She closed her eyes and accepted his lies as the truth—for a time.
Life on the streets is harder than most people will ever know, but even through her tears, she presses on. There isn't enough, there's never enough, and her throat is dry and her stomach aches and she wants nothing more than to be one of those kids who lives inside a beautiful house on the other side of a white picket fence—but she isn't, and never will be.
She accepts this, but still the tears come.
A cold rain is falling. She spends her time wondering if the sky is crying too.
Men, with white lab coats.
For some reason their presence makes her uneasy, even though they had promised her food and shelter if she came with them. So far they had done nothing wrong, and yet…
There are many other kids in the room, all around her age, marked and scruffy and just as desperate as she is. She wonders who they are, and more importantly, why the men wanted so many of them.
She's afraid, but there's nothing and no one to turn to for help. She stopped believing in a God long ago.
At first they do nothing, just run some tests.
At first they do nothing, just strap her to a table.
At first there is nothing, and then she understands what pain really is.
She screams, but the men with white lab coats never seem to hear.
In a matter of weeks, their number has dropped to twenty.
There had once been one hundred, she knew, but now there are only a handful of them left, and everyone is sobbing and crying and she herself feels like breaking down…but she can't. She finds the tears no longer come, and she lets herself forget that she once cared.
She isn't the only one whose eyes are dry. Two more, there is two more, and she can feel them looking at her from across the room.
They say nothing, and she has nothing to say anyway.
Medea is terrifying and yet she loves her so. She loves her because she's not alone anymore. She giggles a giggle that has never been heard and reaches to place her hand on her skull. She whispers secrets to the being born from her mind and roves the hallways with empty murmurs that no one is around to hear but herself. She dreams of going somewhere far away and Medea replies with quiet hisses that soothes the fear hidden somewhere between the beats of her heart.
She wakes up one day and finds her breath lodged in her throat, sharp claws piercing her skin and all she wants to do is scream.
All that emerges is a gasp, but they hear, and the men in white lab coats force pills down her throat and Medea is placid once more.
Medea is terrifying and yet she loves her so.
There are stains on her wrist she never noticed before.
She isn't sure how they got there, but the pain feels good, and she's left staring at the wounds on her skin, weeping tears she could no longer shed, and they're pretty like the hair on her head and she smiles at the rivulets flowing from her like tiny streams.
It stings, but it feels good.
Maybe she can still cry after all.
And somewhere inside her Medea laughs.
She's learning to hide her ruby tears.
The men in white lab coats become upset when she cries, and they try to stop her tears with bandages of white and rolls of gauze. But holding it in is more difficult than letting it out, and she allows the red to flow again and again—but only because Medea knows how to wipe it all away.
It's a vicious cycle, to apply pressure to her skin, raking her nails along her arm only to have it all vanish, as if it had never been, but it makes her feel better…much better. She's not sure why, but she hasn't been sure of a lot of things lately and she's forgotten how to care or why she even should.
The two are gazing at her silently, but she ignores them.
The Dark Hour is cold and still and the whole world is crying, but she likes it and the peace that it brings.
The men in white lab coats are forcing them to summon their Personas—so little of them left, so little screams to pierce the sky. She calls Medea and touches her fingers to hers, stroking the talons of the thing that could take her life at any time.
She should be afraid, but she isn't.
"Come with us."
His invitation hangs in the air, ridiculous and possibly insane, but she tastes freedom on her tongue and the offer is too sweet to pass up.
She accepts it.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's too far away for her to believe that it's real.
They are called Strega, but she forgets she should care.
To sense life, to emit life, what a gift Medea has given her. She teases flowers back to life and closes a gash on Takaya's chest.
His golden eyes glint with a cunning light, but she misses it.
She takes another pill and resumes drawing on her skin, scarlet lines blossoming and smudging but disappearing all too quickly for her tastes.
Jin shoves a sketchpad at her one day, and she knows the reason why.
She traces anything that takes her fancy, but she's restless. Picture after picture, sketchpad after sketchpad, she finishes a drawing only to lose interest and toss them all away without a backwards glance.
Takaya has explained to her all about Death. She fears it no longer, but really, she stopped feeling much of anything long ago. She nods and listens to his voice, because no one else has ever said anything that sounds so right.
Another image begins to form, but just like all the others, it fails to placate her.
If there was a light after all, she thinks it faded.
He asks her a question, which startles her from her reverie.
He's an insistent one, and though she tries to shoo him away, he stays. He asks her what she's drawing, states that he wants to see it, and she searches his eyes for any sign of a lie. She finds none, and she's more surprised than she has ever been.
She doesn't know what she's drawing. All she knows is that he is in her way.
He leaves with the promise to be back tomorrow, and she finds herself looking after him.
There's a light at the end of the tunnel, but it's far.
He's one of those kinds of people, laughing nervously and smiling but eager to get her to do the same. He visits her there by the flower shop, sitting beside her and eagerly latching on to any word that she utters. He's animated and full of life, more so than anyone she has ever known, and he teases that he's a hero fighting things at night the world only dreams of.
She's curious, so she inquires more about it.
He's hesitant at first but soon warms up to the task. He modestly states that he's something like the leader, and his eyes and smile have never been brighter.
She walks away from him after that, but she believes him.
She's ignoring the two speaking to her, because her mind is on other things.
She fears rooms like this; she fears hospitals and men in white lab coats. She fears the absence of Medea, she fears how she knows no one here and that she is all alone.
Or perhaps "fears" is too strong a word, she isn't sure.
She's not sure of anything anymore.
Her mind toys with the image of Junpei and she lets herself daydream as the two continue prodding her with questions she has no intention of answering.
At last they leave, and she knows peace, if only for a little while.
She can't remember the last time her daydreams didn't end in nightmares.
He visits, and her world is bright again.
She smiles without knowing, without meaning to, and she lets him talk because she likes to hear the sound of his voice. He comes with flowers and secret sketchpads, never asking about Strega, but instead he asks about her. What is her favorite food? What is her favorite season? He listens to her replies with brilliant eyes and she feels her indifference beginning to slip.
He always checks her wrists for tears that he can wipe away, but since he started visiting her, she finds she cries less and less.
He smiles, and suddenly she's afraid to die.
She ignores him when he comes to visit.
She fears what he does to her. She fears it more than anything. He makes her afraid of losing herself, of losing him, of no longer having a warm shoulder to lean on. She hates him and the weakness that he brings, she hates it more than anything.
Still, he comes.
She finds herself playing a game without meaning to, where she twists and pulls her body around to hide her sketchpad from view, because it was no business of his what she drew, it was no business of his what she spent her time doing.
Even if each and every picture is of him…it remains no business of his.
The rest of Strega come for her in the night.
She isn't afraid, because Death is not something to fear. Again she tastes freedom on her tongue, freedom from oppressive hospital rooms, and when the chance of escape comes she takes it without a second thought.
She leaves her sketchpad behind, though. She finds that she is unable to take it with her, and she is unable to throw it away like the others.
She expects laughter, but Medea says nothing.
There is a hole in his stomach.
She sees it for what it is—not tears, not a way of releasing pain pent up for too long…She finally sees it for what it is.
It is a bullet hole, and it is Death.
There is a horrible panic rising within her that she quells only because she has grown used to her shell of indifference. It must hold for just a little longer. She places her hands on his stomach—Takaya's eyes watch her like a hawk—and gives him everything she has. She finds herself speaking to Medea, begging the vengeful Persona to hold nothing back just this once.
That shouldn't be too hard, because Junpei already has her heart.
With a shuddering gasp he breathes again, but at the same time, she feels her own heart slow.
She whispers the truth to him, something she never expected to be able to say, and he holds her to him like she is all that matters in the world.
It's nice, but it's not enough to hold her there.
He makes her name sound beautiful.
She awakes to the scent of flowers. Shocked eyes stare back at her, and for the love of everything, she can't understand what they're all gazing at. She speaks, voicing her confusion, and the men in white lab coats run scrambling everywhere, calling names, exclamations of disbelief echoing up and down the long corridors.
She shakes her head in disbelief.
He has kind eyes.
This isn't the first time he's come to see her, and she appraises him coolly, seeking the truth from him. He claims to have known her, the her whose memory has vanished without a trace, and she thinks he may belong somewhere in her heart after all.
He smiles—there's a promise in it that she wants to believe.
Author's Note: Different from my usual writing style, I know. I really love ChidorixJunpei so I figured I'd do something on it. Reviews are very much appreciated!