly, shyly, back at him.
They kissed again, and when they separated, they stared into each other's eyes for quite some time. As the quiet moment turned into several quiet moments, Souji began to accept that it wasn't a dream. Yosuke was here, he was holding him and wanting him close. Souji knew they'd have a lot to talk about soon, a lot to figure out, but for now, he was just happy to enjoy the moment—happy that he no longer had to pretend.