A.N. (10/30/21) - Double release. Enjoy the chapter!
Persona (2) - Interrogation
They took Nagi to a place that he couldn't quite name. Maybe he wasn't paying attention, but Nagi was pretty sure that they hadn't taken him to the police station. It wasn't really a prison either, but what else would you call a place of confinement? Yet, it wasn't the stereotypical iron bars and dirty interior. Rather, it was an old office that he was led to.
Pushing him down onto a chair, one of the officers removed his handcuffs and Nagi began to rub at his wrists to ease the discomfort. He desperately tried to reign in his feelings of helplessness and anxiety. This was the first time he has ever been arrested, in this life and the last.
Someone sat across from him and began asking questions. But other than a mumble or nod of confirmation, Nagi didn't say anything. It seems that they were trying to get his version of events at what transpired, but Nagi wasn't really in the mood to pay attention to what he was saying.
After a few minutes, he was on the move again. This time, the officers didn't bother with the cuffs when they escorted him to the opposite side of the building. Passing a door, Nagi found himself inside another room like before. Only this time, the officers left after shutting the door behind them.
Nagi waited patiently.
Several minutes passed, and the door opened to reveal a strict-looking man. He was dressed in neat uniform, with his hair pulled back and his cap in his left hand, and a black folder in his right. His eyes weren't exactly warm, but neither did they stare at Nagi with animosity.
"My name is Officer Kurosawa," he introduced himself. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Nagi found himself saying. "Just… taking it all in."
Kurosawa walked around the desk in the room and sat across Nagi. Setting down the folder and cap, he leaned forward to speak. "What's your name?"
He tapped the folder on the table. "I already knew your name, but it's better to introduce yourself when meeting someone for the first time, young man. According to your record, you're from out of the city?"
"You live with your guardian, a grandmother from a small city?"
"From Inaba," Nagi helpfully informed him. "She's my paternal grandmother."
"Have to wonder why you bothered to come all the way out here." He glanced back down at the folder. "You're fourteen years old?"
He sighed. "Young, but not young enough to easily say that you aren't in a lot of trouble."
"I know," Nagi said. Something made him ask in desperation. "The guard… What happened to him."
"I'm happy to inform you that the guard in question will make a full recovery after some time and rest." He glared at Nagi after he said that. "His name, by the way, is Satou Okada - a decent man who provides for his ailing mother with a portion of his salary."
"I didn't stab him," Nagi said. "I didn't mean for him to get injured. Nobody was supposed to get hurt."
"We know," Kurosawa said. "We couldn't check the footage, but he woke up briefly to inform us that it was someone else who stabbed him. Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify or spot this individual since then even after a thorough search of the area."
"You won't find him."
The other man raised an eyebrow. "Is that a fact?"
Nagi had checked the time just now. It was only an hour away from midnight, and if Strega already had their Personas (which was likely given Chidori's healing ability), then that meant that they could escape through the Dark Hour. Since they weren't confined by Kirijo scientists anymore, there was nobody who would be able to stop them.
"Yes, it is."
Kurosawa stared at him. "You're in a lot of trouble."
Nagi took in a stuttering breath. "Am I going to prison?"
"You're too young for that."
"I think you're getting ahead of yourself," Kurosawa said. "It's late, and there's still a lot we have to figure out. We'll look after you tonight, and we'll try to make sense of this situation in the morning. There's a room that we've prepared for you that you'll stay in tonight. Is there anything you need?"
He thought about it. "Some water, please?"
"Alright." Kurosawa stood up. "I'll take you to your room, and I'll bring up a bottle for you to drink."
Nagi nodded before he also stood up and turned around, only for him to pause when Kurosawa spoke.
"There's just one last thing I'd like to ask."
"What is it?"
"You took the blame for the stabbing," he began. "Or rather, you were the only one who stuck behind to deal with the consequences. The other scientists captured you because the others left you behind, but you could have escaped. Even though it wasn't your fault, why did you stay behind?"
He was silent for a moment.
"I guess I wasn't really thinking straight." Nagi gave a sad smile. "Instead of trying to figure out a way to escape, I was more worried about the guard dying thanks to my actions. I couldn't exactly just leave a guy behind to die if it was my fault. Just a sense of priorities, I guess."
"Not a lot of people would have done so in your place."
"I know." He closed his eyes. "After all, I was the only one who stayed behind."
Nagi didn't feel bothered that Strega left without him. He never expected anything of them anyway, so there was no sense of betrayal.
Officer Kurosawa didn't say anything else, and the two of them left with the older man leading Nagi towards another room. Grabbing a bottle of water and passing to Nagi, they found themselves in front of a door that Kurosawa opened. Inside was a bed that looked as if it belonged to a hospital, with a metal frame and white sheets and pillows.
"It's nice," Nagi nodded. "I like the smell of antiseptic in the air."
Kurosawa sighed at his response.
Nagi said goodbye and watched as the door closed, leaving him alone inside the room. Tired from the events of today, Nagi climbed underneath the sheets and quickly passed out.
The police had informed the elder Kujikawa about the circumstances behind Nagi's arrest earlier that day, and they were told that her son would visit the precinct in a couple of hours at her place.
Kujikawa-san was a surly-looking man who seemed to always have a constant glare on his face. Although it was the grandmother who was Nagi's official guardian, Kujikawa was the one who handled the majority of the responsibilities for taking care of Nagi. Even though he was Nagi's uncle, they looked nothing alike. He had short brown hair and a rugged face that contrasted greatly with his nephew's. His clothes looked as if he just got off work, which was most likely the case since it wasn't rare for the average citizen to stay late for overtime.
"So, where's the boy?"
"He's sleeping," Kurosawa said. "The incident he was involved in was quite shocking, it's most likely that he's just now calming down from what happened."
"Calming down?" Kujikawa laughed harshly at that. "You make it sound like he's a victim, wasn't he the one who was involved in stabbing a guard?!"
"It was later confirmed that it was actually someone else who committed the deed."
"But the boy was still involved," Kujikawa sneered. "You have to imagine my surprise at getting home late at night only to receive a call from the police that my nephew was involved in a crime. Then again, I knew that boy was going to be a bad influence."
"That boy, yes. I understand your mother was the one who took him in?"
"Yes," Kujikawa agreed. "His mother died when she gave birth to him, and the boy's father - my brother - lost his life in an accident a few months ago. After that, my mother decided to take him in."
"Were there no other relatives?"
"No. I heard that there might have been an elderly uncle from his mother's side of the family, but I'm not too sure about the specifics of that. And my brother never really kept close contact with the rest of us after moving out of his hometown." The man sighed. "Truthfully, the two of us never got along. My brother always wanted more, and he saw Inaba as a small town holding him back from achieving his dreams. He got into a family spat with our late father when he was still in college, and ever since then he's never contacted us."
Kujikawa glanced down at the papers on his desk. "Has he ever been in trouble before? It seems that he doesn't have any prior convictions."
"Never, but he didn't get along with his peers when he moved in with my mother. You have to understand, his hair color and the fact that he was an outsider made it difficult for others to see him favorably."
"He was ostracized?"
"Yeah," he sighed. "I'm sure you're wondering why I haven't offered to take him in myself. Truthfully, I argued with my mother not to take him in when we first got the news. Not only is it a strain on her life financially and physically, but I have a daughter of my own. I thought it would be too much if we tried to provide for both children, and I made a choice."
But it seems that his mother thought differently, and Kurosawa could see the annoyed look on the other man's face. It seems that the elder woman's decision to take guardianship of his nephew wasn't a topic he was comfortable with.
Glancing at the clock, Kurosawa sighed as he realized that it was already eleven o'clock. Closing the file, he stood up. "Thank you for your time, Kujikawa-san. Would you like to stay the night to wait for Nagi?"
"No," the man answered. "I have work in the morning, but I'll try and see if I can meet him once I clock off. He'll need a guardian to deal with legal representation, is that correct?"
"That's right." Kurosawa passed a slip with his phone number on it to the other man. "Contact and inform us when you'll be available, and we can set up a meeting."
The man took the slip and nodded. "I will."
Watching the other man leave, Officer Kurosawa couldn't help but feel a sense of pity for the poor boy who was going to be stuck here without anyone waiting for him. It seems that there were some family troubles that the boy was involved in.
Sighing to himself, Kurosawa sat down and began to tackle the pile of paperwork on his desk.
Nagi woke up with a start.
The hospital-like room was empty except for him, with a window revealing the soft shine of moonlight beaming onto the metal dresser next to him. The water bottle from before was near his head, and Nagi reached out for it to drink.
Only for him to drop it in alarm as he felt something sticky contact his hand.
The bottle fell to the ground with a wet slush as something red began to form in a puddle on the ground. Nagi stared at it in confusion for a moment before he calmed himself down.
Before he could do anything else, he blinked and looked down at the floor once again. The blood had disappeared, leaving only a regular bottle of water rolling on the ground.
Nagi was stunned. He wasn't sure for a moment whether or not that was just his imagination, but something told him that the last minute he just experienced was real.
Drowsiness overtook him once more, and his eyes closed as he fell asleep again. Waking up the next morning, the memory of last night faded from his mind.
This isn't Persona 5, so no police brutality.
In this version, Nagi didn't get sent to his uncle in Azumano. Instead, he was adopted by his grandmother and lived alone with her for several months.