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12 May 2012 @ 08:18 pm
In Sucus Vertias  
Title: In Sucus Veritas
Fandom: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner, Shin Megami Tensei, Shin Megami Tensei II, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Persona 3, Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor
Character(s): Raidou, Neutral Hero, Aleph, Hitoshura, Minato, Souji, Devil Survivor Protagonist
Pairing(s): Vague references to canon pairings
Genre: Humor
Word Count: 940
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None
Summary: If there's one thing that people, and devil summoners, do at bars, it's try to see whose life is worse.
Notes: (They're seated chronologically by original game release. Kazuya is to the furthest left and Catphones is to the furthest right.)

The soda joint looked unusually crowded when Raidou walked in, with a few newcomers. The spot at the bar he chose was between a teenager with tattoos to rival any yakuza member and another kid intent on the music coming out of his headphones. A little to his right, someone who might have been the headphone boy's twin was having a spirited chat with a high school student who was going grey too early, while to his left the tattooed kid was talking with a brunette with fancy headgear and a man with a blue visor about the most powerful demons they'd faced. Raidou listened in.

"For me, I think fighting Michael and Asura on the same day was probably as hard as it gets." The brunette sipped his drink. "What about you two?"

"I killed the Metatron." This was from the one with the tattooos. "I've fought a demon that was stronger, but only when he was holding back. The Metatron trumps Michael in heavenly hierarchy, though."

"I killed God," the third one commented.

"Which one?" Tattoos asked.


There was a quiet 'ooooh' of appreciation from those surrounding him. Visor nonchalantly ordered another drink.

Raidou turned his attention to those on his right.

"So you buy them at an auction?" Grey asked the one with the headphones that looked like cat ears.

Catphones nodded. "Even demons want money, I guess."

"And then you fuse them?" Grey frowned a little. "It's easier for me to fuse Personas into something else when I don't think of them as living beings, but I don't know how you could forget that with demons."

A shrug from Catphones. "They're usually all right with it. I was in a tight spot at the time, so I didn't ask too many questions."

"Where do you keep them if they're not manifestations of your inner soul?"

Catphones a two-screened piece of technology Raidou didn't recognize out from his bag. "In here."

"...In a video game system?" Gray asked, raising an eyebrow.

"You told me you summoned pieces of your mind by crushing Tarot cards. I'm better at computers than Tarot." Catphones looked over at his near-double. "What about you?"

The blue-haired double looked up only briefly. "I shoot myself in the head." After having spoken, he closed his eyes and went back to focusing on his music.

The other two fell quiet for a moment. Catphones coughed to break the awkward silence. "...I guess we're both lucky."

Raidou felt grateful that releasing demons from tubes was quick and simple.

The brunette with the headgear had started talking again. "Recruiting demons is the worst part of the job. They ask for some money, then they ask for more money, then they ask for magnetite, and then they want an item you don't even have."

Visor nodded. "I wish there was an easier way to go about it."

"If we didn't have to answer philosophical questions, or figure out how much each demon wants to be flattered or not..." Tattoos sighed. "I'd rather just show them how strong I am and convince them that way."

Raidou remembered the days of following up an attack to a demon's weakness with a frantic attempt to get them to join and privately was glad that he'd switched to standard negotiating tactics.

The group to the right of him seemed to have taken an interest in this conversation. "Buying them at auction is easiest. Half the time I can just buy them outright and not worry about the bidding," commented Catphones.

"I- no, it sounds stupid. Never mind."

Headphones turned to Gray. "Shuffling Tarot cards only you can see?"

"Yeah, that." Sigh. "Tarot cards are a big thing. They're also representing my relationships. Including with my girlfriend."

"My girlfriend was amnesiac and it's never really been the same since," Brunette grumbled. "At least I didn't have to kill her like the only other friends I had."

"My girlfriend died and the girl I was starting to have feelings for turned out to be my mother." Visor looked a little discomforted by this fact.

"I really haven't been thinking about romance lately..." Catphones mumbled.

Headphones smiled a little to himself, but kept quiet. Raidou wondered what he was thinking before deciding not to think about it. Romance was dangerous territory.

Tattoos snorted. "After the world ended the only humans alive were three guys, two of which I had to kill, a classmate who went psycho and I had to kill, and my teacher. Who died anyway. I win."

There was general agreement.

Eventually the group started leaving for reasons of part-time work, dinner with friends (for those who had living friends), etc., until it was just Raidou and the tattooed kid sitting at the bar.

"You've been pretty quiet the whole time," the stranger commented.

Raidou nodded.

"Does it seem like we've met somewhere before?"

"Not really," Raidou answered.

Shrug. "My mistake." As he got up to go, he dug something out of his coat: a business card, which he handed to Raidou.

Raidou had seen a lot of demons' business cards, ranging from Pixies' to Legions', and seen some of the most horrific uses of Comic Sans and cheesy slogans known to man or demon. This card, on the other hand, had nothing printed on it except for "Hitoshura" and a number.

Hitoshura smirked at Raidou's puzzled expression. "If you don't know me by my name, you don't need to call me. I'll see you around, Raidou."

Raidou started to say something, but the demon was already gone. He looked out at the doorway, then turned back and finished off his drink.