chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (all the myths are true)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: Reach Out (Part 9) - Truth
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 [ 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 nine of ten.

One moment, they're standing in the fog - the next, they're back on the platform at the summit of Yomotsu Hirasaka, with the stench of the rotting goddess rolling over them. Yosuke realizes with a jolt that they're not alone; he's standing next to Souji, but the others are there too, eyes wide with confusion and disbelief.

"S-Senpai?!" That's Rise, and a moment later Chie and Kanji start towards them both, the others only a few steps behind. But Souji glances back at them, a desperate look in his eyes, and they stop moving even though Yosuke can tell they're all aching to run to their Leader's side. But there's something more important now than this-


That single word cuts through everything else, and then there's no time to think, to tell the others what's happened. Izanami-no-Okami's limbs arch out towards the white figure floating above Souji's head. "You," she repeats, leaning down, her rotting face now clearly visible as she stares at them. "You... should not be here." Yosuke can't tell if she's talking to Souji or to his Persona.

"Izanami," Souji says, and Yosuke hears the very faint tremble in his voice; then Souji renews his grip on his sword and that faint sign of fear vanishes again.

But the goddess ignores Souji completely, in favor of his Persona; Izanagi-no-Okami simply nods, just once, and her face contorts into anger. "How dare you come here now, like this, with them," she snarls - and, to Yosuke's horror, the ground beneath them begins to blacken again.

Yosuke hears the others cry out and throws all his weight desperately at Souji, trying to make him move. Souji stumbles to one side but manages to keep his balance - if only barely. "Yosuke, don't-" and the dark, grasping hands rise, yet they pass right through them all before sinking back into the floor.

"Impossible," Izanami-no-Okami hisses, recoiling.

"We're here now," Souji says, quietly.

The goddess stretches her limbs, and Yosuke flinches as a cascade of lightning crashes down on them all - but once again the attack is futile. "Can the will of so few surpass the will of all mankind?!" Izanami-no-Okami breathes. "How can your powers rival mine?" Again a haze of lightning bolts descends, making every hair stand on end, but somehow they're all still standing afterwards. "Why?" the goddess snarls, her voice almost anguished. "Why can't you understand? It's impossible for humans to grasp the truth with their own hands!"

"It's not impossible," Souji says, looking up at the goddess, his sword held in a guard position in front of him.

Yosuke nods, and raises his own voice. "We can understand our own truths, the truth about who and what we are... and we can change it!"

"Not in a day, not in a year... but we can," Yukiko affirms, from behind them. "We'll keep searching and figuring out who we are."

"And the people we left behind will, too!" Rise's voice is firm, stubborn. "That's the only reason we're here now - because of them!"

"That is the truth that you don't understand," Naoto finishes, triumphantly.

The goddess' gaze flicks down at Souji, as if seeing him for the first time. "You're the one I touched," she whispers. "The one that fell. And yet..." Her attention shifts back to Souji's Persona. "And you descend into Yomi again, Izanagi... why?"

If the Persona replies, Yosuke doesn't hear it - but there's suddenly a weapon in Izanagi-no-Okami's hands. Souji gently pushes Yosuke away as the Persona straightens to its full height, blade held in front of it. "Because none of us are going to run away from the truth now," Souji says, quietly. He raises one arm and steadies himself, then closes his eyes.

Izanagi-no-Okami whirls the blade in a circle, and a blaze of light strongly reminiscent of the orb of sight leaps forth, striking Izanami-no-Okami's rotting form. The goddess convulses, twisting as if to try and get away, but there is no escape - everywhere she turns there's light, shining, burning, illuminating.

And then, with a cry, Izanami-no-Okami folds in on herself, all her limbs going limp and sagging, drooping downwards. The Persona immediately lowers its weapon, and for a moment Yosuke gets the sense that the white being regrets what it's had to do. "T-this can't be," the goddess gasps, her voice brittle. "How can I be the one that disappears? What do you want? Wouldn't it be easier to wrap yourselves in lies and live in blissful ignorance? Isn't that true peace for humans?"

Souji opens his mouth, then stops as another voice breaks the silence first. "How many times do we have to tell you?! To hell with that shit!" Kanji shouts, from behind them.

"Stop assuming you know us!" Chie adds, her voice trembling and triumphant.

The goddess pauses, then actually laughs, and there's no trace of mockery in her tone now. "Very... very well. Then try and live your way. Power enough to erase my existence... you have already exceeded what I thought humanity to be capable of. You have lifted the fog in this world, as well as the fog in your own. And whether that will lead to happiness or not... rests upon your shoulders."

She extends one rotting limb, then, reaching out to Izanagi-no-Okami. "I was sister, lover, mother once," she says, and there's regret in her tone; the Persona looks at her in understanding silence, raises one hand to touch the goddess' own. "Yet now I take a thousand lives each day... to your thousand five hundred given new life. These were part of the former. Yet now, I think they must be part of the latter as well..."

Izanagi-no-Okami nods again, and the goddess smiles. "One last gift." Motes of light begin to break off of her form. "Children of man... well done." And then she stretches upwards, fading, thinning in the air with a cry - but she leaves something behind, something that sweeps over them all as Izanagi-no-Okami bows its head and vanishes.

Yosuke's first impression is pain, searing, an unbearable pressure in his chest; he stumbles back and falls to his knees as mist clouds his vision. Ow it hurts why does it hurt so much I can't- I have to-


Yosuke's eyes widen as he takes a long, deep breath and feels the thud of his own heartbeat, then winces as all the ignored aches and pains of their strenuous battle reawaken to collect their toll - but the mist is clearing now, and his breath catches in his throat as the last bits of haze wash away. The goddess is gone, Yomotsu Hirasaka is gone, the fog is gone... and in its place there's life, a whole brilliant world waking up around them; warm sunlight, a gentle breeze, the hush of water, and the scent of flowers.

We're... alive again...?

Yosuke looks up, sees Souji wobbling on his feet; his friend stumbles, and falls. "Souji!" Yosuke cries, lunging forward to catch Souji before he can hit the ground, a sharp fear rising in his throat. "Please-" I can't- not again-

But Souji looks up at him, and tugs Yosuke's glasses off of his nose. "H-hey... seriously, I can't breathe."

Youke stares at him, then fumbles, pressing one hand to Souji's chest. "You're..."

And then the others are all over them, stunned, gasping, crying, and laughing.

Part 10

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let's go, partner!

August 2012

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