Shots for Shots
a Persona 3 fanfiction by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Strega kills Shuji Ikutsuki early on, making Chidori Yoshino split off from the group even earlier.
WARNING: ALL-OUT SPOILERS AND CRAZY CANON DEVIATION UP AHEAD!
“Some shots…for some…shots…haha…ha…”
Jin Shirato stomped the back of the bastard’s head.
“I wanna blow this fucker up to pieces,” said the spectacled member of Strega as he took out a grenade and felt up its pin.
“Aren’t you the one who suggested the whole ‘Tell those idiots that we killed this snake’ plan, though?” asked Chidori Yoshino. “I know we can’t get over what he and the Kirijo Group did to us, but you’re being way too emotional again, Jin.”
“Tch, good point…” Jin pocketed the grenade. “Alright, Takaya, you can call them up now.”
“With pleasure,” Takaya Sakaki grinned as he looted Ikutsuki’s phone and selected a number. After some silence on his part… “Hello? Is this Mitsuru Kirijo? No, this is most certainly not Shuji Ikutsuki. What did we do? You have quite the instincts, my dear…but not enough to know the true personality of the man who lead you…and yes, we killed him. We’ll even leave his body out for you in the following address…”
After Takaya ended that first call with a laugh, he called another number. “Hello? Is this Takeharu Kirijo? You are in our debt now. We just killed one of your greatest traitors. What? You do not know Shuji Ikutsuki? How cruel! And you have been sending children out to die for you and your wretched corporation, still? We have even been supplying one of your former child soldiers with Persona suppressants that came from Ikutsuki himself! Hahaha…this is quite personal, so we do not necessarily need money, oh no…We only require vengeance until the day we die. Goodbye.”
And as Strega left, Takaya grinned, Jin frowned, while Chidori…wondered.
“Vengeance?” she repeated, looking down. “What’s next after that?”
“Why, of course, it is death, my dear Chidori,” Takaya answered without hesitation. “Isn’t that right, Jin?”
“Heh, definitely,” agreed the four-eyed hot-head. “If we’re gonna die trash anyway, might as well see everyone else realizing how they’re worse before we kick the bucket.”
Chidori was afraid of attachment, but she realized a feeling of loathing over this empty attachment she let herself be stuck in. Her instincts sought relief in wreaking vengeance upon one of the greatest causes of her life’s suffering, but what she got in return was underwhelming.
“I need to gather inspiration for my art.”
If she was going to die regardless of how full or empty the attachments she had were, then might as well make the pain more worthwhile.
This time, her escape would have meaning.
“Wait, we got a new member?” asked one Junpei Iori as SEES gathered in their dorm’s living room. And while the new one was a cold yet cute girl with a sketchpad and gothic lolita fashion… “Isn’t it a bit too early for that, considering…you know?”
“For once, I agree with Stupei,” Yukari followed, though not without a “Hey!” from her classmate. Her pursed lips opened again for a bit, but they went shut without another word.
“Well, I think I know what questions you would like to ask, everyone,” replied Takeharu Kirijo, fixing his tie and his eyepatch as he stood. “But before I give you the answers you need, I must introduce you to our newest member.” He turned to the new girl. “Yoshino, if you would?”
She stood. “My name is Chidori Yoshino. Former member of Strega, the operating founders of Revenge Request. My Persona is Medea, and I gained her long ago through…very painful means. Having one is still painful, much like how it does for a former member of this group of yours.”
Everyone else except Takeharu stared at her.
“Wait, so that site’s legit?” was the first verbal reaction, courtesy of Junpei. “You look too cute to be a part of that thing, th – OW!”
“Shut up, Stupei!” Yukari shouted at her usual bickering partner. But then she went silent, eyes narrowed at Chidori, Takeharu, and even Mitsuru.
“I believe Mitsuru should have told you earlier,” Takeharu sighed, “But old habits die hard, and we’ll need to nuke these ones, unfortunately.” He took a deep breath. “She is one of the very few surviving human products of a batch of experiments the Kirijo Group once conducted, and…well, Ikutsuki was also in charge of them. And in relation to that…Tartarus and the Dark Hour are also products of those experiments.”
There were shouts from Yukari and Junpei again, but not at each other.
“I would blame my father,” Takeharu continued after the blue-haired boy who didn’t seem to give a damn about anything calmed them down. “But Mitsuru and I cannot do anything now except for taking responsibility…and we have failed you all there again. So please…”
And then Takeharu prostrated himself.
“Please forgive us!” he begged. “And please let us help end these horrors my family has unleashed upon you and this world!”
The tower within the time of red and green didn’t seem so tall after that.
Chidori’s eyes widened as she heard a familiar voice through her phone.
“Hey, something wrong, Chidori?” asked her boyfriend.
“We have discovered that summoning Nyx requires defeating all those giant Shadows that appear during the full moon,” Takaya continued. “Jin and I also thank you and your new friends for making Tartarus easier to explore. We would love to be at its summit when Death comes to take us, after all.”
And then she felt like Medea would choke her once again. She had to fight this fear she had numbed herself for a long time She had to she had to For – !
“So what, Takaya!?” Chidori shouted, Junpei jolting back in her peripheral vision. “You and Jin can go die if you don’t want to be bothered about it! But we won’t let you take us with you!”
And then she hung up, shoving her phone back into her bag. With a deep breath, she schooled her features back to face Junpei again.
A few seconds later, she hugged him and cried.
“Wow…” the baseball lover went, arms responding accordingly. “That was hot.” That earned him a smack to a shoulder. “But seriously, what was that about? Crazy ex?”
“No, it was Strega,” Chidori answered, pulling back and wiping her tears away before getting off from the bench they tried to relax on. “They just said something we know already thanks to Ikutsuki’s files, but…”
Junpei smiled as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I’m here for ya, Chidori,” he said. “You wanted a simple guy, right? Well, here’s me with all the cheese and corn!”
And she couldn’t ask for more. Why was she even so afraid and emotional about these guys?
“You actually said something thoughtful for once,” Chidori joked, giggling soon after at her boyfriend’s blushing sputter.
“Ah, if it isn’t Chidori and her new friends!”
“And what wouldn’t we do for a killsteal in front of her boyfriend?”
“I ain’t even gonna bother talking to them,” Junpei muttered as he pulled out his Evoker. He still hadn’t gotten over the embarrassment he had from the whole “killstealer” rant he unleashed upon those two during the fight against the Justice and Chariot Full Moon Shadows and before Takeharu revealed Ikutsuki’s tightly hidden files about the Fall. “But you’re the boss, Chidorita,” he then said, keeping his Evoker by his side.
“Thank you,” Chidori smiled, making him blush before she frowned at her former associates. “Now I want to ask something: Will you stop this? It’ll just be us and no one else who’ll be after you once this is over, unless you really want to see your faces on Wanted posters. We can help you live happier lives, too.”
Takaya laughed, while Jin smirked.
“My, my, you are more naive than we thought, Chidori!” Takaya mocked. “You dare assume that there is happiness greater than what we would achieve?”
“And you really think we’d let the source of all our powers disappear just like that?” Jin asked. “We’ve been having a lot more fun with them lately, too! Did you know that since Personas come from Shadows, we can use them to control the citizens through their Shadows as well? We’ll be helping everyone admit their sins and accept their punishment in no time at all!”
“The hell is wrong with you bastards!?” Junpei couldn’t help shouting, Evoker raised. “We ain’t killing all those Shadows just for fun! It’s already damn depressing just thinking about having to summon doomsday to stop it!”
“You guys fucking talk too much.”
But those last two responses weren’t from Strega, as they had just been struck from behind into unconsciousness.
“Huh, that was fast!” Junpei noted, arms down as he saw a tall delinquent with an ax and a little boy with a spear. “You two seriously okay now?”
“Like the one-eyed old man hadn’t hounded our asses, Iori,” Shinjiro Aragaki replied, and then he looked down on the latest knockout victims. “And speaking of dogs, these two are all bark and no bite. Koromaru could leash these guys and take ’em out on a walk.”
“Don’t they take Persona suppressants too?” Ken Amada questioned. “No wonder they prey on the weak. Still, I didn’t expect your sneak attack plan to work, Shinjiro-san.”
“Well, you don’t know them as much as I have, Ken,” Shinjiro noted as he looted weapons off Takaya and Jin, handing them over to Ken before carrying Takaya. “Go get Four-Eyes over here, Iori. Need these guys tied up for One-Eye and his suits. And we still need to visit the graveyard. Anniversary just had to be during a damn full moon…”
“Food’s still okay, Shinjiro-san,” Ken declared as he checked some lunch boxes after stuffing the enemies’ weapons (except for the suitcase, which he carried by hand) into his backpack. “Thanks very much for this. I…I don’t know what else to say.”
“Took the words right out of my mouth,” Shinjiro replied. “Let’s go.”
Once those two boys went quiet as they walked away, the couple serving as the rear guard spoke.
“And that’s another killsteal against Junpei Iori,” Chidori smirked.
“Goddamn it, Chidorita…” Junpei rolled his eyes, but he still laughed. “At least this guy here in my arms didn’t get to see it!”
“Don’t call me a god or a good guy or something like that when I die.”
Chidori had been drawing in the Iwatodai Dorm when SEES’s field leader entered.
“Just trying to think some thoughts out loud,” he continued as he sat.
“You’re more talkative than usual,” she commented. “Ryoji-san on your mind?”
“Yeah,” he answered, leaning back. “I’ve always known that each and every person will have to die one day. Ryoji’s pretty much me, but more energetic and outgoing, and it still hurts to see a life like that for some reason.”
“Why are you telling me all this, then?” she asked, putting her art materials down. “You do have a lot of good friends or something, right? And that’s also considering the possibility that you’re here to go against your bro code with Junpei.”
“And I dared to think that none of the girls noticed what happened during September…” he muttered and sighed. “Don’t worry, I’m not after you, Chidori. Besides, Junpei’s a lot smarter with you around.”
“Thanks for the friendzone, Leader,” Chidori chuckled. “Still, you don’t talk with me this much.”
“Shouldn’t you know why already, though?” he raised an eyebrow, and then he smiled wryly. “I guess you really changed a lot. I was also thinking about attachments and death and all that, see.”
Looking down at her sketchpad, she took in the figures of SEES, Ryoji-san included. Annoying playboy he may have been, but he easily managed to become endearing to them. To think that the Nyx Avatar could bring so much life…
“That time Ryoji and I talked in my room…” the leader continued, “I never really thought much about what bonding with everyone meant until then. I always believed that they’re all gonna leave eventually, so I never really thought of myself as someone who really affected them. I just used them, basically. I used you all. I thought just like that Takaya guy, thinking that everyone just saw what they wanted to believe. But…”
“Ryoji-san bugged you about it, didn’t he?”
“He even broke my limbs and healed me just to break my limbs again. He was quite inspired by you.”
Chidori gave her leader a flat stare.
“I don’t think I’d go that far with Junpei,” she replied. “There’s jabbing him somewhere, and then there’s that…though to be honest, I think you deserve that level of pain, especially since you had to have the professed playboy call you out on it.”
“What a surprise,” the usually apathetic leader groaned, scratching his nape. “Anyway, he said he was gonna give me a choice to erase our memories or not before he does his job, but after watching how we’re so dedicated to living, he decided to just have us convince him how willing we were to live.”
“But first, he singled you out to kick your ass into pulling yourself together?” Chidori filled in the blanks. “I should fulfill Junpei’s old dreams of stealing your field leader position.”
“Yes, Vice-Leader I Barely Interact With Everyday. But seriously, I’m sorry.”
“Go tell that straight to the girls, Leader. Not only will you get that wish of yours fulfilled, I’ll even reward you with a sketch of you, your victims, and Ryoji-san smiling happily together if you do.”
“Are we all just gonna mope around?”
Her friends and comrades were silent. Not even Junpei could muster the energy needed to cheer everyone up.
Chidori understood their crippling feelings, but she had long been tired of using them as an excuse to be crap. Besides, didn’t they already realize how dependable their dear but still imperfect leader really was?
“He died,” Chidori continued. “Simple as that. And don’t give me those looks. We’re all gonna die eventually, with or without Nyx. At least we can still build on what worth’s been left behind with us. Our leader was an idiot too, and we’re his loved ones. You think we’re really caring for him like this?”
“Damn, did he possess you or something, Chidori?” Junpei grinned a bit. “But seriously, why the heck are we trying to dance around this crap?”
“Mourning isn’t easy, even if it happens a thousand times,” Shinjiro answered. “It’s a miracle that you two can even question us about that without looking stupid.”
“Woof!” Koromaru barked, and Shinjiro rubbed the top of the dog’s head.
“Forgotten about Miki already, Aki?” Shinjiro added, earning a glare from the boxer.
“Of course I haven’t!” Akihiko shouted back. “But…you’re right, I guess I’m being stupid again.”
“Yeah…” Ken agreed, still looking down, but with clenched fists. “Besides, if we were in his place when he was set to deal the final blow to Nyx, we probably would’ve pushed through with it without thinking twice, too.”
But all that still didn’t get the rest to speak up.
And then Chidori noticed something strange.
“You know, I don’t know why I noticed before, but…are you sad, Aigis?”
“Hey, isn’t that kinda ru – Wait…oh yeah, I forgot that she’s supposed to be a robot…” Junpei took his hat off to scratch his head.
With all eyes on her, Aigis also looked down with wide eyes on her own chest, which she placed a hand on.
“Perhaps it’s inevitable for one with a Persona,” Takeharu thought out loud. “I still can’t believe that the Kirijo Group had been able to create such things…No offense, Aigis.”
“None taken, Sir,” Aigis replied, her voice’s usual mechanical lilt sounding a little softer than usual. “So this is being human. As I have experienced before, it is both painful and…pleasurable. Apologies for the strange terminologies.”
“Whoa, she’s steaming!” Junpei exclaimed as SEES jolted back. “Literally!”
“Apologies,” Aigis repeated.
“Well, at least we can bond over getting you some new upgrades, Aigis!” Fuuka smiled. “Don’t worry.”
Aigis nodded with a small smile in return.
“Now, if Fuuka and Aigis can get over him,” Chidori turned to Mitsuru and Yukari, “Then why can’t you two? Still pining for him? You girls sure are forgiving.”
“If only I hadn’t forced him to use the Evoker…” Yukari replied as she looked down.
“Ugh, definitely pining,” Chidori grumbled. “Let me guess, you also banged one more time before the final fight?”
Yukari’s answer to that was a silent blush.
“Well, he certainly was quite an obedient young man…to a degree…” Mitsuru remarked with a sweat-dropped smile.
“If only I had made him take a single buckshot followed by all the martial artist I have left in me for good measure…” Takeharu grunted with a nod and crossed arms.
And then slowly, each and every one of them laughed, starting from the Kirijos. Junpei and Chidori followed, and then came Akihiko and Shinjiro. Ken went along next, while Koromaru barked again, and then Fuuka and Yukari joined in.
Aigis, meanwhile, laughed as her eyes leaked.
Chidori didn’t find that so strange, though. Everyone else was also crying, after all.
Author’s Note: So, is it just me or is Strega just…there in canon? Like, they worked more like plot development tools than actual human characters, which also causes even more disappointment with 1) how Takaya and Jin could’ve been of more use if they can only go as far as being plot development tools; and 2) how Chidori exhibited the potential to be quite an effective main character. I’d like to send my thanks to graepearl14 for helping me realize all that…though I’m honestly kinda embarrassed ’cause I’ve also played and cleared P3P multiple times years ago, hahaha…