“Ugh, finally! ” Chie groaned as the last bell rang, putting her head down on her desk with an exasperated sigh. “I thought that test was never gonna end!”
Yukiko turned around in her seat to face the brunette. “I didn’t think this one was too hard,” she remarked. “though there were a few questions I didn’t fully understand.”
“Of course it was easy for you, you’re one of the best students in the class!” Chie huffed. “Well, besides this guy over here!” she turned and gestured towards Yu, who was at his desk beside her. “I saw you put your pencil down after like, twenty minutes! And I barely managed to finish mine in the hour and a half she gave us!”
Yu just gave her a comforting smile. “I’m sure it would help if you spent more time studying.”
You think I haven’t thought of that before?! Chie said to herself. But, though Yu’s words would sound condescending and insulting said by anyone else, there was a softness in his voice that told Chie that he sincerely wanted to help. “I’ve tried studying more, I really have, but... I usually just get distracted before I get any actual work done,” she said with an awkward laugh.
“I could tutor you, if you’d like.” Yu offered kindly.
“Oh, you don’t have to do that!” Chie said dismissively, not wanting to seem like a bother. Why was Yu so goddamn nice? “I’m sure you’re already pretty busy, being the team’s leader and all.”
Yu shook his head. “It would be no trouble at all,” he said with a warm grin.
“Well, if you say so, then yeah, I could really use your help studying.” The brunette admitted. “Actually, could you help me today? We’ve got that English test coming up and I don’t understand anything we’ve covered in the last two weeks, haha.”
Yu just chuckled. “Alright, I’ll help you with that. Though, not today, there’s a drama club meeting that I can’t miss.”
“That’s fine, perhaps later this week?” Chie suggested. “I’m available whenever you are!”
“Yeah, I’ll let you know when I’m free.” Yu nodded, before getting up out of his seat. “I should probably get going, though, so I’ll see you guys later-”
“Uhh, h-hey partner?”
Chie turned to look at Yosuke, who had been silent up until now, which stuck Chie as odd since he was always the one complaining the most after a particularly hard test.
Actually, now that she looked at him closer, everything about him seemed odd. He had an anxious, almost frightened, look on his face, his hair was unusually messy as if he’d been running his hands through it for the past hour, and his headphones, instead of laying around his neck like usual, were lying on his desk while Yosuke twirled the wire around his fingers in a nervous manner.
“Hm?” Yu turned to the brunette.
Yosuke swallowed hard, as if trying to regain composure. “Ah- sorry, I know you’ve gotta go and all,” His voice wavered slightly as he spoke. “but could you spare a moment to talk?”
“Yeah. I’ve got time.” Yu said cooly, a stark contrast to Yosuke’s entire demeanor.
A few silent seconds went by. “U-Uh, I-I mean, privately? ” He clarified, sneaking a few quick glances at Chie and Yukiko, who were watching the pair intently.
“Oh, sure. The stairwells are usually empty after class, so we can talk there.” Yu said, motioning for Yosuke to follow him as he headed out of the classroom. Yosuke scrambled to his feet, took in a deep breath, and hurried after his partner.
As soon as he left, Chie and Yukiko exchanged confused glances. “What was that about?” Chie inquired, and Yukiko just shrugged.
“I’m not sure. Do you think it had something to do with the case?” Yukiko wondered.
Chie thought for a moment, but quickly shrugged off the suggestion. “No way, he’d tell all of us if he found new information about the killer, right?” she decided. “Plus, I don’t think Naoto’d be too happy to find Yosuke discussing the case without her.”
“Then what do you think it’s about? Yosuke-kun seemed really nervous.” Yukiko pointed out.
“Who knows what’s going on in Yosuke’s head?” Chie said dismissively. “Though, I do have to admit I am pretty curious…”
“Do you think we should…” Yukiko paused, jerking her head slightly towards the door. “You know… follow them?”
“You mean eavesdrop?!” Chie exclaimed loudly, though deep down she was seriously considering the idea.
Yukiko sighed, her brow furrowed. “Yeah, you’re right, we shouldn’t-”
“No, we should!” Chie interrupted in an almost desperate manner. When Yukiko gave her a confused glance, she continued. “I mean… what if it’s something serious? We should know if he’s struggling so we can help! That’s what good friends do, right?”
“Yeah! We can just make sure he’s alright, and then go before he notices.” Yukiko sounded as if she was saying it to herself more than to Chie. The two girls exchanged a nod before getting up and leaving the classroom, making their way to the west stairwell.
Deep down, Chie knew that her concern was just a coverup so that she didn’t feel bad about spying on her friend, and she was convinced Yukiko’s was the same, but she pushed aside her guilt for the time being. Of course, she still cared about Yosuke and did want to know if he was okay, but that didn’t change the fact that she was dying to know what kind of secrets the brunette held.
Chie’s heart pounded as poked her head around the corner. She saw that Yu’s back was to her, but Yosuke’s face was plain on display. His eyes kept shifting to the floor, as if he were avoiding Yu’s gaze. “Good, they’re still here,” she whispered to Yukiko.
Yukiko crouched behind her, peeking around the corner as well to watch the boys. “What do you think they’re talking about?” she muttered quizzically.
“Shh! I wanna hear them!” Chie shushed quietly as she saw Yosuke’s mouth moving, straining to hear what he was saying.
“I-I know you’ve got shit to do, so I’m gonna try to make this quick.” Yosuke shifted his stance, placing his weight on one foot while absentmindedly scraping the floor with this other. Yu nodded, and Yosuke continued. “I’ve been, uh, thinking… about a lot of things lately. P-Probably more than I should be, haha…” The brunette trailed off awkwardly, wringing his hands together.
“Are you alright?” Yu inquired, concern evident in his voice. “You seem tense.”
Yosuke’s eyes darted up, but almost immediately went back down as he met Yu’s gaze. “Y-Yes, I’m fine! G-Great, even! I’m just… not exactly sure how to word this.”
“You know you can tell me anything. We’re partners, aren’t we?”
Yosuke visibly swallowed. “Y-Yeah, o-of course we are! I guess I should just say it…” he suddenly looked up, facing Yu head on. “I… I like youuu...r grades!”
Yosuke laughed awkwardly, once again avoiding Yu’s eyes. “Haha, yeah! Y-You’ve got the best grades in the class, and I was wondering if you could tutor me!”
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t mind…” Yu started. “But why didn’t you ask me back in the classroom? I’d just offered to do the same for Chie.”
Chie could practically see the beads of sweat forming on Yosuke’s face. “W-Well, yeah, but I didn’t want her to make fun of me for it. You know Chie! She’ll make fun of me for breathing the wrong way, haha!”
Chie scoffed at that comment, then quickly slapped her hand over her mouth, afraid Yosuke had heard her. Luckily, he didn’t.
“That does sound like Chie,” Yu said, a hint of amusement in his tone. “I’m glad to see you taking your education seriously.”
Yosuke just smiled a smile that was way too big to be natural. “Haha, yep! That’s me, always responsible when it comes to school! You’d better watch out, or I’ll take your place as Yasogami’s top student!”
“I look forward to it, then.” Yu chuckled. “I’ve gotta go, but I’ll text you later about when we can meet up, alright?”
“Yeah, sounds good, partner!” Yosuke called after Yu as he descended down the stairwell.
A few seconds after Yu was out of sight, Yosuke let out a loud groan, throwing his head back and burying his face in his hands. “Way to go, Hanamura!” he scolded himself aloud. “You chickened out! And seriously, ‘I like your grades’? That’s the best you could come up with?! You can defeat hundreds of shadows, but you can’t tell one boy you like him? God, I’m such a fucking mess...”
Chie backed up from the corner, almost bumping into Yukiko. Her thoughts were jumbled as the tried to process what she’d just witnessed. “Holy shit…” she whispered, the realization suddenly hitting her like a punch to the gut.
Yosuke had a crush on Yu.
Though, she must have cursed a bit too loud, as she heard the sound of footsteps, and soon Yosuke turned around the corner.
“W-What?! Chie?! And Yukiko?!”
“Ah!” Yukiko jumped up, startled. “H-Heeeey, Yosuke-kun! Funny running into you here, haha…”
Yosuke narrowed his eyes. “You two were spying on us, weren’t you?” Then, his face began to flush a few shades redder. “How… How much did you hear?”
“Just enough to figure out what you were up to!” Chie jabbed an accusing finger at Yosuke. “You have a crush on Yu, and you were gonna tell him!”
For a split second, Chie could’ve sworn she saw fear flash in Yosuke’s eyes, but it disappeared as soon as it came. “W-What?! Me?! Pffft, no way!” he scoffed. “Where’d you get that idea?!”
Chie raised an eyebrow. “Come on, no one would be that nervous just asking for a tutor! You looked like you were gonna have an aneurysm at any second!”
“Also, we may or may not have heard you say it when you were talking to yourself…” Yukiko put in.
Yosuke let out a defeated sigh. “God damn it, this day can’t get any more humiliating… Y-You two better not tell him!”
Yukiko grinned. “Oh, don’t worry Yosuke-kun! We won’t tell Yu!” she cheered in a sickly-sweet tone.
“Yeah, because you’re gonna tell him yourself!” Chie said with a smug smirk.
Yosuke reeled back. “What? Didn’t you just see what I tried to do?” he pointed out, gesturing towards the stairwell with his hands. “I can barely look him in the eye without my entire brain shutting down!”
Chie and Yukiko exchanged a knowing look, then nodded to each other. “Then we’ll help you!” Yukiko chirped, turning and walking away towards the main staircase.
“Wait, what-?” Yosuke objected, but Chie was already grabbing his arm and practically dragging him as she followed Yukiko.
Ten minutes later, Yosuke found himself on a train to Okina with Chie and Yukiko, wondering how the hell he had gotten himself into this mess.