So I played the entirety of Persona 5 in like 3-4 weeks this summer and that was 107 hours of wanting to hook up Ren/Ryuji so much it was kind of paining my soul. Also Ann and Haru, but that came later and wasn't nearly as one-shot-to-my-heart as Ryuji asking if Ren wanted to get married. So here's 900 words of Ryuji being a moron.
"God, we're so stupid," Ann says, slumped in the booth forlornly, coffee cup between her fingers but barely touched. Across the table, Ren sips his own coffee and makes a noncommittal noise. "We're both too obvious to live and neither of them have a clue."
"We aren't that obvious," Ren protests. Out of the corner of his eye, Haru is sitting at the counter chatting cheerfully with Sojiro about bean astringency; in the booth behind him he can hear Ryuji arguing with Futaba about the identity of a horror movie that he watched ten minutes of but can't name any characters, actors, or plot points from. Haru and Ryuji's notebooks are still open beside them, spread out on the cafe table, both abandoned. So much for their study date.
Sojiro looks Ren in the eye over Haru's head, eyebrow raised.
"Or not," Ren sighs, resting his chin on his hand. Ann slumps deeper in her seat.
"That's it!" Ryuji shouts. "You're a genius! Download that one, that one."
"I'm not sure Ren's laptop can handle that," Futaba says dubiously. "I don't even know where he got this piece of junk."
"Hey!" Ren protests, twisting around, but whatever else he's going to snap snags in his throat because Ryuji is grinning at him, turning the center of his chest to goo. "Hey. Shut up."
"Uh-huh," Ann says when Ren turns back around. She winks one eye shut, pointing a finger gun at him. "Nice comeback, champ."
Ren kicks her under the table. Ann kicks him back.
"Oh, the time!" Haru exclaims, standing up suddenly. "I should get going. I'm sorry for taking up your time."
"Not like you were taking me away from any other customers," Sojiro says wryly.
"I'll walk you to the station," Ann offers, throwing back the rest of her coffee like a shot and grimacing. She stands up, gathering her things to shove in her bag, then scoops up Haru's notebook to hand back to her.
"Thank you!" Haru smiles, their hands brushing as Haru takes her notebook back. Sojiro coughs into his fist.
"Hey, Ann, I just remembered," Ren says, standing up as well. "I promised Ryuji we'd go fishing tomorrow, so I can't go see Kaitou Sentai movie with you."
"Eh?" Ann asks.
"Say what now?" Ryuji asks, appearing at Ren's side, laptop tucked under his arm. Ren elbows him hard.
"Haru, weren't you telling me you wanted to see that too?" Ren continues. "You two should go. Together."
"OH!" Ann exclaims, too loud. She clears her throat. "Oh, um. Do you want to?"
"That sounds fun," Haru agrees. They head out the door, Ann mouthing "THANK YOU" over her shoulder back at Ren.
"The heck was that about?" Ryuji asks.
"Nothing," Ren says brightly. Sojiro rolls his eyes. "Wanna stay over and go fishing in the morning?"
"Sure, man!" Ryuji punched Ren in the shoulder. "Ready for horror movie time?"
"Yeah, be up in a second," Ren promises. Ryuji thuds up the stairs two a time, leaving Ren with Futaba and Sojiro, both of whom are making a face at him. "What?"
"You were right," Futaba says. "They are embarrassing. He gets that from you, old man."
"Absolutely not," Sojiro sniffs, gathering up Haru's coffee cup.
"Nobody asked either of you," Ren mutters, handing his and Ann's cups over to Sojiro. "Now if you don't mind, I'd appreciate some privacy for my very intentional hot date. Futaba, go home or you might hear something untoward."
"Yeah, like you screaming like a little girl," Futaba snorts. Narrowing his eyes, Ren ruffles her hair hard, making her shriek and slap at him.
"We aren't closed yet," Sojiro points out, "so no little girl screaming or any other kind. Futaba, you can help me wipe the tables down."
"Aw, don't let him slack off, he's hopeless!" Futaba protests, Ren swallowing a laugh as he turns to head upstairs.
Upstairs, Ryuji already has Ren's laptop balanced on his desk chair, dragged over to his bed. Ren kicks off his shoes, flips the overhead light off, and flops into bed, yanking his blanket up around his shoulders because the space heater is definitely not doing it for the whole room. He holds up one side of the blanket. "You getting in on this?"
"Heck, yeah!" Ryuji agrees, scooting over until his side is pressed against Ren's. Ren slides his arm around Ryuji's waist, and Ryuji slouches down so his head is resting comfortably against Ren's shoulder. "Nice. Way warmer."
"Wow," Morgana comments from the end of Ren's bed.
"Horror movie," Ren threatens.
"Yeah, I'm out." Morgana reaches over to paw the space bar on the laptop, starting the movie, before hopping off the bed and strolling downstairs, tail held high. "Good luck!"
"Weirdo," Ryuji mutters, shifting closer and going somehow even more relaxed. "You know you always smell like curry? It's nice."
Ren swallows the massive sigh he wants desperately to heave. "Thanks. I guess."
It's not all bad, Ren figures, curled up with a cute delinquent in the glow of the star stickers on his rafters and a pirated movie on his shady laptop. It's warm, and comfortable, and pretty good. Making out would be better, but he's working on it.
Next up is beltenebra!