Chapter 1: The Only Interesting Thing In Inaba
If one could use a single word to describe the torrid affair between the policeman Tohru Adachi and the reporter Mayumi Yamano, the most accurate would most likely be “mutualistic.”
They both hated the town they were stuck in (the little town of Yasoinaba), hated the way everything seemed to go so slow.
It only made sense that they would find solace in each other.
For Mayumi, what Tohru offered was freedom. He had no expectations of her, no restrictions.
“Stick with me,” he had offered to her with a grin, “and boredom will be a thing of the past for you.”
And how. Behind his seemingly dopey appearance hid a cynical, dry jokester with a wild side.
Not only was he good in the sack, but the conversations they had would go on for hours. He had a variety of opinions.
Having been passed over almost all his life with his seemingly meek appearance, he’d seen (and heard) quite a few things that he normally never would have. Whispered quips from about how this shopkeeper beat his wife or that woman had been widowed kept Mayumi from losing her patience.
She never felt freer than when she was with him.
For Tohru, what Mayumi offered was someone to be with after work. Someone genuine, who accepted him for who he truly was.
When he had revealed to her that he wasn’t just some forgetful idiot, she had smiled at him. “How about you and I get a drink, Tohru?”
He was addicted to the way she interacted with him. Every time she said his name, it was with a playful lilt. Every time she talked with him, it was with a fearlessness he rarely saw in anybody. And every time they fooled around, he'd never had a better lay.
She and him would debate on a variety of things - how talent affected one’s stature in life, the pros and cons of being a civil servant, and even things as small as which M&M tasted the best.
It also helped that she was just plain cute. That short hair, that twinkle in her eye.. He ate it up, practically.
He never felt more free to be himself than when he was around her.
It came to a screeching halt a few months later.
She had visited just for a check-up. Her period was late that month.
“You, you have to be kidding me,” Mayumi stuttered to the doctor.
“I can’t be,” she added, as if to clear the situation up.
The doctor sighed, shaking her head.
“I’m not joking, sadly. I’m sorry, Mayumi.”
Mayumi put her hands over her mouth, trying to swallow the lump in her throat.
Abortion was out of the picture, of course. It would destroy her reputation. The tabloids would find out.
And yet if word got out that a policeman in some backwater town had knocked her up, it would damage her reputation almost as much.
She wracked her brain for thoughts of which tryst with Tohru had done it.
Was it the night he had “hunted” her? The one upon the couch, where he’d gently kissed her and whispered how much he'd cared?
Tears sprang to her eyes. She couldn’t do this.
After the appointment, she went to the only other person in this damned town she could trust.
Taro Namatame, that was his name. A meek, but kind person.
She and him were childhood friends. He was the only one who would understand.
She had knocked on his door, trying to keep her restraint. Yet the minute he had opened the door, giving her that gentle stare and “Is something the matter?”, she had burst into tears and thrown herself into his arms.
“I, I’ve, I’m such an idiot, a stupid little slut who got pregnant and the father is Tohru, Tohru Adachi..”
“Slow down, Mayumi. Breathe. Breathe. What happened?”
His eyes were wide, breathing becoming as feverish as Mayumi’s.
“Namatame, I had an affair with Tohru Adachi.”
Her voice was strained with a sob as Namatame reeled back.
“And you’re..” he breathed.
Namatame’s eyes also began to grow watery.
The tone of his voice - sickly soft - was too much for her. She began crying again in earnest.
“You know I can’t get an abortion.”
“Does Tohru know?”
Mayumi shook her head.
“He wouldn’t understand. I need to raise the child.. somewhere else.”
“Shibuya. Please, please come with me to care for this child.”
She gripped his sleeve. “You’re the only one I trust, Namatame,” she continued.
Namatame was shaking. He, too, was crying.
“I’m such a fucking mess..” Mayumi rasped.
Namatame practically jumped from his seat and went up to her.
He grabbed her shoulders gently and hugged her close.
“You are not a mistake. Or a mess. I don’t think of you any differently.”
Mayumi had skipped town with Namatame a week later.
She didn’t say goodbye to Tohru. She was too afraid to. He was tolerant of a lot of things, but she didn't know how he would handle knowing he was now a father.
The few months that ensued, living in a Shibuya flat with Namatame.. they were the most peaceful of her life.
Namatame put his utmost into caring for Mayumi.
Whenever she needed food, he would get it. Whenever she puked, he would hold her hair and rub her back. Whenever the mood swings got too bad, he would talk her through it.
He was patient. He was reliable. He was there.
With every kind word, Mayumi would find she grew more and more in love with him.
With every reassurance, they felt more and more like a family.
While Mayumi and Namatame grew closer, Tohru Adachi was stewing in resentment.
He wasn’t an idiot. He knew Mayumi had skipped out on him with Namatame.
How dare she? He thought she valued him more than that, loved him more than that.
And yet she fucking waltzed out of town without a single goodbye.
Not even a “goodbye, Tohru, fuck off.”
He poured his anger into his drinking, into his work, into every single little thing in his life.
Yet, life in Inaba moved on.
His boss kept working him like a dog. Thankless fucking grunt work, paperwork and other shit.
There were new rumors of a Midnight Channel among the high schoolers - looking into the TV at midnight on a rainy day and seeing your soulmate. Yeah. What a crock of shit.
But then one rainy midnight, when he was drinking his night away in his apartment, he looked into his TV screen and saw her.
The more he thought about it.. yeah. Yeah, maybe Mayumi was his soulmate.
She’d connected with him more than any other bitch in the town. He'd respected her more than any other woman he'd hooked up with.
She’d loved him.
And he realized that, no matter what, she was his. His.
He liked that thought - no, scratch that. He loved that thought.
He decided he would get her back.
He’d get her back even if he had to drag her back to this shitty little town by her ankles, kicking and screaming.
The birth of her child was a makeshift endeavor. The water had broken quickly, too quickly for either Mayumi or Namatame to prepare. They had called in a local doctor, one who could be trusted to keep quiet.
Namatame held her hand as the contractions grew. She whined with pain, squeezing his hand.
The pain kept doubling, the room kept getting more and more constricting.
“Breathe,” Namatame chanted, and with his gentle squeeze of her hand, it became a litany in Mayumi’s head.
The doctor’s voice seemed to melt away.
The pain crescendoed and she could feel the baby pushing through.
It was done.
A baby boy. It was a baby boy.
Namatame smiled, his stress lifted off his shoulders. Mayumi found herself smiling too.
The baby was cut, wrapped, placed in her arms.
“What will you name him?” Namatame whispered, leaning in.
Mayumi smiled, and chuckled. She thought on both men - the birth father who had made the babe, and the adoptive father who had helped in bringing him into the world.
“Yukitaro Adachi. Print it as Yuuki Mishima on the birth certificate. Nobody must know I was his mother - not even the babe himself.”
She came back with her belly swollen, a wreck and a half. Namatame did not follow her, busy raising the young Yukitaro in Shibuya.
Of course the people in Inaba talked. Of course word of her return reached Tohru’s ear.
He visited her hotel room in the local inn that night, shaking with rage. He ground his teeth, grabbing her wrist and squeezing it tightly.
“You cheated on me,” he hissed, “with Taro fucking Namatame.”
“It wasn’t like that! I was pregnant-“
“Oh, so he got you pregnant? Knocked you up and you decided you couldn’t even look at me, you were so ashamed? You didn't even SAY GOODBYE to me! I thought you loved me.”
“That’s not how it happened! Tohru, I—“
“You’re mine. I won’t let him have you, anymore. I won’t let him taint you anymore, you’re not some stupid slut.”
“Tohru, please, think this through!”
Tohru approached her, going eerily quiet. “Maybe a little fear will make you listen. A reminder to who you belong to.. who your soulmate is.”
He chuckled at the tears in her eyes, cornering her.
“Tohru Adachi..” she whispered.
“I’m just showing you how much I love you.” he crooned.
Against the TV he threw her, breathless —
She fell in.
She fell into the TV.
Tohru took a step back, eyes wide. What the hell?
The day her corpse was found by the schoolgirl Saki Konishi, hanging from a TV antenna upside down, both Tohru Adachi and Taro Namatame grieved for the loss of their lover.
Tohru figured out very quickly that throwing people into the "TV world," as he called it, killed them. That only he had the power to do it, as far as he knew.
Tohru began to use this new power, but only to fill the hole Mayumi left behind. She was his, his to the afterlife, and nothing could ever tear the memory of her from his mind. He tried to satisfy himself with Saki, but it wasn’t enough. Saki was a bitch, a slut not even close to Mayumi.
He tried to close his eyes and visualize Mayumi whenever he touched Saki, but Saki was coarse and bony where Mayumi was full and soft. Saki went into the TV, just like Mayumi, and this time he felt no remorse.
He tried to pin his murders on Namatame, but it was hard to pin him without him physically being in Inaba. The group of plucky young kids that had been trying to find the killer saw through his attempt.
Tohru eventually fled into the television world himself, once the group realized he was the killer.
He was caught by that same damn group of plucky kids, and placed in jail, for the murders of Mayumi Yamano and Saki Konishi.
And Namatame was left with young Yukitaro.
Those months where he helped her were the best of his life.
When the child was born, he could almost pretend the child was his. He could almost pretend that Mayumi had loved him back. He could pretend a great deal of things when she was alive.
He hoped she would see his loyalty in carrying out her last wishes, from up in Heaven, and smile at him.
He raised the boy as best he could for a few months before (as Mayumi had wanted, in case anything ever happened), he called Mayumi’s sister, Akari Mishima.
The situation was explained. The boy was taken away.
When the child was out of his house, the first time Namatame did was visit a local shrine and pray to all the gods above that Mayumi's child would be protected from all ills of the world.
Chapter 2: The Moon's Waxing and Waning
Short chapter. Concerning Mishima's childhood under the care of his loving stepmother.
A few years passed.
Yuuki (or Mishima, as he went by) grew up unaware of his true parentage. The secret of his parents had been erased so totally from the world that even he didn’t know of it.
He grew up happy, at first. Akari raised him as her own son, and she wanted to make the boy as happy as possible. The circumstances surrounding his birth were too miserable for her not to.
Teachers and friends alike would all comment on how similar young Mishima looked to his mother.
Akari would always smile sadly, and remark that he looked more like his father.
It was all in the face, the eye shape. It seemed so similar to Adachi’s..
At least the boy was happy, if not prone to crying.
At least he was kind, far kinder than his birth father was deep down.
At least, she thought, it would all go well for him.
And then high school rolled around.
He was placed upon the volleyball team at his school, and at first, Akari was so happy for the child she called her son.
Mishima seemed happy too. He talked about how the program was led by a famous Olympian medalist - Suguru Kamoshida - and how excited he was to learn from him.
That excitement quickly evaporated into thin air when Mishima started staying later for volleyball events and coming home with a terrible amount of bruises.
She would ask who was responsible - after all, she knew purposely inflicted bruises when she saw them. He would always shrug it off, say it was from practices, and say nothing more.
Bit by bit, the once talkative boy began to draw further into his shell - and Akari didn’t know what to do.
She could hear him crying in his room at night. The things she heard him whisper to himself broke her heart - things such as “I’m a good person” and “I can be useful.”
Sometimes Kamoshida would visit their home, asking permission for him to do this or that with Mishima. Something about Mishima’s behavior around the older man always troubled her. Mishima always seemed more twitchy and frightened than usual. At one point, where he had spilt tea made for Kamoshida, he had even pleaded to clean it up himself.
She began to pray to Mayumi. “Mayumi, please,” she would whisper, “guide this boy to a better place in his life. Let the truth be revealed.”
And indeed it was, when a series of strange incidents began to unfold at Mishima’s high school.
A schoolgirl’s attempted suicide because of what this.. Kamoshida man put her through. Mishima’s tearful return home and declaration that he was being considered for expulsion due to an incident at volleyball. The cards spread around at his school by a group calling themselves “the Phantom Thieves of Heart” who claimed they would make Kamoshida confess his sins.
It all culminated in the event that made the news - Kamoshida’s public announcement that he had abused his students and those who worked in the Volleyball Club.
That night, when Mishima came home, he told Akari everything.
Kamoshida had used him in order to call other students in for punishment. He was physically, mentally and sexually abused by the man on a level that could only be described as sadistic.
The school had done its utmost to cover this up, and when Mishima had tried to stand up for himself with the help of a few friends, Kamoshida had tried to have him expelled.
There was something almost ironic in that - the son of a rapist and serial killer suffering the abuse his father had once given others - but Akari didn’t find it funny in the least. She was beside herself with rage, and among the first to file a lawsuit against the man.
With Kamoshida out of the way, Mishima began to flourish again. He made a website for the Phantom Thieves that had freed him from his abuse, and all was well. He made friends - a group of lovely young people from his high school he began to hang out with. He was the happiest he’d been in a long while.
And yet, he deserved to learn the truth. He was of age to learn the secret of his parentage.
She planned how how to tell him.
She just hoped she would be able to break it to him in a way that wouldn’t break him.
Please don't expect future updates this regularly, I'm just on a roll rn kdlsjaflsdkf
I know it's short, but please spare me, we're gonna get a few long chapters soon.
This is starting out a bit slow but I promise, next chapter we're going to get The Revelation.
(also Adachi is really really fun to write holy shit-)
Chapter 3: Yuuki(taro) (Adachi) Mishima
Mishima learns the terrible truth of his parentage.
As one can predict, he does not take it very well.
A week passed.
Mishima was in high spirits when his mom called him downstairs.
“Please. It’s important.” Her voice was strung with desperation.
He blinked, but sat down at the table downstairs.
“What’s going on?”
She sighed. “... You probably won’t believe me. But I need to tell you something, something important I’ve had to keep from you since you were born.”
“What is it?” Fear crept into his tone. Akari sighed, trying not to cry.
“I’m not your mother. Your real mother was my sister, Mayumi Yamano.”
Mishima paused. Then he laughed, brushing it off as a joke.
“You’re so silly, Mom.”
“I’m not joking, Yuuki.”
That’s what made him freeze.
He could see her eyes filling with tears. She was barely keeping it together.
He shifted in his seat, trying to relax. A bunch of emotions were welling up in him at once, ranging from shock to anger to grief. He took a breath in.
“... why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“It was your mother’s dying wish. She had your name changed to Yuuki Mishima on your birth certificate. She would have gotten in serious trouble if others learned she had you. Even more so if they found out who the father was.”
“And who was it?”
The woman he thought of as his mother finally broke down in heaving, grief-struck sobs.
She managed to power through it and continued on.
“T-the man who killed your mother.. T-Tohru Adachi…”
After a minute spent regaining her breath, she added “Your real name is Yukitaro Adachi.. after the man who helped care for you, Taro Namatame.. and your birth father, Tohru.”
Mishima’s fists clenched. What the hell?
He suddenly recognized Tohru’s name - he was the serial killer of Inaba, charged for murdering none other than Saki Konishi and..
“My mother..” he breathed.
His adoptive mother was sobbing too hard to respond.
He called his friend Akira in a tear-spilling cocktail of audible rage, grief and fear.
“Meet me at the diner in Shibuya in an hour. Bring a friend or two, I n-need to talk.” His hands shook as he hung up the phone.
He threw the phone down on his bed, letting out a few choice words. Gods, what if he was a product of rape? What if the reason he suffered was as atonement for the sins of his father?
The more he thought about it, the more uneasy he got. And the more uneasy he got, the more angry he got.
It wasn’t enough that his dad had to be a serial killer, huh. No, his mother - stepmother - had to lie to him about it for all of his life.
He got dressed, making his way to the Shibuya diner. He checked the Phantom Thieves fansite he ran on his phone - not many people voting on the new poll he put up. He let out a sigh, clicking it off as he stepped into the diner.
Sitting at a booth near the back was a black-haired boy (his best friend Akira), a blonde guy (his other good friend Ryuji) and the cat in Akira’s bag. The cat mewed as Mishima sat down.
“What’s wrong?” Akira asked gently. He leaned in slightly.
Mishima immediately seemed to relax a bit. Akira had that effect, he found. Like you could tell him anything.
Yet, when Mishima opened his mouth to speak, he could feel his anger surge right back onto his voice as he said “Everything I thought I knew about my birth is a lie!”
Ryuji blinked. “Wait, whuh?”
Mishima sighed. “You know about the Inaba TV Killer? The one from a few years ago?”
Akira’s eyes widened. He nodded. “Yeah,” Ryuji said, “it was all over the news for a little while. He killed that reporter lady, Mayumi- ”
“Mayumi Yamano. My mother. He’s my dad. My real dad, and the lady I thought was my mother kept it from me!”
Akira’s mouth opened slightly. Ryuji yelled out “FOR REAL?!”
“YEAH! She even showed me pictures of Mayumi holding me!” Mishima pulled out a group of papers with drawings, notes, and other things.
He showed them the pictures. The cat mewed again, in a concerned sort of way.
“I can’t imagine how you must be feeling now.” Akira rubbed the back of his head.
“Wait, what’s that guy next to her? He doesn’t look like the killer..” Ryuji pointed out. Sure enough, next to Mayumi in the picture, there was another man. He seemed meek, and gentle.
“Must be Namatame. My mom - stepmom - told me he helped raise me for a bit when Mayumi died. My real name, Yukitaro, comes from his first name.” He pulled out notes from Mayumi’s diary talking about it.
Akira leaned back in his chair. “Still. You have to deal with the fact that your real dad’s a serial killer.”
“More than that,” Mishima hissed. “I looked him up. Turns out during the trial he went through, he confessed to attempting to rape both of his victims.”
He pulled out a few news articles, pointing to highlighted sections with Adachi’s quotes.
“ She was mine, Mayumi was mine. She cheated on me, and I had to teach her a lesson.”
“Saki didn’t measure up. What an unlikable bitch. Didn’t even get any satisfaction from kissing her.”
"Mayumi is mine even to her grave."
That hung heavy over the group. It didn’t take a genius to see why Mishima had a special rage for that particular facet of Adachi’s crime.
“God, this guy sounds like such a scumbag!” Ryuji grumbled, “He’s talkin’ exactly like Kamoshida!”
“Exactly the kind of guy the Phantom Thieves would have gone after.” Akira murmured under his breath.
Mishima froze up a little at the mention of Kamoshida, closing his eyes tight for a minute before he carried on.
“Funny enough, he was caught by a group of high schoolers - now known as the Inaba Investigation Team.”
He shows a picture of the group - a bunch of high schoolers, as oddly familiar as they were different.
“Well.. what’re you gonna do, go to Inaba and confront him?” Ryuji sighed.
“That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
Akira and Ryuji both looked alarmed. “You could be hurt.” Akira reached over to put his hand on Mishima’s shoulder.
“I know he was released from jail a few years ago, Mish, but that’s no reason to confront him! Who knows how he’ll react?” Ryuji shrugged.
“I know. But I need to know why he did it. I need to know if he’s atoned for what he’s done, or if he’s just a scumbag I can leave behind.”
“Mishima, are you sure you want to do this?” Akira gently squeezed Mishima’s shoulder to reassure him.
“Then let us come with you, dude! It’ll give us an excuse to skip school,” Ryuji declared.
“Uhh… ok? You guys might get in trouble, though..”
Akira and Ryuji both turned to look at each other. In unison, they went "It's fine!"
Next chapter: We get to see the smug bastard dad himself in action! It's one of my favorite chapters to write so far.
It's fun to think about just how much that must weigh on Mishima, having a rapist for his dad.
Seeing his interactions with Adachi is gonna be fun too.
Chapter 4: Jester, Jester, Fix What You Broke
Tohru Adachi settles in for a normal day before The Revelation gets dropped on him from a certain other Wild Card.
You can really, honestly tell I had a ball writing this chapter.
It’s been a bit since Tohru Adachi was released from prison, and he’s never felt better. Don’t get him wrong, he still hates Inaba.
But.. there are ways he’s learning to cope with what he did, and get better. Mainly accepting that maybe trying to turn the world into one overrun by Shadows may not have been the best thing to try, or that his view that life was a shitty game of talent where bonds are meaningless was.. not always as correct as he thought.
He’s been living by his self-made rules, trying to make up for what he did in his own way.
Though it’s not like he’d tell his
friend he made out with once while drunk former coworker Dojima, or Dojima’s annoying nephew. He has standards to his bastardly behavior, he’d like to say. He hasn’t turned into a goody-two-shoes deep down.
Sometimes he still wonders about his power, about the events of his murders. Was he hallucinating? A brief push of his hand into the TV screen confirms that no, he wasn’t.
Either way, today will just be the same-ol, same-ol. He smiles, relaxing against his couch and kicking his feet up on the table. Life’s pretty good to him, right now.
A knock at his door jolts him out of his thoughts. He blinks. “Who is it? Not taking any of the paparazzi this time,” he yells from his couch.
A familiar, calm voice responds “It’s Yu Narukami. Open up.”
The minute Adachi hears those words, he curses. Fuck, it’s Dojima’s nephew again. He still doesn’t understand why the brat still seems so deadset on making sure he’s ok, even years after the little shit and his friend group brought him to the police or that whole tournament thing.
He keeps cursing quietly as he swings up to his feet and goes to get the door.
“I can hear you, you know,” Yu deadpans. Everything he says seems to be in a tone where Adachi never knows if he’s joking or not.
Regardless, Adachi opens the door.
He’s gotta admit, puberty really has done a service to Narukami. The once gangly looking 17 year old has grown into a sharp (and handsome) man with an impeccable sense of style. He's wearing a formal suit better than Adachi ever thought.
Narukami quickly pops his shoes off before coming in, carrying a folder in his hands.
“Are you wearing nail polish?” Adachi quirks his head.
Narukami looks up, nodding. “It looks good on me. My friend Rise taught me how to apply it.”
He spreads his hands to display the royal blue nail polish on his nails.
Adachi sighs. “You’re a handful, kid, you know that?”
“Tell ol’ Adachi why you’re here. Leader of the Inaba Investigation Team has to have his hands full with all sorts of cases, right? Why take the time to come here and dig up an old one?” Adachi shrugs, sinking back down onto the couch and popping open another can of beer.
He’s taking a sip when Narukami goes “You have a son.”
And right about then is when a little bit of beer gets up Adachi’s nose. A little bit more may have spewed out of his mouth, but he wasn’t focused on that, he was more concerned with the absolutely ridiculous statement that little brat just made.
“And Yu - haha - have an awful sense of humor sometimes.” He reaches over to grab some tissues.
Yu does not react to the absolutely disgusting pun Adachi just delivered. He opens up the folder on the table, and pulls out a picture.
“This is him.”
Adachi sighs, looks up -
His jaw drops.
In this picture is a kid with Mayumi’s hair, Mayumi’s eyes - and his facial structure, kinda, his eye shape. He’s smiling at some joke another blonde kid is telling and he looks exactly like the hypothetical kid that Adachi would imagine himself having with Mayumi when he was bored.
The resemblance is dead-on, but Adachi tries to convince himself otherwise. “Oh, yeah? What’s your proof?”
Yu slides the rest of the folder over to Adachi. Adachi sifts through the pages of evidence. Diary entries, written transcripts of interviews.
“We got the bulk of our information from Namatame. He came to us saying he had something to confess,” Yu sighed, “and we didn’t pay much attention until he provided all of this.”
Adachi picks up the one picture of Mayumi with the boy in her arms, Namatame standing to the side.
His hands begin to shake. He moans.
“... she had just given birth to my kid and I killed her.”
He puts a hand over his face. There’s a familiar emotion pooling in his stomach, and he feels like he’s been punched in the gut.
“She even - she even tried to tell me. I didn’t listen..”
Yu blinks. His face is impassive.
“His legal name is Yuuki Mishima. According to the diary she kept, his real name is Yukitaro Adachi. Three guesses as to who she got the idea of that last name from.”
Adachi’s eyes are wide and sobered. He moans again, sounding like he’s in legitimate physical pain.
“He lives in Shibuya - with Mayumi’s sister. Just thought you would want to know.”
And Narukami just— just walks out. Just like that.
Of course Adachi goes to Dojima for guidance. Dojima is like his rock. His muscled.. oddly charming.. gruff-voiced rock.
Adachi gets done explaining the situation over a beer or two in the Dojima household.
Dojima, ever the blunt one, immediately hits him with “I’m not going to let you be a deadbeat dad to this kid, ok?”
Adachi winces. Dojima has a.. special kind of attitude towards deadbeat fathering, since he used to be one himself towards his daughter Nanako before Narukami called him out.
“He probably doesn’t even know about me, and it’s best that way. Who wants to learn they’re the bastard son of a serial killer?” Adachi waves his hand dismissively, taking a sip of his beer.
He looks up and suddenly Dojima is giving him the “oh, you are in for a lecture, you little shit” look, and that’s when Adachi knows he’s going to need another beer.
“Adachi. ” He grabs Adachi’s shoulder and ouch, ouch, he really has perfected that angry parent shoulder-squeeze. Adachi whimpers with pain, dropping his beer can on the table.
“I need you to listen to me,” he continues, “you have to be there for this kid. He’s most likely never had a good father figure in his life. Who knows what he could’ve turned into?”
Adachi sighs. “Not even Mayumi gave me a chance to father the kid, ok? That’s probably a sign I’m not cut out for it.”
“What about Nanako? You used to help babysit for her from time to time.”
Adachi whines again. Goddamnit, Dojima always knows where to hit him.
“Nanako is.. she’s different! That’s only short-term stuff, I can barely take care of myself.”
In his defense, it was to cover for nights when he wanted to get closer to Dojima - even though maybe he did care for Nanako a little, and tried his best to care for her when he had the time, and -
He groans, slapping a hand to his own face.
“Besides, this kid’s older, from what you told me. It shouldn’t be that bad, Adachi.” Dojima shrugs slightly, gulping down another beer.
“What do you want me to do, go to the Mishima household and go ‘Hi, I may have killed your sister but give me a chance, I can make things better?’ Like she’d ever try it.”
Dojima’s grip relaxes. “I want you to go to Narukami, see if you can get the kid’s contact info, and just.. try reaching out. Write letters if you have to.”
“Again, why should I even bother?”
“You cared about Mayumi, didn’t you? In your own.. messed-up way, but you did. You want to make things right? You want to prove to Namatame - and to her, posthumously - that you can handle this and that you’ve sincerely changed? Then pick up the pieces you’ve left behind, fix what you broke, and care for your fucking son. ”
Adachi looks at Dojima - really looks at Dojima - and sighs.
“You’re not gonna let this lie, are ya.”
Adachi’s shoulders slump.
He’s now a father. Great.
me: ok so we're going to end it here when they both [redacted] -
brain: plot out what they do in all of the palaces.
me: but. but this is meant to be short-
brain: I SAID. PLOT OUT. WHAT THEY DO. IN ALL. THE FUCKING. PALACES.
me, sobbing, begging for mercy: oh gods this is so much longer than I intended please help me I hope my muse remains -
(also I'm still fucking STUMPED on Mishima's Phantom Thief name it's killing me)
Chapter 5: The Moon Rises Over Inaba
Yuuki Mishima arrives in Inaba with his friends.
He seeks the advice of a few others before finding his way to the place he would inevitably be drawn to.
The train ride over to Inaba was relatively uneventful. Mishima, Akira and Ryuji (and, of course, the cat) spent their time talking in each other’s company and planning what they were going to do in the tiny town of Inaba.
“Yeah, when it comes to meeting Namatame, I’m fine going with one of you guys. For meeting my dad..” Mishima rubbed the back of his neck.
“Is it ok if I just have one of you guys waiting outside the door, just in case something happens? When the time comes, I want to confront him alone. I want to ask him why he did what he did.”
Ryuji opened his mouth to object on not going in with Akira before Akira silenced him with a glance.
“So, Mish, what’s our first destination?” Ryuji asked.
“The Investigation Team’s headquarters. They’ll know where I can find Namatame and.. and my dad.”
The headquarters had a sign posted out front - Midnight Channel Investigation Team - Detectives and Private Investigators.
Their logo was a moon in a boxy TV unit.
Ryuji whistled. “Hot damn, now I remember. These guys solved the Inaba TV murders, that’s where they got their name from.”
Mishima seemed visibly nervous. His hands were shaking so much that Akira put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s fine, don’t worry. You’ve got this, Yuuki.”
… Something about Akira choosing to call him by his first name calmed him down.
The three boys stepped into the Investigation Team’s headquarters, unsure of what they would be greeted by.
The first thing that greeted them was the mouth-watering smell of beef bowls. The facility itself was neatly maintained - shelves full of books, file cabinets full of folders.
At the main desk, two men sat eating beef bowls - a light-brown haired man with a gorgeous grin, and a silver-haired man dressed in a well-cut suit.
“Damn, Yu… it’s been ages, and these beef bowls are still the best things in the world,” the brown-haired man said through a full mouth of meat.
The silver-haired man chuckled softly, looking up. “Yosuke, just let me take care of this one, ok?”
He looked up, putting his beef bowl aside and straightening his tie.
“Welcome to the Midnight Channel Investigation Team's headquarters. I’m Yu Narukami, my friend over there is Yosuke Hanamura.” He pointed at the light-brown-haired man who waved at them.
“What can I help you with?” Yu smiled.
Mishima sighed. “I’m.. I’m Yuuki Mishima. I found out from my mom who- who technically isn’t my mom, that Tohru Adachi is my father. Can you somehow verify these items, and help point me to where I could speak with Namatame and my dad?”
Mishima pulled out the items that his step mother had shown him. Yu studied them. “Funny you bring this up now, actually. Namatame brought similar items to us a while back and confirmed this.”
Mishima’s face lit up. “Great! Is there-“
“Let me get a map and mark down where you can find them. I know your father recently learnt of your existence, too.” Because I told him was the addendum that he left off.
The general consensus with the three was that Ryuji would get food for them while Akira and Mishima talked with Namatame.
“Y’know, I’ve gotten so used to being called Mishima.. Maybe I should start going by Yuuki instead,” Mishima fretted.
“I like Yuuki a bit better,” Akira offered.
"I think I'll try it for this trip."
Mishima (or, rather, Yuuki) and Akira stopped in the office. A stern looking official glowered down upon the two.
“What are you doing here?”
Akira cut him off. “We’re here to see Namatame. We want to interview him for a school project.”
This did nothing to help Yuuki’s anxiety.
The official grunted. “Sure thing, I can take you to him.”
If the Investigation Team’s office was clean, Namatame’s office was religiously clean. Not a thing was out of place.
Taro Namatame himself was buried in paperwork, as anxious-looking as Yuuki himself.
“Hey,” the official said, “got two kids here to see you for a school interview.”
“I don’t..” Namatame looked up.
His worried expression immediately softened upon seeing Yuuki. “Yes.. yes, let them in.”
The official left, and the two were left in the office with Namatame.
Namatame stood, coming over to Yuuki with a tremor to his hand.
There were tears glittering in his eyes.
“Yukitaro.. You look so much like her.”
The tenderness in his voice and the gentle brush of his hand against Yuuki’s cheek said what could not be put into words.
“Yes. Yes, of course. Sit, please sit.” He gestured to the seats.
Once everybody was seated, Namatame cleared his throat.
“What was she like?” Yuuki asked. “My stepmom didn’t say much about her, and I just want to know what her favorite color was, what’d she like, how did she wear her hair?”
Akira had his journal out as Namatame began: “She had a beautiful soul. She threw herself into everything, from work to play. She wore red like she was born to it, she always cut her hair short because she didn’t want to be beholden to anybody else. And she had such a sense of humor. It made me so happy.”
His face fell as his shoulders slumped. “The show business ate her alive. I knew her from childhood, and she used to be so much brighter.. the news station monitored what she wore, where she went, how she ate. Fame chained her.”
“So that’s why she went to Inaba? To escape that?” Yuuki asked.
“Yes. Also to.. to make sure I was doing alright, in her words.. I suspect that was why she fell so much for your father, what he gave her that I could not. Your father.. some unchained part of him sang to her, thrilled her.”
Yuuki bit his lip.
“And uh, what.. what was my father like, before the..”
His voice faltered.
“The murders?” Namatame supplied. “He was.. a rather strange case. Worked in the police under a man named Ryotaro Dojima. Helped out around town. He seemed, in the few times I saw him, rather ineffectual and air-headed. When I asked your mother, she gave.. implications.. that it was an act, that deep down in his heart lay some sort of.. chaos-driven, sexual little cynic. I only learned the truth after she died and entrusted care of you over to me for a little while.”
“And.. what was the truth?”
“That he resented me so much he attempted to frame me for his murders.”
That hung over the three for a while - so, Yuuki attempted to break the silence.
“What was I like as a kid?”
Namatame seemed to relax again, sighing. “You were very quiet. I believe you took after me a lot more than you did your father.”
They chatted for a while longer before Akira and Yuuki went to get lunch with Ryuji.
The entire time, Yuuki’s anxiety about meeting his father grew and grew.
The three now stood outside Tohru Adachi’s apartment.
“I believe in you, Yuuki. You can do this,” Akira reassured, patting Yuuki on the shoulder.
“Yeah, you’ve got this.” Ryuji grinned.
“W-Wish me luck..”
Yuuki knocked on the door.
It creaked open slightly. He could hear a distant voice inside, rambling.
… With that, he went inside.
I'm cruel for making you all wait, I know.
I'm trying to get ahead of writing so that I've got a bit of leeway in updating this for you guys.
Thus I issue a triad of questions three to ponder upon in your comments for this chapter:
How do you think Mishima's confrontation with Adachi is going to go?
What do you think Mishima's Persona will be?
And what do you love the most about this fanfic so far?
I love the input, engagement and general support I'm getting from you readers, it's helping me out a ton on continuing and where I'm going with this. <3
Anywho, have a nice day!
Chapter 6: Jester, Meet Your Son, The Moon
Tohru Adachi and his son finally meet.
Thus begins their first confrontation.
(this was hard as hell to write in terms of "oh FUCK am I getting them both in-character???")
At the time Yuuki Mishima enters, Tohru Adachi is writing letters. So, so many letters.
Different drafts of letters drift across the floor.
Dear product of my baby batter, one begins, how much do you know about your mother?
Another one, starting with a more malicious bent - hey, fucking parasite, stop making me feel guilty, I know I killed your mother - gets balled up and thrown in the trash.
He’s got a laptop open that’s playing some American songs. Just one of those things he does when he’s trying to keep himself busy and he’s exceptionally bored.
“How do I even begin to talk with this kid?” he groans, throwing yet another letter on the ground as the sound of yet another washed-out American pop song blares through the apartment. “I mean, the brat was raised by Namatame half of his life, he’s probably anxious as hell, it shouldn’t be that bad..”
He grabs his hair. God, even dealing with Dojima’s kid, Nanako, was easier than this.
Yuuki steps around the trash, kicking away stray beer cans around the apartment as the deep tones of Rasputin echo through the apartment.
“Hey, uh, is Tohru Adachi here?”
Tohru looks up, startled out of his thoughts. That voice..
“Who is it?” he asks, wary. Did he leave the door open again? He must’ve.
“Your son.” Yuuki steps out, into Tohru’s eyesight.
The pictures really did not do justice just how exactly he resembled Tohru, in some regards. The way he’s holding himself right now, the gaze in his eye..
Fuck, Tohru’s panicking internally.
He’d wanted to be in control of the situation when he met his kid. To take him out to a dinner where he was paying, a place where any public freak-outs could be controlled. Able to figure out exactly who - what - this kid was like. After all, Dojima had made him promise to take care of this kid - he needed to know what he’d be dealing with in doing so.
And yet the kid had sought him out on his own terms. Which meant he probably knew about.. about the murders, and Mayumi, and Tohru’s heart is racing with fear in his chest.
Tohru’s sweating, mind racing on what to do, and his brain comes up with the absolute tackiest thing possible.
He pulls out a coin, chuckling nervously, and goes “Wanna see a coin trick?”
The look in this kid’s eyes immediately goes from judging to straight anger.
He slaps the coin out of Tohru’s hand, where it goes flying into the wall.
“You tried to rape my mother before you murdered her.”
Tohru feels like the kid’s just kicked him right then and there.
Yep, definitely got that trait from his mother.
Tohru raises his hands, like he’s soothing a wild animal. “Now, now, that’s from a long time ago. I’ve done my time for that, I’m following the rules of this reality now.”
“Oh, you mean the rules that say ‘be a decent person?’ The ones that say ‘don’t sexually harass people?’ ” His voice is steadily rising in volume, anger gripping him further and further.
Man, this kid is getting fired up, like he’s got a personal stake in the matter.
Tohru winces. “I’ve changed, ok?”
“Tell that to the Konishi family’s daughter rotting in the ground. Tell that to my mother's grave.”
Now that Saki comment was below the belt, Tohru would say. Saki was a different case, and yeah, maybe he might’ve gone overboard there, but that’s not his fault.
“Woah, woah, that’s passed. That’s long since passed. Look, why come out swinging like this? I know what I did was wrong - I’ve had more than a while to reflect on it in prison, remember?”
His kid gets a little closer, jabbing his finger into Tohru’s chest over and over. Yep. Definitely got that one from his mother.
Yuuki’s voice gets deadly soft, deadly calm.
Tohru knows his kid is about to royally unload on him.
“You know those news about the medalist from Shujin Academy? The one that turned out to be a rapist? ” He spits that word like it’s poison.
“Yeah, it’s all over the news, what of it?”
“I was one of his victims. He used me.. fucked me. ”
He goes silent, and lets that little revelation sink in for a minute.
Jesus Christ, Tohru thought, no wonder he was so furious about it.
That slinking feeling of guilt starts wrapping around his throat again.
He puts on a worried face. Is he doing these expressions right? This kid’s got him tripping up. “I.. jee, that must’ve been.. a lot.”
“Yeah, it was. He made my life a living hell. It was only the Phantom Thieves that saved me.”
Tohru does remember the Phantom Thieves, come to think of it. They had just recently gotten on the news for supposedly helping out a bunch of other people, as well as pursuing the famous artist Madarame.
No wonder his kid would feel so indebted to them, if they basically ended up putting a stop to his torture.
Tohru takes a shaky breath, rubbing a hand on his face as he tries to think of another topic to bring up.
“Do you understand now, Adachi? Do you swear that you’ve changed, that you’re not like him?”
Tohru thinks back. Well.. he still wasn’t over Mayumi, and he still had a long way to go, but he wasn’t actively gunning to traumatize his kid like that Kamoshida guy, that’d just be plain shitty.
“Yeah. I can’t swear it exactly like you say, but again, maybe others can vouch for my.. relatively Windexed-clean sense of character. Ask Dojima, or Narukami.” He puts on a dopey grin, the kind that helped clean away almost every single fuck-up he did under the employ of Ryotaro Dojima.
Yuuki shoots him an icy, icy glare.
A few moments pass in this staredown and Tohru is seriously considering diving out the window, because the energy here has congealed into the sort of thick awkwardness that makes you want to sink into the floor.
Yuuki is still glaring.
Another entire conversation seems to pass between them just in that one staredown.
So Tohru decides to take initiative, and break the silence.
“Look, I know I wasn’t there for you. Mainly because I didn’t even know you existed until - what, a few days ago? Your mother didn’t give me the chance to really father you, either, since she just ran off with Namatame.”
Yuuki stubbornly remains quiet.
Tohru's ramble starts coming straight from the heart - “I know I seem like a pathetic, washed-up drunk making excuses. But.. I made a promise to my friend Dojima-san, after I got out of jail and began following the rules of this reality with its quirks, its stupid little need for teamwork, and all that comes with it.”
“I promised I’m not going to let’cha rot away without knowing what having a dad is like. Without at least making an effort to pick up what I left behind.”
Tohru rubs the back of his neck, continuing on his ramble.
“Now, I’m not promising Father of the Year material here, I can barely take care of myself. But I’ll treat you a lot better than I treat myself, since you’re the literal product of one of the few shitty bonds in this world I actually value. … Now you’ve got me getting all sappy and sentimental. Anyway, if you wanna walk out, I won’t stop you.”
That’s when Yuuki finally speaks.
“I’m going to give you a chance. Just like my friends did with me.”
“Well.. I’ll give it the best I’ve got, kid.”
“Is everything alright in there?” Ryuji yells.
Yuuki looks at Tohru, looks back at the door and yells “It’s fine!”
“Hey,” Tohru suggests, “why don’t you and your friends come eat over at Dojima-san’s place with me tonight?”
Hopefully that confrontation hit you like a sledgehammer (or one of Yuuki's insults)!
Kept worrying a ton about the length of this one.
Prolly gonna have to take a lil breather from updating (as in, a few days, a week at the -absolute- most) to catch up in writing this so that I have enough back-up chapters to get back in shape with updating frequently.
Questions to ponder in your comments:
- What thing from Persona 4 or Persona 5 are you most excited to see next in this fanfic?
- Where do you think this will go next? (don't worry, I have the whole thing plotted out! :D)
- Are there any songs you think of while you're reading this? (I have a whole Spotify playlist for this fic but whOOPS I think it probably turned into a straight-up Adachi playlist because I'm having far too much fun writing him in some of the later scenes of this fic)
Chapter 7: Time Keeps On Slipping Into The Future
Chapter name from Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like An Eagle".
Tohru and Yuuki find themselves in a precarious situation.
(It's rushed, but that's because next chapter we get to the Good Shit.)
The dinner over at the Dojima’s place goes well - Dojima seems pleased that Tohru is actually stepping up to his fatherly duties. Nanako is delighted at Yuuki’s stories of life in the big city, and eagerly asks him for more.
Time passes quicker than the two expect, and after a night of feverish packing, Tohru joins the three kids on their trip back to Tokyo. The conversation between them is deeply awkward, and most of the train ride is spent in silence.
Once they get off the train, Tohru and Yuuki temporarily part ways. Both unpack; Tohru in the apartment he’d inherited from his father, and Yuuki in his normal home.
The next day, Tohru attempts to visit Yuuki at his house and talk with his stepmother. The conversation is a mess. Tohru has to fight to convince Akari Mishima that he’s changed and he wants to be a good father. Yuuki is the one who convinces Akari to give Tohru a chance - just one.
At school, Akira and his friends suddenly get a lot closer to Mishima than before.
In class, as the teacher is called down to the lounge, Akira and another friend of his (Ann, Yuuki remembers) sit down next to Mishima.
Ann lowers her voice as she leans in. “Akira told me about what happened.. so your dad’s in Shibuya right now?”
Yuuki nods. “My stepmom still doesn’t trust him, but yeah, he’s here. I helped him move out of his place in Inaba.”
Akira smiles. “So you two are getting along?”
Yuuki looks down. He’s unsure how to characterize their relationship right now.
Yuuki remembers that as they were moving out, Tohru paid for a huge beef bowl takeout dinner for the both of them and seemed excited when Yuuki liked it. They had bonded over old anime, unwinding by watching a bit of Evangelion together once they got done packing up.
On the other hand, Tohru is also a little shit, and that hasn’t changed. Yuuki thinks of the time he “accidentally” let Ryuji’s luggage fall on his head after Ryuji called him old.
“It’s.. it’s going.” He shrugs, unsure how to put it.
“How are you feeling about-“ Ann begins, before Yuuki cuts her off.
“I’ve stopped being scared of him,” he blurts out.
Akira frowns. “You still have to be on guard. You never know what he might be thinking,” he comments.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. From what Dojima said of him, though, I think I can trust him a lot more than you’d think.” Yuuki’s brow furrows, and he quickly scribbles something down in his notebook for class.
The conversation quickly moves on to the upcoming test in the class, as well as the rampant cases of blackmailing going on in Shibuya and if the Phantom Thieves would deal with it like they had with Madarame. The teacher soon comes back from the lounge to keep teaching, and Yuuki’s attention wanes.
Meanwhile, a man is standing outside, waiting for classes to end. His suit is a bit rumpled, his red tie hopefully adding an air of class to him. What he hopes is a fatherly smile spread across his face looks more like a sadistic smirk. He’s practicing coin tricks with his coin when he’s not flipping it.
The unfortunate truth is that Tohru Adachi, in waiting for his son to exit, looks like a pervert - and ever since Kamoshida, Shujin Academy has had a bad history with perverts.
Rumors spread as the kids are exiting the school that day, as well as angry stares pointed in his direction specifically. Yuuki sighs as he approaches Tohru.
“Hi there, kid.”
Yuuki’s rubbing the back of his neck.
“Can you please not wait at the gates for me like that? You look..” Yuuki’s searching for phrasing that isn’t ‘a goddamn pedo’.
Tohru deflates, finishing Yuuki’s statement: “... like a creep, right.” His shoulders slump. “I’m sorry about that.”
“It’s.. alright. Why don’t we go out into town tonight?” Yuuki suggests.
Tohru smiles. His face crinkles in the grin.
“Sounds pretty good to me!” He brightens up. "What do you want to do?"
Yuuki thinks. "Well, we could certainly go to the huge manga store in Akihabara, and the family diner, and.." Instantly he's rambling, planning it out moment by moment, and Tohru listens intently because this is the first time he thinks he's ever heard Yuuki completely at ease around him since the night Tohru moved out.
Eventually, Tohru finally takes Yuuki's hand. "Enough with the rambling, let's get going!"
And with that, he whisks Yuuki away.
Yuuki guides Tohru along to their next location, and Tohru notices a new app on his phone.
He doesn't remember downloading that - it's red, showing an eye with a star inside it.
He tries to delete it, but to no avail.
As they walk, Yuuki talks about the blackmailing going on in Shibuya and the information he'd heard on it. "A man named Kaneshiro, and he's apparently turning Shibuya into his personal bank account! Can you believe it?"
Yuuki turns to look at his father, and after a few words from his phone (Tohru can't remember, it happens so suddenly), the world seems to shift suddenly.
A vibration in the air, a sensation of being pulled forward even though they're rooted in place, and the people around them vanish. Tohru Adachi knows this sensation, he's known it ever since he stepped foot inside the TV World for the first time during his murders.
They're not in the world they came from.
Both look up to see they're now in front of.. an enormous bank?
Yuuki Mishima finally swears for the first time in front of his father.
WE FINALLY HAVE AN ESTIMATE ON CHAPTER LENGTH, Y'ALL. 21 chapters, give or take a few. Working on a few more chapters right now so that I can release two chapters today as a reward for getting through this one.
Chapter 8: The Jester's Eclipse
Yuuki awakens to a sordid power, and multiple secrets are revealed.
Music recommendations as you listen to this chapter: the last third of Echoes by Pink Floyd, Time To Make History from Persona 4, Reaper Man from Mother Mother, Bela Lugosi's Dead from Bauhaus, Fire from The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and several others on the official "Jester, Meet Your Son, The Moon" Spotify playlist.
The bank looms before them.
Tohru is trying to think. It’s been a long while since he’s been in a place like this - the whole Tournament incident with that Sho guy pulling him in was the last time.
Yuuki, on the other hand, is losing his composure. “Where are we, I don’t know if we can escape-“
“There’s people inside there.”
Somehow Tohru can feel it. He grabs Yuuki’s hand, and runs inside.
They quickly find a safe room. Yuuki looks around, seeing signs that someone was here. The glowing journal open on the table allows them to quickly transport themselves to an enormous chamber shaped like the tumblers of a lock.
The whole chamber is spread open, showing a path to an elevator going down. From down there, Yuuki can hear the shouts of his friends. “AKIRA!” he shouts, and instantly he’s the one dragging Tohru along, rushing to the elevator to go down, down.
They enter to a sight that stuns them both, albeit for different reasons.
A bunch of thieves wearing elaborate costumes, struggling to fight against a purple bug man atop a giant vault machine. They’re barely breathing, spread out across the floor in various stages of fatigue. One of them in a black and white mask - Akira, Yuuki knows it’s Akira - reaches out to Yuuki.
“Yuuki.. A-Adachi-san.. run..” he calls, with all the strength left in him.
Something stirs in Yuuki, the pulse of his head growing strong now, the voice of something inside him with a deeper tone.
Is this how your friends end? With an act of cowardice from a weakling?
Yuuki grabs his head, letting out a hiss of pain.
You know the path of the frightened one is no longer yours. One must swallow the lapping flame of power, taking upon the mantle of royalty and protecting the Phantom Thieves against ruin..
The pulse grows stronger, and Yuuki yells in agony. He feels a mask upon his face, sticking there. His hands fumble for it.
I am thou, thou art I.. Let us forge our contract, and I shall unlock the true power of the king inside you…!
“I.. won’t run away! COME FORTH, KINBOTE! ”
Yuuki’s fingers pry under the mask now attached to his face, and he rips it off in a smooth motion.
He lets out a howl of rage, eyes glowing yellow as his livid gaze falls upon his prey. His outfit has shifted now - the silver robes of a prince, a moon brooch keeping his regal cape in place. A mask of silver and stained glass finishes off his elaborate disguise. He is every inch the coronated royal.
Above him looms his Persona. Its thin, silvery figure is covered in gold filigree and scholar’s robes, its needlelike fingers holding a book and a royal scepter. The crown upon its head reaches upward, up and up in spikes.
“Adachi.. run, I’ve got this,” Yuuki breathes coldly.
The Phantom Thieves rasp out their agreement.
Tohru is.. laughing?
He claps sarcastically, grinning wide.
“So you, too, have awoken to the power of an Persona.. well, watch and learn from Daddy!”
A thin ghost of a Tarot Card appears in the palm of his hand. The Jester Arcana. He crushes it with a curl of his hand into a fist, and his body rushes with the adrenaline he’s missed.
Blue flames erupt about him, lapping and licking hungrily. His scarlet Persona, Magatsu-Izanagi, emerges from his shoulders like a vengeful wraith. Its coat billows out, its eyes squinting through its metal mask as if laughing at a silent joke. Tohru is laughing, laughing also as his clothes transform.
The toes of his shoes curl up slightly into jester’s boots, his suit melting into an elaborate outfit like a Victorian demon’s. There’s a bit of a Venetian flair to it, bold and striking, that makes Tohru smile even more viciously.
His tie melts into an outfit, his eyes as alight as the tongues of hell, his face christened with a black mask eerily reminiscent of the jesters and jokers of old. Its eyes are turned down in malicious glee.
His hands are now clad in clawed gloves sharpened to wicked points.
He looks, in short, the very embodiment of devilish.
His eyes shine with a predatory glint, the same sharp yellow as that of Yuuki’s, and Tohru Adachi feels alive for the first time in what feels like years.
Yuuki’s mouth falls open. The Phantom Thieves fall silent in shock. Their enemy - Kaneshiro, it can be presumed - falls silent as well.
“Yuuki,” Adachi snarls in a tone that sends shivers up spines, “we’re going to kill him together, and by the time we’re done with this brat, he’ll be nothing but an afterthought.”
Yuuki can only nod, mouth briefly agape still before he closes it and looks back towards Kaneshiro.
“Let’s do this,” he says, his voice growing strong again.
Yuuki walks to his father’s side, the same livid glare pooling back into his eyes as he stares at Kaneshiro.
Together, in unison, two voices call their Personas.
The two Personas look at each other, metaphorical grins on their faces. Father and son, finally combining their strength.
Their Personas lunge forward, Magatsu-Izanagi wielding its naginata and Kinbote wielding its spiked scepter. The Shadow of Junya Kaneshiro screams, screams as both blades pierce it.
“MERCY, I CALL FOR MERCY!” it howls, and the Phantom Thieves regain the strength to stand.
Magatsu-Izanagi and Kinbote raise their weapons once more to wield the killing blow -
“He’s finished,” Akira calls out.
Akira walks up to the toppled foe.
“Let’s hear what Kaneshiro has to say before we leave him here.”
GOD I had such fun writing out Adachi's Phantom Thief outfit. It's based a little on the Original Joker Persona from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment and liberal watchings of Interview With The Vampire as a small youth.
Hopefully it served as a wonderful twist for anybody unfamiliar with Persona 4 and the fact that Adachi has his own Persona.
And as for explanation of Mishima's Persona, something I am DEEPLY INVESTED IN :
"The moon's an arrant thief, And her pale fire she snatches from the sun."
Charles Kinbote is one of the main characters in the book "Pale Fire" by Vladimir Nabokov. Tasked with analyzing a poem his friend wrote shortly before said friend died, he proceeds to weave an entirely different narrative into it surrounding the fleeing king of a kingdom called Zembla, an assassin dispatched to kill said king, and more.
The one big connection between Kinbote and Shadow Mishima: Both harbor strong delusions of grandeur. Shadow Mishima thinks of the Phantom Thieves website as something he can use to boost his own popularity while Kinbote declares himself the lost King of Zembla and makes the poem his dead friend wrote all about himself. Granted, Kinbote's reasoning for this is shrouded in mystery, as he is a heavily unreliable narrator - but Pale Fire is one of my favorite books, and I couldn't resist throwing him in as a Persona.
The group of questions three to think about for this chapter, since I missed the last one:
1.) Now knowing what Mishima's Persona is, what would you suggest for his Phantom Thief name?
2.) How do you think Mishima and Adachi will act, now that they've met the Phantom Thieves of Hearts?
3.) Anything from Persona 4/Persona 5 or any of the previous Persona games you're excited to see incorporated/discussed? (I, uh.. may have thrown in a character from the previous games into a later chapter [as in the next chapter], so the Persona 2 references do not stop here).
Keep on commenting and giving your input! It's been a godsend that's allowed to become hellishly productive in these past few days, and it makes me grin with joy. <3
Oh, and these next few chapters were an absolute joy to write. Especially Chapter 10, which I believe is the longest chapter in this fic so far. Enjoy :D
Chapter 9: Two Meetings and One (1) Coffee At Cafe Leblanc
Tohru Adachi has a strange dream.
An expository meeting is had in Cafe Leblanc.
- The Obvious Song That I Don't Have To Say For You To Know for the first half
- Beneath the Mask -Rain- for the second half.
Kaneshiro’s words are brief. Something about a masked man causing mental shutdowns, sneaking into Palaces and such. Yuuki and Tohru don’t understand a lick of it, but Yuuki’s friends seem to.
When they leave that strange world, Tohru makes Akira and his buddies swear to meet Yuuki and him at Cafe LeBlanc tomorrow so that they can explain.
Yuuki and Tohru part ways, getting to bed soon after that.
Tohru has an immensely odd dream..
He finds himself in the velvet interior of a car. It feels so vivid here, like he’s perfectly awake. It looks somewhat like a limousine, except the interior is much bigger. The sound of an aria plays quietly in the background.
Sitting down across from him is a beautiful woman with wavy silver hair that smiles at him.
“Welcome to the Velvet Room,” she greets softly.
“Uh.. hi?” Yeah, this has definitely thrown him off his game.
She chuckles. “You are a very odd and special case. You have no contract to enter here, yet you have been granted permission to. My master is away, but it is the will of my master’s master that you are here now.”
“Wait, I didn’t.. Is that master the guy that -“
“No, he is not the force that influenced you to attempt to turn the world into one full of Shadows.” Her voice is deeply stern, and he feels ashamed all of a sudden. Wait, he barely even knows her. How is she influencing him like this?
Tohru straightens his trademark tie.
“I’d like to meet your master’s master, then, so that I know what I’m getting into.”
The woman chuckles once more. “Yes, you are quite the oddity.. Very well, Jester. I shall grant you this meeting. Be honored, as he rarely intervenes in the affairs of this world; much less a case like yours.”
A blue butterfly flies in through the window, alighting gently on the seat before it turns into a black-haired man wearing a butterfly mask. He’s carved like a statue, jaw-line just so, skin smooth as silk.
“Tohru Adachi, once used as a pawn for my sworn enemy. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“And who are you, butterfly boy?” Tohru leans back, crossing his arms.
“I am Philemon, and I believe in your rehabilitation.”
Tohru sighs. “Is that so?”
Philemon smiles, chuckling. “You are no Wild Card, but you do have the potential to become a Fool. Therefore, I bring you here to tell you that we will help you realize the value of bonds, and become a truly mighty Fool to behold.”
Tohru is trying not to put his head in his hands, because he feels damn dizzy right about now. Just because he was seeking to be a good dad to his kid and atone for his crimes does not make him a goody-two-shoes. He opens his mouth to explain this to the rather striking man, and Philemon cuts him off before he can speak.
“You even said it yourself, back during the Inaba incident: you wished you could be more like Narukami, who embraced the power of his bonds and wielded the power of a god.”
“Yeah, but.. what do I get out of this arrangement?”
Philemon makes brief eye contact with the woman. The two nod.
They turn back to Tohru.
“If you work on these bonds, and take the offer coming your way from the Phantom Thieves.. we shall give you some of the benefits their leader is afforded in working on bonds. Deadlier aim, quicker skill gain, ability to speak to others with a quicker tongue, more money gained…”
“Wait, I’ll get paid to do this?”
Philemon chuckles again, and Tohru’s heart skips.
Whether that is because of the prospect of money or because of physical attraction to Philemon is left up to interpretation.
Either way, Tohru blurts out “I’ll take it.”
Another laugh, and Tohru finds himself waking up —
He vaults awake, and realizes the pretty woman never told him her name.
The meeting at the Cafe comes a lot quicker than Tohru thought. Yuuki guides Tohru up to the attic of the cafe, where Akira and the rest of his friends are.
“Why here?” Tohru asks.
“It’s where I’m staying” is Akira’s reply.
Yuuki seats himself on Akira’s couch. “Alright, so.. explain what happened last night.”
Akira looks at Yuuki, then sighs, and drops the one suspicion that Tohru had been harboring about what happened that night.
“We’re the Phantom Thieves. We enter that realm we went to - the Metaverse - in order to enter people’s Palaces - which is how they see the world - in order to take their distorted desires.”
Tohru smiles. Just like how the brats that caught him red-handed used the TV World to save people from death. How familiar.
“So what we entered, that was Kaneshiro’s Palace?” Yuuki leans forward.
“And that figure Kaneshiro mentioned that caused those mental shutdown cases happening recently.. he can also enter the Metaverse?” Tohru raises an eyebrow.
“Presumably,” Akira’s blue-haired friend Yusuke speaks up.
Tohru squints. “How do you steal their desires?”
“They show up as an item we call a Treasure - the calling cards we send out to our targets are how we make them materialize. We locate a path to the Treasure, send a calling card, then we defeat their Shadow and steal their Treasure. Then they confess on their own.” Akira shrugs.
“So you brats have it down to a science, huh?” Yuuki smacks Tohru in the arm for that one, and he yelps.
And that’s when Akira’s cat decides to talk.
“Yeah, ‘cuz I helped them!”
Yuuki literally jumps out of his skin with a yell. Tohru’s eyes nearly pop out of his head.
“Am I hallucinating, or did that cat just talk?” Tohru asks, pointing at the cat.
“Nah, ya aren’t hallucinating. That’s Morgana, our token mascot.” Ryuji jokes.
“I AM NOT A MASCOT,” the cat yells.
“Anyway,” Ryuji continues, “anybody who’s been in the Metaverse can hear Morgana speak. Like right now, he just yelled ‘I am not a mascot,’ which is a lie ‘cuz he totally is one.”
“So all along, when you made jokes about the cat talking..” Yuuki looks horrified.
“I wasn’t kidding,” Akira confirms.
“So when you joked about the cat saying I was a loser..” Yuuki rubs the back of his head.
Tohru rubs his temple. He can’t tell whether he misses the insanity that comes with a bunch of brats having the power of Personas, or hates it.
“Guys,” Ann pipes up to change the subject, “they helped out in defeating Kaneshiro. Maybe we could make them both Phantom Thieves?”
“Let’s ask how they feel about it,” Akira sighs.
He turns to the two.
Yuuki blurts out a yes, while Tohru takes a second to think. “I’d rather Yuuki would be doing the dangerous stuff under my supervision, if nothing else, so sure!”
Ryuji starts up the debate on what their Phantom Thief code names will be, and Akira immediately decides on Devil for Tohru.
Yuuki’s, well… they were still debating on that even when the night ended.
And with that, our story gets kicked into gear.
Being a Phantom Thief, I feel, would truly be one of the best things for Tohru Adachi mentally. Allows him to work off his steam, keeps him not bored, gives him a world where he's a super badass that impresses others, and lastly allows him to do the "right thing" while still being a ruthless little shit about it.
Putting in the Velvet Room was one of those spur of the moment things I've decided to work into the story - suppose it'll help incentivize Adachi to make Actual Emotional Connections and not run away from them, plus it helps provide moments of calm amidst the awesome insanity that is this fic's late-game content.
Said Confidants/Social Links may not be shown to their full extent throughout the fic, but there will definitely be scenes with some of them and implications of time spent with them during some of the big hiatuses in the game.
I felt it'd be fun to have Adachi see the Velvet Room the same way his game's protagonist, Yu, does. Would probably piss him off to find out about that.
Also threw in Philemon from Persona 2, because I mean, Igor's not around, so it fits - and he's sorely missed. Adachi's internal screaming about him is something we've all felt towards somebody at one time or another.
Still sitting on a Phantom Thief name for Mishima. If you guys want to make your suggestions now in the comments, definitely feel free to!
These questions three for readers to ponder:
1.) How will the Velvet Room and these new bonds affect Adachi?
2.) What potential new bonds will he make?
3.) What theories/speculation do you have on where this fic is going or any potential foreshadowing to future events here? :3c
Lastly, this fic is 16 chapters less than the longest one I've written to date so thankfully, I'm certain I won't give up on this.
It still makes me very very happy and motivates me tons to see you all loving this so much and commenting daily, so please keep on doing so if you can! <33333
Hopefully you enjoy this update!
(next chapter.. ooo.. next chapter is going to be a doozy. Very, very excited to release it.)
Chapter 10: Parent-Teacher Conference
Yuuki worries about impartiality while Tohru attends a parent-teacher conference.
Enjoy this long chapter. You can tell I had lots of fun writing it.
Content warning for violence, self-hating language, and Adachi letting out a brutal “Break Them By Talking” routine to a certain someone, as well as mentions of sexual assault, depression, and.. you can probably see where this is going.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
They’re still debating Yuuki’s Phantom Thief name in the Phantom Thief group chat when Yuuki opens up his phone. He sighs, turning off his phone quick.
The fact of the matter is, he’s still the administrator of the official Phantom (Thief) Aficionado Website, otherwise known as the Phan-site. And as an actual Phantom Thief, now, he worries about impartiality.
Granted, it’s not like he wasn’t impartial before, he was definitely a supporter of the Phantom Thieves, but still! There’s also the fact that as a Phantom Thief, he needs another person to moderate it whenever he’s not around. Somebody he can trust. Somebody who can keep the poll numbers straight.
He’s trying to think of candidates for the job when he finally comes up with one he can trust for certain.
Kasumi Yoshizawa, one of the girls he knew at his school. Sure, she wasn’t a big fan of the Phantom Thieves, but that was what made her an ideal choice. It would give a bit more impartiality to the process, ensuring that the people’s voices could be heard in earnest.
He smiled, pulling up Dischat and typing in her username.
--- Yuuki Mishima (@mishedpotatoes) has started messaging Kasumi Yoshizawa (@tinkerhythm) ---
mishedpotatoes: Hey, Kasumi, I need you to do a favor for me
tinkerhythm: sure thing? what do you need
mishedpotatoes: it’s repayment for that time I helped fake the data so you could get into that one gymnast competition you really wanted to go to
tinkerhythm: what is it? just tell me mish :0
mishedpotatoes: I need another moderator for the Phantom Thief fansite..
tinkerhythm: … you owe me BIG TIME for this one, i dont like them very much but i’ll do it because i know they mean a ton to you and that site’s your baby
mishedpotatoes: tHANK YOU, THANK YOU SO MUCH (T⌓T)
tinkerhythm: you’re welcome!
--- Kasumi Yoshizawa (@tinkerhythm) has ceased messaging Yuuki Mishima (@mishedpotatoes) ---
He relaxes, leaning back in his chair. Thank heavens, that problem’s taken care of.
“I wonder what Dad’s doing..”
Tohru Adachi is in the process of doing something wildly, stupidly illegal.
When Yuuki was helping him pack up a week or two ago, Yuuki had also told him everything that Suguru Kamoshida had done to abuse him and harass him.
It had stuck in Tohru’s head for days now. A rapist.. A lowlife piece of scum, daring to touch the lovechild of the woman he loved more than almost anything else in the world..
And now here Tohru is, impersonating a police officer in order to enter Kamoshida’s mansion and beat the hell out of him.
It sticks in his head how much of a hypocrite he feels like for beating up a rapist when he himself is a rapist, but he brushes it aside. This is for his son’s safety.
It sticks in his head that this is against what he’d sworn off doing, that this isn’t right.
He pushes it aside with the thought that he’s not murdering Kamoshida, just scaring the guy a little. The Phantom Thieves do much the same. Just this once, he thinks to himself. Just this once, and we’re done, no more.
It sticks in his head that Ryotaro Dojima would be so very disappointed seeing Tohru do this. To that, Tohru has no reply. He hesitates before his true nature prevails - the hungry part of him that craves security for the few people he actually gives a damn about, by any means necessary.
Target of the Phantom Thieves be damned, Tohru needs to make sure that this Kamoshida guy won’t be any more trouble for his son - and teach him a hands-on lesson.
He smiles as he knocks on the door.
He’d been wanting to do this to Namatame to get him away from Mayumi for the longest time, before he’d been caught. Hell, when Namatame had even figured out how he was doing the murders and tried to “save” Dojima’s kid (temporarily killing her for a bit), he had ended up actually hoisting the guy up by the neck, giving him a few threats to make sure he never came near any of the Dojimas again, squeezing to the point where his face had started to turn purple, and god, that felt so good, protecting what was his, his -
The door swings open and Tohru Adachi finally comes face to face with the man that had raped his son.
Tohru’s first thought is that this guy looks so, so very punchable.
Disgustingly so. A boxy jaw, a mane of curls atop his head, a disgustingly fit body, the works.
It gets worse when Kamoshida opens his mouth.
“Who do I have the pleasure of speaking to?”
This man’s voice sounds so pretentious that it eats children for breakfast. Tohru wouldn't be surprised if that voice cut off women's hands as keepsakes, that's how evil it sounds.
Tohru’s fists clench as he clears his throat.
He cocks his gun - filled with blanks, but he doesn’t know that - and presses it against Kamoshida’s torso.
“Walk inside, close the door. If I hear you scream or try to warn anybody, I’m going to make sure you never see the light of day again.”
Kamoshida’s eyes widen. He stumbles inside as Tohru closes the door behind them, continuing to point the gun.
He locks the door. He has to take a deep breath. Oh, man.. It’s really hitting him now, how good it feels to see this bastard quaking in fear.
“Kamoshida, have you ever heard of the Inaba murders?” he asks, trying to restrain his tone.
“They only caught the guy who did it a while ago.. Multiple kidnappings and the guy who did it was..” Kamoshida’s face goes white.
Tohru cannot hold back a grin.
“That gives you a really good idea of what you’re dealing with. Now, I don’t want to spill blood. I’ve moved past that, since I’m following the rules of this reality now. No, I just need to teach you a little lesson.”
Tohru pounces, getting some rope and hog-tying Kamoshida so that he wouldn’t be able to run.
“Think of this as a.. parent-teacher conference. See, one of the students you used as your own personal slave..”
At this point, Kamoshida breaks into tears. “Which one? I hurt them all so much..”
“Does the name ‘Yuuki Mishima’ ring a bell?” Tohru hisses.
At this moment, Kamoshida whimpers, like Tohru just beat him.
“Oh, Mishima, I was so awful, please tell him I was so fucked in how I behaved with him..”
Tohru’s eyes flash with a hellish rage. He grabs Kamoshida’s mane of curls, yanking his head up forcefully. “You ugly little has-been, that was my kid you raped. You think I’m going to tell him anything about this?”
Kamoshida moans with grief, still bawling. “I-I was a mistake.. A disgrace..”
“Oh, that’s not past-tense, you still are.” Tohru yanks Kamoshida’s hair again. “You’re a waste of flesh. You know what I think? I think the Phantom Thieves went too easy on you. I mean, hell, I had my way with a few girls back in the day, but at least I realized how awful it was and worked to change.”
He leans in, continuing, because that hungry thing inside him craves more and he feels so good letting this waste of space have it.
“You? You just abused kids day in, day out. Making them your personal slaves and sex toys.” Tohru leans in. “The minute you won that Olympic medal, you became a washed-up piece of shit, unfit to live in this world.”
Kamoshida is weeping, weeping so very much.
“No, nooooo… I have to live and serve out my punishment..”
That’s when Tohru throws a punch right in Kamoshida’s face. It hits, and Tohru can hear the satisfying snapping under his fist of things breaking.
“Beat me, I deserve it..” Kamoshida mewls.
“I can never atone for what I did to your son..”
“SHUT UP.” Tohru hisses into Kamoshida’s ear, and his rage gets the better of him. He starts beating the crap out of Kamoshida - kicking, punching, slamming his head against the floor, the works. He knows he’s probably broken about 7 bones in Kamoshida’s body, at the absolute minimum.
“You’re not going to tell ANYONE about this. Not the police, not any whores you hire to fuck your grief away, nobody. You want to know why, you stupid, meat-headed bitch? It’s because you deserve this. And when they ask about how someone hurt you, you’ll just say you hired a hooker to beat you senseless, because you were in that kinda mood.”
Laughter bubbles up in his throat. This feels good. This feels so damn good.
“You’ll delete the footage on the security cameras you have around and you’ll go to your bed and you’ll sob, sob like a pathetic little brat who got his candy taken away, and nobody will know this ever happened.”
He drags Kamoshida into the living room. Wide-screen TV, eh? That’ll do for a little fear incentive. It’s not like he’s going to throw Kamoshida all the way in, that would throw his whole road to redemption into ruin. Just a quick little dunk will do.
He drags Kamoshida close, and holds his head into the TV. “See this? This is how I killed them all. Shoved them in just like that. And you want to know what?”
“What…” Kamoshida howls in sheer despair.
“I can watch you through any TV,” Tohru hisses with a sneer. “If you even think about going near my son again, I’ll see you through the TV - this TV, or any one around - and I’ll hunt you down, and rip you up so bad all of my past murders are going to look like children’s birthday parties compared to yours. They won’t even be able to identify you by your face.”
Tohru pulls Kamoshida out of the TV, dragging him back to the main room, and pulls out his phone, installing a few nasty things on there. Just a few trackers, and a phone number from a burner cellphone.
“Every time this number calls?” He shows Kamoshida the number on the phone. Kamoshida’s head is lolling, his mouth drooling blood, and Tohru yanks his head up again.
“Every time this number calls, you brainless little brat, you pick up. I’ve got connections in the police on top of what I just showed you, so there’s no use even trying to change your number or run away.. I can hunt you down easily.”
Kamoshida moans something out and Tohru punches him in the gut.
“I’m sorry,” Tohru sing-songs, “I can’t speak ‘depressed sack of shit!’ Try it again, and this time you’d better speak clearly.”
“Thataboy.” Tohru cuts Kamoshida free, letting him slump to the floor and moan in pain.
“And remember, you black hole of human decency: Don’t tell anybody what happened tonight. ”
Kamoshida curls up and keeps on bawling, nodding.
Tohru slams the door shut. A perverse little rush snaps through him, and he shivers.
He's got his kid's abuser on a metaphorical leash now - and the world is right again.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast acquired a new bond-vow.
It shall become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry chains that bind..
With the birth of the Tower Persona, I have obtained the winds of blessing that lead to freedom and new power.
Looks like I'm going to have to do double-duty writing chapters tomorrow! <3 I'm determined to make sure chapter updates keep running smoothly. Hope you guys liked this taste of Adachi's darker side.
Giving this to the people to vote in comments: which Phantom Thief name do you like the most for Mishima?
Chapter 11: Jester, Get Into Shape!
Tohru makes new friends while Joker ponders the brutal efficiency of the Adachi clan among his ranks.
The next day, Tohru opens up the Phantom Thief group chat and is swarmed with messages.
He reads through. Apparently they finally came up with Yuuki’s Phantom Thief name - or rather, he did and announced it with several images of him doing poses from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
“Call me.. MARQUIS,” the text on the photos had announced boldly.
Tohru smiles. Chip off the old block, that one. He definitely couldn’t resist doing a few of those poses himself, when he’d first seen himself in his Phantom Thief outfit.
After that, Akira does bring up something interesting.
GetJoked: Hey, Devil, Marquis, wanna go shopping with me? You guys need some weapons for when we go into Mementos.
Tohru texts back.
Devilman: Hey.. what’s mementos
While Ryuji/Skull starts off on a tangent about how Tohru/Devil types like an old guy, Akira/Joker explains that Mementos is the Palace of all of Japan, holding all their fears and worries. It’s also the place they go to train in-between targets.
Devilman: OH ABSOLUTELY WILL JOIN YOU
Marquish: jee, Skull wasn’t kidding
Marquish: you -do- type like a boomer
Marquish: anyway, I’ll take you up on that offer Joker - somebody’s gotta keep my dad outta trouble
Joker texts the meeting point and sure enough, Tohru finds himself on the main street of Shibuya with his son and Akira. Akira smiles. “I have a place we can visit to get weapons. Follow me.”
He walks down, through an alley, taking turns and twists before they end up in front of a shop.
Untouchable, the sign says.
“I’m good friends with the man who owns this place. We have an agreement.”
“W-What are you doing in a gun store!” Yuuki stutters.
Akira shrugs. The three enter.
The walls are lined with impeccably detailed gun replicas. The place has a very intimidating aura to it, in part because of its owner, who sits at the counter with a small lollipop in his mouth.
Step 1 to Tohru Adachi’s heart: guns.
Step 2: stern, ruggedly good-looking man (or an equally as good-looking babe).
Step 3: success.
Yuuki stares at his father, who is currently doing a spot-on impression of a kid who has just been walked into a toy store and told he can buy anything there, no strings attached.
The man looks up, chuckling. “You just gonna stand there, or are you looking to buy?”
“S’up, Iwai. There are a few things I’m considering getting,” Akira greets, going to look about the store. Tohru leans in. “Get any weapon you want,” he whispers to Yuuki.
Yuuki also looks around, and Tohru knows he has to make his move. He walks up to the desk. He’s not as accomplished at hitting on men as he’d like to be, but he’ll try. Besides, he needs someone to keep him company while he’s away from
his crush his work partner Dojima, this guy wouldn’t hurt.
“What’s such a ruggedly handsome guy like you doing selling such ruggedly handsome guns?” His shoulders slump, his face still plastered with a cheesy grin as he leans onto the counter.
Iwai stops, looking up at Tohru, and for a split second Tohru’s heart jumps in his throat because shit, if he got the kids kicked out from here they’d never forgive him.
Then Iwai bursts out laughing.
Akira looks over with wide, deer in the headlight eyes as if this is an exceptionally rare occurrence that he’s unsure what to think of.
Iwai takes out his lollipop so that he doesn’t choke on it, still chuckling as he winds down. “You really have the balls to come in with something like that.. and looking like that, too...” He shakes his head, still smiling slightly.
“Best joke I’ve heard all day,” Iwai adds.
Tohru’s frozen to the spot.
Iwai leans back in his seat. “You a cop?”
“Ex-police, actually. They put me in the pokey.”
Iwai’s eyebrows raise.
“You? In jail? For what?”
And Tohru responds, cheerfully as can be: “Murder.”
Iwai’s stare goes dead cold, analyzing Tohru. He’s definitely seeing this guy in a new light now. Then Iwai yanks his head to Akira.
“Kurusu, can you vouch for this guy?” he says, pointing to Tohru.
Akira pokes his head out, carrying an airsoft bazooka. “Yeah, he’s reformed. Working to be a good dad to his kid, Yuuki.” Akira points to Yuuki, who waves cheerfully as he lifts up a few martial arts weapons.
Instantly, Iwai’s gaze softens. Tohru doesn’t know this whole guy’s backstory, but he knows Iwai gets it now - there’s sympathy there.
“Tell you what,” Iwai says, “I’ll give you my phone number.”
Score. Tohru fist-pumps suddenly in delight. He may even be mentally exulting in how he’s going to be paid for this in.. whatever currency those Velvet Room people use.
“Sure thing!” Tohru chirps, inputting the number, and he feels something beautiful well up in him - almost like how he felt when he'd beat up Kamoshida, but purer, kinder.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast acquired a new bond-vow.
It shall become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry, binding chains..
With the birth of the Hanged Man Persona, I have obtained the winds of blessing that lead to freedom and new power.
He talks eagerly with Iwai on the merits of airsoft semi-automatics.
While this is happening, Akira corners Yuuki.
“Are you doing alright?”
Yuuki looks up from the hand-claw he’s inspecting. “Yeah? Why do you ask?”
Akira looks him in the eyes. “Is he hurting you-“
“NO! God, no. If he was I would’ve kicked him to the curb.”
Akira’s shoulders slump with relief. “Alright.. I just wanted to make sure.”
Yuuki stares. “Why don’t you go ahead and talk to him a bit alone? Maybe that can help ease your mind?”
Akira thinks on it … Maybe that could help.
They bring their weapons up front and after a lively round of debate (as well as haggling), the three come out loaded with a small artillery of weapons.
The next day, Akira brings together the Phantom Thieves for a run down Mementos.
Lo and behold, Morgana turns into a tiny upright figure that looks.. cat-adjacent, if nothing else. Their outfits show up upon them as soon as they enter.
Yuuki not only holds a chainsword, but also a “magic tome” prop from a video game. When Akira asks why, Yuuki says he wants to see if it works.
Tohru grins as his fine clothes melt up his body once more. “Damn, I look good.”
… Ok, so maybe he does strike a bold pose out of Jojo before he gets on his mission.
Akira rolls his eyes as the operation begins.
When Morgana, who can somehow become a cat-bus in this realm, transforms, Yuuki and Tohru burst into peals of laughter.
Yuuki can’t stop singing the Totoro theme song as they get on the bus.
As they’re soaring through Mementos on Morgana, Yuuki leans up out of his seat.
“HEY GUYS! I have an announcement to make. Could build morale.”
The other Thieves turn to look at him.
“I wanna test out having actual blog posts on the Phan-site from the Thieves.”
That starts up a.. rather lively round of debate.
After being assured of anonymity, there are four volunteers: Akira, Yusuke, Makoto, and (of course) Tohru.
In other news, Tohru’s very excited to use his new weapon. He’s shaking with joy. Akira’s told him these are Shadows they’ll be facing, so he can let loose - and he’s stuck to that promise.
“Hey, Jokes, I’ve got a question,” Tohru yells over the noise of the other Phantom Thieves talking.
“Yeah?” Akira hollers back.
“How are you all so acrobatic in the Metaverse?”
“It’s because people think thieves are nimble, like how people think cat-buses are cool." Akira responds. “Plus, we’re young, and I guess that makes us more nimble.”
Tohru wishes he was that limber - before he realizes that wait, he's been just as acrobatic as the other Thieves.
... come to think of it, he's seen a lot less grey hairs on him where they used to be, too. It keeps him thinking.
Yuuki’s inspecting his chainsword as they bump into their first pack of enemies.
Tohru rushes out with a grin, pulling out a long spear with..
“No fuckin’ way, is that a firework attached to it?” Ryuji sputters. “That.. we’re supposed to be stealthy! And that’s so.. so impractical!”
Tohru laughs at that. “Persona attacks make a hell of a lot of noise too, kid, it’s not like this is going to make much difference. Plus, I can reload it easily.”
They turn towards the enemies, and Tohru Adachi lunges towards one - stab right to the face, and a “boom!” as a firework shot explodes right in their eye.
Mishima goes next, firing off a bolt of lightning that tears another Shadow to ribbons from his magic tome.
That’s when Akira realizes he may have just made either the world’s biggest mistake or the world’s biggest success in recruiting Tohru and Mishima to the Phantom Thieves.
Of course, after they get done, Akira pulls Tohru aside like he did with Mishima.
He pauses, before taking a deep breath. “I want to get stronger with my Personas, and it’s clear you’ve got more experience than I do when it comes to battling Shadows. So I wanted to ask if you can help me out with tactics. Fighting quick, ending it quick.”
Tohru blinks. In that moment, Akira reminds him stunningly of another Wild Card, a kid he knew with the same pluck.. Yu Narukami, Dojima’s very own brat nephew.
“Sure.” He inputs the number into his phone, and once more, he feels the same power from before bubbling up inside him.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast acquired a new bond-vow.
It shall become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry chains that bind..
With the birth of the Fool Persona, I have obtained the winds of blessing that lead to freedom and new power.
Ok, so, updates.. might get a bit wonky for a few days while I catch up on writing and deal with work tomorrow + an essay I have to turn in, but all will be fixed by the end of the week.
Also threw in another turn into the plot that I'm thinking out the ramifications of that's gonna be fun to deal with. Hope you guys like it.
Chapter 12: Pyramid of Wrath (Part I)
The Phantom Thieves face a new threat.
The first indication Tohru gets that something is wrong is when they’re at the hideout, on the public walkway. Makoto, one of the Phantom Thieves, pulls up a video from a hacker group.
Medjed, the group is called, and Tohru has never heard of these people in his life before this.
They talk about how the actions of the Phantom Thieves are angering them, that they will pay for what they’ve done, etc.
Tohru sighs. He’s dressed in a Hawaiian floral shirt, a fedora and jeans, looking for all the world like a teacher chaperone trying to seem “hip.”
“We’ve got actual hackers on our trail now.. what if they find out who we are?” Ryuji panics. Yuuki seems to be fretting too, from how much he’s squirming.
“Calm down.. they don’t know how we take people’s ‘hearts,’” Makoto sighs. She pauses, and then continues: “Let’s get home.”
They’re moving to do so, Tohru lingering near them, when a familiar-looking boy steps up.
The guy is about high school age like the other Phantom Thieves. He’s dressed rather formally, in an argyle vest, and “private school pretentious” doesn’t even come close to describing just how entitled he looks. Tohru swears he’s seen this guy somewhere. The other Phantom Thieves immediately react to his presence in telling ways: Makoto stares with a “deer-in-the-headlights” look, Ryuji’s teeth start grinding, and even Akira’s glare goes ice-cold from under his glasses.
“Ah, you’re those people I met at the TV station..” The kid’s red eyes land on Tohru, and instantly Tohru knows that this kid knows who he is. This smug little brat.
“And who are you?” the kid asks in the sort of smug, ineffectual tone that just makes Tohru want to sock him in his self-satisfied face.
“Dojima,” Tohru blurts out, “Taro.. Dojima.”
“Hm. I assume you’re their chaperone?”
“Yep, and we’re off on another school trip. Pack up, kids, we’re going to Ikebukuro!” Tohru yells, trying to steer the kids away.
“Oh, to do what?”
Tohru’s fumbling for something and what comes out is “To.. eat.. some fat little boys.”
This kid gives him the most confused look and Akira, bless his eloquent little smart-ass mouth, chimes in with “Some fat pancakes, he means. Nice and hot off the griddle.”
“May I join you-“ the kid begins, but Tohru’s already rushing the Phantom Thieves off and to the train station.
The “kid,” better known as Goro Akechi, stares a bit from afar. Taking out his phone, he pulls up a text conversation between him and his colleague - the prosecutor Sae Niijima.
I just thought I should warn you, I saw a former irritating coworker of yours hanging out with your younger sister.
A few miles away, Sae is working in her office when she gets the text from Akechi. Her brow furrows. Which one? she responds.
It takes a minute to text, but Akechi’s reply is brief and to the point: Tohru Adachi.
Sae practically slams her phone down on the table. Her hands fly to her hair, gripping the sides of her head as she snarls. “You can’t be serious. ”
Tell me you’re joking, her fingers pound out on her phone.
I am not.
Once more, she slams her phone down again and tries to contain the enraged tremor in her hands. “That damned insufferable little idiot.. going near my sister...”
The minute the Phantom Thieves get on the train, Tohru has some questions to ask.
“Now, who exactly was that stuck-up brat that cornered us?”
Yuuki is the one that blurts out the answer: “That was the Second Coming of the Detective Prince, Goro Akechi.”
Yuuki suddenly sees a distant look enter his father’s eye, like he’s remembering something he would rather never remember again. He twitches. “If he’s anything as irritating as working with the First Detective Prince was like, I can see why you guys reacted the way you did to that brat,” Tohru hisses.
He looks over to Akira and sees Akira squinting at some new texts on his own phone.
“... Alibaba, eh?” Tohru says.
“They say they can help us. With Medjed.”
Tohru gets back home, unaware of further developments. He tuned out of the conversation right after Alibaba offered their help and then took it back.
He’s certainly not checking his phone right now, by any means.
He looks at the TV in his apartment, though, and gets an idea.
Makoto Niijima, better known as Queen amongst the Phantom Thieves, gets into her apartment. It’s going to be a quiet night doing homework, as far as her sister knows. She’s sure of it.
Except her sister is waiting there for her.
And from the look in her eye, the rigidness with which she holds herself..
Makoto knows she’s going to be scolded. She can already tell. But for what…?
“Sit down,” Sae orders.
She pulls out a chair. Her movements are quick and jerky.
Makoto gulps, and does so. “What is this about?” she asks tentatively.
“What were you doing around Tohru Adachi? ”
Makoto doesn’t think she’s ever heard her sister put such dripping contempt into the saying of a single name before.
“He’s.. the father of one of my friends. We were going to get food, and Toh insisted he come along..”
Makoto doesn’t realize she’s used the affectionate pet name the adolescent Phantom Thieves often use for Adachi when he’s not in earshot until Sae literally spits out “Toh? You’re calling him pet names now, implying it’s a common occurrence for him to hang around you all.”
Sae’s whole body is shaking. Her fists clench, her jaw strung tight. She closes her eyes, forcing herself to take several deep breaths, but even this looks like a Herculean effort to Makoto considering how absolutely livid Sae is right now.
“You’re talking about the man who not only attempted to rape two women and killed them, but humiliated me in front of the whole precinct, and you call him Toh? ”
Makoto knows there’s no point in lying, so she nods.
Sae slaps a cup off of the counter. It falls to the floor, shattering.
“A waste of breath! A WASTE OF MEAT! A WASTE OF SPACE! THAT IS WHAT THAT- THAT PATHETIC LOWLIFE ADACHI IS!”
Spit flies from Sae’s mouth as she screams. Her face is bright red.
“I DO NOT WANT TO HEAR OF YOU EVER BEING NEAR HIM OR HIS SON AGAIN, AM I CLEAR?”
Tears brim up in Makoto’s eyes. “Y-Yes, Sister..”
Sae lets out another snarl of rage, eyes gleaming.
She continues to rant while Makoto notices something particularly odd.
The man of the hour himself is sticking out of the TV.
More accurately, it’s Adachi’s face. His face is literally sticking out of the TV, eyes wide as he stares at Makoto. “I came to visit,” he mouths, “is this a bad time?”
Makoto looks from Adachi to the screaming Sae and back again through her tears, as if to say “yeah, this isn’t the best time you chose”. Adachi winces as Sae punches a hole in the wall.
He nods as Sae continues.
“... and he showed me up every single time I visited, purposefully ruining my cases and saddling me with paperwork..” Sae hisses, her body still shaking.
Makoto watches in fear, trying to keep Sae distracted from the man’s face poking out of their TV as she continues. Adachi’s facial expressions get increasingly more amusing as Sae rants, and Makoto is trying so hard not to laugh.
“And he had the audacity to be at the top of his class at the academy. Always second best to him..”
Adachi can’t resist putting his hands under his chin and making an “oh, lil ole me?” face at this, which causes Makoto to finally snap and laugh in Sae’s face.
Sae pauses. She seems completely taken aback by this sudden outburst of laughter for a second. With this, Adachi finally disappears into the television, and Sae’s shock gives way to a lethally cold anger.
“... you think it’s funny?”
With the beginnings of Adachi and Mishima's actual Phantom Thief adventures, these Palace chapters are going to be super big in terms of content. I'm gonna put it to a vote for you all, an actual vote.
Would you rather have:
a.) shorter chapters with more frequent updates/me splitting up the Palace chapters
b.) longer chapters with less frequent updates/me writing them all in long paces as I intended which will keep the 21 chapter mark I set?
Also, I deeply hope you enjoy the foreshadowing of what's to come with Sae Niijima's.. strong contempt.. of Tohru Adachi.
One of the few big twists to keep Persona 5 players reading this fic on their toes.
Chapter 13: Pyramid of Wrath (Part II)
Tohru and Yuuki enter the Pyramid of Wrath.
The next time the Phantom Thieves meet, Makoto greets Tohru with a slap.
It’s not a light slap, either - no, this is a harsh one that sends the ex-policeman tumbling to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
Yuuki goes “oh shit” quietly, looking away. Ann moves to stop Makoto, but Akira’s arm holds her back.
“Let them fight,” Akira replies in a deadpan tone.
“Shit, you slap harder than a trained policeman, I was just-“ Tohru tries to explain before Makoto lifts him up by the collar. Her fist goes up in the air, and Tohru cringes.
“That power, with the TV, what was it?” she says.
The other Phantom Thieves look equally as confused.
“It’s another world I can enter, the TV world.. i-it’s like the Metaverse, you see, but shows up differently!”
Akira finally steps forward. “What happened?”
They decide to go to a restaurant. Akira first catches Tohru up on what’s going on: Medjed’s issued another threat to the Phantom Thieves, but hasn’t done much since then. Alibaba is still not responding.
Thus, Tohru responds in kind with his explanation. “So.. there’s another manifestation of human thoughts like the Metaverse out there that can be accessed through television sets. It’s called the TV World, or the Midnight Channel, and it’s how I committed my murders.”
“What do you mean?” Akira asks.
“Threw my victims in the TV, and they came out dead a little bit later. Their Shadows killed them. I could access it whenever I wanted, and spy on people through it.”
The other Phantom Thieves murmur about this.
Akira breaks through the murmuring. “How does this tie into what happened last night?”
Makoto chimes in this time: “Because he used it to check on me while my sister yelled about him being a bad influence on me.”
Tohru sighs. “Sae, yeah.”
Makoto punches Tohru in the arm hard enough to make it numb and he yelps. “You’re lucky I’m not leaving you with any broken bones..” she mutters.
They keep chatting until a familiar voice sounds behind them. “Haven’t you heard about Medjed’s threat on the Phantom Thieves’ site?”
They turn around to see Akechi standing there. This time, he looks considerably less forgiving than before.
Yuuki pulls up the site, and begins to fearfully read out the threat - their demand that the Phantom Thieves turn themselves in before August 15th, or they’ll destroy Japan’s economy in a massive hack.
Akechi seems to look even more stern than before. Tohru’s squinting. There’s something about Akechi’s behavior that seems a little too put together here, a little too stern.
Akira sighs, manages to get the “Detective Prince” off their trail, and they get to Cafe Leblanc to discuss further.
Tohru stays relatively quiet throughout the whole thing, letting the kids come to their own conclusions. Turns out Makoto figured out who Alibaba was - the daughter of the man who ran Cafe Leblanc, Sojiro Sakura.
Tohru was left at the cafe with one directive: distract Sojiro while the kids broke into Sojiro’s house to find the daughter.
So he makes his way over to the counter, where the man himself is drying a cup. Sojiro’s a somewhat tall, weathered man with slicked back hair. He seems very laid-back, as far as Tohru can tell.
“You’re the guy caring for Akira Kurusu, eh?” Tohru begins, seating himself at the counter.
Sojiro puts down the cup, nodding. “The one and only. He’s mentioned you, once or twice. Here for a night-time cup of coffee?”
“Sure thing. I take it with a bit of cream, a smoother blend if you got it.”
Tohru pulls out his wallet, but Sojiro waves his hand.
“No, no, put that away. It’s on the house. I insist.”
Tohru slowly puts it back in his coat, taking a minute to readjust himself. Well, he certainly doesn’t mind this.
Sojiro chuckles. “You may be an ex-convict, but you’re also one of the few people keeping the kid out of trouble. I appreciate it.”
“You’re, uh, you’re welcome.”
“He tells me you have a son, that Mishima kid that visits sometimes.”
Tohru nods. “Yeah, that’s about right. His name’s Yuuki.. I’m raising him for his mother’s sake.”
And just like with Iwai, Tohru can see the familiar gleam of understanding in Sojiro’s eyes. Whatever Sojiro’s been through, it’s clear that he sympathizes with Tohru’s motive.
“... you too, eh?” He smiles sadly.
Sojiro sighs as he pulls the coffee beans off of the shelf behind him. “I raise my daughter with much the same reasoning.. she was the kid of the one woman I ever truly loved.”
The next few minutes pass in a calming silence as Sojiro prepares the blend. When he places the cup down, there’s a slip of paper under the cup. Tohru pulls it out.
Sojiro’s phone number. “It’s just to make sure you have another responsible adult nearby to call in case the kids get in trouble,” he sighs, "no flirtatious intent behind it."
As Tohru inputs the number on his phone, he feels another rush of energy within him.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast acquired a new bond-vow.
It shall become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry chains that bind..
With the birth of the Pope Persona, I have obtained the winds of blessing that lead to freedom and new power..
The next time the Phantom Thieves convene, Akira lays out the plan.
They were going to steal the distorted desires of Futaba Sakura, Sojiro’s daughter, on her own request. They had the words to access her Palace through the Metaverse app, they just had to go ahead and actually.. y’know, get in there.
Both Yuuki and Adachi are buzzing with excitement. Their first Palace infiltration.. yes, this would be good.
The Palace itself is a massive pyramid. The top of it glows and shines, “hieroglyphs” of internet Unicode carved upon its exterior.
Yuuki is, understandably, wowed by this. It’s a gorgeous place as much as it is a monument to the grief Futaba is trapped in.
He looks over to his dad, who seems.. somewhat impressed as well.
The Phantom Thieves enter. Yuuki’s relieved to find that the place is like the first time they entered a few days ago. They look around and find their further path is blocked.
It’s Joker that moves to turn them around.. before they’re stopped by a ghostly figure that’s appeared.
She’s wrapped in bandages, yellow eyes glowing bright. A young Pharaoh is what she looks like. Futaba Sakura herself - or, at least, her Shadow self.
His father looks a bit spooked, but Yuuki’s pretty calm. Yep, looks pretty in line with what he expected, considering her Palace.
“Please.. retrieve what was stolen from me in the city next to this tomb of mine. Only then will I let you pass…”
So they make their way out, and to the desolate desert city.
Yuuki doesn’t remember much of it, but he does remember the look on his father’s face as they fight off the enemies holding the item - bloodlust, a sort of schadenfreude in being able to let loose on these Shadows.
His face is curved in a grin, eyes gleaming under the mask as he plunges the spear into the wings of one of the enemies. The being is howling, wriggling and writhing. “Let me go, let me go, I’ll give you anything…!”
His father leans down, chuckling softly, and says in a deathly soft tone: “Oh, but you can give me your life, and then I can loot whatever I want from you.”
Yuuki shivers, turning his attention back towards one of the other enemies.
His father seems to take great care in looting the enemies’ corpses afterward.
The next clear memory he has is when they return to the Palace.
They’re fighting another enemy, one rather powerful one.
It’s going well until the enemy sends out a bolt of energy, and, well..
Where his father once stood now sits a round little rat with fluffy fur.
“D-Dad..!” Yuuki dives to help Tohru, guiding him into his arms, but his father has other ideas.
Tohru scuttles up Yuuki’s shoulder, seating himself atop Yuuki’s head.
“What are you-”
It’s cut off by a painful tug on Yuuki’s hair, and he yelps.
His arm moves along with the tug.
There’s a moment of silence from the other Phantom Thieves before they begin howling with laughter. Ryuji is laughing so hard he’s crying. Akira is holding his stomach, he’s laughing so hard.
“Stah- Stop that, dad! Stop puppeting me!” Yuuki yells insistently.
Tohru does not stop. He keeps going, squeaking his tiny little lungs out as he manages to pull out the chainsword Yuuki keeps on him and land a hit on the boss.
There’s something deeply funny about how Tohru gets better at “piloting” Yuuki like something out of a fighting game.
The Phantom Thieves are still crying with laughter as they defeat the enemy. Once it dies, Tohru turns human - while still sitting on Yuuki’s head.
You can imagine how messy that fall down was for him.
The puzzles throughout the Palace are easy, Yuuki thinks.
He solves them easily, a one-and-done situation, while the others fight the enemies nearby.
He’s always been a good hand at puzzles like this. What he likes is the reactions it gains from the other Phantom Thieves. The admiration in some people’s eyes, like Akira’s. The new re-evaluations of him, like in his father’s case.
It does make him smile.
It makes him smile up until he solves the final puzzle and sees the mural it reveals.
Futaba’s mother, jumping in front of a car.
All at once, Yuuki re-evaluates what he’s been feeling and seeing.
It wasn’t awe.. it was a shock. Not new re-evaluations of him, but.. something in his father’s eyes, a pain he couldn’t place.
He’s crying all of a sudden, for poor Futaba and her genuine belief she killed her mother. His father only places a hand on his shoulder, bowing his head in silence.
Bit by bit, over the course of three days, they make their way to the final part of the Palace - the top of the Pyramid. Yuuki’s with the others as they deliver the calling card to Futaba. She’s hiding in the closet as they do so, and Yuuki’s heart aches for her.
Yuuki can see how happy his father is getting to face something big.
The enemies are getting tougher in the Palace and they’re taking shelter in the few safe rooms they can find when possible.
They get up to the top, and what they see is something that makes his father bark out a curse word.
There is a giant, winged Sphinx with the head of Futaba’s dearly departed mother waiting for them. Her claws are as long as swords, and there’s murderous rage in her eyes.
“YOU… SHALL DIE HERE…!”
The Phantom Thieves get into attack formation.
Time to fight.
It’s a couple of turns into the fight, and they’re trying to find a way to not get killed.
One of the Thieves fighting just got knocked out. Akira’s switching another in, panicked. Yuuki just barely misses a swipe from the Sphinx.
His father stares at Akira, pointing to his eyes and then to the Sphinx. “Remember what we’ve talked about,” he mouths.
Akira turns to the others. “Aim for the eyes!”
“WHAT?” Makoto yells back.
“AIM FOR ITS EYES! Try and aim at its wings, too. Don’t let it escape.”
They start aiming at it when possible, taking risks. Of course, it’s the Adachi family that gets the riskiest of all. Akira doesn’t realize what’s happening until he sees Tohru and Yuuki literally climb onto the Sphinx, readying their sharp objects.
“DEVIL! MARQUIS! WHAT THE HELL?”
He can hear a yell back from Tohru - “truuuuuuust meeeeee…”
The others are keeping it distracted, trying not to get the Adachi family hurt, when they get to their places.
The Sphinx yells as she feels two people dangling from her hair.
“Hey, kid, you ready?”
Yuuki smiles, and replies back “Eye-eye, dad!”
With that, a chainsword, a firework lance, and both Personas of the Adachi family simultaneously pierce through the glasses the Sphinx wears, through to the eyes. This Sphinx screams and wails, throwing both the father and the son to the ground with a harsh thump - but the damage has been done.
Akira hears something behind him, turns to look -
Futaba herself, standing proudly, with her new UFO-appearing Persona lifting her up into its interior.
The tide of battle has indeed turned, and with Futaba’s help, they take out the Sphinx swiftly as you please. There’s a moment where Futaba makes peace with her mother - or, at least, the cognition of her mom - before they get going.
They manage to escape the crumbling Palace by the skin of their teeth. As they drive along in the car, the Phantom Thieves take turns yelling at the Adachi family for the absolutely stupid thing they did.
By far the worst one they get is the unironically uttered line “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” from Akira.
Tohru is thinking about everything as they drive back to the starting point.
Futaba's Palace had been quite the place.
Sojiro’s words ring in his head. “... she was the kid of the one woman I ever truly loved.”
He smiles sadly. So that had been the woman Sojiro loved so much.
Something else comes up in his mind, a mention of something he’d heard after they rescued Futaba. Mentions that Futaba’s mother had been researching the Metaverse, and humanity’s collective cognition..
“Hey, Futaba,” he says.
The girl herself - long-haired, shy little thing - turns towards Tohru. “Y-Yeah?”
“Is it possible to erase someone from human cognition? Make ‘em cease to exist?”
Futaba’s face crinkles up, her nose wrinkling as she tries to think of the possibility.
“I think so. My mom’s research definitely said so.”
Tohru thinks about what might happen if someone tried that with the Phantom Thieves… and his mind is hit with a terrifying, massive, perhaps even awe-inspiring idea.
“Futaba, care to lend an ear?”
She shakily leans in as Tohru begins to ramble into her ear.
Futaba’s face shifts from confusion, to understanding, to awe and inspiration, to unbridled joy.
“Holy level up.. is that even possible?” she breathes.
Tohru’s face contorts into a wicked smirk, the same that he wore when choking out Namatame.
“It can be.”
Gods, yes, this chapter is finished. I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, I'll probably be going through and editing it up a lil bit more to add more description of the Palace itself soon.
I've been thinking a bit about misc. things concerning the fic.
For example, from last chapter, would you guys rather have:
a.) shorter chapters with more frequent updates/me splitting up the Palace chapters
b.) longer chapters with less frequent updates/me writing them all in long paces as I intended which will keep it a bit more compact?
T'is important to me to know this.
I know that I'm also definitely underwriting the Phantom Thieves a bit in this fic, and for that I apologize. I might cover their perspectives on what's going on a little bit deeply later on, whether that be in later chapters or in a potential sequel to this fic.
Lastly, if you all have any fanart for this series (which would probably make me fucking sob with joy sdlfkjlfk), you can send it to my Tumblr or Twitter, which is both under the penthepoet username just like this fic is.
Also added one or two new things to this fic's plans later on that have me smiling like an idiot.
As always, to any who decide to comment - thank you very much for the service you are performing to lil' ole fanfic writers like me. Bit by bit, you guys are helping make the Persona fanfic community an even better place to be in. <3
Chapter 14: A Moon Unending
The Adachi family gets in a fight.
Akira ponders the hunger inside Tohru.
Content warnings for drunk behavior, described violent behavior/gore in dialogue, and implications of abuse Kamoshida inflicted on Yuuki.
Also, very dark humor.
It’s been a few days since they’ve finished the Palace.
Yuuki is eating in Tohru’s apartment, and the two are fighting.
It started when Yuuki brought up Mayumi, and it grew out of control.
“YOU DIDN’T LOVE HER! YOU JUST WANTED HER TO BE YOURS, OBSESSION ISN’T LOVE!”
“I loved her the only way I could. She was the only bitch I couldn’t bring myself to push away.”
Yuuki stands up, trying to wipe the tears out of his eyes. “You’re just raising me because you feel guilty for killing her, don’t you?”
“That’s not-“ Tohru goes to comfort his kid, but Yuuki slaps his hand away.
“Don’t touch me, you fucking rapist, don’t even look at me.” Yuuki snarls, eyes bright.
Tohru reels back like he’s been struck. The familiar pulse of Magatsu-Izanagi simmers under his skin, writhing in anger.
this ungrateful brat
Tohru grabs his head, hissing.
this stupid little brat after all we gave him all the love all the fucking attention we gave him
Tohru looks away as Yuuki keeps going, as Yuuki keeps saying all the things that Tohru doesn’t want to hear, doesn’t want to confront.
we nearly broke the rules of this reality for him we came so close to ruining all our work for him to keep him safe and he throws it back in our face
Yuuki looks so enraged, and for a second Tohru sees Mayumi, and for a second Tohru flinches.
the tv is behind him shove him into the tv world teach him a lesson
“No matter how much you try to play doting father, my mother’s blood is still on your hands, your hands have strangled Saki, nothing can change that!”
do it you fucking coward you killed his mother in a fit of rage kill the boy too —
“You don’t know what I’ve done for you, what I will do for you,” Tohru murmurs.
“All you’ve done is ruin my life.”
Yuuki’s hand flies in a blur —
The sound of his punch echoes. Tohru holds his own face gently.
“Where are you going, brat..” Tohru groans half-heartedly.
Yuuki grabs his things quickly, quietly, and leaves.
Tohru stands there, stunned, disgusted with himself.
So Tohru gets a little drunk - scratch that, he gets sloppily drunk, deeply drunk, the kind of messy drunk that leads to profuse crying.
And he’s crying. He’s curled up in a fetal position, shirt undone, the tie Dojima gave him after they drank together for the first time messily hanging around his neck, and he’s just bawling.
All these decayed emotions he’s barely felt in his life have started resurfacing, coming alive again from the graves he’s dug them in. He’s started getting attached to all these fucking children, to his flesh and blood son that is the living reminder he destroys everything he loves because he loves too much and there’s no way he can change.
He remembers when he would stalk others when he was in school, envious of their fun while he was left to study but in love with how they looked when happy. Pictures taken secretly, quiet admiration left to fester into obsession.
It was put to an end when one boy caught him showing his love, taking pictures of the boy’s girlfriend, and he was beaten to a bloody pulp. That was also the first day he got below an A on any quiz he’d taken, and he resolved from that moment onwards to deny, to push away, to restrain any feelings other than focus.
Now he pushes people away because he’s scared of intimacy, scared of feeling too strong, scared of the terrifying ordeal that is people caring about him and gaining expectations Tohru Adachi can never fucking hope to fulfill. He feels his own hunger, and it scares him when it breaks free.
He doesn’t have the option to run, not anymore.
Just like Dojima coming back to him after he fucking murdered people, there’s too many people that would pursue him, that would see through it.
Adachi is rocking back and forth, continuing to bawl when he sees a new figure before him. It’s blurry as hell, but he can see who it is still.
The woman, from the Velvet Room.
“Whazz’ your name..” he slurs through his tears.
“My name is Margaret. Give me your hand.”
“Why you..” He hiccups. “Why’re you here?”
Her face doesn’t change.
“Because you are pathetic right now, and you need to be saved from yourself. That is why.”
Tohru’s eyes well up yet again. “I am pathetic..”
She lifts him up, dragging him over to a chair.
Then she slaps him. It’s a quick slap, but it wakes him up, sobers him.
“You listen to me, Jester.”
Her tone is soft and angry.
He lolls his head up.
“Are you going to break the promise you made to Philemon? To me? To Ryotaro Dojima, the man you care for?”
“Don’t speak his name..”
“I will speak his name as I please. You slovenly drunk. He would be ashamed of you. Mayumi would be ashamed of you.”
“Don’t push it, lady,” Tohru hisses.
Margaret’s eyes glow, and the room grows constrictive, sucked of heat.
“I am one who wields power. Do not presume to bandy such things with me! I did not ask to care for you in this drunken state, slovenly Jester, but I do so now out of the desire to see you ascend. I ask of you now, will you let the Moon fall, or will you go to fix what you broke?” Her voice echoes, and Tohru starts, falling out of his chair.
“Point taken.” he meeps.
He feels a rush sober him up, a power bright and gleaming, and as he pulls himself up, something else comes tumbling out of his mouth.
“You’re the Empress, aren’t you.. the Empress Arcana. One of the people I get power from.”
Margaret nods. “Yes.. now go, and save the Moon Arcana before it breaks.”
Tohru runs to the one place he thinks Yuuki will be, and his guess is right.
Yuuki is sitting at the hideout, trying not to cry.
“Hey,” Tohru says, holding his hand out.
Yuuki doesn’t respond.
Tohru thinks. He swallows his pride, and begins rambling.
“Look, kid. Considering I thought Mayumi was cheating on me at the time, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done it again. And I’m sure you wouldn’t believe anything I had to say about feeling sorry for her death.”
He crouches down next to Yuuki. “How would you feel if I told you I went to Kamoshida and made sure he never hung around you again?”
Yuuki sniffs. “Phantom Thieves already did that.”
“Yeah, but I did something special. I made him swear that if anybody else found him, he would promise he was beaten up by a prostitute. Broke his bones. Even have his phone number right now.”
Yuuki wipes the tears from his eyes. “How do I know you’re not lying to me..?”
Tohru holds out a finger in the universal gesture for “wait.” He pulls out his phone, dialing up the number under the name Meathead.
Suguru Kamoshida jumps out of his skin when his phone rings. He checks the number - the same one the Inaba killer gave him. He picks up the phone as best as he can with his swollen, broken arms, and picks up the number. “P-Please don’t hurt me more. I’ll do anything!” he sputters.
Tohru is sitting there, phone on speaker mode, smirking smugly. “Hey, buddy!” he chirps.
“Oh, god, why are you calling?” Kamoshida sounds absolutely terrified. Yuuki’s leaning forward, eyes wide with shock.
“Calling me your god now, eh? Nifty. Anyway, just had a rhetorical question to ask you.”
“W-what is it?”
“If good ole’ Mish was here, right now, what would you tell him?”
“I’ve fucked up so badly, he’s not a punching bag, he deserved nothing I ever inflicted on him, I’m so sorry I’m so fucking sorry..” He’s bawling right there at the thought.
Yuuki shivers. “Hold on one second. If you hang up on me, buddy, I’m not gonna be happy!~” Tohru chimes, putting him on hold.
He turns towards Yuuki. “If he fucks his one chance for mercy I’m giving him, what d’ya want me to do to him?”
“I.. I…” Yuuki’s stuttering.
“Think. Would you want me to remove a body part? Maybe give him a swirlie? I always wondered what giving someone a swirlie would be like.” Tohru’s eyes are gleaming with far too much excitement.
“C’mon, don’t you think he got off easy, even with the Phantom Thieves rearranging his brain? There has to be something you want to do,” Tohru coaxes.
Yuuki gently, gently rolls up his pants. On his lower back is a brand. SK, in looping cursive. The minute Tohru lays eyes on it, his jaw tightens. “That little..”
Yuuki looks away. “He.. he brought me to his home once, and that.. was the result, I..”
Some sadistic part in Yuuki snaps right there, just like with Tohru, and the words that come pouring out of his mouth are every bit as passionate as his decrying of Tohru’s actions an hour or two before.
“... I want him to be tied down. Branded in the same place with my initials. I want him to spend every day after that living in fear just like he put me through. I want him to bandage and care for his own wounds, no help from others, constantly having to hide all the pain inflicted on him.”
He keeps going, his words taking the quality of an incantation chanted by a murderous witch.
Mid-rant, Tohru unpauses the phone, and Kamoshida listens in mute shock to Yuuki’s rant.
“... I want to see him flinch in terror every time he even hears or thinks about me, the same way he did to me . Beat his legs in with a hammer, cut his pride off, slam his head against the concrete until he gets a concussion, but don’t let him die, he’s not allowed to, I will not fucking allow him to . Force him to live through the hell he made me suffer, day after day.”
Yuuki shakes with rage, growling the next part: “You know what? They say an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. I say: bullshit, an eye for an eye is Suguru Kamoshida reaping what he’s sown, crawling on his knees, living in permanent fear of me, begging for the torment to stop and never receiving an answer other than my laughter in his face.”
Tohru Adachi hangs up.
Yuuki breathes deeply, eyes still dilated and vivid.
“We can do it together, you and I… Maybe we can even take one of his eyes home as a souvenir.” Tohru chuckles, mostly joking.
“Make it into a necklace?” Yuuki jokes back.
“Now you’re talkin’.”
Yuuki hugs him.
The rush Tohru gets this time feels different.
The power of your son’s love has given you the deadly aim to shoot out the eyes of all who paint his nightmares..
You received the ability Moonshot.
Akira Kurusu can’t understand Tohru Adachi.
Every other Confidant he’s had, he’s been going into it with an initial sense of who they are, what they are.
But Adachi keeps pulling out surprises. One minute he’s playing “gullible adult”, the next he’s ripping apart Shadows with all the unpredictability of a Norse berserker. One minute he’s joking around and the next he gets.. he gets almost wistful.
And then there’s the fact that he could summon his own Persona, long before he even knew of the Thieves - “How could a shitty adult like him use a Persona?” Ryuji had kept asking when they hung out after Kaneshiro’s Palace one weekend. When they asked Adachi himself about it, he’d just laughed. “It’s the embodiment of my own hunger.”
His own hunger. Akira keeps thinking about that choice of words. Now what does that say about him?
Akira still doesn’t understand until the day he’s walking Shibuya with the man himself.
They’re on one of the streets. The TV screens blare the headline: Disgraced Olympian Assaulted by Prostitute. Images of Kamoshida beaten to a ridiculous degree. Bones broken, face bruised and bloodied to all hell, the works.
The devious smirk that curls on Adachi’s face at that does not pass by Akira’s notice.
They’ve been talking strategy for several minutes when Adachi’s phone rings.
“Let me take this real quick, I’m sorry.” He sighs, clicking it on.
Instantly, Adachi’s whole demeanor shifts. He stands up straighter, a vaguely goofy grin spreading across his face. His voice even sounds a little less raspy. “Hey, Dojima-san.”
Akira tries his hardest to look like he’s ignoring what Adachi is talking about, even though he’s listening in.
Adachi keeps on smiling. “How’s Nanako doing?”
The smile fades from his face a few seconds later. Whatever he’s hearing, it’s making him clench his fist by his side. He even lets out a growl. “Bullying her?”
“These damn brats nowadays.. Just have no respect for others, eh?” Adachi’s tone slides back into the rasp he normally holds, no masquerading whatsoever.
There’s a moment of quiet on his end before Adachi sighs: “Well, if you need anybody to set ‘em straight.. You know who to call, Dojima-san.”
Another pause. “Yeah, you be good too. Bye.”
He hangs up.
Akira looks a bit wary at this point when Adachi turns towards him.
“What, uh. What was that about?” Akira asks.
“Nanako.. Some brats are getting off to ripping her dress, making her cry, all sorts of shit. They’d better be lucky I’m following the rules of this reality..”
Adachi smiles, a baring of teeth. His “dopey” demeanor melts right away to the most intimidating thing Akira’s seen in a long while.
“Because if not, they’d be suffering through a lot worse than being in the Television World right now..”
Akira’s blood runs cold. A roar in his ears, the rattling of chains as his Persona, Arsene, murmurs in his own head.
Thou art I.. and I am thou…
Thou hast seen how bonds may change…
The bond that hath changed.. It is thy first step in learning the truth.
Thou must bear thine inner power of “The Jester” becoming “Hunger”...
G'ah, this week has put me through the fucking wringer, you guys. I've been working so hard that it's been working me to the bone.
I'm glad you guys keep tuning into this fic.
Hopefully you guys enjoyed that little sneak peek of how fucking terrifying Adachi must be to the Phantom Thieves when his mask drops, as well as the inner rage Yuuki has at his abuser (that whole rant from him was SO SATISFYING to write and so cathartic)
We'll be getting to a much lighter state next chapter, what with them going shopping for supplies to infiltrate (and actually infiltrating) the next Palace. Expect some cute fluffy scenes to make up for it all.
Lastly, in the unlikely case that any of you are also fans of my webseries, I hope you enjoyed the Archives of the Scholar/Staff of the Scholar reference I slipped into this chapter for you guys. <3
Chapter 15: Spaceport of Greed (Part I)
Tohru takes up a hobby.
The Phantom Thieves decide to give him a little makeover.
A few weeks have passed.
The new poll on the Phansite on who the Phantom Thieves should go after next has been ruling in favor of one man, consistently.
Kunikazu Okumura. CEO to the Big Bang Burger food franchise - and, if rumors are true, a notoriously corrupt man overworking his employees.
Tohru’s been doing some research, and what he’s turning up is some pretty shady stuff. His daughter, Haru, is supposedly in an arranged marriage to an even sleazier guy called Sugimura.
He sighs. The state of the world these days.
He’s holding down the fort while the other Thieves - his kid included - are gone on vacation to Hawaii. From what he’s heard, his kid’s been pulling in the ladies. The thought makes him grin. Assuming Ryuji isn’t exaggerating to make him feel better, he’s actually pretty proud of Yuuki right now.
Yuuki had set him up with an account on the Phan-site before he left, for the whole “blogging experiment.” Tohru was pretty impressed by how stellar the coding was for this site when he first clicked onto it - it even had an old-school forum and everything.
He’s browsing the site now.
Yuuki’s name on the site is “Boy-Mayor of the Phan-site.” He seems to be super active on the site, posting on the forum in topics like “What do you think the Phantom Thieves are like?” to “Which video game do you play the most?”
There’s another admin by the name of “Jump-Up Homestar” that seems to post in random threads. She - because Tohru has a sense of these things, he knows they’re a she because Yuuki told him once - seems to post a little less frequently, usually acting as a referee for various arguments on the Phan-site polls and forum.
She’s a pretty damn good one, too. He’s impressed at the skill with which she handles yet another thankless fucking argument over which character in “Creator’s Quest” is the real waifu, or over things such as what kind of keyboard people on the forum use.
“It’s amazing how much people waste their time on the internet, huh,” he finds himself musing aloud.
Regardless, he hasn’t written an introductory post yet as his Phantom Thief alter ego, “Devil.”
After reading through a bit of bickering threads about what the Phantom Thieves are really like, he decides to clear the air.
The thread he makes is titled “ a blogpost for all you brats - Devil’s Log”
He thinks long and hard about the content. How he wants to come across. The general consensus his brain is coming to is “himself, but a little less boring and a little more unfiltered.”
So the post begins with this sentence: I’m making a post here because the Boy-Mayor of this site told me you mouth-breathing animals would be interested in hearing from the Thieves.
He tilts his head slightly. He’s trying to ponder how to write this next bit, because he knows that if he gets a bit too confrontational, a bit too snippy, his kid is going to maul him alive.
His fingers move in a blur, and he’s struck by inspiration.
You want to know the story behind what we do, what we’re like, why we do it, and answers to a thousand other banal, banal questions.
Newsflash: after a long vetting process, a bit of hacking from old friends, and lots more steps to ensure we don’t get mobbed by the police, you’ve got it.
Yes, I’m one of the Phantom Thieves. Yes, you brats can ask me anything you’d like - though, I can’t say I’ll respond to every single one, and I may redact/shuffle around things/change details/withhold various truths as needed.
I will be writing blog posts on this forum as the Boy-Mayor wishes.
My callsign is Devil, I’m an ex-convict, and this world is shit - but goddamn if it isn’t fun to take it back the Phantom Thief way.
He pushes send.
He stands up from his desk.
After something like that, maybe a cup of coffee would do him good.
So he swings by Cafe Leblanc. Sojiro’s there as always, smiling.
“It’s been quiet, without the others around,” he says as Tohru sits down.
“Yeah, yeah, I feel ya,” Tohru sighs. “I feel like I need something to take the edge off, I’ve been tense all day.”
Sojiro thinks. “Hey, I think I know something you can learn while they’re gone.”
Tohru leans in, interested.
Sojiro smiles slightly. “How about I teach you how to make coffee? I’ll put you out of sight of the customers, you won’t have to talk to anybody else if you don’t want to.”
“Y’know what? Sounds like it’ll keep me busy, I’ll take it.” He shakes Sojiro’s hand on the deal.
“Making coffee for someone also acts as a pretty good way to get to know them better. Wouldn’t you say?”
Tohru has to look away slightly. There’s a smile dancing on his face, a nostalgic look in his eye. “Yeah. I’d agree on that.”
Dojima knows today is going to be a bit hectic when he gets a call from Yu, his nephew.
“Hey, Yu. What’s happening?” Dojima asks, sorting through the paperwork he’s been doing as he balances his phone on his shoulder.
Yu Narukami chuckles. “Dojima-san. I just wanted to ask, how’s Adachi doing?” His voice is calm as always. Damn, Dojima wishes he had that kid’s patience sometimes.
“... I actually don’t know,” Dojima sighs, “I thought you had his number.”
“You really think he’d give his number out to me that easily?”
Dojima breathes in to object, but then realizes Yu’s right: Adachi really wasn’t that kind of guy.
“Well, I’ll try and get in touch with him, see how he’s doing with his new son.”
Yu’s voice is light as he says “How about you go visit him?”
That makes Dojima stop. Well.. he actually hadn’t considered that. But the more he thought about it, the more he realized it sounded pretty nice to do.
It’d give Nanako a break from school, it’d give him a break from work..
So he decides on it.
“... I think that’s just what I’ll do.”
The blogpost has exploded in popularity. He’s gotten an outpouring of questions ranging from the insightful ( “What led you to the Thieves?” ) to the idiotic (“whats ur favorite color lmao” ) to the possibly sexual (“What kind of devil are you really? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)" ) It’s gotten actual coverage from news-sites, and with that, the swarm of popularity that comes from an inside look into the operations of the Phantom Thieves.
Devil’s acidic, dry wit has won the hearts of many on the Phansite; many of his more memorable quotes have become feverish shitposts and memes. The usage of “brats”, along with the phrase “bitches and whores” and bountiful memes on Devil’s food of choice (cabbage), has spread like wildfire across the forums.
Fanwork of him is common, and he has to say, while he has mixed feelings on this site and its users, he does love the ideas they come up with for his outfit - especially with his brief descriptions of it.
They seem to have taken the aesthetic he described - devilish Victorian jester - and run with it, pouring out tons of outfits, fanfictions, fanart and even music dedicated to him.
Tohru can’t decide whether to feel oddly proud of that or deeply ashamed at how much time they’re wasting on him.
He’s settling on a mix of both.
Tohru’s also getting the hang of making good coffee when the Phantom Thieves return. Sojiro’s taught him well, he thinks. It’s certainly better coffee than he ever made under Dojima’s tutelage.
He pours cups for each of the kids as they ramble about their trip. Yuuki’s excitedly talking about his flirting pursuits, Ryuji and the others teasing him. Even the girls seem eager to tell Tohru about their beach adventures and such in Hawaii.
For better or for worse, Tohru has become the Phantom Thieves’ parental figure.
Finally, Akira stops the other Phantom Thieves.
“Hey, why don’t we go out shopping? We’ve got some more to discuss, wouldn’t you say?”
Tohru sighs, looking at Sojiro. Sojiro nods, chuckling.
“Well, Adachi, I suppose this is where we part ways for now.”
“Somebody’s gotta supervise the kids, yeah.”
Tohru goes over the target as they’re walking down the main part of Shibuya.
“Kunikazu Okumura, right. I’m dead certain he has a Palace. He has to.”
Akira grins. “Then it’s good we’re going out to get supplies, then. We’re going to be training a bit more.”
“In Mementos?” Tohru cocks his head slightly.
Akira nods. “Yeah, me and the other Thieves who went to Hawaii are going to spend a few days there to get back into shape.”
“Man, it feels good to be back,” Ryuji chimes in, “I missed this place.”
“You just missed looking at all the guns in Untouchable,” Ann teases.
Ryuji sputters. “HEY!”
Makoto’s walking next to Tohru. Tohru’s looking her over - she definitely does look like her sister, with the same sort of march to her step. Makoto’s sizing Tohru up, too. Tohru tilts his head a little, turning towards her a little more.
“What’re you thinking of?”
“Akira told us he wants you to spy on Okumura. So.. I was thinking maybe me and the other girls could give you a makeover, just in general. Give you a better look for formal occasions.”
That makes Tohru do a double-take. “W-What??”
Ann smiles wide. “A makeover? You’re a genius, Makoto!” she chirps, hugging Makoto.
Makoto smiles as Tohru sputters. “No, wait, when did you kids agree I was gonna spy on him?”
“It was on the group chat, didn’t you see?” Yuuki adds.
“I didn’t! I was busy making coffee!”
Makoto’s curiosity is piqued. “Why’d you learn how to make coffee in the first place? Was it for someone special?”
At that, Tohru’s face goes red. “You kids need to stop sticking your nose into other people’s business.”
She chuckles. “You’re not denying it.”
“Quit pushing it.”
Ann finally changes the subject, and Tohru is only slightly more relieved. “Let’s get going on Toh’s makeover!”
“Hey, when did you kids start calling me Toh?”
But it’s too late. The plans for today have already been derailed.
The first thing they start with is his wardrobe. In the heart of Shinjuku, Ann’s observing his usual attire.
“Your suit makes you look like a tired salesman!” Ann laments. She tugs at his sleeves, sighing at how messy the suit looks.
“Hey, it’s force of habit.”
“And that tie is so old, why don’t we get rid of it?” She goes to unfasten the red tie, and Tohru’s hand shoots out to grab her wrist.
“Don’t. Even. Think. About. It.”
Ann freezes. “O-oh.. sure thing.”
She quickly bounces back, going to find other outfits for him. She comes back with armfuls of “hip” clothing. “It’s time to get you looking like a fashionista!”
The other Phantom Thieves are contributing in their own ways - Yuuki debates with the girls when their fashion sense stretches farther than his father’s dignity will allow, Morgana is complaining, Ryuji takes pictures of some of the more fashionable outfits, Futaba researches coupons for some of the stores, and both Yusuke and Akira give their input on what he wears.
Halfway through the seventh outfit, Akira sighs. “Have you considered asking him about the aesthetic he wants to have?”
“The what now?” Tohru asks.
“What do you want to look like, assuming you had infinite funds to do so?”
Tohru thinks. He hadn’t really given a damn about his fashion sense before, but now that he thought about it..
“Sharply dressed, with.. with waistcoats and such, like I’ve got a lack of fucks to give..” He’s looking for words to describe it.
“Like your Metaverse outfit, but more modern?”
“Maybe we can also lean into the ‘bad boy’ look..” Yusuke comments, and Tohru agrees to that too.
One shopping locale change later, Tohru steps out from the changing room in an elegant red waistcoat, a black dress shirt, and a big smirk on his face.
“Now this.. this is what I’m talking about.”
Next up is his haircut and his face, after pooling their funds for the sordid amount Tohru’s wardrobe change cost.
Ann brings him to a special salon she frequents.
Her smile is wide as Makoto bends close to him. “How about we try a little make-up on him? Maybe fix his haircut, too. He looks so dull.”
“Wait, MAKE-UP?” That’s what floors him.
“No, no, not like what you’re thinking,” Ann reassures, “you’ll see.”
Makoto sighs. “Close your eyes, ok? Trust us.”
Tohru points behind him, at Yuuki.
“Yuuki, I trust you to rein them in.”
It takes a while. As directed, he keeps his eyes closed and does what they say. At times, he feels almost like a doll being dressed up, and it's somewhat humiliating.
The Phantom Thieves try to stay somewhat quiet, but Tohru could hear their running commentary as he's dolled up. The boys turn from sarcastic and cynical to shocked.
When he's done, Ann chimes “Now open your eyes!”
He does, and what he sees in the mirror takes his breath away.
He looks.. younger, so much more youthful and vibrant. These kids had turned back the clock, practically. He was kinda young already, but still.
He's more focused on how attractive he looks. They had indeed fixed his haircut, restoring bangs that he had once cut too high. His eyes, lined with slight eyeliner, look.. well, he never thought he’d be describing himself with the word sexy, but that was how they looked. His face looks more masculine, more put-together, more attractive.
It made his already well-cut outfit seem even more pleasing to look at.
Gone is the dopey, average looking, generally incompetent-seeming ex-detective that once plagued Dojima’s existence.
In his place is a devilishly, deliciously sexy creature who looks like he could steal both your man and your woman at the same time - and have the time of his life doing it.
Needless to say, he's loving this. He’s never felt more confident in his life.
Tohru can even see blushes on a few of the boys. Yusuke looks like he was having an epiphany. Akira is smirking. Ryuji’s face can only be described as “re-evaluating his sexuality.”
Makoto is blushing as she goes “Wow.. you really cleaned up.”
Goddamn, how he wishes Dojima and those other brats in Inaba could get a look at him now.
I'm back! With a short chapter, but still. Had to take some time off because this last fucking week was absolute hell, even on the weekend. Also figured out how to make sure that the more violent moments in this fic are balanced out by lighter ones.
On the bright side, I also read some more fics with our favorite cabbage-eating ex-serial killer and I'm juiced up, ready to get going.
I'm really excited for this part of the story we're going to be entering.
Hopefully you all are too.
Chapter 16: Spaceport of Greed (Part II)
The actual infiltration of Okumura's Palace begins.
While the Phantom Thieves do their first entrance of Okumura’s Palace to “scope out the scene,” Tohru is performing reconnaissance in the main corporation building of Big Bang Burger.
He’s caked in make-up and wearing a well-applied wig, looking wildly different than he usually does. He’s been told to “keep an eye out” for any sketchy behavior and things that could apply to Okumura’s Palace.
So far, Tohru has seen three people trying to hide their breakdowns in their cubicle, and he’s not exactly jumping with joy to see what comes next.
It occurs to him that this is yet another wildly illegal thing that he shouldn’t be doing, but he pushes the thought aside. The time for complaining has passed, and now is the time for him to practice The Three S’s: Smile, Slightly keep your head down, and Shut up.
As one can imagine, he’s gotten The Three S’s down to an artform after working as a policeman under Dojima’s tutelage.
He grabs a tray of coffee under the secretary's desk, making his way into the boardroom.
There’s an elaborate whiteboard covered with Expo marker drawings at the front.
The man standing at the front must be Kunikazu Okumura himself, judging from how he seems to be utterly grilling his subordinates. Everything about this guy screams CEO, from the way he’s slapping his hand on the table for emphasis to his immaculately ironed suit.
“Akagi, why is the Ikebukuro facility so poor at meeting quota? Do I have to drag you on the coals? Throw you out on the curb? I know Hamada could do it. Or Kashiwagi.”
The man Tohru assumes is Akagi bows his head, apologizing profusely, but that’s not enough for Okumura, no.
Okumura walks over and grabs Akagi by the front of his shirt, dragging him out of his chair by it.
Okumura’s voice is whisper quiet. “Pack your things. I’m letting you go, effective immediately.”
He drops Akagi to the floor. “Does anyone else wish to follow his lead?”
Tohru’s so glad there’s names on the coffee as he passes the cups out.
As he passes them out, he hears Okumura murmur something under his breath - “Another defective cog in the machine.”
That sticks with Tohru a lot more than the scalding hot coffee another surly executive throws at his chest.
It’s a long day for him.
Yuuki couldn’t care less about the fact that Morgana’s run away, but this new person Morgana’s got with him while he’s infiltrating the Palace without the Thieves might pose a problem later on.
He knows it’s Okumura’s daughter Haru. He’s not an idiot, he can recognize her voice and see her familiar poofy hair under her hat. It doesn’t seem like she has a Persona - he’s been training himself to sense when people do, he figures it might come in handy later on.
He accompanies the Phantom Thieves even as they chase Morgana out of the Palace, into Mementos, and capture him again.
His wondering about exactly what his dad is doing is answered when Tohru comes back to the apartment. He’s wearing coffee stains and a new black eye.
“Lesson learned: Okumura is a scary man when he’s angry.”
The next time they get into the Palace, Tohru in tow this time, Haru unlocks her Persona abilities.
They’re staring down Okumura as he sees himself - a Darth Vader styled figure.
He boasts a little about this whole spaceport being under his command, how he has the robots ( how he sees the actual workers, Tohru has to remind himself) programmed to do what they’re told, and how Sugimura (the bastardly fiancé to Haru) will deal with them.
He’s pretty damn impressed with how it looks, to be honest - a lady in a big ornate dress that opens up to reveal a giant machine gun. Definitely not what he’d expected from her, but then again, Makoto had a literal fuckin’ motorcycle for her Persona, so he’s reserving judgement on any of these people for now.
They beat Sugimura, and then it’s Palace infiltration time.
Tohru’s confused by one little detail.
There’s a blue prison door near the entrance. Just standing there, unconnected to any part of the building. He hears familiar music drifting through the bars. A warden - a little girl with an eyepatch that looks like Margaret’s little sister - stands guard at the front of the door.
Akira seems to notice this door too. As a matter of fact, he even approaches it before Tohru stops him.
“Ak-“ He stops himself. Phantom Thief codenames, right. “Joker.. you can see it too? The Velvet Room?”
Joker’s eyes widen. “How can you..”
Tohru smiles. “Had a Persona long before you, remember?”
Joker nods shakily as the girl slams her fist against the door. “Inmate! We have no time to be slacking off. Get in, or get out!” she pipes up.
Tohru shakes his head. “Funny. That isn’t how it shows up for me.”
Joker enters as the girl stands guard still.
“And you.” The girl points at him. “ Jester, keep your nose out of the Inmate’s business,” the girl chirps.
Tohru blinks, unimpressed. He has a hunch of exactly who this little kiddo is related to. “Your sister Margaret says hi.”
The girl blinks. She sputters. “I-I don’t have a sister named Margaret…”
But Tohru is already off on his way. When Akira comes back, the mission begins in earnest.
Tohru keeps an eye on the surroundings as they go through. Robots toil away at their work. Various lights and buttons beep on the interfaces throughout the ship. The whole place gives off a cold, distant aura.
To say nothing of the horrifying things they stumble across the robots doing. Some of them are being thrown into vats to be melted down for new products. Others get crushed by hydraulic presses and production only stops for a few seconds before continuing.
Having seen some of how this translates to real life, Tohru clenches his fists further. He can’t wait to bring up his idea when they get to the point where they can send a calling card.
They end up having to destroy the robots in often unorthodox ways to progress. Yuuki has an idea and, when getting to one of the mainframes, demands that some of the robots in the upcoming rooms they’ll be going through fight each other to gain a promotion.
The plan works, and they walk through the next few rooms relatively unassaulted. Tohru pats Yuuki’s shoulder, trying to resist the urge to wipe a proud tear from his eye.
Of course, they get stuck in an airlock maze.
And as they fruitlessly try to figure it out, they get a bad case of hunger combined with anger.
“When will we be finished?” Ryuji whines.
“When we figure this out. Shut up and let me focus.” Yuuki snaps.
“Oh, so you’re telling me to shut up, Mr. Runs His Mouth Constantly?”
“Yeah, I am, what about it?” Yuuki takes a step forward and suddenly Akira is in-between them, trying to defuse the situation.
Tohru sighs. He’s glad he finally decided to make food for this trip. “Hey, Thieves. Let’s take a break. It’s lunch.. dinner.. fuck if I know what time it is, it’s time to eat.”
That gets Ryuji’s attention. “You brought food?”
Tohru nods, passing out little bento boxes. The kids open them up to find.. pretty good smelling meals, if they’re going to be perfectly honest.
There’s also notes taped to them. Yuuki looks up in confusion. “Dad, why is my box full of cabbage and rice?”
“It helps build character. Just eat it.”
Yuuki gives Tohru a pointed glare as some of the other Thieves crack up. Makoto reads her note aloud: “Humanity shouldn’t be here, but we are anyway. Have fun.”
Most of the notes follow a similar vein of nihilistic positivity and encouragement, and soon the Thieves are unwinding before their next big fight.
When they send out the Calling Card, Tohru finally drops his suggestion of sending a few other.. certain things.. along with it to provide incentive. Pictures of what their behavior caused, stories of people royally screwed over by Okumura’s actions.
It gives the Thieves pause, but they agree.
Kunikazu Okumura blinks at the pictures.
They come in an elegantly tied packet, accompanied with lovingly illustrated stories of some of the people hurt by his actions.
They show grim, somber images of capitalism gone wild. A worker’s leg twisted so unnaturally Okumura has to look away slightly, the worker’s face painted in pain. The moment one of his former employees tells his family that he will not be receiving enough of a severance package to make it through the week, the wife openly weeping. A desk worker huddled in his cubicle, trying not to show how much he’s crying. Even Haru, looking visibly distressed as Sugimura pins her to the wall with a perverted look upon his face.
There is a note that is tied to the packet along with the Calling Card.
Sinner of Greed, face these depictions of the people whose lives you have destroyed, and take comfort in the fact that half of your company now speaks of that which was once concealed.
His phone is blowing up with calls. Okumura curses as he picks up. “What is it?”
“S-Sir, there’s been a security breach.. photos and stories of what we’ve done, not just spread across the company, but upon the Internet too!”
Okumura shakes with rage. “These Phantom Thieves.. they’ll regret making an enemy of me.”
Haru watches sadly, from the doorway.
Facing Shadow Okumura is a grueling gauntlet of him sending out other enemies in his place. Most of them are no slouch, and they’re pouring their all into making sure the Thieves don’t get out alive.
Somehow, by some miracle, they manage to make it through. Shadow Okumura falls to his knees, openly crying as he confesses all his sins.
“I should have believed you, Haru…” he murmurs.
Haru watches, a grief and anger to her eyes.
“There’s an escape ship,” he says, “go on it before this place explodes.”
They board the ship, readying for take off. Yuuki and Haru are watching through the glass windows of the ship when they see it.
“FATHER!” Haru yells. Tohru scrambles over. “What’s going-“
He sees it. Okumura’s on his knees, a black masked man approaching him with a gun being raised.
“DO SOMETHING, ADACHI!” Yuuki screams.
Something in him flares, a rush of adrenaline, and Tohru pulls out his own gun faster than he expects. Like the life of his own son is on the line.
“Kid, I got this…!”
He raises the gun, quick as a flash. His eyes have a new glow to them, silvery and iridescent. He feels blue fire flare around him, his body stilling as he feels moonlight gleam off of his pistol.
So this is the power of the Moonshot, he thinks. There’s a grin on his face now.
Two shots fly from his pistol, breaking glass and soaring toward their target with deadly accuracy.
One shot goes straight through the Black Mask’s hand, knocking the gun far away. The other goes straight through his knee, making him fall with a grunt.
Energy’s coursing through Tohru still.
He takes a deep breath in as Okumura looks up at his savior, and bellows something that echoes through the stars.
“RUN, OKUMURA, YOU BRAT, R U N!”
Okumura takes him up on his advice.
They make their escape.
The next few days that pass are painfully, painfully slow. Tohru manages to pass the time by making coffee, meeting up with friends and such.
Then he wakes up to a text storm.
He opens the private message from Yuuki when he gets a look at the notifications, and the words he sees make his stomach sink through the ground.
Haru’s in the ER. The Black Mask attacked her.
The wait times may be getting longer, but so are the chapters. ; )
I got you guys covered, don't worry. Hopefully you enjoyed this chapter.
I was greatly looking forward to writing Okumura being saved by the Moonshot here, and I hope that you enjoyed that sequence.
(side note: also uploaded a mirror of this fic on my old Fanfiction.net account that has one fic I wrote in middle school I am Super Fucking Embarrassed about so if you all stumble across that please, P L E A S E do not judge my current writing by that. Especially since the most recent update to that fic was to declare it a dead fic that I regret immensely.)
Chapter 17: Emperor's Thorns (Part I)
Ryotaro Dojima comes to visit.
Of course, nothing has to be easy for him and Tohru Adachi, does it?
Ryotaro Dojima has never felt better.
He’s sitting at Cafe Leblanc, with Nanako seated in one of the booths.
He’s heard a lot of good things about this place - one of his other officers practically raved about it when he came back from his visit to Tokyo.
It certainly lives up to his reputation when it comes to the coffee. He sips it, taking a bite of curry afterward, and he practically melts.
“God damn, this coffee is stellar,” Dojima sighs.
The owner, Sojiro, chuckles. There’s a twinkle to his eye.
“You’re Ryotaro Dojima, right?”
Dojima blinks. He puts the coffee down slowly.
“... how do you know my name?”
“Tohru Adachi talks about you, from time to time,” Sojiro hums, and Dojima almost spills his coffee right then and there.
“You know him?” Dojima’s voice is incredulous.
In all his years, he’s never known Adachi to be fond of making friends outside of his job, by a long shot. It’s a miracle that Dojima was even able to get under his defences in the first place. He gives Sojiro another pointed look.
Sojiro chuckles again, smiling. There’s a knowing look in his eyes.
“Yeah, he’s studying under me in order to become better at making coffee. Said it was for someone special.” He pulls out a picture.
Sure enough, there Tohru is. He looks especially focused, dressed in a green apron as he prepares a blend of coffee from beans. It’s apparent from the picture that he didn’t even notice Sojiro took it - his eyes are trained down at the coffee grinder, hands hard at work.
Dojima snickers. “Well. Looks like fatherhood has changed him in more ways than one.”
Sojiro seems to remember something, letting out an “oh.”
“Speaking of which, Dojima, Adachi left his phone and such upstairs. Will you go and bring it to him? I’ll tell you his address if so.”
Dojima smiles. “Sure thing.” He pays for the coffee and curry before walking up into the attic. Someone seems to be living here, but Dojima doesn’t know whom. He’s more focused on trying to figure out where Adachi’s phone is.
He stumbles across it, tucked in a box with napkins. There’s a Post-it note on it - go to train station, say “Mementos” passcode via MetaNav
Dojima blinks. He comes back down, and Nanako’s waiting for him. She’s definitely grown into herself, a little bit older than when she was during the Inaba murders.
“C’mon, Dad, let’s get going,” she sighs, “Uncle Adachi’s going to be waiting for us.”
Dojima takes her hand and she almost jerks it away. “Nanako..” he lulls. “I used to do this when you were little.”
She rolls her eyes and let him hold it. Her small smile on her face as he holds it does not go unnoticed by either him or Sojiro. Dojima carries the phone out as he leaves.
As soon as he leaves, Sojiro chuckles.
“So that’s your special someone, eh, Tohru..”
They get to the train station, and Dojima manages to get Tohru’s phone open.
Nanako looks around at how packed the place seems to be.
He stares at the MetaNav app on Tohru’s phone as he blinks.
He taps it, and the place seems to shift slightly. “Location?” the phone asks.
Dojima’s looking at the Post-It Note.
“Mementos,” he says, and the place pulses.
Tohru figures out what’s going on when Sojiro calls Mishima.
“Hey, did that Dojima friend of yours drop off your phone yet..? It’s been an hour.”
“Huh. Must be late.”
Sojiro hangs up, and Yuuki’s nose wrinkles. “Dojima’s here?” he asks.
Tohru sighs, chuckling before the realization of what’s exactly on the phone hits him.
“Get your gear. Now.”
Tohru takes a few small hops before he bolts toward the apartment. “ NOW, YUUKI!”
Dojima’s holding Nanako close.
“Dad.. w-where are we?” she stutters.
There’s a sinking feeling in her gut as she looks around.
It reminds her too much of that time she rarely talked about, the time she’d been in a false “heaven” with Namatame pulling her along. The time she tried to forget, the horrible time where it had all gone to shit.
There are scuttling sounds around them, and Dojima draws his gun.
The place is dark, and cold. Whatever the hell was Tohru thinking, going here?
Dojima curses to himself. In a low voice, he replies: “I don’t know, Nanako.. But I will protect you.”
Just as he says it, strange creatures shuffle towards them. Shadow-like things, with reverberated voices that laugh and jeer at him. “ Awh, how cute,” one mocks, “it’ll be fun to see them both scream.”
Dojima fires off a bullet into one’s head. It squeals and falls. “Don’t touch her!” he snarls, pulling a scared Nanako behind him.
They can hurt him all he wants, but he’ll be damned if he lets any of these monsters lay a finger on Nanako while he still draws breath.
“Why do the other Thieves have to be in school,” Tohru hisses.
He’s running through the halls of Mementos, his trusty firework-lance in his hands and his son at his side.
They hear a yell from one of the halls, a shout of “GET AWAY!” accompanied by a girl’s frightened whimper.
Yuuki blinks as suddenly Tohru achieves a level of athleticism Yuuki never knew he had - the athleticism of the Phantom Thieves. Tohru’s jumping off walls, executing a run that would put Akira himself to shame, as he runs towards the voice.
“DOJIMA-SAN!” he bellows.
Cornered by a group of Shadows, Dojima has been standing his ground for an impressive amount of time. Nanako has picked up a sharp steel beam and has been trying to stand up, too, even as tears still glitter in her eyes.
A group of fighters, the Dojima family has always been. Tohru’s heart aches.
Dojima looks up. “Adachi?” he yells back, staring in shock.
Tohru can notice the scratches all over them. Nanako’s bleeding from her cheek, Dojiima’s got a slash right across his chest.
… He sees red.
He remembers jerking his head to Yuuki -
“Get Nanako out of here,” he snarls.
“Dad, I’m not-”
“Get. Nanako. Out. Of. Here. That’s the last time I’m saying it.”
Yuuki lifts her up into his arms, and all at once, he’s running. His Persona flares out behind him, striking at some of the Shadows that chase him, and all at once Tohru jumps into action.
Quite literally, jumps. He goes into a frenzy he’s never quite reached up until this point.
He backflips from enemy to enemy, hacking and stabbing. The devil shines in his eyes. When his lance runs out of ammo, he throws it aside with a hiss and starts using his clawed gloves to hack away at the Shadows.
His Persona is doing quite a bit of work tearing away at the Shadows, too. It pants like a hungry creature, living and raw. Its naginata flashes and skewers two Shadows at once, slamming them down again and again onto the ground until their corpses vanish.
Dojima cannot believe what he’s seeing.
The situation was already surreal, but this? This was a new level of surreal.
Tohru Adachi, masked and feral, killing these monsters like he’s been doing it for years.
“Adachi, what the fuck?” he says when Tohru is done.
“Call me Devil here.”
Dojima sputters before going “Why?”
Tohru chuckles. “It’s my codename, I don’t need these Shadows knowing my name.”
Dojima rolls his eyes. Tohru’s hand subtly slips around Dojima’s, and they’re moving to leave.
“Not so fast, hotshot,” a familiar voice purrs.
Dojima’s brow furrows, eyes shooting wide with confusion.
Tohru turns them around, slowly.
Standing behind them is another Ryotaro Dojima, decked in yakuza-style attire.
He carries a blood-stained bat in his hands, slung over his shoulder.
His yellow eyes glow brightly in the dark as he smirks.
“You’re not getting away from me that easily.”
This in-between-Palaces chapter for this time around was SUPER long in the outline and I had to release a chapter, so I decided to split this hiatus into multiple chapters more than I expected. I would not recommend skipping any of them, because there's some pretty big developments dropped in-between. ; )
Things are gonna get SPICY for the Phantom Thieves.
As always, I hope you all enjoy.
(Also, I am really, honest to gods looking forward to writing Shadow Dojima on a level I don't think I've ever been this excited for in previous chapters, holy shit! I welcome your speculation on just what he'll be like. Still deciding whether he should be Hierophant Arcana or Emperor Arcana, especially considering I headcanon that he's already achieved a full Social Link with Yu Narukami and therefore has worked out his issues concerning his dead wife.)
I've also been interested in doing a cover-art/fan-content contest for this fic. Would any of you be interested in that? The prize would be a small SFW drabble/oneshot for any Persona 4/Persona 5 ship you want, within reason.
Lastly, I've been plotting out a Dojima/Adachi one-shot with a spooky twist you all might love, so watch out for that on my account ; )
Chapter 18: Emperor in Shadow (Part II)
Ryotaro Dojima and Tohru Adachi have a meeting with a friend.
content warning: mentions of sexual content and mentions of past dub-con. Also a forced kiss.
Surprisingly Not From Kamoshida This Time.
Shadow Dojima stares them both down, his gaze intense. He’s practically prowling around them both, letting his bat drag behind him on the ground.
Tohru won’t lie to himself; this is scaring the shit out of him and thrilling him all at once.
A mirror of all the things Dojima - the unflappable, the stoic, the unplaceable - hid from everyone, right before him.
“Ad-“ Normal Dojima says, before swallowing and correcting himself.
“Devil, what is that?”
Tohru tries to pull Normal Dojima behind him. “He’s a reflection of all the things you’d never admit to anybody else. All your desires and dark thoughts..”
Shadow Dojima continues, smirk still stretching his face.
“You know, pal, I pity you.”
He strides towards Normal Dojima, pointing his bat in his direction.
Tohru notices that even though Normal Dojima is trying to keep himself calm and is outwardly succeeding, inside he’s terrified. That provides a sick sort of comfort to him too.
Dojima stares. “How so?”
“Everybody wants you to be a goody-two-shoes,” Shadow Dojima sneers.
He raises a hand, flapping it in a talking gesture as he continues.
“Dojima, care for your daughter. Dojima, watch over Inaba. Dojima, check on your nephew. It’s Dojima this and Dojima that.”
His voice gets steadily more filled with venom as he continues.
“And you’re fucking sick of it. ”
“You heard me. Do I have to say it again? Sign it? Spell it out, what, are you deaf now?”
Shadow Dojima leans in, enunciating every word slowly and carefully.
“You hate being so fucking perfect for everyone.”
He spits on the ground, and then continues.
“You know why you’re drawn to Adachi? Why you keep coming back to him?”
The bat is now pointed in Tohru’s direction.
“W-Why?” Normal Dojima replies. A slight tremor in his voice, a sign of weakness that makes his Shadow bare his teeth.
“It’s because deep down, you don’t just trust him and care about him far more than you let yourself admit, you envy him. He’s everything you want to be. You’re sick of being the good guy, the implacable. You want to burn it all to the ground. You want to misbehave!”
Shadow Dojima throws his head back and breaks into a cold, mocking laugh.
Normal Dojima looks down slightly. “That’s not what I want!” he hisses.
“That -is- what you want. I know that because I’m you.”
“Yeah? Bite me, you fuck.”
Something about that makes Shadow Dojima act even more predatory, slowly tilting his head this way and that as he continues to prowl around the two.
Shadow Dojima bares his teeth even more, snarling out his next words slowly for emphasis.
“Fuck Nanako. Fuck Inaba. Fuck your dead wife Chisato. And fuck.. being.. the good guy. ”
“That’s not true..”
“You want a taste of freedom, pal. You want to taste what it’s like to be wild again, like when you were young. And I know this because, after all, I’m you. I’m only saying what you‘ve thought, in your own little mind.”
Normal Dojima opens his mouth to speak further, but Shadow Dojima cuts him off, pointing to Tohru again with that bat.
“Oh, but let’s not forget our little spectator here. He’s not blameless either.”
“What did I do?!” Tohru objects, gesturing to himself.
Shadow Dojima cackles again.
“See, he doesn’t remember this, Adachi..”
He points to Normal Dojima.
“But I do. I remember e-v-e-r-y minute of it.”
He’s prowling closer to Tohru, and Tohru backs up. “What are you talking about?”
This time, fear shines in his tone. Shadow Dojima’s baring of teeth is back to a satisfied, devious grin that makes Tohru’s stomach curl due to just how wrong it looks on Dojima’s face.
This isn’t him, this can’t be him, Tohru thinks, half-terrified and half-ecstatic.
“This is me, Adachi. Or, should I be calling you Toh-chan, the same way I did that night?”
He’s right up in Tohru’s face right now, looming and predatory in a way Tohru never thought Dojima could be, and Tohru’s pleasure is melting away to pure terror.
“Let me set the scene.. Nanako was out of the house, you and I were stuck inside drinking. Watching horror movies. You were just a little less drunk than I was, and I was absolutely hammered. Could barely count to five.”
Tohru’s head jerks towards Normal Dojima, who’s gone silent. “D-Don’t listen to him!”
“You’d been getting awfully clingy that night, eh? Hugging me, cuddling me, putting your hands all over my shoulders and chest.”
He chuckles mockingly once more, running his rough hands down Tohru's chest slowly, and Tohru’s face flushes with shame.
“And then, all of a sudden, you asked to see how soft my lips were. Drunk as I was, I agreed - and I got a mouthful of Tohru Adachi, straight to the lips.”
Tohru’s stomach is knotting itself into a tangled mess. Normal Dojima looks stunned.
“But that’s not all! You and I were making out. You even left hickies on my neck. I was practically throwing myself at your feet, begging to be touched more, begging to be taken advantage of in the Biblical sense. You were blushing, smiling, happiest I’d seen you, but the minute I started begging for more?”
Shadow Dojima scoffs.
“You shut down. You refused to do what you’d done to Mayumi and Saki, taking advantage of somebody while drunk - which you did to them more than once, might I add - all because you were too scared to be a real bad guy and take control when it came to your widdle sweetheart Ryo-chan.”
The mocking tone Shadow Dojima slips into at the end makes Tohru whine “Shut up!”
“And you even lied about where he’d gotten the hickeys the next day! You tried to make him forget it even happened, Toh-chan. ”
Tohru shakes his head. “You’re lying, you’re lying, that’s not true…!”
“All because you’re..”
Shadow Dojima takes a step forward.
“... nursing a schoolboy’s crush..”
He closes the distance between him and Tohru.
“... on me.”
He grabs a fistful of Tohru’s hair and kisses him on the lips in a single, sinuous motion. Tohru’s hands fly against Shadow Dojima’s chest, trying to struggle, before they fall to his sides in acceptance.
That kiss goes on for what feels like years to Tohru before Shadow Dojima pulls away.
With a smirk, and a satisfied little sigh, he goes: “Doesn’t it feel good to finally take what’s yours?”
And Normal Dojima screams the words that make Tohru Adachi swear.
“YOU’RE NOT ME, DAMNIT!”
Shadow Dojima laughs even more as a spiral of smoke plumes around him. “You know what.. you’re right! I’m not YOU, I’m BETTER! ”
When the smoke clears, standing there is an enormous black werewolf, upright on two giant paws and decorated like the head of a Yakuza clan. In his giant claws is an iron club so big and covered in spikes that Tohru whimpers. Its face still even resembles Dojima’s, albeit a bit more beastly.
“I’m gonna fuck you up, bitch boy.” Shadow Dojima’s voice reverberates even more through the halls.
He takes a swing at Dojima with his club, only missing because Tohru grabs Dojima and jumps out of the way just in time.
“You know, Toh-chan, once I get rid of little mister Imposter over here, I think I’ll keep you around. It’ll be fun to see how much more I can make you beg.”
Tohru shivers as he holds Dojima close, the same way an animal guards its wounded mate.
“I know what it’s l-like, Dojima.. I know what it’s like to hide how much you want the world to just.. just disappear,” he sighs.
He pulls something off his chest - what looks like a medicine patch - and slaps it on Dojima’s bare chest.
“This.. this will heal you. I’ll keep your other self distracted. Remember it’s part of you. Remember that you can accept it, instead of running.”
Tohru’s hands are shaking as he turns towards the Shadow.
“I’m going to help you, no matter what.”
This was going to be a hellish fight.
He rushes in, and Shadow Dojima immediately slaps him away.
Normal Dojima tries to move as Shadow Dojima moves close to Tohru.
“Maybe I’ll just take you and run,” he chuckles.
He keeps beating Tohru around more and more. Tohru looks increasingly worse for wear.
The fight seems to last so much longer than it really does. Tohru’s dodging, blocking, on the defensive.
It seems like ages before Normal Dojima finally manages to pull himself up.
“Hey. Wolf boy.”
“You’re me. It’s.. it’s hard to admit that.. But you’re me. I have been wanting freedom.”
He walks towards Shadow Dojima, who seems to have closed his eyes a bit now.
“... At least you finally came to terms with it.”
The Shadow vanishes.
In Dojima’s hand, there spins a ghost of the Emperor card in his palm before it fades away.
Dojima turns towards Tohru, eyes wide, before he faints.
Going to be going back through this fic for the next few days and touching up old chapters. Anybody looking to reread this fic may find some fun new details, as well as added foreshadowing and new minor plot points.
Dojima/Adachi is canon now in this fic. Wew. I won't touch on it too much, from what I have planned, so don't worry about this becoming an out and out ship fic.
We're still focused on the main plot here, and it's going to be a DOOZY now that I've decided to throw worrying about the chapter count of this fic out of the goddamn window. Enjoy, dear readers.
This is shaping up to be the biggest piece of fiction I've ever written in my life so far, with the page count on my Google Doc for this fic exceeding the total number of pages I wrote in my first book.
Lastly, plotting for that other Dojima/Adachi au fic is going fantastic. This chapter actually has one or two hints as to what it might be like, for those curious. :3c
(and are you guys interested in that cover art contest I mentioned in the last notes still? It's fine if not, I just wanna know.)
Chapter 19: Emperor's Awakening (Part III of III)
Tohru Adachi has a heart-to-heart with Ryotaro Dojima.
Will most likely be heavily revised and expanded throughout the coming days.
They get to Tohru’s apartment.
Yuuki’s there, patching up Nanako.
“Dad..?” Yuuki asks, looking towards the door.
Tohru’s got Dojima pulled over his shoulder.
Dojima looks worse for wear, but Tohru seems even worse off.
With his injuries, he just barely manages to make it into his room, flopping Dojima down on his bed and closing the door.
He slumps onto the floor, himself. His head is reeling, his eyes blurring in and out..
That’s when he himself passes out.
He wakes up an hour or two with a hard, trained slap to the face.
His eyes focus as they blink open, training on Dojima.
Tohru chuckles. With the light above his head, Dojima almost looks like an angel.. no, a god.
He strokes Dojima’s face as he wakes up. “Hey, Dojima-san..” he groans.
Dojima pulls Tohru up by the tie slowly.
Tohru’s eyes go wide, because damn if Dojima doesn’t have the grip of a god.
His hands unconsciously fly to Dojima’s, cradling it gently.
“You’ve got some explaining to do, Adachi,” Dojima growls, and Tohru might be hard right now, he’s not going to lie.
He stutters, face going red.
“I-I, well, I may have, I might have.. I-I.. what part?”
“All of it.”
Tohru shivers, instinctively slipping into that act he did back during the old TV murder days.
“Dojima-san, I-I, please let go of my tie, I can explain, please let me explain-”
Dojima’s grip loosens, and Tohru falls back onto the bed.
“So the TV World my nephew talked about, that was real?” Dojima asks, and Tohru’s heart is about to break in two. Tohru nods, a lump coming up in his throat.
Again, Dojima asks: “You’re a Phantom Thief.. that’s true too?”
“Yeah.. it is. Me and Yuuki.”
“This whole time, those murders, those disappearances.. That was all you.”
Tohru’s breath gets shaky. “Mayumi and Saki.. that was me. All of it was me. But for the disappearances.. That was somebody else.”
“You threw them in there, and it killed them! That place we were in, was that the TV World?”
“... no. Part of another world, the one the Thieves use for their expeditions. The Metaverse.” Tohru’s telling the truth as much as he can.
Dojima puts his head in his hands. “That.. that thing back there, that part of me.. That’s how you change the hearts of all those bad folks, right? You defeat those evil parts of them?”
“Yes.” Tohru looks away.
Dojima looks up, and away. His voice is strung with pain as he looks at Tohru.
Tohru has to swallow down that lump in his throat again.
“... Why, Adachi? Why do you do this?”
And while Tohru’s been able to explain himself to all sorts of people, the minute he looks into Dojima’s eyes, he can find no explanation. He can find no way to put into words exactly why.
Dojima moves to stand. “I can’t look at you like this. Not.. not after last night.” His hand shakes slightly.
Tohru’s hand grabs Dojima’s shoulder. “Wait!”
Dojima stops and turns back towards Tohru.
The look in Tohru’s eyes can only be described as pleading, so desperate Dojima’s heart skips a beat.
“Don’t.. Don’t go. Please, Dojima-san..”
Dojima finds himself sitting back down.
Tohru’s hands snake over Dojima’s again.
There’s a pause in the conversation, a natural one as he figures out what to say.
He looks back up at Dojima, and his eyes are full of conviction.
“Join the Thieves with me, Dojima.”
“What?” Dojima’s mouth falls open, eyes dilating.
“Join the Phantom Thieves. You have that same power now, the same as me.. As Narukami.. As the Thieves.”
“What the hell are you talking about-”
Tohru’s voice increases in volume, in intensity, a power to it more potent than any other time Dojima’s heard him. “The card. The one you saw spinning in your hands when you accepted yourself. If you summon that card again in the Metaverse, crush it..”
Dojima’s silent with shock.
He hugs Dojima close, arms shaking. He can’t afford to lose him. Not like this.
“You’ll be free, Dojima, and that’s my gift to you. A mask to wear, power you’ve never felt in your life. It’s a rush, it’s a high, it’s..”
His voice shakes again, caught in the fever. “ It’s so fucking beautiful, Dojima, and I need it.”
Another lapse of silence. “It would be.. even better.. with you at my side,” he adds off-handedly, leaning up to whisper an addition into Dojima’s ear. “If you want to accept, tell your nephew that you’ve gained a Persona.. and ask him to teach you before you text me your reply.”
Dojima’s arms raise to grasp Tohru back.
As it happens, Tohru Adachi’s face spreads in a smirk.
After the conversation has ended, Dojima picks up his phone. The Metaverse Navigator has downloaded itself to his phone, but he doesn’t seem to notice. He’s a man on a mission.
He dials a number, puts the phone to his ear.
“ Unc-” Yu Narukami’s voice begins, but Dojima’s reply is swift.
“I have a Persona now... The TV World, all of it. I should have believed you when you initially told me. I should have. I’m so sorry, Narukami.”
Yu Narukami’s phone slips from his hands and drops to the floor in shock.
From the Velvet Room, Margaret cannot help but chuckle. “What strange twists you’ve added, Jester..” She opens up his book of bonds, flipping to the Emperor’s page.
“I’ve never seen the Emperor glow so bright.. and yet he’s still so afraid to take the final step.”
It's not much, I'm aware, but it's a chapter. I am deeply, deeply sorry for the time it took to get this update to you all. I promise I'll try not to slack on the next few, especially with how intense they are and how much I'll be putting into them. <3
School and college applications have almost certainly been kicking my ass, but it's no excuse for the length of time this update took. I'll try not to get behind like that again that much at any point in the future.
I will be heavily expanding this chapter throughout the coming days, much as I have been revising past chapters such as the first part of Okumura's Palace and "Jester, Get Into Shape!" Many, many thanks to the fanfiction.net commenter TheTrueOverlordBear for providing frameworks within which to revise various parts of the fic.
I feel like a person giving out patch notes. Update v.1.5:
- More implications of father/son bonding.
- New subplot added with "Devil Logs".
- One (1) mention of Tohru Adachi memes you may have come to know and love.
- More hints towards Adajima becoming canon.
Chapter 20: A Moon Draped In Fear
Yuuki Mishima has an encounter that shakes him to his core.
The Thieves meet up with an old foe.
Tohru finds an unexpected ally to add to his Devil's Hand.
Yuuki’s at the train station when Goro Akechi approaches him. Akechi is recognizable from anywhere - his tan jacket and gloves make him stand out in the crowd.
It does not escape Yuuki’s notice that Akechi is limping, nor that he keeps one of his hands in his pocket.
“Yuuki Mishima. Just the boy I was looking for.”
He stands next to Yuuki, and his other hand lands on Yuuki’s shoulder.
“What do you want?” Yuuki replies, but his voice comes out shaky. He curses himself. Damnit, why was he so anxious all of a sudden? He’d gotten used to the power that his father provided, but he felt farther away from that than ever right now.
“I’ve been wanting to pick your brain on something, Mishima.” Akechi’s gaze seems to sharpen, right as his gloved grasp tightens on Yuuki’s shoulder.
Yuuki takes a breath in. “S-Spit it out.”
Akechi’s face crinkles into a look of disgust as he leans in.
“Tell me, has your father.. ” His grip tightens to the point of pain. “... been teaching you his old tricks? Ways to rape, and kill women? I’m almost sure he has.”
Yuuki’s jaw tightens as he looks away. Don’t give him a reaction, he mentally hisses to himself, don’t give Akechi the satisfaction . The anxiety is boiling over. He reaches for his Persona, internally, and feels a wave of calm.
“You have the same look in your eye, now. You’ve started to walk like he does, hold yourself like he does. An old criminal, teaching the family trade to his progeny. ” Every word Akechi purrs drips with disgust and disdain that runs bone-deep.
Yuuki’s next words are filled with that careful calm: “And what makes you any better? Behind that appearance of yours, you’re nothing but a glory hound holding onto fame to make yourself look better.”
Akechi’s grip goes so tight Yuuki feels like his shoulder is going to dislocate. He leans in closer, his words fanning against Yuuki’s ear. “You’re a lowlife, a foolish, disgusting little imp, just like your father. You’re a mistake made from his rape of a woman he never loved. Out of all those others in Akira Kurusu’s friend group, all those vexing little idiots? It’s you and your spineless father I hate the most, wallowing in luck you shouldn’t have and friends you don’t deserve.”
Yuuki’s stomach is writhing in furious, anxious knots, but he keeps himself eerily calm outside.
Akechi can’t restrain himself, shaking with rage. “Perhaps he even had his way with your mother’s corpse after he took her life..”
Yuuki’s patience snaps, and the famous slow-to-anger Adachi wrath comes spiralling out.
“My dad isn’t perfect, but he has more of a moral code than you could even dream of having. You may look like a poster boy for good behavior, but you’re.. y-you’re just a rotten person behind that look of yours. And applying your logic that a son inherits the traits of his dad.. I’m horrified at what kind of monstrosity your dad must have been, to make someone so disgusting just like him.”
Akechi’s eyes flare, his grip loosening. He looks possessed, his body shaking.
“YOU… DAMN BRAT…! I’ll see you ruined! ” He lifts Yuuki up all the way off of the ground with one hand by the collar. On instinct, his other hand flies from his pocket to slap Yuuki.
It’s ungloved. His palm is twisted and gnarled, a hole right through it - just like a bullet wound from a particularly damaging bullet.
Yuuki catches Akechi’s arm. Somehow, calm returns to him again through the anxiety and rage - a pulse from inside, a burst of courage. He knows it’s his Persona’s doing, and his face once more becomes placid, along with his voice.
“I wonder what sort of criminal you were chasing to get a bullet wound this size.. But I suppose it doesn’t matter. People are watching anyway.”
Akechi looks around, eyes still wide with rage.
People are staring. Some have even taken pictures.
“Have a nice day, Akechi.”
He works his way out of Akechi’s grasp, dropping onto the ground. He takes a picture of Akechi’s stunned, infuriated face as he walks off.
Yuuki disembarks onto his train ride home, managing to snag a seat as he texts the Phantom Thief group chat.
Marquish: So I had an odd encounter with Goro Akechi just now.
He sends the picture of Goro’s face.
The chat explodes with responses.
skullboi: YO WHAT HAPPENED???
panther-model: What did he say?
Marquish: He seemed particularly furious at me and Devil. Said some stuff I won’t repeat here about Devil and my mother, threatened to ‘ruin me’
Marquish: Joke’s on him, though, because he exposed the limp in his leg and the huge bullet through his hand - same as Devil did to the Black Mask.
> Marquish sent congratulations-you-played-yourself.gif
That’s when Tohru enters the chat -
Devilman: how badly was his hand fucked up? Because I know I had hollow point bullets in that gun when I did the Moonshot
Marquish: His hand was mangled, huge hole through his palm and everything. At least he can make a nifty looking glass out of it
Tohru can’t help but throw his head back to bark out laughter. Yuuki really is a chip off the old block.
Devilman: How are you feeling?
Marquish: Smug. Smug and still a bit angry. The shit he said about you.. he implied I was a rapist
Tohru freezes up.
He clenches his fist. Magatsu Izanagi roils in him, beginning to hiss suggestions as Tohru puts a hand to his head.
arrogant little bitch we can deal with him put him in his place
“N-No. Why am I..”
make sure he never touches the Thieves, touches what’s ours—
… why is he feeling so intensely lately? It hasn’t been a problem before, not since the murders. Why? His heart begins, and Tohru starts taking deep breaths.
He needs to distract himself, somehow. Lucky enough, the perfect distraction comes when Joker comes in.
GetJoked: Kunikazu Okumura called. He wants us to get to his house. He has information to tell us.
GetJoked: … What I’m trying to say is, get your asses there before you find yourself occupying the ER cot where Haru used to be. We all need to be there for her.
All of the Phantom Thieves file into the enormous house in a disorganized bunch. A butler escorts them to a lavish living room where Kunikazu sits.
Haru is next to him in a wheelchair.
“... I most likely will never walk again. Not like before.” She smiles sadly. “It’s good to see you all. I didn’t want you all to fret over my condition.”
Kunikazu nods. “Please, be seated.”
They all find various seating around the living room before Kunikazu begins.
“I suppose you all saw my public confession of guilt?”
They nod. “Yeah, Haru had rented out the biggest theme park in the area for us to celebrate at.. thank you, by the way, Haru. Since I never got to do it in person.” Yuuki smiles.
Haru’s smile brightens a little.
Kunikazu continues: “Haru has made me aware of the situation. Before we continue.. which of you Thieves sent the packet along with the calling card?”
Tohru raises his hand. “I’m not the leader of this band, that’d be this brat over here..” He nudges Akira’s shoulder. “But I am responsible for that packet.”
Kunikazu bows his head slightly. “Thank you.. for exposing how deep the corruption went in my company. My friend is working on holding all those involved accountable - and providing reparations to those damaged.”
“You’re welcome. Wanna tell us why we’re here?”
“Of course.” Kunikazu clears his throat. “I am here to tell you of a conspiracy. Something I believe only you Thieves will truly have the power to stop.”
The Thieves all lean in as Kunikazu begins. “This conspiracy is one that attempts to steer Japan into the hands of one man, a man who cuts deals like he breathes. It is also attempting, as far as I know, to take you Thieves down. Mainly because they know you pose a threat.”
Akira leans forward.
“And this man is..?”
At that, the Thieves have varying reactions, all of which interest Tohru.
Ryuji slams his fist down on the table. Futaba’s glasses gleam ominously in the light.
Akira? Akira squeezes the glass in his hand so hard it breaks.
It’s bleeding, but he has no reaction.
Tohru silently passes him a napkin before they continue.
Akira blinks. “... it’s always him, isn’t it.”
“You know of him outside of his election campaigns?”
Oh, that’s where Tohru recognized the name. He’d been keeping up with the election regardless - Namatame was participating in it, after all, as a candidate.
Akira nods. “He got me sent here for ‘assaulting him’ when I tried to help a lady he was attempting to sexually harass.”
Kunikazu sighs softly.
He explains further about the Conspiracy, and all he knows of it. The Thieves take notes.
As they’re going to leave, Kunikazu puts his hand on Tohru’s shoulder.
“As.. repayment for your kind act, I will offer you this - feel free to come to me with anything you may need. I will help, to the best of my ability.”
Tohru chuckles. “Funny you ask, I was going to ask a few things of you.”
Kunikazu raises an eyebrow. “I’m listening.”
“First up - how much do you know about Shido using cognitive psience?”
“Well, he has the Black Mask who attacked me as a sort of.. Cleaner. Used to eliminate enemies through the Metaverse. I’d hazard a guess he would also have other back-up methods for erasing people from cognition.”
Tohru’s face sets in an unbearably smug smirk. “Second off, then. Would you do me the honor of assisting me in my.. We’ll call it my Plan B. My Plan B, in the event someone tries to erase the Thieves from cognition? Still trying to come up with a good name for it.”
“... Very well.”
Tohru turns to leave before he turns back towards Kunikazu. “Oh, and lastly.. I think I could learn a thing or two from you on presentation. Seriously, I snooped in on you during one of your meetings, and I wanted to be that in control of a room!” He scoffs, sounding both deeply sarcastic and deeply genuine.
Kunikazu inputs his phone number into Tohru’s phone. “Then there we are. Enjoy your time with them, Tohru.. Especially as my daughter cannot, not anymore.”
“See you around, Mr. Motivational,” Tohru lulls as he finally exits with his phone in hand.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast acquired a new bond-vow.
With the birth of the Hierophant Persona, I have obtained the winds of blessing that lead to freedom and new power..
Yuuki Mishima has a horrific nightmare that night.
He’s stuck in Mementos, Akechi standing in front of him with a smirk on his face.
Akechi’s wearing his Black Mask attire, while Yuuki - no, not Yuuki. Mishima, just Mishima, simply wears his Shujin outfit.
No weapons on him.
“ Yukitaro Adachi, I’ll ruin you..” Akechi hisses, red eyes gleaming under the mask as he stalks forward. “I want nothing more than to see you writhe and plead for your worthless father.”
He can’t move, he can’t run. He goes to call on his Persona, but finds nothing, nothing there.
His heart beats even faster than ever before. He’s feeling fear he hasn’t felt since Kamoshida - since fucking Kamoshida.
Mishima’s eyes fill with tears. He starts crying, and finds himself able to speak.
“Oh, how adorable,” Akechi croons, “the worthless waste of flesh is crying for his whore father. He won’t be coming to save you. Nobody will be coming to save you.”
“N-No! What’s.. happening?”
Akechi throws back his head and laughs, voice colder than anything Mishima’s ever heard before.
“You’ll die all alone and forgotten down here, a bastard killed by another bastard…! I would call that poetic justice.”
Akechi’s so close now, hand reaching to Mishima’s throat and Mishima flinches.
“Open those eyes wide, Yukitaro. Let me see the fear in them.”
Akechi pins him to the floor, laughing as he squeezes Mishima’s throat.
Mishima’s eyes go even wider, and Akechi giggles again, drinking it in. “I’m going to take my time with every inch..”
Akechi squeezes a little more, and Mishima rasps a “Please.. Let me go.”
Akechi leans in, hands turning into needle-like claws as his face turns twisted, vampiric.
Yuuki shoots awake with a scream. Immediately, Tohru comes running. “... what the FUCK?”
Yuuki tries to wipe the tears out of his eyes. “I.. I just had a nightmare. That’s all.”
The day I know this fic will have truly made it is when it gets an entry on TvTropes or someone makes fanart of it completely unprompted.
Welcome back to updates, everybody! They'll be weekly, but they'll be here. Welcome to all the new readers - I'll be getting to responding to comments soon, if not now. Enjoy this chapter!
(also I can't wait for some of these upcoming chapters they're going to be so much FUN to write. I welcome input as to what the abilities Tohru's Confidants grant will be, I love hearing your speculation.) <3
Thank you so much for being patient. I know it's been a lot, but I've got this.
Chapter 21: Justice, Served Unjustly (Part I)
Tohru makes a pivotal introduction to the Thieves while Yuuki debates the quixotic nature of Akira Kurusu.
Before Tohru goes out on his next espionage mission, he finally bites the bullet and invites all the Thieves to his apartment for an introduction.
After the other Thieves get done roasting his choice in interior decorating, he gathers them at the table, where Dojima sits next to him.
“Hey, I wanted to introduce you guys to somebody important. He’s gonna be drifting in and out of here via the TV World,” Tohru says. He looks at Dojima and does a little hand motion as if to say ‘go on, introduce yourself.’
“Hey, kids. I’m Ryotaro Dojima. I guess you could call Adachi here.. I guess you could call him my work-wife,” he says fondly, gently putting his hand on Adachi’s shoulder and pulling him in closer.
Ann blushes. “W-Workwife???”
Ryuji looks between the two, a little flustered.
Akira just smirks, barking out laughter.
Yusuke, of course, is the one to chime in - “Adachi-san, are you…?” and point between the two.
Tohru clears his throat, going bright red.
“Not..” He clears his throat again. “Nah, it’s just a joke between us two.”
Even Yuuki seems skeptical of that.
“Anyways.. I decided to introduce you all because he awakened to a Persona and knows about the Thieves. If you kids want to make him part of the gang.. well, I’ll leave it up to your bunch.”
Tohru’s never seen those kids erupt into discussion so quickly.
He leaves them so he can get dressed, dolled up by Ann, and get on his espionage mission - a rather delicate one, at that.
He’d leave them to get acquainted with Dojima himself while this was happening.
Yuuki’s.. still thinking as some of the Thieves get to know Dojima while the others debate in a further away room in Adachi’s apartment.
Not necessarily about Dojima himself - he had faith that his dad had made the right call about offering Dojima a place in the Thieves - but about something particular Akira (who he was now thick as Thieves with) had said to him a few days ago.
They were alone in a bathroom together - the setting of many teenage trysts. Akira had been washing his hands, and they were talking about incredibly banal topics when Akira suddenly stopped mid-conversation.
He smiled, one of his patented “I’m about to tell you a juicy secret” smiles. “... strikes me that while I know your real name, you don’t know mine,” he said softly.
“My real.. oh, right, the name my mom gave me,” Yuuki sighed, slapping a hand to his forehead.
Then the rest of the sentence processed in his head, and he turned to look back at Akira in confusion.
“Wait, I thought Akira Kurusu was your real name…?”
Akira chuckled. “Well, it’s a name my father had me make up, just in case I ever got in trouble like this.”
Yuuki’s face crinkled in confusion.
“Why would he make you do that?”
Akira smiled again. “My dad had a bit of a reputation of being a troublemaker himself, back in the day. He figured I’d get in trouble too, eventually.”
“So what is it, then? Your real name…?”
They’d finished up washing their hands, and Yuuki was already leaning against the wall.
Akira leaned against the wall as well, enough that their faces were close together. He leaned into Yuuki’s ear to whisper something that brings heat to his face.
“ From one delinquent’s son to another.. embrace your real name and I’ll embrace mine, Adachi-kun. I’ve no shame in my father, but I want to see you unashamed of yours. ”
Yuuki is still staring as Ryuji shakes him by the shoulder. “Ey, Yuuki! Quit being possessed, we need your advice on this.”
Akira is staring him down, eyes keen.
“Oh, uh, yeah,” Yuuki said, “what do you need?”
“What relation does Dojima have to your father?” Akira asks, placing both hands on the table and leaning in expectantly.
Yuuki blushes. “Y-You mean, aside from what he told you, me and Ryuji on that trip to see my dad for the first time?”
Yuuki sighs. Time to let the cat out of the bag.
“Well, I was there when Dojima accidentally entered Mementos.”
“When he what? ” Akira hisses, and Yuuki’s heart leaps to his throat.
This is going to be a long explanation.
“... he looked the angriest I’d seen him. I turned back once or twice to see, and he was dicing his way through all these Shadows.”
He pauses, letting the story sink in.
Akira sighs. “Let’s review what we know from this and what else you’ve told me.”
He gets out a scroll of paper, letting Yusuke scribble down sketches corresponding to the points he puts down.
“Point number one. When Dojima or his daughter are hurt, Tohru goes berserk.”
Yusuke smiles as he draws Tohru holding a wounded Dojima to his chest, bearing fangs.
“Point number one point five. He seems to be protective of both of them.”
Yusuke sketches one or two complementary scribbles.
“Point number two. Before he knew about our man Yuuki, Dojima and his daughter were the only two others he seemed to truly respect and care about.”
This is accentuated by Yusuke’s drawing of Adachi hand in hand with Dojima and Nanako.
“Point number three. They served on the police force together, and Dojima acted as Tohru’s impulse control.”
Yusuke draws Dojima walking Tohru on a child leash, which makes them all laugh so hard the meeting comes to a temporary pause.
After a pause, they continue their conversation. “... my issue is, if we accept Dojima.. how will it reflect on us if they show up in Phantom Thief recordings? Everyone will think they’re the leaders,” Makoto sighs.
Akira puts his head in his hands. “And we already have issues with Tohru being a backseat leader, and we already have a big handful of people in the Thieves..”
He freezes for a second. “... wait.”
He scribbles down “two separate infiltration teams.”
Tohru enjoys this espionage thing so much more when he’s able to look attractive. He feels like James Bond.
So far, he’s been able to flirt his way through a few guards and a secretary. He’s got a wide smirk as he poises himself at the doorway, listening to the conversation inside. He has a secret recording device planted not just on him, but at the doorway itself.
“Akechi,” a snide voice sneers, “your failure here is unacceptable. You have already failed to eliminate Okumura. What. Is. Stopping. You. ”
Akechi’s voice, barely wavering, replies “It’s.. it’s an unexpected factor! One of their number shot me in the hand…”
The voice replies again: “It should be nothing compared to the importance of your task. Bring down the Thieves, Akechi. I cannot have them disgracing the good name of Masayoshi Shido.”
Adachi’s smirking. So this is Masayoshi Shido.. and what he’s saying is proof of the pudding to his long running suspicion: Akechi is the Black Mask.
Adachi’s fists clench.
Oh, he can’t wait to destroy this kid.
It's been a hot minute since I've updated, I'm aware, but I've been using that time to replot some stuff, figure out things pertaining to this fic's potential sequel, and play Persona 4 Golden which helps me understand Dojima a lot more.
I'm so fucking glad you guys have decided to stick around. I will too! It's part of why I took so much time off to really think through how to make this fic even better.
To be more accurate, I was stressing over how little Yuuki seemed to be included. I love writing Adachi so much, but this fic does have to focus a bit more on the Moon along with the Jester.
So I came up with a little plot thing to ensure that would happen.
Thank you so much for being patient, guys. Next chapter is on the way relatively sooner - I'm 1/3rd of the way through writing and editing it. This next chapter will also be a bit longer than this one, so rejoice!
Chapter 22: Justice, Served Unjustly (Part II)
The School Festival happens.
The School Festival is coming up, and Yuuki’s looking forward to it as much as he can. It’ll be a nice break from all the chaos that’s dominated his past few months.
It certainly doesn’t help that it’s providing him with a new opportunity to hang out with Akira Kurusu.
Yuuki’s thought he had Akira down to a science, but that time in the bathroom has thrown all of his conceptions out the window.
Yuuki’s observations on the boy have grown even sharper since, and he finds there’s something strange to Akira’s interactions with others.
Akira being able to wield multiple Personas (Personae? He still wonders at the plurals) seems to transfer to outside the Metaverse.
Put in simpler terms, Akira takes on multiple demeanors depending on who he speaks to.
Yeah, Yuuki knows that’s a pretty simple thing - everybody does that, after all - but Akira takes it to a scary extent.
Akira is eerily calm, always trying to show the emotions others want to see. Everything about his image is a game he’s drawing others into, a game where he makes the rules.
And Akira loves to play this game, it appears. Seeing him bait Akechi during their run-ins, seeing him stand up to the impromptu quiz sessions the teachers run on him.. Yuuki can see the flare of his shoulders, the satisfied quirk of his lips.
The minute you judge him by his appearance, Yuuki’s finding, is the minute you’ve already folded your hand to him - his win, your loss.
But Yuuki Mishima is determined not to settle for a single loss.
He’s driven by his mother’s desire to find out more.
He wants to peer under that mask Akira prides himself on wearing; the same mask his father Adachi seems to be working on breaking.
He wants to see the delinquent’s son, and he’ll pour the signature Adachi family drive into doing so until he does.
Moving on: Yuuki’s looking forward to hanging out with other members of the Thieves during the Festival, too.
Like Futaba! He’s really started to feel comfortable around Futaba lately. The two often talk about video games together for hours. Oh, and Yusuke. He’s started inspiring Yusuke to study Manga more, and try some of the artstyle out in his own work.
It’s certainly making him smile to think about right now.
“Mishima!” the teacher snaps, and Yuuki is jolted out of his thoughts. Back to work.
Of course, the School Festival rolls around a lot quicker than Yuuki initially expected.
All the Thieves are there, including the newly inducted Thief Dojima. Yuuki’s split off on his own with the rest of the younger Thieves - and Nanako, who’s decided to tag along with them.
She smiles at Yuuki when he asks why. “Your group reminds me of my cousin Yu’s friends.”
From her light tone, Yuuki thinks that’s a compliment, but he’s not certain.
Akira sticks closer to the group, leading them to the cafe that’s been set up. “Well, time to eat.”
He’s ordered a whole bunch of dishes for the Thieves, to the audible delight of Ryuji.
“Damn, you’re so good to us, Akira…!” he crows, preemptively tucking a napkin into his shirt.
Yuuki turns towards Nanako, smiling shyly.
“S-Sorry for how loud they can get..” He rubs the back of his head, sighing, but Nanako just laughs again.
“Stop being so anxious, you dweeb. I’m used to it.”
She ruffles his hair, and Yuuki immediately seems to relax. Being with the Thieves, with Nanako, unwinding and relaxing.. it feels like home, more than anything else he can think of.
As the others are digging into the food, Akira smiles at Yuuki.
“Y’know, Yuuki, you’ve grown a lot from that shy boy I met months ago.”
Yuuki blinks. “Whuh?”
Akira leans back a little in his chair.
“Being able to stand up to Akechi like you did, keeping your head held high.. You’ve become so much braver.”
Yuuki pauses, and realizes that even with his continuing nightmares, he still has gotten braver. Being a Phantom Thief, being the son of a convicted murderer.. it’s made him the person he is today.
He’s so happy about it he’s still smiling when Akechi makes a visit to their table.
Funny enough, even Nanako scrunches her nose up when he comes around.
“Hello, everyone!” Akechi says in that sickeningly saccharine tone. His eyes fall to Nanako, and he gently lifts up her hand, kissing the back of it.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m sure you must know me,” he purrs.
Yuuki can feel the fear of Akechi spike up in his heart, but the anger that surges up with it overwhelms that fear. He moves to say something, but Nanako’s got it covered.
“Yes, you’re the boy no girl at my school will shut up about,” she hisses, snatching her hand back like it’s been burnt. “Shirogane must be a hard act to follow up. Then again, sometimes you have to settle for second best .” she adds, disdainful.
Akira looks so very much like he’s trying not to snicker at Akechi’s hurt expression.
“I’m Dojima. Nanako Dojima.” She stares up at him, glaring a hole into his face, and Yuuki’s mentally cheering her on.
“Oh, your food looks delicious,” Akechi chimes, trying to change the subject. He goes to pluck the spiciest bit of food from the platter, and none of the Thieves (nor Nanako) stop him from doing so. If they weren’t trying to hold in their laughter before, they certainly are now at seeing Akechi agonizing over the hellfire in his mouth.
And then Akechi drops the bombshell during his assembly at the Festival.
“I believe I know the identities of the Phantom Thieves.”
He takes a pause from the conference, calling all of the members of the Thieves into a side-room - yes, even Dojima (though he spares Nanako from the meeting).
He doesn’t greet them all with a hello, but wordlessly takes out very blurry pictures of them leaving Okumura’s Palace. He throws them onto the table.
“I know you’re all part of the Phantom Thieves,” he says, tone terse. “There’s no point in hiding it any further from me.”
Dojima stares, gesturing at the photos. “And this is.. your evidence? It’s so blurry I can barely make out who is who. How do you expect this to hold up in court?”
Goro Akechi takes a deep, wordless breath. “ It doesn’t matter, because one way or another, the courts will take it if you disobey.”
Yuuki bares his teeth in rage. “Ever hear of falsifying evidence?”
“The courts will take this evidence,” Akechi repeats, eyes beginning to glaze over with dull rage.
Akira shakes his head. “We’re not conceding to blackmail,” he says softly.
“ Enough of your foolishness! Here is what will happen. You will infiltrate one last Palace, and then you will disband, no need to be turned into the authorities. I cannot allow for anything else.”
Akechi slams his fist onto the table.
Yuuki’s lips press together tightly. Dojima looks rather confused, but Tohru is the one to step forward now. He picks up one of the pictures.
“Your proof, eh? Here’s what I think of it.”
He takes out a lighter and sets it on fire.
It slowly curls up and turns to ash.
Tohru sighs, waving his hand as he speaks. “You could disprove this with one word: Photoshop.”
Akechi throws his head back and laughs coldly. His eyes have taken on a demented gleam as he continues.
“There are digital copies, of course. But, very well. If you won’t play that game, I can easily take you in on another front.” He clicks his tongue chidingly, stepping forward to Dojima.
“If you do not concede to my demands, I’ll get the authorities involved in taking young Yuuki and Nanako out of your care. Neglect is quite the damning charge, isn’t it?”
Dojima tenses up, mouth agape with shock.
“You wouldn’t dare..”
Akechi smirks. “I would, Ryotaro Dojima, and I very much can.”
He turns to look at Tohru, everything about his body oozing smugness.
“You’re taking Nanako from me over my dead body,” Dojima growls.
Yuuki notices how rigid and severe his father gets at that moment, the air becoming so chilly it almost feels like he’s about to choke. Tohru might be terrifying when he’s angry enough to scream with rage, but he’s even more so when he’s angry enough to go quiet.
“... y’know, kid, that’s rich coming from the bastard son of Masayoshi Shido.”
Akechi freezes up, jaw clenching. “What did you just say?” His fists clench.
“You think you have a free license to do as you please because you were pawing off Daddy’s scraps, eh? Brats like you make me sick.”
“How do you know that?! HOW?”
“Right after you nearly choked my kid out in public, I decided to ask around a bit. Got documents that proved it, found out all too quickly exactly who your daddy really was. And y’know what? It made me even angrier at all you said, because while I hate smug, entitled little snots like you, what I hate even more is smug, entitled, hypocritical little snots.”
Akechi stalks towards Tohru.
Tohru stares the kid down. “I’ll spread the truth everywhere if you don’t back down, and kill one of the things you seem so happy with - your reputation.”
Akechi sputters, grabbing Tohru by the tie and pulling him close as he yells into Tohru’s face.
“This changes nothing! I can see that the murders in Inaba start again, if I have to. I can get you and Akira and Dojima and all the rest locked up!” He keeps going, spitting out every word.
“One way or another, you will infiltrate Sae Niijima’s Palace, even if I have to break you all piece by piece to get you to do it! I’ll even accompany you to ensure the mission is done right.”
Several of the Phantom Thieves go completely quiet at this.
The Phantom Thieves seem to recognize that, at least on this round, they’ve been outmaneuvered.
Tohru stares incredulously at Akechi.
“... am I hearing things right or did you just say Sae has a Palace?”
Chapter 23: Casino of Envy (Part I)
The Infiltration of Sae's Palace begins, and Tohru bears witness to Dojima's new, sordid power.
The Infiltration of Sae’s Palace is already off to a horrible start, and Tohru Adachi is about to scream.
There’s a phone call from Makoto, which he picks up as soon as possible. He’s greeted with her sobbing, trying to stutter out something he can’t understand.
“Woah, woah, slow down. What’s going on, Makoto?”
It takes a few seconds for her to breathe. “Akechi.. told Sae about my meetings with you and the others.. I’m trapped in my room.”
Tohru pauses, his harsh breaths being the only thing Makoto hears on the other side of the phone. “That stupid bitch,” he mutters under his breath, and Makoto’s unsure whether he’s referring to Goro or Sae.
He’s thinking before he gets an idea. “Makoto?”
The next thing he says makes Makoto laugh in disbelief.
He hangs up.
Fifteen minutes later, he’s sticking out of the TV, hand extended.
“Hey, kid. You trust me?”
Makoto looks to the door, to the bed she’s set to look like she’s sleeping in. She takes a shaky breath.
“... Let’s go, Toh.”
She takes his hand.
Makoto almost feels like Eurydice, holding Tohru’s hand as they travel through the TV World. The fog is thick and stifling, hard to breathe in.
It feels deeply hard to concentrate in, and slides against her skin like water. Tohru, surprisingly, navigates through it like an expert.
“Let’s recap what Akira told me, hm?” Tohru says.
“Your sister’s Palace is going to be the first debut of the new infiltration squad I lead - the Devil’s Hand.”
Makoto can hear the smirk in Tohru’s voice as he continues. “Cool name, eh? Well, Akira’s Team - the Thieves Vanguard - is going to be infiltrating the Palace as well. We’ll be splitting up, communicating through special walkie-talkies, the works.”
Makoto chuckles. “And you get free rein of who’s in the Devil’s Hand, I suppose?”
“Yep. Dojima, Yuuki and Akechi.”
“... Akechi? I thought you hated him.”
Tohru sighs. “Believe me, I do. But Akira insisted I had to keep him in the party. Keep your friends close, enemies closer, I guess.”
“You know that I’ll be a call away if he gets too much.”
They keep on talking as they go through the fog.
The Casino - Sae’s Palace - is a virtual attack of distracting neon and jazz music. It’s enormous, it’s gaudy, and it’s an eyesore.
At least, this is what Tohru’s thinking as he looks up at it for the first time. Dojima seems in awe, staring up at it with amazement.
“Goddamn.. so these are the sorts of Palaces you infiltrate, Devil?”
Tohru grins. “You and me both, now!”
He looks back at Dojima.
Dojima’s face rises into a small, private grin.
For a moment, Tohru can taste the take out tempura from Junes with its satisfying crunch, can hear Nanako’s light giggle ring in his head, can smell Dojima’s heady sandalwood cologne drifting into his nose - all the sensations and textures that blend into what Tohru sees as home .
Dojima’s face is bathed in a faint neon glow from the Palace. The shadows the glow cast seem to make his face even bolder, even more dangerous.
Time may have aged Dojima, but it almost certainly hasn’t dulled him. Tohru is mesmerized there, staring in silence for a second.
“Y’know, when do I get a cool outfit like the rest of you?” Dojima teases, breaking the silence.
“The first time you summon your Persona in this world.”
Akira’s call to “get over here, you two geezers” breaks the deep veil of the moment.
They gather out front, hiding themselves as Akira recounts the game plan. “With two teams, we can locate the Treasure that much more quickly, giving us time to truly plan out our calling card.” He smiles as he hands out the walkie talkies.
“Skull, Fox, and Queen will be with me. Marquis, Crow, and.. what was the Phantom Thief name you decided on?” Akira sighs, turning towards Dojima.
Dojima can’t help but puff up his chest, declaring his call-sign proudly: “Baron.”
“Baron, right. Marquis, Crow, and Baron, go with Devil. Make sure Baron gets his outfit, fight some guard. The infiltration starts.. now.”
It doesn’t escape Tohru’s notice that Akechi’s irritation at being shoved aside is obvious. His nose is upturned and scrunched, his eyes narrowed at Tohru.
Well , brat, it’s time to shut up and put up, he thinks with a grin, ‘cuz I’m the boss here.
It becomes abundantly clear ten minutes into the infiltration that Sae’s pulling no punches in her security. They’re up against two or three strong Shadows, no easy feat.
Dojima doesn’t seem concerned. That brief blitz of week-long Persona training Narukami gave him seems to really have helped him, as far as Tohru can tell.
He chuckles, letting the Emperor card spin in his hands as he crushes it. “PERSONA!”
The blue flames erupt around him with the intensity of thunder. A humanoid white wolf, clad in elaborate markings with an enormous club in his paws and lightning crackling in his jaws, floats above Dojima.
Dojima himself seems to be caught up in the rush of the blue flame, throwing his head back and letting out a howl that makes the Shadows they’re up against shiver with fear.
His tie and shirt turn to black leather armor with sewn on military patches, making him look every inch the role of a royal general. A wolf’s pelt melts over his shoulders, becoming a cape. His hands are wrapped in intricate gauntlets, tipped with retractible claws much like Tohru’s outfit. His mask is the crown jewel of his outfit, decorated in intricate carvings and seemingly looking like the skull of a predator animal.
Under the dim shadows of Dojima’s mask, Adachi can see old wrinkles smooth out. Dojima’s posture straightens, some of his old muscles regrow stronger than ever, and his salt-and-pepper hair returns to a vibrant black.
Even the slight tangy scent of alcohol vanishes from him, replaced by a deep cologne-like smell that makes Tohru’s head spin.
Dojima’s eyes flick open, glowing yellow.
He chuckles, looking down at his clawed gauntlets and the grappling hook that’s appeared in his hands - then, he looks back up to the Shadows.
His voice holds the eerily low quality his Shadow once possessed; a tone so full of undeniable authority and rejuvenated rebellion that Tohru feels full of electricity hearing it.
“ You have no idea how much I’m going to kick your ass.”
Tohru, drunk on the thrill of seeing Dojima become a true Phantom Thief, can’t resist calling out: “Let’s see how you do with that Persona, old bitch!”
Dojima barks out a laugh that slices through the air. “Watch out, Devil. I’ll be taking your throne as the best fighter in the Thieves in a minute.. if you’re not careful.”
The cocky grin he flashes under his mask gets Tohru’s blood pumping.
Tohru’s breath hitches as he thinks: I don’t know where this new Dojima came from, but I like him.
Dojima’s Persona lunges and Tohru’s memories melt away into the battle.
Forty minutes into the first operation of the Devil’s Hand division in the Phantom Thieves, Tohru gets his first message from Akira.
The walkie-talkie buzzes to life. Tohru puts it to his ear. Akira hisses “What did you do to anger her so much?”
“Sae Niijima. What did you do to anger her? It’s operating at an ungodly high security level when it shouldn’t be.”
“Me? What did I do?”
“YES! YOU- I mean.. yes. Yes, you.”
Tohru looks up to the ceiling, wincing.
“It’s a.. it’s a long story.”
“I have time.”
Tohru takes a deep breath in - getting to a safe room along with his team - and then he begins.
The tale he recounts into that walkie-talkie is enough to form its own saga. Tohru’s descriptions are viscerally vivid, setting Akira’s heart to pounding in overdrive.
Akira is silent as Tohru finishes.
“... and that’s why that slut deserved it.”
Akira’s one sentence drips with mortified fury: “You unhinged motherfucker.”
His hands are shaking as he holds the walkie-talkie. On the other end, he hears a quiet, sadistic peal of laughter.
Tohru Adachi’s voice comes out this time a little raspier, a little more callous and.. and cold, colder than Akira ever thought the former killer capable of lately.
“I did it because it was fun, and it kept me entertained. Yeah, it was objectively horrible, especially considering how much I fucked with her mind, but.. c’mon, you’d think that after so many times seeing me snap at people you’d be a little more aware of just how much of an ‘unhinged motherfucker’ I can be..”
“That doesn’t excuse any of it.”
Tohru laughs again, that same mocking laugh.
“I never said I was a good person back then.. not by a long shot.”
Hey, folks! Back with another chapter. I'm so happy to be on this weekly schedule for updates - makes it so I can get it done and really refine it in time. Hope you guys enjoy this one.
Experimented with a few new modes of writing here and there in this chapter - mainly, more descriptiveness. Tell me if it worked or not.
I know I always say I'm excited for what's coming next in this fanfiction, but it's true - I AM excited for what's coming next. There's still a bit yet in this tale of mine..
As for Dojima's Persona: it's Retaruseta Kamuy, the "White Wolf" god of the Ainu. His Ultimate Persona will be another, more well-known Kami with an affiliation with wolves.. no, not Amaterasu, another one :P
As always, thank you ALL for commenting, and I look forward to seeing your speculation on what comes next!
Chapter 24: Casino of Envy (Part II)
Akira Kurusu finds new reasons to hate Adachi while Yuuki has an epiphany.
A confrontation is had.
Admittedly, Akira is mad enough at that to ban Tohru from infiltrating the Casino for a few days, not least of which because his presence seems to infuriate the Shadows in Sae’s Palace to the point where they go berserk.
So Yuuki acts as the appointed leader of the Devil’s Hand in Tohru’s stead while Tohru goes to investigate Sae.
He can’t help noting down a litany of details on this Palace like he’s done with all of the other Palaces he’s been in - it’ll make good fodder for a documentary or book someday, he thinks, especially if it truly is their last mission.
The Palace plays beautiful jazz music throughout its halls. Slot machines line the walls, as well as a whole array of other gambling devices that cost a fortune. The smell of good food and pricey wine drifts throughout the air.
In short, Yuuki can practically taste the dollar bills rolling off of this place.
And yet the Casino is rife with all sorts of imagery that point to something.. bigger in terms of Sae Nijima’s personal issues. More than just her addiction to “stacking the deck,” so to speak, and winning trials she’s swayed in her favor.
Mainly, the Palace’s cognition-inhabitants keep talking about an individual known as “the Cheater” in tones of deep contempt.
They mention that “the Cheater” didn’t play any of the Casino’s games fair and square. Rumors that “The Cheater” stole various things are always drifting throughout the Palace as the Thieves run through. There are hidden murals of a certain smiling silhouette with fangs and a blue tie throughout the Palace, as well, helping them cheat in convenient ways.
It comforts Yuuki somehow and makes his shoulders slump with relief, even as it irritates Goro Akechi to no end.
Akechi’s practically prickling with fury when he grabs the back of Yuuki’s neck and pulls him into a spare corner.
There’s another mural of “The Cheater” above them, this time showing his face clearly.
Putting any sort of doubt to rest, Tohru Adachi is the one depicted as the Cheater.
He’s smiling and giving a thumbs up, looking smug (and, come to think of it, rather vampiric) with the phrase “That Bitch Can’t Keep Us Down” floating right next to him. It looks like the sort of cheesy advertisement one would see in the 70’s or 80’s. His eyes glow yellow in the mural, looking down as Akechi begins to rant.
“Your idolization of your father sickens me. This whole place is a monument to his arrogance.”
“Look,” Yuuki sighs, “I understand you want nothing more than to sic a pack of wolves on my dad and I, but can we hold off of your withering contempt until the end of this Palace? Please?”
“How can I even begin to work with you if his vices are the reason why we suffer now? What he’s said and done is unjust. I can’t let it slide, even if we are temporarily partnered.”
“That’s great,” Yuuki says, a little more sarcasm leaking into his tone, “but you’re undermining us on the very mission we’re setting off on for you. Your actions could get us killed.”
Akechi’s fists clench. He goes quiet for a moment. The mural of Tohru Adachi continues to stare down at the two boys.
“... are you aware that your spineless father attacked an innocent man and threatened him in order to ensure he never came near the Dojima family again?”
Yuuki’s face crinkles with confusion. “Wait, Taro Namatame?”
“Yes. He attacked Taro Namatame. According to the video footage, he strangled Namatame until he nearly turned purple. That is the sort of violence in your bloodline.”
Yuuki pauses. “... I don’t have to live in fear of you,” he murmurs. He finds it’s true.
“Yeah, my dad’s not a role model. Yeah, he’s kind of a.. a-a real jerk sometimes. But he’s taught me a very important lesson.”
“What are you on about-“
Yuuki Mishima - no, Yukitaro Adachi- punches Goro Akechi in the face.
“How did Ryu.. Skull.. how did he put it..? Oh! Right!”
Yukitaro grins as he cracks the knuckles on his other hand, swinging another punch.
It lands - with a sickening noise - right in the center of Akechi’s cheek.
Akechi crumbles to the ground, hissing a curse word.
“Talk shit, get hit. ” He shakes out his hand, staring with pride at Akechi’s blood stained across it.
“Dad appointed me the leader of the Devil’s Hand for this venture. And as the leader, I’m telling you to keep your..”
He pauses to think of something cool.
“Keep your snide little quips about my dad, anything else he may have done, or anything bad about my family to yourself. If you don’t, your reputation isn’t the only thing I’m going to shatter - your face will go with it.”
Goro Akechi’s face pales with shock.
“You’re a bastard, though, Mishima- “
“Adachi. My last name is Adachi. Get it right, next time we’re not in a Palace. Oh, and unhand me. I’m your leader, after all.”
Akechi grits his teeth, setting Yukitaro down softly. The eyes of the Tohru Adachi mural gleam with approval.
The real Tohru Adachi, on the other hand, knows he’s fucked.
This spy operation was a bad idea from the start. It wasn’t even something he was assigned. Just something he’d done in order to make himself busy.
The catalyst: Sae Niijima makes eye contact with him when she comes out of the courtroom.
Her eyes widen - first with confusion, then with recognition, shock, and lastly, righteous anger.
“Adachi,” she grits, storming towards him. He tries to turn his face and leave before she can catch up, but her thin fingers snake around his wrist and yank him back tightly.
He turns to stare into her face.
Yes.. she had been a lot to him, back in the day.
“Explain just what the hell you’re doing here? Why you’re hanging around my sister, too, while you’re at it.”
He puts on a venomous grin. “Oh, but Sae, I’d thought you’d greet me with a little more love in your tone, babe.”
Sae slaps Tohru. It’s a whip-sharp, clinically jarring dizzy of a slap that has him stumbling back.
He can still hear the ringing in his head a second later when she grabs him by his hair. “Answer me, Tohru .”
“You’ve lost those first name privileges with me, babe. Just Adachi will do. Maybe Adachi-san, like your old man used to call me before he died. Or even Adachi-sama, yeah, I like the sound of that..”
“I told you to answer,” Sae hisses.
“Well, I’ve come to talk you out of your bad girl behavior lately. Somebody’s been putting work over play for far too long, hm?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Her lips purse with disgust.
“You’ve been stacking the deck in your favor for all these cases, haven’t you?”
In Sae’s Palace: The walls begin to shake. The Security Level in the Palace slowly begins turning up. Akira looks up to the ceiling, cursing. “What the fuck is happening?” Dojima asks, sticking close by Yukitaro as Akira gives the command via walkie-talkie for both teams to regroup.
And that’s when Tohru Adachi’s newfound ability to talk off the cuff really comes into play. He’s silently thanking Kunikazu for those charisma lessons.
“What, you think I haven’t heard? That kinda success of yours doesn’t come easy. You’ve been rigging cases in your favor. A few people approached me with the news.”
“You can’t just sling around accusations like that without proof.”
“Oh? Is that so?” He gives her a little packet.
She opens it up, examining a paper inside.. and her heartbeat goes fast as a hummingbird.
“You can’t be serious.”
“C’mon, Sae. You know your father wouldn’t approve of any of this. We both do.”
The intercom blares that the Casino is in lockdown. “How the hell are we gonna get out now?” Ryuji hisses, but then they see a sight that has Akira openly growl out an obscenity.
A Shadow cognition of Tohru Adachi, running by in a fancy suit with a rose in his hand. “I’ll be taking that treasure any minute, just you wait…!”
He salutes them as he runs past, grinning that bright, fanged grin.
The obscenities and praise that some of the other Shadows sling at this one figure confirm that yes, this is “the Cheater.”
“T-The Treasure.. it’s manifested up ahead,” Morgana calls out, but Akira is too busy grinding his teeth.
“That impulsive ass ..”
The fight has escalated between the two.
Tohru’s comments about Sae’s father have royally backfired.
“How dare you speak his name?” Sae steps forward, yanking Tohru’s tie.
“I’ll speak it as I please, you stupid slut. He always liked me more - that’s why you grew to hate me so much!”
“And this.. t-this SHAM accusation that I fix cases! It’s nonsensical!”
“But it’s true. I can see the fear in your eyes. You know, deep down, that I may lie about a lot, but not about something like this.”
“You would lie about something like this! You always did, ruining my reputation and fucking.. gaslighting me..”
“Of course I did. It was fun to toy with your head. I’m a new man, though, and I’m saying as the Tohru Adachi that follows the rules of this reality that I’m not lying. There’s no incentive for me to lie.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
The Casino has turned into a labyrinthine death trap. Guards patrol everywhere, tougher than the Thieves can ever dream of. They’re struggling their way to the Treasure room as the Cheater makes his way to the personal office of Shadow Sae. He calls out various pet names towards Sae, guiding the Thieves closer and closer.
Shadows claw at their heels, pursuing them.
“You’re a vampire, always sucking me dry - of my career, of the love I was receiving from even my own father, of my own independence.”
Tohru Adachi cackles at that. “I had you wrapped around my finger for the longest time, didn't I? Enough of that, though. You're trying to change the subject.”
“No, no, we don’t just get to skip past what you did! You forced me into this.. sick dependency on you.. and you made me want every bit of it! Why? WHY?”
“I did it because I wanted to eke out more respect from the brass on high, but also 'cause it was fun, too. Jee, stop getting me sidetracked.”
“Your behavior is sick.. just fucking sick,” she growls.
He sighs before he slaps her face, just as hard as she had slapped his.
She reels back.
They get to the Treasure room and are greeted with a sight that takes their breath away.
Tons of the Palace’s Shadow inhabitants have started ransacking Sae’s office. A mob of Shadows are even fighting Sae herself, who’s turned visibly monstrous in her attempts to destroy the mob.
Alone, Sae could have taken out any one of the Shadows - but the difference in numbers alone between the two is definitely staggering, and the power of a mob seems to be quite a deciding factor in their duel.
The Cheater appears to be acting as the master to these Shadows, guiding them under his leadership.
“What.. the.. hell?” Akira breathes.
“I’ve.. never seen a Palace turn on its holder like this.. not even with Futaba’s Palace…!” Morgana looks shocked as the Cheater leans against a wall.
“How?” Ann asks the Cheater, who snickers.
“My words are their riot,” he purrs.
“As for your reward..” He presents the Treasure to the Thieves as if it was the finest jewel in the world.
The words that send Sae’s Palace crumbling and create an opportunity for the Phantom Thieves to finally escape come out of Tohru’s mouth in the most tender way:
“Makoto wouldn’t want this for you.”
Sae feels something in her become whole again.. and immediately is hit with the grief of what’s happened.
She stumbles back. “What.. what have I done?” she breathes, looking back at Adachi with eyes of deep remorse.
Tohru smiles back, a smile with no malice to be had.
He can feel his phone blow up with texts the minute the Thieves get back into the normal world. He knows there’s going to be hell to pay for this gamble of his.
But right now? He really doesn’t give a damn.
As the Palace crumbles, as they’re loading into Morgana, Akira turns his head back and asks the Cheater: “Why?”
The Cheater smiles back as Shadow Sae finally reunites with her normal self.
In unison, the Shadows begin chanting “Long live the Phantom Thieves! We are all Thieves!”
“Get in the car,” Makoto yells, yanking Akira inside.
The last thing Akira sees in that Palace is the Cheater, bowing, and his words drifting on the wind: “See you soon, Joker.”
I delayed this chapter a while further in order to work on it more and edit it, and I'm still not satisfied with it.
I don't think it lives up to the hype I gave it, and I feel like I gave too much away as to exactly what Adachi did to Sae.
Regardless, I hope you enjoy.
I'm proud of the foreshadowing here, if nothing else.
Somebody pointed out that technically Adachi should have had Mishima when he was sixteen, according to the timeline. In response to this error, I apologize, but also point out that the timeline is the least of my concerns here and something I'd rather not worry about in the grand scheme of this fic.
After all, I've got a ton of plot and character-building I love doing even more.
PATCH NOTES FOR THE NEW REWRITES!
- Added the start of the Tower Confidant with Kamoshida (Chapter 10) as the commenter Ginger pointed out. Yep, we've got more Accomplice Ending callbacks.
- Fixed various minor spelling and formatting errors throughout the fic that were bugging the shit out of me, such as "sickly sweet" in the first chapter. You may now browse this fic with clearer eyes.
- More to come soon-ish.
I look forward to reading and replying to your comments, as always!
Fun fact about this fic: the Google Doc it's on is at 121 pages so far, and it will grow bigger.
We're at the size of a small novella here, my friends.
Chapter 25: Jester's Nonchalance, Moon's Response
Tohru Adachi has a choice encounter with Goro Akechi.
The newly realized Yukitaro Adachi overhears a phone call.
Yu Narukami knows something’s up lately.
First was this Phantom Thief business, then it was Dojima awakening to a Persona - and it doesn’t escape Yu Narukami’s notice that it happened right when he visited Adachi, of all people - and now it’s this.
He’s staring at the most recent Devil’s Log.
They’ve become wildly popular to read - the talk of the town around Inaba’s teenagers.
Yu’s had.. suspicions of who the Phantom Thief member Devil is. Little context clues, phrasing he recognizes. But he’s never had any exact proof until now, tucked away in a banal question.
The question reads: What’s something someone told you that you still think about?
Devil’s reply is telling: Somebody told me once that I was a little child throwing a tantrum. Sure, they beat me senseless afterward, but.. it made me think over what I was doing. It was later on that it made me realize that as shitty as the world can be, some bonds can.. help make it a little less shit. It’s not a stretch to say that that experience of getting my ass kicked and all the words that went with it made me who I am today. It’s kept me following the rules of this reality up to now.
Yu’s hand goes to cover his mouth.
After all, how could he forget all the things his friends had said to Adachi when they were fighting him? How could he forget Adachi’s kingdom inside the TV World, that sickeningly red version of Inaba?
How could he forget looking at the man that had terrorized Yasoinaba and seeing a friend?
… Tohru Adachi is Devil. There’s no doubt about that. But why? Yu’s turning the thoughts over in his head.
Why is Adachi getting back into crime after so long away? He had promised to follow the rules of this reality, but what happened to make him join the Phantom Thieves, of all organizations?
Yu gets his phone.
It’s ringing. He doesn’t recognize the number, but after a moment of hesitation, he picks up.
His blood freezes when Adachi’s voice slides out.
“Howdy, Yu. Got a moment to spare? I’ve got a favor to ask.. one that I hope you and your little Investigation Team can tackle.”
“Adachi-san.. go ahead.”
“How much can you dig up on Masayoshi Shido? Things he’s tried to cover up.”
Yu pauses. “Why Shido?” he asks.
Adachi chuckles. “Well, it’s a long story. Can you do it, though?”
Yu sighs. “... We’ll try our best.”
Adachi sounds far too pleased, and Yu's suspicion is growing.
"Oh," Adachi adds, "and can you do one other thing for me?"
Yu's practically grinding his teeth together, but he manages to eke out: "And that is..?"
"You still have the contact info of that other team of Persona-using brats we met during the Tournament? Y'know, the one that had a literal heiress among them and that shirtless guy?"
"The Shadow Operatives, you mean."
"Yeah, yeah, those guys. I need to get in touch with them."
"Wouldn't you like to know, kid."
"C'mon, it's nothing bad. Just for something I need to do. Cough up their contact info and I'll leave you alone."
"Tell me what it's for."
"Don't turn this into a game of.. agh, fine. It's for a plan of mine, ok? Nothing bad, nothing worthless, just do it. If not for me, then for your old uncle Dojima. Send it to this phone number."
"Fine. Also, I don't want you playing around with my uncle."
Adachi sputters at that characteristically blunt declaration.
"What the hell are you implying, you little-"
Yu hangs up and Adachi swears.
Five minutes later, the names and contact info of the Shadow Operatives pop up on his phone.
Mitsuru Kirijo, Akihiko Sanada, Yukari Takeba..
Adachi whistles at all the famous names.
Yes, this would go perfectly with the Plan he had stewing in his head.
Assuming he didn't get beheaded by Mitsuru, the leader of the Shadow Operatives, first.
Yu's restraint wasn't the only one at its wit's end - Goro Akechi is at the very end of his restraint, as well.
The plan was almost going to go perfectly. They would complete Sae’s Palace, the police would be waiting outside, and both Joker and Adachi would be arrested. Akechi wouldn’t have to hide himself anymore around those sniveling fools, wouldn’t have to put on his air of false kindness and wouldn’t have to deal with that damned Adachi family any further.
But the father - Tohru Adachi - had to add insult to injury. No, not only did Tohru and his disgusting son have to hold everything Akechi wanted - friendship, fame, love - without even trying, but Tohru had thrown a wrench into every plan Akechi had tried lately.
Assisting the growth of Sae’s Palace? Tohru merely had to breathe near the elder Niijima sister and she was already on high enough alert to bequeath a Treasure much sooner than intended. Assassinating Okumura? Akechi had a bullethole in his knee and hand to show how badly that had gone. Arresting Akira? The Palace had been infiltrated and cheated through so quickly there was no way to even attempt said plan.
Akechi’s teeth are grinding. Yes, there’s no other choice.
Tohru Adachi has to be driven berserk.
He has to die.
Akechi’s sneaking into the Adachi residence that night with the utmost discretion. Tohru is not a man to be underestimated, he knows this. The man has an extensive police training and a myriad of power concerning his one Persona.
Not like that last part matters, but Akechi keeps it in mind. He sneaks into the bedroom, silencer in his hand.
Tohru Adachi is passed out on the bed before him. He’s clad only in boxers with little hearts on them. “mnph.. ryo-kun.. arrest this ..” he murmurs in his sleep.
Akechi has to resist the urge to snicker in cruel amusement. To think, Inaba’s Television Killer meeting his end in such an undignified manner.
He approaches, but he’s taken aback.
Tohru Adachi is a blur, shooting awake and kicking the gun out of Akechi’s hand. He pins the younger boy down to the mattress, being sure to keep his weight settled down on the would-be assassin.
Akechi snarls, trying to escape.
“Man, you’ve really been slipping. Didn’t think the Japanese police force had that much of a hard-on for killing me that they’d send a brat like you to do it.” Tohru snickers.
“You’ve stopped me from killing.. the leader of the Phantom Thieves..”
“Wait, you were planning that?”
“YES! You would have been captured with him once you’d finished Sae’s Palace.”
“... ah, jee. Good thing I acted on my impulse and ended it quickly before you could, hm?”
Akechi glares down at the bed.
It.. wasn’t even planned..?
His plan was foiled by sheer luck?
It angers him even more as he whispers “I will kill you, in his stead. I have to. You’ve been standing between me and my mission.. breaking my disguise..”
Tohru leans his weight down more on Akechi.
“That desperate? Let me guess. You tried to drive me berserk too.. didn’t you?”
“And what did you see, hm? What did you find out?”
Tohru presses down further, pulling Akechi’s arm behind him in a way so painful that Akechi’s confession finally spills out.
“It.. didn’t work on you..! I looked into your cognition and all I found was this.. this..”
“Hunger. You found hunger, and emptiness, and things you should know all too well.”
Akechi turns his head as much as possible to look at Tohru, eyes filled with horror.
“.. how? How ? No person should have that sort of hunger naturally! No person should have such an.. emptiness behind it, a lack! Even I have something there..”
Tohru Adachi grins.
As much as he hated being.. hollowed out.. to serve as a villain in that Inaba case, to be the host for some unknown being that Narukami had soundly defeated, to be filled with Hunger and nothing else.. he was silently thanking the universe for it now.
He looks into Akechi’s eyes, and he recognizes what he sees. He has to resist the urge to sigh.
With every single time he’s seen a bunch of brats with Personas (and with that whole “Persona-user tournament” business he had been dragged into a few years ago, he’s seen his fair share), he’s always seen one that gets shafted - manipulated by some sort of god, or forced into a destiny they couldn’t comprehend.
Akechi’s that person. He can see the ties that connect him to.. something bigger than Tohru himself can comprehend. Another entity pulling the strings.
“Poor, poor Akechi.” His voice is deadly soft and eerily quiet.
“I don’t need your pity,” Akechi hisses.
“You’ll go back to your house, by the way,” Tohru adds, “and tell your glory-hound of a dad you failed. Put up any more of a struggle and I’ll scream for my kid, get him to get Dojima over here.” He snorts with laughter. “And if you think I’m bad now? Hoo boy, you will hate how bad Dojima can get.”
Akechi growls. Outmaneuvered again, and again..
“You sicken me.”
Yukitaro’s eyebrows shoot up as his dad wearily shuffles in. His dad immediately makes a beeline for the coffee machine, making a blend of coffee.
No reply. Tohru keeps on making coffee.
Yukitaro’s making breakfast for them both as Tohru slumps into his chair, waiting for the coffee to brew.
“Did you sleep badly last night?” Yukitaro asks.
Tohru mumbles something unintelligible.
“C’mon, dad. Speak up.”
“Y’could say that..”
Yukitaro sighs. “Well,” he says as he sits down with both his and Tohru’s breakfast, “I’m going to hang out with the others today.”
“have.. fun..” Tohru rubs his temple wearily, retrieving his coffee and taking a sip.
Yukitaro eats up quick, and then he’s off.
They’re hanging out at the arcade in Shibuya when Yukitaro notices Akira dip out of the place. It’s discreet - all of the other Thieves are so distracted by the fun games they don’t even notice their leader’s disappearance.
But Yukitaro does.
He’s following behind Akira, trying to remain unseen and unheard. Akira makes his way into an alleyway and flips out his ringing phone.
Yukitaro squints and manages to make out a little of the contact name - “..ops”.
Now he really leans in, strains to hear as Akira picks up.
“Hey, Pops,” Akira chirps.
There’s a pause as Akira leans against the alleyway wall. “Yeah, I’m doing good. Getting steady pay from that beef bowl place.”
Another pause. Yukitaro’s mentally taking notes.
Akira winces as he goes “... no, Dad, you do not have to stab Sakura-san. I promise, he’s calmed down - No, you don’t have to stab Adachi-san either. Please, no stabbing is necessary.”
Yukitaro deflates. Damnit. He spaces out for a few minutes.
He was expecting juicier stuff, things like any clue as to what Akira’s true identity was or..
“Adachi-san’s kid, without question.”
Yukitaro’s head swivels back towards the conversation.
“I, just.. seeing how much he’s grown, how he’s started to really become confident in himself and his family.. I want to be able to walk around as your son publicly, you know? I wanna make you proud.”
“... yeah, I know. You’re already proud. I almost.. I guess I kinda envy him in a way? I mean, yeah, his dad is a serial killer and meanwhile you’re an intimidating as hell salesman, it’s not the same. But still.. I look up to Adachi-kun.”
“See you soon, Pops. I miss you.”
Akira hangs up, and Yukitaro’s left in silence.
I'm back and ready to roll!
We're entering the month of December - the month, incidentally, of my birthday.
I'll still be updating on the week of my birthday - December 18th - but the chapter will be a bit of a.. bonus chapter, I guess you could call it, surrounding Tohru Adachi getting Rank 10 on many of his Social Links and acting as a general answer to the question "how does he bond with them?"
You guys accepting this fic as your personal canon/headcanon/Monkey Truth makes me very happy indeed, almost like a pre-present.
It's making me even happier to finally get to show to you all the first few pieces of fan art for this fic that I've managed to locate! Yes, I will link to any and all fan art I find for this fic in the end notes!
First one is a depiction of Mishima's rant in Chapter 14/A Moon Unending , done by the talented lambdatheos on Twitter!! Please give her a follow!
Second one is a fun little piece of art done by the stupendous mraccomplice on Twitter! I urge you to follow him as well.
Don't worry, the Shadow Operatives/Persona 3 characters mentioned here won't factor into the story enough that it becomes necessary for you to know Persona 3's plot or anything.
I'm sticking by my self-made promise to make this fic as accessible to as many people as possible in the Persona fandom. The same "mentioned characters not from Persona 4 or 5 won't factor into the plot too much" goes for anybody else not from Persona 5 or Persona 4 here.
I reiterate: Added knowledge of certain characters from the previous entries may enhance certain parts of this story, for certain, but is by no means necessary.
As for why he's gathering Persona-users for a plan of his.. Could this be the Plan he's mentioned to Futaba and Okumura? Or does Tohru Adachi have more tricks up his sleeve than we thought?
I also gave one or two clues this chapter that may guide readers towards the name Akira tries so hard to hide.. and the "ex-delinquent father" he's mentioned to Yukitaro. :3c
Tell me what you think in the comments below! Speculate, theorize, ruminate!
As always, thank you all for commenting, reading, and continuing to enjoy this fic.
Chapter 26: Strawberry Moon
Yukitaro returns to the apartment and has a few bonding moments with his dad.
When Yukitaro returns to the apartment, a little later in the afternoon, Tohru seems a lot more well-rested - or, more accurately, he seems a bit more well-caffeinated.
“Hey, kid,” Tohru calls, “you, uh.. you like dango, right?”
Yukitaro sits down as Tohru places a plate of it in front of him.
“Dad, where’d you get this? And how did you know it was my favorite?”
“Akira told me. As for how.. I made it myself.”
Though the dango pieces are a bit lumpy, their smell is delicious, and Yukitaro can see the care put into this dish.
He looks up at his dad, who’s still clad in that familiar suit, and smiles. “Thanks, dad.”
Yukitaro has to stifle a chuckle at just how stunned his dad looks at that. Tohru pauses, eyes wide.
It takes a minute for him to get his bearings enough to speak again.
“Is it.. is it good?” he asks as Yukitaro takes a bite.
The right sort of savory tang fills Yukitaro’s mouth, and he melts. “Yeah,” he says after a few bites, “you did good on this batch.”
As his dad puffs up his chest proudly, Yukitaro can’t help but feel a little bit of awkward pride for how much Tohru’s trying.
It doesn’t stop there, either. The next day, Tohru comes up behind Yukitaro. “Hey, kid!”
Yukitaro jumps a little in his seat, letting out a surprised noise as he turns around and removes his headphones. “Shit, dad, you scared me.”
His brows furrow in confusion at Tohru’s expression.
The older man is practically bouncing on his heels. There’s a little grin on his face, and one of his hands is patting his leg feverishly, not unlike a dog wagging its tail.
“You want to go to the shooting range with me and one of my new friends?” He sounds delighted.
Yukitaro pauses, biting his lip. Every inch of his father looks ecstatic to get this offer.
And that’s how Yukitaro finds himself at a state-of-the-art shooting range with his dad and that man from Untouchable - Iwai, Yukitaro remembers.
Tohru and the man share a fistbump and a smirk. “My made man,” Iwai chuckles, swinging Tohru into a short hug with a friendly shoulder-squeeze.
Tohru, oddly enough, reciprocates.
The two banter a bit about airsoft guns as they get the guns ready for firing. Yukitaro can’t exactly understand it, but he’s glad his dad looks so delighted about it.
As a matter of fact, Tohru seems unexpectedly animated around Iwai, the same way Yukitaro’s seen him animated around Dojima. He’s making the shopkeeper bark out laughter and crack a grin here and there.
… why does it almost remind him of Akira’s way with people? He shakes the thought off.
As they get ready, Yukitaro clears his throat. “Hey, uh, dad.. I haven’t handled a gun like this in real life before.”
Tohru pauses for a second, but his face seems to dawn with understanding when he realizes what Yukitaro means by that.
“Then lemme teach you some of my old tricks on it.”
As Iwai begins to fire a few rounds, Yukitaro takes up the gun. Tohru’s at his side, assisting his grip, his aim, and several other aspects of Yukitaro’s shooting.
“Don’t flinch. It’ll buck, but with a firm grip on it, it’ll know you’re the one in charge.”
Yukitaro laughs. “You talk about it like it’s a wild horse!”
Tohru’s lopsided grin is unexpectedly amusing. “Kinda because it is. Can’t go in all cocksure, or you’ll get your ass handed to you.”
“He’s right,” Iwai adds, and the three share a laugh. They keep on shooting for a while longer.
That night, Yukitaro’s sitting at the table with his face scrunched up. He’s glaring a hole into his English homework.
“Screw Ms. Chouno,” he mumbles under his breath.
Tohru looks up from his reading.
“What’s wrong? You look like you’ve got yourself in a twist.”
“Ryuji didn’t do his part of the English homework, so now I’ve gotta do it all,” Yukitaro grumbles. “I’m this close to asking Ann for the answers.”
Tohru pauses before chuckling.
Man, this kid truly was his son. Even had the slacking off gene.
“Then let me help, kid.”
“How?” Yukitaro raises an eyebrow as Tohru pulls up a seat.
“You might not know this, but a while back, they added English to the police recertification exams. Dojima and I spent long, drunken evenings practicing with flashcards. Combine that with the studies I’ve been doing lately when I’m not part of the Thieves, and presto, you’ve got yourself a fluent English-speaker - at least with reading and speaking. I suck at writing it.”
"Oh, yeah? Say something in English."
Tohru scrunches up his nose, trying to focus and summon all of his knowledge together before he says "I'm Tohru Adachi.. your favorite ex-serial killer, hooking in some nice bitches and whores."
Mishima tries writing it out and ends up laughing when he realizes what his father said in English.
"I'm guessing they didn't teach you swear words in police academy?"
It lapses into a silent hour there with just Yukitaro and Tohru doing homework together.
It’s odd, how far Tohru pushes himself on that homework for his son’s sake.
Once it’s done, Yukitaro clears his throat.
“You know.. Akechi told me about how you choked out Namatame.”
Tohru goes completely still, breath hitching.
There’s a look of fear in his eyes as he goes quiet.
Yukitaro stares at Tohru carefully.
“I don’t mind, Dad. The past is in the past. Besides.. it’s not like Namatame’s my dad. He may have raised me for a bit and wanted to be my father, but he’s not my dad.”
He points a finger, jabbing it into Tohru’s chest.
“You may have dropped the ball for god knows how many years of my life, but you’ve earned it back. You’re trying. So I guess you really are my dad.”
It’s cheesy, but Tohru feels a warm glow in his chest there, where Yukitaro jabbed. There’s one or two tears beginning to form in his eyes.
“Really?” he asks, his voice quiet.
“Yeah. Enough that, well.. I’m gonna see about going to the precinct clerk and getting my name changed back to what it should’ve been from the start. Yukitaro Adachi.. that’s a name you’ve proven I can wear with pride, now.”
Tohru’s heart beats faster, the rush of his Persona pumping through him on an intoxicating level. The warm feeling overwhelms him, and he smiles. He can almost hear Magatsu-Izanagi’s laughter rattle through his ears.
The bond you have formed has set your mind free, changing both father and son down to their core. The Adachi name has truly become a powerful one to bear.
… in other words, it’s time for us to take up a new crown.
And Tohru can feel Magatsu-Izanagi ascend, taking up its new mantle with pride. It laughs again, and Tohru can already tell it’s got a new name, now.
“Magatsu Izanagi Picaro..” he breathes, holding his head.
He feels a similar rush right beside him and looks over towards Yukitaro. What he sees (for a brief moment) is Yukitaro’s Persona, Kinbote, changing forms entirely.
Thin, silvery filigree gives way to taut, feathered muscle. A long mane of beads, feathers, and fur grows. Claws lengthen. Eyes take on a beastly glow.
“Enkidu..” Yukitaro breathes, and he flashes a grin back at Tohru.
His face goes wide with shock when Tohru hugs him.
I may be taking a break from updating for the next week or so because a.) midterms and b.) my birthday! :D
I'll try to at least give one other update, but I make no guarantees because the holiday season is hectic as hell.
I know this was a bit of a short chapter, and I do apologize. The next chapter will be a bit more of a "filler" chapter as well, since we've been moving awfully fast these past few chapters, but once we get through that..
We get to some of the real nitty-gritty stuff. The /endgame/ material.
Thank you all for supporting this fic and enjoying it like you do. It's one of the greatest early birthday presents I've gotten. <333333
I also have to give thanks to TheTrueOverlordBear, for suggesting Yukitaro's Ultimate Persona. Your contributions to this fic are noticed and recognized!
Chapter 27: The Devil's Hand (Bonus Chapter)
Philemon and Margaret examine the bonds, vices and virtues of Tohru Adachi.
I'll add more to this later, but for now I figured y'all would want the chapter up.
I'll be uploading the chapter to fanfiction.net tomorrow.
“The Jester is moving at a wonderful pace in his Social Links,” Margaret hums. “He has already unlocked new understandings of many of his bonds.”
Philemon, the handsome figure Tohru had met in his first Velvet Room stay, watches her carefully. Tohru Adachi interests him, amuses him, and he wants to know more of the man straight from the one person he knows that may know him best.
“Open the book,” he says softly, “I wish to see his progress. With most, if not all, of his bonds.”
“Which one would you like first?”
“Hanged Man. Munehisa Iwai. And do explain at least some of what they’re attempting.”
Margaret chuckles. “They’ve been modifying airsoft guns together. Apparently Tohru came up with a special design they’ve been finishing up.”
Margaret opens up the book, flipping to the page as the scenery flows out before her..
Tohru’s been working at this special airsoft gun mod with Iwai for months. Iwai’s patience has been tested once or twice in the process, but he hasn’t snapped at Adachi yet.
It’s clear they’ve been in the backroom of Untouchable for a long while. Wrinkled Big Bang Burger wrappers litter the space, as well as a few sucked upon lollipop sticks.
Iwai’s stripped down to a tank top and some combat pants, while Adachi’s got rolled up sleeves and an apron that bears the phrase “Get Smoked.” They’re both bent over the gun as they tinker with it. Iwai leans over, adjusting the lamplight.
“One more turn of the screwdriver, and we’ll have finished,” Iwai murmurs.
Tohru’s beaming. “Wanna do it together?”
Iwai can’t help but chuckle. “Sure thing, buddy.”
“Hey, when did I become your ‘buddy’? You’ve been calling me ‘kid’ for months.”
Tohru takes a grip of the screwdriver, Iwai quickly following suit. Iwai’s eyes crinkle with amusement.
“You became my ‘buddy’ ‘cause you earned it. Not many people can say that.”
“You’re just impressed at the coin tricks I did for your kid.”
“It was sudden, y’know? Didn’t think some skinny stock-broker lookin’ ex-convict would have a knack for that sorta thing.”
“Well..” Tohru chuckles, a little more anxious. “I learned it for my ex-boss’s daughter.”
“... you remembered?”
Iwai’s face melts to a smirk as his tone goes into pure sarcasm.
“You’ve got a picture of her in your wallet. Of course I’d remember. Just like you remember my kid’s name. Right, buddy ?”
Iwai reaches over, putting his hand on Tohru’s shoulder, and Tohru is delighted to find that Iwai’s also become a master of the firm father’s shoulder squeeze, just like Dojima is.
“Kaoru,” Tohru blurts out through the pain, and he seems visibly surprised that he was even able to recall that so quick.
Iwai throws his head back and laughs.
“Alright, alright. Enough banter, let’s get this thing finished and let’s fire it. I’ve got a bottle of champagne I haven’t opened that we can sip, too.”
Their hands grip, turning in sync, and Tohru feels like it all locks into place. Once they’ve got it turned, they pull back to stare at their masterpiece.
“Y’know, Tohru.. no matter what happens, I do wantcha to know something.”
“Mune..” Iwai chuckles, shaking his head. “Man, you’ve got some real nerve calling me by my first name..” he says, with a grin that shows he’s joking.
“Anyway, Tohru, lemme finish.”
Tohru goes quiet.
“Now, I’m not an idiot. Akira? That kid’s like a son to me, I’d go to war for him. He’s the leader of the Phantom Thieves, he’s a little punk, and he’s got a way with people.”
“And this pertains to me.. how?”
“I’m gettin’ to it, I’m gettin’ to it. I said lemme finish.”
After a moment of Tohru’s silence, Iwai continues again.
“You and Akira have the same sort of way with people. Though you’re still workin’ on it.”
“Am I, now?”
“Yeah. I can tell. You’re not as uncomfortable as when we first started talkin’, those few months back.”
Iwai pauses, blushing a little as he takes his hat off. “What I’m tryna say, Tohru, is that you’re part of my family too, now. Just like Akira is. And, well.. I want you to take this.”
The gecko pin Iwai places in Tohru’s hand is warm, and it makes Tohru’s heart soar.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast turned a bond-vow into a true blood-oath.
Thy bond has become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry, binding chains..
Thou hast awakened to the ultimate secret of the Hanged Man, granting thee infinite power..
Philemon laughs softly, a sound that slides through the air like silk.
“Why does it not surprise me so, that the first one he would get to the full understanding of a Fool’s Bond with would be that of Iwai…?”
Margaret nods, her tone dry and acrid. “The two have indeed become.. as one could put it.. thick as thieves.”
Philemon laughs even more, smiling wide.
“Excellent wordplay. As I will ask for all these bonds you convey to me: what has our Jester gained, from this bond of his?”
“The Yakuza connections Iwai has, which will become invaluable in the planning of Tohru’s.. gambit.”
".. the Phantom Requiem, I believe he calls it."
“You speak with such hesitance. You will have to describe to me later the full nature of the Jester’s plans. Onto the next one.”
“Which one now?”
Philemon smiles. “The one who opened his heart to the nature of bonds entirely in the first place.. Ryotaro Dojima, the Emperor.”
“And you would like me to explain this one’s basis, as well-”
“Yes. No need to cover the full beginnings, but only what builds their bond now.”
Margaret clears her throat. “It appears that our Adachi has been.. practicing a martial form of fighting with Dojima. He saw a rather old series, and.. He was inspired to learn how to fight in sync with Dojima, to the sounds of music.”
Philemon laughs again, unable to contain his amusement as he claps slightly. He leans forward.
“Now this I would love to see. The book, if you will.”
It opens up to the scene..
A strange song is playing through their headphones, and the two men are in Mementos.
They both take a deep breath, timed exactly so.
They step forward towards their enemy - an Angel - timed exactly so.
Steps fall in unison, faster.
Their weapons raise at the same time, hearts beat at the same time, their breaths go in and out, in and out at the same time -
And the two lunge.
Tohru might not be very strong, but he is fast, especially as a Thief, where his acrobatic skill is unmatched. Likewise, what Dojima lacks in speed normally, he almost certainly makes up for in strength. Gifted with the youthful quickness of the Thieves, he becomes a menace.
Put those two together, and what happens is nothing short of calculated carnage.
They slash into the Angel in unison.
It’s more than their hearts beating in sync, more than the footsteps they step in sync.
These two bleed into each other whenever they practice.
Dojima can feel Tohru’s hunger in his chest, twisting and livid and raw like an ache he can’t ignore, and it makes him shiver with excitement. Tohru can feel Dojima’s hardened, terrifying patience, worn like a mountain that refuses to bend, and it makes a grin spread on his own face.
In the heat of battle, Tohru Adachi and Ryotaro Dojima are alchemy - two fusing into one.
The Angel cries out as the two simultaneously pierce into its wings with their weapons. There’s a horrific precision to how the two do so.
Two weapons - a harpoon-like grappling hook and a firework lance - tear their way out of the wing and raise up at the same time.
They fall, and the Angel cries out one last time before vanishing.
They share panting breaths together, the blood of Shadows painting their faces.
Tohru’s hand ghosts Dojima’s in the afterglow.
I am thou, thou art I.
Thou hast already understood the ultimate secret of the Emperor, a bond-oath transcended into a hungry blood-oath that breaks the yoke of thy heart..
Philemon places a few fingers to his lips, still grinning.
“What a strange loyalty these two have to each other. Love and lust and loyalty and life, in a single pairing.”
Margaret rubs her temple with two fingers. “For how bold he can be sometimes, he can be so frustratingly dense. Neither will speak the words aloud to confirm a truth they both know in their hearts.”
“He needs to stop meandering and spit it out.”
“That’s what I’ve been thinking for the past several months, Master.” Her tone is getting increasingly more weary.
“I suspect we do not need to dwell on this truth further - I know already what the Jester gains from this, after all. Inaba’s heartbeat serves him well. Onto the next one.”
“That would be.. Kunikazu Okumura. Hierophant.”
“And what has Tohru Adachi done with him?”
“While Okumura has tutored our Jester in the ways of eloquence, refining his high mockery, Tohru has helped Okumura understand a new way to bond with his daughter.”
“... video games.”
Kunikazu stands on the landing of the Okumura mansion with Tohru, watching the crowds of people mill around below them. Haru’s smiling, waving in her wheelchair as she greets all the other professional gamers that come into the mansion. They seem to be rather familiar with her, judging by their cheerful faces.
Kunikazu is smoking a cigar as he turns his head slightly towards Tohru.
“She’s really gotten better,” Tohru chirps.
Kunikazu can’t help but laugh. “Almost like you have.”
Tohru lets out a “pfft,” chuckling along with a grin. “That’s bullshit.”
“You’re no murderer, not anymore. Would the Tohru Adachi of the past make the choice to save my life, even knowing what I’ve done?”
Tohru can’t help but go quiet at that.
His response is a quiet “... no, no he wouldn’t.”
Kunikazu turns towards Tohru, his shoulders relaxed as he leans against the railing.
“I’m aware you’ve most likely.. seen the worst I have to offer. You made that packet, after all - the one with all those pictures.”
“No kidding,” Tohru sighs, “I saw some pretty fucked-up shit, for lack of a better term. You were like a tyrant back then.”
“You know, Adachi, I also took the liberty to research your crimes when we began talking, those few months ago.” Kunikazu takes a deep drag from his cigar, letting the smoke drift through the air. “People hanging from television poles.. How did you do it?” “Shoved them into a TV.”
And Kunikazu throws his head back, letting himself laugh.
“There were no marks on the bodies, though!”
“It’s the usual sort of cognitive nonsense. Y’know, like how the Metaverse works.. Except I didn’t need some fancy app on my phone, I could just shove my hand and body in and boom, there I was. Had full control over it, too.”
A somber look falls onto Kunikazu’s face. He looks to the side.
“... do you ever think about the fact, Tohru, that we should not be alive?”
Tohru tenses up. “How?”
“We’re..” Kunikazu laughs again, but it’s mirthless and hollow. “We were genuinely awful people back then. Both of us.”
Tohru pinches the bridge of his nose. “Yeah, but things are different. You got your ass kicked by some stupid kids, I got my ass kicked by some stupid kids, we understand where we went wrong and how to ‘fix’ it - or already have it fixed, in your case - and now we’re here, trying to figure ourselves out.”
Kunikazu shakes his head. “So you chose to save me because someone reached out and saved you, is that what you’re telling me?”
“Something along those lines, yeah.”
Kunikazu’s face quirks up in a smile. “Tohru Adachi.. You truly are a strange, strange sort of man. And yet.. I consider you a trusted friend of mine.”
He walks up to Tohru, putting his hand on Tohru’s shoulder. “You’re the only person who will ever truly understand what I went through and how I changed. That’s why I give you my bond of trust.. and why I give you this.”
He puts a little box into Tohru’s hands. Tohru opens it up to find a pair of shiny golden cufflinks.
“... Mr. Motivational’s passing on his heirloom cufflinks to his student at last, heh?” Tohru jokes, trying not to seem too touched by the sentiment.
Kunikazu chuckles. “I swear, I’ll be lowered into the grave and you’ll still be calling me Mr. Motivational.”
“Whaaat? It’s a good nickname. Why not wear it with pride?”
“I should start calling you something equally as embarrassing.”
“Regardless. These cufflinks.. My father gave them to me, yes. I swore I’d never give them to anybody else, but.. Times have changed. You deserve them more than I do.”
Tohru’s face quirks in a smirk.
“You really are something, Okumura..”
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast turned a bond-vow into a true blood-oath.
Thy bond has become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry, binding chains..
Thou hast awakened to the ultimate secret of the Hierophant, granting thee infinite power..
“What interests me the most about this specific bond of the Jester’s is the fact that, Margaret.. Kunikazu was destined to die. I could see it in the cards, I could see it in the stars.. And I’m fairly certain the man himself even knew it, on some level, that his time was running out.” Philemon picks up a card, 10 of Swords.
“The worst sort of defeat possible awaited him. And yet in a single, destiny-destroying instance, the Jester did something near-unprecedented for himself. For a second, he did what his counterpart, Narukami, would do..”
Philemon throws the card aside, hard enough for it to pierce into the floor of the Velvet Room.
“With two bullets, he changed fate entirely and saved Kunikazu’s life. The damned saving the damned.”
Margaret seems to grow particularly irritated at this.
“He is nothing like Narukami. Narukami is a better boy than the Jester can even dream of being.”
“He is everything like Narukami.”
“You’re spinning truth into lies.”
The corner of Philemon’s mouth raises in an eerie grin.
“It’s no coincidence that he holds the Jester Arcana where Narukami holds the Fool. In another circumstance, another time.. He very well may have turned out like your beloved Wild Card.”
Margaret bares her teeth, closing the book and gripping it tightly.
“Say that again and Master or not, I will slap you.”
“Margaret, what distresses you so about this truth? Is it because of your feelings for Narukami?”
Her eyes flash with shock and fear.
“My feelings are not your concern.” Her voice wavers slightly, eyes wide.
“Then it is your feelings on the Jester.”
“No,” she says, but her eyes betray the truth.
“Your tone holds the timbre of a lie. Give me the book.”
“Give me the book,” Philemon repeats, stepping closer. There is no change in his tone, his face eerily placid.
“I refuse! I will not let you see this -”
“Give me that which is mine.”
Philemon grabs the book, flipping it to the Empress page, getting a brief glimpse -
“Look, I just need your help with this plan..”
“All you want to do, Jester, is use people. It’s sickening, and I won’t play into it - even if I wanted to, it’s not allowed..”
“Bullshit. I know you helped Narukami, didn’t you?”
“I did not break the rules of my position for him!”
“... you did, didn’t you? Hahaha, you're such a bad liar!"
“No! You get out, you get away from me!”
“I need your help if I’m going to win.”
Philemon closes the book up.
“... I will allow him this small victory, Margaret. Whatever plan he wanted you to co-operate upon with him, let him carry it out.”
“Why? It seems like you’re favoring him.”
“Make no mistake, Margaret - I do not play favorites.”
His smile is still that same, eerie calm as he grabs Margaret by the shoulder leaning in. “Have you seen into the future like I have? Have you seen the threat of control, the Crawling Chaos rising once more?”
He shakes his head. “I am humanity’s benevolence, but I worry. I worry deeply. I allow him this small mercy in service of all that comes next. I allow him this because I am no longer going to stand by and watch - I am going to help, as much as I can, because they will need it for what is to come.”
“It does not change the Jester’s hunger. It does not change his vice.”
“Then show it to me. Show me the man’s worst vices, and I shall give to you my rebuttal.”
“... Very well, Master.”
“No - call me Philemon, if you will.”
Thanks a ton to salmonandsoup, writer of the Spectral Redeemers au which is another really good au you should check out, for helping me write the Kunikazu part!
Another thank you to my good buddy Snap for doing the first art we've seen of Marquis/Phantom Thief Mishima in this au! Snap's art is always so damn good..
Sorry for how long it took to upload this chapter. I'm 18 now! Yay!
I had art block, holiday stuff.. hopefully we can get back to weekly updates as usual. Hope you guys enjoyed the Evangelion reference here.
To new readers: Welcome to this fic! I hope you're enjoying it!
To old readers: Welcome back to this fic! I'm glad you've stuck around! Your due patience is gonna be rewarded with some absolutely firecracker chapters coming up.
To all readers: Thank you for your continued support and patronage!
NEXT CHAPTER: We tackle the planning for Masayoshi Shido's Palace! Perhaps the Investigation Team's research might truly pay off..
Chapter 28: Cruise Ship of Pride (Part I)
My apologies for not updating in two weeks - life got in the way.
Hopefully this chapter is action-packed enough to make up for it.
I'd recommend getting some tissues for this one.
As Tohru Adachi finds out, the phrase “Tell me about Masayoshi Shido” garners many, many sorts of negative reactions amongst the Phantom Thieves.
It’s almost a forgone conclusion that the Prime Minister candidate - and current darling of the media - is going to be the next target of the Phantom Thieves, but Akira decides to hold a meeting on it anyway.
“... I’ve heard things on Masayoshi Shido,” Dojima sighs, “even from my meager position. None of them have been good.”
Ryuji slams his fist into the table. “Ugh! This guy is the poster boy for shitty adults. We’ve got to go after him, especially with all he’s done to us.”
“There is also the matter of how the media paints him,” Yusuke adds from his seated position. He begins drawing idly as he speaks. “It may even be seen as idle slander if we go after him without providing evidence, like we did with Okumura.”
Akira nods towards Tohru, who snickers.
He wordlessly pulls out a thick file folder, practically bursting with all sorts of papers and photographs. Then he drops it onto the table with a table-shaking thud that rouses the cat Morgana from his nap.
“Adachi-san.. pardon me, but what the fuck is this?”
Tohru chuckles even more, shaking his head. “What? I knew we were gonna go after him eventually. So I took a few.. precautions, maybe pulled together a few things here and there with the help of Dojima’s brat nephew.”
“Yu helped you with this?” Dojima sputters, amazed.
Tohru nods. “Yep! He gave it to me a few days ago, actually.”
Tohru thinks back on it briefly -
He’d gotten a message out of the blue from Narukami.
> Call me, I’ve finally got the information you requested.
Tohru smirked and dialed the number up.
“Hey, kid. Finally came through?”
Narukami chuckled. “How the hell do you even know people in the Yakuza?”
Tohru couldn’t stifle a grin. That ability Iwai’s bond had given him - I Know A Guy - combined with the one he’d gotten from Kunikazu’s - Jester’s High Mockery - was already proving to be a deeply effective combination.
“I took a page out of your book and started trying to form those strange, confusing things you call bonds - and I’m getting a Fool’s reward from it, all the way from the Velvet Room.”
Narukami froze. His thoughts were colored in a deep, horrified shock: Adachi’s.. Adachi’s become a Wild Card?
Now it was Tohru’s turn to chuckle - after all, he never said he was a Wild Card. “So. Send me the files via Dischat and tell me what you found.”
“Shido’s buried so many cases that when we unearthed one, we unearthed a whole rat’s nest full of corruption, hedonism, and injustice.” Narukami’s tone was bitter beyond words.
“If this were to ever get out, would it sink his campaign?”
“He’d be looking at the death penalty, at the very least.”
Tohru paused at this. Then he said “It has all you could find, right?”
“Tell me if this one is in there.”
Tohru reaches into the folder and pulls out a specific file.
“I don't think you know that I had this in there - Masayoshi Shido v. ‘Akira Kurusu.’ That ring a bell?”
Akira’s jaw drops. “Is.. is that.."
“Yep,” Tohru chirps, “and enclosed is the investigation Narukami and his plucky little friends undertook that proves your innocence. You even had the First Detective Prince stand in your defense here. If this doesn’t exonerate you in the eyes of the courts of judicial and public opinion, I’ll eat my hat.”
“I already know just how to spread it,” Futaba said with a smile, “so far and wide that Shido can’t take it down even if he tried!”
Tohru nods, patting Futaba's head gently. “That ‘a girl. Look through it all, because this is going to be the calling packet to end all calling packets.”
Though he’s outwardly smug, he’s still thinking of the last thing Yu Narukami had said to him on the call.
Tohru was about to hang up. They’d discussed how things were going in Inaba, how happier Dojima was, and more forms of small talk.
Narukami’s tone was beyond calm and light when he said something that made Tohru feel like he’d been punched in the gut.
“Well, Devil, I’ll be seeing you around. Have fun on your missions in that other world, and tell my Uncle - Baron - hello. Goodbye.”
Narukami hung up before Tohru could question him on how he knew about the Thieves, about the Metaverse, about all of it.
Finding Shido’s Palace and finding a way into it is scarily easy. The process of breaking into it blurs together in Yukitaro’s head.
It’s when they take their first steps into the Palace that Yukitaro’s head clicks into hyper-observation, the same way it’s done for all of the Palaces he’s been in.
The Palace itself is a cruise ship. It’s an enormous exercise in extravagance, with red carpet floors and gilded walls. If Sae’s Palace practically smells like money, then Shido’s Palace feels to Yukitaro like he’s being drowned in liquid gold.
The wealth and gilded.. well, everything, is suffocating, from the whispers of the masked cruise-goers to the shining badges of the security guards. Everything is placed so perfect that it delves right into the Uncanny Valley.
And the security guards are ever-present, patrolling at odd angles and confusing patterns.
Nothing seems to fit right.
From the moment they take their first steps into the Palace, Yukitaro notices a shared arrogance amongst the Phantom Thieves of Heart that wasn’t there before.
With Tohru and Yukitaro Adachi by their side, they’ve grown into infamous anti-heroes. They’ve managed to accomplish the impossible, bring down Palaces in half the time it normally takes, redefine Japan’s culture in a way that some people would almost say is “too much, too fast.”
They’re beyond certain that they can take this Palace and all the challenges it offers.
But something grips Yukitaro’s heart and mind as they run through Shido’s Palace, trying to gather the letters that will act as their keys to where the Treasure is located.
things have been going too well, Yukitaro’s anxieties and fears mock, things will go to shit far too soon.
In every fight they get into with the security guards, this fear makes his hands shake, makes his heart beat far too fast.
things will go to shit
Yukitaro swings at the miniboss they’re facing, one of Shido’s trusted and most powerful subordinates.
things will go to shit
Yukitaro pulls back, blood coating his chainsword - his heart beats beyond fast, and his breathing is beyond frantic.
things will go to shit —
There’s a lethal attack heading his way from the miniboss that Yukitaro fails to notice, his heart too seized by the dread something will go wrong and his mind too seized by observing everything to make sure that dread won’t happen.
Adachi screams “YUKITARO!” and pushes Yukitaro to the side.
The sound of a crack that could fell trees.
The smell of burnt flesh and blood.
The flash of a lightning bolt piercing through.
Tohru Adachi puts his hand to his mouth, and tastes blood.
His hand goes to the hole in his torso.
He falls to the floor.
In a heartbeat’s moment, Yukitaro and Dojima run to the man, holding him close.
“Dad, D-Dad, you can do this, you’re not allowed to die, I will not allow you to die ..”
“Damnit, Adachi, keep breathing, I can’t lose you, not like I almost lost Nanako, not like Chisato..”
The two have tears bubbling up in their eyes, similar to how Tohru has blood bubbling up from his chest.
Tohru Adachi laughs, his voice raspy.
Then he coughs up blood.
“It’s not like.. you should mourn.. for an entitled little brat like me.. that wasted his life on hating all he never got.”
“Adachi - Tohru, ” Dojima says, “you’re not going to die.”
Tohru Adachi weakly smiles as his fingers interlace with Dojima’s and Yukitaro’s.
“The world is shit.. but with you two, it never felt that way.”
The emptiness grabs Tohru Adachi and his eyes go muted. His hands slip, and fall to the floor with a quiet thud.
Tohru Adachi is still smiling, the one truly genuine, loving smile he ever gave.
Yukitaro grips his father’s chest, his voice and his tears pouring out in a litany to “come back, Dad, please come back..”
Dojima’s fists ball up as he stands. “Yuki- Marquis, call Joker, ask if he can get us a revival item. I know he has them.”
He turns towards the boss, letting something snap inside him.
“How dare you still draw breath while the man I.. the man I love.. is lying dead on the ground..”
The claws on his gloves unsheath, blood dripping down his palms as his breathing becomes more frenzied and his voice becomes more of an animal’s snarl.
“I WON’T LET YOU LIVE!”
Like I'd really kill Tohru Adachi off when the dude's a main character and my favorite character to write here. From here on out, this is where this fic is gonna hit the parts I've really been looking forward to and foreshadowing.
So, uh, look out for that one! Welcome, new readers, and hello to old ones! I look forward to seeing your comments, one and all.
We also now have actual art of Phantom Thief Adachi and Dojima/Devil and Baron! Feast upon it with your eyeballs and be gladdened by it. I can't wait to see how others interpret how Adachi and Dojima's Phantom Thief outfits look here, too!
Have fun, stay safe, and thank you all for sticking with this fic even through my two-week hiatus/breakdown/whatever you wanna call it.
Chapter 29: Cruise Ship of Pride (Part II)
Tohru meets an old friend. The Thieves face down an unjust foe.
Tohru wakes up in the afterlife dressed in a man’s white kimono. He’s in a dark room lit by one, lone lantern sitting on a kotatsu. The place has tatami floors and is sparsely decorated.
“I’m.. shit, I can’t be dead.. I’ve still got so much more to do, I wasn’t done yet..!”
“Doesn’t that sound familiar,” an eerily calm voice says, and Tohru looks up.
Mayumi Yamano sits across from him in a white yukata. Her gaze is not especially hateful or loving. In the dim light, the shadows paint her face even more starkly.
“It’s not like I had nothing else I wanted to do in my life when you shoved me in the television, Adachi.”
Tohru’s eyes well up.
“Mayumi? … god, I’m so sorry, sweetheart.”
Her face softens a little at his “innocent” tone, the tone she knew he’d practiced for hours in a mirror. “Pet names like that never sounded good out of your mouth.”
Tohru lets out a hollow chuckle, his voice reverting back to normal. “I was trying to be nice, you wily bitch.”
“That’s more like it,” Mayumi remarks. She sighs, gripping her yukata.
“I’d like to keep this brief. After all, you’re not meant to be truly dead yet. So save your apologies, save your remiscising, save all of it because I don’t want to hear it.”
Tohru looks her in the eyes. “Yukitaro..”
“Is now safe in your care, yes.”
Mayumi tilts her face away. “I’m sorry I didn’t trust you earlier, though I know you’d understand better than any why I kept him away from you.”
“I would’ve been a horrible father then.”
“... not entirely.”
Tohru cocks his head. Mayumi chuckles.
“What, you truly think I wouldn’t notice how you doted on Nanako?”
Tohru goes silent.
“I thought so,” Mayumi adds, and she pauses once again.
“Is there anything you want me to do for you?”
“Anything to atone, you mean.”
Mayumi leans back a bit. She stares blankly.
“I want you to take Yukitaro to my grave. Leave me some sake, pour it on my grave. You know the brand - it’s what I always ordered when we went out drinking at the Shiroku Pub together. I want you to remind Yukitaro that, in spite of everything, I loved him, and I still do. And I want you to move on from me.”
Mayumi sighs again.
“You heard me. Go be with the man you love, and stop defining yourself by what you were. You’re not the man I fell for anymore. That’s a good thing. Though, there is one thing of mine I’d like to give.”
She twists her favorite ring off of her finger, and hands it to Tohru.
“Adachi.. think of it as my thanks and blessings for all the fun we had, and my curse for you killing me.”
The ring shines with a dull glow.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast turned a bond-vow into a true blood-oath.
Thy bond has become the eyes with which the truth may be seen, and the wings of rebellion that break through the hungry, binding chains..
Thou hast awakened to the ultimate secret of Death, granting thee infinite power..
You have made amends with the sin that made you who you are.. and the power of these amends has given you the ability to avoid ruin.
You gained the ability Eternal Salvation, Eternal Damnation —
“I believe someone is here to lead you back home.”
Tohru turns around to see Philemon waiting at the doorway.
“Arise, Jester, and follow me.” Philemon declares, and Tohru feels himself pulled into Philemon’s reach.
Philemon outstretches a hand, and Tohru takes it.
As they walk together, Tohru can’t help but ask something.
“What do you look like under the mask?”
“Jester, I am the virtues in the heart of every man. If I were to take it off, it may look like a variety of people I wish to pick from, most likely yourself or the person you love the most - the person that is your sanctuary.”
He turns to face Tohru and Tohru pulls the mask away.
“You always act with such unpredictability..” he says.
Surprising nobody except for Tohru, the face that smiles back is Ryotaro Dojima’s.
Tohru Adachi pauses. He stumbles back, attempting to give the mask back, but Philemon throws it aside. “This would be the place,” Philemon hums.
He snaps his fingers, and in front of them an image opens up.
Dojima’s fighting off the thing that killed Tohru Adachi - a cognitive copy of Shido’s personal “cleaner,” a member of the Yakuza. He looks more unhinged than ever, kicking the creature in the face with no fear. Tears gleam in his eyes, but he wipes them away. He looks very close to killing the thing - as a matter of fact, in the timespan of a single breath, he hacks the cognition’s head off entirely.
Yukitaro holds Adachi’s corpse close as Akira approaches with a revival item.
Tohru shakes his head. “They look like shit.. I didn’t think they’d cry that much over me.”
He looks back up at Philemon, who’s grinning.
“You hungry, unpredictable Jester.. do not waste this second chance at life. To welcome you into this new chance of salvation, I shall give you my blessing.”
“Blessing..?” Tohru begins, but he’s cut off by Philemon leaning in and kissing him on the lips.
In that kiss is a court’s worth of secrets and unspoken knowledge and the experiences of all the Tohru Adachis that fell and rose and became anew.
Experiences in universes like this one where he found his way to Tokyo and fell for Okumura, fell for Iwai, fell for Dojima, fell for a man named Takuto Maruki that he doesn’t recognize but he knows he will, someday.
Experiences where he slid backwards, manipulated Narukami and his little Investigation Team to hell and back, fled to places like Vegas where he only grew hungrier and harder to satiate.
Experiences where he found his way to a home - whether that was the Thieves, or the Dojima family, or the Investigation Team, or the Shadow Operatives or anything, anything at all.
In that kiss, time stops and he feels alive, his heart beating with a strong pulse. These memories are overwhelming, but he feels like he’s truly breathing for the first time in his life.
He falls into the image, and he can’t help but smile, bright and beaming.
The first face Tohru Adachi sees when he awakens is Ryotaro Dojima running over to him, and it makes him chuckle.
“You’re ok..” Ryotaro breathes, kneeling down next to Adachi.
Tohru’s hand reaches towards Ryotaro’s face, stroking it in an oddly tender action for the man.
“Can’t believe.. you’re so stubborn.. that you led me back from death,” Tohru laughs, eyes twinkling.
Ryotaro’s eyebrows shoot up in shock. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Damnit, Dad, don’t leave like that again,” Yukitaro hisses, hugging Tohru close, and Ryotaro hugs Tohru close as well.
The two cling to Tohru tightly as Akira strides forward.
“We need to take a break.”
“No,” Tohru says, “I’m fine.”
Akira pinches his brow. “Ad- Devil, you literally just died, I think we all need time to process what happened!”
“We don’t have time. Shido is going to hunt us down and kill us.”
“DEVIL! THINK THIS THROUGH! I want to repeat, you literally just died! We need to take a break.”
“... No. We aren’t taking a break, ” Adachi snarls, “because we can’t afford to.”
“Don’t make me order it as the leader of the Phantom Thieves. Baron, talk some sense into him.” Akira jerks his head towards Dojima, his eyes blazing with intensity.
Dojima sighs, looking down at Tohru. “C’mon, you idiot, let’s get going back-”
“As the leader of the Devil’s Hand section of the Thieves, I say no. Even if we could..”
A hollow laugh cuts through the air as a figure lands from the ceiling, eyes gleaming in the dark.
“Long time no see.”
They turn around and stare into the auburn eyes of Goro Akechi.
Tohru’s head pulses violently, and he gasps as he grabs his head. His vision refracts. What's.. happening? he thinks to himself.
“Doji- Baron, Marquis, fight in my place..” he rasps.
Akira calls the other Phantom Thieves to his side.
“You ruined so many of my plans.. I was a few weeks away from ruining Shido’s reputation and killing him myself, but you and your little gang sent it all to HELL!” Akechi snarls.
“We know you’re behind the shutdowns, Akechi,” Akira sighs.
“Akira Kurusu..” He seems to calm at hearing Akira’s voice. “We could have been friends, if only we had met earlier.” Goro stalks closer. The Phantom Thieves raise their weapons. “If only they weren’t in the way.” He gestures to the other Thieves.
Akira stands his ground. “You tried to kill Adachi and Okumura and drive them both berserk. You paralyzed Haru. Any friendship we once had is dead.”
“Wait,” Yukitaro yells, “he tried to drive Dad berserk?”
Akechi smirks. “Oh, so he told Akira and nobody else.. That spineless monster didn’t even tell his own son. You know what he left out?” He points at Tohru.
Tohru’s curled up in a ball, grabbing his head and groaning with pain. He’s writhing in agony. All these memories are hitting him at once and his head aches, his heart pounding. So many emotions and so many painful pasts are bubbling up that it truly feels as if he’s drowning.
“I tried to drive him berserk, and found only a hungry, hollow lack where his soul should be!”
Akechi throws his head back and laughs.
“My mother died when she had me, a cursed bastard.. I begged and scraped for every inch of affection I could find, changing myself entirely just so someone could like me.. and soulless trash like him gets love handed to him on a silver platter!”
He continues. “Then I gained this power, the power of a Persona, and suddenly things weren’t so boring! I had been given a new chance, and I would use it to kill my scum father at any cost.”
Tohru flinches violently at ‘things weren’t so boring.’
“I’ve had enough of this backstory rhapsodizing,” Akira sighs, “let’s fight already.”
“You heard me, Goro Shido. Don’t hold back.”
Goro Akechi bares his teeth and screams with rage. “ Fine! Then let me.. show you.. who I REALLY AM! COME, LOKI…! ”
A new Persona appears above him, holding a sword. Striped black and white, it appears almost feral. Goro’s attire turns from his old Phantom Thief attire - beautiful white - all the way to a sickening, black and violent outfit the color of bruise.
The Black Mask stands before them in arrogant glory. “I’ll slaughter.. all you worthless fools.. in front of your weeping friends!”
And he charges into battle.
The Thieves (save one) all respond in kind, summoning their Personas and leaping into battle.
Their fight against Goro Akechi isn’t easy - he truly doesn’t hold back. Yet, the Thieves fight on. Dojima fights with desperation, while Yukitaro fights with hope.
In the background, Tohru is drowning in his own memories, in all the lives that never were. They’re growing more intense, all of these unrestrained emotions swelling in his throat.
He sees himself in a straightjacket, himself as a cheater, himself as a hopeless kid, himself written in triplicate.
Magatsu-Izanagi cackles laughter, howls mourning, clicks out throaty rage, moans with deep disgust.
When Goro Akechi falls to the floor, panting and beaten, Akechi snaps out that “you idiots couldn’t understand what I’ve been through!”
Tohru’s pounding head reaches its searing peak, and the emotions finally pour out. The scream of a drowning man rings from Tohru’s throat, his wildly shaking frame going eerily still.
The room falls silent.
The scream morphs into a demented peal of chillingly calm laughter.
Tohru Adachi rises from his fetal position, his hands trembling and his eyes glowing gold.
“ You think the world sucks because someone didn’t treat you right?”
Akechi coughs up blood. “Fuck you.”
Tohru shuffles forward. His demeanor is shifting far faster than before, tears in his eyes and razor-cut grin on his face and slightly shaking limbs.
“You could’ve run away and used your powers for something, anything else! Instead you wasted your life on executing a convoluted plan that would bring you nothing. What a little brat you are!”
Tohru laughs, stumbling back a little as tears run down his face. “It’s almost tragic! I bet if I lined up your life in a neat little row, I could see all the times you could’ve changed for the better, all the times you shunned for your own little plan!”
He grabs Akechi by the throat, his own laughter and tears cutting off halfway. Akechi coughs and writhes under Adachi’s grip, but Adachi’s grip is unrelenting.
“I just died, and you know what? All of myself, all of these lives I’ve had, they’re all screaming the same thing at you.. You’re just a little kid throwing a temper tantrum. ” His voice is deeply composed, a formality to it that makes all the others freeze up.
He turns away, still holding Akechi by the neck as he snickers. “Gee, you remind me too much of another kid I knew that I had to yell the same thing at.. and I seriously hate you both..”
He throws Akechi down to the ground, knocking the wind out of the boy.
“You think your life is unfair, kid? That the world is shit? Then that’s ALL you’ll ever get! You’ll slave away at your job and shoot a Yakuza boss in the knee and get sent out to the sticks and wallow in your own shit until you snap!”
“And do you know how I know?” He crouches down, grabbing Akechi by the hair and ripping a chunk of it out. “Because I’ve been THROUGH IT, OVER AND OVER! I’ve seen the worst I can get, and TRUST ME, IT’S FAR FROM PRETTY! The worst you can get can’t even hold a candle to the shit I’ve seen myself do, the shit I know I can do…!”
He throws the clump aside, tears falling from his eyes as his voice breaks. “And from one piece of shit to another, nothing good can come.. from a brat like you continuing to draw breath..”
“Goro Akechi has to die.” He pulls out a new black revolver, Iwai’s initials carved into it. It gleams with a wicked shine.
“ADACHI! NO!” Dojima’s voice breaks the silence.
Yukitaro tries to push to the front. “Dad, wait-“
“You’re better than this, Devil!” Akira yells.
Adachi relishes seeing the figure that had painted his son’s nightmares right in the sights of his revolver. Facing down death, Akechi looks more like a scared and frightened boy than any other time Adachi’s seen him.
Akechi stares Adachi right in the eye.
He looks into the Jester’s eerily placid, “tear-streaked with a smile” face and sees a man who knows the worst depths of everything he could do, a man who’s seen it more vividly than anybody could ever hope to understand.
“You wouldn’t do it,” Akechi says, his voice wavering with fear at this changed Jester. “You’re too dependent on them to go against them.”
Adachi’s arm lowers and Akechi untenses, letting himself smirk..
Pain blooms in Akechi’s knee and foot.
Akechi screams, his voice laced with desperation.
“Go ahead and run. If you even can.”
Akechi pulls himself up. He moves to limp out when a figure appears in front of Adachi - a cognitive copy of Goro Akechi that raises a gun at the boy.
Adachi’s quicker at the draw.
“AKECHI, YOU BRAT!”
His mind focuses, his revolver aiming, one of his eyes glowing a silvery moon while the other remains the gold of a Velvet Room denizen. The moon reflects off the barrel and a shot fires perfect.
The bullet is draped in a blue tongue of fire as the moment happens quicker than a blink.
The Moonshot pierces right through the Cognitive Akechi’s head, flying straight as it continues right into the true Akechi’s eye.
Two Akechis fall to the ground, True Akechi to his knees and False Akechi to the floor where he vanishes.
Tohru Adachi holsters his gun.
He can’t resist the urge to say something, anything to make himself seem a little bit more cool -
“An eye for an eye, huh?”
Akechi looks up with one recently empty eyesocket and one full eye and spits blood angrily at Tohru.
“... we have to get out of here,” Akira sighs.
As they leave, Tohru grabs Akechi by the collar of his shirt.
“You said you would kill me,” Akechi hisses.
“I said you had to die.. but I never said it literally.”
Tohru drops him and lets him hobble along behind the group. He already knows the feeling inside him too well.
I am thou, thou art I..
Thou hast acquired a new bond-vow.
With the birth of the Justice Persona, I have obtained the winds of blessing that lead to freedom and new power.
When they get out of the Palace, the new announcement from Shido is all over the media.
Shido Reveals Identity Of One Of The Phantom Thieves!
Big Bang Burger Heiress, A Burglar!
Shido: “We Will Root Them Out, Name By Name”
“They’ll name one of the Thieves.. for every day we don’t turn ourselves in,” Dojima says.
Akira stumbles back in shock.
“This can’t be happening..”
If something happens to delay a chapter, check out my twitter - @penthepoet - which should inform you when the chapter will next be posted.
This chapter has a lot of fun ramifications, but the main one is that Tohru Adachi now technically has the memories of several AU!Adachis, including Adachis from various Persona 4 fics I love like Spectral Redeemers, Wanted It To Be A Game, Rend the Heart, Special Menu, Sympathy Crime and other fun aus I've seen Adachi in.
It also means that Tohru Adachi now has memories of the Cheater we saw in Sae's Palace.
I've been waiting a long time for that Moonshot foreshadowing to pay off, and I'm so happy it did.
How are the Thieves gonna deal with this new roadblock? Well, we'll have to see.
Thank you to all you readers who patiently waited for this chapter! It's a long one, for certain, and I hope you enjoy it.
The next chapter will be posted on Tohru Adachi's birthday, and in honor of the little bastard's birthday, I'll reveal the name and summary in advance:
The Jester's Own Coronation.
Tohru goes on a date with Dojima while Japanese civilization gets shaken to its very core. Akira gains a new understanding of the Hunger Arcana.
Have fun theorizing, speculating and hypothesizing what comes next.