chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (seven against the end)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: Reach Out (Part 3) - Crossroads
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 three of ten.




It doesn't take long for the team to gather, and within half an hour Yosuke's leading them down the street towards the gas station. It's raining in earnest now, but he doesn't really care. "So what's this lead?" Chie asks, glancing at him, confused. "Who'd you talk to?"

"I... I had help. Look, just trust me, okay?" Yosuke can't begin to explain it, and he's already decided not to try. If what he saw was real, then the next few minutes should reveal everything. And if not... well. He'll deal with that if it happens, but he has to find out, one way or the other.

The gas station attendant is standing on the sidewalk, and as the seven of them come to a confused halt, she arches one eyebrow at them. To Yosuke's shock, her first words remove any doubt. "So the last battle wasn't enough for you?"

The rest of the team stares; Yosuke finds his voice first. "Who are you?" he says, sharply.

The attendant laughs. "Surely you must know by now... isn't that why you came?" She glances at them all, in turn, and smirks. "But someone's missing."

"That's not the point," Yosuke grates, letting sudden anger carry him past the pain of that reminder. "Who are you?"

"Still, he did well enough," the attendant continues, utterly ignoring Yosuke's question. "You were all drawn to the spark I stirred in his soul... and that's why you're here now, with your awakened powers. Though I didn't think you'd make it all the way to me. Not alone."

"We ain't alone, damnit!" That's Kanji, and Yosuke nods, still staring at the attendant.

She just chuckles and raises one hand, smiling - and then a wave of dizziness washes over them all. Yosuke staggers and drops to the wet asphalt as the rest of the team falls around him; for one moment he's terrified no they can't all go not like this not here not- but then sanity reasserts itself. "Three touches, three gifts, three outsiders," the attendant continues. "They were more than sufficient to stimulate a small place like this."

She turns and takes a few steps away; the team follows her with their eyes, unable to stand just yet. "But it seems the stimulus was stronger than I imagined - enough to envelop this town with fog, and later lift it. Not only that, but you all stand before me as if your assigned parts weren't enough. What for?"

"Because if you're here, then this isn't over!" Naoto's struggling to keep her voice level, for once.

"We promised we'd follow this to the end," Chie adds.

"... For Sensei," Teddie says, quietly.

The attendant raises one eyebrow again. "Chasing the fallen? What a useless endeavor."

"I don't care what you think," Yosuke says, gritting his teeth. "We want the truth, damnit!"

She frowns, as if offended. "You are bit players. Your part in this is more than over. Go back to your small lives and be content with what you achieved."

"We want the truth," Yosuke repeats, stubbornly. "Who are you?! Why did you do all of this?"

"What will grasping the truth do for you?" she scoffs. "Why such greed? I guess it's the foolish nature of being mortal..."

Somehow, the emphasis she places on mortal is almost an insult; and Yosuke opens his mouth to scream at her - but then there's fog, suddenly, curling out from behind every building, from around every corner, hissing in to surround them as if it's December again. For a moment, Yosuke can't see anything but white. But movement above makes him look up, and what he sees makes his blood run cold - she's floating over them, dressed in a white shroud, mortal guise gone.

"I... am Izanami," she says, and Yosuke knows they're doomed.


........................


It's been some time since they last crept through the electronics department in Junes; once they were sure they didn't have to enter the TV anymore, they pretty much stopped going. Yosuke makes a point of avoiding that section when he works, pressing any tasks there on the other part-timers. They listen to him, mostly; there's an edge of assertion in his voice now, something that makes them pay attention.

The journey inside makes Yosuke's stomach flip over, for more reasons than just disorientation, and then they're in the familiar, fog-choked backlot. Rise immediately steps forward, calling Kanzeon to her as she puts on her glasses; the Persona shimmers into being, seeming to almost embrace Rise before settling the visor over her eyes.

Yosuke finds his own glasses in his bag, though he pauses as his fingers bump a second pair of lenses. He has Souji's glasses too, picked up off the floor after everything had happened - an afterthought, at the time. He's kept them with him ever since.

"I sense a tremendous presence," Rise says, suddenly, her voice trembling. "It's unlike anything we've faced before." She slumps slightly, and Kanzeon vanishes.

"It has to be her," Yosuke says, grimly. "She really is waiting." What he wants so badly to say is let's go, let's make sure this can never happen again, but the shape of the story is still wrong. He isn't sure if they can do this.

Rise turns to look off into the haze, then glances back at Yosuke over her shoulder. "Senpai..."

"Yeah, I know." Yosuke looks miserable. "Do you think she really is... well..."

"Our Personas bear the names of mythological beings as well, but I doubt that your Susano-o is truly the god of storms," Naoto says, looking pensive. "And yet this Izanami conferred a clearly supernatural gift, and she did it in the 'real' world, where our Personas cannot manifest."

"You think she's really Izanami... really a goddess?" Yukiko says, very quietly.

"I don't know," Naoto says, looking uncomfortable. "Those points alone aren't enough evidence to support such a claim, and yet..."

Naoto trails off, and for a long moment nobody speaks - but the looks they share say volumes. They're all worried, they're all a little afraid, and they're all sharply aware of Souji's absence.

"So you think we should all roll over and die because Senpai ain't here, that what you're sayin'?" Kanji says, breaking the awkward silence.

"No, but..." Yosuke shrugs, hopelessly.

"And if we go home right now?" Naoto asks. "What happens then?"

Yosuke doesn't have to think about that - the answer is more guilt, more wondering what might have been. More things he doesn't want. "I... I don't know about the rest of you, but.. I think I have to at least try. Even if it's stupid. You guys don't have to come with me," he adds, only to have them all look at him as if he's insane.

"What are you talking about? Of course we're going to kick her ass." Chie glares at him for even vaguely suggesting otherwise.

"H-hey, think about this for a second," Yosuke tries.

But Naoto interrupts him this time. "We've come so far - I don't think any of us can let it end here."

"It might have been easier if we'd chosen to turn away before... but we didn't," Yukiko says, softly. "And I'm not going to turn away now."

"Damn right!" Kanji nods firmly. "Go back to our 'small lives', my ass!"

"We have to at least try." Rise agrees.

"For Sensei!" Teddie proclaims, energetically.

"You're sure? Really, really sure?" Yosuke asks, looking at them all seriously - this is dangerous, and probably stupid, and quite possibly suicidal, and he doesn't want them to come only because he says so. That's a burden he knows he can't handle.

"Yes, stupid," Chie sighs, elbowing him, and the others all nod in unison.

Yosuke stares at them all with an expression of indescribable relief. "Thanks," he says, quietly. "Even if we have to fight every inch of our way... I want to do this. I want to at least try, no matter what happens."

"We'll go together," Teddie confirms.

Yosuke turns towards the distant fog, more grateful than he could ever express. "Okay. Let's do this!"



Part 4

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let's go, partner!

August 2012

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