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Unmei no tenkan

Chapter Text

April 11, 20XX
Morning


“So, he’s the transfer student that people were talking about online…”

 

Walking around, the male could only keep his face straight as poison spilled from the lips of the students.

 

“I heard he does drugs… How much worse can you get?”

 

He had to bite his tongue to keep from protesting, to keep silent about these rumors.

 

“I hear that anyone who makes eye contact with him has to be sent to the hospital…”

 

He turned his attention to his sleeve, tearing it at the seams as he blocked out what his new peers were saying. ‘I guess this answers the question of “will I have friends here”, I suppose…’ He had to force down his sardonic smile towards himself, lest he be labeled as ‘insane’ as well.

 

“I heard he pulls out knives on people without any warning. This guy is a loose cannon.”

 

Sighing, Akira turned his attention towards the signs that were labelled above the doors, trying to find the room that held his teacher. ‘At least I’ll be able to get away from these kids.’ He reasoned in his mind, at the same time the more pessimistic side of his brain showed up, ‘It’s not like she’ll be any better than them. She hates us already from yesterday.’ Gulping down another sigh, he willed his inner voices to keep quiet, dulling his own thoughts, as he had learned to do a long time ago. He could only feel numb as he let static filled his mind, until finally finding the Teacher’s Lounge to speak with his teacher.

 

--

 

The frown on Akira’s face didn’t falter as he stood in front of his new classmates. Were these really the people that he had to spend this year with? People who didn’t know how to keep quiet, who didn’t know how to mind their own business. He couldn’t help but wonder why it was so noisy here- it wasn’t nearly this bad in his hometown. That was probably the only good thing there. He didn’t have to wonder too long though, his teacher, Mrs. Kawakami, seemed to be just as fed up as he was.

 

“Settle down…” She sighed, looking as worn down as Akira felt, “... Well, I’d like to introduce a transfer student, Akira Kurusu.” She forced a cheerful smile, one that anyone would be able to see through, “All right, please say something to the class.” Akira couldn’t help but shift as their eyes slid onto him, uncomfortable.

 

“It’s…. Nice to meet you.” He smiled, just as fake as Kawakami’s despite his best efforts.

 

“He seems quiet… But I bet when he loses it…”

 

“I mean, he was arrested for assault, right?”

 

“.... Why don’t you… sit over there?” Kawakami’s fake smile was still persisting as she called Akira’s attention to her, “Behind Takamaki.” She elaborated, like he would know who they possibly could be. He could only nod before taking a lucky guess and going to the open seat behind a blonde female. Kawakami did not correct him. Taking out one of his books, he ignored the persistent stares that followed him.

 

He didn’t realize that one of them was a sad, pitiful look for him.

 

--

 

April 11, 20XX
Afterschool

 

“Hey guys…” A girl greeted her friends on the roof, one that she’s known since her childhood, and the other that used to be an enemy just a couple of weeks ago.

 

“Yo!” An enthusiastic grin came her way. It wasn’t as bright as it could’ve been.

 

“Hello again, Takamaki.” She was still quite stiff around friends. It was a work in progress. She at least noticed the atmosphere despite her lack of experience, “I suppose you heard them too, yes?”

 

“Everyone has.” Ann frowned, sitting down on the cheap, long abandoned garden chair. Who knows how long it had been up there.

 

“No kidding.” The male frowned alongside the girl, “It just ain’t right. These people don’t even know ‘im and they’re spreading all of that shit around, just like they did with Ann. If they really did ‘change’, they wouldn’t be doing it again.” The frown progressively turned into a scowl as the older girl nodded in agreement.

 

“It’s how society is these days, I suppose.” Despite the situation, she couldn’t help but muse on the observation that if the male was naturally blond, she would’ve thought the two would be siblings. At least, in another life if anything.

 

“I wish we could help… Even if we have the you-know-what, it feels like we can’t actually make a difference…” Ann leaned back against the chair, yelping as a brief moment of panic overcame her as the weak chair bent slightly. She weakly glared at her snickering friend as she straightened back up, her trust in the old chair broken now.

 

“.. I honestly do not know what to say,” The older female started, the blonde’s attentions being turned towards her once more, “except that the most we could possibly do is try and offer our shoulders to him. The old-fashioned style, I mean. He may or may not take us up on our offer, but at the same time, we cannot…. force our way through this, like we have been doing. We cannot afford too much attention on us. This is real life.” The male groaned, sagging at her statement.

 

“Yeah, I know… It just… royally sucks…”

 

“We shouldn’t unnecessarily worry.” She tried her hand at comforting the boy, “If worst comes to worst… We shall see if there is anything we can do. Is that a good compromise for you?”

 

“... I guess.” She sighed, knowing this was a close to a ‘yes’ as she could get. He had too much good in him- if her experiences told her anything.

 

--

 

‘5yf2n10yx’
‘3bh1t 5nw7oh6ek’
‘9cqn2tg k7z 4ws6sku3qh 5n bf4r9c 13lb3x w25n jd4i0p a4r ic5j t8v’

 

--

September 13, 20XX
Afternoon

 

Sojiro distractedly worked on a crossword puzzle. He’d always been fond of these, especially when it proved somewhat of a challenge. It made him feel smart despite his olding age, and helped his mind relax no matter the situation. However, he still had work to do, biting back a sigh as he heard the telltale bell jingling, looking up with his usual greeting about to escape his mouth, but he stopped short.

 

“Akechi? Now, this is quite a surprise.”

 

“Please, call me Goro.” The detective smiled sweetly, akin to the honeyed one he’d put up on television, “It’s only been two months since we’ve properly seen each other.” Like always, he sat at the barstool, “How has everything been lately?”

 

“Better,” Sojiro smiled back at the young boy that had helped him so much, even when his own view of him was lying deep in suspicion, taking out some coffee beans. He rose his hand as Goro shuffled for his wallet, “No, no. You still haven’t let me thank you properly for helping Futaba. This one’s on the house.”

 

“Ah, there’s really no need..” Goro laughed sheepishly, “Futaba is a delight to have with us, and she’s saved us plenty of times. Your cooperation is all the thanks we need.”

 

“Yeah yeah, keep trying to sweet-talk your way through this. Just let me do this one thing for you, kiddo.” Goro was about to argue further, but perked up when he picked up the noise of creaking stairs, his totally-not-a-feline companion perking up from his napping place in his bag.

 

“Oh. Hello…”

 

“Hey Akira. Done with your homework?” Sojiro asked, not missing the slight light of familiarity flashing in his gaze when he looked at Goro.

 

“... Yeah, I am.” Akira nodded, his gaze flitting between the two males.

 

“I don’t believe we’ve properly met.” Goro reached a hand towards the newcomer with a gentle smile, “I am Goro Akechi.” He didn’t miss how Akira gazed at his hand warily, hesitating.

 

“Akira Kurusu. It’s nice to meet you.” He finally reciprocated, giving a singular firm shake as Goro registered the familiar buzzing that was, thankfully, being muffled by the fur of his friend.

 

“What brings you here?” Goro asked with a small hum, betraying his curiosity. He got a shrug and a slight mumble in response as his hand pulled away.

 

“I’m a part-timer here. Nothing too special.” Akira shifted, “Speaking of which, I’ll start on the dishes, Boss.”

 

“Alright.” Goro barely registered Sojiro placing his cup of coffee in front of him, too busy frowning at Akira’s back,  “I’ll be back in a bit.”

 

“Where are you going?” Akira glanced over, frowning, not excited at the prospect of being left alone with a customer that was obviously close with Sojiro.

 

“Groceries. Watch the store for me, will ya?”

 

“....” Akira’s gaze slowly moved to the detective in front of him.

 

“Goro’s a good kid, don’t worry so much.”

 

“... Alright.” Akira closed his eyes before refocusing on the dishes, “Be safe.”

 

“Always am, kiddo.”

 

--

 

The moment enough time passed for Goro to gather his thoughts, he spoke up.

 

“Akira?”

 

“-Mm?”  Akira was done by now and switched to reading quietly, “What is it?”

 

“How is Cafe Leblanc?” Akira blinked at the detective, who smiled sweetly as nothing came from his phone.

 

“... Nothing too special,” Akira answered, his hand resting on the book before him, “If anything, I would say it’s relaxing. I guess I’m a bit biased, though, so you don’t have to take my word for it.” His gaze turned back towards the book. Goro rested his finger on his chin, a small habit that he couldn’t shake. He thought before asking his next question.

 

“How did you find this place? It’s a bit out of the way, don’t you think?” Akira looked up again, this time with an eyebrow lifted up, and an impatient twitch of his mouth.

 

“This an interrogation room now?” With a sour note his his voice, Akira sighed and closed the book over his hand, turning slightly towards him, “Besides, shouldn’t I be asking you that, too?”

 

“I suppose you could be, yes.” Goro nodded slightly. Silence prevailed as Akira stared him down, the detective too calm for his liking.

 

“... Alright, fine.” Akira sighed, looking at the table, “I was sent to Tokyo a while back.” Akira picked his book back up when he heard a buzzing noise. After a bit of nothing, he looked up at the smiling detective. “Well? Are you going to answer that? It could be work.”

 

“They can wait.” Goro shook his head slightly, pursing his lips to hide a smile. “We are talking right now, are we not? I’d hate to be rude.” Akira’s eye twitched before he sighed once again.

 

“Then what else do you want to know?”

 

“Why exactly were you ‘sent to Tokyo’?” Goro, still smiling, stared the boy down. Messing with his curls, Akira gazed instead at the wall past Goro.

 

“.. It’s not really that interesting of a tale, really. My parents had to go overseas, and my english isn’t really fantastic. Sojiro was a family friend of theirs, so this is where they sent me.”

 

“What are your parents’ jobs?” Goro smiled softly, picking up on the boy’s obvious lie.

 

“-Why do you care?” Akira’s eyes flashed, teeth clenching defensively, “Is there something else you want from me?”

 

The cat in Goro’s bag growled, fur puffing.

 

“I was only curious, Akira.” Goro waved slightly, not missing as Akira’s eyes narrowed just a bit more, “I suppose I’ll be off for now, then. It was nice meeting you, Akira.” He hummed, placing down some yen.

 

“... Right. Have fun with… nnh..” Akira huffed, retrieving the yen from the table, hand still within the book’s pages.

 

The honeyed smile remained on Goro’s face as he left, digging out his phone, Morgana having already turned it on. Opening the Metaverse Navigator, he smiled at his recent find.

 

‘Akira Kurusu, Tokyo.’ He read to himself with a pleased hum, letting Morgana look at it as well before opening his messenger.

 

Hello. <<
Are you busy right now? <<

 

Unsurprisingly, the answer was practically instantaneous.

 

>> Nope!
>> What’s up, leader?? Need something :o??
Do you have any information about the boy that lives in Sojiro’s attic? <<
>> If you’re asking for anything other than stuff that’s on his birth certificate and his record, not really. He doesn’t talk a lot.
>> Why tho? Is he dangerous?
He has a palace <<
>> >:o!!
We only need his distortion. <<
>> … What happened to unanimous voting tho?
I am positive everyone will go along with this. <<
Will you still help? <<
>> You sure do like to do your own thing, huh? But...
>> Leave it to me!!
Thank you. In the meantime, I shall inform the others. <<
>> Okie-dokie!

Chapter Text

“So, what’re we doin meeting up now?”The vulgar boy of the team asked, the group lounging about in the Sakura household. “Did we find another target or somethin?”

“Don’t you think we should lay low for now?” The brunet girl frowned. “We’re still recovering from the Okumura incident…”

“This next target isn’t as big as Kaneshiro or Okumura, but I believe he will be great on our team.” Akechi smiled.

“Wait, on our team?” The blonde girl frowned in confusion. “How-”

“I can tell he’s had hardships in his life.”

“Well, everyone has hardships in their lives…” The same girl frowned.

“Yes, but it has caused him to form a palace. I looked into his past, and he hasn’t caused any trouble except for one instance, so I doubt he would be considered evil. I believe his case would be more like Futaba’s.”

“... She was.. In a lot of pain, wasn’t she?” The poofy haired girl frowned. “I think we should help him, if he’s in pain like she was.”

“I’m inclined to agree. I would not like to see anyone suffer like she had to.” The eccentric male sighed softly.

“Hm, well…. I still don’t think we should just change any random person’s heart.... It just.. Doesn’t feel right…” The blonde sighed. “I don’t want us to.. Mess up again.”

“We will not mess up again, Ann.” The brunette’s determined glare reached her. “We will get this right again. Akechi,” she turned to the leader. “if we are helping someone, I believe we should steal his treasure.”

“I gotta agree.” The vulgar boy grinned. “Helpin people is what we do!”

“... You really think we should do this?” Ann was frowning slightly.

“Yes. If you would prefer, we will take extra precautions for this Palace.” Akechi smiled reassuringly.

“... Alright. Let’s do it.”

“That’s the spirit!” The vulgar boy cheered, fist pumping the air. “So, what’re the words?”

“We only have the name and place- Akira Kurusu and Tokyo. Futaba is looking into what the distortion is as we speak. We’ll just have to wait.” Akechi informed.

“Alright. Just let us know when we should meet up again.” The eccentric boy smiled slightly, the rest of the team nodding in agreement.

 

 

Meanwhile, in Leblanc

 

The delinquent was washing dishes as bells jingled, drawing his attention there. “Welco-oh it’s you.” He blinked as he saw Futaba, the daughter of the man who had given him a place to live for a year. “Sakura-san is getting groceries right now. I’m sure he’ll be back soon.”

“Right…. Um, Akira-san, right?” The girl was nervously wringing her fingers together, a telltale sign that she was nervous.

“Yeah?”

“Um… How’s your day been?” ‘Just ease into it Futaba… You can do this…’ The girl tried to quell the butterflies in her stomach, wishing that someone she was comfortable around were there. Even though she had mostly come out of her shell, she couldn’t help her shyness!

“It’s… been quiet, like usual. Not many customers- an old couple and this weird pompous guy, the usual.”

“R-Right, um…” Futaba looked down, shifting.

“... How was your day?” Akira frowned slightly, ‘Shouldn’t let her suffer…’

“Oh-um… It’s been.. good…..” ‘Cringe-worthy… Great job, Futaba, you’re definitely going to get the info this way…’ Her pain was clearly shown on her face…

“...... Here.” Akira sighed, setting a plate of curry in front the girl.

“H-Huh?”

“You like curry? Don’t worry about paying it or anything.” Akira shrugged.

“O-Oh, um.. Thanks, Akira!” She took a bite. ‘.. Not as good as Sojiro’s.. But it’s definitely getting there.’ “It’s… Really good! Did Sojiro teach you?”

“Yeah. ‘s not as good as his though.” He shrugged as he turned around, back to the dishes again. “So… how’d you get to like curry?”

“Huh? Oh, um…” She frowned slightly.

“... You don’t have to answer, if it brings painful memories up.” Akira sighed.

“Now, onto the Phantom Thieves…” Akira glanced over at the TV,

“... What do you think about the Phantom Thieves?” He asked the small girl.

“M-Me? W-Well…. I… don’t…”

“You don’t like ‘em?”

“Huh?”

“Is it because of the Okumura incident?”

“... Yeah.” ‘Go along with it Futaba. W-Wait no, this is going way off track of what I need to do!’

“... I don’t think they actually did it.”

“Huh??”

“Every person that they sent the calling card to confessed and atoned for their crimes. So, why was he different? I believe they were set up.”

“Yeah… T-Those are some good points… Are you a phanboy?”

“... Not particularly. I’m not batshit crazy about them, but I do believe in their justice, which is more than what most people do, I guess.” He shrugged nonchalantly. The bells jingled.

“Oh, hey Futaba.”

“Oh… Sojiro.”

“I’ll be going to my room.” Akira muttered.

“Alright. Thank you for watching the store for me.” Sojiro nodded to him as the boy went into the attic, leaving Futaba frozen in shock.

“A-Ah….”

“Futaba?”

“.... I… I’ll be… going home…” Futaba sighed in defeat. ‘I… couldn’t do it….’

 

Futaba sighed as she plopped down onto her bed, hesitantly getting out her phone. She gulped down her butterflies as she sent a text to the leader.

Hey… Akechi…<<

It took a couple of minutes, but what a nerve-wracking experience those few minutes were…

>>Oh, hello Futaba. How was your info gathering?
It… Wasn’t very successful..<<
I’m so sorry, Akechi…<<
>>Don’t be.
>>We can work this out together as a group, okay?
Okay…<<
Tomorrow?<<
>>Yes.
>>I’ll let everyone know. Get some sleep, Futaba.
Okay… Thanks…<<

She sighed as she let her phone rest on her stomach, letting herself drift off to a dreamless sleep.

 

 

 

September 14, 20XX

“Hey guys…” Futaba sighed as she looked at her friends.

“Hey Futaba…” Makoto smiled at the youngest reassuringly.

“Did you get an idea about what the distortion is..?” Ryuji frowned slightly as the redhead shook her head.

“N-No.. I wasn’t able to ask him about his situation or his feelings about his city life. I’m sorry guys…”

“Don’t be. Like I said, we’ll work together on this one.” Akechi smiled again. “I’ll lay out the facts that we know already.” He brought out a folder from his briefcase. “From what I’ve gathered, it seems that Kurusu-kun had been a mild-manner child in his early years, but was sued for assault by an adult who was not disclosed. As a result, he was sent to Tokyo for a year for his rehabilitation. Nothing else of note was reported on him.”

“... I would think that Tokyo would be in a negative view to him.” Morgana meowed from the table thoughtfully.

“Maybe something that’s like a juvenile hall?” Haru suggested.
‘Candidate not found.’

“Solitary confinement?” Ann frowned, thinking.
‘Candidate not found.’

“Special Housing Unit?” Makoto tried.
‘Candidate not found.’

“Perhaps it’s just jail?” Yusuke spoke up.
‘Candidate not found.’

“Ugggghhhhh…. Jailhouse, prison, detention center, clink…”
‘Can-Candi-cand-candidate not found.’ Ryuji sighed as none of his suggestions were a hit. “Goddamn… Nothing huh…? Wish there were something that told us if we were at least close to what the last word is…” He groaned.

“It would be too easy if that were the case.” Akechi sighed. “It would take too long for us to go through every term we could think of…”

“What do you suppose we should do, leader?” Yusuke asked.

“Let’s go to the source of the problem.” He stood, putting the folder into the briefcase again. “It’s time for lunch anyways.” He smiled.

 

The bell jingled once again. “Welcome to-oh.” Akira blinked as he saw Akechi, Futaba, and five others whom he did not know, along with a cat that was in the blonde girl’s bag. “... Hello.”

“Hello again, Kurusu-kun.”

“‘Kun’..?” Akira sweatdropped as he fully faced the whole group. “So.. Are these your… friends..?” He curiously asked.

“Yeah!” Futaba smiled before introducing them to the part-timer. “This is Ryuji, Ann, Yusuke, Makoto and Haru!” She giggled as the cat complained loudly. “Oh, and that’s Morgana.”

“...Right. You want something to eat?” Akira turned to the curry as he heard the blonde boy cheer loudly.

“Heck yeah! I’m starvin, man!”

“Inside voice, please, Ryuji…” Makoto sighed with a grimace, making the boy grin apologetically. The noise was soon quelled as plates of curry were set in front of each of the members.

“Dig in~!” Futaba grinned excitedly.

 

 

“Kurusu-kun?” Akechi approached the male as the other party members were chatting idly among themselves.

“Hm?”

“May I chat with you in private? I would like to ask you some questions.”

“Sure. Head upstairs.” Akira shrugged. Akechi nods, grabbing his briefcase along the way, heading towards the stairs. He could feel some puzzled stares as he walked up, followed by Akira, but decided to pay them no mind for now. He figured he would just explain it to them later. “.. So, what’s this about, Akechi?”

“I would like to ask you some questions, if you don’t mind?”

“..... What kind of questions?” Akira warily glared at him.

“Don’t be so suspicious of me. I would like to simply know more about you.”

“You already know all that there is about me. There’s nothing special about me-I’m a mild-mannered teen and I’m here because of my parents jobs.”

“Is that so? Your record doesn’t seem to agree with your claims.”

“...’My record’?” He scowled. “I think you’re the one who doesn’t trust me.”

“I was just curious. But, from what I can tell, this situation you were forced into was just an unfortunate, unlucky turn of events, hm?”

“...What?”

“You didn’t do anything wrong, did you? This situation was out of your control, right?”

“... What would you know?” Akira clenched his fists in irritation.

“I can tell. We’re both the same, aren’t we?” Akechi smiled reassuringly.

“The same? You gotta be kidding me…” Akechi shook his head as a response.

“I’m not. We’ve both been wrongly-”

“We are not the same.” Akira glared at the male. “You are a well respected detective known by thousands. I am just a delinquent with no place to belong in my life. You consider us to be ‘the same’? I call bullshit on that.” He hissed before standing. “We’re done talking about this.”

“Wha- Kurusu….” Akechi frowned. “I’m sorry, but I really would like to just know what happened. What your thoughts are…”

“So what, you’re my counselor now? No thank you.” He huffed heading downstairs. Akechi sighed as he followed.

“Kurusu, I would like to help. Just tell me what you think.”

“Why do you think you can help me? Just give it up.” The rest of the Thieves looked up from their conversation as Akira descended the stairs.

“Akira…” Ann stood with a worried frown.

“Kurusu. Are you alright..?” Makoto furrowed her brows, also worried about the boy.

“What do you think about Tokyo? Please, just tell us.” Akechi pressed, not flinching as Akira turned to glare at him.

“Why are you so insistent on meddling?? Just leave me alone about it!”

“Please..” Futaba sighed softly.

“Ugh, you really want to know? This place is absolute hell!”
‘Candidate found’ The mechanical voice was heard as the space around them blurred, insinuating a bit of panic from Akira.

“What the-!?”

“Oh shit.” Ryuji blinked, wide-eyed.

Chapter Text

The first thing that Akira could register in his hazy, confused mind was how god damned hot it was, wherever it was. The next thing he registered was the pain.
“Wha… What’s going on!?” The boy looked around. “I-I-I didn’t know that Yongen-Jaya had an active v-volcano!!”

“C-Calm down, Akira. You’re just going to hurt yourself!” Ann’s voice drifted to him, but when he looked up, all he saw were strange characters in weird costumes.

“Wh-Who…?”

“Fox.” The male in the red mask looked towards the one closest to Akira. “Can you bring him back before something bad happens?”

“Of course.” ‘Fox’ nods before turning to Akira. “Come on.”

“W-Wait, why won’t you t-tell me what the hell is going on..!? What is this place!?” The Thieves watched as Fox and Akira faded back into reality.

“Poor guy….” Mona meowed softly. “Being sent into his own Palace without any indication….”

“Well, there’s nothing we could do about it now…” Noir sighed.

“Noir’s right.” Queen sighed. “Let’s wait for Fox to come back…”

“I agree. Oracle?” Crow looked at the girl in question.

“Yeah?”

“Can you scan the area while we wait?”

“Sure thing!” She hopped into her Persona, immediately starting her work.

….

….

….

“Whoa, w-what the-!?”

 

“H-Hey, will you a-answer me already???” The dazed boy struggled against the blue haired male. “L-let me go..!”

“Akira, calm down. You’re very pale.” Yusuke tried to calm him down. “Let’s get you to bed.” He suggested.

“B-But… What happened to that place..?”

“‘Place’? What are you talking about?” He feigned ignorance.

“Y-you… didn’t see it? T-There was lava everywhere and..”

“... I think you should lay down.” Yusuke frowned.

“Wha-... was that all in my head…?”

“Come on…” Yusuke urged Akira towards the stairs. “You don’t seem well.”

“... R-Right. I… I-I need to rest…”

“That would be for the best.” Yusuke sighed in relief as he helped the boy up the stairs. They proceeded in silence until the bed.

“...Yusuke, right?” Akira spoke up as he sat on the bed.

“Yes?”

“I…. Thank you. For… Helping me.” Akira looked at his hands. “It… Means a lot.”

“Don’t worry about it. You were in need of help, so I helped you. It’s that simple.” Yusuke gave him an encouraging smile before heading down. He took out his phone once he had fully descended the stairs to enter the Palace once again before remembering that he should probably close the shop, seeing as Sojiro was still gone and Akira was kind of asleep. Once he had taken care of that, he resumed in going back to the Metaverse.

 

Akira sighed softly as he laid down, staring at where the Yusuke boy had just gone. ‘It…. was a dream? But… I felt it, didn’t I? Tokyo doesn’t just get hundreds of degrees hotter in just seconds… Also… I distinctly remember my head pounding….. Was it illusions or was it really real?’ He groaned as his mind couldn’t help but analyze the situation that he had been put in less than an hour ago. He huffed and took out his phone, planning on just surfing through the internet, when he saw an app he never downloaded. ‘The hell…? I never downloaded this…. Is it some kind of bug or something..?’ He sighed as he put the app into his trash bin. ‘...You know what… I’m just going to go to sleep-I’ve had enough mind-’effery for today.’ He huffed as he buried his head into his pillows and willed himself to sleep.

 

Once he entered the Palace again, Fox’s attention was immediately caught by his comrades looking up.
“W-Why are they all up there?” Panther wondered, looking freaked out.

“I-I don’t know. I just know that they can transport down here at any time to try and kill us!” Oracle’s voice echoed from her Persona. The conversation prompted Fox to look up.

“.. Oh my.” Fox blinked as he saw shadows far above them, some of them seeming to be shining gold.

“We should be careful going through this Palace.” Crow stated. “If a shadow decides to jump on us on the pathways, we may be falling off.” He grimaced, looking down the narrow path, watching as the lava occasionally covered the path.

“It doesn’t look like the paths are that stable…” Queen sighed worriedly. “.. I trust you’ll be able to get everyone through this, leader?” She asked Crow, glancing over at the general direction of Skull, who looking about ready to bolt through the damned place.

“Don’t worry about it, Queen.” Crow smiled fondly. “I’ll make sure that everyone gets through alright.”

“..Thank you.”

 

“It’s.. hard to continue forward in the Palace.” Queen sighed.

“ I wonder if that is how it is for him…” Noir frowned. “If this is how he feels- just one wrong misstep can send him to his death… We have to help him.”

“It seems very likely- We still don’t know the full story behind his past, what was not in the reports.” Crow nodded slightly. “There wasn’t anything about his home life mentioned, so I would imagine it had something to do with that.”

“Wait wait wait-” Skull interrupted. “He’s a transfer student, right? Why would he have a Palace based off of Tokyo if the source of his desires is from his hometown?And… Doesn’t it take a long time for a Palace to form?”

“Skull… Brings up a good point, for once.” Mona sighed.

‘For once’!?”

“But, well… You really gotta wonder why his palace is here, in Tokyo.” Mona we frowned. “Logically speaking, if he’s got a Palace, it should have been manifested in his hometown… Or maybe he should’ve just appeared in Mementos as a normal shadow...”

“... We won’t know for sure what’s happening unless we continue on, guys.” Queen urged.

“Queen’s right. It is what it is. I believe we should just continue on in this Palace and find out along the way.” Crow suggested.

“Do you really think anyone in their right mind would let you go any further?” The familiar voice echoed around them, the source not clear until they saw the gooey blackness starting to come from the ground.

“Ah- Akira!?” Panther jumped as the shadow materialized in front of him.

“Hey.”

Chapter Text

As soon as the shadow of their mutual acquaintance came to be, they recoiled in shock. This Akira seemed to be painted by red, cloaked in a black coat and his usual black, messy hair, both untouched by the dark red stickiness, whom’s source came from the top of his head. However, the most bizarre feature that the shadow had was the raven-black wing that sprouted from his left side. The feathers swayed as there was a small squeal of ‘One-Winged Angel!!’ heard, muffled by a Persona.

“O-Oh, hi there, Akira…” Panther grinned nervously. “So…. you won’t.. Let us any further? W-why not?”

“Classified.” The shadow smiled at them with false kindness.

“... Why?” She tried prying in even more.

“Not tellin.”

“Dude, come on, we’re just tryin’ to help!” Skull exclaimed, strutting forward.

“Skull!” Queen hissed as Akira’s shadow straightened up with a smirk.

“Do you want to die?”

“Hell no! Why won’t you just let us help!?”

“Hm… Skull, was it?” The shadow crossed his arms. “... I’ll have you know that you can’t help, and you would only hurt yourself trying.”

“Wha-”

“You’re the leader, right?” Akira’s shadow turned to Crow. “I would suggest ordering them to head back.”

“... I’m sorry, but we can’t do that.” Crow crossed his arms

“.. Why not?” He huffed, his feathers ruffling slightly. “This has nothing to do with any of you. Also, if you believe it is just the ‘right thing to do', why would it matter? You have nothing to gain from ‘saving’ me.” The shadow huffed once again in annoyance. “Or perhaps are you bored? But you can’t go after anyone big for a while because of Okumura, right? Can’t have anymore big guys’ blood on your hands.” He smirked.

“... Akira, is that really what you think this is about?” Oracle spoke up from in her Persona. “Entertainment? Reputation?”

“That’s all anyone is worried about nowadays. If something isn’t entertaining, they ignore it. If it doesn’t up their reputation, they deem it as insignificant as the dirt on the bottom of their shoes that they need to pick off. That being said, like I said earlier, there is no gain for you if you decide to steal my treasure.” The shadow pointed out.

“Dude, who really cares about the reason? Let us help you, damn it!” Skull growled, stomping his foot at the stubborn shadow.

“Skull, you hopeless idiot..!” Mona cringed as Akira’s shadow sighed.

“.. Fine. If you won’t go away by yourself, we’ll just have to do this the hard way.” The shadow popped his knuckles as more shadows fell from the sky, now blocking the teams’ view of the palace ruler. The shadows seemed to burst open as the ruler was heard laughing slightly. “Have fun, everyone~…”

“Skull, from now on, would you shut your insolent mouth up?” Fox hissed slightly as he heard Crow bark out orders for Panther, Noir and Fox himself to go on the frontline.

“Egh….”

 

“Damn it…” Skull sighed as soon as they were done fighting the shadows. “I’m sorry guys…”

“You should be!” Mona hissed.

“I must admit that was very foolish of you.” Fox sighed.

“What is done is done…” Noir spoke up, frowning softly. “Should we continue on, Crow?”

“Yes, we should… We’ll just have to be extra careful from now on. Do you guys think that we should try to make it to the treasure?” He asked, wondering how his teammates were doing. Once he got the word that each of them were able to continue on, he nodded and smiled. “Then let’s go. Oh, and Skull?”

“Uh, yeah?”

“Please, do try to be more cautious of your rambling.”

“Ugh… Sure thing, leader….” Skull just sighed in defeat.

 

From that point onward, the shadows they had encountered were only slightly more powerful than an individual member of their team, but the frontlines were able to clear them out easily with the four of them.

“This… seems easy… Too easy…” Panther commented, frowning.

“I would have to agree…” Queen sighed.

“We still don’t really know why he has a Palace in the first place…” Noir frowned, thinking.

“Wait, guys, be quiet!” Mona suddenly perked up.

“Hm? What is it, Mona?” Fox stopped.

“Sh!”

…………..

.... ..- .----. .-. . / .-- --- .-. - .... .-.. . ... ...

.... -.-- / .- .-. . / -.-- --- ..- / ... - .. .-.. .-.. / .... . .-. .

“You guys hear that?” The non-cat frowned.

“.. Kinda… I-... what is tha- WHOA!!” Skull hopped back as the ground started rumbling. The Phantom Thieves watched as the ground, mere meters in front of them, shot up.

“W-What the-!?” Queen gasped as the separated ground turned into huge doors, and they could only watch in awe as chains wrapped around the door, seeming to have come from the sky.

“What the..?” Panther blinked as she found the source of the chains, coming from two bright pillars of light. “Those pillars of light…”

“... They have a slightly humanoid shape.” Fox pointed out, examining the object of his interests.

“Think it means somethin?” Skull asked, sighing.

“I mean, it should be… Maybe he’s being restricted by two people in his life?” Oracle suggested.

“I believe Oracle is basically right.” Crow put in his thoughts, the comment earning a quiet ‘Mwehehe!’ of success. “That is, if Fox’s guess of what the pillars are is the right one. We don’t want to make assumptions though. Also, even if he did view it like that, we don’t know who exactly are the ones who make him feel chained, and what things he is hiding, whether it be forced or not.” He crossed his arms in thought.

“Well, it doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to continue onward until we change his cognition.” Mona sighed, “I think we should head back.”

“I have to agree.” The leader shook his head slightly. “Like Mona said, we can’t go any further. Let us go home.” They headed off once everyone voiced their agreements.

Chapter Text

 

 

September 17, 20XX

“Still have no way to open that damned door…” Ryuji sighed, sulking as they were meeting up at the Sakura household, still waiting for Haru and Akechi to show up.

“Patience, Ryuji. You know stuff like this may take a while.” Makoto sighed exasperatedly. “Perhaps Akechi or Haru may have thought of something.” She hopefully thought out loud, but that was quickly dashed as one of the two spoke up from the door.

“I’m afraid I haven’t, Mako-chan,” Haru smiled apologetically, “but… I brought some food for everyone?” she held up the bags of food, trying to lighten up the team spirit.

“Ooohhh you get a double cheese special??” Futaba hopped up with a grin, joining Haru’s attempt to brighten the dull place up.

“Of course, how could I ever forget, Futaba-chan?” With that, Futaba got her food. The rest of the team got their food as well after a few exchanged glances.

….

“Our leader still isn’t here…” Yusuke sighed, frowning. “I wonder why…”

“It’s abnormal.. Especially since he’s the one who summoned us here…” Morgana frowned as Futaba brought out her laptop.

“You’re right…” Haru frowned. “I hope nothing bad’s happened to him…”

“Ake-”

“H-Huh??” Futaba’s exclamation interrupted Makoto’s comment.

“What’s wrong?” Ann blinked.

“...He’s in Leblanc??” Futaba frowned.

“I wonder why…” Yusuke closed his eyes in thought.. Then, Akechi’s voice floated through.

“Oh! I need to hurry!”

“Hm?” Akira’s voice was heard next.

“I forgot I had to meet with someone. I’m sorry.”

“Oh, it’s fine. Have fun.”

“Huh…” Haru frowned. “I wonder what he was doing there…”

“I do too… He’s not one to forget…” Makoto sighed worriedly.

“I would have to agree…” Yusuke crossed his arms.

“Well, he’s going to be here soon.” Futaba shrugged. “We can just ask him when he gets here.”

“Futaba-chan’s right..” Haru smiled. “He’s well and can talk to us about what he was thinking.” Everyone turned towards the entrance as their leader finally came through.

“Heya, ‘kechi!” Ryuji grinned.

“Hello.. I’m sorry that I’m incredibly late.”

“About that… Why were you?” Yusuke asked.

“Don’t worry about it. I just wanted to check something.” Akechi left it as that, leaving the rest of the Thieves in confusion.

 

 

September 19, 20XX

Akira’s gaze was attached to the window, not hungry as lunchtime was slowly drifting by. He would have been content in just doing this for the day, but fate seemed to have different plans for him, as the student who sat in front of him returned to her seat and turned towards him.

“Heeyyy, Akira, was it?” She grinned awkwardly.

“...Yes?”

“Um… How are you today…?”

“..... I’m fine.. Takamochi, was it?” He blinked, trying to remember her name.

“... Close enough. Look, um… You seem a bit bummed out.” She frowned. “Do you want to hang out with my friends and I?” She frowned even more as Akira shuffled in discomfort.

“I… think I’m fine. Sorry Tak-”

“Just call me Ann!” She put on another smile for him, “And are you sure? I’m sure they would be alright if you joined them!”

“N-No, I’m fine… Alone…” He frowned at the ground.

“Akira… Wh-”

“Hey, Ann..” A blue-haired male walked over to the two. “Can I speak with you? Alone…?”

“Oh, yeah!” She smiled. “Uh, Akira, do you-”

“I should be getting lunch anyways.” He forced a smile and stood, walking out of the classroom.

“...” Ann frowned worriedly at the boy that had just left before politely smiling at her friend. “Hey Mishima… Whatcha need?”

 

Ryuji huffed in annoyance as he walked through the hall, it being very crowded for some reason. “The hell is going on..?” He asked, but as usual, no one answered him. ''Eff it’ He scowled and just shoved his way through the crowd, blinking as he saw Akira being the center of attention, along with a girl he didn’t know. His eyebrows furrowed as he registered the paleness in Akira’s face, the girl hanging off the transfer student’s arm. He watched as the girl whispered to the boy, the latter seeming nervous- scared even. That’s when he decided to step in and help a friend out. “Hey, the hell do you think you’re doing to him?” He marched forward and ripped the girl away from Akira.

“Y-You..?”

“Hey! What do you guys think you’re looking at!?” Ryuji scowled at the crowd, “Get lost, damn it!” He turned towards Akira as the crowds dispersed. “You alright, dude?”

“... Yeah. Sorry.” Akira stretched slightly.

“Don’t be.”Ryuji shook his head, “What was that about, though?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Akira sighed, “It doesn’t involve you.”

“That doesn’t matter! I wanna help!”

“Dude, I don’t even know what your name is. You have nothing to do with this.”

“It’s Ryuji Sakamoto. You know my name know so let me help.” Ryuji sent a glare his way as Akira sweatdropped.

“... T-that’s not…”

“Dude.”

“... You really shouldn’t pry in others’ affairs.” Akira glared at him. “Or else you may have the tables turned on you.”

“Huh?” Ryuji blinked in shock. “What do you mean?”

“I know your guys’ little secret.” He smirked. “Though, it’s not exactly very ‘little’, huh?”

“... Huh?”

“The Phantom Thieves…. To think, one of them is right in front of me.”

“W-Wait, what?” Ryuji blinked. “W-Why do you think I’m one of them??”

“Classified,” Akira grinned, “but I’m correct, aren’t I?”

“U-Uh…”

“And if you are a Phantom Thief, I’ll bet that the rest of your friends that came to the cafe the other day are part of the Phantom Thieves as well.” Akira smiled delightfully at him.

“.... Dude….” Ryuji scowled. “Are you blackmailing me?”

“I guess you could say that. Just stay away from me, alright?”

“Why do you keep pushing away others?”

“I don’t need anyone.” He crossed his arms. “And no one needs me. You don’t need to know me, and I don’t need to know you.”

“Just because you don’t need anyone, doesn’t mean you don’t want to know anyone.”

“Even if I decided I wanted friends, it would be pointless. I only have a bit more than half a year left before I go back.”

“Phones are a thing dude. You would be able to keep in touch with us when you get back.”

“No I wouldn’t. She wouldn’t let me…”

“‘She’?”

“My foster mom.”

“She strict or somethin’?” Ryuji frowned.

“.. I guess you could say that.” Akira shrugged.

“Yannow why?”

“Hell no. I don’t know why she does more than half the thing she does.” He sighed exasperatedly.

“Sucks, bro… You can always vent if you need to.”

“Yeah… Than-wait no no- frick.” Akira grimaced as Ryuji huffed. ‘I was so effin’ close…’ He pouted slightly. “... Egh…” Akira sighed. “.... Thanks for the offer, Ryuji…”

“Huh? Oh, no need to thank me!” He grinned. It was all he could do to not physically cheer when Akira smiled back.

 

Hey guys! Wanna meet up today?<< RS
GA>>Did you figure something out?
AT>>Ryuji? Figuring something out?
AT>>Pinch me I think I’m dreaming.
Hey, shut up!<< RS
MN>>Anyways, I personally am available to meet up today.
YK>> I am free as well.
FS>> We all know my answer!
HO>> I have a meeting, but I don’t suspect it will be for long. I will be only slightly late.
HO>> My apologies.
AT>> Don’t be, Haru!
AT>>I’ll be free later today too!
GA>> Then it’s decided.
GA>> We’ll meet up later today.
Aww yes!<< RS

Chapter Text

“So, what did you find out?” Ann grinned at her long-time friend once everyone appeared at the hangout.

“Yannow the pillars of light in the Palace? How Yusuke said they looked kinda like humans?”

“How could I forget? They stopped us from continuing onward.” Akechi frowned at the memory.

“Well… I wanna check something! I think I might’ve changed something.”

“You sure you did?” Morgana asked, frowning slightly as well.

“Well… I’m pretty sure I did.. I dunno if I was able to completely break those chains, but I might’ve… I dunno.”

“.. Let us just see.” Akechi suggested. “If Ryuji’s hypothesis is correct, we may be able to get a hint of what exactly we are supposed to do to get through this palace.”

“Aww yeah!”

“Alright… Let’s hope this doesn’t become a waste of time..” Futaba sighed as everyone else got ready to continue.

 

“Huh.. I’m surprised.” Oracle sounded shocked as the group returned to the chained doors. “Something actually happened.”

“Of course something happened!” Skull grinned, “Why wouldn’t it!?” He crossed his arms proudly as the group looked at the pillar to the left of the chained doors, now being defined as a middle-aged woman with straight, shoulder-length hair and casual clothes. She seemed to be looking down at them with a devilish smile, her hand tightly grasped around the chains, keeping them tightened.

“Well, now that there’s something defining the shape, now the question is ‘just who is this woman, and why is she keeping those doors chained?’” Fox crossed his arms in thought.

“It’s gotta be his foster mum.” Ryuji huffed, “At school, I helped him out of a situation. It took some probin, but he told me that she’s really strict. He didn’t tell me anymore though, but I told him I wouldn’t mind hearin him vent about her.”

“That’s why you believed something happened? Because you lent him an ear?” Queen asked.

“Well, yeah? I thought it must’ve changed his cognition somehow… Since he doesn’t have any friends to lean on, yannow? An’ he probably hasn’t for a long time now.” Skull said, frowning slightly.

“... It hasn’t loosened the chains yet… But, perhaps we may be able to do something about that.” Crow admitted, thinking.

“What do you mean?” Panther asked, blinking curiously.

“Do you perhaps have something in mind?” Noir added with a small smile of hope.

“Yes I do, but I believe I may have to be the one to do it.”

“Huh!? That’s not fair!” Skull scowled. “I wanna help too!”

“Sorry, Skull.” Crow frowned. “Unfortunately, with the plan I have come up with, you can’t do anything except to wait.”

“C’mon man-”

“Skull, just stop this. It’s getting pathetic.” Mona sighed with a frown.

“You’re one to talk, gettin all googly-eyed towards-”

“No I do not!” Mona hissed. “Stop making things up!”

“Guys, let’s just head out.” Queen sighed exasperatedly as she grabbed the cat and pulled the two away.

“Yes. We are done here for the day.” Crow nodded, leading the way out, ignoring Skull’s whining.

 

‘So boring….. Sigh…. There’s never anything to do after the shop is closed up….’ Akira huffed as he laid in bed, scrolling through his phone. His eyes lingered on the weird app that he had discovered on his phone once he woke up after that crazy ‘illusion’ he had a couple of days ago, when Akechi’s and Ryuji’s group had appeared in Leblanc. ‘This is.. what they use, right?’ He wondered, ‘It’s gotta be…’

The day before

“Akechi…? You’re here again?” Akira asked, once the detective stepped through the doors of the cafe.

“Is that any way to greet someone?” Akechi smiled politely, sitting down at the counter.

“O-oh, I’m just… shocked, you know? You’ve been.. Coming here a lot, I just assumed you would stop… You know?” Akira sweatdropped.

“Why would I stop? The food’s good and the air is relaxing, as well as the company.”

“....” Akira blinked slightly. “The company?” His expression prompted Akechi to chuckle softly at him.

“Don’t worry about it.” He shook his head softly. “Anyways, may I have something to eat? I am quite hungry.”

“... Sure. What’ll you have?”

“The house special, please.”

The two were caught in a comfortable silence as Akechi ate and Akira worked on a crossword puzzle that Sojiro had left behind for him.

“... ‘Diluted espresso’.... Americano?.. Or.. Cappuccino? Wait no, that’s 10 letters, I need eight.. So yeah, Americano.. Or… C-o-r-t-a-d-o… That’s seven… M-a-z-a-g-r-a-n…. That’s ei-”

“You know a lot about coffee…” Akechi smiled. “That’s impressive.”

“H-Huh? Oh.. Thanks. I still have a lot to learn-I only really remember the names, though…” He sighed, pouting slightly.

“You’re still learning, don’t worry about it so much.” Akechi tried to console the messy haired boy with a sweatdrop.

“Right…” He was still pouting slightly, making the detective deflate slightly.

“Well.. I’ll be back.” Akechi stood, walking towards the restroom as Akira nodded. Once Akechi closed the door, Akira quietly walked around the counter and looked in Akechi’s bag. ‘I know this is bad… But I have to.’ He took a deep breath and slightly shuffled the items around, looking for the detective’s phone. He quickly located it and opened it. ‘No password or anything..? Weird….’ He frowned, confused, but shook his head and swiped across the screen to turn to the next page. ‘Aha!’ He grinned slightly as he saw the app that had appeared on his own phone just a short while ago. He opened the app and immediately clicked on ‘history’. ‘Let’s see here… Three columns: Name, Location, and Distortion. Kamoshida, Madarame, Kaneshiro, Futaba, Kunikazu… and Akira… I knew it. The ones before me are the past targets of the Phantom Thieves… All are deleted except for mine, which.. The location is Tokyo and the distortion is Hell… Got it’ He closed the application and put it back into the bag once he confirmed that he had the information he needed, exactly how he found it, and stepped back behind the counter to work on his crossword puzzle once again. He didn't have to wait long before the detective came back in.. around the same time that a certain person hacked into their friends’ phone.

Present

‘If I remember correctly… Name, Akira Kurusu…’ He started to fill out the columns. ‘Location, Tokyo… and Distortion, Hell…’However, he hesitated on the navigate button. ‘Don't I specifically remember it being excruciating when I entered? Then again, I didn't know anything about what was going on… This time, I'll at least be expecting to make the trip to Hell.’ With one final determined glare, he navigated into his own Palace once again.

 

‘Holy crap it's hot!’ Akira shifted in discomfort at the feeling of sweat beginning to paint his back after a couple of seconds of being there. He huffed, though, brushing it off as he looked around, which he immediately regretted once he saw someone-no.. that's not a human, it had a wing… it was standing directly behind him, far into his bubble space.

“The hel- Who are you!?”

“I am you.” The… thing replied with the blankness of a sheet, no emotions seeming to cross it's face

“... You're me? Hold on, I'm the only ‘me’ around here.” Akira scowled.

“We are both Akira Kurusu, by name and spirit. We are just different aspects of ourselves.”

“.... Huh?”

“You are the you that you are willing to show to the world. I am the you that you suppress, your anguish, your pain. Those emotions of yours were contained for much too long- they've become a volcano of emotions.”

“.. what are you… Talking about..?”

“Everything in your life has built up to this. You've remained dormant because of the things you've been exposed to. But now that you've had a taste of what support may bring, it's become a catalyst for the eruption that is soon to come.” The being with the unsettling golden eyes looked back at the real male, seeing the discomfort. Upon this, the thing took off his cloak and handed it to his real self.

“What…?”

“This will protect you.” Was the short explanation as it dropped the cloak unceremoniously into the boys arms, turning away to see the distance, red everywhere. Suddenly, Akira wasn't so worried about his own safety.

“..what… happened..?”

“... You know exactly what happened.” The being sighed, refusing to look back as his real self examined the crumpled wing that had been hidden under the cloak. “You know what these represent. It's the reason why you cannot go up there, where the people you want to know are.” It stated, looking up at the ones above them. “All we can do is watch, never join, because we can't pick ourself off of the ground. At this point, we don't even try to go where the others are, because it's physically impossible. If we went there, the light would go out, and it would be all our fault all over again.”

“.... Why are you saying this to me? Akira frowned, looking pained. “You… don't know what you're talking about.”

“... I don't? Because, if I remember correctly….

I am thou…”

“-!? Wait what are you doing- you're not me!!” Akira jerked back as an unfamiliar feeling walked over him.

“... Hmph. It seems as if your resolve is not strong enough to contain me. That is fine.” The being closed his eyes with a smirk. “However, if you cannot do this, I will have to ask you to leave.”

“Wait, what-!!?” Akira gasped and struggled as he registered clawed hands around his neck, tightening with each passing second. “T-the... hell..?” He sputtered as he tried to pry the unwanted hands off of his neck, panicking as black floated across his vision. ‘oh god… is he trying to kill me!? No, I don't wanna die… will someone… save…
me…?

..

.’

 

……

…..

….

...a...

...ra….

...kira….

Akira… hey…

Hey, wake up… you okay?

“Akira!!”

“AH!?” Akira bolted upright, immediately regretting it as his forehead connected painfully with someone else's.

“Ow-duuuddde…” Akira blinked in confusion as he saw Ryuji in front of him, holding his own head in pain.

“...wh-”

“This is why I told you to stay back…” Akira jumped, turning to his left to see Akechi there, looking less than pleased with his blonde friend.

“... Why are you guys here?”

“Well, we were wonderin’ if you wanted to hang for the night!” Ryuji grinned, now back to his hyper self.

“...’Hang out’?”

“Yeah, play video games, talk about random shit, yannow…” Ryuji clarified, still grinning.

“... I don't think I've ever just ‘hung out’... Or play video games .” Akira frowned softly, earning an exaggerated gasp from Ryuji.

“Dude, you are so missin’ out! Now you gotta come over!”

“But… I need to stay at Leblanc… If I'm not here when Sojiro gets-”

“No problem, we can tell Futaba to tell Sojiro that we're borrowin’ ya for the night!” The male whipped out his phone with a grin. “C’mon, pleeeaaassseee..?” Despite the pleading, Akira didn't really have a choice as his arm was grabbed and he was physically dragged down the stairs and out of the café, being flanked by an obviously annoyed Akechi.

 

….
He didn't want to admit it, but hanging out with Ryuji and Akechi was the most fun he's ever had in his life, even if he noticed the numerous glares sent towards Ryuji in the process.

Chapter Text

“Hello again.”

“Oh- Akechi?” Akira blinked in a bit of shock as the male he just saw last night came in. “Why-”

“I need to talk to you. Privately.” The detective crossed his arms, an indiscernible expression coming onto his face, making Akira frown.

“... I’m guessing this is something serious?”

“Very.”

“.... Okay. I’ll close the shop for a bit.” Akira sighed as he walked to the door.
“Thank you. I’ll be waiting upstairs.”The detective went to the delinquents room as he said, making Akira shake his head as he flipped the door sign. ‘I’m not going to like what is going to happen, am I..?’ He walked back inside, the feeling of dread washing over him. That dread was broken, however, and turned into confusion when he heard a new voice talking lowly where his room was.

“...don’t worry, I’ll be silent just in case. Home’s boring, you know?” It shocked him even more when Akechi replied.

“... fine, just stay in the bag, please, Morgana…” The detective had spoken even softer, Akira almost not being able to hear him. ‘’Morgana’...? The cat? But… last I checked, cats don’t talk…. Well, also, I didn’t know there was a weird reality-slash-hell that is apparently hosting a copy of me that looks like a fallen angel, so I guess it’s not that far-fetched if you compare the two. Whatever. Akechi doesn’t want me to know about him or something, so I’ll just give him what he wants.’ Akira nodded to himself before opening the door.

“Hey, Akechi…” Akira greeted the male. “So… what’d you need to talk to me about?”

“I would like to know your side of the story, exactly. The incident that sent you over here, to Tokyo.”

“... Why, exactly?”

“That was not a fair case, that much is for certain.” Akechi states, as if it’s obvious. It kinda was though, so Akira tried not to hold it against him.

“Who cares about it anymore, though? It’s over and done with.”

“You do.” Akechi softens his glare, “You feel as if it’s chaining you down.”

“.... Yes I do. But, why do you care about a random nobody that lives in an attic?” Akira frowned, “I just don't get why me..”

“Don’t worry about it. Do you remember the one who got you labeled as a delinquent?” Akechi pried, choosing the path he chose carefully this time.

“... Not really. I.. It was during the night and, well… A lot happened that night. I barely remember his face.”

“Understandable.” The detective nodded in understanding, “Well, may I ask something else about your situation?”

“........ Sure…?”

“What was your home situation really like? Specifically, tell me about your foster mother.”

“......”

“I won’t take no for an answer, Akira.” Akechi sternly glared at him, determined to get an explanation, and hopefully, to break those chains in the Palace.

“She’s just… A bit strict is all. She doesn’t like me having my own phone, she’s paranoid that I’ll be irresponsible with it or something. That’s why, when I go back, she’ll be taking my phone away. I’m sorry if Ryuji gave you the wrong idea.”

“.... Uh huh. Now tell me the full story.” Akira blinked at the hostility of his words before glaring himself.

“Do you not trust my words? I said that’s all she’s d-one..!” Akira almost physically winced as his voice cracked, making Akechi shake his head softly.

“I believe what you told me- She’s strict and she doesn’t want you to have your own phone. It’s because you can call for help when you have a phone, yes?” ‘This is totally a shot in the dark, but this needs to work! And, if Niijima-san has taught me anything, it’s to trust my instincts!’ Akechi forced his poker face to stay on, ignoring his quickly beating heart and thoughts about if I’m wrong we’re all so totally scre-!

“I-I-what…?” Akira’s shock displayed the truth instantly. “I-I mean, no! She doesn’t do anything where I would need to call out for help o-or anything-”

“Akira.” Akechi put his hands on Akira’s shoulders, stopping the latter from rambling on any further. “I will remind you- I am a detective. I will be able to protect you and anyone else who has a chance of getting hurt from your foster mother. I doubt she would be able to fight against any trained officials, yes? Which I am able to dial very quickly, should it become a problem.”

“.... I...I don’t want it to become an inconven -”

“Don’t worry about trivial matters such as that.” As Akira’s head turned away, Akechi placed his hands on the side of his face, “Look at me, Akira.” The male hesitantly followed the order. “I want to help you, I really do, but I can’t do that unless you help me help you. I need you to tell me what your foster mom did.”

“......I….” Akira sighed, taking Akechi’s hands off of his face. “... I’ll help you, but…. I’m.. uncomfortable about talking about… certain stuff.”

“That’s fine. You don’t have to admit everything yet. Just letting me know is good enough for me. I don’t want you to feel as if you’re chained anymore. Whenever you need to talk, just let me know, okay?”

“...Okay…” Akira tried to smile for the detective, who smiled back. ‘I suppose that’s good for now…’ Akechi reasoned within his mind.

“Now, may I ask something else?”

“Huh?”

“What are the activities you find yourself most invested in?” He smiled, enjoying the shocked expression Akira sprouted before it melted into a smile.



Once Akechi left, Akira almost felt bummed out about it. He felt as if it had been forever since he was truly happy, not suffocating under doubt and fear. He knew he would sleep well that night…



“It’s about time, inmate!!!”
“Yes, you have awoken much later than when you were originally supposed to woken up.”
“We need not worry. The inmate’s rehabilitation has already been preceding without our interference. Let us just continue this as usual.”
“Of course, Master.”

Chapter Text

Hello everyone.<< GA
Are you free as of now?<< GA
RS>> Well, yeah!
AT>> Yeah
FS>> Yup yup!
YK>> I am free.
MN>> I am as well. However, Haru is currently in a meeting right now and she will not be able to do anything else for two more hours. I will be going over there so I’ll pass on what we talked about to her when that time comes.
Perfect.<< GA
Let us meet at the Sakura household, yes?<< GA
MN>> Yes, let’s.



“So, what’s with the sudden meeting, Leader?” Futaba asked, sitting in her usual position.

“Does it have something to do with Akira?” Makoto guessed, “Did you do anything or find something out?”

“Yes.” The leader of the group smiled. “I have good reason to believe that I may have, at least, weakened the chains, or, if we’re lucky, even shattered them.”

“Really? What’d you do?” Ann asked.

“I just reminded him that there is help where he needs it, whether he believes in it or not.” Akechi smiled, “That being said, I was wondering if you all would be willing to head back into the Palace tomorrow, and possibly get to the Treasure?”

“Hell yeah!” Ryuji grinned with determination.

“I wouldn’t mind.” Yusuke nodded.

“I’m free.” Ann shrugged.

“You know my answer. I don’t do anything useful when I’m not with you guys.” Futaba grinned as well.

“I am free as well.” Makoto informed.

“Then it’s decided.” Akechi smiled, “We’ll be continuing the Palace tomorrow.”

“Let’s all head home then.” Morgana spoke up. “We have a busy day tomorrow, so let’s get some good rest!”



September 21, 20XX

“So, Ann, how do you think it’s going to go later today?” Ryuji spoke up during lunch, his mouth filled with meat and rice.

“Hm? Well…. We still don’t know wha-oooohhhhhh heeeeyyyy Akira…” Ann nervously grinned at something next to Ryuji, prompting the male to look over. Akira was there, looking blank.

“Hello, Takamaki, Sakamoto.” Akira smiled sweetly, obviously forced. “May I speak to you? Privately?” He asked the other male, making Ryuji sweatdrop.

“Uh, yeah…?”

 

 

“So, you told Akechi?” Akira frowned, leaning against the wall, staring out at the school grounds below them.

“H-Huh?”

“‘Bout what I told you. That my foster mum’s strict?”

...Sorry, man..” Ryuji frowned, “I… I know it was personal and all, but… you need help, Akira…”

“So you told your detective friend about it?”

“Well, it's not like I could do anything to help. If anyone's help is gonna work, it's gonna be his.” Ryuji’s comment made Akira frown.

“Why just him?”

“Well, if something is really wrong, he can get the police involved and get your foster mom behind bars…” Ryuji pointed out, “He’s really influential, and people will take what he says seriously, yannow..?”

“... I don’t appreciate you just telling facts about my life to your friends like that, though. If anything, couldn’t you have at least asked if you could before you did so?” Akira frowned disapprovingly.

“Well, I knew you would say no…”

“Well of course I would’ve! Like I’ve been saying, I don’t need help!” Akira rose his voice slightly in annoyance.

“Wha-”

“Well… I guess that’s what I would’ve said before... “ Akira crossed his arms, thinking. “But… I am willing to admit that, after talking to you two, I… may actually need help with my situation.”

“.. Well, that’s what we’ve been saying this whole time!” Ryuji grinned.

“I’ll only let you guys help under one condition, though.”

“Wait, wha-”

“I ask that you make sure nothing goes wrong, and that everything will get better in the future.” Akira spoke over Ryuji. “That’s my condition.”

“... And what if something goes wrong..? N-Not that that’s gonna happen, of course!” Ryuji took the bait, almost regretting it when Akira smiled that same, sickly sweet smile again.

“If you fail, I have permission to beat the hell out of you, whether we’re dead or alive.”

“....Right.” The smile was wiped off of Akira’s face.

“Seriously, though. Don’t make me regret giving you permission to help like that.”

“I won’t!” Ryuji grinned at Akira, who then felt something awaken within him.

I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Chariot Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Ryuji Sakamoto
Rank 1


“-?” Akira blinked slightly.

“Hm? Somethin’ wrong?” Ryuji blinked.

“Oh, um… It’s nothing. Lunch is almost over.” Akira smiled, “Wanna.. Hang out until classes start?”

“Hell yeah, dude!”

 

 

‘Chariot…? Is that… The Arcana that weird old dude mentioned…? I just thought he was pulling my chains, or, hell, just a figment of my imagination, along with those two girls…’ Akira stared out the window of class, thinking. ‘Arcana.. How many are there, exactly…? Maybe I should ask… Well, no, that Igor guy’s very vague, even I could tell after just one encounter with him… And the twins won’t say anything except for calling me an inmate and boasting about Igor…. I guess I should just wait… He did say I would understand in due time…’ He sighed softly, glancing at the board, rolling his eyes as Mr. Ushimaru boasted about his baseball career. ‘Can he just shut up already..?’

 

 

“There definitely has been a change in his cognition.” Oracle spoke up as she scanned the area. “Much less of a distortion in this part. The readings are saying it gets heavier after the part that we were stuck at before.”

“That’s good.” Crow nodded with a smile. “Let us head off, then.”

“Yeah, let’s go!” Skull grinned enthusiastically as Crow led the way towards where they couldn’t continue.

“Well, the chains are definitely… weaker…” Noir stated as the group looked up at the door, which now had the chains hanging around the door as if decorations, and the few chains that had stayed on seemed to be falling apart, some rusty and others looking worn-down. “We may be able to break the rest of the chains ourselves.”

“Yup! They’re weak enough to be as effective as lone twigs in a forest!” Oracle cheered slightly. Meanwhile, Fox was looking up at the two pillars.

“... The second one is more defined than last time we were here.” He spoke up, “I feel as though I’ve seen his face before…”

“Isn’t that the politician guy that everyone is crazy about..?” Skull frowned, “Why would he have such a huge impact on Akira’s Palace…?” The male looked towards their leader, who looked completely shocked. “Uh, Crow..? You okay there, man?”

“Hm? Ah- yes, yes I.. I’m fine. Let’s break down those chains, hm?” Crow suggested, the paleness of his face still visible under his mask. ‘Father… You were the one who got Akira sent down here..? I wouldn’t put it past you, but… seriously, how low can you go, destroying youths’ lives…?’ He frowned at his thoughts as he watched the more physical-based allies of his, Queen, Skull and Noir hack away at the weak chains. While they were doing that, he decided to examine the foster mother. He noted nothing really changed, except her expression was more demonically evil. She looked angry, yet a smirk was being played along her lips, as if she was plotting revenge…

“Aannndd gone!” Crow registered Oracle’s voice cheering.

“That really was easy.” Noir pleasantly smiled in accomplishment.

“Well, let’s get going then!!” Skull grinned, about to dash in ahead of everyone when a hand landed on his shoulder.

“Are you really sure you would like to continue on?” Akira’s shadow had appeared, looking… sad in a way. His left wing outstretched as usual, but his normal coat was missing, showing the crumpled wing for all to see.

“Huh? Why wouldn’t we? We came here to help you and steal your treasure, Akira…” Panther frowned.

“.... I will tell you now, if you decide to continue on, you will be disgusted. It may even trigger someone in this group, if any of you have experienced anything like I have, or even maybe a friend has.” Shadow Akira stated, his expression unmoving from his initial one. “If you feel as if you can’t handle it, I would suggest you turn back now.”

“Well, hell no are we going to go back after all of this!” Skull growled, “If something this bad is causing that much of a distortion, we need to help ASAP!”

“.... Alright.” The shadow nodded with a sigh. “Then move on.”

 

The Thieves walked through the doors, only to be greeted with inky black darkness as the same doors closed on them automatically.

“It’s so… dark….” Noir commented as Queen latched onto her.

“W-W-Why is it so dark all of a sudden!?” The normally composed second-in-command’s voice cracked as she tried to get her eyes to adjust.

“We won’t know until we find out. Robin Hood-” Crow called out his main persona, “-use Kouga to light the way.” Once the tip of the arrow was lit, the group looked around, only seeing a dark pathway that looked as if it was barely holding itself together.

“We should… Probably go one at a time on this walkway….” Oracle frowned. “I think the frontline team should go first, Leader.” She put in her two cents.

“Right… That would be Queen, Fox, Noir and I…” Crow nodded slightly. “Let us head off.”

Once the first four had crossed completely over without any incidents, Skull placed an unusually careful step on the path, which looked even more worn out than usual. Skull had taken his second step when Oracle gasped loudly.

“Skull, get back!!!” Their navigator yelled out as Panther reached out, grabbing her friend with cat-like reflexes as the ground crumbled under Skull’s feet, pulling him back onto the more stable platform.

“You three okay over there!?” Fox yelled out.

“We’re fine! Just go on without us! We’ll wait for you here!” Mona called out.

“W-Wait, Oracle, can you fit anymore people with you in your persona?” Noir asked.
“Negative. It’s actually kinda crowded with just me in here, there’s no way anyone else would be able to fit in here.” Oracle’s voice revealed her disappointment in the situation. “I’m sorry…”

“Don’t be.” Panther shook her head. “You guys just go on and find the treasure.”

“Will you three be fine by yourselves?” Queen asked with a frown.

“Yeah… We’ll manage…” Skull grumbled, clearly unhappy.

“Mona, I trust that you’ll keep your eyes on them?” Crow looked at their more feline friend with expectation.

“You can leave it to me!” He grinned. The three watched as their other comrades went on without them.

 

“This really sucks…” Skull growled, “There’s nothing to do, and we can’t do anything to help!” He paced around impatiently.

“Skull, calm down…. Nothing will come out of you being impatient.” Mona frowned.

“He’s right.” Panther backed Mona up, “Try to calm yourself, please…”

“Eeeeeggghhhh…” Skull groaned, huffing as he sat down. “There’s nothing to do…”

“Yes, we heard you before…” Mona sighed exasperatedly.

“Uuuuuggghhhhhhhh….”

“... Huh?” Panther looked around with a frown.

“Panther?” Mona looked over.

“...Something doesn’t seem right... “

“... You’re right…” Mona hissed softly. “Wha-”

“-Stop it!!! Let go of me!!”

“The hell!?” Skull jumped up immediately after hearing a young male’s voice.

“Y-Yous shuld learn to r-respect yo’ motha….” A slurred adult woman’s voice floated through as well.

“M-Mary, please stop, you’re grabbing my arm too harshly..!”

“Mary..?” Skull wondered out loud.

“Do you think… She’s his foster mom..? And.. the kid is Akira?” Panther guessed.

“It has to be… Unless he knew someone else who went through this, but… I highly doubt that...” Mona frowned.

“Y-You need ta learn that ya kiddies need to nevah stand agains yor parens!”

“Y-You’re not even my real mom-!” The three present winced as a sharp smack resonated through the area before all went silent.

“... Abuse…?” Panther frowned. “Along with alcoholism…?”

“That is correct.”

“Oh- Akira!” Mona blinked, “Were.. Were you here the whole time?”

“Not really. But I’m able to go everywhere but up.” The shadow shrugged, “So, what do you wanna know?”

“... Was that all she did?” Skull asked.

“Nope. Not at all.” He shook his head

“Um… What else does she do..?” Panther asked.

“She rapes me.”

“Wha-!?” Both Panther and Skull reacted in shocked as Mona frowned.

“Rape..?”

“... Exactly.” The Shadow looked into the darkness with a blank look. “It was.. How she punished me, whenever I tried to stand against her. It happened every night for a long time… Eventually, I just… stopped trying.”

“... So that’s what happened…” Ryuji frowned, “When that girl… At school...”

“Correct. Although I had known she wouldn’t go as far… Those moments flashed through my mind.” He shook his head, “It was hard keeping my composure, you know.”

“I’m not surprised….” Mona frowned, “... But, is the reason you don’t want to have any friends connected to your foster mother..?”

“....... Correct. She was paranoid I would get help from people over here to put her behind bars. She told me that if I did, she would kill my friends painfully and do the same to me…”

“And- you actually believed that!?” Skull growled. “If she was behind bars, she wouldn’t be able to kill anyone!”

“......... I’m sorry.” Akira’s shadow sighed, “While… I knew it would be impossible, my mind jumped to the worst conclusions, to ways that she would be able to escape and do those horrible things, or maybe she hired someone….”

“It’s understandable…” Ann frowned. “With what happened to you…. I’m actually kind of surprised you aren’t more frantic.” She admitted before smiling kindly at him,

“You’re really strong you know?” The smile faded when the Shadow shook his head.

“I’m nothing of the sort. I’ve been broken to the point that I can’t find it in my will to fight back anymore.” He smiled bitterly.

“... I don’t believe that’s right.” Mona stated, looking up at him. “You’re fighting back right now, by letting us help you.”

“..... I suppose you’re right.” He shrugged. “Well, I should get going. Your friends have already reached the treasure.”

“Huh? Already?” Panther blinked.

“They kept moving towards their goal. They didn’t get held up by anything because they didn’t stop. Nothing interrupted them. You guys heard them because you stayed in one place, not doing anything.”

“Is that why you’re always doing something? To keep your mind off of your past? Even if you don’t need to?” Mona asked.

“Yup, that’s exactly right. Here.” The shadow nodded towards the empty space, watching as the bridge rebuilt itself, “Well, see ya.”

“Oh-” He was gone. “... Bye? And.. Thanks?” Panther frowned.

 

 

 

“Oh, when was this put back up…?” Noir blinked in shock as they crossed over, noting how the bridge was stronger than before.

“Not that long ago…” Skull huffed.

“So, you guys reached the treasure?” Mona asked.

“Correct. It was… easy, surprisingly.” Crow frowned. “Way too easy…”

“Akira’s shadow talked to us about that…” Panther spoke up before recapping what happened while the other five were gone.

 

“I see…” Queen frowned, “It makes sense… But still, there were no shadows to stop us…”

“Well, at least we did get to the Treasure…” Noir smiled, trying to cheer up the others.

“Noir’s right, guys.” Oracle nodded, “Now, we’ll be able to send him a calling card and save him.”

“Exactly. Let us rest for a couple of days before doing so.” Crow suggested.

“I back that up. We need to be ready for anything.” Panther crossed her arms.

“Alright! Let’s meet up for this in two days!” Skull grinned.

Chapter Text

September 24, 20XX


Futaba sighed as she walked into the cafe that her adoptive father owned, nervously messing with the strap of her bag, feeling the familiar weight of her friend in there.

“Is something the matter, Futaba?”

“Umm, no, but…. Can I ask you to do a favor for me, Sojiro?”

“Hm? What is it?.. Does it have something to do with the… You know… you and your friends’ ‘business’?”

“Uh, yeah…” Futaba frowned. ’You could have worded that a bit differently, but…’ “Can you hand this to Akira when he wakes up?” She set the bag down, reached into it and handed him an envelope addressed to ‘Akira Kurusu’.

“Hm..? Does he have one of those ‘palaces’?” Sojiro wondered, prompting Futaba to nod.

“Yup. It’s time for his desires to get stolen.” She smiled softly.

“Right… Well, I wish the eight of you luck, then.” Sojiro nodded as well as he took the card from Futaba.

“Yeah, thanks!” She smiled as she went out.

“Wai- Futaba-....” Sojiro sighed, looking at the bag she left behind, seeing the cat. “... I’m guessing you’re supposed to be staying?” The cat just nodded as Sojiro shook his head and scooted Morgana out of the way of any chairs.




Sojiro let Akira wake up by himself, taking in the male’s half-asleep look.

“Hey. Eat up.” Sojiro pushed a plate of curry in front of him, prompting Akira to look up at him.

“Oh… Thanks.” Sojiro let him finish eating before speaking.

“So.. Are you and Futaba friends now?” Sojiro’s question made Akira blink in a bit of shock and confusion.

“Um… I don’t really know… I don’t really talk to her too much… Why?”

“Just wondering.. I think she and her friends would really like to have you around, you know?”

“Huh..? What’s with that all of a sudden..?” Akira frowned slightly.

“Hm… Don’t worry about it.” Sojiro shrugged as he took Akira’s finished plate and cup. “Oh, by the way, someone left you an envelope.” Sojiro motioned towards the envelope sitting next to the cafe’s public phone.

“For me..?” Akira looked towards the envelope for a second before grabbing it. ’A card…? If I am right in my assumptions that their group is the Phantom Thieves….’ He opened the envelope and looked at it. ’Knew it… A calling card….’ He took out the card and read the contents.


"Sir Akira Kurusu, a pitiful being made of the despair that others forced upon him.
Your inability to fight back against horrid adults has caused your own life to spiral into a deep, dark and never-ending hell that you cannot escape from.
Thus, we have decided to steal your distorted desires and free you from your hell.
From, The Phantom Thieves."

‘They really did target me, hm..?’ Morgana peeked his head out of the bag as he was able to sense Akira’s shadow. ‘That’s fine. Let them come.’

‘Well, it worked…’ Morgana jumped down, getting out of the bag and walking to the door. “Heey.” He scratched at the door, looking at Sojiro expectedly.

“Jeez, cat… You’re as noisy as ever, you know.” Sojiro sighed as he opened the door.

“Well, I’m off.” Akira sighed as he stood away from the counter.

“Hm?” Sojiro looked over as Akira came closer to the door. “Where are you going?”
“I’m going to meet someone.” The male just smiled as he walked past Sojiro and through the door.

 

 

 

“That did it.” Morgana informed the rest of the Thieves as he came back. “Now all that’s left to do is to steal his Treasure!”

“Well, we only have 24 hours, so let’s do it!” Ryuji grinned as he hopped up from the ground.

“I agree. Let us head off.” Yusuke smiled as the MetaNav activated.

 

“Let’s hurry, guys!” Oracle hopped into her Persona immediately when they entered the Metaverse. “We have a clear shot to the treasure from where we ended last!”

“What are we waiting for, then?” Panther spoke up, “Let’s get it as soon as we can. Right, leader?” She looked over at Crow, who nodded.

“Yes, let’s. The sooner we can get there and back is less time for us to mess up. We cannot afford to make the same mistake once more.”

“Agreed.” Noir nodded. “Let us move forwards.” The Phantom Thieves followed their leader deeper into the Palace, each putting their determined faces on.

 

 

 

“So…. This is how it is…” Akira looked around in his Palace, noting the slightly red glow the place was giving.

“You actually came?” He looked over to see his golden-eyed counterpart walking over, “I thought you were still busy being a weakling. Will you finally accept your rebellious side?”

“My ‘rebellious’ side?” Akira frowned slightly, “What do you mean?”

“I’m talking about the you that is filled with resentment towards the adults in your life. You always push that part of you down out of fear. She’s beaten the fight out of you, but now that you are away, we can finally fight back.” He crossed his arms slightly.

“... What exactly are you?” Akira crossed his arms as well, a hand messing with the collar of his shirt. “I know you said something about you being the me that I suppress… But what are you?”

“You may refer to me as a shadow of yourself.” The shadow smiled as he uncrossed his own arms. His attitude suddenly shifted to a more serious one. “Now, we must make haste.”

“Huh? Why…?” Akira blinked, confused.

“There’s someone here.”

“Well, the Phantom Thie-”

“Not them. Someone else is in here other than them. Their objective is to take our life.” Akira froze slightly at that comment.

“... They want to kill us?” The shadow nodded.

“That is why we need to hide until the time is right.” He held out his hand for his real self to take. “Before you try to protest, I’ll let you know that if you die, I die and vice versa. I have no reason to deceive you.” Akira stared at him for a bit before reaching out and taking his Shadows hand.

 

 

 

The eight Thieves reached their destination in no time.

“There’s the treasure!” Mona cheered as he watched Crow take the scythe, “I wonder why a scythe though…”

“We’ll worry about that later! Le-” Skull was interrupted by Oracle.

“Guys! Get back!” Her yell was almost drowned out by inhuman shrieks as a figure dove down in a blur of red and gold, aiming straight for Crow. “Crow!” The leader flipped away, taking the treasure with him.

”G /../ …-/ E I T B /.-/ C /-.-!!!” The indiscernible speech was deafening to their ears.

“Guys, it’s gonna attack! Be careful!” Oracle informed as it rushed towards the team. “It’s powerful, but you guys can do it!”

“Thanks, Oracle! Find any weaknesses on it?” Crow called out.

“Nope. It’s strong against Bless magic though, along with gunfire.” The smallest girl huffed, “It absorbs fire too.”

“Right. Fox, Queen and Skull, upfront with me. The rest of you, be on guard and make sure no other shadows sneak up behind us!” Crow ordered, hearing the affirmations of his teammates calling out back to him. He focused his attention towards the cognitive shadow in front of him, barely recognizing it as Akira’s foster mother, Mary, who looked like a mix between an angel and a fallen one, her wings swirling in black and white as there were tattoos swirling around her body. She was wearing a black skin tight suit, aside from the loose arm sleeves, which faded to white as well. Crow cringed as he heard her cry out again, now being able to understand what she was saying.

“H OW DAR EYO U BAR GE INTO HE R E WI THO UT PERM ISSION! ?” Cognitive Mary screeched at the Thieves as she prepared a Maragidyne, notably aiming the brunt of the attack towards Fox.

“Fox!! No, get up!!” Oracle gasped as Fox was knocked down. The shadow used the shock that everyone felt from the powerful attack to head straight for the Leader with a Kouga, who, luckily, had Robin Hood with him, allowing him to not get too injured from that attack. “Guys, that Maragidyne really injured all of you! Fox is about ready to collapse!” Oracle warned.

“Queen, Mediarama, now!” Crow instantly ordered, the second in command nodding.

“On it!” Queen casted the spell as quickly as she could, hearing the thanks of the party members. The next few minutes consisted of Fox dodging every attack, Skull attacking and Crow, Queen and Oracle acting as support, healing and buffing.

“We aren’t getting anywhere with this way of fighting.” Crow hissed in frustration, “We’ll run out of stamina sooner rather than later if we try to keep this up!”

“I know, I know! We-We just need to-! Guys, another one’s coming!!” Oracle cried slightly, “This one isn’t as powerful, but it’s still stronger than normal!” She warned. “C-Can the backup te-”


“That will not be necessary.”

 

 

 

Akira groaned softly as he opened his eyes. ’My head… It hurts… Why does it hurt so bad…?’ He sighed as he recognized the blue ceiling and the chains. He wanted to wait until he could feel the rest of his body, but a certain twin made it impossible. Also the fact that no one decided to save him from her didn’t help at all...

“Get up, inmate!!”

“You’ve barely progressed at all. As your warden, I am genuinely disappointed in you, Kurusu Akira.” Akira sighed as he forced his body to sit up, feeling like lead. He was sure he looked weak, but at the moment, he couldn’t really give a shit.

“Would you guys just lay off my case a bit..?” He sighed tiredly, “I am honestly just really confused and need time to process what’s been happening…”

“Silence, inmate!!” The more volatile of the two slammed her baton against the bars. Akira could only wince as he saw sparks fly from the impact. “We don’t need to be as nice to you as we have been!” Akira sweatdropped at her comment. ’If this is your idea of “nice”, I’d hate to see what your view of “mean” is…’ To his luck, the man behind the twins was merciful enough to step in there.

”That is enough, Caroline, Justine. I believe we have more pressing matters to deal with as of currently.”

”Of course, Master.”

”Yes, Master…” ‘Wow… those two are so in sync that it’s actually kinda creepy…’ Akira sighed slightly. ’I’ve sure had my fill of creepy things this past week and a half… But my intuition is telling me that this will not be the last creepy thing I’ve seen. Not even close…’

”Now, I am sure that you have plenty of questions to ask me, but most of them will be answered very soon, should you go down the path that is before you.” The man named Igor chuckled at the male induced with confusion. ”However, I come to speak to you about one thing.”

“Waitwait- just one thing?? But I don’t know what the hell is going on at a-!!” Akira jumped back with a yelp as Caroline slammed her baton on the prison bars again, catching Akira’s hand in the blast.

”Be silent, inmate! Our Master has specifically told you you will find out later! Now quit being a baby and shut up!” Akira bit down a growl as he rubbed his fingers, cursing how it pulsed in tune with his own heartbeat. His vision snapped up as he heard a deep chuckle coming from Igor.

“As Caroline has said, I shall only speak about one thing.” He paused, glancing over at Akira to see if the younger male would react. He didn’t. ”Should you ignore the path before you and stray from your fate, ruin shall surely fall upon you.”

“‘Ruin’...?” Akira mumbled the word to himself. ’I don’t like the sound of that…’ “...By my ‘path’... Do you-”

”Do you recall what was left for you earlier?”

“... The calling card…?”

“I do believe that we are done here.”

“Wha-!?”

”You heard what Master said, inmate! Go to sleep!”

”Yes, I do believe that would be the best course of action for you as of now.” Akira did not even have the chance to protest before his head felt lightheaded. He just sighed and complied, going over to the uncomfortable slab of rock before just collapsing onto it, uncaring about what would happen once he woke up.

Chapter Text

Akechi growled as they looked upon the new shadow that was before them, noticing the heavily distorted figure, which was just dripping with black ooze. The only notable thing they could discern from that shadow was the bring orange-tinted glasses that he was sporting.

”You kids have no power here. You may as well roll over with your bellies up and admit defeat.” The shadow smirked wickedly as he popped his dark clawed hands, seeming to be ready to throw a punch.

“Hah! You wish we would surrender, huh!?” Skull yelled out, “No way in hell, dude!!” Despite his injuries from the previous fight, he drew back his hand with his Big Sleep Stick in hand, but was stopped by Panther. “Wha-Why’re you stopping me!?”

“Something isn’t right Skull! He’s obviously taunting us!” Panther frowned at him.

“Panther’s got a point.” Noir added. She frowned as she heard the shadow chuckle at the Thieves.

“Good, very good, Panther.” The shadow clapped at her, the Thieves cringing at the wet sound it made as black ooze connected with black ooze grossly. “I would have you know that I found your… Little friend.”

“... Our ‘little friend’?” Queen glared at him as the shadow grinned with sharpened teeth.

“I just… happened to stumble across him.” The Phantom Thieves tensed up as another figure appeared from the ground, this time bleeding profusely from his head and with chains wrapped around his body, binding his arms to his sides and his legs together.

“Akira-Kun!” Noir gasped, “W- He came to his Palace!?”

“... It must’ve installed onto his phone.” Fox huffed slightly.

“This is bad, though… Oracle, can you scan Akira!?” Mona called out to the navigator.

“Already on it! He… doesn’t look so well… He needs immediate attention!” Oracle’s urgency told them that they shouldn’t risk anything without specifically clarifying it.

“What do you want from us?” Panther hissed at the shadow politician.

“I want the Treasure back.”

“What!?!?” Skull exclaimed, growling. “Hell n-”

“Skull, shut up!” Crow hissed at the least intelligent of the group, “Alright.” He turned to Cognitive Shido, handing the scythe over.

“Hmph.. Just like that?” The cognition took the Treasure before grabbing Akira. “Catch.” Akira was carelessly thrown to the Thieves, Queen being the one to catch him, with Panther immediately crouching down to their height.



The pain was excruciating…. Once Akira’s senses returned to him, the only thing that he could register was the pulsing on his head and the way too tight binds that were digging in too deep into his skin. The only relief on his body was the waves of healing he could feel, mending his body of the injuries he had obtained. From where, though, he couldn’t remember. He tried forcing himself to relax, hearing his gasps shudder as he did so. He could faintly hear a voice calling to him.

”Aki…….. ira? Are…..ake?” A faintly familiar voice called out to him, urging him to open his eyes. His head was in someone’s lap, a girl with red eyes, highlighted by the iron mask she wore. Glancing around he saw a girl with a red cat mask that looked suspiciously like Ann Takamochi.. Or well, ‘close enough’ like she said… “Oh thank goodness.” Iron mask sighed in relief, bringing Akira’s attention to her before it was quickly stolen by Takamochi.

“We thought we would lose you…” She smiled at Akira before looking at the chains, which he recognized as what was binding him. “Now, let’s get those off.”

“W-Wait! Panther!” Another familiar voice yelled out, Akira faintly recognizing it as Sojiro’s adoptive daughter. That revelation was quickly overpowered by the liquid hot pain that coursed its way through his veins in the form of electricity. He can admit that he felt no shame in screaming when it happened. His shallow breaths echoed throughout his head as black spot colored his vision.

“Oh my god I am so sorry, Akira!” Ann immediately started… He couldn’t really tell in his haze, but the same waves of healing were being washed over him, which was definitely welcome. He took this time to examine everywhere else as his vision was restored. There were six people he could see, five of them watching him, which, admittedly made him feel a bit self-conscious. The other one, he recognized as Akechi, seemed to be talking with a figure in black. He decided to not question his detective friend and look at the weird UFO thing that was above everyone and the cat thing, which he assumed was Morgana. It made sense in his mind, seeing as he already heard the thing speak english. Last, but not least, he found his… stepmom? He guessed so as he felt the familiar stab of fear flow through his body. However, it was even more prominent when he noticed that her murderous look was directed towards who he assumed was Akechi, fire swirling around her. He guessed the Iron masked girl saw his expression and looked over as well, gasping.

“Crow-”

“Behind you!!” ‘Crow’ looked at them before dodging, the fire attack barely missing his back. The team and Akira all cringed as the foster mother screeched again.

”Y OU INS O LEN TBR ATS!”

“That bitch is seriously outta control!” The one he recognized as Ryuji growled out, some sort of stick materializing in his hand.

“Of course she would be! She’s the one who put him through all of that stuff!” Morgana called out, a knife that he compared to one of those pirate swords materializing as well.

“Guys, be careful!” Futaba’s voice came from the weird UFO thing. “She’s even angrier now- she’ll hit even harder!” She warned them. “And someone needs to stay with Akira to protect him!” Akira huffed as he tried to sit up, gaining some help from Iron mask.

“I’ll stay with him.” She offered, Crow nodding at her.

“Right. Panther, Mona and Noir up front with me!” He ordered, the three members rushing to meet with their leader and fight. Iron mask turned to Akira, a concerned frown adorning her face.

“Here, let’s stand you up.” She suggested, Akira nodding in agreement. He stumbled as he gained help from her. “Fox, Skull, can you two cover for us?” She looked over at the other two, who both nodded.

“Of course.” The one, who he assumed was Fox, because, you know… The mask… He nodded as Ryuj-er, Skull grinned.

“Yeah. Keep ‘im safe, Queen!”

“You would believe I would do otherwise?” Queen-seems fitting- smirked before grabbing Akira by the chains, gently urging him back.





“S-So, ngh-!” Akira stumbled, slightly hopping on his bounded feet, Queen quickly catching him before he fell.

“Be careful.”

“R-Right, thanks. But… What the hell is even going on right now..?” He asked her, “I-I understand we’re in my cognition or something like that… but why is my mother and that dude here and why do they look like that..? I-I don’t see them like that.”

“.. You probably don’t realize it then.” Queen suggested.

“N-No, I know that they wouldn’t try to kill me… That would just shift suspicion onto them, s-since… So why are they trying to kill us here?”

“I-I cannot say, Akira. This is your cognition we’re talking about, only you can say for sure…” Queen frowned slightly. The bounded male sighed.

“Right…” He shook his head slightly, pausing suddenly as he felt something wrong.

“... Akira?” Queen examined him. “Is everything okay?”

“... Dunno. I have a bad feeling.”

“Well, we should be careful. If you’re getting that now of all times-” Queen gasped as Akira suddenly shoved her, a bright blue streak flashing past her. It landed on the ground, sticking up, before it seemed to explode, shaking the ground.

“... They’re still here…” Akira hissed, looking around them.

“Right.” Queen brought out her weapon on her right hand, supporting Akira with her left. At least, she would be, had Akira still been there. “-!? Akira!?!?” ’He was JUST HERE!!’ “This isn’t good…” She moved around, looking for the boy, knowing that if anything had happened to him, he would have no way to defend himself.



Everyone yelped as the ground shook under them, stunning them for a second, giving the two cognitive shadows an extra chance to deal extra damage, both aiming for their leader, who was taking longer than usual to recover. He could only raise his arms in a feeble attempt to block the pain, having lost his weapon when he was stunned, only to yelp as Panther pushed him to the side.

“Y-You idiot! Move!” Crow nodded in thanks to Panther, feeling bad as he recovered.

“Guys, you aren’t going to last much longer!” Oracle shuddered, “You guys need to back out!”

“But what about the treasure!?” Noir called back out, gripping her battle axe even harder, trembling slightly.

“What about your lives!?” Oracle countered, “I can’t do too much for you guys! Anything I do, they get rid of it, whether it’s buffs, HP or SP!”

“We won’t get another chance though!” Mona yelled out, clearly in distress, like everyone else there. “We can’t give up now, since we’ve gotten so far!”

“Mona’s right!” Panther supported their feline friend, “We can’t stop now!”







“.... H-Huh…?” The male looked around in confusion, time seeming to have stopped completely. “... Q-Queen…?” He looked over at his escort, seeing that the female’s expression was unchanging. It didn’t even seem as if she were breathing.“W...What…?”

”Akira…” Akira gasped as he turned around, where he heard the voice he had not heard in over a decade. There were two adult figures, one male and one female. The one who had spoken, the female, smiled down at him.

“What…? Y-you guys are here..?” He couldn’t stop the trembling in his voice.

”It’s time for you to stand up for yourself.” The male spoke up next, ”I know you can do it, if you finally believe in your own abilities.” Akira brought in a breath as the adult male started to fade.

“Wait-no-dad! Don’t go- I finally got to…” He hiccuped as his father disappeared completely from his sight. “-Ah!” He suddenly gasped as his legs were grabbed. He looked down frantically, seeing dark hands grabbing ahold of his pant legs, pulling him down into the ground. “L-Let me go! Mom!” He called out for one of the only adults in his life that he felt had cared for him.

“You’ll be alright, my son…” The woman smiled down at her only child. Akira could only cry out as he felt his soul shudder violently, feeling a dark hand shoot up and grab the top of his head.

“MOM!!” He called out one last time before being forced underground.

”I am so proud of you… My precious baby boy….”

Chapter Text

“...Why… Why are you having me see all of this..? I don’t understand…” Akira asked the void, knowing his Shadow would answer him. Except… It didn’t. “Why…. Is this fun for you!?!?”

”You’ve known for quite some time… Haven’t you?” Akira drew in a breath, instantly sensing the change in his shadow. He looked over, the first thing he noticed being how vibrant the yellow eyes had become.

“...Known what?”

“What happened to your parents. Everyone kept quiet about how they were murdered.” The shadow crossed his arms. ”Didn’t you think it was strange? No one was given closure. Not their parents, not their friends, not even their own son were told anything truthful about their deaths.”

“... I knew…. But-”

”Yet you did nothing.” The shadow scowled. ”You stood there and let your parents deaths be ruled a suicide, though it was nothing of the sort!”

“There was nothing I could do!” Akira hissed back, “I was just a child! I would’ve had no influence on the case whatsoever!”

”You didn’t even TRY, Akira Kurusu!” The Shadow growled.

“They never would’ve listened!!” Akira yelled, his emotions starting to boil up inside him. “Even now, those horrid adults would just ignore me, putting the case in the basement to rot! They only care about the important cases, not bothering with the ones that won’t get them fame or money..!”

”Do you honestly believe that..?”

“Yes… This country’s justice system is anything but 'just'..!”

”That is why you supported the Phantom Thieves, was it not?” The shadow stepped toward the chained Akira. ”You believed that if you were lucky, they’d decide to help you. But, once again, you chickened out of putting Mary Kurusu’s name on the Phantom Thief forum. You believed that she would kill you and/or anyone around you.”

“... I… I did.” Akira shuddered.

”And somehow, someway, she’d figure out how to kill the ones you looked up to. The only ones who you found ‘just’. But now, look at the situation. If you finally stand for yourself, you may be able to join in helping others, much like you wished happen for yourself.” Shadow Akira uncrossed his arms, placing them on his own hips. ”If this is not the best opportunity you’ve ever had in your life, then tell me what is.”

“I just… need to stand up for myself..? Help others…?”

”That is what you wish to do, yes?”

“Of course… It’s… All I’ve wanted to do… For so long now…” Akira nodded softly, “Right… I’ll do it.” He watched as a grin spread across his Shadow’s face.

”Now, that’s what I like to hear!”



”Look at them…… Futilely trying to save you and save themselves in the process.” Akira listened to the voice, positioned on a platform above the fight. He watched as Skull was knocked down, Panther helping him up, only to be knocked down herself. He heard Futaba’s cries, Crow yelling out orders.

“... It’s time, isn’t it?” Akira softly asked, prompting a nod and a grin from the shadow.

”Of course. It’s been time for a while now, you know.” The other him chuckled, making Akira smirk slightly.

“Right. This time, I won’t hesitate. Not ever again.” He full out grinned when his shadow disappeared beside him.

”Now, without further ado….” Akira drew in a hiss as an agonizing pain exploded in his head, instinctively trying to bring his hands to his head, but the chains around him preventing the action.

”I am thou, thou art I…”
”For all of your life, you had been lying low, letting the adults in your life commit sins unbefitting of their titles.”
Akira shuddered and whimpered, feeling the chains starting to shatter as he felt a cold weight summon on his face, only fueling his determination to break through.
”Now, it’s finally time for you to show these unjust adults what true justice is, and RELEASE THY RAGE!”





“W-Whoa, what!?” Oracle gasped as another shock wave ran through the ground, knocking everyone down as the lava around them started to shoot up.

“W-Will someone explain to us what’s going on!?” Panther whimpered slightly, trying to get up. “M-Mona!? Oracle!?”

“I-I don’t know, I’ve never seen anything like this happen! Oracle!?” Mona turned to the other information gatherer in the group.

“These readings… It’s-” Oracle’s voice was drowned out by the screaming above them, capturing everyone’s attention and bringing their gazes to the pillar of blue fire that erupted. Before the fire diminished, a figure dashed down, going through Cognitive Shido, totally obliterating him.

“A-Akira!?” Noir blinked in shock.

“Yo.” Akira smirked as he snapped his finger, “Mediarahan.” The Thieves sighed in relief as they felt the healing wave.

“Dude-thanks!” Skull blinked in shock.

“No problem. Now, it’s time for us to destroy this version of Mary.” Akira smirked.

“... Are you sure you can take this on? It’s your first fight and even we are-”

“She’s my cognition, isn’t she? If I believe she can’t hurt me anymore, it’ll become true, yes?” Akira interrupted Crow, “Let me fight.” He let a dark smirk spread across his face, “I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time now, even if this is only a cognition of her.”

“... Alright. Let’s see what you can do.” Akira nodded at his answer, grinning even wider as those same chains that had once been wrapped around his body, limiting his movements, were now around his arms, the ends of which hanging down, acting as a whip-like weapon.

“Well, what are we waiting for, then!?”





As Akira had predicted, Cognitive Mary ceased being such a threat to their lives, and he could appreciate the dance that the phantoms created, watching red hot fire crawl towards the enemy, reminding him of the fuses on those fireworks he used to love long ago. He watched as she was frozen solid and how Skull practically shattered the cognition with his weapon. Glee filled his system when he saw the light piercing the recovering shadow after a baton pass, and it did even more so when his own darkness joined in the fray, joy taking him over as his pain and rage was reflecting back onto his faux mother. Critical. He joined as the others attacked relentlessly, and he grinned when he got the last hit, backflipping in the air and bowing, ‘And the curtains fall.’ He straightened up and stared at the spot the shadow used to dominate for a moment before a wave of exhaustion suddenly took him over, his knees going weak.

“Akira!” Before he knew it, Panther was next to him, kneeling down, wrapping his arm around her neck.

“Ugh- wha…?...-!?” Akira stumbled as the area around him shook violently.

“Guys, the Treasure!!” Mona called out, Crow immediately snatching the scythe up. “Let’s go!”

“Wait, where’s Queen!?” Skull yelled out, worried.

“She’s heading this way.” Oracle reported. “Let’s just go! We’ll meet up with her along the way!” With everyone’s collective agreement, each member pushed him or herself to go faster, desperately trying to get to the entrance in time.

“Guys!” They heard Queen yell out, much to their relief, her motorcycle letting her quickly catch up to them.

“Queen! You’re okay!” Noir panted softly, still running.

“Yes, I am.” Queen affirmed with a nod.

“Queen, take Akira with you!” Crow ordered the second in command, having noticed that the, most likely, new member was struggling, already exhausted from awakening to his persona and from the fight.

“Wha-no, I’m f-fine!” Akira yelled out, yelping as his arm was grasped onto harshly as he was pulled onto the back of the motorcycle persona.

“Got it! Hold on, Akira!!” Queen instructed the male, revving her engine to go faster. The other members kept running, even when they heard frantic screeching.

“Wait-waIT I’VE NEVER BEEN ON ONE OF THEESSEE!!!”



When the Phantom Thieves arrived in the cafe part of Leblanc, the first thing they noticed was the figure collapsed on the ground, panting heavily, with Makoto hovering above him with a glass of water in her right hand, and Sojiro behind the counter with a worried expression adorning his face.

“Uh, dude..? You okay there?” Ryuji asked, prompting Akira to look over.

“... That… Was the most physically and mentally exhausting thing that’s ever happened to me…” Akira huffed as he sat up, taking the offered glass and sipping it. “..But… I think I needed it…” He smiled softly at the group.

“We know how that feels.” Haru smiled back sweetly before jumping slightly, along with everyone else, as Akira just collapsed back. “-!”

“..... I...think he’s asleep.” Makoto blinked, taking the glass in Akira’s hands gently.

“I mean, I don’t blame him..” Futaba spoke up, “He’s really tired, with everything that’s happened with him…” She sighed.

“At least tomorrow is Sunday…” Ann nodded softly, “He’ll be able to rest up.”

“Yeah. Let’s get him to his bed.” Ryuji suggested, Akechi nodding in agreement.

“The rest of you go ahead and go home. Ryuji, help me get him to the attic.”

“Sure thing, Gor’!”

Chapter Text

”You finally did it, inmate! About time!”

”Yes, it seems you have finally stabilized your will to rebel. Now, your rehabilitation shall progress far more smoothly.”

”Indeed, this is a joyous occasion.” The voice chuckled, ”This has cause for a celebration.”



September 25, 20XX


Akira groaned as he woke up, the soreness of his body painfully present, making it difficult to sit up and stretch out the kinks in his bones. He sighed in relief as he felt some pop, relaxing some of the strained muscles. Though, that relief did last very long as it turned into panic. ’Wait what time is it!?’ He looked at his phone, 14:45. ’......... Oh wait- what am I worried for, it’s Sunday. He couldn’t resist the urge to facepalm at his unneeded panicking. "-?" His attention was caught by the note that he found on his cabinet. He quickly scanned it-'Meet us on the rooftop on Monday!'- before quickly getting dressed and heading downstairs, greeting Sojiro.

“Hey, kid… You doing alright?” The older male frowned, seeming to be worried, “You didn’t look so good last night.” He asked, making some curry, keeping his voice low as there were some customers sitting in the booths. Akira nodded at his caretaker.

“Yeah, it was just a lot last night.” They kept it at that for now, not wanting to risk being overheard about certain things. Akira had gone to the dirty dishes, content in scrubbing the plates and cups, letting his mind think of what happened the day before and process that it was, indeed, real. He could feel Arsene within him, and if he truly chose to do so, he felt as if he could communicate with the Persona. It also scared him, though, once he thought about it a bit more. ’If that is the case, then that means there is someone else who was trying to kill me… If so, why? And who..? I wasn’t able to get a good look at whoever it was…’

’The only thing I could say for certain was that it probably has something with the Phantom Thieves also being there.’ Akira stiffened slightly, not expecting the voice to respond to his thoughts, but he quickly eased his body, not wanting to draw attention to himself. Luckily, neither the customers or Sojiro noticed. At least, it seemed so, since they didn’t even glance his way.

’Arsene..? So I really can talk to you…’

’Of course you can! I wasn’t lying when I said “I am thou, thou art I”, you know?’

’I know, I know…’ Akira finished the dishes, quickly drying them off and putting them in their rightful places.





When there were no customers left in the cafe, the bells jingled one last time, announcing the entrance of Futaba. “Hey Sojiro!”

“Oh, Futaba! You’re here.” Sojiro greeted, smiling, “Well, I can close up shop-”

“No, it’s fine. ‘kira and I can head outside to talk. We both need sun, you know?” She pointed out, although it was a lame excuse that Sojiro obviously didn’t believe. But he didn’t bother asking why, just letting the kids do their things. “Come on, come on, Akira!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming…” Akira sweatdropped, even more so when Futaba started pulling Akira’s arm.



The two walked towards the busier street(which wasn’t really that busy either…), enjoying their silence. They headed towards the Sakura residence, stopping in front of the gates and sitting.

“So… What did you want to talk to me about?” Akira asked, curious.

“...I just wanted to make sure you were alright…” The petite girl looked over with a frown. “I… I know that… What happened, that place… It’s draining, having it be crumbled, along with the emotional and physical pain you had to endure…” Akira blinked in shock before smiling lightly at her.

“I’m fine, Futaba… Thank you for being concerned with me though. It’s nothing I can’t handle, and frankly, emotionally, this is the best I’ve felt since before I could remember…” That response made the girl smile brightly.

“That’s good!” They sat in comfortable silence on that note, looking up at the clouds. “... I… I’m sorry to bring this up… But can I ask you another question?”

“You just did.” Akira smiled, it turning into a grin when Futaba pouted angrily at him. “But yes, I… guess you can ask me another question.”

“... Why did you go into the foster home in the first place?” Futaba frowned, “Your parents…”

“... They’re both dead. Dunno how it happened though.” Akira frowned, “One day, they were there, and the next, gone… On the official records, it says that they both committed suicide… But I don’t believe a word it says… I… I don’t think…” He groaned in frustration, grasping his hair tightly.

“... Are you okay..?” Futaba frowned.

“Yes, I'm fine, it's just… it was so long ago… I don't exactly remember much of my life back then…” Akira sighed.

“Were you sent straight to the foster home..?” Futaba asked.

“... No, my grandparents took me in, but they were already weak and feeble to begin with… I didn’t have much of a life outside of school, though. I spent all my time at home taking care of them… But, they died of old age two years later.” Akira sighed slightly, Futaba frowning.

“Oh…”

“... I was supposed to live with my aunt- my father’s sister, but… for some reason, it never happened…” Akira sighed.

“That sucks…”

“... Well, what about you?” Akira turned to her with a smile.

“Huh..?”

“You're talking as if you had gone through a similar thing….” Akira pointed out, “Did you have one of those places too?”

“... Yeah, I did…”



Akira had listened closely to her story, not interrupting.

“... Those rotten adults…” Akira huffed when she had gone silent, “They really are unforgivable, forcing you into absolute hell when you did nothing wrong…”

“That’s why I need to find them.” Futaba reasoned, “I have a feeling that they’re the ones who killed my mom..!”

“Right… I’ll go ahead and help you along the way then.” Akira offered with a smile, watching as Futaba blinked before grinning.

“So, you’re joining us!?” She hopped slightly, bringing a grin to Akira’s face at the display of true happiness.

“Of course.” Akira nodded, “Did you really doubt that I’d abandon you guys after that show?” He shook his head, “Hell no, dude.”

“Well, when you put it that way, I guess it would make sense that you would just join us…” She smiled, leaning against the wall.

“... Futaba?” Akira spoke up after another silence had gone and passed.

“Yeah?”

“... Can I count on you to be there when… I’m down about my parents death?” Futaba blinked and sat up.

“You… Want me to help..?” Futaba asked, “Why… me of all people?”

“You’re the one I can relate to the most.” Akira pointed out, “Don’t worry, when you’re down, I’ll be there to pick you up too.” He smiled. Futaba pouted in response.

“That’s not the problem though!” She huffed, “I’ve… never been able to help anyone-”

“Not true.” Akira shook his head, “You helped me. Although it was in that place, it was still you. You’re the one who put your mind to it. If you’re determined enough, you can do anything- even break away from your own past. So, there’s no doubt in your ability.” He reasoned, watching Futaba’s shock turn into a smile.

“... Yeah, you’re right.” She held out her hand, “We’ll help each other out- give and take!”

“Wouldn’t want it to be any other way.” He grasped her hand and shook it with a smile.



I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Hermit Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Futaba Sakura
Rank 1



“Well, I think that’s enough ‘sun’ for us!” Futaba hopped up, watching as Akira did the same, just a bit slower than her. “Go get some rest. You’re probably really exhausted still, huh?”

“Not… too much-”

“Go get some sleep!” The girl stomped her foot as she pouted angrily at him.

“Alright, alright, jeez, Futaba.” Akira sighed, holding his hands up in mock surrender, “I’ll get some sleep. Just don’t be yelling at me.” That instantly turned the pout into a grin, almost unnerving Akira about how quickly that change occurred.

“That’s better.” She practically sang, making Akira chuckle in amusement as he headed back to the cafe as told, and immediately went to sleep.





He heard the familiar rattling of the chains as he woke up, yet… He knew it was not the same room that he was used to. He opened his eyes, waking up to the same ceiling. He felt the chains on his wrists, their heavy weight making themselves ever-knowing. He hesitantly sat up, still in the same bed, and still saw the same bars obscuring his view… Yet, something alarmed him.

”So, you’re awake, inmate.” Caroline smirked at him, ”I bet you have a lot of questions, huh?”

”I would imagine so..” Justine smiled politely, ”Most likely, ’who is that boy?’ Akira just nodded in agreement as the person stepped forward from his position next to Igor.

“Hello. You are Akira Kurusu, yes?”

Chapter Text

September 26, 20XX


Akira looked around as he walked up the stairs leading to the roof, finding nothing to stop him on the way. He opened the door, watching as the other members turned towards him.

“Ah, there you are, Akira.” Goro smiled at him, seeming to be glad, “I was afraid you would decide to not come. Although, I wouldn’t blame you, this is a bit much at first…”

“Well, I’m here, and I also want answers.” Akira stated blankly, “I have… an idea about what that place is, but if so, why did I have it? That’s what I don’t understand…”


After a lengthy explanation because y’all know this shit



“So, that’s how the change of heart occurs… The Treasure needs to be stolen, essentially removing the effect that has…” Akira summarized what he had been told.

FS>>Right! The redhead messaged Goro on his phone, having been listening and putting in her two cents during the conversation.

“You certainly are a quick learner.” Makoto smiled.

“I’ve been told. Now, just one more question.”

“What?” Ryuji prompted.

“Why the hell is he here?” Akira pointed at Goro, “Doesn’t he go to a different school?”

“I am allowed to take absences from school whenever I please.” Goro smiled, “How else do you think I could get so much done as a high school student? Being a Thief, being a detective pretending to hunt those same thieves, and getting good grades? Even the greatest person has to take a break from that, and believe me, I am far from the greatest person, despite what others think of me.” He chuckled slightly. Akira nodded.

“Makes sense, I guess…”

“Sooo…?” Ryuji grinned.

“So what, I’m still a rockstar?” Akira smirked at the annoyed look the bleached-blonde boy gave him.

“Will you be joining us, Akira-kun?” Haru smiled politely.

“Well, yeah. I think that’s kind of a stupid question.” Akira shrugged, “Also, please don’t refer to me with honorifics anymore, just Akira is fine.”

“Alright.” Haru nodded.



The Thieves were chatting leisurely when Morgana yowled loudly from Goro’s bag.

“Guys! We still haven’t given the recruit his new name yet!”

“Hm? Oh, right, you guys were calling each other by code names… Why is that?” Akira wondered.

“We think that if we say our real names, it might affect the cognition.” Ann explained, “And also, it would be totally lame if we used our real ones!” She smiled enthusiastically.

“Fair enough.” Akira nodded, “You guys… were based off of your masks, right?”

“Most of us are, yes.” Goro nodded. “However, your mask doesn’t exactly look like any distinguishable animal or object.”

“Perhaps we should do something based off of his personality instead?” Haru suggested.

“I’m just going to say this for Yusuke, since I have a feeling he would say something like this.” Ann sighed, “Leonardo?”

“... Why Leonardo?” Akira blinked.

“I wouldn’t put it past him. He tried to make himself Da Vinci.” Ryuji sighed.

“Oh…”

FS>> If anything, he’d be Raphael!

“If anything, how about I say no to both of those?” Akira sighed.

FS>> Fine!
FS>> >:(

“Don’t mind her…” Makoto sighed.

“How about Joker?” Goro suggested, “You are a wild-card yourself, just as I am, and that could prove to be very beneficial to us.”

“Mmm… No thank you.” Akira shook his head, “I actually do want it to do something with my mask.”

“Wha- Might as well call you ‘inverse-Mona’ if you want to go down that route.” Ryuji whined impatiently.

“Also, Makoto is known as Queen. Her name isn’t based on her mask.” Goro pointed out.

“You also made that horrid joke.” Haru smiled kindly, making Akira groan.
“.... How about Yang?” Akira smiled, ignoring the other comments. “Mostly made of light, yet there is still a hidden darkness inside, like the small bits of blackness that is swallowed by the white of the rest of the mask.”

“Hmm… I don’t see why not.” Goro nodded, slightly exasperated. “If it makes you happy, then that is fine.”

“I’m happy with it.”

“Then it’s decided!” Morgana cheered, “Akira here will be Yang from here on out in the Metaverse!”

“Alright.” Ann smiled cheerfully.

“Well, it is about time for classes to start.” Makoto stood, “We should get going.”

“Yes, I must be off as well.” Goro followed Makoto’s movement, “Be sure to get to class on time, lest you be scolded by Ms. Student Council President here.” He smiled, Makoto rolling her eyes.

“I’m sure that everyone will get to their classes on time, Goro.” Haru smiled, “To make sure that happens, we should all be off as well.”

“Right… Well, see ya guys after school!” Ryuji grinned as he headed down the stairs, following Makoto, Ann and Akira. Haru turned to Goro once everyone else left.

“You be sure to keep yourself well, okay, Goro?” The smaller girl smiled kindly, “I… don’t want anything bad to happen to you. You’re still recovering from my father’s death, correct?” She asked, her smile fading slightly.

“Ah- yes... “ He smiled sadly, “I admit I am, but… I have to keep moving forward, right?”

“Of course… That’s why we helped Akira, is it not? So that we can regain our confidence and credibility, one person at a time?” She put her smile back on, “Let us be grateful that our hard work didn’t go down the drain once again, okay?”

“... Alright…”

“Now, I really must be off.” Haru stated, “I do not want to get yelled at by Mako-chan either…” Akechi smiled.

“Then get going.”





Akira was waiting for Ann at his desk, the girl mentioned promising that he would be brought ‘exquisite food’ from the school cafeteria, which he doubted. ’Isn’t school food notorious for being obnoxiously horrible?’ He wondered slightly in his head. That thought process was interrupted only by a male that he vaguely recognized. He knew that the boy was in his class, yet he never got the chance to speak with him.

“Hey!” The male greeted happily, “You’re Akira Kurusu, right?”

“Uh, yeah... And you are…?”

“Yuuki Mishima!” He grinned, holding out his hand. “You’re friends with Ann and her group, right?”

“... Yeah…?” He shook the offered hand hesitantly, “Uh, do you-”

“Yup! Well, gotta go meet up with someone! See ya!” Yuuki scuttled off, leaving Akira in a mess of confusion. ’... What was the point of that conversation…?’ He wondered heavily this time, the thought process was broken again by his female friend entering the room.

“Hey Akira!”

“Hey… Why is there mostly sweets on here?”





Akira sighed, exhausted from the day at school. It was honestly the best day at school he’s had so far, knowing he was practically surrounded by people who would support him, should something happen to him. At the same time, though, his newfound happiness caused his energy to drain faster than usual, leaving his energy levels at 15%, and all he wanted to do was go to his bed in the attic of Leblanc and flop down onto it, heading to dreamland. Soon, he got to that destination, curled up comfortably in the bed. However, as he was almost asleep, his phone buzzed, creating a spike of annoyance to form in his gut. It soon went away, though, when he saw who texted him.

FS>> Hey, you alright, Akira?
FS>>You know that, even though I’m not at school, you can text me about anything.

Akira smiled at the texts, immediately responding.

Of course I know that, Futaba. << AK
Don’t worry about me, though. << AK
I appreciate it, though. I’m just really tired. << AK
FS>> Ah, I get ya.
FS>> Well, get your beauty sleep, Princess Akira! You need it!
Damn right I do. Good night. << AK

Chapter Text

September 28, 20XX


RS >> So, leader.
RS >> We gon’ show the new kid the place?
YK >> There are some requests we have not fulfilled yet.
Requests?<< AK
Do you mean, like on the Phan-Site?<< AK
YK >> The Phan-Site
FS >> Yup!
HO >> We have five as of right now, yes?
GA >> Yes.

Akira glanced once again at the group chat that had only transpired five minutes ago as he waited.

Where would we be meeting up then?<< AK
GA >> Well, Leblanc is quiet, yes?
GA >> I think that would be a good place to be hanging out for now.
YK >> The scenery is very peaceful over there.
AT >> Yeah! Let’s do it!
GA >> Then it’s decided. We shall be meeting up at the attic of Leblanc from now on.
Do I not get a say in this…?<< AK
MN >>Do you perhaps have a problem with this, Akira?
Not… really…?<< AK
YK >>Then let us proceed.

Akira resisted the urge to pace nervously, instead opting to watch the drops on the window fall to relax him. He knew that his room looked really good- well, as good as it could get. He had found himself many a time when he had nothing to do at night and just cleaned the room. Yet, there was really nothing else to do- the only hint of color, other than the brown of the olding wooden planks, was a plant in the corner of his room, which he had been nurturing ever since he had gotten to Tokyo. However, there wasn’t anything he could do to fix this problem at the moment, especially since he heard the bell jingling.

“Hey Sojiro!” He heard Futaba’s voice cheerfully call out.

“Hello, Boss.” Yusuke’s calm voice drifted, continuously coming closer to Akira’s own location.

“Hey, don’t track any mud around here.” Sojiro’s voice seemed annoyed, which was followed by the quick ‘sorry’s’ of Akira’s new friends. “You guys visiting Akira?” Sojiro asked, presumably after the shoes came off. He heard a response from Makoto afterwards.

“Yes… He’s in his room, yes?” The door opened, Yusuke walking in.

“He is.” The artist called down, Akira sweat-dropping slightly as he heard the many feet of his new friends go up the stairs.


“So… what exactly is ‘the place’?” Akira asked, sitting on his bed. Each of the other members were hanging out in various places. Ryuji had decided to sit on the bed with Akira, Yusuke and Ann were on the small couch that was there with Morgana between them, Goro had decided to lean on the window, giving him a clear view of the outside, Futaba crouching in the corner, watching everyone, and Makoto and Haru had brought some chairs from downstairs to the room, using those to make themselves comfortable.

“‘The place’ is a place we call ‘Mementos’. It’s an area where ones that have the potential to create Palaces, but their distorted desires aren’t quite distorted enough… That’s where they show up.” Morgana explained, stretching across Ann’s and Yusuke’s lap.

“So… It’s like many mini-Palaces in one place?” Akira asked, earning a nod from Goro.

“Correct. Or you could say it’s the general public's cognition.” The leader added.

“You talked about taking requests… Do you perhaps have to have the full name of the ones in this Mementos, like in the regular Palaces?” Futaba blinked at Akira’s wording.

“How did you know we needed the full name?”

“I looked in Goro’s phone when he was here one time and saw the App, to confirm everything was real.” Akira plainly stated.

“You… looked through his phone?” Makoto cringed, obviously not accepting of the fact that she just learned.

“Well, I did end up in my own literal hell and was given no explanation. I think, at that point, I had a right to know.” Akira sighed as Goro shrugged.

“It’s fine. I expected he would look for that same app once I left.” Goro smiled at his team, Akira blinking in realization.

“So that’s why your phone didn’t have a password or code? Makes sense I guess.” Akira commented.

“Well… Should we go over the requests?” Ann suggested, “So that, one, Akira could get caught up, and for a simple reminder for all of us?”

“Of course.” Goro nodded.

“Oh, and Akira?” Haru spoke up, looking at the newest member, who perked up at his name, “I would like to inform you that this team will only do a request if it’s a unanimous vote.”

“Oh. To hopefully avoid corruption?” Akira asked, the others nodding, “Alright, I’m cool with that.”

“Splendid.” Yusuke smiled.




They headed to the station after their brief meeting, Akira just going along with it, since he basically knew nothing much at this point.

“Is everyone ready?” Goro looked over at the team, everyone nodding a confirmation. “Alright. Activating the Nav.” Akira could only wince as he felt the area around him sending him into the world of distortion, making him close his eyes on instinct. Once it all settled, he opened his eyes, seeing his friends around him in their Metaverse outfits, and the train station around him had turned into a weird red-ish texture.

“Isn’t this creepy…” Yang huffed, crossing his arms, noting how his gloved hands touched his covered elbows. “Oh- right... “ He realized he never got a good look at it and examined it.

“Not bad, huh? Us Phantom Thieves look really good, huh?” Mona grinned up at Yang.

“Yeah, we really do…”

“But do you want to know what’s even better?” Mona smirked.

“Oh gosh…” Panther sighed, but Yang just smiled, curious, his gaze telling Mona to go on.

“THIS!” Yang jumped back in shock as Mona jumped in the air, the cat body disappearing in a puff of smoke, only to be replaced by a bus.

“A B-US!?” Yang was not embarrassed when his voice cracked. Not in the least bit.

“Come in, come in, ladies and gentlethieves~” Mona sang, making Oracle sigh.

“You’re such a nerd, Mona…”

“Wait, why can he turn into a bus that doesn’t make any sense!”

“And going into your own hell does?” Skull asked.

“Good point, but still!” Yang huffed.

“Would you like to drive, Yang?” Crow looked over with a smile, making the boy sweatdrop.

“I-I don’t have a license!!!” Yang panicked slightly before just sighing, “You know what? I'm not even going to question this.... So… To be frank, we would probably die if I drive, so no, I would not like to drive.”

“Yang’s not allowed to drive me!!” Mona yelled out, sounding panicked, making Crow chuckle.

“Of course not. I was just joking…” Crow shook his head.

“Well, let us all head into the Monamobile!” Noir cheered delightfully, heading in, claiming one of the very back seats along with Queen and Fox. Oracle stole the shotgun seat from Skull, who pouted and reluctantly sat in the middle row, Yang being squished between him and Panther.

“Well, are you ready, Yang?” Queen asked with a smile.

“‘Ready’? For what?”

“Crow’s driving’s THE BEST!” Oracle grinned deviously, turning around and looking at the poor boy who now seemed to be regretting his life choices.

“Oh, it’s nothing to boast about…” Crow shook his head as Skull snickered.

“Better hold on to something Yang.” The boy warned.

“What am I supposed to hold onto- I’m in the mid-DLE!” Yang flailed slightly, grasping onto the closest thing that was near him in a death grip, ignoring Oracle.

“FULL SPEED AHEEAAADDD!!!”




After that terrifying near-death experience and fighting a couple of shadows to warm up, Crow approached Yang while they were in one of the waiting rooms, letting everyone rest up and recover from any injuries they had.

“Hello, Yang.” The boy looked up from where he was sitting, lost in his own thoughts.

“Hm? Hey, Crow… What do you need?”

“I would like to show you something.” Crow let Yang out of the more closed off section of the safe level. “You are a wildcard, such as myself, and I believe that you should be taught how to bring more shadows into your, well, we-er, to be more precise, Oracle- calls it my ‘party’. Igor sets the amount of masks that us wildcards are allowed to have at a time.”

“... So we can recruit shadows that are trying to kill us to work alongside us?”

“Essentially. So, next time we conduct a hold-up, I would like you to do the bargaining.”

“Wait-me? Why me- I don’t have any skills in that department!” Crow just smiled at him.

“You’ll have to learn. I trust that once you get a hang of this, we’ll be able to switch between our roles fairly quickly- with the back-up leader and front-line leader.”

“Wait-our roles? So that means… But this is my first time even in Mementos-how can you-”

“I’m not asking you to take part in that just yet. These are just future plans that need a bit more planning out. Things will only be getting a lot harder from now on.” Crow looked at Yang seriously, who was a bit taken back, but sighed and nodded.

“... I’ll… Do my best to… meet your expectations…” Crow ruffled the new kid’s hair fondly.

“And that’s all I expect you to do. If it makes you feel better, you can watch how I recruit the shadows before you start doing it yourself, alright?”

“... Yeah, I… would like that.” Yang nodded, causing Crow to do the same back.

“Well, let’s head back to the others.”

“Alright….”


Yang had done what Crow had said-watching him negotiate with a shadow like it was nothing, the shadow growing a conscience after Crow was done talking to them. Next time, however, it would be his own turn. He could admit to himself that he was nervous, yet he knew he could finally be of use to someone in a positive way. It was what gave him the courage to hold that shadow at gunpoint with a completely neutral expression. The upbeat shadow looked up at him, trying to not look scared.

”Wait, don’t shoot! You don’t really have to kill me, do you?” The zealous messenger almost pleaded.

“Lend me your power then.” Yang replied, the shadow blinking in shock before smiling.

“Well, let’s talk. We don’t exactly know each other very well, as of now… Hmm, you look really young, dearie. Why would you put yourself in harms way like this if you could avoid it easily by not fighting?”

“I want to get stronger.” The male cooly replied, the messenger looking pleased with that response.

”What kind of power could you gain from this? Being strong is not just about beating the weak….Well, do you have a dish you are good at? Admirable men should always know how to cook something good..”

“I’m pretty good at making spaghetti carbonara.” Yang was pleased with the hum of excitement that the shadow uttered.

”Oh? You know, I was just thinking that I was in the mood for that too. You know, our tastes really do match. I believe that I am remembering something from this conversation… Oh! I really don’t belong here!” The shadow hopped up, twirling, ”You may call me ‘Angel’ from now on. I shall be your new mask from now on.” As expected, the shadow split into an aura, coming towards his face. Yang forced himself to not flinch as it entered his mask, only bringing his hand to touch it. He pulled it away with a grin, however, as he felt Angel’s presence in him alongside Arsene.

”Oh? It seems I have a neighbor within your head.” Arsene’s voice floated within his head, ”I no longer feel important in this.”

’Oh shut up Arsene, you know you are important.’

”I do jest, of course. However, this is quite interesting.” Arsene stated as Yang put on his new mask. ”I suppose we will be able to use this to our advantage.” Yang was unable to reply to his other self as he heard someone else.

“Yang?” The boy’s attention snapped to Crow, who had called to him.

“Yeah?”

“I just wanted to tell you that you did a good job.” Crow smiled, “Especially as your very first shadow negotiation.”

“Oh… Thank-”

“Guys! We need to move, there are reinforcements!” Oracle’s voice broke through, making the two wildcards jump in shock. However, before Yang could even think about doing anything-dodging, blocking, countering- all he could do was register the pain he felt as liquid agony of curse filled his veins, rendering his legs useless as they collapsed under him, hearing the cries of his teammates. “No! Someone cover for Yang-they hit his weak point-Fox!” Oracle drew in a breath as she watched an Agidyne hit Fox, making the boy fall as well.

“Yang, Fox! Get up you two!” Mona cried out, preparing to cast a Mediarahan on those two, only to yell out in shock as the enemies targeted Yang once again, the male only able to bring his arms in front of his face to shield him, but… it didn’t work. He could do nothing but vainly fight against the darkness threatening to take him over, his shaky arms holding him up briefly before following what had happened with his legs as the darkness won. The last thing he was able to register was Crow yelling out orders and attacking-’Ara Mitama, Miracle Punch!’ ‘Fox, Tempest Slash and Skull, Rampage!’- to which he was unable to discern, and Queen appearing in his blurry vision as he barely registered being picked up. The only thing he knew after that was the black of his unconsciousness.






”I have to say, sending those shadows to the Phantom Thieves was an excellent move, me...”

Chapter Text

Yang groaned as he stirred, noticing he was now on his back and alerting his two personas.

”Are you alright, child…?” Angel’s voice floated through, just like Arsene’s had.

”That was quite the predicament… You should get up so no one is worried even more than they already are.” Arsene suggested, Yang agreeing with him. He moved his arms up, preparing to sit himself up, only to have a hand placed on his chest, putting a slight pressure there.

“Don’t get up, Yang.” Queen’s voice spoke from above him, “The others should be back soon.” She stated when Yang opened his eyes to look at her. “How are you feeling?” she asked, her face showing her concern. He noticed that they were in Mementos’ equivalent of a safe room while one part of himself wanted to assure Queen that he was alright, and the other wanted to apologize. He decided he wanted to do both.

“I’m… sorry to have worried you, but I’m fine now, Queen…” That response just made her sigh with a relieved smile.

“Don’t be. The others and I are sorry to have forgotten an important thing.”

“Huh?”

“During rainy days, the enemies in Mementos call in more reinforcements than usual.” She explained. “In fact, I am very surprised that this is the very first time seeing a reinforcement today. It is curious though… There haven’t been many shadows at all during this visit…” She frowned, puzzled. “What also strikes me as strange is that Oracle can usually tell when reinforcements are coming much earlier than what she was able to today…”

“Hmm… Well, she detects stuff with her persona, right? Is something bothering her, and that’s what caused that lag?” Yang guessed.

“She would tell us if that is the case… Either I’m wrong and it is just something her mind came to, or there is an outside force preventing her from detecting shadows… Or maybe these enemies are just… different.” Yang frowned at her, noticing she really was deep in thought.

”Reminds us of who our real mother used to be…” Arsene reminisced. ”She would always worry when we got the tiniest bit hurt. Even if her doting was a bit overwhelming, we knew she was doing it out of love…”

’Right… She always had band-aids and icecreams prepared, since I was injured from the bullies a lot…’ Yang forced the tears springing to his eyes down, looking up at Queen. “Are the others okay?” He asked, not wanting her concern any more.

“Hm? Oh, they’ll be fine.” Queen assured with a smile. “In fact, I believe that they are on their way right now.” True to her word, the team came up the stairs to them, all of them looking absolutely relieved when they saw him.

“Hey, Yang!” Skull was the first to run over and crouch next to him, “You doin’ okay dude? That was some hard hits you had to go through.” He commented as he helped him up.

“As I’ve been saying to Queen, I am doing just fine,” He stated as he stood up, Skull still insisting on helping him up, being joined by Queen. However, they were both ushered away by Oracle, who essentially had the poor boy in a death grip within her spine-crushing hug. “-Ow-Oracle-Now I’m in pain…”

“Good! Don’t scare us like that again!” Oracle scolded, deciding to be merciful enough to loosen her grip to the point where Yang could breathe properly once again. Yang could only smile, however, placing his hand on the top of her head gently.

“I’ll try not to, F-Oracle..” He winced slightly, almost calling Oracle by her real name. No one comments on that, however, as the two pulled away, and Crow walked over.

“It’s good that you are alright, Yang.” Crow stated, “But, I would like it if you stayed in here for now.” That comment made Yang widen his eyes.

“What- why?”

“It was idiotic of me, but I forgot of the effects that the rain does to Mementos. I don’t want another incident like this happening again.”

“I didn’t have a problem until that time! Now that I know about it, I won’t make the same mistake again!” Yang was about to go on, but Crow sent him a look to tell him to be quiet.

“Yang. Just stay here, it’ll make me feel a lot better, alright?” Crow tried to reassure him. Yang could only look down and nod. “Good. Thanks, Yang. It means a lot…” Crow patted his head before turning to the rest of the members. “The rest of the targets are farther in than what we have ever experienced.” He stated as he left, the others following, some glancing back worriedly-Skull, Oracle and Queen- while the others just went along with what Crow was planning, having full trust in his judgement. Yang waited until they all left before burrowing his hands into his hair in frustration.

’Who does he think he is, leaving me behind like I am some kind of… of-of weak child!?’ He yelled inside his head, noting Angel’s presence trying to comfort him.

”There, there, child… I doubt he was trying to say that you were weak of all things… He was most likely just concerned for your safety.”

’I already learned my lesson though-about the reinforcements! I wouldn’t have been caught off guard again!’

”He did mention something about going deeper than what they had to before…” Arsene’s voice stated thoughtfully. ”I’m sure that may also be it. Everyone else has so much more experience than us and would be best adaptable to whatever is thrown their way. If something goes wrong, instead of being a help like we want to be, we would turn into an inconvenience for them... We don’t want that, do we?”

’No… we don’t….’ He sighed. ’You’re right….’

”Of course I’m right. I am you, and you are no fool, Akira Kurusu.” Yang could just hear the frown in Arsene’s voice.

’I know… It just sucks…’

”Well, I suppose we’ll have to deal with it for now. Let us just wait for our teammates to get back, shall we?” Angel suggested pleasantly, the two males agreeing to do just that.





“I suppose there really is a use for you afterall, hm?” A male commented, looking around the area, “If it weren’t for you, my feet would’ve surely given out by now from sheer exhaustion.” He leaned back, watching as the harmless blue flames licked the green fabric of his gloves.

”If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be able to head into the Metaverse in the first place, hm?” The creature flapped it’s wings casually, turning it’s head around a full 180 degrees to look at the one riding on his back.

“While, yes, that is true, but that use has already been long gone.” The boy huffed in annoyance, plopping down, letting his upper body make contact with the surprisingly soft feathers of his persona. “They really have gone far down, huh?” He smirked, playing with a single one of those feathers. “Just like the reports say… You know who’s been keeping tabs on them?”

”You know just as well as I do.” The persona’s eyes gleamed wickedly at its owner before turning it’s head back around, watching the scenery in front of them. ”However, it disappoints me that we have to attempt to do the same thing again.”

“I know, I know, it’s a waste of time. I got just a bit too cocky the last time I attempted this, I won’t do it again.” He huffed, rolling his eyes. “However… Maybe we could… make this fun?” He suggested with a grin, “I am quite bored… And I’m sure the other Thieves are a bit too busy with the reinforcements, correct?” He smirked as the holographic image appeared in front of him, showing the Phantom Thieves each fighting their own battles against the onslaught of enemies that had appeared. A chill ran down his spine from the sheer thrill power that he was feeling, knowing that he was the one who was giving the infamous Phantom Thieves trouble, and he was the one that got them to leave behind one of their wildcards-specifically the one he was targeting!

”Now now, don’t get too greedy once again. We don’t want a repeat of what happened last time. This time, we shall take it slow and simple, like always…. Except, you’re not going to do that, are you?”

“Nope.”

”... You will do something completely related to the orders, right?”

“Not a chance.”

”Of course not. Risky is our middle name, isn’t it?”

“Damn right it is.”





Yang stared off into space, bored out of his mind, idly chatting with his personas about things that they knew about the Metaverse, trying to figure out why exactly it’s there, and why only certain people are able to enter the barrier that is set for the world. In the end, though…

”Nothing has come of this, my child… I would suggest taking a rest to sort your thoughts in a way that is comprehensible.” Angel suggested, her voice of reason immediately soothing Yang’s mind temporarily.

”Though there is much left unresolved as of right now, it would be best to wait. Either Igor or Crow would be able to explain any of this, rather than us having to grow gray hairs from the thinking, only to find that the answer was simple.” Arsene sighed.

’Uuuuggghhh waiting is borriiinnngg….’ Yang groaned within his mind, stretching and yawning, eyes closed during the action, ’I really just want to go and find them…’He huffed slightly before stiffening, having a bad feeling. “...?” He opened his eyes, only to widen them even more as he was no longer in the now familiar safe floor, and he couldn’t sense his personas. He knew he was alone. He stood, on guard against the milky/foggy whiteness of this new area, not looking back as the chair disappeared within the fog. He resisted the urge to swallow, the hairs on the back of his neck standing straight up.


”σε βλέπω……”



“-!?” He jumped, instinctively reaching for his knife, but only blinked in shock as he realized there were no weapons on him. He didn’t even have his Phantom Thief gear on, and only had on his school uniform, which he noticed as he stared at his bare hands. “...What…?”


”γυρίστε γύρω…….”



“... The hell are you saying…?” Akira wondered aloud, “Who are you…?” However, that tree bared no fruit as nothing replied back to him, making Akira groan impatiently. He decided to take another quick look around, which got cut short as he saw a glowing light behind him, snapping his attention to that. It was small, and Akira had no idea how to respond. He couldn’t tell if it was good, bad, or nothing. He was urged forward, though, suddenly feeling perfectly calm.


”Εδώ πέρα….”



Later, Akira would scold himself. Scold himself for the way his feet took him without hesitation. Scold himself for the way that he put up essentially no fight. Scold himself for the way that his hand reached out towards the small light, grasping it. However, later has not come yet. He did those without a second thought, watching as his world went pure white before fading into the darkness. He let himself sink into oblivion.


…………

…………………

…………………………..

................................................

”ανόητος…τώρα έχω εσένα…”

Chapter Text

“Where is he?” Crow blinked as they all looked in the safe room.

“This is.. the same safe room, right?” Skull frowned, “We didn’t pass another one on our way….”

“You’re right, Skull, this is the same room…” Oracle confirmed, “But I don’t see him anywhere within the 10 floors above and below us….” She reported, her Persona letting her know.

“That effin’ idiot, why didn’t he stay here?” Skull growled slightly.

“Perhaps he was worried about us and went to search for us?” Noir suggested, a smile on her face to try and reassure them. However, Oracle shook her head.

“He would’ve passed us if that were the case, and I would’ve been able to sense him.”

“Then… Did he go back up..?” Panther frowned.

“That doesn’t sound like him… But it’s the only thing, other than exiting Mementos, that would be possible.” Queen stated.

“I doubt he would do the first option…. But just leaving Mementos sounds even more unlikely, considering who we are dealing with.” Fox commented.

“I have to agree with Fox. Unless, this is worst-case scenario, and something bad happened to Yang.” Mona’s contribution to the conversation came, “We need to confirm his whereabouts ASAP, just in case.”

“Since we’re going to the higher floors, would everyone be alright if we split up into four groups?” Crow asked. Each of the others nodded in agreement. “That’s great.”

“I’ll stay in the safe rooms and alert you guys if he comes anywhere near where I am!” Oracle stated.

“I will stay with her, just in case she does get attacked.” Queen suggested.

“That’s an excellent idea, Queen! If Yang really did get kidnapped, who’s to say it won’t happen again?” Mona grinned.

“I’ll be with Mona-chan!” Noir smiled softly.

“I would prefer to be alongside you, Crow, if that is alright with you?” Fox turned to their leader, who just looked to the two remaining.

“Do you two have any objections?”

“Nope.” Panther shook her head with a smile as Skull shrugged.

“‘m fine with it.”

“Then I do believe we will be working together, Fox.” Crow nodded at the boy, “Well, let us split off. The sooner we find him, the better.” The rest of the team nodded in agreement and started up, except for Queen and Oracle.




“So predictable~” The boy grinned as he watched the whole scene from beginning to end. “It’s gonna be so much fun when your little friends get here~” He ruffled another boy’s head, feeling the curly locks. He let his hands dance on the mask before pulling it off, “You really are as beautiful as I remember. But I guess that blank stare could use a little work~” He grinned at the boy whose eyes were glazed over. He put the mask back on Yang’s face before turning back to his persona. “About how long will it be until it comes?”

“The estimated time is 5 minutes. The Thieves are about 4 minutes away, if they do not take any roundabout roads.” The owl reported dutifully. The kidnapper nodded with a grin.

“Perfect~” He sang.

”This is going too perfectly. Perhaps we should be more cautious.”

“Nah, once the main show shows up, everything will be easy as cake, and we get to lower the Thieves morale even more!” He grinned enthusiastically, “I may even be able to go up in the ranks if I bring in the rarest specimen of Persona-users!” He hummed pleasantly, leaning against the wall. “How long now?”

”It has not even been a minute since you last asked.”

“Eegghhh… So boorrreeeddd…” The boy groaned. He just huffed as he waited for one of two things to happen.




“There are surprisingly not many shadows around here.” Fox stated with a frown. “I wonder why…”

“There may be a very powerful enemy in the area scaring the shadows off.” Crow guessed. “There may also just be a shortage of people with negative emotion, though I doubt that is the case… Hm, or perhaps it is just us who they are afraid of, as we have grown much stronger, and this is an old area for us.” He sighed, “There are many possibilities why, but we won’t know for certain, most likely.” He just shrugged as they went on.

“Hm… While that may be the case, could it have something to do with the fact that Yang went missing?” Fox wondered.

“Maybe…” Crow frowned as they brainstormed, knowing that they could guess all they wanted, but didn’t have any concrete proof to establish any of the theories as ‘right’ or even ‘possible’. “... However, if we continue on this path, we may just be making circles.” Crow told his companion with a frown, “With no evidence, we may be barking up the wrong tree.” Fox sent him a look.

“... While I agree, it doesn’t hurt to, does it?” Crow smiled at him.

“No, it doesn’t, unless you try to just get evidence for one theory. It limits your abilities during investigation.” Crow did his little wink, “That’s why I try not to establish a theory or motive until after I get evidence!”

“....” Fox was blank-faced as Crow practically skipped in front of him.

”He’s doing it again…” Goemon’s voice sounded in Yusuke’s mind.

’I know, Goemon. He’s putting on his show mask. Faux enthusiasm… Faux charm… I wonder why…?’ Fox only sighed softly as he followed Crow.

”It may be connected to Yang. He just went missing, after all, and Crow seems to be fond of him for some reason.”

’Hm, that’s true. Please do remind me to ask him about it later, after we find Yang.’

”Of course.” Fox smiled slightly at his persona’s response as he and Crow passed through a safe room.



“Crow.” Fox spoke up as they walked onto the next level, “Something isn’t right here.” He warned, his senses on high alert. He didn’t even have to look behind him to see that his tail was fluffed up. Crow nodded in agreement.

“I sense it as well. We should exercise caution.” Crow and Fox jumped slightly as they heard static.

”Guys! Can...me!?” Oracle’s voice crackled in their minds.

“Oracle..?” Fox blinked in shock.

“Is everything alright? And how can you reach us?” Crow wondered, “We should be out of your range by now.”

“Everyone conf…….didn’t find anyth-ng, so we’re…..next ...room. You...only 5 l...way….me!” The two males cringed slightly at how bad the static was, making it possible to only get the jist of what Oracle was saying.

“Only 5 levels?” Fox frowned, “Then why are we having such a hard time understanding you?”

”Some... fering wi-h….. I’m sensing…. powerful! Be car-” Crow and Fox shared a look as Oracle was cut off completely from them.

“Some...one… Interfering?” Crow tried to decipher what Oracle had said, “Is that even possible here?”

“Well, if it’s happening, then maybe it is…” Fox pointed out, Crow nodding in agreement.

“Correct… Even if it has been about half a year now, there is much we don’t know.” Crow put his index finger on his chin as he thought, “We still have no indication on how this place started…”

“Crow…”

“Or even how long Mementos really is.. I don’t believe we’re even close to the very end…”

“Crow…!” The leader wasn’t paying attention, however, too deep in his mind to pay attention to the way that Fox’s voice raised in urgency.

“It’s still a mystery how Mementos came to place, it was just… there one day, from what we know about it. I swear, I don’t get paid enough for-”

“CROW!!” The leader let out a very manly yelp as he was pushed, alarmed by the two flashes of light, only to hiss as freezing cold pain hit his right arm, “God-!”

“Fox, you okay!?” Crow looked over at his companion, who was shaking the frost off of his hair.

“I’m fine- it was an ice attack.” He straightened up as he glared past Crow, prompting the leader to look that way. His eyes widened as he saw a boy/man-it was hard to tell with his build- with a hawk-like mask, dark hair nicely framing his face. His outfit reminded Crow of Yang’s and Fox’s outfits combined, with the white, popped-up collar, and the jacket that reached down, almost to the male’s feet. However, the jacket was with dark green accents, delicately circling around his body. He smirked at the leader, bringing out his persona, a woman with a snake draped around her, lifting his green-gloved hand as another Mabufudyne was cast. The two easily dodged, but the gasp that slipped out of Fox's throat caught Crow's attention, a block of ice breaking out from beneath the ground, stopping Fox from returning to the fight.

“That was a dirty trick.” Crow hissed out, his sword appearing in his left hand, preparing to fight.

“Ah ah ah…” The distortion in his voice made it impossible for Crow to decipher which voice was actually his, taunting him as the male shook his finger with a mocking smirk on his face. “Do you really believe that I would be showing myself without something up my sleeve?” Crow cringed as the male’s voice distorted even more as he talked.

“... What do you have then, hawkeye?” Crow frowned as the smirk on the male’s face grew.

“‘Hawkeye’? Now you’re just trying to make me sound lame. I think I would prefer to be called Talon.” Talon grinned enthusiastically, “And about the Ace up my sleeve… Do you think this suffices?” He stepped aside, revealing a familiar male, slightly slumped over with a glazed look in his eyes.

“You-!” Crow growled, “What’d you do to him!?”

“Oh, I’m sure you can tell. The same thing has happened countless times to your friends and yourself, correct?” Talon smiled sweetly, patting Yang’s head.

“Give him back!” Crow lunged forward, shocked to find that he was able to grab Yang’s wrist as Talon only hopped back.

“Psh, you can have him. Question is, does he want you to have him back~?” He practically sang as Crow was forced to let go of Yang’s wrist to dodge an attack thrown by Yang himself.

“Yang-you-!” Crow hissed out as pain sprouted from his shoulder, eyes snapping up to the brainwashed male, who just stared at him without any emotion. ’Damn… now, of all times, I don’t have anything to cure brainwash…!’ He cursed as he was forced to dodge, bringing his sword to block against the chains trying to connect painfully to his skin, getting irritated as Talon’s laughter taunted him, ’What I wouldn’t give to wipe that damned smirk off his cursed face..!’

“Aw, what’s wrong, Crow..? I thought you were the fearless leader of the group…” Crow couldn’t hold the gasp that came out, Yang’s blank voice seeming to echo around Crow’s head. He growled angrily-’That bitch has completely overtaken him!’- and started to push back. “You mad, bro?” Crow tensed, his anger spiking severely as the unnatural grin spread across Yang’s face. “This is ironic, isn’t it? Your newest member, and he’s already turned on you because of your own incompetency.”

”SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU BITCH!!” He pushed Yang away, hearing the heavy thump as he dashed towards Talon, left hand poised to stab the hell out of the laughing boy, his rage only being encouraged by the fact that Talon was easily dodging and blocking his swings.

“Crow, get a hold of yourself! You’re enraged- You can’t make rational decisions!” Fox’s voice broke through to him as he felt something hit his face, hearing a faint ’I’ll save you!’ from the boy. Crow nodded in thanks before realizing that Fox shouldn’t really be there.

“How-”

“The hell!?” Talon growled as he looked at the ice wall.

“Hell Magatamas.” Was Fox’s short reply.

“Hell Maga-what-as!?” Crow grinned as Talon lost his own smirk. But, however, that was reversed once more as something shifted on the floor.

“This feeling… Crow, we’re in serious danger here!” Fox warned the leader.

“I feel it too.” Crow nodded as he studied Talon’s face. “What are you planning?” Crow narrowed his eyes as he heard chains being dragged across the ground, steadily growing nearer.

“Wasn’t there supposed to be someone to warn you about a little… something?” Talon smirked, “I believe it’s called ‘The Reaper’?” At that name, Crow faintly remembered being warned about the overpowered shadow. Being told that if they heard chains, run.... But he couldn’t find himself to move his legs as the Reaper turned the corner. “So, what’ll it be, leader?” Talon grinned, “Will you run to save your own ass, and abandon your little teammate? Or will you go so far as to risk your own life and sacrifice yourself for one measly and replaceable mound of flesh? What to choose, what to choose..~?” Crow growled in annoyance, Fox’s hand settling on Crow’s shoulder.

”This is quite the predicament…. Shall I lend you my power?” Crow tensed as he heard a voice he thought was gone.

’Go the hell away. Robin Hood, are you there!?’

”Yes, I am. Yang is behind us, by the way.” Next thing Crow knew, chains were wrapped around his neck, seeing Fox’s shocked face before it hardened. However, he could only yell as agonizing pain coursed through him-’Shit, he’s using Arsene!’-, rendering his legs as useless. His neck seemed to keep him up for some time-Well, at least the thing holding him by the neck was. However, that too also gave out once it shuddered and released him.

“Crow, move!” Without having time to recover, his collar was grabbed, narrowly being missed by an Eigaon. Crow looked up and behind him, seeing Fox’s back dragging him and an unconscious Yang.

“Oh no you don’t!” They heard Talon call out. “Reaper, go after them!” Crow gasped as he looked back at their enemies, seeing Talon shoot a ray at the Reaper, who shuddered in response.

“Oh no- this is bad! If he can brainwash even the Reaper, what the he-”

“SHIT!” Even Fox paused in his running to look back at Talon, who now had the Reaper going after his ass.

“I guess he played one gambit too many.” Fox blankly watched as Talon went up a level. “I suppose we should head back to the others before the Reaper decides that its next playmates will be us.”




“I see….” Queen casted an Energy Shower, Yang’s head in her lap. “This ‘Talon’... Do you have any other ideas of who this man is?”

“Other than what we’ve told you, no..” Fox frowned, “However, how is he? If he was with Talon long enough to get all the way up there from where Yang was, and wait as long as he did for the Reaper, I can only imagine what he went through…”

“Luckily for him, it doesn’t seem like that Talon guy did too much-only controlled him temporarily. I doubt it did any scarring-It seems like Yang won’t remember a thing from how deep he was in the Brainwash.” Oracle reported with a smile, glad that everything was okay. “I doubt it would do us any good to tell him now. Maybe later, when we’ve all healed from it. But not now.”

“I have to agree with Oracle.” Mona hopped up slightly, “It’s unnecessary to alert him now when he’s just starting out. He’s probably already overwhelmed from the fact that we came here while it was raining.” He frowned as he poked the boy’s cheek. Everyone shifted as Yang did the same, slightly groaning.

“Mornin’, Sleepin’ Prince.” Skull grinned down at the boy, who drearily stared up at the male. “You doin’ okay?”

“.... I feel like I just got ran over five times.” Yang plainly stated as he held up his hand towards Skull, who laughed and pulled him up, making sure that he didn’t injure the worn out boy even more. “What happened…?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Oracle smiled reassuringly, “Welp, I’m pooped.” She sighed and stretched, grinning at the team. “What do you say leader? Think we should head back home?”

“Yes, I do.” Crow smiled, his eyes closed. “Let us head off.”

“... I feel like I’m missing something…” Yang frowned.




FS >> Akira?
Hm?<< AK
FS >> Are you alright?
I’m just fine, Futaba. I’m only confused, that’s all.<< AK
Why?<< AK
FS >> I was just wondering… You seemed out of it earlier…
Last thing I remember is me waiting in the Safe Room. Next thing I know, you guys are crowded around me.<< AK
I think that’s a pretty good reason to be discombobulated.<< AK
FS >> Yeah… You’re right.
FS >> Sorry to bother you!
You’re not bothering me. I rather enjoy talking to you<< AK
FS >> :o!!
FS >> Purest bean.
FS >> Must protect..!
Um << AK
FS >> Well, have sweet dreams!
FS >> Night night, Akira!
Good night…? << AK

Chapter Text

September 20, 20XX


“Goro.” The leader of the Phantom Thieves looked over at the eccentric boy, who was frowning slightly.

“What is it, Yusuke?”

“When do you believe we will tell him? About what happened in Mementos..? He may be able to give us a hint about who it is, if we ask him.”

“We’ll be telling him soon, don’t worry. And I’ll let all of you know when I do.” Yusuke sighed and nodded at Goro.

“You better. Either way, it’s not good for the leader to keep secrets away from its members.” Morgana spoke up from Goro’s bag, peeking his head out when the coast was clear.

“I know, I know, Morgana..” Goro sighed as Yusuke chuckled softly.

“Very well. Shall we head off to Leblanc?” Goro smiled at the boy.

“Of course. Let us head off.”




When the two boys and cat arrived, only Akira, Futaba and Ryuji were there. Akira and Futaba were chatting happily about technology as Ryuji was excitedly trying to look for something, possibly ‘secrets about his best bro’, if Goro could guess. That was basically confirmed when Ryuji looked under the bed and came out disappointed.

“Ryuji, I told you there was nothing like that here.” Akira sighed as Futaba laughed at the misery of the blonde boy.

“You’re no fun, ‘kira…”

“I didn’t think my job was to entertain you.” Akira grinned at the betrayed look that Ryuji obtained, which earned a chuckle from the neighborhood detective.”Oh, hey Goro!” Akira’s grin turned towards Goro, which was a welcomed gesture as Goro smiled back.

“Hello, Akira. I take it you are doing well?” Akira nodded at the question.

“Yeah, I’m doing fine. Just a bit sore from the first trip, but I’ll get over it.”

“That’s good to hear. You got plenty of rest, right?” Morgana hopped out of Goro’s bag onto the floor, approaching the new siblings.

“I did…” Akira smiled as Morgana hopped up to the bed next to him, resisting the urge to just pet the very soft-looking hair. “So, why exactly are we meeting here again, Goro?”

“I would like to talk about it when everyone is here, so that nothing will have to be repeated.”

“Hm. That makes sense.” Akira nodded as his sight was captured by his door opening again.

“Oh wow, am I glad you’re here, Futaba. I do not need to deal with more testosterone by myself.” Ann cringed slightly.

“As I had offered earlier, I could dress like a girl…” Yusuke stated, making Ann sigh.

“And I told you that you didn’t have to.. It’d just make it weirder…”

“... I feel like I’m missing something. Again.” Akira blankly stared at the original four members, Ryuji snickering.

“Don’t worry ‘bout it. It happened before we got even Makoto with us.”

“I would still like to know…” Akira pouted as Ryuji ruffled his hair.

“Like I said, don’t worry about it!”

“Don’t worry about what?” Makoto sighed as she entered with Haru, “I hope you aren’t saying anything undesirable to our newest member, Ryuji…”

“I’m not!” Ryuji defended himself with a pout of his own.

“I believe we should stop this banter before it gets out of control.” Haru spoke up before Makoto could reply, “Our leader has summoned us here for a specific reason, yes?” She asked as she found the chair she had been sitting on the last time the whole group was there. Goro nodded and everyone got comfortable, Futaba and Akira scooting over so that Ryuji could join them on the bed, Morgana joining Ann and Yusuke once again and Makoto getting the chair she sat in last time as well.


“So, as Haru pointed out, I called you all here to talk about something.” Goro stated as he leaned against the windowsill, able to look at the rest of the members from that position. “That is discussing when we should go through with our next heist and figuring out any issues that we may have.” Akira rose his hand, “This isn’t a classroom, Akira…”

“...may as well be one, with how it feels like…” Akira muttered before straightening out, “So… why are we here, in Leblanc?”

“That was something I wanted to discuss as well.” Goro smiled, “I was thinking that our new hideout could be in this room, Akira. It’s relatively quiet here, as Boss doesn’t get many customers, and it’s more convenient here, as it’s only a quick train here for most of us, and there are less people to crowd us on the way here.”

“Uh, right… I guess we could do that….” Akira blinked slightly, “I don’t have any objections.” He stated as everyone voiced their agreement.

“Great. That’s one thing settled.” Goro crossed his arms, “The next thing I would like to tackle would be about finding another major target. Now that we have the extra manpower, I believe that we should be able to handle even stronger opponents.”

“Right, especially since the newbie has the same power as our leader here…” Morgana nodded slightly, “I agree that we should be finding bigger targets.”

“But the problem with that is that with bigger targets, the harder it will be to find them. It was only easy for us to learn about Okumura because of the Phan-Site, but that led us into a trap….” Yusuke pointed out, “Besides, now that our popularity has fallen dramatically, many more obstacles will be in our way, and no one is really willing to lend us a hand.”

“Yusuke’s right.” Ann frowned, “Everyone’s turned their backs to us…”

“Mindless sheep.” Futaba grumbled as she pulled up the Phan-Site, “Even the site can’t give us any small fry nowadays- it’s all filled with hate comments… I wonder how he even does it…” Futaba sighed.

“‘He’?” Akira tilted his head in question.

“The one who manages the Phan-Site.” Ryuji grinned.

“Oh, you know him?” Akira looked shocked.

“Well, yeah. How do you think we’re able to go to solve the problems of the people who post on the forum?” Ann challenged.

“I suppose that’s true…” Akira nodded.

“Anyhow, back on topic.” Goro spoke up, everyone giving him their undivided attention once again. “We need to come up with a plan to bring back our credibility.”

“Yeah, it totally sucks that people’re treating us like criminals! We’re the ones saving them!” Ryuji growled.

“While that is true, this is not about how people are treating us- mainly at least. Yes, we do need to boost our popularity, if only to get more requests to help others. But, keep in mind that our true goal has always been to save as many people as we can, whether they know that they need to be saved or not.”

“How can we get a new target then..?” Makoto pondered, “Like Yusuke said, it will be much harder to get intel on anyone nowadays, and the truly corrupt officials always cover up their tracks, whether it be by threatening others or plainly lying.”

“We’ll find a way.” Ryuji smirked, “I’ll be looking nonstop for a target.”

“I can help too, you know.” Futaba grinned, “It’ll be time to show you how my skills work in the real world too!”

“You’ve already shown us… You defeated Med-Jed in front of me, remember?” Goro sweatdropped.

“They were nothing, Goro! Nothing!” Futaba whined, pouting.

“I vote that Ryuji and Futaba should work together on this mission.” Yusuke stated, “While Futaba is very smart, she does not have the mental intellect to understand how people work at times.”

“Shut it, Inari!”

“However, Ryuji will be able to examine what is right or wrong on a more personal level, making them an excellent team. Maybe.”

“I don’t know if I feel comfortable with Yusuke talking about us like this…” Ryuji frowned slightly, “Especially with us being right here.”

“Well, I think it’s good reasoning.” Haru smiled, “Will you two be okay with this setup?”

“Yeah, but-”

“Then it’s decided!” Haru cheered over Futaba’s voice, “We’ll be waiting for Futaba and Ryuji to come up with something! Of course, if any of us find any sort of clue, we shall be sharing, correct?”

“Obviously…” Ann frowned slightly, messing with her hair.

“Well, now that’s out of the way, Akira.” Akira snapped to attention when the cat spoke up, “There’s something that’s been on my mind lately. We stole your Treasure, but I don’t think any of us has seen it, except Leader, maybe.”

“My ‘Treasure’...?... Oh, right!” Akira blinked, “I remember you guys telling me something about that before….”

“Your Treasure’s what causes the person's distortion.” Morgana helped out.

“Right, I knew that… Well, it may not seem like much, but…” Akira stood and walked over to a drawer in his desk, pulling out a framed photo.

“A photo..? You saw it as a scythe though, correct?” Haru frowned slightly.

“You know, I don’t remember the last half hour in that place to be completely honest…” Akira admitted, “But… if you say that my Treasure was a scythe, I believe you… Scythe is the weapon that the popular depiction of Death carries around, right?”

“You’re right.” Futaba nodded in confirmation, “If I’m understanding it right, the Grim Reaper is also known as a ‘harvester of souls’, and in the old days, farmers ‘harvested’ their crops with the scythe. It’s also really pointy, which humans naturally think of pain when they see things that are that sharp.”

“You… really know your stuff…” Akira blinked.

“I don’t ever forget anything.” Futaba smirked, “So, tell us why you saw this photo as a weapon of death.” She softened her expression at that.

“... This was the very last picture my parents were alive in…” Akira frowned as he showed the frame to everyone, letting it be passed around. “That was taken at around 3 in the afternoon… By the end of the day, they were dead.” He looked down.

“.. You all look so happy in this photo…” Yusuke frowned as he examined the young boy dressed in a light blue dress shirt and tan pants, smiling at who were obviously his parents. The mother was fixing the fluffy bunny ears headband as his father was fishing and seeming to talk to his son, perhaps telling him some tips. There was a plain between the one taking the picture. On the edge of the photo were an elderly couple, both chuckling at the three in the distance, and on the other side was another child, who’s back was faced to the camera, having a bag in his hand, which seemed to be filled with fake eggs.

“Yeah… I... loved my family…” Akira frowned as Yusuke passed it to Ann, who let Morgana see the photo alongside her.

“How did they… pass?” Makoto asked.

“I don’t know.” Akira shook his head, “I never saw their bodies. My aunt found them and I never…. The only time I saw them after that was when they were in their coffins. We were told that they committed suicide together, but I don’t believe that for one second…” Akira scowled, “Even if I don’t remember too much about them, I know that if they were sad, I would remember that. Both my memories and intuition tell me that they never thought about killing themselves, especially on that day.”

“I could understand where you’re coming from… So why didn’t you speak up..?” Haru wondered.

“I did!” Akira looked pained, making the members straighten in shock, “I distinctly remember telling them to check, check to see what killed them, and why they had to go..! I told them that they couldn’t have killed themselves, especially on such a happy day! But they shut me out, buried my own claims along with my parents, and the case has never been reopened ever again!”

“What..?” Makoto blinked.

“They ignored you, just like that…?” Haru frowned.

“Yes…” Akira sighed, “I… can’t deal with not knowing anymore… I can’t deal with… being ignored anymore… I wasn’t even given closure for my parents death, why?”

“... We can’t say.” Yusuke sighed, “But.. We can, most likely, help.” He offered. Akira nodded in thanks.

“Well… May we ask what happened next..?” Haru spoke up.

“Well, long story short, I lived with my grandparents for two years, but it was basically committed to just taking care of them until they died of a heart failure and a lung failure…” Akira sighed, “After that, I was put into Mary’s home and, well… You already kinda know the rest…” The rest of the thieves nodded.

“Welp, I’m hungry.” Futaba stood up, “Let’s take a break.” She suggested, smiling to the others.

“Right….” Goro nodded in agreement, “I do admit, I am quite famished myself…”

“Curry time.” Akira smiled slightly.




“So, Akira.” Goro spoke up as everyone finished early, each of the members ceasing their conversations with each other, “May I ask what happened? The incident that brought you to Tokyo in the first place…?” Akira stared blankly at him before sighing.

“Yeah, I guess so…”


Same as the game so no need to explain here, right?... Right???????


“... I couldn’t just let her deal with that by herself, you know?” Akira frowned, “That man was going to do unspeakable things to her….”

“How unforgivable.” Yusuke slightly hissed, “You were being a decent human being, yet your future gets ruined?”

“That woman too.. She just let it happen to you after you saved her!” Futaba growled.

“That’s absolutely horrible…” Haru frowned.

“I wonder who that man was… He has to have some sort of huge influence over the judiciary system…” Makoto frowned.

“Do you know who he is, Akira!?” Ryuji asked, voice almost sounding frantic at the excitement of possibly getting a lead. However, it diminished when Akira shook his head.

“No, I don’t… It was dark and I was in shock.” Akira sighed, “I doubt I’d be able to even recognize him, should I ever see him again…”

“.....”

“Goro?” Morgana spoke up, worried. “You okay?”

“Hmm? Ah, yes, I’m just fine.” Goro smiled, winking slightly, “Well, we’ll do whatever we can to help you, Akira. Right, guys?” He asked the rest of the Thieves.

“Well of course we would!” Ann frowned, “Did you ever doubt us?”

“Though, I doubt that we each could do anything to help with your case…” Yusuke stated.

“I’ll be in charge of that aspect then.” Goro stated, looking over at Akira with a smile, “I hope you don’t mind an ameteur detective doing this dirty work for you.”

“Oh- I don’t mind at all!” Akira blinked in shock, “In fact, I’m happy you guys are so willing to help me with whatever problems I may have..!”

“Well of course you are! You’re the new bean of the group!” Futaba grinned as she threw her arms around Akira’s neck.

“Breathing is still a thing, Futaba.” Akira reminded her, cringing slightly, but hugging back.

“Well, it’s getting quite late out…” Yusuke spoke up, “The trains should be getting to the station relatively soon.” He stood along with everyone except Akira, Goro and Futaba.

“Well, bye bye!” Haru smiled, Morgana in her bag.

“See ya tomorrow, guys!” Ryuji grinned as he and Ann went out next.

“Be safe.” Makoto left after them, along with Yusuke. Akira looked at Akechi expectantly.

“Well…?”

“... Akira.” Goro smiled at the boy, “I would like to meet up tomorrow after school, if that is alright with you.” Akira blinked in shock before nodding.

“Right… Okay, I can do that.”

“Good.” He nodded, a serious look coming across his face. “... I want you to know that no matter what, I will bring justice to the adults in our lives.” Akira blinked in shock once again, smiling afterwards.

“I never had a doubt about that.” That response made Goro smile.

“That’s good. I wanted to be sure of that.”


I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Justice Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Goro Akechi
Rank 1


“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Goro smiled as he left the cafe.

“... Right…” Akira mumbled.

Chapter Text

September 30, 20XX


“So, what’d you like to talk to me about…?” Akira asked as he approached Goro, who was waiting for him in the underground mall with a ridiculous hat on with sunglasses.

“You’ll see. For now, however, why don’t we get something to eat? I am quite hungry right now. Any preferences?”

“Not really.” Akira just shrugged as Goro led the way with a happy smile on his face.


“So, I am sure you have many questions.” Goro spoke up when they were halfway through their food. Well, more like Goro was. Akira was just nibbling on his own pancakes, taking in the decor of the underground JHOP.

“... Well one, are you going to take those glasses off…?” Akira sweatdropped.

“Not a chance.”

“Of course.... Well, which ones do you want me to ask?” Akira spoke, looking back at the boy across from him, who just smiled.

“You catch on quick. In this particular instance, I am willing to answer questions about a specific long-nosed man.”

“You know Igor?” Akira blinked.

“I do. Although, I don’t know much about him specifically, I can tell you about his… home.” That easily translated into ‘Velvet Room’, Akira nodding to show he understood.

“Well, He says that only certain people are allowed in th-his home..” Akira took a bite out of a strawberry that had previously been resting on the very top of his pile of pancakes, deciding to wait to get to the cream cheese until later, when he could fully enjoy it. “Do you know why?”

“People like us are his specialty.” Goro put down his fork, bringing his now-freed hand to his chin, holding it as he thought. “How should I put this….?.. What we produce is the only thing he can do, from what I understand.” ’Right. Personas. Should probably be trying to make more of those, now that I think about it.’ Akira went blank as Goro chuckled. “As of right now, I believe I can help you make more later. Anyways, there is no reason to bring people who can’t handle those kinds of items, yes?”

”Calling us items!? I ought to smack him next time we enter the Metaverse!”

’Please don’t, Arsene.’

“I think that’s the gist of why he doesn’t let anyone enter his home without that ability.. However, I don’t know why he chose to trust us.” Goro frowned.

“Well, it means he sees potential in us, right?” Akira smiled encouragingly at their leader, who only smiled back.

“Correct. Now, there is one other thing I would like to discuss. You noticed it too, yes?” Goro asked, back to eating his pancakes.

“Last night, right?” Akira asked, Goro nodding in confirmation, “‘Justice’, huh..? Kinda ironic, as you’re a detective and all.”

“You’re no better. You’re the Fool.” Goro teased slightly, “Anyways, I believe that I should explain to you why we have these.”


So many explanations these few chapters jeez. Good thing this was included in the game, yannow what I’m saying?


“... This is ‘Friendship is Power’ in real life.” Akira deadpanned at Goro, who simply chuckled at Akira’s unamusement.

“I guess if you would like to think of it like that, yes.” Goro took the last bite of his own pancakes happily, “Are you going to finish that?” He asked, pointing at the half-finished pancakes on Akira’s plate.

“Hm… probably not. I don’t think Boss has a microwave that I could use and I feel like you’re going to enjoy them a lot more than me. Have at them.” Akira smiled as Goro practically lit up in innocent joy while seeing the delicious pancakes slide over to him. “You really like pancakes, huh?”

“Of course I do~” Goro hummed, “Anyways, back to the topic on hand, I would like you to meet one of my Confidants.” He plainly stated.

“Huh? Why?” Akira blinked.

“... She is a needed member in our systems. Without her supplies, we would all probably be dead. If something were to happen to me, and you needed to take over, you need her help.” Goro’s dead serious look pushed Akira into submission, only nodding a bit and muttering a ‘right…’ under his breath. “Though, I hope it does not come to that.” Goro’s smiled came back.

“Hope for the best and prepare for the worst, right?”

“Exactly!” Akira smiled slightly as Goro went back to his pancakes. Akira could feel the expectations that Goro had for him.

RANK UP!

Confidant: Goro Akechi
Rank 2

Something appeared in his mind- ’New ability: Baton Pass’. Akira made a mental note to ask Goro about it later.


“Hey Sojiro!” Futaba grinned at her adoptive father, who lazily looked over.

“Yeah?”

“Do you think you could go shopping with me??” The man’s eyes widened slightly.

“Y-You want to go shopping? What for?”

“Well… I wanted to get some gifts for the team, since they’re so nice to me and all..” Futaba messed around with her fingers nervously, “And also… for one other person…” She hid her face from Sojiro, slightly scared to see his reaction.

“Futaba..” She peeked out through her fingers, only to gasp as she saw Sojiro looking away, barely containing his tears.

“Sojiro!? I-Did I say something wrong!?” Futaba panicked slightly, only slightly reassured when Sojiro shook his head.

“No, it’s… It’s not that it’s just… Two months ago… A-Almost three, you rarely came out of your room… And now here you are, with these wonderful friends and wanting to go out with me… You-You even have a crush on someone now, Futaba..!”

“W-Was it really that obvious..?” Futaba whined slightly.

“It was, and just to let you know, I want you to take that chance. I know normal fathers would try to keep their baby girls to themselves, but… I’m just happy to see you reaching out to others again…” Sojiro sniffled slightly as Futaba smiled.

“R-Really..?”

“Of course. I need to meet this young one, however.” Sojiro stated, “I need to confirm it with my own eyes that they’ll never hurt you.”

“Yeah, I could totally make that happen! He’s the nicest person, if a little oblivious at times…” Futaba grinned excitedly, making Sojiro chuckle.

“Alright, Futaba. Let’s go get those gifts for your friends then…”




“This is a bit shady, you know…” Akira frowned as he looked up the stairs, seeing the sign, ’Takemi Medical Clinic’, above the doorway.

“This is where we get our items to heal us, Akira. She may not look like it, but she’s actually very nice, in her own little way.” Goro assured the boy with a smile, leading the way into the clinic.

“...Alright… I’ll take your word for it…” Akira followed the male into a relatively empty waiting room, filled with some chairs and a shelf of sorts with magazines. The corkboard filled with various medical papers, of which he didn’t really understand because, well, it was all medical speak.

“Hello-oh, it’s you.” The woman’s voice came from behind the desk, Akira looking over and sweatdropping.

’Vampire doctor much?’

“Hello Tae. It’s been a while, has it not?” Goro greeted kindly at the woman, Tae just rolling her eyes.

“You were here just three days ago.” Tae shook her head, “So, are you here to get some more of my items? Surely you didn’t have to use all of them, unless you were reckless again.” Goro chuckled slightly in response.

“While I would like to replenish my supplies, it is not nearly as many as I’ve had to buy before.” He informed the woman, “Though, the real reason I wanted to come here was to have you meet someone.”

“Presumably the boy next to you? I was wondering why you brought someone else along. Is he part of your ‘group’?” Akira awkwardly blinked, unsure of what he should say because ’it sounds like she knows but if she doesn’t I don’t want to screw this up for us and-!’

“Yes, he is part of the Thieves.” ’Oh. Well I don’t have to worry about it then.’

“... May I ask why, however?” Tae frowned at Goro, who only smiled as he replied.

“I want you to give him the discounts that I have.” Goro plainly stated, “Just in case I cannot do so myself.” Tae gave him a slightly dirty look before sighing.

“If that is what you wish, fine.” Tae made a note before looking at Akira, “May I ask for your name, young man?”

“Oh- It’s Kurusu. Akira Kurusu.” Akira answered, his mouth in a straight line, trying to not seem intimidated. That didn’t go unnoticed, however.

“I’m not going to bite. Much.” Tae smiled at him, “So, Akira Kurusu. If it ever comes down to it, I will let you buy my products. However, I need a confirmation from Goro whenever you need to buy from me, whether he tells me himself, or it’s a handwritten letter. No printing or texting.” Akira just nodded.

“Alright…” Akira smiled at her.


I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Death Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Tae Takemi
Rank 1

“Well, may I look at the medicines, Tae?” Goro politely asked the woman, who just nodded and stood. Goro turned to Akira, “Go ahead and head home for the day. Also, try to get some rest.” He suggested to Akira, who merely nodded.

“Right… I will. Thanks.” He smiled as he left. He hesitated though, “Wait, Goro?”

“Hm?”

“Why’d you bring me here? I barely did anything…”

“I merely wanted her to see what you looked like, just in case if something really did happen before I had another chance.” Goro explained, Akira nodding in understanding.

“Oh… Okay. Well, have a good night.” Akira turned to leave.

“You too, Akira.”




“Hello Akira.”

“-Makoto? What are you doing here?” Akira blinked at the student council president when he walked in.

“I was around and was hungry.” She simply responded, taking a bit of her curry. “Also, I wanted to know if you were free tomorrow after school.”

“Well, I don’t have any plans, so…” Akira shrugged, Makoto smiling in delight.

“Wonderful. How about we meet on the roof?” She suggested, Akira nodding. “I will see you there then. The food was great, Boss.” She looked at the older man, who only chuckled.

“Thanks. Be sure to stop by anytime you want to.” Makoto left happily as Sojiro looked at Akira. “How was your day?”

“-? Uh, it was good… You seem to be in a really good mood, Boss..” Akira blinked as Sojiro chuckled again, shaking his head.

“I am.” Akira nodded, leaving at that, despite his curiosity.

“Right… Well, night, Boss.”

“Sweet dreams…”



“You again?” Akira blinked, “Who exactly are you? You never explained it that one time..” He asked, his hands gripping the bars.

“I’ll explain later. What I want to talk to you about is how your adventure was supposed to play out. Well, more specifically...” The male smiled, “Your leader.”


October 1, 20XX


Akira was rapidly tapping away at his phone, eyebrows furrowed in concentration as he waited for Makoto. Earlier, she had texted him that there was an important meeting that she had to attend, related to her Student Council responsibilities.

Are you sure that’s a good time for you?<< AK
You seem really busy…<< AK
...>> I’m the one who asked for your time.
...>> Don’t worry about it.
Okay...<< AK
If you’re sure…<< AK
...>> Yes, I’m sure, Akira.
Alright. See you in about a week or so.<< AK
...>> See you.


Akira sighed as he closed out of the chat, deciding to play games on his phone instead. After the second game or so, the door to the roof opened, prompting him to look up.

“Sorry about that Akira.” Makoto sighed, “I had not expected there to be a sudden meeting like that…”

“Oh, it’s fine.” Akira smiled as Makoto sat next to him. “So, what did you want to speak to me about?”

“... Remember what happened in your Palace?” Makoto looked up at him, frowning slightly. “The part right before you were split away from me?” Akira nodded.

“You had taken me away from the others… and we were shot at, right?”

“Yes. He was there to kill you.” Makoto stated with a hardened frown.

“I know... “ Akira frowned at her, “But I didn’t die.”

“While that is true, we still can’t ignore this. He is a danger to society, is he not?”

“We don’t know anything about him though. We can’t really do anything…” Akira crossed his arms, “The only thing we know is that he has a gun, but all of us do….”

“...” Makoto sighed, “You’re right, Kurusu. Which is why I need your help.” Akira blinked.

“My help? Why?”

“Well, you are fairly smart.” Makoto smiled slightly.

“But, wouldn’t Goro be a better bet? He’s trained in doing, well, detective work…”

“He’s already so busy though.” Makoto pointed out, “Which is why I chose to ask you.”

“Right… Well, I guess I could help…” Akira nodded slightly, “I’ll try my best.”

“That’s good.” Makoto smiled, pleased.


I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Priestess Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Makoto Niijima
Rank 1


“Oh, hello you two!” Makoto and Akira looked over, seeing Haru with some fertilizer, “I wasn’t expecting you guys to be up here!”

“Oh, Haru.. Is this little garden yours?” Akira blinked, a bit shocked. Haru just giggled.

“I haven’t told you?”

“Her plants have helped us many times.” Makoto smiled, making Haru blush.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say it’s been like that-”

“Well, I think it’s cool, if it makes you feel better.” Akira smiled at the embarrassed girl, who just looked at him before smiling.

“Um… Yeah, thank you, Akira…” She giggled softly before putting the fertilizer next to the garden.

“Would you like some help?” Akira asked, walking next to her.

“Hm? Oh, that would be wonderful! Would you like to join us, Mako-chan?” Haru turned towards the student council president with a hopeful smile.

“Well, how could I say no?” Makoto smiled as she knelt down next to the plants, much to Haru’s liking.

“Great! This could be a team bonding exercise with the three of us!” Haru cheered, the other two smiling at her enthusiasm.

Chapter Text

October 2, 20XX


“I promise, you are going to love doing this so much-”

“Ann.”

“-that you won’t ever want to stop! Oh and just think about-”

“Ann.”

“-how many people can admire you Akira! They’ll be jealous of you for being so-”

“Ann…”

“-beautiful! Can you believe that! My agency apparently has had eyes on you for quite a while-”

“umm…”

“-and sent me to go get you! Isn’t that exciting!”

“What has my life come to…?”

“Ooh, oh oh! We should totally get some crepes afterwards with Shiho! I bet you’ll absolutely LOVE her!!”

“I’m up for that.”

“That’s the spirit!” Ann grinned at the boy she had by the wrist, watching as he glanced around them, taking in which buildings were where.

“But, uh… did you really have to drag me out of bed?” Akira frowned at the girl starting to act like a big sister to him, “I could’ve gone without the extra bruises…”

“Er, sorry about that…” Ann smiled slightly, sweatdropping, “I was just really excited..!”

“... Your agency really didn’t have their sights on me, right?”

“...yeah…”

“Is there more to the story?”

“.....yuuup….”

“You could’ve said so in the beginning.” Akira huffed with a smile as he made himself walk side-by-side with her, “I won’t ask what happened… But, I do expect you to treat me. I wasn’t able to grab my wallet.”

“Oh… right.” Ann nervously laughed, “Sorry about that, Akira..!”

“Don’t worry about it. Just promise me the food.”

“I promise!” Ann grinned at the boy happily as they continued on their way to the modeling agency.



“Oh, are you Mister Akira?” Akira blinked at the man, who he assumed was the photographer for the magazine.

“Er, yes..?”

“Ann’s told me about you!” He smiled, “I’m Ennuie Hagakure, but just call me Ennuie!” He smiled, “Just to let you know, you don’t have to do anything today. You can just watch and get an idea of what you may be subjected to in the future.” Ennuie held out his hand to Akira, who smiled and nodded.

“Right. Thank you, Ennuie.”

“Now go ahead and sit down, young man.” Ennuie grinned, “Take notes, yeah?” He instructed, making Akira chuckle.

“Right, I will….” He nodded and went to the bench near the photo shooting, noticing a shy, yet familiar looking girl with brown eyes and hair in a ponytail smiling at him. He smiled back and decided to walk over to her. “May I sit down?”

“Of course you can…” She scooted over, moving her purse onto her lap. “So, are you friends with her?” She asked, her head nodding towards the direction of Ann.

“Yeah. She’s really nice.” He smiled, that bleeding onto her face as well.

“I know.. She’s the best..”

“.. You a fangirl?” Akira guessed, the girl becoming flustered.

“H-Huh? No, of course not-I mean, she’s really good at what she’s doing and she’s passionate… But it’s not that I’m a fangirl, but I’m her best friend…” She smiled, face slightly flushed.

“You know Ann?” The girl nodded.

“Yes… I’m Shiho Suzui. Do you not recognize me?” The girl tilted her head slightly.

“You do look familiar…” Akira crossed his arms, thinking, before it came back to him.


April 15, 20XX


”I’m still shocked that that gang dude turned himself in!”

”Wasn’t there a calling card sent to him too?”

”The Phantom Thieves really are heroes of justice~!”

Akira sighed as he listened to everyone around him, staring at the ground as he walked around the school, still unsure of what he should do during lunch. ’They’re still going on about it? Well, it would make sense, since the P.Thieves first operation happened at this school… But still, Kaneshiro happened 9 days ago…’ He gripped his bag strap tightly as he thought. ’Though, this might not be good for the Phantom Thieves, if they want to remain anonymous. If they originate from here, someone might find out and-oh sh-!’

“Ah, I’m so sorry!” He heard a girl apologize as he looked up. He noticed that there were papers scattered around, “I-I wasn’t looking where I was going-”

”Sheesh, how low can he get, pushing a girl down like that?”

”That delinquent really is just scum, huh?”

Akira clenched his teeth, feeling his mouth trying to pull itself down into a frown, forcing it to maintain his neutral expression as he helped the girl gather her papers.

“Shiho, are you alright..?” Akira only glanced up as a blonde girl, the one he recognized as who was sitting in front of him during class, came up to the girl. The girl, Shiho apparently, nodded.

“I’m just fine. It was just a small accident, Ann, don’t worry…” The girl sweetly smiled to reassure her.

“If you say so… Well, I’ll meet up with you after school, alright?” Ann sent a smile to Shiho before glancing at Akira, looking unsure. She said nothing more, however, and walked away. Shiho seemed a bit sad, so Akira just put the rest of the papers in front of her, shocking her.

“Here..”

“... Oh, thank you, Akira-kun...” Shiho thanked him as she put the papers in their rightful place. “I was in a hurry to turn these into the professor that I didn’t see you…”

“Don’t worry about it. These things happen.” Akira shrugged, letting himself smile softly at the girl. “Well, I’ll be off…” He turned to leave, but he felt a hand on his shoulder.

“W-Wait, um…. Akira-kun?” Akira looked back at how hesitant her voice sounded.

“Yeah?”

“... Don’t let those rumors get to you… They don’t mean anything, I can tell… You’re nothing like how people think of you.”

“....”

“... That’s all I wanted to say… Um… good luck!” Shiho smiled at Akira’s shocked expression before rushing off into the teacher’s lounge. Akira stayed silent as he turned and continued walking aimlessly around the school. Needless to say, the small girl had cheered him up that day, if only a bit.


Present


“You were that girl who…” Akira blinked slightly in shock as Shiho smiled and nodded.

“I’m glad you remembered. It won’t be as awkward now, hehe…” Akira smiled back at the girl, shifting into a more comfortable position. “How’ve you been?”

“I’ve been fine. Better than how you saw me a while ago, that’s for sure.” The boy shrugged slightly, but Shiho still was smiling warmly.

“That’s good. I’m… glad….”

“... I have a question, though.” Shiho blinked, curious at his question, “Why… How did you-”

“How’d I know you weren’t like that?” Shiho guessed, Akira nodding in confirmation, “Well… Have you heard that eyes don’t lie?”

“Huh?”

“Your eyes were screaming that you were in pain…. That you had been suffering for so long already, and this school wasn’t doing anything to help you.” Shiho frowned sadly, “I… I didn’t want to pry into your life, and I still don’t… But I at least wanted to give you that small bit of comfort, you know..?”

“..... Thank you.” Akira smiled kindly again, Shiho returning the smile, “I did need it that day… And thank you, again, for not prying into my situation. I appreciate that.”

“Don’t worry about it, Akira… So, how’d you get to know Ann?” Shiho asked, spurring another conversation on with him as they waited for the mentioned girl to get done with her photo shooting.




“Huh? It’s already almost time for us to leave…?” Shiho blinked, “Time really did fly by….” she pouted before her phone rang with the indication of a text message. “Well, I have to go.. My parents want me home…” Akira nodded, watching as Shiho stood. “-Oh! Hey, wanna trade numbers?”

“Wha-?” Shiho tapped a couple of times and gave her phone to Akira, showing the dial pad. “... Sure.” Akira smiled at her, giving her his number.

“Great! Thanks~” Shiho hummed, taking her phone back, “Be sure to tell me if anything is wrong, okay? I’ll gladly help.”

“Right.. I will.” Akira nodded as Shiho grinned at him.

“Hey, Shiho!” Ann called out for their now-mutual friend, jogging up.

“Hey Ann.” Shiho greeted the girl, giving her a quick hug, “Sorry, but mum wants me…” Ann pouted in response.

“Awh… Well, let’s hang out another time then, okay?” Shiho smiled and nodded.

“Of course. See you two later, Ann, Akira…” Shiho walked off with a bounce in her step.


I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Star Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Shiho Suzui
Rank 1


“... You know, before Kamoshida was.. You know..” Ann started, catching Akira’s attention. “... She was never this cheerful. Not truthfully..” Ann frowned, “You’re lucky you didn’t meet him…”

“Yeah, I guess I am..” Akira agreed, “Though I wasn’t there to experience it, I know the basics. You were part of the original team, yeah?”

“Yup!” Ann smiled as they started walking back to the station, “At first, it was just Goro, Ryuji, Morgana and I.”

“Right… How was Kamoshida before…?”

“Horrid.” Ann shook her head, “I’m not going into more detail.”

“.... Right. Well, can I ask about your modeling agency?” He asked, hoping to perk Ann up, which it definitely did.

“Of course!”

“Why does your agency need me? Isn’t it typically a female-model-only kind of magazine?” He interrogated, rubbing a strand of his hair between his fingers as he thought.

“Well, it used to be... But there was this incident where all the models got fired because they never showed up to their shootings… Apparently they were told that their times had changed, or something… Like only 100 girls are remaining in our agency...”

“Oh..”

“And also, the agency wanted to expand their buyers, you know?” Ann smiled, “and since they lost a lot of models they had to pay for, they decided to go with this idea! Buutt sadly they haven’t been able to find that many male models that are, well, willing to model that aren’t already taken…”

“Isn’t it really expensive to be a model though..?” Akira frowned, “With all the extra fees into it… And if you don’t get enough views from it because of some aspect of yourself, wouldn’t the agency just cut you off, if you were more trouble than your worth…?”

“Uhh…”

“... I think I’ll have to think about it more. Is that fine?” Akira asked, his neutral face masking his emotions to his companion, who only sweatdropped and sighed.

“Alright… Thanks for considering it, Akira…” The boy nodded.

“Right….” They each split their own ways, Akira thinking as he walked away. ’Ann and I didn’t make a bond…? Does she not have an arcana or something..? No, that wouldn’t make sense, she’s a teammate, it would only be natural to have a bond with her… So why was I able to make a bond with Ryuji, Futaba and Goro, but not her…?’ His eyes furrowed as he thought, ’is there some other way that I need to bond with them or something? It doesn’t seem likel-’

”Car!” Akira skidded to a halt in just enough time to avoid going in the street. He laughed nervously at the people who were staring at him, ”You are going to give me a heart attack one of these days, child!”

’I am you though.’

”That’s besides the point.”

’Right, right…’ Akira sighed as he continued on to walking towards the cafe. ’I feel as if we should know why we didn’t make a bond with Ann though…”Akira stated as he grabbed a hold of the doorknob and turned it.

“Ah, you’re back…” Sojiro greeted the boy, looking up.

“Welcome home.” Goro slightly grinned at him, Akira blinking in shock before grinning as well.

“Honey, I’m home~”

“Oh dear…” Sojiro sighed as Goro chuckled, standing.

“I would like to talk to you, Akira.” He informed the boy, “May you meet me in your room?” He asked, heading to the desired location. Akira blinked, glancing at Sojiro, who just sighed.

“I’ll be heading out. Be sure to lock the door behind Goro, alright?” Akira just nodded as the older man left, able to hear a slight ‘teenagers’ from the guardian.



“So, what’d you need me for?” Akira asked as they got settled on the bed, cross-legged and facing each other, Akira leaning his back against the wall.

“Well, I just figured I would explain a bit more about our confidents….”


Kill me please too many explanations a g h


“...To check these Confidants, there’s another section in the app.” Goro explained, showing the newbie, “Most of the time, you can also check what abilities you will be able to get from them next. Once you get to that rank, the description of the ability is shown to you.”

“Ability..?” Akira blinked.

“You noticed too, didn’t you?” Goro smiled, “When we brought our rank up to two, something entered your thoughts, didn’t it? Wasn’t it ‘Baton Pass’?” Akira nodded, “When we knock over an enemy, we get an extra chance to strike. We sometimes pass our ‘turn’ to another person, but in the heat of battle, the others may not hear me. So we have a signal that lets everyone know that a baton pass was exchanged. And, if I’m right, you’ll be getting a Baton Pass for all of the other party members in their second rank as well.” He informed.

“... Turn? That reminds me, why don’t we all just attack at the same time?” Akira wondered, making Goro sigh.

“Because this is all just one big ‘game’...” He shrugged, “Either way, whoever you unlocked ‘Baton Pass’ from, you can now, well, perform Baton Pass with them.”

“...That’s weird….”

“That’s life.” Goro stretched, “You’ll get used to it in no time. I would suggest trying to max out as many bonds as you can. The abilities are pretty useful.” Akira frowned at him.

“... Wouldn’t that just be treating them like objects…?”

“Huh?”

“Only talking to them because you have to… So I could get stronger… Isn’t that no better than using them..?” Akira crossed his arms, his gaze turning down. Goro sighed and shifted to get comfortable again.

“I personally don’t believe so. I just think of the ranks as incentives to get to know them. It’s almost as if Igor is trying to introduce us to them, like a good friend introducing you to one of their friends. We still learn about them and we gain each other’s trust, so, even if we cease to be the Phantom Thieves, or something happens that make us unable to use the abilities, we still have the unbreakable bonds.” The detective smiled at Akira, who just looked down before nodding, “Well, that’s all I wanted to talk to you about. Do you have any lingering questions?” Akira shook his head, “Then I’ll be off.” Goro got off the bed and started walking to the other side, “Have a good night’s sleep, Akira.”

“.. You too, Goro….”

Chapter Text

October 3, 20XX


Akira sighed as he messed with the straps of his bag, rereading his text messages in boredom, waiting for Ann to get out of the building.

Everything is still good for the 9th? << AK
.. >> Yes, everything is just fine, Akira. I’ve put that meeting as the most important thing for that day.
.. >> You should really relax.
Sorry…. I just want to make sure that you’re still alright with it…. << AK
.. >> I am completely fine with it. I am the one who suggested it in the first place, correct?
Alright… sorry…<< AK
.. >> Also, do try to stop apologizing.
This message has been deleted


“Akira?” Ann spoke up, bringing the boy out of his thoughts, “Hey, sorry that I was a bit late. Kawakami wanted to speak with me.”

“Oh, it’s fine.” Akira smiled, standing straight from his former position, having had been leaning on the wall, “Well, let’s head off, alright?”

“Yeah! You seriously have no idea how much this means to me!” Ann grinned at the boy as she led the way to the agency.

“I don’t mind at all. But, there is… one request I have to make.”

“?”

“You never got to treat me yesterday.” Akira huffed playfully, making Ann grin.

“Then let’s go get the crepes now~!” She sang happily, making Akira chuckle in amusement.



“So, what kind of programs do you use? Photoshop or..?” Ennuie blinked at the question that was thrown at him, putting down his camera.

“For what?”

“People tend to edit how the models look, yeah?” Akira crossed his arms in thought, “So, I was wondering what you use to do that…”

“Oh.” Ennuie smiled knowingly, “That is the norm, Akira.. But, here, we recently decided that we wouldn’t use those, and focus more on the natural beauty of our models. Sure, there will be makeup to use to ensure that the lighting doesn’t make you look like ghosts, but other than that, there will be no alterations.”

“...” Ann frowned, seeing that Akira was uncomfortable with the idea.

“...Are you okay with that, Akira?”

“Hm? Oh, uh… I guess..? I was just wondering, wouldn’t it have been better if you’d ask Yusuke to do this…? Aesthetically speaking, he would’ve been a better pick.” Akira pointed out, making Ann huff disapprovingly.

“Excuse us, Ennuie.” Ann sent a glance at the photographer before dragging Akira to the side.


“Akira, you really need to stop viewing yourself like this. It’s not healthy…” Akira leaned on the wall casually, listening to Ann, “The reason why I wanted to take you to do this is because I wanted to help you….”

“‘Help me’? You already do enough of that, Ann, and-”

Akira.” Akira fell silent once again, hearing the warning tone that the girl had obtained. “Yes, we all have helped you out of the situation you were in. But, you still need help with the recovery and building up that confidence that you lost because of that woman.” She sighed, willing her voice to become softer, “.. will you let me help you with this?”

“.... Yeah.” Akira nodded, smiling kindly at Ann, the girl doing the same back.


I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Lovers Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Ann Takamaki
Rank 1


“Well, why don’t we head back? I’m sure Ennuie is ready to go on this photo shoot!” Ann grinned, “You’ll be taking part today, right?”

“Of course…” Akira smiled at the girl, nodding.

“Great!”


”Aw, we gotta go? Okay… See you later, Akira!”



“Hey, Akiraaa!” Akira yelped slightly as he was grabbed in a neck-hug.

“...Hi Ryuji… Why’d you do that?” The boy asked, looking up at his friend.

“I’ve been bored all day dude.” Ryuji huffed, “No one was able to hang out earlier today and I’m locked outta my house.” Akira just kinda smiled exasperatedly, remembering the text he had gotten earlier today, ‘Hey you free today?’.

“Well, want to hang out now?” Akira smiled, for real this time, as Ryuji grinned.

“Hell yeah! I know a great place that we can go get some great food!”



“Why is this line so long…?” Akira frowned slightly.

“Well, like I said, it’s a really great place! Don’t worry, the food is so worth the wait!” Ryuji grinned, “So, anyways. What did Ann want you to do?” Ryuji asked, genuine curiosity apparent in him.

“Hm? She wanted me to model…. Why?” Akira blinked curiously.

“Well, I saw ya leavin’ with her, and was just wondering…. Do ya like her or something..?” Ryuji grinned, “If ya do, you know that cat’s gonna mess you up, right?”

“... I… what?” Akira went blank faced, “If anything, Ann’s like an older sister to me…” He huffed slightly at the implication.

“I was just wonderin, dude… So, why’d you agree to model with her, of all things…?”

“... She wanted help and asked me…” Akira shrugged slightly, “Simple as that.” Ryuji huffed at the simple answer.

“Alright, fine. What kind of girls do you like?” He sulked slightly at the blank look Akira was giving him.

“... I don’t like girls…”

“Huh? You one of those ‘aromantic’ dudes?” Ryuji blinked.

“First of all, rude, and second of all, no. I’m homoromantic and homosexual.” Akira grinned slightly at how Ryuji’s eyes seemed to bug out of its sockets.

“Wait-whaaaaaatt!?”

“Yup.” Akira shrugged slightly, “I’m completely and utterly gay.” He could only watch in amusement as Ryuji tried-and failed- to compose himself, chuckling as he dragged his friend once the line started moving forward.



“Okay…. Okay… so, you’re gay.”

“We’ve already established that.”

“Right. Wwweeeee have.”

“Do you have a problem with that?” Ryuji’s eyes widened comically, panicking slightly.

“No, I don’t! I just wasn’t exactly expecting it, dude… I just haven’t exactly met gay dude that are… normal.” He shuddered slightly, earning a questioning tilt of the head from Akira, “Just these dudes from Shinjuku…”

“Well that’s what you get for going there.”

“It was connected to a case, it wasn’t like I had a choice!” Ryuji sulked slightly, “Anyways, enough about me! Do you have anyone you’re interested in???”

“I kinda feel like we’re a pair of schoolgirls right now, with how you’re asking these questions.”

“Oh, just answer, damnit Akira..!” Akira chuckled at his friend’s pain, taking a bite out of his ramen.

“Hm, well… I’m not exactly interested in anyone yet- I don’t know any of you guys well enough to ever hope for a meaningful relationship…” Akira shrugged before grinning at Ryuji, “What, have you fallen in love with my debonair-leveled charm~?”

“WHAT!?” Akira snickered as Ryuji became flustered, apologizing to the people who stopped and stared at him, due to his outburst. “Ah-sorry!” He sighed as the noise returned back to normal, “Dude, you can’t just do that!” He whisper-yelled at his friend, “One, if we’re being completely honest, you would be, at most, you’d just be at a suave level of charm. At most. Two, I am not gay! I like girls!”

“Well I see how it is…”

“Dude, come ooonnnnn….” Akira snickered at Ryuji’s pain at the situation, “Why do you gotta do this, maann…?”

“It’s only a joke, Ryuji… If anything, you’re like a brother to me. No offense, but I really don’t see me being with you….”

“Well I see how it is…” Ryuji huffed, crossing his arms and looking away….

“.............”

“..............”

“....” Before the two knew it, they had started to snicker, trying to keep their voices down so that they wouldn’t be kicked out of the ramen shop.

RANK UP!

Confidant: Ryuji Sakamoto
Rank 2

New Ability!
Baton Pass

“Well, we should get going. The staff is starting to give us the stank eye.” Akira smiled at his friend, Ryuji just playfully scoffing.

“Let them, this food is too good to leave.” Despite his words, he stood, being sure to tip the waiter nicely before they walked out. “Well, it was nice hanging with ya, dude. We should do this again sometime.”

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

October 4, 20XX


Akira sighed boredly, casually lounging on a bench during the lunch period, idly watching as students came and went, occasionally stopping by him to get a drink.. It wasn’t until halfway through the lunch that someone talked to him.

“Yo, ‘kira!”

”Seems as if Ryuji would like to spend time with us.” Akira glanced up as Arsene’s words echoed in his mind, ”It seems he brought another with him…”

“Hey Ryuji… Who’s that?” Akira looked behind his friend, finding a slightly small, blue-haired boy.

“I’m Yuki Mishima.” Yuki smiled at the supposed delinquent, “I manage the ‘site!” Akira widened his eyes in mild shock.

“Oh really? That’s cool! Ryuji can back me up when I say that you’ve been a really big help.” Akira stated with a small grin, Yuki slightly flushing at the praise.

“Is that so…? Well, I’m really glad… Even if, right now, it’s just filled with mostly hate comments...”

“It still helps us with the common people.” Ryuji reassured the boy with a grin, Yuki smiling and nodding, “Welp, I’m gonna see you guys later. Food.” Akira and Yuki nodded in acknowledgement as the blonde boy left.

“... So, you’re the one who made the Phan-Site, hm?” Akira looked over to his new acquaintance, hoping to start the conversation back up again.

“Yep! I’m the one who made it after Kamoshida was arrested.” Yuki smiled, lost in the memory, “He.. apologized for everything… To be honest, even though it’s been just over half a year now, I still can’t believe it…”

“I heard he was.. Really abusive. And arrogant.”

“He was… I’m just happy that no one got seriously scarred for life.” Akira nodded in agreement, “Well, it’s no use in dwelling on that…”

“Right…. Well, on that Phan-Site… how do you do it? It must be really difficult to keep it up, especially with all the hate that is flooding it nowadays… How do you sort everything out to get the requests?” Akira asked, genuinely curious. Yuki just gave him a mischievous grin, putting a finger in front of his mouth in the universal ‘shush’ motion.

“That’s a secret, Akira. A magician must never show his secrets~” Akira huffed playfully, pouting in the same manner, “Buuuttt, I am willing to teach you some of the simpler types of code, if you’d like.” The boy blinked in shock.

“Really?”

“Yeah! I think it’d be fun!” Yuki genuinely grinned at him, bringing one of Akira’s own to the forefront of his expression. “Maybe one day, I’d let you help manage the site!”

“Hah, right. It’s a deal.” Akira smiled.


I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Moon Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Yuki Mishima
Rank 1


“Hey, we should exchange numbers, if we are deciding to do this!” Yuki pointed out with a grin, taking out his phone.

“Yeah, that would probably be a good idea…” Akira smiled softly, taking out his own phone and quickly exchanged number with him. The task was soon completed, and Akira opened his mouth to comment further, but unfortunately, he was unable to.

“-oh!” Yuki jumped slightly as his phone rang, prompting him to look at the message, “Sorry to cut this off, I need to meet up with one of my other friends- she needs help with her homework.” He apologized as he stood, “Tell Ryuji that I said ‘bye’, if he decides to come back.” Smiling when Akira nodded, he turned and walked off. Once Yuki had entered the building and Akira couldn’t see him through the windows, he let a small pout out.





“Ah, you’re back…” Sojiro’s usual greeting sounded in the café.

“Hey Akira!” The familiar form of Futaba grinned up at him, a half-filled plate of curry in front of her.

“Hey..” The boy smiled back at the girl who was quickly becoming like a little sister to him, glancing at the two customers who was taking his sweet time before taking a seat next to her, turning his attention to the news that was playing on the TV.

”... no developments on the Phantom Thieves has surfaced, despite the continuous flow of mental shutdowns that have occurred in just this past month.”

“That’s a shame..” The old man sighed, also watching the news.

“They really should find the rascals.” The old woman, who Akira assumed to be the man’s wife, shook her head, “If they are causing this much of an unrest… It’s a wonder how they got to be popular in the first place.” Akira glanced at Futaba, noticing her frown, which was now directed at the plate of curry that had been barely touched since he last saw it.

“Well, we should get going, honey. Thank you for the meal, Boss.” The elder man nodded at the manager, Sojiro nodding back.

“No problem. You’re welcome anytime.” He silently watched the elderly couple head out before sighing, “Hey, Akira?”

“-Yeah?” The boy perked up at the calling of his name.

“Hate to ask you of this now, but can you watch over the café for me?”

“Sure.” Akira smiled softly, getting out of the chair, which he had grown quite comortable on and couldn’t resist mourning slightly at the loss, and walking over to where his own apron was hanging. He went back to watching the news, not wanting to accidentally eavesdrop on the conversation Sojiro and Futaba were having. He let a small smile out as he saw the familiar face of Goro on the screen. Glancing at the bottom, he confirmed that the recording was not live, and had, in fact, been on live two days ago instead.

”These Phantom Thieves truly are elusive, are they not, Akechi-san?” The TV host smiled at Goro, who only smiled politely back.

“Indeed they are. I, myself, am quite shocked. If they really are the ones who have caused these mental shutdowns, they should be leaving at least any kind of hint to who they are-or, at least, what their objective is.” Akira faintly noticed the jingling sounds of the café doors opening and closing, indicating that he was now in solitude inside of the café, only the TV and the tied apron around him keeping him company.

”That just means that they are professionals, yes? To have gone this far without any hints for all this time, excluding the calling cards of course.”

”We cannot say. If we were to limit ourselves to one way of thinking, we may just shut ourselves out from the truth. That being said, yes, the Phantom Thieves may be a group that are composed of men and women in their 30s. Or perhaps they could be younger than I am. Or perhaps, we are wrong that the Phantom Thieves are a group, and for all we know, it may be a one-man operation.”

”Hm.. You do have a very good point there, Akechi-san.” The male host rubbed his chin in thought, ”As insightful as always! There you have it folks!...” Akira sighed as he tuned out the rest of the program, which was now only good as white noise, now that that section was over with. Walking over to the dishes, he decided that he should preoccupy his mind, as to not let it wander too far.





It was an hour after he had been left alone that something finally happened.The twenty minutes that he spent staring at a wall had been broken by a familiar jingling noise, immediately jolting him out of his stupor.

“Hel-oh, Goro.” Akira blinked, “Hey.”

“Hello, Akira.” Goro smiled at the boy as he came to a stop in front of the counter.

“... Would you like something to drink? Boss isn’t here right now, but if you’d like-”

“Maybe later.” Goro shook his head, “I have something I must tell you.” He crossed his arms, “While we have been resting from Metaverse-related incidents, I decided that I should devote my time into searching into a certain woman. I believe I may have a potential lead, and should tell you about it.”

“... You mean Mary, yes?” Akira was rewarded with a nod, and without further ado, he had hung up his apron and switched the café sign to ‘close’, and was going up the stairs. “Let’s go upstairs then.”

“Alright.”



“First of all, I would like to confirm what the source has told me with you.” Goro started, bringing out a file from his briefcase and opening it, “Your foster mother occasionally went to a public bar, yes?” To that, Akira nodded, “Do you perhaps know the reason?”

“It was always when she was mad.” Akira frowned.

“If that is the case, we may need to be careful about what we do on her radar.” Goro put his finger on his chin, a habit he barely noticed at times, “According the the bar’s owner, she has been steadily increasing her visits. While he doesn’t talk to her, he reported her to be tenser than what she had been before.” Akira remained silent as he listened to Goro, his mouth defaulting into a straight line, seeming uncomfortable, “You know why this is, yes?”

“... She.. Usually took her frustration out on me. Her.. outlet hasn’t been there for her to use, ever since I was convicted.” Akira let out a small sigh, Goro nodding in acknowledgement.

“Is that so…” He wrote down something on a piece of paper that he had taken out, “Well, I will be sure that I find conclusive evidence soon.” He promised Akira, “No one should have to go through what you do. I will make sure Mary gets her well-deserved justice soon.”

“If anyone could do it, it would be you.” Akira smiled at Goro, “So.. thank you.”

“There’s no need. It’s my pleasure to help.” Goro grinned softly.



RANK UP!

Confidant: Goro Akechi
Rank 3

New Ability!
Follow Up

“Well, I suppose that it may be time for me to head off.” Goro closed the file as he started to stand up.

“Do you have to be somewhere?” Akira asked with a frown, which quickly turned thoughtful as the detective shook his head.

“I don’t believe I have any prior commitments.”

“Then why don’t we get everyone here and go to Mementos? There are quite a few requests that we haven’t filled out, right?” Akira pointed out, Goro nodding.

“You’re correct… Alright. Let’s get the rest to meet up here.”





It hadn’t taken long at all for the rest of the Phantom Thieves to meet up at Leblanc, and just about the same amount of time had been taken to call out the shadows that they were to fight against. As always, everyone unanimously voted to steal the hearts of these individuals. With that, everyone had stood, getting ready for the familiar feeling of being pulled into the Metaverse when Akira seemed to have thought of something.

“Hey, everyone? Before we do this, I would like to ask a question before I end up forgetting it.” Everyone’s expecting, yet kind gazes turned towards him, “I know this happened a while ago, and this may be a bit of a touchy subject… but I would like to know what happened to Kunikazu Okumura and the ex-principal. Their deaths are what really brought the Phantom Thieves’ reputation down, and, well…” Akira shifted slightly, hearing what seemed to be muffled sighs.

“Are you sure you want to know, Akira?” Morgana asked, “One, it’s a long story, and well…”

“He deserves to know, does he not?” Haru pointed out, “He is part of our group now.” Akira didn’t miss the way Haru looked at the leader, her eyes being filled with a type of expression that seemed close to pity. Apparently, neither did Goro, who leaned against the bed.

“You’re right..” Goro nodded, which seemed to be more for himself than anyone else, “He should know what happened…” The expression that Haru had worn just a moment ago had spread to the rest of the Thieves, settling an uneasy feeling inside Akira’s gut. Despite not exactly knowing them that well for long, only just over a week, wow, he knew it was abnormal for the group to be this somber. He was about to take it all back when Goro turned to him, taking a breath before divulging Akira into what had conspired before he had met Goro in the café less than a month ago.

Chapter Text

August 10, 20XX

Crow scowled in annoyance. Who could blame him? They had sent the calling card earlier in the day, and they had to watch as the treasure that they were after was taken by an… alien...saucer thing. Not only did it complicate their mission, but the robotic voice blaring at them to evacuate combined with the blaring horns of the alarm system definitely didn’t help at all. That, added along with the nerve of Okumura saying that ‘there was no time to deal with them’ only accomplished in annoying Crow even more, fueling his own desire to catch up to the saucer even more as Okumura taunted them.

“We need to hurry!” Queen urged the group, the rest of the group nodding as Crow recomposed himself.

“Queen is correct, everyone. There’s simply no time.” With that, Crow led the group through the unfamiliar territory. Passing over the bridges and up the ramps, he easily opened the door that was blocking him and his group, only to see the dreaded sight of shadows seeming to wait for their group.

“Watch out, Crow!” Fox was quick to pull their leader out of danger, a Psio flying past him and harmlessly hitting the wall behind them, the rest of the group having enough sense to dodge themselves. Glancing up, Crow scowled as he saw two Kaiwans and three Black Oozes, quickly switching to a persona that wasn’t weak to Psychokinesis- ’Sorry, Mithras’- and quickly took care of the enemies in their way, making it as quick as possible.

“Crow! There are more in our way!” Oracle warned their leader, who let out a disgruntled grunt.

“Looks like we’ll have to run past, then. We don’t have time to spare on these shadows.” Crow ordered and reasoned, the rest nodding in understanding. Each of the team members quickly split, avoiding the shadows expertly as they kept their goal in mind. After hopping over some platforms, each of the team members made it to the elevator, and it was a straight path from there to their target.



Scowls came across their faces, seeing that the treasure was now in a too-high-to-reach spot.

“Come on, man…” Crow heard Skull grumble under his breath, making him sigh and shake his head slightly before looking at Okumura with a determined glare.

“We’ll be taking that treasure from you now.”

“I…” The shadow looked at them, panic in his eyes, “I’m sorry! I’ve had a change of heart! I’ll prove it!”

“Father…” Crow couldn’t help but feel bad for Noir, but at the same time, he admired her. She had been through so much because of this man, yet she was willing to listen to the horrible man that she was connected to by blood.

“Haru, you were always so agreeable, whether it was in school or after, you only ever did as I said…” The shadow lamented, “You’ve become so admirable…” Crow kept his mouth in a straight line, feeling uneasy. He was not the only one to notice the sudden abnormality(thankfully).

“What’s gotten into him..?” Queen blinked in shock. However, she was promptly ignored by Okumura.

“Ah yes. Do you remember, Haru..? You cried your eyes out when my work kept me from attending your first sports day. It was then that you stopped talking back to me. Honestly… you had me worried.”

”Honestly… You are full of crap.” Crow kept his face neutral as Robin Hood’s voice echoed in his mind.

’Agreed.’

“Still, you stood up against me and became an independent young woman… Nothing could make a father happier than seeing that!”

“You still remember something that happened so long ago..?” Noir was sadly looking down. “Back then, you poured your heart into making delicious food. You wanted to bring joy to others… Why did you change…?”

“F-Forgive me, Haru… But I would never last if my Treasure was stolen! Please don’t do it, I’m begging you…!”

“Father…” Noir walked forward, everyone else but Crow only slightly following her, stopping about 5 feet behind her. However, Crow had joined next to her, if only to protect her in case this were a trap(which he had a hunch it was). “Let’s… let’s end it here…”

“Ah… Haru…” Crow was not at all surprised when the grin spread across Okumura’s face, “You foolish girl.” Crow positioned himself to defend quickly before hearing the yelps of his other teammates. Snapping his head back, he realized that everyone else except for Noir and himself were trapped.

“What?!” Noir gasped, Crow’s pity for her growing as she looked heartbroken.

“‘Overcome failure at any cost, even if it means betraying others’..... That is our family motto! The cold reality of kicking people down is part of business! Virtues and sentiments are for losers.”

’Very… childish of you.’ Crow glared at the man.

“What happiness can be found in acting with justice but losing the battle?”

“Is that why you decided to cut the team down to two people?” Crow scowled, “You knew you would lose, so you lessened your workload. Is that it?” With that, Okumura smirked.

“It may very well be. I am not losing this battle.” He reinforced, Crow straightening out his mouth into a flat line once again. He glanced at Noir, meeting her eyes, quickly glancing over at the rest of their teammates. Thankfully, she got the message and headed towards their teammates to try and figure out how to free them. “It’s no use. No matter what happens, you Phantom Thieves will die by my hands. That is, unless you let me go…”

“There’s no way that that will happen.” Crow immediately shot down his suggestion. The shadow acted indifferent to it.

“Then you would rather let them die before they get the chance to fight back. How cruel. No worries, you will all be defeated anyhow.”

“I doubt you’d be able to kill them even in a trapped state, much less me.” Crow glared.

“That is what you think.” The shadow smirked. He wouldn’t have noticed it if his senses had not been keened from the constant detective work he had been doing, but he did notice it. Okumura subtly pressed a button, alerting Crow that something would be happening. Getting into a position to where he could dodge easily in any direction, yet… nothing happened. The despair quickly spread across Okumura’s face as he pressed the button. “Why is no one coming..!?”

“So, you were going to send your grunts after me?”

“I-I…!”

“It makes sense. You have all of your workers do the work for you in real life, so it’s not that much of a surprise.” Crow huffed, hearing the slight chatter of his teammates as Noir attempted to free everyone, ’Hurry, guys…’ “So, what will you do now? You’re powerless as of now.”

“I… I’m sorry, please don’t…!” The shadow was inching backwards, his eyes frantically going back and forth between Crow and the rest of the Phantom Thieves, “Just… don’t hurt me…!”

“That isn’t what we’re going to do.” Crow scowled at Okumura.



“You may have to get Crow to switch out with you somehow.” Queen told the newest member in their team, her mind going overtime.

“I’m sorry…” Noir frowned as she narrowed her eyes at the pieces above them to get a better look. ’Those pieces are definitely holding this trap in place…’ Queen confirmed in her own mind.

“It’s not your fault.” Panther smiled at the girl.

“Panther is correct. You being given a grenade launcher was not the fault of anyone, so you should not focus on that. Let us focus on what we can do in this situation.” Fox calmly told Noir, who nodded and glanced over at the leader. Noir said something that Queen did not catch, her attention being caught by a shadowed figure above. Narrowing her eyes, she could barely make out the gun in the figure’s hands. The only reason she was even able to was because it was long- almost like Fox’s- except she saw a larger-than-normal cylinder, suggesting that it was a mini-shotgun. Then she saw the unique front sight. ’An AA-12..’ Her mind helpfully supported, which she cursed at later because she saw it, she saw it, and she did nothing to warn the leader. She saw the slight twitch of the finger, she anticipated the shot of the gun that was aiming right for Crow. Yet… She could only watch as Crow was hit. Beside Queen, Skull took in a sharp gasp as their leader toppled over.

“Crow!” The boy yelled out, instinctively punching at the wall they were trapped behind, “Dude, are you okay!? Get up!” The Phantom Thieves could only hold their breaths as Crow remained motionless. Shadow Okumura, as well, had not found it in him to breathe as he carefully watched the leader for about a full minute, before he grinned triumphantly.

That is what happens when you defy me.” The shadow sneered at the unconscious boy before stepping over him, “Now, I know this must be hard- to admit defeat so quickly- but it cannot be helped, now can it?” Once again, Queen’s mind worked overtime as she ignored the comeback that Panther had come up with. She knew that Crow was physically alright- They had all been inflicted with worse fates than a simple gun wound… So why did he faint just now? If anything, he would have flinched, healed himself and/or retaliated back at whoever had shot at him. Her eyes widened, however, as Crow flipped onto his stomach with sluggish movements, taking his gun out and aiming at the shadow’s head. Internally freaking out, she searched for the reason he was acting so out of his character, when she saw it. The blank eyes. Before she could yell out a warning, he shot, and Okumura screamed.

“Father!” Bless her heart- Noir ran up to her father worriedly, “Wait-Crow-” She could only flinch to the side as the gun was aimed for her instead, the bullet destroying a piece that held the cage together.

“Wait- Please, d-don’t kill me!” Okumura’s shadow pathetically whined, his hand covering his shoulder wound, “I still… have a lot to live for!” From that point on, for just a minute or so, it was as if everything had slowed down, as cliche as it might sound.

“Crow, wait!” Noir lunged at him.

Skull smashed the withering cage away.

The brainwashed Crow shot.

Shadow Okumura fell, fading away.

Everything had gone silent for a brief few moments… But, as soon as Queen could, she ripped her eyes away from where the shadow had once been and pulled Panther out of the way of an attacking Crow, who had switched to his sword for close combat. Quickly summoning Johanna, she casted an Energy Drop(a lower form of her Energy Shower, but Crow insisted for the sake of conserving her own energy when it was unneeded to use the extra energy) as Crow barely skimmed Panther, who had thrown her arms in front of her to have those limbs take the brunt of the attack in a hasty guard, stumbling. Looking unnaturally dazed, Crow looked at his teammates’ tense forms.

“... Guys..? What happened..?” The ground shook, Crow quickly snapping out of that dazed state, “The Palace is crumbling!?”

“Yeah, it is. We need to leave.” Oracle stated as Mona turned into a bus. Their leader was quickly ushered inside by the rest of the team, who promptly ignored the bewildered questions that Crow was dishing out. They didn’t need to be reminded about ‘where the treasure is’ and ‘where was Okumura’. As everyone was getting into the bus, Queen took one last look around. Lo and behold, she saw the retreating figure that she had seen before. The gun secured tightly under two crossed-straps were enough of a tell for her.





“Well, what happened later, you basically already know.” Goro sighed. It had been painful, having to call that memory back up again, even if he didn’t remember specifically doing the deed. He hated the feeling of being powerless, and needing his second-in-command to take over halfway through to explain what he didn’t remember had also been a blow. He was just thankful that Akira, being the cinnamon bun that he was, had been quietly and patiently listening without any hint of hostility or disgust as he waited for the telling to end.

“... I could see why you blame yourself.” Akira stated, “In fact, I would probably blame myself too if I were in your situation. But I don’t think it was your fault.”

“No one here does.” Futaba huffed slightly with a small frown.

“I know you guys don’t.” Goro frown slightly as well.

“Still.. I don’t think you should worry about it. The past is in the past and we can’t change that.” Akira frowned, “I’m sorry, for bringing it up though.”

“Don’t be. It’s a heavy topic that was made public.” Yusuke assured, “It’s only natural for you to want to know about what events happened that led up to it.” Akira only nodded at the artist, signalling the end of the heavy-hearted topic.

“Now, who’s ready to go to Mementos and steal some hearts!?” Mona quickly tried to diffuse the air, Ryuji joining in with his signature grin.

“Hell yeah! Let’s go kick some ass, guys!” Ryuji declared, taking his phone out. The group could only smile at their teammate fondly as they felt the pull of Mementos taking them out of the world.



Yang could only sigh as his persona came out, hearing the small yelp of pain Crow let out shortly afterwards.

Chapter Text

“Akira.” The boy looked over at Goro Akechi, curious as the older male sat next to him on the couch.

“.. Yes, Goro? Is something the matter?”

“I was just wondering how you were doing with your confidants.” Goro confessed as Akira nonchalantly shrugged and opened the MetaNav, going to the subcategory to reach where he found his answers.


Confidants:
Ryuji Sakamoto: Chariot - Rank 2
Futaba Sakura: Hermit - Rank 1
Goro Akechi: Justice - Rank 3
Tae Takemi: Death - Rank 1
Makoto Nijima: Priestess - Rank 1
Shiho Suzui: Star - Rank 1
Ann Takamaki: Lovers - Rank 1
Yuki Mishima: Moon - Rank 1

Chariot
??????

Hermit
Motivate I
Rescuer I

Justice
Casual Talk
??????

Death
??????

Priestess
Baton Pass
Amateur Analysis
Harisen Recovery

Star
??????

Lovers
Baton Pass
??????

Moon
Programming Amateur
??????


“Hm… Curious.”

“Why are there so many ‘unknowns’ with most of my confidants?” Akira frowned slightly in confusion.

“In my experience, it could either mean one of two things. To unlock that ‘ability’ from that confidant, you will have to go through major ‘plot points’, or whatever deity that is writing our fate just wants to be obnoxious.” Goro explained, “The skills that appear after the ‘unknown’ also will not be shown, from what I have seen….”

“Our lives are just a game to them, hm…?” Akira thought out loud.



---------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a little pointless something for you all… I’m having a bit of trouble with writing these chapters still and decided to write this to try and get myself into the mindset once again. It also gives you a small insight into the moves that Akira will be getting into the future! Also, this is ‘set’ between chapters 22 and 23! Well, I’mma go back to trying to write chapters 23-26, so, see y’all later? :))

Chapter Text

October 5, 20XX
Morning

 

“That’s it, Akira! You’re doing good!” The boy mentioned sweatdropped, hearing his blonde friend cheer him on as he continued to pose for the camera.

“No need to look stiff. Relax.” Ennuie encouraged with a smile.

“Aren’t you guys only putting more pressure on him…?” Shiho spoke up, standing next to Ann with a frown on her face. The question only caused her friend to smile sheepishly, Shiho just sighing and shaking her head. The girls watched as Akira posed, the nervousness of his first time sticking with him throughout the experience. To the boy’s relief, Ennuie called for his break and let Ann be the one posing from now on.

 

Akira breathed a sigh of relief as he sat down, patting the back of his neck with a small towel.

“Already sweating, huh?” Shiho hummed in amusement, sitting down next to him.

“It’s not my fault the lighting is hot as heck..” The boy grumbled as he pouted, soon smiling at the slightly amused giggles Shiho was letting out. The two amicably chatted to each other for a while about whatever came to their minds-modeling, how the lights can affect the skin, whether or not the makeup would act as a barrier, normal things. They didn't get to an agreement on that particular debate and went to other topics. During the lull in the conversation, however, Shiho seemed to be thinking intensely about something unknown.

 

“.. Shiho? Everything alright?” Akira frowned, slightly worried.

“Mm? Oh, yeah, everything's fine! I was just wondering about something slightly unrelated.” She smiled comfortingly at him.

“... Alright… Well, wanna share?” Akira asked, silently glad nothing was wrong.

“... Well, it's about the Okumura incident. I was wondering if you know what exactly happened.”

“What gave you that idea?” Akira blinked, careful to not freak out on the outside. ‘Does she know about the Phantom Thieves being us? Technically, no one should know but that vampire doctor lady knew, so???’

“Calm down, child.” Angel’s calming voice seemed to pat his head, “Let us just wait and see what she does before throwing ourselves off the metaphorical cliff.”

“.. We should ask the leader for a list of 'who knows what’.” Arsene added, “It would be helpful for situations like this.”

“Well, that's kind of why I wasn't asking.” Shiho stated, oblivious to the voices in Akira's head, “There is literally no reason why you would know. Well, you are in the same friend group as Haru now, but it's not like she would know either." Shiho frowned as she talked.

"Oh... Sorry." Akira scratched the back of his neck nervously.

"Don't be, it's not your fault!" Shiho assured.

"R-right... Well, Shiho.. you know... I don't know too much about Volleyball. Wanna talk about that?"

"Sure!"

"It's a good thing she stopped you from jumping off that metaphorical cliff." Arsene hummed, "I have a feeling that cat would probably try to drive you off a literal cliff."

'I don't think he would. At the very least, Crow would stop him. Most likely.'

-

Soon after their conversation went back into another lull, Ennuie called Akira back from where he sat.

"Well, looks like our time's been cut short, huh?" Shiho sighed slightly before going back to her regular smile, "Well, go have fun, Akira. I'll be waiting for the end of your light-induced torture." She dramatically sniffed, eliciting a laugh from the darker haired male.

"Right. See you later, if I live through this." He chuckled softly as he walked towards Ennuie, who also had Ann next to him.

RANK UP!
Confident: Shiho Suzui
Rank 2

"Hey, Akira." Ann greeted with a smile, "See you're becoming friends with Shiho, huh? That's good." 

"Yeah. She's really nice." Akira nodded, "So, what will I be doing?" He asked next, looking to the photographer, who went into various explanations of certain poses for the shoot.

-I don't know anything about modeling, sue me-

October 5, 20XX
Evening

"Really, Ann, this isn't necessary..." Akira frowned slightly at the girl who kept on insisting on walking him back to the cafe.

"It's fine, Akira! Really!" Ann smiled reassuringly. "Besides, I.. Wanted to talk to you about something anyway."

"Oh, okay... What do you need to talk to me about?" Akira asked, giving her essentially his full attention.

"Well... I was just wondering... Do you actually like the whole... Modeling thing?" Ann frowned slightly, "I know I sort of pressured you to do it and all, and you agreed..."

".. I'll be honest, it's not my cup of tea, but I don't mind helping." Akira admitted, "Also, you said you wanted to help me, right? I trust you."

"..." She smiled, relieved, "Right... I'm glad.."

"And besides, I wouldn't say that you pressured me into it, per say. You gave me plenty of chances to back out."

"Right..!" She grinned at Akira, "Has it been working? With your confidence and all?"

"Well, it's certainly getting me out of my shell. I don't know about confidence, though. I still have... Thoughts of not being good enough, and just... That in general." Akira rubbed the back of his neck.

"Mm... Well, now that I think about it, you've only been to a couple of modeling situations. That's... Not enough to just flip your self-esteem around." Ann laughed slightly at her mistake, "Sorry about that!"

"... It's fine." Akira smiled, "I really do appreciate what you've been doing for me. What everyone's been doing for me. I don't think I've ever had friends who truly care like you guys do."

"Aww, it's our pleasure, Akira~" Ann grinned, pulling the darker haired boy into a side hug, "We really don't mind. And you're wonderful company. It's their fault for being too conceited to realize that!" 

".. Thanks.." Akira smiled, shoulders relaxing, 'I didn't even realize I was tense in the first place...'

RANK UP!
Confidant: Ann Takamaki
Rank 2
New Ability! 
Baton Pass

-

October 6, 20XX
After School

 

"Ah, you're back." Akira could barely nod his acknowledgement to his guardian before a little orange squid girl started to push him up the stairs.

"F-Futaba what?"

"We need to talk!" She declared, waving of Sojiro's quirk of the eyebrow, "Privately." She added after a small thought.

"Okay..?" Akira frowned in slight confusion, just giving in and following Futaba up without any struggle. She pushed him towards the bed, sitting down, prompting Akira to sit down next to her, "...so... What's up?"

"Well... I was just thinking.... You're kind of like me, right? We both... Essentially shut down because of what adults did to us. But, the thing is, you dealt with your problem for way longer than I did... And I was... Considering something I shouldn't, because of what happened... And I can't help but be worried."

"... I think I know what you're trying to say." Akira sighed softly, not wanting this conversation to happen, but understanding that it really does need to happen, whether he wants to or not, "... I won't deny, the thought occured to me... Multiple times. Hell, even now, sometimes I still feel like a waste of space." He frowned, "But... I'm definitely getting better."

"That's what I was afraid of... Well, I thought of something that could help whenever you have thoughts like that!"

"... Do you mind sharing?" Akira rose an eyebrow.

"Register Mona as your therapy cat!" Futaba grinned.

"Uh... How will that help?" Akira blinked, trying to figure out how they got to Point A to whatever the heck this point was.

"Well, you'll have a friend with you all the time then, right?" Futaba hummed, "He's also pretty great at just being a friend when you need it, though, I don't think you've seen that side of his."

"Yeah I... Really haven't."

"Well, it's time to change that then!" Futaba grinned.

"Wait- but is Morgana okay with this? I would feel bad if we just decide this without him having any say in it."

"He said he didn't mind. In his mind, it's for a good cause, and it would be convenient actually."

"Oh, he knows about it already?" Akira breathed a small sigh of relief.

"Yeah. I talked about it to Goro before telling you. I mean, it would really suck if I told you and they didn't like the idea." Futaba smiled.

"Oh. That... Makes sense. So, when will we meet up with Goro and Morgana?"

"Tomorrow, so we still have some time to play some video games!" Futaba cheered  with a grin. Akira smiled back as he felt his bond with Futaba deepen.

 

RANK UP!
Confident: Futaba Sakura
Rank 2
New Ability! 
Motivate I
 Description: When the team is having a difficult time during a fight, Oracle will give everyone a temporary boost in defense and speed.

 

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Akira asked as he stood up. 

"We're waiting for you! C'mon Akira! This'll be your last day of freedom!" Futaba grinned as she hopped up, quicker than Akira, one hand whipping out her phone and the other grabbing Akira's sleeve, dragging him back downstairs. Akira just.. knew that this would be his life now. He's accepted it.

Chapter Text

October 7, 20XX
Afterschool

 

“So, Yang,” The cat looked up from his spot on the booth’s table, prompting the male to hum curiously, “you sure you want me to stay with you?”

“Yeah, I… really don’t mind. And besides, what Futaba said earlier was right. It would be a lot more convenient if you were to stay with me and not Goro.”

“Even still, me just barging in on your life is a bit disconcerting, isn’t it?”

“... A bit, but it’s fine.” Akira shrugged slightly, “I’ll get used to it, I suppose.”

“... Mm. If you’re sure..” Morgana nodded slightly before standing, “Well, I’m going to go explore my new home, alright?” Even though it was posed as a question, he jumped off of the table and made his way towards the stairs anyways.

“... Akira?” Goro spoke up, the boy looking over curiously, “How are you adjusting?”

“Well, it’s… The same as before.” Akira smiled slightly, “You did only see me a couple of days ago.”

“That’s true.” He chuckled softly, “I’m..only worried. It’s only been twelve days since you obtained your persona. Many of us needed much more time to recover completely, yet you hit the ground running.”

“I know. I’ve been doing fine, though. This is the most I’ve been ‘fine’ for a long time, as a matter of fact.” Akira hummed slightly.

“..If you say so.” Goro sighed softly, shaking his head in a small way of admitting defeat, “Then, what would you like to speak about?” Akira let out a smile before mindlessly chatting about whatever came to their minds; music, cases, etc….

 

They were soon interrupted by a sneezing not-cat, “Hey, you two! Think you can clean this place some? It’s really dusty..!!” The two boys looked at their feline friend before shrugging and getting up to follow him.

“Why didn’t you notice this when you were in my room before..?” Akira asked on the stairs.

“Because I wasn’t exploring!”

“So you’re just snooping now?” Goro smirked slightly in the banter, Morgana whining.

“I didn’t think I’d find a whole bunch of death!”

“So melodramatic.” Akira ‘sighed’, smiling as he passed a duster to Goro and getting himself a rag, “Well, let’s just get to work.”

 

“Well, how do you feel, having me stay with you now?” Morgana grinned slightly, on the bed now that Goro was gone, needing to get a ride on the train before it was too late.

“... I just hope you don’t hog the whole bed.”

“-Hey!” Morgana huffed as Akira stifled his small laugh as he sat next to his not-cat.

“Okay, in all seriousness though… I think this may be good for me. To… have someone I trust in here.”

“...” Morgana let out a sigh with a smile, “Well, I’m glad to know that you trust me... “ He softly kneaded the blanket, thinking as he spoke, “...why don’t we make a deal?”

“-A deal?” Akira blinked.

“Yeah. As long as you stay in our group, and help us continue to our ultimate goal, I’ll do whatever I can that could help you.”

“...” Akira smiled softly and nodded, “Sure. We’ll both do our best to help each other out, right?”

“Of course!”

 

I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.


It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.


With the birth of the Magician Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Morgana
Rank 1

 

 

Akira shifted in his sleep, feeling something vibrate against his stomach and hearing a new voice mumble slightly beside him, disgruntled. He opened his eyes and looked, finding his phone in his hand, glowing slightly. He opened his screen and looked at his new message.

 

MN>> Akira, are you awake?
Yeah.. Is everything alright? <<AK
MN>> Yes. I was just wondering if you were free tomorrow at around 10 am.
MN>> I believe I found a hint about Talon and wanted to get your input on it.
Oh >>AK
Okay, yeah, I’m free. But why me? >>AK
MN>> I just thought you’d like to know about him since you were in danger because of him.
..Right. Well, where would you like to meet up at? >>AK
MN>> I’ll just head over to the cafe.
Well, I’ll be here, then. >>AK
MN>> Alright. See you then. Sweet Dreams.
Thanks, you too. See you. >>AK

 

October 8, 20XX
Morning

 

When Akira and Morgana came downstairs that morning, Makoto was already there, sipping on a cup of Sojiro’s coffee, in a pleasant conversation with the older man. It stopped, however, when she noticed he was there and turned towards Akira.

“Good morning, Akira.”

“Hey… So, you wanted to talk?”

“Of course.” Makoto moved to stand before being glared at by Sojiro.

“It can wait long enough for him to eat, yes?”

“..Right. I apologize. We can wait.” Makoto smiled politely as she sat back down, Akira sitting next to her. He casually ate as Makoto and Sojiro continued with their earlier conversation, Akira tuning it out, lost in his own thoughts.

 

“So, what’s up?” Akira hummed, sitting down on the couch in his room. “Something about that Talon guy?”

“.... Well, now that I think about it, it’s… not much of a ‘hint’.” Makoto frowned.

“..okay?”

“... I suppose I will explain what happened. Last night, I was up late doing my homework, when my sister came back with the mail. One of them was addressed to me, so obviously, I grabbed the one addressed to me. Inside was this.” Makoto put her hand in her purse before pulling out a small letter, handing it to Akira.

 

‘-.-. .- - -.-. .... / -- . / .. ..-. / -.-- --- ..- / -.-. .- -. / - .- .-.. --- -.’

 

“It translates to-”

“‘Catch me if you can, Talon’.” Akira quickly read, frowning slightly.

“... You know Morse Code?” Makoto blinked

“Yeah. I was really bored.”

“...Hm.” Makoto nodded slightly, “..Either way, we… I’m sorry this couldn’t help us with anything.”

“No. We solidified that whoever Talon is is egotistical and a jerk.” Akira huffed slightly, prompting a small laugh from Makoto.

“I suppose so… Thank you.”

“No problem.” Akira grinned, “Just know that any kind of clue could be helpful, so no hesitating, alright?”

“...Okay. I’ll be sure to tell you anything I see.” She chuckled.


RANK UP!
Confident: Makoto Niijima
Rank 2

New Ability! 
Baton Pass

Chapter Text

October 9, 20XX
Afternoon

 

Akira paced around, standing in Shibuya’s Central Square, looking around with a hesitant frown as he leaned against the side of the lottery stand, messing with his phone anxiously. He glanced up frequently, looking for the out-of-place hair color that he had grown to associate with his new friend- well, acquaintance may be a better word for it, as they haven’t really met in the real world and they’ve only texted a couple of times.. Either way, it didn’t matter when Akira finally saw the silver haired male and sighed in relief, raising his hand a bit above his head and waved, smiling when he saw the other boy noticing and making a b-line towards him.

“Hello, Akira. It’s nice to meet you in real life.”

“Likewise, Yu.” Akira smiled softly at the older boy.

“Ready to go?” Yu slightly flicked his hand to his right, Akira’s left, already turning that way.

“Yeah, but, uh… Where, exactly, will we be going..?” Akira asked as he hurried to catch up, shifting his jacket as there was a slight breeze, “You never told me where we would be going… just that we were going to meet some people?”

“You’ll see soon enough. I have a friend who’s stopped by around here. You’ll be meeting her, along with a mutual friend of ours.” Akira looked like he deflated from this ‘explanation’.

“That doesn’t really tell me, well… anything.”

“That’s the point.” Yu quirked his mouth minisculely in a smile of amusement, slowing down slightly, Akira huffing as he widened his strides to keep up with him.

‘He is trustworthy, child. Let us see where this endeavor takes us.’ Angel assured Akira gently.

‘Already planning on it..’

 

Akira shifted uncomfortably, looking back at everyone he and Yu were passing, ‘There are so many people…’

‘It is a Risette concert.. It’s to be expected.’ Arséne hummed in Akira’s mind, Akira willing any kind of anxiety away, taking deep breaths as he made sure to keep up with his companion. “Um.. how were you able to, well…”

“You’ll see.” Yu took out two tickets, clearly labeled as ‘VIP Backstage’ passes and handed them to the entrance guard(dunno the professional term for it sorry).

“.. Who exactly are you?? I didn’t think just anyone could get those passes…” Yu only glanced back, raising his eyebrow before just accepting the tickets back and pocketing it.

“Come on.” Yu led the way into the concert area, Akira hesitantly rushing to catch up to him.

“It’s already so crowded..” Akira commented, “We’re an hour or so early, before the actual concert starts, right..?”

“Yeah. Most people come very early to try and take the best seats before anyone else. Especially at a big event like this.”

“So that’s why we came this early too? Then, shouldn’t we have met up earlier..?”

“No, our seats are reserved.”

“Oh. Alright..” Akira nodded slightly, still not understanding the reason, but deciding to pick his battles and not ask again. They were walking towards the main seats in the front, towards the VIP section, when Akira stumbled, the weight of another human being crashing into him.

“Ach- Sorry about that dude! Didn’t mean to!” Akira looked up at the newcomer, opening his mouth to assure him that it was fine, when Yu appeared in his peripheral vision, the stranger brightening up significantly.

“Hey, Partner.” Yu smiled warmly at ‘Partner’, Akira just looking between them.

“Hey! Long time no see, huh?” ‘Partner’ grinned, slightly fistbumping Yu, ‘They’re certainly close with each other.’ Arsène commented, Akira letting a slightly huff, feeling left out before smothering that feeling. He still decided to speak up, however.

“Well, not to ruin your reunion and all, but, may I also know who you are?” Akira tugged at a strand of hair as ‘Partner’ chuckled,

“Right, sorry about that, again. I’m Yosuke Hanamura, Yu’s best friend.” Yu made a noise of agreement, “You’re.. Akira, right?”

“Yeah..” Akira glanced over at Yu, who only turned back towards where they were heading previously, “Did Yu tell you, or-”

“Sorry for interrupting, but let’s save this chat until after the show, when there isn’t a lot of people here, okay?” Yu stepped in, Yosuke quickly agreeing with him.

“... Alright.”

 

October 9, 20XX
Evening

 

As he sat on a random chair just outside of Risette’s dressing room, Akira couldn’t help but rub at his ringing ears, mourning the loss of probably half of his hearing for the rest of his life at the expense of screaming, rabid fans, who honestly might’ve just been hurting themselves too. ‘I can’t understand why they would willingly lose their voices just like that. Their throats must be torn up, geez..’  He complained to himself, sighing out loud as he pulled his hand away from his ears, now preferring to rub at his eyes, stifling a yawn as he looked at the time on the clock, which read as 9:13 pm, frowning.

“Yu and Yosuke have been in there for a while. I wonder what is taking so long.”

‘It’s only been about five minutes. They’ve been talking this whole time, so I’m guessing it’s something at least a little bit important.’ Akira shrugged slightly before blinking as he noticed that the voices gradually stopped, faint agreements of…. something, being heard, before footsteps were sounded, prompting Akira to stand up, Yu soon coming out of the room.

“Come on.” Yu quickly gestured for Akira to follow him inside, Akira nodding and just coming along, waving at the woman he had just seen finish her concert about 15 minutes ago, probably just a bit more, who grinned and waved back enthusiastically.

“Hi! You're Akira, right?”

“Yeah.. it's nice to meet you..” Akira nodded, taking the hand that was offered to him and giving her a handshake.

“Same to you!” Risette cheered, soon pulling her hand away to clasp them behind her back, “So, you need help, yeah?”

“..huh?”

“Filling out the Arcana.” Yosuke clarified with a grin., Akira blinking in surprise.

“He told you about that?”

“Yep. After about two years, I think, of our little adventure happening.” Risette confirmed, “I was the Lovers, and Yosuke here was the Magician, if I remember correctly~” She practically sang, a soft grin on her own face as Yu nodded to clarify.

“... What does that have to do with this meeting, though?” Akira tilted his head in curiosity.

“If you’d like to, I was thinking that we could be confidants for you, in your story.” Yu suggested with a small shrug.

“... Why would you want to do that?”

“I just want to help you save the world in your own way. You got a bit of a late start in that regard.” He smiled wryly.

“Right… Do I really need all of the Arcanas?”

“Not particularly. Though, it will help a lot if you get all of the ‘abilities’ that you can get.” He crossed his arms, “So, do you accept the proposition?”

“... Sure. It wouldn’t hurt… Erm- right?” Akira frowned as he hesitated, unsure if this would be the right choice.

“...Why don’t we figure out what we will be able to do for you, before you make your choice? Will that make you feel better?” Yosuke suggested after a minute’s thought.

“...Yeah. Let’s do that.” Akira nodded as Rise and Yosuke visibly brightened up at his agreement, Yu smiling slightly.

“Then why don’t you tell us who you already have and what they are doing for you? That way, we don’t end up suggesting something that’s already been done?” Yu suggested, Akira shifting before nodding in agreement.

“I’m fine with that.”

 

~I’m not sure if you guys want me to go over who Akira has and their offers or not. Tell me if you guys do and I’ll add it in ASAP~

 

“... Alright. We can work with that.” Yu shifted himself from his almost slouched position on his chair to a more upright one, “Rise, Yosuke? What do you think?”

“I already have something in mind~” Yosuke grinned as Rise pouted.

“No fair… I can’t really think of anything right now…” She sighed, looking apologetic, “Is it okay if I put mine on hold? I’ll need to brainstorm later.”

“That’s fine… I’ve only been able to bond with people twice a day, at most…” Akira noted with a soft smile towards the singer, who smiled back, heart warmed by the younger males’ attempt to make her feel better.

“.. That’s a bit unfair for you, though, Akira.”

“-Hm?” Akira looked over at Yu, confused.

“You started a lot later than I did… and maybe even the Fools before us. You weren’t there for the whole ‘adventure’, so you’re at a natural disadvantage…. I’m also guessing that you haven’t been using every opportunity to further your Confidants as you could be, right?”

“... I… don’t think so. No… Is it really that important..?” Yu nodded at his question, concern filling his features briefly.

“These confidants and their abilities may save your life one day. We can’t use the time we’ve already lost though… a lot of it, for me, was used trying to find that one individual that was around me that would give me the Social Link-what they were called with me- that I needed.”

“Oh.” Akira cringed slightly, silently yelling in his mind.

“.. I will help you find those people then. I already have a few others in mind.” Yu offered, both his ‘contract’ and his hand. Akira looked at him thoughtfully before nodded and taking his hand, accepting the contract from his side.

 

I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.


It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.


With the birth of the Tower Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Yu Narukami
Rank 1

 

New Ability!
Compound Bond
Description: Able to Rank with three people in one day. No repeats

 

A smile grew on Akira’s lips when he read the ability description, Yu looking and humming a pleased tune when it registered in his own mind.

“It looks like that won’t be too much of a problem now… From now on, at least try to fill up your Confidant list as much as possible, yeah?” Yu smiled as Akira grinned up at him in relief, nodding.

“I will… Thank you.” Yu nodded back before Akira looked over to Yosuke, “You already had an idea, yeah?”

“Yeah. I was thinking that I could help train you during some of your free time.” He stated simply, grinning when Akira thought briefly about it and nodded to his suggestion.

“I admit, I do feel a bit… lackluster in the fighting department. Especially when surrounded by everyone else.”

“Just make sure you don’t swing them around a store, Yosuke.”

“-Yu!! S-Shush!!” Yosuke blushed in embarrassment from the memory, Akira blinking in shock at the scene of Yu and Rise laughing, the former a bit more subdued than the latter, and Yosuke barely resisting from flailing his arms about, “We agreed that we would never talk about that again.”

“There was nothing about him agreeing!” Rise grinned mischievously.

“Zip it!!” Despite being heavily curious about what the story was, Akira decided it was for another time and tapped Yosuke on the shoulder.

“Let’s make the deal?”

“-Huh?... Oh! Yeah, of course! I’ll help you with your training.” They shook each other’s hands as the voice sounded again in Akira’s head.

 

I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.


It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.


With the birth of the Sun Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Yosuke Hanamura
Rank 1

 

“Well, now that that’s over and done with,” Rise stretched, standing up and bending to the side, “do you guys want to go home? I’m really tired, and I still need to think about what I’m going to do for you, Akira…”

“It’s fine. Take your time.” Akira nodded, a small smile on to reassure her, “I’m also pretty tired too.”

“You need someone to come with you?” Yosuke offered, Akira just shaking his head.

“I’ll be fine. You three go ahead and get to where you’ll be sleeping for the night. The cafe isn’t that far from here.”

“If you’re sure. Be safe.”

“Of course, mom.” Akira huffed slightly at Yu as he exited the room, immediately making his way to the main streets.

 

“This was admittedly, a very useful endeavor.” Arsene hummed happily as Akira walked back, the boy silently agreeing with his original persona.

“It seems we have some company, you two.” Angel spoke up, Akira’s focus being moved towards two familiar figures, one waving to the other as she caught up to the boy, cheerfully greeting him.

“Hey, Akira! Heading home?” Ann smiled up at him as Shiho walked away.

“Yeah…”

“Can I come along? I’m a bit hungry right now and Boss’ curry and coffee is really good.” Ann felt the need to explain herself, grinning at him sheepishly as Akira huffed in amusement.

“It’s not like I can force you not to come. Come along.”

“Nice!” Ann sang slightly, perking up as she ended up leading the way, grabbing Akira’s wrist in order to prevent them from being separated from each other.

 

“Hey Boss! Hey Morgana!” Ann greeted the two who were at the counter, Akira going upstairs to briefly put away his bag, “What’s that?”

“It’s a note.” Sojiro…. Weirdly sounded subdued, unlike his usual gruff self.

“... Is something the matter?” Ann frowned, putting her own bag down on a chair.

“I… guess you can say that. Boss was cleaning and found this note that Boss and I are thinking Akira wrote a while ago.” Morgana explained, “At least, before he met all of us officially.”

“... oh…” Ann messed with her hair nervously, Akira appearing in the stairway, glancing at them worriedly.

“.. I found this while I was cleaning earlier today.” Sojiro started, gesturing for the younger boy to walk over, which he complied to, sitting down, alongside Ann who did the same. Akira was handed the note, Sojiro’s face still looking grim as Ann looked worriedly between the males, unable to read the note from the angle that she was from. “Would you like to explain?”

“.....” Akira looked back up to Sojiro, face pale as he gripped the note tighter, “I…” ‘I completely forgot I made this..!’ He placed the note face down on the counter, wringing his fingers together anxiously as he forced himself to take deep breaths. He was so focused that he barely even registered the voice speaking.

“.. Boss… Should… I know something…?” Ann looked at Sojiro, who only sighed slightly and slid the note towards her, the girl hesitantly flipping it over, the new sound alerting Akira, who looked back up and tensed.

“Wait..!”

Chapter Text

‘Thank you for giving me the chance to at least try to have a relatively normal life. Despite always being standoff-ish towards you, you have no idea how much you taking me in for these past five months has really meant to me. You’re probably reading this way too late for this to actually mean anything, but don’t blame yourself for my actions. I just feel as if there is no real place for me to be in the world, and I don’t wish to drag you down with my suicide.

I wish I could say more, but at this point, I would just be writing fluff, so I suppose this is it. Just, thank you, Sojiro.

 

Signed, Akira’

 

“A…. kira?  Is this..?” Ann looked over at the pale boy, who searched for something to say within his mind.

“I-I… that’s….”

“It’s a suicide note. It’s written there in plain sight.” Sojiro couldn’t have been quieter, but it still made both Akira and Ann wince at the bluntness of the statement.

“That’s...I don’t….” Akira took breaths, trying and mostly succeeding with keeping down his urge to bolt away from this situation, from hiding under his covers and forcing all of the bad memories away. He knew he couldn’t do that. He made a promise to himself, and to his newly found friends to become a better person, and if that meant dealing with a problem he created, then so be it. “I….” another deep breath, “I can confidently say that I don’t feel that way. At least, not anymore.”

“...You sure, Akira..? Because… even if I’m not an expert at helping with these situations or anything, you can… you can always tell me… You know that, right?” Ann offered, her eyes showing a sadness that Akira would once think was impossible for someone to feel, especially for him. It was still that way, but… maybe it wasn’t as ludicrous as it would have been just a month or so ago.

“I know. You’re… one of my best friends. But I really am sure that everything is fine now. Maybe not a hundred percent fine, but.. I’m getting there. I wrote that note when… I was at one of the lowest points of my life, and I’m starting…. Hah- it sounds so cheesy, but I’m finally seeing the light at the end of a dark, dark tunnel. And… it’s because of you, and… and everyone else, you know what I mean..?” Akira lost his confidence in his statements as he continued talking, his gaze drifting downwards, Ann’s expression growing slightly bittersweet, not that Akira saw it, before placing a hand on Akira’s shoulder, a smile plastered on her face as Akira looked at her.

“I’m glad we’re at least helping you, Akira. My offer still stands though, if there’s ever a relapse, okay?” Akira nodded in understanding, the girl smiling even more.

 

RANK UP!
Confident: Ann Takamaki
Rank 3

New Ability !
???

 

“The same goes with me kid, alright? You ever need anything, just ask.” Akira nodded at Sojiro as the older man took off his apron, “Go ahead and get some rest. No doubt you’ve had a long day, huh?”

“Right… Thank you again, Sojiro.” The thanks was only waved off,

“There’s no need to, alright? Just go to sleep and… rest. You deserve it.”

“...” Akira just nodded before going upstairs, being followed by Morgana.

 

---

 

“Boss, you… did you know? Before today, I mean…”

“He’s not the first child I took in with depression. I saw the signs, and tried to help him. Got therapists and everything, but… I’m just an old man. Once everything was said and done, still with him.. not being okay, I figured it’d be best to let kids his age try.”

“... I’m glad we met him in time.”

“... Me too. Treat him right, as a family, for me, okay?”

“Definitely.” The genuine smile was enough to ease the old man’s concerns, at least, for the time being.

 

---

 

‘3zh u5jfq4pc w8pwct6j qor9u cqnv’
‘10gr11z’
‘21xmj2y cp5i df7un d8pw m10vco’

 

---

 

October 10, 20XX
Morning

 

“Morning, kid.” Akira looked up at the greeting and nodded, resisting against a yawn that fought to get out.

“Good morning…” Akira mumbled slightly, sitting down where a plate of curry was placed for him, “...... sorry about yesterday.”

“You don’t have to apologize.” Sojiro sighed  as he finished making a thing of coffee, pouring one for Akira and placing that next to him.

“... Even so, I don’t feel like you deserved that.”

“Look, I’m just glad that you didn’t go through with it.” Sojiro frowned at him, “If anything, just tell me whenever you’re down, alright?”

“we-”

“If you want to do anything ‘in return’ for this, how about just… making sure you and your friends stay safe while you’re doing your... Phantom Thief business.”

“.... yeah. Alright.” He nodded slightly.

 

I am thou… Thou art I…
Thou hast acquired a new vow.

It shall become the wings of rebellion
That breaketh thy chains of captivity.

With the birth of the Hierophant Persona,
I have obtained the winds of blessing that
shall lead to freedom and new power….

Confidant: Sojiro Sakura
Rank 1

 

Akira smiled as he drank some of his coffee, Sojiro setting down a plate of curry in front of him. “.. You know, before coming here, I never thought it’d be okay to have curry for breakfast.”

“Well, I’m glad I could change your viewpoint on that.” Sojiro chuckled slightly as he went back to making more curry for the day’s customers. Akira just hummed as he started to eat. He was about halfway through it when his phone buzzed, prompting him to see the message. To his slight surprise, he already had a couple of messages. He looked at the one he just received first. It was from Ryuji.

 

>> Hey bro! You free today?
Yeah. I don’t have anything planned for today. <<
>>Great! Lemme know when you’ll be heading over!
Alright. <<

 

He then took a peek at the other messages that had come in last night and this morning. He looked at the one from Futaba first.

 

>> Hey Akira. I know you’re asleep now, but I just wanted to say I’m really sorry for not warning you beforehand.
>> You were already having so much fun and I didn’t want to ruin that for you. I was hoping Sojiro wouldn’t have brought it up while Ann was there, but he did
>> But it looks like it went as well as it could, though. Just let me know if you want to talk in the future, okay?

 

He smiled at the concern before sending her his own text.

 

Don’t worry about it, Futaba. And I’ll definitely talk to you if I need to. <<

 

He looked at his last message, which was, unsurprisingly, from Ann.

 

>> Hey. Sorry about last night, but hopefully today will be better, okay?
>> Don’t give up!

 

That gave him a little chuckle before he pocketed his phone.

“I’ll be heading over to Ryuji’s house after I’m done.” Akira notified his caretaker, the man nodding in acknowledgement.

“Alright. Don’t get in trouble and have fun.”

“Of course.”

 

---

 

“Hey ‘kira!” Ryuji waved, outside of his apartments’ door, Akira lifting his hand back.

“Hey. So, what did you want to do?” Akira tilted his head slightly, Ryuji answering with a grin of his own.

“Video games. Come on!” With that, he ran inside, Akira following with half the speed as the former track star. He was able to wave to the woman who he assumed was Ryuji’s mom, the black-haired woman offering a soft smile and a wave back despite the fact that she was on a call with someone.

 

Inside his room, Ryuji set up a casual fighting game that they could face off each other in.

“Does your mom have to call people a lot?” Akira wondered, trying to find something to talk about.

“-Hm? Oh, nah, mom and I don’t really reach out to others all that much. But, I guess she has been called a lot recently. She tells me not to worry ‘bout it, so I don’t. I trust her.” Ryuji reasoned with himself, now slightly curious about the calls.

“You don’t know what they’re about?”

“.. I’ve heard a little bit, I guess. Somethin’ bout a cousin a’ hers?... Hey, either way,” Ryuji grinned excitedly, “let’s play some games, a’right?”

“Okay. I won’t go down easily.” Akira grinned back, “... what is this game anyways?”

“It’s pretty simple, here.” Ryuji reached over to show which button was which, “Now, ya gotta choose a character to play as.” He instructed, choosing what seemed to be a pink… blob with eyes to Akira.

“... I suppose I’ll choose this one?” Akira frowned as he chose a brownish-blondish dude with a weird green outfit and a sword. “He looks like he has potential.”

“He does! Just gotta practice with ‘im!”

“Like with everything…”

 

---

 

After Akira’s ass was thoroughly handed back to him bruised and bloody(“Hey, nice goin’ dude! Not bad for a first-timer!”

“... I got beaten by the computer, Ryuji. On level one . That was bad.”

“You jus’ fell off a lot!”

“.... that doesn’t help.”), they decided to stop in order for him to recover.

“.. Hey, ‘kira?”

“Yeah?” Akira looked over, comfy in his position of laying against the wall.

“I gotta question for ya.” Grin.

“I do not like that grin on his face.”

‘oh hey Arsene.’

“Hello.”

What is it?”

“Ya like anyone yet?”

“... What are you, a gossiping girl? Are we having a sleepover? Should I have brought my nail polish?”

“-Hey! I just want to help a bro out!” Ryuji practically sulked, a slight pout on his face, “I could help set you guys up!”

“... Who?”

“You an’ Gor’, ‘f‘course!” Ryuji perked back up, grinning.

“... Me and Goro..? I mean..” Akira rubbed the back of his neck, “It’s not like I really can date him, with my situation.. Besides, he is way out of my league.”

“Hey, I’m not hearin’ a denial of your feelings.”

“.....” Ryuji let out a small snicker at the embarrassed glare that was aimed towards him.

“I think he’d be just fine with datin’ you. He’s bi.”

“...Just because I’m gay and he’s bi doesn’t mean that he would automatically like me.”

“I know! That’s not the only reason I’m suggestin’ this!” He grinned encouragingly, “Gor’ totally does like ya back!”

“Yeah, right.” Akira huffed as he took out his phone, prompted by a message that appeared.

 

>>Are you perhaps free today?
>>If so, may we hang out, Akira?

 

Ryuji burst out laughing at the flushed face Akira was making, the latter slightly cursing his friend out for dragging his feelings out right before he was texted by his crush.

“Speak o’ the devil, huh?” Ryuji smirked as soon as he calmed down, “Go ahead and go hang out with him, aight?”

“I hate you.”

“Love ya too buddy. Now go get ‘im, tiger!”

“BYE.”

RANK UP!
Confident: Ryuji Sakamoto
Rank 3

New Ability !
Encouragement I

Description: 5% chance that Ryuji will cheer for Akira during battle. ATK/DEF up be 25% once per battle.


---

 

As he passed by Ryuji’s mother, he noticed she was still on the call. Frowning worriedly, he listened in, if only to know if she was alright.

 

“...if anything, he’d have to live with us, wouldn’t he? In order to get him out of that town, yeah?”

 

“...” Akira sighed softly and backed away. It was, sadly, something he couldn’t help with. He could only hope that the help she was getting for her cousin would be enough.

 

---

 

“Hey, Goro.” Akira smiled as he arrived back at Cafe LeBlanc, waving slightly to Sojiro, the older male just nodding back in acknowledgement.

“Hello there.” Goro smiled and stood up, “How have you been?”

“Well, I've been fine. You?”

“Busy. I'd like to talk to you about something, however.”

“So, it is not a leisurely chat he is aiming for, I suppose.” Angel commented, vaguely curious.

“Alright.” Akira nodded, “What do you need?”

“... It would be best if we went in your room to talk about it.”

“Okay… Then, let’s go.” Akira led the way, Goro swiftly following.

 

---

 

“So, what’s been going on?” Akira asked once they got settled, Morgana coming out of his bag and sitting next to him on the bed as Goro leaned on the window sill.

“Well, there is… something I have been neglecting to tell you. Something that, hopefully, won’t cause you to hate me in any way, shape or form.”

“At this point, I don’t think you could do anything to do that except for explicitly betraying us or trying to kill us… Er, without any of those status effects.” Akira rose an eyebrow, shifting to his right to get more comfortable.

“.. Are you sure? You’ll listen, just like that?” Goro blinked in surprise.

“Well yeah. I’m not just going to be an ass and leave like that.” Akira shrugged.

“... Right.” Goro chuckled, “Well, I suppose I’ll tell you.”

Chapter Text

Hi again, it's me, ya boi, Arun
So, I know I've been posting a lot of A/N's lately and I really do apologize for delaying and delaying this story's updates, but I wanted to get a couple of things clear. While I am hard at work here, it is not always on this story. I actually have my own project that I am hoping to turn into a video game of my own called 'Never Forever'. I've been working on that more recently than I have for this story, which I apologize for.
This gets to why I need 'help'. I have the basic plot line figured out and I'm working through that, but there are other concepts that I was hoping that one of you would be able to help me with. First and foremost, I would love it if someone would be able to help me out with the music of the game because I've tried to do it myself and... no. I absolutely do not have a gift for composition. I can only play music, which irks me a lot.
It would also be mighty fine if one of you were able to design buildings, landscapes, etc. While I could do it myself, this role would be VERY helpful.
Then there's voice actors. This role won't be needed for a long time, but there are a lot of characters(16 for just the people who could be in your party, and there's even more people that I have designed, but not yet put in a solid role yet) so I would like to know if anyone wants to help with that
Before anyone does offer to help, i would like to say that I haven't been able to get it on any kind of program: I was kinda hoping to get a computer for chirstmas, but boo that didn't happen, so I wasn't able to really start it like I wanted to.

If you don't want to help on Never Forever, but still want to help in some way, I was also kinda hoping that someone would take over for the main writing of this story? I have all of the documents that are needed to continue this story, and I know what I want to do, but I'm just so focused on Never Forever that I just don't have that much time to actually work on it.

If you decide you want to help with one of these roles, go ahead and PM me on Fanfiction.net. My account is "ArunPharyn256" so,,, yeah, that's really all I have to say...