Facing Yourself

/========================( - TV World - The Stage - )========================\ 
|                                                                              |
|  Those who investigate the Midnight Channel follow one very strict rule -    |
| the only TV you jump through is one within the electronics department from   |
| Junes. There is no telling what lies beyond the other TVs. It also neatly    |
| ensures that everyone gathers together in the same place.                    |
|  The area beyond the long, disorienting, reality-warping fall is the eerie   |
| gathering point of intrepid Persona users. Surrounded by a thick yellow      |
| haze that can only be seen through with the help of specially designed       |
| glasses (and even then only so far), the area takes the form of a TV         |
| studio's set. The appearance of a bullseye on the floor in alternating       |
| black and white colors does not help make this any more inviting,            |
| especially not with the outlines of bodies all around. Bright lights,        |
| ladders, and props litter the outer perimeter of the stage, with a few       |
| bridge-like pathways leading further out into the mysterious world.          |
|  There is no known way outside of the TV world by one's own volition, and    |
| it becomes incredibly dangerous to hang around here after a few days of      |
| rain when the fog lifts. It's a good thing that Teddie, the only known       |
| friendly resident of the world, can produce the means back out to the real   |
| world... unless he is in a very, very bad mood.                              |
|===============================( - Players - )================================|

|===============================( - Objects - )================================|

|================================( - Exits - )=================================|
| Out <O>:                 Inaba - Junes Dept. Store                           |

As the rescue party resumes their climb through Fumiya's dungeon they pass through Kandori's segment without incident. There aren't even any shadows lurking about there. Perhaps its the floor's small size, or maybe Kandori's mental 'imprint' is something even the shadows don't want to mess with. As they make their way further upward, defeating the shadows that try to halt their progress, the corridors start to distort even further. As they near the top they go beyond merely rotating and begin to visibly twist, as if they were the center of a rolled-up towel being wrung dry.

Accompanying the twisting hallways are the expected voices as they climb each floor: Shadow Fumiya's taunts, and the internal struggle of Fumiya himself.

"Yes, come closer. Keep pushing forward, keep rising upward, all for me."
"What... what difference does it make? So what if I said that? It never mattered before!"
"It's all HIS fault! He came around and it changed everything. I hate him!"
"I'm the only one people should love and admire. I'm the only one worth paying attention to. I deserve it, don't I?"
"That must be what happened. They got bored with me. I won't ever let something like that happen again!"
"My new family must worship me. They must be willing to do everything for me. Even die. All of you are already putting your lives on the line just to reach me, you'll do nicely."

Finally, they reach the top. The twisting hallways finally settle into some kind of order, with the floor being the floor once again. The huge sliding doors open up revealing what should be a familiar sight to most of the rescue party: a person, and his shadow. Fumiya looks ragged, as if he has already been in a fight, with his back to the group. Shadow Fumiya stands before him, in pristine condition. His arms are folded across his chest, his white suit so clean and spotless it's almost glowing. He still wears Fumiya's signature sunglasses, but unlike with the originals Shadow Fumiya's glowing golden eyes are visible from behind the lenses. He turns his head silently to stare at the group for a moment, his neutral expression turning into a wicked grin.

Shirou grunts a little bit, braving the horrors of delving into someone's psyche once more, here to help his friend Fumiya. Kandori's comments from last time... wether they were doing this because it was Fumiya or if /all/ were under their protection was weighting still on his mind. Fumiya was a personal friend, so of course he had to come. But what if it was someone else?

He shakes his head a bit as he wipes off some black ichor from his spear blade, cracking his neck slightly, face all buisness. See this? This is his serious face. "Anyone need a pick-me-up?" He asks almost casually, trying to keep his mind focused while the walls and floor twist.

The abundance of yellow to red makes Yuuka semi-grumpy.

Shiki will have a duckling following him, as Yuuka trails after the manga-boy.

Bo staff thunking on the ground, Yuuka is particularly grumpy when they pass through the Kandori-section, having looked forward to bashing some Shadows in there. Instead, she kicks the door on her way past.

She stops, blinking at Fumiya and his Shadow form once they get there, warily hanging around in the back. Hey, Fumi. How'd you sneak out of class?

So Kandori can actually "stain" other people's dungeons with his psychosis? That does not bode well. Thora doesn't like it one bit. Aside from that, the large teenager doesn't look the least bit tired today in spite of the past week's events running her ragged. She's got her game face on and is more than ready to kick further ass.

This does not discount the twisting in her stomach though. She knew a good deal about Fumiya now thanks to the past few months and hearing his shadow speak made her worry. "I think I'm good, Shirou." she mutters, feeling her skin crawl just listening to Fumiya's Shadow speak.

When they finally reach the top, deep down inside, Thora feels a tiny twinge of guilt as she sees Fumiya's condition. It's not unlike her own after trying to survive in her own "prison", only Fumiya didn't have the advantage she did back then. The guilt's quickly overriden by her more spiteful, bitter thoughts. SHe tried to keep him out of this, she really did. "Hey Fumiya!" Thora calls out in a neutral tone, swinging her hammer over her shoulder. "Get back! We'll take this!"

It is now another day of SLIGHTLY BURNT-OUT RESCUER Shiki Ichimonji's amazing TV marathon! Unlike during his last few dives, the boy has a noticeable spring in his step as he trots along the dungeon floors, almost cheerfully taunting the Shadows as he goes about dispatching them. Not only is this a welcome break from exam stress, but the goggled boy now already has a lot less on his mind! ...and no offense to Fumiya's deep-seated personal issues, but they're simply not as traumatizing as Shinjiro's.

"I'm doing fine!" Shiki calls out to Shirou, as Gawain handily zaps a trio of Shadows right out of existence. Oh, insta-kills. He really feels at the top of his game today. Thora might notice that he's barely addressed her, for reasons that will probably be obvious to her. The two still need to have a talk, but now simply isn't the time and place.

Despite the boy's out-of-place good mood, those last few comments of Shadow Fumiya's get him to frown a bit. It must be nice to know people are risking their lives for you... but did he really need to put it like that? At least there's still one constant in the Universe, and it's that Shadow selves piss Shiki off.

They arrive at the last floor, and... yup, there it is. He's alive! That's good. "Fumiya-san!" He steps forward, preparing his knives. "We came to save you!"

Chie Satonaka was not here last time, because when she tried to break away from Yukiko's studython she lodged a fan an inch deep into the door.

But she's here this time! The KDA's very own kung fu superfoot is on hand, waiting at the Stage when everyone shows up with a big if slightly morose grin. Morose because it's /finals/ and they're /fighting monsters/, and while Chie is normally totally in favor of this, it's going to be really tiring and just generally kind of terrible.

Oh well. They've got to save him, right?

Chie offers grins and welcomes to the newcomers, because they're /new/ and Chie's /the most experienced on here/, and that makes her the boss. Which is why she leads the pack as she /charges/ through the dungeon, dispensing kicky justice and calling out Tomoe to smash a room full of Shadows. The other reason she leads the pack is she is on the track team, and have you /seen/ those legs?

Her reaction to seeing Shiki was probably entertaining.

There's only so much she can do about Shadow Fumiya's taunts. She's met him - once or twice, anyway. But meeting someone...seeing someone outside, you never really know what their Shadow's going to be like. She knows that, perhaps better than anyone.

Of course, given how Fumiya dresses, maybe this Shadow isn't really all that unexpected after all.

Chie looks about fit to kick the doors in when they slide open easily, and she looks slightly disappointed, but charges onward anyway.

The Shadow's here, she thinks. This is...the bad part. "Oi!" she yells. "Get away from him!"

Shadow Fumiya raises his arms to welcome the rescuers. "I'm so glad you could make it. Really. I've been waiting for a family."

The real Fumiya turns back for a moment to face them, a mix of irritation and embarrasment on his face. "Damn, why are you guys here /now/?" His eyes linger on Thora for a moment, before facing Shadow Fumiya again, and he shakes his head as if trying to keep his thoughts straight. "And what the hell are YOU talking about?!"

"What?" Shadow Fumiya barks his question, simultaneously laughing. "You should know. Don't pretend that you don't. They're here to replace our real family. Ever since we were TOSSED ASIDE by them we've been looking for replacements all along."

"That ain't true! That's stupid!" The real Fumiya shouts, not able to articulate himself very well.

"Stupid? That's rich, coming from you." His shadow retorts. "You're the one who constructed a facade just to get attention. All, 'neon' this and 'babes' that. Michael Jackson and MC Hammer, Bill and Ted and Back to the Future, Walkmans and Skateboards. I'm so SICK of that 80s CRAP." The real Fumiya only slightly shakes his head, but his shadow continues. "All of this, ALL OF IT, was nothing more than an excuse to get people to look at you. It was something no one else was into. You didn't choose it all because you genuinely liked it. All of this fake enthusiasm and posturing, all to get the attention of people like THEM." The shadow throws a pointed index finger at the party to emphasize.

"Shut up." Fumiya finally finds his voice again. "You're full of crap."

The shadow laughs, his distorted voice echoing throughout the room. "Oh, I am huh? Then tell me, why HAVE you bothered? Why waste time badgering a violent girl like /her/?" The shadow points a Thora. "Why lead on an excitible manga dweeb about some irrelevant 80s icon?" He points at Shiki. "Why bend over backwards to hit on girls and just do nothing further?" He points at Yuuka and, by proximity, Chie. "Why even try to weasel your way into a dangerous set of circumstances by squeezing well-meaning idiots for information?" This time it's Shirou who has his turn to be pointed at, then the shadow lowers his hand. "Because you were just desperate for the attention, and they gave it. Even getting wrapped up in the supernatural was a means to that end."

By this point Fumiya's clenched fists were trembling, his teeth were grinding, but he still wasn't completely broken. Not yet. "You don't know what the hell you're talking about."

The shadow continues, despite Fumiya's accusations. "I know exactly what I'm talking about. I know how it started, and I know why you keep doing it. Do you want me to spell it out for you? For /them/?" Letting that question linger in the air for only a moment, the shadow continues. "I couldn't stand how my 'family' just tossed me aside when my brother was born. It was as if I didn't exist to them anymore, except when they had to get on my case about something. At first I just wanted to get their attention again, but now, it doesn't matter."

Well-meaning... /hey/. That's not nice.

But it's not like Shirou hasn't heard that kind of stuff before. He barely registers the fact that the shadow's even there. He remembers his own Speech, and isn't all that worried about listening to Fumiya's Other Self. He's noting things /down/, mind you, but just not acting it.

"Alright Thora, Shiki-kun. Satonaka-senpai, need a boost before this starts?"

Fumiya thrives on attention. This will probably drive his Shadow crazy. "Chiba-san, need anything? I brought some snacks and some pops, those are good for a boost...."

"Ichimonji-san is /not/ a manga dweeb!" Yuuka's voice is firm about that, since Itsuka will grumpyface if she finds out Yuuka didn't stand up for Shiki as well as Shiki standing up for himself. "Maybe I liked getting flirted with like that." She says, looking at Fumiya and his Shadow Fumiya-self. She has a frown on her face, shoving her glasses once again back up on her nose.

"No thank you Sekigawa-san." She says, looking at Shirou with a small smile, before asking - and probably doing the worst thing to make his Shadow annoyed - "Who is Michael Jackson?"

Likewise, Thora's been pretty quiet around Shiki, saying nothing outside of the usual battlefield stuff as 'that one over there' and 'heal me'. She knows exactly why Shiki is avoiding her too, which only contributes to her dour mood tonight. Somewhere along the line she'd also made a mental note to take Shirou aside and let him know that she Did a Really Bad Thing but other relationship drama had sprang up. That'd been resolved, thankfully, but Thora will gladly procrastinate on bringing this subject up with Shirou.

It's a small comfort to see Chie here too, now Thora's not the most experienced! Despite what Yosuke has said, Thora ultimately considers herself a follower rather than a leader of other people. She'd really rather be a lone wolf but by now she's figured out that it's not going to work out for her. She's too weak.

"Why do you think?" Thora scowls, irritated. "We're here to bring you back so you don't wind up killed by /that/." She jabs a finger at Shadow Fumiya.

The Shadow's words don't come to that much of a surprise given what she heard from Fumiya's neighbor. At one point, though, she does lift a hand. "Now hold up." she interjects, "I'm pretty sure he had other reasons for bothering me besides the attention he was getting." And boy was he getting attention for harassing the frickin' Oni of Osaka.

She lowers her hand and gestures at the Shadow with her hammer. "Remember what I told you on the rooftop, Fumiya-san?"

Ignoring the Shadow now, Thora glances over to Shirou. "Yeah, hit me up will you? I'm pretty sure this is gonna get nasty."

The scene where Shiki and Chie saw each other was really funny! But it's unfortunately exclusive to the currently Japan-only PersonaMUSH Perfect Edition. No plans announced for a localization yet. Sorry.

And Shadow Fumiya delivers his little speech to the real deal. Meanwhile, Shiki is paying little attention, already ready for battle. This Shadow might be the least infuriating one he's seen yet, in part because he knows a lot of it already... and maybe in part because for once he can relate. At this point he's got few illusions about people accepting their Shadows readily-- then again, it might be Bad, like it was with Kandori.

"Oh yeah!" Shirou gets a nod. "I could use a power-up-- HEY!" He snaps back to Fumiya and his Shadow. "Mr. T is NOT irrelevant!" His dreams... they are crushed! And Yuuka chimes in-- oh, oh, right. "...and I am NOT a dweeb!"

Aigis was ahead of the team. A Fox and Teddie were with her talking about the dungeon. Aigis gave Thora an Amrita and the Fox charged for SP regen. Teddie said the dungeon was UnBearable or perhaps Beary Bright but in either case, Aigis obviously couldn't move from THAT spot so she arrives to the Shadow Confrontation late, behind the rest of the team. She arrives just in time to see Fumiya bitch about how he treats every single member of the team. She blinks twice and looks to Fumiya, and then down to the ground.

"I am sorry, Fumiya-San. For not getting back to you sooner." She says.

Chie listens. They always talk - about themselves, their problems. She does what she can to listen, even for the people she doesn't really know, because...because what else can you do? They've seen what happens when they deny it. They've seen what happens when they get in the way.

Chie frowns a little, but her hands land on her hips in that usual defiant way of hers, when the Shadow points finger at her. OK, she thinks, the mental countdown running. He'll do it. Before she would've said not to - tried to step in. But now...after what happened before, she just tenses her legs, bobbing up and down on her heels. "Fumiya..." she mutters. "So this is the kind of thing you worry about..."

A glance over at Shirou, and she nods, quietly. "Yeah. Get us ready." She reaches her hand up, and Tomoe's evoker card appears in her hand, simply there, suddenly. "It's about time, I guess..."

He places his hands into his suit pockets, and steps past Fumiya towards the group. Shirou gets a deathglare, but it doesn't rile the shadow up further. Not while Fumiya still has doubts anyway. Fumiya glances back at Thora when she reminds him of their discussion, but he doesn't get time to respond before the shadow cuts in again, Fumiya doesn't even get the time to notice that Aigis is looking kind of robotish. "You see, I've realized what I've been missing all this time. The death of a certain celebrity helped open my eyes a bit. You can get people to pay attention to you all you want, all the attention in the world isn't going to mean shit once you're DEAD. Unless you can somehow touch the hearts of millions anyway. But while you're still alive there's always the chance those people you've worked so hard to keep around you will just wander off. They'll just give you up, let you down, run around and desert you."

Shadow Fumiya lets that statement hang in the air as he turns back around to face Fumiya. "That's why... that's why they should all die. They should all die with the image of ME burned into their minds! They're going to die anyway, it might as well be over me."

This finally causes the real Fumiya to snap, as his hands grab the collar of his shadow self's suit. "That's not even close to right! You're making me sound like some sort of psychopath!"

"We're willing to go to these extremes, even endangering the people who wanted to help us, just for their attention. What's so different about it?"

"It's /completely different/ you bastard! It's..."

"It's what, exactly?" His shadow sneers, smacking Fumiya's hands off of him. "What I deserve? You understand it, I KNOW you do. The eyes of everyone in the world should all be on me, right before they're snuffed out. That way I can be sure no one will ever toss me aside again. That's all I /ever/ wanted, that's all /we/ ever wanted!"

Finally, Fumiya loses what remaining composure he had, and starts screaming, getting more and more panicked. "Like HELL it is! You're just some insane poser. Stop saying all that crap, you fake! You don't know anything! You're not me!"

A familiar sensation of dark energy builds up around Shadow Fumiya as he starts to laugh hysterically. "You're me... AND YOU'LL NEVER CHANGE THAT!" The darkness swirls around him until he's completely engulfed, then surges outward knocking Fumiya back. The energy settles, and the darkness dissipates.

Shadow Fumiya now towers over the rescue party. The upper half of his body looks the same, except he now has four arms instead of two. His two upper arms wield two giant lances, his lower arms remained crossed across his chest for the time being. His lower body, though, now almost resembles a peacock. A fluffy pink body is decorated with two white and gold wings, with a ghostly red eye positioned in the center. Thin, neon green, legs with glowing yellow talons carry the entire frame. Instead of a regular peacock tail, though, the backside of the creature supports a golden fan-shaped decoration. Three eyes adorn it, two blue and one red, and crowning it is a flashing neon sign that says 'FUMIYA'.

"I am a Shadow, the True Self." Shadow Fumiya announces. "Come, let my image be burned into your minds as the last thing you ever see!" Raising his lances above his head, all four eyes on the freakish shadow body suddenly flash, bathing the party with a blinding pink glow.

COMBAT: You hit Thora Kobayashi with your Element Neon attack.
COMBAT: You hit Aigis with your Element Neon attack.
COMBAT: You hit Chie Satonaka with your Element Neon attack.
COMBAT: You hit Shirou Sekigawa with your Element Neon attack.
COMBAT: You have missed Shiki Ichimonji with your Element Neon attack.
COMBAT: You hit Yuuka Chiba with your Element Neon attack.

[Link to picture of Shadow Fumiya]

Haha, deathglare. Only Shirou's the keeper of the Death Glare. He's been saving a huge one for Kandori now. He quickly tosses a drink over to Shiki and Chie, before he gets close to Thora... the squishy wizard feels safest next to his 'knight' after all. Or in this case, more like 'war-beast'. He strikes her in the back and sides at five equidistant points, creating a star if you follow the points, then once more in the center. Thora should feel time slow down just a bit, feel lighter on her feet, fate taking over almost.

It's a rush.

"Beat some sense into him hon!"

COMBAT: Shirou Sekigawa hits Thora Kobayashi with his Healing Touch attack.

Never gonna give - Never gonna give -

Yuuka closes her eyes at the blinding NEON. She's wearing glasses, so at the same time, this is made dually worse as the glare reflects back on her, making her wince in pain at the pink brightness. "Okay." Yuuka says flatly. "We know where the neon went, at least, Aigis-senpai, Shiki-san, huh?" Her voice is very, very dry. Possibly ironic. Evoker is fumbled from its' pouch at her side, pressing it to her head and taking a shaky breath.

"Never gonna give you up!" True Unicorn appears briefly, magic shining around Shadow Fumiya as she attempts to show him what it feels like to miss things.

Yuuka also doesn't realize how many 80's rules she just broke with her statement.

COMBAT: Yuuka Chiba hits you with her Trafuri attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 0 points of Mystic damage.
COMBAT: You take less damage due to your Mystic resistance.

'Death of a certain...?' Oh yeah, that Micheal Jackson guy. Thora's free hand wanders into her pocket to grasp the little pewter keychain she'd given to Teddie earlier so they could locate Fumiya within the TV world. As Shadow Fumiya reveals that deep down inside, he's a little psychotic and seriously does want to kill them on, she's finally shocked. Just as a few days ago, when threatened with death, her survival instinct stirs and Thora growls.

Any desire to continue being smug and bitchy at Fumiya is completely overriden at this direct threat to her existance. The growl turns into a roar as he nearly renders her blind with terrible pink neon light. "IT BURNS! ARGH!"

By now she does know the feel of Shirou's touch (in a completely innocent way, MIND YOU, YES YOU) and finds her vision clearing quickly. Focusing on the Shadow, she swings her hammer around to point at Shadow Fumiya. "Garm!"

The monsterous dog appears before her, not a new sight to Fumiya at all thanks to that unfortunate encounter with Azusa. Howling, it lopes foward, mouth opening to exhale a blast of frost all over the Shadow.

COMBAT: Thora Kobayashi missed you with her Fimbulwinter's Chill attack.

Shiki grits his teeth when the Shadow announces his plans to kill everyone in the room. What is it with these things and death, anyway? It's like the whole of humanity has this whole weird, secret... obsession with it. Odd.

Shiki catches the drink, checking it before downing the stuff-- Oh, it's not Argilla Berry! That's good! He's been avoiding the stuff for... some reason.

The can is tossed aside as Fumiya's Shadow reveals its true form. This sort of insanity is almost becoming /routine/ to the boy, which is kind of worrying when you think about it. The blinding light, however, does not faze him one second. Is it the red-tinted goggles actually doing something? His affinity with light? Or the fact that /he/ is the most flashy thing to ever set foot on Japanese soil, rendering the attack useless? The world may never know.

He's already away from most of the group, aiming to flank the creature-- which may not be the scariest he's seen but probably the /weirdest/, at the very least. He draws his Evoker and points it to his temple, another thing that he's become waaaaay too used to. When you've got freaky ghost problems, who you gonna call? "GAWAIN!"

The robotic-looking knight of silver appears in mid-air, aiming its fist at the Shadow... and shooting it in its direction like a missile, aiming to knock its lights out. Gawain! Not only did you miss the reference, but Mazinger Z was in the /seventies/.

COMBAT: Shiki Ichimonji hits you with his Sonic Punch attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 54 points of Strike damage.

aw snap neon. Aigis is plastered with pink and is sent flying off her back as she is suddenly afflicted with a pair of negative status effects. There is little she can do about this immediately but she recovers, pulls herself up, and unsteadily wobbles from side to side. She still has three thick gashes in her frontal armor from her encounter with Murava. Rather than swap back to Pyro Jack, Aigis thinks it'd be more efficient to heal herself before the obvious follow up occurs.

"Palladion!" She cries, "Ekunda!"

The Persona appears before her and Aigis is bathed in a brilliant light--but this does mean she is unable to destroy Fumiya just yet. BUT SOON!

COMBAT: Aigis hits Aigis with her Dekunda attack.

Chie just...waits. What else can you do, when they're fighting? You can't get in the way, can't...

She clenches her fist and waits. He's fighting it so hard, it can't be long now...

There's panic rising in her throat - she finds herself crying out, "Don't--!" on reflex alone when Fumiya denies his Shadow Self, a foot planting down hard, even though apparently if they accept it it's even worse than denying it. But is this any better? She has to wonder that, because the familiar resonance of a Shadow sucking its other selves inward, towering up and higher, like some kind of... ...peacock jazz video. From hell.

AND THEN THERE'S THE FIRE. It doesn't look like fire but it /burns/ like fire, searing her body and sending her flying through the air, flat on her butt while the soda just kind of...arcs harmlessly past, where it rolls to a stop on the floor, ignored. "God dammit," Chie growls out, planting one gigantic greave (how the HELL does she fit those things UNDER her school socks!?) on the ground and levering herself up. "It's fire! Why is it always fire!?" She demands of the universe, setting Tomoe's card away /because apparently it's useless now/, and instead flicks her wrist, pulling out another from the sea of her soul. She taps the rim of her glasses, a thoughtful, automatic gesture, and then charges in, hurling the card ahead in front of her, letting it spin around endlessly before Chie catches up to it, halfway toward Shadow Fumiya, and spins a roundhouse kick in its direction, shattering it into a thousand pieces. Chie stops - her momentum arrested, spun out against the ground, but she does not need to continue forward: "Protect me!" she yells. "VALKYRIE!"

The blonde warrioress in the red armor wields her spear, charging in toward Shadow Fumiya and not stopping - not until that spear finds a peacocky home.

COMBAT: Chie Satonaka hits you with her Power Slash attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 53 points of Slash damage.

The real Fumiya was, luckily, knocked safely out of the way. He's remains out for the count, like most people after their shadows fully awaken. This is probably for the best. Who wants to see their evil side crossed with a peacock and a casino decoration fighting their friends and rescuers?

The shadow holds his ground as the attacks come at him. Yuuka's blast of magic does surprisingly little. It connects, but it doesn't even seem to singe his suit.

Shiki's strike connects and /does/ cause some visible damage, though. The shadow's odd bird-like legs nearly buckle under the impact, but they pop back up almost immediately afterward, showing remarkable resiliance.

For a moment, anyway, then Chie's attack finds its mark. The spear finds its home, renovates it, and creates a cute breakfast nook. The shadow winces, but somehow looks pleased all the same.

Thora's attack is met with a nimble dodge, perhaps the shadow does indeed remember it from that fateful day on the highway. When you think about it like that, it's the one thing it might actually be prepared for here.

The half-man-half-peacock finally gets a moment to strut its stuff. The first thing that happens is that the single red eye on the 'tail' opens wide. Mysteriously, two giant mirrors appear in front of Shirou and Aigis. Instead of reflecting themselves, though, a very angry Shadow Fumiya stares back at them and screams "DON'T YOU LOOK AWAY FROM ME!" The mirrors erupt with a massive blast of fire directed at them both, before the strange objects vanish completely.

The shadow laughs. "More... keep giving me your admiration, keep devoting yourselves to me! It will all be over soon and I don't want you to look away!" The shadow flips one of his lances around and tosses it into the air. The lance glows a pale green color before splitting off into hundreds of smaller lances, which rain down on the party. It re-appears in the shadow's hand a moment later.

COMBAT: You have missed Aigis with your Maragidyne attack.
COMBAT: You hit Shirou Sekigawa with your Maragidyne attack.
COMBAT: You hit Thora Kobayashi with your Arrow Rain attack.
COMBAT: You hit Aigis with your Arrow Rain attack.
COMBAT: You hit Chie Satonaka with your Arrow Rain attack.
COMBAT: You have missed Shirou Sekigawa with your Arrow Rain attack.
COMBAT: You hit Shiki Ichimonji with your Arrow Rain attack.
COMBAT: You hit Yuuka Chiba with your Arrow Rain attack.

Garm vanishes shortly afterwards, fading from existance just like a ghost and revealing Thora running in from behind, ready to come and strike Shadow Fumiya. Just as she nears, she hears fire roar and looks over her shoulder to see her boyfriend suddenly getting it bad. Unexpectedly, Thora pivots and runs back to him. "Shirou!"

Another glance over her shoulder gives her Fumiya preparing to attack. Without warning, she throws herself on top of Shirou just as the lances rain down from the sky and pepper her back, turning her into a temporary pincushion. Thora shudders. "Garm!"

As the dog appears and charges Fumiya, attempting to bash its bone-bare skull into the central eye of the shadow, Thora looks down at Shirou. She seems a little embarassed but strangely enough, hardly in pain.

"...you alright?"

COMBAT: Thora Kobayashi hits you with her Bash attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 46 points of Strike damage.

It's just a jump to the le-

Yuuka dodges,or well, attempts too. It seems her magic isn't doing much good all things considering, and she lets out a low, soft growl, putting her hands on her hips, Evoker in one. She draws her knees in tight, shifting into a battle stance, bo staff sliding along her body as she thrusts the Evoker against her head. Whimper. Shoot shoot.

Bang bang. True Unicorn appears, tilting its' head. Yuuka looks back at it for a bare few seconds, giving a nod as the Unicorn charges, getting up a nice gallop as the horn points straight for where it hurts to skewer him. Er. Skewer Shadow Fumiya.

COMBAT: Yuuka Chiba hits you with her Skewer attack.

COMBAT: You have taken 49 points of Pierce damage.

Shiki keeps looking at Shadow Fumiya even though he knows by doing this he's /playing right in its hands/! As he keeps going to stay out of the thing's attack range, he manages to luckily wind up in one of its blind spots while tiny lances rain down. Sure, there's still a few, but the boy manages to get away with only a few scratches in his nice jacket, a few of them grazing his skin. A noble sacrifice, but he'll live. He's used to getting blood all over it all the time.

That last attack Gawain did seemed to have done a number on Shadow Fumiya! "I've got more where THAT came from!" Just... not of the Strike element. "GAWAIN!" The mighty knight brandishes its greataxe forward, rushing in the ostrich... thing's direction. Is the knight asking for a duel?!

COMBAT: Shiki Ichimonji hits you with his Mighty Swing attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 49 points of Slash damage.

And a step to the riiiiii--

And now Aigis attack--no wait, no. No. No she's not doing that yet. Aigis doesn't follow that rulebook. Not this time! Instead, as the arrows ripple into her body, she drops into a crouch and breathes out steam. Shadows always tell you what you don't want to know about people, but perhaps that's why they're so crazy. Because they know that. It would be nice, though, if someone could be convinced through hugs or whatever to not get possessed or killed by their shadow for once.

Her earmuffs begin spinning rapidly. She narrows her eyes severely. Grr.

COMBAT: Aigis hits Aigis with her Orgia Mode attack.

Valkyrie slams into the Shadow monster hard, and Chie grins, hopping up into her habitual combat stance - dancing back and forth between her feet, arms just slightly off from her sides for balance, a grin on her face. "Sorry, Watanabe," she says, a little mournfully. "But this is for your own good!" And then when they beat him up they can get /steaks/ and it'll be /amazing/.

Valkyrie fades away, returning to the sea of souls, while Chie whips her glasses off to scrub at her eyes - still dazed by the dazzling light of Fumiya's infinite neon power. And then he tries to do it again, which Chie is very grateful he didn't point that at /her/. She still feels burned; she's not sure how well she'd take another death ray. Instead, she gets bombarded with lances, causing her to flinch on one foot as one slams through her shoulder and another strikes her chest...but Valkyrie shoots forward, taking the blows for her, and her blade parries aside one of the incoming arrows, and Chie yells, "Don't take that lying down! C'mon!" and whips up - her foot crashing through another evoker card, releasing the restraints on Valkyrie and allowing it to charge at Shadow Fumiya and attempt to /chop his arms off/.

COMBAT: Chie Satonaka missed you with her Arm Chopper attack.

The peacock-man weathers the onslaught of attacks, his crazy shadow-smirk never leaving his face. This time, at least, they all seem to find their mark. Those that attack him anyway.

It clearly was not ready for another assault from Garm so soon, and the giant canine slams into the center-eye of its body with a loud thwack. The shadow doesn't fall, but it does stagger back a few feet. But the shadow is still smiling.

Yuuka has much better luck in damaging Shadow Fumiya on her second attempt. The horn of the True Unicorn pierces its colorful body easily. It doesn't allow itself to fall back any further, and instead manages to push forward a bit, but it's no less injured. But, the shadow is still smiling.

Shirou's revenge for the last attack hits the shadow, and hits it hard. It doesn't appear to be particularly weak against water, but the potency of the attack is enough to make it hurt as if it were. The peacock spreads its wings for a moment, to flick off some of the offensive water, but holds its ground. But the shadow is still smiling.

Shiki's Gawain is relentless as well, its axe hitting hard enough to cleave it in half if shadows and personas were slaves to normal physics. But this is a crazy, exaggerated fight against mind monsters, Shiki will just have to settle for hurting it a lot with his cleave. But despite all this, the shadow is still smiling.

Chie doesn't get as lucky this time. Fumiya may have four whole arms to remove (and two wings if you're counting appendages), but the Valkyrie is getting none of them right now. Sorry Chie, no victory fsteak for you just yet.

The red eye in the center flashes once again, and another mirror appears in front of Aigis. The image of Shadow Fumiya in the mirror repeats what it yelled before. "DON'T YOU LOOK AWAY FROM ME!" Another blast of intense fire erupts from the magic mirror, before it vanishes again. Only Aigis was targetted with that attack this time.

Still smiling, despite taking considerable damage from opponents far more combat-savvy than him, the shadow taunts the party. "I heard him you know. That party crasher, Kandori. He asked you why you bothered to come all this way to save him. If you were doing it geniunely, or if it was just because you felt you had to. As if any of that makes the slightest bit of difference! Since when do any of your desires matter? You're all here because of /me/!" The shadow continues his self-important rant, while preparing another attack. The red eye opens again, but no mirrors appear. Instead a blast of fire erupts from the eye at the entire party. Proving that, with this boss, the heat is on. The heat is o-on.

COMBAT: You hit Aigis with your Maragidyne attack.
COMBAT: You hit Thora Kobayashi with your Maragion attack.
COMBAT: You have missed Aigis with your Maragion attack.
COMBAT: You hit Chie Satonaka with your Maragion attack.
COMBAT: You have missed Shirou Sekigawa with your Maragion attack.
COMBAT: You critically hit Shiki Ichimonji with your Maragion attack.
COMBAT: You hit Yuuka Chiba with your Maragion attack.

In the middle of the fight, with all of them being burned and hurt and thrown around... Shirou laughs, just a bit. Then a little more, then he bursts out laughing.

"That's it, isn't it! It doesn't matter!" He grins, and those that look at /him/ will see a sudden blaze of fire over his eyes and the faintest aura of sea-green light. "It wouldn't matter if you were you, Fumiya, or the president or a hobo! We save /lives/. It's /WHAT WE DO!/"

He summons that card up again, slicing it in mid-air as soon as it shows up, the waters that surround Ikatere seeming to be a bit more churned up, and it rushes towards Fumiya, looking to swallow him up in a tidal wave of will.

Shirou just grins, his will starting to ignite. "...I don't think I'll be having nightmares for a /long/ while."

COMBAT: Shirou Sekigawa missed you with his Aques attack.

Thora quickly steps back from Shirou and waves a hand dismissively and turns around. Already the wounds inflicted on her back are closing right before his eyes, skin sealing up smoothly, leaving no scar behind. She thumbs backwards and half-grins. "Don't worry, you already got that covered. It's gonna take more than a couple of pinpricks to take me down."

She doesn't move much though. This time when the fire comes roaring out for Shirou, she firmly plants herself in the way and soaks it. From the looks of it, that didn't hurt her very much either. As the Shadow continues to rant, Thora looks kind of disgusted at the self-centeredness of the Shadow. "Man, and here I was hoping you'd just want to cheer me up. At least I don't have to feel like an ass now." With a sudden burst of speed, which looks far too fast thanks to Shirou's earlier meddling, the giant teenager zooms foward, her hammer held high.

A sadistic grin creeps onto her face as she brings the head of the Black Frost hammer down upon Shadow Fumiya's face. It would be a lie to say she hasn't been waiting for this opportunity.

COMBAT: Thora Kobayashi hits you with her Strike Attack - Warhammer attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 41 points of Strike damage.

Alright guys, +dice 1d20 six times to figure out character stats -

Wrong MUSH.

Yuuka is hit with the fire attack, flinching at the flames that lick at her, reddish hair brightening in the fire of the familiar color that matches it. She growls, and turns her back on Shadow Fumiya, completely, utterly ignoring it. "Sekigawa-san! Heads up!" She cries out, Evoking her magical power briefly as a green light descends on Shirou. She's not the tank here, that's all on Thora, Shirou, Aigis, and Shiki.

COMBAT: Yuuka Chiba hits Shirou Sekigawa with her Dia attack.

Fire erupts around Aigis's body solidly. It scours through her and out behind her. The damage, especially since the strike from Murava hadn't been fixed up, is severe--frying some of her internals. "I look at you." She slowly stands up, her body shaking from side to side, "Not because of your appearance. That may have been the reason why I first approached you but that is not why I continue to do so." She raises her head and darts forward for the shadow with a sudden burst of speed, aiming to tackle into its body and press her gunhands to the Shadow Critter's body even as she latches onto it with her legs.

"We are here because you are our friend. If you were truly cruel, so many people would not have come to assist."

She unleashes a full barrage of armor piercing rounds at close range--but will it be enough? Or will she SLIP and be DOWNED!?

COMBAT: Aigis hits you with her Primal Force attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 70 points of Pierce damage.

So far so good, Shiki thinks! Visibly, the Shadow is taking some damage, even if it's not enough to wipe that annoying grin off its face. Then it asks its rethorical question, and even from that far, he can hear Shirou's crazy little response. Hey, it's weird, but he's got the right idea. "That's right! It doesn't matter! Fumiya-san is my friend, but no one deserves to die like this!"

Yup, so far so good, he thinks as he weaves out of the way of the torrent of flames, taking out a small object from one of his jacket's deep pockets and squinting at it. It's a bookmark a certain someone lent him "for good luck", and... it seems to be working surprisingly well, given how he's barely got a scra-- OHSHI--

A massive ball of flame trails after the rest, which the boy only notices at the last second. Rather than defend himself with his arms, however, he raises his hands in the air, letting his unprotected body take the full brunt of the attack! He falls over backwards, rolling on the ground to put the flames out. Oh god, the pain! He's still got his arms outstretched, though.

And finally, the fire goes out (except, maybe, for the one in his soul and the one on his jacket). Painfully, he staggers back on to his feet, dizzily eying the bookmark. Barely singed. Damn.

"Oh, no, you DIDN'T!" The thing is returns to the relative safety of his pocket, switched for his Evoker. As soon as Gawain appears, a massive beam of light blasts towards the ground, hopefully smiting Shadow Fumiya down with mighty fury!

COMBAT: Shiki Ichimonji missed you with his Hamaon attack.
COMBAT: Shiki Ichimonji has finished their turn.

"Prime minister!" Chie reminds Shirou, energetically. "Presidents are for squares."

A pause, to hop back and forth some more - and she grins, fitting her glasses up higher on her face to see clearer through the fog and her still-dazzled eyes. "But he's right! I guess? Uhm. We're totally here to save you! But we're going to have to beat you up first! And antagonizing you is stupid because you're mostly just furious, so why am I even talking?!" She follows this up in the proud tradition of her people: She dashes in at Fumiya, abandoning all subtlety to leap off the ground, somersalt in midair, and kick him in the face.

In anime, this is called 'communicating with your fists.'

COMBAT: Chie Satonaka hits you with her Strike Attack - Kick attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 37 points of Strike damage.

This is the round where things stop going so well for the shadow. This is where they wipe that smile off of his face. This is when the music dies.

Shirou's assertion that they're not just there for him, that they'd be there for anyone earns a snarl out of the shadow. But it doesn't succeed in goading him into making a mistake, and the beast dodges the wave of water. Yet, despite its nimble dodge, the shadow looks visibly hurt, and its movements are slower.

Thora is much more on the mark, yet again. The shadow might've been expecting Garm to leap at it again, but clearly it wasn't ready for the oni herself to dive in. The warhammer connects with a satisfying 'crunch', though unfortunately the shadow is still standing afterward. Its glasses are cracked though.

Aigis' words appear to be lost on the shadow. The creature is one of pure desire and compulsion. Fumiya himself doesn't have a whole lot of patience to consider the deeper meaning of things, his shadow has even less. It barely has time to flash another smile, though, when Aigis' attack hits it, and hits it /hard/. Thora's melee might have appeared more brutal, but Aigis' bullets tear into the beast visciously. He roars in pain. He did not take that well.

Nor did he take being kicked in the face all that well. Chie's legs are mighty, and her accuracy deadly. And now the other lens in his sunglasses is split. Much like Chie's poor DVD.

In his apparant rage from those collective wounds, he leaps back a few feet to put some distance between himself and the attacking party, coincidentally avoiding Shiki's Hamaon at the same time. "That's it, I've had enough of you bastards!" Shouts the shadow, having finally lost his patience, and starting to tantrum like a little kid. "I'm going to put an end to this RIGHT NOW!"

Two spotlights appear out of nowhere, bathing the shadow in their light. This seems to heal some of its wounds, as well as surround it with an ominous crackling energy. This can't bode well.

Shadow Fumiya has Charged Up!

COMBAT: You hit Fumiya Watanabe with your Center Spotlight attack.
COMBAT: The Luck Up status effect has been added.
COMBAT: The Magic Up status effect has been added.
COMBAT: The Strength Up status effect has been added.
COMBAT: You hit Fumiya Watanabe with your Uplifting Vanity attack.
COMBAT: You have been healed for 80 points of damage.

"...This. This is gonna suck."

It's Shirous honest reply as he closes his eyes. He calls down, deep into himself to call upon Charon, the dark ferryman appearing behind his shoulder. In a nearly synchronized motion, their right arms raise up, and Shirou glares coldly at Fumiya's Shadow.

"Fine... Guys, we gotta take him down. Now." His aura has shifted again, no longer sea-green, but he's bleeding resonance, a dark stillness. "It's alright Fumiya... at least your family loves you still." He says, a little bitterly, before he sends out a dark wave of enery, trying to 'trap' the monster into a maze of darkness, distracting him from the others.

He's no tank, not at all, but he doesn't mind the agro.

COMBAT: Shirou Sekigawa has activated Charon.
COMBAT: Shirou Sekigawa missed you with his Trial of Darkness attack.

Oh for the love of neon.

No attack from him this time, this gives Yuuka time to look around. Alright, things seem to be going okay, so far, no one needs healings that badly. Apart from Shirou, but he is used to being abused by Thora and Kandori. Evoker pressed to her head, and Yuuka whispers softly, even as Unicorn appears next to Yuuka, looking back at each other. "Right, Unicorn!" A beam of flashing light goes to disrupt the spotlight around Fumiya.

"No matter what, Fumiya will /always/ have family! He just doesn't realize it! He has all of us to call on, all of us to rely on!"

He's had family, basically.

COMBAT: Yuuka Chiba hits you with her Hamaon attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 59 points of Light damage.

Glasses have been cracked. Thora's day is /made/. That one moment has rendered this entire fiasco 'worth it' and she will treasure rit for the rest of her life. She chooses not to get out of melee range until Aigis starts shooting him, possibly distracting him long enough for this to do the devistating damage it does.

Then the little creep backs up and gets so damn backlit that Thora has to shield her eyes and look away. "Ugh, you attention whoring little..." Struggling a little, the hammer hits the floor and Thora calls for her persona once more. "Garm! Hit it hard and hit fast! Go!"

While Garm appears, Thora does a quick spot check for Fumiya. She hopes he's at least watching since...well, he better get /real/ used to seeing stuff like this. Garm doesn't charge this time, possibly throwing Shadow Fumiya for a loop. Instead, he tilts his head back and unleashes a loud, ominous howl.

In Norse mythology, the howling of Garm heralds the ragnarok. In this case, it heralds massive shards of ice that explode from nowhere all around the Shadow, piercing and caging him.

COMBAT: Thora Kobayashi critically hits you with her Ice Crush attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 45 points of Strike damage.
COMBAT: You have taken 39 points of Ice damage.

Shiki grits his teeth as the large Shadow dodges his attack. No mighty retribution now, but the young mangaka does recognize the telltale signs of an enemy monster preparing to unleash its apocalyptic final attack.

His solution? Unleash an apocalyptic final attack of his own.

Bang. He runs towards the Shadow, foolishly getting himself even further into the range of... whatever it has planned. Gawain appears, thrusters out, gliding alongside him. "A family isn't all about one person! It's a group of people who laugh and cry alongside each other!"

The silvery giant's green axe, as Shiki speaks, starts to click and whirr into a new configuration, taking the shape of an oversized sword. The boy's noticed that this attack basically seems to require a dramatic speech in order to work. "You've got to give if you want to recieve! I don't mind being your friend, but don't only think of yourself! I guess what I'm saying is..."

"You nearly burnt my girlfriend's bookmark and for that, YOU'RE GONNA PAY!!"

COMBAT: Shiki Ichimonji hits you with his Brave Blade attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 75 points of Slash damage.

Chie slams her foot into Shadow Fumiya's head, and then backflips away, somersalting toward the floor - and an Evoker card explodes around her foot as she falls, the explosion of energy from her soul erupting into the heavens. Valkyrie does not emerge.

A yellow bodysuit with black trim. A long helmet with a werid shape, like a fin; lipstick, painted where the lips ought to be. Yellow eyes peering out from a clear visor that nonetheless hides the rest of her face. Heavy gloves and boots studded with leather, hands clutching a long, double-headed, glowing naginata.

"You're not going to put an end to anything!" Chie yells, recklessly. "We're sending you back where you belong! Right inside him!"

She stands upright, and holds out her hand - and Tomoe Gozen surges forth, naginata whipping the air around her, then banking into a roll, spiralling around her horizontal axis like a top - and when it impacts, the air itself spikes upward, a shockwave generated from the raw force of the hit.

"Beat him stupid!" Chie commands. "TOMOE GOZEN!!!"

COMBAT: Chie Satonaka hits you with her Rainy Death attack.
COMBAT: You have taken 92 points of Strike damage.
COMBAT: Fumiya Watanabe has been knocked out!

The crackling red energy surrounding Fumiya eventually turns into a hot pink color. Whatever it is he was building up for, it's coming.

Shirou's attack misses entirely, perhaps the darkness was thrown off by the beams of bright energy. Perhaps it was dumb luck. It was something that could've spared them if it hadn't missed.

Yuuka fares much better with her own, battling neon with light. Her own light spell outshines it and Shadow Fumiya finally gets a taste of his own medicine as a result. Maybe she's just better with Hama than Shiki. Either way the magic sears the shadow, but it doesn't interupt his charging.

Thora keeps the pressure on, with a massive blast of ice damage coming from an icicle cage. It still doesn't stop him, nor the charging.

Shiki's righteous fury over the fate of his precious bookmark inflicts a particularly serious wound on the shadow, with his Brave Blade leaving a deep gash in his pure white suit. Still the shadow doesn't stop, but it is clearly straining now.

Finally, Chie the mighty settles things. Tomoe reappers and rushes at the shadow, the shockwave from its attack hitting the shadow dead-on, crippling it instantly. The gathering energy dissipates abruptly as the shockwave engulfs it.

Dark energy starts to leak out of the shadow, a clear sign that its monsterous form has lost cohesion. "I said... you all will... you can't..... /don't forget me/!!!" The shadow stammers, before collasping onto itself, a fog of black energy billowing out of it as it disappears entirely. As it clears, the shadow is back to its humanoid form, though lying on the floor.

By this point the real Fumiya has finally stirred. He saw the fight, but so much of it just went over his head, like a fever dream. From his perspective the room is still spinning as he tries to sit upright.

Shirou falls to a knee, grunting, still looking worse for the wear. Seems like he got it the worst of it out of everyone else. Staggering upwards, he grins. "That... that was satisfying... so very much so." He's grinning from ear to ear, before he gives a wracking cough, feeling heat and soot come out of his lungs. "Guh... 'm gonna feel this later, 'm sure."

He walks on over to Fumiya, putting out his hand. "Hey man... you alright?"

"I don't think I can." Yuuka spits at the disappearing Shadow Fumiya. Evoker is stuck back in its' pouch, joining her flute, and Then Yuuka staggers over to Fumiya, dropping down to her knees next to him where he's groggily attempting to sit up. Her own hand goes out to him too, a wry smile on her face.

"You okay, Fumiya-san?" She asks gently.

"...whew." Thora sighs. For once, it was nice to avert something incredibly disasterous-looking in time before it went off and put everyone in a lot of pain. After all she's been through lately it felt like...progress.

Thora makes a beeline to the fallen Shadow and picks him up by the scruff of the neck, dragging him over to Fumiya Prime. "We need to have a couple of words." Thora pauses.

"I'll go first. I'm sorry."

Tomoe Gozen slams the Shadow so hard that the charging attack blows apart, shattered against the strong blade of Chie's soul! Or something! That sounded cool, let's run with it!

Chie, puffed with pride, flexes her legs and manages a picture-perfect backflip, tapping her glasses and announcing: "Don't think! Feel!" as the key to her success.

And her victory pose out of the way, she glances over, across the room, to where Fumiya is awakening. "...and," she sighs, deflating, "now for the easy part. I hope."

It was a very important bookmark, okay?! While the Shadow disappears in the face of such an overwhelming assault, the goggled boy breathes a sigh of relief. He takes said bookmark out of his pocket to survey the damage more carefully. Yup, it's a little burnt but still recognizeable. Hopefully she won't mind, but still...

It's pocketed again, and this time for good, as comes the time for the /hard/ part. Hey, unlike possibly everyone here, he's actually seen this fail, with horrible consequences!

He catches a glimpse of Chie's victory animation. ...after a few seconds of pondering, he decides not to attempt a backflip.

"Fumiya-san! Are you all right?" But Thora is already there, and speaking up, and-- whaaaa?

Aigis returns from successfully uninstalling and then reinstalling Microsoft Word. You tried to screw with me fate well screw you! Shows what you know! You lose you horrible, lose forever!!

She is, however, pretty beat up, smoke rippling out of her joints. She doesn't move from her crouched position and instead focuses her face towards Fumiya. He isn't okay yet. This is the real problem.

"Fumiya-San..." She murmurs. "Are you going to be okay?"

Fumiya feels indescribable. It's not something he's ever really experienced before, so he really has now idea how he should feel, or how he should react. The self-centered kid has never had to experience any REAL loss or trauma, besides what he exaggerated in his head, so facing all of this was a surprising blow to him. Even moreso when all those people who /should/ be hating his guts over everything they just heard come to extend their hands in aid.

He really doesn't know what he should be feeling.

There's dizziness. Dizzy he can identify. Embarrassment too. But there's something else, like a nauseous feeling in the pit of his stomach, particularly at the sight of his shadow.

"I.. um..." He tries to speak, but for once the kid who can never shut his mouth doesn't have anything to say.

He manages to stand on his own power, still far too worried to accept anyone's offer of help. He eyes the shadow warily, and the shadow itself stiffens in its posture a bit. Some of its life returning to its face. Those who have seen it before should recognize it.

Fumiya is still rejecting the shadow.

"Fumiya... it's over. You acted like a jackass. We know, we forgive you." Shirou says, quietly to his friend as he doesn't take his hand.

"And I swear if you don't wise up /now/, after seeing things first hand, I'm going to stab you myself." His voice is a bit joyless, and it's /reaaaly/ hard to tell if he's joking or not. Probably /not/ the best thing to say, but hopefully Yuuka or Shiki or Aigis can fix that.

Is Thora apologizing that shocking? ...okay, yes, it probably is. "...I told you to reject it so you could see this happen. Really...it's the only way." Or so Thora was convinced since accepting it right away meant it came and possessed the person. And that was bad. "Now you gotta accept it."

She watches Fumiya through amber yellow eyes, floored that he actually has nothing to say. She glances at the Shadow, which is rapidly starting to look livelier again. "DAMNIT WATANABE!" she roars, suddenly stepping in and jabbing an elbow into his chest.

The other hand shakes Shadow Fumiya a little, roughly manhandling him. "So you're an attention-seeking brat, big fucking deal!"

Do not rely on Thora to be the source of 'nice' tonight.

"H-hey, don't say things like that!" Shiki's eyebrow quirks up at Shirou's comment. "...but it's true! You need to accept that this guy here..." He points at the Shadow with a triumphant pointer finger. "...is part of you!"

He relaxes his pose and continues speaking, acting as if Thora's mishandling him was really no big deal (and really, it's probably a common occurence from what he knows). "...By the way, we're really not so different, you and I. But you don't need to go that far for people to like you. Just be nice to them!" Of course, even idealism magnet Shiki Ichimonji knows it's not quite that simple, but eh, details, details.

"Oi, oi!" Chie snaps. "No stabbing!" Hands land on her hips, and she leans in at the hip, challenging. "None! Serious! Or I'll totally come over there! And then I'll have to figure out what I'm gonna do on the fly! And that's bad!! So there!!!"

Having demonstrated her absolute mastery of the Japanese language, Chie glances at the Shadow, and frowns, and groans, and scrubs her hands through her hair, frustrated. It's hard. She knows it's hard. It's the hardest thing in the world, and once you do it, everything changes.

She steps over just the same - trying to get within range to be seen through the fog, to be /heard/, so she can say: "Watanabe...we know. It's not like you're the first person to want a little more attention, you know? Everyone's...got something like this in them. Some secret they don't even want to think about...It's OK!"

She raises a hand up, clenching her fist, letting words flow from her heart. "Something like this...just means you're alive!"

"He is rather showy..." Aigis admits, "But--that doesn't make you bad, Fumiya-San." She is, perhaps, trying to be nicer than Thora. She'll always be the good cop to Thora's psychopathic killer. I mean bad cop.

"Sekigawa-san, I'll stab you /myself/ if you can't find something constructive to say." Yuuka's voice is cheerful while she gives Shirou a menacing smile. It should not be effective - even Fumiya can pick her up her and carry her tiny self off. That moment of grr-ness done, she shakes her head, getting up after she ties her tennis shoes again, which barely avoided tripping her at that.

She does not try to do that to Thora.

Yuuka likes being alive, yannow.

"Look, Fumiya-chan." Yuuka says quietly, rubbing the back of her neck. "Sure, your Shadow self is a bit of a brat, attention-seeking. All he's looking for is /family/, and people that care for him." She pauses quietly, listening to Shiki, then she nods. "He's right! All you need to do is accept you have your flaws. Like I have mine." She says quietly, tilting her head. "He's you, and I ... well, I kind of like part of that you. All the flashy neon and the outspokeness. I'll be your friend, your family. Ya just have to ask." She states softly.

What should he do here? Fumiya was not entirely privy to the specifics of 'what goes down when you face your shadow', so it's not until Thora tells him in no uncertain terms what he should do that he gets an idea. But... accept /that/? That thing everyone just saw say it wanted to kill them all, and everyone else? That monster?

Thora's jab to the chest works wonders. After all the deep emotional stress that he had no idea how to deal with, something as simple as some sharp physical pain helps clear and focus his mind quite well. And then the words of everyone else start to make a bit more sense. He looks at his shadow self for a moment, before sighing.

"Hey hey, lay off Shibrou." He finally says, adding in his usual nickname for Sekigawa. A slight smirk returns to his face. "I think I deserve it for being such an idiot."

He takes a step forward, past Thora, and standing before his shadow directly. "You know, you really screwed things up." He starts, though quickly ammends it with "But... I guess it was /me/ all along. You may have hurt everyone, but I'm the one who dragged them down here, I'm the one who didn't know when to quit." He scratches the back of his head, still trying to clumsily find his words. "I... never really knew how to deal with not being the center of attention after being it for so long, ya know? I couldn't even recognize that my folks still.... they love both me and my brother. All of this started because I just didn't want to share it with him."

"I get it now. It ain't that I want everyone to love me and only me, and it sure as hell ain't that I want them all to die for it either. I just needed to understand... that I'm still worth a damn even stacked up next to others. I don't need to burn my image into their minds, not if they want to know me."

Slowly, the shadow nods, and vanishes into a burst of light. From the place it vanished, an image appears. A warrior with four arms and wielding two lances, wearing a golden helmet which covers his eyes, and riding a neon peacock with sunglasses. The warrior beats his chest once and the peacock unfurls its tail, revealing an array of flashing lights in the place of feathers.

> The strength of heart required to face oneself has been made manifest...

> Fumiya has faced his other self...

>He has obtained the facade used to overcome life's hardships, the Persona Murugan!

Shirou grins just a bit. "Good... don't have to stab you." He gives Yuuka a Death Glare... twenty percent power. But it's a glare none the less. "Hey, it was a joke." Mostly. But that's how these two express friendship. Apparently.

Shirou grins just a bit. "Good... don't have to stab you." He gives Yuuka a Death Glare... twenty percent power. But it's a glare none the less. "Hey, it was a joke." Mostly. But that's how these two express friendship. Apparently.

"Does this mean the infamous '80's kid is going to be wearing... a color that's a little less eye wattering?" Shirou, asking what we're all thinking

Thora let's go of Shadow Fumiya so he can stand on his own. After a second she steps backwards and puts one hand on her hip, the other still around her weapon. A brief glance is shot in Shiki's direction, as if to gauge whether or not he was still being evasive of her.

At this point, she wanted to finally set things straight for Fumiya but she also knew that fatigue was due to catch up with the boy soon enough. As Fumiya finally lays it out in a manner that the Shadow can agree with, a brand new scent assails her nostrils with such intensity that it nearly makes her pass out.

She staggers for a second before straightening again and watching Fumiya. "Good, very good. How do you feel now?"

"I can't tell." She says vaguely to Shirou and Fumiya.

Yuuka is at least being honest, even as her eyes stay on the new Persona, giving a slight nod of her head. "How very..."


Shiki gives several enthusiastic nods as Fumiya gives his little speech. Yes! He's got it! And finally, the 80s Kid accepts himself, prompting the manga wonderboy to pump a fist into the air. "YESSSS!"

...and then the Persona appears, quieting him down a little. Well, makes sense for it to look that way. The Shadow was really weird, too. And Personas in general are, too! ...But still.

Eh, whatever. "YESSSS! Good job, Fumiya-san! I knew you could do it!" He returns Thora's glance at him with a little grin. They'll still need to talk, but obviously he seems in a much better mood than when he last saw her.

He turns back to Fumiya, still smiling. "...Now let's go home." He looks back to the room's exit. He is not interested in taking chances sticking around the TV when it's not necessary, /especially/ with what happened the last time.

Also, he needs to study. Go, inexplicably diligent Shiki!

Murugan vanishes into a single card, which flutters down and vanishes into Fumiya with a soft glow. The 80s kid blinks, as if his mind was just slapped with an obvious revelation. Though he is still far too tired to comprehend it fully.

Slowly he turns around, and shakes his head at Shirou. "Well you'll just have to find out... I dunno man, things change, but..." His response is disjointed, showing that he is indeed starting to feel the fatigue now. But he manages to offer a thumbs up to Shiki, and everyone in general. The flurry of comments don't help him keep his thoughts straight, but he manages to get the gist of them all. He pulls off a small chuckle. "Listen, I.... well, thanks. Thanks guys."

Surprisingly, for the first time ever Fumiya reaches up to his sunglasses and takes them off. His brown eyes a bit weary, but still clear. Though it's clear from the dark circles he wears the damn things too much. He glances over everyone. Thora, who might be a stubborn as he is, but he really should have put more faith in. Shirou, who inexplicably gave the 80s kid his friendship. Shiki, who might be just as eccentric as he is. Yuuka, who was one of the few girls who didn't hilariously reject Fumiya outright. Chie, who he may not know that well, but he certainly won't forget her help here. And Aigis, who...... is a robot.

Fumiya blinks. "Um... robot... she's a rob--" He doesn't get to finish his question, and almost collapses to his feet. His hand darts up to rub his his head and he tries to shake it off. "Y.. you know, ... it's something I can be filled in on later... yeah."

"You didn't know about Aigis-senpai, right. Shiki-san or I or someone else will fill you in later." She says gently. "You have nice eyes." She says, tapping her glasses. "Be glad you aren't required to wear yours." She winks at him a little bit.

Yuuka, yes, is one of those rare few.

I refer you to the SEES beach party.

"Right, right... let's evac. Shadows should be gone for now, so let's move while the getting's good." He half assumes a leadership role, no offense to Chie or Thora... but Shirou just wants to get gone and get home.

Aigis blinks.

"...Oh yes, that is correct." She tells Fumiya. "Though I might have been a cybernetic construct, you should be more careful next time."

Shiki's already going for the exit! But he doesn't know what /awaits him!/

Long story short, the bookmark he's carrying about is gonna be burnt /and/ smelly, and when he gives it back he'll be feeling all bad.