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Well, the history of almost perfect fic had to end, and of course, it ends with my preferred pairing. Sigh. I really love Yusuke, as a character, he comes off as more 'art sexual' than anything, but some of his interactions with Akira in game canon rate from downright funny to kinda sweet. So it's no shock that I really like Akira/Yusuke as a pairing. But, shockingly, it's hard to find long fic featuring this pairing. Finding short one shots of them? Easy as hell.

This fic though, this is going to be a REAL mixed opinion. I've read other works by this author and the one shots were really good, so I said, 'well, she's writing a longer fic and it's a sort of interesting idea, so why not?' Yeah...

Note, this is the most popular Persona 5 fic currently, if you sort by Kudos, on Ao3. After reading this entire story, I put it down and said, 'seriously, THIS FIC is the most popular?' Because I'll be honest, I like this author's one shots a lot more than her long fics, and that really RARELY happens. And quite simply, there's way better written Akira/Yusuke fic, let alone better written fic, period.

Series: Persona 5
Title: Muse
Author: aliencereal
Genre: Flangst, though leans more to fluff than angst
Rating: T
Warning: Sickingly sweet fluff, AU Butterfly effect fic, recycled dialogue from the game, extremely short chapters, mentions of child abuse, mild game spoilers, up to June at least, slow burn though it sort of... isn't...
Couple (if applicable): Akira/Yusuke

Plot: 7/10 - This is more of a character study rather than a heavy plot fic. It's not too terribly original. Instead of Yusuke wanting Ann as a model, he chooses Akira instead. It seems interesting enough, but in honestly, I don't really see this happening, unless Akira was gender swapped to a female.

Anyways, canon stuff happens and instead of Ann being in certain spots, it's Akira who replaces her. For example, Yusuke is escorting Akira during the art tour, he's the one who goes to model nude and distracts Yusuke while Morgana does his thing, etc etc. And Yusuke ends up living with Akira during and after the changing of heart of Madarame. And basically, they end up in a relationship.

Pretty much, Yusuke sort of loses his 'art sexual' and he's really pining over Akira straight away. And Akira is already sort of pining too. Which is sort of disappointing and I'll get to that in the characterization.

On one hand, it's an interesting twist, but on the other hand, I don't think it would work in the context of canon. But I can't say it cannot absolutely work, because Yusuke DID want Akira to model for him during his Link. In the end, art is art for Yusuke, so I can let it pass. >.> Though the sort of homophobe hintings from Madarame? Kinda comes out of nowhere. I don't think he'd give a shit, as long as Yusuke doing something and it made him money.

I'm also not completely sure that Madarame sort of abused Yusuke, besides stealing credit for his work and pretty much having him live in a shack while he lived elsewhere. Just as a word of warning, there's a lot of neglect and mental child abuse here. It puts Madarame in a much darker light than what his counter part is in game, so be warned.

I will say, I do like the small flashback thoughts that Yusuke has of the NPCs who lived with him. In game, they just came off as off screen NPCs. Here, they play an important role in Yusuke's life, and sadly, they show the abuse that he went through along with them too. They're not just faceless NPCs, which is probably the thing I liked most here.

Writing: 5/10 - The writing is just... okay. I think some chapters are way too short to even count as a chapter (some barely hit the 1k mark, and should just be condensed into one chapter instead of two). There's some typos and grammar errors here and there, it really looks like the author pretty much rushed her chapters up as fast as possible, because some paragraphs are only one sentence, and it happens fairly often enough for me to notice.

And some of the dialogue is straight cooked copy pasta. I didn't dock too much because I don't think the dialogue would change too terribly. Still, it would be nice if authors just put their own spin on the dialogue parts.

I think this story could've been much shorter, mostly because a big chunk of it in the middle is rehashing canon. The exception is near the end, after the whole Madarame stuff happens. And that's where the story sort of happens. You'll notice when canon does come, the chapters are all of a sudden longer and mostly dialogue heavy, but not as long as I like them to be.

Also, this is where I'm going to say that 'Show, don't tell' applies greatly. Instead of saying, 'they share a slow kiss and make out for a long while' (No kidding the make out line IS from the story), you could at least describe what happens. In fact, describing the kiss itself would have a more impact and skip the make out all together. Or maybe have a quiet moment where they hold each other.

All in all, the writing is just... not really impressive, but not horrible. It sits right near the line of almost being mediocre. I think this story didn't need to be divided into 28 chapters, to be honest.

Characterization: 6/10 - This story really focuses on Akira and Yusuke, and they pretty much skirt the OOC borderline. Mostly because they're pining after one another WAY too early, and there's little build up for it. I mean, in canon, I can pretty much say that Yusuke doesn't have any feelings toward Ann, he really only wanted her to model for his art. And that's one important thing about Yusuke, his focus is on art, so much so, that people will get the wrong idea of what his intentions are. That's why I love his character. So I don't really see why when Akira is the target now, he all of a sudden has a deep crush on him.

There's seriously no real build up, and I think that's the most disappointing thing about it. If this story took place later in canon, I'd actually give it a bigger pass, because of the Confident Link (Though this looks like a part one to a bigger story?). And the fact that Yusuke's link doesn't really start till after where this takes place in canon, where it would be easy to have them build up a relationship. I think my problem here is the relationship happens too fast and there's very little build up to it.

I think the big problem with this story too is that it's really boring in a lot of the chapters where... nothing really happens. Did we really need 2 chapters of Akira taking Yusuke shopping for weapons and going to the clinic?? Or a total rehash of canon with little added in stuff? The build up doesn't really happen till much later (We're talking chapter 21 here when they finally go out on a date) and it isn't really built up.

It's a damn shame, cause this is classified under 'slow burn' as well and the quality of this compared to the last fic? Doesn't even compare. I wanted a slow burn fic and instead, I got... mediocre fluff that doesn't even happen till near the end. It's just pining, date time, and cute fuzzy moments with bare bones description. If you're looking for that, I'd say read the first few chapters, and skip to 21 after a bit.

The only real reason that it doesn't score lower is pretty much 21 and beyond and the few moments Akira and Yusuke share are relatively IC, moreso with Yusuke, who's being his oblivious self and making all sorts of sappy confessions without realizing he's making them.

Negatives: Very little build up, mediocre writing, very short chapters, copy pasta of dialouge from game

Summary: Instead of being drawn to Ann as a model, Yusuke is drawn to Akira...

Overall: 6/10 - Not a terrible fic, but not a great fic either. It's so mediocre that I found it hard to review, because... nothing happens, there's little build up, and the writing looks to be rushed as all heck. I can't understand why this fic is rated so highly when the author has... written better. It makes me very sad that one of the first Akira/Yusuke multi-chapter fics to get finished is so... average in quality. Moreso when the quality of the last 3 fics was much greater here. Heck, I've even read fics for this pairing, it's just that there isn't a lot of finished Akira/Yusuke fics currently compared to Akira/Akechi. Which is a damn shame.

Honestly, I think this author should stick to one shots, her one shots are far superior to her long multi-chapter fics. Check out her The Future Card series of one shots and if you're looking for Akira/Yusuke, check out Complementary instead.

I think I'll be taking a break, at least from Persona fic for a bit. Or maybe fic in general, I think I tired myself out on Persona 5 fics.
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