Guys? I'm tired. No idea why. I just lost my mojo lately, but things are starting to come together.

Tayuke, you hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

Let's take another swing at this.


Finding Reason.


Next day was dull.

Get up.

Brush teeth.

Shave.

Wash.

Brush hair.

Get dressed.

Eat breakfast.

Mind the shop with Kanji.

Mitsuru's still around.

A lot of police trying to work out what happened with the gunfight.

Lunch.

Minding the shop with Kanji.

"So, what do you plan to do?" Mitsuru asked me.

I looked at her.

"Dunno what there is to do." I told her. "Can't exactly go anywhere chained down like this, and I still don't know who the enemy is. How'd things go talking to GEHIRN anyways?"

She glared.

Then she stood up.

"Arisoto."

Hm?

WHAM

WHAT THE-

CHRUCK-THUD

"THE HELL- WHU?!"

OOMPH

"WHAT THE HELL MITSURU?!" I shouted eventually, shoving Kanji off me. "IT WAS-"

"You really are a Shadow, aren't you?" Mitsuru asked, stepping through the hole in the wall with her steaming fist. "Gloating in other people's weaknesses, rolling in your own pathetic little hole that you dug for yourself. Refusing to attempt just in case you fail."

I glared at Mitsuru as I pushed myself onto my feet. "What're you-"

"Look at me."

I shut my mouth at Mitsuru's order and stood up straight. Mitsuru was mad. Still not too sure what it is she's mad at... and that's not good because I should be able to-

GLURK

I doubled over the fist Mitsuru had shoved into my stomach.

"I am sick." She snarled. "And tired. Of the way you look at me. At everyone."

She leaned in so her lips were almost touching my ear.

"Like I'm a piece of dirt you found on your shoe." she whispered.

What?

A-are you serious?

Wait, what?

Mitsuru pulled back, and I fell to my knees.

...

What?

"Uh, Kirijo-san?" Kanji asked. "I think you broke him..."

What?

"Good." She said. "I'm glad he's taken notice."

Is she..?

"Yeah, but isn't he someone we... don't want to have a mental breakdown?"

"Tatsumi-chan, is everything alright?" Another voice asked.

"Huh?" Kanji asked. "Oh, Megumi-san."

I stood up and walked out of the shop, dragging Kanji with me.

"HURK!" He complained. "HEY, WAIT!"

"Hey, Tatsumi-chan?" The other girl asked.

"Hrgh, Watch the shop for me, alright?! Hey!" Kanji shouted, hand on my shoulder. "The hell's wrong with-"

"Daidara metalworks is down this way, right?" I asked him, not slowing down.

"Huh? Uh, yeah, but why are we?"

"I need an anvil." I explained.

"Uh, okay?" Kanji said. "Look, sorry about back there-"

"We'll fix your wall." I interrupted.

"Not what I meant." Kanji replied. "Look, if you need someone to talk to-"

"I don't need to talk." I snapped. "I need something big and heavy to smash."

"You do realise that's not going to make the problem go away, right?"

"Oh, yes it will." I assured him.

"No, it'll just push the pain aside while people yell at you some more." Kanji warned. "Trust me, I've been there. It's not a happy road you're going on."

"Couldn't care less."


"She'll still be there after you've thrown your tantrum." Kanji pointed out.

I kicked the door to the metalworks down. "HEY!" Daidara shouted, reaching for a weapon of some sort. "GET OUT OF MY-"

I pushed him aside and grabbed the hammer in his belt. "Sorry Daidara-san, this guy's just-"

I yanked Kanji into the back room and pushed him to the ground, pulling the chain attached to his neck and my hand onto the anvil. "Whoa, man, you seriously need to-"

I brought the hammer down on the chain.

TDUNNG

"AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!"

DAMN THAT HURTS! LET'S SMASH IT AGAIN!

TDUNNG

"AAARRGHH!"

TDUNNG

"ARGH!" Kanji yelled as I stepped back, wiping the sweat off my forehead.

This isn't working... Let's try...

I grabbed the tongs that were heating in the fire, and brought them over to the anvil. "The hell are you-" Kanji started to ask, but stopped when I started prying the links apart and IT'S HURTING LIKE CRAP BUT LET'S HAMMER AGAIN ANYWAY!

TDUNNG

"GAHAHAHAARGHH!"

RIGHT!

DROP EVERYTHING AND ARMAGEDDON THAT HO!


"AAAAAARRGHHH!"


Eventually, an axe split the chain in two.

I sat in the corner of the metalworks, gasping for air, drenched in sweat, looking at the chain around my wrist dissolve into dust.

"Feel better ya freak?" Kanji gasped eventually, nursing his neck.

"Like crap, so that's a plus." I laughed. "You?"

"Top of the world." Kanji laughed. "So, freedom?"

"Mortality." I told him. "I've got, maybe, two, three years left to live?"

"Ouch man." Kanji winced, "Hated having a colar that much?"

I laughed. "Hated what it was doing to me." I said, getting to my feet. "How it completely twisted me into something I must never be."

Kanji looked at me. "What, someone's tool?"

"Been a tool since day one." I pointed out. "But not someone who treat people like dead weight. Never someone held down by others."

I looked back at him as he got up. "I'm sorry for treating you like a burden. Could I ask for your help?"

He nodded. "Alright." He said, following me out.


Dunno where Daidara went, but I'm guessing Mitsuru bought him off, as she was on the streets behind us.

The Emperor. The Empress. The Fool.

A red ribbon of light swam around my right arm for a moment, then vanish.

"Do you realise what you've done?"

I turned to face the woman that spoke. Platinum blonde. Blue eyes. Pale skin. Blue hoodie, red skirt. "I almost didn't recognise you with your clothes on." Mitsuru jabbed, and I would have high-fived that, except I'm-

Know. Screw appearances. "Catty. I like it." I told Mitsuru, holding my hand out for a high-five. She glanced at me questioningly, but conceded, slapping my palm.

"Who's this chick?" Kanji asked, stepping into formation next to me.

"I am World." She told us, ignoring the passing shoppers who went their way, gossiping about something pointless.

I narrowed my gaze.

"Ewa Aloni." I said. "Born Seventeenth of April nineteen ninety-three in Warsaw, Poland. Fool Arcana, now World. You defeated Bahomet three years ago. I know you."

She frowned. "You destroyed the chain." She stated. "Why?"

I tilted my head at her.

"I'll tell you what I'll do." I said to her, walking towards her. "I'll tell you a story."

She flew towards me, her kneecap aimed for my face.

I put my hands into my pocket and headbutted her knee.

Bone cracked.

She fell to the ground, screaming.

The crowd stopped.

"Can you feel it?" I asked her, kneeling next to her as she clutched at her injured knee. "Can you feel the singing? The songs that make the maya dance and the hablerie laugh?"

She shuffled back, away from me as she rammed Dia down her leg, and I stood up, aware of the attention we were getting.

Two gaijin fighting outside the weapon shop, the day after a massive gun fight happens?

How could they not watch.

"The symphony of jealousy and envy and longing for attention." I told her. "The concerto of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow. The nocturne of secrets that must never be told, , the étude of knowledge that must never be spoken, the rhapsody of life and the sonata of pain. The Serenade of sense and the marzuka of madness. That endless waltz that forms the melody of mankind."

She looked at me like I was mad. Maybe I was, but that didn't change the question. "Can you hear them singing?" I repeated.

She scrambled to her feet and raised her hand to the sky. White bone began to circle around the people around us and the sky began to pale.

"NO!" I shouted, raising my own hand and tearing the cloak of silence away from the world, ending the Veritas De Sköll before it began. "You are NOT hiding behind the covers from THIS bogeyman, little girl!"

She fell flat on her backside, her confident facade slipping. "That's right, you like to think of yourself as a higher being, but you are just like the rest of us humans."

She laughed, starting to get back onto her feet. "Big words from a Shatten, don't you-"

"Not today." I warned, stopping her dead in her ascent. "Not now. Not after what you did. You are still clinging to the power given you of Philemon, and you are nothing without your Persona. You got one whiff of World, that one moment of absolute Lucidity and you got drunk. You are a schoolyard bully that has just been tied to the pole by that one kid and are becoming more and more aware of the imminent possibility of having your undies pulled down so everyone can laugh at you."

Hm, maybe too far given the situation? But who cares, there's a lovely view beyond the point of no return.

"Go back to your friends." I told her. "Bring your Erebus's and your Chernobog's and anything else you have to throw. I will take it all and I will devour."

I narrowed my glare. "Run home Ewa." I commended her. "I am humanity's weakness incarnate. I will show you the difference between the Universe and you New World Fools."

Her eyes shot wide open, her hand slipped, she landed on her hip and bum, and I knew I hit the nail on the head, even by accident.

She was in sheer panic.

She hadn't taken me seriously before.

She had no idea what she was dealing with.

She had no idea that I make it up as I go along and hope that I get lucky, just like I just did.

And she wasn't even skilled enough to know how to hide the fact that I was right.

She rolled onto her front and scrambled away, getting to her feet and summoning a Persona- a red dragon Persona and flew away.

And the onlookers watched in awe, trying to figure out just what the hell happened.

And the world faded into blue.


=]+[=


Short chapter, but thought I'd get this up since I managed it. Going to write down a timeline for me to cover, and then we'll see if I can manage something regular.

And this hasn't been beta'd yet, so it's not polished.