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Private Broken Little Fool [M]

Discussion in 'Ark City' started by Ren Amamiya, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Ren Amamiya

    Ren Amamiya Persona
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    Ren felt...drained. Mind a swirl of out of focus colors. Muscles uncomfortably tight in his neck and back. His face throbbed. His knees stung. His knuckles felt...weird. His stomach twisted. Turbulent. Honestly he was a bit queasy.

    Just...bad. He was bad.

    But at least he had shaken himself of the breakdown. The tears slowed then stopping, as he sat next to Akechi. One step at a time. One breath at a time. He wouldn't be okay. Not today, tomorrow, or any time soon. But he could at least get better at pretending.

    Akechi accepted his idea, before pushing himself to his feet, and offering Ren a hand. For a moment, he was still. Knees still pulled to his chest - face half-hidden behind them. Grey eyes just locked onto the man before him for a moment, before lowering to the hand. After a few beats, he carefully grabbed the offered hand - finding himself on his feet a moment later.

    Without a word, he silently moved to the back of the roof - climbing down the fire escape with a limp. His knees hurt, but it'd probably be fine within an hour. Reaching the bottom, he pulled the keys out of his pocket and unlocked the back of the cafe - holding the door open for Goro as he walked in.

    Flicking on the lights, he narrowed his eyes at the small kitchen area in the back - walking through it to get to the actual cafe.

    It was laid out similarly as the original Leblanc; the building wide instead of narrow - the front door opposite to the wooden bar by the register, instead of off to the left. A large chalkboard set behind the bar and register - specials written in different colors of chalk. All in different handwriting; from himself, employees, and random friends. Doodles sat in the corner of the chalkboard from whenever Phantom Thieves stopped by. A handful of booths and tables were scattered around the rest of the space. Photographs, drawings, and paintings lined the walls - normally changing depending on the season. There were a few employees he had that passion for that sort of thing; he normally went to them before anyone else. The biggest difference, however, was the kitchen. Instead of a small area off to the side, it was behind a partial wall - giving him a comfortable space to bake and make curry in. And, of course, it had an attic. However, he didn't live up there. They just used it as a mixture of a break room and storage area.

    Ren had come from the Calamity with this place already in his name. Employees already hired. None of this had really been his decision, but he couldn't see anything he would have done differently.

    Motioning for Goro to sit down at the bar, a small smile pulled at his lips at the...familiarity of it. Going through his assortment of blends, he chose one that he thought Goro would like, he washed his hands and started brewing - not bothering to put on an apron because he was already covered in dirt, blood, snot, tears, and reeked of cigarettes.

    "Been awhile," his voice quiet, as the coffee brewed, not able to shake the...strange nostalgia of it.

    Akechi had become a fixture of Leblanc. As familiar as the smell of curry. Almost every day he'd be sitting at the bar by Sojiro - idly watching TV while drinking coffee. Before any of the chaos started; before he knew Akechi was actively playing the Game against him. He was just...some half-famous person who seemed to like talking to him. He enjoyed it - probably more then he'd ever admit. A little high-point in his day. After a wave of ignoring people whispering about how he apparently killed someone, about how he was second from snapping...it was nice to have someone who wasn't part of the Phantom Thieves who genuinely seemed to not hate him. Even his "friends" outside the Thieves all started with a purpose. He went to them for a specific reason. Friendship was a consequence, not the goal.

    But Akechi - for awhile - was different.
    Which just made the truth hurt that much more.

    Pouring them each a cup, he slid Akechi's across the bar-top to him - motioning to the container of cream and sugar if he wanted it. Taking a sip of his own black coffee, he closed his eyes, leaning on the bar.

    What the hell even was this night?

    "I...punched you in the face," he acknowledged, "Then...choked you," he made a motion with his hand, as if he was discussing the weather, "Then had a breakdown."

    Ren was silent for a moment before sighing, "Sorry I stopped texting you."
     
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  2. Goro Akechi

    Goro Akechi Persona

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    The cafe looked...lived-in. Imprinted no doubt by all of Amamiya's friends. It was a safe space. Akechi did not belong here. Or in Amamiya's life. But which one of them was supposed to back off first? And in Akechi's defense, Amamiya was just as much a glutton for danger as he was. There was no middle grounds here, so drinking coffee with your frienemy act ii it was.

    Akechi looked modestly down at his coffee and gave a light shrug. "Water under the bridge, " he dimissed, and, "you should be," to the actual apology. He kept his voice pleasant, which may or may not contribute to how irritated he was at being ignored by the guy he was ignoring. "For a while there, I was beginning to think you were coming to your senses." He flashed him a smile. "Glad to see I was wrong."
     
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  3. Ren Amamiya

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    The coffee helped. It always helped. Really shouldn't have been surprising how easily he took to smoking, with how addicted he already was to caffeine. How much he relied on it, to get him through the day.

    Ren glanced up at the cafe; half the lights still off, because he didn't feel like bright lights. Ark City shining outside; neon lights from other businesses and headlights coloring the inside of Leblanc. The stars no longer visible; a storm slowly blowing in. People would likely be buying out bread in every store in the area, if there was even the faintest hint of snow in the forecast. He dismissed the thought, as he leaned on the counter, taking another sip of coffee.

    Eyes on Akechi as he just...brushed Ren attacking him aside. Sort of made sense, considering Akechi had technically killed Ren once, and they were still talking. Large surges of violence were just part of their...whatever this was. If they weren't both seeing someone, he'd assume it would take another turn towards the...unhealthy. Luckily they both had people they romantically cared about, so that wasn't an option. Ren was thankful for it.

    A half-laugh fell from his lips at Goro's words, causing him to shake his head, "I...don't know why I didn't," he admitted, leaning both elbows on the counter as his eyes fell to the gently textured surface, "It wasn't meant to be...mean. I just...haven't been having an easy month, I guess. I normally text you to make sure you're okay...and that's hard when I'm not," a shrug, as he took another sip - realizing he had...literally attacked someone who had come by to check on him.

    He was...just on a roll lately with pushing people away.
    Yet Goro sat across from him.
    And...he was grateful.
     
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  4. Goro Akechi

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    "I don't need you babysitting me," Akechi clarified, firmly so Amamiya could finally 'get it', "but I do appreciate you texting me. Not to see how I am...but just to text," he admitted, a little more awkwardly than he'd like. It was the worst thing he could think of, getting texted out of some misplaced obligation instead of just to fucking...chat, like he wasn't a person. And how pathetic did Amamiya see him, to just want to check up on him all the time? He'd been watching his own back since he was a kid, and so far he was doing fine, thanks. Akechi blinked at his own irritation, knowing it...shouldn't be there. It wasn't like Amamiya was going to be his friend. It wasn't like he should. But...hm.

    Home was a foreign concept, which was good, because Akechi didn't have to associate it with a physical place, didn't have to root himself anywhere when good things could be uprooted just as easily. Right now home sat on the tip of his tongue, brewed to perfection. At least one good thing came out of this night. (And Akechi could think of a few other 'good' things happening, what with all this post-adrenalin high and bad decision-making, but that was neither here or there.)

    "Do you know why I like you, Ren Amamiya?" Akechi was swashing the dredges of his coffee by now. "Would you like to take a guess?"
     
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  5. Ren Amamiya

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    "I'm...not---" frustration pulled at his brow - wanting to defend himself. Ren wasn't babysitting Akechi. Overstepping, maybe. Borderline stalking, probably. But not babysitting. He quickly fell silent to let Goro keep speaking, realizing it was probably pointless to try to change his mind. Deep down, Ren knew exactly what he was doing to him. He was keeping track of him - checking in on his life, to make sure it didn't start up again. Almost like an addict. But it hadn't. Akechi showed no signs of falling back into that style of life, and even seemed to be almost settling down in Pandora.

    Yet Ren had kept texting - kept checking in. Sending useless memes and making idle conversation. He...had always liked talking to Goro. But suddenly he was questioning what his actual intentions behind the messages were.

    ...No wonder people kept leaving.

    "I didn't think you liked me," he admitted, leaning heavily on his hand as he glanced up at Goro, "Or is that the punchline?" his voice tired - expression blank.

    At least he'd always have coffee.
     
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  6. Goro Akechi

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    "Well, that's because you're assuming I should like you and that's it, " Akechi said conversationally, nudging the cup over for another refill. "Anyway, it's true. I do. Let me explain.

    "I may not trust anyone fully. I don't believe there is such a thing as being purely selfless. But the few people I do trust second to myself make me -- happy, I suppose. Outlandish concept, I know, "
    he added before Amamiya got smart on him or something, "Take Minato, for example. He's a good, well-meaning boy. With him, I can smile and feel like people. All those nice, fluffy emotions." He smiled in reminisce on all those cold nights that saw them waking up in a tangle of limbs, or how -- well. Cute Minato was when he tried to look serious, all pursed lower lip and intense serious adult furrowed eyebrows. Akechi still felt like pinching himself sometimes. Usually, he pinched Minato's cheek instead.

    "But with you, I feel everything. The good. The bad. The best of both worlds." At one point, he stopped smiling. Akechi slowly picked up that smile again as he tuned out of lecture mode, regarding Amamiya with amusement. "Now, I don't know about you, but I think that is one hell of a combination."
     
    #26 Goro Akechi, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 8:41 AM
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  7. Ren Amamiya

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    Ren leaned on one hand on the counter, as he watched Goro speak - eyes dropping only to refill his now drained cup, before topping his own off. He was...curious where this was going, if not a little afraid; like most things that had to do with Akechi.

    A gentle smile pulled at his lips, Goro began talking about Minato. That entire thing was...strange to Ren; honestly not sure if he should take it seriously or not. The two weren't dating before the proposal, just good friends. Minato admitting it was for a Nerve dare to him - swearing Ren to secrecy about that. Which...made it make slightly more sense. Sort of. But seeing Goro talk about another person like he was, was surreal. Strange. Unsettling, almost. In truth, Ren wasn't sure he had ever seen Akechi talk about another person without looking as though he was lying through his teeth, or about to throw up. This was different. A real marker to show how much Pandora had changed him, and how much he had grown.

    Ironic that the person he was worried about was doing fine, while he was the one struggling.

    "I'm glad you have him," Ren's voice quiet - slipping the comment into a short pause.

    But as Akechi continued, the words shifted to be about Ren. His eyes widening in surprise, as Goro's expression softened while talking about...him. Only moments before they had been quite-literally at each other's throats. Ren on the verge of making Akechi passing out from a lack of air. Now...he was smiling while talking about what he thought of Ren.

    This was just...one of those nights, huh?

    "...Yeah," Ren silently agreed, taking a long sip of his own coffee - straightening from leaning on the counter, "My trust in people is...damaged at the moment, but I still feel like you'd tell me the truth about something if I asked," the statement sounding simple, but holding a lot of meaning to Ren, "I'm...glad you're in Pandora, Goro."

    It seemed wrong to say after everything that had happened, but it was the truth. If he wasn't there and alive, Ren couldn't have...vented those things. Gotten things off his chest that had been boiling beneath the surface for so long, he had nearly forgotten he was there. Plus...he could finally see Akechi have a second chance at a fair life. One that wasn't rigged from the start.

     
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  8. Goro Akechi

    Goro Akechi Persona

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    "Bad call," Akechi said with a shake of his head, blinking back the tears like a flower girl at her first wedding reception. Regardless of whether Amamiya was telling the truth, it was just so messed up, hearing him actually say it. As messed up as liking to hear him say it. Akechi cleared his throat, sat up straighter. "But, um, so am I. Glad, I mean. That you're here. And--" he gestured vaguely at Ren's whole person, his voice growing small, "--alive."

    Afterwards, he just sat there, sipping his coffee as a good excuse to shut up for a while. He felt sluggish -- not just physically or mentally, but existentially. No doubt Amamiya must have felt the same. Akechi couldn't imagine what he might be going through. He never even thought it was a concept before seeing him like this today. He'd held him so high on a pedestal he willingly made himself block out everything human about him. Akechi considered him and what he said, about feeling like Akechi could tell him anything. (Which, he could, he thought. He could tell Amamiya, just as easily as he could let him choke the life out of him).

    "Listen. I...why she tried to kill you -- it doesn't matter. We do stupid things to each other, over various stupid reasons. That won't ever change." He was talking about Makoto, but someone else, just as guilty, was listening in. Akechi loosened his tie a little, careful not to touch the skin. He didn't want words choking him this time, and these ones felt like they could. "I'm not saying it's alright, what she did. But she was -- is your teammate. Your friend. Just remember that maybe."
     
    #28 Goro Akechi, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 6:48 AM
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  9. Ren Amamiya

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    "Since when have I ever made a good one?" a snort falling from him, as he shook his head - noticing a slight shift in Goro's composure. Ren's brows came together as Akechi began speaking - finding himself just...staring by the end of the sentence; his eyes growing glassy despite thinking he didn't have any emotions left within him.

    "O-oh."

    Akechi...was happy he was here.
    Happy he was alive.

    Ren always assumed the opposite. That were Akechi finding himself in a bad mood, he'd just find Ren and finally end what he started. That he being in Pandora too, was an annoyance. That despite him actually replying to Ren's texts and tolerating him, he'd just as easily grow bored of him and frame him for some random crime.

    After all, it wouldn't be the first time.

    But like all things lately, he was wrong. Very wrong.
    And grateful for it.

    "I really thought you still wanted me dead," he admitted, scratching his neck, "But..." he made a small vague sound, "...Glad to be wrong."

    The topic shifted to Makoto - Ren refilling his cup without looking up. He...sort of already accepted that he wasn't going to sleep that night. Too much happening. Too many random injuries to fix. Too much on his mind. Even if their parted way on good terms, he doubted he'd be able to wind himself down enough to actually pass out. Might as well embrace it with too much coffee.

    Ren's gaze shifting up to Akechi as he loosened his tie - eyes on the marks he had caused only moments ago. The words bouncing around in his head, realizing they applied to Goro just as easily as Makoto.

    "I know," his voice quiet, "Someday my best friends will stop trying to kill me," a tired smile pulled at his lips, as he shook his head, "Hopefully I won't have to choke Makoto on a rooftop to have a civil conversation with her, once she comes back," a laugh falling from his lips, but he was half-serious - eyes landing back on Goro.

    After a beat of hesitation, he pulled out two plates and set a muffin on each from the baked-goods display next to him.

    "Old Leblanc only had curry, but Makoto got me into baking other things," he explained - pulling the paper off of his, before taking a bite. The taste making him realize..he totally hadn't eaten anything all day. Stomach idly complaining it was the first food, with an idle growl.

     
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  10. Goro Akechi

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    Akechi either ate, or he didn't. He's been more mindful of food lately, however, ever since Minato's been staying with him, to make sure the other ate something of substance. He'd even fix something that went beyond instant noodles. Either way, it was nice to have something to eat now. Akechi's appetite was a lot more animated than the daintiness in which he was slipping off his gloves. "Thank you," he said modestly. Then he got down to the business of daintily peeling the paper off, groove by groove, pinkies up. "It's a lovely place, by the way. Sakura-san's LeBlanc was its own kind of appealing, but I can really see you here." He nibbled on a small piece and grinned at him. "You must be proud of yourself. What would you say if I came back here once in a while?" It was presented as a joke, but Akechi wasn't fooling even himself. "Sans the physical, I'm thinking."
     
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  11. Ren Amamiya

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    Ren set the muffin back on the plate after the initial bite - breaking off small pieces to eat, as he leaned on the counter. It...was helping. Making him feel less like a husk and more like an actual person who existed. Part of him wondered if his emotions would have been as raw if he had just...eaten something that day. The cigarettes repressing his already unimpressive appetite.

    He idly pushed the thought away as he ate a piece - watching as Akechi accepted the muffin and removed his gloves. Ren making an idle sound in reply to his thanks.

    A comfortable silence fell between them as they ate; Ren mentally making a few notes on how to adjust the recipe for next time. It was good, but could be better. His gaze rose as Goro actually...complimented his cafe. A small smile and bit of heat warming his face, as his eyes dropped.

    "Oh...thanks. I'm pretty proud of it," his eyes finally rising, clearing his throat to try to pretend he was taking the compliment in stride, "It's...doing pretty well too. I never really knew what I wanted to do when I was a kid but..." he shrugged, "Guess I found something I'm okay at."

    Ren laughed softly, at Akechi asking if he could come back...with a catch.

    "I thought you'd pay extra to get to punch me in the face before getting some of my coffee," his tone flat, but a smile on his lips, as he popped a bit more muffin into his mouth, "But...I'd like that. Sort of like old times," he was stepping over a line he was trying to avoid, but...that was just the sort of day he was having.

    "Do you know how to cook, Goro?" he asked, suddenly realizing he knew...very little about his actual habits. It was like knowing someone's darkest secrets, but forgetting their first name. It was strange how little he actually knew about the person sitting across from him; the trivial stuff. What was his favorite color? What did his casual attire look like? Simple things that he suddenly found himself curious about, now that things were...

    What were they?
    Settled?

    "Congrats again on your engagement," it was strange to say those words out loud, "And...talking me into asking someone out. I don't know where I'd be right now without him," he admitted, realizing he had driven back into uncomfortable territory.
     
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  12. Goro Akechi

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    Akechi made a flat hmmm sound as he looked down at his muffin. "Nothing with a name, I'm afraid," He admitted lamely. Eggs and the occasional stirfry, he can manage (though he's never asked Minato how they tasted) but anything beyond that, anything a mother could do, he couldn't. It's tragic, but he'd allocated his skill points to...other aspects of his life.

    (And he's never actually tried Sojiro or Ren's curry, but he'd been awfully curious for a really long time. Things got too awkward to ask after the whole killing Ren business. That definitely didn't warrant any curry.)

    Akechi was thankful when the shift in subject came, because his mind was really great at taking innocent topics and using them against him. He blushed at the congrats, not quite sure how to take it. That he wasn't good at responding to compliments in general didn't help either. "Thank you," he said creatively. He got a little more comfortable when the focus was taken off of him, renewed his smile. "Oh? You don't need to thank me for that -- you've been crushing on him for months, haven't you? The last push was bound to come in one form or another." A pause. "I'm happy for you. Truly, I am."
     
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  13. Ren Amamiya

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    It was somehow surprising to hear that Akechi didn't know how to do something. Ren just always figured him as someone...better. Smarter, stronger, always ahead of him. It had taken the entire team to take down Goro - Ren not certain he was strong enough to do it himself. Yet...he couldn't cook. The idea amusing, as he shook his head. He...hadn't really been able to do it himself, not that long ago. Idle things here and there before his probation; his dad or mom sometimes asking for a hand with dinner. But it was normally to chop or stir something, never really wanting him to ever...cook. He was interested, but never really had the chance before Sojiro. Even then, it was just curry. Not bothering to expand his skills beyond coffee and curry, until Makoto had suggested the idea only a few months before.

    The thought should have made him have less desire to cook after everything, yet he found a smile lingering on his face. He missed her. He missed their friendship. She was literally his best friend and now she was just---

    He cleared his throat, shoving away the sudden wave of emotions, feeling his eyes somehow grow glassy again; covering it with a long sip of coffee.

    Yeah, he was fine.
    Not really, but he could bury it for awhile.

    "Maybe I could show you sometime," he shrugged, attempting to recover the smile that had faltered, "Impress your future husband with your cooking skills," the smile finally came naturally, as he laughed under his breath.

    The concept of Goro getting married still entertained him.
    He wasn't sure why, but it was just...weird. Good, but weird.

    "...Which one of you is the big spoon?" he was overstepping, but still felt unsteady - thoughts that normally would stay in the back of his mind, falling from his lips.

    Then the subject shifted to Mishima - Ren's hand idly finding his hair to twirl, as he was accused of the truth.

    "...Yeah I have been. Just sort of...avoiding anything romantic for a long while," he admitted as he spun his hair around his finger, "It's...probably still a mistake. I'm putting so much stress on Yuuki right now," his eyes dropping, as he chewed on his lower lip, "I was...so happy at the end of the year. And everything just keeps getting worse," a long pause, as he felt himself dipping back into territory he wanted to avoid, but his lips kept moving, "I'm...tired of my life doing this. Any time I'm genuinely happy, things always break. Every. Single. Time," he took a deep breath, trying to keep the tears from coming back, "The last thing I wanted to do was put another person through my luck. My friends deal with it enough. Now there's somehow who feels like they have to fix it."

    A few tears fell, but he quickly wiped them away, before a shallow laugh fell from his lips, "I'm a mess. Bet you're enjoying this."

     
    #33 Ren Amamiya, Jan 16, 2019 at 11:55 AM
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019 at 12:43 PM
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  14. Goro Akechi

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    "Oh, well, if you really don't mind..." Because, thinking on it, Akechi certainly wouldn't. Not because he saw himself as necessarily housewife material, but because it was just another vaguely normal descriptor he could add to his repertoire. Plus, it said something about them, Akechi and Amamiya, two ex-enemies existing in a kitchen together, exchanging dishware instead of bullets. Who would have thought? Maybe, if they kept this up, their relationship might redefine itself after all, and--

    Akechi did a spectacular spit-take.

    Then again, nevermind.

    --

    He was mostly back to himself when the topic turned for the serious. Akechi just listened. In all honesty, even he had his gripes on whether he was good enough for anybody in his life, what with being a disaster to his own. So he could get it. And honestly, the one time he did give Amamiya some words of encouragement, he just wanted to say something flowery and uplifting. He didn't actually weigh his struggles or even acknowledge them. Amamiya was spotless. Amamiya's problems couldn't possibly be serious, right?

    Well, that was definitely guilt setting at the pit of his stomach. And something like a knife's cut, as he watched Amamiya depreciate himself further, using Akechi as the weapon. "No -- Ren, I'm..." Akechi's voice had more heart than even he expected. He was reaching out, too, but caught himself and kept his hands on his lap where they belonged. "...I mean, not like this."

    He couldn't even justify his actions up on the roof, or backpedal like some low-life politician he knew, so he didn't even try. Akechi just settled for watching him instead. Experimentally, he said, "You know, for someone who lets others rely on him, you could afford to take your own advice."
     
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  15. Ren Amamiya

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    Ren felt a bit like a kid jabbing his finger into a fresh cut, and complaining that it hurt. It was his fault the conversation had taken this turn. It...would have been easy to just agree. Yes, he had a crush on Mishima for awhile. Yes, it would have happened at some point, most likely, even without Goro's push. But instead, he just sort of...folded on himself again. Feeling the warped and broken pieces from the past few days, show.

    It was more than just Makoto trying to kill him. It was more than just him feeling like a burden on Yuuki. Truthfully, he just...hated himself. He was the source of everything that had gone wrong within the past few weeks. On a good day, he wasn't typically his own biggest fan - but it didn't delve into hatred. He just saw himself as...ordinary. Maybe even a bit boring. But now? Now he just...didn't even want to hear his own thoughts.

    And the fractures were starting to show.

    Ren...hadn't meant to turn it around on Akechi. That wasn't fair to him. He...had literally come to check up on Ren. And even now, was listening to him patiently. Backpedaling when Goro's enjoyment of Ren's suffering was mentioned. Not like this.

    How low exactly had he sunken?

    "I know," his voice quiet, sounding hollow. Eyes locked onto the wooden bartop as he wiped his eyes again with the back of his sleeves, "Sorry."

    Funny how three days ago he couldn't remember the last time he had cried in front of another person, and now the number just seemed to be going up by the day. With Mishima, it was something he let happen. A wall being let down, as the day hit him in full force. With Akechi it...was something else entirely. Too many strong emotions at once, boiling over into panic, fear, and everything else just...slamming into him. Walls that normally kept those things down to a simmer, worn away by stress, lack of sleep, and just...being emotionally worn down from everything. He couldn't have held it back, even if he tried.

    And he had.

    "I'm trying," he admitted, after a few beats, "But..." he scratched his neck and shook his head - making a small tired laugh as fought another wave of tears from falling, "You were right. Back in the engine room," he hesitated, before continuing, "I'm nothing my friends, and less than nothing without my mask."
     
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  16. Goro Akechi

    Goro Akechi Persona

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    Akechi sat back, fists balling over his lap. It wasn't Amamiya he was angry at; it was that bastard in the engine room, that cornered animal who lashed out with every scathing insult that came to him just so he could leave a dent on the impersonal Joker, get even with him in a game he never even participated in. Akechi didn't think anything he had said at the time would be taken to heart. He didn't even...think about it as often as Amamiya seemed to. Things you said with little thought behind them were things you eventually forgot about.

    But Amamiya remembered them. Of all things he could remember about the time they spent together, it was words birthed out of anger and desperation.

    Right now, Akechi had no way of telling Amamiya how to stop hating himself (if there was such a remedy, he didn't know of it.) What he could do, at least, was to be of some comfort to him, like on the roof. Amamiya seemed to need that more than anything.

    So, slipping out of his usual know-it-all facade, Akechi gently said, "come sit with me," patting the stool next to him. He would have to measure his next words carefully if he didn't want Amamiya clinging to them too.
     
    #36 Goro Akechi, Jan 17, 2019 at 7:30 PM
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019 at 12:48 AM
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  17. Ren Amamiya

    Ren Amamiya Persona
    Joker

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    Ren glanced up from staring at the counter - surprised at Goro's voice. Something about it, just...catching him a bit off-guard. Wiping his eyes again with his sleeve, he cleared his throat to try to shake off the bottomless feeling of dread, and shoved himself up from leaning on the counter. Pouring what remained of the brewed coffee into both of their cups, he silently rounded the corner before setting himself next to Goro.

    After taking a sip of his coffee, he folded his arms in front of him and leaned his chin atop them - eyes focused on nothing for a beat, before glancing over at the man beside him. He tried to speak, but nothing came for a moment, before he cleared his throat again.

    "You can say 'I told you so,' and I won't get mad. No more hitting, I promise," his voice quiet, and slightly muffled by the sleeves of his sweatshirt.

    No more yelling. No more hitting. No more anything. He was done for the day. Nothing in him left to feel anger.
    Just...sort of a damp and constantly sinking feeling of dread.

    That was all that remained.
     
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  18. Goro Akechi

    Goro Akechi Persona

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    Ignoring the umpteenth jab Amamiya made at himself, Akechi leaned over the wooden finish, fingers interlaced. "You're not wrong, you know. About being nothing without your friends. You're all nothing without each other -- that's the thing. And by retreating into yourself, you take away the one thing that made you strong in the first place. You take away what Crow never had." The warmth in his voice waned as he recalled the traitor, having wanted to relate to him exactly never. "That kind of isolation, Ren, consumes a person. You should know; you couldn't even save that idiot back at the engine room, much less from himself."

    Still couldn't even now, but that was a topic to be discussed on a day when Akechi wasn't providing emotional support. Or maybe never.

    Remembering his place with friendship, mainly how shitty he was at it, Akechi wrung his wrists with an awkward smile. "What I'm trying to say is, um, it's okay to hate yourself, so long as you let others love you. Or something," he tacked on, just in case he was blathering nonsense, which seemed to be the running theme for the day.
     
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  19. Ren Amamiya

    Ren Amamiya Persona
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    Ren's gaze fell as Akechi spoke - chin still leaning on his arms, as he sat hunched over onto the bar. The words idly stinging, but they were true. He was cutting himself off from everyone. He was pushing everyone away, because he was genuinely scared of people seeing him like this. Ren was used to being everyone's support - everyone's go-to for venting or just helping through life problems. Being anything other than that, felt wrong. Felt like they wouldn't have any use for him, if he wasn't his quiet normal self. At the moment he really couldn't handle anyone venting to him. Anyone laying their problems on his lap to fix. And after being told he was basically nothing by Makoto since he wasn't dating her - his confidence in his friends staying by his side through this was...weak. Futaba had already reached out. Sent him a bunch of texts to make sure he was okay. He...trusted her. She was practically family. But even then, the doubt lived. For her, for Shiho, for even Yuuki. That he was too much. A burden, when he wasn't just there to take everyone's problems.

    And somehow that had led him here. Face throbbing. Knees stinging. Getting life advice from the darkest reflection of himself. Someone he somehow both loved and hated in equal volumes. Someone who...would understand better than anyone else, what he was talking about. What he was going through. They were both monsters behind the mask, and were both too aware of it. Akechi's darkness more obvious, because he had given in. Ren's continued to lurk behind the glasses, only slipping out because of Akechi's coaxing. Akechi's push.

    "...Yeah," his tone flat, not really having the energy to offer anything else to the conversation. To argue. To do anything other than lay there and just feel like a husk - mind silently planning the rest of the evening. He...didn't want to go back to Yuuki's. He didn't really want to be around anyone at the moment. Maybe he'd head back to his actual home, and lock himself away in his room. But even then, there would be people.

    "...let others love you."

    The words ringing in the back of his mind, as he huffed a deep breath. Yeah, maybe he'd go home. Make sure everyone was okay. Actually explain things in a better way then text. Not...tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. He didn't know.

    Honestly he just wanted everything to be fixed. Staring at the complicated shattered pieces in front of him was overwhelming, and he didn't even know where to begin to put the pieces back together.

    "I'm...going to step out for a bit," he pushed himself up, draining what remained of his cup - really, really wanting to take the edge off with a cigarette at that exact moment. While he allowed customers to smoke within the cafe, he never felt right doing it himself. Especially now, with Goro sitting right next to him. It was his slow death, he wanted to do it without taking anyone down with him.

    "Thanks for coming, Goro," he glanced over at the man beside him, "I...don't know what this was, but I think I really needed it. You didn't have to come find me, but you did. And..." he scratched his neck, "Guess I missed hanging out with you," he laughed quietly, shaking his head, as he pulled the pack out of his pocket - the words more of a realization than anything, "You...can come if you want. I just...don't want to blow smoke in your face, but I just...need one right now," he hated talking about the habit, but it was true.
     
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