Me: Good evening. I'm back with another multi-chapter and I'm uncertain if this one will have pairings or not. This one is more mere fan speculation between two characters that have a mirror image…. Please, enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 or most of the characters within this story as they belong to Atlus. By the way, thank you Atlus for bringing Shin Megami Tensei to North American shores.
Veluti In Speculum
Chapter One: Distortion
"How is Naoto?"
"She is still taken ill sir, but the fever is breaking."
"That's good. Continue caring for her, Yakushiji."
"Yes, sir, and please take care of yourself in America as well."
The phone clicked and Yakushiji set it down on the receiver, stepping back. The estate was quiet save for his footsteps down the hallways and up the stairs where he carried a tray of hot soup up to one of the rooms. Carefully balancing the tray with one hand, he knocked on the door. Of course, he was only answered with coughs, but that was enough to tell him the young girl was awake.
He opened the door slowly, smiling, and paced over to the bed, "Shirogane-sama, I have soup for you. Try to eat it all tonight while it's still warm."
"Thank you, Yakushiji-san."
Naoto sat up slowly in her bundle of comforters and blankets, her charcoal-blue eyes somewhat dulled by fatigue as she stared at the tray placed before her. He remained while she ate, taking her medicine and finishing only a quarter of her soup, but really, though he asked, he didn't expect anymore. She set the spoon down, looking frustrated with herself, "Forgive me, Yakushiji-san…"
"No, it's alright. Just get some rest, Shirogane-sama…" he replied, gathering up the tray and setting it on the side table. He drew her bed sheets up to her shoulders as she closed her eyes, a few more coughs escaping her.
Yakushiji walked out quietly, closing the door behind him.
Somewhere in the recess of Naoto's mind, she wished that she was better. She almost wanted to say she was being plagued by the same dream as she continued to sleep off her fever, but no. It happened before, most prominently about two years ago.
Everything else, she didn't know; she didn't understand or comprehend the message or who this person was. Truly, she wanted to know who it was and why they dare disturb her, but then again, was her mind trying to tell her something.
No, it wasn't her mind. She had recently been saved from the Midnight Channel by a group of kids from Yasogami High and been this way ever since she had gained her persona. Fever, dreams, persona; it had to be linked. There had to be a reason why these dreams were returning after she forgot.
It was happening again, vivid, more tangible almost to the point she could touch the mirror's surface. She almost thought she fall through to this person if she tried, but in her dire need to approach, the glass always fractured and fell away before she had the chance.
"Who… are you?"
"You can't remember?"
"You act like you know me, but you're not my shadow. It's gone."
"Of course I'm not and truth be told, we barely know each other."
"Tell me how I know you."
"You have to figure it out…"
The image breaks again and turns into dust. It's about now she usually awakens, but she doesn't. Instead, she noticed the glass fragments have gathered on the floor in the form of a blue butterfly. Unfortunately, it didn't move and its wings were limp against its tiny body. She knelt down and scooped it into her hand, frowning and stroked it delicately with a finger. She never feared insects; there was never a reason too, but she's shocked when, as she's petting it, it grows in her hand, regaining its life and transforms somehow into Sukuna-Hikona.
Her eyes opened immediately and she turned her head, staring at her digital alarm clock. It's 4:03 AM, October 6th and, strangely enough, she feels perfectly fine now like she was never ill. She shakes her head, pushing the covers off her body. Its best she doesn't go back to sleep since school is in a few hours anyway, but as she walked across the room, she paused before the mirror hanging over her dresser.
She had to double take, thinking at first that boy was staring back at her again, but it's just her reflection. Strange and how… what did the butterfly mean? What did any of it mean? Should she ask Yakushiji about it? Her grandfather wasn't going to be back for a few weeks and with her schedule now…
Mechanically, her hands gather her clothing, but she doesn't dress yet. Instead, she strides over to her desk, setting the folded pile down, and flicked the lamp on. A profile image always helped for missing persons, but this would serve as a reminder instead of just relying on reflections and dreams. Write it down, instead of keeping it jumbled in her head to resurface at the worse time.
"So… who's this?"
Chie asked the question. Naoto's sitting with the others after school several days later. They accepted her help to solve the Midnight Channel murders, but still, showing them this picture was a little personal.
She sighed, "I wish I had a clue."
"So… you drew a picture of someone you don't know…" Rise said, staring at the picture. She giggled, "He's… kinda cute. Awe, is it your ideal boyfriend, Naoto-kun?"
"W-What? No!" Naoto exclaimed, but her face is burning. She closes her eyes and coughs, "Let me explain this more… After you saved me from the TV world, I was stricken with a fever and confined to my room until I recovered. While in that state, I was having a continuous dream and this boy was in it."
"… Can you tell us what happened in your dream exactly?" Souji asked, looking at the picture again. She wrote notes next to the picture as well: Nameless male, age unknown, hair: blue, eyes: charcoal/light grey…
He looked up as Naoto nodded, "Alright, but promise me none of you will laugh."
"Why would we laugh?" Yosuke pondered out loud, but no one answered.
She bows her head, "Right, ridiculous I even think that might happen… In my dream, I'm standing before a mirror, but reflected on the surface and staring back from the glass isn't myself. We share everything; hair color, eye color, skin, but the key differences are gender and height. Last night, I 'spoke' to him and the glass broke, as expected; however, this time, the particles turned into a butterfly."
"A butterfly?" Teddie pressed.
Naoto nodded in affirmation, "Yes and after I picked it up, it became Sukuna-Hikona…"
No one said a word, just staring at the detective. She sighed softly, "I know. Forgive me, it was foolish of me to bring any of this up, but I need to find out who this is and why I keep thinking about him."
"Hey, it's okay. We're all buds now so we can help, right senpai?" Kanji looked over at Souji who just nodded firmly.
"Of course we can, just no going in over your head like with the TV murders," Souji said with a firm tone behind his voice.
Naoto smiled, "Thank you, everyone…"
"Hmm… I don't know why, but this boy…" Rise muttered, picking up the picture, staring at it, "I've seen him somewhere before. Maybe I could get my manager to look it up. Oh! Make some copies of this picture!"
"If it were that easy, Rise," Naoto murmured, "I don't want to publicize this hunt until I know this person is or if he is real. If I'm just thinking about him because of my persona… my name will be tarnished."
"Ah… good point," Yukiko said. She placed her hand under her chin, thinking, "Hmm… maybe someone post it anonymously somewhere and hope for a reply?"
"Like on the internet? I could do that," Yosuke said, "But we should ask around too. I don't think anyone in town would recognize him, but out-of-towners maybe?"
"It's worth a shot in the dark," Souji said, "Until you can find out more though, I'm afraid so far this boy is an illusion."
"That's what I'm afraid of… I'll make a copy Yosuke-senpai and give it to you tomorrow," Naoto said, rising to her feet, "And call me if anything comes up."
"Of course, or we'll send the lap dog to get you," Chie said, grinning and jerking her thumb over at Kanji.
He nodded, "Right, if someth… w-wait a minute! Chie-senpai!"
"Ahaha! A little slow on the uptake," Yosuke chuckled, but shut up when Kanji shot a glare over at him.
Yakushiji blinked as Naoto stepped out of her grandfather's study with a paper in hand, disappearing up the stairs a moment later. Really, that girl was really active now since her fever was gone, but keeping this up would make her sick again.
He sighed and strolled over to Elder Shirogane's study, noticing that the door was still slightly ajar and the printer in his room whirred like it was just used. He pushed the door open and stepped in. Walking over to the computer, he was about to turn the printer off, but something was sticking out of the scanner caught his eye. Turning, he reached over and lifted the lid up. A stray paper floated out of it after statically clinging to the top.
His eyes widened. It couldn't be…
Kneeling down, he picked the paper up, staring at the image looking back at him, "But how can…?"
Yakushiji whirled around, looking at Naoto standing in the doorway. She stared, but then nodded, "Ah, you found my paper. I thought I left it here…"
"Shirogane-sama, who is this?" he questioned.
She shook her head, "I'm afraid I have no idea, but I'm going to figure that out somehow."
"…. Does your Grandfather know?" he asked after a moment's pause.
She raised an eyebrow, "Not at the moment. Is there a problem?"
"N-Not at all, Shirogane-sama."
Naoto walked over and he gave the paper to her, watching as she retreated out of the room with it in hold. After making sure she was really gone, he picked up the phone in the study, dialing quickly.
"… What is this about Yakushiji?"
"A-Ah, sir! How did you know it was me?"
"I've only given this number to you and Naoto. Is this an emergency?"
"Sir, she has recently used your scanner and the picture was…"
"Was of whom may I ask?"
"It was… Him, sir."
"… How did she find out about Him? There's no possible way that she could've found out. It's been years since that…"
"W-What should I do, sir?"
"This is something I don't want her to solve. Yakushiji, do whatever you can to keep her from finding out the truth. Lock the attic, get the pictures she has, tear or burn any leads she has on this…"
"Will we ever tell her?"
"It's still being held above our heads. Until it's cleared, she can never find out."
"Understood… Goodbye sir."
Yakushiji hung up and turned, walking out of the room. It was almost 10 'o clock. Without any leads, Naoto should already be in bed. He would have to sneak in and take what she already had. How to do this though… she was a light sleeper… No, there was a way to get passed without awakening her.
"Please forgive me, Shirogane-sama, but at your grandfather's orders…"
He swallowed and stopped before Naoto's bedroom door. It had to be done… to dig up this would be worse than stopping it even if she was this determined. Hopefully, she had nothing more than that picture. He wouldn't feel so bad for having to do this.
As quietly as possible, Yakushiji turned the doorknob.
Me: Hello, I'm back again and this time with Veluti In Speculum or in English, 'As In a Mirror'. Updates will be slow for this story due to Senior Project and a few other things concerning school. Oh well, please review if you wish for this story to continue.