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 Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)

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Malour
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Malour

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PostSubject: Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)   Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic) I_icon_minitime27th May 2019, 9:53 pm

Title:  Voices Of The Past
By: Malour
Rated:  PG 
Fandom: Persona 5
Pairing: None  
Notes: Spoilers for the ending of Persona 5. Also trigger warning for intense mental breakdowns. 
Story Summary:  Ren faces a demon of the past, with Morgana by his side.
Comments allowed: Absolutely!

___________________________

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Last edited by Malour on 30th May 2019, 9:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Malour
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Malour

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PostSubject: Re: Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)   Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic) I_icon_minitime27th May 2019, 9:59 pm

“You idiot Joker.”


With a start, Amamiya Ren sat up in bed, breathing heavily. The voice in his dreams belonged to Akechi Goro, a former Phantom Thief ally-turned-traitor, and the famed kid detective of Tokyo. Even now, several months after the Phantom Thieves final triumph, there were very few people who knew the truth behind his death, or even that he had died at all. To the public, he was simply taking some time to himself.


Morgana, hearing the noise from Ren’s bed, shifted slightly from his own sleeping spot. Lazily opening one eye, he glanced up at the teen. “Ren, it’s still nighttime……..” His voice held a tinge of complaint, although it diminished when he saw the look of distress on Ren’s face. “Hey, you OK?” Concern replaced his earlier attitude, and he watched for any subtle changed in Ren’s expression.


Ren steadied himself, his breathing slowly returning to normal. He nodded to Morgana, and responded, “Yeah, I’m fine.” Although his body language said otherwise. He was shaking slightly, and every few moments his eyes would blink, then look around the room, as if searching for something.


“Ren, c’mon, don’t lie. We’re Phantom Thieves, remember? We should trust each other.” Morgana jumped onto Ren’s bed, stretching his front paws out to help wake himself up enough to listen to Ren’s troubles.


Former Phantom Thieves.” Ren reminded softly, a brief frown crossing his face. “And I never said I don’t trust you. But really, Morgana, I’m fine.” As if to drive his point home, Ren laid back down, closing his eyes.


“Ren…….” Seeing no other choice, Morgana padded over to the black-haired teen, and curled up on his chest. Slowly, deliberately, he swished his tail in front of Ren’s face, and smirking (as well as a cat could, anyways) when Ren reached over to brush it away.


“Morgana!” In as scolding of a tone as he could manage, Ren berated the cat, “I was trying to go back to sleep.”


“I know.” Morgana stood and made his way over to the foot of Ren’s bed, laying down, but keeping his eyes locked with Ren’s. “But you have some explaining to do first. And no trying to get out of it. Something was bothering you, or you wouldn’t wake up like that.”


Ren sighed, knowing that there was no way out of it. As much as his friends said that he could be persistent once he set his mind on something, (as Joker anyways), Morgana could be equally as persistent. “It was Akechi.” He admitted quietly.


A look of realization crossed Morgana’s face, and he nodded. “I see…...”


“I feel so horrible about it, Morgana.” Ren leaned forwards, and Morgana could clearly see his face. Surprisingly, there were tears threatening to fall. His usual stoic, calm expression was morphed into a distressed, broken one. “We could have saved him.”


Morgana sat up, and gently, without any force behind it, (and keeping his claws in), he smacked Ren across the face.


“Morgana……...” For a moment, Ren’s face held a glint of annoyance.


“Ren, I understand how you feel.” Morgana never stopped watching Ren’s face, which quickly fell back into a sullen expression. “But there’s no use thinking about the past. What’s done is done.”


“But he died, Morgana!” Ren slammed his fists onto the bed, which produced a soft ‘thunk’ against the bedsheets. “And we could have prevented it! But instead, we treated him as our enemy, and look what happened!” A choked sound escaped from Ren, and he continued, “He was just as broken as any of us, maybe even moreso, but we ignored his pain, and for what? For justice? What kind of justice allows a broken teen to die, whether he’s an enemy or not!?”


Morgana gave Ren a worried look, and shook his head. “Ren, you didn’t let him die. He chose to close that door.”


“But if we had tried to help him, tried to get him to see things in a different light, then maybe he wouldn’t have!” Ren argued, his voice raising slightly. “And even if he still would have chosen to close the door, I wouldn’t feel as guilty about it, because at least he wouldn’t have died feeling like he was alone!”


Morgana was surprised by the fierce determination in Ren’s voice. “Ren……...”


“He called me an idiot, Morgana. And I deserved it. Well, he called Joker an idiot, but it doesn’t matter. When it all comes down to it, we’re the same person.”


“Ren, stop blaming yourself!” Morgana raised his own voice, which to anyone unable to understand him would simply sound like a series of distressed meows. “We’re all equally to blame! We worked with unanimous votes, remember?!”


“But all it would have taken was me suggesting that we try to help him! If everyone agreed……..” Ren placed his hands over his face, emotion overcoming him in a way that it rarely had before. “But I didn’t say anything. All I saw in him was an enemy. It was heartless of me…….”


“So what, you’re gonna call the entire Phantom Thieves group heartless?! Is that what you’re saying?!” Morgana realized that his words would probably hurt Ren, but at this point, if it would pull Ren out of his depressive thoughts, Morgana was willing to take that risk.


“No!” Ren spoke forcefully, then quieted down. “No. Of course not. I don’t think it really crossed anyone else’s mind.”


“Then why blame yourself? If it didn’t cross anyone’s mind, your own included, then either no-one is to blame, or we’re all to blame. But we’re not heartless, you got that?”
Ren smiled softly, and nodded. “You’re right, Morgana. Thank you. I’m sorry I got so worked up.”


Morgana jumped down from the bed, curling up in his original spot. “No problem. Now go back to sleep for real this time.”


“Even without being a Phantom Thief, you’re still reminding me that it’s bedtime?” Ren spoke in a teasing manner, before pulling his bedsheets back up, and closing his eyes.


But Ren did not rest easy. Despite Morgana’s best efforts to calm him, the nightmares flooded his mind, just as they had earlier. Akechi’s face taunted him endlessly, tormenting his dreams the entire night.

___________________________

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Malour

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PostSubject: Re: Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)   Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic) I_icon_minitime29th May 2019, 2:55 pm

Why did you let me die?”


Ren jerked awake, the nightmares that had been plaguing his mind dissipating as he returned to reality. But the fear still encompassed him, and it felt every bit as real as it had while he was asleep.


Morgana opened his eyes, and stretched, yawning as he did so. “You’re awake already? You’ve got another hour before you’re supposed to be up…….”


“I know, Morgana. I couldn’t stay asleep.” Ren sighed and pulled back the sheets, standing up and pulling off his pajama shirt.


“You’re having nightmares again, aren’t you?” Morgana saw Ren’s eyes widen slightly, and he knew that he was right.


“Yes…...” Ren admitted quietly, finishing getting dressed for school. “I can’t help it, Morgana. No matter how hard I try, they just keep coming back. I keep telling myself that it’s not my fault, like you told me to do, but I just can’t seem to believe it.”


“Ren………..it’s not your fault. And I’ll keep telling you that until you believe it.” Morgana stood and followed Ren to the stairs, hopping into Ren’s bag and quieting down as Ren descended into the Leblanc cafe.  


As Ren ate his usual breakfast of curry and coffee, Sojiro watched the raven haired teen. “You OK?” He asked finally after several minutes of silence.


“Hmm?” Ren paused his eating, placing his spoon down in the bowl of curry. “I’m fine. Just…… a little per-occupied.” He wasn’t lying, but wasn’t telling the truth either. He was preoccupied, but he was not fine.”  


Sojiro sighed, and placed a cup of coffee for himself down on the counter. “Kid, I’ve lived longer than you. A word of advice, you’re not a very good liar. You can’t fool me. I know you’ve been through a lot lately. What’s on your mind?”


Ren glanced down towards the counter, finding it suddenly hard to look Sojiro in the eye. Some emotion that Ren couldn’t quite name welled up in his chest. Shame, perhaps? “I’ve just been having some nightmares is all. I’m fine, really.”


“Nightmares?” Sojiro questioned, concern coloring his voice. Over the time that Ren had stayed at Leblanc, he had come to care for the boy as if he was part of his own family. Although he didn’t always show it, he was nowhere near as rough or dismissive as he had once been. And now was one of those rare moments where he was especially attentive and gentle.


“Yeah. It’s not that big a deal. I can handle it. I’ve been through worse.” Ren gripped his mug of coffee, the warm liquid coating his throat, suppressing the lump that had begun to form from holding back tears.


“I don’t doubt it. From what you’ve told me, I know you’ve seen some crazy stuff.” Sojiro crossed his arms, “But that doesn’t mean that you need to handle this on your own. If you need to talk to someone, I can try to find a counselor-”  


“-No!” Ren cut him off quickly, but he immediately felt bad, as Sojiro seemed to be upset by his outburst. Trying to rectify the situation, Ren continued in a calmer manner, “I can’t talk to a counselor about this. I can work through it on my own, I promise.”


Sojiro sighed again, and shrugged lightly. “Whatever you say. But if this keeps up, I will talk to a counselor for you, whether you want me to or not, got it?”


Ren nodded mutely, finishing his curry in quick bites. “I understand.” He mumbled quietly, grabbing his bag from the seat next to him, and hurrying out the door.








Once Ren made his way to school, he saw Ann and Ryuji waiting for him in the hall. Ryuji took one look at him and yelled, “Hey dude! You don’t look so good!”


“Is it that obvious?” Ren looked to Ann for confirmation, who nodded in agreement.


“Yeah! You look like you’ve been sleep deprived! You been up all night studying or something?” Ryuji slung his arm over Ren’s shoulder, and laughed a little. “Or maybe playing video games?”


“No, I haven’t been playing video games.” Ren denied the guess, moving Ryuji’s arm to be able to walk down the hall to his classroom.


Ann followed close behind, and when they were finished talking, she asked, “So then why do you look so worn out?”


“It’s nothing, I’m fine.” Ren tried to assure Ann, although he could tell she wasn’t convinced.


“Ren, we’ve been through a lot together. I know you better than this. If you can’t talk about it here, we’ll meet together in our usual spot after school, alright?” She stepped into their shared classroom, and took her seat, which was right in front of his.


“That’s really not necessary.” Ren protested, although he was prevented from saying anything further by their teacher arriving. During the following classes, Ren found his mind wandering to his nightmares, and every time he remembered the betrayal that he had felt from the voice calling out to him.








After school, Ann practically dragged Ren to their usual meeting spot, and to Ren’s dismay, she had gathered everyone, Ryuji, Makoto, and Haru, and even Futaba.


“Now, spill it. What’s bothering you?”


Ren glanced between his friends, and shook his head. “Like I said before, Ann, I’m fine. There’s nothing bothering me.”


Morgana hopped out of Ren’s bag, and sat on a bench next to him. “Ren………..” He nudged him gently with one paw, and his eyes shined with worry.


Makoto watched the exchange, and intervened. “Ren, as the student council president, and as your friend, I can’t just let you brush it off like that. If there’s an issue that’s bothering you, please, talk to us about it.”


They can’t help you, you know.” The voice whispered, “It’s your fault, not theirs.”


Ren shook his head, trying desperately to ignore what he had just heard. “Makoto, really, I’m fine.” He insisted, hoping it would be enough to make her back off.


But then, someone else stepped up to the plate. Futaba sat down on the other side of Ren, and leaned against his shoulder. “Ren……..what’s wrong?”


Ren felt the lump from before rising in his throat once again. Futaba was the one that the Phantom Thieves had helped to overcome her psychiatric issues, so to hear her ask him what was wrong, really hit hard. “I’m…….I’m fine.” He mumbled, but it was less forceful than before.


“Ren-ren!” Ryuji spoke up, exasperated by the silent treatment his best friend was giving. “C’mon, can’t you tell us what’s bothering you?”


Finally, from all the pressure, Ren caved. “I’ve just been having nightmares, alright?” He admitted, and he could have sworn he saw Morgana smile as he said it.


He saw everyone frown in response, but Makoto was the first to speak. “That’s not good. If you want, I can get you a recommendation for our school counselor-”


“-I’m fine, Makoto. They’ll go away, and I’ll be fine.” Ren attempted to brush her off, just as he had with Sojiro earlier.


Makoto’s frown deepened, and she crossed her arms. “That’s not a very good mindset. I’m not saying that things can’t go away on their own, but from the looks of things, this has been going on for a while, hasn’t it?”


Ren nodded in defeat, dropping his hands onto his lap. “A couple weeks now...” He muttered, waiting in anticipation for the startled reaction he knew would be coming.


“Ren!” Everyone chorused at once, “A few weeks?!”


Ren could only listen as everyone began to talk over each other, both to him, and about him. But Futaba’s voice was the one he listened to above everyone else. “Ren…….please get help.” Her voice was soft, pleading. She pushed away long enough to look him in the eye.


Ren felt like his heart had stopped. For Futaba, the one who had shut herself in and refused help for the longest of times, to now be the one asking him to get help, was really hard to ignore. “I’ll……… I’ll try, Futaba. But it’s not something I really want to talk about.”


Futaba smiled lightly, and leaned against his shoulder again. “I just want you to be happy.” She whispered, giving him a quick hug.


Once the commotion around him had settled down, Ren stood, and sighed. “Thanks for being concerned about me, everyone. I promise I’ll be fine, so don’t worry, OK?”


Everyone looked hesitant to agree, but after a few moments, there was a chorus of, “if you need anything, just text or call” and, “We’re always there if you need us.”


Finally on his own, save for Morgana, Ren sat back down, burying his face in his hands. Fighting off the nightmares had been exhausting enough on its own, but to add the stress of assuring his friends that he was fine made it nearly unbearable.


“Ren…...” Morgana hated seeing him like this, so broken and alone. It made him feel useless, just as he had felt so often in the past.


“I’m fine, Morgana. Let’s just go home.”

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)   Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic) I_icon_minitime30th May 2019, 8:20 am

You thought you could just live a carefree life? After knowing what you did to me?”


Ren was beginning to lose track of the number of times he had been startled awake by the sound of Akechi’s voice. Each time, the taunts would grow worse, more aggressive, more personal. And each time, Ren would wake more exhausted than before.


Morgana peeked his eyes open, noticing that Ren seemed to have less energy than usual as he got ready for school. “Ren……..you really need to talk to someone about this. It’s going to affect your schoolwork, not to mention it’s really hurting your mind!”


“I’m fine, Morgana!” Ren snapped, covering his mouth with his hand once he realized what he’d done. “I’m sorry…….” He apologized quietly, “I don’t know why I did that…...”


“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.” Morgana hopped into Ren’s bag once again, and added before Ren went downstairs, “It’s leaving a bigger impact than you think.”




Sojiro gave Ren his usual breakfast, and watched as he struggled to eat. His lack of energy played a factor, but beyond that, every smell seemed nauseating, and the sights made it worse. “I’m not hungry.” Ren said softly, putting his spoon down into his barely-touched bowl of curry.


Sojiro sighed and looked Ren in the eye. “Sorry, but that’s not gonna fly. You’re not leaving until you’ve had something to eat. I don’t care if I have to call the school and explain why you’re late. I’m not sending you to school on an empty stomach, you understand?”


“……….I understand….” Slowly, cautiously, Ren took a bite of curry, and fought back the urge to throw up right then and there. All the emotions he had felt earlier came flooding back, and he felt as if he had just been punched in the stomach. His spoon dropped out of his hand, back into his bowl, which made a sharp clink as it hit the glass.


Sojiro’s lips tightened into a frown, and he walked around the counter to sit beside Ren. He held out a glass of water, which Ren accepted silently. It helped wash away the taste of the curry, and with it, the nauseating feeling.


“Now, I’m gonna say this again. You need a counselor.” Sojiro’s voice held no room for argument.


“No, I don’t. I’m fine. I can sort through this on my own.” Ren argued, but it was weak due to his lack of energy. The resolve he had shown in their earlier conversations was diminished, replaced by a sense of defeat.


“Kid, I don’t even know what’s going on with you! Sure, you told me you’re having nightmares, but of what?!” Sojiro pushed, even more concerned now than ever.


Ren shook his head, unwilling to part with the information that he had kept to himself. “It’s nothing, really. Just some issues from the past.”


“That doesn’t explain anything. Four dozen different things happened to you in the past.” Sojiro grabbed his mug of coffee, and didn’t miss the way Ren flinched as the smell wafted by his nose. “Can I assume it has something to do with the Phantom Thieves?”


“……….Yes.” Ren admitted finally, his hands shaking as he reached for his bag. “I’m going to school now. I’ll be back later.” He stood, and left, ignoring the look of concern Sojiro was giving him.











Throughout the day, Ren tried his best to ignore the stares of concern that his friends were giving him. No-one said much, beyond an occasional “are you sure you’re alright?”. Every time, Ren would assure them that he was fine, but every time, he felt more and more pressure weighing on his chest.




After school, Ren gathered his things and prepared to leave, when Ann stopped by his desk. “Ren? We’re all going out for dinner later. It’s been a while since we’ve all hung out. It’ll be relaxing.”


Ren smiled softly, and a little bit of the weight lifted. “Alright. That sounds like fun.”


“Great!” Ann was beaming, and she pulled out her phone. “I’m letting everyone know that you’re coming!”


A moment later, Ren’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He didn’t even have to look at it to know that they were all from his friends, and probably containing similar things, saying that they were all glad that he had decided to join them.


“Well then, I’ll see you later!” Ann waved slightly before heading out the door, leaving Ren to his own devices.


You don’t deserve this, you know.”


Ren flinched, and he felt his heart racing anxiously. He looked quickly around the classroom, but as always, there was no-one there. He glanced down to his bag, where Morgana was sleeping soundly. Slowly, his panic subsided, and he stepped out of the classroom, hoping he could leave all his worries behind as easily as he had left the school.









“Hooray for pizza!” Ryuji whooped in excitement, grabbing a steaming slice of pizza from a tray placed in front of the group. Everyone was sitting at a round booth, and the pizza was in the middle at arm’s reach.


“Ryuji, quite down!” Ann scolded, waving her hand in front of his face. “We’re third year high-schoolers, for crying out loud……...”



“So what? We’re out for a pizza party! Who stays quiet during a pizza party?” Ryuji took a bite of the pizza, but grimaced as the piping hot cheese burned his tongue. “Ow…...” He groaned, reaching for his glass of soda.


Some of us are trying to talk, but it’s kind of hard to do when you’re yelling.” Makoto spoke calmly, but was trying to suppress a grin. Ryuji’s antics were kind of funny, after all.


Yusuke looked up from his drawing tablet, and reached for his own slice of pizza. He had been unwilling to bring his sketchbook, out of fear it would get grease all over it. “We can just talk around him.”


Futaba reached down to Ren’s bag to pet Morgana, while holding her pizza with the other hand. “Whatcha drawing?” She asked Yusuke, trying to peek at his tablet.


“It’s not done yet!” Yusuke pulled the tablet close to his chest, “And this time it’s a surprise!”


Ren smiled lightly at the scene. He was the only one who hadn’t eaten anything yet. The same nauseated feeling from earlier had returned, and he was fighting just to keep from throwing up. “I’m sure it looks wonderful.” He said about Yusuke’s unfinished art. It was all he could manage to say, but it was honest. Ren did often enjoy seeing the outcome of Yusuke’s art.


“Of course it will!” Haru piped up, “His art always looks good!”


Yusuke beamed from the attention, his cheeks going red. “You think so?”




From around the table, there was a unanimous chorus of agreement. Yusuke took it in with a humble “thank you”, and went back to his drawing, making sure to tilt his tablet at an angle where Futaba couldn’t see.


“Ren, you haven’t even touched your food.” Ann pointed out, noticing that the pizza was almost gone. “If you don’t hurry, Ryuji’s gonna eat it all!” She swatted away Ryuji’s hand, which was reaching for another slice.


Ren shook his head, although the action made him feel even worse. “I’m not that hungry.” He explained, although it wasn’t really true. His stomach was growling in pain, but he just couldn’t force himself to eat anything.


Ann frowned in concern. “Ren, you need to eat. You didn’t have anything for lunch today!” She pulled a piece of pizza off the tray, and placed it on a plate. “Here.” She set it down in front of Ren’s spot on the table.


“I’m really not hungry.” Ren looked away from the pizza, which was making him feel even more sick than before.

“See? This is how you should be feeling. That’s how I felt from what you did to me.”


Ren lurched forward, shoving his plate out of the way to lean against the table. His breathing became heavy, and his heart was pounding in his chest. “S…...Stop…..” He begged quietly, to the voice that no-one else could hear.


“Ren!” Everyone immediately yelled in panic, and Ann, who was sitting closest, began to rub his back in a comforting motion.


“Thanks…..Ann…..” Ren spoke after a moment, slowly gaining control of his breathing. “I’m fine….. Just a little bit stomach-sick.”


“Ren, you are not fine!” Makoto spoke with emphasis, crossing her arms over her chest. “You can’t keep doing this! You’re really going to make yourself sick!”


“I’ll be fine, Makoto. I just……...need to go…...not feeling so good…..” Ren stood up, his legs shaking. Ann scooted out of the booth, allowing him to lean on her. “Ryuji! Get over here and help him!” She called out, motioning towards Ren with her free hand.


“Sure!” Ryuji stood as well, supporting Ren from the other side. “Come on, let’s get you a mint or something, help settle your stomach. Then I’m taking you home.”


“There’s really no need.” Ren protested weakly, “Sojiro-san can pick me up.”


“No arguing, I’m taking you home.” Ryuji pulled his phone out of his pocket, and called the phone line for Leblanc. After a few rings, Sojiro answered. “Yes?”


“Hey, this is Ryuji. Sorry for using this line, but I’m gonna be bringing Ren home. He’s not doing so good.”


Sojiro sighed, and Ryuji could imagine the look on his face. “I figured something like this might happen. Go ahead, bring him home. Just make sure he doesn’t throw up in your car.”


“You got it.” Ryuji hung up, tucking his phone back into his pocket. “Let’s go.”



The ride home was a fairly silent one, since Ren was more than a little preoccupied trying to hold down the contents of his stomach. Every once in a while, Ryuji would point something out, or try to make a joke, but for the most part, he just concentrated on driving, and let Ren try to calm down as best he could.


Finally, Ryuji pulled in front of Leblanc, and glanced at Ren. “Hey, we’re here. Now you be careful, alright? Go lay down in bed or something.” His usual playful grin was gone, replaced by a serious expression.


“Got it…..” Ren mumbled, stumbling into Leblanc with what little energy he had left.


Sojiro was there to meet him at the door. “Let’s get you upstairs.” He supported Ren gently, helping him walk up the stairs. “Now, stay in bed. I’ll go make you some tea, and I want you to drink it this time.”


“Alright…….” Too tired to protest, Ren laid in bed, his entire body feeling as heavy as lead.


About ten minutes later, Sojiro reappeared by Ren’s bed, holding a cup of mint tea. “You don’t have to drink it all at once. Just try to get it down, it will help settle your stomach. Then I was you to eat something. It can be something as bland as plain old bread.”


Ren nodded slightly, sitting up enough to take the cup in his hands. “I’ll try….”


“That’s all I’m asking.” Sojiro pulled up the chair that Ren had kept by his desk, and sat down. “Now I’m not moving until you’ve taken a few sips.”


“But your customers…..”


“There’s only a few right now, and they’re my regulars. They’ll understand if I say you’re sick.” Sojiro pointed to the cup of tea. “Now come on, take a drink.”


Ren lifted the cup of tea to his lips, the aroma of mint strongly hitting his nose. Fighting back the urge to retch, he sipped the warm drink. It was slightly soothing, and true to Sojiro’s word, it did help his stomach settle. “Thank you….”


“No problem. I’m going back downstairs now, but you finish drinking that, alright?” Sojiro glanced down at Morgana, who had been watching the scene silently. “You make sure he finishes it, alright?” Even though Sojiro couldn’t understand Morgana, he knew Morgana could understand him. It was something that the Phantom Thieves had explained, once the Metaverse had been destroyed.


“You got it!” Morgana hopped onto Ren’s bed, sitting near his feet, and keeping an eye out to make sure Ren finished the tea.


“I’ll be fine, Morgana. This is helping, really. You can take a nap if you want.” Ren lifted the cup again, this time taking a slightly bigger drink. It was more than he had expected, and he spluttered a little as it hit the back of his throat.


“Ren!” Morgana sat up, instantly alert. “You OK?!”


“I’m fine!” Ren insisted, waving his free hand. “It just startled me. I’m fine, really.” Ren started to set his cup down on his lap, but out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of the mirror that he had moved to the other side of his room a few weeks ago. He dropped the cup, startled, and it rolled off the bed, spilling its contents over the sheets and floor.


“Ren?!” Morgana yelled, jumping onto his lap, “What happened?!”


Ren’s face gained an expression of pure terror, and when he opened his mouth to speak, nothing came out. He motioned desperately towards the mirror, tears streaming down his cheeks.

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)   Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic) I_icon_minitime30th May 2019, 2:18 pm

Morgana glanced at the mirror, but saw nothing, save for his and Ren’s own reflections. Ren was still gasping for breath, so Morgana jumped off the bed, running down the stairs. He paid no mind to the fact that Ren could possibly get in trouble if Sojiro’s customers found out that there was a cat living in the attic. In Morgana’s mind, Ren’s mental health came first.


“Boss! We’ve got a problem!” Morgana knew that Sojiro couldn’t hear his words, but he hoped that the way he was speaking would convey the message.


Sojiro stopped what he was doing, and looked down at Morgana. “What’s wrong? Did Ren throw up?” He had been closing up shop, so luckily no-one was there to see Morgana.


Morgana shook his head, and yelled, “No, worse! He’s a panicked mess up there! Come on!”


Sojiro came out from behind the counter, his concern increasing. “Alright, I’m coming.” He followed Morgana up the stairs, as the cat practically flew to Ren’s side.


Ren was curled in a ball, his hands clasped tightly around his legs. He was mumbling incoherently, although Sojiro and Morgana could hear him occasionally speak the words “shadow”, “dead”, and “go away”.


Sojiro took one look at Ren, and a determined expression crossed his face. “Alright, forget a counselor. I’m calling a psychiatrist.” He turned on his heel, and crossed the room swiftly to get his smartphone from downstairs.


“Ren……….” Morgana jumped onto Ren’s bed, sitting next to him. He didn’t touch Ren, afraid that the physical contact might push him into an even more panicked state.


“Go away!” Ren screamed, his breath hitching. “Please, just go away! Stop following me…...”


“Ren! It’s me, Morgana! Can you hear me?!” Morgana hated seeing Ren so vulnerable, so broken. It was a far cry from the leader he had once been. His mental state was shattered, and there was little Morgana could do besides simply being there for him.


“Why…...” Ren whimpered, despair clearly in his voice. “Why are you tormenting me!?”


Now do you understand how alone I felt? How broken, how cornered? How desperate I was? Now that you’ve felt my pain, do you understand it?”


“Shut up!” Ren unclasped his hands, covering his ears, as if it would make the voice go away. “Just leave me alone!”


“Ren, the boss is calling a psychiatrist. He’s gonna get you some help, OK?” Morgana hoped desperately that Ren could hear him, that his words could bring some form of reassurance or comfort.


Beside Ren, his phone began to vibrate. Ren tensed up, his breathing coming out in short, sporadic jerks.

Ryuji’s name popped onto the caller ID, and after a moment of hesitate, Morgana swiped at the phone with his paw, answering the call.


“Hey man, just checking up on you. Your stomach feeling better?” Ryuji’s voice was concerned, and Morgana felt his heart sink. Time to deliver the bad news.


“Ryuji? This is Morgana…...Ren’s not doing so good. Those nightmares are getting the best of him. The boss is calling a psychiatrist. He’s……...he’s having a really bad breakdown.” Morgana glanced back up at Ren, who was shaking like a leaf.


“Oh man…….” Ryuji was silent for a moment, and Morgana knew he was trying to process the information. “That bad?”


“Yeah. I don’t think he even recognizes me…...” Morgana felt something brushing against him, and he was shocked when he realized it was Ren’s hand. “Ren…….”


“M…….Morgana?…...” Ren’s eyes were distant, and he was staring straight ahead, not looking to Morgana at all.


“Yeah, Ren, I’m here.” Morgana allowed Ren to pet him, feeling relieved that he could at least offer some comfort. “Hey Ren? Ryuji’s on the phone. You wanna talk to him?”


Ren didn’t respond, but slowly, hesitantly, he nodded.


“OK Ryuji, you can go ahead and talk to him.” Morgana felt a small sense of happiness that Ren was coherent enough to listen, even if it wasn’t by much.


“Hey man, I’m sorry you’re not feeling so good, but we’re all here for you, OK? Me, and Ann, Yusuke, Makoto…..Futaba…...Haru….” Ryuji’s voice came through the line, but it was teary and clipped. “We’re all gonna make sure you get better, OK?”


Once again, Ren was silent. Morgana was unsure at first that he had even heard Ryuji. But after a moment, he whispered, barely audible, “I know….thank you…..”


Morgana leaned closer to the phone, and said, “He heard you, Ryuji. He said thank you...”


Ryuji gave a laugh of relief. “He’s gonna get better, isn’t he? I mean, he just has to…….”


“Yeah, he will. That’s all we can do, is believe he’ll get better.” Morgana felt Ren’s hand stop moving, and he glanced up again. To his surprise, Ren’s eyes didn’t seem as distant as they had before. “Ren!” He yelped, sitting up.


“Morgana?….” Ren slowly straightened up, and he picked Morgana up, holding him close. “Morgana I’m so sorry…...”


“ You don’t have to apologize!” Morgana spoke through a round of tears. “I’m just glad you recognize me!”


“Hey, Ren-ren!” Ryuji called out, his voice slightly muffled from his own tears. “Can ya hear me? You get better soon, OK?”


With a shaky hand, Ren reached out for his phone. He brought it close to his ear, and said, “Yeah. I’ll……...I’ll get better soon. We’ll all go out again sometime…..”


“Oh good!” Ryuji laughed again, glad to be able to hear Ren’s voice on the other end of the line. “Well, I’ve got some stuff to do, so I’m gonna hang up now. I’ll see you tomorrow for school, alright?”


“Alright.” Ren reached for the button to hang up the call, but before he did, Ryuji’s voice came through the line one last time.


“Morgana, you keep an eye on him, OK?”

“You got it.” Morgana nodded, even though Ryuji couldn’t see him.


Ren hung up the phone, then laid down, exhaustion overtaking him. “Morgana…….I’m so tired...” He closed his eyes, but they immediately snapped back open, and he gasped slightly.


Morgana frowned. He could only assume that Ren was seeing the same thing as before. “Ren, I don’t know if you heard me earlier, but the boss is calling a psychiatrist. I really think you need it.”


Ren nodded, sighing. “Yeah, I heard. It felt far away, but I heard. You know what? I’m not gonna fight it anymore. You’re right. I can’t handle this on my own.”


“And you shouldn’t have to. When the boss gets back up here, ask him if he has any sleep-aid. Tell him I said you need it.” Morgana was serious. Ren needed a night of good, restful sleep, something he hadn’t had in a long time.


“Alright…...”


Before anyone else could speak, Sojiro came up the stairs. “Morgana?! You keeping an eye on-” His eyes widened as he saw Ren was no longer curled up in the corner. “Oh thank goodness…...” A tear of relief found its way to his cheek. “Listen, I’ve got you an appointment tomorrow after school, for a psychiatrist. You can argue all you want, but you’re going.”


“I know. Morgana talked some sense into me. Well, and Ryuji. He called earlier. I can’t do this anymore. I know I need help.” Ren looked over at Morgana, and added, “Oh, and Morgana told me to ask you if you have any sleep-aid.”


“Well he said that, now did he?” Sojiro gave a small grin, both to Ren, and to Morgana. “I don’t have any with me, but I can run and go get some. It’ll just take a few minutes.”


“I’ll keep an eye on him!” Morgana spoke, standing up dutifully at the edge of Ren’s bed.


Ren laughed softly, and translated for Sojiro. “Morgana says he’ll keep an eye on me.”


“I see…...well then, I’ll be right back, OK? Wait, you know what? Before I do that, here, hand me your phone.” He held out his hand, and Ren gave him his phone. “I’m putting my number on speed-dial. If anything happens, or even starts to happen, you call me. Even if you can’t talk in that moment, I’ll listen to how Morgana sounds, and I’ll get home as fast as I can.”


Ren nodded, taking back the smartphone. “I’m sure I’ll be fine until you get home.” He assured, laying back against his pillow. He pulled open his messaging app, and saw that Ann had texted him.


“Alright, well, I’ll be back soon.” Sojiro crossed the room, and a few moments later, Ren and Morgana heard the familiar bell chiming, and the door thumping closed.


“Ann asked if I’m OK. I bet Ryuji called her after he hung up.” Ren smiled a little, and started to text back.


“Probably. He was really worried about you. Still is. We all are, Ren.” Morgana placed one paw gently on his leg, before curling up and laying next to him.












The night went on without too many problems after that. Sojiro returned with the medicine, which Ren took with a small glass of water. Morgana agreed to watch over Ren until he fell asleep, and Sojiro went home, after Ren promised once again to call if anything went wrong.


“Alright, Morgana. I’m going to try to go to sleep now.” Ren reached over to turn off the light, shifting Morgana gently off his lap.


“OK. Sleep well.” Morgana yawned, but kept his eyes open. He had promised not to fall asleep first, and he intended to keep that promise.


Slowly, hesitantly, Ren closed his eyes. The sleep-aid was beginning to work, and it was getting hard to stay awake. Thankfully, Ren saw nothing when he closed his eyes, save for darkness.


You think this is the end?”

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic)   Voices of The Past (A Persona 5 fanfic) I_icon_minitime31st May 2019, 9:43 pm

“I’m not sure I should let you go to school today.” Sojiro passed Ren his cup of coffee and bowl of curry, and smiled as Ren actually picked up the spoon without flinching. It was an improvement, to say the least.


“I’m feeling fine today. I think getting a night of good sleep helped.” Ren slowly ate the curry, each bite giving him a little more strength. “And besides, I promised Ryuji I would be there.”


Sojiro sighed, and seemed as if he was thinking it over. “I’m really opposed to this. If you have a breakdown in class, who knows what could happen?”


“I know. It could look really bad. But I think I’ll be fine. I don’t want to miss a day of class if I don’t have to.” Ren insisted, reaching for his coffee. The warm, bitter drink was a welcoming taste, no longer the nauseating one it had been just the day before.


“I still don’t think this is a good idea…..” Sojiro glanced down to Ren’s bag, where Morgana was listening to the whole thing. “Morgana, I’m letting Ren go, but you keep an eye on him the whole time, understand?” Sojiro had long since discarded any ideas that it was odd to be talking to a cat. Now it felt just as natural as talking to any human.


“You got it!” Morgana agreed with Sojiro that Ren should not be going back to school yet, but he knew that Ren would not give in so easily. It had been a battle just to get him to admit he needed help, keeping him from going to school would be another battle.


“He says he’ll keep an eye on me.” Ren translated once again, patting Morgana gently as he finished his coffee. The empty cup made a soft thud as he placed it back on the counter.


“I figured as much.” Sojiro laughed slightly, taking Ren’s empty cup and bowl. “I swear sometimes I feel like I’m beginning to understand what he’s saying.”


“Well then, I’m off for school now. I’ll be back later.” Ren stood and grabbed his bag, making his way to the door.


“Don’t forget you have that appointment after school!” Sojiro called out, speaking up to be heard over the water he had begun to run in the sink to rinse out the dishes.


“I won’t forget!” Ren promised, and with that, he left Leblanc, feeling optimistic about the day.










“Ren-Ren!” Ryuji practically jumped onto Ren, greeting him at the front of the school. He was grinning widely, like a kid in a candy store.


“Ryuji!” Ann scolded, her face turning red. “Need I remind you that we’re third year high schoolers?” She sighed in annoyance, then turned to Ren, who had just managed to pry Ryuji off himself. “Anyways, I’m glad you’re doing OK. Ryuji was in quite a panic last night when he called me.”

“Hey, it was for a good reason!” Ryuji defended quickly, his own cheeks turning red.


“I’m sorry for worrying both of you. I’m doing better today.” Ren began to tear up a little, grateful that his friends had been worried for his sake.


“Thank goodness! I was really scared…..” Ryuji hugged Ren again, “I don’t know how much you heard last night, but Morgana and I were both really scared…...” His grip tightened, as if he was afraid Ren would disappear should he let go.


“I know. I’m not going to let it happen again.” Ren promised, gently removing Ryuji’s arms from around him, in order to walk up the stairs to school.


Ryuji seemed reluctant to part with the two, and he groaned, “Times like these, I really wish we weren’t in two different classes!” He ran a hand through his curly blonde hair, which succeeded in doing nothing but making it look slightly messier than usual.


“I know, but there’s nothing that can be done about it. I’ll keep an eye on him for now, OK?” Ann assured Ryuji with a gentle smile.


“……..Well alright then. But after class we’re definitely gonna meet up!” Ryuji clasped Ren’s shoulder, looking him straight in the eye. “You’re not leaving until I’m 100% sure you’re OK, got it?”


“Alright.” Ren nodded, but then added quickly, “Ah, but I do have to leave after school, I have somewhere to be.”


Morgana piped up from Ren’s bag, “The boss managed to get him a psychiatry appointment today.”


“Shh, Morgana!” Ann scolded, “Someone might hear you!” After that, she smiled in relief. “But that’s good news. I’m glad you’ve decided to go.”


“Yeah. Morgana talked me into it. But even if he hadn’t, I have a feeling that Sojiro-san would have dragged me there if need be.” Ren laughed slightly, stepping into the classroom, with Ann not far behind.








The day was rather monotonous, and several times, Ren found his thoughts wandering. Every once in a while, he would tense, or his breathing would fall out of rhythm. But each time, Morgana would tap him softly, or Ann would would text him a picture or joke. Every time, it would bring Ren back to reality, and it kept the voice from intruding his thoughts.


“Alright class, school is dismiss-”


Before anyone could even stand up, a clap of thunder sounded, shaking the school. Lightning flashed bright outside, and rain began to pour in torrents. Across every smartphone in the class, severe weather alerts began to sound.


“Alright class, just stay calm and we’ll-”


The teacher was cut short again, this time by the lights going out. A couple of the girls shrieked, and several of the boys pulled out their smartphones and turned on the flashlight setting, creating eerie shadows on the wall.


“Hey look, it’s a ghost!” One student yelled, pointing to the wall in front of him. He laughed loudly, using his hands to make shadow puppets.


“Knock it off!” Another one shot back, “I hate ghosts!”


Hearing those words, combine with the overwhelming power of the storm, caused Ren to begin breathing heavily. Ann quickly noticed, and reached her hand back to take his. “You OK?” She asked quietly, so only he could hear.


“I’m……..I’m fine…..” Ren assured, but he wasn’t. Images flashed through his mind, more than he could count. With each one, Akechi’s face was there, taunting him once again.


Outside the classroom, there was a loud shout, followed by a clunk of footsteps. “I don’t care! Class is over, isn’t it?! Then I’m going to be with my friends!” Even over the howling of the storm, Ryuji’s voice could clearly be heard.


“Sakamoto-kun!” A teacher’s voice scolded, “That’s against protocol! Get back to your classroom right now!”


“Ah, forget about protocol!” Ryuji shot back, bursting through the classroom door. “Ren, Ann!” He ran over to their desks, sitting on top of Ann’s, which she had thankfully cleared as the storm started.


“Ryuji!” Ann frowned slightly, but she couldn’t stay mad for long. “What are you doing in here? You’re going to get in trouble!”


“I made a promise, didn’t I? I said I was going to meet with you guys after school. And it’s after school, isn’t it? So here I am!” Ryuji was grinning, although it faltered a little when he saw Ren’s distress. “Hey Ren-Ren, you need anything? I’ve got music, jokes, water…..” Ryuji reached into his bag and pulled out an MP3 and water bottle.


“Yeah, some music might help…..” He reached for the MP3, smiling softly despite his current state.




No, you don’t deserve it. Feel my pain and isolation.”


Ren gasped, panic settling in. “No…..” He mumbled, his hand dropping down by his side. A clap of thunder resounded, and Ren stood up quickly, pushing his chair back. It fell to the floor with a metallic clatter, and Ren flinched from the noise. Everyone in the room turned to look at him, but he barely noticed. Shoving past several students, he stumbled out into the hall, ignoring the wake of protests from students and teachers alike.


“Ren!” Ryuji followed close behind, but stopped at the door, and turned back around. “He’s a little stressed right now.” He explained quickly to the class, “I think this storm is scaring him.”

A few of the students snickered at the thought of a third-year being scared of a storm, but most of them, especially the girls, nodded with sympathetic understanding.


Ryuji ran off to find Ren, with his phone flashlight as his only guide. “Hey, Ren! Where’d you go?!” The storm was still raging outside, and Ryuji had to yell louder than normal, his voice carrying throughout the otherwise silent hall.


“Ryuji, I found him!” Ann called from across the hall. “He’s over here!”


Ryuji pointed the light in Ann’s direction, careful to keep it near the ground, so as not to shine it in her eyes. “The stairs?” Ryuji whistled in disbelief. “He made it down the stairs in the dark?!”


“He’s scared, Ryuji. Adrenaline can make people do things they wouldn’t normal be able to do, or want to do otherwise.” Ann began to descend the stairs, watching her step to make sure she didn’t loose her footing.


Ren was backed into a corner, where the stairs converged into a landing. His eyes were unfocused, as they had been the previous night during his first breakdown. When Ann and Ryuji sat down next to him, he barely responded, aside from pulling back even more.


“We’re here now, Ren. You’re not alone.” Ann soothed, watching carefully for any reaction, good or bad. The storm began to pick up even more, masking their voices from the rest of the school.


Yes, you are. I was alone, and so are you.”


“No! Go away!” Ren screamed to the voice, “Stop following me!”


“Ren!” Morgana came bounding down the stairs, not needing a light thanks to his feline eyes. “Ren……...” He curled up next to the raven haired teen, waiting to see if Ren would pet him, as he did before.


“Morgana!” Ryuji and Ann scolded in union, “Why are you-”


“-I know, I know!” Morgana responded, “Ren can get in trouble if they find out he snuck a cat into school! But I couldn’t just stay there! He needs me…….”


Beside them, Ren had fallen into a bout of silence, but his eyes were still panicked and unfocused. Reaching out with one hand, he found Morgana by his leg, and stroked him softly. “Morgana…….”


Just then, another streak of lightening flashed across the sky. Ren’s hand stopped moving, and he stiffened, pressing his back against the wall. His eyes seemed to zero in on one spot, and he was staring in terror.


“A…….Akechi…..”

___________________________

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