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Fanfic / Warning Letter

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Shortly after stealing Madarame's heart, the Phantom Thieves receive a request from Sayu Yagami that leads them into the Palace of perhaps their greatest target yet. story summary

Warning Letter is a Crossover story between Persona 5 and Death Note written by TheStrangerThatCameFromNowhere. It also serves as a For Want of a Nail Fic, due to the added presence of the Phantom Thieves in the overall plot of Death Note.


After hearing her brother declare himself the god of a new world after having killed Lind L. Tailor, Sayu discovered the Phan-Site. Remembering sweeter times, she requests the Phantom Thieves aid. This one seemingly innocent action leads to a series of reveals, discoveries and new mysteries for not only the Phantom Thieves, but even to those investigating Kira.

This story contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: In the game proper, we learn almost next to nothing about Makoto's father. In the story, Masahiro Niijima was Soichiro Yagami's partner. According to Matsuda, Soichiro and Masahiro were investigating Kaneshiro when he began to make a big name for himself. Masahiro had received a tip about one of Kaneshiro's major base of operations and went to investigate, but was killed shortly after arriving at the site. Soichiro arrived too late to help his friend and has blamed himself ever since. It's also because of this that Soichiro ensured that no one knew what happened, lest Makoto or Sae go after Kaneshiro in revenge.
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  • Adaptational Badass: Light mostly fought with his wits and the Death Note, but here he's shown to have an impressive talent for combat. He's not only considered to be the Phantom Thieves' resident Friendly Sniper, but his Persona is remarkably powerful to the point where Morgana considers him on the same level as Joker.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Light Yagami, following his change of heart at the hands of the Phantom Thieves. Thanks to having the distortions in his heart being erased, he remembered what justice was to him in the first place, as well as what drove him to become a police officer: his little sister. This allows him to develop his Persona, Count, and subsequently joins the Phantom Thieves, believing in their justice over his own.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the series proper, we got to see what Light would have been had he never gained the Death Note in his possession once his memories of it are erased. Once his distorted desires are erased thanks to the Phantom Thieves stealing his Treasure, we see it again and in full detail: a genuine nice person and a wonderful brother.
    • Even before his Heel–Face Turn, Light's also shown to have some scruples when choosing who to kill, as he hasn't fully gone off the deep end yet. He spares criminals who have undergone rehabilitation and rejoined society. In particular, he deigns not to write Kamoshida and Madarame's names in the Death Note on the grounds that they owned up to their crimes and vowed to accept whatever punishment is dished out to them. Although in the former case, Light admits that Kamoshida's a dead man walking even without writing his name down. Child Rapists don't last long in prison, after all.
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  • Adapted Out: A few major scenes from Death Note, due to the For Want of a Nail entry down below. Whether this means the Second Kira and Yotsuba Arc will be removed is up in the air.
  • A God Am I: Light's Shadow Self Kira is practically the poster boy for this trope. It’s telling that the Metaverse registers the entire world as his palace’s location. Thankfully, he gets better.
  • Always Close: Light is just one letter away from writing Raye Penber's name in the Death Note when his Change of Heart finally kicks in.
  • Anti-Hero: The Phantom Thieves can count as this, but special mentions go to Light's Persona, the Count of Monte Cristo. It also helps that said character is widely considered to be one of the greatest avengers ever written in fiction.
  • Ascended Extra: Hideki Ide, while not a minor character, was primarily absent from the first half of Death Note when L was properly revealed to Soichiro and his subordinates and didn't reappear until the Yotsuba arc. Since Light didn't kill Raye Penber or the FBI, Ide is present, along with numerous other officers, when they meet L.
  • Awful Truth: The truth of how Masahiro Niijima really died. It's also the reason why Sae's relationship with Soichiro Yagami is also strained, since he wanted to hide the truth from the man's family.
  • The Atoner: Following his change of heart, Light spends most of his days wanting to be punished for what he has done. Besides not wanting to leave his sister alone, the main reason that he hasn’t turned himself in is because he would sound crazy if he tried to tell anyone about the Death Note unless he demonstrated it, which he doesn’t want to do, for obvious reasons. When he encounters the Phantom Thieves proper, learns of their motivations and develops a Persona all in the same day, and receiving an offer to join their ranks, he joins them in the hopes that he might be able to atone for all the deaths he's caused, despite knowing it will take a very long time to do so.
  • Badass Boast: Light and Ren certainly give quite a few gems, but the best has to be done by Light's Persona, Count.
    Count: ''You have already embarked on the path of blood, have you not? Then continue forward, even if you will be damned for all of eternity. Now, let all those who do not repent for their sins be dragged to the depths of hell!
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Ren and Light respectively in their Metaverse attire. Ren looks like a stylish magician and the picture of a phantom thief, while Light's is reminiscent to a nobleman.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Discussed in a quote by Soichiro in Death Note proper and in-story by the Phantom Thieves and other characters who know that Light is Kira. Light possessing the Death Note warped his personality and gave rise to his Kira identity, but having his Palace erased reverts him back to his original self: a caring older brother and all-around nice guy.
  • Berserk Button: Insulting Masahiro is one to the Niijima sisters. Insulting Light's family is one to Light himself. And may we remind you that Light has a notebook that can kill you in any way he pleases?
  • Beware the Nice Ones: We would like to remind that, even if he has had a change of heart, Light is still the greatest serial murderer in history.
  • BFS: Count wields an absurdely long sword with a serrated edge.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Even if Raye Penber doesn't realize it, the Phantom Thieves saved his life thanks to Sayu requesting them on the Phan-Site.
  • Breather Episode: Justice, Rediscovered parts 1 and 2 seem to be this, as they lead up to Light remembering what justice was to him and lead up to him obtaining a Persona.
  • The Cameo:
    • Maki Sonomura appears in Justice, Rediscovered part 2 as the new owner of Hiiragi therapy. She also now dabbles in fortune telling, serving as bit of a Call-Back to Persona 4's introduction scene with Igor and Margaret in the Velvet Room.
    • Tohru Adachi is briefly mentioned on the television, having finally been released from prison after serving his sentence.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: The Phantom Thieves tend to do this, with Joker being the main offender, coupled with his Deadpan Snarker tendencies.
  • Coat Cape: Light's Persona Count wears one. It's also described as being smoke-like in design, adding to the sheer intimidation factor.
  • Continuity Nod: Sachiko being a Posthumous Character has been done before. To be more exact, in the Death Note live-action 2017 TV series. Also for the Persona 5 anime with Ren and Akechi already being established as friends when they meet at the TV Studio.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Joker can be quite savage when dissing Shadows at times.
  • Death by Adaptation: Sachiko, Light's mother, is dead long before the story begins. However, this is not the first time she's been relegated to Posthumous Character.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: On numerous occasions have the Yagami family talked about how much of a wonderful woman Sachiko was. Soichiro even admits how she knew how to better care for children he did, hence why he usually floundered in that aspect. Thankfully for him, neither of his children resent him for it.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Played with. The Phantom Thieves defeated Light's Shadow and erased his Palace, thus removing his distorted desires and removing the Kira identity from existence. Later on, after obtaining his own Persona after remembering what justice was to him, Light joins the Phantom Thieves.
  • The Dreaded: To criminals, Kira was this, and as of lately, the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. According to Akechi, crime rate was at an all time low when Kira made his appearance, which adds to the sheer impact Light's alter ego had.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Light's Confidant, Le'Eon, focuses on Light's confusion on what he should do after his Heel–Face Turn. This is also reflected by his Arcana, the Aeon, which represents someone understanding themselves and the world around them. In this case, Light wonders what's in store for him in life now that he is a murderer who wants to atone for what he's done and try to repair the damage he's caused, and coming to terms with the current state of the world.
  • Deuteragonist: Light is this alongside Ren. Not surprising, given that he was the protagonist of Death Note.
  • Dramatic Irony: Light is, without question, the worst serial killer in human history. And now, he's become one of the modern-day Robin Hoods. How shocking.
  • Easily Forgiven: Light feels this is the case when Ren and the others offer him a place among them as a phantom thief, reminding them that he was a serial killer up until recently. They're fully aware, but they also know that Light is now a better person, hence the reason they extend the offer.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Shinigami, and to a lesser extent, the Shadows.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Light genuinely cares about his family, and is more or less a second father figure to Sayu, having raised her in Soichiro's place due to his job. His Palace's Treasure is even a photograph of his family, including his mother who's holding an infant Sayu.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While it's debatle whether or not Shinigami are evil per say on account of Blue-and-Orange Morality, Yaldabaoth does not tolerate them. If Ryuk's reaction to being in Mementos is of any indication, he detests them so much that if he catches one inside his domain, they suffer a Fate Worse than Death. One worse than even the Extreme Level, the worst punishment a Shinigami can suffer for breaking the rules. As a result, the Shinigami fear Yaldabaoth immensely.
  • Everybody Knew Already: In-universe, the identities of the Phantom Thieves are rather easy to figure out. Makoto is easily able to single out Ren, Ryuji and Ann because they had the biggest beef, and the former two were the primary targets of Kamoshida prior to his confession. L himself already suspected Light, having done a psychological profile on top of a background check. Thanks to this and Raye giving out detailed reports, he was even able to figure out that Kira might be able to kill in ways other than a heart attack. Similarly, he's able to deduce who the Phantom Thieves are, and on a more badass note, the truth about Ren's criminal record.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Extreme Level is this for the Shinigami when they break the rules. It's never stated, perhaps as a case of You Do NOT Want To Know as even Ryuk shudders when thinking about it. As it turns out, though, even that pales in comparison to what Yaldabaoth does to Shinigami.
  • Flat "What": Light does this when Ren offers him a chance to join the Phantom Thieves. All the while, Ryuk is laughing in the background.
  • Foil: Light to L as they were in Death Note, and also to Ren. Whereas Light is the shining example of an honor student with a bright future ahead of him, Ren has had his future thrown down the toilet and his name dragged through the mud thanks to trying to save a woman from being harassed by a drunk. Additionally, Light attempts to change the world through the power of the Death Note and goes on a killing spree, and Ren changes the world through the Metaverse by changing the hearts of society's corrupt elite.
  • Food as Bribe: Averted; In Sinner of Greed (Part 4), it's suggested that Ryuk could fly the Phantom Thieves up to Kaneshiro's bank, but he refuses, saying that not even apples could get him to agree to that.
  • Foreshadowing: In Justice, Rediscovered part 2, the opening quote is from Alexandre Dumas, the author of The Count of Monte Cristo. In the next chapter, the opening segment has Light and Sayu having a movie marathon that prematurely ends with Light's favorite film: that being Alexandres most famous piece of literature. Take a guess as to what Light's Persona is?
  • For Want of a Nail: As discussed by the author, the story's merge of the plots of Death Note and P5 itself exists as one. Kira's existence, and his supernatural ability to kill anyone with a heart attack from anywhere all across the globe, already brings attention to the Phantom Thieves when they steal Kamoshida's heart, with their reputation soon bolstered after Madarame's confession.
  • Freudian Excuse: Light's apparent motivation for becoming Kira? An incident at his sister's Elementary School that scared the shit out of him, even though he was taking care of Sayu since she was sick that day and was therfore spared from the experience. Since he was too smart for his own good and realized how corrupt the world was by the time he was old enough to understand, he decided to try and make a world a better place for Sayu. And then it spiraled down into him becoming god.
  • Guardian Entity: The Personas, moreso than the Shinigami barring a few key exceptions like Gelus or Rem.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: The primary theme of the story, and the reason why the author chose to continue it after Light's change of heart. By their own admission, the story wasn't so much about the conflict between the Phantom Thieves, L and Kira as it was on the fact there were individuals who were willing to do whatever it took to change the world, as well as the ramifications their actions caused. This also extends to when one of them remembers they have a conscience and gives up being a murderer.
  • Hero Antagonist: L, as in canon; he actually respects the Phantom Theives' ideals of justice, but plans to uncover Kira's identity - a problem given Light's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Hidden Depths: Light shows this after having a change of heart and developing a Persona, wondering how the future will be for him considering he's still a murderer at the end of the day.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Ryuk has always been a smug bastard in canon, since nothing could harm or kill him. When he accidentally gets sucked into Mementos alongside Light, however, he immediately bolts because he's absolutely terrified of Yaldabaoth.
  • Invisible to Normals: No one can see Shinigami unless they hold the Death Note in their possession. Persona-users, or at the very least those who awakened to theirs in the Metaverse, can see them however.
  • I Owe You My Life: Yusuke says this as much during Light's Palace infiltration, grateful for what the Phantom Thieves did for him. Light also claims he owes Ren and the others for having stopped him when he was Kira.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Though Yaldabaoth isn't called by name, Ryuk reveals his existence quite early on, first when he meets the Phantom Thieves while they explore Light's Palace and noting that it doesn't like Shinigami intruding on its domain, and again in chapter six where he leaves Light in the Metaverse because he doesn't want to suffer a Fate Worse than Death. His existence if further elaborated on in The Sinner of Greed, with Ryuk explaining that Yaldabaoth is the general public's Treasure gained sentience.
  • Light 'em Up: Light's Persona, on top of being a physical fighter, specializes in using Bless attacks.
  • Logical Weakness: During the battle against the Demiurge, the Phantom Thieves try to figure out a way to cripple Light's Shadow on account of it constantly forbidding them from doing certain actions. Ren eventually figures out the source behind his power is his scales, as he constantly has it shift positions when changing "sacred laws" and has Morgana destroy it.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The fight with the Demiurge has two examples, both stemming from Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth. The first phase is themed after the Merciful Clergyman for it being a Barrier Change Boss, and the second phase when they destroy the scales is themed after the Clockwork God with its "death clock" attack that gives party members a random number of turns before they die.
    • The design of the Demiurge in general, having been taken directly from a concept art from Kunino-sagiri in the Persona 4: Official Design Works artbook.
    • Maki Sonomura giving Light a fortune reading, using the standard Tarot cards the series is known for. Igor once did the same thing in the previous game when players are thrusted into the game proper.
    • The Shadow Asuras' design is obviously taken from his original design, in order to differentiate himself from the Persona Asura.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Phantom Thieves are able to steal Light's heart and redeem him before he can kill Raye Penber, but Light's sudden change in demeanor, coupled with the sudden cessation of criminals dying, drastically raises L and Soichiro's suspicion of him, and turns them into hunting down the Phantom Thieves. Worse still, when Kira seemingly disappears, criminals not only return to their activities, but are now bolder than they were before his reign of terror.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Light's reign as Kira ending prematurely, as well as him joining the Phantom Thieves, is going to change the events of canon as discussed by the author. Especially when one considers that two of Light's most dedicated followers in the series proper are a Stalker with a Crush Yandere and a Ax-Crazy Knight Templar. The premise of the story is also one itself, given that the Phantom Thieves are now apart of the plot of Death Note.
  • One-Steve Limit: An unusual mythological example. Light's Shadow Self, named Kira in the narrative, becomes demon-god-like creature called the Demiurge. This was also the name Yaldabaoth is primarily called in the SMT series. Asuras also counts, as one of Ren's many Personas is named Asura.
  • Only Friend: When Light undergoes a change of heart, readers are shown that with the exception of Sayu, Light has never really had any human interactions with his classmates. Being the Teacher's Pet and The Ace, everyone at his school either hates him for being what he is or is envious of his success. When Light interacts with the Phantom Thieves and Ren, its clear that they are the first people he's had a real bond with since his father and sister (although he seems to have been friends with Makoto when they were younger, and even then, they haven't seen each other since Middle School).
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Light's change in demeanor does not go unnoticed in the Yagami househould, leading L to suspect he's Kira even faster than in canon. While Soichiro is in denial at first, he's quick to concede it's the most likely explanation for what's happened to Light.
  • Original Character: A new Mementos target named Kamiyama Takanashi, who is a prosecutor that got ahead in his job by falsifying evidence. Light's own Persona is an original character, albeit a literary famous one.
  • Paranormal Investigation: The Japanese Task Force eventually acknowledges that the Kira and Phantom Thieves case has become this, due to one killing people via by seemingly supernatural means (a notebook to be precise) and the other invoking an extreme Heel Realization.
  • Parental Abandonment: Downplayed. Soichiro admits that he has never had much of a presence in the lives of his children, especially after Sachiko died. In spite of this fact, both of his children love him dearly.
  • Posthumous Character: Sachiko Yagami, Light and Sayu's mother and Soichiro's beloved wife, is long dead by the time the story begins, having kicked the bucket due to cancer.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Ryuk leaves Light when he is accidentally dragged into Mementos.
  • Seen It All: When Light hears Morgana talk in his feline form, he only expresses a mild surprise. Makes sense, since he's been hosting a Shinigami.
  • Shout-Out: Light and Sayu spend their weekend watching Disney movies. Ryuk comments on one of them:
    How in the unholy hell does a human let their hair grow that long?
  • Spanner in the Works: Due to the plotlines of Death Note and P5 merging together in the story, both sides become this to the other. Kira's actions more or less expose the world to seemingly supernatural feats, hence leading to the Phantom Thieves coming into the public eye during the Kamoshida incident and becoming more widely exposed with Madarame's subsequent confession.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Raye Penber and Naomi Masora are the primary examples of this. Because the Phantom Thieves were able to steal Light's heart the day before he planned to kill Penber, the poor guy never killed his own colleagues as part of Light's plan to sow distrust between L and the police and kill those standing against him, and Naomi never attempts to go after Kira in revenge. This also spares the lives of countless other criminals who have died during Kira's tenure in Death Note.
  • Starter Villain: Light is the first villain the Phantom Thieves face, hot off the heels of stealing Madarame's heart as well.
  • Take a Third Option: The Phantom Thieves are popular among those who don’t support either Kira or L.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Light deeply regrets his tenure as Kira. Much of Justice, Rediscovered focuses the aftermath of having his heart changed and deeply wishing for someone to punish him for his crimes, having even left the Death Note out in plain view at one point before hiding it away again out of fear that someone may stole it on account of a break in.
  • True Companions: Light calls the Phantom Thieves this, on account of all of them bonding over their lack of presence in current society. Ren whole-heartedly agrees with him.
  • Unknown Rival: A mutual example. Everyone at Daikoku Academy assumes Light and Akechi are rivals in the Honor Student department, but they've actually barely spoken to each other. In fact, in the one scene they have spoken to each other, they're perfectly cordial (Light offering to turn down his recommendation to To-Oh University so Akechi could have it pleasantly surprises the latter).
  • Wham Line: In Rebel, ye King of the Cavern:
    (awakens to his Persona) Count to Light: I am thou. Thou art I.
  • We Can Rule Together: Kira attempts to do this to the Phantom Thieves when the try to steal his Treasure. Joker isn't having any of it.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Light's canon moment when L pulls a fast one over him with The Reveal counts as this, even if it did happen as a mere passing mention. Light's Shadow gets in on the action when he realizes that the Phantom Thieves are kicking his ass.
  • Zerg Rush: The Shadows in Light's Palace are reputedly weaker than the ones in Madarame's. Problem is there's just so many of them they wear down the heroes soon enough anyway.