During and post-Yuzu's Eighth Day: spoilers for all endings & Eighth Days of Devil Survivor: Overclocked.
Minor crossover with Shin Megami Tensei I. Gen except for discussion of Abel/Haru, because I like the thought of them and I have a theory about Haru's knowledge of the primal common tongue (Aya got the song from her in the first place).
This is based on Yuzu's route, and something that intrigued me about that route in the original game is that Naoya is much nicer in it than he is even in Atsuro's, when Atsuro is his apprentice. Here the MC is endangering the world and throwing away all Naoya's work by not facing the Bels, and yet instead of haranguing him about it Naoya just helps him and assigns himself the riskiest part of a plan to allow his brother and his friends to escape the Lockdown.
I think that it shows, like the final battle of Amane's Eighth in Overclocked, that when it comes down to it, Naoya wants his brother to survive and that's more important than his war with God. Naoya gives up his ambitions for the sake of his brother… And then he's rewarded with Metatron just handing him most of what Naoya has been working for on a silver platter.
"Whew," said Gin, surveying the buckets of water he'd carried from the park since the water wasn't on inside his bar. "Time to get to work."
He'd opened his bar the night before while he waited for the final option the kids had told him about to annihilate everything. Yuzu and Kazuya were going to be disappointed they'd missed one of Haru's best shows. When they hadn't died on schedule he'd figured that the kids had made it past the Lockdown and they were saved, but then the SDF and angels started showing up everywhere.
Gin had kept a low profile from the beginning instead of flashing his comp or his demons, so he was fine unless someone talked. Since the kids had probably escaped and Azuma's goons were probably holed up with the other Shomonkai at the Hills Building (being a bartender, Gin was pretty tuned in to what was going on in this city), Gin wasn't too worried.
The kids coming back and telling him that everywhere outside the lockdown was just as bad, just angels instead of demons wasn't good, but there wasn't anything he could do about it, not yet. He was still hoping that something would come along: Take-Mikazuchi had made a contract with him to protect Japan, right? And it definitely needed protecting.
In the meantime, he was just going to open his bar again, serve drinks again to people who were definitely going to need a drink after surviving another day of this Lockdown and hopefully serve the kids those non-alcoholic drinks he'd promised them. If they survived. If he didn't have the SDF battering down his door to capture them, or angels blowing it away.
Then there were the demons talking about the power of Bel, like the Belial guy that had been after Haru. Haru was going around right now, but he wanted her back here well before sunset. Even if there wasn't anything he could do about Japan, he wasn't going to fail to protect Aya's apprentice.
Not after failing Aya.
That rat bastard… Talking with her about demons and the song he'd used for the comps right in Gin's own bar, leaving a comp like he'd known all this was going to happen… Gin wrung out the washcloth he was using to wipe down the bar with unnecessary force. If he ever saw that Naoya again he'd –
The bell attached to the door rang as someone came in.
"We're not open yet, but if you're looking for a safe place to wait it out," Gin started to say as he heard the clatter of wood on wood, someone in old fashioned sandals walking toward his bar, "I could use a hand cleaning the place up."
"That's fine, I'm not here for the ambiance," the man said, swinging himself down onto a barstool. "I'm here because this is one of the only stocks of alcohol left in the city that hasn't been looted, and I have something to celebrate."
That made Gin raise an eyebrow, counting up the glasses he had left to wash. The guy sounded dangerous, but not quite like Yakuza: it was a calculated risk for Gin to turn his back to him like this, as well as a calculated insult. "I'm not selling it for yen nor macca until I open, but if you don't mind being a busboy, I guess I could pay you in shots."
"Hmm, I suppose I could set everything up for later," the man said, clinking sounds on the countertop as he toyed with a glass he must have picked up on the way. "You'll need someone to guard the bar for you, since you're going to be busy soon: I'd hate to pace myself, but I suppose I could set up a few comps?"
"Set up a few comps?" What? That made Gin turn about. "You! You bastard!" His hands thumped down on the bar, leaning over it to face down the silver-haired man, who looked anything but intimidated. Truth to tell, those red eyes made it a little hard for Gin's street-honed instincts not to make him back down a bit, assess the guy since he was clearly dangerous. Still, "Did Azuma tell you what I said to him? Well, that goes for you too, and you dare show your face in front of me, after…" Aya!
"After I gave you a comp with all the safety precautions removed so that you could rescue that lover of yours?" Naoya asked, looking distinctly unimpressed as he folded his arms within the sleeves of his haori. "You were hanging around their headquarters on the first day of the Lockdown, and Azuma had been obvious enough about picking her up and dropping her off. After I parted ways with the Shomonkai, they were looking for me since Belberith soon found that my server wouldn't let him do as he pleased to Babel, among other things. I couldn't tip my hand too early by breaking her out before the confusion started, not when Azuma had already threatened to bring in this Haru as a replacement if Aya disappeared on him, so Aya would have refused to go with me. I couldn't afford to have them start doubting my loyalty too soon and looking for hostages to secure my cooperation, not when I had my little cousin to worry about. After the Lockdown started, I was still busy setting up extra features for Comp users to enable them to survive."
"So you thought you'd use me as your pawn to rescue Aya and protect her during the Lockdown, as payback for using her music to make that program of yours?" Gin remembered finding out that Aya's song was in the comps. "Are you saying it's my fault I didn't find her fast enough?" If he hadn't had his attention split worrying about Haru, if he hadn't been so reluctant to go around flashing demons, if he'd done more, Aya would have been okay?
Did Naoya really need to say that, after Gin had said it himself? "I didn't find out she'd died until you did." Which was embarrassing, but he was only human. He was well aware of the limitations remaining that way forced upon him.
"You were there?"
"No, I have my cousin and his friends' comps bugged, and I check in every so often." If that was a standard feature, Naoya was certain Atsuro would have found out about it by, oh, day three at the latest, since they'd surely found enough haywire comps lying around he would have had some to dissect. "If it's any consolation, I hadn't seen her in a week myself, after we moved past that stage of the project and I had to hurry to finish the server in time for the Shomonkai's convention in Tokyo. She might have been dead before the lockdown began." Before Gin's comp activated, before he got the strength to rescue her.
Right now, even dealing with this annoyance it was hard not to smirk. He'd been able to keep a straight face and his dignity in front of his little brother and those friends of his, who hadn't seen enough of the angels' cruelty to realize what a triumph this was, but he wanted to celebrate. He hadn't gotten drunk since three nights after the King of Bel, the demon his brother had become when his soul returned from the demon world, was assassinated by angels, the tower brought down and everyone suddenly started speaking gibberish. Even he couldn't understand a word of any of it, not those spoken aloud and not the scrolls in the libraries. He'd managed to rally the palace guards practically with gestures, create some kind of order in the palace at least and keep control over the granaries by force of presence and summoned demons, but the massive panic and confusion in the city had led to chaos that was quickly taken advantage of by thieves – so much for angels reducing the amount of sin in the world – which led to neighborhoods arming themselves and complete anarchy.
That third night, the castle chef had cooked up an amazing feast of delicacies, both food and drink, and in hindsight it was perfectly clear to Naoya that he'd done it so that he could demonstrate the techniques to his underlings, since none of them could read cookbooks or hear instructions anymore, so all the knowledge of crafts, devices and the natural sciences that couldn't be learned through imitation, and quickly, would die with the current generation. God had succeeded: it took humanity thousands of years to recover from the loss of the primal common tongue, and once it did he prepared to strike again.
Naoya gave the bartender an assessing look. "I could tell you why I did it this way, why it was better to let Tokyo be invaded than the world, why I had to worry more about the server than your lover, but you're not the type who cares about the big picture when your loved ones are at stake, are you?" Naoya smiled, or rather smirked, one that only deepened when he saw Gin's scowl. "I understand perfectly: neither am I. Tell you what: I'll let you 'beat the crap out of me,'" he said, holding up a hand to forestall Gin, "after I get that drink. And after my cousin and his allies retrieve Jikoku's sword from the Shomonkai and find a replacement guardian god so that they can seal the demons out of Tokyo. Also, the SDF is holding my cousin's parents hostage." Naoya kept playing with the empty glass, running his finger around the rim although it was too dry to have any sound coaxed out of as he thought.
"What? Getting rid of the demons is still possible?" When Haru's song wasn't complete and she didn't know if she'd ever be able to finish it?
"The Shomonkai broke the barrier protecting Tokyo by killing one of the Four Devas. They're hoping that the sword containing his power will work in his place, but it won't, not when they're going to have to establish it around a Bel demon and it was a Bel demon that killed Jikoku in the first place. They need a replacement for the missing deva." Naoya looked up at him, eyes narrowing. "You have a kishin-class that fits the bill, according to one of the e-mails you sent my cousin."
"You're reading his mail? You're all kinds of creepy, you know that?"
"God, Lucifer, the Bel demons, the SDF: they're all after my little brother," Naoya told him, gesturing with the glass for emphasis. "There's no such thing as overprotective, just protective enough and stuck with another dead body. You're angry and frustrated because the person you wanted to protect is dead and it's because you weren't good enough, didn't move fast enough?" Naoya laughed at that. "Welcome to my special hell. Now. I want to protect my little brother, you want to protect the city she loved. Get over to Eikokuji, tell the fou-three devas that Take-Mikazuchi and you both want to protect this country, and start learning that ritual so you're ready when my brother brings them Jikoku's sword. I'll guarantee the safety of your bar while you're gone, and Aya's apprentice if she shows up-" Right now, she was humanity's best hope of regaining the primal common tongue – Naoya hadn't known there was any hope of that until he'd found Aya, who had started learning it because of Haru's first song in the first place: who was this girl, who somehow knew what even Naoya had removed from his mind by God's curse upon humanity?
Well, that was for later. For now, he had won a great victory and he wanted to celebrate, even if there was no one to celebrate it with him. Even if without the memories contained in Babel, his brother wasn't himself, didn't remember why this was such a triumph.
Even if Naoya was still alone in carrying the burden of thousands of years of human history, human suffering.
"Don't say that name."
Gin grabbed Naoya's haori. "Don't say that name unless you want to fight here and now."
Naoya considered saying something along the lines of, 'Get your hands off me, insect,' but he was in too good a mood to really care. Not to mention that he wasn't Loki and he didn't annoy people just for the fun of it. Well, not unless they really were asking for it. "You can do whatever you like to me, after you get back from saving Tokyo." He qualified that with, "Provided my little brother is still alive. If anything's happened to him, I'll have to take it out of someone's hide." And it had better not be Gin's.
"Your brother? I thought he was your cousin."
"Cousin, step-brother, brother: his parents took me in after mine died. The same parents that are being held hostage by the SDF to force him to turn himself in and be used as a scapegoat for other people's crimes and the government's weakness in bowing down to the angels," he said, to remind Gin that he wasn't the only one with grief or problems. "Of course, there's another reason I call him that, but I'm sure the three devas would be happy to tell you the version they heard of the whole sordid story." If Gin got moving and left Naoya here with his memories (and Gin's alcohol).
"How do I know you're not lying?" Gin demanded, black eyes glinting furiously.
"Because I don't, not unless I have to." And Gin wasn't enough of a threat to make him. "It runs in the family, like being a jerk," as he'd told Kazuya when Kazuya complained about Naoya setting him that test of Kazuya's strategic skills before giving them the information they wanted. Of course, telling the truth didn't require telling the exact truth, as angels demonstrated. Much less admitting the truth. "Either way, right now I could kill you without bothering to summon, and there's nothing you or your demons could do about it." Not when Naoya had taken the time on his walk here to restore some of the prohibitions against attacking certain people to Gin's comp, "but wait long enough, and I'll be too drunk to put up a fight, much less avoid you. I'll be here when you get back, waiting either for my brother to come here to tell you the good news and take you up on that offer of juice or for them to come here in search of help."
Gin shook his head. "You really have a brother complex," he said, and let go of Naoya.
Naoya grinned now, knowing it still looked evil and was at least half-smirk. "If you want to know the half of it, run along to Eikokuji. I have celebrating to do."
"The end of the lockdown, humanity's salvation and freedom," Naoya's smile just deepened, the happiness in his eyes growing more and more genuine. "This is the best day of my lives."
Lives? Gin noticed that word, looking at him askance. Yeah, all of Gin's instincts were screaming at him to at least get more intel before picking a fight with this guy. Naoya might look like he was carelessly sprawled over that barstool and Gin's bar, but there was no such thing as natural grace, not like that. If Naoya didn't know how to fight, well and viciously, Gin had forgotten everything he ever knew about how to read people, and as a former punk and a bartender he'd forgotten more than most shrinks would ever know, just for starters. The survival instincts that had kept Gin and his bar intact through the lockdown were screaming at him that picking a fight with Naoya would be about as smart as sticking his head into a shark's mouth: he'd only survive if the shark didn't give enough of a damn to bite down. Or, in Naoya's case, was just having too good a day to care about having his person and his custom haori manhandled by someone he could snap like a twig.
"Are you high?" Gin asked, and it was an honest question. He'd rarely seen people with joy like this bubbling just under the surface unless something had taken away all the pain that normally kept them weighed down.
"No, but I intend to get smashed. Even if an angel decides to disregard Metatron's command and fall just to kill me while I'm vulnerable as vengeance for defying God and ruining their chance to break humanity forever and destroy the competition for – Ha! – for God's 'love,' I'm too happy to care. I don't want to die or become a demon just when humanity's finally free, but it would so be worth it. It, everything has finally been worth it. Don't try to understand, and thank your lucky stars you're not going to," Naoya said, and still grinned.
"You are high," Gin concluded, but it was probably a natural one. Runners' high, battle high, the euphoria of going to a concert or giving a concert and pulling it off, or passing a nasty college entrance exam: he'd seen people come to his bar intending to celebrate already blissed out on whatever they were celebrating. Watching Naoya warily in case the young man lost that façade of relaxed cool calm and did anything like whoop and kiss Gin since he was the only person in range, Gin headed out.
In Yuzu's 8th Day, there's suddenly an announcement from Metatron that humanity no longer has to worry about the ordeals or being conquered by angels: for the first time in history they're free and no longer have to worry about all communication being stripped from them, or hordes descending and conquering them, or any of the other nasty possibilities talked about in the game. It was such win that honestly, I was expecting Naoya to lose his cool and do a touchdown dance or something, because aside from the fact his little brother is still missing the majority of his soul (scenes in Amane's and Naoya's eighth days explain this), this is what he has worked towards for thousands of years. I do wish Atlus had done this because it would have been hilarious to see Naoya go, "Woohoo!" etc. while everyone else is all serious and thinking about the implications and stuff, the way Naoya normally is.
Instead he acts all sagely and lectures the others about responsibility and so on, which is… Surprising. Not quite OOC, but is he really that mature? Shouldn't he have rubbed Fushimi suddenly regretting getting exactly what he wished for in his face more? Shouldn't he have LOLd at people thinking this dream come true was a bad thing?
Well, he is an ancient sage, but he's also immature enough to be a troll and he loses his shit epically in some other routes, so it would have been nice as well as hilarious to see him go nuts from the happy instead of the pissed off while everyone else was all worrying about the implications of God abandoning them. Just… the contrast of everyone else having existential angst while normally-reserved Naoya is all, "Woohoo! Drinks are on me!" and acts something like a normal twenty-four-year-old…
Also, it's a pity that there's no route where Gin gets to confront Naoya. Of course, this might be because Naoya isn't an idiot and Gin is pissed.