Pheromone Coffee - a Persona 4 fanfic
Disclaimer: Spoilers for 9/8. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 does not belong to me. This is a work of fanfiction.
"Seriously, Teddie, can you please take that stupid bear suit off?" Yosuke was getting tired of all the weird stares that the group was getting, walking around Paulownia Mall in Port Island with a guy in a giant fuzzy bear costume.
Even though the expression on the bear costume never changed, Yosuke could tell that Teddie was making a pouting face at him. "Yosukeeeee, you know that it makes me more comfortable to walk around like this!"
"Yeah, well, it makes me less comfortable," Yosuke grumbled back under his breath. "Can you please go change? People won't stop staring!"
Rise reached out and patted Teddie on the head. "Aww, I think it's cute! Besides, so long as I'm with you, people are gonna be staring anyway." To be honest, she was secretly pleased that people were staring at Teddie instead of her for once, but she didn't say that bit out loud.
"C- can I touch your fur too, Teddie?" Kanji stammered softly, taking a cautious step closer to the bear and reaching out a hand.
"Mmmmmrawr, busy at the moment, Kanji," Teddie replied, leaning into Rise's hand, causing her to giggle in response. Dejected, Kanji's hand dropped and he looked away, trying to act as though he'd never said anything in the first place.
"So where shall we go?" Yukiko asked, looking around the mall with interest. There was a great deal to do here in Port Island, far more than there was back in Inaba. The investigation team was competely overwhelmed as to where to go and what to do. Rise was the only one who had been here before, so she'd made the suggestion of coming to the mall. Now that they were here, though, they found it difficult to decide where to go first. "That antiques store looks interesting," Yukiko offered, after her question was met with a general silence.
Chie made a face at her best friend. "Ugh, really, Yukiko? We came all this way and you want to go to an antiques store?"
Yukiko made a face right back. "Well, I don't hear anyone else making any suggestions."
"Karaoke?" Teddie asked, peering up at the second floor of the mall. "What's that?"
"It's singing," Soji replied, always glad to help the bear acclimate himself to their world. He'd done his best to help them get used to his world, after all.
Rise practically started jumping up and down. "Oooh, let's do that! It'll be fun!"
Teddie didn't seem impressed. "Singing? I don't know any songs."
"You don't have to know any songs," Yosuke replied, though he didn't look too thrilled by the prospect either. "They give you all the lyrics on the screen, and music too. You just have to sing along."
If the costume face could change, it would have frowned. "I dunno..." He turned from side to side, looking up at each of the shops in turn. "Chagall Cafe... Sensei, what's a cafe?"
The other members of the team were mystified by the infinite patience Soji seemed to have for answering Teddie's questions. "It's like a small restaurant."
"Ohhhh." Teddie waddled up to the sign next to the door and read it aloud. "Pheromone Coffee - 500 yen. A charming flavor that will turn on your charm." He turned back to face the group; surely he would have been beaming if he could. "Charming like Teddie!"
Yukiko smiled kindly at the bear. "We can go there if you like, Teddie. I'm a little hungry myself."
"Awww, but I wanted to do karaoke," Rise said with a pout.
Yosuke ran up the stairs two at a time to Club Mandragora and peered in the window. "Place is totally packed. Figures, filled with all the other kids from Yasogami, all flocking to the most exciting place here. No way we're gonna get in." There was a hint of relief in his voice.
"Lame," Rise said, crossing her arms across her chest.
Yukiko had joined Teddie at the entrance to Chagall Cafe. "Pretty empty in here, though."
Chie skipped over to stand next to her friend. "Yeah, but a cafe? That's pretty lame, too. Can't we go do something more exciting? Maybe catch an action movie at the theater?"
"Sensei, what's a pheromone?" Teddie tilted his head curiously in Soji's direction.
"Hmm." Soji put his hand on his chin, considering for a minute. "It's like a smell that animals let out to tell other animals something, like that there's danger or that they want to mate or..." Instantly he knew he'd said too much, but it was far too late.
The costume's eyes seemed to brighten somehow. "Ohhhh. Teddie does that. Teddie has pheromones! Let's drink Pheromone Coffee and get more pheromones! Then maybe Teddie will finally get to score!" Before anyone else could react, Teddie had opened the door and was prancing into the cafe. The rest of the group stood outside for a moment, collectively looking at each other, then they all shrugged at once and followed the bear inside.
"Wel... come?" The waitress in the establishment didn't seem at all sure how to react to the brightly costumed bear who'd entered the cafe. She decided to turn her attention to the group of teenagers who had entered after him, and was even more flabbergasted when she noticed that Risette was among them. "Um, sit anywhere you'd like, please," she mangaged to get out before ducking sheepishly behind the curtain separating the dining area from the employees' quarters.
Utterly ignoring the strange stares the other patrons were giving him, Teddie bounced over to one of the larger tables. "Yuki-chan, Rise-chan, Chie-chan, you all sit next to me!"
Chie sighed. "We can't all sit next to you, Teddie! There's only two seats next to you."
It seemed that this was exactly the response the bear had expected. "Well, then one of you will just have to sit on my lap!"
"I'll pass, thanks," Chie said with a groan, choosing a seat on the other side of the table. Yukiko and Rise both seemed resigned to their fate, and took seats on either side of Teddie. The guys filled in the remaining gaps.
Yosuke picked up the menu and scratched the back of his head with one hand as he looked at it. "Looks like that Pheromone Coffee is the gem of the menu here. Everything else looks pretty ordinary."
"Well, it was what they were prominently advertising on the menu outside," Yukiko said, considering the menu as well. "I suppose we'll order some cakes to go with the coffee then."
A different waitress approached the table this time, her eyes wide and curious; it was obvious that she'd been told about the bizarre party by the first waitress, and had come out to take a look. It seemed like she couldn't decide whether to stare at Teddie or Risette. Rise was fairly used to being stared at, but was getting rather sick of it on this trip, and kept looking down at her menu in an attempt to pretend like she didn't notice; Teddie, on the other hand, was staring right back at the waitress with glee. If he hadn't been wearing the bear's head, he probably would have been making eyes at the poor waitress (but then, of course, she would have been staring at him for a completely different reason).
Yukiko ordered for all of them, seven Pheromone Coffees and two assorted cake platters. The waitress was dumbfounded for a moment, but it seemed as though she understood, and went back into the employee area to place the order.
"C'mon, Teddie, now can you take the dumb bear suit off?" Yosuke pleaded. "You can't drink coffee with that thing on, anyway."
Teddie sighed so heavily that the bear suit bumped the table. "Fiiiine. I'll be back bear-y quickly!" He got up and walked squeakily towards the cafe's restrooms.
The rest of the investigation team made small talk while the bear was gone, discussing the boring lessons they'd had to indure at Gekkoukan High over the past two days, and they barely noticed when Teddie, in all his sparkly human glory, rejoined them at the table. "Better, Yosuke?"
"Yeah, much better," Yosuke replied, shooting the blond-haired boy a friendly grin. "Just in time, too," he added, nodding at the approaching waitresses with their trays of cakes and coffee mugs.
One of the waitresses nearly dropped her tray when she saw the new and improved Teddie, so glorious that he might as well have been emitting sparkles at her. She managed to catch herself, though, and she and her companion set the contents of their trays down on the table as quickly as possible so they could run off giggling. Yosuke rolled his eyes as he reached for one of the cakes. "Typical."
"I'm tellin' ya, Teddie, I dunno why you think you need this pheromone stuff," Kanji said, grabbing a cake himself. "You got way too much charm just the way you are."
Teddie beamed in Kanji's direction. "Aww, thanks Kanji! But you can never have too much charm, and you can never have too much Teddie!" He reached for the nearest coffee mug, so excited that he nearly knocked over half of the other mugs in the process.
It occurred to Soji as he watched the blond boy take his first enthusiastic sip that this was the first time Teddie had ever had coffee. So, unlike the rest of the investigation team, he was utterly unsurprised when the spitting and coughing began.
"Gross! How the heck are you supposed to drink this stuff?! Pheromones are icky!"