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Reverse Fool's Absolution

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December 15th, 2016 was the day he was “killed” to the Phantom Thieves, and reported missing to the rest of the world. In truth, he had ran off to avoid the risk of Shido assuming he cowardly ran away. Judging by the cognition he had of his own son, it would seem that would exactly be the case for the merciless prime minister’s assumption. Thanks to the lack of care or formality in an average motel, the ace detective utilized his tools, savings, and indirect connections to falsify an alternative name and become a transient occupant. Giving the direness of his situation, though, he was prepared to eventually own tenancy rights to the motel if all failed in the Phantom Thieves’ mission to steal Shido’s heart.

It was a rough, wild ride for Goro Akechi. He thought it couldn’t possibly get any more extraordinary than revealing his true intents to someone, let alone the entirety of the Phantom Thieves, nor reaching the point of desperation to purposefully drive himself insane to kill off the aforementioned group. After his fight against the other Fool and his many close friends contrasting his lack thereof, he was not only physically defeated, but also mentally. They persisted to reach out to him, even after all of the horrible things he had done in the past and to them in the present, only for Shido’s cognition of the broken boy to kill him behind the now closed-off wall separating him from the group one final time.

Well, so they thought.

Akechi had narrowly escaped with the absolute paltry bit of strength he had left. Admittedly, it was more of a heat of the moment reaction as he refused to be killed off by someone as shameful as his horrible father’s own perception of him. The truth remained that Akechi had lost every bit of will after dropping his soft, charismatic façade. He would’ve gladly died if only it was by the hands of someone more justifiable, but the bulkhead door was slammed shut. After the two gunshots delivered on his side, Joker and the rest of the Phantom Thieves had reluctantly evacuated after assuming he had perished in the draw.

He had no direction. He was dead to the world, Joker, and the thieves at that point on. All he could do was go into hiding to avoid any of Shido’s subordinates scavenging for him.

It was now Christmas Eve, a little more than a week following his dormant status. Joker, Morgana, and the rest his friends succeeded in eliminating Shido’s distortion given the man’s nationwide confession on the 18th, but Akechi still remained in hiding. He had nowhere to go, his pride had completely diminished. He was a husk of misery, no longer an “ace detective” or “detective prince” as that would immediately be redacted if attention was back on him and someone exposed his many years of crime regarding the mental shutdown cases, serving as Shido’s accomplice, and solving the cases he himself had been the culprit of.

“…Attention?”

Akechi leaned up from his bed, the place he grew accustomed to after losing the will to get up. It was abnormal for him, as he never particularly enjoyed being even the slightest bit unproductive, but there wasn’t much to his newly established boundaries. After all, he was confined to a shitty motel room with only a television, his phone, and laptop to keep him entertained.

That’s right… Akechi looked at his faint reflection on the glass of his phone on his nightstand. His shaggy brown hair was tousled, dark circles underneath his dullened crimson eyes. He wore his usual uniform every day, as all else was abandoned in his apartment. The harsh wounds and lacerations he had gained from fighting the Phantom Thieves weren’t nearly finished fading away, but at the very least they didn’t sting as much.

That was when his phone’s screen activated upon a notification. More Shido and anti-Thieves propaganda.

Akechi’s brows knit irritably seeing the name of his father being defended. It frustrated him immensely to see so many supporters despite his public confession the evening of the ballots.

It hit him.

“The public seems to only be talking about Shido…” Akechi felt his jaw twitch with disdain upon picking up his phone and reading the weeks' worth of news he intentionally declined reading or watching to help clear his mind. His fingers itched around the remote on the other side of the nightstand and activated the TV for the first time since his arrival.

He could hardly believe it that every news channel and talk show was being dominated by the people’s despair over Japan’s future and lamenting Shido, some even cursing the Phantom Thieves more for his change of heart which they dismissed as ruthless threats and that they forced Shido into ruining his image.

Something’s off… Is the general public truly this dependent on having Shido lead them that they would go as far as to warp his confession into evidence against the Phantom Thieves? None of the Phantom Thieves’ prior targets even despite their high reputation had people still mindlessly defend them, and especially not to the point of this delirium.

He continued flipping through the channels in manic awe until stumbling upon one that took place outside. A pretty little newscaster was outside of the Diet Building, though her empty-minded cries over Japan’s future without their “beloved Shido” were no longer what struck Akechi’s attention.

W-Wait…?! What the hell is happening in the background?

Akechi’s eyes rounded, shooting up from his seat and sitting up at the edge of his bed to closer examine the surroundings.

The earth turned to a hue of red. Drops of blood rained down from the stormy clouds above in a seemingly never-ending stream. He could spot bone-like spikes shoot up from behind, and one even jut out right next to the woman in the foreground. 

“H-Holy shit… How do they not see any of this…?” Akechi bit his lip and rasped to himself, fingers digging into the shoddy mattress in anticipation, “No, what is this?!”

The atmosphere reminded him a lot of that one place Joker would lead his group to whenever he wasn’t infiltrating places or living a regular teenage life. He never paid it any mind during his short time cooperating with the group save for when Joker picked him for his melee team, but the detective did keenly remember a one-off explanation that their other goal was to reach its depths.

Akechi gasped, rubbing his chin, “That’s right, Mementos. The people’s collective consciousness given a place… But why has it merged with the surface world? What the hell is going on…?!”

Minutes turned to hours until it was now nightfall. The informal room service woman seemed unfazed by the nearly apocalyptic surroundings of the world. Even mustering the will to leave his room in secrecy, everyone he could spot in the vicinity was unfazed, and considering the cameraman’s and newscaster’s lack of reaction to its first appearance, Akechi could deduce that nobody could see it.

“Well, almost an hour of eavesdropping for nothing. Nobody sees a damn thing,” Akechi returned to his room, closing the door behind him, “Hmph, all those ignorant trashy low lives seem to care about is Shido. I just hope this is all just one shitty dream…”

He took off his clothes and folded them sloppily with little motivation as he would only be wearing them again after waking up. It was hard for him to rest on such an uncomfortable mattress and in the even more uncomfortable coldness of the motel due to the lack of a working heater. Eventually he passed out from his trance of observing thoroughly through the news that was entirely about Shido and the Phantom Thieves, phone still in his limp hand.

His rest was interrupted by the loud jingle of a news show on the TV. It was around six in the morning. Groggily, Akechi looked over to the TV, which he had left on by accident due to being so wound up by the ominous situation. Glancing outside the window, Tokyo was still a hell on earth nobody seemed to recognize as such.

“…And the Phantom Thief has stolen our hearts again! The police have officially annulled the warrant for his arrest, citing that they were inadequate for the job amongst confessing many other wrongdoings within their division,” The TV was now on another news channel, this time with a more stoic male newscaster.

Akechi felt a sudden knot of unease lump in his throat as he swallowed, “Phantom… Thief?”

The newscaster went on to continue, “Many have conjectured that this sudden one-eighty was due to a change of heart. If so, the Phantom Thief has now surpassed over a hundred changes of hearts. On to other news—”

Grown accustom to theory building and a desire to figuring out the truth even despite his mostly fraudulent occupation as a police detective, Akechi’s face twisted as he was beaten on whatever the hell was happening to the world. He blindly changed into his clothes, as there was no point nor chance he could go back to sleep so easily.

“In the case of a reelection, there are still many are protesting for Shido to take office despite his status in the hospital—”

“Dammit, this again?!” Akechi lost his temper after slipping on his shoes and slammed the remote against the wall in utter agitation. Way to wake up on the wrong side of the bed… Tch.

Almost simultaneously to the remote hitting the wall by the vexed, confused, and tired young man, the ground began to shake. The lights in the room flickered until completely shutting off, replaced by the same eerie red lighting as outside from an unknown force. Sharp bones sprouted rapidly from the ground, except this time it was more problematic as the room was very small.

“W-What? Dammit, what are you Phantom Thieves doing allowing this to happen out of all things?!” Akechi rose his voice, the first time in a while he genuinely had enough energy to protest, as a vine-like structure began to wrap itself around Akechi’s legs.

I j-just need to reach… t-the door… Akechi grit his teeth and felt his arm shake as he struggled to fight off his bounds and leave his room, seeing the veins in his arms pulse from wrestling against the vines’ grasp.

The perspective between his hand and the doorknob began to increase. He foolishly wondered if the door was expanding in size, but figured out that he was in fact shrinking. More specifically, he was being pulled into the ground, a dark glyph forming beneath him and eventually causing him to vanish from the area.

In a blink of an eye, Akechi’s vision quickly changed from a worn-down motel room plagued by Mementos to a high cliff. The sky above was a stormy sunrise. Akechi was near the very edge of the cliff fallen to his knees. He took off his tan peacoat and pat down on the immense amount of sweat he had accumulated from trying to fight off his restraints to reach the door only to be interrupted by a distorted, malignant voice.

“First you fail me, and then it turns out you lived? This could be troublesome for my ideal image…”

Akechi’s head jerked up, swinging his peacoat over his shoulder. That voice…! No, it can’t be…

The ground rumbled as a giant, silver and gold creature rose before Akechi’s eyes in front of the cliff. He towered feet—no, several hundred yards over his figure. Even if he was standing, there would be little more difference in comparison.

What seemed to be the head of the creature turned downcast to address the young boy once more, “I should have chosen a better pawn in this mission. You are the reason they were able to claim Masayoshi Shido’s heart, correct?”

It was the voice that had reverberated in his head upon awakening to Loki and the power of the Wild Card after reuniting with Shido during his 1st year when he was only fifteen.

“You… Yaldabaoth,” The name came to his tongue almost instinctively in a spat. Akechi shot his head up, face tight with absolute disdain, “God of control. You destroyed my future—my life after enlisting me to assist Shido. I’m glad I failed you!”

“Hmph,” Yaldabaoth scoffed, “Typically I do not think it wise to dispose of an entity with so much potential… but given that the other one has willingly become my servant, there should be no harm in your execution.”

Surges of anxiety and fear stunned Akechi, but he fought through his paralysis to question the god, “The ‘other one’? My ‘execution’? It would be best you explain yourself. You’re a ‘god’ aren’t you? Explain what’s happened to the world! Why did Mementos fuse with the real world? How come people went from only talking about Shido and being against the Phantom Thieves only to praise them? The newscaster said ‘Phantom Thief’, and that he had claimed over a hundred hearts this morning. Something has changed, surely you have the time to elabor—”

Yaldabaoth boomed in anger after receiving an earful of Akechi’s influx of queries, “I do not have to explain anything to someone as worthless to the world now as you! You are beneath humanity, living in hiding. Do you truly have any value to the world you are dead to?”

The malevolent god conjured light from the sun above him, which then manifested into a bright arrow. Had Akechi not rolled off to the side, the light certainly would have killed him upon impact.

Akechi’s breaths hitched in his throat. He had saw the look in Yaldabaoth’s eyes hinting that he would be attacking, but he admittedly underestimated the intensity of the blow after noticing the large cavity in the rock beneath him where he previously stood.

“Now then…” four arms emerged from the wicked creature’s back, one holding a gun, the other a bell, a sword, and lastly a book. In the center of him was a sphere of red and black light, streaming out to the four limbs that had proliferated.

Akechi bit his lip, eyes rounding with intensity, “He’s charging…? Come, Loki!”

Akechi waited about awkwardly for a few seconds before stumbling back. Nothing had happened. If Yaldabaoth wasn’t charging for his next attack, Akechi surely would have perished at that moment.

“H-Huh…? Loki!” The desolate young man gambled for another chance, but still to no avail. Akechi fumbled through his pockets for his phone, turning it on to try and manually summon his Persona.

Only to discover that the Metaverse Navigator was now gone.

“Heheh…” Yaldabaoth intervened Akechi’s episode of panic and disbelief, staring down squarely at the young man, “Whether you are aware or are blind, your psyche has been vastly damaged. That saves me the trouble of abolishing your abilities as the Wild Card manually. Now you truly are useless.”

“That… that can’t be true,” Akechi’s left eye shut tightly, mouth quivering. He was now completely reduced to an eidolon to the world, not even his supernatural abilities holding any proof of his worth. “Loki! Robin Hood…! Dammit, come, Loki!” He repeatedly bellowed.

Yaldabaoth clearly was amused, having held back his attack. The god that had feasted on his misery emitted a low rumbling laugh void of any humor, instead containing promises of pain and torment. The red and black beam grew in size, “Pathetic mortal! Allow me to put you out of your misery… Goro Akechi.”

Akechi’s whole body shook as his attention was now squarely on the ominous beam in the process of driving right through him.

Perhaps… this is for the better. I am lost to the world now, and I couldn’t even get any satisfaction if I showed up to Shido’s room to mock him anymore now that he’s a husk of guilt. I became superfluous to the world the moment I lost my Persona. I will not fight against my inevitable fate any longer.

These thoughts elicited a faint sob from the boy. Instead of fighting back, Akechi shut his eyes in miserable defeat, accepting his fall. At the very least, it was by the hands of a literal deity, though Akechi cared no longer, even if Shido’s cognition of him came back to shoot him. He lost all dignity, not even trying to mask how horribly he looked.

“Don’t give in… Move out of the way, please!” Akechi heard the sweet, mellifluous cry of a young girl echo in his head, contrasting the atmosphere that was fully against him. It had been so long since someone had tried to reach out to him, either being completely ignored or antagonized since going into hiding. Hearing the unfamiliar cry had overwhelmed him, as he at least wished to know who was behind it before perishing.

But his vision began to fade before giving out completely after being engulfed by the scorching beam of Yaldabaoth’s manifestation.

The last thing he remembered seeing was a radiant, sapphire-colored butterfly illuminating his cloudy gaze before darkness consumed his consciousness.