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This Monday was a bit cold, Yu equiped himself with his scarf and coat like an item on a menu screen, as Yosuke put his blue jacket in a fell swoop.

 

The both of them didn't go to the same university, they would take the same direction before separating in the train, Yosuke's University was closer so he would be off first but sometimes Yu would acompany him to the Uni's gate when he was in advance on his schedule.

 

Which was one of those days.

 

They were walking down the streets talking about whatever was coming to their minds, not taking any trouble bothering with big deals since they wasn't any, not that he's complaining about it.

Yu sometimes didn't bother following their conversations, not in a mean way of course, but, at certain moments, he needed to clear his mind and just listening to his partner's voice was more than enough to cheer him up.

Yu was a bit of a loner before. He didn't bother socializing with people because anyway, those links were going to broke. Only bringing more pain to the poor kid who had to go home everyday to a house he knew was empty.

Yosuke kinda forced his way in his life, maybe because of the TV world and case yes, but maybe because he was being pushy on his own.

Yu recognise the fact that Yosuke was probably starving for friends at the time, trying to find a hand to reach out to when he was in need.

He maybe acted completely differently compared to Yu, but he was also lonely, he needed connections to block out the pain of isolation where Yu didn't even bother trying to help himself.

 

Almost as they were complete oposite destined to balance each other.

 

He blinked at the thought.

"Oposite destined to balance each other", sounds romantic.

Which wasn't half wrong in a way.

 

As he was about to finish his train of thoughts, they arrived at the gates.

They were about to say their classic "goodbye" and "see ya later" when a black haired girl arranged in a pony tail walked up to Yosuke and said :

 

- "There you are ! I've been waiting, I need to talk to you about the project- oh sorry, did I interrupted something ?

- Er, not really." Yosuke responded before looking at Yu to pass the message that it didn't mean that he didn't care about their goodbyes.

He had almost a habit of reassuring his partner about everything that could be taken the wrong way, it wasn't really a bad habit, but he should maybe do something about it one day or another if he wants to sound more confident.

And anyway, it's pretty cute.

 

"Who is she ?" Yu asked.

- "It's Mizumi-san, she's a classmate, we're working on a science project.

- Yes, and you told me you'll be here by five, it's almost thirty ! I was getting worried you weren't going to come !

- Right, sorry we've stopped along the way for a bit...

- No worries it's fine, but hurry next time !"

 

Yu didn't really know what to think. Or if drawing a conclusion was needed, maybe one about not stopping for two long next time they go to a music shop.

Yosuke didn't stop playing music since their concert with Rise and their friends back in high school. Sometimes he could see him with twikling music programs on his computer or hear him playing the guitar in his room, too bad he wasn't singing, Yu was sure that his singing voice probably sounded amazing.

He also remarked that Yosuke didn't use a suffix for her name, they were probably working on this for a long time, that reminded him of the fact that Yosuke could talk to Chie using her first name even before he came to Inaba for the first time.

 

Mizumi-san once again interrupted his thoughts and asked :

 

"And who is he ? I don't think I saw him at school...

- He's Yu Narukami, my partner and roomate ! We don't go to the same University but sometimes we acompany each other.

- Oh, then nice to meet you !" She extended her hand which Yu took and did a handshake.

- "Nice too meet you too."

 

He didn't know that this girl was going to threw him through so much inner trouble.

 


 

 

A few hours later, on the same day, Yosuke announced by phone call an anexpected news :

 

"You okay if Mizumi can come to our apartement tomorow afternoon for our project ?

- Well that came out of nowhere.

- Super sorry about that but the whole Internet system of the school crashed aparently, but if you asked me somebody hacked the thing so they wouldn't have to go to tech class. Anyway the school computers are down and Mizumi said that her computer is real crap and is currently being replaced. So...

- You proposed if you could come to your place.

- Yeah, um... Is it a problem ?

- No. I would have apreciated if you told me sooner though."

 

Yu had no reason to be against it, Yosuke's school wasn't the fanciest and Yu had sometimes brought people home for projects.

 

He had a hard time ignoring the weird feeling in his stomach.

 

"Do I have to cook something ?

- No, I don't think we'll be at it for THAT long, and even if we were, I'll do it, I'm the one bringing a guest !"

 

He considered that girl lucky to have the occasion to taste his partner's cooking. It wasn't amazing, but his curry was definitely great. He learned how to do it to avoid having Yukiko, Chie and Rise do it for him, also to teach Teddie and he picked up some things from the time he was working at Junes apparently.

 

Yu would teach him of course.

 

But it was more of an excuse to put his arms around his partner's waist, taking his hands, wispering in his ear and getting away with it.

 

As much as Yu didn't like showing it, he liked contacts with Yosuke. He wasn't really comfortable letting other people touch him.

But Yosuke was different. He was worthy of trust. He was his partner. He was warm and friendly.

 

He passed through the leader's walls to touch the human inside.

 

His embrace was full of good intentions and affection.

A simple touch of the finger was a touch in a calm water.

 

The said water moving and dancing at the contact as in apriciation.

 

"And partner, I'm the only one who can have your cooking, I got dibs okay !"

 

He could hear his smile in his voice.

Yu couldn't help but smile too.

 

 


 

 

"Yo partner !"

 

Yu saw his partner pass through their apartement door followed by the black-haired from before, Mizumi-san if he recalls correctly. Yosuke turned around to tell some things to her, probably where to put her shoes and coat. They exchanged greetings and Yosuke asked if they wanted some coffee. Yu said he already prepared one for himself, Mizumi-san asked if it was okay if she could have one. Yosuke was already out of the room to go to the kitchen before Yu had the time to propose to do it in his place. So he ended up alone with his guest. He sighed had the thought of Yosuke wanting to do everything himself again, he had also the bad habit of believing he was a bother no matter how much reassured him of the contrary.

He didn't want Mizumi-san to feel awkward, so he could maybe start a conversation, even if he wasn't that good at it. Before he could pick a question to break the ice, she started first :

 

“Thanks for letting me in for a bit ! Oh, and sorry if I intrude !

- No worries, I would have liked if I knew earlier but I'm used to Yosuke's shinanigans.

- What do you mean ?

- He has terrible luck. It happens more often that something unexpected comes out of nowhere to ruin the day, it's one of the few things that never changes.”

 

Yu had planned his response to be a little bit longer, but he shouldn't start rambling. He liked to talk about Yosuke, he remembers endless text conversations with fellow Investigation Team members where they would ask how his partner was doing and he would reply with massive amounts of texts with the one on the other end having to stop him.

- “You know him for a long time ?

- Since High School. He- We both come from a long way.

- Wow. Having a long time friend has a roomate must be nice. Oh, and there's something I've been meaning to ask, what is with the “partner” thing ?

- Oh, well, it's like a nickname. Also something from our High school days.

- Um, I mean like, you know... I don't want to sound rude but is it like, “partner-partner” ? Like in THAT way ?”

 

He was completely taken by surprise.

 


- “Oh nonono ! It's like for “best friend” but in a more, um, “special” way !”

 

He sounded probably a bit panicked and flustered.

 

- “Oh sorry ! It's just I didn't know if I was supposed to take it like that or not ! Thanks for clearing that up !”

 

He wished it meant it was “like that”, but it's probably just fantasy.

 

“Coffee's ready !”

 

Yosuke entered the room with two cups and him and Mizumi-san sat at the main table.

Yu got back to the book he was reading, he installed himself on the sofa.

It was a book about a murder case in a train, since Inaba, he has taken a liking to wacky and original mysteries. This one wasn't so wacky though, but it was still a good book.

After a little chat, Yosuke brought his computer, they were both talking about their project.

 

It was normal.

They were talking normally.

Yosuke would even sometimes insert some jokes and she would be laughing.

Yu would take a peak on his partner face, and he was relaxed.

He seemed to have a good time working for once.

 

But Yu didn't this uncomfortable in a while. But he shouldn't ! His friend his just working with a girl friend he made at school, and they're having a good time.

 

Yosuke didn't have many female friends aside from IT members, him being able to make one now means progression. He was better, stronger.

So why is there a nasty feeling in Yu's guts ?

It's just his partner spending time with some girl.

Yu spend his time with girls sometimes. Why should Yosuke not do it too ?

Why does he feel so terrible ?

Why does he wants to leave but stay at the same time ?

He could leave if he wanted to. There wasn't anything to watch out.

There shouldn't be anything to watch out.

 

Yu spoke up :

 

“Partner I'm going in my room. Call me if you need me.

- No worries we're good !”

 

I wanna know if you're good.

He didn't even know why he was thinking that.

He putted his book down to lie on the bed a bit, he looked at his phone. Chie texted him.

 

yo Yu ! how's it goin

> Good. And you ?

 

He lied.

 

I'm taking coffee with yukiko at home, i'm good but more,importantly you gotta hear this

kanji did the thing

he told naoto he like her

THEYR GOING OUT MAN

 

A tiny part of him was like : No way.

But he kinda knew that was true, their relathionship was going in the right way.

Even if it took years for him to do it, he did it !

Yu was really proud. Kouhais grow up so fast.

 

> Seriously !? That's amazing !

IM SO PROUD

ALL THOSE ROUBLE HAVE PAID OF

*TROUBLE

im so proud im doin typos

> I'm really proud too ! He has come such a long wat !

> *way

its contagious

> Seems like it.

don't text them now tho, yukiko tried but theyr on their frst date

im so happy for them !

> Me too.

> It's feels really nice.

Im gonna text yosuke gotta tell him

> Don't he's occupied.

ocupied enough to ignore dat news ? Wat he's on a date too

 

Yu cringed. No he isn't.

 

> No he's working with a classmate on a project at home. They're in the living room.

ah ! i knew it

ther is no way he was with a girl

 

Yes. There is no way.

But

 

> The one he's working with is a girl.

NANI

WHAT

HE BROUGHT A GIRL

NO WAY

> They're just working don't worry. They're not doing anything.

why should i worry ?

 

That's right, why should she ?

 

you worried ?

 

He didn't want to think anymore.

But he wanted both to say nothing and to talk.

But he shouldn't worry her.

 

> No I'm goo/

 

He was in the middle of typing when he thought about something.

 

Don't be so closed off man, if we're gonna live in the place you gotta tell me things ! I don't want to have to guess everything single emotions out of you ! Talk to me ! You can talk to the others too ! Please partner. Let me care about you.

Let me be your partner.”

 

It was a conversation they had not too long after getting in this apartement. Yosuke found pictures of his parents, he asked questions about them like a friend normally does. Yu refused to really talk. Yosuke picked up on it.

He was angry.

But he was mostly sad.

 

He told him those few lines.

He was touched, he told everything.

Everything about his loneliness.

He broke down in tears. It hurted too much.

 

Yosuke took him in his arms, he cried too.

He held him so close, he could feel the choked breath in his lungs. He sweared he will never make him feel the same way he did.

He remembered clutching Yosuke shirt, he wanted to be closer.

Always closer.

 

Close to him forever.

Forever have him close.

Forever have him mend his soul.

Making him happy forever.

Being together forever.

As partners.

 

> Actually I'm not that great.

wha ? somethin hapend ?

> No. It's hard for me to tell

> Since that girl is here, I feel terrible.

really ? how ? i don't want to hurt your feelings but i need details to help

 

There is the Chie he know. The nice girl you would listen to your problems. She has probably so much experince from Yukiko.

 

> He's spending time with a girl, it's normal right ?

well yeah.

> But I hate it. And I feel terrible for feeling that.

did

did you feel that for a long time ?

> It's more complicated

> I

> I always felt that way

> like

> it's not the first time I felt this way

> and I

> I/

 

Yu put the phone down. He needed to lay down. He covered his face with his hands.

He took deep breath.

He was gritting his teeth.

How could he-

  • realize that only now ?

  • Let that get in the way of just being normal ?

  • feel that way for such stupid reasons ?

 

Is phone vibrated :

 

I'm calling you you better respond

 

She did call him.

 

“Yu you're okay ? Sorry after the look of your texts...

- It's okay don't apologize. I- I need to get things off my chest.

- What do you mean ?

- I think I'm having like- a breakthrough, things needs to come out I can't keep it all to myself I can't anymore.

- Okay okay okay one sec, can I put the speakers on and let Yukiko in ?

- Yeah, please do.”

 


 

 

- “Yu-kun ! I'm listening too ! Please speak freely. We won't interupt you.

- Thank you, thank you both. It's- a long story. I'm gonna try to explain to my best.

When I was a kid, my parents were never home because of their job. So I did everything alone, and was always alone. Until I met all of you, and I'm so very happy about that. But do be more precise, it was only until I met Yosuke that I knew true friendship. I am so happy to be his partner, you already know that.

But... That's all it was supposed to be, friendship.

And, and I betrayed that friendship. Our friendship.

 

I fell in love with him. Badly.

 

He likes girls, it took him some time to take in Kanji's sexuality, he sees me as a friend, his best friend, he even felt inferior to me at some point, he wants a girlfriend.

But... I love him...

I know that for so long... I always considered that us being together is just a stupid fantasy... I gaved up long ago...

But... I still love him... I feel butterflies in my stomach when he talks to me... I'm embarrassed when he's changing... I feel happy when we touch... I dream about him at night... And I hate it when he talks to other girls or even some guys...

And he's spending time with one now...

I don't know what to do...

I don't want to tell him, but I can't keep the secret in anymore...

I...

I need your help.”

 

There was silence for a while.

 

But Chie spoke up :

 

- “Yu... I get how you feel...”

 

Yu was looking down, but he held up his head.

 

“It was kinda the same before I told Yukiko... I was jealous of the guys she would talk too, I felt like I was betraying her... I felt like crap... But...”

Yukiko continued :

- “You can't keep it to yourself... If you keep it all inside, it's going to break you... You remember the Shadows ? It's... Kind of the same thing. You need to be strong.

- Then what am I supposed to do... ?

- You should tell him.

- What !? No- I can't-

- Yu ! Come on, you're stronger than this ! Where is the guy I trained my kung-fu with ? And do you really think Yosuke would just shatter everything just because of all of this !? And how do you think Yosuke feels !? Give it a shot !! Do it !!! Come on !!

- Chie's right ! And even if he doesn't feel the same way, you'll feel a lot better afterwards ! And personnaly I don't think Yosuke will reject you.

-bYeah ! He's more attached to you than any girl I know !”

 

Yu's voice was weak.

 

- “Really... ? Do you think I-

- Of course you can Yu-kun ! Don't be afraid !

- You're our leader ! And if he does break your heart and hurt you, I'll kick his ass ! But if YOU don't do anthing, or break his heart I'll kick YOUR ass ! WHA-THAAAAAA !

- I'll burn them to the ground !”

 

Those talks meant a lot of things.

Chie “Kung-Fu addict” Satonaka and Yukiko “murder in an option” Amagi are still the same amazing friends.

 

- “Also, Yu-kun ?

- Yes ?

- We already knew you loved him, I thought it was really adorable !

-                                          …                                              what.

- Yeah it was kinda obvious with you “googly-eyeding” him 24/7 and all of the other super huge tells. It was kind of the elephant in the room.

- Even Kanji-kun knows ! Actually Naoto-kun was the first one, then there was Teddie, Rise-san, Chie, me and Kanji-kun.

- Yukiko you forgot Nanako-chan ! She was the one who found out first !

- Oh that's right ! It was Nanako-chan, Naoto-kun, Teddie, Rise-san, Chie, me and Kanji-kun.

 

 

- Yu-kun ?

- And there I thought I did a good job at hiding it...

- Wait, I think Kou-kun and Daisuke-kun knows too !

-                                                 …                                          Are you kidding me.

 

 


 

 

He made his way back into the living room, Yosuke was... alone ?

 

“Yosuke, where is Mizumi-san ?

- Her parents called her to go home and help them remplace their computer, she left not too long ago.

- Oh, I see.”

 

They're was no need for thinking now.

He needed to act. He already knew his cup of feelings was on the verge of breaking.

Chie and Yukiko did both their best to give him a pep talk.

Kanji could did it.

He needed to act as a friend, a leader,

and for once,

as himself.

 

“Yosuke, I've gotta tell you something. It's really important and... Really serious.

- Um, okay ?

- Um, it's really really important for me, so prepare yourself because it's-

- Okay, okay, I feel like it's going to hit me like a truck so give me a second cuz it's not like you to do something like that. And if it's as important as you say, I feel like I should prepare myself mentally.

- Uh ? Wait, you don't want me to explain more ?

- Well Yukiko sended me a text 5 minutes ago saying you've got something hella important to tell me.

- Oh, okay...”

 

Yosuke took a step back and a deep breath.

 

“Okay,” he took another deep breath “Lay it on me.”

 

This was it.

He had to tell. He had to hang on. It was that moment.

Their was no way he could have expected this moment to happen. Not in years, months, weeks, days, only a matter of minutes.

There it was, right in front of him.

His best friend, the person he loved.

But more importantly, his partner.

His one and only partner. A title that belonged to him and him alone.

A title that he hopes to hold onto forever.

 

“Yosuke ?

- Yeah ?

- Close your eyes.

- Uh ? Why ?

- Just do it. Please.”

 

He did close them.

 

To the first time they talked

Yu took a step forward.

To the time they fought

Yu continued to walk.

To the times they both cried

Yu stood up in front of him.

To the time they first said goodbyes

Yu put his hands on his shoulders.

To the times they got into troubles

Yu got closer.

To those times forever frozen still in his minds

He will show him

That they were all moments of love.

 

 

 

It was so warm.

It was so addicting.

It was all he always wanted.

 

But all the good moments must stop.

To let space for the truth.

 

“I love you partner.”

 

They were staring into each others eyes.

One of deep caramel sweetness and one of grey clouds of emotion.

Both of them disrupted by salty water.

 

But a smile formed.

It was Yosuke's.

 

“Parnter I- I'm so happy !”

He hold the other closer. Yu could feel his heartbeat.

 

“Me too ! Me too !”

 

The tears wouldn't stop. But that's okay.

Because those words

He will never let them go

 

“I love you too !”

 

And he will keep them deep within his soul.

Close forever.

As words of love.