By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
It'd been a full week of Akechi going missing by now and they still had no leads at all. How could someone just vanish into thin air like this, without it being about them being sent away from Pandora? The only thing Ryuji could think about was that weird time he and Ren got sent to that crazy city in the middle of nowhere, but... it didn't take them that long to get out of there, so if that had happened to Akechi, why wasn't he back yet? He wasn't even alone, he had that other detective with him, though Ryuji didn't know her all too well; so they should've been able to deal with whatever happened, right?
Ryuji sighed as he walked through Ark City's streets after another day of work, scratching his head as he could feel his brain overheating from thinking about this so much. He wasn't good at this kind of thing, he was well aware that he was probably the dumbest of the Phantom Thieves and that his role in the team was mostly to beat shit up. There was nothing for him to fight though, so he was just a sitting duck in this. He could go with the others whenever they decided to investigate somewhere, but there wasn't much he could do to help other than just being there.
As he went on his way, Ryuji caught sight of a colorful looking crepe stand, but his eye went wide open when he saw a very familiar figure from behind, waiting for her order. Even in Pandora, with people that often looked very different from each other, he would recognize that hair color and style anywhere.
"Ann!?" he called out to his friend, unable to keep the excitement in his voice as he rushed over to her.
It was okay that she was in some random place, with random people, with no escape. Totally fine. All things considered, Ann thought she was doing pretty well. She'd managed to get herself a job at the local bookstore, and she'd been living in the shelter a whole week. She'd only cried twice. Pretty soon she'd have enough money to move out and find an apartment, and then... Well, start again.
Ann had moved around so much as a young girl, she'd believed herself incapable of feeling homesick. But this... This was different. She couldn't contact anyone, and she was completely cut off from everyone she loved. While it was exciting to be in a brand new city, it was also completely terrifying.
Ann had found Centria to be the most like Tokyo, with it's busy streets and skyscrapers. She'd found an affinity there. There also happened to be the BEST crepe stand just around the corner from where she worked. Ann waited in line, standing up on her tiptoes in a failed attempt to see the blackboard. Hmm. What should she have today?
... Did someone just say her name? Even with her fluffy earmuffs on, there was no mistaking it. That sounded a lot like Ryuji, but that would be impossible. Right? Ann looked round. There, rushing toward her, was arguably her oldest friend in the whole world. Tall and blonde, Ann thought her heart might jump right out her chest. She let out a joyful squeal, and for once, the crepes were forgotten.
"RYUJI?!" She cried out, hardly believing her eyes. She closed the gap between them and jumped into his arms. He'd probably freak out, but Ann didn't care. It was such a relief to see someone again. Someone she knew and loved. She'd thought it impossible. "No way! You're here too?!"
It really was her. Ryuji was pretty sure of it from the start, but seeing her turn around and getting a good look of her face did away with any remaining doubts that he'd mistaken someone else for her. The way she yelled out his name was almost ear piercing, but he didn't care, he was just glad to see one of his friends that he hadn't seen in almost half a year now.
Seeing Ann jump at him, Ryuji's eyes went wide again, this time for very different reasons. "Whoa!" he instinctively tried to catch her and he just barely managed to hold his ground and not fall on his ass with her. It did require him to put some strain on his leg though, causing him to wince a little. "Geez, don't just jump on me out of nowhere!"
Hugging Ann like this felt... weird. Not bad, it felt pretty nice, actually, but it was pretty unlike her. She wasn't afraid to get touchy with people, the two of them were similar in that aspect, but she'd never hugged him like this before. That really made him wonder...
"Hey, uh... how long have you been here?" he asked in an unusually soft-spoken tone, feeling a little awkward, but also concerned.
Ann laughed joyfully; that comical look of surprise always made her laugh, and she'd seen it just before impact. The realisation dawning upon Ryuji's face was hilarious. It felt so good to see him again. She'd almost knocked him flat, and it didn't help matters when she lifted up her feet, swaying them from side to side. She squeezed him tight, and thought of nothing else until she felt him wince in pain. "Ooh, I'm sorry!" She exclaimed, remembering his bad knee.
Ann pulled back. The gentleness in his voice had taken her by surprise and for a second, she stared at him. Ryuji was such a clown normally, it was almost bizarre to see him so serious. He even looked a little awkward himself. But there was a genuine look of concern, and the euphoria of seeing him again suddenly made her feel quite emotional. "Only a week," she explained, her voice trembling slightly. "But it's felt so long. What about you? Did you get pulled here after we left Ren?"
Ann's eyes searched Ryuji's face, hoping for answers. This couldn't be a coincidence, right? This had to be the work of the Meta Nav, or something to do with the Phantom Thieves. "Is Morgana here?" She added hopefully. "He might know what's going on." Her thoughts immediately went to the rest of the team. "What about the others? Are they okay?" So many thoughts were bouncing around Ann's head, they flooded out of her mouth before she could stop them, overwhelming Ryuji with questions.
Hearing the answer to his question, Ryuji's concern for Ann seemed to disappear into thin air as his body relaxed and he looked at her with a light squint of his eyes. "Damn, you must be real clingy if you're like this after just a week," he deadpanned.
He'd been luckier than her when he first arrived... at least as far as finding familiar people was concerned. He met with Makoto almost straight away and then the day after he got to the others. At no point had he been alone in this world, so he had no idea how that must've felt like. This all still felt like an overreaction to him though.
"Uhh...." Ryuji scratched his head, trying to figure out how to answer the overwhelming amount of questions Ann was throwing at him. "Ren, Makoto, Futaba are here. Akechi too but... he's been missing for a week now. We're tryin' to track him down, but we got nothin' so far."
Ryuji wasn't the best at explaining things, especially when they were this weird, but he figured Ann would be pretty confused about Akechi being around at all. It sounded like they were from roughly the same point in time, with Ann being a little ahead of him, so that meant she definitely knew what was up with Akechi in Doc's reality.
"Do you wanna sit down somewhere before I go over everythin'?" he asked, taking his eyes off Ann to look for a bench, spotting one a bit further down the street and pointing at it.
"Hey!" Ann interjected, slapping him playfully on the arm. But then she laughed. It felt SO good to laugh again. She'd barely cracked a smile since landing in Pandora, and now here she was, grinning away like the Cheshire Cat! "I was scared, okay!" Her laughter died down and her voice became gentle as she added, "I thought I was never going to see you guys again."
Ann blinked up at him, glad to find that she'd been completely wrong. Now that Ryuji was here, the entire thing felt silly. She had panicked quite a bit hadn't she? Maybe going abroad wasn't such a good idea, after all? Then again, going abroad hadn't meant complete isolation from everyone and everything she'd ever loved. For a whole week, Ann had been completely alone, and somehow she'd survived. That HAD to be progress, right?
Ann's bright blue eyes widened and she drew her hands together in excitement. "Yay! More people are here!!" That is, until Ryuji said Akechi. Then she let out a gasp and her pink cheeks paled. "Akechi's alive?!" Ann breathed, barely believing what she was hearing. "But... How did he survive?"
Ann followed Ryuji's gaze to a bench down the street. "Good idea," She replied cheerfully, and smiled broadly at him. "I have a feeling you've got a lot to tell me."
Ann was... a bit too happy. Not that it was a bad thing, but it just felt off to see her laugh and be so excited talking to him. Sure, he could understand why she was acting like that, but it just felt odd anyway. He wasn't really used to people being that happy to see him.
"Man you give up quick," Ryuji teased, the corner of his mouth pulling up in a smirk. "If I had known you'd be like that, I'd have started checkin' the places sellin' sweets sooner."
Like he expected, Ann was confused about Akechi. Ryuji led her to the bench and sat down, arms resting on the back of the bench and one foot resting on his other leg in a four shape. There was so much stuff to go through, it was hard to figure out where to start.
"Ok, so," he straightned himself up, his arms falling to his sides. "I don't really know how he did, but apparently Akechi survived what happened in Shido's palace somehow and he didn't actually disappear when we came back to our reality. I guess it's kinda like what happened to Ren and Morgana," he explained, keeping his gaze focused on Ann.
That wasn't much of an explanation but it wasn't like he got any information from Akechi. Most of the time they didn't even talk to each other besides getting into arguments now and then. Probably best if it stayed that way too.
"He's been here for a long time though. Like... more than a year now. I've only been here since May," he scratched his head, not really having thought about how long it'd been since he arrived in Pandora until now. "And, uh... he's dating Ren here."
Ann rolled her eyes at Ryuji as they made their over to the bench. He was so annoying! Still, she couldn't quite keep the smile off her face. She was reminded of the time they'd almost lost Ryuji, and how relieved they'd all been to see him. That elation was how Ann felt right now, minus the subsequent rage. She wouldn't beat him up this time. Hopefully.
She scooted round a little in her seat and watched Ryuji with the upmost attention. Ann's blue eyes grew wider and wider as Ryuji spoke, and her eyebrows rested high on her forehead. "A year?" She repeated, her voice unusually quiet. The news made her feel strange, but she couldn't place why. So much must have happened, and there was so much she must have missed out on.
Speaking of which...
"What?!" She yelped, nearly bouncing out of her seat in shock. For a second, she stared at Ryuji, expecting him to laugh like it was some sort of prank. When he didn't, Ann's mouth fell open, and she leant back, thinking. "I mean, I had no idea they... Wow." She paused, and looked sideways at Ryuji. "Is Ren happy?"
In truth, Ann wasn't sure what she felt. She'd always thought Ren was a secret ladies man. Not a player necessarily, but a guy who'd get women without really trying. She could've sworn one or two of the members in The Phantom Thieves had grown a soft spot for him, herself included, but it'd never really been discussed. Then again, he'd always had a... Charged relationship with Akechi. She could understand how that could develop. At the end of the day, if Ren was happy, that was all that mattered to Ann.
"How is Akechi these days?" She added, almost reluctantly. The last time they'd met, Akechi had been... Well, he was complicated guy. Ann wanted to help him somehow; she'd sympathised with him and his situation. But she could quite easily imagine him and Ryuji butting heads on multiple occasions.
Ann's reaction to the whole thing was about what he expected. He pretty much reacted the same way, though he was pretty sure that she wasn't as bothered by the whole thing as he was when he first learned about it. Ever since the fight in the engine room, Ann had talked about how Akechi was a victim that they couldn't save, so she'd probably be happy that he's alive and even dating someone, unhinged as he could be.
"Yeah, he is. Actually, the two of them are engaged now. Been together for over a year now, pretty sure," he expanded on his explanation, his tone remaining neutral.
The next question was... well, it wasn't gonna have a good answer. Ryuji felt kinda bad that he'd be dropping bad news on Ann right after reuniting, but there was no way around it. If she didn't hear it from him, she'd probably hear it from Ren or someone else.
"He's been missing for a week now. Just disappeared out of nowhere," he sighed, crossing his arms. "We're tryin' to figure out where he went, but we got no leads so far. A bunch of people are going missing, actually."