Plot Summary: Ayane needs to realize the importance of coming to terms with her desires, her thoughts, as well as her feelings for her 'Senpai'. And a trip to the Midnight Channel may help her do just that…if it doesn't kill her first that is. Slight spoilers for game Sun Social Link. Ayane/Souji. Set between the Rise and Mitsuo arcs.

Author Note: I felt that there was a severe deficiency of Ayane-centric fics on this website so I intend to rectify that with this thing! Say what you will, but I found the shy girl in the music club to be quite charming, improbable blush and all. I also find that this pairing is very cute as well, even though no one else seems to. )_:

Oh, and how and why did Ayane get thrown into the TV? Don't worry, that gets explained real quickly.

"I've been keeping a lot of…unpleasant emotions buried inside. In fact, the real me can be pretty selfish."

-Ayane Matsunaga, Social Link 7-8, 2011

As the awful cacophony of metal smashing against the stage echoed through the deserted concert hall for what seemed like the ninth time that night, Ayane found herself wondering how this had all come about.

She was walking home a few hours…maybe more…ago after an uneventful band practice-.


That…that was right, it was the day Takeru came back, when she was supposed to play in that performance but had to give him his spot back. After she had finished cleaning up the band room she and Souji…well…after she had finished cleaning up, the two walked home and parted ways near the Central Shopping District.

It was then, on those darkened, empty streets, separated from the one that had always supported her, did sorrow fully overtake her. All those afternoons practicing by the river had gone to waste; the score, the notes, the pitches of her would-be solo still rung even now as the snapping of strings and splintering of wood pervaded over the hall. And she would never get to play, bring joy to an audience, make-make him smile.


She remembered nothing but pavement for the most part. Her head had been hung low, lower than it had ever been. Ayane had wanted to hold it high, look up to her bandmates and audience with pride. But she had failed, well not failed, that would require that she had tried, she hadn't, she had given up her chance to do even that. She would never get another one like that. The highschool freshman could see the years stretching all the way through graduation. An unremarkable three years, teeming with missed chances. And by March, Senpai would be…

That was when she bumped into someone. The person gave an angry yelp as the sound of liquid spilling tinged the dark silence. Ayane looked up to apologize, but choked as a strong hand griped her neck. Even shadowed, there was no mistaking the look of anger on the man's face. Had the hand not been around her throat, the girl would still be unable to speak, that horrible fury that was even present in the way the man breathed, put such fear into her heart that the apology froze in her throat. She remembered those chilling last few words before everything went black,

"Sorry kid, had a bad day."

Then there was static, a strange twisting, jagged tunnel of monochromatic nausea, and then this place.


She had woken in something that could've passed for a concert hall. It resembled what she had always thought opera houses should've looked like, well, what she had seen on television anyway. The whitewashed walls quietly shone like ivory, covered with posters for upcoming performances. The floor was carpeted black broken only by intricate eye-pleasing patterns that ran blissfully beyond her eyesight. There were even a few chandeliers, adorned with spotlights rather than candles, suspended from the ceiling.

As Ayane made her way around this strange structure, marveling at the decor, she came across a piece of paper that lay on the floor. Looking at it briefly, she was shocked to see it was one of the band schedules she had helped organize. Suddenly the whole place was littered with such notes, including attendance sheets, surveys, clean-up schedules. All the things she had helped write and organize because she couldn't-. And then whatever appeal the place had for the young girl dissipated as she felt something clutch her ankle.

It was a bit of a blur after that. She remembered screaming, kicking the thing away and running as fast as she could. It didn't help. Every dark corner or shadowed crevice she passed seemed to grow eyes and reach out to her. Wrathful scarlet orbs glaring from every shaded hall, purple-black fingers flailed wildly from the void. Some took shape, that of floating disembodied grins, sneering toxic clouds, dancing headed gloves, sinister warped instruments, and many more.

There was no use recalling how many doors she crashed through, how many flights of stairs she had ascended. To pause and think would've been fatal, she just had to get away, had to run. Such were Ayane's thoughts as she pushed open a heavy door and met…


That last door had opened to a large amphitheatre and in its centre stood the strangest girl she had ever seen. She was small, about her height in fact, with short black hair and odd golden eyes. What was strange about the girl was her attire. With her onyx suspender pants, black and white shirt and chalky white makeup, why, if it weren't for her two brightly rouged cheeks, she might've been a mime. Which is why Ayane didn't expect her to say anything when she asked,

"Who…who are you?"

Because answer the mime did, and it did so with….



Trembling, Ayane's hands moved to her mouth to suppress a yelp. Her vision moved across the room, taking it in. The seats were completely empty, which Ayane was strangely thankful for. She did her best to avoid looking back at the pale girl and scanned a set of beautiful instruments befitting a professional symphonic orchestra resting the stage. The lacquered wood and the shining metal of the string and wind instruments shone almost kindly to the shaking high schooler. She took the sight in, and despite all that had happened, found herself smiling.

Memories of those sweet melodies her band mates had performed, the ones she wished she could emulate, provided her fevered mind with much needed repose. Her eyes fell on a nearby trumpet and she remembered her Senpai. She never knew why he had chosen to sit next to her, as there were probably prettier and well, better sounding girls to be around. It was nice hearing him play. He started out a bit stiff, almost as unsure as she was. But over time, he began to play with more and more passion and though he wasn't very good, his enthusiasm was astounding. And he always seemed happy at the end of the day as they cleaned up after the other students.

She bit her lip slightly, willing herself out of this trance to look back where the stranger had been. A part of her hoped that mime would be gone when she did so. But she was there, now holding a flute in her gloved hands. Her intense golden gaze scrutinized the instrument, and from where she was, Ayane could barely make out something that resembled longing in it. The mime raised it to her mouth, licking her lips slightly as the flute inched closer to them, and then promptly broke it across her knee. It was sudden, so much so that Ayane forgot to scream. The powdered girl played with the broken pieces in her hand before forcefully throwing them to the ground. The gritting of crooked molars and the fevered beating of a nervous heart played in synch as the stranger grabbed a clarinet off of its stand.


Within minutes the room echoed with the breaking of wood and denting of metal, mingled clumsily with spite-drenched yells and curses.

Ayane hated herself for falling on her back as the other girl smashed the clarinet into a wall, she hated how she ran for cover as a chair sailed over her head, and she especially despised herself from not trying to stop the havoc.

In the end, she found herself kneeling by the base of the stage, her hands trying to block out the snapping strings and the denting of metal that made it seem as if the instruments were crying in agony as they were beaten beyond repair.

Conversely, the mime was enthusiastically swinging a cello down onto a tuba. When the former broke, the girl groaned in frustration before kicking the horn across the floor.

"Well," she said, not shouted, as she dusted off her hands. "I think I'm just about do-."

"Why?" a small voice piped from behind her.

Ayane could feel those golden orbs boring into her bowed head. "WHY WHAT?"

"Why are you doing this?" she whispered in reply.

"Tch, as if you don't know." The mime's voice hushed. "I guess you could say I thought that 'Maybe if all their instruments went missing, I'd get a chance. Then someone would hear ME for a change.'"

Her reply came off as something as a sneer to the young teen, as if she was mocking someone else's words. It sounded, familiar though.

"But you're wrecking everything…"

"I'VE GOT TO!" her gloved hands swung in frustration. "BECAUSE IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT'S A FLUTE OR A GOD DAMNED VIOLIN! AS LONG AS IT PLAYS I ALWAYS END UP BACKING DOWN!" she stomped her foot on a broken bow. "So they have to disappear. Or I won't be heard."

"To be heard…" Ayane could sympathize with that. Since middle school, she had had trouble with expressing herself. She was always so shy to talk with others and when others did speak with her, they found she had little to say and moved on. Her parents thought that joining the school band would help her do so. And though they didn't get her the flute she wanted, playing the trombone became her outlet for expression. Come to think of it, it was practically her only way.

"EXACTLY! How can I even get a note in when people like Takeru keep butting in!"

The high schooler bit her lip, why did she have a grudge with a member of her symphonic band? "That's…that's so…" And why, why was what she was saying seem…no, she didn't think anything like that. "…Selfish."


Trembling hands gripped the hidden metal object for strength as Ayane tried to defend herself. "I would never…I couldn't-."

"BUT IT'S WHAT YOU WANT, RIGHT?" angry balled fists uncurled and clasped together as if in prayer. Furious eyes melted into somber reflection. "To stand alone on that stage, all eyes on you, all ears to your music as you express your thoughts and feelings. After all…" at this, the livid girl's voice deepened, as if distorted. "How ELSE are you going to?"

There was no way this girl could know all this, Ayane had never told anyone about that fantasy, not even her parents, not even her Senpai. She shook her head then, trying to banish the realization that she had wished for such a thing. "No…please…"

"It's not just a matter of music. It's a matter of communication." Though the mime wasn't shouting, Ayane wished that she would. Because now her speech was perfectly audible, down to every last syllable. "You nod your head at whatever someone says, you never argue, and you never suggest. You're always afraid that you might offend someone, might make yourself look foolish if you even try to assert our opinions."

Ayane felt like her heart was being frozen. She gasped. "I, that's…" True…she wanted to say, she never did speak up, never tried to stand out, she was always conceding. She never really talked to people so much as agree with what they were saying.

"Deny it all you want Ayane Matsunaga. You never speak, you brownnose. Because deep in your heart, you know, that no one wants to listen to what you have to say."

Her mental admitting to her faults fell away at this. There were people who listened. She remembered that feeling of warmth enveloping her earlier that day, comforting her as she cried. "No, no, Souji-I mean Senpai, he listens, he helped me, he cheered me on, he even hu-."

"You think he did all those things because he cared?" By now, a strange dark smoke began gathering beneath the powdered girl's feet. "He just couldn't stand your whining. He just wanted to shut you up," her painted lips gave a sad smile. "Told you lies like that you could do it, that hard work could solve everything. Just wanted you to shut up, just like everyone else."

None of that was true, Ayane thought. He must've cared about her, he couldn't have been lying. Still, she sometimes thought that… "You can't know that! You shouldn't know any of this!"

"Oh, but I can, because I am yo-." She was cut off by a large creaking sound. "Oh my, the audience, MY AUDIENCE, it's here, it's here, it's here!" The mime clapped her hands a gave a small, happy jump. "The audience just for me!"

The blush usually on Ayane's cheeks paled as she turned to fact the opening door. Not now, she couldn't let anyone see her, hear this, it was too embarrassing! Not anyone, not even…

"Souji…" she nearly cried in joy and horror as the young trumpeter entered the theatre. Everything would be all right, he was here now, strong, sweet, kind Senpai. "What are you doing her-?"


All the happiness that was in that twisted voice had vanished, replaced once more with an intense rage.



"SHUT UP!" Ayane screamed, her hands plugging her ears. "DON'T TALK LIKE THAT TO SENPAI! STOP PUTTING WORDS IN MY MOUTH!" She was shouting, louder than she ever had before. But she didn't care that she would make a fool of herself. She just wanted her to shut up. She was desperate to not let Souhi know, how she really felt. "YOU DON'T KNOW WHO I AM, YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT HIM, HOW COULD YOU?"

Someone somewhere told her not to say it. Somehow, she knew what that person meant, but she would, she didn't see any other choice. She'd never admit to any of this, not here, not to him.


She was breathing hard now, her throat dry from yelling. The small girl raised her eyes to meet the mime's, as if daring her to shout at her Senpai anymore, only to be met by something that could've resembled sadness.

"To think that you should die so soon after finding your voice." The dark smoke had grown, filling the room, and engulfed the pale girl in her entirety. When the smoke subsided, Ayane gaped in horror as she saw that whatever had happened in the fog had changed the girl, and not for the better.

Her black and white clothing had extended to cover her whole body in a monochromatic jumpsuit, the stripes zigzagging in aggressive jagged patterns. Her short limbs had stretched with the fingers becoming spindly and crooked. Her lower half sickened her the most as it seemed to narrow and worm its way into a large, decayed looking orb like a genie, which Ayane realized was a giant rotten apple. And her face, the blush on her cheeks seemed raw and dark, running down her pale face as if it were bleeding, and her mouth was sown shut.

"I am a shadow." She said through her sewn lips. She grabbed a trombone, the sole instrument unmolested by her rampage, raised it to her lips and blew out a blast of sound that could've brought a building down. "THE TRUE SELF! And I'm going to give you a solo performance you'll never forget!"

Words failed Ayanee once more as she realized what she had done. And before her knees and her mind did as well, she whispered with the last of her strength. "I'm sorry Senpai."

When Ayane awoke, she did not open her eyes. She could still hear the something slowly walking across the stage, smell the lingering odors of spoiled cider and sweat, but she kept her eyes shut. "I'm so tired." Her breathing was faster now, as if desperate for oxygen. But feeling the cool metal in her hands eased it, though the nausea remained. "Maybe I'll wake up somewhere nice if I go back to sleep." Her mind would've retreated back to the peaceful, easy blackness of ignorance, if it weren't for her hearing a very loud and probably very painful slap.


And as if slapped herself, Ayane swiftly opened her eyes. She saw that girl, the one that had turned into that…thing, the one that said all those horrible things, the one who called herself her shadow, standing in front of Souji. There was a red welt on the right side of his face, a look of shock in his eyes. And with a raised hand, and a swift swipe later, the mime made his left match.


"No…" Ayane's thoughts rasped. "No…" they growled as she got to her feet. In a single act of violence against the only boy who had ever believed in her, the powdered lady had made all the previous horrors Ayane experienced, meaningless. The fact she lost her solo to Takeru didn't matter. Those black-oozing silhouettes that could be crawling towards her at that moment might as well have never existed. And that girl, she didn't care that she had smashed all those wonderful instruments to pieces, brought up all her dark thoughts and feelings, transformed into some monster, or that she was her shadow, whatever the hell that was. What mattered now was tha she was hurting Souji, her Senpai.

Her Shadow's golden eyes glared into silver ones as she made ready to hit him again.


Only to find her arm caught by a small but strong grip. She turned to yell at whoever was trying to stop her and found herself staring into the very determined and very angry face of Yasogami High School's Symphonic Band Manager.

"Stop hurting Souji-kun!" and with a growl, Ayane swung the trumpet she had kept hidden from the mime's destructive hands right into her powdered face.

The blow sent the Shadow crashing onto the ground. Surprisingly, she was still conscious, her eyes shining with surprise at what had happened.

Ayane breathing turned ragged again as she looked down at the awe-struck doppelganger. She took a moment to collect herself, before turning her attention to Souji.

She was puzzled, moreso than shocked, to see that he wasn't alone. "Kanji-san, Rise-san," she said to herself as she saw her infamous and famous classmates standing next to each other. "Chie-senpai, Yosuke-senpai, Yukiko-Senpai." They were less of a surprise, as she knew that the three of them were good frends of Souji's, but for some reason they were…armed. "The…the Junes mascot?"

"I have a name you know." The bear piped.

"I-I'm sorry, I forgot to ask." Ayane apologized, before catching herself. "Wait…why am I apologizing? If you really want customers to know your name you should wear a nametag!" she retorted.

"She's got you there." She thought she heard Yosuke laugh with just the faintest traces of pain laced in.

The bear jumped back in shock. "S-sensei…are you sure you got the real Shadow?"

"Shadow?" she asked puzzled, before remembering what that mime had called herself earlier. She turned to look down at the still dazed girl, with a quiet that fit her appearance. It wasn't until then that Ayane noticed how similar she and her were, and not just the hair, face and eyes. But in how they felt… It was almost as if they were sisters, twins, only much closer.

"It's funny, in the end it was me who didn't listen. It was me who wasn't paying attention, that probably hurt you didn't it?" She took a moment to survey the fractured orchestra before looking back at the Shadow. "You were right though. Sometimes when I felt no one would ever want to listen to my music, I'd think that the only way that could happen was if no one else was playing." She felt a bit sick, but she didn't know if it was from the confession or from all the excitement. "Which was why I was looking forward to that solo so much, I thought it was my big break. And when I gave it up, it just added to all these negative feelings that were rotting me from the inside." Though she felt like weeping, remembering those caring arms wrapping around her as she had cried, stopped her, encouraging her to proceed. "I don't want to be ignored. But if I don't want to be, it's clear that I can't just keep going with the flow. I've got to speak my mind, even if it means I might get hurt." Despite the growing dizziness she kept a firm stance, her eyes never leaving her Shadow's. "And if anyone gets offended, or don't agree, then that's that!" she said finally. "You can understand right, after all you're me, and I guess…that means I'm you, right?"

The Shadow smiled and nodded. A soft blue mist began to swirl about it, but Ayane felt no danger from it as she had the last time. A moment later, a translucent figure, that of a short powdered clown, garbed in baggy black-and-white, wearing a lopsided hat that covered the eyes of its ivory colored face but stopped short of its brightly rouged cheeks, with a trumpet in its right hand. It gave a small blow of its horn and vanished, leaving only a small glittering card in its place.

"…Pagliacci…" somehow, she knew what it was. It was something between a mask and a reflection to both brave and take refuge from the world.

That could've and should've been the end of it. The Shadow was at peace, she had gained the resolve needed to confront her problems, and she was terribly tired. But there was one last thing that she needed to say.

"Senpai…" she almost whispered, her legs wobbling all the while.

Out of everyone else, he looked the worst. His clothes looked like someone had taken a torch to them and there were more bruises on his body than all the rest. But despite that, there was no mistaking the concern in his reply. "Ayane, you're not well, we have to get you out of here."

The girl smiled, even now as tattered as he was, he was still looking out for her. "I'm sorry Senpai, but this needs to be said." she shook her head slightly. "Don't take this the wrong way, but everything she said was true. You've made me the angriest I've ever been in a long while. I'm positively furious at you." Her heart cried when she saw a hint of sadness tinge his eyes. "You know why?" she tilted her head in askance. "Because you made me realize that I wasn't giving it my all, that I could improve and be better than what I was." Souji's eyes widened, but surprise had removed the melancholy from them. "That I was underestimating myself. Hehe…so I worked harder, pushed my limits till it hurt and every time I felt like giving up, you'd find some way to cheer me on. So that's why I'm so mad at you, you just won't let me quit." She laughed that bright laugh of hers. "But in my heart, no matter what I sometimes told myself, I knew you weren't lying. I can improve, I can be better, and it's not okay to quit. That's the truth." She handed him the now dented trumpet. "This reminded me of you, so I couldn't let it end up like all the rest. It gave me strength, like you do. So while I am very angry at you Souji Seta, I'm also very grateful."

A faint blush appeared on her cheeks at mentioning his first name. "Don't get me wrong though. That doesn't mean I hate you or anything, I don't think I ever could. In fact I…" she hesitated, the room was spinning now, and she could barely see. Yet, how could she stop now? She had already told him so much. It would be a shame if she didn't tell him this one little thing. "I think…I think I might…"

Her knees finally buckled and the room fell away. She briefly feared as the darkness encroached her that she'd fall, but someone caught her in his arms, stopping her from hitting the ground.

A myriad of voices asked why this had happened, why the killer had attacked her when she wasn't even shown on TV, if she was going to be okay.

"She will…" she remembered hearing. "She's stronger than she looks."

And with a final smile to the owner of that voice, her fevered mind finally rested.

(Days Later)

Though the Samegawa flood plain was always lovely, no matter what time of day it was, no one could deny it was at its most beautiful during the sunset. Which was why Ayane was somewhat glad that she had taken so long in cleaning up the band room before coming here with Souji.

The summer sky was darkening in brilliant velvet orange and the dazzing water appeared to dance after the sinking sun. It was a sight that captivated the young man, he had never noticed such things when he had been living in the city and he gazed out at that drowsy star with the air of one who was starved for such sights. The girl on the other hand, couldn't take her eyes off of him.

Originally, she had planned to reveal to him her desire to be a more assertive person. But seeing as how she had technically done so in that other world, she felt that there wasn't much to say.

Ayane hadn't even told him where they were going, she just took his hand and led him here.

She rubbed the hand that did so, it still felt warm.

There was however, one last thing she never got to say, and it flustered her. To bare one's soul, only to leave such a tiny and important detail out was aggravating to say the least. If she had said it then, then at the very least she could've fallen unconscious before seeing his reaction.

No such luck though. Here would be a wonderful place to say it, say those three little words…

The small girl wasn't afraid to speak, she was sure of that. If he didn't like it, then that would be that. She was simply, nervous, unsure of how to go about it. This boy had done so much for her and she wanted to show how truly grateful she was.

She gave her hand one last squeeze before silently walking up to him, taking care she didn't break his concentration on the sunset. "Just one, just one right on the cheek." She told herself. If he didn't like it, she could always say that it was her way of saying 'Thank You'. And if he did…she'd have to think of something then.

But much like it did when she had kept her head down on that dark night on the shopping district, Fate did something unexpected to her as she inched her face closer to Souji's cheek on this luminescent afternoon. Souji turned his head, to ask her for something, to thank her, she never found out as his lips were silenced by hers before she had the chance.

Ayane's eyes, which she had closed to keep her nerve, snapped open in panic. This wasn't what she had planned! This wasn't what she-well, she couldn't say she didn't want this...But not right now, though now was nice…

Thankfully, the conflict between her urge to run and desire to stay was settled with two caring arms wrapping around her shoulders, pulling her closer

Her eyes looked into his, catching a hint of surprise in those grey orbs as they smiled at her own, before closing in delight as the kiss deepened.

It was clear why she hadn't had said it in front of Souji's friends. Because saying 'I love you', to the person you care about, for the first time, should be a private performance, with you playing that solo.

The End

Glossary (Extras)

Discordant Opera: a twisted modern opera house littered with papers. Sad sorrowful horn music plays in the background. Somewhere, someone is shouting at the top of her lungs.

Shadow Ayane: an emaciated, yet imposing harlequin branching out of a rotten apple. It's sewn mouth and attire represents Ayane's frustration at having her words and thoughts repressed, making her the equivalent of a mime. The apple symbolizes the fact that the buildup of these negative emotions is rotting her at her core, as she is sometimes compared to an apple. Attacks with fire, ailment and debuff magic, with a physical attack that does bonus damage to those afflicted, though the ailment is cured. Will initially target the protagonist.

Support Personas: Came from an idea of mine where the Social Links outside of your Party have their own respective Personas. These cannot be chosen to fight, nor can they be used in fusion. Rather, depending on their level, they provide bonuses to your equipped Persona if it is of the same Arcana, including attacks and stat increases. These could also exceed the eight move limit.

Pagliacci: Ayane's Support Persona, garbed in a black and white clown costume. Carries a trumpet to battle and a grin on its face. The tragic hero of operatic fame, this Persona grants those of the Sun Arcana various Auto-buff skills and Fire amplification skills to help search for the truth. Plays a catchy tune when you level up.

Author Note: I know a lot of people don't seem to like this coupling, let alone Ayane. But I found her Social Link and her character to be quite endearing. When this idea came to mind, I felt obligated to put it on paper for the world to see. So what you will, but I've written it, it's here and I'm feeling kinda glad that it is. Review if you please, if you've gotten this far that is.

I apologize if the scene at the end was awkward or (gasp) cheesy, this is my first time writing something like this.

Oh and I know Pagliacci doesn't use a trumpet but I took some creative liberties with it. You know, like what Atlus did for every single Persona in the game. (Susano is a blue goggle-wearing ninja with a swirling red tornado Afro? Cool…but…huh?)


Her eyes looked into his, catching a hint of surprise in those grey orbs as they smiled at her own, before closing in delight as the kiss deepened.

It was clear why she hadn't had said it in front of Souji's friends. Because saying 'I love you', to the person you care about, for the first time, should be a private performance, with you playing that solo.



Thou art I…And I am thou…

Thou hast established a genuine bond…

These genuine bonds…shall be your eyes to see the truth.

We bestow upon thee the ability to create Asura, the ultimate form of the Sun Arcana…

The Ayane Matsunaga Social Link has reached its maximum level!

You have mastered the Ayane Matsunaga Social Link.

Your power to create Personas of the Sun Aracan has reached its maximum!

Souji Seta has formed a bond that cannot be broken!

By mastering the Sun Social Link, you can now fuse Asura, the Highest of the High!

Ayane broke the kiss, eyes darting around the river nervously.

"Did you hear something?"

"Er…" Souji chuckled slightly. "…The wind maybe?"