Goro can only sigh as the van shook due to uneven roads. It's summer, and the ex-Phantom Thieves in Tokyo had the genius idea of giving a surprise visit to their leader at Yasoinaba, after he went back early for reasons he won't tell them.
To be honest, Goro doesn't even know how he's roped into this. Sure, it's been more than a year since they defeated Yaldabaoth, and apparently Goro had made enough amends for the rest of the Phantom Thieves to at least tolerate him, but he still prefers to stay in Tokyo and help out the station however he can, despite Sae-san sort of laying him off, saying that he "should concentrate on education to be the best detective he can be". Also, it's much easier to do homework in his apartment where he's alone rather than in some noisy, albeit friendly, place.
Well, a part of Goro muses, there isn't anything wrong with that. It's not like he's going to take the entire summer break doing homework, unlike some people, and company might be nice. And if he does join, there will be other things to do that are definitely more exciting than just laying around in his room watching Featherman all day. The cons still outweigh the pros, though. Why did he agree to this, again?
A now-familiar weight leans against Goro, and he freezes. Ah, right, that's why.
Ryuji wraps one hand around his shoulders, shooting Goro a smile. "So what's up, Goro? Ain't it cool? I've only gone to Inaba once or twice, but this time the whole gang's going! I can't wait for the reunion!"
Goro tries to return the smile, though it's a bit crooked. "I suppose it is rather exciting. Although, if I remember correctly, you said it's a rather small town. What exactly will we do there?"
The other didn't falter. "Well, yeah, it's pretty small, but doesn't mean we can't have fun! For one, there's a lot of shops there for all sorts of stuff! There's gotta be some cool knick-knacks we can find!"
"That would be interesting," Yusuke pipes up. "Seeing the variety of artifacts from where Ren grew up can potentially broaden my horizons."
Futaba snickers. "Of course you'd call them that, Inari."
"Futaba," Ann scolds, but she seems amused herself.
"Is there something wrong with my phrasing?"
Goro lets those two bicker for the time being, instead urging Ryuji to explain more of what he planned there. He half-listens to his rambling as his thoughts drift.
Ryuji had been one of the first to accept him, when the others were still wary. He was the one who gave the final push to get Goro out of his self-imposed cage, and the one who encouraged him to get help. Goro could never thank him enough for that.
There was another reason he sticks around, however. Along the way, Goro had… developed something of a crush on him. He took notice on how his smiles always made his heart beat faster, and whenever they were apart, Goro's thoughts inevitably drift to him. Ryuji is seemingly unaware of this, thankfully.
Who did notice is Ren, who seemed rather insistent on being Goro's "long-distance wingman".
Goro shivers at the thought. Ren has been… very forward on his attempts to set them up. He can only wait in fear for the shenanigans he'll pull once they all meet in person.
Maybe this trip was a mistake, after all .
"Goroooooo!" Ryuji whines next to him, pulling him out of his thoughts, "are you even listening?"
Goro chuckles at the frankly adorable pout the other sports. "Of course, of course. You think that there are plenty of scenic locations there, as well as prime camping sites, is that correct? There are also some interesting places that you think we could investigate."
His face brightens almost immediately. "Yeah! It'll be a fun trip, see?"
"Yo, Ryuji! Tell me there'll be Wi-Fi there!"
"Perhaps, instead of looking for Wi-Fi, you should put your phone down and actually enjoy the scenery for once," Makoto pipes up from behind the wheel."
"Don't worry, Futaba!" Haru says cheerfully. "If there isn't, I'm sure I can find a way to have it installed in wherever we're staying!"
"Don't encourage her, Haru!"
Goro shakes his head fondly. Well, whatever will happen can wait. For now, he'll enjoy his time with everyone. And if he leans a bit on Ryuji's side, well, that's nobody's business but his.