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Reversing Arcana, Chapter 5

Title: Reversing Arcana

Rating: T, for violence and language. Spoils everything.

Summary: Persona 3 and 4.  Six months after Souji leaves Inaba, he wakes up to his house on fire. The Investigation Team are the only ones who know he survived. But that's only the beginning of their troubles.

Author's Note: So, the results of the poll were unanimous - we're sticking with Souji.  Hooray!  \o/


Previous chapter

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Reversing Arcana

Chapter 5

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Rise taps her foot impatiently.  They’re gathered in the food court again, and still no closer to finding a way to rescue Senpai from the TV. 
 
They’re stuck.  Absolutely, positively, stuck. 
 
“So if it isn’t Namatame… who is it?” Yosuke asks, slumping in his chair.
 
“Maybe someone completely unrelated?  Do you think Izanami might have awakened more people’s powers, and they never discovered it until now?” Yukiko suggests.
 
Chie looks worried.  “But that means we’re back to square one!”
 
“It’s unlikely,” Naoto reassures her.  “For such a person to reveal themselves now – what is the purpose?  And how would they know about our involvement with the TV world?  It’s most likely to be somebody connected with us.”
 
They fall back into silence.  Rise heaves a sigh.  She can’t bear the thought of Senpai being stuck in that TV another minute!
 
"Hey, guys, I was wondering... what about someone from school?" Kanji eventually asks.

"From school?" 

"Yeah, you know, Senpai was a pretty popular guy, right?  What if he said something to someone, and they figured it all out?"
 
Chie makes a face.  “I don’t know… that’s kind of crazy.”

Naoto, on the other hand, looks pleased.  "No... Kanji-kun has a point."

Kanji blushes, eyes comically wide.  "I... I do?"

Yosuke elbows him.  "Hey man, you remember she's a girl, right?"

"Shut up!"

Naoto ignores them like a pro.  "I was going to suggest it myself.  Senpai was widely respected at the school, and before he left, he had quite a few admirers.  Somebody who obsessed over every little comment he said, or perhaps followed him regularly... there are any number of ways they might have found out about the TV through watching our movements.  We were discreet, but they were plenty of means by which we might have been spied upon.  And don't forget the Midnight Channel was quite popular last year."
 
Chie blinks.  "Oh wow.  But um, would somebody who liked Souji-kun that much try to kill him?"

"It's not uncommon for unrequited infatuations to turn violent."
 
Rise knows all about that.  She’s had more than her fair share of creepy fans.  An unsettling thought crosses her mind – that maybe it was one of her fans, who got jealous over the affection she showed Senpai.  Naoto is looking at her out of the corner of her eyes, and the idol thinks maybe she’s already reached the same conclusion.
 
“So what do we do?  That dude talked to everybody at school – there was hardly a person he didn’t do a favour!  How are we supposed to track our suspect down?” Yosuke complains.
 
“The same way we always do,” Naoto replies.  “Talk to everybody you think might know something.  The school is full of gossip – even if that person is no longer at Yasogami High, that sort of obsession isn’t easily hidden.” 
 
Great.  Another fact-finding mission.  Rise hates these – people always want to collect her autograph instead of answering her questions.  But if it’s for Senpai, she’ll tolerate it.
 

………………………..
 
 
The crack of the ball against a wooden bat. 
 
Shu thinks it might be his favourite sound in the world.
 
He’s still small, still puny, and has glasses too big for him, but his teammates holler and cheer as he dashes to second base, ducking under the shortstop’s glove.  If he turns his head, just a little, he can see his mother in the stands, cheering right along with them.
 
For a moment, his thoughts flit back to a year or so before, when he’d spend afternoons and weekends like these cooped up inside, studying so hard, putting on airs, driving himself into the ground.  Lonely.  Enough that he started to look forward to his tutor coming to visit.
 
Thankfully, those days are long gone. 
 
The pitcher winds up.  Throws.  His teammate swings.  The ball thwacks into the catcher’s glove.
 
For a moment, he wonders what might have become of his old tutor.  He moved away or something, right?  Back to the city?  He’d be a senior now.  Probably studying for college exams or something.
 
He once felt sure that bond would be life-long, but he knows now that was silly of him.  He was just some high school student who tutored him for cash.  What kind of lifelong connection is that?  They probably wouldn’t even recognise each other in the street in a couple of years.
 
The bat cracks against the ball again.  Then Shu is off running, and the thought disappears.
 
 
………………………..
 
 
Souji runs down the corridor, footsteps thudding eerily off the concrete.  The Shadows pursuing fall behind, and eventually, lose interest.  He slows his pace, rounds a corner, then presses himself against the wall while he catches his breath.
 
It feels like he’s been wandering the TV world for weeks, and for all he knows, he has been.  He hasn’t found the exit to regular TV space yet, even though he knows it must be there – instead he only finds his way into worse and worse areas.  The Shadows here make him nervous, even with his experience – they’re on a similar level to those they encountered in the lower levels of Magatsu Inaba.  Too much to tackle alone.  He needs to find his way back to the comparatively sane areas, but without Rise’s unfaltering guidance or at the very least a landmark for orientation, there’s absolutely no guarantee he won’t be heading somewhere worse.
 
That’s when he sees it.  One door, slightly different to the others.  A burst of yellow in the colourless landscape.
 
He’s drawn to it.  Experience makes him wary – an unusual door in this world normally means a scary surprise – but it’s the first deviation in this maze he’s come across.  Hope flutters briefly in his chest.  The pathway to the regular TV world perhaps?  If he can get out maybe he can find Teddie, or Teddie can find him.
 
Just in case, he brings Lucifer to the forefront of his consciousness, ready to summon at a moment’s notice.  He hesitates another moment, steels himself, and steps through the doorway.
 
No monstrous Shadows await him.  In the centre of the room there’s only a familiar-looking tower of TVs. 
 
He lowers the bar in his hands and approaches it, scarcely able to believe. 
 
An exit?
 
He thought only Teddie could make exits, but it’s unreasonable to assume the only exit from the TV world is from Junes in Inaba.  Where did this one lead to?
 
Did it matter?  Nearly anywhere is better than here. 
 
Experimentally, his fingertips skim the surface of the screen.  It ripples, the same as always.  Nothing unusual. 
 
He can take a look first, just to be sure.  His fingers slide past the surface as he brings his head forward. 
 
Then something grabs his hand.
 
In a panic, he braces himself against the frame, but the tug is too strong and catches him off-balance.  His footing slips, and then he’s being dragged through, the world spinning crazily.  The whirling comes to an abrupt halt as he hits white tiles, and for one second he wonders if the TV didn’t just transport him to a different part of that same world.
 
There are cries of surprise and confusion.  Something sharp clacks near his head.  High heels.  Souji raises his bleary gaze – everything seems so painfully bright, back in the real world.
 
A woman stands over him, with long, curly red hair and cold, sharp eyes.
 
“It’s not him.”
 
Then the wave of exhaustion hits, and Souji doesn’t hear anything more.

 
………………………..
 
 
Raining.  Nearly midnight.  Chie hops anxiously from foot to foot, before forcing herself to stop before someone downstairs asks what the cause of the racket is.  Only three minutes left.  The Midnight Channel isn’t on for long – she can’t miss it!  This is her only chance to check up on him.
 
It’s all a bit useless, though.  Even Naoto’s running out of ideas.  They’re no closer to finding the perpetrator – about the only thing they’re getting is a long list of who it isn’t.  They should just go bust that barrier down!  Brute force it!  She’ll kick it to the stratosphere!
 
“Yeah!  Take that, you damn barrier!  And that!” Her leg snaps out, smashing away an invisible enemy.  It makes her feel a little better.  She’ll suggest it to the others tomorrow.  “Oh!  Midnight!”
 
The screen remains blank.
 
She waits, and then starts tapping her foot.  “Hey!  Is it broken?”  The rain is still drumming on the roof in the background.  She smacks the side of the TV a couple of times, but it doesn’t help.
 
Midnight passes, and the screen remains black.  Chie stares at it, dumbfounded. 
 
“What?”


Next chapter

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
tenshinoakuma
Oct. 12th, 2011 09:15 am (UTC)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

F5F5F5F5F5

/coherency, what is that
tenshinoakuma
Oct. 12th, 2011 09:21 am (UTC)
Okay more seriously. When I saw this on my flist I was like, "P4 fic written by Sinnatious? I am so there." Gosh, and I was just thinking that I should replay Persona 4, and this doesn't help that itch at all xD I'm pretty curious to see where this all ends up!

(also, Yosuke, you jerk |D)

/back to writing reports asdf;hk
tenshinoakuma
Oct. 12th, 2011 11:43 am (UTC)
Wait I have a gif that sums up my reaction.

/spamming your inbox what
sinnatious
Oct. 12th, 2011 12:06 pm (UTC)
XD Hi! Good luck writing all those reports! (I can't hear 'reports' anymore without thinking TWEWY, hey.)

Why replay the game when we have a anime so kindly doing it for us? :D

Ahahaha that scene - argentum's already done fanart of it: http://argentum-luna.livejournal.com/49873.html#cutid1
tenshinoakuma
Oct. 12th, 2011 12:43 pm (UTC)
sob I have been on a TWEWY binge lately (BRAINSTORMING ALL THE STORIES) yet somehow reports -> Secret Reports never occurred to me.

Hahaha it's true, though I generally prefer playing things, rather than just watching things on my own also I was partway through a Hard playthrough. (And I have kind of mixed feelings about the anime! But I'll give it more episodes before I judge)

s-sob Souji why do Yuu randomly strip at the sight of Izanagi. (Ooh Mr. Izanagi~)
croix_souillees
Oct. 12th, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC)
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

OH MY GOD. ARE THERE AGENDAS EVERYWHERE? AAA ;A;
sinnatious
Oct. 12th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
It would be a poor Persona 4 fic indeed if there weren't. <3
argentum_luna
Oct. 12th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
EXPLODING OF SQUEE AT WORK
minor thing I caught: "They’re gathered in the foot court again" --> should be food court...

BUT AWESOME.

adf;lkadjs;fklajsd;fkasdf I'm wondering if the P3 people were desperately hoping that he was their wild card ;;

Can't wait for the next installment!
sinnatious
Oct. 13th, 2011 07:07 am (UTC)
Aha, how embarrassing,such a typo in the first paragraph. Thanks for spotting!
sunnepho
Mar. 8th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
I won't go on for long in favour of more reading, but I wanted to squee over your explanation for why all the victims end up exhausted as soon as they leave the TV. It MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )