AN: So a thought on pegoban. Just what on earth did I write? I just write to indulge myself. It's a mess and makes no sense. A few parts annoy me but okay, I'm just going to post it anyway.
"We managed to save Joker but...but..." Although her eyes were hidden in her goggles, the sound of distress was clear on Futaba's voice.
The others looked at Ren, who was lying unconscious and then at each other in concern.
"Dammit, we fought our way here! I don't get it! He's here. We saved him didn't we?" Ryuji voiced out everyone's frustration.
Makoto, looked just as devastated and panicked at the same time found her composure to ask. "Oracle, can you tell us what's wrong with Joker?"
Futaba looked shaky but was able to answer. "It's like he's here but he's not? Like half of him is missing. Does that make sense? It's like this is his body but he's mostly gone. I can barely feel Joker."
There was a gasp from the new occupants in the safe room.
"She's sort of right." What seemed to be Risette or a-look-alike Risette spoke who also happened to be a navigator.
"So what?! You guys are saying there's nothing we can do to save him!" Ryuji said angrily.
"What about doctors? Maybe they could help?" Haru asked though she herself didn't sound convinced.
"This is the metaverse. I'm not sure a doctor could help." Morgana said.
"And we tried all sorts of healing spells but none of them helped." Ann admitted, looking a bit teary.
"Maybe... maybe there is something." The silver haired stranger finally spoke. The Phantom Thieves all looked surprised at those words wondering what he meant. He was the other group's leader. The other wildcard who brought his team to help. Ryuji remembered them calling him Yu.
"Granted, I'm not sure how effective it would be. This is more of a hunch than anything, nothing concrete." He said, unsure but there was a resolute determination set on his eyes. "We would be needing everyone's cooperation on this." He looked at his own comrades then to the Phantom Thieves.
"Anything! If that would save Re- I mean Joker!" Panther said eyes wide. There was such a way?
"You mean to say there is a risk on this?" Makoto picked up on what the other wildcard was not saying.
"It would be more on my end." That didn't sound any better at all. That's asking to lose both wildcards. None in the group could imagine asking someone to risk himself to save the thieves' leader.
After a second or two someone spoke. "Senpai, are you sure about this? This plan of yours... sounds risky." The blue haired girl spoke. She looked familiar for some reason.
"Joker, I believe is vital to make this work. Joker is needed." Yu said. Ryuji didn't know what that guy meant but he did agree with the dude. Joker was important to make this work. He couldn't imagine Phantom Thieves without Joker.
"...which is why we need both groups' cooperation." The silver haired man said, looking his companions.
His companions looked at their leader whose face remained neutral. All Ryuji could say was that he looked calm but his friends seemed to know him well enough as the brown-haired guy sighed and scratched the back of his head.
"...alright. But if we feel it's going bad, we pull you out. Got it? So no crazy antics. I mean it." The one with the headphones warned.
"Thanks partner." The silver haired dude then gave a nod of thanks then looked particularly at Futaba then at Risette. "Navigators, I'll need you guys to focus on both on Joker and Me. I'm not sure how this would affect both of us. Your task is to monitor us, to make sure we're stable. If you guys feel how we're both going... to fade away, you will need to let everyone know to get us out."
Rise looked worried but nodded. Futaba, though her eyes were hidden did the same.
"So it's that risky?" Yusuke asked. They were grateful for their help but was concerned for the risk he was going to take to save a stranger. Who does that?
"We are at a point that we need to make a gamble. Any second lost is a loss for your wildcard. When I say pull out, you try to wake both of us. Shake, pinch or slap. Any would do really. Even though your leader's mostly unconscious, he's still there. I believe he will respond. So it's both of us." It was nice of him to say so. Anyone in the room could tell the risk was the other wildcard's, not Ren.
"Now I'm worried about this plan of yours Yu but we'll trust you on this to make sure you both come back." The girl in green said. She looked worried, determined but obviously trusting their leader's decision.
"Yu wouldn't do it unless he's positive he can't do it. Let's all believe in him." A beautiful girl spoke in red. Ryuji was amazed at their group's unwavering trust. The guy said it was risky, but they all talked like him saving Joker was really possible.
"Yu, like I said, no crazy antics, okay?"
'Yu' nodded then looked at the Phantom Thieves.
"I'll make sure to bring him back."
Ryuji didn't know if this guy or was it his friends but the way he spoke, the sincerity in his eyes, the way he invoked trust felt the same from Ren to them. Had their roles been reversed, it almost felt like it was something Ren would say or do.
"Alright. We'll do what we can." Makoto answered for the team.
They may not be friends yet, but Ryuji didn't mind knowing them after this. There was something blatant honest about them. A breath of fresh air compared to the rest of Tokyo.
"And the rest of us?" Mona asked, wanting to know how this leader of theirs needed them.
The other wildcard spoke. "Believe in the two of us. Don't stop calling him within your heart. That would help the both of us."
"Because persona is the power of heart?" Morgana asked.
"Yes. No matter how things go wrong, it's the people that believe in the wildcard that would help them return." Yu smiled a little at this before going where Joker is.
"Please do everything you can to save him. Joker, no, Ren is important to us." Futaba said.
"I will." With that, Yu knelt where Ren was, wrapping both his fingers to his, then leaning his forehead to touch Ren's.
Silently, everyone watched as the silver haired man's persona appeared behind him like a shadow.
As if it called to Ren to respond, Arsene also appeared just as shadowy but more faded.
Then Yu's lips touched Ren's.
Ren's eyes opened.
And the world went white.
It was so dark. It felt like he was fading away. He felt so tired. Although his eyes were open, there was nothing to see.
Darkness. Emptiness. This place felt like it was eating him away, piece by piece, leaving him with nothing.
Strangely, Ren couldn't bring himself to care.
His eyes felt like they were closing. There was nothing. Everything felt numb. Sleep sounded really good.
"Don't go yet. Don't close your eyes."
At the sound of that voice, Ren felt his eyes open a little. It was quiet but strong, compelling him to listen.
I'm tired. That's all he could think about. Endless thoughts whispered to him to sleep, pulling him down, to ignore the voice.
"...they still need you. I know it's tough but you can't give up yet. Here... I'll give you something to hold on, once more." Then he felt calloused hands hold his own. This stranger's hand reminded him of late quiet nights working on bombs or lockpicks. Peaceful nights. Then he saw long arms, pale nimble hands folding crane origamis, envelops or building what seemed to be a model.
What was that?
It felt like his own memory but he'd remember for sure if he'd ever do something as boring as folding envelops. He felt his mind jolt awake for a second, the feeling of grogginess leaving him a little. He could still feel the darkness, whispering to him, that it was best he disappear.
Why struggle? No matter how much he fought for himself, even with the hard-earned freedom won - to the world, he's still that delinquent who once assaulted someone. Not everyone believed him. The doubts hurt. It didn't make him feel better when he tried to prove someone his innocence.
He couldn't make a difference in the end. Even if Joker saved today, tomorrow he would just be no-good-Ren.
Ren couldn't agree more.
"I'm not Joker anymore, just Ren. They won't need me anymore."
"Don't listen to that voice. Listen to your soul. What's the truth? Are they the type of people who won't need you just because it's over? Think about it carefully. Is that who Ren is? Trust me when I say this. They need you. If it helps, I'll show you. I'll also give you a bit of me."
Then a forehead touched his.
Memories flashed into his mind. Ryuji laughing with him as they ran around Shujin and eating big servings of ramen. Ann smiling happily as she made him dress up in various outfits. Haru giggling softly, eyes starry as she talked about her dreams of a cafe. Futaba making him watch seasons worth of anime or dragging him around Akihabara. Yusuke dragging him somewhere public to draw him in a weird pose. Morgana silently cheering him up, always bumping his head to his hand or making him sleep when it was clear how tired he was. Makoto looking excited as she played her first gun arcade game, beating Ryuji and his own high scores. Sojiro trying to be strict but always making sure he got enough food to eat, trying to teach him more about his love on coffee.
And in those memories, he sensed Ryuji's excitement, Ann's fiery passion, Haru's warmth, Futaba's sisterly love, Morgana wanting to make sure he was okay, Makoto's exasperation, fondness and trust. Sojiro's fatherly concern.
It was a lot. A lot of different but endless and unwavering affection for him.
Was this how everyone felt about him?
Then another flash of memories entered his mind. Whoever they belonged to, it felt like they were his own.
A girl in a bob haircut training kung fu? She had a strong heartfelt desire to protect the helpless. Chie. Cheerful positivity and earnestness that was so infectious.
Another girl with long black hair pushing a questionable meal in front of him but nonetheless he ate it. He admired the owner's courage for doing so. Yukiko. Gentle, sincere, lady-like but a questionable taste of humor.
A tough looking guy knitting? He also made sure to check on his hands giving knitting a first try. The tough-looking guy was surprisingly gentle in checking the work done, guiding him if he made mistakes. Someone with a big heart. Kanji.
A boyish looking girl discussing puzzles, and detective cases. There was a happy gleam in her eyes as she talked. It reminded him of Akechi but this girl bloomed happiness and acceptance.
A cheerful pretty boy jumping to give strong bear hugs. He looked close to his peers' age but acted like a kid. So full of innocence and curiosity. Teddie.
A clumsy guy who was the voice to redirect the group to reality. The owner of memories trusted this guy a lot. He talked about his struggles and his desire to be equal. He heard himself talk about cats and the insane things done in an attempt to pet some of them. Some were questionable but his friend just laughed and tried to drill common sense. Yosuke. A partner in crime willing to accept his insanity.
Risette cheering for you. Oh. So this Risette was real? She reminded Ren of Ann as she dragged this silver haired guy referred as Yu, making him dress up.
And the feelings it evoked felt the same. Somehow the warmth of this Yu's friends felt like his own and made him feel stronger. It gave him strength.
"See? You are more than you what you think you are. Sometimes we are our worst critics. You just have to look around you and remember the voices in your soul." The voice said.
"Who are you?" Ren couldn't help but ask. The world felt a little brighter whoever this voice belonged to.
"...just another wildcard I guess. Or you could say you called out to me here." His voice was honeyed, Ren noticed. It made him feel safe.
"And if you don't wake up, we'll both be stuck in limbo." The guy laughs softly.
Ren could somehow make out his face.
Silver hair, kind eyes.
Hands cupped his face.
"Maybe this would convince you."
Then soft lips touched his.
Once again, the stranger's touch showed him both of their memories. He saw quick flashes of powerful memories and feelings.
A town in a middle of nowhere. Death. Bodies hanging. Police tapes. A noose. A creepy room with torn posters. An eerie fog enveloping the town. Hospital. Your fault. Guilt. Betrayal. Change.
Lost. Fear. Pain of not knowing why. Wanting to know. Saving people. Being happy for who you are. Accepting it. Living. Supporting and being supported. Kindness. Smiling. Feeling warmth. Finding happiness. The fear of losing it. Helpless as you would leave and be forgotten.
Everyone sacrificing themselves to save him. Left alone in Yomi.
Everyone fading away from reality. Being told you failed. Being told to disappear.
A crime. Innocence lost. Accusations. Injustice. Terrible adults. Being alone. Rebellion. Helping. Giving Hope. Finding people. Manipulation. Disappearing from reality. Truth. Facing the faker. Saving the world but sacrificing. Freedom but saying goodbye.
Without realizing it, tears came pouring out.
It was the exact feeling he felt. Not everything. But he felt for this stranger. Wildcards don't live an easy life. The burden was different but just as difficult. He was always faced with option that his choice could lead to ruin. It was a responsibility he accepted. He loved all his friends but sometimes, on bad days, it felt lonely. There was no one to talk to how it felt to be a wildcard.
Ren once toyed with the idea of someone in the world as a wildcard. There was Akechi but something more like how Ren lived his life as a wildcard.
Knowing though, that there was someone one out there, a real person, not just a thought, that there was actually another person in the world who lived like him, who was faced with choices that decided the world's fate, it made him feel not alone. Ren felt a strange connection for the owner of these memories.
Who was he? Where did he come from? How come they never met until today?
"It's okay Ren. Because... We're not alone." Yu smile was wobbly, he felt thumbs caressing his cheeks. He could feel his own hands reaching to the hands holding him whole.
"So you were the voice all along." Re's mind felt crisp.
Ren only needed to look at the stranger's- no, Yu's silver eyes who understood his thoughts instantly. He could easily tell that his own memory from that year as a Phantom Thief and his struggles flashed through him too.
He remembered being trapped, his friends coming to his aid. Strangers came. Strangers who fought as hard as his friends to save him.
"And I will be there too. So you need to come back with me? You understand now, don't you?" Yu hugged him. He wondered if Yu felt the same as him. In this odd world threatening mess, feeling so happy at the idea that there was someone else like him.
Izanami. Another goddess who started this mess.
Yaldabaoth who tried to erase them.
Yu kneeling but looking at the goddess with determination.
Ren didn't give up. He stared at the faker.
Yu stands up after hearing everyone's boundless faith, hope and love. He stands tall, throws his broken glasses and slashes through the lies, delusions and illusions.
Ren standing up so strong, the world's belief in them, hearing the same boundless faith, hope and love. He shoots a hole into the Faker.
But what about after the world is saved? Everyone had something. Did Ren/Yu find something just as fulfilling? They were both happy but felt a smudge of something they want. Yu/Ren both wondered once if there was another wildcard like Yu/Ren.
It was as if Ren/Yu was waiting for the world to let them meet each other. It's just their rotten luck it had to happen under odd circumstances.
Ren felt a hunger to know Yu more. Well he sort of know him now. Or they sort of know each other inside and out, seeing each other's life and all. But Ren also wanted to know him in a real-life sort of way.
Yu visiting leblanc. Ren brewing a coffee for Yu and how he thought of it.
How Yu would treat Morgana? Would he tame Morgana the way all cats in Inaba climbed all over Yu? Ren wanted to just hear this guy talk and just wander around Tokyo with him.
Ren looked at the other wildcard. He was handsome and dazzling in a way Ren wasn't. Beautiful expressive eyes that painted a thousand words.
"You're pretty seductive too." 'Yu' said shamelessly in response, voicing out his thoughts where Ren didn't.
He could feel himself blushing in this weird void of whatever it was.
"You look okay now." Yu's eyes softened at him, peering at Ren and satisfied at what he found. No one had looked at Ren like that. Like he was the world's treasure. Ren wanted to hide at the same time he didn't. Is he developing some crush for this wildcard? Of course, his heart would choose this sort of situation to do so.
"Yeah. I think I'm okay now thanks to you." Ren said. He looked around. It was still bleak and dark. No voices anymore though. It was just Ren and Yu. Next agenda though. How do they get out of here?
"You know how to get out of here." Yu answers him, smirking, eyes gleaming mischievously. He did? How?
Like before, like Yu heard his thoughts, the other wildcard spoke. "Look at this place carefully."
Ren nodded and looked at it.
"You get it don't you?" Yu smiles.
"I do." Ren leaves Yu's hold and looks in front of him, the endless darkness that tried to trap him. He grins his joker smile, a smile that feels like Ren settling on him.
"Just like this." He says for the both of them. He punches what felt like a wall. He hits it, shattering like glass as light showers the two of them.
Ren blinked his eyes moments later, feeling the wind blowing softly, the grass beneath them and the sound of river flowing.
"This place is a sort of haven that helped anchor you." Yu coughed a little, looking away, embarrassed.
Ren finds himself grinning back at Yu. That was sort of cute. "Like your soul anchoring mine in a literal sense."
"It's mostly my soul and yours too, just needing a little push." Yu continued to explain, trying to ignore the teasing remark.
"Oh. So it's mine too?" It was also as beautiful as this? Yu nodded.
"You have a beautiful soul Ren. Maybe it's not our first meeting. Maybe another time, another place or a dream, we met. Or maybe, we were just waiting to meet each other." Ren flushes at the praise. It was hard to refute those. They felt so true despite having no memories of the other guy until today.
"I think so. That's how I felt the moment I saw you. And also, sorry by the way." Yu had a sleepish look on his face.
"For what?" After Yu went to take the risk and fetched his soul?
"To wake you up. I needed to... establish a connection and that meant sharing all of that." He gestured to both of them.
"Out of a thousand possibilities, it had to be a world ending threat that won't leave us be." Ren muttered to himself. It couldn't be a normal real life setting like a cafe, meet cute, accidental bump. No, it had to be like this. Ren found himself looking back on Yu's eyes. He remembered how special his eyes were. Eyes that could peer into the soul literally. Like Ren did with his third eye.
"I don't mind it." Ren said, finding himself being honest. It was true. This messed up situation where he almost died? It allowed Ren to meet Yu. That, he couldn't complain about. Unable to help himself any longer, Ren closed the gap as he pecked Yu's lips. He gave the older boy a smirk. "It's not everyday, you share a soul, memories and heart to save someone."
A soft blush filled Yu's cheeks. Adorable.
Wow that was even better than he thought and did something to Ren's insides. This unflapabble guy can actually blush helplessly because of him. Knowing he could do such a thing made him giddy. Ren iddly wondered what more he could do to him.
Ren stole another kiss, a longer one. Once he pulled away, only a few breaths away from Yu, he decided to add more. "And this makes us some kind of soulmates doesn't it?" Ren didn't even wait for Yu to speak as he went for the kill this time. He caught his lips, soft and pliant. They parted easily enough allowing his tongue to slip inside. Yu, kind Yu, who just met him and knew he could do something to save him. Such warmth never bloomed in his chest until today.
Maybe that's why he never responded to other girls or guys hitting on him. Because while Fate gave him a harsh reality, it also gave him Yu. Ren would fight to keep him.
Hands reached his hair playing with it, pulling him along the grass.
Except there was no grass.
Then they heard a cough. Like Makoto's cough.
Ren's eyes widened as he noticed that he was very much awake. Back to the real world.
He was also sort of straddling Yu.
Ren's friends were looking away, mostly blushing. Yusuke was being Yusuke. He looked a little upset for possibly for the lack of utensils to draw them. Haru was giggling. Ryuji was scratching his cheek. Futaba had a sort of dangerous cheshire smile. Her eyes were probably just as dangerous.
Yu's friends were more or less, the same.
Ren felt like he knew them due to the memory sharing thing. Rise didn't seem upset that she lost Yu to him but had a grin like Futaba's. Maybe that's a navigator thing? Yukiko and Chie were both blushing. Kanji was doing same as Ryuji. Naoto was looking at them as if 'I can't believe you shameless heathens.' Same face as Makoto's. The Teddie guy was yelling something about Sensei scoring. The Yosuke guy was face falming.
"You know Joker, I'm really happy your back, safe and all but there's a time and place to pick up guys even if he is your type. Aaaand you still haven't left his lap you know, just saying." Futaba pointed out.
Ren ignored her.
"Go out with me? Dinner tomorrow, in Leblanc. I make epic curry and coffee to die for."
Despite having Ren hovering over the other wildcard, arms on his sides, Yu didn't seem to mind the closeness. The two were obviously too lost in each other's eyes.
"Okay. Partner. Uhh. Joker. That's enough out of you two. Not sure if that's a wildcard thing- picking up guys in metaverse or whatever but don't we have some crazy god out there trying to end the world!?" Yosuke finally spoke, voice rising up at the end, reminding them of the real reason they're here.
Both wildcards stood up. Both composed and obviously unbothered about their audience.
"7 works for me." Yu added.
"Same here. First let's kick that god's ass."
dunno what the heck I wrote. This was supposed to be some heart wrenching wildcards inspiring each other and it ends up with this mess halfway becoming all about Yu and Ren being their rebellious selves wanting more screen time and sort of fate thing.
I am sorrrrrryyyy.
I am not.
I suck writing. I'm trying to practice writing YuRen, Pegoban or SouKira.
I have, ahem, another wip pegoban too but I really need a second opinion on it. How do you find betas in ao3?
Also, let me know how you guys think this drabble.