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Fanfic / Three Souls

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''Three beings share a body. Throw in time travel, some bonding, lots of pining, and you get chaos in every form.
Yu is ready. Byleth is eager. Sothis wants to fall into a coma.
Or
Yu Narukami and Byleth Eisner New Game + so hard they end up in the same body.''
Story Summary

Three Souls, a crossover between Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Persona 4 (with elements from Persona 4: The Animation) released in the year 2020 by LunaricFairy12, starts with Byleth Eisner awakening to a familiar voice scolding him. Byleth threw himself into the way of an axe that was flying at Dimitri, believing he had one Divine Pulse left. Instead, he died and Sothis had to turn back time several years to when he saved the three Lordlings.

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And they're not alone in their mindscape. Yu Narukami restarted his journey, too, but without memory how it happened, how he has arrived in Fódlan, or why he's now residing in their soul and body.

The plot follows the story of FE:3H, but it soon becomes clear that something fundamental has shifted with Yu's arrival.

It can be read at Archive of Our Own.


Tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The story expands on Jeralt's backstory before becoming a Knight of the Church. He used to live in a small town in Faerghus - his mother cared for their family, his father taught him how to blacksmith. Jeralt prefered to use the weapons instead of making them and would often venture into the forest to hunt. A knight saw him kill a massive grey wolf there. The feat impressed him so much that he pulled some strings to allow Jeralt into the ranks of the knights, as commoners usually aren't allowed to do so. He also plays a larger role in the story, both he and Byleth regularly seeking each other out.
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  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Byleth is fond of petting the students' heads or gently ruffling their hair.
  • Alternate Timeline: This Sothis and Byleth followed the Azure Moon path, where Byleth died in Enbarr. They return to when Byleth met the three young Lords and Sothis awakened, but with Yu's soul sharing their mindscape now. While Byleth chooses the Blue Lions again, Yu's presence and other factors are changing the timeline early.
    • Alternate timelines are part of the reason for the Cognitive Realm to manifest in Fódlan. The barrier between Fódlan's physical world and its cognitive realm are weakening. And this cognitive realm mirrors the state of those of many other timelines created by Divine Pulses of another Byleth, because in each, the war happened and caused misery, pain, and death.
  • Alternate Universe: Yu's soul crossed the boundaries between the universe of his home and the universe Fódlan is situated in, drawn into Byleth's soul.
  • Arc Words: "I am thou, and thou art I", whenever Byleth forms a new Social Link, relating to how he shares genuine moments with other people.
  • Cooldown Hug: Downplayed. Jeralt embraces Byleth, who was swamped by Yu's grief from a nightmare. Byleth still cries, but Jeralt's hug helps him feel safe and calm down from his overwhelmed state.
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  • Dark World: Garreg Mach's counterpart in the cognitive realm shows the monastery as an abandoned ruin that resembles the state it would be in after the War. The red-black-streaked sky and the fog present resemble the TV World, but everything is absolutely quiet, unmoving except for the Shadows as if time has stopped, and spots on the ground fade in and out view. According to Byleth's Shadow Self, it reflects the collective misery, death, and regret accrued across many, many timelines created by the Divine Pulse where the War happened.
    “Everything is dead here,” Sothis murmurs quietly, floating and sinking to the ground. She leans down and touches the oddly faded grass, grasping a few strands before letting them go. They flutter to the ground without a sound.
  • Didn't See That Coming: None of the protagonists anticipated that using the Divine Pulse would switch who is in control of Byleth's body.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Byleth's loathing of any kind of tea is a recurring gag, because tea parties are one of the most popular social activities among the student body.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Jeralt says he wouldn't be surprised if Byleth would turn into a dragon, after the secrets his son has revealed. Byleth might not be able to turn into one, but Garreg Mach houses at least three people who can. Byleth doesn't know that, yet, because he came back from the Azure Moon route.
  • Foreshadowing: The blue butterfly appearing in several moments where Byleth creates Social Links makes it clear that Philemon is watching over the protagonists. Which means that the Velvet Room is in Fódlan.
    • A shady man near the dorms mentions an Abyss when Byleth buys a replacement tea set for Ferdinand.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: No canon connection or continuity exists between Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Persona.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Byleth deals with his loathing of tea by pouring hard cider into his cup until it doesn't taste like tea anymore.
    • Jeralt empties five flasks during Byleth's telling of Garreg Mach's Dark World.
  • Invisible to Normals: Nobody else outside of the trio can perceive or touch either Sothis, Yu, or Byleth when they are in their disembodied forms. On the other hand, they can't touch anything either in that form.
  • Magic Mirror: The one idea Yu has about how to deliberately enter Garreg Mach's Dark World is to use a mirror, since it's the closest thing to TV that exists in Fódlan. However, they also need he and Byleth using magic on the mirror at the same time as "two forces of different energy".
  • Make a Wish: Yu wishing for "another chance" is part of the reason that his soul was removed from his body and entered Byleth's. Later he vaguely remembers praying that he would never be alone again. The story implies that it's the same wish and that he made it while he had to watch Izanami killing his friends.
    • Discussed while Yu teaches Byleth how to fold paper cranes and what he would wish for if he made a thousand.
  • Motif: An important recurring element is the concept of (making) wishes. Yu wished for another chance, leading him to Fódlan. Another wish of his was to be never alone again. The story implies they were the same. Byleth wants to protect the students from war. When Yu teaches Byleth how fold paper cranes, Sothis calls Yu out that if he could make a wish to the gods, he would wish to go home.
    • Shadow Byleth wishes to stop seeing her loved ones dying, and that Byleth and his soulmates stop the encroaching darkness from destroying their world.
    Sothis: “I am the Beginning,” she says gently, as if talking to a younger child. “And this goddess swears to fulfill this wish.”
    • Wishes connect back to Persona 4 and the game's true antagonist, Izanami, a Goddess who is a manifestation of and fulfils humanity's collective desires, but was also corrupted by the same humanity's growing delusions and wish for ignorance.
    • The concept of masks, as in showing different parts of one's personality to (different) people, is another motif.
    • As for Tarot Motifs, see the entry below.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Yu's has a nightmare that doesn't start as one. He is spending time with the Investigation Team, ending with him and Yosuke watching a sunset. But as he reaches out to him, darkness swallows everything and he screams. The second one is a fragmentary flashback about the battle with Adachi in the TV World.
  • No Name Given: The Gatekeeper, as per his source. Yu lampshades this when he asks Sothis and Byleth about his name and they both draw up short with a mutual look of disbelief.
  • The Power of Friendship: Forming genuine bonds with other people through Social Links helps a Wild Card user grow stronger, as well as the person they befriended. Social Links are placed into one Major Arcana and empower Persona assigned to that Arcana. Since Yu is currently residing in Sothis and Byleth's soul, Byleth can draw from Yu's Persona magic and even use his Wild Card ability, although he isn't a Wild Card himself. Byleth has to do the work for the social links, because Yu's own bonds still exist.
  • Psychic Link: The three protagonists all can hear each other because they're sharing the same body, but cannot hear each other thoughts. Sleep seems to weaken the barrier between their minds, as Sothis and Byleth can see Yu's nightmares when each of them is asleep.
  • Running Gag:
    • Byleth is oblivious to Dimitri's crush on him.
    • Byleth accidentally charms other people and doesn't notice.
    • The shared stoicism between Yu and Byleth, not to mention their regularly calm or serious reactions to strange situations, frustrate Sothis. Even Byleth's Shadow in chapter 8 gets in on with it!
    • Byleth, who loathes tea, lives in Garreg Mach where tea parties are a beloved social activity. Sothis and Yu make fun of his melodramatic exclamations of his loathing, some students believe he loves tea, and those who've seen him dunk cider into his tea to destroy the taste are baffled. His own Shadow claims that it's a pity that he doesn't like tea, to his horror.
    • All three protagonists have expressed a desire to crawl into or stay in bed because they don't want to deal with an exhausting situation.
  • Secret Keeper: The protagonists have to tell Jeralt what is happening, because he notices Yu, who is in Byleth's body, acting unlike Byleth and is justifiedly worried where he is.
  • Sharing a Body: With Yu coming to reside in Sothis and Byleth's soul, he also shares Byleth's body. All three of them seem to be able to switch control, although only Yu has switched with him so far, and only for a few hours. A switch happens whenever they use a Divine Pulse.
  • Tarot Motifs: Tarot symbolism appears in several ways in the fic. The story mixes how they're used in the two games:
    • The Crests from Fire Emblem: Three Houses are based on the 22 Major Arcana.
    • Byleth, through sharing Yu's Wild Card ability, forms Social Links with people around him placed into one of the Major Arcana that reflect the bonds he builds with them. With those people who bear Crests, some of the Social Links align with the Arcana attributed to their Crest, like the Fraldarius Crest and the Emperor Arcana.
    • Yu's Wild Card ability is based on the Arcana "The Fool", which represents 'endless possibilities' among other meanings.
  • Temporal Sickness: Sothis or Byleth using Divine Pulse has detrimental effects on Yu. Rewinding ten minutes disorientates him to the point of near retching. Rewinding an hour makes him fall unconsious. They fear that the next Divine Pulse could kill him.
  • Time Travel: Sothis' Divine Pulse rewinds time, from a span of a few seconds up to several years. Sothis using it to save Byleth and Yu restarting his own journey lead to the beginning of the fic.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: The story starts with the three protagonists waking up in Byleth and Sothis' mindscape. Byleth was in Enbarr several year into the future. Yu was pulled from his home universe.
  • When She Smiles: People often stare and even blush when Byleth smiles.
  • Wrong Context Magic: Persona magic doesn't exist in Fódlan before Yu arrives. Unlike in the Persona Series, where it's limited to the Collective Unconscious or spaces where the cognitive and physical realms blend into each other, Persona magic can be used in Fódlan's physical realm, because the inhabitants do already use other types of magic. Spells outwardly resemble Faith and Reason magic, but a basic spell like "Dia" is also more powerful than its equivalent in Faith magic, while it seems to drain a larger pool of energy and magic.
    • Nothing of Fódlan's magic is capable of conjuring part of their own soul to fight with them in battles. Yu summoning Izanagi in the physical realm shocks Jeralt, Byleth, and Sothis.
    • Raison and Faith magic can be learned if one has the inclination for it. On the other hand, a person cannot "learn" how to wield a Persona and its magic by studying, but has to possess the ability to self-reflect and to confront and accept parts of their mind they repress, reject, and / or fear.

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