You Can't Teach an Old Junpei New Tricks - a Persona 3 fanfic
Disclaimer: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 does not belong to me. This is a work of fanfiction.
Despite the Christmas decorations adorning the Iwatodai dorm, Koromaru was a very sad dog. He'd given Minato the best pleading look he could muster, but hadn't been able to convince him to go for a walk. Feeling dejected, Koro padded over to the couch, where Junpei was sitting playing a handheld video game. He let a few moments pass before giving the human a gentle nudge with his nose.
"Gah!" Junpei just about jumped six feet in the air after feeling the dog's wet nose on his bare arm. "Koroooo, I was almost to the end of the level," he whined, flipping the power switch to the off position. "Whaddya want, boy?"
Tail wagging happily, Koro barked and looked towards the door. He padded a few steps in that direction, then turned back to look at Junpei again. He didn't often try to communicate his needs to anyone other than Minato and Aigis, but he hoped that his body language was clear enough that even Junpei could understand.
"Looks like he wants a walk, Junpei," Yukari said from where she was standing at the base of the stairs. She took a few quick steps over to Koromaru and scratched behind his ear, causing the dog's tail to wag even more violently. "Guess you should take him."
Junpei frowned violently. "Aww, why do I hafta go? It's cold outside!" He looked longingly back down at his video game; he'd have to start the level over, sure, but he was almost to the end of the game. Couldn't the dog just wait ten minutes?
"Don't tell me you'd rather play a game than take a nice walk outside with Koro-chan! You're so heartless, Stupei." Yukari squatted down next to Koromaru and scratched both the dog's ears at once. "That's right, Stupei's a big meanie, isn't that right, Koro-chan? Yes he is, yes he is, a great big meanie."
The game system clattered on the table as Junpei stood up. "Don't be telling the dog lies, Yuka-tan! That's just mean!" He crossed the room in two big strides and opened the front door to the dormitory. "C'mon, Koro, let's go!"
"Hey, wait for me!" Yukari said, jumping up and running towards the door. "I don't trust that dog alone with you. You'll let him get hit by a car or something."
Junpei shot Yukari his most wounded look. "You gotta give me some credit, geez. I'm an excellent dog walker. Isn't that right, Koromaru?"
In response, Koro gave a pleased bark and wagged his tail. True, he would much prefer Minato to take him for a walk, but Junpei was definitely his second choice. However, only the two of them knew how close their bond really was.
The two humans and one dog walked mostly in silence for a while. These days it was difficult for anyone in the Iwatodai dorm to find a pleasant subject to talk about. Junpei was pretty good at putting up an easygoing front, but for some reason he had a harder time talking to Yukari. Besides, he had a strange feeling that she already had something on her mind that she wanted to talk about; if she hadn't, why would she have insisted on coming along? Either there was something she wanted to talk to him about, or there was someone back in the dorm that she was avoiding. Maybe both? After all the time he'd spent picking on her, Junpei had a surprising understanding of the way Yukari's mind worked.
"Soooo, it's almost Christmas," Junpei said casually, giving Yukari a sideways glance.
She frowned and looked away. "Don't remind me."
He'd certainly gotten to the root of the problem much more quickly than he'd expected. "What, you don't like Christmas? But it's all merry and stuff!"
They'd reached Naganaki Shrine, which marked the halfway point of Koro's walk, and the dog had happily run off to frolic around as he usually did. Yukari sat down on a bench, looking forlorn. When Junpei sat down next to her, she shot him a fierce look. "Don't you dare say a word to anyone."
"Whaddya talkin' about? I never tell a lady's secrets." Junpei flashed his best winning smile.
Yukari kept glaring at him, unconvinced, but finally she sighed and looked away again. "I don't know how to ask him on a date for Christmas."
She didn't need to say Minato's name for Junpei to know who Yukari was talking about. He frowned, then shrugged. "What's the problem? You two did the horizontal tango, right? OW!"
Shaking her hand slightly after slapping Junpei as hard as she could, Yukari glared at him, her face bright red. "We did not!"
"Right, right, sure you didn't. You act like we can't hear you." Junpei knew he was pushing it, but he couldn't resist teasing Yukari. It was so easy to rile her up. Sure enough, he was greeted with another slap on the cheek.
Yukari got up from the bench and marched several steps away, then turned on her heel to face Junpei. "Look, I'm asking you for advice. Can you just lay off?"
"Fine, fine," Junpei said, leaning back on the bench. "But I don't get it. I never pictured you as the shy type before I got to know you better, Yuka-tan."
Even though she looked slightly less mad, Yukari still kept her distance. "You and everyone else. But y'know, being popular doesn't make everything easy. I don't even get how I got so popular in the first place. Just because I'm cute?"
The words left his mouth before he even had a chance to think about them. "Hey, believe me, Yuka-tan, you aren't that cute."
Yukari practically teleported back over to Junpei, bringing her foot down on his in a powerful stomp. She stormed out of the shrine just as Koro came back, wagging his tail, holding something in his mouth. The dog looked at Yukari's retreating figure, then back at Junpei, confused. Junpei reached out and took the item from Koro's mouth. "Thanks, boy. But sorry, I don't think a Snuff Soul is gonna help."