Disclaimer: I don't own the Persona Series. That would be Atlus. I only own any original characters and scenes that may appear.
That was the first thing my sluggish mind processed as I slowly came to consciousness. Why was I sleeping on such an uncomfortable bed when I had a queen-sized feather bed in my bedroom? Why did my pillow feel like a freaking brick? Why were my blankets so scratchy, and why the hell was it so hot in here? Our air-conditioner wasn't broken, was it? This most certainly didn't feel like my Grandfather's house.
I opened my eyes, hoping to get an answer to some of these questions…
Of course it had been a dream. I was staring at the familiar cracked ceiling of my house of three years. I'd recognize the peeling yellow paint, creaky wood doors and poop brown carpets anywhere. I had only been dreaming of my comfortable life in that town. It was, I will admit, an abnormality for me to dream of that place. It had been my own decision that prompted me to leave there and come to Port Island. I had no regrets… Right? Well, apparently, my subconscious mind thought otherwise.
Not feeling like getting into an argument with myself, (Unfortunately, a regular occurrence with me) I climbed shakily out of my couch/bed and crossed to the bathroom. My house consisted of three rooms. My bedroom doubled as a living room, and was the biggest room in the house. Connected to that was the kitchen and bathroom. I paid for it with my… less than legal business.
Stray thoughts aside, I regarded my reflection in the mirror cynically. My almost violet hued hair flopped in choppy layers to my shoulders. I pulled it into a loose low ponytail, at the same time acknowledging that my sister, too, had an odd hair color, though hers leaned toward the blue side. Our slight frames, and an almost alike hair color was where all similarities ended between us. I sighed. So much separated us, my sister and I.
I splashed icy water on my face, trying to wash away the thoughts that had taken hold of me.
Is my thought process always this disjointed? I mused. No, it must be the lack of nice, deep, sleep. I really hate dreaming.
Brushing my teeth, I turned away from the cracked mirror to the suitcase that served as a wardrobe. Since I only had an illegal business and a meager minimum wage job to live off of, I had only been able to buy so much. The suitcase I had packed three years ago had remained my storage unit.
I dug around for a moment, choosing pants over a skirt, purely because it was much easier to work your ass off and ride a motorcycle in jeans. I completed my look with a black button-down top.
Bathroom business complete, I headed into the adjoining kitchen, yanking my laptop off of its charger as I went. I plopped down in the rickety chair and cracked open the Mac. While that was booting up, I went on an epic adventure in search of the mystical and fabled decent food. When I came up empty handed, I was forced to settle with dry cereal and a cup of lukewarm water.
My bathroom is only capable of giving me cold water, and my kitchen faucet only spews warm water. I thought, rather amused, as I cracked through the pass codes that protected my computer and accessed my email.
I groaned. Another student at Gekkoukan High wanted me to fix his grades.
Don't they realize how hard that is to do and not get caught? If I'm found out, I'll either be sent to Juvenile Detention, or forced to attend school… I shuddered at the thought. Ever since I'd left my Grandfather's home, I had not even stepped foot into a learning institution, despite being sixteen, nor did I plan to.
I typed back a quick reply.
"Kenji Tomochika, eh?
You want me to change your failing grades to A's and B's, is that it? And this is all to impress a girl? Is she a pretty girl? I hope she is, because I'm pulling this crap for you two. I can do it, but depending on how many failing grades you have, the cost is going to be steep. 7,788 Yen per F I change. That's approximately 100 US dollars.
Actually… Hmm… I think I'm being rather cheep. Well, you can pay me by sending the cash to this address -"
I typed my address and frowned, thinking.
"Best of luck to you and your girlfriend. Oh, by the way, since I'm going to have access to all the school's information, don't blame me if something… amusing happens. Since you're the one who asked me to do this, the responsibility is on your shoulders. Ain't I just a little stinker? ;)
No body else had asked for my assistance, so I shut the computer and finished my mediocre breakfast. Perhaps mediocre is not the best term there. That implies that it was average, and I'm positive that is not the average choice of food for most Japanese… Bad Kasumi. Stop over-analyzing every aspect of your life.
I shoved the laptop into a messenger bag, slung that over my shoulder, pulled on a black leather riding jacket, and tucked my helmet under my arm. Stepping out onto the porch in a jacket in the middle of summer was like stepping into an oven, but I didn't complain. Road rash is a bitch. I sat comfortably on the motorcycle waiting for me and typed in the password that would start the engine. My own design, of course. It was a lot more convenient than a key, and no one could steal it. The helmet went onto my head next, the visor slipping over my eyes, and I was off, peeling down the street toward the mall.
A quick check of my watch told me I had a right to be in a hurry – I was running late.
The asphalt blurred beneath my feet, and the buildings on either side of me seemed no more than streaks of light and dark. "Dammit, Dammit, Dammit!" I swore into the wind. Stupid messing with a high school student and analyzing my breakfast! Stupid dreams of a life I'd left behind! I couldn't afford to lose this job!
Suddenly, two men stepped into the road directly in front of me. I gasped and pulled the breaks, turning the handlebars. The result was one of those skids you see in the movies where the protagonist avoids ramming into something at the last second. If anyone but myself had been riding, the men would've quickly become road kill.
"Heeeey, dude! Ch-Check it out!" One guy slurred, in an obviously intoxicated voice.
The other goon approached me and proceeded to rip off my helmet.
"Hey!" I protested.
"Dude… She's a chick, dude." The guy gasped.
Wasted at 10:30 in the morning… That's pathetic. Wait, 10:30? Dammit all, I'm late!
"Gentlemen, I'd love to stay and talk…" I hissed dangerously, reaching out and snatching my helmet back. I rammed it on my head with one hand, while I put the motorcycle in gear with the other one. "…But I have a rather important job I'd like to keep, so if you could be so kind as to get out of my way." The men showed no sign of moving, however.
"Seriously…" As I spoke, I gave it a little bit of gas, inching forward a tiny bit. Still they didn't back off. "Get. Out. Of. The. Way!" I then proceeded to race past them at a dizzying speed, headed toward Paulownia Mall.
Chagall Café… I sighed, parking the cycle outside, leaving my jacket and helmet with it.
Inside, the rich aroma of coffee beans reached me, and I inhaled deeply. It smelled of heaven. My scare with the drunks was forgotten as I relaxed in the familiar environment.
"Hey, Kasumi-chan!" The friendly voice of my coworker, Fuyuki, rang out across the store.
"Hello," I dipped my head and walked up to where he was leaning on the counter. As we spoke, I tied my work apron around my waste. "What's up?"
"Well, I had your coffee ready, but since you showed up late, I was forced to drink it." Fuyuki joked.
"You little liar. You know better than to drink my morning cup of coffee." Oh god, without my coffee, I was the devil, I swear.
The young man laughed, running his hand through his brown hair. "You got me. You're too smart for your own good." He slid the cup he had concealed behind his back toward me. I picked it up and breathed the scent. "You know, I never got it. You only get one cup per day. Why not save it to have at your break, like normal people do?"
"Do you want to see me in the morning without my coffee?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Yikes… Forget I asked."
I snickered. It promised to be an entertaining day.
To be honest, it wasn't until three o'clock that anything of note happened. The rest of the day, I'd just been waiting tables as usual.
However, around the time the high school got out, I heard the distinctive rumble of a motorcycle, and groaned. That sound usually meant some bonehead gang member or something along those lines was about to barge in and cause a commotion.
I got a surprise, however, when the redhead entered, and sat down quietly at a deserted table.
"Kirijo-san," I said politely, bowing my head. We didn't really know each other, but she had come here once before, claiming that she wanted to 'broaden her tastes,' or something like that. We had been able to talk easily with one another about riding, and other topics we shared an interest on. Despite the fact that I 'was older than her,' she treated me like she was my Senpai. I hadn't expected her to return here.
"Ah… Shirogane, was it?"
"That's me. What can I get for you today?"
Mitsuru frowned, regarding the menu with interest. "I think I'll try this place's signature coffee." That wasn't what I was expecting, but I respected the customer's wishes. I made her a cup and brought it back to her.
"You seem tired." I remarked, recalling my boss's words to 'make conversation.' "If you don't mind me asking, is there something bothering you?"
"…Hm? Oh no, not really. I suppose you could say school, Student Council, and other club activities have put me under a good deal of stress. Thank you for your concern, Shirogane."
"No problem. People always tell me that snooping is my specialty."
Mitsuru gave a small chuckle. "Have you ever considered a job as a detective?"
My smile melted off of my face as fast as it had appeared. "People have told me that, too." Surely she'd heard of the Shirogane family? I silently prayed that she wouldn't make the connection. It was not an aspect of myself I liked dwelling on.
A look of understanding crossed her face for a fraction of a second, but I cut her off before she could say anything. "I'll leave you to your coffee. Let me know if you need anything." I quickly scurried off into the back, sighing.
After a while, Mitsuru paid and left the café. It was another thirty minutes before anything else worth mentioning happened.
The splash of blue out of the corner of my eye first got my attention. I looked up sharply from the table I was cleaning.
Could it really be…? No, of course not. The blue haired boy, whom at first glance I had mistaken for my sister, sat down in a table tucked into the corner. He had silver clip-on headphones covering his ears, and unfamiliar music leaked out of them.
Hmm… the headphones, coupled with the hairstyle that covers one eye, and the place he chose to sit can only lead me to believe he likes to avoid people… Stop it! You're not being paid to analyze the customer, just take their order! …Old habits die hard, I suppose.
"Hello," I approached the boy. "May I take your order?" Without looking up from the table, he replied,
"Um, sure." I frowned and fetched the drink. "Uh…" Conversation, dammit! "Y-ya know, my sister has hair the same color as yours…"
"…" Still, he didn't look up.
"All right, all right. I can see when I'm not wanted." I started to back up. "Make conversation, he says…" I hadn't realized I had muttered that out loud.
Without warning, the boy reached out and grabbed my wrist, preventing me from going any further. He finally turned to face me, his gray eyes boring into my green ones. I hated that my heartbeat quickened so much.
The boy spoke one word. "Sugar."
"Huh? Oh, right," I caught a glimpse of the empty sugar dispenser. "You need sugar." Stop blushing! I wrenched my wrist from his grasp, ducking into the kitchen to get more sugar for the strange blue haired boy.
My shift finally ended at 11:55 that night.
"Thanks for staying overtime, Shirogane." My boss, a plump, balding man, said. "I'll make sure you get paid extra for that."
"Oh, thanks." I sighed, barely able to keep my eyes open.
"Be safe on your way home." The guy treated me like I was his daughter. I had told him I was eighteen in order to get the job. I realize I was two years younger in actuality, but he seemed convinced I was twelve.
"I know the drill, Sir."
"Good, you watch yourself. There are some real weirdos wandering about out there."
I ducked out of the shop as he started his 'Reforming the Country' spiel, boarded my cycle, and took off down the street. Due to my exhausted state, I made sure to go slowly. I had hoped to get home before midnight, but I doubted that would happen.
I swerved to avoid one of the Lost, who was milling around in the middle of the road, and kept going.
Where are the cars? It's almost eerie out here… Despite the heat, I shivered.
From somewhere far away, I heard a bell toll, signifying that it was now midnight.
Suddenly, my cycle ran through something suspiciously red looking, causing the thick liquid to splash up on my pants. Just as I was turning to investigate, my engine died, sending me tumbling off my ride, skidding through another puddle of red ooze. Looking at it closely, it was unmistakably blood. I got shakily to my feet and glanced around.
It was as if I'd stepped into another world. The moon looked giant above my head, and cast an unnatural green light. Where once there had been a few pedestrians now stood a cluster of coffins, but that wasn't all.
Above me, on the horizon of the manmade Port Island, rose a gigantic tower, stretching high into the sky, taller than any other building.
That hasn't always been there… I stared frantically around, hoping for some sort of explanation. When I found none, I started to panic.
Where the hell am I?
First off, if you actually bothered to read all the way down to the Author's Note, you get a cookie. Except not really, because I have no cookie.
This is my first ever fan-fiction, and constructive criticism is more than welcome. However, flat-out criticism is not. If you don't like it, let me know how I can improve it.
About mentioning Kenji up there… I couldn't resist.
I'm horrified Kasumi will come off as a Marysue. I'll work on that.
And, I hate how the Dark Hour comes on so abruptly. I swear, the mood changes with an audible clunk. I tried my best to change it
Yeah, please let me know what you think by clicking that review button down there. I'd love that.
Thank you for reading this crap, you're awesome, whoever you are.