A Persona 3 AU Fanfiction
By Chris D Henry
Summary: In the year 1999 the sealing of Death within Arisato Minato was the last option left in order to stop the coming of Nyx. However this action had unexpected side effects, that wouldn't be realised until two years later, when the soul of Death separates into a separate mortal body. In the Year 2009 Minato once again returns to Iwatodai where the events of that night 10 years ago once again start to affect his life. The real question however is; who is the white haired child who calls himself Pharos and why does he keep warning Minato about the difference between fate and destiny.
Author's Notes: This one came about by the question of what would have happened in Ryoji had been around since the start of P3 and if Pharos was something else. Why am I writing this? Simple there aren't any long story ideas which follow a Minato/Mitsuru romance atm (Fate Rewritten was still undecided I think at this time). Normally that wouldn't be enough but the ideas and the general plot wouldn't leave me alone. As such I'll ask you to stick with me, as to be honest I haven't written for the net for years and as such I'm without a beta. Also updates will be slow as I'm fixing this around work. But most of all I hope you enjoy and leave me some feedback (constructive criticism is welcome, flames aren't).
Disclaimer: The plot, characters and location of Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is copyright of Atlus Co. This piece of fan-fiction has been written for entertainment purposes and no infringement is intended. Wording of the contract was suggested by Darkforce222 (feedback can be wonderful).
31st of January 1999 – 23:54
"Evening," greeted Arisato Rieka as she climbed into the vehicle. "Thanks for picking me up. How's Minato-chan? He's not been too much of a nuisance has he?"
"Not at all. He's been asleep for most of the drive," her husband replied as he pulled the car away from the sideway and started to head back towards mainland Iwatodai. "What did you find out?"
"It's not good," she admitted as she changed her view from her six year old angel to her hands. "I met up with Takeba-Sempai and he was right to ask me to look into this. Whatever Kirijo Kouetsu is planning with those things has nothing to do with time manipulation."
"Any ideas on what this is really about?" Arisato Itsuto queried as he turned the car towards the Moonlight Bridge.
"To be honest? No. These creatures seem to be based around negative human emotions and they prey on our minds, leaving only a soulless husk in their prey's place. We shouldn't be studying them, we should be figuring out ways of destroying them."
There was an uneasy silence for a few moments as the situation sunk in. "I asked around to see what I could find out about the Kirijo Group's interests in the area and I pretty much walked into a brick wall. Kirijo Kouetsu practically paid for the whole redevelopment of Port Island, the school, the mall, the monorail station and most of the residential housing. It's been funded by Kirijo investment groups, built by Kirijo building firms and most of the large companies are Kirijo business enterprises. With that much investment into an area it's no wonder that the local authorities are willing of overlook a laboratory being built within a school."
"We may be getting in over our heads," Rieka admitted as she stared out of the side window.
"That may be true but we still have options," Itsuto stated. "Even though using them will come at a price."
"Hai. Although I'm reluctant to even consider it."
"Itsuto…" It took a few seconds of Rieka to even gather the resolve to make the next comment. "Things have gotten better. It least he's trying to make things right now."
"No… He made his… Oto-sama made his decision when he refused to accept you as the woman I was going to marry," he replied. "He said things I'd rather not repeat, and if he thinks that all he has to do is turn on the charm and Mochizuki Enterprises gets the heir it needs desperately he has another thing com..."
The clock struck midnight.
The Six-year-old in the back of the car woke up to see that two coffins had replaced his parents in the front seats. This barely registered moments before the car hit the central barrier with an almighty crash, leading to the vehicle being tipped onto its side while it slid further down the road.
Arisato Minato would never be able to sleep on a moving vehicle ever again.
31st of January 1999 – DH:09
She was out of options.
Her only mission was to destroy Shadows.
That included the being in front of her, Death the thirteenth Arcana Shadow, the one that was not meant to exist. Her target was weakened; its body incomplete as its power has separated into 12 other beings. Even so this foe was beyond her capacity to deal with. This admission was already a blow, she was the last Anti-Shadow weapon; a machine designed purely to destroy Shadows. If she could not accomplish this task then what was the reason for her creation? She needed to neutralise her foe somehow, otherwise the results would be catastrophic
There was another way.
She had noticed his unaltered presence just before combat had begun but had not really placed too much attention towards him. However he had offered a solution to her problem which could at best; stop the Shadow's agenda or at worst: delay the Shadow for a short time until a solution could be devised and initiated. The option was available, the results far more favourable to other outcomes, the path was clear.
INITIATING SEALING PROCEDURES
Death must have realised her intent as it started to move from its current location, whether to stop her or to evade she did not know. Fortunately it was too late as she was already moving at full capacity and slammed into the Shadow before it could react. Even though it struggled in her grip she already had enough momentum to get her target where she needed it. With a glow and a scream that promised retribution it was done, Death was sealed.
Mission accomplished... For now.
She once again turned her attention to the boy who now served as a seal for Death, running a quick diagnostic on the unmoving child. He had fallen unconscious, not a surprise, after all the sealing process would have been traumatic and it would be a basic human defence to shut down the mind to avoid the feedback from the nervous system. There were minor scuffs and a small cut from the car accident he had been involved in.
He had been lucky. When the Dark Hour had begun his parents had transmogrified and the cars electronics had deactivated (a fate she would have shared if she had not been designed to work in these conditions) however this had not stopped the momentum of the vehicle, and as such, with its natural sight inclination to veer left, had crashed into the central barrier. The child, because of his potential, had been able to brace himself for the impact.
His parents had not.
In one way this was fortunate. Child welfare standard operating procedure was to move child to a new location away from the scene of their parent's death. She did not understand the reasoning; it was not something they had included within the basic guidelines that was stored within her memory banks. Their reasoning was irrelevant, what mattered was that this practice would get this child away from Iwatodai and the twelve pieces of death that had escaped.
It was with that thought that the guilt hit home. That in itself was surprising; she was a machine, a weapon, and guilt would only impair her ability to operate at maximum capacity. However she did feel guilt for her actions to this small individual in front of her. She had sealed death within him, had made it so he could never truly live a normal life anymore. Would death corrupt him or would it slowly destroy his soul in order to escape? This was something she would have to monitor so she would be able to react accordingly.
WARNING: SYSTEM DAMAGE – OPERATION TIME SEVERELY LIMITED
The sealing had caused more damage than anticipated; she had only a small amount of time left.
HIGHEST PRIORITY: YOUNG HUMAN MALE, APPROXIMATELY SIX YEARS OLD IN THE YEAR ONE-THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND NINETY-NINE. COBALT HAIR, GREY EYES, LEAN BUILD (SUBJECT TO CHANGE FROM AGEING). STAY BY HIS SIDE, PROTECT AND MONITOR FOR...
SYSTEM CRITICAL: EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN INITIATED
Little did the Anti-Shadow weapon Aigis know that this unfinished command would one day allow her to ascend past her original parameters as a weapon of destruction.
It would allow her to live.
End of Prologue
Monday, 6th of April 2009 – 23:48
Although he didn't show it, Arisato Minato was nervous.
The Japanese public transport system was far better than those of other countries but even still there was always the chance that there could be delays.
Like the one he faced now.
It wasn't the chance of being late that worried him, after all he was only heading towards the dorm that his new school had assigned him to. As far as he knew no one was supposed to greet him on arrival, the directions were well detailed and he had his key already. What worried him was the fact that the train wouldn't reach the station by 12:00pm.
And if that happened he'd have to spend the Dark Hour within this small carriage.
That wasn't something that he'd look forward to. Although the hour itself seemed harmless there was always a sense of uneasiness that followed him into the hour where the moon turned yellow and water turned red. Most of the time he'd either sleep through it like nothing was happening or he'd pull out a book, and read the hour away with his latest interest. Even so, something always set him on edge, that there was some sort of hidden danger that he hadn't discovered yet but was waiting for the right moment to strike.
Granted Ryoji the idiot relished this time, after all it allowed the prankster to setup some of his most famous pranks without getting caught. A few times before he had once again moved to a different school, they had snuck out of their school dorms during the dark hour. Usually it was an attempt to keep the silver haired boy from causing trouble in the dorm, due to a feeling of sheer boredom, and typically it failed in this aspect as he'd just cause mayhem somewhere else, but at least it would allow him to sneak some reading material out of the library for his use during the hours he couldn't find sleep.
A few times during these strolls they ran into one of the few others that could function during the Dark Hour and to honest it was worrying. He could function normally during the Dark Hour, granted it was tiring and he always had a sense of foreboding and it seemed that Ryoji wasn't affected in the slightest. It was the state of the others which worried him; some were disorientated, some suffered memory loss, others became emotionally distressed and the rest had gone completely insane. He had always wondered why they were unaffected compared to others; he suspected that Ryoji was immune because of his circumstances. As for himself? Well maybe it had to do with the car crash 10 years ago, the event had traumatised him so much that he couldn't even remember what happened. Maybe that's why the Dark Hour didn't affect him, the trauma was nothing compared to what he had felt in the event that killed his parents.
Ryoji had another explanation.
"We're more attuned," he remembered the idiot telling him during one of his rare serious moments. "There is something behind it, something terrible that I can't remember. We're like this because we'll be involved in how this will end."
"Attention passengers. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by the delay. The next stop is Iwatodai."
A chill ran though him. He couldn't describe it, or put a finger on the emotion. All he knew was that something had clicked into place somehow,
Well whatever the reason it was a matter for future contemplation, now the most important thing was to get off the train before...
"Iwatodai," droned on the bored voice of the station announcer. "Iwatodai. This is the last train bound for Port Island. Please make sure you board in time for departure."
Feet hit solid concrete, at least now he wouldn't have to spend an hour trapped within a monorail carriage and just in time too it was about to hit...
"Huh?" He muttered as the world started to shift.
The Dark Hour had begun.
Arisato Minato sighed.
His mp3 player instantly went silent; losing its power source during the hidden hour, not a surprise really as it was a nuisance he had already contended with for years. He quickly considered removing his headphones before deciding it would be a wasted effort, after all if he still hadn't found the dorm by the time this was over he'd just put them back in again. Elevators, lifts, the arrival-departure board, lamps, all were no longer active, leaving a strange sense of quietness to the usually busy station. This added to the coffins which now replaced the people, the glowing yellow moon and the eerie green tint set this as the typical ordeal that he would have to put up with from time to time.
He sighed as he pulled out the directions he had been sent in his welcome package. The dorm wasn't too far away; he'd guess maybe a 20-30 minute walk under normal circumstances. It's a shame that this would be the first time he would be attempting this journey and it would be during the Dark Hour, which had an odd side effect of tiring you faster than the same activity would do in normal time. If he was lucky he'd make it to the dorm just as the Dark Hour ended, after all if someone was in the entryway it would be hard to explain if he suddenly popped into existence in the doorway.
He pulled out a small digital clock from the inside pocket of his school blazer. Unlike all the other electrical devices, this small clock still worked and could even keep time during the Dark Hour. It had been a present he'd received from Ryoji for his birthday a couple of years back, stating that the ability to check to see how much time remained could be useful.
42 minutes, plenty of time.
Oddly enough, even though he had only travelled at a fairly sedate pace, it only took Minato 38 minutes to reach the dorm.
The building seemed well maintained, on a moderately decent street and close to major transportation links that could get you around the city. So far so good. Some of the other dorms he'd stayed in from one time to another hadn't been anywhere near this good. Taking a chance he slowly opened the door and stepped into what seemed to be the communal lounge. As he removed his headphones finally he gave the room a quick browse. Once again everything seemed clean, well looked after and somewhat expensive for a standard school dorm; in fact looking over at the desk area to the left it could have been a hotel at some point.
"You're late." He turned back towards the desk, finally noticing that he wasn't alone. "I've been waiting a long time."
The child couldn't be any older than six, maybe seven at a stretch, although the white hair didn't really give any indication of age and the silver eyes showed a maturity that couldn't be possible. Add to the fact that the child looked positively bored to death, as if he had been waiting for a long time. That wasn't too worrying to be honest.
Not compared to feeling as if you're looking in a mirror.
Minato watched as the boy snapped his fingers, vanishing from his position behind the desk only to reappear right in front of him. This allowed the teenager to properly see the white shirt, trousers and jacket the child wore. "Now if you want to proceed, please sign your name there." A slight smile came onto the face of the child at Minato's wary gaze towards the red file which seemed to contain a contract and the feather quill pen that lay on the desk top. "It's a contract. Don't worry; all it says is that you will accept full responsibility for your actions. You know the usual stuff."
I chooseth mine fate of mine own free will.
He was barely able to hold the sigh that desperately tried to get out as he picked up the offered pen and signed the document, lightly blowing on the ink to avoid smudging before passing it to the boy for inspection.
"No one can avoid time. It delivers us all to the same end," The child stated as he closed the contract and moved into the Shadows. "You can't plug your ears and cover your eyes."
"And so it begins." The cobalt haired teenager slightly raised one eyebrow as the child slowly faded into the Shadows. "By the way, don't worry; it's not a real gun."
With that the child was gone.
There was barely enough time to contemplate the vanishing act before a new voice entered the scene. "Who's there?!"
Silver eyes turned from the Shadows where the child in white had vanished to the girl who had just entered the scene. He had to admit she was moderately attractive with her shoulder length brown hair and striking amber eyes, though the scowl did ruin the effect somewhat. She was also gifted by having a good athletic build and was only a few inches shorter than him. If he was to make a rough guess that they were the same age. Of course he'd never make a guess out loud, since it was always best to leave things like that and the following slap to idiots like Ryoji.
His guess was supported by the high school uniform she wore, although the pink cardigan couldn't be standard issue, he'd have to ask what the red armband was meant to signify, the skirt had to be on the borders of what was considered decent, oh and the thigh holster carrying a silver handgun probably wouldn't be a usual sight around the school grounds either.
"Don't worry; it's not a real gun."
Although the parting words of the child calmed his nerves somewhat, the fact that she looked like she was about to draw on him... Oh hell's teeth she was drawing on him.
"Takeba wait!" Both eyes turned towards the authoritative voice, their attention drawn to the stunning woman who had just come down the staircase.
And she was stunning. Crimson hair ran down to mid back and partially obscured her left eye. Something he did himself in fact. After all, the eyes were the windows to the soul, and he had found it easier to keep up his mask of indifference when you weren't being stared directly in both eyes. The crimson eye he could see however shone with intelligence and a sharp wit, obviously the sign of an academic. Sadly they also held a cold edge that matched her body language. This cold exterior had to serve as some sort of subconscious shield, holding others at arm's length in an effort to make sure no one got too close. She was also still wearing her school uniform, heck if you didn't count the high heel knee high boots it seemed to be within the guidelines, although she seemed to have forgone a blazer or jumper of any sort, which in this weather was brave. She also had the same red armband and wore a belt slung around her lower hip, which featured a similar silver handgun to the one Takeba was about to draw.
Although analysing the latest human to enter his life was a welcome distraction, these teenagers were waiting for something.
Music started to come from his headphones, the lights came back on. A genuine smile appeared on the redhead's face as the brunette breathed a sigh in relief.
The Dark Hour was over once again.
However the blue haired teen was even more worried; these two young women knew about the Dark Hour and could function within it without problems, add to that the fact they were armed with gun shaped objects didn't bode well.
"I didn't think you'd arrive so late," the redhead finally greeted. "My name is Kirijo Mitsuru. I'm one of the students who live in this dorm."
"Who's he?" The brunette asked as she nodded her head in his direction.
"He's a transfer student." Mitsuru explained. "It was a last minute decision to assign him here. He'll eventually be moved to a room in the boys' dorm."
There was a quick pause ask the brunette once again regarded the newcomer before asking, "Is it okay for him to be here?"
"I guess we'll see..." the crimson-eyed teen replied before she waved her hand to introduce the other female dorm mate. "This is Takeba Yukari. She'll be a junior this spring, just like you."
"Hey..." Amber eyes still eyed Minato with a mix of apprehension and embarrassment.
"Arisato Minato," Minato replied in greeting. "Care to tell me why you have a gun?"
"Huh? Um, well, it's sorta like a hobby..." Silver eyes shone with mirth as the brunette turned away to break eye contact. Obviously she was having trouble lying while looking him in the eyes. "Well, not a hobby, but..."
"You know how it is these days..." Fortunately the junior was saved by the other female in the room. "It's for self-defence. It's not a real gun of course."
Right. Fake guns issued for self-defence, in a well-maintained dorm, which was in a decent area, that hadn't been vandalised. You had to give the girl credit where it was due: She could lie flawlessly without an iota of guilt in her features, and her shields of her cold exterior helped. He quickly took a look at the armband once again, noticing the black lettering that wrote out S.E.E.S. He'd have a check, once he'd settled into the school, at the list of clubs and try and find out which teacher was the adviser. It would be best to avoid the nut job who allowed his or her students to carry fake guns around for self-defence.
After a few more moments of eye-lock where both participants tried to pick up any further info from body language, the redhead turned towards the clock. "It's getting late, so you should try
and get some rest. Your room is on the second floor, at the end of the hallway. Your things should already be there."
"Oh... I'll show you the way. Follow me."
He gave a quick nod to Mitsuru, bidding farewell before he followed the other girl up the staircase to the second floor. The conversation didn't really pickup until they arrived at the room he'd been assigned to. Mostly due to the fact that one was worried about slipping up again and the other was weary of the fact that his dorm mates could operate in the Dark Hour and carried fake guns.
"This is it... Pretty easy to remember, huh? Since it's right at the end of the hall." Yukari stated as she stood next to the last door on the right. "Oh yeah, make sure you don't lose your key, or you'll never hear the end of it... So, any questions?"
"What's that contract for?" the blue-haired teen asked as he slipped his key out of his blazer pocket. "Have a few students trashed their rooms in the past?"
"Contract?" It was quite clear that she had no idea what the hell he was talking about.
I chooseth mine fate of mine own free will.
Ok that left another problem he'd have to deal with at some point. Who was the child with white hair and familiar grey eyes, and what the hell was that contract he signed for? "Don't worry about it."
"Right... Can I ask you something?" She paused for a brief second before finishing her request. "On your way from the station was everything okay?"
"There was nothing out of the ordinary." Technically that wasn't a lie. He'd spend about 8 years of his life knowing of the Dark Hour, probably lived in it without knowing for longer. As such it was an ordinary experience for him.
"I see, never mind. It sounds like you're alright." He finally saw a genuine smile from the girl who had nearly drawn her weapon at him. "Well I better get going. I know you still have other questions, but let's save them for later, okay?" He nodded in agreement as she turned back towards the stairway. "Good night."
"Night." He turned back to the door, using the key from the welcome pack to let himself in.
The room wasn't bad, a tad on the small side maybe but he'd probably get an upgrade as a senior. He had to admit to being a bit surprised to find most of his electrical appliances already unpacked and set up ready for use, not a service usually offered by the education system. Granted Gekkoukan High was quite prestigious and the fees were quite expensive but his parents had already placed aside enough to cover his education within a trust fund he'd have full access to when he hit eighteen.
All in all though the room wasn't too bad. There was a sink, his small fridge that the movers had setup next to it, a desk situated against the window, the bed opposite the door, the TV on top the TV stand that had been placed the corner by the foot of the bed, and finally the wardrobes which most of his hung clothing had already been unpacked and placed within. On the bright side it meant that he'd have little to unpack, but it also meant that someone he didn't know had gone through his stuff and put it away.
Well that was something he could think about after a good night's sleep. Fatigue didn't help in situations like these, it was best to get a good night's sleep and then try and tackle it on the morrow.
As he changed into some appropriate sleeping garments he couldn't help the wry smile that had broken through his mask. He'd been back in Iwatodai for less than two hours and already there was so much to think about.
'It's good to be back home.'
Tuesday, 7th of April 2009 – 01:16
Cobalt eyes locked onto the moon as young heir contemplated. It would be starting soon, if his memory was right, and they would have less than a year to solve the problem before the promised day. If not then they were pretty much screwed. He already had a plan, a way to stop the formation of death and in doing so stop the Appraiser from calling the lady of night to this world. All that remained was for the ball to start rolling.
Even though he didn't know, everything was waiting for Nii-san.
"Good evening. Ryoji-San"
The being that had once been the 13th Arcana: Death offered a polite smile as he dipped his head in greetings to the white-haired woman in a velvet uniform. "Evening Elizabeth-San. What do I owe the honour?"
The elevator assistant smile before stating her business. "Arisato Minato arrived back in Iwatodai tonight. He signed the contract offered by Pharos just before the Dark Hour ended."
It had begun. "Was the contact altered as planned?"
"Indeed. Our young collaborator modified the contract before my master signed to secure his end of the bargain, and once he realises what has happened it will be too late for him to back out."
"Good that keeps it so he will still get the help he needs from the old codger without the interference." The heir moved over to where the scythe hung on the wall. "Did you bring them?"
"You should feel privileged. It's not often I do requests for other people." The woman passed over twelve blank tarot cards to the unusually somber young man in front of her. Who gave them an inquisitive glance before placing them on his desk. "You do know that even you pull this off, this isn't guaranteed to work? If all twelve cards are in the same place the pull on the essence of death within him may be too strong for your young friend to handle."
"I have faith in my brothers; I'd gladly gamble that they have the strength and resolve required. It's better than just letting the Appraiser become whole again, I already know what would happen. After all, before he saved me, I would have been the one to carry out those actions."
"I see that you are resolved to carry this through," the lift attendant simply stated. "There are other worries as well. There are those who wish for the end of the world. There is also my master who will not lightly take being made a fool of. He will use any opportunity to enact vengeance on those he believes have wronged him."
"That would include you this time, Elizabeth-San."
"Of that I am well aware. But I do this for his sake." Elizabeth admitted as she turned to look at the moon. "He has to learn to stop interfering so much. Events like the one he has planned only creates malice, and if he carries on, others, with less noble intentions, will destroy him in order to stop his meddling in times where it is needed. If he can't then it is best that I do so. He is my master and, as such, that would be my final duty to him. If the destruction of fate's representative was necessary, a new one would arise when the time is right."
"I admire your resolve. Without you none of this would have been possible."
"Nonsense. This is all down to him. His ability to change the winds of fate has set events as they are." She paused for a second as she turned back to face the other occupant of the room. "I have to admit, I'm surprised that a mortal of that power level could exist. No wonder my master fears him."
"No kidding. He gifted me with mortality, and this mortal shell, so I could escape my fate as a destroyer of worlds. Not only that but he also uses a piece of his own soul in order to create a separate entity within him that could serve as a responsive seal against the essence of death that still resides within him."
"It just leaves questions of what else he could achieve. Alas I must leave." The lift attendant turned back towards the velvet door that had materialised with her appearance. "My master will awaken soon. I can only be glad that he has taken on habits from the form he has assumed."
"Stay safe," the heir bid farewell as he once again turned towards the descending moon.
"One last question," Elizabeth spoke as she put her hand on the door handle. "There are those who believe that they can release the essence within him by terminating his life. What will you do about this threat?"
"Those who try will learn that even though I am no longer a destroyer of man, Thanatos is still a bringer of death."
"Very well. God luck." And with that she was gone.
Mochizuki Ryoji barely paid heed to his accomplice's departure as he moved over to his desk and picked the cards he had put there.
There was much to do. He needed to secure an evoker from the supplies that were intercepted in transit between the Kirijo Group and that online revenge organisation, make sure he was in place before the next full moon, and that he was enrolled in Gekkoukan before the end of the month. There would be interference from the old fossils but he would not be swayed in his actions.
This was for Nii-san.
End of Chapter One
1.00 – Completed with self checking for errors.
1.01 – Fixed Dark Hour error in Chapter one.
1.02 – Fixed times to 24 hour clock and not a mix-match of both styles.
1.03 – Changed the wording of the contract as suggested by Darkforce222. It's hard to admit but his simple elegant solution to the tampering of the original contract is far more elegant than mine.
1.04 – Moved version changes log to bottom of page.
1.05 – Competed version edited by Vocarin