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Well, a fic I was following for a while finally finished. It's pretty unusual for me, since the last two fics were pretty much angst ridden (Moreso the last). I vastly prefer angst in my Akira/Akechi stories, mostly because Akechi himself carries a lot of emotional baggage, and while this fic does have angst, it tilts more to the side of fluff, mostly in the second half.

This story also made me appreciate Haru a heck of a lot more. Not a lot of stories feature her, and in a more positive light, especially when it comes to this pairing, cause of spoilerly reasons. This fic is pretty much the opposite of how Haru reacts in Crooked Hands. However, I can accept it in this story for one big reason: Time skip.

Series: Persona 5
Title: Yesterday's Protagonist
Author: Valiantarmor
Genre: Flangst, though leans more to fluff than angst
Rating: E
Warning: Fix-it future fic (Is this even a warning?), spoilers all the way to the end game, lots of kinky sex in the second half (Be mindful of the author warnings), one of the longer slow burn fics (Not really a warning... >.>)
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Akechi

Plot: N/A - I'm actually not going to rate the plot, for once, because there is no real plot. It's not really a character study either (Though the story is very heavy focused on Akechi, about maybe 70% of it), and there's no real conflict in the story (Unless you count Akechi's unease at everyone being so accepting as conflict?). It's pretty much a slow burn future fix it fic, there's really no other way to describe it. Basically, five years have passed since the end of the game and everyone has pretty much moved on to what happened. Cept Akira, who regrets not being able to save Akechi from all those years ago. Akira visits a shrine to basically 'pay respects to Akechi', sort of like a repentance, and moves on with his life as best he can. During one of his nightly visits to the shrine, Akechi appears, and basically, things go from there.

Honestly, you have to be in the right mood to read this, more so in the second half, where it's pretty much just kinky smut between Akira and Akechi with some side stuff happening from time to time (Which I'll cover in characterization), and cute domestic fluff.

All I say is this: This is probably the ONLY fic I'll say where fluff works for this pairing. There's other reasons too but I'll cover it in the characters.

Also, this is a REALLY long story, and really, it's kind of a two part story. The first five or so chapters building up to the relationship, and the second half being more domestic with some angst on the side from Akira that ends happily ever after. If you love slow burn romances, this is pretty much picture perfect of it, you got your relationship building part and you have your domestic part, or more of an intimacy builder. A lot of slow burn fics stop when the relationship forms, maybe one or two scenes of intimacy, and ends. This story continues on, and it actually adds to the relationship as a whole. Which I think is really needed for a pairing like this set in the future.

Writing: 10/10 - You can easily tell the author put a shitton of effort into this. It's also one of the longer slow burn fics I've ever read, and it hits every button I want in a slow burn fic. You got the relationship building, you have your intimate times, not just in the bedroom either (Though it has some wonderful build up of kinks, which I rarely, if ever, see in fiction), you have the others trying to accept Akechi into their circle along with the relationship itself, you have angst coming from both parties (Too many fics focus on one character, usually Akechi in this pairing's case), and then you have some soft quiet moments.

I think outside of the main pairing, my absolute favorite scene is Akechi's interactions with the others, specifically, Morgana and Haru (I do enjoy Futaba's as well, but it's very minor). If you like Haru, she really shines here, and shows she's probably the most awesome friend ever. And seeing Akechi slowly blending in with the others (The scene where Akira comes home finding Akechi asleep with Morgana on his lap is one of my favorite 'quiet moments') and slowly becoming part of their lives, it's not often you see. Most fics sort of push the other Phantom Thieves to the side with this pairing, or it gets really ugly and only Akira seems to want to help Akechi while the others are on the fence or just don't want to help period. I think the time skip helps a lot here, because they're not teens anymore, they're young adults, and they had time to reflect on things. I'll go more into this later too.

Characterization: 9.5/10 - This is where most of this review is going to go, because really, this story isn't focused on a plot or any kind of conflict. It's focused on the characters themselves, mostly Akira and Akechi, with the other characters around them. It's basically the two characters falling in love with one another (More so Akechi than Akira), some fluffy moments, some angst moments, lots of kinky moments, etc. Basically, if you want to see a slow burn future fic featuring Akira and Akechi, from the falling IN love to domestic life of the two to the 'adult side' of it, this is probably the only fic I'd recommend. Also, Kudos to the author for giving line breaks so if you don't want to read the smut, you don't have to. I, however, REALLY recommend reading the majority of it (Mostly because their relationship is a two way street, both outside and inside the bedroom, and they don't suffer from your typical seme/uke trope that most yaoi pairings fall into), it really adds to the relationship.

Lemme cover some of the featured characters. Most of the Phantom Thieves make casual appearances. Really, the story only shows Akira, Akechi, Morgana, Haru, and Sae Niijima, for the most part. Futaba appears along with Sojiro too.

Akira - Akira comes off as a major flirt here and you may say it's OOC, but I can let it slide because of 'max charm'. Basically, if you think of this Akira as someone with maxed charm at the end of the game, it's perfectly fine. He's pretty charming to his friends as well, so it's not totally limited to Akechi.

There is one BIG thing I like about this fic too, is that it involves Akira angst (And it's really painful too, it hit ALL of my buttons when it comes to angst). SO many Akira/Akechi fics focus solely on Akechi's issues, and BARELY touch Akira's. I also like how he comes off as not wanting to talk about HIS issues, but being fine to listen to everyone else's, it makes sense, canon-wise too. I really wanted to see Akira's father, but only his mother gets mentioned, and I think, in the end, that's enough for this fic. Also, his regret at not being to help Akechi instead of starting as him pinning, like a lot of other fics, is a really nice touch too (Though really, it already seems like he's already in love with Akechi early on).

There's also other things I like too, like Akira taking pictures of all his friends and framing them in his home. How he ends up a Barista at Haru's cafe. Him fiddling the front of his bangs when he's nervous, just like in the game. His reasoning for wanting to help orphanages. Every time Akechi pushes at him, how he pushes right back with no hesitation. And his own hesitation of sharing his past. It small moments/tidbits like this that say more about character than anything else.

As for the kinky times, most of it is built upon really well. You see small hints of it through the fic even before their relationship goes to that level. The ONLY part I'm going to semi bitch about is the Maid fetish in one chapter, mostly because I feel it comes way out of nowhere when it's SO easy to give Akira this fetish (I mean, there's a character in game that dresses up as a maid, so...). Every other smut scene is built up upon, save for this one.

Akechi - A lot of the dialogue coming from Akechi here? I could hear him saying in canon very easily. I think the author REALLY nailed an older Akechi here, more so than Akira. And Akechi isn't even my favorite character in canon! I like how he's writing a novel now (And nice touch at the end too) and that it's not only something that's easy for him to make a living at, despite his criminal record (It's pretty hard to nearly impossible to get a job with a criminal record, probably more so in Japan), but it's something he WANTS to do. And also, we're not ignoring that yes, Akechi DID commit crimes, and he did end up paying for it. I also like that it's Sae who is helping him out and the one he goes to for not just advice, but is basically his probation officer of sorts.

His angst moments make a lot of sense and I can see him putting up his walls and pretending everything is fine. And of course, Akira sees right though him (It's a sort of reflection of his own life in a way). Also, it makes sense that Akechi didn't know people would die after his first 'hit', aka, Futaba's mom. Remember, Akechi didn't have Morgana's wisdom, so how was he supposed to know what would happen when you 'kill' someone's shadow in the Metaverse? And how was he to know that there may have been another way to do so.

I also love his competitive nature as well. Especially when him and Akira are playing video games. And I really like how it leads to bedroom activities a lot. >.>

I like how hesitate he is and disbelieving at how forgiving Akira and the former thieves are. I think my favorite moments are where we see Akira slowly but surely breaking down the walls Akechi has formed around him. How angry he gets when Akira's mother texts him something... really nasty and how it leads him to push Akira to talk to him about Akira's past. They come off as equals and even the line 'this relationship is a two way street' gets mentioned a lot..

I also like his built up that proceeds to their bedroom activities. Though I'd actually want more dirty talk from him (Now I'm the one being self indulgent, there's your tmi for you. >.>). And him wanting to be on par, if not better, than Akira? Totally can see that from him.

Overall, I really like this version of an older Akechi, and is probably my favorite version of him out of all the fanfics I've read for this pairing.

Morgana - Morgana doesn't play a huge role in the story (And he's not ignored, like a lot of fics seem to do. :/), but the moments he shows up are nice and completely IC. He wants Akira to be happy and at times, he wants Akira to open up to Akechi as much as Akira wants Akechi to open up to him. I always thought Morgana filled the BFF role more in game canon than Ryuji, and it shows a heck of a lot here.

Haru - Honestly, a LOT of people are probably going to complain that she's OOC in this fic, because, face it, Akechi did kill her dad. The ONLY reason I give this a pass at all? The time skip. Haru had five years to reflect and think about what happened. And Haru was remarkably kind in canon (The little we got of her), so it's no surprise that after such a long period of time, she would have let go any hate she had against Akechi.

I also like she plays a big role in this story, basically filling in a 'Best Friend' for Akira. She is the one who was there when his angst happened and it was her who offered to help. I also like how she states she has too much money and is willing to help her friend, regardless if he can repay her or not. It's so... Haru-like.

Also, Haru is Akira's wingman. I find that funny as hell, given what happens at her rank 9 in canon, and adorable at the same time.

Futaba and Sojiro - I included them here as a pair, because while they don't play a HUGE role in the story, the times they do appear are completely IC. And Sojiro is the best dad ever. >.> Again, my favorite scene is when he pushes Akechi to go chat to the other former thieves. Edit: I made a mistake here, this scene was in another fic I read and not this one, so opps. Regardless, Sojiro here is still wonderful, especially when he decides to make Akira a member of his family (Though you could see this coming). Futaba is perfectly in character too, and I love her 'thirsty' comments, because it totally sounds like something an older Futaba would say. She's more social, but she has her quirky nature. Though like in Haru's case, again, she even admits she had time to think about it, and it works in the story.

Rest of the cast - Though the rest of the cast does appear, they don't play as much of a role as the others, but when they do appear, they're pretty much in character. I also like how Makoto scolds Yusuke about not eating, he promises to put an alarm on his phone for it, and Ryuji all like, 'I'm worried we even have to tell you this!'. Also, Sae being Akechi's 'wing-man' is baffling and funny at the same time.

I docked a half point for really one thing that is a small minor flaw for me: The maid parts in chapter 6 come out of nowhere. Unlike most of the fetishes in the story, this one isn't built up and comes out of nowhere. Where as others, like the choking, hair pulling, and praise kink, are built up from nearly the beginning. This one doesn't, which puzzles me (I could've missed a cue for it earlier, but I don't remember seeing it). But it doesn't tarnish the story, and honestly, it doesn't even really affect the story (Plus the fact that it's well written helps too), which is why I only docked half.

Negatives: No real plot to speak of, might be too fluffy for some Akira/Akechi fans?

Summary: After five years since the end of the game, Akechi walks back into Akira's life. This time, Akira is determined to keep him there.

Overall: 9.75/10 - If you're looking for a slow build future fic for this pairing along with some well written smut, this fic will pretty much cover it. Again, I'm not a huge fan of Akechi/Akira fluff fics. This fic makes it work. If you're a fan of this pairing, this is pretty much a 'must read' fic. If you're not a fan, this might get you there, moreso if you enjoy built up romances and don't mind post canon fics. While a lot of the story is pretty fluffy, it has it's does of angst and does justice (HAH!) to not only the pairing, but to the other characters as well.

Edit: I had to edit this review due to me realizing that a scene I liked? Didn't happen in this fic. That's what I get for typing out reviews and comments so late at night. ~_~;; Or at least it would help if I re-read the entire fic before I type out a review/comment. Again, apologizes. ~_~;;

I swear to god, I'm going to review another pairing one of these days. This fandom is spoiling me rotten with high quality fanfics. I think this is a first time where I reviewed 3 separate fics in such a positive light (I rarely give fics above a 7, the last few fics I've given above 9s!). Like really spoiling me rotten.

HOWEVER! That may end up coming to a close! There's a fic for my preferred pairing that just got done, but it's going to definitely be one of those 'unpopular' opinions from me again, so... stay tuned!
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