The world was supposed to end tonight and only a handful of people knew it.
Lisa turned the yellow skull over in her hands, and then hurtled it at the closest person. Jun ducked, and it bounced off of Tatsuya’s chest. She was too angry to apologize.
“It was all for nothing,” Eikichi said bleakly and sat down.
They’d tried to return to that manifestation of the human conscious over and over, to no avail. Every time they made it to the room where they’d fought the Fuhrer, they ended up back in front of Seven Sisters High.
“Twelve hours,” Jun murmured, running a finger over the flower in his pocket. “We have twelve hours until the world ends.”
It was noon, and they’d busted through Xibalba at least twenty times since they fought the Fuhrer at seven o’clock sharp and learned the world would end at midnight. It seemed that everyone had already thrown in the towel.
Maya looked at the floor, a desolate expression in her eyes. She sighed. “…Yeah.”
Tatsuya turned, and Jun glanced at him. Wordlessly, they both began to walk away from the school. After a moment of silence, Maya followed.
The end of the world was nigh. They all had places to be and people to see before they—everyone—died. Lisa had neither.
Eikichi cleared his throat. She thought he would have turned right around to go find Hanakouji, but instead he glanced at her.
“It’s been a while since we hung out,” he commented, tracing circles in the ground with his finger.
“We see each other every day.”
“I mean… just the two of us.”
“You have a girlfriend, Undie Boss.”
“She’s not my girlfriend, Ginko.”
Lisa snorted. “Sure.” A pause. “Peace Diner?”
“Will you buy me a shake?”
“…Fine. But only because the world’s ending.”
~ / . / . / ~
Eikichi coughed violently. She glanced up, frowning.
“What are you doing?” he managed to ask, coughing a few more times before catching his breath.
“What do you mean?”
“Hello? You’re dipping your fries in your shake.”
“What, you don’t do this?”
“Aiyah! You’re missing out!” She reached over the table to pry open the lid to his milkshake. He eyed her dubiously.
“Is it that good?”
“Yes! Come on, Undie Boss! Just try it!”
Hesitantly, he picked up a fry and dipped it in his milkshake. Lisa watched intently as he ate it, laughing delightfully when his eyes widened.
“Oh my god,” he breathed.
“You see? I’m always right.” She popped a fry in her mouth. “Lisa Silverman is the best in the world, and don’t you forget it!”
“What a perfect food for such a perfect mind as mine! I can’t believe I never thought of this before—”
She barely resisted the urge to summon Venus and douse him in water from head to toe, settling for simply socking him in the arm.
~ / . / . / ~
Eikichi’s three friends that were turned into Shadowmen were no longer in the prison. If he noticed (he must have), he didn’t say anything.
“Let me grab my bass. I’ll be right back.” Without waiting for her response, he climbed up the stairs leading onto the stage and ducked into the wings. A few seconds later, he reemerged with his bass strapped across his shoulder.
“…How successful was Gas Chamber?” she asked in a rush of morbid curiosity, shoving a fry in her mouth afterwards.
“Not successful enough,” he immediately responded, tuning his bass. The notes he played seemed to make the earth tremble. “My dad never recognized us. So it wasn’t good enough.”
Lisa felt a pang of sympathy pierce her heart. Sure, she defied her dad all the time, but that didn’t mean she didn’t want his approval. Who didn’t want their parents’ approval?
As Eikichi began to play the semi-familiar notes of his band’s songs, she was struck with how out of place she felt. Someone else deserved to be with Eikichi in his final moments, someone who understood him better than she ever could. Why had he asked to be with her, of all people, when he had—
“Aren’t you going to go visit Hanakouji-san?” Lisa finally blurted out. Eikichi stopped plucking out notes on his bass and stared up at her.
“…What,” he said blankly.
“I mean, the world’s ending. Why… why spend time with me when you have someone you like?”
“It’s not like I don’t like Miyabi. I mean, I guess I don’t. Not in the way you guys think we like each other, at least. Even rock stars are allowed to have people that are just friends.”
“I know that, but… are you sure? I mean, you guys met for the first time in… eight years? Don’t you want to catch up with her? Maybe reaffirm your feelings of ‘just friendship’ or start something else?”
“I haven’t seen you in ten years,” he rebutted. “Miyabi… it’s not that I don’t want to see her. I was worried about you, Ginko.”
She almost dropped her fries, staring at him in confusion. “Me? Why?”
“I… you know, your parents and stuff. You don’t have anyone other than them and so, you know…”
“Yeah,” she sighed. She supposed Eikichi really did know her better than she thought he did.
“And besides,” he continued, a sly smirk that she decidedly didn’t like plastered on his face, “isn’t Mommy supposed to be taking care of her baby?”
Her jaw dropped open. “You—“ she began, ready to pitch her last fry at him, but he’d already climbed up the stairs and disappeared into the wings, laughing to himself.
He was unbelievable. Completely unbelievable.
~ / . / . / ~
They’d stopped by the convenience store in Kounan’s Seaside Alley to pick up a few things; mainly, it was for Eikichi. He wouldn’t stop complaining about hunger (it was close to eleven), and so made them stop by a convenience store for a midnight snack. Currently, the basket was filled with two bags of sea salt potato chips and two bottles of tea, one green and one oolong.
To tell the truth, she wasn’t surprised that Eikichi knew her better than he let on. He had begun to feel like a real childhood friend, not a piece of her traumatic childhood she had just remembered and reunited with. He wasn’t just something, he was someone now; he always had been someone. He had always been someone better than her. He really should’ve chosen to leave her.
“Ginko? You okay?”
She started, glancing in his direction. He was staring at her, frowning.
“You were staring off into space real hard.”
“I’m okay,” she reassured, her heart warming. Even though she knew he cared about her (not like that—yet?), it still warmed her heart to hear it directly from his mouth. Even if he tried to maintain their rivalry in more ways than one.
“No nail polish?” he questioned, looking into the basket.
“Don’t need it. Your nails are fine as they are, and I don’t want to paint mine.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment,” he stated smugly. She rolled her eyes.
“Yeah, whatever, Undie Boss.” Her gaze drifted toward the watch in his hand, confusion swamping her. “Do you really need that?” Lisa asked, staring at it. Eikichi shrugged.
“Why not have a constant timer counting down to the end of the world, right?”
“Right…” she mumbled, unconvinced. He dropped it into the basket.
“I’ll pay for it if you don’t want to.”
“Wei, Undie Boss? You literally can’t. You have ten yen on you right now. I’ll pay. If you want to pay me back, let me do your makeup.”
He frowned, and then sighed. “Fine. Why my makeup though?”
“Hey, if the world’s going to end, might as well end it with perfect eyeliner!” Lisa said, and Eikichi burst out in laughter. Someone people standing by shot them weird looks, but neither of them did anything.
The world was ending! Who cared anymore?
~ / . / . / ~
“Fan ah! Hold still, Undie Boss! I’m almost done!”
“I’m trying! I’m just… I’m just not used to someone else doing my eyeliner!” Still, he tried his best not to move. Lisa pressed the pencil down against his eyelid and drew a confident line along his right eyelid. She leaned back, admiring her handiwork.
“Aiyah. If you didn’t imitate that stupid visual kei stuff, you would look really good in makeup.”
Eikichi shrugged, blinking open his eyes. Lisa handed him her compact, and he looked himself over as she stared at him. It felt strange to see him in an all-natural look. “Hm. I guess so.”
Lisa placed the eyeliner pencil back in the grocery bag and laid down in the sand, staring up at the sky. “Why did you start wearing makeup anyways? Not that I’m going to tell you to stop or anything.”
“I know you wouldn’t.” He leaned back on his hands and seemed content there, until Lisa reached out and pulled him to lay down next to her. “My shirt’s going to get dirty.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Lisa pointed out.
“…I guess so,” Eikichi said, and then leaned back. He followed her gaze, staring up at the sky. “I don’t know. I wanted to tell my dad to suck it, but in a less obvious way. Otherwise, he’d beat the crap out of me. So I just started doing it outside of the house.”
“Yeah,” Lisa whispered. “I know what you mean.”
“Nah. You’re way more badass then you give yourself credit, Ginko. You yelled in your dad’s face. Me? I could never do that. I’m way too much of a scaredy-cat.”
“Hey,” she scolded gently, pinching the thing closest to her—his arm, as it turned out. He squawked, and she continued, “don’t talk about yourself like that. And besides, I only did that because everyone else was there and my dad was going to chew me out. I wasn’t about to make you all watch me get yelled at.”
“Still, you did it, unlike me. I had to hide and force Tatsuya to talk me out of the situation.”
Lisa stared down at their legs, where the waves stopped just short of Eikichi’s shoes. “That still doesn’t mean you’re a scaredy-cat.” Some part of her heart hurt, hearing him say such self-deprecating things.
“Yeah, it does.”
“Undie Boss, I swear—” She cut herself off with a yelp as a particularly large wave came crashing towards them, scrambling to her feet. “Venus!”
Her Persona appeared, pushing back the waves. Eikichi, still seated and completely untouched by the waves, laughed as Venus turned to look at her unamusingly.
Silly girl. You called me here for such a trivial matter?
“My safety is important!” she retorted.
Being doused in water does not equate to a safety violation.
“Exactly what I was thinking!” Eikichi called, sitting up. Lisa whirled around to point at him.
“Shut up, Undie Boss!”
Eikichi’s only response was summoning Hades and sending a Malaques spell her way. She yelped.
What followed was, simply put, a water fight. Sometimes it was a Malaques spell, and sometimes it meant scooping up water from the ocean and throwing it at him as she tried to avoid being pushed into the hungry waves by him. Venus didn’t seem too fond of the idea, but relented. The world was ending. What else could she do?
“That was the best over-glorified water fight I’ve ever had,” Eikichi said after they’d gotten their Personas to drain the water from their clothes and sent them back to their dwelling place. Lisa sat down on the sand, laughing.
“Our Personas totally hate us now.”
“Oh, for sure.” Eikichi glanced at the cheap store watch he’d bought. “We’ve got half an hour. We should get going. It’ll take twenty minutes to get the place I want to go to next.”
“Where’s that?” Lisa asked.
“Where it all started.” He gave her a bittersweet smile and offered his hand. Her heart skipped a beat. “You coming with me?”
When she clasped his hand with hers and didn’t let go, even after she stood up, that was more than an answer.
~ / . / . / ~
“It’s been a while,” Eikichi murmured, resting his elbows on his knees.
“I haven’t been in so long,” Lisa said. “Aside from when we went with Tatsuya.” She didn’t dare to keep talking. Eikichi was not as scared as she was.
“It seems so strange,” he murmured. “We hung our masks up and everything… I guess it just doesn’t feel right to be here without them on.”
“Should we go in?” she asked. Eikichi shook his head.
“No. Here’s fine.” Saying that, he sat down on the steps to the shrine. After a moment of silence, she sat down beside him. Being near him seemed to make her heart thunder in a way that, to tell the truth, Tatsuya was also able to do.
Yet, being with Eikichi felt different in an indescribable, inexplicable, and wonderful way. Every time she approached Tatsuya, it felt like she was sweating bullets. She had always known that her love would be unrequited, but continued to press. Eikichi made her feel understood, made her feel like she really, truly belonged in the world.
She wondered when she’d fallen in love with Eikichi, of all people.
She checked her phone. 11:52 PM. They had eight minutes to make something happen.
He’d called her Lisa.
She screwed her confidence to its sticking place and rested her head against his shoulder. She felt him freeze up.
“Before you ask,” she murmured, “I don’t know when. It just happened.”
“Oh,” he said. He didn’t push her away, which she took as a good sign. “I… honestly, I don’t know when either.”
“Oh,” she repeated. Her heart beat loudly in her ears. He turned his head slightly to look at her, and she felt her skin tingle as he stared at her.
“Do you regret anything?”
“Fan ah, chinyan. That’s a loaded question coming from you. Did you actually think?”
“Rude.” He pinched her arm, and she slapped his knee.
“I guess I do. I wish I had learned how to speak English… I wish I had remembered that summer quicker. I wish we hadn’t…” she trailed off. The silence of the shrine around them finished her thought.
“I know,” he murmured, taking her hand. “Me too.” His fingers laced between hers, and his rings felt cool against her skin. “I definitely regret a lot.”
“Like, you know… being a rock star. Maybe we should’ve debuted before everything happened. Living for the sake of living, and not for someone else. Both of us lived out of guilt of what we did, whether we knew it or not.” He smiled, a bitter expression on his face. “And maybe I should’ve liked sushi more.”
That elicited a laugh from her. He grinned down at her, a genuine affection in his eyes.
A silence fell between, content yet unfulfilled. He ran his thumb over hers soothingly, humming softly under his breath. She stared up at him, taking in his profile and every thought about him that came with it. God, they really were two peas in a pod.
“Michel,” she stated, “if I find you in the afterlife, I’m going to beat you up.”
“Well, you’d better hope I don’t become the actual manifestation of Hades then.”
Some semblance of a laugh bubbled up from the part of her mind that was usually resolved for arguing with Venus. “Venus thinks you’re funny.”
“Hades says thanks.”
Their phones buzzed. Lisa pulled hers out.
Kurosu Jun created New Group
Kurosu Jun [11:59 PM]: i could not have asked for better companions. thank you all
“He always was a sentimental one.”
Lisa sighed. “It makes sense.”
“I suppose.” He pulled his hand away from hers gently and looked at his watch. “Thirty more seconds,” Eikichi murmured.
Lisa hummed in acknowledgement and wrapped her arms around his waist. He let out a soft sigh and hugged her back, resting his chin on the top of her head.
“…I can’t believe you,” he said, and then quickly amended, “I can’t believe us.”
“We’re messes,” she agreed softly. “When I said I wanted to be with my childhood sweetheart, I didn’t think of it this way.”
He ran a hand along her back. His watch beeped. “Fifteen more seconds.”
Perhaps it was just her imagination, but she could already feel the world rumbling beneath her feet. She pulled away from him slightly, keeping her hands on his waist as she looked him in the eyes.
“Michel,” she finally said.
“Lisa.” He smiled. It felt weird to hear him say her actual name. She smiled back.
Nine, eight, seven.
“I’m sorry for never realizing,” she whispered. Her heartbeat rumbled in her ears.
Six five four
and then she was closing her eyes and leaning in because he was too and nothing in the world existed but them and
three two one