Author's Note: This idea came to me as many of my others have from the question what would happen if I inserted this original character into Persona 3. Shinji is a very hard and fun character to write. I hope you enjoy reading his story as much as I am loving writing it. Please bear in mind that this is my first Persona 3 story, but I am trying my best to keep all the characters in character and keep to the canon of the game as much as possible. I decided to not use Minato for the name of the main character and use the one I used in the game for this story. It just fit him more to me. Sorry ahead of time to those of you that this may bother.
This story is rated M for strong language, some suggestive themes, and honestly because so was the game this was based off of. I hope you enjoy.
"The number of acute cases of the new illness known as Apathy Syndrome is growing. The fact that healthy people are now coming down with it, leads experts to theorize that the illness is caused by high levels of stress," a cold, female reporter explained from the 25 inch tv that rested in the corner of the dorm lobby.
The tv was the only real light source in the room. The two students sitting on the couch watching it hadn't bothered to turn the lights on yet. The younger of the two was a female high school student with light brown shoulder-length hair. She was in her second year at the local high school. The older was a college student who also had shoulder-length brown hair, but his was darker than hers.
The light from the tv revealed that he was sneering. "Idiots," he scoffed as the scene changed to an interview with the so-called experts. He turned his back on the tv.
"Shinji-senpai!" the girl snapped. "How would they know!" She lowered her head. "I wish I didn't know."
He faced her, his dark eyes narrowed in disgust. "Why don't you quit, then?" he snapped. "You can't even use your evoker, yet."
The girl gasped, turning her head away as if he had slapped her. Then she faced him, her hand clenched. "That's what's wrong with you! You find it too easy!"
His dark brown eyes flashed. "I'll do whatever it takes to stop the Dark Hour," he replied, dangerously calm. He slid his chrome, Skullcandy headphones onto his ears and walked out of the dorm.
The girl sighed, turning back to watch the news.
Chapter 1 Arrival
He walked through the hustle and bustle of the city on his way to the train station, his earphones barely blocking out the noise of the streets. He had his duffle bag tossed over his shoulder. His short, blue hair falling over one eye as he climbed the stairs to the station, his mp3 player blaring his favorite song.
The train was nearly empty as it made its way towards his destination. The young man calmly watched the city pass him by as he waited for his stop.
It happened shortly after he stepped off the train. He was checking the paper that had the dorm's address on it, when his mp3 player turned off followed by everything else. The only thing illuminating the station now was the full moon shining through the skylight. By that creepy light, he glanced up at the clock. It had stopped at 12:00 midnight. What was going on?
Shrugging it off as perhaps a blackout, he stepped out of the station. The sight outside stopped him in his tracks. The street was filled with giant, red coffins. They towered over him as he glanced nervously around. To add to the creepy atmosphere, the sky had a green cast to it. And was he mistaken or were there puddles of blood glistening in the moonlight here and there? What was going on?
Wanting to get to the dorm and away from the weirdness as soon as possible, he glanced at the address again and began walking. Finally he made it to the dorm--a tall, four story brick structure. He paused to take in the sight of it. The lights glowing through the windows looked very welcoming, especially considering the strangeness going on in the streets. He reached out and pulled the door open, entering the building.
He stopped just inside the door, setting his bag down and pulling off his earphones. The lobby consisted of a counter to his left, a 25 inch tv in the corner of a divider that partitioned off the kitchen, and several chairs and couches arranged around a coffee table.
His eyes drifted back towards the counter to meet the big round eyes of a young boy. He nearly jumped.
"You're late," the young boy said. His voice was kind of creepy. He walked around the counter to stand in front of the blue-haired young man. "I've been waiting a long time for you."
The young man could only stare.
The boy snapped his finger and a red notebook suddenly appeared on the counter. "Now if you want to proceed, please sign your name there," the boy said calmly. "It's a contract." He shook his head. "Don't worry, all it says is that you'll accept full responsibility for your actions. You know, the usual stuff."
The young man looked down at the contract. It contained huge blocks of official-looking text with a fancy border around it all. Did he need to sign this to live here at the dorm? He hesitantly signed his name-- Kuromori, Hideo.
The boy looked down at the contract and then up at Hideo. "No one can escape time," he said in the same calm voice. "It delivers us all to the same end. You can't plug your ears and cover your eyes." He picked up the contract and held it before his eyes where it disappeared. "And so it begins." The boy disappeared.
As he was beginning to ponder the boy's words, a female voice called out to him, causing him to jump slightly. "Who's there?" she asked, her voice filled with tension.
A girl with light brown, shoulder-length hair, dressed in a pink sweater and a dark skirt burst into the room, reaching for a handgun holstered on her leg. What was going on? he wondered as he froze, staring at her.
"Takeba, wait!" an older female voice called out.
The female walked into the room near the armed girl. The older one had dark red, long hair and was dressed in a school uniform. She had a self-assured, mature aura around her versus the tense, frightened aura of the armed girl.
As the three stood there staring at each other, the power came back on, Hideo's mp3 player blaring his favorite song once again. He reached down and turned it off. Seriously, what was going on?
Finally, the red head approached him. "I didn't think you'd arrive so late," she said in a calm, somewhat friendly voice. It seemed as if she was trying to brush off what had almost happened. "My name is Mitsuru Kirijo." She gestured at herself. "I'm one of the students who live in this dorm."
Hideo nodded, studying both girls cautiously.
The brunette glanced at him and then Mitsuru. "...Who's he?"
Misuru gestured at Hideo. "He's a transfer student. It was a last minute decision to assign him here. He'll eventually be moved to a room in the boy's dorm."
Hideo had the disconcerting feeling there was more to this than that. The nervous look on the younger woman's face just added to that feeling.
"...Is it okay for him to be here?" the brown-haired girl asked.
Mitsuru shrugged. "I guess we'll see..." She turned to Hideo. "This is Yukari Takeba." She gestured at the brunette. "She'll be a junior this spring, just like you."
"...Hey," Yukari greeted hesitantly. She still seemed nervous.
Hideo nodded. "Nice to meet you."
Yukari smiled nervously. "Uh, y-yeah...Nice to meet you too..."
Why was she so nervous? Was it because of what she had almost done? Once again he wondered what was going on.
"It's getting late," Mitsuru drew him out of his thoughts. "So you should get some rest." She gestured toward some stairs at the back of the building. "Your room is on the second floor, at the end of the hallway. Your things should already be there."
Yukari started as if Mitsuru's statement had brought her out of her own thoughts. "Oh...I'll show you the way. Follow me."
Hideo nodded and followed the brunette up the stairs and down the second floor hallway to the last door on the right.
"This is it..." Yukari said, gesturing at the door. "Pretty easy to remember, huh? ...Since it's right at the end of the hall." She sounded much more friendly now. "Oh yeah, make sure you don't lose your key, or you'll never hear the end of it... So, any questions?"
Hideo studied her. She was certainly being a lot nicer now. What had spooked her so? Did it have something to do with those weird coffins? And what was the deal with that kid and the contract?
"What's that contract for?" he finally asked, feeling it was the safest of his many questions.
Yukari looked puzzled. "Huh? ...What contract?" She shifted uncomfortably as he studied her. "Um...Can I ask you something? On your way here from the station, was everything okay?"
Hideo stiffened slightly. Did she know about what he saw? Had he really seen what he thought he had? "What do you mean?" he asked slowly, wanting her to come out and say it so he wouldn't feel so crazy.
"You know what I--" she began almost snappishly. "...Nevermind." She sighed. "It seems like you're alright." She glanced back down the hallway. "Well, I better get going..."
Yukari started down the hallway, but stopped, glancing back over her shoulder. "Um...I'm sure you still have other questions, but let's save them for later, okay? Good night."
Hideo nodded at her and then entered his room. It was a nice room with three windows along one wall, a desk against that same wall. A tv was tucked in the corner near a full-sized bed. The room also had a sink and a small refrigerator. Hideo smiled. It was going to be an interesting year.
Shinji leaned back against the bench near the movie theater at Port Island Station and sighed. His headphones blared a metal song into his ears, the music blocking out the peaceful sounds of the fountain behind him. It was nearing three in the morning.
The shadows were getting more and more restless. He had barely been able to protect that last guy in time. The way things were going the number of Apathy Syndrome victims would be doubling soon.
Damn it! He couldn't protect everyone. Takeba needed to get off her dead ass in a hurry and help them out.
"Do you ever sleep?" a soft, male voice asked teasingly from behind him.
Shinji leapt to his feet, his hands slipping to the two daggers sheathed at his back, hidden under his shirt.
"Whoa! Shin, it's me." A grayish white-haired guy stepped out of the shadows, smiling.
Shinji released his grip on his weapons. "Any luck finding people who have the potential?" he asked, dropping back down on the bench.
The young man frowned. "Not yet." He smirked. "Yukari tells me that you snapped at her again today."
"Hmph," Shinji snorted in disgust. "She's wasting our time, Aki. She may have the potential, but she's scared shitless." He looked away. "And do we really want to put her through this?" he added softly.
Aki smirked. "If only she could hear you now."
Shinji glared at him. "Piss off."
Aki grew serious. "You need to take her more seriously," he said, crossing his arms. "She wants to protect people almost as badly as you do. She just needs a catalyst to get her over her fear."
Shinji stared down at the ground, frowning. "Hmph. Just as long as that doesn't get someone killed."
"That's what we're here for."
Shinji looked up at him. He shook his head. He just couldn't be that damn optimistic. Standing, he turned to walk away.
"Where are you going?" Aki called after him.
Shinji stopped. "To see Shinjiro," he shot over his shoulder before walking away.
Behind him, Aki frowned.
Sunlight filtered into his room, a beam of it hitting him in the face. Hideo opened his eyes, suppressing a groan. First day at his new school. After the events from last night he wished he could have gotten more sleep. Hopefully his first day of school wouldn't be as exciting.
He crawled out of bed and dressed. He was getting ready to reach for his bag when there was a knock at his door.
"It's Yukari. Are you awake?"
Hideo walked over to the door and opened it. Yukari stepped into his room.
"Good morning," she greeted, smiling. "Did you sleep okay? Mitsuru-senpai asked me to take you to school. It's getting late, so...Are you ready to go?"
Hideo nodded. "Yeah, I'm ready."
Yukari smiled. "Okay. Then, let's go." She led him back down the stairs to the lobby.
Sitting on one of the couches in the room, watching the news was a dark brown-haired guy. He looked quite a bit older than them. He was dressed like a skater in a layered t-shirt, baggy cargos, and converse sneakers. The top t-shirt was black with the logo for some band called Breaking Benjamin on the front. The undershirt was white and long-sleeved. He had an earring in his left ear and chrome headphones hung around his neck. As his dark eyes hit Hideo, he got the impression that the older guy was sizing him up.
"This the new guy, Takeba?" he asked coldly.
Yukari nodded. "Hideo Kuromori, meet Shinji Kuroyosuke. He lives in the dorm too."
Hideo nodded at him, remaining silent. He wasn't sure what to make of this guy. Shinji was studying him.
"Is it true he may have the potential?" he asked finally.
Yukari's eyes widened. "Shinji-senpai! Shh!" Yukari snapped, glaring at him.
Potential? What was he talking about? Did this have something to do with what happened last night? He opened his mouth to ask when Yukari interjected.
"Don't listen to him," she said, tugging on Hideo's arm. "Come on, we're going to be late."
Hideo studied Shinji a bit longer before he let Yukari drag him out the door. What he saw made him uncomfortable. The older guy was giving him a dark, appraising look.
Shinji watched as Yukari dragged the new guy out the door. If this guy really did have the potential he could possibly be the catalyst Aki had been talking about. He frowned. Another person who would have to struggle with the burden.
Hideo sighed as the bell rang. Compared to last night, school hadn't been nearly as exciting, but he was still tired. He grabbed his bag and stood, getting ready to leave the now bustling classroom. He hadn't even taken a step when a student in a baseball cap approached him. He had a hyper, friendly aura about him.
"S'up, dude? How's it goin'?" the student asked, grinning.
Hideo studied him for a minute. The guy had a open air about him and he wore his uniform extremely casually. This guy was the complete opposite of the older dormmate that he had just met that morning.
"Who are you?" he asked as nicely as he could. He wasn't sure what to make of this guy.
"Me?" the student asked, pointing at himself. "I'm Junpei Iori." He lifted his hand in a small wave. "Nice to meet ya. I transferred here when I was in eighth grade. I know how tough it is bein' the new kid... So I wanted to say, 'hey.' ...See what a nice guy I am!"
So he had been a transfer student at one time. He certainly was a confident and talkative guy.
Suddenly, Yukari entered the classroom and approached the two of them. She frowned as she noticed Junpei.
"Hey, it's Yuka-tan!" he greeted, waving at her with his ever-present grin plastered to his face. "I didn't think we'd be in the same class again."
Yukari sighed, looking slightly annoyed. "At it again, huh? I swear, you'll talk to anyone if they'll listen. Did you ever think you might be bothering someone?"
Junpei gave her an insulted look. "What? But, I was just bein' friendly."
"If you say so," she replied, shaking her head. She looked at Hideo. "Anyway, looks like we're in the same homeroom..."
Hideo nodded, smiling. "Yeah, I know."
"Funny, huh?" Yukari replied, studying him.
Junpei frowned, looking annoyed. "Um, hello? Are you forgetting that I'm in this class too?" Suddenly his eyes glinted mischievously. "By the way, I heard you two came to school together this morning. What's up with that? C'mon, gimme the dirt!"
Yukari's face turned a deep red as she spluttered, "Wh-What are you talking about! We live in the same dorm. There's nothing going on, okay? Why are people even talking about it! Now you have me worried..." She took a deep breath to compose herself. She really got flustered easily. Suddenly she turned to Hideo. " Hey... You didn't say anything to anyone about...you know what, did you?"
Hideo shook his head. "Uh uh."
Yukari sighed in relief. "Okay, good. Seriously... Don't say anything about last night, alright?"
Hideo flinched inwardly. If she didn't want Junpei to think something was going on between them, she had just completely ruined that. Junpei was staring at her in shock.
"W-what?" Yukari asked defensively.
"L-Last night...? Junpei inquired, a grin slowly creeping over his face.
Yukari turned bright red again. "W-Wait a minute! Don't get the wrong idea! Listen! I just met him yesterday, and there's absolutely nothing between us! Geez..." She sighed. "I've gotta go. I've got something to take care of for the archery team." She turned to go and then stopped, glancing over her shoulder. "But, you better not start any rumors!" She dashed out the door.
Junpei rolled his eyes. "Ah, who cares? No one takes rumors seriously, anyway. She's so paranoid..." He faced Hideo. "But, hey! It's your first day here, and people are already talkin' about you! Believe it or not, she's actually pretty popular. You da man!" He pumped his fist. "Heheh, this is gonna be a fun year. I can feel it!"
Hideo entered the dorm with his bag tucked under his arm. Junpei had insisted on taking him out to eat to welcome him to the town. He had only just got away. He was so tired. The move and the events of the previous night must have really worn him out.
"Welcome back," Mitsuru greeted, smiling at him. "You look pretty tired. You should get some rest."
Hideo nodded and climbed the stairs to his room where he crashed shortly after crawling into bed.
Aki descended the stairs from the second floor of the dorm. He had just finished his studying and he wanted to go out for some exercise.
Mitsuru was sitting on the couch, reading when he entered the common room. Her beautiful, long red hair hid her face from him. No one else was in the room.
"I'm going out for a bit," he informed her as she looked up from her book.
Aki shook his head. "Didn't you see the newspaper? There's a lot going on." His eyes shown with his excitement.
Mitsuru, on the other hand, frowned. She was always so serious. "...I know," she replied. "People who had no problems before are suddenly developing acute cases of Apathy Syndrome...I've seen it in the news quite often lately. They say it's due to stress, but..." Her eyes got a distant look to them as she glanced at the front door of the dorm.
Aki nodded. "Yeah, right. It has to be them. Otherwise, it's not worth my time..."His eyes glowed at the prospect of fighting the shadows. Shin had been having all the fun lately. It was his turn now.
"You have a one-track mind..." Mitsuru sighed. "Will you be okay on your own? The chairman will be here for the next few days, but after that, I can..."
Aki chuckled. "Don't worry. I'm just getting a little practice."
He walked away. Just before he closed the door he heard Mitsuru sigh again and say, "This isn't a game, Akihiko..."
He frowned. How well he knew that. It just proved how much more important his training was...
Shin frowned as he descended the stairs. Aki was overly confident. Shin hoped he wouldn't get himself killed.
He walked into the small kitchen/dining room area of the common room, planning on cooking some ramen before he too went out for the night. He was pulling out a package of pork ramen when Mitsuru called out to him.
"Are you just now getting up Shinji?"
Shin groaned. She was using her bossy tone with him. "That would require me to actually be sleeping, right?" he sneered.
"Were you studying, then?" she asked, coming to stand next to the divider between the two rooms.
"Sure," he replied disinterestedly, filling a pan with water and putting it on the stove. He faced her, meeting her dark eyes. "Don't worry about Aki. I'll keep an eye on him while I'm out tonight."
Mitsuru frowned, but nodded. She studied him for a moment as he turned his back on her to put the noodles in the boiling water. "Are you ok?" she asked softly.
Shin froze. "I'm fine," he replied coolly, pouring the noodles into a bowl and carrying it over to the table. He ignored her concerned look. Why couldn't she just leave him alone?
She opened her mouth to speak, but he glared at her and she shut it, her own glare meeting his. He began eating his noodles, ignoring the fact that she was staring at him angrily. When he was finished, he put his bowl in the sink and walked past Mitsuru to head for the door.
"Just promise me one thing," Mitsuru called after him as he neared the dorm entrance.
He stopped, but kept his back to her.
"Promise me you..."