Monday, April 11th, LeBlanc Cafe, Evening

"So, late on the first day," Sojiro huffed as Ichigo entered the LeBlanc Cafe after school.

Ichigo had been dreading this conversation, if only for the question of how it'd play out. This was the third opener on his list that he figured Sojiro would say.

"Look, the same thing I told the council president. Since the trains have been having those accidents lately, the train schedule has been all kinds of fucked. And I didn't know how to get from this station to the school either or else I wouldn't have been late," Ichigo offered up the lie.

The orange-haired teen didn't like to lie, but he felt it necessary right now. Plus, he couldn't really explain the events in detail either or else he'd be labeled a mad-man by not only his land lord but the nearest insane asylum.

Sojiro looked at him for a moment before he sighed and began to light a cigarette. "Look, it's not like I don't believe you, it just doesn't look good on the first day, ya know?" he said with a sigh.

Ichigo shrugged. "Yeah, I get it. I just couldn't help it, pops. Plus, the student council president took care of it," he added.

The cafe owner took a drag from his cigarette. "I understand," he paused. "Wait, was it that cute one?" he asked, swapping emotions on the flip of a coin.

Ichigo face-palmed. "I'm out of here. You got anything for me, gramps? I've had a long day," he said, rolling his shoulder.

Sojiro sighed. "You can't understand the finer qualities of life with that attitude," he said in a unbelievable huff.

"I do understand the finer qualities of life, but that doesn't mean I want to talk about them with an old man I don't know," Ichigo said, making for the door.

"Hey, don't come crying to me when you don't know where to put it in, boy!" Sojiro called after him, the words flying in and out of Ichigo's ears as soon as they entered.

Sojiro crossed his arms and shook his head. "Kids these days..."


Ichigo lay on his makeshift mattress, the events of the day catching up to him.

His whole body felt sore, almost like he had worked out strenuously earlier that day.

Must be from going in there and all that running... he thought.

He looked down at his body.

Ichigo was by no means out of shape. He was well muscled, some of it gifted through genes, the other by a decent diet, but he used to be a lot more defined when he worked out with Tatsuki regularly. Ever since the Winter War, however, he didn't feel like doing much.

Yuzu had ensured that he ate correctly, and he went on the occasional jog every now and again, but other than that, he had let his former standard of himself slip.

With that thought in mind, he closed his eyes. Tomorrow, he'd go for a run to get back in the swing of things. Plus, it'd be his portion of normality for the day. Ichigo was not particularly looking forward to what was going to happen further in the afternoon.

But he'd count his blessings.

He had his partner back at the very least...


Ichigo awoke in a start, familiar banging on a door waking him up from his slumber.

The teen grabbed his head, prepared to yell at his father before he opened his eyes to see himself chained and in the prison garb from two nights ago. He could still hear the torrential winds and rain from outside of this establishment carrying on without a care in the world.

The former Shinigami looked to his right to see the twins there again, looking at him with expecting eyes.

"Stand up inmate!" Caroline called, looking at him with a furrowed brow and glaring eye.

"Welcome back, prisoner. Our Master has business with you once again," the calmer Justine spoke.

Ichigo groaned, wishing that this was all just a dream. was a dream, just one that actually had meaning in the waking world.

"Ugh, can't you just let me sleep?" Ichigo groused as he stood up. He looked past the two to see the man with the long nose sitting at his desk as per usual.

"Ah, the Trickster returns to us," he spoke with his gravelly voice. "I have some troubling news to tell you," he said as the twins parted, not standing in the way of their Master's conversation.

Ichigo blinked the tiredness away from his eyes and looked evenly at the man. "Is this about the palace?" he guessed which made Igor nod his head slightly.

"Yes, or rather, what you...awakened in that palace," he explained which made Ichigo raise a brow.

"You mean...Zangetsu?" he quieried.

Igor nodded once more. "Yes, the Zanpakuto turned psuedo Persona," Igor responded.

Ichigo looked down in thought. "Yeah, Persona now, I guess, whatever that is," he said with uncertainty.

"A Persona is the will of rebellion that manifests from one's heart. It is you," Justine explained which made Ichigo nod slowly, accepting that. He was still unsure how most of this worked, but this was a good source of information.

"A Persona is your will, whereas a Palace is the distortion of desires. Someone with a Persona cannot have a Palace as they have merged with their shadow selves who would make the Palace," Caroline carried on.

Ichigo nodded, unsure of what to say to that.

"Your will of rebellion in particular, is very strong. You have also merged with your...shadow self before, yes?" He asked the new Persona user.

Ichigo took a moment, confusion flashing on his face before his eyes widened. "You mean...Zangetsu is my shadow self? My...inner hollow?" he asked with wide eyes.

In all honesty, Ichigo just wasn't sure what to call the being that manifested earlier today. Zangetsu was the only name that came to him instinctively, and the Persona, er, Zangetsu, seemed to respond to it.

"Yes. The Persona that you manifested earlier today is your transformed shadow self," Igor solidified with a nod.

Ichigo felt confused. If his inner hollow was Zangetsu...then who was that old man?

"But know, that, that Persona is not your true Persona," Igor interrupted Ichigo's train of thought.

The teen now felt more confused. "What do you mean?" he asked.

Igor nodded to Caroline of which walked away to retrieve a cart.

"The Persona you manifested was the last vestiges of your Shinigami heritage. During your trial earlier, it was battling your true Persona...and won," Igor said with furrowed brows.

Caroline returned and stopped the cart in front of Ichigo's cell.

The teen's eyes widened as he saw the remains of what he guessed was supposed to be his true Persona. It wasn't bloody and there were no grotesque parts, it simply looked like the empty husk of a tall, winged man.

"We can give you your true Persona back, but it will come at the cost of something," Igor pressed on, snapping his fingers as Justine moved over to the left of the long-nosed man.

Suddenly Zangetsu appeared next to Igor, bound in chains with his head to the floor. The Persona was growling at being chained but otherwise was quiet.

"When you were first manifesting your Persona, these two appeared, and as you can only have one at your awakening, they fought...and Zangetsu was the victor. He proceeded to devour your Persona," Igor elaborated.

Ichigo felt his eye twitch in anger at the form of his partner.

C'mon, King! I know you can do better than that.

I know you better than anyone, 'cause I'm your instincts!

Whaddya mean? I'm Zangetsu!

"...We can restore your rightful Persona to you, at the cost of this one. We'll simply fuse his essence and-."

"Release him."

Caroline and Justine blinked at the hard whisper from the inmate. They turned to Ichigo who had his head against the bars, eyes turned down.

"What was that, inmate? You just cut off our master, and-!"

"I said RELEASE HIM!" Ichigo growled, looking at the twins with black and golden eyes. Ichigo would not have a piece of him bound and executed. Even if Zangetsu wasn't what, what he said he was, he was still his partner.

A resounding laugh burst forth from Igor. "You have the guts of a lion, young Shinigami. But that is to be expected of your race when dealing with a part of their soul," Igor sounded as Caroline turned to him with an incredulous gaze. Justine was relatively passive in this exchange, but said nothing and moved towards the bound Persona.

Igor snapped his fingers and Zangetsu's chains were released. The Persona swirled into itself before it took the form of Ichigo's mask, flying to the Trickster and being absorbed into him.

"You've made your choice, Trickster. You can still restore your old Persona. Simply bring the essence of others to your jailers and they will handle the rest," Igor said with his perpetual grin.

Ichigo huffed as he reigned in his emotions. "Yeah, whatever," he groused.

"Be careful how you speak with our master, inmate. I'll let you off this time because our master has decided to humor you, but do it again, and your rehabilitation will not be an east process," Caroline glared with her visible eye.

Ichigo glared back as Justine spoke. "Worry not, Trickster. This was simply a choice offered to you. Though the way you went about it went against how Caroline prefers her prisoners act," Justine offered.

Ichigo shook his head. "We done here?"

Igor nodded. "In fact, yes we are, Trickster. I'll see you the next time we meet."

And like that, Ichigo was thrust back into the rightful world of dreams.


April 12, 20XX, Yongen-Jaya, Early Morning

The first thing Ichigo did when he awoke was slam his hand on the hardwood floor, anger visible on his face. HE still couldn't fathom how they though he would let them imprison his partner.

Fuck that, fuck that a million times over. Zangetsu, no matter what form he took, be it the old man or the hollow, he was his partner.

And Ichigo wouldn't abandon him like that.

The former Shinigami sighed as he felt around for his blaring phone, his alarm piercing through the subtle white noise of the air conditioner.

Who's idea was it to get back in shape again? Oh wait, it was mine, Ichigo thought to himself, regretting the decision to wake up so early for a run with the time being 5:15 in the morning.

"And why the hell am I so sore?" Ichigo spoke aloud, sitting up and rolling his shoulder, a brief groan escaping his lips at the stiffness of his body.

Maybe I shouldn't run today? He thought again before he exploded in a burst of motion, going to a kneeling position on his temporary mattress. The young man shook his head back and forth a few times and brought a hand up to his face, slapping it a few times.

"No, no, no..." he said, fighting the incessant urge to lay back down.

"I'm done with that. I already took too much time off. Dad said it wouldn't happen like this," he said to himself, as if repeating a mantra.

Ichigo let loose a sudden, shaky, sigh and stood up, walking over to a lightswitch. Flipping it on, the hanging light overhead took away the rest of the tiredness he felt.

He couldn't lose the growing pit in his stomach as he went to his clothes to find a suitable set to wear for a run.

The orange-haired teen allowed the mundane task of sorting through his clothes to soothe his mind and the feeling of emptiness left him not soon after. He grabbed a thin, long-sleeved, black shirt with a hood and red running shorts and began to change into them from his nightwear.

Ichigo grabbed his phone after changing and grabbed a pair of headphones from his bag, hoping the music would add some pep to his step since this was his first run in quite a while.

Ichigo grabbed a pair of running shoes and made his way to the door of his shoten. He put them on and made sure he had his wallet, key, and phone before heading out.

The air was chill with the last vestiges of winter and Ichigo shivered slightly. Since Tokyo was a ways north of Karakura, it was decidedly colder during the spring and winter than his hometown.

The young man began to go through the motions of warming up. He stretched his legs as he walked down the empty street. He assumed even old people slept until 6:00AM.

He put on his headphones and picked a song, using his other arm to stretch the same-side leg as he did so, swapping his phone between his hands before he found a song.

The dark undertones of the song began to play as he did an experimental jump, making sure his knees touched his chest to make sure he had full range of motion.

The young man began to jog as the song's pace quickened. Ichigo ran down the road towards Yongen station and made a left, passing it as he began his run.

Ichigo felt like he was putting off had happened the previous day, but in all wasn't the weirdest thing that happened to him.

He'd been attacked by a hollow, saved by a midget, fought his mother's killer, lost his powers, gained them back, saved the midget from an entire supernatural society, figured out that he was home to a hollow, invaded yet another separate dimension to save a friend, died, and then fought the man orchestrating his whole life, and lost his powers once more.

And now...this wasn't even in his top ten.

He honestly wondered how Ryuji and Ann were holding up after the whole endeavor, but they hadn't reached out to him so he assumed they were alright. Maybe the had talked with one another? He was still a stranger to them after all.

Ichigo huffed as he turned a corner to one of the main roads that surrounded Yongen. For now, he'd stick to the surrounding area, taking note of the path that he ran so that he could find his way back. He still had to meet with Makoto later on so he wouldn't carry on with this run carry on too long.

As Ichigo ran, he noticed someone running ahead of him. It was fairly easy to notice as the streets were still comparatively empty to how busy they would be during rush hour and general daytime hours.

She had very light brown hair strewn up in a pony-tail that bounced behind her. She also wore a black long-sleeve shirt that he noticed was akin to his as it had a hood and looked thin along with a matching black set of jogging pants.

She seemed like she was keeping at good pace, easily outstripping his jogging one as the distance between the increased slightly.

He shrugged to himself, as he carried on with his run, looking at the expressway that hung over the street below it. Some cars were passing him as the time neared six and citizens began making their way to work.

He turned his head forward and noticed a wallet on the ground.

Ichigo slowed his pace, his chest heaving as he bent down to pick it up while beginning to run again.

Can't lose my pace, he thought to himself, opening the wallet to see if it had an I.D.

Ichigo blinked a few times, looking at the picture of a woman with red eyes and light brown hair.

This that woman's? He thought to himself, closing the wallet and looking up.

He spotted her towards the end of the road and groaned, picking up his own pace. He really didn't want to overexert himself on a re-introductory run like this but pushed through the burning in his lungs.

Ichigo began sprinting as he noticed that she upped her pace. After coming up a few yards behind her, he called out.

"Hey!" He shouted breathlessly, hoping to gain her attention to slow down.

After no response other than an older man to look at him oddly as he passed by, he let loose a breath.

Must have headphones in, he thought, expanding his stride even more to catch up to her.

If he knew anything about running, he'd gander a guess that she was in the final stretch of her run as she began to speed up even more. He groaned loudly as he ran after her, trying to catch up.

Damn, I really must be out of shape! He berated himself even more as he ran after the woman he was trying to give the wallet back to.

After another thirty seconds or so, he saw her slow down into a walk, about half a block from a pretty expensive looking apartment complex.

She came to a stop in front of it as he arrived at the point she began walking at.

He saw her patting around for something as he stopped right behind her.

Ichigo heaved a few labored breathes as he put a hand on his knee. "Fucking hell, you're a good runner," he managed.

The woman must have heard him now as she turned around to see a man with orange hair, holding out her wallet.

"Oh!" she let out, her breathing less labored than his.

"I think this is yours," he replied to her as she took the wallet.

"Thank you, I didn't realize I had dropped it," she said as he stood to his full height, a head over hers.

He put a hand on his hip and chuckled. "Yeah, you dropped it back by-," he pointed in the direction they had run from and realized he didn't know where he was. "Like eleven or twelve blocks back that way," he ended as he managed to get his breathing under control.

The woman blinked a few times before blush came over her features. "I'm really sorry about that, and I really appreciate it?" she ended, hoping to get his name after getting her wallet back to her after at least two miles.

Ichigo picked up on that and chuckled. "Ichigo," he offered.

She blinked at the use of a first name but didn't seem bothered by it. "I'm Sae, then," the newly aforementioned Sae responded, extending a hand. Ichigo hadn't seen her name when he was running with her wallet because who read fine text while running?

Ichigo wiped off a sweaty hand and shook hers. "Gotta say, I thought I was decent at running but you blew me outta the water," he said and Sae let loose a small laugh.

"Well you have to be doing something right. I was doing a 6 minute mile pace and you came up behind me about a minute after," she smiled and put a hand on her hip, having gotten her breathing under control herself.

Ichigo shrugged. "You always run this route?" he asked her, trying to sound more like he wanted a running buddy than anything weird.

Having to deal with people who had ulterior motives with her on a consistent basis given her line of work, she was naturally wary of others who asked about her personal life, but seeing as how this man in front of her had actually done her a favor out of her carelessness, she'd let it slide.

Sae nodded. "Yes, I usually run here from Ikejiri to Meguro," she responded.

Ichigo knew both of those names as they were the districts just around Yongenjaya. He nodded at her. "Cool, if I see you again, you can set the pace to whip me back into shape," he grinned and she laughed again.

"I suppose someone to run with wouldn't be bad," she responded, pulling out her phone.

Ichigo rose a brow as he looked at her. She looked back at him and smiled slightly, her red eyes showing him that she was taking this a little too seriously.

"What's your, ah, what do they call it nowadays, Chat I.D?" she asked, unsure.

Ichigo pulled out his phone and opened the app. "Trust me, I've been getting weird looks asking for numbers, too," he laughed, understanding her plight.

Sae blinked before she giggled. "I completely understand, and I guess it pays to know I'm not the only one living in the old days," she said.

"Shinigam1, huh?" she said with a rose brow.

Ichigo looked at her friend request which read 'SaeSae :3' and returned a blank look. "Yours isn't better. You can't judge me here," he fired back. He figured he'd have this exact conversation many times with many other people, but that was neither here nor there.

Sae blushed at that. "Hey, the others were taken..." she replied a little meekly.

Ichigo waved it off. "Trust me, it's fine. Not like we have to give these to people we actually work with, right?" he tried to placate her which made her blink and give him a small smile.

"I suppose you're right," she replied as her eyes took on that no-nonsense stare that he recalled as vaguely familiar. "We'll meet between here and Ikejiri station at 5:40, so that we can take my route and end there since it seems to be a halfway point between us. Is that fine with you?" she asked which made him gulp slightly. She really had taken this seriously.

"Yeah, yeah, I got it. I'll be in your care," he said with a grin.

"And I'll message you if anything changes," she replied, a small tint on her cheeks at having given a man she had met recently her contact information.

Ichigo didn't notice as he gave her a backwards wave. "Yep, see you, Sae!" he said and began to jog back to Yongen.

Sae watched him run away and began to make her way up to her apartment where her sister was getting ready for school, a small smile in place.

Father always did say I had trouble making friends. I suppose he'd be proud of me for this, she laughed fondly at his memory.

Ichigo meanwhile, was making his way back to his home before he checked the time. His eyes widened as he bolted for the nearest train station.

"This is what I get for being the good guy!" he sighed loudly, hoping he wouldn't miss his time hack for Makoto's first escort to school.


Ichigo ended up taking the train back to Yongen due to the distance he had run, as well as the conversation with Sae taking up a large chunk of the time he thought he would need.

What he did find odd, and slightly coincidental, was the fact that he had met with Makoto back at Ikejiri station, the same station he had been at not half an hour before when he took it to go home.

Luckily, he got ready in twenty minutes, and had just enough time to pop into LeBlanc to tell Sojiro that he was running a little late already so he had to miss breakfast.

Ichigo was a little annoyed at the 7:00 A.M time hack, and figured his mornings would always be a little hectic due to his new running schedule.

Let's see, he thought as he got off the train from Yongen to Ikejiri to look for Makoto. Wake up at 5:15, ready by 5:30, meet Sae at 5:40, run til 6:25, get back to the shoten at 6:35. Fuck that seriously gives me 25 minutes to get ready, he sighed at the inconvenience.

"Maybe I can talk my way into meeting her at seven fifteen or twenty? It really only takes 15 minutes or so to get to school..." he thought aloud as he saw Makoto standing by a pillar nearby, looking at her phone.

Ichigo walked over to her just as the clock ticked 7:00 A.M. "You been waiting long?" he asked her which made her jump slightly.

Makoto sighed, a ting of tiredness coming over her features. "No, I recently got here. My sister was wondering why I was leaving so early and told her I had to deal with a new, troublesome student," she tacked on which made Ichigo roll his eyes.

"Maybe you should push the time back a little? I mean, it'd be good for both of us. How long does it usually take you to get to school?" he asked her, trying to coax the time frame to where it, now, benefited both of them.

The train they were supposed to take arrived at the station and Makoto sighed to herself as they both boarded. "Perhaps I was a tad overzealous in the schedule even if it was a punishment. Perhaps 7:25 is better?" she asked him, knowing that he would take that and they could still make it to school with twenty minutes to spare.

Ichigo blinked as he stood by the door while it closed. The train began to move and he shrugged. "Sounds good to me," he told her and she nodded.

"Good, we can meet at the same spot at seven twenty five from now on-," she was cut off as the subway began to shake violently before it stopped as soon as it came.

Ichigo looked around as the other passengers did as well. The orange-haired teen looked back at Makoto who seemed slightly worried by the shaking. "Does that happen often? They don't have public subways where I'm from so I'm not sure if that's normal," he asked the red-eyed girl.

She shook her head slowly. "No, that doesn't happen often. Perhaps there's still some issues because of the crashes?" she thought aloud.

Moments later, the train began to shake again and Ichigo looked out the window. The train looked like it was picking up a serious amount of speed if the lights flickering had anything to say about it.

"Hey, we're going really fast, Makoto. What the hell's going on here?" he asked her which made the raven-haired girl's eyes go wide with worry.

"All of those crashes, the trains began to pick up a large amount of speed in a short amount of time before they went all the way to end of their trip and slammed into a wall," the other passengers had picked up on the train's erratic movements and began to panic accordingly.

Ichigo began to think about the situation. All of these had to due with mental shutdowns from the train conductors sabotaging the trains they were operating.

"Stay here. I'm gonna go see what's up with the train conductor," he told her and began to move through the panicking crowd of people.

Makoto shook her head and grabbed onto Ichigo's forearm which made him look back at her. "I am NOT leaving you to investigate and get lost in the train. I'm coming with you," she responded to him with an astounding amount of calm.

Ichigo knew he was only acting as calm as he was due to the inordinate amount of stressful situations he had been in, in his life. But she was acting more logical about this event that he thought she would.

Slightly astounded, he nodded to her and Makoto sighed as they went to the end of the train.

The subway was moving faster than it was before and there was a large amount of screaming involved from other passengers, all of them knowing that most of the train crashes that had occurred had a very low survivability rate.

The outcome of this was that most other people were busy clawing at the door trying to escape the death contraption that they were on, which gave Ichigo and Makoto an easier time to get to the end of the train.

Makoto was trying to blink back tears as she processed the situation. She didn't know what was going to happen and was beginning to grip Ichigo's arm as if it were a lifeline. She knew that if she gave into the baser instincts as the others were doing, she wouldn't be doing anyone a service. But her nerves were beginning to wear on the fact that this could be some of her last moments alive.

Ichigo, she noticed, was demurely calm during the endeavor. He was calmly shoving others aside that got in the way of the objective of checking on the train conductor and made sure that she was near him so that she wouldn't get lost.

She didn't know why he was so calm, but it was bleeding off him in such a way that it was almost the only thing making her calm as well.

Ichigo, meanwhile, was scowling so hard that he didn't know if his face would be forever ingrained with the indention of it.

We need to get there quickly to see if we can stop this, but I don't know the first thing about train operating. Fuck me, why is my life like this! He screamed internally as they arrived at the last car.

There was a crowd of people around the train conductor's room trying to gain access to the room.

Makoto shook her head as she pulled herself closer to Ichigo's arm, noting that getting past those people looked like an almost impossible task.

Ichigo, like many times in his life, was thankful for his larger stature. The teen still stood a good head over many of the citizens here and with his bulkier build, it often gave a natural intimidation factor to those with a normal IQ.

"Get the hell outta the way!" he screamed at the top of his lungs which made quite a few people perk up. The seemed to snap out of the fear induced haze and looked him with wide eyes. The train car fell silent as the passengers moved aside. The only noise made was from the squealing of the train wheels on the tracks as he finally looked into the conductor's room.

Ichigo looked at the glass which separated it from the rest of the train and figured the door was locked. He saw the conductor inside not even looking behind him as he used all of his body weight to press on, what Ichigo guessed, was the train accelerator.

Ichigo looked back at Makoto of which was looking up at him with wide eyes. He offered her a smile. "Gimme a second, alright?" he said softly which made her nod slowly, letting go of him.

Ichigo quickly discarded his bag and jacket, Makoto picking up the bag as he wrapped his jacket on his right elbow.

Ichigo let loose a huff as he bent his body back, rotating his spine to give him as much momentum as he could. He figured the glass was slightly reinforced so this would take some doing. Ichigo hit the glass with his elbow and saw a crack. He growled, his anger fueling his drive along with the adrenaline beginning to flood his system.

Ichigo reeled his elbow back again and the glass cracked more. He kept swinging his appendage against the glass and was met with a satisfying crack as part of it fell off the window. He pulled the jacket down to his forearm and began to swipe some glass from the entry point.

The conductor paid him no attention as he pushed a hand through the hole he had made and unlocked the door.

Ichigo looked forward for a split second, noting that train was passing more and more stations that it was meant to stop at. Policemen were trying to flag the train down but it continued down its path with reckless abandon.

The orange-haired teen opened the door and reached for the conductor only for the middle-aged man to turn to him. People from outside the conductor's room were cheering at Ichigo, hoping that this would put an end to the madness.

Ichigo felt his breath hitch in his throat as he and the conductor locked eyes. It seemed that the man's eyes were rolled to the back of his head and he seemed to have a rabid dog-type foam coming from his mouth.

That was when he launched himself at the former shinigami.

People gasped as the conductor attacked Ichigo with arms wide and teeth bared, almost as if he was attempting to tear his throat out.

Ichigo stopped the man by grabbing both arms and headbutt him in the nose. Ichigo guessed that anyone else would have been knocked out by the retaliation, but this man seemed supernaturally invested in trying to end Ichigo's life.

The train conductor was not perturbed by the counter and brought his knee up to Ichigo's stomach.

Ichigo groaned at the feeling and swiftly used the man's arms to swing him back around to where his back was facing Ichigo. The teen was thankful no one else was attempting to help as the conductor's hut was only big enough for the the two of them, one of which was flailing about like a man possessed.

With a growl, Ichigo put his forearm around the man's neck in an attempt to incapacitate him.

The man didn't even seem fazed by the oxygen not being received by his brain and clawed at Ichigo's arm so that he would release him.

The teen was met with fingernails being raked relentlessly across his arms and toward his face. The would be conductor seemed to only care about doing the most damage to Ichigo as he could. Ichigo put his head at the back of the conductor's so that he would minimize the damage to his face and head as best he could. Ichigo grabbed his own arm so that he'd gain more leverage and put his hand on the back of the conductor's head so that the hold would be more effective.

The conductor, in a desperate last act, pulled himself forward and allowed both his and Ichigo's body weight to fall onto the train accelerator, snapping it from its home.

The train conductor finally fell to the lack of oxygen and Ichigo sighed and pushed him away, the man's body falling to the ground. Many passengers cheered again as he looked towards the accelerator.

Ichigo's eyes widened as he found the handle on the floor and began to breathe heavily. "Oh shit."

He tried to put it back in place, but to no avail.

Ichigo's mind raced as he looked around to see an emergency stop button, but it seemed the man had smashed that button pieces before Ichigo had even arrived.

Ichigo ran out of the hut. "Everyone, get to the back of the train! Get as far away from this point as possible and brace yourselves!" he screamed out.

Many passengers looked at him with wide eyes as they began to run to the back of the train. The subway was beginning to shake violently as Ichigo turned to see the end of the tracks, as well as a large wall.

Ichigo looked to Makoto who's eyes were as wide as saucers. Tears were beginning to fall as she collapsed to her knees. "I didn't even to say goodbye to my sister," she muttered as Ichigo began to sweat, thinking of a way out of this.

Ichigo's phone began to violently vibrate.

The teen took his phone out of his pocket and his eyes widened. The one-eyed symbol was there.

"Makoto, please trust me," he muttered to her as he engulfed her in a hug.

Makoto wasn't even paying attention as the train came off the tracks and began to barrel towards the wall. Passengers who were still trying to get to the end of the train were screaming as the train was about to crash.

The train crashed and metal went flying.

"Destination selected."

"Now entering Mementos."

It was almost as if Makoto and Ichigo were never there.


I honestly thought about this within minutes of posting and thought to myself. Why'd the train crashes stop as soon as the protagonist got to Tokyo?

Having characters enter the fold earlier than expected is honestly amusing to me. And Ichigo, while not know the extent of what he's dealing with yet, will use it if he's got it.

Now, if Sae seemed OOC to you, we never really got to see her interact with others near her own age for an extended amount of time.

Anyways, hoped you enjoyed.