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I already put this fic in my recommendation pinned post, but I decided to write a review on it. I'm also going to say this too: Even if you don't ship this pairing, you should still read this fic. Because to be honest, of all the Akira/Akechi fic I've read on Ao3, this is probably my absolute favorite of them all. It's sort of like the last fic, where events/issues/characters aren't just black and white. And it also doesn't really end happily ever after too, it's more bitter sweet, but the bitter sweet that I can get behind.

And this is something I could easily see happening in canon. Unlike a lot of Akira/Akechi fics, where I feel sometimes the characters are too forgiving, here, we see that not all characters are forgiving, and the consequences that come from it.

Again, going to warn, this review contains massive spoilers up to December, and the fic pretty much spoils the entire game, so be warned.

Series: Persona 5
Title: Crooked Hands
Author: coolkidroland
Genre: Angst/drama
Rating: T
Warning: AU, spoilers up to November
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Akechi

Plot: 10/10 - The plot is pretty simple but to the point. Basically, Akira sees if Akechi has his own palace (Tests it to the meta nav) and lo and behold, he does! And the key words to it, fit Akechi completely. Also, I don't know if this is canon about the character, but he seems to be interested in 'Featherman', aka, it's sort of like Power Ranger/Super Sentai spinoff, so it's no surprise to see that Akechi would be a Star Wars fan.

Basically, the gang goes through this and at the same time, the sixth palace. But going through Akechi's palace un-nerves them (Lots and lots of spoilers here) to the point of actually giving up on Akechi all together. Which is interesting. But Akira, being a good doer (Though he has other motives besides 'doing the right thing'), doesn't want to give up.

Pretty much, this is close to canon as it can get, and unlike a ton of Akira/Akechi fics, there ARE clear consequences to Akira's decision of wanting to save Akechi. Which a lot of fanfics don't really do or they don't cover the rest of characters and just focus on Akira and sometimes Morgana.

Now, how can someone have a palace that is a Persona user. Didn't Morgana tell us that isn't possible? Well, the fic has an answer for it, Morgana isn't the be all to everything. There's no telling if that's true or not, and that's kind of scary.

Writing: 10/10 - Just like the story before, no problems with the writing. I think the interactions are top notch in this fic. Think my favorite part of the fic is when Akira has a fit basically on his friends and still insists on wanting to go through Akechi's palace. It's painful to see friendships tear down and even fall apart. The most creative part of the fic is the 'reversed' Arcana that happens to the Empress. Anyone who has played the previous Personas know what reversed means and while I don't think canonly you can have that happen in 5, it's a nice reference and callback to the previous games.

Also, Lala-chan is awesome. >.>

Characterization: 9/10 - There is one reason I dock a point to this. It's actually when the characters don't want to change Akechi's heart, which puzzles me in a way, because I 100% side with Akira. Did we forget the sexual predator? Or the Yakuza that definitely caused young girls to sell their bodies which probably lead to them killing themselves? Or the guy who plagiarized people's works, made sure they couldn't get anywhere in life, and caused people to kill themselves? Or the man who was perfectly willing to sell his daughter off and overworked people to the point of death? Not even including the people in Mementos (Pretty sure one of them was a homeless assassin, so which makes no sense because changing his heart is okay, but not Akechi???), and even the mastermind, Shido, himself (So the hitman can't have redemption, but the mastermind who MADE the orders can!?). Not to mention, at one point, they were discussing on maybe killing Akechi, which totally goes against everything the Phantom Thieves stand for. They don't kill their targets, that's WHY they change their hearts.

The ONLY reason I can come up with is: To Haru and Futaba, it's personal. Haru is still also new to the group, she hasn't been with them that long, so she doesn't know about the others. She only knows they tried to change her father's heart and it failed cause Akechi killed him after the group left to escape the palace. Same with Futaba, she didn't see the previous 3 hearts being changed. Also, Yusuke kind of falls out of the story for some reason? I'm pretty sure it's only Ann, Morgana, and Ryuji who come after Akira, not sure why Yusuke sort of vanished? So does Makoto, but I'm assuming she's on Haru's side more.

Other than that, I don't see anything wrong with the story. It's really painful to see the group falling apart the way it does. Honestly? I think every damn character in this story needs therapy, not just Akira and Akechi. >.> And Sojiro deserves a medal for having to deal with all this shit. And Lala-chan is awesome, I have to mention that again. >.> I don't really approve of what Akira decided to do and going into a palace by himself? Dumb as shit. But they're not really helping him (More like rubbing salt on the wound), if anything, they're just kind of proving the point of what a certain shadow said.

A lot of this kind of boarders the line of melodrama, but then again, it's a story about fucking teenagers, so yeah, I can definitely give that a pass. It also ends bitter sweet too, there is no happy ending, and there ARE consequences (Like can he repair his relationships with the others? I'm going to say not all of them, to be honest, moreso in Haru's case), and there's still pretty much Shido and other more spoily stuff, but that's where the story ends.

Negatives: Can be a bit on the melodrama side

Summary: Akira finds out that Akechi has a palace and convinces the group that changing Akechi's heart would be easier and less risky than going through their original plan. Too bad nothing is ever easy...

Overall: 9.6/10 - Of all the Persona 5 fanfics I've read, I really cannot recommend this enough, even if you don't like the pairing. It goes to show you how characters are never black and white as we think they are, moreso than the other fic. If you can handle the teenage melodrama and are looking for some really good angst from both Akira and Akechi with a good focus on the Phantom crew, look no further.

Up next, hopefully something not Akira/Akechi related. That's the one problem with this pairing, it's an emotional roller coaster (It kind of needs to be, with the issues and baggage that Akechi brings with him). After rereading this fic again, I need a break from their melodrama. >.>

Edit: So apparently, the author decided to write a sequel to this, and there's probably going to be more, maybe? I may do a review of this one and any fics in this timeline here after, but I think I'll wait, mostly because I wasn't expecting anything else to be written, since this story stands well on it's own and ended in a way that the reader could fill in the gaps. But I'm definitely in favor of any more stories on this timeline. >.>

Just when I said I was taking a break from this pairing too... SIGH!

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