Genius 1: Fading Ash
~I am thou....~
He walked through the throngs of faceless, suit wearing, briefcase carrying people. Half past eight in the morning was not the most pleasant time to be in a Japanese metropolis. He had no particular destination in mind, and no place that required his presence. The fact that he was needed no where was at once extremely pleasant and oddly disconcerting.
~Thou art I...~
He ran a hand through his short, ash-gray hair and sighed. Had it really... truly been a year since the events in Inaba had come to their conclusion? Only a year. And yet, three hundred and sixty-five days seemed like an eternity.
~Thou art the one... who opens the door.~
He had spoken with them often at first, visited Inaba whenever he could, wrote letters when he couldn't. And yet... that all seemed to fade. He hadn't so much as touched a television set since then, much less find a use for the very powers that had defeated a god. There was an irony in that, he supposed. The power to defeat a god...was completely useless in the real world.
He rarely heard from them now. The friends he had once forged a close and enduring bond with. They had said they'd be friends for ever. So why did he feel like their faces were blurred? He wasn't entirely certain how to feel. Why didn't it bother him that he could only vaguely remember them? Yosuke had short brown hair, he remembered, but he couldn't quite remember how his close friend used to wear it. Chie was always cheerful, but he couldn't quite remember what her voice sounded like.
He sighed, working himself into an ever downward spiral yet again. So he did what he always did... focused his mind on other things.
He was Ieyaru Reiko, after all. His mind was his greatest asset. Something as simple as focusing his thoughts should be of little challenge to a man whose I.Q. was higher than the IQ ranking system was able to rank. A few dozen colleges around the world, a handful of high end business' here in Japan and elsewhere in the world, even the Japanese government all kept their eyes on him.
He smirked ironically. No that was incorrect. They didn't keep their eyes on him. They kept their eyes on the lump of nerves generating electrical impulses inside his skull. 'Stop...'
The thought came almost unconsciously.
It was a process he had trained himself in since middle-school. He was a rational person who was able to think everything through. There was no need for such a person to get angry. No need for a genius to get emotional.
Or so he told himself. Over and Over.
He turned around to find a girl with short black hair. She was wearing his schools uniform... or the girls sailor suit version anyway. "I'm not your senpai anymore, Tatsuki." He put on his best smirk. "And shouldn't you be in class?"
"Senpai's senpai." She shrugged off his words easily, totally ignoring his question about class. "Say... you want to come with me to the shopping center? They have a sale on women's clothes..." She gave him a flirty smile. "I'll let you pick..."
His smirk was flawless, though he sighed inwardly. He had thought his 'fan club' would go away once he was no longer in high school. It seems he wasn't so lucky. "Sorry, but I'll pass... Maybe next time." Without sparing her a glance he moved through the crowd, turned down a street at random, and tossed a look over his shoulder to make sure he'd lost her.
There had only ever been one girl he'd actually opened his heart to. Despite the distance between them, after returning to the big city from Inaba, he'd kept in almost constant contact with her. For the first week or so there hadn't been a day where he -hadn't- called Yukiko. But gradually, that too had faded. It had gone from phone calls to text messages to letters. Now... he hadn't talked to her in almost two months. She too seemed like she was fading away in his mind.
He quickly quelled the strange feeling of discomfort rushing up through him.
Somehow, he felt angry, more than sad. Angry at himself, for getting used to the feeling of her fading face. They had used the word love so easily. And he partially wondered if the fact that the spark was no longer there when he thought of her was a result of being crushed by that love.'Stop...'
He shook his head again.
"Oie... It's Reiko!"
Three guys dressed in average clothing were waving at him. He recognized them from his classes. He had just graduated from high school, and he was sure colleges were licking their lips at the prospect of getting him, but right now he gave that no care. "Yo." He gave them a non-committed greeting. In truth he didn't remember their names... just their faces and the fact that they had hung around him during his last year of classes.
"What are ya walkin around in a daze for, Rei?" One of them piped up with a smirk.
"Bored..." He lied. Of course it wouldn't be the easiest task in the world to tell them that he, the genius, was at a loss of what to do with his life because he couldn't untangle the mass of feelings and thoughts in his heart.
"Hah... even a guy who can do anything gets bored, huh?"
"Shinji, you moron. It's cause he -can- do anything that he gets bored easy."
There was something about their praise that felt like someone had inserted a needle into the small of his back. He ignored the errant feeling. 'Control.' He put on a smile. "Nah, just got tired of dealing with all the recruiters..."
"Haha.. I bet!"
"Bet they swarmed your place once they all got the memo that you were graduating."
"Something like that." He put on a placating smile and kept moving down the sidewalk. Though the sudden jump in his irritation at the fact that they were following him wasn't unplanned... it didn't make it any more pleasant. He kept the irritation carefully off his ash colored eyes.'Calm.' He could hear them chirping and chittering beside him, and he only gave them the most non-committed answers, usually a nod or a simple 'yeah.'
They were used to it of course. During his first year of high school, he'd made a reputation out of being cool-headed and collected. When he had returned to the city high school for his third year he simply... resumed... right where he left off.
He stopped so suddenly one of the guys following nearly ran right into his back. He could -feel- it. Someone, in the sea of the faceless crowd, was staring at him. That in and of itself wasn't a big deal. A man who had been called a 'Once in ten generations genius' got used to being stared at.
No, the little bells in the back of his mind that signaled danger were ringing. All his training in kendo, and his fights in the world inside the TV had honed those bells quite nicely.
"Y-yo... Reiko... what's up?"
One of the guys beside him was looking for answers, but Reiko ignored him. His eyes swiveled scanning the crowd around him. His brow furrowed lightly as he spotted the source. She stood out like a beam of light at midnight. A woman, sitting at a folding desk on the sidewalk across from where he stood. He couldn't see her eyes, as most of her face, and the whole of her body was wrapped in a deep azure cloak. All he saw was the almost predatory smirk on her face.
His eyes narrowed as he moved across the street silently, and came to a stop right in front of the cloaked woman's table. She did indeed stand out. In a veritable ocean of gray and black suits, the bright royal blue cloak and hood was easy to make out. Most people passed right by her, never even stopping to glance however.
"Whoa, Rei. Don't tell me a guy like you's into fortune-telling."
Reiko paused, casting a glance over his shoulder. Apparently the three hangers-on had followed him again.
"I... too... would like to ask that question." The smooth, almost velvet-like voice came from the woman sitting at the table. She had her hands laced up by her face, her smirk just showing from behind them. "Do you believe in fortune-telling?"
Her voice drew his ashen gaze back to her. "I only believe what I see." It was another non-committed answer. He was someone who had entered another world, through a television screen, to do battle with gods. Kind of hard -not- to believe in the super natural under such circumstances.
Her smirk only widened. "You didn't answer the question, boy."
'Sharp woman...' He paused, watching her as she shuffled a deck of Tarot cards. "I do believe there are powers out there that can't be explained." She challenged him, and he challenged back. "Do I believe every charlatan on the street with a deck of cards has the ability...then No. I don't believe in fortune-telling."
"Oh?" She seemed to get only more amused. "You think me a fake?"
"Course he does!"
"Yeah... as if a genius could be fooled by some faker on the streets."
Reiko narrowed his eyes. He didn't even hear the words of the three guys behind him anymore. It didn't look like the fortune-teller was listening to them either. "I do." So he answered simply.
"How about I prove myself to you." She scattered the Tarot cards into a pile with a chuckle. "Because it's you, boy, I'll give you a free reading."
"Hah... as if Reiko would bother with you."
"Yea seriously. C'mon Rei, lets go."
"Fine..." Reiko smirked. He didn't need to see the astonished looks on the faces of his three hangers-on. He could feel it. "I'll let you prove how much of a false prophet you really are."
She smirked, withdrawing three cards from the pile at random. She kept them face down, positioning the three cards in a horizontal line. "Lets see. The card representing the past is..." She flipped over the right-most card in the line. "The Devil... In the upright position." She paused a moment before continuing. "You have committed a grave mistake in the recent past..."
Reiko's eyes narrowed slightly as her hand moved to the next card. "The card indicating the present and near future is..." She paused again, her eyes looking up from behind her shroud to the gray haired boy in front of her. "The Tower... in the upright position." Her smirk widened just a fraction. But Reiko caught the motion. "It seems a catastrophe will strike you immanently... You should be wary of danger..."
Her hand moved toward the last card, but as it did, Reiko noticed something odd. He'd always been a keen watcher of people. He had learned long ago that, while not always true, most people said a great deal about themselves in the way they moved. The fortune-teller in front of him was... anxious.
"The card indicating the future beyond that is..." She gently flipped the card over. "Death... also in the upright position." She inhaled sharply, and Reiko noticed her reign in control over her smirk. "You will lose something precious to you... It is an unavoidable fate."
Reiko closed his eyes, before putting on his most superior smirk. One of his senpai during his first year of high school had called it the 'Reiko stare' and said it could ward off even the dirtiest politician. "Wow..." The sarcasm was dripping from his voice. "That's a pretty bad reading." He turned with a practiced chuckle. "I think I'll go home and hide under my bed." Ignoring the indignant stare from the female fortune teller, he began to walk off.
"S-say... Reiko..." Apparently his hangers-on had followed him. He sighed. "Y-ya think there's anything to that Tarot stuff?"
"Y-yeah... it's pretty creepy what she said."
"Garbage... the lot of it." Reiko waved a hand lightly. That had been, he though with a sense of irony, the most honest thing he'd said to the three followers yet. "She's nothing but a faker." They all seemed somewhat relieved.
"Oh.... oh crap Shinji!" One of the three raised his watch to another.
"Damn... sorry Reiko, but we gotta jet..."
"Sorry Rei...We're uh... meetin someone.." He raised his pinky with a wink. "You understand right?"
'Finally..' He put on another placating smile. "It's fine. I'll see you around."
He didn't even watch them go as he turned a corner and walked into a small secluded childs play park. Well, as secluded as one could get in the big city at any rate.
He planted himself on a bench, his feet digging into the sand as he sighed. He had originally gone out for a walk to figure out what he was going to do from now on. He had just graduated high school after all. People all over the world were drooling in anticipation of what he might choose.
Frankly... it sucked.
But that was a feeling he'd learned to live with long ago. Somewhere along the line, his thoughts had drifted from his future course of action, to his inner feelings and his friends in Inaba. The thing he found most frustrating, he realized, as he sat back on the bench, was that this situation wasn't unique.
He'd tried numerous times before to lay out a plan of action and always ended up back in his memories. With a heaving sigh he looked up at the empty park. The carousel, the swings, the monkey bars. The place was oddly silent, even with the fact that the kids were in school.
All at once, he felt it. Numerous stares, numerous intentions filled with bloody murder. He leapt up, only to find himself surrounded by eight robed figures. He couldn't make out any of their features, since they were all clothed in flowing robes and hoods... it reminded him oddly of...
"We meet again boy..."
The fortune-teller... Reiko made a disagreeable sound. He should have noticed something sooner. "I knew you were a faker..." His ash-gray gaze scanned around him, making note of the figures that stood all around him. "But to think the only way you could tell the future was by forcing your hand... pathetic."
"Foolish boy. Wether it was pre-ordained... or forced... Fortune-telling is merely about the result. I suppose... In that sense... I am one of the best fortune-tellers around." He could hear the amusement dripping in her voice.
"Lady Sayako... is it him? Is it the sinner?" It was one of the robed figures to his right. A male by the sound of the voice.
"It is..." She swept back her hood, revealing a pale faced young woman with stark white hair. The most startling feature however, was her eyes. One blue, one violet. She wore the same anxious smirk as before. "The foolish mortal that committed the greatest sin of them all. To think he would even dare..." She looked at him sardonically. "to raise his hand against a god."
Reiko narrowed his gaze. "A... god?" Did they... mean Izanami? No. Reiko retracted that thought. Though the woman in front of him was most assuredly Japanese... there was nothing traditional or Japanese about their dress. Certainly followers of a traditional Japanese goddess wouldn't look so... occult. But that meant...
"Yes a god... You committed the One-sin. The unforgivable sin of slaying our god. The very god who graced us with power. The great lord of illusion... " She rose a hand toward Reiko before grasping it tightly in a fist... "Amenosagiri!!"
'Well damn...' For all his genius, he had never given thought to the fact that what was actually just a small piece of Izanami would actually affect the real world in ways more than a bit of oppressive yellow fog. 'I doubt even Izanami herself could have foreseen her pawn getting his own following.' He took the last few moments he knew he had to sum up his opponents. "So... Let me guess... You've all come to lay down unholy vengeance on me right?" He dropped in to a martial stance. "I'm not impressed."
"You certainly -are- an arrogant thing... aren't you..." The pale woman, Sayako, smirked. "I'll take pleasure in wiping that smirk off your face..." With a quick swipe of her hand she issued her orders. "Get him."
Reiko turned swiftly as one of the robed figures behind him charged. With practiced grace he dodged the punch, flowed inside, and delivered an elbow to his attackers stomach. He wasn't quite as good at fighting without a sword in his hands. But against a bunch of rank amateurs like these, his skills were more than enough.
The fight was quick... and brutal. But perhaps not in the manner that the now thoroughly angry Sayako had hoped. A number of robed figures lay on the ground groaning in pain. Reiko still stood with a plain smirk on his face.
"You know what the worst thing about being a genius is?" He dodged to the right, grasped the attackers arm and, in one fluid motion, swept the attacker off his feet with a combination of a solid open palmed thrust and a leg-sweep. "You're always right..." His ashen gaze settled on Sayako. "Faker..."
"Hmph..." She glared at the ash haired boy with a mixture of hate and scorn. "I told you, boy, that I'd wipe that smirk off your face. And I intend to do so." She raised a gloved palm from the recesses of her cloak. The two gold rings on her wrist jingled as she stopped, her palm face-down, and closed her eyes. "Let us see if you're still smirking after this..."
Reiko felt -something-. He couldn't quite identify what the sinking feeling in his gut was exactly. But something in the air changed. It almost felt as if something had been ripped or broken.
Something that shouldn't have been broken...
And suddenly, the ashen-haired boy's world when stark white.
A/N:And chapter one is DONE. Rggg... Its 2:30 A.M. as I write this... I -really- -really- wish the muses would choose a better time to slap me upside the head.
The idea for this fic's been in the back of my noggin ever since I finished playing P4. I like silent characters like that, because you can apply almost whatever kind of character you want to the storyline.
My MC is a little different from his P4 version. Which is why i went with the new name. I'm well aware his manga self is named Souji. Some scenes from the game will be changed accordingly...I'll flash back to em as needed though. It was either that or rewrite the entire P4 game...which could be fun... but ultimately seemed like too much of a PITA
Anyway's... I do hope you enjoyed and continue to enjoy the fic. R&R as ya like