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Shock Scars

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Souji could feel his heart clench in his chest when he felt the electricity crackling through the air.

A Ziodyne headed right for Yosuke.

Yosuke had been grinning at Souji, expecting praise after a critical strike on a shadow. He hadn't been paying attention to the attack coming for him from behind, and if Souji’s mind tried hard enough, he could blame himself for distracting Yosuke.

It was a stroke of luck that the shadow was weak to the Mudoon Naoto threw desperately at it. Souji was at Yosuke’s side the second he hit the ground, with the rest of the team crowding around quickly afterwards.

It looked worse than the usual unconsciousness. Yosuke didn't look like he was breathing, and if he was, it was only very shallow breaths.

“Yukiko,” Souji said firmly, lifting Yosuke up in his arms. “Use Samarecarm.”

Yukiko fumbled for a moment before summoning Amaterasu, only to find that both she and her Persona were extremely tired from the rest of the day’s work.

“I-I’m sorry, Souji, I don't hav-” Yukiko held out her shaking hands as if she could heal with them.

“Senpai, here, I have a Revival Bead.” Naoto said after a moment of digging around in his pockets.

“Thank you.” Souji tried to keep the shakiness out of his voice.

Souji pressed the bead to Yosuke’s chest, hands shakier than he would've liked them to be. He shielded his eyes from the burst of light before he heard Yosuke gasp for air and clutch to Souji’s jacket.

Everyone was silent for a minute or so, making Yosuke’s wheezing into Yu’s chest sound so loud.

“Nasty s-scar.” Yosuke said in between a coughing fit as he looked at the back of his hand. Yosuke was right, there were angry red streaks across the back of his hand, and presumably the rest of his body.

“Wanna call it a day, Senpai?” Kanji spoke up.

“Yes, that's probably a good idea.” Souji looked back down to Yosuke, who suddenly looked very embarrassed to be in someone else’s arms. “Can you stand?”

“Yeah, ‘course I can.” Yosuke stood up without too much stumbling and with a proud look on his face. The team didn’t comment on the slight limp Yosuke was clearly trying to hide from the leg he had landed on badly.

“You still up for a sleepover tonight, partner?” Yosuke elbowed Souji in the side once they had left the TV World.

How could he deny that smile?

“Of course.”

 

The lightning scars hadn't exactly slipped Souji’s mind, but with the chase for Namatame and later Adachi, there was barely any time to worry about Yosuke.

In January, Souji was harshly reminded of the extent of the scarring on Yosuke.

They had been staying at the Dojima residence after convincing Teddie that Yosuke’s parents would be lonely without one of their sons there. In truth, Yosuke knew that his parents would’ve loved a night alone without Yosuke’s loud music or Teddie’s eccentricities, but a sleepover with Souji weighed out.

While they were watching TV and chatting, Yosuke took off his jacket, revealing a short sleeve shirt underneath. This was only substantial because Yosuke never wore short sleeves anymore. It could mostly be written off as cold weather, but Souji knew the real reason after seeing the red marks running down his arms.

They had definitely faded a bit in the few months since the hit. Instead of the angry red they were for a few days, the lightning-like streaks were a light pink. From a little distance you may not notice them. There wasn’t really much distance between Yosuke and Souji, though, considering that Yosuke was laying his head down on Souji’s shoulder.

“Do they hurt?” Souji asked. Smooth.

“Does wha-” Realization dawned on Yosuke’s face as he looked to his own arm. “No, not anymore. My mom has some lotion she lets me borrow for them.”

“I’m sorry.” Souji ran two fingers delicately along one of the lines.

“Not your fault, partner.” Yosuke rubbed his forehead harder into Souji’s shoulder, obviously ticklish.

“I should've taken it out.” Souji sighed. “It was weak to curse attacks, and I had a Persona with Mudo.”

“You... You still remember what it was weak to?” Yosuke asked quietly.

“Yeah.” Souji laughed hollowly. “It was definitely one of the top five worst things that have happened to me in this year.”

“That’s sort of flattering, considering all the stuff with...” Yosuke swallowed. “you-know-who.”

They didn't say much for a while after that. Neither could really think of how to respond. Souji just ran his fingers up and down Yosuke’s arms.

Later that night, Souji got an unfortunate look at the scars on Yosuke’s back while they were changing into their pajamas.

There was a large red mark right on Yosuke’s spine where the attack had hit and the lines streaking outwards along his arms, back, and presumably legs. It made Souji’s heart clench in the same way it had on that day, and if Souji really focused, he could probably feel the lightning in the air too.

He probably shouldn't have reached out to touch it based on how Yosuke jumped a foot in the air in surprise. Souji muttered an apology, and soon they were both in shirts, and they didn’t talk about it again.

Souji fell asleep easily as usual, but he was soon tossing in his futon from nightmares.

Souji’s nightmares weren't particularly uncommon, but they weren't as bad as you'd expect a kid who had fought hundreds of demons to be.
The weirdest part of this nightmare was that it wasn't something that had happened before. It wasn’t uncommon for Souji to wake up in a cold sweat thinking of a time that Chie or Naoto had gone down a little too hard in battle or when Teddie had disappeared without a trace. It was a little more common for Souji to wake up practically hearing Nanako call out for him after a dream of standing near her hospital bed, clutching her hand.

Yet, this nightmare was somehow worse, just because it hadn't happened.

The team was fighting something big. Souji couldn't see what it was through all the fog, but the fear gripped him all the same. Whatever it was, it was aiming something at Souji, but Yosuke acted first, pushing Souji out of the way.

Dark fingers slid out of the ground underneath Yosuke, pulling at him. Souji barely had time to open his mouth, much less to scream before Yosuke was gone.

He clawed at the ground where Yosuke had gone under as if he could pull him back up.

And then he woke up, clawing the wood floor next to his futon, maybe hard enough to make a mark.

Yosuke was there, breathing, living, not in the ground.

Yosuke was also very awake, and very on top of Souji. He was gripping Souji’s shoulders with a worried look on his face.

“Man, you were screaming like crazy.” Yosuke sounded relieved. “You alright?”

“Just a nightmare.” Souji let out a shaky breath.

“Was it about me? You were, y’know, calling out my name, so..” Yosuke trailed off.

“I dreamed you had died.” Souji turned his head to the side. “Sorry to wake you.”

“Do you want to talk about it, man?” Yosuke asked.

“It’s not important.” Souji just wanted to go back to sleep and not think about how nice it was to have Yosuke leaning over him, so close to his face.

“You’re always so careful, I've never had to worry about you, like, dying or anything.” Yosuke still wouldn’t let go of Souji’s shoulders. “I guess I’m so clumsy that you have to watch over me all the time, huh?”

“It’s nothing like that.” Souji turned his head to look back up at his best friend. “I just can't imagine losing you.”

There was a tender moment where the two just looked into each other’s eyes in the low light of the moon. Yosuke looked away first, with a bright red face, embarrassed to be looked at so lovingly like that.

“If you’d like, I could sleep in your futon.” Yosuke quickly realized the implications of his statement and went to back-petal. “I mean, so that you can be sure I’m alright! Not for, like, cuddling or anything.”

“What if cuddling will help me sleep?” Souji smirked.

Yosuke lightly slapped his arm. “You say the silliest things, partner.” His face was turned away, and he was most certainly blushing.

The tension hung heavier in the air.

After his face cooled down, Yosuke spoke up again. “Is... Am I reading this wrong? Are you, y’know...?”

“I don’t think you're reading it wrong.” Souji smiled, genuinely this time.

They were both leaning in, but it was Yosuke who took the leap to press their lips together and bump Souji’s head back into his futon. Yosuke kissed Souji like it would be the last time he ever could, trying to make it count. Souji didn’t mind it too much though.

“This is new.” Souji commented pleasantly when Yosuke pulled away.

“Yeah, whatever, I’ve been cuddling up to you when we hang out for months. Shut up.” Yosuke sounded pissed, but his giddy smile said otherwise.