Hi everyone, this is my first attempt on making a fanfic, so..............ok, let's not mince words and get to the point. Please RnR!!! No flaming pleaz..hope this appeals to you even just a little bit!.
Disclaimerz:ATLUS', not mine.
Has a hint of SoujiXNaoto in the end.
LOL I totally love this pairing!!
I groaned. This was certainly not the way I wanted to wake up. But I couldn't help it, my head was hurting and my back was aching after sleeping for too long. Wait, how long have I been sleeping? I glanced at the clock. It was still 6:30am. School didn't start until 9:00am, so I started to sort out the events that happened several days before.
"I'm going to figure this case once and for all and once I do, this little game of yours will end," I said. "It's time you left this case in the polices' hand. Stop trying to get yourselves involved. This isn't a game. If you would just- "
"YOU'RE THE ONE WHO THINKS OF THIS AS A GAME!!!!" a girl with red pigtails slammed her fists on top of the table. I recognized her as Risette, the idol. "How dare you accuse US of playing around when you don't even have a SLIGHTEST clue of what we're facing here!! Aren't YOU the one who's thinking of this as a game? What could you possibly know about us?"
"That's right. Saki-senpai died because of this!! THERE'S NO WAY THAT I'D THINK OF THIS A GAME, YOU IDIOT!!!!" A brunette growled threateningly but something about the way he said it made me think he was threatening himself.
"Yeah! So why don't you think before you blurt something out!" a short-haired tomboyish girl retorted."LIVES are at stake here, and you think people like you can solve this case?!"
"...That's not exactly what she meant, but please understand. This is not like any of the cases that you may have solved, this requires..."a boy with gray hair and silver eyes broke off. I thought I met him before, when he was asking around about Kanji Tatsumi- who disappeared before- and introduced himself as Souji Seta.
"...I apologize. It does seem like the contrary, does it?" I replied. I began to walk away, but managed mutter something softly but was heard by most of them."...A game, huh,"I chuckled softly."I wish it was only a game, too." and walked away. I felt their eyes sting into me, threatening to pierce through, but I kept walking on until I was out of their sight.
Because I wanted to know the truth so badly, I had only one option. If they weren't going to tell me about how they were involved, I guessed that I was going to have to find it out myself. By using me...as the bait.
I've heard a couple of rumors about a channel that only appears on rainy midnights. While I was trying to figure out the 2 murder cases which involved Saki Konishi the third year and Mayumi Yamano the announcer, I suddenly realized a fact that was in front of my eyes all along this entire time. 'Wait, weren't these two the ones that appeared on tv and then disappeared before they were murdered? And the other attempted murder victims, Yukiko Amagi, Kanji Tatsumi, Rise Kujikawa, Mitsuo Kubo- they appeared on tv, disappeared, but returned again..hmm...this DEFINITELY has something to do with those people.'
I had my suspicions. I believed these suspicions were true, only that I needed evidence. So I did one thing that these victims had done.
Appearing on TV.
I detested the idea. I never liked making myself known to the entire country. But what could I do? If it was the only way, I'd do it without second thought. I know I'll be putting my life on the line, but I didn't care. What are those people keeping to themselves so desperately that they can't tell anyone else about it? Anyway, it was too late to back out now. My mind was made.
After the show was aired, I was preparing myself. I was sure that the killer was targeting me next, and I couldn't afford to waste any time. I suspected, that the killer would use some kind of chemical substance so I was ready. I didn't go to school for the next few days because I was waiting for the killer. As I figured, THEY became worried and determined that I was the next target. As to what they were going to do, I had no idea. I just waited and watched as the scene unfolded.
The doorbell rang. I opened the door casually. There was no way the killer could just boldly walk up and ring the doorbell like that so I thought it was someone else. When I opened the door, to my surprise, no one was there. Suddenly, a hand cuffed me from behind and injected some kind of liquid into my arm. I suppose that was for making me unconscious but fortunately I didn't. Even though it didn't entirely inebriate me but it still made sight a blur so I couldn't really make out of what happened clearly. All I remembered was that I was being shoved into a sack and...uh, carried..on the culprit's shoulder. What seemed like minutes was when there was a tingling sensation and a different atmosphere. I was confused. I thought I was being thrown somewhere, but where? Then I blacked out.
When I woke up, there was a pain throbbing in my head. I felt so dizzy. I looked around. I was in a military room, and lying on...an operation desk? Above me, there were...?! I sat up quickly. I then realized that wasn't alone. A boy with a hat stood with his back facing me. He seemed to be crying. I stood up and walked over to the boy, and tried to tap his shoulder. When he turned around...what? M-m-ME?! I staggered back, trying to clutch anything that was within reach.
"W-w-Who are you? Why are you crying? But most of all, why do you look like me?!" I managed to blurt out. But, as quick as it would cry, it grinned a malicious grin, and replied," Don't YOU know who I am? I'm what you're REALLY are, a child, a lonely RETARDED CHILD!!!"
I wondered, how in the world could they face this? And they were able to keep it a secret all this time.
Deep down, though, I had a nagging feeling that these were true, that I needed to accept the fact that I'm like what my shadow felt. But I countered, and tried to interrogate the child. But it was no use. It kept on crying for a minute, then serious the other minute, and cry again the next. Just when I was about to seriously lose it, the door-which I hadn't seen earlier- opened and much to my surprise the group aforementioned barged in, carrying...weapons? Do they fight?
I tried to put on on a straight, calm face, and said,"...So, you're finally here. There is no use talking to this child, he won't cooperate, so I will take my leave." Not wanting to stay a minute longer there, I started to back out. Suddenly, there was a shrill, high-pitched voice.
"No no NO don't leave me here! I don't wanna be left all alone! Why won't anyone understand?!"
"H-Huh?" I sputtered, as I whirled around to face my 'other' self. "W-What are you talking about?"
" Why delude yourself? I am you," My shadow turned over a new face. " People won't stop treating you like a kid, and push you aside, like you're nothing but RUBBISH!"
" I-I won't throw a tantrum. That doesn't accomplish anything." I gasped, trying to regain my composure.
The shadow laughed menacingly. "AHAHAHAHAHA!!! What, even after you've been humiliated by those people, yet you still follow them? 'Throwing a tantrum won't solve anything, Naoto-kun' and other such BILGE!!"
"Naoto, such a cool, MANLY name! But a name doesn't let you cross the barrier between the sexes!!" It growled.
Terrified that it would blurt out the ultimate truth that I was desperately trying to hide for so long, I could only shout out the only thing possible. "STOP IT!!! DON'T SAY IT!!"
But it was too late.
"How can you be an ideal MAN, when you were NEVER male to begin with?"
I froze. I couldn't utter a single sound. The others behind me who were listening intently gasped.
"W-wait, d-did I hear that right?!"
"Na-Naoto-kun is a...girl?"
"Shit! Naoto's a WHAT?!"
My voice took on a pitch that I would never have allowed it to,
"STOP IT!!!!!!!!!! Y-You're not-!!!"
" No, don't, Naoto-kun!"
" It's alright, Chie-senpai," Kanji said, determined. "Let her shout. She's held it in for too long. It's OUR job to kick that shadow's ass to where it belongs!!"
"AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! You're going to kick my ass? Fine then! Let's see who REALLY kicks which ass, you lizard-brained imbeciles!!!!" The shadowed cackled. Then a purple light began to emanate the shadow, and it turned into a monster but before I could see what it looked like, I passed out. Before I was absorbed into the dark realm, I could hear muffled voices,"HERE IT COMES EVERYBODY!!!! LET'S KICK SOME SHADOW ASS!!!!!!"
"...Mm..,"I stirred. "Where....am I? I remember you all arriving, and..."
I was lying on the floor, and everyone was towering above me. Is this what you get for being in this world for too long? As painful as it was, I stood up. "That's right...you saw everything..."I said hoarsely, my voice changed from the forced male masculine voice to a more relaxed soft natural one. It sounded a lot more like a girl.
I realized what I must do, but I hadn't the courage to do so. My eyes wandered around the area, trying to spot my shadow. There it was, over at the other side, gazing at me, as if waiting for me to say something. I hesitated. Then the silver-haired boy said," Don't worry, do what you've got to do, we perfectly understand." I nodded.
I trudged over sluggishly to the front of the shadow and glanced at its eyes. For the first time, I felt like I was looking at the reflection of...myself, and not another stranger. I gathered up the will to say it all.
"I'm sorry, you must've been in a great deal of pain now. I tried to hide you-or even banish- you from myself, but to no avail. When I was young, I lost my parents' in an accident, so my grandfather took me in. I spent most of my time reading detective novels in my grandfather's study, because I wasn't really good at making friends."
"When I grow up...I'm gonna be an awesome, hard-boiled detective...!" It said.
I nodded. "My parents' were quite proud of their job. I had no objections about following in their footsteps...an inherited occupation can be stifling too many, but I welcomed it...I yearned for the day that I could be a detective myself...I suppose it came from them as well. Because I was always alone, my grandfather realized that it was his duty to help me realize my dream. He allowed me to assist him with his clients in a secret manner...before long, people started calling me Junior Detective.
"At first, I was delighted. But not everything went so smoothly...because of my status as 'a child', not everyone welcomes my collaboration when it comes to solving cases...it was sufficient to offend many of those whom I worked with. As if that were the only issue, it would've resolved over time. Though one day I will change from a child to an adult, I will never change from a woman to a man."
" Do you not like being a girl?...Is that why you always dress like a boy?" Yukiko spoke up.
"Yes. My gender doesn't fit the ideal image of a detective...besides, the department is a male-oriented society...if they have the slightest reason to look down on me, no one would need me anymore. But I really don't know that." I faced my shadow again. "......."
"So once again, I'm sorry. I knew you existed, but I kept ignoring you and pretended you didn't exist. But you're me, and I'm you. What I'm yearning for -no, what I must STRIVE for isn't to become a man, but to accept myself for the way I am."
My shadow slowly but surely nodded, and made a small smile. I was flabbergasted, but feeling warm at the same time as It dissolved into particles and formed a card with a picture of a Persona-I believe- that said," The strength of your heart has been manifested. I am Sukuna-Hikona, thy facade to overcome thou hardships."
But the warmth I had felt disappeared as soon as I felt fatigue wash over me. This world is scraping at my energy so much that I couldn't stand on my own two feet any longer. My knees gave way as I collapsed to the floor.
I blinked as I directly stared into the eyes of my saviors. Yes, they were the exact same eyes I stared into several times before. The mischievous eyes of Yosuke-san, the hyper and cheerful eyes of Chie-san, the calm and elegant ones of Yukiko's, the hard and cold ones of Kanji's, the childish ones of Rise, the 'round' eyes of Teddie, and...I could never tell what kind of eyes Souji-kun has. So passionate yet so knowledgeable, and dangerous if you gaze at them for too long. And...mysterious? 'So this is what a leaders' eyes look like. Very...impressive.'
I managed a soft chuckle. "Ahahaha...in any case, you're a devious bunch. I can't believe you were able to keep this a secret this whole time."
"Well, it wasn't a secret anymore when a certain two drunk people blurted it all out at the school trip in the club,"Yosuke groaned, immediately recieving two pairs of piercing, glaring eyes which appeared to be none other than Yukiko and Rise, who looked ready to finish his guts off.
"Ok, save the discussion for later, we need to get you outta here. This place is too dangerous." Chie warned, before Yosuke became prey for two hungry predators. She took my left shoulder and Yukiko by my right.
A sudden change of atmosphere made me look up. I was in Junes, right in front of the TV we passed through. I sensed the others beside me were beginning to feel stiff, so I said,"It's okay, you can let me go now." What I didn't expect was for me to fall down right after they let me I that tired?
It was then everything came spilling out like spoilt milk.
"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!"Kanji roared fiercely.
I was clasping my knee and sitting down on the floor, with my head bowed, like a child being scolded by her father. I breathed in and out heavily.
"You were too damn reckless, damnit!! Darn, you're no genius at all. We were tearin' our hair out for ya!"
"Aw, Kanji-kun, you DO care about her after all! How sweet of you,"Rise cooed.
"Sh-shut up! Mind yer own business!!!"Kanji replied, his cheeks having a tinge of red in them.
"Heheh... I never...doubt that you all would come and...rescue me. This...is very tiring...isn't it?" I gave a tired smile.
"...I'm sure Naoto-kun's tired now, it would be best to talk some other time,"Yukiko said."We'll walk you home, okay?"
"N-no, that won't be necessary, I'm perfectly capable of walking home by myself."I said as convincingly as I could.
"Nuh-uh, Naoto-kun! Don't think that doing everything by yourself is the 'adult' thing to do! Come on, just grab on!"Rise made a comeback. Everyone nodded silently. I stifled a groan as I allowed the group to walk me home.
"Finally, the pain's gone," I relieved myself. I took a sip of water that was lying beside the bed. The clock said 8:30. There was still half an hour left. Then I looked at the calendar.
"H-h-how many days have I been asleep?!" I stumbled out of bed. My legs were very shaky, in response of not being moved for several days. I searched frantically around the room, and spotted my uniform and schoolbag. 'Did Yakushiji-san prepare it for me?'
Nevertheless, I hurried and put on my stuff. I was about to rush out of the room when suddenly a scheduled doctor walked in. I assumed he was going to perform a check-up on me. "My-my, Shirogane-san, why are you in such a hurry? Are you feeling any better yet? You shouldn't go to school today if you're still not feeling well,"The doctor sounded worried.
"It's okay, I feel a lot better now, so if you'll excuse me,"I said hurriedly, and the doctor just nodded.
"Then I'll report your health to your grandfather. I'm sure he would be relieved."
As I walked out of my room, my grampa's faithful secretary, Yakushiji-san, was carrying a tray of water. He was startled to see me hurrying about.
"Na-Naoto-sama! You'll get sick again if you hurry around too much, considering you've just gotten better!" he cried out.
"No need to worry, Yakushiji-san,"I said. "I'm fine now, so let me through."
"V-very well,"Yakushiji moved aside hesitantly. "Just let me know if there's anything wrong....Oh, and Naoto-sama!"
"What is it?"
"I believe there is someone waiting outside for you." he said.
"Huh?" 'Someone? Who might that be?'
As I ran down the stairs to the front door, I recognized instantly who was waiting for me.
"Ah, Naoto, are you feeling alright?" A familiar high-schoolers' voice asked in concern.
"S-Souji-senpai! How long have you been there? And where are the others?" I exclaimed.
"I just arrived here. I thought that I'd check up on how you're doing, but it seems you're perfectly fine now,"He smiled. "The others are waiting at school. Now, let's get going, shall we?"
"S-sure, let's."I agreed quickly, a faint blush forming in my cheeks. I wasn't used to being this close to anyone before.
We walked in silence. I was still trying to figure out what happened before, when I earned my persona. Does that mean...I can join their group? But they probably don't need me...after all, I was the one who first accused them of playing around when I didn't even know a clue what was going on. Halfway to school, I spoke up.
"Yes?" He replied calmly and smoothly. I was so curious on how he was able to manage his personality all this time.
"I'm sorry,"I started. "For causing you all a lot of trouble. I just had to see with my own eyes the hidden truth. I was curious. But it all had to lead to this. I've been a tremendous nuisance to you all."I sighed.
I must've looked really miserable, because the very next moment my hair was being ruffled and messed with by Souji-kun. "S-Senpai!!"I gasped.
"Forget about it. Here, do you want some chewing gum? I'm sure this will get your mind off of those events,"Souji offered, reaching into his school bag and pulling out a piece of gum.
" Th-thank you, senpai,"I said gratefully, taking the gum.
"Oh, and one last thing,"he added before entering the school gates and parting ways,"Meet us at the Junes Food court after school. There are some 'things' that we'd like to discuss with you."
"Very well, it would be my pleasure."I agreed.
"...So, you were getting ready for the killer when the doorbell rang?"Chie confirmed.
That afternoon the food court seemed crowder than usual. Of course, with at least eight of us sitting around a table it'd be a surprise if it WASN'T crowded. But today, almost everyone appeared to be on edge, including me. I could tell they were dying to get even a TINY scrap of information out of me. Probably because I was the one who was clearly expecting the culprit.
"Yes, and when I opened the door, no one was there," I answered. " And suddenly, a pair of strong arms cuffed me from behind, and injected a liquid that I would expect him to. But I knew there were going to be scenes like this, so I didn't pass out entirely. All I could decipher was that he was acting alone and no one to help him."
"Wait a moment, how'd you know the killer's a 'he'?"Yosuke inquired.
"Oh come on Yosuke, I mean, who would be that strong to strangle you and stuff you into a sack from behind? There's no way a normal female human would be strong enough to do that! Of course she could tell the culprit's a boy, you dork!"Chie snapped.
"Fine, fine! Sorry! Sheesh, all that coming from an ace detective. Wow,"Yosuke praised. "But you didn't see the killer's face?"
"In truth, I was really scared. So..."I bowed my head down in shame. "I wasn't able to. I'm sorry."
"Oh crap..."Yosuke sighed.
"Yosuke, don't be so hard on her,"Yukiko scolded him. "She's just a human, like all of us, and human's make mistakes sometimes. She's also younger than us, and she's a female."
"Yeah, you're right. Sorry, Naoto," Yosuke mumbled. "You had me going for a minute there, thinking you were a boy. But..."Yosuke grinned in a slightly mischievous way.
"But what, senpai?"I was starting to have an uneasy feeling.
"...You have balls even for a girl, you know." he finished his sentence.
It was then Chie smacked Yosuke with a sickening crack on the head. All of us winced and looked away at the same time.
"Owie, that should hurt,"Rise grimaced.
"YOU SICK PERVO!!! DON'T START GETTING WILD IDEAS IN YOUR HEAD, MISTER, OR I'LL TEACH YOU WHO REALLY HAS BALLS!!!!!!!!!"
"Alright, that's enough Chie and Yosuke. We didn't come here to knock each other's heads off,"Souji glared at them both.
"....uh......she...she hasn't met Teddie yet, has she?"Kanji spoke, trying to change the subject. Really, I didn't notice he was there until he spoke up. He was awfully quite this entire time, I wondered why.
"Oh, Teddie, right? I've met him before in the class trip, I believe?"I asked.
"Well, then I guess it's time for you to take a look inside the 'other world',"Souji continued. "Just to get the hang of things. Don't worry, it won't take long." he promised.
"U-uhuh,"I just managed to make a weak smile. My heart was pounding so hard that it could burst any minute. I couldn't imagine going back to that place again.
A hand patted my shoulder. "Keep your cool, k'? You'll get used to it soon."Rise smiled comfortingly.
"Ok, I'll be fine,"I nodded.
...Okay, that was a totally long and winding one. I tried to keep a length of 1,000 to 2,000 words, but when I started writing, I tend to go overboard!!! Oh, and some of the dialogues are similar to the ones in the game. The next chaps not gonna be as long as this one...but it depends on you readers too, so please review and give advice!!;)