I don't think this one is so much a fic as it is just me summing up what I believe Ryouji might be thinking at the very end of the game. I've been writing a lot of stuff like this recently, and have come to decide that, even if a lot of people find it weird, I really like this style of writing. It makes me feel like I'm able to characterize better. A lot of the background I put in it is simply my musing on what could have happened, and you never know it might have. After all you really don't get much background on the protagonist, other than the major story points. Forgive my ramblings, and well, forgive this story. It was something I just felt had to be written. Please tell me what you think anyway, and I hope you at least enjoy some of it.

Disclaimer: Ah, once again I own nothing from the Persona series. Not the characters, not the story, and not any of the cool extras, such as figurines and merchandise. Sad life.

Cruelty

If there was a god -and he wasn't counting Nyx- then he was undeniably cruel.

Ten years. It was ten years ago that he was born, and subsequently a life was lost. If he wanted to be really specific, three lives had been lost, as well as the whole of humanity. But he had only ever really cared about that one. Scratch that, it was eleven years now wasn't it? The last year had flown by with such vigor that it had left him sprawling and wondering where the hell the time had went. Of course, now he was left wondering where the time would go, and how long he would have to sit and be forced to watch the one he cared for lose her consciousness and eventually become what she had been fighting so hard to prevent.

Perhaps if he had never revealed himself to her, he wouldn't have been subjected to such tormenting heartache.

Ten -no eleven; he had to keep reminding himself of that now- years ago, three weeks after the accident that had landed them together and ensured such a traumatic end to his host, Death had revealed himself to Riichi Arisato. He couldn't remember if it was a sense of duty to the one who now held him, or if it was sheer curiosity of who his host was that made him come to her. Seven wasn't she, he couldn't rightly remember anymore, but as such a young child she hadn't found his presence odd. In fact she had embraced him with everything she had. He was something to cling onto in the face of her parents demise. In the end, they had ended up playing together for a good long while. They made shadow puppets, played hide-and-seek (He had remembered being much better than her, for she giggled every time he came near her hiding place. It also helped that since he was inside her, he knew where she was at all times.), built several card houses, and talked about all the things that she one day dreamed of doing. It hadn't occurred to him that he would be the reason she would never live to bring many of these dreams to life.

When he deemed it necessary to leave, she ended up asking for his name. As he had only one, Death, he told her it was her duty to name him, for such a name wasn't proper to be called by one's host. She eventually settled on Pharos, because she had been studying Egypt at school, and the great kings, or Pharaohs, fascinated her. He found it fitting and left with that in his heart.

He hadn't shown himself to her again until last year, when the whole ordeal began.

They had forgotten about that time, him because of his prolonged deep sleep, and her because she had grown up. But he had remembered his name -her name- and when asked for it gave it without a second thought. When he had gone back to sleep for the next month, he wondered briefly why it had felt so warm to say it. Perhaps it was him unconsciously relishing in the fact that even after so long she still considered him as a friend.

They never talked for very prolonged periods of time, but at least twice a month they would chat. He would tell her his prophecies that even he didn't exactly understand, and she would tell him about her daily life. It was the vivacity in her movements, the joy in the voice, the life in her eyes that warmed him and made him realize just how much he loved those times he visited. Occasionally it would occur to him that soon he wouldn't be able to be with her like this. These times would be forgotten when he realized how worried she looked, and would bat the thought away in favor of asking her another question.

She always looked lost when he told her he had to leave. He always felt lonely.

When the pieces of his memories -those he had lost after that first meeting when he had to sleep in order to conserve his strength- were all returned to him, he had come to the full realization of what he was to do and how much it would hurt her. He left crying. He left her looking empty.

And then, by some trick of fate, he was allowed to come to her in a different form. This one was more suitable, for as she had grown up, her need for another child's shoulder to lean on had vanished. Then again, perhaps he had taken this new form simply because it was the only way she could see him how he wanted her to. In order to make their time together happy, he cut off his memories and replaced them with fragments of a lie. She deserved a lie, much more than she deserved being tied to what would eventually kill her.

But even with this countermeasure, neither of them could shake the fact that they knew each other. It was the glances, the touching, and all the words that left her lips that made him wild. But it was her eyes that eventually made it so he could never look at anyone else again. Perhaps it had all worked in his favor, because when he had taken her to the rooftop, she had accepted his confession and told him that he was the only for her as well.

Then again, that had ended up sealing her fate hadn't it.

Riichi had been so kind, so loving, that it was painful to be with her, no matter how much he felt his love growing. And as the days went on, and the dreams of his memories came again and again and again, and become so vivid they were painful, the pain he felt increased to the point that he was even causing her sorrow. Now that he had been successful in making her admit that she had only ever been his, it was his turn to shatter her in pieces.

He ended up revealing himself, thanks on part to Aigis, and the fact that the full moon had dragged him out of his fa├žade out of habit. That had been the first of many events that he was to hurt her with. He almost cried when he saw her face before he fainted. As expected, she looked more confused than anything else. The next day he left them, leaving behind a choice, and a damnation that none of them asked for and none of them had ever wished to come.

January came quicker than he wanted it to. Quicker than he had ever felt time pass. It was on New Years he forced them to make their choice. He forced her to make their choice.

When she had come up, he had chatted lightly, hoping perhaps that it would calm her down enough to do the deed. But then he looked into her eyes, and knew what she had chosen wasn't what he wanted for her. Even when he revealed herself to her, she was unable to do it. The evoker was thrown across the floor in frustration, and she had ended up screaming at him. When she had finally calmed down, he gave her his ring, and told her what he had wanted to say the whole past year. It pained him that it was in circumstances such as these, and that it was the only time he would ever be able to say it.

He left that night, hoping against hope that maybe they could somehow pull it off. He found it rather ironic that living inside of her for eleven years had been able to give him such a silly human emotion. Ironic, and very, very miserable.

In that time, he had been able to think about a lot of things. Had been able to recall bits and pieces, and then finally the whole picture of what had happened with Aigis that first night, and then his first meeting with who was to eventually become the love of his life. During this time, he had been able to sense them gradually climbing the tower. He wasn't sure whether to be disappointed, or enthralled when he found they had reached the top.

For all of his thinking, all his preparations, he still found it almost sickening when he saw their expressions as he descended. He had betrayed them again by becoming what they had to kill; what would kill them. He had once again betrayed her.

She looked bewildered, almost horrified, when she realized that it was him she was up against. He smiled despite himself, and couldn't help but wonder how much more it would take to make her lose her love for him. Though it pained him, a small part of him felt he deserved it.

He didn't want to do this. He didn't want to have to be reason they would all die, and the world would end. He didn't want to have to watch as she lost herself, and was continuously hurt by his hands. It was this thinking that made him realize he was being hypocritical. It wasn't the world he wanted to save. Even with all the friendships he had made, and all the speeches he had formed in order to show them just how sorry he was, he didn't give a rip. The world could end a thousand times for all he really cared. It was her he didn't want to lose. Her alone that he didn't want to hurt.

His eyes met hers. Her red orbs filled with angry tears even as she gazed at him with determination. He had made her resolve herself to kill the one she loved, just as he had been forced to.

His Riichi; his only; his dearest.

Ryouji sucked in a breath, and prepared himself.

"Come to me, Riichi."

For he was God now, and no matter how much it pained him to be, he was destined to be cruel.