This Feeling - ren_core - Persona 5 [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

It was finally starting to feel like summer vacation, as the phantom thieves decided to relax at the beach for the day. Sophia got the spend her day with Ren, with him showing her what life was like under the sea, and describing the taste of many beach foods to her. Now the two of them were relaxing in the sand as their day at the beach was coming to an end.

Even if she couldn’t feel the summer heat against her skin, or complain about the sand getting in her bathing suit, Sophia was grateful she could explore the beach like everyone else. That bad feeling from earlier had slowly faded into a new one. While she couldn’t understand this feeling at the moment, she knew it was a good one.

Ren had placed Sophia down next to him and was now basking in the sun. As she always did, Sophia admired Ren, the one who always seemed to give her this good feeling . She identified his state as “relaxed”, watching as he closed his eyes and sat back on his hands.

Admiring Ren also gave Sophia some insight on some things she’d never noticed about him. Like the few moles on his body or the thin scars resting below his chest. While the moles were recognizable, the cause for the scars couldn’t quite register. Sophia knew a lot of things, but even she was still learning.

“Hey Ren, what’s with the scars on your chest? Are you hurt?”

Ren fluttered his eyes open. “Don’t worry, I’m okay. They’re just top surgery scars...”

All the data for the words “top surgery scars” rushed through Sophia’s head like waves. She analyzed every bit of information before she finally came to understand what Ren meant.

“If my sources are correct, do those scars mean you’re transgender?”

Ren nodded, closing his eyes again in his relaxed state.

“Wow! That’s so cool, Ren. Humans are truly capable of amazing things. ”Then Sophia huffed, “I wish I was trans...”

Ren let out a soft chuckle at that, with the smile never leaving his face. Sophia registered that as “happiness”. She could study and recognize Ren’s happiness the most, as that’s how he appeared when he was with his friends. When he was with Sophia, too. She couldn’t identify why he was so happy now, though.

“What made you decide to get top surgery scars?”

“I wasn’t happy with how my body didn’t match up with who I knew I truly was…But once I removed that part of me, it was freeing,” Ren paused for a moment, “ ripping off my mask in the metaverse.”

With that, Sophia recalled to how she felt ripping off her mask in a jail. That exhilarating rush she got when fighting next to her friends was definitely a pleasant feeling. Perhaps it was the feeling she’d been searching for.

“So, does this mean you’re happy now?”

“...You could say that.”

“What do you mean?”

Ren opened his eyes again, and they shimmered under the sun. “Well, there’s good and bad days. But the days are mostly good now. I’m definitely happier than before...”

Sophia had only ever known Ren to be happy. Even if their lives as Phantom Thieves were dangerous, she couldn’t imagine him ever being sad. Maybe there was more to Ren than meets the eye, and his emotions were more complex than she thought.

“Ren, do you think I could understand happiness if I got top surgery scars?”

Ren chuckled again, grabbing his phone and holding Sophia close. Even through the phone, the peacefulness was still radiating off of him. That aura made Sophia smile back.

“I think happiness affects everyone differently. Whatever makes you feel most like yourself is what you should chase after.”

“Whatever makes me feel most like myself…” Sophia pondered that for a while. Human emotions weren’t something her data could quite rationalize. She skimmed through millions of data, but there was no concrete answer on how to “feel like yourself” anywhere.

But then Sophia thought back to that rush she got when fighting next to everyone in jails. Or that good feeling she got when hanging out with Ren today, and it was all starting to make sense now.

“Well, I don’t know much about myself, but when I hang out with you guys, it makes me feel all warm inside. Did you feel warm inside when you got your scars?”

When Ren nodded, it was like something in Sophia’s mind finally clicked. At that moment, she could finally relate to her human friend.

It was happiness that Sophia felt when she was fighting with the thieves. It was happiness she felt when Ren brought his phone underwater, just for her. And while she didn’t need top surgery scars to be happy, Ren did, and that was beautiful. Happiness was beautiful. Sophia was so happy!

“I think I finally understand, Ren! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so happy for you.”

“Thank you, Sophie. I’m glad you understand.”

Sophia appreciated Ren so much. He was always so patient with her and she’d learned a lot thanks to him. Now she felt she had a better understanding of happiness. Sophia’s eyes trailed back to Ren’s chest scars, smiling when she thought about how much joy they brought him.

“Your top surgery scars look so cool. You’ll have to show the girls how to get them.”

For the third time in that moment, Ren laughed, his smile brighter than the sun. “I think the girls would be very happy without them.”

With that, the two of them went back to relaxing in the sand. By now the sun was setting, casting an orange sky over the Okinawa beach. Sophia loved watching the sun, something she knew humans couldn’t — rather, shouldn’t — do.

“You know, Ren, they say ‘time goes by fast when you’re having fun’ and I feel like this day has gone by really fast.” Sophia spoke up after a moment.

“Then that means you were having fun.” Ren hummed, now laying down on his back with his chest shining under the sun.

“Can we have more fun in the water one last time?”

“If that would make you happy, we can do whatever you want, Sophia.”

This Feeling - ren_core - Persona 5 [Archive of Our Own] (2024)


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