chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (the song that reminds me of you)
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Title: Reach Out (Part 2) - Velvet
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Yosuke with the rest of the surviving Investigation Team + spoilers. Pairings are Souji/Yosuke (in the past), implied Chie/Yukiko and Kanji/Naoto.
Summary: AU, pseudo-fill for [livejournal.com profile] badbadbathhouse; details in the notes for the first part, here.

Souji has fallen in battle, and the rest of the team moves on without him, with Yosuke taking up the job of leader. They manage to catch the killer and continue on with their lives as best they can, but as time moves on, they begin to question if everything is truly resolved...

Notes: This will spoil you in the face for the true ending. This is part two of ten.




It happens so quickly, between one breath and the next. One moment, Yosuke's walking down the main street of the shopping district, a slight frown on his face - nobody knows anything, nobody's been helpful, and it's probably going to rain soon and he doesn't have his umbrella with him. He walks past Daidara's-

-and then, in the very next blink, his vision blurs and everything shifts, like he's going to faint. Yosuke stops, closes his eyes, and waits for the dizziness to pass. Must be overdoing it...

But what he sees when he opens his eyes again isn't the shopping district at all. It's the place from his dreams, the soft blue room - actually the inside of a limousine, he realizes, distantly - the woman in blue, the long-nosed man. Yosuke stares for a moment, certain he's dreaming again. "W-what the..."

"Welcome," the long-nosed man says, with a smile. "Oh, don't worry. You won't be our guest for long."

Yosuke swallows, hard, and takes a step back; his legs bump against a seat. The long-nosed man gestures for him to sit, and he does, his gaze flicking to look outside the windows. There's nothing but asphalt and bright haze outside, but the room... car... thing... isn't moving. "Where am I?"

"You are in the Velvet Room," the man replies, still smiling. "Such a fascinating destiny you have all forged for yourselves - when it seemed all was lost, that it would become too dangerous to continue, you still managed to move ahead and clear a path to the truth. Most intriguing."

Yosuke bites his lip - yep, it hurts. "This isn't a dream?"

"It is a crossroads," the woman in blue says, giving him a look he can't decipher.

The long-nosed man chuckles. "You have been brought here today for a reason. You are not the same as our usual guests... you have stepped into a role that you were not destined to take."

Yosuke folds his arms defensively. "Hey, I- we did the best we could!" He tries not to let his voice crack at the end, and mostly succeeds.

"And you have all performed admirably," the man says. "Yet new pathways through the fog continue to appear. Do you still desire the truth?"

"I..." Part of him almost wants to say no; he thought they'd already done everything they set out to do, and they're all tired of this long and arduous path. But they've come this far, and he made a promise to Souji to see this through to the end. That last part decides everything for him. "Yes."

The man's smile grows wider. "Then let us see what has already been established." He flicks one finger, and suddenly the air between him and Yosuke is buzzing, cluttered with strange, bright shards. "Ah... most intriguing indeed. These are shards of power, allowing one to see through to the truth of things without being swayed by hollow rumors. Though they are disparate, collected and brought together by many hands... I believe they can still be made whole." The man nods, just once. "Then I shall play my part as well."

Yosuke takes a breath to ask what the man means, but he doesn't get a chance - his first word is eclipsed by a bright flare as the shards coalesce, coming together with a sharp, almost dissonant sound. The pieces tremble for a moment, as if they could fall apart with the barest provocation, but then they meld, flowing smoothly into an orb the size of Yosuke's fist.

"Ah..." the long-nosed man breathes. "Wonderful." He glances at Yosuke over the curve of the orb. "This is a crystal of power which you have all nurtured during your journey, an orb that repels fabrications of all sorts, dispels lies, and shines upon the truth. Though it has passed through many hands, it remains whole."

Yosuke just stares at it, that familiar, gut-twisting feeling in his stomach again, the one that pops up every so often - that he shouldn't be here, that it should be Souji in this chair right now, not him. But he swallows, forces the feeling away, and makes himself speak. "Can it... can you... tell me what I should do?" The words come out a little more desperate than he wanted.

"The choice must be yours, or it loses all meaning," the woman in blue says, her voice utterly calm.

"Yet there are pieces you are missing, gaps you cannot fill without guidance." The long-nosed man beckons with one finger, and the orb bobs over to him. "You have struggled past a nearly insurmountable loss to find the truth. For that, I will aid you in understanding - but the choice itself must be your own."

Yosuke swallows again and nods, because he doesn't trust himself to speak. The orb glows again under the man's touch, then floats over to Yosuke, hovering in front of him where he can see down into its depths. For a moment it seems completely normal, with the soft lines and striations one would expect from crystal - and then the surface abruptly clears, and a scene appears.

And Yosuke really can't talk now, because what he sees is Souji. His hands tighten convulsively. "A vision of the past," the long-nosed man says, his voice softer than before. "Take from it what you can."

It's the gas station, and Souji is getting out of Dojima-san's old car, the one that was totaled in the accident in November. Nanako-chan is there too, and Dojima-san, and the gas station attendant, but Yosuke can't take his eyes off of Souji... but no, there must be something important that he has to see, something that they desperately need, otherwise he wouldn't be in this strange place. Yosuke makes himself focus, forces himself to take in the rest of the scene.

There is no sound, only sight, so Yosuke can't tell what Souji is saying to the gas station attendant - but, as the two smile at each other and move to shake hands, something new happens. When their hands touch, the scene ripples and fuzzes like static; at the same time, Yosuke feels an odd resonant twist somewhere deep inside his mind.

A moment later, Souji puts his hand to his head and wobbles slightly on his feet - and then the scene is gone, and Yosuke takes a deep, shaky breath, trying to regain his composure.

The long-nosed man beckons the orb back, holding it for a moment between thumb and forefinger. "Once it is truly found, the truth can never be lost. Remember that." The orb vanishes, to Yosuke's vague surprise. "It may be that the journey can indeed continue."

"What do you mean?" Yosuke manages.

"There are so many possibilities, yet all are shrouded in fog. But the choice-"

"Must be mine, I know," Yosuke groans, slumping in his chair. What did he do to deserve this?

The long-nosed man folds his hands and peers over them at Yosuke. "You have what you need. Now make your decision, and walk down your path unflinching."

Yosuke opens his mouth to ask another question, but then the world wavers again. He has a brief sense of forward motion, of the car-room-thing beginning to move under him, and then he's back in the shopping district, wobbling on his feet. For a moment, he's sure it really was a dream, until he glances down the street at the gas station. It's starting to rain now, the first sprinkles of a spring storm, and there's a familiar figure there, a shadow at the edges.

Yosuke's eyes narrow. Even if it was a dream, it can't hurt to at least check. He edges under the nearest overhang and pulls out his cell. "Hey, Chie? Meet me at Daidara's, as soon as you can... who's with you? Okay. Bring them. I'll call the others." He pauses. "I think... I might have found a lead."


Part 3

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August 2012

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