Hello, fellow readers! For the longest time I couldn't decide whether to make this into purely a filler chapter, or another memory retrieval chapter. I decided on the latter~ And this chapter is VERY Akihiko-Shinjiro centric hehe.
I'm really grateful that I still get reviews for my story! Some people even commented that my Persona fic is their favorite and I basically just screeched for hours. Yes I do still check up on my stories, and you guys gave me the last push I needed to go with my gut instinct and write my ideas down! I was also debating on putting some romance stuff in, but then I decided, I'll probably put a Valentine's Day chapter somewhere along the way, so I'll save all the romance for that ;3
And the main point for this chapter is centered around the events of Chapter 6 from the first part, Only You. If you haven't read that fic yet, you may or may not be confused to certain events...but please know that I did not directly put the memory in this chapter. After all, they're memories best left forgotten~ If you wish to know what the memory was, then I direct you to chapter 6 of Only You [TW: Implied Rape].
I hope you enjoy this chapter!
No...why...why did this have to happen?!
- You weren't there to protect me. You told me you would! That you'd always be there for me! You lied!
N-No...I didn't even know what had happened before it was too late!
- You're so ignorant...that's why you'll never change.
Stop saying that! That's not who I am at all. I can change!
- You can't change who you are, Akihiko...
I can! I'll do anything...just to see you again...I...I...!
Akihiko gasped, waking up suddenly and drenched in a cold sweat. Was that a dream? It was more like a nightmare. Akihiko clenched his teeth and held his head as if he were in agony. That dream...was it Minako? It was just a voice, but it definitely was her. But...that didn't sound like her in the sense that Minako wasn't a weak person. She did what she did for a reason...and even at that time, she got over it the next day. He hung his head low. "...I love you..."
M-Minako! Are you alright?!
- I'm fine...Shinjiro...I'm so glad that you're here.
You idiot! What the hell do you think you would accomplish going out at this time of night?!
- I...I just wanted some ice cream...since Senpai wanted some...
...I don't care about the damn ice cream! You could have been killed! When I find out who did this to you...
- Just let it go, Shinjiro-senpai...I'm fine. We have more important things to worry about...right?
...Tch. Right, fine. But...I won't always be there to protect you, you know.
- Awww...why? *giggle* Just kidding. I don't want to rely on you too much.
Heh...good. And don't ever stop smiling. You look best when you smile.
- You got it, Senpai!
Shinjiro rustled in his sleep, his eyes slowly opening. It was very bright out...the sunlight beaming through his bedroom window. He sighed and sat up on his bed.
'What the hell was that about.' He stared at his hands, and after a moment, he clenched them into fists. 'No...I know exactly why. So...today's the day.' He calmly got up from his bed, his hair messier than usual, and went into the bathroom. After washing up and taking a quick shower, he got dressed and walked into the kitchen. Looking at the clock on the wall, he sighed when he realized that it was almost noon. Thinking that he had some time to spare, he grabbed his coat and left the apartment.
The sounds of punching could be heard, along with grunts of rage.
"Oi, Sanada-san." A man walked up to him. "You've been going at it for an hour now. Take a break if you need it."
Akihiko punched the punching bag as a response. "I don't need a break. I need to be stronger...just for today."
The man rolled his eyes. "Yeah well, here's some water if you want it. And don't blame me if you collapse from exhaustion." And he walked away.
Akihiko continued to punch away at the equipment, before stopping to drink some water. He sat down to get some rest, breathing heavily, the adrenaline in his veins dying down a bit. He sighed. "I promised myself that I'd get stronger...so that those close to me won't ever get hurt again. But is that really enough?" He looked down. "I couldn't save Miki...I couldn't protect Shinji...and now...Minako..." That rage began to build up in him again, and he punched the wall he sat against. "What else do I need?! Why is it always those I care about that have to suffer?!"
Akihiko jerked his head up in the direction of the voice, and saw Ken standing in front of him with wide eyes. "Ken? ...What are you doing here?"
Ken smiled sheepishly. "I was walking past this place on my way back from school...and I saw you in here so I thought I would say hi."
Akihiko smiled. That's right...most of the people in this group still had school to get through. Come to think of it, how were those from Inaba doing? Weren't they supposed to start school? He decided to not go too far into that. "Hi, Ken."
Ken sat next to Akihiko. "...Are you thinking about tonight's mission? I heard that it's a dark moment in Minako's life, according to Junpei-san."
Akihiko grimaced. 'Junpei, you idiot.' He nodded. "I've been waiting for this moment, since we first started this whole thing. I just...want to know what happened to her. Why I couldn't protect her..." He stared straight ahead at the punching bag, wanting to punch it again but held back the urge.
Ken frowned. "...Is that why you're here? To vent?" He looked at Akihiko. "It's not your fault, Sanada-san. You can't be there every time someone is in danger to save them. It's...impossible to save everyone."
Akihiko stood up, his hands clenched. "So you think I should just stand aside and watch my friends suffer?! Watch them die...?!"
Ken stood up as well, shaking his head and his expression filled with anger. "N-No! I mean that you should go at your own pace, and help those in need when you're able to! Whatever happened to Minako-san...I'm sure she doesn't blame you! It's just not like her!"
Akihiko froze, his mind going back to the dream he had earlier that day. That voice that kept blaming him for what happened. "...And what if she does? Not everyone is happy all the time."
"How can you say that?!" Ken yelled. "You loved her, right?! And I'm sure you held a special place in her heart as well...there's no way that she...that she would think such things about you!"
Akihiko's eyes widened. Did he really have a special place in her heart? Could he believe that? Still...that dream he had was still second guessing himself. "...Thanks, Ken. I'm going to train here more before I leave."
Ken had a concerned look on his face. "Alright...but make sure not to be late..."
Akihiko got up from where he was sitting and began punching away at the bag again. "...Of course not."
The wind was calm, and the sun was beating down as a figure stood in front of Naganaki Shrine. There, the grave site of a certain girl could be seen below his feet, the man's face melancholic.
"...You better come back alive after all this shit. Do you know how much shit I've been through because of you?" Shinjiro chuckled, smiling sadly. He kneeled down to brush off the leaves that fell on her headstone. "Can't believe it's been a year since then..." He stood back up, putting his hands in his pockets. "...Koro-chan's gone. Sacrificed his life to save mine...kinda reminds me of those times..." His expression was pained upon remembering that certain incident involving Ken and Takaya. Come to think of it, he was going through a mission to save Minako's life...just as how Minako indirectly saved his...whether she knew it or not. "And now everyone's going crazy trying to save yours. Hopefully, things will go as planned." He frowned. Would things go as planned? He had a feeling in the pit of his stomach that after today...and maybe the next if it was what he thought it would be...things wouldn't be the same. "...Don't tell the other's I said this, but...I really miss you, you know. I don't know how you did it, but you got me to open up to you. And in the end...I came to fall in love with you, despite my best efforts to avoid that." He chuckled. "Of course, you were rather persistent as well. Not sure why...I'm not worth fighting for." He took something out from his pocket. "...Remember these? Your mp3 and headphones...those things you always wore, no matter where you went." He glanced at them, the headphone cords twisted around his fingers. "You told that one weird guy..." He grimaced. "And by the way, never talk to weird looking strangers. Especially in a bar. What were you thinking?" He scratched his head. "Anyway...you told him to give these to me...and after that, I listened to these every day, and swore that until I moved on, I would continue to listen to them." His face returned to a melancholic expression. "...Well, after a year had passed, I thought I had moved on, and so I stopped. And now recently...I've found myself listening to them again." He shoved the mp3 back in his pocket. "...Please come back safe...Minako..."
"...So that's your connection with her."
Shinjiro calmly turned his head to the side, to see none other than Minato walking up to the base of the shrine, where Shinjiro was standing. "...The hell do you want?"
Minato was unfazed by Shinjiro's aloof demeanor. Instead, he stood in front of Minako's grave and looked down at it. "...I can tell that you loved her very much...and for that, I'm grateful." Minato looked at Shinjiro, who by that time was looking at Minako's grave. "You know...back when we were at the orphanage, everyone liked Minako. She was always this bubbly little kid who did anything she set her mind to. Of course, that also meant protecting me from being bullied...since I was considered the problem child for not wanting to interact with the other kids." Minato didn't know why he was saying all of this. Was there even a point? Still...he felt that Shinjiro had a right to know more about her. He could tell that Shinjiro was listening to him, even though he wasn't looking at him. "...I guess that's why I was surprised when I was adopted, and Minako wasn't. I tried to get the people who adopted me to take Minako as well...but unfortunately, they couldn't. Minako told me that it was alright, and that they'd meet again someday." His expression saddened. "...It's a shame that I wasn't able to see her again before it was too late."
"...If this whole thing is a success, you'll be able to see her again." Shinjiro commented. "If we can retrieve all her memories, that is..."
Minato looked at Shinjiro, his expression neutral. "...Do you think that she'll remember who I am? If she lost all of her memories...and these memories are supposed to be connected to you in some way."
Shinjiro kneeled down next to Minako's headstone. "...That's not always the case. You weren't here for it, but...there have been a few cases where the memories weren't always just about me...or even her...it depends if your emotion is strong enough."
Minato's eyes perked slightly, before kneeling down as well. "...I hope you're right...otherwise me reuniting with her will have lost its meaning." Shinjiro merely nodded at Minato's response, and stood up, looking at the sky. "...I've been here longer than I thought I would. I should prepare for what's to come."
Minato nodded. "Right...I should prepare as well, just in case-"
Before he could finish, Shinjiro stopped him. "I'm not taking anyone with me...except for Aki. This time...only we can deal with this."
Minato's eyes widened. "...Are you sure you two can handle it by yourselves? And why do you want to do that?"
Shinjiro's expression became pained. "...It's just...something we have to do...we need to set things straight between us." He had hoped that Minato would leave the conversation at that. And after staring at him for some time, Minato obliged.
"...Alright. I'll trust your judgement. Just don't fail..." Minato stated, which earned a smirk from Shinjiro. "...Thanks."
Midnight. The moment that everyone, especially two people in particular, was waiting for. The Labyrinth of Memories had spawned at the exact time it always did, and the others had met up with Shinjiro and Minato, who were already there waiting.
"Shinjiro-senpai, Minato-san!" Yukari shouted upon seeing them. They both turned their heads to see the others running in their direction.
"How long have you guys been here?" Fuuka asked.
Shinjiro remained silent. His attention was directed at Akihiko, who refused eye contact with him. Minato responded instead. "We've been here for about an hour now. We opted to get here early..." He glanced at Shinjiro upon saying that.
The others were confused, with the exception of a few people. Akihiko, who looked angry and pained at the same time, Shinjiro who was calm and collected, and Minato who maintained his neutral expression.
Ryoji chose this moment to speak up. "So...Shinjiro, you should pick who goes on this mission now." He stood in front of the Labyrinth doors.
Shinjiro nodded. "...Aki. You're the only one I'm taking this time."
Everyone, with the exception of Akihiko and Minato, screamed in surprise.
"What are you talking about, Shinjiro-san? You two can't do this alone!" Ken yelled.
"Yeah, what about the shadows? And what if something unexpected happens?!" Yukari yelled as well.
Souji and the other younger generation team members just stood there uneasily, none of them wanting to speak up since this seemed like a personal issue between the others.
"What's your reasoning behind this, Shinjiro-senpai?" Junpei questioned.
Shinjiro grimaced. "...This is just something that only Aki and I can do...to set things right..."
This made Junpei angry. "So that's it? So you two can satisfy your own personal needs?" He yelled. "This isn't just about you two! Mina-tan was special to all of us!" Junpei tried to lash out at Shinjiro, causing Hayate to hold him back. "Stop, Junpei! You'll accomplish nothing from this!"
Shinjiro glared at Junpei. "Yeah? Well I'm telling you all that I only want Aki with me this time. I get to choose who goes in, so this is my final decision."
"That's an abuse of power! How can you be so selfish?!" Yukari was on the verge of tears. "Minako...she was special...I don't want to lose any part of her...and you want us to sit back and wait while you two see a memory that could be important to us as well?!"
Shinjiro averted his gaze from her. "...Trust me. I have a feeling these memories...they're not good ones. You don't want to see them."
Aigis tried to intervene. "You don't know that for sure, Aragaki-san...what if it's a memory we all want to see?"
"You guys just don't get it." Shinjiro began to walk towards the Labyrinth doors, a concerned Ryoji looking at him. "Come on, Aki."
The others turned to Akihiko.
"Talk some sense into him, Akihiko-senpai!"
"You guys can't do this alone!"
Akihiko stood there for a moment, before walking up to the doors as well. "I'm going with Shinji. We'll be back in a bit."
"...?!" The others were dumbstruck, and Yukari collapsed to the ground in tears, causing Fuuka to kneel down next to her.
After sighing, Ryoji opened up the doors, and the three of them walked inside, the doors slowly closing behind them.
"Why...why would they do this alone..." Yukari bit her lip. "They're not the only ones that care!"
"When they come back, I'm gonna give them a piece of their mind...and a punch to the face." Junpei stated, a pained expression on his face.
Minato looked to the side. "...This was inevitable."
The others looked at him.
"Aragaki-san told me what he planned to do. So I chose to remain silent. It's what we were discussing before you all came here." Minato explained.
"Wh-What?" Fuuka was confused. "What do they plan to do that's so important?"
Minato sighed. "...It's just as Shinjiro said...it's to make things right."
Inside the Labyrinth, the place looked the same as usual. The same warped walls, the same ominous vibe. Akihiko and Shinjiro haven't made eye contact since the day before, which caused some friction between them. Ryoji just walked uneasily through the corridors.
"This is odd..." Ryoji stated. "...We've been walking in here for a while and not a single shadow in sight."
Akihiko looked around. "Is it the Reaper?"
"...Fuuka, do you sense anything?" Shinjiro shouted.
"N-Nothing yet, sorry!" Fuuka tried to sense any shadows. "There doesn't seem to be...anything in the Labyrinth! No shadows...not even a Reaper!"
This earned a confused expression from Akihiko and Ryoji. Shinjiro on the other hand kept walking, until they hit an extra large staircase. "Come on." And they went up the stairs to see a gigantic door with the names 'Shinjiro' and 'Akihiko' written on it.
"This...something doesn't seem right. That dungeon was way too short." Ryoji commented, his concerned expression never leaving.
Ignoring his comment, Akihiko and Shinjiro walked up to the door and they both placed their hands on the handle.
"...Ready?" Shinjiro asked the other. Akihiko merely nodded, and they both opened the door.
Back at the Labyrinth entrance, the others continued to sit around, no one talking, just sitting with melancholy and concerned expressions on their faces.
"...I've got a bad feeling about this..." Yosuke commented softly so only his own friends could hear. "There aren't any shadows as far as Fuuka-san can detect..." He glanced at Fuuka, who was concentrating hard with Juno surrounding her. "And there's only two of them in there who can fight."
Souji shrugged. "Nothing we can do about it now...we'll just have to put our trust in them that they can do it."
Naoto began thinking. "It's...definitely odd that Aragaki-san wanted to go in alone, and even more so that Sanada-san agreed with his logic. But...they both implied that they knew what to expect...the question is how..."
Chie and Kanji looked confused, to which Yukiko spoke up. "Umm...well, from what it looks like, the memories are following a timeline, with the exception of a few unrelated memories." She explained. "Maybe they figured a certain memory would be next, since it happened not long after the previous memory..."
Teddie smiled. "Wow, Yuki-chan, you're as smart as ever!" He swooned. "But...if that's the case, why not let the others go with them? Should it matter that it's a bad memory? They could have helped them get through it."
Naoto shook her head. "If it's a memory important to the both of them, they wouldn't want anyone else to see it. Especially if it's a horrible memory."
Chie sighed. "I hope that they'll be alright in there..."
"Don't worry. Knowing those two, they'll probably be out of there within a half hour, tops." Kanji commented.
Souji was about to speak up, before his phone rang. This startled all of them, because it was midnight and they didn't expect that to happen. Souji picked up his phone and answered. "...Hello?"
"...?!" Souji sat up straight. "Nanako? What is it? What's wrong?"
Nanako sounded sleepy and scared. "Umm...you received a letter...just like last time, with no name on it. Dad went back to the police station, and told me to call you."
Something at the pit of his stomach just dropped. But he couldn't jump to conclusions just yet...still, Dojima probably came to the same conclusion he did.
"...Alright, we'll be back as soon as we can." Souji felt that the trains wouldn't be running this late, but he hoped that somehow, they'd make it back in time. "And Nanako, don't open the door for anyone, and don't leave the house until your dad is back."
"Mmhmm, bye Big Bro!"
And Souji hung up. Upon looking up, he realized he caught the attention of the others.
"Is something wrong with Nanako-chan?!" Yosuke asked.
Souji bit his lip. "...I received another unmarked letter."
The others gasped. Souji stood up from his seat on the ground. "I'm not jumping to conclusions, but we should get back right away."
The others nodded without a second opinion, and they all stood up. Souji walked over to the older generation. "Yukari-san. I need to ask for a favor."
Yukari looked confused. "What is it?"
"We need to get back to Inaba...one of my family members might be in danger, but the trains don't run this late." Souji stated.
This caused the others to perk up.
"Uhh, right! Hang on, Let me get in touch with Mitsuru-senpai." Yukari immediately got out her phone and dialed in a number.
"W-What's going on?" Junpei questioned.
"We got a phone call saying that Souji-senpai received a letter..." Naoto looked concerned. "Something similar happened a little while ago...and it was a vital part to the murder investigation we worked on. We don't want to take any chances."
The others exchanged concerned and confused glances, before Yukari hung up her phone.
"Alright. Mitsuru-senpai said that she called the train station from Iwatodai. They'll keep one train open and running for you guys." Yukari explained.
Souji smiled. "Thanks. And don't worry...once we sort this out, we'll be back as soon as possible."
Junpei and Yukari smiled. "You better! We need all the help we can get." Junpei grinned.
"...And we enjoy spending time with you guys." Yukari stated.
Aigis smiled softly. "Please don't get into any trouble."
Souji nodded. "...Right. Alright then, we're off!" And the younger generation ran off towards the rooftop stairs, exiting the roof.
Ken sighed. "...There's so much going on, I don't know what to think of all this."
Junpei frowned. "Yeah...and I get the feeling that there'll be more to come."
~Labyrinth of Memories~
A flash of light signaled the end of the memories being given to Shinjiro and Akihiko. And all that could describe the emotion was...hate, anger, and sadness. Akihiko's eyes showed that rage within his heart.
"...So that's what happened to her? My assumptions were correct." And before he could control himself, Akihiko swiftly punched Shinjiro in the jaw, causing him to stumble.
"What the hell was that for?!" Shinjiro yelled. "You wanted to see it, so I took you here!"
"Don't give me that shit. Why weren't you there to protect her?! Why did you...why did that have to happen to her..." He clenched his fists.
Shinjiro just stared at him. "I wasn't able to get there in time. I admit it. But I managed to stop them before they did anything too serious."
"...Too serious?" Akihiko glared at him. "She was sexually molested! How much more serious does it get?!"
"At least she wasn't killed!" Shinjiro shouted back. "Stop trying to put the blame on me! That's all you've been doing since we first began this huge mission!"
"You should have gone with her to that convenient store!" Akihiko yelled. "You offered to go, but you should have gone with her anyway, even after she turned you down. It was late at night!"
Shinjiro's expression darkened. "...I know...I know I should have gone with her. But you know what, it happened. That was a year ago, and I still feel guilty over it! I know how wrong I was, but that doesn't give you the right to bring it up and give me the cold shoulder at any moment you could! Grow the hell up!"
Akihiko was read to punch him again...before another voice popped up.
"Hahahaha! Wow, you guys sure made a mess of yourselves!"
They both looked up, and bore the same shocked expressions. In front of them...was the spitting image of Akihiko. The only difference was the gleaming yellow eyes...signature of a Shadow.
"Oi, you with the white hair." Shadow Akihiko taunted. "Are you sure it's really Shinji's fault? Or are you just blaming him because you need someone to blame? The person you really blame...is yourself, isn't it?"
Akihiko's eyes widened. "W-What?!"
Shadow Akihiko grinned menacingly. "Don't play dumb! You blame yourself every day. That you couldn't 'save the love of your life'. Am I right?"
Akihiko was dumbstruck, unable to speak, while Shinjiro was on edge. He wasn't sure what would happen, but he did know that Akihiko would most likely deny his shadow.
"You say that Shinji is the one that wasn't there to save her...but really...the one that couldn't save her was YOU." Shadow Akihiko sneered. "YOU were the one who was with her last. YOU were the one who jogged home with that day, and immediately went to your room to train. And YOU were the one who in the end, wasn't strong enough to protect her!" Shadow Akihiko laughed. "You're nothing but a weak fool who can't do anything right. You can't even protect the ones you care about! Pathetic." The shadow turned to look at Shinjiro. "...I don't understand why you put up with him, considering how he couldn't even protect you from getting shot. And he couldn't keep your girlfriend from dying." He grinned. "Oh yeah, that reminds me." Shadow Akihiko looked back at Akihiko, who at this point had a look of horror and anger on his face. "...This man stole your girl, right? You secretly despise him. You wish that Minako was yours."
Akihiko stood his ground. "I would never think that stuff about Shinji!"
The shadow merely shrugged. "You didn't sound too confident there. I know all of this...because I am you. And you know what...maybe I should just kill Shinjiro right now, to save you the trouble!" An ominous smoke began to surround Shadow Akihiko.
"W-Wait! I never denied you...!" Akihiko was surprised. "You shouldn't be able to transform!"
The shadow merely laughed. "...You did deny me, remember? ...That dream you had earlier today?"
And the horror set in on Akihiko's face. That dream.
Stop saying that! That's not who I am at all. I can change!
"That...that was you...?" Akihiko's voice less confident.
"No, but shadows are always with the person they belong to. I heard your every word." And with that, Shadow Akihiko transformed, causing Akihiko to fall to the ground. Shinjiro grabbed hold of his axe in a fighting stance, ready to fight. When the shadow was done transforming, it was a disturbing sight. A gigantic titan-like creature, with the body of Castor on one side, and the body of Polydeuces on the other.
"Are you ready? Cause I'm going to kill you. Right here, right now." And the shadow lunged his fist at Shinjiro. Shinjiro just barely managed to dodge, and pulled out his evoker. "Cerberus, Gigantic Fist!"
A beastly dog-like persona was summoned, and it growled before attacking Shadow Akihiko. Unfortunately, it did little damage.
"I finally managed to get through!" Fuuka shouted. "Wh-What's going on?! Why is Akihiko-senpai on the ground?!"
"Just get to the point, Fuuka!" Shinjiro yelled, Cerberus keeping off the shadow as best it could.
"Oh, right! Ummm..." Fuuka scanned the shadow. "I can't get much information on it! But it seems to be strong against physical attacks, and nulls Zio, Hama, and Mudo attacks!"
'So it's the same as Aki's persona.' Shinjiro got his evoker again. "Isis, Bufudyne!"
Cerberus disappeared in exchange for Isis, who summoned a giant block of ice and plunged it at the shadow, causing it to stumble.
"Damn you!" Shadow Akihiko yelled. "Here, have some Deathbound!"
And he slashed his hand against the ground with a tremendous force. Isis fell back to protect Shinjiro from the blow, but in exchange Isis took too much damage and disappeared. Shinjiro, in turn, could feel the damage Isis felt, and yelled out in pain.
At that moment, Akihiko managed to regain consciousness. He groaned and sat up, clutching his head in pain. "W-Wh...What's happening?" He looked up, and was shocked to see Shinjiro fighting his shadow by himself. And it looked like he took some significant damage from the fight.
"...Shinji!" He shouted.
Shinjiro looked over his shoulder. "Bout time you woke up." He turned back to the shadow, his body feeling heavy from the damage he received. "Loki! Niflheim!"
Loki was summoned, and immediately attacked the shadow, a huge pillar of ice proceeding up the shadow. The damage was evident, as the shadow fell background and screamed in pain. But...it wasn't finished yet. It got back on its feet, and put one of its arms up. "I...refuse to be weak! I must be stronger!" And it summoned a giant cloud of smoke, the sound of thunder could be heard.
"This is bad." Shinjiro was too weak to summon any more personas. "Tch."
Akihiko walked up to where Shinjiro stood. "...Hey, you, the giant thing that bears my face."
Shinjiro's eyes widened. "What the hell're you doing?!"
The shadow stared down at him, and grinned. "F-Finally! I can finally show you all that I'm not weak! I'm stronger than any of you will ever be!" And he targeted Shinjiro and Akihiko, the large thunder cloud drifted right towards them. "Thunderous Fury!"
The cloud grew to triple its original size, glowing and crackling. But before anything could happen, Akihiko swiftly grabbed his evoker and held it to his forehead. "Caesar!" And he summoned his persona, Caesar using his body to shield them from attack. The cloud exploded, lightning shooting off in every direction. Luckily, Caesar was immune to Zio skills.
"N-NOOOOO!" Shadow Akihiko screamed.
Akihiko glared at the shadow. "Now you listen. If ANYONE ever directs their attacks towards Shinji again, I will personally kick their ass." Caesar lunged at the shadow, causing it to fall to the floor. And since it put all its strength in the last attack, it was unable to get up. "Urgh...Dammit..." The shadow said, before going into silence.
"...Are you listening?" Akihiko asked, his expression pained. "I am like how you say. I'm afraid of being weak...that those I care about will continue to die and I'm helpless to stop it. And I'm jealous that Shinjiro ended up getting the girl I'm so in love with. I get it. I'm a weak piece of shit. But you know what?" He crossed his arms. "...I don't care. Because being weak is human. And I will only continue to get stronger. To learn from my mistakes. And to face them head on like how I vowed myself I would do back when all this first started." He looked at his shadow with pity. "...I know I couldn't save Miki. And I let Shinjiro get shot...and that I couldn't save Minako, both from this incident...to her last battle where she gave her life to save the universe. But I'm learning to cope with it. Shinjiro is perfectly fine-"
"...Hmph." Shinjiro averted his eyes, glaring at nothing in particular.
Akihiko ignored him and continued. "...And right now, you're the only thing standing in our way of saving Minako. There's a chance she's still alive...and even though she'll be with Shinji...just the thought of her being alive is good enough for me." He smiled sadly. "And...Miki is still alive in my heart. So in that matter, she'll never go away." He looked at his shadow, a proud smile on his face. "So you see? I'm stronger now. And it's because I have people I care about that are with me. And I'll continue to be stronger as long as they're here in my heart. But...I'll admit that you are still a part of me. And that's something that'll never change. Everyone has their demons...and you're mine. But, this time, I'm not afraid to admit it."
His shadow silently nodded, and disappeared. But...not before something else happened. Akihiko and Shinjiro both began to glow, a light emanating from their bodies, and the silhouettes of Polydeuces and Castor appearing behind their respective users. They both combined with each other, and with one final burst of light, became an entirely new Persona.
Thou Art I...and I am thou...
From the sea of thy soul I cometh.
I am Gemini, the Brightest Star of Protection.
The Persona disappeared, along with dual cards forming in the hands of both Akihiko and Shinjiro. The cards disappeared as well, and Shinjiro and Akihiko looked at each other, before Akihiko collapsed from exhaustion. Shinjiro kneeled beside Akihiko.
"...Damn, Aki. I should be the one collapsing, not you. I was the one who had to fight the damn thing." He grimaced, putting Akihiko's arm around his shoulder.
Akihiko smirked. "Yeah, well...I had to accept it. It's pathetic, right? My true feelings shown like that?"
Shinjiro rolled his eyes. "...Like you said, everyone has demons. And you were strong enough to accept them." He smirked. "...I say you're stronger than you think you are."
Akihiko couldn't help but chuckle at that. "Thanks...Shinji."
"Wow, I'm glad you guys are alright." Ryoji was standing in front of the door, his arms crossed. "We should leave before this place disappears."
Shinjiro and Akihiko both nodded, and they followed Ryoji out of the room, and down the stairs towards the main entrance.
As they walked out of the Labyrinth, the doors closed behind them and it disappeared into thin air once again. The moment they walked out, the others ran up to them.
"Oh my god, are you guys alright?!" Fuuka shrieked.
"What happened in there?" Yukari questioned.
Shinjiro grimaced. "Will you two shut up for once?" He was still holding up Akihiko's weight along with his own, so he was feeling really tired. "I need to rest a bit."
He walked over to a bench and sat Akihiko down, before sitting down as well.
"Akihiko-senpai looks quite beaten..." Junpei observed, causing a pained expression from Akihiko. "...No shit. But...it's nothing we can't handle." He glanced at Shinjiro and smirked. This caused Shinjiro to look away, but smirked as well. This also earned an exchange of confused expressions between Fuuka and Yukari.
"Umm...I hate to break up this moment..." Aigis interrupted. "...But shouldn't we try and contact Seta-san to see if they made it back home safely?"
Shinjiro and Akihiko looked surprised. "He went back home? How come?" Akihiko questioned.
Shinjiro glanced around. Now that he was more focused, he was aware that none of the others were around.
"He said that there was an emergency back at his home and they needed to leave right away." Hayate commented.
Akihiko sighed. "...I hope things are alright."
"...They'll be alright." Shinjiro stood up. "...We should get some rest though." He put Akihiko's arm around his shoulder again. "I'll take him home."
"I will assist you." Aigis offered, and put Akihiko's other arm around her shoulders. Shinjiro merely shrugged in response and the three of them walked off.
Junpei looked at Yukari and Fuuka. "We should go as well. We'll call Souji first thing in the morning." He looked at Ryoji next. "Were you still going to stay in the apartment they were staying in? You'll probably be alone for a while..."
Minato took this opportunity to speak. "Well...I currently have no place to stay. I could move into that apartment as well."
Yukari's eyes widened. "...Where were you staying before?"
Minato merely shrugged. "At an inn...but I'd rather not spend ￥2000 a night."
"That's convenient~ Guess now I have a roommate." Ryoji smiled, earning an eye roll from Minato.
Junpei grinned. "Well now that that's sorted out...we should get some rest for the night." They all agreed, and left the rooftop.
The Investigation Team had arrived back at Inaba Station at around 1am, and had arrived at the Dojima Residence just now. Souji used his key to unlock the door. "I'm back-"
"Big Bro!" Nanako ran up to Souji.
"N-Nanako...! Why are you still up?" Souji questioned.
Nanako had a concerned look on her face. "Umm...after that letter came here and Dad left, I didn't feel safe sleeping..."
Souji nodded. "Do you still have the letter?"
Nanako nodded and ran back into the house. Souji and the others followed.
"...Are you coming to the same conclusion I am, Senpai?" Naoto questioned. Souji nodded in response. "...Yeah."
Nanako handed Souji the letter. Sure enough, there was no name on it. He carefully opened the letter, and read its contents. His eyes widened, and turned back to Nanako. "Is your dad still at the station?"
Nanako nodded. "He left an hour ago, and hasn't called or come back..."
Souji looked at Chie, Yukiko, Kanji, and Teddie. "Can you guys stay here and watch over Nanako? Naoto-kun, Yosuke, and I are going to the police station."
The others nodded. "You do what you have to do." Yukiko smiled.
"We'll take care of Nana-chan!" Teddie walked over to Nanako.
"Thanks guys." Souji smiled, before turning to Yosuke and Naoto. "Let's go."
They both nodded and followed Souji out of the house.
"...Is it...?" Yosuke asked, an angry expression beginning to form on his face.
Naoto nodded, her expression melancholic. "...Most likely. And I'm assuming Dojima-san is questioning him as we speak."
Souji continued to walk forward, a determined expression on his face. "...Guess this will be a reunion none of us ever expected to happen. Looks like we'll have to see...him...again."
Strengths: Zio (Void), Wind (Repel), Physical (Strong)
Moves: Phanta Rei, Maziodyne, Gigantic Fist, Arms Master, Endure Dark, Regenerate 3
History: Gemini was born from the two brothers, Castor and Pollux (Polydeuces). After Idas had fatally wounded Castor with a spear, Pollux killed Idas and went to his brother's side. Castor was mortal, so death was near. However, Zeus gave Pollux a choice. He could either stay on Mount Olympus, or give half of his immortality to his brother. Pollux chose the latter, so both Castor and Pollux were able to alternate between Olympus and Hades. In turn, they became the two brightest stars in the Gemini constellation.
Notes: Akihiko and Shinjiro both have the ability to summon Gemini; If they are together, the power of Gemini doubles, but only one of them can summon him at a time; Akihiko can still summon Caesar.
PLOT TWISTS AGAIN. Yeah, I basically just want to add more in so I have more to work with...as if I didn't have enough already OTL. Soooo, how'd you guys like it? I tried my best to describe the situation, hopefully it's alright. I honestly don't know if that's how Akihiko's shadow would be like. Tried to be accurate but probably failed miserably _
So yes, next chapter will focus on the Investigation Team! I was waiting for this moment~ And I left you guys an interesting twist at the end~ Doesn't take much to guess what it is, but hey I tried XD
Thank you to the ones who still read my fic, and review to the chapters! I love you all so much~
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! And please review~