electric_butterfly: "The Flowers of Evil" is the text. Marcello. (Default)
electric_butterfly ([personal profile] electric_butterfly) wrote in [community profile] hardmode2011-07-31 07:46 pm

"The Unforgotten Promise", Persona 3 PSP

Title: The Unforgotten Promise
Author: [personal profile] electric_butterfly
Beta: N/A
Media Creator: None, but if you're interested, let me know. :)
Word Count: 10214
Fandom: Persona 3 PSP
Characters/Pairing(s): Aigis, Octavia(FemmC), Most of the main cast, Yukari/Octavia
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Hints of sex, deathfic, spoilers
Summary: Octavia makes a choice. Aigis Copes. Based on the Bad Ending.

December 31st, 2009

Aigis hears shattering glass, but she knows that it doesn’t come from someone breaking a mirror. Aigis is a machine, but she manages to gasp at the sudden realization.

Octavia made her choice.


Five minutes ago, Aigis begged for her to kill Ryoji, so that they wouldn’t suffer from the coming of Nyx, but everyone helped her see the light. Everyone helped her find her purpose. They gave her a life. Palladian became Athena.

All for nothing.

Shattered glass means shattered memories. Aigis knows it now.

Octavia made her choice.


Five minutes ago, Fuuka made it clear that she didn’t want to forget Aigis. No one wanted to forget. Even Octavia claimed, “you’re already a part of us” before climbing the stairs and making her choice.

To kill Ryoji.

/You weren’t supposed to make that choice. All your actions indicated that you would fight with your friends/.

Aigis looks around at the gaping mouths, the whispered “no” from Mitsuru, the widened eyes.

“What did you do?” Yukari asks, looking upwards toward Octavia’s room.

/Perhaps it’s a glitch inside me/. Aigis looks at Koromaru. He tilts his white head. /Maybe she didn’t kill him after all. I can remember, but I am a machine/. Aigis makes her way up the stairs as if she developed a rocket on her back. She quickly finds Octavia’s room and opens the door.

Ryoji is dead. His body slowly fades into the shadows, but he manages to keep his charming smile. Octavia looks at Aigis, Evoker in hand. She blinks, her lips part, but she is voiceless. She falls to the floor.

Octavia made her choice.


Aigis isn’t sure who says those words and doesn’t care, especially since the cheers come from outside of the dorm. The Dark Hour is gone. Tartarus is gone. Aigis realizes that the memories of her friends are gone.

Aigis is a machine meant to protect humanity from the shadows. Five minutes ago, she had a purpose. Now, all she can do is stay by everyone’s side like she said she would.

January 1, 2010

Aigis does not require sleep the way the humans do, but she still requires downtime and she is down enough to need her room. She sits on her mechanical chair that keeps her upgraded and maintained, not wanting to think of anything, but knows that it’s impossible not to. She is close to Octavia’s room, but she cannot bear to visit. There’s still a party outside, but Aigis doesn’t hear anything from the dorm. They’re like Octavia now. Aigis can’t bear to look. She is a machine. Machines aren’t supposed to hurt.

/When they wake up, they will no longer know who I am. Why did Octavia do this? My friends helped me. She helped me. I know what I said at first, but they helped me. I grew to share their resolve. I.../

Aigis stares at her bedroom door. Octavia made her decision. Too late to change now. Aigis wonders why, wanting to hold herself accountable for Octavia’s actions. /If only I didn’t ask her to kill him. No. Her choice had nothing to do with me, did it? Perhaps it was because Ryoji persuaded her. Yes. That was the reason. I cannot think of any other reason. Ryoji had a way with words and his smile affected everyone around him. He had that voice, those looks, the style. Ryoji-kun had all the means of talking people into doing his bidding. That’s it. That was Octavia’s reason. It must be/.

“You were dangerous,” Aigis says out loud to her bullets hanging all around her. “I have failed once again.”

It’s around noon when she finally makes her way out of her room. Other students walk around her wondering who she is and where she comes from. No one bothers asking. She sees Junpei in the lounge talking about Amazon women or some such things that only Junpei would talk about. Aigis stays hidden in the under the stairs, but she can see Akihiko with him, but they seem like they’re mere acquaintances and not close friends. Ken is leaving and he asks the others how he got into a high school dorm. Mitsuru does not know, but she escorts him out. She is wearing a deep blue kimono and looks radiant.

Yukari comes down the stairs. Octavia follows. Both are wearing kimonos that look like flowers. Aigis slips out of her hiding place.

“Hi!” Yukari waves and Aigis feels a jolt.

“Hello, Yukari and Octavia,” she answers, looking at Octavia. “Happy new year.” /That is how humans say it, right/?

Octavia gasps. “How did you know our names?”

“I merely heard them in the dorms. That is all. I must be going now.”

Aigis shrinks and quickly walks ahead of them, past Mitsuru, and outside of the dorm. She can’t speak to any of them, but she can still be with them, watch them continue to live what is left of their lives. She is a machine, but why does she feel like tears should be falling down her face?

She visits the shrine, watching people make wishes with paper things that make no sense. They wish for a good year, of course, which does make sense.

Octavia wishes to “Get through the New Year.” Yukari agrees. Mitsuru is separate from them, putting some coins in the Offertory box.

Aigis hides behind the giant tree near the makeshift takoyaki stand. Junpei arrives, but Akihiko is not with him. He does, however, approach Yukari and Octavia. /How does he know them/? Aigis looks down, deciding that it doesn’t matter now.

“Happy New Year!” Yukari cries to Junpei. “Let’s all have a great year and do our very best!”

“Wow! You look hot!” He replies with a smile full of cocky. He says it to every girl around him, except for Fuuka because she is nowhere to be seen. “New Years kicks ass!”

Aigis wants to join. To say something that would be odd to others, but sensible to her. She realizes that she’s one of the few girls not wearing a kimono and chooses to stay behind the tree.

/Your year will only last a couple of months/.

She leaves.

In the evening, Yukari and Octavia are sitting on the lounge couch eating fish cakes with sweetened black soybeans. Junpei is in the dining room eating a soup containing rice cakes. Aigis keeps herself hidden, not needing any of the food that they eat yet she notes that the food they have is store-bought. If Shinji were alive-

Aigis halts that thought process. /There is no doubt that he would have refused to allow Octavia to kill Ryoji-kun. He would have fought to the bitter end. He would be making The New Year’s food/. She notes that Mitsuru is carrying a small tray of sushi on the way to her room. Akihiko has sashimi. /Do they remember Shinji? They have to/. Aigis doesn’t think to ask. Instead, she goes back to her room, listening to Yukari’s voice trail off about getting some postcards.

January 2-10, 2010

It’s school again, and Aigis decides to go. The words of the teachers mean nothing to her now because it makes no sense to learn anything in a classroom when they will all die at the same time anyway. She knows that it’s a poor attitude to have, but her thoughts process in that direction. She is next to Octavia and close to Yukari, but both girls simply don’t know her, and it’s no act.

During lunch, Aigis decides to have some soup that is only hot to her senses. She sees Fuuka in the hallway. They look at each other, but there is no dawning in the former Juno wielder’s eyes. /Strangers now/. Aigis wonders if Fuuka remembers learning to cook. Aigis recalls Shinji and Octavia teaching her how to make beef stroganoff. Aigis remembers how everyone found the dinner delicious.

After school, Aigis sees Ken running into the manga store. Aigis does not exist to him. Not anymore. Still, she watches him read Featherman books before he buys some and goes to a nearby restaurant. If he is aware of her, Aigis doesn’t know. She chooses not to follow him.

At the shrine, a gorgeous white dog runs around the playground. Aigis walks over to him only to find that his eyes are full of “do I know you?” Aigis goes back to the dorm, knowing that if she had a human stomach, it would have fallen out of her.

Aigis decides not to study. Instead, she counts bullets even though she no longer needs them.

January 11, 2010.

Coming of Age Day. This means nothing to Aigis, but those around her view as another opportunity to celebrate not going to school. She learns that it’s about those who have reached the age of twenty and they have ceremonies followed by more parties. Aigis knows that some people will be able to celebrate being twenty, but those who have yet to reach it never will. That doesn’t stop the seventeen year olds from throwing parties of their own.

Octavia is out watching movies with Yukari. Junpei is in the lounge eating hamburgers from “Wild Duck Burger.” Akihiko and Mitsuru are out of the dorm. Aigis does not bother to look for anyone. She stays in her room, not caring about any age.

January 12-24, 2010

Aigis notices what’s left of Strega and wonders if Jin and Takaya remember Chidori. She only knows that Junpei has no memory of the girl with the flowing red hair, odd white clothing, and doll-like appearance. Chidori died for Junpei.

/She gave her own life to save his and now . . . /

Aigis doesn’t approach them, but she senses that they wouldn’t recognize her anyway. They have no Tartarus to look forward to.

January 25th, 2010

Today is “Academic Counseling Day.” This is the day where students are asked what their plans are after they graduate. Aigis waits outside of the Faculty Office, noting Yukari walking with a spring in her step. She wants to ask why and what happened and what Ms. Toriumi told her, but chooses not to. Instead, she listens to Octavia.

“I’m going to college.”

/College? Is this another institute for learning? Octavia, you won’t--/ Aigis lets the thought go.

Ms. Toriumi says things that make sense, but her words ebb and flow in the air like ocean waves. One question, however, reaches Aigis.

“What do you think has helped to bring about this change the most?”


If Aigis were more human, then she would have “Ohed” while nodding her head. Responsibility. Obligations. Proof of an adulthood that is now forever beyond the reach of Octavia and all of her friends. /Yes, Octavia certainly is responsible. I find it quite admirable/. Aigis looks across from her, at billboards full of notes, ads for clubs and test results. Ms. Toriumi’s voice travels past the door.

“Let's see, uh . . . who's next? ...Ah, Aigis-san. Would you mind letting her know? Thank you.”

Octavia does indeed let Aigis know in a friendly “I don’t really know you, but I’m polite way.” Her eyes are pretty, but they look past Aigis the machine. /Interesting to note that no one knows what I truly am/.

Ms. Toriumi is one of the younger teachers. She looks to be in her late twenties, but her eyes show that she has seen far too much far too soon. She holds a clipboard in her hand, checking off names like they were grocery items.

“So, what do you plan to do after you graduate?” The teacher finally asks.

Aigis looks away. /You have no idea what will happen/.


“Oh, excuse me. It’s not easy for me to decide since I am new here.” /New at being a human and remaining one until after the Fall, after everyone--Stop/. “I will be with Octavia.”

Ms. Toriumi raises her eyebrows. “Is that so? Are you two friends?”

“Yes. We wer--are quite close. We live in the dorm together. We use--I--I promised that I would always be with her.”

“Wow! That’s quite a commitment for one so young. So, it’s college then, right? A lot of students are choosing that route and I really can’t say I blame them, but there’s nothing wrong with going down other paths. Still, if you’re following Octavia’s example, then it looks like you’re headed in the right direction.”

/If I were following Octavia’s path, then I would have held onto my original choice instead of listening to her and everyone around her. I am a machine. I’m not supposed to care about ‘life’ or this college--/.

“Aigis?” Ms. Toriumi frowned. “Are you okay? Do you need to see the school nurse?”

“No, thank you.”

“If you say so. Anyway, I hope you’re proud of the young woman you’ve become. That’s all for now. I hope you have a successful senior year.” The teacher/guidance counselor looks down at her clipboard. “You’re the last one.”

Aigis leaves. /You say those words to everyone. I can sense it. I’m sure that all my friends are proud of who they have become/.

On the rooftop, Gekkokan High School looks like a glimmer of pure white gold under the afternoon sun. The city surrounding it looks little different. Aigis once believed that beauty had no useful function and that it was irrelevant in terms of what worked and what didn’t. Now, she is hypnotized by the glittery water, the perfect architecture of life and the distant dorm. She is alone. Octavia and Yukari have gone to parts unknown to Aigis. Junpei skipped his counseling in favor of more ramen noodles. Mitsuru and Akihiko have their own graduations to look forward to. There is no cooking club for Fuuka to attend, so she is also living her own life outside of what was. Koromaru is no doubt at the shrine, and Ken will never have to worry about counseling.

Ryoji is in her memories. She remembers his power when his memory returned on the Moonlight Bridge that cool December night.

“You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I’m different than before. There’s no way you can win!”

Those were his words, but unlike Octavia, Aigis didn’t yield to his voice. His apology did not impress her. She almost “died” that night.

/Died. No. That is incorrect. My chassis was damaged, but died is not the word. I cannot die. I merely lost consciousness/.

Fear. Aigis recalls knowing that word while it wrapped around her internal circuits. Embarrassed. Confused. Old words; new feelings. No such feelings entered her ten years ago, but now she knows that these words exist inside her as more than just constructs.

“I...really . . . have changed . . . ”

Clouds pass over the sun, creating moving shadows on the high school rooftop. Changed.

/It’s too late to change now/.

She wants someone to explain everything to her. How did Ryoji convince Octavia to kill him? How did he charm her? How did he win her heart? Aigis begins to think that maybe she killed him so they could be together in death or some such irrational nonsense. Aigis holds the bars in her hands. She senses that they are cold. There is no one left to explain anything to her. The Kirijo lab can only give her major repairs, nothing else. Everyone else is either dead or will be dead with no memories of her.

“I would have fought with you to the end, Octavia,” Aigis says out loud to nobody. “Once you were a means to monitor “Death,” but as I learned about you, I found that I wanted to learn the meaning of life through you. I could have learned the meaning of life with you. I am trying now, but . . . ” Aigis says nothing more and leaves the rooftop.

In the evening, Aigis sits on the couch watching the news. Everything is fine, the TV insists and those who pass by agree. Yukari is in her room with her own television. Junpei is in his room doing who knows what. Not thinking of Ryoji, Aigis knows that much. Mitsuru is out dealing with responsibilities far beyond most people her age. Akihiko is training. Aigis can easily imagine him punching the bag until it’s about to burst. A shadow of a month ago, Akihiko was fighting for his life, more than willing to let Ryoji live in order to face Nyx herself. Now? He fights for his own glory and for Shinji’s memory. Aigis is relieved to know that he remembers the death of one of his closest friends, but she is aware that Akihiko only remembers Shinji being the victim of a random crime rather than a heroic sacrifice to save Ken.

She looks at the kitchen. Ken is not here and hasn’t been since that fateful day. He is not coming back. From what Aigis has observed, Ken remembers that his mother died in an accident, nothing more, nothing less. Shinji never existed to the boy.

/Perhaps it is for the best given what has happened/.

Octavia enters the dorm, breezing past the lounge and flies up the stairs. Aigis senses that the former leader goes into Yukari’s room. She can hear them laughing. The news becomes a cooking show and Aigis watches with some interest. The topic involves tuna fish, rice and one hundred and one ways to make sushi. Aigis thinks about learning to cook. Maybe she can manage to be friends with her former allies and create new memories the way Shinji once created his own version of ramen noodles.

Maybe they can fight again somewhere, sometime. Maybe they’ll regain their memories even if it’s too late. Aigis turns off the television and goes back to her room.

January 31, 2010

Today is an important day. No one mentions it and even Aigis can’t explain it, but she senses something special about the last Sunday of the first month. She wonders what would have happened if Octavia made a different choice. Featherman R is playing in the lounge television, but no one is there to watch it.

/Perhaps the others find this day special too/. Aigis decides to go out.

The day is much brighter than normal. At least Aigis sees it that way. No clouds, tranquil wind, and nothing but people strolling around. The atmosphere just screams “everything is going to be okay!” For a second, Aigis believes that, but she knows what lies between the lines. She tries her best to forget.

Junpei is at a nearby store buying ramen, sodas, and whatever snack foods that easily fit in a paper bag. He’s smiling like it’s his birthday and maybe he’ll be partying that way. According to Aigis, most days are party days for Junpei. Everything is a joke to him. SEES helped him grow. Chidori taught him about love, sacrifice, and maturity that tempered the child within. Now? It’s like someone took a spool and unraveled it, shattered it the same way memories shattered and disappeared into the shadows. Aigis walks away, not knowing if he notices her or not.

Yukari and Octavia are together again. They are holding hands. Aigis blends in with people going to and from everywhere.

“Do you want to go to the mall?” Yukari asks.

“I’d love to. I need to do some shopping anyway and then get some of the Pheromone coffee at the Chagall Cafe.”

“I plan on buying some jewelry!”

/Interesting how they remember that/. Aigis gives sidelong glances to the smiling pair. She goes to the mall, but makes sure to stay far behind them.

The Paulownia Mall is a circular series of stores with fountains on either side of the entrance and one right in the middle. Aigis looks from her left to right. Club, Cafe, Jewelry Store, Police Station, an alley that leads to a dead-end of decorative plants, Karaoke, Antique Store, Pharmacy, Music Store, and Arcade. People are around, but Sundays are for other place, not malls. Aigis follows the girls to the jewelry store.

Blue. Aigis sees lots of blue and sparkles everywhere. More beauty, more ways to spend money. Yukari eyes some bracelets on display.

“These are pretty,” she tells Octavia, who is hypnotized by the silver.

Just about everything in the store is pretty to those girls. Aigis doesn’t really blame them since most of the items are very well made. She stays on the opposite side of the store where they have books on “healing your spirit”, but she can still see them from the corner of her eye. Yukari looks at earrings while Octavia looks at “Juicy” pins.

“I love these!” Octavia holds up rhinestone lined chokers.

“Oh, me too! I need a new one anyway. Why don’t we get matching ones?”

“That’s a great idea! I’ll buy yours and you can buy mine.” Octavia looks adorable when she tilts her head to the side. “How does that sound?”


Aigis doesn’t stick around to see what else her friends buy. Instead, she heads for the Antique Store and finds Mitsuru glancing at the “Closed” sign. Aigis quickly learns that the Store is closed from late January to early June.

“How does the owner stay in business?” Mitsuru asks no one in particular. “Maybe she sells online too.”

Aigis wants to say hi, to ask if Mitsuru remembers her, but Akihiko shows up with an invitation to go somewhere else and the Student Council President does not refuse. Yukari and Octavia walk to the Pharmacy noticing no one but their own talking.

“Excuse me, can I trouble you for a moment?”

Aigis turns to find an old lady who looks like a mixture of sweetness and sorrow. “What can I do for you?”

“Have you seen a white kitty with black spots? Her name is Mewlie. She’s been missing since this morning, and I can’t seem to find her. She’s almost as old as I am, so she can’t have gotten far, but I’m worried.”

“White...spotted cat?” Aigis has no idea what this old woman is talking about. Octavia walks past her. “Octavia, have you--” The SEES leader waves before quickly heading towards the Cafe. Aigis falls silent. /No, of course not/.

“Are you all right, dear?”

/This is the second time I have been asked that question. For now, maybe/. “Yes. I don’t recall seeing your cat, but I will help you look for her.” /It is the least I can do/.

“Thank you for your help. I’ll try looking elsewhere.”

Ken is playing with the crane game at the arcade. No cat there, but it doesn’t stop Aigis from trying to look. /Perhaps the cat is in the game/. Aigis pauses. /How silly/. Is isn’t like her, but she decides that it’s better than the alternative. /I’ll do my best. I may as well. Even now, what goes around comes around to smack you in the head/. Something like that. Aigis doesn’t know the real quote. She hurries out of the mall.

Port Island Station is full of people going to the movies, eating at cafes, looking at the flower shop, or waiting for the train. Aigis sees Junpei again, but he doesn’t even glance at her while he waits in line to see some film about robots who change shapes. Aigis smiles before hearing a cat some distance away from her.

She finds Mewlie in the corner of the back ally. There is a bar full of smoke and a casino full of drunks. Aigis does not acknowledge these places. She is focused solely on the cat.

“So, you are Mewlie.” Aigis feels like a light is shining within her. “I found you.” She picks her up and finds the old lady on a bench near the outdoor café.

“There you are!” The older woman beams. “I can’t thank you enough for finding her. Mewlie is all I have left to keep me company. I felt lonely without her.”

“Lonely?” Aigis inquires, realizing that it’s yet another term that isn’t just a word. “Is being by oneself...lonely?”

“Oh yes, dear. Living alone is a dreadful thing. At least for me it is. I can’t speak for others.”

“Miss...” Aigis has no idea what else to say. /I am a machine. Lonely? Is that what I am now/? She doesn’t live alone, so lonely shouldn’t apply to her. Aigis can still see Junpei in the line that is increasing in length.

“Do you miss your basket and blankie?”

“Hmm?” Aigis is about to say that she has little need for such things, but the old woman is talking to her cat.

“Want to go home now?” She looks up. “Thank you so much.”

Aigis can’t even nod. Instead, she just stands beside the café, her eyes fixed on the theater. People move around her, treating her like some sort of pillar or garbage can. They’re not even annoyed. Aigis learns that most of these people have someone with them or they’re going somewhere to stimulate their minds one way or another. Either way, crowds are everywhere on this fine Sunday.

/It seems that living is something that can’t be done alone/.

Not that it matters now. In a short time, no one will have to worry about being lonely.

February 11, 2010

National Foundation Day. Aigis learns that this is a major holiday in Japan. One that involves parades. Junpei spends all morning talking about what he plans to do, and it doesn’t take a mind reader to figure out that “party” will be involved. Aigis hides under the shelves in the kitchen. She pretends to look for pots, pans, or anything that prevents her from being noticed.

“Stupei! All people do for this holiday is raise flags and reflect on their citizenship.” Yukari sounds exasperated, but she often does with Junpei.

“There used to be huge celebrations and parades over this day,” Octavia chimes in. “Kigensetsu was the original name because those who established the holiday believed that the Emperor served a unifying purpose. It’s all based around the First Emperor.”

Aigis feels something flutter within her. She stays quiet, keeping her eyes on some sort of pastry maker.

“First Emperor?” Junpei sounds like someone from another planet. “Who’s that?”

“Emperor Jimmu!” Octavia is patiently enthusiastic. “He founded Japan many, many years ago.”

“In a galaxy far, far away. Whatever.”

“Figures you’d say something like that.” Yukari sighs.

Aigis slowly moves up and peeks. Junpei is on the couch eating a bag of shrimp flavored chips. Yukari and Octavia are next to him. They can’t see her, but Aigis doesn’t take any chances.

“I don’t think it matters much now,” Octavia continues, watching the television. “Kigensetsu was abolished after World War II anyway. They don’t even reference any Emperor anymore.” She shrugs.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Junpei pauses to munch, munch and munch some more. “National Foundation Day is just another holiday to me.”

“Figures.” Yukari rolls her eyes.

“I don’t think I’m any better.” Octavia grabs some chips out of Junpei’s bag. “The only reflecting I plan on doing will be in front of a mirror.”

“So, you’re going out tonight?” Yukari smiles. “Can I come?”

“Of course!” Octavia is more than smiling. She looks like she’s glowing.

“Where are you gals going?” Junpei asks.

“Somewhere boys like you aren’t welcome.” Yukari looks at Octavia, who nods before adding more input.

“Seriously though, it’s just to that awesome Cafe at Port Island Station. I don’t remember being there, so I want to go.”

“I’ll pass.” Junpei stands up and stretches. “I’m going to Beef Bowl. See you later.” He leaves the dorm.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Beef Bow,” Octavia comments, grabbing what’s left of Junpei’s chips and chomping on them. The new choker looks dazzling around her neck.

“How does tomorrow after school sound?” Yukari stretches, the matching collar also fitting her quite nicely.


Aigis doesn’t know how she manages to sneak back to her room, but she does. She can hear her classmates in their respective rooms. Yukari is talking on the phone, Mitsuru is chatting with Akihiko about dinner plans, and Octavia is watching television. Aigis knows that Octavia’s room has three windows. /I can get to them. I can look inside. Stop/. Instead, Aigis reflects on her “citizenship.”

/I don’t have one. I am a machine. No. I am part of the group. Octavia said so on New Year’s Eve/.

Aigis leans back against her chair. She feels tempted to join Octavia and Yukari. She wonders what they will be doing other than eating, drinking, and being merry. Aigis picks up a school book. She decides to study Japanese history instead.

February 14th, 2010

Valentine’s Day. Aigis is hiding under the window at the sign up desk. She has a physics book in her hand, but she is listening along with reading.

“Happiness is a nice cup of cocoa, a warm blanket, and a box of honmei-choco.” It’s Octavia’s voice coming from the common room chair.

“Did you just say honmei-choco?” Junpei asks from the nearby couch. “Someone must really like you.”

“You mean, you actually know what honmei-choco is?” Octavia sounds as if Junpei suddenly spouted higher math equations.

“Sure do! Let’s see. Giri-Choco is something the girls give to guy bosses, friends, and co-workers. It's Cheap stuff that you can get from any store.”

“Did you get any of that?”

“Nope. I just got some stuff for myself. Western Candies with messages like 'luv you' and crap like that, some bean paste, and jinbun-choco.”

“You would, Junpei.”

/Jinbun-choco is a recent tradition for Valentine’s Day, and it’s a gift for yourself/. Aigis wants to add. She remembers the reds, the white, and the pinks flying all over the place in various stores. Cute figures, little gifts, chocolate boxes of various shapes and sizes on display with costs ranging from dirt cheap to insanely expensive. Aigis recalls Ms. Toriumi having a stack of boxes on her desk.

/The giri choco looked cheap, just basic crimson boxes that held maybe five chocolates on a good day. From what Aigis learned from her excursions around Port City, her teacher clearly got them from the stores where everything was under 500 yen.

“Those are for my male “colleagues”, Ms. Toriumi said, rolling her eyes. The students laughed. “The giri choco only cost maybe 250 yen a box, if that.” Ms. Toriumi shrugged, but kept a smile on her face. “I don’t expect much in return.”

“What are those pretty pink ones with the white ribbons?” Yukari asked. “Are those honmei?”

“Oh, no!” The teacher laughed. “These tomo-chocos are for friends of mine, and they’re not as costly as the honmei, but they’re better than the giris. Anyway, I’m sure you’re all familiar with Valentine’s Day, right? Have you bought your chocolates yet? Did you know that Japan is the only country in the world where women give gifts to men, and...”

Aigis didn’t doze off. Instead, she looked at the students whispering to each other about what they plan on getting and doing during the day of “romance”. Octavia mentioned making her own but never said for who/.

Aigis shakes her head. She doesn’t get any chocolates. Junpei continues to pry.

“So, who are the homemade chocolate truffles for? I heard something like that is worth the most expensive sweets.”

/Honmei chocolate is among the most expensive sorts and it comes from those in romantic partnerships or from someone who desires such an arrangement/. Aigis remains silent. /Homemade? I remember how you used to make the most wonderful of sweets, Octavia. Sugar cookies, banana cupcakes. You used to feed Koromaru those cupcakes. Your chocolate truffles are truly...magnificent. Even as machine, I know wonderful food when I analyze it/.

“Eh, it depends on you who ask.” Octavia sounds like she’s being dismissive of her abilities, but Aigis knows otherwise. Featherman R is on TV Aigis can hear him yelling about his gifts. Even Featherman R gets something for Valentine’s Day.

“So, who gave you the honmei? Come on, Octavia, tell me!”

“The person who got my truffles, that’s who.”

“AW! Is that all you have to say!?” Junpei exclaims before falling silent for a moment. “Wait a minute. You exchanged gifts on the same day? Your man isn’t supposed to give you anything in return until next month. Trying to start a new tradition or something?”

Aigis feels electricity course through her. /This is true. Who got your gift? Who gave you yours/? Temptation, another word that is more than a concept, races inside of her. /Get up, ask, but no. Don’t. Logic. I am a machine. If Octavia will not tell Junpei, then I would not be told either/. Aigis pushes herself against the wall. /If only she didn’t...if only she could remember. She’d tell me then. If...stop/.

“I don’t think so. I just thought it sounded right to exchange now.”

“Whatever,” Junpei says while getting up. “I’m going to my room to watch Bikini Girls with Heavy Artillery.”

“Wait. Before I forget.” A whoosh of a box lands in Junpei’s hands. “Here’s some tomo-choco.”

“Tomo-choco? That’s for girls, and you’re not supposed to say what kind of chocolates they are! Geez! Thanks though!” Junpei’s footsteps clomp on the stairs. “Hi, Yukari!”

Yukari’s footsteps are softer, but every bit as swift. “Hi, Octavia! Those chocolate truffles are amazing!”

“Thanks a bunch! I loved your--”

Aigis’ eyes widen. She doesn’t stick around to hear anything more. If the girls hear her, Aigis doesn’t know and honestly doesn’t care.

February 28th. 2010

Aigis finds Mewlie’s owner in the Paulownia Mall. The old lady walks around the fountain, tossing in a coin before her face lights up with recognition.

“OH! You’re that nice student from before! Hello. I was just thinking about seeing you again.”

“Hello there. How is Mewlie?”

The old lady nods. “Such impeccable timing too. If you want the truth, Mewlie has disappeared again.”

“She has? Again?” Aigis thinks of Port Island Station. “I’ll look for her, if you wish. I have an idea of where she has gone.”

“No, that’s alright.” The elderly woman is smiling, but it looks like a sad one. “I believe that Mewlie went in search of something.”

“What could she be looking for?”

“For a place to die.”

Aigis gapes, not quite comprehending what she is saying. “Mewlie died?”

“Yes. When cats perceive that their life is nearly over... they leave on their own to wait for the end. Mewlie even came to say goodbye to me before she left. And so...I don't think I'll need you to find her anymore. I just wanted to thank you for letting us see each other one last time before the end.”

Aigis doesn’t know what to say. She just stands there thinking of her first meeting with the older woman. /Living alone is a dreadful thing...I remember you saying that, but you’re here/.

“Is something wrong?”

“Ummm...” Aigis is searching, searching for words. /Just a moment. Just a moment/. “You’re...” /I am honestly getting tired of people asking if I am all right. I’m ne--stop. Think. Try/. “You won’t..."/be alone. Unacceptable/. "You’re not alone. I’m certain of it!”

The woman is taken aback, at first, but she smiles and it’s not laced with grief. “Well, of course, I’m not truly alone. As long as there are people left in the world, no one can ever be alone. As long as people like you are around, I’ll be perfectly fine.”

/For now. For a little while longer/. “Miss...”

“Bless you, dear girl!” She pats Aigis’s shoulder. “Bless you for your kindness to an old lady.” She slowly, but surely walks away. “Toodle-o!”

The fountain continues to throw water around in decorative patterns. Aigis sits on a bench. /Mewlie knew somehow...this world will end shortly, won’t it? Life, the meaning of it, my wanting to live, to have connections with others, with Octavia. It doesn’t matter now/. She hears Ryoji-Kun’s voice.

“You won’t live to see Spring.”

/Octavia, you traded all of life for a few months of peace. Life is cruel. Is that why you made your choice? I can’t piece together anything/.

Girls’ loafers pounding on tile shake Aigis from her thoughts. Yukari and Octavia run towards Club Escapade. Junpei is behind them, but Aigis concludes that it’s mere coincidence rather him actually going with them. Akihiko walks past the fountain, not even noticing Aigis. He goes to Chagall.

Mitsuru exits the music store with a bag full of CDs and vinyl records. Aigis can see “Classical Fusion, Mozart, and Beethoven’s Greatest Hits” through the plastic. When Mitsuru walks, she walks like she owns the world with her head held high, her eyes never moving from the destination, her red hair perfectly waving at the air. Her black boots command the marble floor to sing, and they do. They even go so far as to echo.

/Mitsuru would have chosen to fight/. Aigis goes back to the dorm.

She is in her room when she hears the sounds behind the wall to her right. No one would be able to hear them, but Aigis is a machine and can adjust her hearing to pick up sounds that humans would have difficulty noticing. She hears female gasps, lips against lips, the bed creaking, skin trading skin. Sometimes “Ssshhh...” comes from the room, followed by more kisses and light, muffled giggles.

/How did this happen? I’ve never seen any sign that they would be like this/.

Octavia’s room has three windows. Aigis knows that she is capable of climbing the walls unnoticed. She could see into the room. Octavia keeps the windows open fairly often and Aigis is aware of what her vision is capable of. It isn’t X-ray, but it’s enough to see well in the dark and it surpasses most humans. She can record the biological information from others just by looking at them. She can even zoom in.

/No. Stop/.

Aigis is made of a sleek form of metal, a combination of hard and soft, plastics and programming. She cannot feel the way humans can, but she feels in her own right. She’s known it ever since she met Octavia in Yakushima. She can make Octavia feel the way Yukari is making her feel now, and Aigis’ pleasure would come from Octavia’s. Of course, it would be different, but Octavia’s heart would beat just as fast, if not faster.


The gasps become “Oh! Oh Ohhhh....” and muffled cries followed by lips locking and the creaks losing rhythm. She remembers the summer before going to school, trying on clothes and finding that Yukari’s fit the best. She remembers how Octavia commented about how funny it was for pink to look great on a robot. Aigis adjusts her hearing, wanting only silence before shutting down for the night.

March 3, 2010

Aigis walks to school, noting that there are more dead animals than usual. Koromaru is still at the shrine in front of the offer box, alive and well, but he looks around like he senses that something is amiss or will be soon enough. Living animals also scurry away from people, hiding behind trees, digging lots of holes, and it seems to Aigis that they’re finding places the same way Mewlie did. Humans, of course, are doing no such thing. Teenagers are going to school, skipping to the Mall or to Port Island station. Adults are going to work, the store, staying home, or running whatever errands they need to.

She notes that the day is a bit colder than usual, but it doesn’t quite bother her as much as it does Junpei. When she hears him behind her complaining about being cold, she hides behind a tree. Yukari and Octavia are with him.

“Just one more year!” Junpei announces. “Ya think anything interesting will happen?”

Octavia shrugs. “Probably not.”

Aigis lowers her head. If she had a heart made of flesh, she would have felt chest pains. The pain she feels is behind her throat. /They look well together/.

Junpei stops, looks around and continues to wonder about being a senior. Yukari and Octavia stop with him.

“Is that going to be us next year?” Junpei frowns. “Why do I feel like I’m forgetting something?”

/Because you ARE forgetting something. Something very important. The past year of you life, Ryoji-kun, your resolve to fight, Octavia’s choice. Now you don’t even remember your own fate/. Aigis takes a step and Junpei notices her.

“Hey,” Junpei grins, “is that girl looking at us?” He straightens his jacket in that “you know you want me” sort of way. “Dude, she’s pretty cute. How come I never noticed her before?”

Yukari steps forward. “What are you talking about? She lives in the same dorm as us.”

“Seriously?” He blinks as if he has never seen her in his life. “Uh...what’s her name then?”

/I am Aigis, but you would only be confused if I told you. You would only view me as yet another girl to want. You would not be pleased to find that I am a machine. You won’t remember who I really am/.

“I dunno.” Yukari shrugs. Octavia does the same.

“Well, then, why are you giving me a hard time?” Junpei asks in a defensive tone of voice before throwing up his hands. “Anyway, it’s always crazy in the dorms this time of year--”

/Strange. I never noticed such a thing/.

“Oh, did you hear? Akihiko’s moving out.”

/No, I did not/.

“Yanno, the captain of the boxing team?”

/I know/. So does Yukari.

“I know who he is,” she replies, “but I never really talked to him. All the graduates are leaving, even Kirijo-Senpai.”

/Where, I wonder/? Aigis briefly turns away. /Would it be safe from the Fall/?

“Ms. Student Council President...” Junpei trails off before standing like someone shoved a rod up his ass. “She’s in our dorm too, huh?”

His dismissive tone bothers Aigis. /Mitsuru-Senpai is much more than a Student Council President. Calling her Ms. is condescending, mocking and disrespectful. She should have remained the leader. I cannot believe I thought that/. Aigis thinks of Mitsuru in Tartarus, commanding her Persona, giving orders when Octavia couldn’t, wielding her epee with the grace and skill of a professional. The more Aigis reflects, the more she realizes that Mitsuru was the true leader of SEES. /So, why then, did she not take command when it mattered most/? Aigis gasps. /She trusted Octavia. I understand. I too trusted Octavia, and in return, she trusted Ryoji. Now all I can trust is death/.

Yukari’s voice kicks Aigis back into the present. “What's up with that girl? Hey, there! Are you looking at us? Is something wrong?” Octavia asks the same questions, only she does so with her eyes and a slight parting of lips.

Aigis shakes a bit, but internally. “Um...” /I remember everything. Everything we’ve done together/. “It’s nothing.” Aigis quickly walks into the school, past the shoe lockers, and to class. She notes students standing near a window pointing at a moon that is still a silvery white celestial body in the light blue sky. However, it’s larger than normal, and it is moving. The students don’t notice any motion, but Aigis does. /The Fall is coming/. She stares down at her physics book, saying nothing. Who’s going to believe her anyway?

March 5, 2010

Graduation Day. The students who didn’t skip are in the auditorium. Aigis decides against going to the rooftop, but hides in the shadows near the exit. She sees Octavia, Junpei, and Yukari sitting together in the middle. She sees Akihiko in the front row as one of the few seniors who graduated with high honors. Mitsuru is on stage as “the Valedictorian”, a teacher announces.

Mitsuru doesn’t look as commanding as usual, but she is still cool and business like as she address the students. Aigis is only half-listening. Junpei stares off into space along with half of the students in the auditorium. Yukari and Octavia appear to be listening, but Aigis isn’t sure. In the SEES days, EVERYONE listened to Mitsuru. Now? She’s just another authoritative voice many students only seem to respect and ultimately ignore.

“I spoke to you about seizing the opportunity while you had the chance...fate that intervened...my father unexpectedly passed away due to illness.”

Aigis tenses, her wiring curling around inside her like snakes ready to strike. /No. He. Did. Not. Die. Of. Illness. He. Was. Shot. Shot by Shuji Ikutski, one of the scientists who embraced the Fall to become a “Prince.” He must be laughing now. He must love this. Your father shot him, Mitsuru! You father died a hero’s death. All of you helped me resist my programming. Koromaru saved me. Your father helped save us all. What is he thinking now/? She shakes, hoping that no one notices. Mitsuru continues.

“There are times when we cannot stand without the support of others...After my father’s death, I received kind words from many people...You all taught me the value of allowing yourself to be cared for and protected...Thank you so much...for those wonderful years.”

Mitsuru looks down and to the side as everyone claps. When she leaves the stage, she has her head down. Aigis adjusts her hearing and directs it to the three close friends.

“She seems kind of bummed, doesn’t she?” Junpei asks.

/Bummed/? Aigis does not know what the word means, but she is capable to taking a few guesses.

“I guess even presidents cry,” Junpei adds.

“She’s only human,” Octavia replies with an admonishing tone of voice.

/Only human...only human. I am only a machine. A machine meant--/.

Junpei looks around. “Hey, where’s that girl?”

“What are you talking about?” Yukari follows Junpei’s gaze. Neither one of them see Aigis.

“You know, the girl we saw the other day.” Junpei leans back in the seat. “I assumed she’d be here.”

Yukari nods curtly. “Oh, her. There’s a lot of people who aren’t here. I’m surprised YOU didn’t skip.”

Aigis looks at the doors. /I should not have come, but I said I would be by your side. I promised that I would watch you, so here I am/.

“Hey, I thought about it!” Junpei says before laughing. “Anyway, next year, it’ll be our turn. What have you got planned Yuka-Tan? College?”

“I haven’t really decided yet.” Yukari looks at Octavia. “What about you?”

“No clue.” She shrugs like it’s no big thing since the next school year is around the corner. "I remember saying to Ms. Toriumi that I planned on going to college, but I was just telling her what she wanted to hear."

Both girls giggle. Yukari nods. “That’s what I thought.”

/Yes, it is. You know her quite well/. Aigis watches the other students leave. Some stay behind, doing the same things her former allies are doing. Talking, laughing, planning for something whether it’s for their future or not.

“But, that stuff she said about seizing opportunities?” Yukari continues. She sounds like a combination for cheerful, annoyed, and disgusted. “Give me a break!” Octavia nods, prompting the other girl to continue. “We’re only in high school. I mean, yea, it’s important, but can’t it wait a few years?”

/A few years? If only you had that. The moon outside is sending signals. I don’t think you have even a few days, much less a few years. None of you notice the moon? Maybe you have a few days. I can still watch you. I can still be by your side even if you no longer know who I am/. Yukari’s voice fades back into Aigis’ hearing.

“...there’s no real hurry to decide what we wanna do with our lives, right? I mean, high school’s hard enough as it is.”

Junpei nods. “Yea, I can agree with that.”

“Same here.” Octavia adds. “I tend to believe in worrying about things later, if I do at all. That way, you stick to what’s important in the now. In fact, I go so far as to believe that you should live every day as if it’ll be your last.”

“Whoa!” Junpei’s eyes widen. “I can get behind that!”

“Here’s what I think,” Yukari interjects, talking with her hands as if she were in front of a classroom. “Sometimes you’re better off not knowing. As they say, “ignorance is bliss”. Besides, you can’t always be thinking about the future. In the end, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re happy. You’ve got to live in the moment. Carpe Diem, right?”

/Carpe Diem.../ Aigis narrows her eyes. /Latin for “Seize the Day”. No wonder you and Octavia are together in this way. Perhaps that’s what Octavia did when she made her choice on that fateful day. Only, she seized the night. Carpe Nox? Carpe Noctis? Carpe Ryoji/? Junpei’s voice reaches Aigis.

“Thinking about stuff like that just gives me a headache. So, I try to avoid it as much as possible.”

“Now, that’s the Junpei we all know and love!” Yukari raises her arm, her first in the air as if she is cheering. Octavia giggles.

“Everyone's so uptight these days,” Junpei continues, oblivious to the lighthearted jeering his friends display. “They just need to chill out... You know, take it easy for a change.”

Yukari asks, “what're you gonna do if that plan backfires?”

Junpei shrugs like it’s nothing. “Well, that'll be that. But for now, let the good times roll! Karaoke, anyone? Let's celebrate our future!”

/Your future/? Aigis closes her eyes. /You barely have one/. She hears Octavia sounding like a middle school girl who wants to partner with her crush.

“I’ll go if she goes!”

Aigis knows that the one she swore to protect is hanging on to Yukari, holding her hand, smiling as if she had just gotten married. Octavia's guardian has no interest in seeing it. /I could have...I should have.../. Aigis opens her eyes. /I didn’t/.

Junpei stretches like some who just woke up from a nap. “It's decided then? Cool.”

The three friends leave the auditorium. Aigis doesn’t immediately follow. Instead, she looks around at all the students who ignore the moon that shouldn’t be full this early in March. It’s chalked up as a “phenomenon”, simply odd, or just something that happens as part of the many things in the universe that cannot currently be explained. Aigis knows better.

She finds Mitsuru and Akihiko walking together, not saying anything, but given their relationship, they don’t need to say anything more than is necessary. The sun speaks for them as its rays given them a glimmer Aigis knows they will have up until the end of their lives. Other students talk about college, parties, nights on the town. Things that will soon no longer have any meaning. Maybe this is for the best, Aigis figures. If death awaits, then wouldn’t it be better to die peacefully than live in terror, chaos, and a desperation based on knowing that everyone will die anyway?

/But, it’s only like this because-/. Aigis brushes past a couple of students. The Senpai don’t see her since their backs are turned, but Aigis can hear their footsteps on the concrete path. /It should not have been this way. This peace is false. This should not have happened. Why must it end like this/?

The karaoke place known as “Mandragora” is in the Paulownia mall and is within walking distance. Aigis finds her closest friends within minutes, but she hides in the shadows of everything around her. Every student is smiling today. They point and laugh at the moon as if it’s from a romantic comedy rather than something far more ominous. Aigis doesn’t blame them. People would be curious about something like this if that’s all they can be. In the mall, the moon does not exist. People mill around like everything fine because everything IS fine. At least for now. No one thinks of things like their own deaths. Just shopping, food, coffee, tea, and Yukari singing something about believing “in me”.

Her pink coat hangs on a nearby chair. Aigis has never seen Yukari in green before and has to admit that she looks nice. Then again, Aigis doesn’t remember Yukari not looking nice. Just like Octavia, only in a lighter shade of pink. Junpei and Octavia have not removed their school coats, but they are every bit as relaxed as Yukari as they listen to her belt out pop song after rock song after ballad.

/They’re so happy/.

Junpei is on the phone talking to one of his many friends. Octavia drinks a soda called “Nastea” while she remains fixated on Yukari. Other groups are singing in various booths. Everyone parties like it’s the new millennium all over again or close to it. 1999. The year Aigis fought “Death” and got nowhere except to seal him inside Octavia. Where did that get her now? Octavia was allowed a choice for everyone in the entire world.

People walk around Aigis, wondering what is wrong, but she ignores them in favor of her friends, her allies, of those who fought alongside her against the shadows. They smile, tap their feet, sway back and forth to what Aigis hears as an empty dance tune in a slightly off-key but enthusiastic voice.

Then, screams from the outside wander in before being cut off by what will soon be death. Aigis gasps.

/No, it’s happening now! NO! I did not--/!

Some people inside the Karaoke bar look out the door, while Aigis rushes to her dearest friends, but it’s too late. Junpei is already dead. Or he might as well be. His mouth hangs open, his cell phone falls from slack fingers. It clatters on the floor, alerting Yukari and Octavia. He leans against the wall, his eyes wide shut, uncaring, unseeing. He is breathing, but not for long. His blue hat manages to stay on.

Yukari stands and wants to scream, but instead drops the microphone, she sees Aigis, but her eyes glaze over as she falls face first to the floor. Octavia, dear Octavia, is the last to crumble. She jumps up from her seat, her eyes as wide as her mouth, shaking her head clearly telling herself that THIS ISN’T HAPPENING. It’s happening anyway. She SEES AIGIS and her eyes tell a story, a story with an ending that says, “Oh no, I remember everything now.” Regret comes far too late.

“Ai--Aigis?” Octavia manages. She holds out her hands, her cup crashing on the floor as she silently cries for help. “Aigis!” She takes a step. “Ai---gis...” Octavia trips, stumbles, and falls on top of Yukari.

Aigis stands motionless around the Lost. She simply looks ahead of her, at what those she swore to protect have become. Denial is a human emotion, but it’s in her anyway. Yet another word that is not just a word. /Octavia.../. The music plays on with no way of knowing of what has just happened. Soda glides down the floor, pooling around those the liquid touches. Some of it manages to reach Aigis, and it looks like blood to her.

/The music will stop eventually. There is no one to maintain the tapes, the sound system, the lights. No one but me/.

How does one describe this? Aigis wonders. Silence does not work because there will always be sound somewhere, some of the time, but she will be the only one able to hear it. Bodies are everywhere on the ground, in chairs, slumped over computers, tables, bar stools, whatever stops someone from falling. That is, if they don’t manage to remain standing.

Eventually, Aigis manages to move. She takes off her school uniform because it no longer matters if she is a robot or a human girl. She walks around the bar, turning off the music because there is no longer a point in listening to “J-rock” or “Western dance music”. She takes Octavia’s red cell phone, noting that Yukari’s number is on top.

/If left uncharged, the battery will run out eventually/. Aigis keeps the phone close to her, and decides to leave the mall. She remembers her promise, but knows that no one is going anywhere.

Not ever. Not ever again.

After the Fall, 2010

The moon recedes from the sky. Nyx gets what she wants. Death gets what he wants. The sun shines on without knowing the fate of the Earth. Aigis finds Mitsuru and Akihiko near the school gates. They look like lovers in their embrace and even look peaceful. Unlike a lot of others, their eyes are shut.

Aigis thinks that maybe they saw it coming, but maybe is the best she can go with. If they suddenly remembered, they wouldn’t look like they’re sleeping. Aigis knows that much. She finds Ken on a park bench in Port Island Station with his school book at his feet. He looks up at the sky and does not move.

The members of Strega aren’t far away, but even in death, they cause chaos since their bodies are on the flower shop shelves, sending roses and various plants sprawling all over the area. Not that the shop keeper cares as she remains standing like a blank pillar. Fuuka is in the shop surrounded by plants that will die if they’re not properly cared for.

Aigis thinks of the trains and wonders how long it will be before one crashes since no one is there to stop it. She thinks of the cars that litter the roads, the side walks, the glass, and other bodies. The movies currently playing will run out of tape unless someone switches the reels. Aigis decides that she will figure out how to if she’s ever inclined to watch a film.

Aigis finds Koromaru at the Shrine. He is on his side, his tongue slightly jutting out of his mouth. His red eyes remain on the grave of his former master. Aigis reaches out to touch his fur and finds that he’s still warm. For the first time in her existence, she feels tears fall down her face.

/This is not how it should be/.

Humans aren’t supposed to die like this. They’re supposed to go out with a bang, an explosion, wars, pestilence and loud screaming deaths. They’re not supposed to go out with a whimper, with moans, or ineffectual whispers. They’re not supposed to go out quietly into the daylight. Not for the end of the world. Not like this.

/My mission was to protect humans. Once again, I have failed/. Aigis looks at Koromaru for the last time before going back to the dorm.

December 31st, 2010

New Years Eve again. Aigis is alone, walking around the city, around flesh that’s long since become bone and in some cases, dust in the wind. In many places, the full moon is the only light since Aigis could only do so much alone. She manages to keep certain laptops, desktop computers, and cell phones charged. She keeps as much technology alive as possible because they can’t ever be Lost. Not like humans. She visits the Lab every once in a while, trying not to look at the remnants those who gave excellent care to her. She learns about Time Travel, building other robots, and more tech. She even learns about cloning. Anything to keep her busy, learning, and not losing hope.

Aigis sometimes imagines herself surrounded by wreckage, her body rusting, her eyes staring at nothing for what feels like forever. Aigis never acts on such thoughts. Instead, she mostly thinks about her friends left right where their souls died, and she even visits from time to time, going through memories, while gathering as much genetic information as she possibly can. Aigis keeps her friends’s items preserved in the dorm and she often takes the time to study them, use them, and in some cases, wear them. She has no doubt that they’d consider her actions “creepy”, but they’re not around to say anything anymore and action is all that keeps Aigis’ gears running.

She learns that time travel is improbable at best, bunk at worst, but it’s okay. There are more practical theories and facts to experiment with, books to read, documentaries on DVD to watch, and the dorm to remain her “base of operations”. /One day, everything will be okay/. This and various machines are all she has to hold on to.


Aigis freezes in front of the shrine. She looks around for the almost human sound and finds that it’s Octavia’s cell phone. Aigis smiles at the special ring tone.

/In this way, you are still alive/.

“Happy New Year,” Aigis whispers to the ghosts, to the bright stars, to the moon that glows a normal glow, and to the memories of her friends.

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