This is the fifth fucking time Akira has to live 2016. He’s getting awfully tired of it. How old is he now, 20? He’s an adult, he can drink already.
16 year old him is sitting his ass on a train to his new place of residence.
Sure, new. Let’s put it like that.
Akira is so fucking angry.
Oh, so the last time wasn’t enough? What, did he not manage to convince Sae to take the phone while he was drugged? He could never recall what he said nor did in the integration room, but frankly he doesn’t want to remember. Because evidently, his body and subconscious does, and he just doesn’t react to certain things the way he used to.
And it keeps fucking happening.
“Ugh.” He sighs into his seat and hunches over, eyes wash over him for mere moments from his rudely loud sigh, but just as quickly those glances head back to their elections or windows. He runs a hand through his hair; which does nothing to soothe him, and burns gaping holes into the floor of the train.
After that redo that derailed the most he’s ever managed, he decided his 4th time around would be as close as the first. Except he didn’t plan to die when Yaldabaoth decided to fight them. But all that planning and preparation didn’t do jack shit. That was the shortest go around ever. He’s never failed to get her to take it before. He wonders where he went wrong before his fury returns. He doesn’t have much time before Arsene bust his ass into the world to deliver that dumb app to his phone. Maybe I should break mine? A laughable thought, he wouldn’t be able to afford a replacement. Not for awhile at least.
He sinks back into the palms of his hands and wishes this world would just disappear, that he’ll disappear. But fate is never so kind. And these Gods are very bored indeed. He hides himself from the world until he hears the name of his station ring through the speakers and reluctantly gets up. He maneuvers through the crowd of people fairly easily and doesn't bother pulling out his phone. He doesn’t need it, he knows exactly where to go from here. Only when the world goes gray and insipid and the busybodies around him stop, does he stand still and shut his eyes close. He doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to look, he’s tired. Still he feels it, the stare from his inter rebel, the persona he desperately wants to put away.
And then it’s done.
He opens his eyes once noise comes back and moves along with the crowd lest he wants to be stepped over by strangers. He has a fun day ahead of him.
That was sarcasm.
It’s not until after Sojiro tells him (i.e., threatens) he better not take anything from the store and to go to sleep, that he has time to sit down and think alone.
Sae didn’t take the phone then… What could have happened that he couldn't get her to take it? He was sure not to over step and work the same ways he did when this was all fresh and new. When he was fumbling through experience to experience. Evidently it wasn’t exact, he didn’t have a photographic memory and by then it had been nearly 3 years ago but…
God, there was so much margin for errors. It could've been anything, couldn’t it? Any small damn thing could’ve been the trigger.
Guess he could say he knows what it looks like when he pulls the trigger on his cognitive.
He falls onto the bed and pushes his glasses up to pinch the bridge of his nose. He thought...he really thought… He thought that was going to be the end. That it was the last time he’d override the save data under duress for his life and just...get on with it. See what happens in the new year.
But nah. He’s still a fumbling mortal being fed liquor and honey by the gods who watch on greedily to the entertainment their livestock provides. He wonders if they’re going to get bored of this. (They have to eventually though, probably long after Akira loses grip on his sanity. The thought makes him shiver.)
Akira certainly is. So much so he decided as he lays there with voracious indignation lapping at his bones that he wasn't going to even dip his toe into the metaverse. By any stretch of the imagination. And if that might mean having to forgo meeting his friends for the 5th time, then he’ll do it. It’s his big ‘fuck you’ to the world. He has nothing else to give it. All he had, he had offered. And each damn time it was slipped into the void and they would spit on his face for all his efforts.
He falls asleep to the thought of reminding himself he’s okay with this. Because he has never felt such a blind fury in his life. To have all this build up and still he gets pissed on.
He forgets to set his alarm for the morning.
He barely just finished getting ready when Sojiro enters LeBlanc and climbs up the stairs. “Huh, thought you’d still be sleeping.”
He shrugs. “Sorry to disappoint.”
Sojiro waves him off and then tells him to wait until he makes him breakfast to leave.
He takes his sweet time cruising down the steps like a man on death’s row. He occupies a stool and watches as Sojiro cooks a quick batch of curry. He eats, he thanks him, he leaves. The walk to the station is uneventful. The rain that descends on him as he nears the school is defeated by the umbrella Akira remembers to bring. It’s an old plain blue thing, but it was in the attic, so it’s his now. If the patterns in his memories serves him right, it’s going to break on him the third time he uses it. Oh well, it’ll do for now. He's going to need it tomorrow anyway. After that not so much. Now, if he doesn’t take shelter upon the random establishment’s awning, he won’t wait beside Ann. Thus Ryuji won’t try and come after her. No palaces. No Phantom Thieves. No Akechi Goro. No more horrible gods.
He’s sick of it all.
He walks right pass everything and gets to his class fine. Early even. Kawakami’s gaze is too sharp. He doesn’t mind.
When Ann fills the seat in front of him, he tries not to think how she is feeling.
He tries not to think about the consequences of ignoring it like a drunker. It’s all going to go back to ground zero anyway, right? What’s the point? It’s a vacation. He thinks. He needs this. He desperately needs this. He needs this so much that he needs to convince himself of it.
People are hurt and hurting everywhere. The people around him are no different then the thousands of others with no savoir and no end to the hurt. It’s the same in the long run. They all sleep through the cold night.
Akira shifts uncomfortably in his seat.
So what if he can do something about it right now? It’s not going to carry over. Life will just repeat. There’s no point. Nothing goes on anymore.
He tries to feel comfort in his logic, but something just doesn’t sit right with him. So the teen opts to find solace to what’s on the board.
It doesn’t help. He knows this stuff.
The students haven’t gotten any nicer. They never do. Rumors and gossip are rampant and he overhears the same bullshit as always. They were outlandish and senseless. Just liking going to a restaurant and demanding more chicken than reasonable.
Kamoshida hasn’t given him shit yet besides a backhanded compliment about how he was more well-behaved than he thought he would be. It’s funny now not being late on his first day and showing up with Ryuji changes things. Then again, butterfly effect. He knows probably better than anyone that the butterfly effect is not only real, but an absolute hollow hearted bitch. No amount of dreaming and hoping will change that.
But this is good, he wants to keep a low profile. Even lower than before. His friend group that consisted of the Phantom Thieves stood out like a sore thumb. He looked generic and had the plainest attitude. Everyone else? You had a "foreign" beauty, a "delinquent" with bleached hair, a former pupil of a man who was wrapped up in a scandal, the daughter of a filthy rich CEO, a girl with bright orange hair, and the school's student president. Not to mention at school he was known as the guy with the "criminal assault record". They stood out like blood on carpet and with how Ryuji talked about them he's surprised more people weren't catching on.
Well, this time he has a person in mind that he'll be friends with. To be honest, he feels that he never made a huge effort to get to know him besides the 2nd time.
Of course he's talking about Mishima Yuuki.
The boy is quiet and docile as he sits in front of the class. The bruises and bandages on him fill Akira with rage, and it reminds him just how much he loathes Kamoshida.
He was going to kill that bastard the 1st time.
Ryuji was the only thing stopping him.
There's a plan in mind and the next day he brings his umbrella again, it's going to rain later, but after that he shouldn't need the umbrella for a while. He doesn’t get the opportunity to speak to Mishima that day, but it’s okay. Tomorrow he should have both time and an excuse to. He notices as he’s leaving, both Suzui and Mishima walk into Kamoshida's office. The sight makes him grimace.
April 13th comes and the dumb rally happens, Kamoshida spikes Mishima in the face, and he rolls his eyes at how astonish his classmates seem to be when he gets the correct answer again. The good part was finding Mishima after he got out of the nurse’s office. No Ryuji was around, so the coast was clear.
The boy blinks at him as if to process someone was talking to him. "Uh, hi." There's a pause and he bites his lip. "You're the transfer student, right? Kurusu-san?"
He nods in lieu of a response. "I just wanted to ask if you were okay. That teacher had muscle. The ball must've hurt."
He lets out a mirthless chuckle. "I'm-I'm fine. The nurse gave me an ice pack."
That's not enough, it looks like he was trying to give you a concussion. His eyes narrow despite himself. "If you say so." Mishima nods politely and seems to be about to leave when— "Sorry, I don't think I got your name during class. What was it again?"
The boy looks surprised. "It's uh, Mishima. Mishima Yuuki."
"Yuuki." Akira hums in pretend thought. "That's a cute name."
He's not sure if he should be surprised or not when Mishima gets fluttered at the comment. He isn't surprised at all though when the boy excuses himself and hastily retreats.
After school he manages to catch Mishima as he’s leaving. “Hey, Mishima-kun.”
The boy jumps a bit, Akira has to hold in a stray bit of laughter. “Oh, uh. Kurusu-san. Do you need something?”
He shakes his head. “Nah, just curious. Aren’t you part of the volleyball team? I thought they had practice after school.”
The shorter boy looks away. “I…don’t feel so good. I’m skipping practice.”
Akira nods in pretend understanding. He knows Mishima just wants to get away from the Crimson Chin look alike. “Okay, don’t push yourself." He reminds him softly. Whether he was just feeling a little bold or desperate to get him to go away from the school, who knows? "Wanna go grab a bite with me?”
“I’ll pay. I think there’s a fast food place nearby…” He manages to get Mishima to go along with him before Kamoshida could ‘round the corner. The boy seems unsure as to why Akira is doing this, but honest? He’s just glad he ain’t questioning it too much.
Makes his job a whole lot easier.
Akira isn’t hungry, but for the sake of appearing casual and not creepy, he orders some small fries and a milkshake. Mishima opts for a burger and a coke. The atmosphere is awkward to say the least and Akira wonders when he lost all his charm. Probably somewhere among the redos where he held Goro’s hand tightly in the attic of LeBlanc, to when Akira no doubt met the receiving end of a suppressor.
Fun fact, they’re not called silencers, they’re actually called suppressors. Learned that when Goro had showed off his gun at his apartment.
God, how things derailed in the 3rd. It still made his heart ache.
The arrival of their food and beverages was a gentle reminder to get his head out of the graveyard and to dispel some of the awkward air around them.
He really couldn’t wait until Mishima got comfortable around him, or at the very least used to him. The boy might be annoying at times, sure, but he never minded his company.
“Ah, thanks for getting me food, but…” He doesn’t make any move to touch his meal and Akira’s tempted to finish his sentence for him. He doesn’t get to though. “Why are you doing this?”
“Thought I’d walk with you so no one would stop ya.” He presses up his frames. “You seem tired, is all.”
Mishima doesn't seem all that satisfied with his answer, but goes to unwrap his sandwich to avoid further conversation. This doesn’t last long either. Other patron’s conversions mix into the backdrop of white noise and Akira can’t resist tapping his finger against the table.
Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap Tap…
It goes on and on.
“Is something bothering you?” He puts down his food and stares pointingly at Akira’s hand, then to his soon to be cold fries.
The boy has enough decency to look sheepish and retrieve his hand. “Sorry ‘bout that.”
Mishima tells him it’s fine, but again pries as to why he’s doing this. This time he feels the need to justify the second generation of the question. “Not that I mind or anything, it’s just that you just got here. It’s a bit sudden is all…”
Sudden is a funny way to put it. Akira thinks. To him, it feels like these years have been dragging on and on forever. He wonders if it might just do that to him. Repeating a week again and again, the repetition will get to you. But a year drags on beyond the horizon. It’s repetitive enough to hold you down, but long enough that you have time to think and cry and beg and plead—
“Oh, sorry.” He sinks into himself to appear embarrassed. His head was in the clouds again. Shezz. “I just can’t stand bullies is all.”
He freezes, “What?”
He rubs the back of his neck. “Sorry if I misunderstood the situation, but you’re covered in a lot of bruises,” his eyes fall to Mishima’s bandaged wrist, “bandaids too. I just assumed you’re being bullied by someone.” The other stayed silent so he continued, first straightening up in his seat. “Is that why you left early? So they couldn’t catch you after practice?”
Akira wondered how the teen would react. He didn’t exactly hit the nail with what he said, but he knew he was gunning too close to home.
“It’s none of your business…”
If Akira wasn’t an expert on eavesdropping, he probably wouldn't be able to make out what he said. Luckily for him, he was an exceptional eavesdropper.
“Ah, no offence, but you’re really weird for doing this.”
“No offence taken, just really hate bullies.”
Another lull forms in the conversation and the two parties go back to awkwardly eating. Akira wants to bring up more to solidify further than he thinks some students are picking on the poor boy, but he isn’t sure how to bring it up without it sounding like he’s trying to pry. After all, to Mishima, Akira is a complete stranger who he had leaked his criminal record a week prior. This must be a wild predicament to find himself in. Instead the two start talking again when Mishima asks him if it’s true that he's from a small town.
Akira smiles, of course he asks about the least nastiest rumor. Though this one is true. “Of course, can’t you hear my accent? It’s pretty obvious I’m ‘tis but a country bumpkin.” He laid his accent particularly thick at the last few words, leaning a chuckle from the boy. Good. He made him laugh.
“I-I could hear it.” He has a flustered look. “I just uh… I don’t know, I just wanted to ask, I guess.”
Akira clicks his tongue. He remembers how Ryuji poked fun of the way he talked when they went out for ramen in the 2nd. He didn't quite remember why he hid it in the 1st. Maybe he was embarrassed… “Yeah. Ever hear of a place called Inaba?”
“I proved my point.”
A giggle this time. Akira’s almost disappointed at Mishima level of humor, his jokes aren’t even that funny right now. Or maybe he’s laughing because he’s nervous?
You never know.
“How is it like there?” His eyes fix themselves with a splash of curiosity, and Akira wonders just how long it had been since Mishima had a proper friend before the Phantom Thieves came along.
He notices that Mishima leans ever so closer to him, anticipating a response and Akira concludes it must’ve been awhile.
“Middle of nowhere, for one. Used to be a coal town, now it’s kinda agricultural based. Lots of hills, farm land, and riverbanks.” He leans in for good measure. “Oh yeah, and the youth really like their amphetamine.”
His brows furrow. “Sorry, what?”
“Drugs Mishima-kun. Hallucinogens, coke, ecstasy, ketamine, especially cannabist. You name it. There’s nothing to do around there, so younger people just kinda,” he gesticulates vaguely, “do stuff.”
Mishima sits there, processing it all. He drops his tired sounding voice for just a second for confusion. “Wait, I thought that’s a problem for big towns? Isn’t the countryside supposed to be more clean?”
He chuckles. “That’s what TV would have you believe, but trust me when I said if you lived there and were under the age of 30, you’d probably know the name of 3 drug dealers, even if you’ve never purchased anything from them or met them in your life.”
His mouth falls open and Akira has to resist telling him to screw it back shut or he might lose it. He got his attention and that’s what he wanted.
“If you don’t believe me that’s fine."
"No, no! I do! There's no reason for me not to…"
At this, Akira's smile feels more cheap. There's lots of reasons for him not to.
Sojiro and himself exchange mindless pleasantries when he returns to LeBlanc. He's up the stairs in no time and the patrons in the café take no mind to him. He finishes what little homework he has and thinks about how he's gonna stop tomorrow from happening.
Mishima is going to be the one to call Suzui into Kamoshida’s office. It's going to happen after school. The next day, Suzui is going to take a swan dive off the roof—
How the hell is he going to pull this off? Regrettably he hasn't once been able to avoid this tragedy.
In a previous loop he had even tried to reason with himself that it was a necessary event to occur. Otherwise Ann wouldn't awaken her persona.
Ann's a good person. She would have awakened her persona regardless the moment she saw how shitty Kamoshida was.
He grimaces when he recalls the memory. Not his proudest moment.
Still, what the hell could he do…
Pull the fire alarm?
Nah, he'll get caught by a camera and go straight to jail. That's not how he wants to relive the rest of this year.
Set a fire?
Let a wild animal loose into the building?
Maybe. He could probably get away with that. But that doesn't guarantee I'll be enough of a distraction to stop Kamoshida. This school regrettably has a large-ass campus.
Shit. What can he do?
He spent most of the night trying to devise a plan to stop it from happening. He had long since concluded that stopping Mishima from calling her in wouldn't help. If he wasn't there to get her to come in, that bastard would send someone else to do the job. And even if Akira could somehow get the both of them out of school tomorrow, wouldn't that sick fuck just prey on someone else? There are multiple girls in the volleyball team.
"Damn it!" he growls. "Damn it all to Hell!"
He needs a fix to this solution, and he needs it now.
Funny how he’s running out of time when he feels that he has too much of it. To the point where it makes him sick.
Such is fate.
Akira is on edge for the entire school day. He can see that Mishima wants to come up and talk to him, which he should be flattered by. Instead he poignantly ignores him. He just wants to get this godforsaken day over with already.
"My, my. You're awfully pretty for a boy."
Akira gets that a lot, and usually? He eats that shit up. Right now though? He has never felt more disgusted and disturbed by those words in his life.
There's a hand gripping his chin to tilt his head up.
He has to resist the urge to head-butt him.
"You know, you're really quiet. I wonder what I can get you to do with that mouth of yours."
The words make Akira want to scream and rip out the other's throat.
When he finally gets back to LeBlanc he finds it closed with a note and key under the mat.
He doesn't read the note.
He doesn't even make it up the stairs. He just slides into one of the booths and quietly cries to himself in the solace of the dark empty café.
It was the only way to make sure no one else got hurt.
Akira doesn't go to school the next day under the guise that he doesn't feel well. He doesn't think any amount of baths will make him feel well.
Sojiro tries to get an answer out of him about the lateness, but as soon as he notices the bruises and angry red marks, he is quick to accuse him of getting into a fight.
That's the last thing he needs or wants to hear. And for the person who he has come to associate like a 2nd dad raising his voice like that has him shaking with tears about to spill. Akira cannot find it in himself to school his face, and his hands always betray him. He can never will them to not shake when he gets emotional or stressed. Hence the hands perpetually stuffed in his pockets.
Seeing this quiets the old man. He tries a new approach of trying to coax an answer out of him, but Akira vehemently refuses to be any help. Instead just quietly crying once he couldn't hold it in anymore.
He gets told he can stay here another day before having to go back, but Hell if Akira cares.
He lets Sojiro leave thinking whatever he's thinking. Probably that he got jumped or whatever. All the better. He doesn't want to tell him. He wants Kamoshida to get hit by a freight train and survive, so he can get hit by another one.
And promptly die.
He spends the weekend like a rat in the attic, refusing to come out until it was dark. Bathroom breaks and food being the only exceptions.
True to his words, Akira does not go to school the following Monday either. It's on the 19th that he returns. Not with a big bang or anything. But quiet, like it should have been.
Kawakami gives him a weird look upon his return, and to the surprise of no one his classmates begin to whisper to one another. He hears them. They act as if they thought he had been arrested during his two day absence.
Yeah, they wish.
Mishima doesn't even spare him a look. And Akira is left wondering if he knows or if he just feels that it's awkward since it's been five days since they last spoke.
He doesn't know, and that stresses him the hell out.
It has to be the latter thought. Mishima didn't know what happened to Suzui until after she jumps—Akira is just being paranoid.
Another thing that raises his blood pressure is the fact he can clearly see that Ann has a cat stuffed into her desk.
What stares back at him is a black and white cat with blue eyes. Completed with a little yellow bandanna tied around his neck.
It makes him shake and he tries his best to hide it.
This time, as he is hastily leaving school—he doesn't want to bump into him, he doesn't want to bump into him—he is stopped by Mishima.
“Hey.” he mimics.
“Sorry, I just wanted to know why you were absent for two days. Are you not feeling well?” He bites his lip. “You look a little pale.”
Does he now? He can’t claim to be surprised if he does. "Uh…" The excuse is taking a little longer than normal to come out. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just felt a little under the weather, is all."
"Oh!" Mishima voices. "Are you getting sick?" It seems like he was about to reach over to feel Akira's forehead, but the teen seems to catch himself mid-motion.
Does he really look that bad?
His jaw clenches when he thinks about what to say. "I hope not." Mishima nods and the two stand for a couple of seconds. Now Akira is the one that desperately wants to vacate the premises immediately. "Wanna walk with me?"
Surprisingly, Mishima's shoulders slump and he dejectedly rejects his offer. "Sorry, but I gotta do something after school. Thank you though."
Akira is still itching to get the hell out of this place, but needs to make sure. "Are you sure? Can't you just skip it?"
The boy shakes his head for no.
He's confused. Why…why would he need to stay behind today? There wasn't anything important happening today, right? Akira racks his brain for information, but this is too insignificant enough for him to remember.
There was just too much shit to remember.
Each new year made the endeavor to recall events harder and harder. One day, he'll forget everything. He ain't an eager beaver for that.
With defeat licking at his heels, he sighs. “Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then.”
“Uh, yeah. Bye. See ya!” Which is followed by frantic waving and then it is as if the boy had vanished without a trace.
Akira winces to himself as he walks away, can that boy be any more awkward?
He gets back to the café only to hold his head in his hands once he gets back upstairs. He wonders how the Hell this is going to affect this redo, and pointing ignores himself to worry about everything else. There was so much that was going to happen and the excitement and dread of knowing so much of it would be absolutely different in the most boring, but new way possible had him taking deep breathing to avoid vomiting. He didn’t want to cause a ruckus downstairs.
When his stomach feels at ease his brain goes to work.
“They’re the Phantom Thieves without me.” He proclaims in a whisper to the open air. Had he really been that arrogant to think they needed him? No, he’s not the only source of entertainment for the Gods, if he won’t dance, they’ll just light coals under someone else’s feet.
He had been foolish to think otherwise.
Even then, he hated knowing they existed without him, that they could form without their leader. He felt anger and envy.
He worried over what would happen to them. Was it just Mona leading Ann and Ryuji in his wake? How will they make it through the year without a trickster by their side? He felt crestfallen and anxious.
He didn’t—wouldn’t sleep that night.
Sometimes, just sometimes, Akira really wishes he could replace his brain.
I just thought it would be fun to write a New Game+ story where Akira has done this too many times that he's sick and tired of this shit. He vehemently avoids the others and no metaverse nonsense which he actually manages to do. Just puts his head down and makes a few normal friends. I like writing references to how things went in past redos, because you (nor I) have the full picture or explanation for how he did things differently and how they affected the outcome. You just get little strips of ribbon at a time.
Also you have no idea how fun it was to write an Akira that is so bitter and pissed off at things and angry at stuff. I really like this is all I'm trying to say. XD
The pacing for this is probs a bit too fast. Sorry 'bout that. It's like my weakest point when writing. My pacing is either too fast or drags on 5ever. X(
I haven’t revealed much of the other redos/loops yet, but if you want mini spoilers about that, here:
1st-Basically canon but they die in the fight against Yaldabaoth.
2nd-He becomes really friendly (genuinely because he's ecstatic he gets a second chance) and really bonds with everyone, learns to cook by Haru, takes cooking and baking classes w/ Ann. Find out that Hifumi has a persona (lulled into the group by proxy of Makoto, they become gfs).
3rd-Got really close to Goro here and they were romantically involved. They both died, it’s a bloodbath.
4th-To avoid the disaster that was last time (and to quell his aching heart) he sticks to canon, but obviously he doesn’t remember everything and Goro kills him after Sae’s palace.