He wakes up on a bed in a prison cell (again) he sees a small woman with a butterfly headband who had introduced herself as lavenza, and a man with gray hair who he remembers as Igor. She apologizes, and presses a book into his hand and the man too apologies, as well as give him something he doesn't remember, he doesn't remember much of the encounter. It fades to black and he hears the laughter of a bastard.
Ryuji, confused and just about done at this point decides the best course of action would be to get a journal of his own and he goes to Leblanc to sort out his thoughts and plans
He ends up righting down his entire account and what he needs to do
- He's absolutely got to save Akechi and haru's Dad bc that's what she deserves and he can somewhat understand akechi despite his shitty actions
- He knows what is going on in this school year, might as well get around to studying
- He remembers shiho and wants to help her before anything happens to her, she's Ann's girlfriend! (Not yet he guesses)
So overall just look out for his friends and the people around them, got it…
…. And he guesses to maybe get some acting or improv classes too so he starts writing and referencing their finances
He's sitting at the bar in Leblanc with a cup of coffee (yuck! But he knew he needed the caffeine) when boss starts talking to him.
Akechi enters and sits down but Ryuji doesn't notice him.
"Whatcha got there kid?", sojiro asks.
"Just figuring some shit out boss," he says with a sigh.
Sojiro freezes at the nickname, confused.
Ryuji, just realizing that he just called him boss and they haven't technically met yet,"uhh sorry, you just remind me of a man I knew." he says rather awkwardly.
"No it's fine, actually most people call me that," he looks over at what ryuji is doing and notices the budget stuff, "crist kid.. why are you looking at financing?"
Kinda spoked he closes his spread of notebooks (Akira's probation journal, his account on last year, and now the new one with his plan, finances, and goals) because it'd be kinda bad to be found out immediately. "Its… well it's kinda stupid." he trails off.
Sojiro raises an eyebrow but figures it isn't his business and goes to help his next customer.
"I don't usually see people my age here" Akechi says and Ryuji freezes up and turns over to see akechi.
"I heard the coffee is good, but I wouldn't really know, I hate coffee." Ryuji says internally forcing himself to calm down. With limited success.
"You came here but don't like coffee?" Akechi says with a raised eyebrow.
"Of course," he says with a little eyeroll and a laugh, "I'll get you to see it my way, just you wait."
Akechi seems amused and laughs too. "Akechi, goro." He says offering a hand.
"I'm Sakamoto, ryuji." Instead offering him a fist bump.
Akechi has a delayed reaction to this so ryuji makes his hand into a fist and then bumps it.
Ryuji gets up and then waves goodbye before leaving a mildly confused Akechi and a silently judging the situation, Sojiro.
Ryuji 1st needs to discover Akira, 2nd should convince Shiho to leave the school before what that bastard does to her, and last importantly, at the moment, get a job and pay for improv classes.
His run into Akira is uneventful, if you count chasing after one of his best friends in a car before giving up and traveling to another world with your future best friend and meets humanities hope personified as a cat (?)
He considers himself good at his reactions with the combination of memories he retains and makes sure to keep it scripted,
Later he's glad that his mom is home early, and makes dinner for the 2 of them.
After figuring that their only way to stop kamoshida was to steal his heart, he makes sure to talk to Shiho
"Hey," he approaches calmly and softly, only knowing the half of what she's dealt with and trying not to spook her, despite not knowing how to talk to someone in such a way, he channels his mom, and what she would for him if he got a nightmare about his dad,"do you mind if I talk with you about something?"
She looks a little surprised that he approached her but nods none the less and follows him so they can talk, her eyes look so dead that he just wants to hug the girl and tell her that it'd be okay.
"I know that you and Ann are friends and she's pretty worried about you, and I don't know what's entirely what's going on but neither of us want to see you hurt. I haven't told Ann what I'm about to ask you yet but if you don't want to I didn't want to tell her and have her pressure you into it." He says in an exacerbated sort of ramble. He looks over to shiho.
"What are you asking me?" She says.
"I want you to transfer." He blurts out, gaining him a shocked expression. "I don't want you getting hurt damnit, neither does Ann. You're not happy here, I can tell you're depressed and it'll only get worse if you stay."
She stays silent just, looking at him, not knowing what to say.
"It's okay if you don't know immediately, just maybe think it over? It's ultimately your choice."
With that he leaves her hoping that the idea will help her get out sooner.
He goes back to Leblanc (knowing Akira won't be there), the place helps him think and has his familiarity so he's naturally drawn to it, this time with a list of jobs and the 'plan journal', as he's dubbed it. Sojiro has taken notice to the space he's taken up and talks to him again.
"Job fliers?" He says
"Yep. I want to take classes for something but don't want my ma paying for it" he says offhandedly.
"Hm, what classes?" Sojiro asks.
"Uhh, I've been… kinda.. Actually, just.. you know, improv?"
Sojiro smirks, "looks like you need it"
"Bossssss." He whines, dropping his head onto the table. "Ugh."
Sojiro, a man who must adopt every stray he comes across sighs. "I can let you work here part time, but I wouldn't be able to pay you much."
Ryuji's eyes widen as he instantly shoots up from his seat, "really?!"
"Yeah but just be aware I have a kid here in the attic, he should actually be around your age."
"Oh.. will I ever meet him?" He says, boss'll know they're friends later he guesses.
"Well he's not supposed to be in the store during hours but maybe. Now do you want me to show you the ropes or not?" He says jestering to another apron. "It's going slow so might as well."
He nods and packs up his stuff, shoving it into a corner. He subconsciously makes eye contact with the camera sojiro set up for futaba cursing internally at the mistake.
The rest of the evening goes uneventful as he learns the basics but he doubts he'd be able to do anything with it soon.
Shiho makes the transfer soon enough, much to the euphoria of Ann and ryuji. As she leaves though, Ann has her own revelation for her feelings and now has a girlfriend. She gets to join the crew and Ryuji gets another old friend.
Along with that old friend he gets another problem, joker doesn't know how to lead . It's not that he isn't trying, and he's certainly doing better then what Ryuji would do at this point. He's new to this and it's fine but at the same time it's absolutely infuriating but there's nothing he can do then have complete trust in him and pick up the pieces, making sure nobody gets hurt.
Another thing he didn't take into account was the fact since he's a prisoner of the velvet room he can now see joker go into the velvet room, accompanied by twin wardens. The first time it happened he was kind of stunned but neither girl addressed him and when joker came back Morgana chided him for, 'blanking out'. Well, guess he knows why now.
In the meantime though they've been rebuilding their Bond and Ryuji finds himself happy to have him. He loves Akira and Akira loves him, but not in that way , he's his bro and they revolved around each other and could just be around each other but he's not in love with him. He's bi but his love for Akira was platonic, in his past round they'd mistake their feelings for romantic and kissed but it wasn't what they'd wanted. Wasn't how they felt. After a bit of research and a revelation in sexuality, Akira found himself on the aro/ace scale and in a perfectly valid and healthy duo with his best friend. Best friends was the title they chose and the title they'd keep because it felt most comfortable with.
This time though Ryuji talked about it while they were training together. He off-handedly mentioned that he read a book with an aro/ace character (twas a lie [Morgana : you read?, Ryuji: don't sound so surprised]) to which Akira had a more interested expression, Ryuji could tell his expressions at this point, as his best friend, so he explained it.
He'd also been dragged along with Ann to carry her shopping bags. This wasn't his first rodeo so when she came to him for his opinion he supplied it helpfully. (Ann: wow I didn't know you had style, ryuji: I'm bi, my gay half gives me style, Ann: omg we are disaster bi's together)
He later gets his improv classes in order and goes into his first class to see haru . It made sense, she had 'yes and'ed' Morgana when he left the team, she was very good at improv and it made him pretty proud. In the beginning she noticed his starring and he quickly apologized, explaining how he saw her at his school. After that clear up they had quickly got aquainted and since ryuji had already associated her with 'friend' he already treated her as such which in turn made her treat him as such. What was later having to see haru be picked up by her asshole fiance, but he made promise to see her next lesson and internally promised to himself he would make sure to make this the least stressful and happy she can be while under the thumb of her father and fiance.
Yaldabaoth did swear to kill them. He tried to start with Ryuji but he did swear revenge against all of them . And no, he never forgot about that fact.
He just didn't expect for the false god to send cognitive machinations after them to kill them.
And since he's the only one who knows about them he has to take them out alone.
So basically, Ryuji comes up with whatever flimsy excuse he can in the moment when he sees out of the corner of his mind a cognitive beast. Then he proceeds to run after it, battle it, tell it to go back to whatever hell it came from, and then return to the group like nothing happened.
Needless to say he's gotten a lot more paranoid in the metaverse, since he's battling demons no one knows about and that can kill them.
He needs a damn break.
He makes the calling card, and it's the first time, in a long time, that he does it alone. And later he gets the first, to many, reactions to the card.
They beat kamoshida's palace and get his shitty metal and wait.
They establish their role and name and make Akira their leader. After kamoshida finally got around to confessing his bullshit . And get around to a celebration. Even if it's the 2nd time round and they're surrounded by shitty adults he'll always love a phantom thief celebration. And even if he knows what'll happen he's still happy to see his team decide to continue on their path.
They have meetings on the rooftop, and that's when Ryuji remembers that Haru gardens on the roof. He ends up going there with his notebooks to better strategies (he's met Akechi already but what could he possibly do to sway him away from his goals, what could he do to get him to compromise, to reconsider? He doesn't know what to do and he can't approached the others about this, besides that he wants to help his ma with all that he can but-)
"Sakamoto? Is that you?" He looks over to see haru, gardening supplies and all. She looks to be inspecting him and his spread. "What are you doing here?"
He looks down to his lap that is supporting his notebook. He holds it up to her, showing her the page, "happen to know anything about budgeting??"
That was certainly not the answer she was expecting, as her eyes widen and she takes off her gloves to pick up the notebook and look at it. "Why are you looking at stuff like this?"
"I got a part time job to help a least a little bit. My ma has always been struggling to make sure we have a roof over our heads and groceries and whatnot, I just thought I could, you know, pitch in."
She beams at him, "that's so kind of you to care for her so much, oh! But is it taxing for you to take improv classes? It must be inconvenient for you with that situation."
He looks sheepish at the compliment and concern, he laughs a little at it. "Your father owns a company right? Can I abuse our friendship to get some help with this." He says making complete sure that he sounds sarcastic.
She laughs a little too, "I wish I could, I don't know much about business and such. My father wouldn't let me, I suspect that he wants to use me for marriage and what not." She says.
He seen what her father has done to her before but man does it make his blood boil . "That's effing horrible ." He says, "aren't you his child? His heir? "
She looks rightfully upset at this, "he's my father." She says quietly.
He backs up a bit, realizing that that reaction helps no one. "Well… what if you did learn how to manage and balance money? We could help each other, I would be able to help my mom and you could show your dad you're as capable as I know you are!"
She looks stunned for a second before lighting up . "Do you really think so?"
"Of course! If you don't mind it, we can start now,"
"Well I was about to do some gardening… " she trails off.
"No problem! I hope you don't mind some help!" He says rolling up his sleeves. "I guess we'll be seeing each other a lot between improv and this now."
After his first meeting with akechi he recovered from the shell shock of seeing the dude alive, and now is just filled with anger at the teen. At the TV station he had to keep his cool, remember what to say, and not portray what absolute bullshit he feels toward him and has to remind himself he'll save him. After akechi approaches them after he lets nothing show except his clenched fist, shaking with anger at his side. He watches him leave and lets out a sigh of relief when he does, turning only to see his friends confused looks. He doesn't address them, just making eye contact with Morgana and nodding. Of course he's saving the bastard, but said bastard tried to kill his best friend and murdered not 1 but 2 of his friend's parents he feels he has the right to be a little mad .
Ann and Akira shoot him a concerned look but he waves it off. "Morgana? You get that?" He scans the cat's face.
He looks over to him, "yes, I guess that will be important."
Ryuji nods again, "good."
If he thought dealing with the demons in kamoshida's palace was bad then mementos managed the achievement of being worse. He's glad that he retains his strength because if he hadn't he'd be dead.
He gets the added bonus of quite a bit more bosses that hunt them down. He now has to carry his own medical supplies and sp boosts so that he can handle both Yaldabaoth's assassins and the rest of mementos.
He's pretty sure by the end of this he'll have a crippling coffee addiction.
He wonders how long he'll last.
Goddamnit he's going to have to come here without the group and sweep the place isn't he.