chisotahn: Firebird with the text "Firebird's Child". (souji: pensive)
[personal profile] chisotahn posting in [community profile] ikuzeaibou
Title: Shatter
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Characters: Souji and Yosuke; spoilers
Summary: December. When you make a mistake, you don't always get a second chance.

Notes: This will spoil you in the face for early December and the first bad ending.

Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated - I am currently hard at work on a long fic which should be done soon. In the meantime, please enjoy (?) this... proof that I am a horrible person. Apologies in advance for any soul-crushing that may result from reading this.

Yosuke Hanamura can't sleep.

He thought he'd manage it, thought sheer emotional exhaustion would drag him down and carry him through the night, but he can't. The images are seared sharply into his mind, nightmares he can't wake up from because he's already awake.

The tide of self-righteous anger lasted until they were halfway home, until Souji just stopped walking in the middle of the street, stared dully at the lines drawn on the asphalt, wrenched his arm away from Yosuke's questioning touch. That shell-shocked, horrified expression on Souji's face finally brought reality home, shattered that anger and left the two of them standing alone on the corner, trembling. He's still trembling.

He's willing to bet Souji is too, though he can't see the other boy right now. They ended up at Souji's house in the end, Souji grabbing Yosuke's wrist hard enough to bruise, all but dragging him inside the dark, cold house. That desperate touch was enough - they didn't need words, didn't have words. Don't leave me.

I won't.

Yosuke's throat is sore; everything hurts, and he can't stop flicking numbly through the events of the night - it all happened so fast, fast enough that it doesn't seem real. Maybe if he can get to sleep, when he wakes up the next morning it really will have all been a nightmare. But his mind won't stop - Junes, kotatsu-shopping, warm and happy and safe. Laughter. Then the phone rings, Souji answers; Yosuke watches his face change, sees all the color drain in an instant.

Then there's the hospital; stinks of disinfectant, a sharp, chemical tang. The harsh beep, beep of the monitors, the shallow movements of Nanako's breathing. They both flicker, fade. Stop. In that instant, Yosuke sees Souji break; something inside him breaks too. Something inside them all.

Dojima couldn't do it; the doctors and the cops on duty stopped him. But they could. They could get into Taro Namatame's room, could make the solid glass of the television screen ripple like water at their touches to admit his shaking body. It took only an instant, so easy, so simple. Just one movement, one quick nod from Souji to confirm it. Just like that, gone.

Vengeance. Judgment.

They part in silence, unwilling to speak lest everything break apart. But it couldn't last, and that's why he's here, with Souji, staring at the ceiling and unable to sleep, willing dawn to come so they can get into Junes the second the doors open and undo what they've done. So they won't all become murderers.

No matter what happens, Yosuke's quite certain he'll never forget the look on Namatame's face - there was fear there, certainly, but underneath it all was weary resignation. The man hadn't struggled at all, even though Yosuke knew his own rough touch had surely left bruises. He hadn't cared at all, at the time.

He wonders if Souji's asleep, but he dares not look at the futon to find out. The couch is too short for him by half, but he's not sleeping anyway. Doesn't matter.

Dawn comes with excruciating slowness, and Yosuke finally gives up the pretense at six in the morning, rolls to one side only to find Souji looking back at him from the futon, his face haggard, dark circles under his eyes. Something else breaks then, but they still can't speak; Yosuke can't force any words past the ache of fear and guilt in his throat, and Souji doesn't say anything either, for whatever reason. Maybe it's the same for him. Yosuke's not sure.

The air is cold and sharp and filled with thick fog; they both put on their glasses by mutual agreement, though Yosuke flinches at the sudden transition from fog to utter clarity. They can see their breath in front of them as they trudge on through the remains of the evening's snow, all of it gone slushy and foul overnight. Junes opens at eight; as an employee, Yosuke can get them in a bit sooner. They've never tried before, but they've never been this desperate before - the desire to rescue someone is one thing, but this choking, crushing guilt is something else entirely.

But they never make it to Junes. As they turn the corner, they hear the sudden whine of sirens whipping down the main street; Yosuke's stomach plunges as Souji immediately turns and runs, leaving Yosuke with no choice but to follow him. The only sound is the sirens, their footsteps pounding on the sidewalk, the sharp hiss of their breathing.

The cop cars skid to a halt just inside the shopping district; Souji stops running and makes a strangled sound. Yosuke nearly runs into him, flails for balance, looks up. Stops breathing.

We'll save him before the next rainy night.

The fog's always here, though-

We'll just have to hope-

But it did rain last night, and the evidence is lying all around their feet, cold and stained slush that soaks instantly through Yosuke's pants as he drops to his knees, unable to stand any longer, eyes fixed high above him. Because the evidence is up there too, stretched across the web of telephone wires that crisscross the shopping district, sprawled unnaturally, foully-

That's not fair, we didn't even get a chance, Yosuke thinks numbly, then grabs blindly for Souji. His fingers graze the edge of Souji's coat for just a moment.

Then the other boy is gone, running to the nearest bushes to be sick; Yosuke can't move, can't tear his eyes away from what they've done. Murderers, and he can't deny it. They're just as twisted, just as fucked up as the killer they've been hunting for months. He's hanging up there now, can't kill anyone again-

But that doesn't, can't matter any more. Yosuke flinches forward at the touch on his shoulder, looks up, sees Souji, wonders if the haunted, broken look in Souji's eyes is anything like his own expression. His best friend helps him to his feet with a strange, blank sort of gentleness, and they stare at their handiwork together for a moment before finally turning their eyes away, walking back down the street with steps as measured as they can manage.

And Yosuke has no idea where to go from here, if a path forward even exists. Maybe it doesn't. His mind seems shrouded in fog, just like the rest of Inaba. Souji doesn't seem to know either, if his occasional stumble, his empty expression are any indication. Maybe they'll go home again. Maybe they'll sleep.

Maybe everything will be better in the morning.

But it won't be.

I know.
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ikuzeaibou: (Default)
let's go, partner!

August 2012

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