Author’s Note: Beware SPOILERS. I do not suggest reading if you have not finished the game. I suggest leaving immediately if you have not yet finished the Justice Confidant. You have been warned. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy. I threatened waiting until Christmas, but it ended up less Christmasy than I thought it would, so I’m posting it now.
Mandatory Disclaimer: The story is based on the world and characters of the Atlus video game Persona 5. I do not own Akira, Morgana, Akechi, ect.,. I do, however, own this story itself, and any original characters who appear. Additionally, assume images used are official. Any which aren’t will credit the artist.
Example: featured image is from Pixiv.
Now, read, enjoy, and maybe even review. I hope you enjoy.
Akira lay on his bed, Morgana curled up beside his head.
“You really think this will work?”
“It should,” Akira replied. He’d gone over Lavenza’s information with Morgana and they had agreed to try it the next day. Akira had gotten the day off from a rather distressed, but understanding, boss and he didn’t have any more finals to worry about.
“Want to message the others?” Morgana asked.
Akira held up his phone. They’d been debating this since deciding to go in. Sure, his friends couldn’t just hop up to Hokkaido, but shouldn’t he at least tell them?
“I don’t know what to say.”
“The truth?” Morgana suggested.
Akira gingerly typed on his phone. “Sorry this is sudden. I think I have a lead on,” On what?
“Go on,” Morgana urged him. “This can’t be the scariest thing you’ve ever done.”
“I think I have a lead on a Palace. I even have a thought on how to get in. Trying it with Morgana. Plan to text again this evening.” He lay down the phone.
“I guess it will work,” Morgana grumbled.
“I trust you,” Akira whispered. He turned his head to look his feline friend in the eyes. “I trust you to see me through this.”
“Merow. Well, I am the best.”
“It’s scary how good you are.”
Morgana buried his face in Akira’s shoulder. “Let’s just get this over with.”
Akira closed his eyes. “Aresne,” he whispered, “guide me.”
He could feel the Persona stir within him, but rather than try to bring it out, he encouraged it to dive deeper. He needed to follow it.
Something soft touched his hand. Akira glanced over to see Morgana, actual anthropomorphic Phantom Thief Morgana, beside him.
“We got this, Joker.”
Akira nodded. He then took the chance to look around. They were falling in a sea of stars. No, not stars. The lights around them were glowing spheres. Each one held something, but he couldn’t make out details.
Morgana shouted, “Incoming!”
Looking down, Akira realized they were plummeting towards one of these spheres. It drew closer and closer, not much larger than a human. Inside…
“What is this?” Akira whispered. Inside the sphere was him.
They dove into the sphere with a great splash. Instead of the bubbles Akira expected to see, white feathers surrounded them.
And beneath them was him. His Self. All of who he was completely exposed.
They hit into it hard. Morgana and Akira groaned, lifting themselves up from the pavement.
“We’re in Tokyo?”
Akira nodded, gingerly rubbing his head. He didn’t feel any blood or obvious lumps. Better yet, he did feel his mask and gloves.
“Let’s go find your treasure, Joker.”
Joker nodded just before running off. He knew these streets, and he knew they had to get to Leblanc. It didn’t really surprise him that it represented his Palace. After all, it had been the hideout for the leader of the Phantom Thieves of Hearts for almost a year.
A great bolt of lightning crashed down from the sky. Joker rolled, still getting hit but managing to rise back to his feet quickly.
Morgana, on the other hand, went flying. He crashed into a building wall and lay there, dazed.
Joker glanced up to the rooftop.
Skull, or at least a representation of him, jumped down. He tapped a wooden paddle against his leg.
“Yo, Joker, good of ya to drop in.” He held out the paddle. “I’m supposed to escort you in.” He looked over to Morgana. “Alone.”
With that he reached for his mask.
Joker leapt forward, no hesitation in his movements. This had to be a cognitive version of Skull. For all Skull and Morgana fought, there was no way Skull would ever harm his friend so intentionally.
Skull jumped back, narrowly avoiding Joker’s knives. He pulled off his mask, a blacked out version of Captain Kidd appearing in the air between them.
Joker kept moving, narrowly avoiding the lightning bolts.
He managed to get close again for a series of furious attacks. He emphasized Skull’s injured side, forcing him to put his weight on his gimp leg.
Skull swung at him with the paddle. Joker ducked down. The paddle barely crossed over his head, brushing against his hair as it went.
The swing finally put too much weight on the injured leg and Skull stumbled.
Joker lunged forward, driving him to the ground. He had a knife at the cognitive Skull’s throat before he could recover. Joker’s other knife cut into his opponent’s weapon arm.
“Alright, alright, I get it. I lose. So get rid of me. I’m useless now, right?”
“Joker?” Morgana called.
He registered the sound, but chose not to turn his attention away from Skull. The mask had reappeared, giving Skull’s eyes a sense of endless black depth.
“Well?” Skull pressed. He grinned. “Come on, get rid of me.”
Joker pressed the knife closer.
“I’m just a cognition. A poor copy of the original.”
“Don’t say that.”
Skull laughed. “You really are him. Such a pack rat.”
Morgana placed a paw on Joker’s hand. “Joker, this isn’t really Skull.”
Skull shouted, “Come on, let me go.” He lurched forward.
Black blood splattered everywhere, the cognitive Skull’s throat sliced wide. Joker just stared, still sitting on Skull’s chest as the body convulsed.
Morgana backed away. “Wha-?”
“Does he really think that will work?” a female voice inquired from behind them.
Joker forced himself to turn his head from the grinning mockery of his friend. Behind them stood Panther. Queen and Fox stood beside her, shaking their heads sadly.
“Hardly an elegant end,” Fox replied.
Queen placed her hand on her face in exasperation. “He should have waited for us. Now, he’s bound for a world of hurt.”
Slowly, Joker rose to his feet. He faced them. “More cognitions?”
Morgana pulled out his sling. “They’re just more shadows, in the end.”
Panther held up her hands. “We aren’t supposed to fight you.”
“Our job is to escort you to the Master,” Fox explained.
“We don’t have to fight if you come peacefully,” Queen added.
Joker got back into a combat stance. “I go on my own terms.”
“Really?” asked Morgana.
Surprised, Joker turned to him.
One Morgana stood over the Morgana holding the slingshot.
“You think you’d be sneakier. I mean, you’re supposed to be our boss, right?”
Joker sheathed his knives. “Let me carry Morgana.”
“Fox,” Panther snapped.
Queen shook her head, but Joker could see her smile too. “Of course. We wouldn’t expect you to let him go.”
Cognitive Morgana moved over to the side so he could lift the real one up. “I’ll follow you.”
Panther and Fox turned to lead the way. Queen went in step with him.
“You really can’t summon your Persona, can you?”
“Why do you say that?”
“You could easily defeat us if you had your full power,” she reasoned. “The boss thought you might be limited, but Skull hoped otherwise.”
“Why did he kill himself?”
“Freedom,” Queen whispered.
They stopped in front of Leblanc.
“He wants to see you himself,” Queen explained. She stepped away. “You know where he is.”
Joker held Morgana close. “And you?”
“Our job is to make sure you don’t escape,” Fox replied.
“Let us have a boring night,” Panther added.
Cognitive Morgana looked down, kicking the pavement. “Yeah.”
“Let me ask one question.” Joker looked directly at Queen. “Is Akechi here?”
“What do you think?” Panther responded.
“Only you can answer that,” Queen added. She gestured for the door.
With a deep sigh, Joker walked into Leblanc.
It looked more similar to the real thing than he expected. Instead of booths, arcade machines lined the wall, but the bar and kitchen area seemed unchanged. He could even smell the curry.
A cognitive Sojiro poured freshly brewed coffee into a mug. “You better give it your best, you hear?” He slid it along the bar.
Joker shifted Morgana to one arm so he could accept the coffee. “I will.”
The cognition smiled and gestured towards the stairs. “Best not to leave yourself waiting.”
With a nod, Joker headed up the stairs.