chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (reach out to the truth)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: Resonance
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Yosuke, plus some of the rest of the cast.
Summary: Mid-December: some words hit a little too close to home.

Notes: This will spoil you in the face for December / the endgame. This was originally part of Truth in the Shadows, but then the fic changed direction and this scene didn't fit anymore. Still, I liked it enough to salvage it as a short one-shot.




The sky of Magatsu Inaba was striped as usual - stark black and vibrant red - but it was also familiar along the edges, the skyline of a shadow Inaba edging up into the waves of distortion. The same landscape surrounded the entrance to Mayumi Yamano's twisted bedroom, and (more importantly) the cracked shopping district where Yosuke awoke to his Persona... and where, in all probability, Saki-senpai died.

The constant reminder didn't make Yosuke's stomach twist as much as it might have; of course it still hurt, but there was more at stake then mere revenge at this point. Souji led them along the nightmare streets at a cautious but deliberate pace, and they all understood why without having to be told. They all knew there was too much riding on this to rush in blindly.

The four of them advanced through the twisted shadow-reality, careful of the cracks and shifts in the asphalt; the Shadows here were on another level too, different from the ones they'd fought before. These were stronger, faster, smarter, and seemed more deliberately malicious. Maybe that last part was Adachi's influence.

The Shadow in front of them now was almost dead; almost, but not quite. It lunged at Chie, knocking the wind out of her, and she fell with a painful thud. Yosuke tensed and started towards her, but Amaterasu swirled into being over Yukiko's head and the Shadow dissolved in a burst of flame. Yukiko ran forward and knelt next to Chie, saying something Yosuke couldn't quite make out.

"Rise?" Souji said, slowly lowering his weapon.

"The way to the next floor is just up ahead," Rise replied, after a moment, her voice sounding strange as it echoed against the caution-taped concrete. "There aren't any more Shadows between your position and the exit."

A flare of light from Chie and Yukiko's direction caught Yosuke's attention; a moment later, Chie got up, shaking her head in irritation. "I'm fine," she declared, brushing herself off. "Grr, the nerve of that little... let's go! Every second I spend in here only makes me more ready to introduce my foot to Adachi's face!"

"Are you sure you're okay?" Souji asked, as he always did.

"Yep - hey, there's the way down!" Chie pointed at the angry red-and-black void that rippled in a gap in the twisted concrete. "We'll be good for a while longer, right Yukiko?"

"Yes," Yukiko confirmed, snapping her fan closed. "Let's keep going."

They let Souji go first, as usual, but followed closely just in case - descending to a new area was often the trigger for some sort of nasty surprise. But this area seemed to be the same as the last, and there weren't any Shadows immediately visible-

"Whoa, you guys never give up!" They all tensed at the sudden sound of Adachi's voice. "What are you trying to accomplish, putting yourselves in danger like that? Trying to see 'justice' done?" He sounded almost bored, as if he couldn't believe how dumb and predictable they were all being. "Is that really justice, though? Aren't you just doing this because you want a little spice in your boring lives?"

You just came because you thought it sounded like a good time! What else is there to do out in this shithole?

Yosuke flinched.

Adachi's tone turned amused; maybe he knew he'd struck a nerve. "What's the difference between that and a criminal who gets his kicks by murdering people? You see what I'm getting at?"

You're just trying to act like a big shot! If all went well, hey, maybe you could even be a hero!

"There's still a lot of time left. Give it some thought," Adachi said, the smirk that had to be on his face coming through loud and clear. And then the sense of being watched was gone.

"Yeah, you better run," Chie shouted after the echoes, gesturing sharply at nothing. "Stupid freakin'..."

"To be honest, I can't completely deny what he said." Rise spoke slowly, her voice filling up the space Adachi's taunts had left behind. "But that doesn't justify what he did... right, Senpai?"

"No. It doesn't."

And so they moved on, but even though Yosuke kept telling himself that it didn't bother him, he knew he was lying. Two battles later, Yosuke brought all the force of a wind spell to bear on an enemy that reflected it back in his face. Souji came over to him after all their opponents were dead. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Yosuke muttered, tugging his headphones off with unnecessary force. Even if the sudden blast of wind wasn't exactly pleasant, it wasn't going to hurt him.

"That's not what I meant," Souji said, leaving the and you know it unspoken.

Yosuke sighed. "That obvious, huh?"

"When you've fought alongside someone as often as we have, yes," Souji replied. "Worried about what Adachi said?"

"Damnit," Yosuke swore, almost dropping one of his kunai. "I thought I was over that crap." Of course Souji would notice; the other boy was the only one here who knew how Yosuke's Shadow had taunted him, and the nerve Adachi had inadvertently (he hoped) hit. Neither of the girls had been there. "But it still..."

Why so panicked? I thought I was just spouting bullshit!

"Maybe what Adachi said was true for you at one point, but I know that isn't your reason for fighting now," Souji said, levelly. "Don't let him get to you. Even if that's part of you, somewhere, there's much more to you than just that."

"Yeah, I know," Yosuke admitted, "it's just... embarrassing, y'know? It still stings a little." He was proud to fight alongside Souji and the others, and he treasured the power of Persona that they all wielded... but remembering that moment, his yellow-eyed reflection and that taunting voice, was still hard. He was just glad that Jiraiya - and, later, Susano-o - didn't really resemble him at all.

Then again, wasn't his Persona proof that he was over it, where it counted? Maybe it stung, but it didn't reduce him to screaming denial. Not anymore, not since that day. Yosuke smiled grimly. "Son of a bitch just got lucky," he informed Souji, tossing one of his kunai into the air and catching it again. "But he's shooting blanks."

"That's what I thought," Souji said, with a knowing smile. "Ready?"

"I'm good," Yosuke confirmed. "Heh. Thanks," he added, giving Souji a sheepish grin.

"Of course. And, er... by the way," Souji called back, taking a few steps to where Chie and Yukiko were waiting for them, "you might want to do something about your hair. The straight-up look's great for Susano-o, but on you... not so much."

Yosuke gave him a weird look, then quickly reached up to pat at his hair - and, sure enough, the reflected blast of wind had given him a terrible impromptu hairdo. "Damnit, you could have said something sooner," he grumbled, blushing, then ran to catch up.

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let's go, partner!

August 2012

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