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Gods & Games

Chapter Text

Akira Kurusu

Akira stared at the ground in front of them, tears rolling down his face, before he looked at the ring Ryuji had given him on Valentine’s Day. The giant hole was no longer there as he could hear footsteps behind him before he felt someone put a hand on his shoulder.

“What happened Akira?” Makoto asked, her voice filled with worry as Akira turned around and hugged her, letting his tears roll freely now that someone was here.

“He took them down with him Makoto…”

“He took them?” she asked, her voice filled with dread as Akira could hear the others who weren’t directly involved in the battle approach. They had been protecting their newest member, while also fighting to keep Tokyo safe.

And while everything in Tokyo had calmed down after the hole opened up, their remaining enemies quickly making their way inside of it, it had also swallowed everyone around it aside from Akira.

“Ryu and the others…they’re gone…”


“They’re dead, Makoto. Ryuji’s dead…” Akira muttered before breaking down, hearing the remaining Phantom Thieves, who had made their way over to Akira and Makoto at this point, tear up as they lost themselves to their despair.

They had lost, for the first time they had truly and utterly lost, and that fact made sure that whatever flicker of hope Akira had felt was extinguished, along with the future he had dreamt off.

“There’s nothing we can do anymore. It’s over…” he whispered, letting his anxiety and despair take over before he felt Makoto embracing him. The battle had taken its toll on him and there was no point staying strong…Ryuji and the others…they were gone and there was no way to bring them back…

-A few months earlier-

Arc 1 - Illusions

Ryuji Sakamoto

“You got everything kid?” Teru asked as Ryuji hopped off the back of Teru’s motorcycle.

“I do, thanks again for driving me here bro! You’re the best!” Ryuji responded, bumping his fist against the one Teru held out to him.

“Have fun Ryuji! I’ll come pick you and Akira up along with the Niijima sisters in a couple of days. Oh and feel free text me, Ann or Haru…or all of us, if you need anything. We worked on that, remember?” the older man told him, Ryuji nodding at him before he drove off.

Ryuji looked around the square where Teru had dropped him off. The lawyer had offered to stay until Akira arrived but Ryuji had told him it wasn’t necessary. Akira didn’t like Teru much, Ryuji knew that, and he did not want his visit to start of negatively. Not that Akira would be straight up mean to Teru but there would be tension, tension that Ryuji wasn’t sure how to deal with and did not want to deal with, for that matter.

He nervously moved his hand through his hair. Where was Akira anyways? He had kind of expected him to be here, waiting for him, but he found himself waiting instead. It didn’t take long before he heard familiar footsteps approach him from behind though, turning around to find Akira looking at him in awe.

“…Your hair?” he muttered, causing Ryuji to laugh. “You stopped bleaching it?”

“Hell yeah! Do you like it?” Ryuji answered, excitedly. He was glad he’d been able to surprise Akira, that was obvious just from the look on his face, but he didn’t stop bleaching his hair just for that. He became blonde because he wanted to stand out, to get people to pay attention to him, but he didn’t need to anymore. Between Akira, Teru, Ann, Haru and the rest of their friends, Ryuji had enough people paying attention to him. He didn’t need to stand out. He needed people who loved him for who he was and he didn’t need to be blonde for that. His hair was back to its original dark brown color. Well, “original”, Ann had helped him dye it. He would’ve had to wait at least a month for his hair to go back to its original color and Ryuji didn’t want to wait for that, he wanted to do this to show Akira, and everyone else, how much he had grown.

“I think it fits you, really shows how much you changed over the past year!” Akira smiled, causing Ryuji to smile back brightly before leaning in to give Akira a quick peck on the cheek.

“I missed you,” he whispered before pulling his face back.

“It’s only been a couple of days, you know?” Akira chuckled. “But I’ve missed you too, Ryu. I’m glad you’re here!”

Hearing those words made Ryuji happy, an emotion he hadn't felt strongly when Akira was gone which was something that he wanted to work on as he thought back to his talk with Ann, Haru and Teru the night before he left. They were going to help him out after all, they had made that very clear.

“Are you guys really sure this is okay?” Ryuji asked for what seemed to be the millionth time. He just wasn’t very comfortable sharing his feelings with his friends yet. He was at Ann’s apartment, she had helped him dye his hair back to its original color before Haru and Teru arrived, because she had invited him. She had invited Haru and Teru too and all 3 of them had insisted that he would join them because apparently it was very important. Ryuji honestly felt like they had set him up for this but he supposed it was because they cared so he would let it slide.

“Yes Ryuji. We asked you to do this, remember?” Ann pointed out. “Just try and work with us, alright?”

Ryuji nodded. He still wasn’t sure what his friends were planning but he knew it was related to the conversation they had before Akira left. There was a serious mood in the room and even Teru, who was generally the opposite of serious, tried his hardest to look rather stern.

“So…what is it you want me to do again exactly?” he asked. He knew they had explained it to him once but he had been too overwhelmed to listen, too focused on the fact that he felt like he was nothing but a burden to his friends.

“Just tell us what’s on your mind Ryuji-kun. We know you’ve been through a lot and well…we want to help you get better!” Haru explained, sounding determined.

“We all just want to see you get better Ryuji. We don’t want to see you frown now that your hair is brown,” Teru smiled, his serious exterior cracking the moment he decided to make a pun.

“Teru-san!” Haru exclaimed with an annoyed look on her face. “Take this more seriously!”

“I am, I am! I just want Ryuji to feel at ease…” the lawyer muttered while he waved a hand in front of his face.

“I guess I’m just worried…” Ryuji muttered, causing all 3 of his friends to turn to him, concerned looks appearing on all their faces.

“Worried about what?” Ann clarified.

“Just…Kira has only been gone for a couple of days and I just stop feeling happy. It’s like, I can’t feel happy on my effin’ own and it sucks. It’s okay when you guys are there, even though it’s not the same, but when I’m alone…Bad things happen when I’m alone…”

Ryuji had to stop his explanation after that, tears threatening to fall from his eyes as his friends looked at him. Teru was the first to move next to him, they had all been sitting across from him up until that point, as he wrapped his arm around him.

“It’s okay Ryuji, let it out. We’re here for you,” he said causing Ryuji to hesitate for a moment before he allowed Teru to hug him as he started crying.

Ryuji kept crying for what felt like forever, Teru’s shirt being soaked, clinging to his chest, by the time Ryuji had managed to regain some form of composure.

“I’m sorry Teru…” Ryuji muttered, but the lawyer laughed it off before telling Ryuji it was fine.

“It’s what older bros do,” Teru reassured him. Ryuji momentarily wondered about Teru’s choice of words before Teru let go off him after giving him a final pat on the back.

“Are you feeling better Ryuji-kun?” Haru asked. She and Ann looked concerned, but they also seemed to trust Teru enough at this point to let him comfort him.

“I think so…Sorry about that…” Ryuji whispered, looking away. He felt ashamed for losing his composure like that.

“Don’t apologize Ryuji! That’s the first thing we’re going to address right now. You don’t have to be sorry for being emotional around any of us!” Ann told him sternly. She was smiling kindly though and Ryuji knew she was only being stern to get through to him.

“I agree Ryuji-kun, you can always tell me anything!” Haru agreed, before she and Ann looked at Teru expectantly.

“I mean, isn’t the fact I’m soaked in his tears kind of enough proof?” he pointed out. “But yes, of course the same applies to me. You can aim your tear cannons at me as much as you want.”

Even Ann and Haru couldn’t help but laugh at that, momentarily breaking the serious vibe in the room, before Ann seemed to get serious again.

“There’s more things though, Ryuji, based on what you said. Do you mind if we discuss those?” she asked him. “I don’t want to talk about things you’re not ready to talk about…”

Ryuji decided to take a moment to think about what Ann, and the other two, were asking of him. Was he ready to let his friends in, to let them really in? Deep down he already knew the answer though, they had proven themselves to him over and over again and they deserved his trust. To Ryuji’s surprise Teru reassuringly put his hand on his shoulder at that point.

“Come on kid, you can do this.”

“Alright Ann, what are those things?” Ryuji asked. He was around his friends, friends that made him feel safe and only wanted to help him. He could do this.

“Well…I think there’s two things we can help you with…” Ann said before Haru, to everyone’s surprise, interrupted her.

“We have to help Ryuji-kun find things that make him happy, right? He has to be able to feel happiness when he’s on his own,” she pointed out before realizing she had interrupted Ann. “Ann-chan, I’m so sorry for interrupting you!”

“It’s fine Haru, that was the first point indeed. I’m not sure how we’re going to do that yet though…” Ann pondered. “It seems to be more than just a lack of things to do. You keep busy, right Ryuji?”

“Yeah…” Ryuji confirmed. It wasn’t like he wasn’t doing anything when Akira wasn’t around. It was just that he couldn’t feel happy when he was alone and he couldn’t understand why.

“I think I have an idea, actually…” Teru chimed in, causing everyone to look at him expectantly before he shook his head. “It’s too long to explain and I want to test it out first.”

“You gave me effin’ hope for a moment man, why can’t you just tell me?!” Ryuji yelled, frustration lacing his voice, before punching Teru’s arm but to Ryuji’s surprise he just laughed.

“I’ll test it out on you kid. If it works, you’ll notice!” he smiled. “You can’t know beforehand though because otherwise it won’t work.”

“If you say so…” Ryuji muttered, unsure how to feel about Teru's "experiment. He knew he had to trust Teru, but it seemed really vague and Teru was generally straightforward.

“Come on Ryuji, just believe in me!” Teru said before giving Ryuji a pat on his back.

“There was a second thing though?” Ryuji asked, turning to Ann who seemed to be observing him and Teru as she smiled softly. She seemed to be on to something, but she probably wasn’t going to share whatever it was considering she cleared her throat before looking at Ryuji again with a serious look.

“Please don’t take offense to this Ryuji but I think you have trouble being alone right now…and that you shouldn’t be alone if we can help it,” Ann pointed out, slightly looking away when she finished her sentence. “I mean…most of your incidents happen when you’re left on our own for too long…”

Ryuji swallowed. He knew Ann was right, whenever he was left alone with his thoughts his mind got darker and darker until he just collapsed and broke down. He just wasn’t sure how she, Haru and Teru could help with that.

“Then we just have to make sure Ryuji-kun isn’t alone anymore!” Haru stated, eyes brimming with determination. “We’ll just have to see how we can fit our schedules around his!”

“W-wait…” Ryuji muttered causing his friends to laugh.

“Before you even say you don’t want to be a bother Ryuji, you’re not. We decided to do this, you just have to accept our help,” Ann told him before he could even protest.

“Besides, it’s not like I have anything better to do,” Teru mentioned, a sad look flashing across his face momentarily before he smiled. “I’ll do whatever I can to make you happy!”

“We all will Ryuji-kun!” Haru added. “We won’t stop until you’re able to be happy on your own!”

Akira and Ryuji had arrived at Akira’s house at this point, having made small talk on their way there. Akira had insisted they get to his place quickly, saying that they could have a look around the town tomorrow for a reason that Ryuji didn’t quite understand but Akira had reassured him that he would understand soon and Ryuji trusted his boyfriend.

“I like your house,” Ryuji pointed out before putting his hand over his mouth. Akira was only allowed to stay here for a couple more days, up until they’d leave together, and he’d never come back afterwards. Akira just smiled at him though, before telling him to make himself at home while he would go and prepare some drinks.

Ryuji looked around, trying to find some sort of sign that Akira had grown up here but he had trouble finding anything.

“If you’re looking for my childhood memories you won’t find them here, my mom took those with her for whatever reason,” Akira told him, having shown up behind him, as he held out a can of soda to Ryuji.

“S-sorry I didn’t mean to be obvious,” Ryuji muttered, blushing in embarrassment. He was acting like a teenage girl who just visited her crush’s house for the first time. He and Akira had been dating for a while now, this was not supposed to be so awkward.

“It’s fine, I did the same when I first visited you and your mom, remember?” Akira chuckled before sitting down next to Ryuji, putting down his own drink before wrapping his arm around his boyfriend. “I missed you a lot.”

“I missed you too, I’m so glad we get to spend some time together, just the two of us, before school starts,” Ryuji smiled, the blush on his face growing fiercer. He meant it too. He loved being around the rest of his friends but he and Akira barely got to spend time with the two of them and he was glad that they could spend the next couple of days doing just that.

“So…why couldn’t we go explore the town?” Ryuji asked after he decided to rest his head on Akira’s shoulder.

“You’ll find out tomorrow Ryu, I promise you it’ll be worth it,” Akira whispered with a smile before leaning in for a quick kiss. “Let’s just enjoy the rest of the evening for now.”

“Alright,” Ryuji relented as he allowed himself to relax in Akira’s embrace before he could feel his eyes get heavy. He hadn’t realized how exhausted he was. “Do you mind if I take a quick nap?”

“Of course not, I’ll be with you the entire time,” Akira smiled, giving Ryuji a kiss on his forehead. “We can have dinner afterwards.”

“Sounds good!” Ryuji agreed before he allowed himself to drift to sleep. He felt peaceful with Akira around and it made him really happy.

Makoto Niijima

Makoto sighed when she got entered her new dorm room, looking around to see if her new squad mates were already there. She cheered quietly when she realized they were still out. She liked them, they honestly could’ve been way worse, but she was glad she finally had some time to herself as she decided to lie down on the bed that had been assigned to her.

She was exhausted, the past week had been insane, but she had passed her entrance exams and was assigned to Squad F this morning. Squad F consisted of her and two others and they were told their stuff had been moved to her their new dorm room before being given directions on how to reach it.

She, along with the other recruits, had spent the last couple of nights sleeping outside and Makoto was glad that at least she would be able to sleep in a bed from now on.

The dorm room was honestly pretty great, much better than she had expected. It consisted of two quarters, a sleeping part where she and her other two squad mates each had a bed assigned to them. There were 3 desks across from the beds as well, presumably for their studies. The living quarters consisted of a dining table and a kitchen area, much to Makoto’s surprise, which surely beat having to go to the cafeteria all the time. She could get used to this, even if it was less luxurious than she was used to.

After laying down for a couple of minutes Makoto decided to get up and start unpacking her bags, momentarily wondering if she should wait for the other members of her squad to arrive before her thought process got interrupted when she heard the door slam open.

“WE’RE HOME!” she could hear a female voice yell. “Did you miss us Mako-chan?”

Makoto sighed before moving to the living quarters, coming face to face with her two squad mates. The first one, a short red-headed girl with a pixie cut named Erika Wilson had been the one who had excitedly yelled her name. Makoto could still hear a slight accent when Erika spoke, but she was surprised by how good her Japanese was. Erika originated from the US, but she had decided to go to school in Japan for a reason that she wouldn’t divulge. Makoto figured that was fair though, they all had their secrets. She wasn’t exactly going to tell people that she used to be a Phantom Thief either.

“Do we have any grub? I’m hungry…”

Makoto smiled when she saw the second member from her squad, a tall, muscular guy named Masaru Honda. Masaru had brown hair that reached his shoulders, at least when he didn’t tie it back in a ponytail, and he looked really intimidating. Makoto had quickly figured out that Masaru was probably the most kind-hearted person she had ever met…the only downside being that he was always hungry and looking for something to eat. She wanted to ask him how he stayed in shape, considering the amount of food he ate, before wondering if that was too rude to ask. She was not used to interacting with people outside of her trusted group of friends yet.

Makoto missed them, she missed them very much even though it had only been a week but she tried not to let it get to her. The Phantom Thieves had been her first real friends, Akira being her first best friend, and it still hurt her that she was going to be separated from them for at least a couple of years. She was afraid their friendship wouldn’t survive that. Makoto had resolved to try and go home during the weekends, of course, but she knew there was a possibility that that was just going to be impossible.

“MA-KO-CHAN” Erika said, moving her face close to Makoto’s to make sure she got the other girl’s attention. “Are you okay? You seem like you’re thinking about a lot of things? Did you even hear anything me and Masaru were saying earlier?”

“I’m sorry, I spaced out. What did you guys say?” Makoto answered, her face flushing with embarrassment. She was terrible at social interaction.

Both Erika and Masaru looked at her for a moment, exchanging a worried look before they both shrugged.

“We were just wondering if you wanted to explore the shops surrounding the academy over the weekend with us. We can get to know each other better too! We’ll spent a good part of our lives together as a squad after all!” Erika explained excitedly, causing Makoto to sigh. That girl had too much energy.

“I’m sorry, I can’t…I’m going home to visit my high school friends…” Makoto muttered. Part of her knew she should go out with Erika and Masaru. The redhead was right, they were going to spend a lot of time together in the future, but Akira was coming back and she wanted to be one of the people that picked him up.

“Oh…” Erika responded sadly before her face brightened up as she grabbed Masura and Makoto’s arms. “Let’s go now then!”

“Eh…?” Makoto muttered. “Don’t we all need to unpack…?”

“We can just do that tonight when we get back! We need to spend some quality squad time and since you’re gone over the weekend we have to do it now!” Erika said, pulling at both Makoto and Masaru’s arms. It was a hilarious sight to see, considering she was tiny compared to Masaru…and even compared to Makoto, really.

“Can we get some food?” Masaru asked, his voice filling with excitement.

“As much as you want!” Erika responded happily, causing Masaru to cheer.

“I’m in then! Let’s go Makoto, it’ll be fun!” he said happily, smiling at Makoto in such a way that somehow made her unable to resist.

“I guess we can go out then, I mean I do want to get to know you guys…” she relented.

“Yaaay! It’s going to be great!” Erika cheered before realizing she was still holding both Makoto and Masaru’s arms and let go of them. “Let’s go!”

Makoto sighed in relief when Erika finally let go off her arm before realizing Erika wanted to go right now. She supposed this was a good thing though, Erika and Masaru may not be like the Phantom Thieves but at least they were making an effort to become friends with her and Makoto figured that she should too. She could really use some new friends, after all.

Chapter Text

Akira Kurusu

The first thing Akira felt when he woke up was Ryuji’s arm draped over his chest. His boyfriend was still asleep, his chest calmly moving alongside the rhythm of his breathing. It surprised Akira for a moment, before realizing that this was probably the first time in ages Ryuji had had a good night’s sleep. He had mentioned something about how he was having trouble sleeping when Akira was gone. Akira had tried to find out more but Ryuji insisted they’d focus on happy things, also reminding him of their agreement.

While they would support one another, they would each focus on improving their own mental health separately and Ryuji had told him that Ann, Haru and Teru were already helping him out so that Akira wouldn’t have to worry about him.

Akira was happy that Ryuji had found support, he couldn’t really say that he had been as lucky himself. He supposed he could always talk to Kawakami but she was still his teacher and while he used to be able to talk to Makoto, his best friend, she was more or less going to be gone for most of the year and despite the fact that Akira was decently close with both Futaba and Yusuke, he had a hard time talking to either of them. They were just kind of awkward when it came to more serious issues. Their hearts were in the right place but they had trouble dealing with things like that and Akira always ended up comforting them instead of it being the other way around.

There was something bigger going on though. Ever since Akira had come back from prison he had a hard time reconnecting with his friends. It was like they just couldn’t understand how he felt and he felt like they treated him differently because of it. They treated him like he had somehow become more fragile, like some kind of porcelain doll, and Akira hated it. He knew there was probably some truth to it, as much as he wanted to claim that he was still the same Akira as before, prison had changed him. It had changed him in a lot of ways but it mostly just made him think about a lot of things, things he hadn’t thought about before. Those thoughts oftentimes depressed him and seeing how he never really shared them with anyone, he felt like he was slowly drowning in the ramblings that took place inside his mind. He supposed he had to talk to someone about them, but with Ryuji being off-limits, he had no idea who to talk to.

“You were up early,” Ryuji whispered, startling Akira out of his thoughts before he realized Ryuji was hovering right over him, their faces almost touching.

“You were up late,” Akira retorted, a smile showing on his face, as Ryuji dropped down for a quick kiss before he got up from the bed, looking at his phone to check the time before looking back at Akira with a surprised look on his face.

“I guess I really needed that, huh?” he muttered, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. “So what’s next? I’m really excited to go out and do things today!”

Akira couldn’t help but smile. Seeing Ryuji like this, this happy and excited, filled his heart with warmth. It had honestly been a while since he had seen Ryuji like this, but this, this was the Ryuji he had fallen in love with.

“We gotta have breakfast first Ryu! I’ll show you around town afterwards and I got somewhere very special where I want to take you tonight, does that sound good?” Akira laughed, causing Ryuji to nod excitedly before lifting Akira off the bed.

“To the kitchen then!” he said excitedly before he started carrying Akira towards their destination.

Normally he would’ve protested but he’d lie to himself if he said he didn’t enjoy this, being carried in Ryuji’s strong arms like this would be any men’s dream, wouldn’t it be?

Akira and Ryuji found themselves strolling through Akira’s hometown a couple of hours later. They had both taken a shower after eating breakfast. The entire experience had been rather homely and it made Akira hopeful for the future he had with Ryuji. One day they would live together like that and things like this would be normal everyday occurrences. They would always get up together, they would always eat breakfast together and they would come home to each other every day.

“What are you smiling about?” Ryuji teased, having noticed the grin on the Akira’s face.

“Was just thinking,” Akira mused with a coy smile.

“No fair man! You have to tell me!” Ryuji complained as he gently nudged Akira’s shoulder.

“Are you sure you want to know?” Akira responded teasingly.

“Yes!” Ryuji exclaimed loudly, causing some of the people that were passing by the two of them to raise their eyebrows before they carried on with their day.

“I was just thinking about how one day all of this will be normal…” Akira whispered, causing Ryuji’s face to turn beet red.

“W-what do you mean?” he muttered, causing Akira to laugh. He had probably already figured it out, judging by the look on his face, but Akira thought it was cute that Ryuji wanted confirmation.

“Waking up together, eating breakfast together…You know, stuff like that,” Akira explained as he felt a slight blush creeping on his own face.

“The hell man, don’t say stuff like that. Making me blush in public!” Ryuji responded before he slapped Akira on his back, smiling brightly. “I’d love that though.”

Normally this was one of the points where Akira would lean in to kiss Ryuji but he was kind of wary of doing so in public and Ryuji seemed to understand that, seeing as he was making no effort to kiss Akira either. Akira sighed before Ryuji surprised him a moment later by slipping his own hand into Akira’s and squeezing it tightly.

“I love you,” he whispered, still smiling.

“I love you too Ryu, I love you too.”

Akira had spent most of the day showing Ryuji around his hometown. He had shown him the places he used to play as a kid, the school he used to go to and other places that held a similar meaning to him. To Akira’s surprise Ryuji had asked a lot of questions, but that also warmed Akira’s heart. Ryuji really wanted to know everything about him so that he would “love him even more” and that was something Akira very much enjoyed.

“So…why did we get takeaway again?” Ryuji asked. “Takeaway that we’re not eating, I may add. I’m really hungry Kira…”

“We’re almost there Ryuji, just hold on for a little longer okay?” Akira responded. They were almost at the place he wanted to show Ryuji the most. They had gone to the edge of his hometown after getting some food to eat once they arrived at Akira’s special place.

“Why are we climbing this hill…oh…wow…” Ryuji muttered when they finally finished climbing the hill they had been climbing. It was dark at this point and that meant they had an amazing view of the moon and the stars from the top of the hill, much to Akira’s relief. He was afraid it’d have been too cloudy, but they got really lucky.

“What do you think?” Akira mused, chuckling at the astonishment that had shown up on Ryuji’s face. “I thought we could have a dinner under the stars…”

Akira nervously looked at Ryuji, rubbing his hands together awkwardly before Ryuji gave him a thumbs-up. He was smiling, a radiant smile that Akira had never seen on Ryuji before.

“It’s…so romantic…” he whispered dreamily. “What is this place?”

“It’s called Moonlit Hill, it’s the only worthwhile place in this town. There used to be a legend that if you take the person you love here and eat dinner with them under the stars, you’ll um…”

“You will what?

“You’ll stay together forever…” Akira whispered, his face going bright red before Ryuji put down the takeaway he was carrying as he launched himself at Akira.

They almost fell over, Akira managing to steady himself at the last second, before they embraced tightly. “Thank you Akira…” Ryuji whispered.

“Thanks for what?”

“For wanting to stay with me forever…That’s why you took me here, right?” Ryuji whispered softly, sounding insecure.

“If you want to…”

“Of course I want to! Don’t be silly. I love you, I love you so much!” Ryuji cheered excitedly, letting go off Akira to pump his fists in the air.

“I’m really glad,” Akira whispered before he felt a sob escape his throat.

“What’s wrong?” Ryuji asked, his voice sounding worried, having noticed the sob.

“I’m just really happy. You’ll always be there, even if I don’t know about anyone else, I know there’s you at least…” Akira explained, willing himself not to cry.

“That’s true! You’ll never lose me Kira!” Ryuji agreed before his stomach started rumbling causing Ryuji’s face to turn red from embarrassment. “I’m…um…really hungry though…”

Akira smiled before reaching for the bags of food that Ryuji had put on the ground. “Let’s pick a nice spot and eat then!” he offered, causing Ryuji to agree immediately.

Akira was happy, even with all the insecurities in his life right now he would always have Ryuji at least. He would always be there, that was the one thing he was certain of right now, and that meant that things really weren’t as bad as he thought they were…

Sae Niijima

“I wouldn’t have minded if you woke me up, you know?” Teru sulked, walking into the kitchen in just his boxers while Sae was making breakfast for herself. “I could’ve made you breakfast or something, it’s the least I could do…”

“You were looking so peaceful and it’s not like you have to go out today, right? I’m so used to doing things on my own, I guess I just figured you’d want to sleep in,” Sae responded, surprised that Teru was sulking.

“Just wake me up next time, it’s the least I can do as a thank you for letting me stay here so often!” Teru said, his frown turning into a bright smile as he wrapped his arms around Sae. “You know I like being here.”

“Well, I like you being here too,” Sae responded with a smile. “But I really have to hurry up, I got that interview soon, remember?” She meant what she said, she was really happy Teru had more or less unofficially moved in with her. He was pretty much here all of the time, only occasionally going to his own apartment to get more of his things or hang out with Ryuji, and it made her consider asking him to officially move in with her. Would that be moving too fast? They had only been dating for a short while, even if they had known each other for years. It would make things easier for Teru though, Sae knew that much.

He had tried to hide it, but Sae had realized that Teru was very much struggling with his job. He barely got cases after he left his law firm, or got fired, Teru was never really clear about that, and he was going to run out of money sooner or later. She knew his apartment was pretty expensive too, he was living in a pretty expensive part of Tokyo, and he was barely even living there at this point. But then a part of her was wondering if she should even bring that up? What if Teru would take it the wrong way and get mad at her? She did not want that, because if they’d get into a fight it’d likely get pretty ugly seeing how they were both practicing law.

“What’s with that frown?” Teru asked, snapping Sae out of her thoughts. “You seem concerned about something…”

“Just my interview,” Sae lied. She had to think about how to ask Teru to move in with her and whether or not she should voice her concerns. Besides, she did have the interview to worry about too.

“Oh right, didn’t you already get the job though?” Teru questioned, seeming genuinely interested.

“I think so?” Sae answered, she honestly wasn’t sure. She had never gone in for an official interview but her boss had more or less handed her the position already. “But Shiro-san told me to come in for an interview today so I guess I still have to go through the official process.”

“I see, well I’m sure you’ll do great!” Teru cheered before giving Sae a peck on her cheek. “You’ll probably be a better lawyer than I ever was!”

Sae rolled her eyes at that comment, she wasn’t going to dignify that with a response, or perhaps she should. She wasn’t sure, but she really had to get ready and couldn’t spend time thinking about stuff right that, even if she really wanted to.

“Oh Teru, do you mind if I don’t come with you guys when you go pick up Ryuji and Akira? I got another meeting with Shiro-san that day and…” Sae said before Teru interrupted her by giving her a thumbs-up.

“Of course! Do you want me to pick up Mako-chan too? I can just drive by the police academy before I go and pick up those other kids!”

“That’d be…really great actually, I’ll let her know!” Sae smiled. She had felt really bad about this, especially considering she offered to be part of the group to pick Ryuji and Akira up, but she was glad Teru seemed to understand.

“I guess I have to get going now then…” Sae said, checking her briefcase one more time to make sure she had everything. “Will you be here when I come home?”

“Do you want me to be?” Teru asked, an unreadable expression that worried Sae a little bit coloring his features, before he starting smiling kindly.

“I’d love it if you’re here,” Sae answered, smiling back at Teru.

“Then I’ll be here! I’ll even cook for you, how about that?” Teru told her before pumping his fist in the air. “I promise you it’ll be great!”

“Alright, I’m off then,” Sae said before giving Teru a quick kiss. “I’ll see you when I get home then?”

Teru just nodded before muttering something about having to take a shower as he walked off to the bathroom.

Sae swore she could hear Teru sigh sadly before he had left her sight but even if she wanted to worry about him, she couldn’t right now. She was heading to what was potentially the most important interview of her life, even if she had more or less already been handed the job. Besides, she probably imagined it. Teru was like the prime example of a happy person, always trying his hardest to laugh and cheer everyone up, there was no way he would ever feel down…and if he did, he would tell her. She was certain of that fact…wasn’t she?

“Great…” she muttered to herself as she made her way to her car. She was going to worry about Teru all day, wasn’t she?

Teru Tendo

When Teru entered the shower he couldn’t help but let his tears run along with the water which was flowing down his body. It wasn’t like he wasn’t happy for Sae, he honestly was, but the way she was advancing in her career made him feel even more inadequate than he usually did. All he was doing nowadays was sit around her apartment, trying to find ways to feel like he was still worth something and now that Ryuji was gone, meaning he couldn’t even help him out, he felt like he virtually served no purpose. Like no one needed him to be around and he hated that. It made him wonder why he even existed in the first place.

Teru would be the first to admit that yes, he probably did care about Ryuji a little too much but he couldn’t help himself. Ryuji reminded him of himself when he was younger and that…that was not a good thing.

Teru always had a bad habit of bottling things up, he was still doing it now, and he knew how damaging it could be. Hell, it was hurting him right this instant but he could handle that. He had handled that for more than 20 years, but Ryuji, Ryuji shouldn’t and he did not want that kid to suffer in the ways he had and still did. He would be there for him, no matter what. Ryuji would not have to suffer through his feelings of depression and anxiety alone, Teru knew how much that sucked and he did not wish that for anyone else. Especially not someone he cared about.

But how much could he really do? He was just a washed up lawyer at this point. He hadn’t been able to find a single case offer in the past week, not even a boring one, and it made him feel useless. Not that he even liked being a lawyer at this point. The excitement he had felt when he was helping Akira get out of prison was what he wanted to feel. He had felt like he was their hero and that was something he always wanted to feel. To be a hero to people who need him. As long as he could be that, what happened to him didn’t matter because he’d have been able to make others happy.

Right now though he was probably the furthest away from where he wanted to be. He wasn’t anyone’s hero, he was just a screw-up hero wannabe. Maybe his parents were right, maybe he shouldn’t have thrown that fit at his old job, perhaps he really was just a foolish little kid who got fired over throwing a tantrum.

He hit the wall as he let out a frustrated yell. How did he end up like this? He had just followed his heart, had just done what felt right, shouldn’t that be rewarded?

But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that in a way he had been rewarded as Teru couldn’t help but think back to his birthday, just a couple of days after the debacle with Ryuji’s dad...

“Come on! Hurry up Teru!” Ryuji yelled, pulling him along by his arm. Teru had been surprised when Ryuji showed up in front of his apartment this morning, telling him that he had to go with him to Leblanc because it was really urgent. Teru, who hadn’t gotten dressed yet, quickly threw on some clothes before heading out with Ryuji. He wondered what it was about, probably just helping out with the legal aftermath Akira had found himself in, even if Ryuji’s behavior was a bit off.

Teru sighed, he just wanted to spend today how he spend it every year. Alone. It was his birthday today, he was turning 27, but no one around him really knew. Maybe Sae did, now that he thought about it, but she probably remembered that he didn’t like making a big deal out of celebrating it.

He figured that it may seem out of character for him, considering he always presented himself as a fun party-loving guy, but celebrating his birthday brought back bad memories and he’d rather just not think about that.

“I can walk on my own y’know? You don’t have to give me a hands-on experience,” Teru snickered at his own pun, causing Ryuji to roll his eyes as he let go of Teru’s arm.

“Just hurry up okay!?” he urged. They were almost at Leblanc at this point and Teru supposed he was about to find out why Ryuji was so excited.

Ryuji had already headed inside by the time Teru got to the café. He sighed before opening the door, his eyes going wide with shock when he realized what was waiting for him.


Teru blinked a couple of times, unable to comprehend what was going on. He saw that pretty much everyone was there. Ryuji, Akira, the other Phantom Thieves and Sae…Sae was there as well despite the fact that she told him she would be busy all day.

“Do you like it?” Ryuji asked, grabbing his arm to pull him inside the café before leading him to a seat right in the middle of everyone.

“How’d you guys know?” Teru stammered, still trying to understand what exactly was going on.

“We wanted to do something to thank you for everything you’ve done. You’ve reunited us with Akira, there’s no way he could’ve gotten out without your help, and Sae told Makoto it was your birthday today and she told us so we decided to throw you a surprise party!” Ryuji explained excitedly while Teru just stared at him in shock.

“A…surprise party?” Teru repeated slowly.

“Yeah! It’s your birthday isn’t it?” Ryuji asked, seemingly unsure why Teru was acting the way he was. “We all figured it’d be perfect for you! You always love fun things!”

“So…all of you did this, just for me?” Teru questioned, causing everyone in the room to nod at him excitedly.

“Do you not like it?” Ryuji muttered, sounding a bit sad. “We thought you’d really enjoy it…”

“No, no!” Teru quickly interjected. “I’m just…really surprised by your surprise! That’s all!”

He tried to smile at that point, but his smile turned into a grimace when he let out a sob. It caught him, and everyone in the room, by surprise, he had not expected to get emotional over this.

Sae quickly moved to his side, crouching next to him as she put a hand on his shoulder. Everyone else moved closer to him as well, wanting to show Teru they supported him.

“It’s just…no one’s ever thrown me a party before, let alone a surprise one…” he muttered as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

“You’ve never had a party…” Ryuji stammered, sounding astonished before smiling. “Guess we have to make this one your best party then, right everyone?!”

“I agree, let’s make this amazing!” Ann joined in.

“Of course, we’ll make this a day Teru-san will never forget!” Haru told him.

“Guess we know what today’s main quest is! Operation Teru’s Birthday!” Futaba chimed in.

“I’ll aim to help make it as pleasing as possible,” Yusuke agreed.

“We’ll make it a perfect day!” Makoto added with a smile.

“I guess we’ll just have to make sure to make it a day Teru will never forget,” Akira said, his voice filled with conviction, to Teru’s surprise. He figured Akira still didn’t like him very much, only tolerating him because he was friends with Ryuji, but maybe he had been wrong about that.

“Let’s make it an amazing day for you, alright Teru?” Sae then asked him, causing him to tearfully nod at her and the rest of the people in the room before they all took turns giving him a birthday hug.

Ann brought in a cake after their big group heart to heart, decorated with stars and letters that spelled 'Happy Birthday Teru!'

“You guys aren’t going to hit me with that are you?” Teru asked with a cocky smile, causing Ann and Akira to blush momentarily before they quickly shook their heads. “Aww, I’d have gotten to enjoy all of it that way, but I guess I’ll share with everyone.”

“So Teru, there’s one more thing you have to decide,” Akira then told him causing Teru to look up at him in surprise. “Where do you want to go after this?”

“Where do I want to go?” Teru repeated, unsure what Akira wanted from him.

“We’re going to take you to the place you want to go to the most. You can pick any place in Tokyo and we’ll treat you to it. It’s our way to thank you for everything you’ve done,” Akira explained, causing Teru to think for a little bit before deciding where he wanted to go.

“Let’s go to the amusement park then, I am sure it will amuse us all!” Teru said excitedly as he made another pun, causing most of his friends to roll his eyes at him.

“How old do you think you are anyways?” Akira asked, his voice sounding a bit sarcastic even though a small grin had shown up on his face.

“I may have turned 27, but I’m a teen at heart!” Teru responded with a cheeky smile as he puffed out his chest.

“Well you do act like a grade-schooler,” Akira said with a chuckle.

“What the…?!” Teru yelled as everyone around him erupted with laughter causing him to rub the back of his head sheepishly. He couldn’t help but smile brightly though, realizing his birthday didn’t have to be a bad thing after all.

“No more moping Teru, time to show everyone you’re still their First Star,” Teru whispered to himself as he turned off the shower, grabbing a towel to dry both himself and his tears. He had real friends now, something he didn’t have before, and while he may feel shit about himself and the situation he had found himself in he would still do his best for them. He would be their pillar of support, their hero, he just had to find a way to do so because being a lawyer wasn’t going to be enough anymore…

Chapter Text

Haru Okumura

Haru was excited that Ryuji and Akira were coming back today. Leblanc, where she worked now, was closing up early just so they could host a welcome back party for Akira. Not that he had been gone for that long, it had been a little less than 2 weeks, but the former Phantom Thieves had been looking for an excuse to get together one last time before the school year started and Akira coming back had granted them that opportunity. It made Haru feel really weird, thinking of themselves as the former Phantom Thieves, but it was true, wasn’t it?

The Metaverse had been destroyed, they couldn’t contact their Personas anymore and Morgana…Morgana was gone too.

Out of everyone Haru probably had the most trouble with the fact that their feline friend was no longer with them. Morgana had been the reason Haru ended joining the Phantom Thieves in the first place, if it wasn’t for him she’d still be stuck in an arranged marriage…she’d likely still be miserable and she certainly wouldn’t be in the place where she was now. Sure, maybe it wasn’t the glamorous life her father had wanted for her, but this was what she wanted to do, or so she thought.

One thing was for certain though, Morgana had saved Haru’s life in a way and just thinking about the fact she would never see him again made her tear up.

“Are you okay?” a masculine voice asked from behind her. “It’s not like I’m worried or anything, it’s just a bother if you’re too distracted to do your job.”

She turned around to find her colleague standing behind her. Touma Kibo, who supposedly was her senpai despite being hired only a couple of hours before she was.

“Don’t worry about me Touma-san, I’m fine thank you very much,” Haru answered, gritting her teeth. She was not sure if she liked him, and she was generally quick to like anyone. He was just so conceited and full of himself at times and the worst part was that he was going to stick around all day, having volunteered to cook for Akira’s party after Sojiro had told him about it. He probably offered to help out just to suck up to Sojiro, after all, that was exactly what Touma always did wasn’t it? Trying out different ways to become Sojiro’s number one. He really seemed to want that validation for some reason that Haru didn’t quite understand. He always acted so confident…why would someone like him feel such an excess need to always be number one and be recognized?

She sighed as she thought back to the day Sojiro had agreed to hire her, slightly regretting that she hadn’t asked him earlier.

“You want to work here?” Sojiro questioned, looking at Haru with a surprised look on his face before he readjusted himself. “I suppose you did always show a lot of interest in making coffee and the different kinds of coffee beans I use.”

“I would really love to boss. It has been a long time dream of me to start my own café and Futaba-chan told me you were looking for someone to help you out with Leblanc and that would give me the working experience that I am lacking right now,” Haru answered, smiling excitedly at the prospect of working at Leblanc.

Sojiro was always really nice to her and the others so she was sure he would be a great boss too and after Futaba had told her Sojiro was looking to hire someone at Leblanc she knew the time had finally come for her to take her chance.

She had wanted to ask him even before Futaba had told her but the girl had given her an opportunity and if there was one thing her father had taught her, it was that one should always take an opportunity whenever it arises. Haru felt weird thinking about her father nowadays. He had been a flawed man, that was for sure, but he was still her father. Besides he had been manipulated by Shido…and Haru knew that there had still been some good inside of him. Regardless of whether he had been a good person, her father had been one thing though, and that was a good business man so she should at least follow his advice regarding those things…or at least the parts that weren't morally questionable.

She didn’t want a big company, or anything that would require her to have a lot of employees. Haru just wanted to small peaceful café where she could serve people coffee made from her own homegrown coffee beans, alongside several salads made with homegrown vegetables. She wanted to combine two of her greatest loves, gardening and coffee, and she would work really hard to achieve that dream.

“I suppose you can work here,” Sojiro told Haru before sighing. “There’s just one tiny complication…”

“A complication?” Haru asked, her cheerful mood faltering slightly. She did not like the sound of that.

Sojiro looked like he was about to explain before the door opened, revealing a guy that Haru didn’t know standing in the doorway. Haru couldn’t help but notice that he looked around her age and was quite attractive, his messy brown hair reaching the bottom of his neck as he showed off a pair of rather toned arms by carrying what looked like rather heavy bags, smiling at both her and Sojiro.

“I got the ingredients you wanted boss, where do I put them?” he asked before turning to Haru as he put down the bags he was carrying to tip the fedora on top of his head. “I don’t believe we’ve met, the name’s Touma. Touma Kibo, it’s nice to meet you miss…?”

“Haru, Haru Okumura. It’s nice to meet you too Touma-san,” Haru responded, trying to hide the confusion in her voice before turning to Sojiro.

“I hired Touma this morning Haru. He’s training to become a curry chef and when he found out I was looking for help he decided to apply since Leblanc is one of the few cafés around that also serves curry,” he explained before a small smile showed up on his face. “But perhaps you can work with him? You can take care of the coffee while Touma takes care of the curry. That way you can both gain the experience you seek and who knows, you may learn something from one another.”

“I mean…if Touma-san doesn’t mind…” Haru muttered, trying to process everything she just heard. She wished she had asked Sojiro earlier now, but at least Touma seemed nice enough. Still, he hadn't expected she had to work together with someone she didn't know at all...

“Excuse me, I’m going to have to take this. Perhaps you two can get to know each other,” Sojiro said, excusing himself when his phone rang, causing Haru to turn towards Touma. Who, to her surprise, was looking at her with a cocky expression on his face.

“Just so you know, I don’t plan on losing to you. I’ll be boss’ number one employee!” he told her, sounding rather full of himself before turning away from her to carry the bags he was carrying before to the kitchen area.

“Ex-…excuse me? This isn’t a competition!” Haru muttered, taken aback by how much Touma’s personality seemed to have shifted now that Sojiro left the café. He had seemed like such a pleasant and nice guy before.

“Everything is a competition, and I aim to be the best at everything I do!” Touma replied proudly, before a smirk showed up on his face. “Unless that scares you?”

“N-no! I’m not scared of you! I’ll prove to you I’m just as good as you!” Haru responded, suddenly overcome by a fierce sense of competition she had never experienced before. Perhaps this is what fighting for your dream felt like? This sense of passion she felt coursing through her body which made her feel like she could take on the entire world if she had to.

“Sounds like this’ll be a good battle then,” Touma stated, Haru swearing she saw him wink at her, before bursting into laughter right as Sojiro came back in.

“It sure looks like you guys are having a good time. Do you accept the condition then Haru? Will you work together with Touma?”

Haru looked at Touma for a moment, who was tauntingly grinning at her, before turning back to Sojiro. “I will Sojiro-san and I promise I will not let you down!”

“Seriously what is with you today? This is the second time you’re dozing off. Look, I get your friends are coming over soon and that you're excited to see them but we still have customers to serve until then and with boss being out for the day it means I’m in charge,” Touma told her sharply, snapping her out of her thoughts and causing her to realize that there were 3 customers waiting for her to take their order. “I just want you to do your job and if you can’t do that perhaps you should just go home…-“

“I’m very sorry Touma-san, it won’t happen again,” Haru apologized, cutting Touma off before making her way over to her first customer, forcing herself to smile. This may not be her dream job, but it was still a job, and it was something she had chosen to do and so she would do it, she was not going to let someone like Touma get on her nerves and ruin her day. It surprised her how much of an ass he could be sometimes. He seemed so nice at first, even after declaring that this was a competition to him, but he seemed to get fiercer, and more vicious, every single day and it made Haru sad. She had hoped they could've been friends at least...

“Good day sir, what kind of coffee can I get for you today?” she asked the customer in front of her who smiled kindly at her before giving her his order.

See? She could totally do this, and she would keep doing this until she had enough experience to start working on her own dream…Her very own café.

Ryuji Sakamoto

Ryuji was drumming his fingers on the dashboard of Teru’s car. Well, it was really Sae’s car but apparently Teru had borrowed it to pick them up while Sae had taken the train to work. She was originally going to come with Teru and Makoto to pick him and Akira up but apparently she had gotten occupied with her job and was unable to come with them. Teru had passed along her sincere apologies though, and Ryuji believed them. Sae had been really nice to them lately so there was no way she’d mean this maliciously.

Akira and Makoto were sitting in the back, catching up and seemingly completely caught up in each other and while it made Ryuji happy that Akira was able to catch up with his best friend, it also made him feel a little lonely. It was like they had completely forgotten he existed. He supposed part of that was Teru’s fault though, who he supposed had more or less become his best friend at this point, considering he was more or less ignoring him causing Ryuji to feel like he was alone.

“I didn’t know you could drive a car…” Ryuji said, trying to start some kind of conversation with Teru for what felt like the millionth time, hoping that he would respond this time.

The older guy turned towards him with raised eyebrows, muttering something Ryuji couldn’t quite hear, before he turned back to keep his eyes on the road.

“What was that? Sorry you were whispering and I couldn’t hear you,” Ryuji said as he jokingly poked Teru’s side, causing the older man to let out a small yelp before he turned to glare at Ryuji.

“Of course I can drive a car Ryuji, and stop poking me. It’s dangerous,” Teru snarked, sounding a tad annoyed. Ryuji still saw it as a small victory though, at least Teru was talking to him now.

“So…what’s up with you? You’re acting weird,” Ryuji pointed out, knowing he had Teru’s attention now. He seemed to hit the nail on the head too as Teru seemed to sigh before turning towards Ryuji, his eyes looking sad.

“Look, I don’t want to talk about it kid. I’ll deal with it,” he responded before he smiled at Ryuji. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

Ryuji wouldn’t be fooled by that though, Teru’s smile looked incredibly forced and he’d know…Ryuji, and Akira too for that matter, had often forced a similar smile whenever he wanted to cover up his issues. This felt a tad different though, and perhaps it was. Teru was like…9 years older than he was and maybe that meant Ryuji shouldn’t involve himself in his problems, whatever they were. The older man had always looked out for him though, ever since they had met, and Ryuji wanted to help him too even if he didn’t know how. That was what friends did, wasn’t it?

“Just…you can talk to me too you know? If you ever need help/ I mean…I can always talk to you, so you can tell me freakin’ anything too” Ryuji told Teru, who turned towards him once again to reveal he was genuinely smiling this time.

“Thanks kid, I’ll keep it in mind,” he responded before seemingly reverting to his normal upbeat personality. “So tell me ‘bout your trip, did you do trippy things?”

“Why are your puns always so bad?” Ryuji questioned, deciding to ignore the fact that Teru’s personality had completely shifted even if that did worry him slightly.

“They’re not bad! They’re punny!” Teru explained, laughing at his own joke. “But seriously, tell me about the things you’ve been doing the past few days. I’m sure it was more interesting than what I’ve been up to!”

Ryuji smiled before he started to tell Teru about the past couple of days, which honestly had been great. He had really reconnected with Akira and it felt like they were closer than ever. Ryuji actually felt like he was in a good place for once, like he was finally getting somewhere but there was a small part inside of him that knew that wasn’t true…and that scared him...

Teru smiled at Ryuji when he finished telling him about his trip before Ryuji to realized they had already arrived at their destination.

“Time to get out kids! You don’t want to be late for your party!” Teru told them, causing the three of them to look at him in surprise.

“You’re not coming with us?” Makoto asked, being the first to voice her surprise. “Sis is going to come over after she finishes work…”

“I wouldn’t want to impose on you kids…” Teru muttered, looking away from the three of them.

“Nonsense,” Akira spoke before Ryuji could, catching all of them by surprise. It was pretty well-known that Akira wasn’t exactly fond of his former lawyer. “You’re coming to the party Teru. You’re part of our group now and that means you have to take part in our group activities whether you like it or not.”

“I do…?” the older man questioned, causing Makoto to nod at him as Ryuji recollected himself.

“For real, man?! You still have to ask that? You’re coming!” Ryuji yelled causing the sad expression on Teru’s face to fade as it seemed to make place for a bright smile.

“If you guys really want me to be there, who am I to refuse…” he muttered sheepishly as he rubbed the back of his head. “I will just go park Sae’s car then, I’ll see you guys in a bit.”

Teru drove off afterwards, making his way to the parking spots that were behind Leblanc, as Ryuji turned towards Akira, grabbing his arm before he could walk after Makoto to enter the café.

“I’m surprised you told him to come, y’know?” Ryuji pointed out, looking at his boyfriend in confusion. “Everyone knows you aren’t particularly fond of Teru.”

To Ryuji’s surprised Akira chuckled a little before he put his hand on Ryuji’s shoulder.

“He’s your friend, isn’t he? I figured I should at least try to like him…” he pointed out. “Besides, he was there for me when I was in jail. He literally visited me so much that he started to annoy me, always talking about how he’d be the hero who would prevent me from succumbing to my loneliness or something…and boy, does he talk a lot...”

Ryuji couldn’t help but laugh at that. The way Akira explained it made him able to imagine what that conversation, and similar conversations, would’ve looked like and it certainly looked hilarious in his mind. Akira rolling his eyes while Teru desperately tried to cheer him up would be a sight to see.

“There’s also the fact that I may have overheard your conversation before, in the car, and he reminds me of what we used to be like,” Akira added, holding his head in thought.

“So that’s not just me?” Ryuji responded, partially glad that he wasn’t he only one who thought that Teru was being weird.

“It’s not, but that worries me. I think we always thought Teru was some kind of invincible person…but we may be wrong about that,” Akira mused, before signaling Ryuji to be quiet.

“You waited for me?! I’m so touched!”

Ryuji turned around to see an excited Teru run up to them, smiling brightly…and looking as if nothing had happened before. Like the negativity that seemed to surround him earlier had completely disappeared.

“We did, you’re our hero after all,” Akira said, rolling his eyes as Teru clapped his hands together in excitement before the three of them decided to head inside…

Ann Takamaki

Ann was happy that everyone was enjoying the party. She had organized most of it but she didn’t mind that at all. It may be the last time all of them could gather like this and if she could organize a get-together to make that more enjoyable, she would gladly do it. After all, Makoto was only back for the weekend before she was going off to the Police Academy for real. Haru had graduated from Shujin and was going to spend the next year working for Sojiro at Leblanc. Futaba and Yusuke, while still attending high school, were attending Kosei, meaning it was only her, Ryuji and Akira at Shujin. Just like how they started out in the beginning. It had almost been a year since they had become the Phantom Thieves and Ann couldn’t believe how much she and her friends had been through together but part of her was sad that it was all over now. She couldn’t help but wonder if they would still stay close, considering the thing that bound them together was gone now, but she wanted to believe they would.

The former Phantom Thieves weren’t the only ones at the party though, seeing how Sae and Teru had joined them as well. The two of them had been really helpful with the Phantom Thieves' endeavors, Sae being a huge help ever since they had gone through her palace to obtain her treasure and Teru helping them out while Akira was in jail. Honestly, they owed a lot two the both of them.

They had invited Sojiro and Kawakami, considering the two of them had been a huge help as well, to the party as well but the two of them both had “plans”, which made them unable to attend.

Ann chuckled when she thought about the two of them. She had seen them together in town before and she was almost entirely sure they were seeing each other at this point. It made her happy, seeing people fall in love. Even if that was something that seemed to be really hard for her.

Sure, Shiho was back in her life now but stuff was still a bit…weird between them. Besides, she wasn’t even sure if Shiho was into girls…for all Ann knew she might just be into guys and that would mean Shiho would never be able to return her feelings. Not that Ann was even sure what her feelings were at this point because, even if she loved setting other people up and getting them together, love confused her greatly when it involved herself. Shiho had claimed to have a surprise for her though and Ann couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous about that considering Shiho wouldn’t budge at all. Normally Ann could get anything out of her, but Shiho had kept her lips sealed this time around...

“What are you thinking about Ann-chan? Shouldn’t you be having a bit more fun? You organized all of this after all.”

Hearing a voice call her name startled Ann before she realized Haru had walked up to her, looking at her with a bit of concern.

“Right, sorry Haru. I was just thinking…” Ann responded, smiling at the other girl. They had always gotten along but the two of them had gotten real close due to their mutual friendship with Ryuji…and when Ryuji started hanging out with Teru more, the two of them had started to hang out together. They didn’t need Ryuji to have an excuse hang out after all and they both loved similar things. They often went shopping for clothes together and it made Ann happy to have a friend that she could do girl things with. She could never go shopping with Ryuji, that always ended in a disaster.

“Think about what?” Haru asked, sounding curious.

“I’m just a little sad, I guess,” Ann admitted, even if she felt a bit dishonest. “This is probably the last time we’ll be able to spend time together as a group like this…”

It wasn’t necessarily a lie, the fact that this was one of the last time they’d spend with all of them did make Ann sad, but it wasn’t the complete truth either. Her thoughts regarding Shiho were plaguing her mind but she didn’t really want to talk about that with anyone, not until she figured that out on her own…

To her surprise Haru smiled before pulling Ann over to the others.

“We were just talking about that actually, right everyone?” she chimed happily, clapping her hands together and surprising Ann.

“Talking about what?” she asked Haru, not sure about what was going. She had kind of zoned out, so she hadn’t realized everyone had gathered together to discuss something.

“About how we should make a freakin' effort to keep doing things together, of course!” Ryuji said excitedly, answering her question and causing Ann to quickly realize that all of her friends felt the same way she did, everyone wanted to make an effort to keep hanging out as a group and it made her glad that she wasn’t the only one that felt that way.

“Teru had an amazing suggestion too, you should tell everyone man!” Ryuji added, pushing Teru to the middle of the group as the older man rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

“It’s really not that great, but if you kids really wanna hear it…” he muttered, sounding a bit unsure of himself as the others chuckled. Looks like, despite his bravado, he didn’t exactly like being put on the spot like that.

“I’m sure we’re all very interested Teru-san,” Haru smiled as the others nodded in agreement.

“Well, I figured that since there’s multiple events because of Hanami next week we could all go there…We could rent an additional car, so we have two, and me and Sae could drive you kids to whichever one you wanted to go most...” Teru explained, looking a bit awkward. “I mean, it may not be the best idea but I figured you kids may…-“

“I have never been to a Hanami event before…” Futaba interrupted, stars twinkling inside her eyes. “Can we go? Please?”

“I must add that I would also like to go. The aesthetics of the blooming cherry blossom trees are always a great sight to enjoy and it is a sight I enjoy greatly. Perhaps we can go to a yozakura too, the sakura trees are especially beautiful at night…” Yusuke added before going off on a tangent about the symbolism behind Hanami and how beautiful it was.

It seemed like only Futaba and Sae were listening to him, while the others excitedly started to make plans for next week. They all had to agree which event to go to after all.

Ann smiled looking at the scene in front of her, maybe she wouldn’t have to worry about her friends becoming less close. In fact it looked like the opposite was happening. Maybe they would become even closer this year and that idea made Ann really excited. She couldn't wait to see what the rest of this year, her senior year, would have in store for her and her friends. After all, it looked like it was off to a great start…

Chapter Text

Ryuji Sakamato

Ryuji smiled before sitting down at his assigned desk. They had just finished the opening assembly and they were getting ready for their first homeroom. He could actually think “they” now considering he was placed in the same class that Akira and Ann were placed in. It had momentarily surprised him before realizing that Kawakami was their homeroom teacher, causing him to suspect that she had arranged for this to happen. 

He looked over to Akira, who was seated at the desk next to his, and noticed he was smiling at him, making him feel a small burst of happiness. Maybe this would help motivate him with his school work and make class easier, as long as he didn’t get distracted by how hot Akira was, because he would be surrounded by people who he liked and, more importantly, who liked and supported him.

Honestly, school hadn’t started off too bad either, people were no longer calling him out or trying to insult him now that he had gone back to his normal hair color and while the old Ryuji would’ve minded the lack of attention, he no longer did now. As long as the people he cared about gave him attention, he could care less about what other people thought about him and he never thought he'd end up feeling that way.

He had actually been pretty nervous to go back to school, especially after the things that happened last year, but after spending most of the night before talking to Teru, Ann and Haru about it he was no longer nervous. They had come over to talk to him after finding out Ryuji was dreading to go back to school and reassured him that it was no longer going to be bad. They told him, and he knew, that he had really grown and was no longer the same person he was last year and he was glad that for once those words had been correct. He really had come a long way and it seemed like everyone surrounding him was finally able to see that too.

“What about you Sakamato-kun?” Kawakami asked him, snapping him out of his thoughts and causing him to realize she had been talking for a while now.

“About…what?” Ryuji muttered, quickly apologizing for not paying attention. He really had to work on paying attention to class, he did not want to end up failing his senior year after all.

“About what you’re going to do after you finish high school? I was asking everyone if they already decided on what colleges to apply to and what kind of job they would like in the future,” she explained to him, causing Ryuji’s face to go white from shock.

“Sakamoto-kun? Are you okay?”

Ryuji felt like time froze for a moment. What did he want to do after school? He had never really thought about that, he hadn’t been taking school seriously enough to do so and having spent the past year as a Phantom Thief hadn’t really afforded him the time to think about it either. Well, that wasn’t entirely true, Haru and Makoto had both settled on a goal over the past year…and perhaps Ann and Akira had done so as well. He just didn’t want to think about it since it made him feel bad about himself. He pretty much had no goal in his life now that his Phantom Thief career was over and that realization had hit him like a truck and he really hadn't talked about that with anyone.

“I…uh, I don’t know…” he muttered, feeling embarrassed, but to his surprise no one started laughing like he expected they would.

“That’s fine, but that is something you really have to think about. Perhaps you can come by my office later and we can talk about it?” Kawakami offered, smiling kindly at him before asking another student about his plans for the future.

Ryuji decided to pay attention for now, maybe hearing about the rest of his classmates’ dreams would help him too. He wasn’t sure how to feel when both Ann and Akira were able to answer Miss Kawakami’s question with ease. Ann revealing she wanted to go into fashion design after she graduates high school, which was something she had always been passionate about. She was a part-time model after all. Meanwhile Akira revealed he was thinking about studying psychology once he finished school, which made sense to Ryuji. Akira had often talked about wanting to help people through their problems, and he was certainly perceptive enough to pull it off. Always able to perceive when people were dealing with problems and offering to help them out.

Ryuji envied them, despite everything they had gone through Akira and Ann had some sort of goal in their life…and here he was, unable to think of what he wanted to do once he finished school. Maybe he should talk to his friends about this, he knew he had promised them he would, but he was afraid they would laugh at him and call him silly…

He felt his phone buzz in pants’ pocket at that moment, and he couldn’t resist taking a look at who messaged him:  

Teru > Hey kid, how’s your first day going? I finally figured out how to use this text messaging app after you kids forced me to get a new phone. I still don’t get why my flip phone wasn’t good enough…

Despite the fact he had felt pretty anxious the message made Ryuji smile, thinking back to when he and his friends found out that Teru didn’t have a smartphone. Futaba had looked at him in complete shock for a couple of minutes before insisting he needed to get a new phone as soon as possible, something which the other former Phantom Thieves, and Sae for that matter, agreed to. Teru had tried to protest at first but Futaba had pretty much forced him to go to Akihabara with her, Sae and Yusuke, returning with a brand new phone that he didn’t know how to use after a couple of hours had passed. Futaba had confiscated his old phone too, after getting Sae’s permission to do so, to force him to use his new one.  

Ryuji > it’s ok I guess. just school like usual.

Ryuji put his phone away after responding despite feeling it buzz moments later, he should actually try and pay attention to class and he wasn't Teru supposed to have a job like a responsible adult anyway? Instead he seemed to be available all the time…and that sometimes annoyed Ryuji a little, even if he didn’t quite understand why. Then again, wasn’t that what best friends did, annoying each other for no reason?

Ryuji was snapped out of his thoughts once again when he heard someone knock on their classroom’s door, revealing a familiar face standing in the doorway when it opened. Seeing that particular girl caught him by surprise before he looked over at Ann in worry…And based on the look on her face, she certainly hadn’t been expecting this either…

Ann Takamaki

Ann couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw Shiho standing in the doorway. Didn’t she transfer to another school last year? Didn’t she say she couldn’t bear being around Shujin anymore? Why was she here? Why did she come back?

“Ah, Suzui-chan, I’m glad you were able to get here on time,” Miss Kawakami said before turning to the rest of the class. “Everyone, I’m sure you already know her, but Suzui-chan has decided to transfer back to Shujin Academy and she’ll join our class for the rest of the year. Please give her a warm welcome.”

Shiho made her way to the front of the classroom to introduce herself after Kawakami had introduced her to do so, telling them about how she wanted to spend senior year with her friends and how she was glad to be back, before making her way over to the empty desk next to Ann, smiling brightly the moment she made eye contact with her.

Ann smiled back, feeling her heart beat rapidly inside her chest, despite the fact that her mind was filled with a million questions. Why hadn’t Shiho told her about this? Why were her hands suddenly feeling clammy? Why was her heart feeling like it wanted to jump out of her throat? Is this what falling for someone felt like? Or had she already fallen for her? Because if she did Ann certainly wasn’t enjoying everything that came with that. She had so many questions for Shiho, but she quickly realized she would have to wait until her class ended, especially since Shiho hadn’t told her about it and the fact that she had to wait until their lunch break to get answers was killing her.

After what felt like an eternity class finally ended, causing Ann to let out a sigh of relief before noticing Shiho was looking at her like she wanted to ask her something. “Want to get lunch together Ann-chan? We can eat it in the courtyard like we used to do,” Shiho asked, sounding a bit shy, surprising Ann a little because Shiho was generally quite upfront with her. She noticed that Ryuji and Akira were waiting for her too, but she signaled them that it was okay for them to have lunch without her. She really wanted to talk to Shiho right now, and while she was sure her friends wouldn’t mind it if she brought Shiho with her this was something she needed to do on her own.

“Sure,” Ann smiled, causing Shiho to smile back as she excitedly grabbed her back before she pulled Ann’s arm to make their way to the courtyard together. It reminded Ann of how life used to be, before Kamoshida, before Shiho’s…accident, but she also knew that a lot of things had changed since then and even though she was no longer a Phantom Thief, the experience had changed her forever.

No one seemed to really pay attention to the two of them making their way to the courtyard, sitting down in their old spot once they had reached their destination.

“I missed this so much,” Shiho said, smiling at Ann. “Did you do too?”

Shiho’s smile made Ann feel weak, she suddenly felt vulnerable, like Shiho could see through her completely and she did not like it. It reminded her of how she was let down in the past, by her parents…even by her friends, by everyone who she had ever loved. Whenever she allowed herself to be vulnerable, she always got hurt and Ann was not ready to let that happen again, momentarily wondering if she ever was before realizing Shiho was still waiting for her answer.

“I missed you…” Ann muttered, looking away a little.

“But…?” Shiho clarified. Her voice sounded so understanding…as if she already knew what Ann was going to say.

“I just didn’t expect you to come back here. You didn’t say anything…and for you to show up out of the blue really threw me off…I like that you’re back Shiho, I really do, but why didn’t you say anything?” Ann admitted before slamming her hand over her mouth in shock, she had not meant to say that. Well she had, just not like that. She would’ve phrased it more carefully if she had thought about it beforehand.

Ann could swear she could see a look for sadness flash across Shiho’s face, momentarily making her look like the downtrodden girl from the year before, before it changed back to a more happy expression as she grabbed Ann’s hand.

“I’m sorry Ann-chan. I should’ve told you. I just wanted to surprise you.”

Shiho sounded incredibly sincere and Ann knew the apology was genuine but part of her was still bothered by all of this and she didn’t quite understand why.

“Don’t worry about it Shiho, it’s just that…” Ann said, before Shiho held up her hand to cut Ann off.

“But you built up a life here while I was gone. You’ve got new friends to hang out with and you don’t just want to throw all of that away, right?”

“I mean it’s not…” Ann stammered, taken aback by the fact that Shiho was pretty much saying what she felt deep down. She liked that Shiho was back…but she wasn’t sure how to fit her into her school life anymore. She figured they could see each other outside of school, especially since the Phantom Thieves were over, and she hadn’t expect to be confronted like this.

“It’s fine Ann-chan, I get it…I should have told you, I’m sorry,” Shiho said before she stood up and turned around, Ann grabbing her arm before she could run away.

“Shiho wait…” Ann muttered. “Don’t go…I do want you around too! I just don’t know how to combine the two.”

“I realized that…” Shiho whispered. “So I’m making the choice for you. Transferring back was a mistake…”

“Don’t say that! I’m sure we can make it work…” Ann pleaded. “Don’t go Shiho, please…”

Shiho turned around, tears in her eyes, as she nodded at Ann.

“I’d like that Ann-chan…”

Ann pulled Shiho close, repeating her own words in her head over and over again. They would make their friendship work again…even if, deep down, Ann had no idea how...and...there was also the fact that she wanted to be more than just friends too...

“Do you think you’d like to eat lunch with me and my friends?” Ann suggested, figuring she should at least try and suggest something.

“You mean Ryuji and that other guy? What was his name again, Akira?” Shiho asked, causing Ann to nod. “Do you think they’d like me?”

“I’m sure they will, don’t worry about it!” Ann said confidently as she sighed in relief, maybe this didn’t have to be incredibly hard after all…

Yusuke Kitagawa

Yusuke glanced down at Futaba in worry. She was holding his hand tightly, but other than that it seemed like she was alright so far. It was her first day at Kosei and Yusuke had decided to pick her up in the morning so they could to school together. He had forgotten how expensive the train fare was, especially since he lived at Kosei so he didn’t have to take a train very often, but seeing the smile on his girlfriend’s face when he stood in the doorway had made that all worth it.

Sojiro had insisted he’d take his daughter to school, something Futaba had constantly resisted, but he seemed to finally relent once Yusuke had offered to come pick her up instead.

It was still really weird for him to think of Futaba as his girlfriend, he had honestly never really thought about love before he met her, but it felt good. She made him feel good…and she honestly had ever since the day they met. “Inari”, the name she used to call him, went from an insult to a pet name and he had grown really fond of it…and fond of her as well.

They were currently at the opening assembly, their principal rambling on about the history of Kosei, while Futaba seemed to look around. Was she looking for someone?

“Are you okay Futaba? You seem shifty…” Yusuke whispered, a slightly concerned tone lacing his voice.

“I’m just looking for Kana-chan, I thought she’d be here…” Futaba answered, looking up at him momentarily before resuming what she called her “scan of the premises”.

The way Futaba always came up with videogame related terms was another thing Yusuke adored about her. He honestly wasn’t really into playing games himself, he’d rather leave that to the Ryuji among others, but he liked how much joy it gave Futaba and he didn’t mind watching her play while he was sketching.

“Do you want me to help look for her?” Yusuke offered, knowing how important the other girl was to Futaba. Honestly, he had never met her before but based on the stories Futaba had told him he knew that they used to be close friends. It would certainly put his mind at ease too, if they’d manage to find Kana before the opening assembly ended, because that way he could leave Futaba with her and he’d be certain she wouldn’t be alone.

“Futaba-chan?” Yusuke looked around to see a girl with brown hair in braided pigtails walk up to them. “I’m so glad I finally found you!”

Yusuke looked at Futaba, who smiled brightly, before realizing that this girl must be Kana.

“Kana-chan! I’m so glad you’re here. I was afraid I was going to have to embark on this quest alone…” Futaba said happily before Kana gave her a hug, smiling.

“Of course not, we’re going to take this one on together!”

Yusuke couldn’t help but feel a little jealous, he never really had friends before he had met the Phantom Thieves although to be quite fair he hadn’t particularly cared for it either.

“Is this the boyfriend you told me about?” Kana inquired after letting go of Futaba as she seemed to start examining Yusuke.

“Yes, this is Inari!” Futaba answered proudly.

“Inari?” Kana asked, looking confused. “That is a really weird name…”

“I’m Yusuke, Yusuke Kitagawa. It’s nice to meet you Kana,” Yusuke pointed out, interrupting their conversation as he held out his hand to Kana.

She shook his hand, smiling. “I see, so your name isn’t Inari then?”

“My name isn’t Inari,” Yusuke confirmed quickly. As much as he liked the nickname, he did not need someone else calling him Inari too. Especially since Kana would probably stick around for a while.

The opening assembly ended a bit after Futaba had reunited with Kana, causing Yusuke to realize it was time for them to part ways. They agreed to meet up for lunch before Yusuke headed to Minami’s classroom. They were going to discuss the painting he was going to submit for the art scholarship.

“Yusuke-kun, did you bring what I asked?” Minami asked when he entered the classroom. She had changed her look quite a bit since Yusuke last saw her. Her long brown hair was now braided and she wore a pair of reading glasses, making her look a lot older.

“I did Minami-san, you wanted me to bring my best sketches, correct?” Yusuke replied, causing Minami to nod before gesturing him to take a seat at her desk. She had e-mailed him during his break about whether he had managed to decide on a painting to submit yet, especially since the deadline for that was looming, but when he told her he hadn’t she had insisted he'd bring his sketchbook with him the day school started back up because she had an idea.

“Do you know why I wanted you to bring them?” Minami asked after he had made his way over to her desk, seating himself across from her.

“I’m not sure…” Yusuke confessed, and he honestly didn’t. There were only 3 weeks left to submit anything and it would probably be for the best if he just submitted one of the paintings he had worked on last year.

Minami sighed before she took the sketchbook Yusuke had brought with him. “Can you tell me which one you’re the most passionate about?”

“Oh! Right away!” Yusuke exclaimed enthusiastically, catching both him and Minori by surprise as he took his sketchbook back from her to show her the sketch he was most excited about.

It was a drawing he had made right after he and Futaba had started dating, showing her as a strong Egyptian queen looking over a desert filled with pyramids.

“It’s…beautiful, when did you draw this?” Minami wondered, causing Yusuke to tell her that it had been in his sketchbook for a couple of months now.

“Is she an important person in your life?” Minami then asked, making Yusuke blush as he quietly nodded. “You should ask her for permission then.”

“Permission for what?” Yusuke wondered, unsure what Minami was getting at.

“To turn this into your entry piece, because I think we’ve just found the winning painting. It radiates passion and you can see you really love this girl. I feel that if the judges see that, they’ll give you the scholarship for sure,” Minami explained with a soft smile.

Yusuke just nodded, unsure how to respond. Was Minami right? Would this painting be enough…and how would he even ask Futaba about this?

He sighed, he certainly had a lot to think about now as he prayed that nothing else was going to occupy his mind anytime soon…

Chapter Text

Akira Kurusu

Something had felt off to Akira all day but he hadn’t been able to figure out what it was until Ryuji asked him a certain question while they were eating lunch together: “I wonder what happened to Mishima…Normally he hangs around us, doesn’t he?”

And Ryuji had been correct, Mishima had been missing all day. At first Akira thought that maybe the guy was avoiding him and Ryuji. They probably deserved as much, having more or less neglected him after Akira had gone to jail, and honestly even before that. He had in a way outlived his use to them, with the Metaverse being gone, and neither Akira, Ryuji nor any of their friends had bothered to stay in touch with him. Honestly, the more Akira thought about how he and his friends had treated Mishima, the guiltier he felt about it. They had more or less just used him for information…and that was wrong. He would apologize for that the next time he saw him and perhaps he would try and become genuine friends with him, instead of using the fact that Mishima idolized him and the other Phantom Thieves meaning they could pretty much get away with anything.

Except that that seemed to be harder than he expected. The day was almost over and there had been no sign of Mishima whatsoever. He hadn’t seen him in school, which, despite technically being possible due to students being mixed to create new groups, seemed weird to him. 

“Earth to Akira, hello?” Ryuji asked, waving his hand in front of his face after their final class ended.

“Huh?” Akira responded, being pulled out of his thoughts by Ryuji’s statement.

“Dude, you were like, totally spacing out! I’ve been trying to talk to you for about 5 minutes now,” Ryuji pouted, causing Akira to let out a sigh before he started putting the things on his desk in his bag.

“Sorry, I’ve just been thinking a lot,” Akira explained, causing Ryuji to raise his eyebrows before he looked at him with a confused look.

“About what? Even I understood the things they explained in class today…” Ryuji wondered before a smile showed up on his face. “Does that mean I get to tutor you for once?”

“It’s not about class Ryuji…” Akira sighed causing the smile on Ryuji’s face to fade, only to make place for a worried expression.

“What's it about then?” he asked, sounding concerned. “It’s nothing bad is it?”

“It’s just…Mishima. I know we’ve been poor friends to him but it seems like he’s completely disappeared. Isn’t that odd?” Akira pondered, causing Ryuji to let down a sigh as he let himself drop in the seat in front of Akira.

“I guess it’s kinda weird but honestly maybe he just doesn’t really want to talk to us now that we’re no longer, ya know, Phantom Thieves,” Ryuji stated, whispering the last bit which made Akira a little proud. Seemed like Ryuji had finally learnt how to be discreet. “But why don’t you ask Kawakami if it bothers you so much?”

Akira thought for a moment, maybe Ryuji was right, he could just ask Kawakami about Mishima. That would certainly solve this mystery. Another part of him felt like this was none of his business though, if Mishima was avoiding him and the others, would it be wrong for him to just…go after him like this?

After mulling it over he told Ryuji he would check up on him later before making his way to the counselor’s office, hoping Kawakami would be there. He figured he could always head to the teacher’s lounge if he couldn’t find her, but he’d rather not ask the other teachers about her. Kawakami had told him about their lack of support while he was in prison, and while he understood it, it also made him dislike most of them.

When he finished making his way over to the office he knocked on the door, hearing Kawakami’s voice telling him to come in moments after.

“Akira-kun? What is it? Is everything alright?” Kawakami asked when she saw him standing in the doorway, motioning him to close the door behind him before he made his way over and sat down across from her.

“I’m fine, there's just something that's been bothering me and I was wondering if you could help me out?” Akira said quickly, dismissing his own well-being. Prison had honestly damaged him, a lot, but he wasn’t ready to talk about that with Kawakami…or anyone else for that matter and he wondered if he ever could.

Kawakami sighed, rolling her eyes as she looked like she was about to say something before she seemed to relax and dismiss whatever point she wanted to make.

“What do you need help with?”

“I was wondering about Mishima…He’s no longer part of our class and I didn’t see him around school today either, is he alright?” Akira asked, causing Kawakami to blink a couple of times before she shook her head.

“You know I can’t divulge that information to you, right?” she questioned, raising her eyebrows.

“It’s just…he knows about, well, us…” Akira explained, sending a knowing look that caused Kawakami to immediately understand what was going on as she turned on the computer.

“I see, well I can check his records…I was honestly a bit surprised when I found out he wasn’t in my class anymore…” she mused as she waited for the computer to boot. “So what about you? How is your first day back at Shujin going for you?”

“It’s been alright, really. I’m just glad I managed to still start my senior year after everything that happened,” Akira responded and that was true. After all the time he had spent time in prison, he had wondered if he would have even been allowed to pass to his senior year year but to his surprise, there had been no problems at all.

“Well, you had amazing grades so there was no reason to hold you back. Besides, I may have pulled a few strings,” Kawakami smiled, giving him a small wink, before she turned to her computer.

“It says here…wait, that’s weird…” she muttered, clearly shocked by what she saw on her screen.

“What is it?” Akira asked, feeling a tad worried. Was something wrong with Mishima?

“It says here that he transferred to the Olympian Academy, but I’ve never heard of that school before…” Kawakami explained, furrowing her brow as she seemed to try and look something up on her computer. “I know every school in Tokyo and I swear that this one shouldn’t exist…”

Hearing those words somehow worried Akira even more. He knew he hadn’t been that close with Mishima, well ever, but he expected to at least get a text about something as big as transferring school.

“Hmm, it says they opened last year and it’s a school for particularly gifted students. Apparently they’re sponsored by a company called the Olympian Corporation…” Kawakami mused, pretty much reading along to the words that popped up on her screen. “I guess I must’ve missed it because of all the Phantom Thief business…”

“The Olympian Corporation…?” Akira repeated. He knew he had seen advertisements for it around town over the past few weeks but they hadn't seemed noteworthy.

“Apparently they’re a really big multinational that’s been around for years,” Kawakami explained although she didn’t seem convinced. “It’s really weird though because even though everyone acts like they've always been there, I swear it didn’t show up until a few months ago…Right after you guys stopped being Phantom Thieves actually…”

“So Mishima just changed schools?” Akira clarified causing Kawakami to nod.

“I guess so, I still find it a bit odd that I didn’t know but I guess I was so wrapped up in helping you get out of prison that it must have slipped my mind…” Kawakami answered, seemingly trying to reassure Akira…and herself, for that matter. “I’m sure he’s fine, don’t worry about it Akira-kun.”

Akira nodded, excusing himself after Kawakami told him she had to get back to her work. She had certainly given him a lot to think about. So Mishima had transferred schools and said school was sponsored by a huge company that he, nor Kawakami, had ever heard of? That seemed weirdly convenient but perhaps he was just imagining things.

He decided to shrug it off for now although maybe he should try and contact Mishima to see what was up.

Deep down though, he couldn’t help but feel a terrible feeling down in his gut…like something big was about to happen and he couldn’t quite shake that feeling off as he decided to head home for the day…

Futaba Sakura

“Your boyfriend is so cool Futaba-chan,” Kana chirped excitedly, causing Futaba to blush. She was not used to someone talking to her about Yusuke. They had just finished having lunch with him and while it was enjoyable, Futaba had felt like something was off about him. Like he wanted to ask her something but couldn’t quite work up the nerve to do it. Maybe it was because Kana was there though, so she resolved that she would ask him once they had some time alone.

This questline seemed to be going smoothly though, going back to school was a lot easier than she had expected and now that she had found a party member things were proceeding along smoothly. She certainly had expected it to be way worse, remembering how anxious she was the day before it started. She wasn’t the only one nervous about it either, she knew Sojiro was too…and even Yusuke and Akira had seemed worried about her.

She sighed, thinking back about how Sojiro had explained to her how he was going to hire help with Leblanc so he could support her actively during her journey back to school. He wanted to make sure he was home whenever she got home, so that she would have someone to talk to if she needed it. She suspected he also wanted to work a bit less, he had been working an awful lot over the past few years and it seemed like he was doing decently money-wise. Luckily she liked the help he had hired too, one of them being Haru, who she would always talk to whenever she was at Leblanc, and the other one being Touma. She wasn’t sure how to feel about him, but he seemed nice enough, even if Haru had told her otherwise, and he made really good curry. Almost as good as Sojiro's...

“I didn’t mean to fluster you…” Kana apologized after a bit, causing Futaba to realize she had accidentally ignored her friend.

“Oh no I’m sorry, I was just thinking!” Futaba responded quickly, causing a smile to return Kana’s face. “We should really hurry to our next class though! It’s our first class involving computers and I’m really excited!”

Kana looked at the clock in the hallway before nodding quickly. “Oh no it’s almost time, we gotta run!” she yelled, grabbing Futaba’s arm as they hurried to make their way to their classroom in time causing Futaba to smile. She used to hate school but she loved this and she was hoping it would never get more complicated than this.

The class however, wasn’t as exciting as Futaba had expected. It was really easy, like ridiculously easy. This was like a tutorial quest while she was already at the programming endgame and it made her feel disappointed for the first time today. They had been paired up into groups, after an hour-long introduction that felt like a century, for the rest of the year to work on creating different applications throughout the year. It pretty much came down to one application each semester but they were all ridiculously easy. Futaba could put all of them together in like, 2 days.

Still, Kana and the other girl in their group, a girl with long blonde curly hair named Hitomi Kanade, seemed really excited to start working on it and Futaba didn’t want to ruin their fun. She didn’t like having to pretend to be clueless though…especially since she knew exactly how to make all of these and she didn’t want to look like she was stupid or unintelligent. She was proud of her intelligence and part of her really wanted to show that off. Shouldn’t one show off the parts of themselves that they’re the most proud of?

“I’m so excited to start working together with you two!” Hitomi said excitedly after she had joined Futaba and Kana at their desk.

“I am too, I’m sure we’ll all be great friends, right Futaba-chan?” Kana responded before turning towards Futaba with an expectant look on her face.

Futaba just nodded, she wasn’t sure how to feel about this new girl…She never liked knew people but maybe Hitomi wasn’t too bad, she seemed nice at the very least.

“Are you not using the school-issued computer Sakura-san?” Futaba heard a voice say to her from behind. “That is highly irregular…”

She turned around to see her teacher standing behind her. He was looking at her disapprovingly but Futaba had an answer prepared for this, an answer that would be sure to win his approval.

“I mean no offense sir but I’m sure that my custom-made Futabatop-3000 would be better than a school-issued computer. I put it together myself and it’s filled with the most high-end top of the line technology one could get their hands on. I am very sure that I can use it for any of my upcoming school projects,” Futaba explained proudly, both Hitomi and Kana looking at her in awe. During her speech Futaba did take a moment to look around though, noticing that all of the other students were using a laptop model that she had never seen before. It had a weird symbol on it, an “O’ and a “C” intertwined, which she assumed as the company logo for whatever company the laptops originated from.

“Are you sure Sakura-san? These laptops there were kindly provided by Kosei’s newest sponsor are said to be very powerful computers,” her teacher argued back. “But if you’re sure, then I suppose I can let it slide for now. Can I trust you to get one of your school-issued laptops if our assignments become too much for your personal one?”

Futaba nodded before the teacher moved away to check on a different group.

“I don’t like him, my laptop is probably way better than these school-issued laptops…” Futaba muttered under a breath, causing both Kana and Hitomi to smile at her in supportively.

“I mean, I can show you the specifications. I do think I got them somewhere in my bag,” Hitomi offered before she starting rustling through her bag, trying to find the document which she pulled out moments later before handing it to Futaba.

Futaba grabbed it immediately, her face going white with shock as she was reading through the pages.

“This…this isn’t possible…” she whispered. “This has to be some kind of mistake…”

“What is a mistake Futaba-chan?” Kana asked as both her and Hitomi looked at Futaba in confusion.

Futaba didn’t pay attention to them anymore though, her brain trying to make sense of the specifications she had just read. If there was one thing Futaba knew a lot about, it was computers and how they worked and that’s why she knew that this was not possible. Not even desktops could be this powerful, let alone a laptop, and why would a company even offer laptops like this to a school, of all places? These laptops, ignoring the fact that they should be impossible to manufacture, would cost a fortune but this “Olympian Corporation”, was handing them out like they’re candy. What was this corporation anyways, she had never heard of them before seeing the name on the spec file, and yet…they were able to create something this powerful? She would have known about their existence and it was really weird that she had never heard of them before.

“Can we work on the assignment now, I really wanna pass it,” Hitomi asked, snapping Futaba out of her thought as she nodded. She supposed she could spare about 40% of her brain capacity helping Hitomi and Kana out, she honestly wouldn’t need more. The rest of her brain could keep trying to solve this puzzle since one thing was for sure, there was something fishy going on with this Olympian Corporation. No company should be able to make laptops like this, it was just not possible, and Futaba, Futaba was going to get to the bottom of why they were able to as she realized high school was going to be just a side quest, with easy objectives, after all. This, this was going to be her main quest and she may even need to reunite the Phantom Thieves to get help with her investigation…

Mysterious Man

“This was all the information Aphrodite was able to gather from the boy?” the man asked as he looked over the files that were handed to him. So these were the former Phantom Thieves, Akira Kurusu, Ryuji Sakamato, Ann Takamaki, Yusuke Kitagawa, Makoto Niijima, Futaba Sakura and Haru Okumura.

“That is correct,” his secretary told him. “And the boy is completely controlled by her, there is no way he would ever attempt to break free or contact them.”

“That’s good, you can go now,” the man responded, dismissing his secretary. He hated having to use human pawns. Humans were filthy and clueless, this one didn’t even realize he was being mind-controlled himself, and he despised them. They had banished him and his fellow gods from this world and for that they needed to pay the price.

“Perhaps it’s time to eliminate them before they come a problem…” the man mused quietly. He knew the Phantom Thieves had been neutralized for now, but he couldn’t exactly let the 7 of them roam free, now could he? Especially seeing how them being part of his undoing had been prophesied by Delphi. Furthermore, by neutralizing them he could also ensure the final 3, especially the final one, would never awaken, eliminating them before they would even become a problem.

He smiled maliciously. Everything was going according to plan. Ares was almost done preparing his army and that’s when the games could truly begin, and he for one was going to enjoy every second of it…

Chapter Text

Makoto Niijima

“Are you sure you’re not staying this weekend Mako-chan?” Erika pouted when she saw Makoto packing her suitcase. “This is the second weekend in a row…”

“I’m sorry Erika, I promised my friends I’d go to Hanami with them but I promise to hang out with you and Masaru soon,” Makoto answered after shaking her head in response to Erika's question.

Part of her did feel bad about leaving for the second weekend in a row. Both Erika and Masaru had put a lot of effort into getting to know her, and each other, and here she was, leaving every weekend to spend time with her high school friends. To be fair, they were more than just “high school friends” after everything they had been through together but still, she should probably invest in the people she would spent all her time at the police academy around.

“We better! You’ve been missing out!” she said cheerfully, her face reverting back to a smile. “Do you need any help packing? I got nothing better to do and at least we can chat that way!”

“I mean, I am almost done but thanks for offering,” Makoto replied with a smile before she closed up her suitcase. She had packed everything she needed for a three-day trip back home. She was staying with her sister and she had to admit that it was something she was kind of excited about. She hadn’t been able to spent time alone with her at all last weekend, Teru constantly hovering around the apartment as well, but hopefully they would be able to spend some time with just the two of them this time around.

Makoto was about to say something to Erika when her phone buzzed, revealing that Sae and the others were already waiting for her at the entrance.

“Was that your sister?” Erika inquired, causing Makoto to nod at her before Erika clapped her hands together. “We have to get going then! Shall I help carry your things?”

“It’s just a suitcase and a bag Erika…” Makoto tried, but Erika had already grabbed Makoto’s bag and was walking towards to door. Makoto quickly threw on her coat before grabbing her suitcase as she headed after Erika. “Shouldn’t you put on a coat before you head outside?”

“I’m just walking with you to your sister’s car, I’ll be fine!” Erika said cheerfully before heading outside, barely giving Makoto a chance to say her goodbyes to Masaru before quickly hurrying after redhead. Erika really was full of energy and that was definitely something Makoto would have to get used to…

“Who was your spunky redheaded friend?” Sae asked after explaining to Makoto that they were going to head straight to Dome Town for Hanami instead of going back home first. Futaba, Yusuke and, to Makoto’s surprise, Akira were sitting in the back of the car, all of them eager to hear an answer from Makoto as well. And so she answered, telling them about Erika and how she was placed in a squad with her and Masaru. She hadn’t really told any of them about her experiences at the police academy so it was nice she was able to do so now.

“I am wondering about one thing though, why are you here Akira? Wouldn’t you want to be in the same car as Ryuji?” Makoto asked after she finished telling them about how the last 2 weeks had treated her.

“I don’t really mind. Besides I see Ryuji all week while I rarely get to see you, so it’s all good!” he answered with a smile, reminding Makoto that he was still her best friend. She had been dreading that moving away would damage their friendship but it seemed like she had been overly paranoid. They pretty much texted each other every day, telling one another about their days and while they couldn’t see each other as much anymore Makoto still felt really close to him.

“Speaking of the others, where did they go? Wasn’t their car right behind us?” Futaba asked, causing the others to look backwards as well.

Makoto turned around as well, causing her to realize that Futaba was indeed right. The red car that had been waiting behind Sae’s when she was picking her up had seemingly disappeared right as they got close to Dome Town.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait for them at the entrance,” Sae sighed as he took the final turn before they reached their destination.

“I’m sure they’re fine right, sis? Don’t they have Teru with them and he’s like the oldest out of all of us,” Makoto pointed out, not sure why her sister sounded slightly worried.

“That is exactly what I’m worried about…” her sister responded, causing Makoto to feel worried as well before she locked eyes with Akira.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine! Ryuji is with them too,” Akira pointed out, trying to lift the worried mood that was hanging over them before his face twisted a little before he sighed. “Wait that may actually make things worse…”

“Haru and Ann are there too, I’m sure they’ll be able to control those two…” Yusuke pointed out, something which Futaba quickly confirmed as Sae parked their car in the parking lot before they got out and made their way over to the entrance. Makoto couldn’t help but feel a small feeling of dread to well up inside of her though. The others were fine right? They had to be…

Haru Okumura

“Sir, could you please get out of the car?”

Haru couldn’t believe what was happening as she saw a frustrated Teru get out of their car. They had been pulled over to the side by a police car for a reason she, and the rest of them, didn’t quite understand. Teru had been driving safely so all of this didn’t make sense to her.

“What the hell is happening, do you think we’re all screwed?” Ryuji asked loudly, causing both Ann and Haru to shush him as they tried to hear the conversation that was going on outside.

“I told you, I borrowed to car. I’ve shown you my license. I’ve done nothing illegal so could you please allow me to continue my journey?” Teru asked, holding his driver’s license in his hand.

“We’ve gotten a report that this car was stolen and you know that we can’t just ignore a crime like that, right?” the police man argued back as he signaled for his partner to make his way over to Teru as well. That made no sense to Haru. The car they were in belong to her late father’s company and she had arranged for it to be available today. It should not have been reported stolen, that was really fishy.

“I know my rights, I’m a lawyer. I’ve done nothing illegal and you can’t do anything unless you have concrete proof,” Teru explained, sounding very frustrated, which seemed to piss the police officers off.

“Could you please turn around sir,” the police man asked, grabbing Teru’s arm to forcefully turn him around when he refused to do so.

“Hey! Let go off me!” Teru yelled, causing the police man’s partner to help restrain him.

“We have to get out to help him!” Ryuji yelped as he undid his seat belt, causing Haru to signal Ann to hold Ryuji back as he undid her own seat belt to get out of the car. Knowing Ryuji, he would start to try and fight the cops which would make matters way worse and that would not help any of them right now. No what was needed now was diplomacy and Haru realized that she was probably the only one who had any chance at succeeding.

“Excuse me, sir?” Haru said, facing the two police men who were trying to restrain Teru, as she cleared her throat. “I am afraid there has been a misunderstanding.”

“Please head back into the car little girl while we take this man to the station with us for questioning,” the police man responded, not even bothering to take a look at Haru, but she would not have any of it as she slammed her hand against the side of the car, causing both Teru and the officers to look up at her.

“I said there has been a mistake,” she repeated sharply. “This car belongs to my late father’s company and I have arranged us to be able to borrow it today. If you would like, I could call the CEO right now and have him come over here to explain this all to you in person. I am quite sure that the head of Okumura Foods has better things to do with his time though and I would hate for them to cut their sponsorship to the police force.”

She glared at the officers once she had finished her speech, hoping they wouldn’t see through her bluff. She honestly doubted that Mr. Takakura would come over here, especially after she more or less cut ties with the company, but these officers did not have to know that and her plan seemed to be working as they had let go of Teru and were whispering nervously to one another.

“I…think recognize her from the newspaper?” she could hear one of them say.

“Yeah…Isn’t she like this daughter?”

“Wait does that mean we could screw over the entire force…?”

Hearing them talk like that caused Haru to realize that now it was time to deliver the final blow as she cleared her throat once more.

“Of course, gentlemen, no one has to know if you release my friend over there and allow us to make our way over to our destination,” she stated, putting as much force behind her voice as she could.

The officers looked at each other for a moment before nodding, muttering a quick apology to Teru before they made their way back to their own car as Teru and Haru made their way back inside their own.

Haru couldn’t help but laugh at the sight she saw when she opened the door.

“Let me go Ann, let me at them!” Ryuji yelled, struggling to remove Ann’s arms that were surrounding him.

“No Ryuji, you can’t beat up the cops…oh, they’re back…” Ann said, quickly letting go off Ryuji as she seemed to straighten herself before leaning back in her seat. “What happened out there?”

“It seems like they thought we stole this car,” Teru said, sounding frustrated, as he started the car back up. “If it wasn’t for Haru, they would’ve probably taken me in for questioning so I really owe her one. Thank you.”

“It…it was nothing,” Haru muttered, blushing from the attention she suddenly got, especially once both Ryuji and Ann thanked her as well.

“I have to admit I was a bit surprised though, you’re such a sweet and soft-spoken girl, to see you stand up to those officers…That takes real guts!” Teru added, sounding genuinely surprised before he focused on the road again as he started talking with Ryuji.

“So what did you do?” Ann asked, causing Haru to tell her about the confrontation between her and the police officers. The other girl’s eyes going wide from shock after Haru had finished telling her story.

“Wow, I knew you had it in you but damn, that’s impressive Haru!”

“I-it’s really nothing Ann-chan. I just had to help Teru-san and those officers were being unfair to him! Accusing him of something he didn’t do. I couldn’t just stand there and do nothing…” Haru responded, still sounding a bit flustered.

“How about you apply that logic to your own issue?” Ann suggested, causing Haru to look at her in surprise before realizing she was talking about her problems with Touma. “I mean, you feel like he’s treating you unfairly right? Why don’t you call him out on it like you called those officers out?”

“Touma-kun’s my senpai, I shouldn’t disrespect him,” Haru answered, but she deep down she knew that Ann had a point. Touma was treating her exactly like how those police officers were treating Teru and if she was being honest, she was quite sick of it.

He didn’t have to be rude to her all the time. She was good at brewing coffee and she had even convinced Sojiro to let her add some of her home-made salads to Leblanc’s menu. Sure her salads weren’t as popular as Touma’s curry, yet, but they were good and she had gotten a lot of compliments from the customers that had tried them.

“I still think you should stand up to him, you clearly have it in you!” Ann stated resolutely before putting her hand on Haru’s shoulder as she smiled at her. “Just do it when you’re ready.”

And Haru, Haru decided that she would. She would stand up to Touma, as soon as she mustered up to courage to do so anyways…

Teru Tendo

Teru breathed out a sigh of relief when he finally managed to get his group to Dome Town, parking the borrowed car before he and the others got out. They had somehow managed to get here unscathed, even if they were way later than he had anticipated.

“Do I even want to know what happened to you guys?” Sae asked the moment Teru’s group rejoined hers, pointing out that her group had been waiting at the entrance for a little less than an hour. They all seemed pretty worried too, causing Teru to feel a bit guilty, especially since he was pretty much responsible for the entire debacle in the first place. Well, he wasn’t exactly responsible but he felt like he was. He definitely hadn’t made things better at any rate and if it hadn’t been for Haru, he’d probably be in jail right now.

“Can we…not talk about that?” Teru suggested causing Sae to raise an eyebrow at him before pointing out that while he would have to tell her later she would let go off it for now.

They had spent a couple of hours in Dome Town and it had been really fun before Teru, along with Ryuji, found himself carrying the food they had bought for everyone to the spot they had decided to set up as their dinner place. Yusuke had found an empty spot in-between a lot of cherry blossoms trees and after discussing it with the others they had decided to use it to eat dinner. Haru, Sae and Makoto had brought along a couple of picnic blankets which the others were setting up while Teru and Ryuji were in charge of getting food. He had really enjoyed himself this afternoon, he honestly felt like he was living the life he had never been able to live.

“I can’t believe you got even sicker than me on the rollercoaster, man!” Ryuji joked, causing Teru to glare at him. Normally he would’ve grabbed the younger boy, but seeing how he was holding boxes of food now, that was pretty impossible. “The great invincible Teru, bested by a rollercoaster!”

“You got sick too!” Teru retorted and it was true. After they, along with Akira, Makoto, Ann and Haru had gotten off the rollercoaster he and Ryuji had to run for the nearest restroom. Both of them feeling incredibly nauseous. Sae and Futaba had laughed at them before pointing out that that was the exact reason why the two of them hadn’t gone on the rollercoaster with them. Yusuke agreed with Sae and Futaba, before saying the he was sad he couldn’t deal with rollercoasters because he would be able to get a great view of the entire park that way.

“Look there’s the food!” Yusuke said excitedly once Ryuji and Teru had made their way back over to the others. Teru was genuinely surprised by how homely his friends had made their spot look. He figured that it was just going to be a couple of picnic blankets spread out on the ground but the girls had brought along enough pillows for everyone and it ended up looking pretty cozy.

“Looks like you did a great job on getting food at least,” Sae teased as she leaned in to give Teru a peck on his cheek.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Teru responded as a small smile covered his face.

“Your driving skills,” Sae answered before sitting down together with him, resting her head on his shoulder. “I’m glad we get to share this moment together.”

“I’m glad too,” Teru agreed before deciding to try some of the food in front of him as he decided to relax a little, he definitely needed to after the whole police debacle.

It seemed like the others were also enjoying themselves. Futaba and Yusuke had cuddled up together, feeding each other food and Teru noticed that Ryuji and Akira were doing something similar. The other girls, Makoto, Haru, Ann were excitedly chatting together. Catching each other up on how their lives were proceeding now that they weren’t able to see each other every day.

Everything was fun and relaxed until Teru and the others were momentarily blinded by a bright flash of light, causing Teru, along with the others, to jump up in shock.

“What the effin’ hell was that?” Ryuji yelled, looking as startled as the rest of them.

“Is everyone okay?” Ann asked, everyone quickly confirming that they were before Makoto raised her voice in worry.

“Guys…look around,”

“What do you mean…Oh,” Futaba retorted before realizing what Teru had also realized. It was as if time had frozen. The people around them were not moving, in fact, they looked kind of faded out…as if they had all been transported to another world.

“Wait, why are Teru and Sae unaffected?” Akira pointed out. “We’re the former Phantom Thieves, which is what I assume to be the reason we can still move, but they’re not.”

“You do have a point, but I think we should worry about that later,” Sae responded, her voice sounding slightly scared. “Take a look at the lake…”

“What…are those?” Haru said, causing Teru to look towards the lake only to see what looked like ethereal blue butterflies hovering over it.

When he looked at them he felt as if some force was pulling him towards them. He really wanted to make his way over to them, he had to…They were so majestic, so beautiful and it was like they were trying to tell him something...

“Is anyone else feeling like we have to…go over to them?” Teru wondered, unsure if the others were feeling the same kind of pull he was feeling.

“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Yusuke responded, sounding panicky, and before Teru could ask why he noticed that the butterflies had seemingly noticed them as well as they were flying towards the 9 of them.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I think we should run!” Ryuji shouted, the others agreeing as the butterflies seemed to get bigger the closer they go to them.

“But what about the food…” Yusuke complained before Futaba pulled him along, snarking something about how he could worry about food later.

“…I don’t think we can outrun them,” Teru panted heavily as the butterflies were getting closer to them with every passing second before he decided to stand still. There must’ve been a reason why he had felt like he needed to get close to them and he wanted to know why.

“Teru you idiot, you have to ru-“ Ryuji stammered grabbing Teru’s arm before he realized that it was too late, the others stopping in their tracks as well as Teru broke free of Ryuji’s hold.

He spread his arms wide, realizing that one of the butterflies was going to collide with him as the others seemed to target the rest of his friends.

He had expected some kind of thump when the butterfly hit his chest but to his, and the others’, surprise the butterfly dissolved into a blast of sparkles that caused him to feel warm inside the moment it collided with him.

“W-…what just happened?” he stammered, but no one seemed to have an explanation for the events that had just transpired. He swore he saw one of the butterflies fly off too, but he was in too much of a daze to be certain about that though...

“I…have a theory, but I’ll need to think about it,” Futaba pointed out after everyone had been quiet for a while, no one really knowing what to say. “Could we go home though, I would like to begin with my research immediately…”

“Of course we can Futaba, I’ll take you home right away,” Sae agreed. The others quickly agreeing to go home as well, saying their goodbyes before getting into their respective cars.

Teru was actually a bit sad that their night ended like this, especially since he was going back to his own apartment tonight. He was so used to staying with Sae that his own apartment felt like a distant memory at this point, but he nevertheless had to go back to it now.

“Come on Teru, we’re waiting for you!” Ryuji yelled, causing Teru to realize that he had to make his way over to the car he was driving. He did not want Ryuji to get impatient enough to start trying to drive himself. That was bound to go wrong after all.

When Teru opened the door to his apartment he was greeted by an unpleasant smell that reminded him of the fact that he hadn’t been there for a few weeks now. He should probably find where it was coming from and dispose of whatever was causing it but he was so tired after everything that had happened today that he really couldn’t be bothered.

Maybe the state his apartment was in was a sign, Sae had been hinting for him to officially move in with her and her apartment was a lot nicer than his. They seemed to be getting pretty serious too, he had even been thinking about buying her a ring but he was afraid that’d be moving a bit too fast. Moving in with her would also mean he would no longer have to pay rent for his own apartment, and seeing how his income seemed to diminish every month it would probably be nice if he no longer had to worry about that. Could he really burden Sae with his presence though? He would have to find some way to make himself useful to her, he was 27 years old and that meant that he should not, and would not, freeload off of her.

These were all things he would think about later though as he dropped on his bed, not even bothering to change out of the clothes he had been wearing as he was overcome by a wave of exhaustion he had never felt before, before he drifted off into a deep but uneasy sleep. Today had been too much for him, but what the lawyer did not realize was that it would have been the last day he would be considered a “normal” person…

Futaba Sakura

When Futaba got home she noticed Sojiro wasn’t there yet, not that she minded since this meant she could work uninterrupted as she headed straight to her room to boot up her laptop.  She was going to get to the bottom of this and nothing was going to get in the way of that as she sat down on her bed, her laptop balancing on her legs as she opened the application she had been working on.

She had never fully believed the Metaverse had disappeared but the weirdness surrounding the Olympian Corporation and the weird time freeze phenomenon had convinced her that it's disappearance had been nothing but an elaborate ruse. Someone, probably whoever was behind the Olympian Corporation, wanted them to believe the Metaverse was gone…but she needed proof. She needed proof before she was going to present this to her friends…and maybe Sae and Teru? It was really weird how they were unaffected by the time freeze. They should have been, unless something else was going on, something that Futaba didn’t know about yet.

Now was not the time to think about that though, she was on a mission after all, as the application she had created finally finished loading. It was, what she had dubbed, a dimensional scanner. If anything would prove that the Metaverse still existed, it would be that. She was about to start her scanner before she suddenly felt her head getting heavy, as she felt overcome by exhaustion.

To her own distress, Futaba wasn’t able to keep her eyes open any longer.

“…Why am I so sleepy,” she muttered before she felt herself losing consciousness, dropping backwards on her bed as she fell into a deep sleep.

When Futaba opened her eyes again she found herself on a giant spaceship, looking around in awe before realizing that this was all very familiar to her…She had been here before, this was her mindscape…and more importantly, the place where her Necronomicon used to be…

She turned around when she heard a familiar voice:

“The forbidden wisdom will be revealed once more. No illusions shall deceive you any longer.”

End of Arc 1

Chapter Text

Interlude 1 - Inside Your Mind

Ryuji Sakamoto

When Ryuji opened his eyes he expected to wake up in his bed but he found himself on a pirate ship instead, a very familiar pirate ship.

“Guess you finally decided to show your face again lad.”

Ryuji couldn’t believe his eyes when he turned around to find himself face to face with his Persona, Captain Kidd. Knowing that the skeletal pirate was supposed to be gone, along with the Metaverse, and yet here he was.

“K-…Kidd?” Ryuji muttered. “I thought I’d never see you again…”

“Well, I am inside your mind so it really is up to you,” the skeleton pointed out before motioning Ryuji to follow him, which he did seeing how he had a lot of questions even if Kidd's comment irked him a little.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t tried to contact his Persona through his mind, but after the Metaverse had disappeared he had been completely unable to. Honestly, he had never been really good at it, only really meeting his Persona twice. The day he first awakened and the time he almost died, but he was aware that at least Akira was able to communicate with Arsene regularly so he figured it should at least be possible.

Ryuji pondered more until they arrived at what looked like the ship’s Captain’s Quarters where the skeleton sat down and motioned for Ryuji to do the same.

“Do you know where you are mate?” Kidd asked, causing Ryuji to shake his head. He honestly wasn’t sure where he was anymore. “Then I guess I’ll have to explain to you. This place, this ship, is your mindscape.”

“So…I’m inside my own head?” Ryuji asked, thinking he figured it out, but to his surprise the skeleton shook his head.

“A better way to phrase it would be to say that you’re in a separate dimension that got linked to your mind. This is my world but it became a part of you the moment you made your contract with me.”

“But wait, why wasn’t I able to access this place then? We all lost our freakin’ powers and we weren’t able to enter the Metaverse anymore!” Ryuji yelled in frustration, not understanding any of this, causing the skeleton to look at him with slight disapproval before sighing.

“I’ll get to the first part of your question in a bit, but as for your Metaverse…It’s not a part of this world. The Metaverse is a separate dimension that makes it easier for you to manifest your latent abilities through me, your Persona.”

“But then why wasn’t I able to see you anymore?” Ryuji urged. He wanted to know because the more he heard, the less things made sense to him. If the Metaverse and Kidd's dimension were separate beings, shouldn't he have been able to still speak to the pirate after the Metaverse got destroyed?

The skeleton cleared his throat before looking Ryuji straight into his eyes: “Because they blocked us. There was, what you could call, a Persona block placed on you and your friends.”

“A…Persona block?” Ryuji repeated, his mind filling with millions of questions. What the hell was going on?

Akira Kurusu

So far Arsene’s explanation made sense, the place where he was now was Arsene’s dimension that was linked to his own mind. The reason why Akira had been sent to the velvet room before was because of his connection with Igor, but now that that connection was broken he was sent to what Arsene called his gentlemen hideout. It was pretty gaudy, decorated with playing cards and other kinds of casino-related decorations, but Akira supposed that that was neither here nor there at this point.

“So what’s this Persona block?” Akira asked after Arsene had been quiet for a bit, seemingly collecting his thoughts.

“Ah, yes! The Persona block! One could say that it blocks your ability to communicate with us and access this place. It was a most elaborate ruse, indeed.”

“An elaborate ruse?” Akira questioned, unsure what his Persona meant.

“Indeed, it was a most clever smokescreen. Blocking your resonance with that white flash that took your feline friend away.”

Akira hated the fact that his Persona talked in riddles, but he had to bear it for now as he tried to straighten out the questions that formed inside his head. Figuring he should focus on the term that stood out to him the most.

“Resonance? What’s that?” Akira asked, causing Arsene to look at him in surprise, apparently expecting him to know before tapping his finger against his forehead.

“It’s a special power you were born with, it’s inside your brain you see. It’s what allows you, and your friends, to perceive us and use your powers inside the Metaverse.”

“But we get your powers from you, don’t we?” Akira inquired, unsure what his Persona was getting at as Arsene started to chuckle.

“Not exactly…” his Persona mused with a sly grin. “But that’s not for me to tell. You’ll have to find that out on your own.”

“What do you mean, on my own?” Akira urged. Arsene couldn’t just drop a bombshell like this on him and then expect him to ignore it.

“I am unfortunately bound by an oath, so I cannot tell you. Believe me, I wish I could reveal more than just this. I genuinely do, I swear on my honor as a Phantom Thief,” his Persona answered, seemingly genuine, causing Akira to sigh. This was a lot to take in, and Arsene certainly wasn’t making it easier…

Makoto Niijima

Oath-bound?” Makoto repeated to the nun who was sitting across from her. She still wasn’t used to seeing Johanna outside of her motorcycle form, but here she was. The fierce motorcycle having turned into a proper nun…and her mindscape certainly fit that as well, seeing how Makoto had found herself inside the most beautiful church. The murals on the glass gave away this wasn’t a normal church though, seemingly depicting some kind of story about 10 heroes who sealed away and/or defeated evil. It was quite intriguing honestly, but Makoto knew she had to focus on Johanna’s story right now.

“That is indeed correct, my child. It was the price we had to pay to give our blessing to you and your friends but it was a price worth paying. Especially seeing how evil is threatening to consume the land once more.”

“Evil?” Makoto repeated cautiously, not liking how ominous Johanna sounded.

“There is a reason why the Persona block was put in place, child. They wanted to neutralize those with the power to stop them. They mustn’t be allowed to execute their nefarious plans.”

“They…? There’s more of them?” Makoto inquired, not at all liking where this was going. She thought that things would calm down after they dealt with Shido and Yaldabaoth, but it seemed like they were all a part of something bigger.

“Indeed,” Johanna confirmed, before a slight look of fear filled her eyes. “There are twelve Olympians…”

Haru Okamura

“O-…Olympians? 12 Olympians?” Haru stammered, her face turning white as she sat down in one of the chairs inside Milady’s salon. Her mindscape was really pleasant, looking like a burlesque salon that was decorated with flower-accented decorations but Haru couldn't really appreciate that, considering what she just found out.

“That is correct, princess. There are 12 Olympians that are trying to take over this world,” Milady confirmed solemnly. “If only we would have known earlier…”

“You didn’t know?” Haru repeated, taken aback by the fact that her Persona apparently didn’t know about any of this until recently.

“That is correct. Whatever neutralized the Persona block also awakened my, and I assume my companions’, latent memories. But that awakening means something truly dreadful is about to transpire and you, my dear princess, will be right in the middle of it…”

“In the middle of what?” Haru asked, not liking where this was going one bit.

“Why, the battle which determines the fate of this dimension, of course,” Milady said, confirming the feeling of dread Haru was feeling. She would fight if she had to, but that didn’t mean she wanted to. She had originally become a Phantom Thief to save her father, which failed, and then got wrapped up into the whole thing with Shido…but this wasn’t what Haru had signed up for. She wanted to focus on her future, not on another lengthy battle but she supposed that it couldn’t be helped, resolving to find out everything she could from Milady so she could at least help her friends to end this swiftly.

“So…who are we facing? You referred to them as the Olympians?” Haru inquired, causing Milady to put down her tea cup as she cleared her throat.

“Indeed. The Twelve Olympians. They are twelve god-like beings who are now hell-bent on fusing their dimension onto your own using the Metaverse, which was never gone. First there’s Ares, the War Machine, who’ll stop at nothing to create strife and conflict. Next up are the twins, Artemis and Apollo, respectively known as the Holy Huntress and the Decider of Fates. Facing them together would be a mistake for sure. Then there’s Dionysus, the God of Wine, but don’t let that fool you for he creates the most fearsome illusions. The fifth Olympian is Aphrodite, also known as the Angel of Love, and she is the most diabolical of the Twelve. Legend says she lost her mind and only lives to break hearts after she suffered from heartbreak herself. Then there’s Athena, the Avatar of War & Wisdom. Whereas Ares focuses on brute force to get what he wants, Athena is the Olympians’ strategist, always thinking ahead and making sure her forces are prepared. Hermes, the Divine Trickster, is another Olympian you must face and make sure not to let his tricks fool you. He’s as cunning as I am, if not moreso.  Their weapons are forged by Hephaestus, the Blacksmith of the Gods, but don’t think that means he’s unable to fight on his own…”

“But wait,” Haru pointed out when it seemed like Milady had stopped explaining. “Aren’t there 4 more...?”

“There are indeed, my sweet little princess, but they are truly dreadful and I am afraid I don’t have much information on them…” Milady confirmed, a look of fear showing up on her face before she continued. “The Trinity of Darkness, consisting of Hera, Poseidon and Hades. All 3 of them having power the puts the lesser Olympians to shame…and then there’s their leader...”

“Their leader?” Haru repeated, knowing that this was crucial information she needed to know.

“Zeus, also known as the Almighty Rules of the Sky, and he’s rumored to be more powerful than the entire Trinity combined…” Milady whispered, surprising Haru. She had never seen her Persona scared before, she didn’t think they could experience emotions, but if the Olympians frightened even Milady…did she and the others even stand a chance? Would it even be possible for them to win this battle? No, she had to believe they could, because there had to be a way as long as they had hope on their side!

Yusuke Kitagawa

But these Olympians are the ancient Greek Gods from legend, are they not? Weren’t they benevolent beings? Why would they want to destroy the world?” Yusuke asked after thinking about what his Persona had just revealed to him. He found himself sitting on a pillow in what looked like an ancient dojo. It truly looked like a peaceful place, and the aesthetics fit his Persona, Goemon, quite well.

“It is as you say, Yusuke-dono. The Olympians were once benevolent beings that lived alongside the humans in a chapter of humanity’s history that has been erased from the timeline,” Goemon confirmed, confusing Yusuke greatly.

“Erased from the timeline?” he repeated, feeling like those words were the key to understanding more about their new enemies.

Goemon coughed, signaling he was about to tell a long story as Yusuke leaned forward to focus. “Once upon a time the Olympians lived along with humanity, providing them with blessings in return for prayers. They didn’t need food you see, feasting on the prayers of humanity to stay strong. One day, however, the Olympians wanted more prayers than humanity could offer and forced their worshippers into slavery. They forced their subjects to pray day and night causing their power to grow to dangerous levels. Humanity was miserable, and they would still be to this day, if it wasn’t for 10 heroes standing up to fight the Olympians. They tricked and banished them to a separate dimensions. The Olympians swearing that one day, however, they would come back and take this dimension as they declared it was rightfully theirs.  Hundreds, no thousands, of years passed after since this event transpired. The Olympians becoming mere fables that humanity passed down as stories of legend, not realizing that they once lived alongside them. Or rather, they were made to forget. You see, once you banish something to another dimension, it is like it never existed in the first place, becoming nothing more than a story…”

When Goemon finished Yusuke couldn’t help but feel incredibly overwhelmed by what Goemon had revealed to him. The Olympians once lived alongside them before they got banished and all of this happened thousands of years ago? That was a tough pill to swallow for sure.

Ann Takamaki

“But how did they manage to come back?” Ann asked. That was the one part of the story that didn’t make sense to her. If the Olympians had been banished, how could they be back now?

“You see, my dear Ann that is the most interesting part!” Carmen exclaimed as she motioned for Ann to sit down in front of her crystal ball. Ann was surprised by Carmen’s, or she supposed her, mindscape. It was a gypsy cart, decorated with all sorts of memorabilia, with a fortune telling booth inside. She nevertheless follow Carmen’s instructions though, the gypsy waving her hand as a face showed up inside the crystal ball, a face that disgusted Ann.

“I see you recognize this former God?” Carmen suggested with a sly smile.

“Of course I do, he tried to kill all of us!” Ann yelled. “Why would you show him to me?”

“Because that being is your answer. The Olympians used Yaldabaoth, or the Demiurge, to tear down the walls between your dimensions so they could break out of their prison. It’s honestly incredibly clever, it reminds me of how I used those men during my prime…”

“So…they’re out?” Ann confirmed, afraid of the answer.

“They are indeed girl, and while they’re not at full power, they have already taken over your precious Metaverse. Now let us see what my crystal ball will tell us about the future.” Carmen stated before images started to show up inside of the glass orb, images that scared Ann as she saw her world collide with the Metaverse, resulting in a truly dreadful dimension, before the orb shattered.

“What was that?” Ann yelled, but Carmen seemed to be as surprised as she was.

“One of the possible futures, and a future that we must prevent at all costs it seems…” Carmen mused. “This is certainly becoming quite a mess, isn’t it?”

Futaba Sakura

There is one more piece of wisdom left to reveal,” the Necronomicon, having taken the form of her shadow self, revealed. It was still weird for Futaba to talk to herself but she had gotten used to it during the explanation. And what an explanation it had been. Futaba wished she had her laptop with her to take notes, even if she was confident that she would be able to remember all of it, seeing how crucial all of this information was. She had to make sure to relay this to the others as well, although Futaba was pretty sure that her friends were all having similar dreams right now. Futaba had deduced pretty quickly that it had been the blue butterflies that had lifted the Persona block, enabling the Necronomicon to communicate with her right now.

“I am listening,” Futaba confirmed, eager to get the final piece of information.

“Sadly this information is very incomplete, but there exists a prophecy foretelling the outcome of this battle. A prophecy that you and your friends must find if you want to stand a chance against the Olympians. You must awaken to your true powers, and you must do so quickly, or you will stand no chance against them.”

Futaba nodded, her Persona knowing that there was no need for verbal communication. They were on the same wavelength and understood that about one another.

“That was sadly all the wisdom I can reveal…” the Necronomicon said before reverting to its previous form, the UFO Futaba often found herself controlling. She never thought about this before now, but wasn’t it weird that she was the only one who was able to manifest her Persona physically?

“It seems…our time is being cut short,” the Necronomicon stated suddenly, sounding weak, as Futaba noticed her mindscape slowly growing smaller, disappearing piece by piece. “Make sure to find the prophecy. It’s the key…”

Those were the last words Futaba heard before her mindscape disappeared, surrounding her by darkness before her eyes closed themselves as she fell into a deep slumber once more…

Sae Niijima

Sae sighed, she had been wandering these halls for hours now but she was unable to find her way out. She had deduced she was in what used to be Palais des Tuileries, the former palace of the French monarchs, but she had no idea how she ended up hhere or how to get out. At first Sae figured this was just a dream but when she found herself unable to wake up, no matter what she tried, she realized that it must be something more. It was probably related to that blue butterfly that flew inside of her earlier, that was probably what was causing this…dream, or whatever is was, in the first place.

The palace shouldn’t even exist anymore, it had been burned down during the French Revolution, and yet here she was. She kept hearing screams through the walls through, but whenever she thought she found an exit, she just walked into another hallway.

There were a lot of doors lined along the walls too, but all of them were locked and Sae eventually gave up trying to open them. She was about to give up hope when she noticed a woman, her face obscured by a black veil, walking into one of the rooms and decided to give chase.

When she arrived at the room she put her hand on the door knob before, much to her surprise, managing to open it. However the door disappeared the moment Sae had stepped through, trapping her inside the room with the mysterious woman.

Sae tried to get a closer look at her but her entire appearance was cloaked, almost as if Sae wasn’t supposed to see her. The room itself, much to Sae’s surprise, looked like a courtroom, the cloaked woman sitting in the judge’s seat.

“Sae Niijima.”

Sae looked up in shock, as she heard her name echoeing through the room.

“Isn’t it time you took judgment into your own hands?”

Before Sae could reply a pool of darkness showed up below her feet, swallowing her whole as everything around her went dark…

Teru Tendo

Teru found himself in a round room, a round room that he recognized from the books he loved to read as a child. This was the Round Table, inside of Castle Camelot, but before he could even begin to think about why he was here he noticed that he was getting really hot, like incredibly hot.

He looked around and quickly realized that the entire room, no, the entire castle was on fire and that realization caused him to panic. Like what the hell was going on, how did he end up in a burning castle out of all places? Was this a dream? It had to a dream, Teru decided as he pinched his own cheek, starting to tremble when it didn’t work.

“Come on Teru, wake up!” he shouted anxiously, but the scenery didn’t change, much to his distress, in fact, the flames just kept getting bigger and bigger.

“Over here!”

Teru looked around, he was sure he could hear a voice call out to him.

“Over here, Sir Knight!”

“Sir Knight?” Teru repeated as he located where the voice was coming from. There was a small blonde girl in a blue dress, looking completely out of place in this medieval world, signaling for him to make his way over to her.

“Quickly now, you don’t want this room to collapse on you!” she yelled before letting out a yelp as a piece of the ceiling landed inches away from Teru. "Now, Sir Knight!"

Teru quickly made his way over to the girl, trying his hardest to suppress his fears as he ran after her.

“Where are we going?” he asked. “And who are you?”

“We have to get you out of here, Sir Knight,” the girl said, sounding awfully calm for someone who was running through the hallways of a burning castle.

“I am not a knight though…” Teru muttered, unsure why the girl thought that, especially seeing how he was just wearing his pajamas.

“But you are, and your friends need you right now,” the girl told him sternly, causing Teru’s heart to skip a beat.

“My friends? You mean Ryuji and the others?” he inquired, his voice getting panicky again. Were they in the castle as well? Was this a side effect of what happened to them before? Did they somehow get trapped in here and did he have to be the hero who saved them? He kind of liked that, he had always wanted to be a hero…

The girl nodded at him as she suddenly stood still, Teru not realizing he was standing with his back against a window before she rammed into him, apologizing, as he tumbled backwards through the window, hearing the glass shatter around him before he fell towards the ground. Teru screamed as he closed his eyes, bracing himself for the impact that never came…

Teru’s eyes opened wide, his hand clutching his chest as he breathed heavily. He was soaked in his own sweat as he checked the time, quickly finding out it was 6 in the morning. Teru got up immediately, spurred on by his crazy dream. He had to get to Sae and the others to make sure they were alright. He knew he had to figure out what his dream, and the butterfly incident, meant and he hoped, no, he prayed, that his friends would have the answers he was looking for…


The Phantom Thieves weren’t the only dreamers that night as there was one more person tossing and turning in their bed. They weren’t having a dream per se, they just heard the same message being repeated over and over again while they were trapped inside an hourglass, the sand slowly but steadily falling on top of them.

“Hope is the final key, but it can invite great darkness into this world and it mustn’t fall into the wrong hands. You are the protector, keep it safe, no matter the cost…”

Arc 2 - Wide Awake

Chapter Text

Sae Niijima

“What the hell are they doing here?” Ryuji asked the moment she and Teru followed Makoto inside Leblanc. “Wasn’t this meeting supposed to be Phantom Thieves-only?”

“Didn’t you guys call us honorary Phantom Thieves though?” Teru quipped in response. “I brought a weapon to protect everyone too!”

Sae rolled her eyes as Teru proudly showed off the baseball bat he had been carrying around all morning, reminding her of the rude awakening she and Makoto endured earlier today.

“Sae! Makoto! Are you there!? Are you alright!?”

That was the first thing Sae heard when she woke up from her weird dream. The last thing she remembered being swallowed by darkness and now there was someone screaming for her. Someone very familiar, his voice soothing her after that dream, whatever it was.

She quickly got out of bed as she made her way to the living room to see Teru pacing around, clutching a baseball bat as he wore what looked like his protective biker gear. He dropped the bat the moment he saw her, running over to her before embracing her tightly.

“Thank god you’re okay, I was so worried about you…” he whispered softly.

Sae let Teru embrace her for a moment before pushing him back, looking at him with an incredulous look on her face. “Teru, what the hell are you doing here at 6:30 in the morning?”

“I just had a really worrisome dream and I had to make sure you and Makoto were alright. Speaking of Makoto where is she? We need to get to the others too!” Teru rambled, stopping when he heard the door to Makoto’s room open.

“So you had a dream as well then?” Makoto asked, looking surprisingly awake. “What about you Sis? Did you have a weird dream as well?”

Sae nodded, the question catching her by surprise, as Makoto looked at her phone before sighing.

“So everyone who got hit by a butterfly had a dream..." Makoto murmured before looking at the two of them. “Well, Ryuji’s going to hate me for this but you two better come along with me. We’re all meeting up to discuss with happened yesterday and I think you’ve both become a part of…whatever this is…”

“Why’s Ryuji going to hate you for this?” Teru asked before Sae could. Not that that surprised her, seeing how Teru had become very protective of the younger boy. He honestly had been ever since he met him. She knew he still took him boxing once a week and then bought him dinner, it had sort of become a ritual for the two of them, which made her a bit jealous because all she and Teru did nowadays was stay in and watch movies together. Not that that was a bad thing, per se, but she felt like Teru was sometimes taking her for granted…or not as seriously as he should. Maybe she should just go for it and ask him to move in with her, she’d been dropping hints for a few weeks now and he didn’t seem to catch up on those. Or maybe he was just ignoring them?

“What the hell, why does that kid not want me involved?” Teru yelled angrily, snapping Sae out of her train of thought and causing her to realize that she missed her younger sister's answer.

“To be more specific, we all thought it would be better to keep this Phantom Thief-only at first but…”

“But what?” Sae asked before putting her hand on Teru’s shoulder to calm him down.

“I think you’re a part of this now Sis, Teru probably is as well, and if we’re going to face the Olympians, we’re going to need all the help we can get..."

“The…Olympians?” Sae repeated. “You mean like those 12 Greek Gods?”

“I’ll explain later, but yes, that’s the gist of it,” Makoto confirmed before turning to Teru. “Don’t take it personally Teru. I’m sure Ryuji had his reasons for wanting you to stay out of it.”

“I hope so…but it still pisses me off. Does he not trust me?” Teru moped as he looked towards the ground, a hint of sadness showing up inside his eyes.

“I’m sure it’s nothing like that Teru, he really looks up to you. Just go and ask him when the time is right, okay?” Sae comforted him. She hated seeing Teru like this. Whenever he was let down he started to look like this sad little puppy and it just made her want to hold him closely.

“I suppose so, thanks Sae!” Teru beamed before he grabbed his bat. “Let’s go to that meeting then, I’ll protect everyone!”

“I would like to take a shower first, and I’m sure Sis needs one as well,” Makoto pointed out causing Teru to nod before he offered to make the 3 of them breakfast, admitting that he had rushed out of the door before eating anything himself.

Sae couldn’t help but wonder why though, her dream had been weird, sure, but what could have been so bad to make Teru rush over to them without eating, wearing protective gear and wielding a baseball bat on top of that…?”

“Yeah but that’s before weird stuff started happening again!” Ryuji argued before dropping his arms in defeat. “But fine, it’s not like you’re going to leave anyways.”

Sae and Teru looked at each other, surprised by Ryuji’s outburst, before they joined him and the other Phantom Thieves at the booth where they had decided to sit down.

“Did your father close the store for today Futuba-chan?” Sae asked after noticing they had the entire café to themselves but the girl seemed too absorbed in whatever was going on on her laptop to notice her.

“Futaba-chan told Boss that this would be the final day we can spent together as a group and asked if we could spent it at Leblanc because we would often get together here. That’s also why Touma-san isn’t around. He thinks we’re closed for the day,” Haru explained after realizing Futaba wasn’t going to answer. Sae momentarily wondered what the young girl was so focused on before noticing that Akira seemed to want her attention, or rather her sister’s attention.

“Makoto, why did you bring them with you?” Akira asked, his voice sounding rather monotonous. Sae was unable to read him, she had never been able to, and couldn’t figure out if he was angry with her younger sister or if he was just intrigued by her actions.

“Because they’ve had dreams as well, Akira. And besides you know what my sister’s like, and Teru for that matter. Do you think they wouldn’t have just followed me here anyways?”” Makoto explained and while Sae momentarily thought about denying it, she knew Makoto was right. She and Teru would definitely have followed her to Leblanc, Teru was deadset on "protecting" everyone and she just really wanted to know what was going on. Besides, she couldn't do anything for these kids last time and she was going to make sure that this time, she could!

“So they know about the Olympians?” Akira inquired.

“The…Olympians? Mako-chan mentioned them this morning too…” Teru repeated in the most tactless way possible, sounding very confused, before either Sae or Makoto could respond.

“So they don’t know…” Akira surmised. “And yet you still brought them with you?”

“They were still hit by the butterflies and you should’ve seen Teru this morning. He looked incredibly frazzled and worried. I couldn’t not bring him or my sister,” Makoto argued.

“But we don’t know what their dreams were about! You should’ve at least checked that before bringing them along!” Akira responded, raising his voice a little. He definitely seemed to get angry now, or at least frustrated.

“I’m with Akira on this one, you always berated me for being loud but here you are bringing two people in without consulting any of us!” Ryuji added loudly, joining in the argument as Sae took a step back.

“Don’t you dare,” she whispered to Teru, giving him a soft kick against his shins, when she noticed he was about to argue back. “You’re 27-years old. You’re not going to argue with them. And it really won’t help either. Do you think they’ll include us if we start arguing with them?”

“Hey, leave Makoto alone! She just tried to do what’s best! Besides Sae and Teru have done nothing but help us over the past few months, we can trust them!” Ann retorted, clearly fed up by the fact that Ann and Ryuji were starting an argument.

“While I do think Sae and Teru are nice people, I would’ve preferred it if Makoto would’ve consulted us on this matter first. That way we could’ve taken the decision about whether or not to include them together,” Yusuke added, joining Akira and Ryuji's of the argument.

“Please stop fighting…It’s not worth it! Everyone’s just stressed out over their dreams!” Haru tried to mediate, but everyone just ignored her as they started yelling at each other, Sae being unable to hold Teru back as he joined Makoto and Ann’s side.

This was a disaster, Sae joining Haru in an effort to try and mediate between the two groups, but honestly…she had no idea how to fix this…

Futaba Sakura

It wasn’t like Futaba didn’t hear everyone arguing, she just didn’t care seeing how she just wanted to finish the application she was working on before talking to the others. Besides she had already realized that Sae and Teru were a part of the bigger picture, making this argument was pointless to her.

Those butterflies had picked them, along with the former Phantom Thieves, and Futaba figured that they would play a part in the battle against the Olympians. The fact that the two of them had dreams of their own just sealed the deal for her and she already had a theory regarding them not knowing about the Olympians. They didn’t have Personas, so their dreams must’ve been different. She just needed to know what their dreams had been about before being able to finish her hypothesis.

She excitedly clapped her hands together when she finished her application before looking at her friends, arguing in front of her. She needed was a way to grab their attention and stop them from fighting, and she knew just the thing, as she pressed a button on her laptop, causing a loud claxon noise to go off that promptly silenced everyone.

“What the hell was that?!” Ryuji yelled, sounding startled, as Futaba laughed.

“A sign that all of you need to shut up. Fighting with each other won’t get us anywhere, we’re a party, a group, we need to work together and I figured everything out so you better listen to me.” Futaba explained confidently before turning to Sae and Teru. “And they’re definitely a part of this, whether anyone likes it or not.”

She wouldn’t have dared to speak up like this just a few months ago but becoming a Phantom Thief had changed her and someone needed to take charge.

Futaba’s outburst seemed to work as the others calmed down, muttering apologies to one another before sitting back down.

“So, what did you figure out Futaba-chan?” Makoto asked after straightening herself out, seemingly taking unofficial control over the meeting.

“Before I go into that, we should probably discuss our dreams first. I know we’ve touched on it in the group chat but there is something I’d like to confirm. Everyone, except for Sae and Teru, had the same dream right? About the Olympians?” Futaba explained, the others nodding, before Teru raised his hand which caused everyone to look at him.

“Can someone explain to me who the hell these Olympians all? You all keep bringing them up!” he asked, still sounding confused.

“In a minute, but could you perhaps tell us what your dream was about? I would like to hear about Sae’s dream after that as well,” Futaba responded, eager to prove her hypothesis and figuring that this was important quest info, and you never skip dialogue in a questline!

Teru nodded before recounting his dream. Apparently the lawyer had been trapped inside a burning castle that reminded him of Camelot. A blonde girl wearing a blue dress, Akira pointing out that the way she was described sounded an awful lot like Lavenza, telling him that the Phantom Thieves needed him before pushing him out of a window which caused him to wake up.

Sae explained her dream once Teru was done, revealing that she had been stuck in a palace during what she suspected to be the French Revolution before ending up in a courtroom where a woman compelled her to take action before darkness swallowed her.

“Interesting…” Futaba whispered before stopping herself to think. This was definitely close to what she had originally thought but she wasn’t entirely sure of the conclusion she had drawn either.

“What is?” Ryuji urged, sounding slightly worried. “Are Teru and Sae okay?”

“They’re fine, in fact, I think they’re more like us than we originally thought.” Futaba responded, raising her eyebrow at Ryuji’s reaction. “I assume they were inside their own mindscapes. Their mindscapes being in turmoil due to them not having formed a contract yet. And yet, someone, or multiple entities, tried to reach out to them and make them aware of what was going on.”

“I’m confused…” Teru muttered. “You used so many terms I didn’t understand just now,”

“God, he is like Ryuji…” Ann whispered to Haru, who started giggling.

“What are mindscapes exactly Futaba-chan? And who are those Olympians we must face?” Sae asked, sounding intrigued. Futaba was surprised how interested the older woman seemed but it made her smile. Seems like Sae was a lot like her sister in that regard, perhaps even more so seeing how Sae was sitting on the edge of her seat at this point.

“Mindscapes are basically alternate dimensions that are connected to our minds. We can use them to communicate with our Personas. They were fully formed once we formed a contract with them. I assume those butterflies forced an awakening of sorts for you and Teru but you can’t reach your Persona due to the fact that neither of you has formed a contract.” Futaba explained. She wasn’t entirely sure if this was the case, but it was definitely the most logical explanation she could come up with.

“But can’t we just form a contract then?” Teru asked, sounding confused. “We could probably stabilize our mindscapes like that, right?”

“I’m afraid it’s not that easy. We were all in mortal danger when we formed our contracts, you can’t just magically force it to appear…” Akira responded, sounding unnecessarily sarcastic, before Futaba could but she had to admit he was right. None of them had been awakened in the way Teru and Sae had, so she wasn’t sure how to draw their Personas out...or if that was even possible.

“Actually…” Haru interjected, causing everyone to look at her. “I wasn’t in danger when I was first awakened by Morgana, even if I couldn’t manifest my Persona fully…”

“That is true, I suppose Teru and Sae may be in a similar state,” Futaba surmised before realizing that Haru’s point was rather futile after all. “But you didn’t fully awaken until you were in danger either…”

“I suppose that is true…” Haru agreed solemnly.

“Is it really worthwhile to speculate about me and Teru’s awakening though?” Sae asked, snapping Futaba back to what mattered and causing her to realize that she really liked Sae. She could really see herself get along great with the older woman in the future.

“I guess it’s not helpful for now since it won’t help us, and who knows, it may happen naturally…” she responded before remembering that there was a second question. “You also wanted to know about the Olympians right?”

“I would like to. It would help us all be on the same page because we’re in this together now, right?” Sae confirmed, smiling softly.

“I’ll try and explain it shortly,” Futaba started, motioning for everyone to pay close attention. “Basically the Olympians used to be 12 benevolent Gods who lived alongside us before they went power hungry. They eventually got banished to a separate realm and humanity forgot they existed, reducing them to the myths and stories we can read ourselves. They’ve found a way, presumably through the Metaverse, to get back into this world. I assume their plan is to take over the world and it seems like they’ve already started doing that…”

“They what?” Akira interjected, the others looking on in shock as well causing Futaba to realize that she was the only one that had already seen an example of the Olympians' work.

“That fishy Olympian Corporation,” Futaba answered. “I’m almost entirely sure they’re behind it. I saw laptops that were provided by them and those specs weren’t normal. Human technology just isn’t that advanced.”

“Wait…what about Mishima then?” Ryuji said, his face going white with shock. “Didn’t you say he went to like, an effin’ school sponsored by the same corporation Akira?”

“…I did,” Akira confirmed, his voice filling with worry.

“We must save him!” Ann added immediately, before Makoto spoke up to calm them all down.

“While I agree the situation regarding Mishima is worrisome, I doubt the Olympians have any sort of serious magical power inside this world. Remember how we need to Metaverse to manifest our abilities? I’m sure it’s the same for them…”

“I agree with Makoto, we need to find a way into the Metaverse to assess the situation…” Yusuke added, Haru nodding as well.

“How are we going to do that though? The Metaverse is effin’ gone, remember?” Ryuji pointed out, sounding incredibly frustrated causing Futaba to laugh. “What’s so funny?!”

“I may have finished the solution to that…” Futaba pointed out, causing the others to look at her with shock. “I haven’t tested it though…”

“What would that solution be Futaba?” Akira asked, causing Futaba to proudly turn her laptop around to show her what she has been working on.

“This application. It was originally created to scan for separate dimensions back when we were Phantom Thieves. I reverse-engineered the code that the phone application we used to use to enter the Metaverse used in case it would ever disappear. It should theoretically also be able to warp us inside, but I have no idea if it works and it might be dangerous…”

“Let’s try it!” Ryuji said resolutely, standing up and walking over to stand behind Futaba to show he was ready to go. “This might be the only way to save the world, right?”

“I’m with Ryuji on this one, we’re the Phantom Thieves and we can't just let these Gods have their way!” Ann added before she joined Ryuji.

“I suppose we should at the very least find out what we’re up against, correct?” Yusuke chimed in, before he and Makoto got up as well.

“It’s not like we haven’t been in dangerous situations either!”

“I couldn’t have said it better myself Mako-chan. I’d rather not fight again, but I suppose it can’t be helped…” Haru said before joining the others.

“Besides, we all trust you Futaba. I’m sure it’ll be safe,” Akira told her reassuringly before he got up as well. “Let’s do this!”

“…We’re coming as well,” Sae pointed out, surprising the others.

“That we are!” Teru exclaimed. “We’re all in this together!”

Both Makoto and Ryuji looked like they were about to protest, but Sae and Teru made it very clear that they wouldn’t change their minds as they joined the others to stand behind Futaba.

“Everyone…” Futaba muttered, tears threatening to drop from her eyes. To be trusted by everyone like this, that is what she had always wanted. “Alright! Let’s go!”

Futaba typed in a couple of commands after that, before pressing the start button, causing her computer screen to emit a bright flash of light that enveloped the nine of them…

Makoto Niijima

“Well…we’re definitely not in Leblanc anymore,” Yusuke pointed out when the flash of light cleared up, and he was definitely right. The place they were in now didn’t even resemble Leblanc as the group found themselves inside what seemed to be some kind of abandoned stone ruins.


Everyone looked up to find Teru excitedly jumping around as he pumped his fists into the air. “You’re all dressed as super heroes! We just got transported into a strange land filled with adventure!”

Makoto, along with the others, looked at him in shock before she noticed her sister making his way over to him before giving him a firm slap against the back of his head.

“Teru! Behave yourself!” she yelled, causing the others to laugh before Futaba let out a yell, cutting the comedic moment short and causing everyone to quickly make their way over to her.

“My laptop!” she cried out. “It’s not here! That means we have no way to get back!”

“W-…we don’t?” Haru muttered, stating what the others were thinking.

“N-…No way…” Ann added before dropping to the ground along with Haru. Makoto could feel her own throat close off as well. They had just entered the Metaverse and they were already stuck? This was already becoming worse than all their other trips combined…They had never been stuck inside before...

“Hey! Don’t drop your heads in defeat already!” Ryuji yelled, causing the others to look at them. “Sure, this effin’ sucks but we’ve been in bad situations before and we always came out on top!”

“Ryuji’s right! I’m sure Futaba-chan can find us a way back too!” Makoto joined in, deciding that she should definitely try and help keep the morale up. They really couldn’t afford to lose hope right now.

“I guess I can try to use the Necronomicon’s abilities to create a link to my laptop. We’ve broken the barriers that separate our dimensions…and as long as no one touches my laptop that breach should still be there…” Futaba surmised after calming down.

“And we should explore this place in the meantime,” Akira suggested. “Can you work as we explore Futaba?”

“I think so, let me just manifest my Persona,” the girl responded before concentrating. Her Persona blinking into existence moments later as she boarded the UFO.

Ok, I’m all set!” Futaba told them telepathically.

“Wow, she’s in my head!” Teru yelled excitedly before looking around. “I think my bat’s still in Leblanc though…but don't worry, I'm not useless in a fight! I got years of boxing experience!”

“Intruders! Intruders!”

Makoto scanned the area, trying to locate where the voices came from to find a group of what looked like 5 Spartan soldiers march towards them.

“I guess it’s time to fight,” Akira pointed out. “Sae, Teru, get behind us! You shouldn’t engage them.”

“Let’s fry them up then,” Ann smiled before waving her hand, softly whispering: “Agidyne”. However to Ann, and everyone else’s, surprise nothing happened.

“Freidyne,” Makoto whispered, hearing the others whisper similar incantations to try and use their own abilities, but none of them seemed to work.

“Everyone, grab your weapons!” Akira yelled as he pulled out his dagger. Ryuji and Yusuke soon joined in, holding a blunt pipe and a katana respectively.

“M-…My whip disappeared guys,” Ann panicked, before Haru pointed out that her axe had disappeared as well.

Makoto looked at her hands, her own weapons, a pair of brass knuckles, were luckily still there.

“Ok change of plans!” she yelled. “Everyone with a weapon should cover someone else. Akira protect Ann, Ryuji go for Teru, Yusuke take care of Haru and I’ll cover Sis! Futaba-chan can fly up and direct the battle from above!”

Roger that, but remember that there’s 5 of them!”  Futaba pointed out as everyone got ready to fight. “Make sure you don’t cluster together and spread out!”

“Take that!” Makoto yelled as she punched the soldier she was facing in the face. Her sister cheering her on from behind before it dissipated, granting her a view of the other battles.

Yusuke seemed to have no problem fending of the soldier that had charged towards him and Haru, taking it down with a flurry of blows before it disappeared.

Akira, similarly seemed to have no trouble taking down his enemy, sliding past the soldier he was facing before stabbing it in the back.

Ryuji on the other hand, seemed to have slightly more trouble as he faced two of them at once, and Teru seemed itching to join in on that fight despite having no weapon whatsoever.

“Everyone get to Ryuji’s position as soon as possible!” Futaba commanded, causing Makoto to quickly head towards the place where Ryuji and Teru were facing their enemies.

Ryuji seemed to momentarily get the upper hand as he managed to knock out one of his enemies, not noticing that the other one was sneaking up on him from behind.

“Ryuji, watch out!” Makoto could hear Akira, who was further away from the fight then she was, yell but the soldier was pushed aside before anything bad could happen.

Teru ramming his entire body into the soldier, knocking it down, which allowed Ryuji to finish the soldier off.

“Told you I was still useful,” Teru said cockily as everyone gathered together, congratulating each other on a successful battle before Futaba silently returned to them.

“…We have a problem guys,” Futaba pointed out after exiting the Necronomicon.

“And what would that be?” Akira inquired, but Futaba merely told them to follow her, leaving the ruins to climb what looked like a hill. Makoto quickly realized what Futaba meant when they reached the top, the view in front of her filling her with dread.

The area resembled Tokyo…or at least its lay-out did, but all the buildings had been reduced to the same stone ruins they had found themselves in when they arrived inside this version of the Metaverse. The city had been reduced to nothing but a wasteland, ruins sporadically littered throughout, with a huge castle on the other side. That wouldn’t have been a problem by itself, the way forward was clear honestly, but the paths between the ruins were filled with hundreds of soldiers…and Makoto knew there was no way they could face all of them, not without their powers…Not like this…