Another Man’s Treasure

Another Man’s Treasure

a Persona 4 fanfiction by The Overlord Bear

Summary: Lonely Yu Narukami wanted some permanent close friends, so he prayed to the gods for some, and a goddess did give him some and more in the form of a group of closet freaks.


Previous Part: “One’s Man Trash”


WARNING: ALL-OUT SPOILERS AND CRAZY CANON DEVIATION UP AHEAD!


By the traditional standards of his time, Yu Narukami was a good child. He had no ties to shady people, he made his elders happy with his obedience, and most of all, he had the sexual drive of a disciplined monk. Somehow, that last one made his lockers more and more stuffed with love letters, among many other signs through the years, but he had grown to take those times as opportunities for better discipline until he saw Miss Right with his own two eyes or the ultimate joys of celibacy in exchange for never reaching the former.

Yu had no plans to become a monk, though. The urban life beyond that called him, and the fact that people tended to laugh at his usual seriousness made him consider a career in comedy. Entertainment in general seemed like a good option to him, especially with how quite social the work was. He could do work in more mundane settings, like day care centers and hospitals, but the challenge of the limelight seemed bigger, especially in terms of people. Therefore, it was more interesting.

Still, Yu imagined that he would still have to be lonely even as an entertainer, judging from the stuff he found in the media everyday and how reputation and public opinion were strictly regarded in his country’s society. Not like it was limited to showbiz alone, but gossip being a sore thumb of a staple in showbiz still had him stuck in discernment about going for a career in entertainment. But gossip about himself wasn’t what he would expect to be the worst thing about being a talented entertainer, which he could see himself as.

The worst thing he expected from being a talented entertainer, then, was to have no close friends to go through thick and thin with everyday and not just for a year or some short period of time, and he wouldn’t count the elders as qualified for those positions, even as he liked to respect them. Actually, having no permanent close friends was what he considered the worst thing in his life in general, and he considered it so badly that he often ended up thinking about how a job can lead to such an outcome, causing him no small amount of doubt. The only child named Yu Narukami loved his family very much, even as they were often out at work for long periods of time, and he held gratitude to them for pushing him to learn how to be self-reliant, but he sometimes wished that he could convince them to have a truly permanent address with him already and not have him transfer schools so much.

But still, Yu would rather be more of an obedient son. It had him becoming very honored, and he often felt pleased by it, even as most of that honoring came from old people. After all, he believed and hoped that the elders would know and grant his deepest wish in life eventually after enough fulfilled challenges for their sake.

“So, you really are a serious kid, huh?” suddenly said a man named Ryotaro Dojima, Yu’s uncle on his mother’s side. “I guess I got my work cut out for me! This would probably sound arrogant, but I probably won’t even need to tell you what to do!”

Yu’s uncle laughed as he drived to Yu’s new home for the year. Meanwhile, Yu saw his cousin Nanako curling into herself with a frown. His mother had been talking about how she was proud of her brother and how he cared for Nanako despite him being a widower, but even in silence, Yu had grown a habit of not taking claims, especially proud ones, at face value. Nothing he couldn’t manage, though.

And even as it was likely that his relatives here in Inaba would only be close with him for a year, Yu still knew that he had to make some decent bonds with these relatives of his. One small step there was to not make them worry about his visible sudden dizziness from a while ago, which had him noting the gas station as a place to avoid for now. He liked to think that he was a bit attuned to the supernatural, and while it could’ve been his imagination or the usual fatigue, he had a feeling that something was different about this discomfort.


Thus, when he got the chance, Yu paid a visit to the local shrine. Much to its guardian fox’s delight, he gave a monetary offering first. After that, he prayed in supplication for the purification of the gas station and the growth of permanent close friendships, especially ones that can withstand long physical distances.

“If it’s okay to ask, what’s got you praying today…Yu?”

That was Chie Satonaka, one of his new classmates at Yasogami High School, specifically the class with the raging bucktooth of a homeroom teacher named Kinshiro Morooka, who was also nicknamed “King Moron.” The girl in green had decided to show him around town with her best friend and also classmate Yukiko Amagi, but the girl in red had to go home to attend to some urgent matters regarding the family business, a.k.a. the Amagi Inn. Yu could see that Chie was obviously baffled by how he allowed her to call him by his first name without any honorifics, but he could also notice some signs of discomfort from Chie as Yukiko went absent from their little tour around town. Not like he was going to pry about those last two things, though. He wasn’t that close yet, and she was doing her best to be courteous and energetic.

“I think the gas station’s cursed,” so did Yu express. “And I want permanent close friends.” He even felt a smile come up as he opened up. Even as disappointments hit him through the years of moving, he at least knew that he was able to do something about that wish of his bit by bit.

“Permanent close friends, huh?” Chie repeated. “You sound like you move around a lot, then…How long will you be here?”

“A year,” Yu answered.

“Is that so? I can’t really imagine knowing Yukiko for a year and just leaving her right after, though…Probably can’t do things without me, too…”

Yu wondered why she didn’t run back to her best friend somewhere along the way, but unlike that Yosuke Hanamura guy, he wasn’t going to voice that thought out.

With all that in mind, Yu also decided to pray for the improvement of Chie and Yukiko’s friendship as well.

Your wishes shall be granted, loyal servant…”

“Huh? Chie?”

“Yeah?” the girl in question responded, standing farther away than he expected.

“Oh…it’s nothing.”

Yu was certain that someone whispered to him just now. It sounded female, and it was all echoey in his head. Not like it was scary, though. In fact, it made him smile as he realized what he just heard.

“Thank you, goddess,” he then said as he turned to the sanctuary with folded hands and a bow before leaving.

The “You’re welcome” that followed also put a spring into his step.


“Should we talk about Yosuke’s issues with Saki-senpai instead?”

That was part of Yu’s response to the terror his new friends exhibited when he confirmed that yes, his hand really was literally dipped inside a TV screen, complete with moving ripple marks.

“Sure, why not?” Chie rushed, pulling along the two boys of their trio away form the electronics department of Junes. “It’s been a pain watching him act stupid all around her!”

“Hey, are we just gonna pretend that THAT didn’t happen just now?” Yosuke sounded strangled between whisper and yell. His subsequent “Hey!” also earned him another kick to the nads from Chie.

“Hey, what’s going on?”

Yu then remembered that English saying that went “Speak of the devil” as the three of them turned to face Saki Konishi, Yosuke’s older high school crush.

“Oh, it’s nothing, Saki-senpai!” Yosuke lied. “We were just talking about the Midnight Channel rumor, and these guys got spooked by all my, uh…my tales about it!”

“Oh yeah, definitely!” Chie added. “He thought he was so funny too, so we’re gonna go throw him to the river!”

“That’s a bit extreme, Chie,” Yu slipped in. “It’s not like anything strange actually happened. I checked last night.”

Yu’s toes then got a hard heel from the kung fu enthusiast. “Not helping!” she also hissed.

With a raised eyebrow, Saki-senpai looked past Yu and company, and it raised higher when it came back. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I guess I’ll leave you guys alone. Just don’t make a mess out of the place. And Hana-chan?”

“Yeah, Saki-senpai?” Yosuke breathed in.

“I’ve been holding this off for a long while already, but…I’m not interested in you in that way. Sorry.”

“Oh…okay.”

When their senpai walked away, Yu and Chie released Yosuke, who let out a big breath.

“So, is the world still ending?” Yu asked, only to find Chie sniffing.

“Wait, something smells…” she said, and Yu tried to check with his own senses as well.

While Chie looked up, Yu looked down.

There was a puddle right under Yosuke’s darkened pants.

“Someone’s dehydrated,” Yu tried to put it across without too much trouble.

“What do you mean dehydrated?” Yosuke asked, and then he just happened to put a hand on his crotch. “Oh…”

Yu decided to be a Junes part-timer after that. He also made sure that Chie would do the same. They had hands in causing the guy to piss himself like that, after all.

And of course, the electronics department remained their least favorite part of the store.


“Anybody looking for a mascot character with some handsome insides?”

“Damn it, Dumb Ted, this isn’t a strip club!”

“Heeheehee…HAHAHA!”

“Oh dear, Yukiko’s at it again.”

“It’s cute, though,” Yu responded to Chie, who had also brought Yukiko into their self-imposed part-timing because the girl in green was getting sick and tired of their workmates, which mostly had pervy boys and gossipy girls.

“Are you going for the ‘Amagi Challenge’ too?” Chie drawled with air quotes.

“Do I look like a pervert?” Yu asked back. “Apologies if I do,” he then bowed.

“Hey, quit it!” Chie waved. “It’s embarrassing…Sorry. You’re not that type of guy, even with your weird sense of humor. And I’ve just been stressed over all this stupid. At least Yukiko’s managing. I’m actually surprised that she went along. Then again, she’s been stressed, too. The Amagi Inn’s been quite busy with all those paparazzi going after Mayumi Yamano, after all, and last I checked, she…wasn’t being as calm with her parents…”

“I see,” Yu nodded at the sighing Chie. “But don’t you think the paparazzi would still chase her here, considering what you told me about the Amagi Inn and its notability before?”

At that question, Chie froze. She gave a stiff look to Yukiko, who was still laughing at Junes’s new mascot and the costume wearer’s detective friend. Meanwhile…

“And I thought Yukiko Amagi was such a prim and proper girl…”

“Is Inaba finally going under?”

“Yuki-chan’s more like me than I thought…?”

Yu had to grab Chie’s shoulders before the girl in green unleashed violence upon the gossips and creeps. Especially since…

“Now I know that unlike you, I do love my family, our friends, and our town,” Yukiko stared those whisperers down. “So if those are the only things you can say, then please leave this town and never return. I am Yukiko Amagi of Inaba’s Amagi Inn, not some puppet formed by the mindless opinions of a mob.”

Detective Adachi flipped both birds behind Yukiko, but still, the gossips and creeps walked away, even as they grumbled.

And then Yu let Chie’s now more relaxed shoulders go, allowing her to rush her best friend into a hug.

With that, Yu went back to work with a smile.

“Yosuke, stop goofing around with that new recruit!”
“Dad, I have nothing to do with this idiot’s antics!”

“HAHAHA! AHAHAHA!”

Sleepy little Inaba eventually became positively livelier as tales of this new Yukiko Amagi spread throughout it.


“Big Bro, what’s ‘scoring?'”

Times like this were times when Yu Narukami strongly remembered that he had a sweet little female cousin named Nanako, whom his friends also doted on more than her father usually did, for better or worse.

“Can we keep that mascot costume but change the wearer?” Yosuke groaned, referring to Doug Teddie, who also claimed to be the designer of the current Junes mascot and the maker of its costume (with the original’s manufacturing process being a secret he vowed to take to the grave).

“Yeah, I’ve been asking the same question,” Chie agreed, looking around with narrowed eyes.

“Nanako-chan, has Doug Teddie been doing anything strange to you?” Yukiko asked with a concerned smile.

“Huh?” Nanako tilted her head to the side. “Strange? Well, he’s funny, that’s for sure!”

Yu and his friends decided to trust in that blindingly bright smile and let her regale them with tales of her encounters with that crazy clown bear guy, but still, they kept their eyes narrowed for his very presence.

After all, along with Detective Adachi, Teddie had been found to be very troublesome recently, considering the latter’s recent sexual harassment and the former’s mentoring in such. Thus, how Nanako failed to understand the gravity of that madness gave them mixed feelings.

Ryotaro Dojima would soon be confronted by the four part-timing friends about this with both scolding and apologies. Scolding for spending too much time at work and not spending enough time with Nanako, and apologies for bringing Nanako to Junes without watching over her enough against the likes of Doug Teddie and Detective Adachi.


“Oh, Yu-chan! Can you help an old lady for a bit?”

“Sure.”

“Dude, again?”

So went Yosuke, but the guy now treated Yu like a leader he could advise but never overrule. Yu got that a lot from everyone, but never had he been treated like the small changes he had a hand in were big enough to change the whole world or something. He could welcome that, but perhaps he had to get over the city life and how it made its residents feel insignificant most of the time first.

That aside, after another day of school and work, a visit to the shopping district before going home had them called by Tatsumi-san from the textile shop as they passed by.

“Can you look for my son Kanji?” she asked further. “I know that when he goes out late, it’s usually to deal with those biker gangs nearby, but he still hasn’t come back home yet, and those bikers haven’t been prowling around here lately.”

“Is there anything strange that he’s been doing recently?” Yu asked back.

“Hmm…come to think of it, he was all nervous talking to a really young detective boy – Naoto Shirogane was his name, I think – who was asking him about his fights. He then asked Kanji to hang out with him some other time. I was so happy for my new son when I found out about his new friend, even though I was a bit worried about Naoto-kun’s interest in fighting, but still, Kanji seemed scared…”

“Was this Naoto guy a bigger guy?” Yosuke inquired.

“Oh, heavens, no!” Tatsumi-san laughed. “Naoto-kun’s actually quite short for a boy! He looks quite pretty too! Forgive my strangeness, but I even tried to imagine him in a dress for a while when I looked at him!”

“Huh…” Yosuke responded, hand under his chin, “That’s…interesting…”

“I think I have some good ideas about where your son went now, Tatsumi-san,” Yu assured. “I saw the two talking with each other at the floodplain the other day, and Kanji seemed to be inviting Naoto to a trip to Okina City.”

“Oh, is that so? Thank you so much! And I’m really sorry for troubling you, Yu-chan…” Tatsumi-san bowed.

After some more bows and nods, Yu and Yosuke then went searching within Okina City.

“I’M A DAMN REAL MAN!”

And they found Kanji shouting by…

“The strip club?” Yosuke’s jaw dropped. “I mean, I know it’s a city, but still…This city has one?”

“I get what you mean there, but still, Yosuke, we’re here to get Kanji back home safely, right?” Yu refocused Yosuke.

“Hey, if you’ve got time to be gay, then get outta here, kid!” the club’s main entrance bouncer suddenly shouted back.

“The hell did you say, you little shit?” Kanji yelled back, fists raised, which Yu and Yosuke took as their cue to interfere.

“Okay, pal, it’s time for us to go home~” Yosuke breathed out of a fake smile, grabbing one of the delinquent’s arms while Yu took the other.

“That’s right, kid!” the bouncer taunted. “You got some fine boys waiting for ya, right?”

“You little – “

But before the three high school boys could say anything further, two figures burst out of the building behind the bouncer.

“HOLY SHIT, YOU’RE FUCKING AWESOME, TEDDIE!”

“MISSION SUCCESS, TOH-TOH!”

Even with the makeup, Yu recognized Adachi, Dojima-san’s partner at work, and Doug Teddie, the crazy foreign full-timer who also gifted Junes its mascot bear.

“GET BACK HERE, YOU PERVERTS!”

And then came women who were just like the men they were chasing: in their birthday suits.

Suddenly, the guy in Yu and Yosuke’s hands jolted and loosened.

Looking more closely, Kanji had fainted with a profusely bleeding nose and open white eyes.

“Uhh…we should congratulate him for having some manliness when he wakes up?” Yosuke added, still blinking from the bizarre happenings that just rushed by their faces.

“That, and give him new friends: us part-timers at Junes,” Yu added with a small smile.

“You sneaky bastard!” Yosuke laughed. “Let’s go home, partner! And apologize to Tatsumi-san for dragging yet another local business kid into Junes work!”

And before he forgot as he went home, Yu made sure to go to the shrine to give thanks to the heavens once again. That, and pet the fox as he made his offering.

Though Yu still felt like he forgot something…or someone?

“Wait, where was Naoto back there?”

And then Yu felt like someone was following him, but he couldn’t find where that person was. That feeling stopped soon enough, though, so Yu walked back home relieved yet confused.

The next day, Chie and Yukiko were pleasantly surprised by their new addition, who started out work blushing his way around them. And then he was baffled by how popular he ended up becoming. A tough guy with a penchant for cute things shouldn’t be popular, right?


“So, Chie or Yukiko?”

“Huh?”

“It’s an icebreaker, Kanji,” Yu noted as they wiped campsite tables out of Junes part-timer habits while in their PE tracksuits. “New male friend talk. He asked me that before, too. And he forgot to ask about it again and again earlier.” Yosuke gave Yu a flat look for that last one.

“Oh, well…both of them, I guess?” Kanji replied. “They’re cute, funny, and cool.”

“Damn, what a man…” Yosuke grinned. “Hope you can handle their crazy, though.”

“Eh, they don’t judge me for what I like,” Kanji shrugged. “That’s already a big plus in my book. But I’m not sure about actually dating them…Not because they’re not awesome, but because, well…I know jack shit about dating and all that. And no, Yosuke-senpai, you’re not giving me any of your bullshit advice.”

“Bang,” a smirking Yu finger-gunned at a flustered Yosuke.

“What about you, Yu-senpai?” Kanji switched conversation partners. “What’d you tell this guy?”

“None,” Yu answered.

“As in ‘I won’t say,’ or as in ‘I’m not into any of them?'”

“I could be into any of them, but I’m not sure if I should pursue a romance right now.”

“Really?” Kanji raised an eyebrow at that. “Man, you’re weird, Senpai.”

“I know, right?” Yosuke went back into the conversation. “You could’ve just said ‘Both,’ Partner!”

“And have him be an ass, Yosuke?” one of their subjects of discussion cut in, slamming her hands on the table the boys were conversing by.

“Yes, Yosuke-kun, you should learn and practice common courtesy more,” Yukiko pointed out from behind Chie. “If even someone like Kanji can do it, then why can’t you?”

“Heh, thanks, Yukiko-senpai…” Kanji looked away as he scratched a blushing cheek.

“Huh, at least it looks like I got a more exact answer from Kanji now!” Yosuke grinned at his junior, and then started running away when said junior started stomping towards him. “Okay, chill out, chill out, man! I was just joking around!”

Chie sighed, while Yukiko shook her head.

“DAMN IT, RISETTE’S COMING TO – Grrk!”

And then Yu saw his fellow male friends crash into Morooka-sensei, who ended up vomiting on them.


“Dude, she’s from here!?”

“And I thought I was the dumb one, Yosuke-senpai,” Kanji grumbled. “Yeah, Risette’s from here! She should be here today, if I remember Marukyu-san’s reminders about her right…”

“Dude, come on, let’s go!”

So Yosuke went on a run towards the local tofu shop at the shopping district after another day of school and part-time work.

“You kids fans too? Well, at least you ain’t Adachi and his buddy…”

They arrived to a crowd herded by Dojima-san. Yu’s uncle gave the nephew and his friends a sighing greeting.

“We should help Dojima-san,” Yu then suggested to his friends.

“Partner, you are way sneakier than usual,” Yosuke teased. “I like it!”

“Wait, what?” Chie questioned. “Are you a stalker as well, Yu-kun?”

Looks like he had to be honest now, then.

“I’m not really much of a fan, but…she’s really distracting…well, ever since I saw her on TV announcing her hiatus. Basically. Sorry. Really embarrassing to admit.”

“See, I told you he can be a perv!” Yosuke pointed, but then he did a double take. “Wait, you haven’t known about Risette until now?”

“Shut up, Yosuke, you’re not funny!” Chie snapped before turning back to Yu with a smile. “Well, Yu-kun, just remember that Kanji-kun and I will be here to kick your ass if you do something suspicious to Risette, okay? Still, we trust you a lot. You can be weird, but you’re pretty…well, how do I say this…something about you just feels…trustworthy.”

“I think what Chie’s trying to say is that you’ve earned our trust,” Yukiko summarized with a chuckle, making Chie nod with a blush. “Still, we’ll be watching you, Yu-kun.”

All that warmed Yu’s heart. “Thank you very much,” he said with a deep bow. “Now let’s go.”

So the crowd got herded more efficiently, and that got Dojima-san and the five Junes part-timers with some bags of tofu from…

“Here you go. Thank you so much for keeping the peace here, Officer and…”

“Wait, Risette?” Yosuke became dumbfounded.

“Yeah, that’s me, Rise Kujikawa,” she then made that tired look Yu first saw her with, hitting his heart harder. “Fans sneaking a peek, I’m guessing? Lucky you.”

“Yosuke here’s the only one you need to worry about, trust me,” Chie replied, placing her weight on Yosuke’s back.

“But what about – OW!”

“Chie-senpai’s right,” Kanji supported as said senpai tried to ensure that other senpai’s respectful silence. “We’re kinda sneaking, but we’re also concerned neighbors.”

“Oh, and please watch out for a man named Tohru Adachi and his friend Doug Teddie,” Yukiko warned. “We’ve heard things about them being fans of you, too.”

“I’ve already warned her about those two, Amagi, don’t worry,” Dojima-san responded, and Yu almost missed the little smirk his uncle sent him. “Strange how they’re not causing trouble at your arrival, but either way, I’m sure that my nephew and his friends can keep you safe and sound.”

And then Yu made eye contact with Rise, who was now smiling.

That smile made Yu’s heart race. He wasn’t sure about what they exactly meant yet, but still.

“Well, at least they aren’t causing trouble, yeah?” Kanji also had a smile, though he was unaware of the silent exchange happening as he spoke. “If they are, then we’ll help you kick their asses!”

“I’ve heard of you all, alright,” Rise replied, smoothly turning to face Yu’s friends as she adjusted her smile. “You mind if I hang out with you when I start going to school, then?”

That question already had an obvious answer at this point.


“Yu-senpai, would you please help me study? I heard you’ve been getting top marks in tests, and…”

“Sure.”

“Great! Now let’s go!”

Common praise carried by coy movements. Immediate grab and dash upon acceptance.

“Here we go. I’ve been wanting as little noise as possible, so…”

Seats in the most visible part of the library. And a thick stack of blank sticky notes.

Hey, you know how to solve this problem?” said the first sticky note Rise gave with a mischievous smile. “It’s really annoying.”

Studying was done first, of course. She started with Math, every ordinary student’s hardest subject. She even started Math with the hardest parts in the assigned works.

After that and the other Sciences came English. She even questioned why she had to learn it for her work when she could just have a translator do all that linguistic heavy lifting.

But it was at that offhand mention of work that had Yu wondering again about why Rise seemed to like him in that sort of way. She seemed like she cared about her work as an idol, so…why?

Nervous, Senpai?”

He gave her a look after reading the latest sticky note she sent him, which was part of their silent communication as they studied in the library. And like the previous times she sent him sticky notes, she gave him a mischievous smile. It definitely showed her talent and skill as an actress, but still…

Won’t you get in trouble for this?” was Yu’s reply on another sticky note.

Her expression darkened a bit at that, but a blinding smile covered it up as she wrote on another note.

I’m quitting idol work. This should be the most efficient way to do it.”

She even took her time to make it all squiggly. It was almost unreadable, even.

At that, Yu took a deep breath and put a hand on Rise’s shoulder.

“Let’s have a talk somewhere else.”

She looked surprised as he led her out of the library and onto the rooftop, giving him the impression that she really wasn’t sure about what she was doing.

“Do you really like me that way?” Yu asked Rise, a distance between them as he faced her. “Besides, we just met, and you sound like you still care about your idol work even through that complaint you made while we studied English.”

Rise tensed up and looked down at that. “Cheater…”

“I’m not even dating anyone…yet,” he smirked.

“How do you even have friends with that dumb sense of humor, Senpai?” she gave a flat look and then a frown. “And they call you one of Inaba’s living legends…”

“You seriously believe in gossip?”

“Everyone’s got a gossip inside them.”

“But you hate gossips, right? I mean, they’re also probably why you’re on hiatus right now.”

“Well…it can’t be helped?”

“What if I told you that I like you that way too?”

“Huh?”

“What if I told you that I like you that way too?” Yu repeated with a firm and serious look.

Rise had an astonished look at Yu. “I-I wouldn’t be a good fit for you,” she then looked away. “I’m just a…just a…just a whore…”

Tears started sliding down her cheeks.

“A whore who doesn’t know herself at all…” she continued, hugging herself. “Pretending to be pure and all…and I’m sure even a guy like you can feel the same way. Maybe you aren’t feeling it right now, but you’ll feel it eventually, and what I did’s just a taste of that. I’m sorry for leading you on, then.”

“Well, why don’t you answer this question, then?” Yu asked, taking a few steps closer with a deep breath.

“What is it?” she asked back, still looking down.

“What do you say about…being friends first?”

Rise was already looking up with tears glistening in her eyes. “What?”

“I’ve been looking and praying for permanent close friends,” Yu explained. “If you can be that first, then you have the chance to truly be my girlfriend.”

Rise’s eyes widened, and then she beamed.

“Sounds like a Spice Girls song,” she said, “But alright. I’ve been wanting that too.”

And then she hugged him tightly, catching Yu off-guard. Rise’s hug caused him to raise his arms, but soon enough, he reciprocated the embrace.

“You move around a lot, right?” Rise then asked. “And before you ask, your uncle talked about you while he was watching over the shop.”

“That so, huh?” Yu replied. “Well, about your question…yeah. Parents always out and all. I’m guessing that you do the same, then, though because of your own work?”

“Yup. This date is going pretty well, then, it seems,” she winked at him.

“Aren’t you a charmer, Risette?” he couldn’t help grinning back.

“Wow, you look creepy when you grin, Yu-senpai,” Rise commented with widened eyes, and then she let go of him with a fit of laughter.

That fit of laughter was also accompanied by another one from right beside them, right beyond a now open door to the rooftop.

“Darn it, Yukiko!” an embarrassed Chie then stepped forward, pulling everyone else in while slapping Yukiko’s shoulder.

“But Yu-kun just looked so cute and funny, Chie!” Yukiko laughed back, and Yu felt Rise tightly wrapping her arms around one of his own.

“You win, Partner!” Yosuke threw two thumbs up at Yu.

“I’ll be guarding your houses from this creep, then, you two,” announced a grinning Kanji as he put a shoulder on Yosuke, who then went “Hey!”

At all that, Yu and Rise smiled and laughed.

And of course, Rise also became a Junes part-timer after all that. Needless to say, Inaba became a lot livelier with that. It helped that she cared a lot for the local businesses, too.

Yu and Rise also made sure to send their thanks to the gods regularly. The fox even got the shrine into literally golden form thanks to the offerings from those two and those who followed them!


“Hey, guys, did you know that someone’s been stalking us for a while now? Like, a very long while, usually just Yu and me, and sometimes our whole group.”

As the Legendary Junes Part-Timers of Inaba walked down the shopping district after another day of school and work, Rise asked them that question while looking away.

When Yu turned to look at where Rise was facing, he found a girl in a blue dress hiding behind a pillar. If he didn’t know any better, he wouldn’t be making a specific guess on who that girl was.

“Oh, it’s just Naoto Shirogane,” Rise noted as she raised an eyebrow at the stalking girl, “The edgy new transfer who’s a detective from a family of detectives.”

“Wait, but isn’t Naoto a guy?” Kanji asked with a scratch of his head. “‘Cause I’m pretty sure that he wears a guy’s uniform. Meanwhile, that girl over there does look like him, but she’s wearing a dress…and…Wait, that design’s familiar…”

“Hold on, I’ll deal with her for a bit.”

Rise suddenly walked across the road to approach the girl in blue. Yu then saw his secret girlfriend grab the girl’s face for a while, freezing the target in place, and then…

“Kujikawa-san, please stop!” the girl in blue shouted.

“Yeah, this face is definitely Naoto’s!” Rise announced. “Didn’t expect her to be this stacked, though!”

“Wait, WHAT!?”

And then Kanji rushed to the two girls up ahead. When he was close enough, he looked Naoto up and down…and then he fell on his back with a bleeding nose and whited eyes.

Yosuke and Yukiko laughed at that, while Chie slapped the two into shutting up before running in to help Kanji up.

Though Yu would admit that he also found this development funny, especially when he came to and confronted his squeeing mother about Naoto, who might as well have been a tomato ripe for the picking from all the embarrassment she felt that day. And she had just wanted to make friends with people who seemed well-respected.

Thus, as Naoto went back to wearing her usual boys’ clothing, she also decided not to wear girls’ clothing for a very long while. And aside from being dragged into hangouts by Rise, the Legendary Junes Part-Timers of Inaba got her into group via her favorite nerdy stuff, such as Featherman, electronics, and, of course, detective stuff. It didn’t stop her from regularly saying “I’m surrounded by idiots” around them, but still.


“Senpai…I’m disappointed in you.”

“I second that.”

Kanji and Naoto were very much unamused as they said that during a certain part of their summer beach vacation. Yu had decided to go along with a prank Rise came up with, which Yosuke immediately agreed to, while Chie and Yukiko could only watch in horror as their adoring comments over Kanji and Naoto sleeping side-by-side on the sand led to a sand burial prank.

“Well, the two of you are cute,” Yu smiled at them, and he chuckled at how his two kouhais blushed and looked away at his comment.

And then Rise swatted his arm before wrapping herself around it again. “No fooling around!”

Of course, his girlfriend held more cuteness than them…though in all his honesty, Yu also worried about how clingy Rise was…


“DAMN KASHIWAGI! I’M GONNA HAVE HER FIRED WHEN I GET BACK!”

So did the students of Yasogami High hear from the wall-piercingly angry Kinshiro Morooka again as he walked past the Iwatodai Station’s Beef Bowl Shop on the last day of their field trip to Tatsumi Port Island. That strikingly strong anger started when they discovered where they were going to stay for the nights during their field trip, which mainly involved classes with the students and teachers of the prestigious Gekkoukan High School. Noriko Kashiwagi, a female teacher considered arguably worse than the one nicknamed “King Moron,” had somehow managed to slip something questionable, specifically a Shirakawa Boulevard accommodation booking, through the prudish teacher’s radar, and for better or worse, she didn’t bother to join the trip.

“This sucks…but at least the beef bowl here’s good!”

Meanwhile, within the Beef Bowl Shop, the other Part-Timers gave Rise some complicated looks when she said that. This wasn’t the first time she lamented about her plans for nighttime fun during the school trip going down the drain, and said plans involved going to a nightclub. Yu was particularly amazed by how into it Rise was, even as she did discard those plans, especially considering Morooka-sensei’s raging patrols against hormonal teenagers.

“Are you just making jokes out of the more lurid stereotypes regarding your profession, Rise-san?” Naoto asked. “I’m aware of such shady activity, yes, but your attitude about it makes me genuinely concerned.”

“Are you trying to be helpful, or are you trying to be mean, Nao-chan?” Rise fired back with exaggerated blinks and smiles, much to Naoto’s groaning.

“Well, Naoto-san does have a point, Rise-chan,” Yukiko entered the conversation. “As a senpai, I’m also quite concerned about how you’re quite into…romantic matters.”

“I think I get where Rise-san’s coming from, though,” Yosuke replied. “I mean, think of it like me fanboying over her, but, like…a hundred times more?”

“See, Yosuke gets it!” Rise pointed and grinned, and then she grabbed Yu’s arm again, rubbing her face into it.

“There, there,” Yu smiled as he ruffled Rise’s hair, much to her delight.

“Yup, you two are a dangerous couple,” Chie chuckled. “You’re gonna keep all those crushing guys and girls away with so many heart attacks!”

“Still, Naoto’s right, guys,” Kanji went in. “I think you need to tone down the lovey-dovey. Your relationship’s pretty much an open secret to Inaba now, but it’ll be different when you move outta there again. And we can’t be by your sides all the time.”

At that, Yu and Rise sobered up, and they couldn’t look at each other for a while.


“So, why are we still awake?” Yosuke asked Yu and Kanji as they sat on their futons in the Amagi Inn after Yasogami High’s school festival. “I mean, Naoto-san, Chie, and Yukiko-san are really doing some heroic work for us boys right now, and we’re not taking advantage of it?”

“Never underestimate Rise,” Yu could only say. Not that he hadn’t spent some very physically intimate moments with his girlfriend before, but as much as he found them pleasurable, he often felt like they were rushing things there. That, and the frustration she often showed about such matters were the usual topics that caused their fights, too. “And again…I will admit that I won’t be able to hold myself back if she does reach me here. Not after the pageant and…the hot spring…”

A cell phone rang again. “Rise stole Naoto’s phone now,” Kanji said as his shadowed eyes looked through a new text message. “Says she’s now the hot spring she was in with the girls a while ago,” he reported with a cringe, and then the phone rang again. “And now she’s apologizing for driving Yu-senpai away, saying that she was too overwhelmed by her…uhmm…by Yu-senpai suddenly barging into the hot spring out of schedule. And I’m not gonna say more because wow, this chick is sounding like a bunch of dudes in my class whispering around about stupid porn shit. Naoto really deserves that pageant win and more.”

At that, Yu sighed with a complex mix of emotions. “Sorry, guys,” he also couldn’t help saying.

“You sure are a lucky bastard, Partner,” Yosuke grinned as he slapped Yu’s shoulder, but he softened that after. “Still, I can’t help wanting to help you out there. Rise-san really deserves a good guy like you, you know?” And then he pushed himself up into a straight posture. “Wait, I’ll be the one standing watch here, then! You guys go to sleep now!”

“Wait, me included?” Kanji asked, though he still looked restless. “Not like I can bother to get myself to sleep with Naoto having a hard time like this there, though…” And again, he cringed as read the new messages from his repeatedly ringing phone.

At that, Yu decided to honor his male friends’ bravery.

Ironically, Yu managed to fall asleep while thinking of being in bed with Rise, who had also fallen asleep while thinking of the same thing.


“Hey…sorry.”

“Yeah.”

Yu gave his apologetic girlfriend a smile. They were huddled around a fire they started in an abandoned cabin, which they took shelter in while a snowstorm prevented them from going back to the lodge the Part-Timers were staying in for their winter skiing vacation trip.

At this point, Yu realized that he had been forgetting about how he was fighting with Rise again. Some of their friends thought her displeasure about his physical distancing from her petty, but even though Yu would like to agree, he still felt pain as he witnessed his girlfriend’s sadness. After all, she didn’t deserve a rush of a relationship, but she still deserved a lot of affection.

So Yu went back to working on the latter by putting a hand on top of hers. And as expected, she pulled it into her chest with both of her hands, smiling and squeeing all the while.

Rise seemed to take it more maturely now, considering how she didn’t pull him further, and it was like they never fought in the first place.

“IT’S THE KING MORON PATROL!”

Suddenly, Yosuke barged into the cabin, their other friends right behind him.

“Wow…” Chie had a look of disbelief at the couple, “I guess our hard work really paid off now? Or were we almost too late?”

“Your hard work paid off,” Yu answered. “Don’t worry.”

“You sure about that, Senpai?” Kanji raised an eyebrow. “Rise can be pretty persistent, you know?”

“Hey, I’m not that loose, Kanji!” Rise pouted. “But you know what’s the real big deal here? You thinking that Yu can’t be this mature!”

“For some reason, that last statement is giving me a headache,” Naoto groaned.

And Yukiko just laughed at all this.


“I GOT BIG RESPECT FOR YOU, RISE KUJIKAWA! DON’T DISAPPOINT ME!”

“Wait, King Moron is a Risette fan?”

Yosuke said that last sentence in response to the first, which was said by Morooka-sensei, but Yosuke’s question was also the question of everyone else attending Risette’s little New Year’s concert at the Inaba Branch of Junes (and, eventually, everyone else in Inaba). Everyone had their suspicions, and it might as well have been an open secret by now, but hearing the man himself come out with it sent them all back into disbelief.

“At least it can work as a good smokescreen for a certain romance here,” Yu smiled as Rise decided to dedicate a song especially for Morooka-sensei, who ended up crying even as he stood tall and shouted his pride.

“Still, it’s pretty jarring, man…” Kanji commented.

“You’d be more surprised by the number of such people I encounter in my work, then, Kanji,” Naoto responded.

“SHUT UP, KING MORON! YOU’LL NEVER BE AS BIG A FAN AS ME!”

“Oh wait, we almost forgot about Adachi,” Chie tensed, crackling her knuckles as she and Kanji prepared to go bouncer on the infamous detective and his best friend.

“Uhm, Chie, I don’t think you need to do that,” Yukiko looked into the distance. “Someone else will be doing that for us.”

That someone else was Mariko Kusumi, the upstart weather lady.

And then everyone’s question became “Wait, Tohru Adachi and Mariko Kusumi are an item?”


“I’m back,” Yu announced to the other residents of the place he now called home…and some guests. “Oh, it’s Adachi.”

Before Yu and his friends could even speak any further words, Adachi and Teddie rushed past them and left, declaring how they won’t have dinner at the Dojima Residence.

“What was that about, Dojima-san?” Yosuke asked as the teenagers stepped forward. “Was he harassing you two?”

“Nothing too bad, Hanamura,” Uncle Ryotaro sighed. “I hope.”

“Big Bro!” Nanako piped up with wonder in her eyes. “Adachi-san’s lovey-dovey with the weather lady!” And then she frowned. “But they’re fighting…and I really want some sunny weather…”

“That Mariko Kusumi chick?” Kanji asked. “So the rumors are true?”

“More like they’re an open secret, Kanji,” Rise noted. “They’re more or less Inaba’s hottest reality show right now.”

“Unfortunately, that is the case,” Yukiko crossed her arms and grimaced. “You do know that they also fight over that man’s…enthusiasm for you, right, Rise-chan?”

“Eh, it’s still funny to watch them act like an old married couple,” the idol on hiatus waved off with a grin at Yukiko and then a hold on Yu’s arm. “Besides, Yu’s here to protect me!”

“And I’m here to herd your fans away,” Uncle Ryotaro joked with a grin. Meanwhile, Nanako squealed with joy yet again at her Big Bro of a cousin and the amazing Risette being lovey-dovey.

“If that man is too smart to be fired,” Naoto suddenly cut in, “Then please spend more time reining him in better, Dojima-san.”

At that seriousness, everyone else except Nanako sighed. As for Nanako, she was just confused and concerned at the seriousness.

“Shirogane, we all know he’s an ass, but I’m pretty sure that he’s become less of an ass with Kusumi around,” Uncle sighed back at Naoto. “So relax with your fellow teenagers and leave this to the adults.”

As usual, Naoto had to be kept away from throttling Uncle, but the Part-Timers also gave the old man a look. While the teenagers could understand how grating Naoto could be, she still had a point, and Uncle was being rude.

“Dad, don’t be rude! They’re Inaba’s heroes!”

The Part-Timers also thanked the heavens for Nanako.


And then came the day when Yu and his fellow Part-Timers marched to the electronics department of Junes once again, months after Yu, Yosuke, and Chie had that fateful experience, to do some really extraordinary stuff. Their once random curiosity about the Midnight Channel had turned into nerve-wracking concern after they happened to watch a strange broadcast called the “Modern Mythical Inaba Porn Show,” in which a certain infamous couple composed of a detective and a weather reporter were engaging in some very private things (which was also sprinkled with very weird poetry that will not be commented on any further), all while their crazy mascot sidekick either made noise around the scene or was blasted out of the scene. Adding to the concern was how foggier Inaba had become filled with creepy zealotry that was threatening to become totally unspeakable at any moment, all while Tohru Adachi, Doug Teddie, and Mariko Kusumi, who were being worshipped by the town’s general populace, were nowhere to be found in the town.

At that point, Yu could only think about those few times he almost got sucked into a TV. Chie and Yosuke thought the same, though their newer friends didn’t quite get it as easily. Still, they all went into a big enough TV together, following Yu’s reasoning that at least they tried and will have nothing left to lose if they found no good way to restore the town’s sanity in this last resort.

Ow!”

The synchronization they had with that single utterance upon hitting the ground of the world within the TV would’ve been the subject of a joke had they not immediately noticed something more striking than that.

As they stood on a platform that was a cross between a stage and a catwalk, they found a strange replica of Inaba. The colors were as natural as the ones in the real world Inaba, but this otherworld Inaba had – for lack of a better term – more nature to it, unfamiliar flora and fauna sprouting and skittering out of familiar buildings. The fauna had oversized body parts, while the flora seemed to behave with some sentience.

None of those strange things attacked as the Legendary Junes Part-Timers of Inaba as they walked through the place, but they did give the teenagers curious looks.

“I’m really creeped out by all this,” Yosuke hugged himself as he felt up his shudders and goosebumps, “But I guess we should’ve seen this coming.”

“Well, at least they’re not attacking, right?” Chie tried to laugh it off, though she couldn’t hide the fear in her voice. “It’ll just take some getting used to. Right, Kanji?”

“I know you know I like cute things, Chie-senpai,” Kanji commented as he stared at the animals one by one, “But I just expect this stuff to be fiction, not reality.”

“Well, they do look like stuff I’d laugh at…” Yukiko said through a frozen smile, “But I guess you’re right, Kanji-kun.”

“Maybe whoever made these just had a bad sense of editing,” Rise also awkwardly tried to laugh it off.

“There’s no need to panic,” Naoto urged. “But I will admit that I’m also unnerved by this place and its denizens.”

“But this is probably our only hope to save Inaba,” Yu reminded. “Maybe Adachi, Teddie, and Kusumi-san are here, and maybe they have the answers.”

But before his friends could reply to his reminder, they stopped at the sight of a building literally spitting something out. The thing that was spat out rolled and jumped up to its feet, revealing…

“Can’t I have at least one hit?” the costumed Doug Teddie yelled at what seemed to be the Inaba Police Station. “One tap?”

“Hey, Doug Teddie!” Yosuke called out, though he fearfully held himself back from running.

The mascot guy turned to the Part-Timers. “Hey, it’s the Legendary Junes Part-Timers of Inaba!” he exclaimed. “But what are you doing here? Are you looking to have an orgy with Toh-Toh and Emmy-chan?”

That last question made the teenagers feel green around the gills, but Yu powered through that madness. “Inaba’s in danger, and you and your friends may hold the key to saving it.”

“Wait, really?” Teddie responded with even more surprise, and then after further widening of his eyes, he rushed to the door of the police station, banging upon it for attention. “Toh-Toh! Emmy-chan! We’re messing up the mind of Inaba! We gotta go ba – “

“Gods damn it, Teddie!” Tohru Adachi shouted as he sent Teddie flying again through the repelling door. “Marie and I were just…getting…it started…?”

Adachi stared at the Part-Timers and their presence. The Part-Timers stared at Adachi’s nakedness.

Fortunately, panic was prevented thanks to the infamous detective putting both of his hands over his crotch before skittering back into the building.

“HEY, MARIE!” Adachi was then heard yelling from inside the building. “PUT YOUR CLOTHES BACK ON! I THINK WE’VE OVERSTAYED OUR HONEYMOON HERE!”

“ABOUT DAMN TIME!”

And then a clothed Adachi was launched back to the street through a window. The one who did that stepped out through the door, and she wore a look that could be described as motley compared to her fancier weather reporter look.

Mariko Kusumi also beamed when her gaze landed on Yu.

“Oh hey, you’re that enthusiastic worshipper!” she said, and then she frowned with a look up. “Though I don’t think I’ve come up with a sensible solution for making you have permanent close friends yet, especially since I’ve had to work out a bunch of personal issues these past months, so…” And then she wore an awkward smile. “Well, progress is still progress, right? And you’re leaving on March, right?”

Yu’s friends were speechless. As for their actions during that speechlessness, most of them were just staring at the town’s actually magical weather lady. Rise was giving Yu’s arm a pretty tight hold, though, and he recognized his girlfriend’s jealousy.

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna steal your lovely boyfriend, Miss Idol,” the weather lady teased Rise, making the latter hold Yu more tightly.

“I’m right here, woman,” Adachi called out as he got up and groaned with Teddie.

“Please restore Inaba, Kusumi-san,” Yu requested out loud, feeling a rising mix of determination and nervousness.

“Already on it,” the weather lady smiled, stretching an arm out and around.

Sparkles and rays of light surrounded the otherworld Inaba, and then a flash blinded the people in it for a while.

When the flash receded back to normal light, they found raw nature that was, well…natural, unless one took into account the strange stack of televisions beside Doug Teddie, who was waving and jumping for everyone else.

Inaba was saved more easily than expected, then, but what about Yu’s quest for permanent close friends?

Well, Tohru, Marie, and Teddie thought something up: a Persona fighting tournament with concerts here and there. The Modern Mythical Inaba Trio would pick up Yu through TVs whenever they had free time, and they would all hang out and have fun while protecting humanity.

Of course, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, especially with some once hospitalized guy and some malevolent deities invading. But those are a bunch of other stories for other days.


Author’s Note: So goes this companion piece to “One Man’s Trash,” both greatly inspired by Penthepoet, author of Jester, Meet Your Son, The Moon. I asked for their feedback on “One Man’s Trash,” and what I got also inspired me to write this. Meanwhile, looking through this work on top of having the time and resources to play Persona 4 Golden on my computer (Yes, it’s now available on Steam, all you interested peeps who don’t know about that fact) not only got me expanding the content of this piece some more, as it also got me starting the writing of a piece on Namatame in this scenario. Source materials are freaking important, yo.

Also, I’ve gained more appreciation for Yu x Rise recently, and even more appreciation for Rise’s character. I forgot which gain came first, but I’m sure that thinking about Rise’s insecurities again had me wondering about her potential to be a Wild Card (and the hilarity in the fact that she shares an English VA with the Female Protagonist of Persona 3) along with how well she’d mesh with Yu.


Next Part: “Forgotten Dumps and Stashes”

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