Note: Sorry about the missed update. Y'know how work makes you tired and junk? That's pretty much what happened. I didn't want to do anything. So, as a bonus, have a super long chapter to make up for it. I know myself well enough. One missed update is a slippery slope for this never getting done. If I miss anything with the HP world, let me know. I'm going through what I remember of the books, movies and the wiki.
The ritual should have failed. The scrolls found in Egypt were supposed to be just ancient myths. Just silly cult worship. Snape knew he was smarter than most so when Voldemort starting going on this world being the second, he was skeptical. What proof did he have? He leaned on the wall as he watched Molly tend to the two boys with a thoughtful frown. Their presence was bothering him. Maybe the myths were true.
The Fall, the so called replacement world they lived in, and the deities had to exist. The urge to rub his temples in frustration was strong. That summoning circle worked and brought forth the two children he saved. The other - Nyarlathotep - required extensive thought. Whenever he tried to contemplate whatever it was, an animal like fear washed over him. There were more important things at hand. For one, why did the circle send children?
Their appearance had turned the bindings to ash and sent pulses of magic strong enough to knock most off their feet. He could still feel traces of it sticking on his skin as if the spell was just cast. Even with the preparations done to keep it secret, surges that strong would get Aurors on the ground. That included whatever turned the world green and bloody with coffins lining the streets. No doubt the incident would be in Prophet tomorrow.
"The poor dears. They look like they haven't eaten in ages." Molly washed the blood off Makoto's face with a motherly touch. "Where did you find them Severus?"
Snape focused his attention on the Weasely matron and put his thoughts aside for the moment. He pushed off the wall and walked to the bed where the two slept. Now that it wasn't dark, he could get a better look at them. They seemed to be of Asian descent and similar looking in appearance. It made him wonder if they were related. Brothers or cousins if he had to guess. Both were pale though the child was unnaturally so.
As if he never saw the sun in his entire life. Molly was making worried noises that tapered off as the child stirred. He rolled onto his side and latched onto the teenager, a hand resting on the other's chest. What did Voldemort unleash upon the world? Moreover, what did he get himself into? Motioning to the door, he led Molly out so the two could rest. Dumbledore needed to know what they were dealing with.
He waited until the footsteps receded before opening his eyes. Looking around the dusty room, Ryoji figured it was one of the bedrooms of the palace. It didn't look very palace like. He expected something more fancy and flashy. It was more like an old musty room in a house. He couldn't remember much after the whole swirly trip except that they were in a city. Ryoji pulled the blanket draped over him along as he struggled to sit up.
His ribs protested at the moment but it was minor pain until he restored some mana. Back hitting the headboard, he wrapped himself in the blanket and went over his thoughts. Their savoir brought a woman that spouted weird words and made a fuss at their condition. Her confusion when something didn't work on him, her horrified gasps at his Messiah's visage and gentle touches to get them into fresh clothes. The woman's tone had been as motherly as her touches. A huff of laughter left him as he pushed up the sleeves of the sweater she put on him. It hung more like a dress and he kept having to push up the sleeves, but it would do.
Pajamas were replaceable. The good thing was they escaped and were alive. As soon as he let the thought take hold, a dam broke inside him. Ryoji curled into a ball and buried his face into his knees. Hysterical giggles trickled out that gave way to quiet sobs. The Dark Hour was back. They were supposed to be dead.
There was no guaranteed happy ending. Not for the world or for them. It was a miracle Makoto pulled it off last time and what had been the result? He died and became a barrier to save the world. He managed to pull himself together once there were no more tears left to shed. That made him feel a little better. Ryoji sniffled and scrubbed his face, peering to see if Makoto looked any better.
The woman dressed him in a plain shirt and it was then he spied something unusual. A black smudge peeked out from under his collar. That was strange. Makoto didn't have any tattoos. He crawled over with a worried frown, pushing the shirt up to get a better look. Black butterflies splashed the right side of his chest, the rest hidden as they wound up his arm. Pushing up the sleeve, he found the butterflies circled around Makoto's arm and ended on the back of his hand.
Ryoji counted twenty-one in all and had no idea what it could mean. Maybe their savoir knew something about it? Was it the entity - Nyanna something - that did it to him?
'How fun, this is shaping up to be a terrible time and he didn't even stir. I'll just go find our scary savior and get some answers.'
He couldn't help but chide himself at his childlike thinking and blamed it on his body. In a sense, Ryoji Mochizuki and Pharos were different people and not at the same time. He tucked Makoto back under the covers before he got out of bed. He was, hopefully, in a safe place and needed information. Opening the door, his bare feet made little sound on the floor as he walked out. Dim empty hallways stretched out on either side and there was no one in sight. Ryoji sighed and picked a random direction to walk in. He hoped that he didn't get lost.
"That's impossible! The embodiment of chaos? Old Voldy could have just summoned a demon. You said the stuff was really old." Tonks leaned back in her chair with a huff. "Maybe they're not as extinct as we thought."
"I know what I saw. It called itself that and willingly offered to help. It said that it wanted to see the horror and chaos Voldemort could bring to the world."
A hush fell over the meeting as Snape's words were contemplated. What kind of creature offered such help? The sounds of bubbling pots and Molly shuffling around the kitchen filled the room. What if the Dark Lord controlled an entity like that? How could they fight chaos itself? Dumbledore steepled his fingers together with a soft hum, his wise gaze traveling over the occupants in the room. The line of thinking would bring them nowhere for the moment.
"What about the children you've rescued?" he asked.
"Frankly, I doubt they are even human. The circle brought them both first. The teenager has not awakened and if I had to infer, he seems to be a Muggle. He doesn't have any kind of magical signature. The child is a mystery. He has magic but its unlike anything I've witnessed."
Others stated their opinion, their voices easy to hear to a group of eavesdroppers assisted by a pair of Extendable Ears. The louder speakers came through so some of the conversation was lost but it was enough for the trio. The three clustered around the ear in silence to figure out what was going on. There was still some tension from a prior argument about Harry's trial but that could be talked about later. His arrival was a surprise in itself, especially after Harry told them what happened to him. Neither believed him until they looked out the living room window to see a green tinged sky with foreboding full moon looming above. There was no explanation for it and the Order meeting was their best bet on learning something.
"What is Snape talking about? I think the git finally went off his rocker." Ron muttered, making a face at talk of demons and the like.
"I dunno, that monster that tried to eat me looked bloody weird. It had a mask for a face and a whole bunch of hands." Harry added as he leaned closer to hear what was going on.
Hermione hushed them with an exasperated huff. Why couldn't they wait to talk about it later? "I can't hear! Wait, it sounded like someone came in."
They went silent as the adults feel quiet downstairs for a few seconds. The sudden explosion of raised voices filled with shock and disbelief had them pushing the ear away. People started to argue with one another and it took a while until Dumbledore regained control of the room again. Out of all the voices, they were sure they hear a little kid. Why would Voldemort resort to kidnapping a kid? The trio leaned in again once they were able to pick out the voices again.
"Aww, 'ello little one. Don't be scared, we're the good guys! You're a cute little bugger, aren'tcha?" Tonks said, making cooing noises.
"Doesn't look like around he's from around here." came from Arthur with a curious tone.
"Kinda small, ain't he? He's gotta be at least seven. Maybe eight? Oh, hey kid." Sirus added with a friendly tone.
"Sirius, he's adorable! I just wanna pinch his cheeks!" Tonks chimed in again.
"...I don't know who is the worst between the both of you." Lupin said with a sigh tinging his words.
Sirius let out a dramatic gasp. "What? I'm offended, Moony. I truly am. Don't go spreading rumors about me."
Ron and Harry were too busy laughing their heads off at the ensuring conversation between Tonks, Lupin and Sirius. They had to hold each other up as they tried to stifle their chuckles. Hermione turned to glare and shake her head at the two. They were so immature sometimes. How could they gather information when they were busy making jokes? She didn't expect for one of the stranger to be a young kid. With a sigh, she pulled the ear closer to hear Sirius spluttering over something she missed. The polite tones of a young boy's voice was surprising to say the least.
"Thank you for helping us, sir. You kept your word instead of letting that snake man kill us." the boy said.
"Voldemort getting angry and taking both of you away for information was enough pf a reason. I always keep my word, child." Snape replied in a curt tone.
There was a distinct pause before Sirius bemoaned he was going blind at Snape being kind to children. Hermione was prepared for an argument to start when Dumbledore's voice cut through to keep the peace.
"I am glad you are safe. We do have to ask you some things, but may I have your name first?"
The sounds of a chair being moved around and indistinct muttering took over before the boy spoke. She figured he took a seat by the way Tonks urged him to sit next to her. She was thinking along the lines of why was the boy had to be saved in the first place. Also, he wasn't alone from the way they were making it sound. Where was the other person he came with then? Listening with the ear, Hermione heard the boy make a curious noise.
"Please, call me Dumbledore or the Headmaster if you prefer. Do you not have a last name?"
"...Not in the nighttime and during the Dark Hour, no. Maybe Yuki if you want to be technical. Pharos is just fine, Dumbledore-sensei."
"A pleasure to meet you, Pharos. Let me introduce myself properly. I am Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts and leader of the Order of the Phoenix. Do you know why Voldermort would want you and your friend?"
Finally, they were getting to things they wanted to know! Hermione eagerly leaned in to listen when a sharp pop came from the ear instead. She frowned in disappointment and realized that the ear stopped working. It wasn't working that well to begin with, but it had held up well enough. Couldn't it have waited before cutting out at the important part? Fred and George were going to get an earful at their so called perfect product. She shared a look with her friends and knew what they would have to do. They would just talk to Pharos themselves.
It'd been a long time since he had felt anything. He was a barrier. It would be counterproductive if he could feel the wounds inflicted on him. So why was the first thing he felt was thought stopping pain? Maybe he should have felt something else. Anger, worry, irritation, relief, fear, frustration, even confusion was better than pain. All he could muster was a resigned acceptance.
He was the Great Seal and he was to bear Man's sins to save them from the Fall. No, he had been the Great Seal until something ripped him apart from the inside. He tried calling for his Persona and was not surprised to get any response. It wasn't supposed to be this way. It should have been him shielding humanity with Ryoji watching over him. Not shackled in his own mind -surprising enough since he was sure that he died- and struggling to free himself.
In a last ditch effort, he tried calling for his Persona to help him escape the malevolent darkness. A bright flash of light blinded his vision and he felt the pain start to recede. When his vision came back, the darkness was gone. He found himself standing in a gazebo made of marble and soft washes of ocean blue light. The strangest thing it was the only thing to exist there. Outside the gazebo, there was nothing but darkness.
"Well met, Makoto Yuki. I have been waiting for you. The one who created the Universe Arcana, the Wild Card and my Messiah."
Makoto turned at the baritone voice filling the space and found a man standing in the middle of the once empty gazebo. He stood with his hands clasped behind his back dressed in a white tailored suit with a black turtleneck. Long dark hair was pulled into a ponytail and Makoto found his eyes drawn to the familiar blue butterfly nestled on top of the man's head. What really took his attention was the eyeless mask. It covered the man's entire face and was bone white except for the sweep of a lavender butterfly wing on the left side. Makoto had no idea who the man was. There was no reason why he should feel like he was meeting a long forgotten partner or relative.
"Am I supposed to know who you are? I thought that only the residents of the Velvet Room knew that." he drawled out as his gaze wandered around the space.
He had the feeling he was being smiled at beneath the mask. The masked man tilted his head before extending a hand towards him. Makoto hesitated at the outstretched hand with wariness. The man did save him from the darkness and he couldn't shake the feeling of implicit trust he had in him. He closed the distance and took one his hands from his pockets to clasp the man's warm hand. A jolt of power traveled up his arm and through his entire body, taking his breath away. Makoto was sure the confusion was plain in his eyes.
Why did he feel like he was shaking hands with his Persona? That confusion grew when the masked man pulled him into a hug and he didn't mind it. He was adverse to being touched by others though he tolerated it with friends. Expect, he was sure that Ryoji was his only friend and the other had no concept of personal space. Why would he assume that he had more friends?
"Who are you?" he asked again, brushing the thought away in favor of gaining answers.
The masked man looked down at him, the butterfly leaving its perch to land on Makoto's head. It left a trail of sparkles in the air and he could feel the brush of gossamer wings tickling his forehead.
"I am Philemon, a dweller who lives in a rift between the sea of the Collective Unconsciousness." the man said politely.
It did not take long for Makoto to put the pieces together. He pulled away enough to stare the entity in the face. It was a fuzzy memory at best, but this was the one who unlocked his potential. The blue butterfly was the same that guided his dreams and followed him somehow out of his sight. No wonder he felt like he was surrounded by his Persona. Unbidden, a reserved smile crossed his features.
"I wondered why butterflies followed me around all the time. Does that mean you are a resident of the Velvet Room as well?"
Philemon gave a small shake of the head. "No, they are my servants. They have done a remarkable job assisting you in your Journey."
Releasing Makoto from the hug, he patted the teen gently on the head. The sudden joy the entity gave off shifted into a resigned sadness. Makoto found himself leaning into Philemon's side, hands back in his pockets as he waited for him to continue. The feeling of contentment between them was strange. The only other person to make him feel such a way was Ryoji. He wasn't sure what it said about him to be more comfortable with supernatural entities over humans.
"I am sorry, my Messiah. You did well to become mankind's barrier for the Fall. I cannot actively interfere but, I have to ask of your skills once more to save this world."
Makoto had a feeling that was always going to be case. The last time he helped the world did not end as well as he liked. Sighing, he closed his eyes and slouched forward in thought. He already died once. Maybe he could change his fate with a new enemy on the playing field. His new acquaintance would be a valuable ally as well. He opened his mouth to accept when Philemon continued to speak.
"In return for your help, I will grant you a wish at the end of this Journey. Outside forces other than myself are at play on this world's stage. The most I can do is guide you."
They shared a look and Makoto nodded, his decision still the same. He wouldn't let Nyarlathotep win and bring the Fall. He stepped away from Philemon with a little reluctance, watching as the man made a sweeping motion with his hand. Butterflies appeared in a cloud that slowly formed into a clipboard with a piece of paper attached. A butterfly topped pen floated next it in preparation of his signature. With a rueful look, he read over the contract. It was mostly the same except for an added line that made him curious.
'I will accept responsibility for my actions and not meddle with Fate's plan for the Chosen One other than to protect the souls of this world.'
The last part didn't make any sense to him. Chosen One, huh? Did that mean another Persona user or something else? He would figure out what the contract meant eventually. It worked that way last time. He signed it, the clipboard disappearing in a burst of sparkles and his mind felt clear for the first time. A rumbling came from outside and the darkness around them started to encroach upon the gazebo. The last thing that Makoto saw was Philemon's mask.
"We will meet again, my Messiah. Let luck be with you on this final Journey."
Note: Okay, I lied a little. The only P2 stuff in here is gonna be Nyarlathotep and Philemon and their whole bet thing. Maybe some references of what happened at the end of Innocent Sin. Nothing more major than that. Philemon is a mix of what little personality we get and my head canons about him. He would totally be super parental Makoto since, in my humble opinion, he's made one of bigger sacrifices in the Persona universe.
I might be thinking of making a forum for people to ask questions and other neat little things but only if people are open to that kind of things. Let me know in the reviews ~