Entitled: Cost You A Smile
Fandom: Persona 3 Portable
Length: 3,500 words
Disclaimer: I don't own P3P and whatever.
Notes: I'm calling her Minako, because I think it's a cute name. However, you have my permission to "ctrl h" in whatever your canon name is.
Summary: Honey, death is cheap. — MinakoShinjiro, MinakoRyoji

September 21, 2009

"I love this movie," Minako announced as the main love interest died in the hero's arms. She munched on her popcorn with inappropriate enthusiasm, "It's so great. Look! The actor's gonna break his face if he keeps on trying to cry so hard."

But her gleefully cynical quip was met with silence. Minako glanced over, blinked.


Shinjiro held himself very still, face hidden by shadow.

Minako's eyes narrowed suspiciously, "Senpai, are you crying?"

"Shut up."

"Oh my," Minako grinned, "You're so sweet!"

"Shut up," Shinji growled. There was tiny warble hiding in the back of his throat. Minako quelled the overpowering urge to pat his shoulder.

"It's just a movie."

Shinji said nothing. Probably because he was being emotional. Yeah. Minako stretched out her legs, held a yawn in the back of her throat, and dreamed of teasing him further. But that wouldn't be very nice. "Senpai, feed me."

"You just ate."

"...Yeah?" Minako peered into her now empty tub, dragged a finger along the buttery sides, and sucked it clean. Her bucket was confiscated with a dark mutter. Minako grinned again.

"Oh. Did I make you uncomfortable with my innocent provocations?"

Shinjiro muttered something that might have been explicit, rubbed quickly at his eyes, and then dragged her out of the theater.

"Senpai, you're so manly."

"Hey, you."

"Really! I'm happy you were so touched!"

"That was a terrible movie," Shinji growled, and drove his point home with an empathetic straw-jab, "Stupid. What's the point if they both end up dead in the end anyways?"

"Technically, we all end up dead," Minako pointed out, and then wished she hadn't. Her eyes flicked up to clock on the wall, the digital counter.

Shinji looked out the window.

September 25, 2009

"You don't have to be here if you don't wanna be."

"Huh?" Minako's attention snapped back across the table. Shinjiro had his hands in his pockets, expression hard.

"Go on, you're wasting your time."

Minako's brow crinkled, "Why are we sulking?"

"I'm not sulking."

"Okay..." Minako leaned forwards, set her elbows on either side of her plate and propped her chin upon her hands, studying him. Shinjiro glared back at her, testy. She smiled, counted down from three, said, "C'mon, you think I'm here for the food?"

"You had three helpings."

"Ugh, senpai. You don't always hafta shut me down like that," Minako flopped sideways, head resting on her upper arm as she whined. Her eyes strayed, and Shinjiro shook his head.

"Let's just go."

Minako kicked him lightly under the table. "I don't wanna."

September 29, 2009

He'd said it was important to him.

She tore the city apart.

"Ain't I seen you before, girly?"

"Girlfriend of the guy who welded machineguns to his arms," Mianko lied immediately, paused, studied the two lowlifes slouched against the dirty wall, "Don't you guys ever leave the alley?"

There was a slightly sullen silence during which she fed the familiar cat an old bag of crackers.

"I ain't seen a watch."

"Hiroshi has some."

"The flasher-vendor?" Minako asked casually, and dusted off the seat of her skirt. "I'm not looking for a new one."

"They aren't new."

"I'm not looking for cheap stolen goods either," Minako amended grumpily, and left the alley behind her.

"I'm afraid I cannot accept requests, only give them."

"But I need your help," Minako blew a breath through her bangs, hands clenching the fabric of her skirt, "Please. I've looked everywhere he could have gone. I'm running out of time."

Theodore closed his eyes and bowed slightly at the waist. He really did look remorseful, entity of power or not. The blue lights flickered around them as the goblin-man shuffled his cards in the back.

"I'm terribly sorry. There just isn't any way."

After a moment, she nodded. "I see. Thank you anyways. It was nice to see you again, as always."

Theodore murmured his own farewell, touched two fingers to her temple (exactly the spot where she pressed her evoker) and led her from the Velvet room.

Back at the mall, Minako slumped against the cool wall, her thoughts slow and quick and resetting, restarting, shifting personas, trying again for some other place...

"Would you like to hear your fortune?"

Minako blinked, and looked up. The club's lights flashed around her, making her eyes dry out and itch. The seer's blind eyes knew her, by scent or by the measure of her footstep. Minako looked at her long, then shook her head.

"I know what comes," she smiled by reflex, and the wise woman responded in turn.

"Your friend has already looked in the places he would like to be," the seer murmured, "Perhaps you should try the places he hasn't."

"...Oh," Minako breathed, and rushed out.


"You wouldn't believe what I had to do to find this thing," Minako gasped, one hand pressed to her side and the other held aloft and wrapped in a chain, "I mean it. Praise me."

Shinjiro's eyes followed the slow swing of his pocket watch.

"Hey, come with me for a second..." he had one hand wrapped loosely around her wrist, fingers against her pulse. It would have been easy to break away.

She watched him stow the pocket watch in his breast pocket, and smiled.

October 3, 2009

The watch he'd bought her fit her snug. Old fashioned, a real clock-face. No cheating the numbers.

As if anyone could cheat the numbers.

Minako watched Yukari climb the stairs, and counted down from three. Everything was a countdown now, and Shinji...Shinji didn't even realize.

She spun the band so that time faced down, and got up. For the first three steps, her knees shook.

It was supposed to be a done deal. She knew the extent of the moon arcana, and had gotten him his pocket watch. She had things she should have been doing.

Minako pushed up her smile and ran an nervous hand back through her hair. He could see her coming from every angle, standing in the corner like that.

"What're you lookin' at me like that for? I don't have anything else to give you."

Minako smiled sheepishly, hands clasping and unclasping before her, "I'm not here for anything."

This wasn't part of the plan.

Her breathing evened with time, and she shifted sideways quick enough to see him shut his eyes.

"Promise me you won't..."

She bit her lip. He opened his eyes, ran one of his tough hands down her bare shoulder, "What?"

Minako swallowed, and turned her face down into the pillow. Her eyes were stinging, and she breathed out roughly. Her persona swapped, insides shifting and setting with her posture.


"Nothing!" she grinned, and lunged forwards, wrapping her arms around his middle and hiding her face in his neck. "Gotcha."

"That isn't going to work."

Her grip only tightened when he tried to pull her off. "Shinji."

She could actually hear it when his heart skipped, "Yeah?"

"I don't want to go back yet."

"So don't."

It was getting too warm, holding him like this. She let go and shifted back, memorized how he looked when he bent over her, sad-eyed and tired.

She bit her tongue for luck, "I do love you."

"...Yeah," he sighed, and dragged her closer.

October 4, 2009

Shinjiro was dying.

And she'd seen this happen before.

"Hey, come on Minako. Don't cry."

All of it, worthless. Plotting and manipulating and switching herself around, all for nothing. All for him filling the pavement's cracks with his own blood.

Her knees dropped.

"What should we do?" Yukari was shouting in the background, "Hey come on! We can't just stand here and watch him die!"

Minako pushed her hands against his chest, ignoring how he gasped, how thick and awful his blood felt on her fingers.


"Someone needs to go to the hospital. Get ready for them. We've only got another ten minutes."

"Minako, get out of here."

"Be quiet," she whispered.

Shinjiro's eyes flicked, "Come on. You think I want you to watch me die?"

"You aren't gonna," she snarled, still applying pressure, still blinking to clear her eyes. Of all the times to cry. "Listen to me. I won't let you. You aren't the one who has to die."

He looked sick now, shaking as his body went into shock, and whatever the rest of the group was yelling had begun to fade out. Akihiko was stooping down beside her, and Shinji's eyes were closing, so she leaned over him quick as she could and clung to his clammy hands, brushed his lips with her own and whispered, "I gave you my time."

His fingers gripped her own for a moment, then slackened.

November 5, 2009


The door didn't open. Minako sighed, knocked again. "Hey. I brought you some dinner. I'll leave it out here so you won't even have to talk to me."

She listened to see if she could hear him moving around, but didn't. Her hand rested on the frame, eyes cast down.

"I'll listen, if you want to talk. I didn't. When my family died, I mean. And Shinjiro-senpai, though I guess he's not dead. Still. It helps sometimes."

She did hear him move, now. A gentle thud, like he'd swung his feet to the floor. She waited, listening, but nothing further happened.

She bit her lip, then set down the tray, "Make sure you remember her."

December 1, 2009

The second Royji had shut the door behind him, Minako was on her feet and running after him. The door slammed, cutting off something Yukari had shouted. Her feet skidded along the icy road, but she just had to reach him before he turned the corner...

"Ryoji-kun!" she gasped, and seized the tail of his scarf, jerking him back into existence. "Wait!"


"Why're you lying?" she gasped, grabbing at the stitch in her ribs. "C'mon. You're me. You've seen it."

Ryoji's lips thinned, "Seen The Fall? Yes. I have. In our dreams."

"Then you should know. I'm going to save everyone."

He had unbearably sad eyes, Ryoji. It was hard to look at him. "But you die. You always die. Even when you're dreaming."

"I can handle it. Besides, you're dead too."

He smiled unhappily, loose hands tucking around her shoulders. "Please don't make me hurt you. Please. I just want you to be happy. Let me give you that innocence."

"I am happy," she smiled, toying with her watch, running the band in circles around her wrist. Ryoji exhaled, and embraced her tightly for a moment with his face hidden in her shoulder.

"Then, I'll wait for you after the end."

"You're always saying dramatic stuff like that."

"That's because I mean it."

December 31, 2009

There was already someone in Shinji's room when Minako walked in. Akihiko started to rise, looking flustered. After a pause she crossed the room with the same wide, bold steps Mitsuru took, and she sat firmly on the edge of the bare mattress. No nonsense. She knew Akihiko was looking down at her, and he sank down to her side, slowly.

Ceiling still looked the same, anyways.

"Did you..." Akihiko fell silent, and when Minako glanced towards him even his ears were crimson, "Never mind. Sorry."

She couldn't think of anything to say.

"Promise me," Akihiko tailed off, then shook his head and nearly glared at her, "Don't do anything stupid."

Minako grinned. It was funny, the deconstruction of a smile. It hardly meant anything anymore. "You shouldn't worry, senpai," she admitted, "I've got this."

Akihiko stared at her for a minute, then blew out a heavy breath. It wasn't the cock-sure nod she'd been expecting.

"You're just like him," he muttered, one hand now sinking through his short hair, "Seriously. Never tell me anything."

Minako shrugged. Another smile. "I'm sorry."

But for some reason she caught herself, and so said it again, so she meant it, "I am. I'm sorry, senpai. I...I mean it. I'll fix it. I can."

"You didn't promise."

"No, I didn't." Minako agreed, pushed her fingers into Shinji's stripped pillow for a second, and got to her feet. "Ryoji-kun will be here soon."

"He wants you to be happy," Akihiko blurted, and amended, "I mean, we do. I do. When you see Ryoji tonight, you don't have to be the one who makes the call."

"Senpai," Minako exhaled, looked over her shoulder and into the empty room, "There never was a choice."

January 30, 2010


Minako paused with one of her boots half-on. "Aegis? What's wrong?"

The robot frowned, "You are going out?"


"Then, I shall accompany you."

"It's okay." Minako straightened, briefly twisting her spine free of kinks, "I'm just going to stop in at the hospital. Last chance to do it, anyways."

Aegis scowled. "You are incorrect. Once The Fall has been prevented, there will be plenty of opportunities. You should stay here at the dorms and conserve your strength."

Minako focused on doing up the laces of her other boot so that Aegis wouldn't be able to read her expression. When she straightened, she shrugged.

"You're probably right." She reached for the door. Aegis tapped after her, and Minako endured the eyes affixed to her back for the next several blocks.


"Yes, Aegis?"

"You are...saying goodbye?"

"Uh," Minako paused, let Aegis draw alongside her, and resumed walking, "That's a pretty grim thing to say! Don't worry, Aegis. I'm invincible!"

Aegis frowned again. "Analysis reveals that your left ankle is still weak from November. Also, the structural design of your wrists and upper arms are imperfect. I would advise against favoring physical attacks as heavily as Junpei-san and Akihiko-senpai. Furthermore, you have been favoring personas of the moon arcana for some time now, most of which are weak to light."

Minako rolled her eyes.

Still, it was comforting to hear Aegis tapping along at her side.



"I am worried for you."

"Why? Because I have weak ankles?"

"No..." Aegis seemed to struggle with something for a moment, "I wish there were some way for me to help you. To make it easier."

"You have helped me." Minako grinned, and threw an arm over cold, metal shoulders, "I promise you, I'll stop it. I've got a plan."

Aegis nodded, "That is good. However. If you are so sure of our victory, why did you say that this would be your last opportunity to see Shinjiro-san?"

Minako grimaced. "Finals."

"I comprehend."

January 31, 2010

She had always known what would happen.

But this...

Her body sagged, and that weak ankle was honestly shot. Maybe broken. Aegis had been right about that. Minako nearly giggled, but it was already too difficult to stand. Her weight was all stooped over and hanging against her naginata, and she sucked air through a mouthful of cracking teeth.

It wasn't supposed to be so hard.

Her grip slipped, and she felt like crying when she went down on one knee. She'd promised, hadn't she? And she didn't make promises easy.

Nyx thrummed again with power, a power of the cold sort, and Minako gasped, one arm raised to block the attack, her eyes squeezed shut.

It wasn't even hard. It was just impossible.

Come on!

She didn't want to die alone.

She pushed her fringe to the side, and groud her teeth.

Everyone was waiting for her. And she'd promised them. And she was failing. What was up with that? She wasn't allowed to fail. Everyone knew that. Everyone was...trying to help her...

Her vision spun, and then she was suddenly on her feet, naginata held in a grip that was stronger than her own.

You're always cheating death, aren't you?

Her breath caught, eyes wide and looking straight into the face of oblivion.

Alright, let's do this.

And she had carried Death inside her, after all. The locks and gates were still in place, and she'd always known where to find them.

Minako closed her eyes, squeezed a phantom's hand...and jumped.

?, ?, ?

It was difficult to focus.

But Shinji didn't feel dead anymore.

She breathed out.

"Always together, huh?" she mumbled, and touched the side of his face one last time. "That sounds pretty good."

She smiled at him, one last time, because she felt warm and sleepy and all her friends were running over now, and she'd saved him. Saved everyone.

She really could see the whole city from here.

"Hey," Shinjiro tapped her face back towards him, "What're you smiling for?"

"I don't really know," Minako admitted, "I just think that the world's beautiful."

She took one last look.

I'm glad I met you.

And her eyes slid shut.

"You're here."

Minako opened her eyes to a gentle dark space. She turned.

There was an elaborate gate behind her, tricked out in clocks and mangled faces. But she didn't need to keep track of the time anymore. There was nothing left to count.

Ryoji stared at her from the other side, sitting with his legs crossed.

Minako smiled at him, and stepped nearer. She sank down to sit across from him. "Sorry I made you wait."

He shrugged. Minako looked around. "This isn't so bad."


"They're all fine. All of them. Shinjiro-senpai woke up."

Ryoji smiled at her. "Did he make it in time?"


"That's good," he sighed, propped his chin on one hand.

"I think so too." Minako eased backwards, so she could lie flat, "I think it's alright now."

"I'm glad you're here. Is that selfish?"

"Not really. I always was here, and you were always with me. So...seriously, stop trying to shake me off."

Ryoji turned and leaned so that his back rested against the gate. After a minute, she did the same.

"I missed you."