Author's Note; Unless I have Archer83 help out with minor ideas and such, it's unlikely he'll be joining me on this one. His partnership is always welcome of course, but I'm giving this a go on my own first. D At any rate, I might not be the best man for this story since my knowledge extends to Persona 4 much more than Bleach, but I'll still give it a try lol. Updates will probably be irregular only because I have a lot of other stories going, but I'll see what I can do. Anyway, enjoy!
And now I feel like an idiot since I got Igor's assistant wrong. I must have had P3 on the brain because her name from P4 was Margaret, not Elizabeth lol.
Important Note; I liked Persona 4; Arena, but not enough to include it in my canon for this. That, and it just makes things too complicated, and Persona 4 was complicated enough. D The rest however, is fair game. Enjoy!
Chapter 1; So Many Little Things.
World of the Living
Yu Narukami POV
It should have been a time of fond farewells and tearful goodbyes. It should have been a time of celebration and remembrance for the times that had gone by. Instead, I'm standing before a grave marker, my friends and family on all sides. The ironic part? I'm right there with them, and I'm about as noticed as a wisp on the wind. That's because I'm the one they're mourning. I'm the one that died, in an effort to save the world from Izanami, the Goddess of the Underworld.
"Big Brother…." Nanako, sweet innocent Nanako. I wanted to reach out and hug her, but I've tried that already since waking up in the middle of my bedroom with absolutely no recollection as to how I got there after the grand finale. I knew I was in deep when my hand passed right through her, and my uncle, Dojima, got a phone call not five seconds later. From just watching his grim visage change to one of pure sorrow, I knew that one of my friends had called him and told him what I had already knew to be true. Now here we were, a week later, and I was no closer to understanding why I had died and they had survived.
I wasn't upset over the fact they lived while I didn't by any means. I just wanted to understand, that was all. The sun overhead did little to bolster my mood as I stood behind Dojima and his daughter, Nanako, listening to everyone pay their last respects to me. "It seems like yesterday that Yu came into town, and got my head on straight." The workaholic detective, Dojima started, and it brought a weak smile to my lips as I watched him put an arm around his daughter's small shoulders. A year ago that wouldn't have been so easy for him to do. Having lost his wife to a random hit and run, Dojima had been alone in raising Nanako. I had gotten him to see what he had been missing out on by going to work constantly instead of staying at home, where he truly belonged.
"He changed everyone's life Dojima-san." Yosuke, one of the first friends I had made since arriving in the small town of Inaba. "Damn it! Why did it have to be you man?!" Punching the ground at his feet, I was glad to note that Chie was there to help him back up even as tears streamed down her face.
"He wouldn't want us….oh who am I kidding?!" The ever passionate Chie shouted as she buried her head against Yosuke's chest. I could only sigh and wish, again, that I could do something to ease their pain. Seeing them like this, it wasn't how I wanted to remember them.
"He helped us all through so much….it isn't fair!" Yukiko was the only one that stood alone, but since she had depended on others for so long, it was reassuring to see her standing strong on her own two feet even if it broke my heart at the same time. "Yu….I'll always remember our time together."
"Damn asshole, why'd you have to die for us?!" Kanji, verbally loud as ever, with Naoto standing on his right side. Opposites attracted, and it seemed it was never more true than for those two. The 'Detective Prince' said nothing as she looked forlornly to the simple stone marker at their feet.
Only Rise and Teddie hadn't shown up today, but I had seen them there a day before. Looking to the cloudless sky, I sigh and kneel next to my 'little sister' for a moment, once again trying to hug her only to fail before standing before Yukiko next. "I'll always be with you, all of you." I know my words won't be heard, but it eases a little of my own sorrow as I let my gray eyes find each of their faces before leaving my grave site. I needed to get out of there. I don't know where I was going to go, I just needed to leave.
Finding my way to the Flood Plain, I stop and stare out at the peaceful countryside. It was just as I remember it, but I start to notice things I hadn't seen before. For one, last time I checked, there wasn't a splattering of blood on the concrete that no one seemed to notice as the few people back this way walked right over it. Getting closer to it, I can't help but notice there was an air of terror and pain cut short that emanated from the mess. Shaking my head to clear it, I stand and see something else a little weird. For anyone else it might have been really out there, but for me? It was just another day in Inaba.
"Been waiting for you kid." Crimson, wildly long hair was his most notable feature, right behind the tribal tattoos that covered his face and extended down to his arms. The katana on his hip which rested in a sheath tucked into his belt was also notable, but despite his rude welcome, I sensed no ill will from the strange man before me. His brown eyes, when they fell on me, seemed to radiate understanding at my current predicament. "My name's Renji Abarai."
"Yu Narukami." I reply simply, but it seemed to be enough as Renji's gaze softened somewhat as he approached, his hand falling to his katana's hilt. "Who or what are you supposed to be anyway?" Really wish I had my sword right now.
He stopped, short of pulling his blade no doubt, but shrugged as he seemed to come to a decision. "Guess you're really as new as I heard. Would have been here sooner for you kid, but I had some trouble of my own to take care of first. Still, I'm surprised you haven't drawn any unwanted attention." Realizing he had gotten off track, Renji drew closer until he was standing over me. "I'm what you'd call a Soul Reaper."
"A Soul Reaper?" Definitely had no relation to the Death entity we ran into in the TV World. That thing had been a pale shadow to Izanami's power, but it had still proven to be a difficult opponent to overcome at the time. Shaking that memory away, I look up and meet Renji's gaze with my own. "You're here to escort me to the other side?"
"You catch on quick. That's not my only job, but you'll probably hear about it sooner or later. This will only take a sec." Drawing his blade, I only nod my head before Renji pressed the hilt of his sword against the top of my head. "See ya soon kid." Again I only nod as a bright light surrounded me and a sense of overwhelming peace flooded me from toe to nose. God that could have come out better.
Sinking into the ground, I close my eyes and take a breath, more out of habit than any sense of danger of being stuck in the concrete that had already risen to my neck. Almost feels like sticking my hand into the TV again. The thought made a ghost of a smile appear on my face as I knew no more until a bright light flashed before my closed eyes once again.
Opening my gray eyes as a stray wind blew through my short cropped gray hair, I sit up and see that I'm in a town I've never seen before. "I was expecting….something less dusty." I muse aloud as I stand to my feet and try to get my bearings. The street I was on was dirt and well traveled, and the houses were made of wood and stone at best. The rest were simple huts made of thatch and wood, if that. "Guess I better get used to the view." I sigh and walk forward, noticing that I was one of the few people on the street at the moment. The few that remained quickly ducked out of sight, as if afraid of something.
There's fear in the air Yu. I look down at my right hand where I had summoned my first Persona's card so many times, I could still see the swirling energy around it before I crushed it in my hand to call forth my power, my Persona. Just thinking on that momentous day sent energy through my being. "I noticed it too Izanagi." I didn't have to look over my shoulder to see the pale white ghostly image of my Persona standing over me. "Are they afraid of us, or something else?" I would say that it is directed elsewhere. Keep your guard up. "With what?" My katana had long since been lost, and there wasn't anything nearby that I could see that I could use as a weapon. Still, I was far from defenseless as I looked to Izanagi-No-Okami, and gave him a determined nod. Some things just didn't need to be said.
Straightening my black jacket as I continued down the dirt road, I spot a discarded kendo stick on the ground. It was as good a weapon as any, even if it wouldn't do much against a determined enough opponent. I pick up the kendo stick, but as I bend down, something flies over my head and slams into the wall in front of me. The most I see before the dust hits me in the face is a shadowy outline, far bigger than any man and just as strong if the overdeveloped muscles are any indication. The outline of some kind of white mask also catches my eye as the beast looks over its massive shoulder, drool spilling out of its open jaws. "New arrivals….I just love new arrivals. They are always so lip smacking good! And you….you're just radiating spiritual energy."
Standing with my improvised weapon before me, I start to reach up to my face to push up glasses that aren't there, and stop myself at the ingrained habit that had developed during my time fighting against Shadows. The distraction nearly cost me an arm as the beast lunged at me again, but I jumped nimbly on the hand that had slammed into the dirt at my feet before running up the gray skinned limb. "Izanagi-No-Okami!" The ghostly white samurai appeared behind me, and lightning radiated down the wooden weapon as I slammed it into the side of the beast's neck, but what should have done serious damage only made the creature glare at me in contempt. "What?!"
"That won't work!" The monster grinned wickedly as it reached up an oversized hand to grab me, but my Persona was there to greet the attempt, his twin bladed weapon slicing through a finger at the joint. The monster growled in pain but backhanded my Persona, or at least he tried. The attempt only let the beast's hand to pass harmlessly through Izanagi-No-Okami. "Soul Reaper tricks won't help you!"
As if to prove that point, his next attack hit me directly and it was my turn to hit a wall on the other side of the street. Pain was immediate, and in my daze, I lost my only means of defense. That was far from my mind however as I coughed, and crimson blood hit the ground at my feet. Punctured a lung. Damn...where's Yukiko...when I need her? Slumping to the ground at my feet, I can only stare defiantly at the lumbering creature, unable to do anything to stop it from reaching out for me a second time.
"Roar, Zabimaru!" Before I knew what was going on, some kind of serrated blade appeared out of nowhere and slammed into the beast, cutting its arm off at the elbow before it circled around its neck. "I told you I'd see you soon kid!" Renji grinned even as he turned his gaze on the monster before me. "And you, Hollow scum, begone!" The Soul Reaper roared as his blade sawed through the Hollow's neck, before removing its head completely. Even as the monster fell before me, the almost sentient blade wielded by Renji circled around once more, and cut through the mask the Hollow had been wearing just as the head touched the ground. Just as I tried to push myself to my feet, Renji put a hand on my back and shook his head. "Better stay still Yu. Help is on the way."
"Thanks….for saving my life." Renji smirked, as he sheathed his blade which transformed before my eyes, back into its form I had seen when we first met. "What was that thing?"
"Like I said before kid, you'll figure it out soon enough." Renji replied before my world went black.
Even unconscious however, I recognized the voice of my very soul given form. That was one thing I could thank Izanami for at least, despite the fact she had killed me.
I art thou, thou art I.
Thou hast reforged an old bond.
Thou shalt be blessed in the use of the Strength Arcana.
Renji was the one I had forged the bond with, I'd bet my twin Arcanas on that being true. It made sense. From what little I had seen of him, Renji was a warrior who fought without hesitation in whatever he believed to be a worthy cause. Whatever the case, it was nice to know I hadn't forgotten my old skills in this new world, they were simply dormant.
Very astute of you Narukami. Kusi Mitama said from deep within me, drawing a faint smile out of me in the process even as the tear drop like creature appeared beside Izanagi. Kusi continued, giving me just enough strength to survive my injuries. Rest, I'm sure we'll get our answers soon enough.
"I think he's coming around Captain Unohana!" A female voice shouted somewhere in the dark. With a slight groan, I open my eyes and see I've been moved. Looking over to my right, I see a young woman with silver hair like mine, only hers has two thin braids and is rather messy. "Don't try to sit up, or you'll open your wounds." I can only nod and turn my head when a wooden door opens on my left side.
"Thank you Lieutenant Kotetsu. That'll be all." One of the most serene and beautiful woman I've ever seen stood in the doorway, and the younger of the two saluted her before leaving me to her superior officer. "How are you feeling?"
Going for honesty somehow felt like the best idea in regards to this woman, since I got the impression there was something behind that serene face that was better left alone. "Hurts to breathe….but not nearly as much as I thought it would." After a moment's hesitation, I asked the next question that came to mind. "How long was I out?"
Nodding her head as she approached, she gently pulled the blanket down to check on my bandages. "About two days. You had us worried for a little while Yu Narukami." Again she nodded, seemingly satisfied as her blue eyes met my gray orbs. Even as she brushed a stray strand of raven black hair out of her eyes, her gaze never wavered. "I am sure you have questions, but you need to rest. Do not worry, you are safe here."
"Thank you. I never got your name, and I kind of feel at a disadvantage." The attempt at humor made the woman's blue eyes sparkle briefly, and I smiled a little wider at the positive reaction I got out of her.
"My name is Retsu Unohana, Captain of the 4th Division. It is an honor to meet you, bearer of the Fool and World Arcanas." At my widening eyes, Unohana stood and that serene smile was a little wider as she answered my unspoken question. "You are not the first Persona user we've seen, but you are the first that has made it this far. Someone must have been looking out for you, Yu." With that, Unohana left me to ponder her words as well as to rest. The latter came a lot easier than I thought it would with how the last forty eight hours had gone for me. Before my eyes shut completely however, I saw a blue door appear beside the sliding wooden entrance, and I had a feeling Captain Unohana was right. Igor and likely Margaret had had something with my being here.
You would not be wrong Yu. Izanagi said as he knelt over my hospital bed, and despite the fact I had never seen his face, I could still sense his worry behind the mask he wore. I sensed their interference even as Myriad Truths finally did what Izanami could not. I am sorry for….
I interrupted him before he could continue to carry the blame for what had befallen us. "It wasn't your fault Izanagi. We got in over our heads, but we still won and saved everyone we cared about. So long as the world is safe, my sacrifice will have meant something. So long as she is safe…." Remembering Yukiko's tear stained face made my heart break a little more, but I had to be content with the knowledge that she was out of harm's way. "We did all we could Izanagi-No-Okami. It's up to them now to do the rest."
Izanagi merely nodded his masked face to me before disappearing once more. Whatever came next, I'd face it as I had faced everything else. With a cool and calm mind, and a spirit that not even the Goddess of the Underworld had been able to break.
End Notes; This chapter wound up a lot shorter than the ones I write with my partner, but considering I'm doing this on my own, it also fits. This was done in a few hours, but this is merely the beginning if I have any say in the matter. I want to thank Bboy46 and his own story, Per, Soul, Na!, for the inspiration. I am a huge fan of P4, and while I don't own a Vita which would allow me to play the Golden edition, I can thank Youtube for supplying me with more than enough material to work with. Heehee.
As to how Yu still possesses Izanagi-No-Okami, that will be explained, as will the absence of his other Arcanas, at least, they are absent for now.
Anyway, see ya!
Arcana Levels gained thus far.
Renji Abarai, Strength; 1