You spent the day searching for Ryoji, and once again could not find him. There were a lot of places that he liked to spend time, but he had since disappeared from all of them. His usual seat at Chagall Café was empty. The men's dorm you thought that he'd been staying at had no record of his residency there. The day after he came to give you information, you overhear a couple of girls talking about how he'd "transferred" again. It's obvious to you just what he's doing, but you continue to search for him.

You're aware just how useless your efforts to find him are. Everyone else is scared of what's to come. Yukari confides in you about how she couldn't sleep for three days after he told you of the end. Junpei refuses to speak about what happened that day, because he still can't believe that Ryoji, his friend, would do this. You're angry at him because he's chosen to blame Ryoji for something that Ryoji can't change. But you're angrier with the others, because they're ignoring the fact that Ryoji ever existed, except when they're talking about the choice they have to make.

The first week quickly passes. The girls at school bemoan the fact that such a wonderfully attractive guy had to leave so quickly. You've spent every day that week looking for him. He has to be staying somewhere, because even Shadows have to have somewhere to live. It occurs to you that he may be in Tartarus, but the prospect of searching all of those floors for him alone (for no one at SEES will even go near the place right now) terrifies you. So you stick to the waking world, always trying to think of places he might be. Moonlight Bridge, Pawlownia Mall, even the alleys behind Port Island Station. Nowhere.

Eventually everyone in the dorm realizes just how stupid they're being, and they call a meeting. Everyone wants to know what the others are thinking of doing. But the calm of the meeting doesn't last long, especially once Junpei gets to speak up.

"There's nothing I can do... She's the only one who can kill him. Come to think of it, it's all your fault..."

He turns to you, red faced, as he begins to yell at you. "You had that thing inside you and didn't even know it... You raised it, dammit! This is all your fault! So you should do something about it! You're supposed to be 'special,' right!"

"Don't call him an 'it'! He's not some kind of animal!"

The words spill from your mouth before you can stop yourself. You're standing now, staring Junpei in the face. The seconds pass by like hours as you wait for Junpei to even dare to say anything back to you, but before he can, Yukari jumps in and diffuses the argument.

"Stop it, Junpei! It's not her fault... And the only reason we've even been given a choice is because she carried it!"

And it's true, but that's not the only reason. None of the others in the dorm had the same relationship with him that you did. He had been Junpei's best friend, but you had been more than friends with him. You realized the pain that he was in, and could do nothing to help him with it. Maybe if you had helped him through it or stopped Aigis from going after him that day, you could have stopped this from happening. But there was nothing that could be done now. You fall back into your chair and listen to the others speak, all of them scared of what's to come. The meeting's called off for now.

You return to your room, and you feel pathetic. Pathetic because you're supposed to be their leader, and instead of focusing on the issues that they're most worried about, you're chasing a shadow. Your poor mental word choice doesn't hit you until the thought's already moved through your head, and then you find yourself laughing to yourself. No wonder he'd called it a "forbidden love" on that last night. A human and a Shadow, in love with each other. It was laughable at best, a little tragic at worst.

But none of them could understand what you felt for him. None of them had held his trembling hand after he pleaded with you to touch him. No one could realize the deep fear he'd felt that he didn't exist on some level. They hadn't spent that last night with him and felt their skin touch with his.

Another week passes. Exams come and go. You don't have time to look for Ryoji, so you make time when you can. Mitsuru gets onto you once for not focusing on your school work, but she can't go through with scolding you when you both know that exams probably won't matter anymore. Slowly, you start to forgive Junpei for what he said, because you realize that he's mourning someone as much as you are. He's got it just as bad as you do, but unlike you, his love's already dead. Yours just wants you to kill him.

Things start going to hell for people outside the dorm, too. The town is covered in graffiti and flyers left by a Nyx-worshipping cult. No one's sure where they came from or how they even know about the coming end times, and no one likes talking about them if they can avoid it.

Days pass. You can't bear to think about how you're acting anymore, so by the time the third week comes around, you've forced yourself to stop looking for Ryoji. One day, as you go through Pawlownia Mall, you see someone wearing a yellow scarf out of the corner of your eye, and you drop everything to chase after them. But too late, they're gone, and you're still just as pathetic as you've ever been.

Christmas comes, though there's no snow this year. It's traditionally a lover's holiday, and for the first time since middle school, you're alone for it. And you know that he is too. Even Fuuka's thinking it, as she cruelly reminds you of this fact on Christmas Eve.

"I wonder what Ryoji-kun will do this Christmas... Is he going to spend it with a girl, having fun? Or, is he going to spend it alone, crying?"

You pause for a moment at her words, before forcing a smile onto your face and saying, "I bet he'll have fun."

You're lying through your teeth and you don't even care.

The deadline grows ever closer. Before you know it, it's right upon you. The day before it, Aigis comes back, and she tries to beg to you to kill Ryoji. The others talk her into letting him live, but you're still conflicted. A month ago, you never would have killed him. Now you're wondering if you should put him out of his misery. But you remember that killing him would change nothing. All you'll be doing is dragging out his agony. It takes Aigis' Persona appearing and changing into something new before your eyes to snap you out of your thoughts.

The next day, you finally find Ryoji.

He's sitting on a bench outside of Iwatodai Station, staring at his hands. It's late at night, and you're on your way back to the dorm when you spot him. You sit down next to him, and he looks away with a guilty look on his face.

"You shouldn't be here," he says, and you don't object. Despite how hard you searched for him, you feel sick at the sight of him. You wish that you hadn't found him here, because at least then you could get through tonight easier. There are a million things you want to say to him now, but your mouth doesn't want to cooperate. Where have you been? How have you been feeling? What have you been doing? Don't leave me. Stay here. You don't have to do this. The questions mix in with the pleading. None of them voiced, but you're sure he knows just what you're thinking.

He clenches his hands together, and for the first time since Kyoto, you notice the ring on his hand. But before you can ask about it, he hides his hands in his pockets. Somehow, the sight of him sitting like this is oddly nostalgic, though you can't be sure why. You open your mouth to say something again, but the words are lost somewhere in your chest, and all that escapes is silence.

"Hey, do you know what time it is?" he asks. You're fairly sure that he has a watch, but you can't remember seeing him ever check it. The clock on your MP3 player says it's around six PM, and you tell him this. He stands up from the bench and gives you a sad smile. "I don't have much time left. This city is beautiful… I would like to see it one last time before I come to your dorm tonight. After that, I won't be human anymo-"

You stand up and seize his wrist. He tenses at your touch, but he slowly relaxes after a few moments. Your throat unclenches enough for you to say something.

"Let me go with you."

He agrees. You walk around the city for a few hours, and say very little to each other all the while. Eventually you have to go back to the dorm. He walks up to your room, and you speak with the others briefly about their decisions before you follow him up there. It's the first time you've been together in your room since that night you came together, and it hurts. He asks you to kill him, but you've made your decision.

He leaves you with nothing but a ring to hold his memory. You don't chase after him when he leaves, because you want your last memories of him to be happy. But in the end, all you have left are tears.