A/N: As I'm sure you can pick up on your own, Hamuko Arisato is the name of the FemC I will be using because I don't like how people seem to think that just because the female came second she is literally just a female version on the original MC. She's much more outgoing, and all around happier seeming and in this she's a touch manic, much like myself. I swear a lot so leave if you get offended by that. Another thing about the FemC is that her thoughts are, in essence, my screams at the game as I played. With very few exceptions. This is also not necessarily entirely chronologic to the game but there's a lot of character building and events I'm going to leave out and only vaguely allude to because this is already spoilerific, so go play the game yourselves if you want to know. I should probably warn you that this contains a lot of Akihiko and Yukari bashing, along with the random, occasional other character but this is more due to how they act in accordance to how I would treat someone who did these things to/treated me like that. I do like those characters but it took me years to do so, and I still don't like their attitudes before certain events. You have been warned.
"So what happened?"
To be ambushed with a question so openly vague was not what Hamuko was expecting to wake up to. She blinked up tiredly at Yukari, who stood hands on hips, and a face that booked no arguments. In a way, Hamuko was impressed; she had waited this long, rather than just attacking at lunch. Still, Yukari obviously didn't see the look she was getting that said 'go the fuck away'.
"I don't know what you're talking about." Hamuko responded curtly, a yawn following shortly after. She grabbed her bag and made her way towards the door. Naturally, Yukari followed, unwilling to let the issue slide.
"Last Night?" At the tug on her elbow, Hamuko turned and gave the other brunette a condescending smirk. She could always trust Yukari to say something that could be taken as an innuendo to someone outside the conversation. She could also trust her to throw things out of proportion. 'You'd think she could at least wait until it seemed suspicious, like around the third or fourth time…' Hamuko smiled wryly to herself.
"Come on, I know you know what I'm getting at." Yukari was pouting now. "You know, last night? What, with you and Aragaki-senpai going out?" Hamuko stopped at the bottom of the stairs, glad no one else was around to hear that overly loud omission. To Hamuko, it was starting to become less fun than she had thought it would be, letting Yukari go on about it for so long. Besides, can't a sempai take his (or her) kohai out without some sort of a scandal?
"I wonder why Mitsuru-sempai won't talk with me…" Hamuko mumbled forgetting about Yukari entirely. Was she not smart enough? It wasn't until Yukari started waving her hand in her face that Hamuko looked up, annoyed.
"Fine, you want to know that happened?" With a halfed waved hand, she beckoned the other girl closer until they were only a few inches away from one another. Yukari's face was bright, waiting for new gossip, not unlike a kid staring into a candy store.
"Well. I kind of asked him if he wanted to get a bite to eat and…" Hamuko stopped, letting the suspense build.
"And…?" Yukari leaned in closer waiting for the rest.
"NOTHING HAPPENED!" Hamuko yelled, laughing when the other fell on her ass clutching her ringing ears. She offered a hand, still laughing, and Yukari glared at the offending object in from of her. She slapped it away standing on her own mumbling how Hamuko was hanging out with Junpei far too much. Hamuko pondered on the fact that it might have been true, considering she used Magician persona more often than any of the Lovers arcane. Really, she couldn't take Raphael seriously with his hair and neon pink wings. Not that he was in the top ten of her most useful personae anyway. Hamuko shrugged it off coming down from her laughing fit.
"I know there's something between you and Aragaki-sempai." Yukari hissed her face livid as she stomped away. Hamuko snorted and rolled her eyes at the childishness of her anger.
"What about Shinji?" Hamuko jumped and swore, completely taken off guard. She turned and saw Akihiko looking at her curiously, not unlike a puppy. He was quite handsome and she could totally see why he had so many fangirls… Not that she'd say it aloud. She shook her head realizing that she was losing track of her thoughts again.
"Um, it's nothing, girl talk. You know Yukari." There was a nod and a shrug from both sides before the awkward silence settled in. Akihiko was the one to break it.
"Are you doing anything right now?" It now made sense to Hamuko why he seemed so awkward. Mitsuru must be his only female friend and she isn't exactly the best example of a girl. While Mitsuru was beautiful she also had this 'royal' kind of aura and seemed quite serious, even threatening no matter what she was doing. So of course talking to her about anything but Tartarus would be awkward to the silver haired male. With a twitch she also started to remember the memories she had worked so hard to suppress after the whole Lovers fiasco. That too could have been why he was so awkward.
"Sure, where to?" Hamuko said deciding to indulge her sempai out of common courtesy. Perhaps this wouldn't start the Social link? And if it did that should be fine, it wasn't like he was interested in her, right? 'Yeah, purely unromantic not-date. That's what this is.'
"Hagakure's good?" She had to laugh at that. Akihiko looked a little lost; Hamuko's laughing throwing him off guard.
"What? Is that no good?"
"Nah, its fine but can I ask you a question?" Akihiko nodded, confused. "Why is it that almost every guy first takes me there to hang out?" It was like there was some widespread obsession with ramen. Akihiko blushed slightly and Hamuko had to doubt her previous accusation of him possibly being gay. At least, the part about him not liking girls, liking guys was still a very real possibility.
"Alright let's go sempai!" She said grabbing Akihiko's hand and basically dragging him out of the school. It was obvious that most of the school was filled with his fans from the sheer amount of glares and odd hisses she got from holding his hand. She gave them a passing glance and watched as a few of them realized who she was and nodded in half-approval.
'What the fuck even? Goddamn girls cant seem to make up their minds about anything. Why would it matter who I was or if they thought I needed approval. I don't live for their recognition and I sure as hell wouldn't be scared off by those weak ass glares.'
Hamuko found herself a willing active participant in a conversation for the first time since Ken. Considering Ken was a kid, that didn't say much for her other acquaintances. Akihiko was rather interesting even his he did have his brooding emo moments. But hell, what vaguely sane person didn't?
After the original few moments of Akihiko insinuating she didn't eat enough, Hamuko proving him wrong, and some odd questions they finally fell into a conversation with a subject they both liked; boxing. If it weren't for the fact of the matter being the only team Hamuko could find open was volleyball, the sport she hated no less, she would have tried for either boxing or kendo. 'Why the hell was I forced to join a sport anyway? Wasn't the club thing enough?'
Time passed rather quickly as they spoke and Hamuko found that she was right about the social link, though not which one he was.
She had half forgotten about Hidetoshi being the Emperor but of course Akihiko had to be different. Had an Emperor but was the Star. Everyone else that Hamuko got a social link from the dorm corresponded with the arcane type that they had (minus Shinjiro, but honestly where did that guy fit in normally?). Sure Hidetoshi beat him to the punch but she didn't like the Student council member much. He was a bit self absorbed.
Now she kind of felt like she was cheating. It was upsetting because she didn't even know if she and Shinjiro were actually going out, or ever going to. She spent the rest of time like that, Akihiko barely noticing enough to comment, which she was grateful for.
As the two parted Hamuko remembered that she needed to pick up new weapons for everyone. She had to run to catch the next train dreading the load she would have to carry. In the beginning it was easy, only lugging weapons for three people. Now it was nine and two of them had ridiculously heavy equipment. One was a ridiculously large axe for Shinjiro and the other a specially crafted set of full body armor for Aegis. That was probability why she ordered Aegis' equipment shipped to the dorms a decent part of the time.
"'Sup dude?" Junpei called as Hamuko stumbled through the door. She had two large bags in her hands and a suspicious, large black case that was almost bigger than her on her back. The look on her face denoted to everyone how she felt.
"Tartarus tonight." Hamuko said simply watching in amusement as the teen jumped off the couch and ran upstairs, a huge grin on his face. She walked over to the couch and dropped the bags, stretching as the weight fell off and her joints popped loudly.
She glared at the bags as she recalled how much it all had cost. Altogether she spent around seven-hundred thousand plus yen, far more than she ever needed to spend for anything other than personae. Thank the gods Theo was generous with his rewards, even if most of it really only seemed to go right back to him through the compendium. What did they even use the money for anyway?
Hamuko distributed Mitsuru and Yukari's corresponding equipment, as they were the only ones in the room, before going to the small kitchen to find something to drink. The way the S.E.E.S. members went through weapons she would need to get a part-time job to keep paying for the equipment. Hamuko silently hoped it wouldn't come to that. She wasn't up for having to deal with people more than absolutely necessary. She didn't have time to herself as it was.
"Wasn't all that heavy?" Someone asked as she quested in the fridge for her soda. She could go upstairs to grab another but she didn't really feel like it; that would be another two hundred yen wasted. Hamuko found it near the back next to one of Fuuka's leftover concoctions. It was an odd shade of puce with fuzzy black mold on the edges. She debated telling her that she sucked or trying harder to help her during cooking club. Normally when you can't cook you stick to the instant shit. Like ramen… 'Mmmmm, ramen...'
"I suppose, but it's not as bad as the looks I get carrying it all." She said, snatching the can and turning to address the speaker. "Aragaki-sempai." Hamuko said, her tone almost disbelieving. Shinjiro being nice to anyone but Koromaru? 'Impossible.'
Or maybe not so impossible, after all he did agree to have dinner with her. And smile at her. Twice. 'Stop it Hamuko, you don't want to become a fangirl.' She berated herself mentally, cracking open her mad bull. 'Ah, to hell with it.' Though somehow she doubted Shinjiro would dislike her aggressiveness, seeing as nobody else in the dorms had enough balls to do anything of the sort. Even Mitsuru didn't seem to mess with him. Maybe he was just too difficult for her.
"Whatever." He said startling Hamuko from her thoughts and stalking off somewhere to brood. She pouted slightly behind her drink, the conversation not exactly what she had hoped it would be. But at least he was concerned about her. That had to count for something. 'Right?'
Hamuko finished her Mad Bull quickly before going to the couch and collapsing on it. She trusted someone would come and wake her up when it was time to leave so she allowed herself to fall into a light slumber.
"Mitsuru-sempai, Koromaru, Aragaki-sempai, your turn." Hamuko called as soon as she landed on the access point in the first floor of Tartarus. She rubbed her face in both hands trying to wake up slightly. Then produced another Mad Bull from her bag and chugged it quickly, feeling the effects immediately.
"Are you okay Hamuko-chan?" Fuuka asked eyeing her leader's third can worriedly. "You seem tired."
"'M fine" Hamuko mumbled back and if no one seemed to believe her they didn't speak on it. She was grateful for that. All she wanted was to get the training out of the way and go to sleep. She switched her persona to Girimehkala, the strongest persona she had for the moment (due to a fusion error but she wasn't complaining… much. While overpowered for her 'level' it didn't seem to be very useful on the enemies of this block.) and had Fuuka transport them to where the last rotation left off.
"There are eight floors until the next strong presence." Fuuka called through the telepathic connection. "Be careful and good luck" Shinjiro shrugged off the comment with a scowl and turned to Hamuko for orders.
"Alright. First off, I want you guys to split up and attack the first enemy on your own." Koromaru barked an affirmative while the two seniors looked at her with eyebrows cocked. "Don't want to steal your experience if you can take 'em out on your own. I get mine from the first team." Hamuko explained at seeing the looks. They both nodded and set off to find their first victims, Koromaru following behind them excitedly.
Left behind, Hamuko started to simply explore, avoiding enemies until the others got to them. She found quite a few rare items and some cash on the floor along with a stronger axe than the one she just bought for Shinjiro. It would be just her luck to go buy something that expensive and heavy just to find a better one in this god forsaken hellhole… tower thing.
When Hamuko found the stairs she had Fuuka call the others to regroup. Just in time it seemed. Right after she made the call Fuuka let out the warning that she sensed Death. Shinjiro was the last one to scramble into the stair room before The Grim Reaper reared its ugly, soul raping mug right in the entryway. Hamuko stared at it a moment in disgust before handing everyone two Traesto gems each, just incase one of them wasn't able to get out in time. With a tired sigh and a really bad ache in her ribs, she led the team up the stairs to the next floor. Dia couldn't solve everything, after all.
They continued the same pattern for the next seven floors. Hamuko walking around exploring and obtaining items, while the others fighting and increasing their skills. Luckily there were no more overly close calls with 'Death'.
"Be careful," Fuuka called. "I sense a strong presence in the middle of the floor."
"Aragaki-sempai, here." Hamuko called as remembered the axe she got and handed it to him. He only nodded and she took it as the best she would get from him for now. They ran to the middle to see a table shadow waiting for them.
"Scan please, Fuuka" Hamuko called, readying her naginata and charging in. Koromaru followed, no doubt just because she was running and she could have sworn she heard Shinjiro say something along the lines of 'reckless brat'.
"It's a Sleeping Table but I can't get a reading on any of its weaknesses!" Fuuka called sounding apologetic. That sort of thing seemed to be getting more frequent on the guardian shadows, leaving the team to discover for themselves. A sign perhaps. Hamuko could feel any patience she had leave and she ran straight for the Sleeping Table, ducking low and sliding under it before shoving hard with her naginata harshly upwards, knocking the enemy off balance. Shinjiro ran straight in yelling, "Alright, lets kick some ass." Not even bothering for confirmation. Mitsuru looked at her and Hamuko shrugged following suit.
It turned out that Shinjiro was a very heavy hitter and his persona, Castor, had basically no weaknesses. For some reason that bit of information really annoyed Hamuko. With virtually no need for help at all how was she supposed to impress him? Be a heavier hitter than him, maybe? She shook her head; It was not the time to be thinking of things like that.
A low growl escaped from her throat as Hamuko realized her slash attacks were doing basically next to nothing. Shinjiro's strikes were nullified so he was stuck using his persona, which in turn caused him to need a lot of healing. Mitsuru seemed to be holding up casting buffs and Bufu skills but the enemy seemed to be brushing the ice attacks off. There was a crack and fire, lost of fire. 'Maragidyne… Damn' Hamuko thought cycling for a persona that could stand the attack and do high enough non-strike damage. Orpheus managed to take off the brunt of the attack but didn't have enough power to finish the fight any time soon. Items just happened to be running a little lower than Hamuko would have liked for a single night.
"Mitsuru-sempai is in trouble!" Fuuka yelled and Hamuko swore, throwing a bead to the redhead. She switched her persona back to Girimehkala, regretting her decision of not keeping him on earlier when she wasn't fighting. It could have saved her some time.
"Girimehkala!" Hamuko yelled using Virus Breath to poison the Sleeping Table. Unfortunately, the status effect only seemed to last for a few moments before it was shrugged off.
"It's a right tough mother fucker" she mumbled then using Mighty Swing repeatedly to chip away at the floor boss' health.
"You guys are doing great, keep it up.", Came the excited praise from Fuuka. Hamuko was about to respond until she saw the bright white pattern forming on the floor. 'Spoke too damn soon.' She thought bitterly.
"Aw Fuck!" She said loudly gaining the attention of both her sempai's before she went down a bright light drowning her consciousness. Smothering it until all she heard was foggy voices screaming in the distance. Maybe she should have trained up a bit more…
"Arisato!" That was Mitsuru.
"Oi! Brat!" And Shinjiro.
"BARK BARK *whine*!" Koromaru too. Poor baby.
She wanted to tell them it was fine, that she was just a bit tired. To keep going, keep training but she couldn't find her voice. She wanted to reassure them but the voices got quieter and quieter until she could hear them no longer.
"Come on… You need to wake up or you'll be stuck here forever…" ~I have plans for you yet, you know~
"Pharos?" Her eyes cracked open a bit only to find no difference in visibility. She could see nothing, only a sea of darkness all around her.
"Not quite…" ~Idiot girl~
"Come on, I know your voice." Hamuko called into the dark, irritated. "Where am I? Why can't I see anything?"
"You aren't exactly in the position to be so arrogant. Little girl."
"What? I am not little!" She protested weakly.
"... I'm only here to tell you that you need to be more careful."
"This isn't funny. Come on out!"
"This is your last shot and there are many that would like to get their hands on the soul of a wild card. There aren't many around, you know."
"…" Hamuko was getting very confused and seriously hoped either A.) She was dreaming or B.) She was high; even if the second option was highly unlikely because of Mitsuru and the fact that she wasn't up for scoping out the local dealer so soon. Especially not when she had to run around so much, her lungs likely couldn't take it...
"Especially such a young one..." The voice gained a rather creepy tone. Like a pedophile who spotted his prey.
"Okay, you lost me."
"You don't have to get it. You just need to understand to be more careful with your life. I haven't the time to keep an eye on you."
"So… Am I dead?"
An exasperated sigh. ~... Perhaps a boy would have been better...~
"Well fuck you too, asshole!"