From the time Yosuke awakened to his persona, he and Souji noticed that Izanagi and Jiraiya were very… attached to each other. They seemed to hit it off right away, and the two fought in tandem with each other effortlessly, much like Souji and Yosuke did. The two even started exchanging overt signals of friendships, which their wielders simply laughed off--however, they couldn’t ignore the tingling warmth in their fingertips whenever the personas high fived one another, and both boys’ hearts raced just a tiny bit every time they went for a spirited chest bump.
Souji and Yosuke probably should’ve seen it coming--the two personas always fought side-by-side with Izanagi being incredibly protective of Jiraiya, and Jiraiya was always the first to dote on Izanagi whenever he took a particularly hard blow. The first time things really escalated from there was after they defeated Chie’s shadow; it was the hardest battle they’d faced up to this point. The personas couldn’t seem to resist giving each other a lingering celebratory hug that made both their masters feel something...new.
Souji was acutely aware of the sensation of suction-cupped fingertips melding themselves onto his back, and the front of his body was completely awash with a soothing warmth akin to that of a summer breeze. Yosuke felt the pointed caps on Izanagi’s fingers dig into his skin the tiniest bit as he was wrapped in his cool metallic embrace, but it didn’t hurt whatsoever--instead, it electrified Yosuke’s entire body in the most euphoric sense imaginable. The two also couldn’t help but notice the pleased way Izanagi purred as he lingered in Jiraiya’s embrace while Jiraiya peeped and whistled with delight.
“O-okay, jeez! That’s enough, you two!!” Yosuke cried, looking more than a bit flustered as he dismissed Jiraiya. Jiraiya let out a throaty, almost defiant croak as he dematerialized, reaching out to Izanagi as he did.
Even beneath his obscuring helm, Souji could see that Izanagi was sad to see his froggy partner go; he gave him an affirmative nod. “Good work, Izanagi,” Souji reassured him warmly. “You’ll see Jiraiya again soon.” Izanagi bowed his head in understanding as he dissipated into bright blue flecks of light.
“Man, I’m beat ,” Chie mumbled with an exasperated sigh. Not a moment later, she was collapsing to her knees on the ground, and she had to have her newly obtained persona, Tomoe, carry her in her arms.
“Yeah, that happens when you face your shadow--totally normal stuff,” Yosuke replied coolly.
“Ugh, there’s nothing normal about this, you blockhead…” she muttered, her exhausting dulling the sarcastic edge she was going for.
“Let’s head out for now,” Souji decided, retrieving a Goho-M from his pocket as he did. Soon enough, the team was enveloped by a white light, and they were teleported back to the entryway of the TV world.
Teddie was waiting for them with a concerned expression. “Oh noes! Is Chie-chan okay?!” he cried upon seeing her nearly passed out in her persona’s arms.
“Yes, she’s just exhausted,” Souji explained. “We’ll help her out of the TV from here.”
“Aw man, I’m way too sore to carry a whole nother person, dude…” Yosuke whined.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be helping you.”
Tomoe gingerly set Chie on her feet, and Souji and Yosuke propped her up draping each of her arms around their shoulders and wrapping one of each of their arms around her back. Because of the way their arms were placed, Souji’s and Yosuke’s hands brushed one another as they got into position; Souji felt a familiar gust of warmth whirl across his skin, and Yosuke felt another exhilarating electric shock shoot through his veins. They locked eyes for a moment, stunned by the familiarity of the sensation.
“Are you guys okay? You look beary worried all of a sudden! ” Teddie observed.
“U-uh, yeah! Everything’s totally cool!!” Yosuke mustered with forced enthusiasm, his face contorted in poorly concealed embarrassment.
“I think we all just need some rest,” Souji reasoned, looking as cool as ever. Yosuke couldn’t help but feel a bit slighted by his composure.
After saying their goodbyes to Teddie, they exited the TV world. Once they’d dropped Chie off at home, Yosuke decided to walk Souji home--they should, uh, probably talk about what their personas have been up to, and he figured the walk would give them a good opportunity.
“Sooo, partner...” Yosuke began trailing off almost immediately. Why did this make him so damn nervous ?
“What’s the matter, Yosuke?” Souji asked.
“W-well, um… our personas have been acting kind of weird, huh?”
“I noticed that, too… I’m really not sure what’s gotten into them,” Souji replied, pensively grasping his chin between his thumb and index finger and furrowing his brow.
Why did he look so cute when he was perplexed like this? “Yeah, they sure like, uh… hugging each other and stuff, huh?... I wonder why.”
“Well, personas are manifestations of the true self, right?” Souji reasoned. “Maybe it means that this is what our true selves really want to do?”
Yosuke sputtered in surprise and stopped in his tracks so suddenly that he managed to trip over absolutely nothing . Souji lunged forward and caught him before he could fall unceremoniously to the ground, and holy crap was he starstruck by the electric sensation of Souji’s hands on his skin; it seemed like Jiraiya was absolutely overjoyed, if the onslaught of chirps in Yosuke’s mind were any indication.
“A-are you okay, Yosuke?” Souji stammered. Now he’d finally lost his cool a bit; the moment he caught Yosuke, he was overcome by a tempest of warmth much stronger than what he’d felt before, and Izanagi’s delighted chuffs rang deafeningly within his mind.
At some point, the two had fallen in a heap to the ground with Yosuke still wrapped in Souji’s protective embrace. They stayed like that for longer than either of them wanted to admit as they stared into each other’s eyes with much more intensity than they should have. Jiraiya’s giddy squeaks bounced around in Yosuke’s mind; he sensed that his persona was almost willing him to lean in close enough to feel the ghost of Souji’s breath against his lips, part his lips ever so slightly, and...
“Agh, uh... wow , I’m so sorry about that!” Yosuke cried with a flustered glow on his cheeks. “But c’mon partner, you can’t just say stuff like that!!”
“I’m sorry, too. I, um… just thought it was the most reasonable explanation? I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable.”
“O-oh, nah, don’t worry about it, partner,” Yosuke said with a nervous chuckle, ruffling the hair on the back of his head as he did. “But man, we gotta figure out what’s up with these two…”
“I agree; it certainly is a bit distracting, and it would be bad if their behavior began to compromise our ability to fight.”
“Oh yeah, uh, totally,” Yosuke stammered. “It’s just like, super distracting since we can feel what they feel, yeah?...” he trailed off--there was no way he could tell Souji what he was actually thinking, right??
“That’s true, we um... definitely do feel everything they do.” Souji agreed, looking just a tad bashful.
Yosuke, too nervous to say anything further for the time being, held his tongue until they arrived outside of the Dojima residence. He should’ve just said goodbye like they always do and parted ways to their own houses, right? That would’ve been the ideal way to wrap things up--but no, in classic Yosuke fashion, he let his mouth get ahead of his brain and broke the heavy silence.
“Kinda makes you wonder if that’s what the real deal feels like, right?” he winked.
“You mean… real cuddling?” Souji asked, his eyes blown open wide with surprise.
“W-well, uh… um, y-yeah? Is that… weird?? I mean I’ve just, uh, n-never cuddled with anyone before and it feels really nice when Jiraiya and Izanagi do it so, um…”
“...Should we find out?” Without another word, Souji thrust his hand into Yosuke’s, adeptly interlocking their fingers as he did.
“Gah! Souji !” he squawked. “You can’t just grab a man like that…” As much as he protested, he didn’t pull his hand away--something about the way their fingers had threaded together was just too perfect to let their hands unravel. Not to mention that Souji’s skin was so damn soft .
Souji led Yosuke up to his room, still clutching his hand all the while, as if Yosuke could somehow get lost without his guidance--some part of Yosuke was so embarrassed that he did wish he’d just get lost forever. Souji shut the door behind them, and they took a seat side-by-side on his familiar couch--much more closely than they usually would. They felt their hips press against each other with a comfortable warmth.
“S-so, um… how should we do this, Leader?” Yosuke asked.
“Should we just start with, um… a hug?” Souji asked, the faintest hint of color rising into his cheeks. Izanagi chuffed in approval.
“Y-yeah, I guess so,” Yosuke laughed nervously. “Seems like that’s our personas’ favorite thing to do, right?”
From his seated position, Souji turned to face Yosuke head on, letting his eyes linger on Yosuke’s for a moment before leaning in and wrapping his arms around his waist; another gust of warmth rushed across Souji’s skin where it pressed against Yosuke’s frame. Jiraiya chirped for joy as a and another bolt of electric heat coursed through Yosuke’s veins; after shaking off the shock, he reciprocated by wrapping his arms around Souji’s waist, as well.
Yosuke could tell that most of the heat had gone directly to his cheeks. His chin was resting on Souji’s shoulder, and he couldn’t help but catch a whiff of Souji’s hair; it smelled of clove and and cypress with an alluring musky undertone that completely drew Yosuke in. Before he knew it, it was nuzzling his way into Souji’s neck, and the way Yosuke’s eyelashes tickled the skin on his neck set his heart aflutter. Souji pressed his cheek into Yosuke’s hair, reveling in the sweet spritz of citrus and mint. Souji began rubbing his hands across the small of Yosuke’s back in soothing circles, and Yosuke pressed more of his weight into Souji’s body in response. Izanagi and Jiraiya were absolutely living for this level of intimacy. Jiraiya was whistling a delighted tune in Yosuke’s head while Izanagi purred so intensely that Souji swore his brain was vibrating.
“So um, this is pretty nice, huh?” Yosuke commented, fidgeting nervously in Souji’s embrace.
Yosuke buried himself deeper in the crook of Souji’s neck, and Souji could feel his face burning a titch more hotly.
Souji gave him a reassuring squeeze. “Yeah, it is. I think we could get a little cozier, though.”
“Wh-what do you mean?...” he mumbled softly against Souji’s neck. Souji could feel Yosuke’s lips buzz against his neck as he spoke, and the sensation sent a euphoric shiver down his spine.
“Would you care to move this to my futon?” Izanagi gave a metallic hum of approval at his suggestion.
“Wh-wh-- huh?!” Yosuke sputtered, frantically peeling himself off of Souji. “Th-that’s awful forward of you, partner! Uh...”
Jiraiya started chirping urgently and letting out these soft squeals that Yosuke just knew was his persona trying to goad him on. ‘Yeah yeah, I know this is what you want--can it, frog…’
“Don’t worry, we aren’t going to do anything weird. I just figured we could lay down for a while.” Souji reassured him with a soft smile.
“Gah, fine…” Yosuke grumbled with feigned reluctance. He didn’t want to seem too eager after all, but Souji was just so… charming. I mean, how could he possibly say no?
Souji gently pulled himself away from Yosuke, stopping to place his hands on his shoulders and gave them a gentle squeeze before pushing himself up off the couch. He watched as Souji unfolded his futon, admiring the way the muscles in his back would become taut when he lifted another section of the heavy bedding. He’d never really looked at Souji like this before--sure, he knew he was muscular, but he’d never truly paid attention to just how sculpted Souji was. Ogling him like this made Yosuke miss the warmth of his body pressed against his, but he knew they’d be back at it soon enough.
Once the futon was all situated, Souji came back over and offered Yosuke a hand to help him up. Yosuke placed his hand on top of Souji’s as he pulled him up--to his surprise, Souji pulled his hands up to his face and planted a gentle kiss square on the back of his palm. Naturally, Yosuke’s face was practically on fire .
“ D-dude, that wasn’t part of our plan!” he hissed as he felt his heart turn over in his chest. He was embarrassed, sure, but he was too distracted by the butterflies in his stomach to truly care.
“Sorry, I couldn’t resist,” Souji replied with a coy smile. “Shall we?”
They made their way over to the futon, easily falling into a seated position. Souji gazed at Yosuke, who was trying to avoid looking into Souji’s eyes at all cost. This was beginning to feel all too intimate, and Yosuke was afraid of the things he would inevitably feel if he lost himself to Souji’s starling eyes. Jiraiya was not having it, though, and he made the most irritating sustained croak Yosuke had ever heard until he finally looked Souji in the face.
He had the softest smile on his face, and his eyes were practically sparkling as he looked at Yosuke like he was the best thing he’d ever seen. And honestly, that’s exactly what was going through Souji’s head--Yosuke had the most precious flush to his cheeks, and his eyes were like pools of warm caramel that Souji would’ve happily drowned in. Naturally, Yosuke blushed even harder under Souji’s doting gaze, and Souji couldn’t help but chuckle mirthfully at how Yosuke seemed to be getting cuter by the second.
He wordlessly pulled Yosuke close to his chest and pulled them down until they were laying side by side. Yosuke gasped and squirmed a bit, but eventually settled easily into Souji’s arms.
“Give a guy some warning, would you?” he chided.
Souji didn’t say anything--he just kept looking at him with that same soft smile that made Yosuke want to melt into a puddle and soak into Souji’s futon. The butterflies in his stomach hadn’t relented in the slightest; in fact, they almost seemed to be dancing to Jiraiya’s symphony of jolly chirps. Yosuke nuzzled into his chest to hide the bright red glow of his face, and Souji hummed contentedly as Izanagi let out a brassy whistle of delight. Yosuke took a deep breath, relishing in the clean laundry smell that intermingled with the soft scent of Souji’s skin ensheathed within his shirt. He started playing with Yosuke’s hair, gently twirling his soft locks and running his fingers along the back of his scalp. Yosuke had to admit that it felt really nice, and he gave Souji a squeeze of appreciation.
After he felt like the flaming blush on his face had been extinguished whatsoever, Yosuke looked up at Souji apprehensively. Of course he still had that adorable look on his face; Yosuke couldn’t help but let his expression melt into a warm smile. He felt his heart bubbling over with affection for his best friend, and he couldn’t possibly suppress what spilled out of his mouth next.
“You know what else might be nice, partner?” Yosuke asked softly.
“What’s that, Yosuke?”
“What if we, um... said some nice things about each other?”
Souji gave him a look of soft perplexion as he pushed Yosuke’s hair out of his face. “Like what?”
“Like… I, um… I think you’re cute,” Yosuke muttered indistinctly, his cheeks aglow for the millionth time that day.
Souji’s eyes lit up instantly, and his lips curled up into a shy smile; finally, it was Souji’s turn to blush furiously. “Is that so?” he teased, gently cupping Yosuke’s face. “Well, I think you’re cute too, partner.” Izanagi let loose a ringing shriek of pure joy.
Yosuke felt like his heart was going to burst as it pounded along to the rhythm of Jiraiya’s proud bolero of chirps and whistles. “And, um… there’s something else I wanna say, too. I think I’ve wanted to say it for a while, really...”
“I’d love to hear it, Yosuke,” Souji said, gently caressing Yosuke’s cheek and jawline and softly gazing into his eyes.
“I, um… you’re really special to me, y’know? And I think I want to be… more than just friends?” he looked away, his voice wavering nervously. “I totally get it if you don’t wanna be with a total loser like me, but…”
“Yosuke, I’d love to be more than friends,” Souji interjected breathily. His grin had grown into a broad, heartfelt smile that showed his perfectly white teeth, and Yosuke’s veins were alight with electric sparks at just the sight of it. “Honestly, I’ve felt the same for a while now.”
“N-no way, really?” Yosuke asked incredulously, his eyes sparkling with delight and surprise. “ You , Mr. Perfect Souji Seta, had a crush on me ?”
“Don’t sell yourself so short, Yosuke. You’re wonderful in your own right. You’re so dedicated to your friends, and you’d do anything to help someone in need. You light up a room any time you step into it, whether you know it or not,” Souji paused and let loose a breathy chuckle through his nose. “And you sure are the light of my whole life.”
Yosuke buried his face in Souji’s chest. “You say the most embarrassing stuff, you know that partner?” Yosuke groaned, then softly giggled into Souji’s chest. “But, um… you make my life so much better just by being in it.”
Souji reached down and tilted Yosuke’s head up by his chin. They simply gazed into each other’s eyes for a while, drinking up the ecstasy and warmth of the affection welling within both their hearts.
“Yosuke,” he whispered. “ Can I kiss you?”
Yosuke’s eyes got a bit wide and his lips parted ever so slightly; he must’ve gawked like that for a while, entranced by the look of pure adoration on Souji’s face. Finally, he gave a small nod.
Souji gently cupped both sides of his face, relishing in the delicate feel of his skin against his palms. He leaned down until their lips were close enough to feel the warmth of each other’s breaths against their mouths; they lingered there for a moment, and the anticipation was more than enough to drive everyone insane, including Jiraiya and Izanagi.
And finally , they were kissing.
Souji’s lips were impossibly soft, and Yosuke let his lips weave languidly against the velvety pull of Souji’s mouth. Souji leaned to deepen the kiss, pressing his mouth a bit more firmly against Yosuke’s, deeply appreciating the fullness of his lips against his. Their mouths danced against one another’s until they were both out of breath, and they reluctantly pulled away from each other out of necessity.
Yosuke’s eyes lingered on Souji’s mouth, feeling like he would never get enough of the taste of his lips. Souji must have read his mind, because he readily leaned back in for another kiss--and another, and another, and another . They exchanged sweet, loving kisses until their mouths were stained a deep red and they were both completely breathless.
“Damn partner, you sure do know how to kiss,” Yosuke jeered with a grin.
“I could say the same about you, partner” Souji replied warmly.
Yosuke blushed appreciatively. “So um, would you mind if I spent the night?” Yosuke asked with the most adorable puppy dog eyes.
Souji gave him a playful smirk. “I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.”
Souji got up to turn off the lights, tossing Yosuke a pair of pajamas as he did. They pants were a bit too long on Yosuke since he never managed to catch up on the 5 centimeter height difference, so he cuffed the bottoms--naturally, Souji thought it was adorable, and he ruffled his hair playfully when he reclaimed his rightful place in his arms on the futon.
“Aren’t you glad our personas liked to snuggle so much?” Souji teased. Izanagi purred in agreement--he, too, was more than thrilled at the prospect of spending the night in his froggy partner’s arms.
Yosuke laughed. “Yeah, thanks to them we’ve got cuddle buddies of our own, eh?” Jiraiya whistled happily, delighted that he’d finally coerced his master into being his true self.
Souji chuckled and gently kissed Yosuke on the forehead. “I sure do love my cuddle buddy,” he cooed.
Yosuke gasped in surprise, but a smile and soft blush quickly took over his face. “I love mine, too,” he replied, nuzzling Souji’s nose with his as he did.
The two snuggled up under the blanket--Yosuke insisted on being the big spoon--and quickly drifted into a blissful sleep. They slept more soundly than they ever had before as very embodiments of their souls relished in the warmth of each other’s company all through the night.