Author's Notes: I was rather unsure about uploading this, because I feel as if it is not up to par with the emotional effect of 'Mirror', although I would be very pleased if it does. :D
I really do adore Minako/Minato though, so I went ahead and decided to just put this out there, haha.
In the middle of the fic, the I'm here for you is thought/spoken by both Minato and Minako, just for clarification.
And I can't help but go ":S" at Yukari's "Yeah! I'm willing to risk mine too!" from the game dialogue, like...I don't know, she could have worded that more...meaningfully. I don't hate Yukari (she's just sassy), but still. :SSS
Mitsuru's and Junpei's words were my favorite. ;A;
But of course Koromaru gives the best words of encouragement.
He's her silent companion.
They both have the same role; they're both two halves of a whole. But she's the microphone, he's the earpiece. She does all the talking while he closes his eyes and takes the rest of the world in. Sometimes, it's a good thing. He doesn't criticize, doesn't judge—just listens. But sometimes he wishes he had enough courage, no— enough drive to open his mouth and say what he thinks.
She'll be laughing with Yukari and Junpei, while he's tagging along behind with his headphones playing Burn My Dread. Despite his lack of conversation, they include him in their circle; he just doesn't contribute much, or merely responds with a shrug of his shoulders or a tilt of his head. She understands, somehow, exactly what he's saying. The others accept him and understand that he's hard to understand and his female companion will most likely only ever be the one to truly understand him.
But sometimes, she misses.
Sometimes he's glad that she can't read him; it's embarrassing sometimes, what he thinks. Other times, she's not looking and he wishes so hard that he was built to be more articulate, like her.
He wonders how they ever drew each other in, even if their names were so similar. He's Minato, she's Minako, they're both Arisato.
And they couldn't be more different.
Sometimes, she'll drag him with her to go shopping. Apparently, he gives good opinions, even if he doesn't talk. Maybe that's precisely why she brings him, though. An outfit is either "yes" or "no"; there's no "it's okay," or "ehhhh, maybe" or any of those vague opinions that don't help her.
Today, he somehow ends up with her and Yukari on an outing. He listens to his music, while Yukari and Minako take turns taking pictures of each other, for memories' sake, and to upload up onto the social network that most of the Gekkoukan students take part of. They take pictures of him too, because there'd probably be no record of him if they didn't.
He's usually yawning, though. And besides, he's not really interested in social networks.
When they return to the dorm, they go through the pictures, laughing at the silly ones, commenting on especially nice ones.
"Oh jeez, why did you take this one?" Minako laughs, as she and Yukari giggle over the funny faces Minako made. "I look so weird!"
They continue through the pictures, but just like she knows him, he knows her. He knows that sometimes, she compares herself to those beautiful Personas—to Titania, to Parvati, to Norn. She's the leader, but she has her own insecurities, as well.
Later, she'll look at herself in the mirror, and shake her head while turning away from her reflection.
He'll close his eyes, and wish that he could simply just tell her.
She's busy a lot, because she's in plenty of clubs and the student council, just like he is. But while he skips sometimes (and they let him because he gets everything done and he's amazing at whatever he does, jeez), she likes to be involved as much as she can. She likes all the clubs, but they're exhausting. When she's free, she likes hanging out with people because she doesn't really like being alone, and choosing who to spend your time with is always a good thing.
But she's not the only busy one.
"I'm so sorry!" Yukari apologizes profusely, "The archery competition is coming up and since I'm the president, I have to organize everything and supervise the rest of the club!"
"Oh, shit," Junpei curses, "I already made plans with the guys, sorry Mina-tan, I'll treat you to an extra-large ramen at Hakagure to make it up to you next time, okay?"
"Sorry," Akihiko will say, somewhat curtly, but sincerely. "I said I'd meet up with Shinji at the Beef Bowl place, and well…actually, do you want to come? We could…"
She'll shake her head, saying that she doesn't want to interfere with the serious conversation that Shinjiro-senpai was most likely planning.
"I must offer my apologies," Mitsuru will also say, an almost desperate look in her eyes. "I must finish up my council duties, and then the Kirijo company wishes me back for training…"
Minako will give a sad smile—because Mitsuru looks stressed and seems like she'd like to hang out and explore some of the regular world more than anything in the world, but she's bound by the responsibilities of being a Kirijo and she can't.
Minato is in the gym—Kazushi pulled him in for a match, because Minato's brilliant at kendo and Kazu wants a worthwhile opponent for once, so she doesn't bother looking for him because she knows that it'll be futile.
She knows that Ken, Aigis, and Koromaru are exploring town and teaching Aigis to be more human. They had already planned this beforehand so she doesn't want to interrupt, and truthfully teaching Aigis is tiring because it's very hard to explain feelings like 'happiness' and 'boring'.
So after school, she sits on the steps, watching the sun set. There's no activities today, and she was unsuccessful in making plans. Going back to the dorm will be lonely, and she really doesn't want to sit in an empty dorm. She sighs, resting her chin in her palms.
Minako is always surrounded by people like Minato is usually alone, dancing—or rather, sleeping, to his own beat.
In the gym, Minato takes off his helmet once he scores another point and walks out. Kazu understands that he has other things to do, and doesn't protest at his silent leave. Minato changes and grabs his bags, making his way to the lobby where she waits. She turns, surprised, her solemn expression brightening like a wash of bright watercolors over white paper.
I'll always be here for you.
Minako pushes herself too hard.
She gets reckless once she gets desperate; she believes that she needs to protect everyone and must use all her strength so that they don't come back with wounds and scrapes.
Minato understands her point of view, but the rest of the team wants to fight too—if need to be or if they so wish, he'll let others attack for him, and then it's his turn to offer the support. He makes use of all the Personas he has, and that is what makes him an amazing leader.
Minako is one too; just her style is much more frenzied. She knows that her teammates will be there to help her, but sometimes, she forgets that she's not the only one fighting. Junpei and Akihiko will rush in and beat down the shadow while Yukari will cast diarhan as fast as she can before Minako passes out and all is lost.
They worry for her, and she is sorry for it. But she hates slipping; when she fails, the rest worry for her, and their defense drops. She's the leader; the rest of her team isn't helpless, but if she passes out, they have to retreat. It just works that way. So she needs to win, win before she has a chance of losing.
But she pushes herself, and today her legs fail her and they give out, evoker clattering to the ground.
Blurrily, Minako watches the knight move forward, spear raised, and tries to push herself up without avail. She waits for herself to black out, but then she hears a voice yell "Atropos! Garudyne!" and the shadow disperses in little black drops of darkness as she feels the after-breeze of the wind ability. She hears the footsteps of the other team. Arms scoop her up and pat her cheek, her bloodred eyes fluttering open to see Minato's concerned silver ones.
He puts her evoker into her hands again to reassure her, and brings his own to his head. "Leanan Sidhe, diarama."
She feels a little better, but not by much. Minato feels her forehead and turns to the rest of the group. He gives a tilt of the head to signal that they're done for the day. Minako is sick. He puts her onto his back and walks back to the glowing green terminal, stepping into the light.
I'll protect you.
Girls are frightening creatures. They chip away at her cheerfulness with a single, hurtful word, and then it multiplies.
"Who does she think she is?"
"Leading them all on like that…"
Akihiko, Junpei, Shinji, even Ken, assure her that it's not true and that they don't think of her like that, they simply enjoy spending time with her and the others take it the wrong way.
No. Minato knows that they all like her a little more than just simple affection—even Theo, inside the Velvet Room—but they will sacrifice themselves for her happiness.
He would too, but no one knows that except himself.
He knocks on her door, to let her know that dinner is ready. But he hears muffled sobs and lets himself in. Minako is curled up in a ball, tears rolling down her cheeks. He sits next to her silently and pulls her a little closer, so that she can lean on him. They share a connection unlike the others, and she cries freely now.
I hate myself.
He silently listens, and closes his eyes. It's not his place to say this now, while she's so broken and it is exactly what is causing her tears, because she just doesn't know. So he stays silent for her instead.
I love you.
He won't let her go first.
She simply can't.
They have both grown attached to their friends, but they both recognize the importance of the duty that is the messiah.
After a month of serious contemplation, as well as some animosity, each has made their own resolution. Ryoji gave them a choice, and they made it. They would, and could never, kill him, so they would fight.
Minako knew that one of their crew was not coming back, and it would not be any of her friends.
Minato knew that he would not let her go first.
She stared at him, he stared back.
They turned, evokers in hand.
I'm not necessary.
Minato glanced at her.
I need you.
They race towards the top of the tower.
She tripped him.
They both had risen when the pressure of Death beat down on them. Aigis had screamed, begging them not to go, but they both rose and took a step forward. But just as he was about to move even further, her leg flew out and knocked him to the floor. He looked up in surprise—what the hell had she just done?—but she was already rising towards the sky like a valiant, sacrificial goddess.
You can't do this.
Every time—every single time she slipped through his fingers because he allowed her to. He loved her, and because he loved her he allowed her to do anything she wished, even show her affections to another. He never overstepped his bounds, he never allowed his emotions to get the better of him, and so he let her fall through the cracks in his generosity—in his love for her.
Don't do this to me.
He wouldn't let her slip through the cracks of his fingers this time. He would hold on this time, and she would not fall.
"What are you doing?" Akihiko yells out hoarsely, almost desperate, still trying to rise from the ground. The pressure intensifies, and Junpei lets out a pained grunt. Yukari's eyes are watering, and Mitsuru is trying her best to be strong but she cannot fight against Death. He hears muttering, vaguely sounding like more protests of his leave.
"NO! DON'T GO!" Aigis manages to scream again, pain ripping her voice. She can feel the metal parts of her body nearly cracking.
But he has already made his decision.
"The contract has been fulfilled…I have completed my role, as well…you were truly a remarkable guest."
He pushes himself up and throws himself into the sky.
I won't let you.
She had known that he would come, yet somehow she didn't think it was possible. But she supposed it was because they were both part of Death, it was something they had to face together.
Secretly, she was grateful for his presence; it was a small comfort against the thickening pressure of Death.
It was worse here. Each blow left her mind reeling for consciousness, her body weak, the blood in her veins cold. Her Personas weren't responding, and neither were his. They had no weapons, except simply their very beings that would struggle against someone that humanity feared most. But they joined hands, struggled to stand, struggled to win, to live.
In one fearful moment, they fell to the ground on their knees, groaning, thinking that their loss simply couldn't be possible after all they had done…
"There's nothing we can do?"
"Don't give up! We have to believe in them!"
"Give them strength! Take my life if you must!"
Ken, Akihiko, Mitsuru…their perseverance and determination that had brought them so far…
"Yeah! I'm willing to risk mine too!"
"They're going to face this all by themselves!"
"No! They're not alone—I won't let them die!"
Yukari, Fuuka, Junpei…the members of SEES who were the same age; they had all learned to fight together…their kindness and courage…
"I won't allow this world to be destroyed!"
"All right…let's do this."
Koromaru, Aigis, Shinji…those who had changed, learned to move on, learned to feel and remember the joy of living…
With the strength of those beautiful voices, they stood. Light descended upon them, halos of the defendants of life.
They took a deep breath.
The blue light surrounded them, as if they were summoning their Personas—they raised their fingers into the air, and in that moment of pure courage and hope, the seal activated.
It was both blinding and beautiful.
They touched foreheads and descended to their friends.
I'm here for you.
It seemed that they were the only ones unaffected. They could only trust and confide in each other, silent conversations as to what occurred in the past month. They had confidence that their friends would remember, but the erasure of everything was just so strange. Everything was so normal…
On the day of graduation, they were so sleepy that they could barely wake up. They headed to the rooftop to wait for the others, sitting together on the bench, leaning against each other for support tiredly, weakly.
"It's nice today," she whispered, barely audible. He smiles, because he knows that she just wants to hear his voice.
"…Yeah…" he breathes, voice a quiet mumble. "It is."
"Say…have I ever told you…how much you mean to me?"
"Oh?" He's surprised, because she is so friendly to everyone that it is hard to pinpoint her affections.
She reaches for his hand, and their fingers entwine and fit together like pieces of an ancient puzzle.
"I really do…l…ove…you…"
Her eyelids flutter like a butterfly, and his last breath is a gentle sigh.
When the rest of SEES finds them, they find that they are impossible to separate. They cry, they scream, they beg; it is impossible that to two saviors should have to be the ones to die, when they all will thrive in a world they have so reverently fought for and nurtured by their own hands.
In the end, they can only bury the two together. But they know that this is what they wanted, that this is how it always would and should be.
Not without me.