Author Notes: EDITED for the sake of coherency and in-game novelization of epic win. I changed the title to something more appropriate, because another fic would have better use for it. I plan for this story to have somewhat steady updates (already got rough drafts done for chapters 2-4, and plenty of social link conversations written down). I also plan to write three major arcs; the 1st Ryoji/Mshe centric (The Journey), the 2nd Minato/Mshe/Ryoji centric (New Game Plus/The Answer), and the 3rd undecided (maybe until I play PS4, or wait for the 5th game to come out, who knows?).
Keep in mind I won't go down the traditional route of tragic depiction (EternalOptimist and ChronicHappiness, here), though I will remain loyal to canon.
Fanfiction by authors Year of the Dog and GingerAndRust inspire me.
Story 1 : Highlight of the Day
[The Female Protagonist meets her future lover.]
via shattering glass under
a glowing full moon
and Death cries.
You're drifting into darkness
His voice echoes in her unconscious.
Every memory Every thought of you Is inside of me Tells me what to do
Light filters through the crack of her closed eyelids and dawn breaks away the dream of another memory. More brilliant than the sunlight filtering through her curtains, his smiling face appears like the Cheshire Cat. "This is the first time we've talked during the daytime."
Calling your name, I hear only echoes
Ten years old (or six?) and wearing the black and white stripes of imprisonment, how long has Pharos sat by her bedside watching his dearest sleep, the feathery touch of his ghost fingers brushing her unkempt hair? Searching the rain, I see only shadows... Crimson cold metal falls off her ears, pulled by careful, cold hands, and Minako blinks slow while watching him place her mp3 player aside.
...show me your face...
"Nice weather, isn't it? This is indeed a new day." She nods and yawns, leaning into his hand as she lifts her own to touch his face by instinct. Sadness tinges his smile, and her brow crinkles in concern. "...For the both of us." He stands, pulling himself further and further away with each sincere word spoken. "All the fragments of my memory... They've finally come together. I now know my role clearly." This sounds important when his pensive look and slight gape reveals a void filled with loneliness, and Minako sits up, rubbing her eyes and stretching her limbs, if only to stall bewilderment by feigning nonchalance.
"The time has come." Poignant pause. "As difficult as it may be, I must tell you something."
The fourth day in the month of November, Pharos visits her room unlike any other night. "I am afraid this is goodbye."
Unadulterated fear goads them to reach for each other, torn by the distance, and water brims in her scarlet eyes the way his lips tremble. His foreboding words never lie. "I want you to know..." Affection implores mutual acceptance for the sake of inevitability. "For me, our friendship was a miracle. But, miracles don't last forever."
His young face falls and she hugs him close, cradling his head to her shoulder. Pharos curls into the cocoon of Minako's warm embrace, face nuzzled into her breasts. Life pulses in her veins, beauty coursing in her body as liquefied rubies and Pharos remembers how her innocence taints the Tower of Demise through the eyes of the beholder. Many victories fought for the right of his existence, too late to change now and never in true knowledge. What a fool, but she will always be my Fool.
In the haze of her sleep, squeezing him on her lap, Minako stutters over her words. "Y-Yeah... sniff... I can't... see you anymore?"
And the Fool laughs. 'Nothing lasts forever'
Yes, the same Fool who holds him now in this wonderful suspension of time, stroking his midnight blue hair and caressing his human face. She memorizes his youthful features one last time, his beautiful beautiful blue eyes, and calm delirium possesses her to kiss his beauty mark. She adores this child, loves him to death, and oh how she wishes he would stop slipping through her fingers. "I shall treasure our conversations always. Even if today is the end, the bond between us can never be severed."
Teary eyes gaze upon his one and only friend. "...Remember that." He will always remember her tears last, and he wonders if this attachment will turn neurotic aggressive in the afterlife or come to originate from Minako herself even though she still doesn't understand anything.
Maybe she does know everything, but she only knows one thing. Hope. (Will I ever see you again?) And Pharos traps it inside Pandora's box.
Thou art I... And I am thou...
Thou hast established a genuine bond...
The innermost power of the Death Arcana hath been set free.
"It was fun while it lasted." The mysterious boy disappears. "...Farewell."
The bell tolls.
Lucky number XIII lives.
On the empty wall hangs a calendar, the current date circled in permanent marker: Monday, 11/09/2009.
A teenager dons his uniform for the first time. He hums, smiling, tapping his toes to the beat of his own song. In the reflection of his full-length body mirror, he sees himself roll the black cuffs of his long sleeves, snapping black suspenders in place and slipping on a crisscross wrist strap. He wraps yellow cloth around his neck, straightening the shorter end over his white shirt while the longer end breezes his backside and black pants. His smile widens, crinkling at the corners and the mole below his left eye, skin as pale as a porcelain doll. Bony hands slick back his short jet black hair and cobalt eyes admire his pleasing appearance.
He pockets his cell phone and thanks the kind man "Shuji Ikutsuki, I am an acquaintance of your parents" before strolling out the door.
He does not see a green disgusting landscape or macabre coffins or pools of blood dripping down buildings, flowing into street gutters, and inverting the Pacific ocean. He does not see evil moonlight manifest shadows from a different dimension. He does not see people lost and without souls. Electricity runs in the veins of those living, empowers machinery within this wondrous era of industrialization alongside precious remnants of Mother Nature.
He sees a colorful world full of blue butterflies.
Minako enters the monorail on her way to school, tuning out the world, and remembers the first time she met Pharos, music resonating from crimson earphones on a night so unlike this morning. Fragments of his first words echo in the convoluted heartbroken mind. "You can't plug your ears and close your eyes."
She nods her head to gentle piano keys and mouths melodic lyrics in a single stream of consciousness.
I think I might have inhaled you I can feel you behind my eyes You've gotten into my bloodstream I can feel you flowing in me
She meanders on the same course, "No one can escape time. It delivers us all to the same end," gravitating down the aisle through throngs of faceless people, gravitating towards a boy her age who occupies her favorite window seat.
Minako challenges fate today and takes the seat beside him, and glances to see he gazes at the sky where clouds are rolling in.
The spaces in between, Two minds and all the places they have been, The spaces in between
Minako zones out after awhile and the song repeats, Wake up, look me in the eyes again... until her left earphone falls off, pulled by a careful, cold hand.
She looks up, startled. "Don't be afraid." Cobalt orbs twinkle in a way that reminds her of an imaginary friend who vanished once she grew up.
"I've been waiting a long time for you."
"Today is a beautiful day, isn't it?"
"Yeah." Minako smiles. "Just like your eyes."
He doesn't look human, face a blank slate and wrists paper white with black bracelets for chains and a yellow scarf bright as a crime scene waiting to happen. "From here on out, you'll accept full responsibility for your decisions." But Minako fails to see this when he smiles, imitation the sincerest form of flattery, and sees the best in this stranger, a friend yet to be made.
"Thanks! I gotta say, your red eyes..."
"And so it begins..."
The train reaches its destination.
He extends his arm in the moving shadows, but Minako declines his hand –
racing against time.
'Why did he have to disappear all of a sudden... like Shinjiro...?'
The Dark Hour remains, but he never returned. Neither of them did.
Minako clutches her heart. The same way she does when the Evoker snaps the strings of her sanity – "Persona!" – and Thanatos comes at her back and call in the wake of a Fool whose heart had been ripped open.
People come and go like the seasons. Minako awakes alone now, walks alone – no child to adore her, and no delinquent to laugh with. Standing before the gates of Gekkoukan High School, Tartarus in broad daylight, she does not hear the human screams of joy and ignorant bliss through her pounding earplugs. Instrumental emotions compose a lyre medley, glockenspiel notes tinkling in the chaos of drum and bass while guitar blasts away fragility.
"Memento mori..." she whispers to the wind.
"Hey, good news! Wanna hear it?"
Lovers, keep on the road you're on
Minako overhears a conversation on her way to class early morning, picking up snippets through her earphones, Runners, until the race is run... and she lowers the volume to snatch the latest news.
"...the boy who's transferring here today is a stud!"
"Really? Are you messing with me?"
"No! I heard it from someone who saw him filling out the forms."
"11th grade, Classroom F."
"Oh... Well, that's disappointing. But I'll go check him out later!"
'Oh, so we'll be sharing homeroom together...' she muses, something to look forward to besides eating lunch with her friends, Soldiers... soldier on... and perhaps the promise of beef ramen after school. The first bell rings, anchoring Minako to the present, and she begins to run.
Sometimes even right is wrong
Minako feels tired and she can't hear anything while students gossip louder over Ms. Toriumi's ever rising voice, and she lowers her head on folded arms ready to take a nice nap. Doing that would mean suicide, though, so she sits straight and gets comfortable, scared of her homeroom teacher, but more scared of Mitsuru catching wind of her slacking tendencies.
Out of the corner of her eye, she steals a glimpse at the famous new transfer student. The boy from the monorail. He had spooked her earlier with his romantic speech and polite mannerisms, and she fled before he could even finish phrasing his offer. And the presence of his scarf felt as natural to Minako as the existence of compassionate ghosts. Tingling in her fingers are a reminder of obsessive thread work and tender loving care.
In the background Ryoji doodles a little girl and a little boy holding hands on lined paper.
"No man understands their birth until they begin to understand..."
There are so many pretty girls in this class.
Ryoji senses kinship with the female transfer student known as 'Aigis'; winter clothing covers her from head to toe, white stockings and white gloves and white neck corset and a distinctive red ribbon. It brings out her stunning face, golden hair bound by a metallic headband, and cerulean eyes hot and cold like mercury. Someone so out of this world, out of his reach. She shot down his romantic advances before they could ever occur, 'such a shame...' but there are more fish in the sea. Like the one who stands near her desk, engaged in conversation with Aigis and another girl.
Fair and flowing as silk toffee, soft hair frames aloof sepia eyes and delicate features. The pink cardigan she wears clings to her curves and the scandalous skimpy length of her skirt exposes fine and slender legs. Never mind her knee high boots, which obscures smooth skin and petite ankles – exotic beauty exclusive to Japanese maidens. This girl must be an athlete, or at least part of a sports club. How else does she keep her body so fit and sexy?
"Hey. Where are you looking at?"
Blatant elevator looks don't go unnoticed, discovered by the target herself, and Ryoji looks up. His easy-going, confident grin knows no shame. "Has anyone ever told you how lovely your legs are?" Eyes stray, despite his polite tone, and an angry finger jabs his chin upwards.
"My face is up here."
"And quite a lovely face you have. You look even lovelier up close."
"Ugh. You're a worse pervert than Stupei!" She snatches her hand back, mortified that she touched such slime, and storms out of the classroom.
"Whoa... You stood up against Yuka-tan. She didn't even slap you! I'm amazed!" Ryoji laughs, flattered, and regards the person who addressed him. Gray eyes and shaven dark hair are shaded by his black baseball cap, blazer unbuttoned over a purple collared shirt and handsome necklace. His male classmate scratches at his goatee, excited, goofy grin contagious, and Ryoji determines he likes this boy already. "What's up? I'm Junpei."
"Oh. Are you Stupei?"
"NO! June-pei. Junpei Iori. Don't listen to that woman. Anyways," he sighs, mellowing his embarrassment, "it must be tough to start in the middle of the year, so... If you ever need something, always know you got a friend in Junpei!" Thumbs up.
"That's reassuring." He chuckles. "Hey, that girl... What was her name? 'Yuka-tan' you said?"
"You mean Yukari Takeba? Yeah... She's a tough cookie. Don't try your luck with her. She's got this monster temper, and complains about everything–"
"Junpei!" Startled by this exuberant chide, they turn towards Aigis' seatmate who sticks her tongue out, bright eyes playful and twinkling. Ryoji blinks. The girl from the monorail. "She's not always like that."
Junpei snorts. "Not always, but all the time."
Ryoji stands all of a sudden, compelled to reach her and learn her name unlike earlier when he lost the chance. The bell tolls. He gasps. Time that had slowed down speeds up once again as students file in the class. 'What am I doing?'
Junpei nudges him with a knowing smirk. "Lighten up, man. There's always after school."
He sits back down, nervous
and silent and sad.
"This is Minako Arisato." Junpei introduces his best friend to the new boy in town once school ends. Polite hand on his chest and confident smile, Ryoji says hello. "She transferred here earlier this year."
"Oh... I see." This foreigner captivates her beyond superficial looks, someone from Europe – Italian maybe, or Greek – someone who clamps at her memory and teases at her heartstrings. "I'm Ryoji Mochizuki. Nice to meet you."
His eyes shine with recognition and the sentiment reciprocates. Minako bows and beams, glad to share some common ground (and ungrateful of the girly glares) "Nice to meet you, too" and that seems to stun him for some reason. Slight tilt of the head, hand on the hip, they stare at each other and Junpei perceives the perfect symmetry, brushing it off as 'those two obviously have a thing going on. It's a nice break from all this supernatural shit.'
He speaks up when the look on Ryoji's face starts creeping him out. Too vacant for anyone to be breathing like the Lost... "Hey, what's wrong? What're you gaping at?"
"Huh? Oh, um... I just got the strangest feeling when I looked at Minako-chan..." The way he looks at her right now, cobalt eyes lukewarm and contemplative with a slight gape to his mouth sparks something inside her akin to fondness for the familiar unknown. "It's like... I don't know... nostalgia? Have we met before?" And Minako clings onto this unknown familiarity, because she can't agree with him more. Blue irises are less brilliant than those that used to glow unblinking in the now-lonely confines of her dark room.
Merry laughter reels her back to reality, "Wow! That's one of the oldest pickup lines in the book!" where it's impressive to sway a woman's heart well enough to get in her pants. Trivial feats and trivial worries meant for a normal social life. She breathes; remembers her place; plays pretend and slips into the skin of her true self. Smile.
"Th-That's not how I meant it..." Ryoji stresses, innocent charm unique to him, and she wants to believe him since she feels the same way. A little timid to confess such a strange sentiment, though. "Anyway, I hope we'll get along."
Gentle offer of the hand, and Minako went with the flow.
Fingers join in a lingering handshake, and
Minako sees the light.
Thou art I... and I am thou...
Thou hast established a new bond...
Thou shall be blessed when creating Personas of the Fortune Arcana...
"I get the feeling we'll become good friends. I'm looking forward to chatting with you more."
In the back of her mind, Minako wonders whether Pharos would have grown up to be just like him.