Ahh, once again I'm sorry for taking so long to get something out. This was an idea that actually gave me a lot of trouble. I would have all this inspiration, and then would lose it after about half a page. It took me a long time to finally finish the thing. And even now that it's done, I'm not sure how I really feel about it. Akihiko, I think, was made silghtly out of character once again. I swear, I must really have a hard time writing him or something. This is a lot more depressing then my other fics. Though I'm not sure that's a good word for it. Well whatever. I hope you like it, though it's weird. Tell me what you think, and hope that the next idea won't take so long to come, or be so hard to write.

Disclaimer: Still don't own Persona 3 or any of the characters. But I do own this story, so don't steal kay?


He had been expecting the others to be there. Crowded around the front door like they had been before they had unexpectedly been transported to that weird room. But what he was granted when he opened his eyes was not the lobby of the dorm -soon to be nothing at all- but the dark blue and silver of the room that they had just been in.

The only difference was that he was alone.

Alone wasn't exactly the best word for it. There was a very distinct figure on the couch across from him. Akihiko squinted but with the dim light he was only able to ascertain that the figure was different from the rather large-nosed man from before. He blinked a few times and waited to let himself get used to the lack of light. What he saw next surprised him beyond belief.


The figure gave a light smirk at the astonished word. "Yes, Akihiko. Your power of observation continues to astound me to this day."

The boxer almost fell out of the chair he found himself sitting in. "But how are you? Why are you here?" he blubbered. (Later when he was thinking about the conversation he wondered how idiotic he must have looked at the moment. With his mouth wide open, throwing out questions that he himself wasn't even sure he wanted answered.)

Minato chuckled, a large grin spreading across his face. "It's funny you should ask that question. I figured you of all people would know precisely why it was you who I appeared to." Having gotten fully used to the dimness Akihiko was even able to see that the boy's eyes were sparkling.

He regained his composure and sighed, "I'm not the one who wanted to see you the most," was his answer. Akihiko paused, thinking over how to continue before speaking once more. "Yukari, was crying. She didn't stop for a week you know. If anyone wanted to see you the most it was her."

Their former leader's smile softened, as well as his eyes. "Ah, but the one who needed to see me the most, was you."

Akihiko gave another start at that. He gritted his teeth and glared. "If that's the case then why was Aegis the one to receive that power of yours?" He regretted it immediately.

The man had thought he'd been able to repress that disgusting emotion; shove it in the back of his mind so that it would never surface. But seeing the boy had made him remember. He had been just as, if not more, jealous as Yukari had been. Jealous that it hadn't been him to receive Minato's gift. Him, who had prided himself on being the only one to tear the boy from his shell and get him to feel emotion. Minato just continued to smile. The boxer found he wanted nothing more than to punch the guy. Wipe that stupid smile from his face and make him realize how much he had hurt them all. Himself especially.

"You didn't need it." When Akihiko gave him a look of mixed surprise and confusion the boy elaborated. "Actually that was probably a lie. I think the real reason is I didn't want you to need it." His smile turned to a pained one and the boxer didn't miss the light snort he gave. "You see, the wild card isn't something that brings happiness. Aegis is probably the only one who hasn't been swallowed by it."

"And you?"

The dry smile was back. "I would think you'd know the answer to that as well. We've seen what it brought me." Akihiko couldn't say he disagreed. Minato continued on. "I didn't particularly want any of you to be granted it. It's incredible power, but it comes at a heavy price. Mine was that I would eventually be the Great Seal. I found that out afterwards." He paused to give a light sigh, though Akihiko figured he was trying to buy himself some time. Or at least tick him off with making him wait. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I wished it would be anyone but you." Another dry smile. "Any of them, all of them. Just as long as you didn't have to bear that burden."

Akihiko went solemn (not that he wasn't before) and stared at his feet. The silence stretched on for a few moments before he was able to break it.

"I killed you earlier."

Minato arched an eyebrow, his light smile back with the aversion to another topic. "Oh? And how did that go for you?"

"I'm not kidding damn it!" the boxer shouted. If the table had been any closer he would have punched it.

The blue-haired boy nodded. "When you get to be in my position you start to anticipate these kinds of things," he retorted. The boy bent over to pick up a teacup (of which hadn't been there a minute ago) and sipped it thoughtfully. "You wanted to know if it was really me?" Akihiko nodded darkly. "I thought you all had already conversed about this. Didn't you come to the conclusion that it was your regrets?"

Akihiko nodded again. "I have to be sure though, if not," he stopped there, unable to finish the sentence.

Minato's smile softened. "It wasn't me. Though I have to say, I was a little flattered to know that you all missed me that much."

The boxer snorted. "Were you always this much of an ass?"

Minato just shrugged and took another sip from the cup. "Well, I certainly have to say my opportunities to be one have quite diminished. If you haven't noticed the Velvet Room isn't exactly the most heavily populated place."

"Is that what this place is called?" Akihiko asked. He was trying hard not to let the boy get to him. It had been so long -so very ungodly long- since he had seen the boy. He had to admit that he had forgotten how Minato was when it was just the two of them. In his defense though the guy had never been this bad.

The blunette nodded. "It's nice for an elevator isn't it?" When Akihiko gave him a rather surprised and incredulous look he chuckled. "Elizabeth, the girl from earlier, she's the attendant. You know, it's quite spacious. I didn't think it was what it is at first either."

Akihiko was unconvinced. "Why the hell is it an elevator? I don't see how that's relevant to anything, least of all why you're here."

Minato smiled again. "I see where you're coming from," he sighed, shrugging his shoulders lightly, "but it actually is quite relevant." He paused for a moment, thinking of a good explanation. "It's like a thought elevator I suppose," he said. "The only way one can exist without a soul is through another's mind. As we've all seen my soul is currently preoccupied so an elevator based on one's thoughts is quite fitting. Wouldn't you think?"

The boxer went silent again. With Minato's reference to the Great Seal he had once more become stoic. "Is there a way to get you back?" he finally asked. "Exchange something for your soul?"

The boy just shook his head lightly. "I'm terribly sorry, but I highly doubt it. Unless you were planning on giving your own soul that is." Akihiko's head shot up and his eyes filled with hope. "Of course," Minato went on, light smirk in place, "you would have to find a soul that was as strong as mine turned out to be. I highly doubt you'll be able to do that. Besides sempai," and the smirk grew wider, "I would think you'd much rather continue to dream of me than spend your days simply watching and waiting."

Akihiko went tomato red in an instant. "H-how did you..!?" he sputtered, unable to get it all out. He was almost thrown from his chair once more in his furious embarrassment.

Minato chuckled and allowed that cockiness to show in his posture. "Oh, if the name didn't clue you in, I explained before. The Thought Elevator is in one's mind. I'm perfectly capable of seeing dreams, since they are produced from the mind." He shrugged and sighed, giving a positively superior shake of his head. "To tell the truth Aki," he started, using the man's nickname to gauge a better reaction. "I never figured you had such a dirty mind. It was rather startling."

When Akihiko sputtered incoherently in surprise and embarrassment, Minato decided to give the boy a small break. "I have to admit though. I was rather flattered." That smirk returned and Akihiko was allowed a bit of time to brace himself for the next one. "Were those all things you were planning to do to me in real life? Lord knows if we had had longer you certainly would have moved that far. It only took you a few months to get there."

This got a startling reaction from the white-haired man. Akihiko sobered and a look of positive longing reached his eyes. "Yes," he admitted, after a minute of silence. "I wanted to be near you all the time. I don't think you understood when you were still with us. I became desperate. Minato, you have to realize, I thought for sure that I would die. If not because of carelessness, then because I was protecting you. All that grandstanding I did, I'm not as confident as I seem."

Minato himself lost his teasing and his own face fell. His gaze traveled to the floor and he bit his lip. His arms crossed and it looked as if he was trying to hold himself back. "Close your eyes," he finally ordered. His voice was so soft though, so full of uncertainty and fear that Akihiko did as he was told without one question.

For a moment there was a rustle of clothing, and just when he was getting ready to open his eyes in confusion and demand to know what was going on, he felt warmth. The man's arms went out to hug the small body to him. Minato didn't resist and only seemed to crawl further into his lap. Akihiko took a long breath and was relieved at once to find that he could still smell it. The scent of plastic and warm vanilla that always enveloped the boy. The scent he had come to love so dearly.

"Keep your eyes closed," Minato ordered as he himself breathed deeply. When Akihiko ventured to ask why, he was interrupted by the boy's hand on his mouth. "If you know, for sure, positively and completely, that it is me that is touching you, then this will disappear. I won't be able to say goodbye again."

Akihiko let it sink in for a moment before groping for the back of the boy's head and crashing his mouth against his own. It was like that had opened a forbidden gate. They hungrily devoured each other, touching, tasting everything. Relishing in the feeling of being with each other once more. He had gone so long without this touch, that Akihiko felt like he was dying. Flesh molded with flesh, and they were so fast, so desperate, that even the two had no idea whose body parts were whose and who was touching what.

It had to have been at least five minutes before they broke apart for air. But even then time seemed so distorted. It had felt like they had been touching forever, molded together like they should have always been, and yet there was the lingering feeling that they had barely touched at all. Akihiko heard the other boy's whimper as they parted. Relishing in the knowledge that his own craving was still returned.

It was the loss of warmth that made him finally realize that it was all over. The boxer groped blindly ( having continued to clamp his eyes shut for fear of losing the boy ) hoping against hope that he could bring the other back to his side. Fingertips grazed against cotton, and he found his alarm only increasing as he felt the material slip silently and easily out of his grasp.

By the time he opened his eyes again, Minato was already on the other side of the coffee table. "I can't keep you longer," he said, looking quite calm despite his words. To anyone else, he would have perfectly portrayed the calm, happy demeanor he was going for. Akihiko had learned how to read him though, so well that every twitch, tick, or blink perfectly showed what emotion was behind those grey eyes. To him, the bluenette's face was like a blown-up billboard.

It was the way the corner of his mouth twitched ever-so-slightly, and the slight hitch in his voice that gave him away. Minato was fighting to keep his composure.

Akihiko knew he was fighting a losing battle then. There was no way he would convince the boy to stay. No way to persuade the other into taking him along. He felt the energy flowing out of his body, and Akihiko found himself slumping tiredly in the chair. His eyes closed again and his neck craned backwards over the top of the chair back. "If only I could keep you."

He had murmured this sentence with no intention of the other hearing it. But hear it Minato did. Akihiko didn't see the boy bite his lip in contemplation, nor did he see Minato make his way slowly over to stand behind him. He did, though, relish in the feeling of cold fingertips dancing across his neck, while the other hand gently lifted up his head. Something that wasn't skin, but smelled strangely of vanilla, slipped around the back of his neck. Akihiko was prepared to sit up and find out what the hell the other had just done, when something soft and warm pressed against his lips.

The kiss was broken almost as soon as it was started, and when the boxer opened his eyes Minato was once again several paces away. This time the bluenette didn't try to conceal the sorrow, and his smile was filled with more regret than happiness. He opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted with the sound of a door opening.

The pair looked over to see the startled expression of a person Akihiko had never thought he'd see again. Ryouji, in all his comedic glory, looked even more shocked then Akihiko felt. "Ah, well, um…sorry?" was what he finally stumbled on. He pointed behind him, and out the door that was spilling light as white as snow. "Uh, Igo-, I mean the master wants to see you," he stuttered. He seemed to have lost most of his surprise, but his voice still caught in his uncertainty.

Minato gave a sigh and a nod and headed over to stand in front of the black-haired boy. He bit his lip again before turning around and smiling at Akihiko. This smile, unlike his last, had it's usual mischievous gleam to it. "You know," he started, "dreams are still thoughts. They're connected you know, and every time you dream, you never know who exactly will show up in it."

With that he paused before whispering something else that Akihiko barely caught, then disappeared out the door. Leaving with a flash of light that seemed to seep into the whole room and white-out everything. Shortly, as if he blinked, the white disappeared into complete darkness. Moments later he heard his name being called by several different voices. For some reason he found himself unwilling to wake up, and tried his best to ignore them.

"Akihiko, if you don't wake up I will execute you like I never have before!"

It was this declaration that finally managed to rouse him. He shot up like he had been set on fire, eyes flying open to reveal the silhouettes of about four different people. When his vision finally focused, he was able to pick out the worried expressions of Mitsuru, Yukari, Junpei, and Fuuka. By the high-pitched whimpering and the boy's attempts at soothing it, he realized that Koromaru and Ken were also in the room somewhere out of his sights.

"Thank god," Yukari whimpered. She seemed to lose all energy for she collapsed backwards against the opposite coach.

Mitsuru herself, who he had only seen lose composure three or four times, seemed to lose all her adrenaline. She fell her to knees and her left hand clutched loosely at his right sleeve. "I thought we had lost you too," she whispered.

Akihiko, who had finally become fully conscious, could only blink in surprise and wonder. How long had they been awake without him? Long enough to make them worry apparently. It was this thought that made him realize something else. "Where's Aegis?" he asked. The question made the group seem to regain some of their life.

Fuuka was the first to speak up. "She's resting. She scared us as well. Wouldn't wake up, and when we checked her out we found that her circuits were fried." Before he could voice his concern she squashed it. "She's okay now. Like I said, we're letting her rest."

Junpei, ever the life of the party, gave a nervous chuckle. "We got so scared about her that we forgot about you senpai," he laughed. It was obvious he was trying to raise everyone's spirits, but as always was doing a horrible job of it.

"Thanks," Akihiko commented dryly.

Yukari snorted from her position on the other couch. "You were moving at least. Said something about being an ass or something. Naturally we thought you were fine."

"Before we realized you weren't with us upstairs when we were checking out Aegis," Fuuka interrupted. Her features softened and she found herself smiling despite the situation. "We're all okay now though," she soothed. "And it's no longer March."

This revelation hit him like a ton of bricks. It was over, everything was over. But that also meant his connection with Minato was also continuing to be severed. Thread by small thread. He wasn't sure if he should be happy about this or not.

Mitsuru's tug on his sleeve as she lifted herself up brought his attention back to her. Her squinted eyes and sharp stare made him jump slightly. She removed her hand from his sleeve and pointed a delicate yet commanding finger at his neck. "Where did you get those"" she asked. Though with her, it always sounded like a demand.

Confused and curious, his hand went up to his neck to see what she was talking about. When his fingers met with plastic, he was shocked. The headphones, as further investigation revealed them to be, were still warm and smelled so strongly of vanilla that it was almost intoxicating.

Fuuka gasped, and proceeded to hold a hand to her mouth in surprise. "Those," she started, fumbling over herself in her haste. "Those are the headphones I made him! I would recognize them anywhere. But how did you get them?"

"I'll always love you,"

A smile planted itself on his face, and the group, now thoroughly surprised, could only stare in shock. "Wily bastard," he muttered, though his tone was loving. "Dreams are thoughts huh?"

Akihiko found himself wishing that he would dream, every time he closed his eyes.