Actions

Work Header

To a Wild Rose

Chapter Text

 

It was an average day at Hope's Peak Academy, and Kaito had honestly considered ditching class again. Had his sidekick Shuichi not pleaded with him to show up every now and then, he probably would have. He slumped in his corner of the classroom, watching as his classmates went wild with whatever they usually did.

"I can, and will, end your life if you don't shut up," the Ultimate Yakuza Maki Harukawa hissed at her classmate Miu Iruma, the Ultimate Fanfic Creator. Kaito didn't bother listening to the rest of the conversation, his eyes flitting over to the opposite corner of the room, where the generally quiet boy Kokichi Ouma, the Ultimate Pianist, sat. He was writing something down on a sheet of paper. He had on his usual clothes- a lavender shirt and white skinny jeans, a checkered scarf tied to his neck with music note pins scattered on it.

"Kaito," his sidekick spoke up.

"Huh? What's up?" Kaito's gaze snapped over to Shuichi, the Ultimate Nurse. Shuichi gave him a weird look. "You're staring at Kokichi. Again. Kaito, do you like him or something?" he asked.

Kaito bristled. "Of course not. I'm not gay."

Shuichi rose his eyebrows.

Kaito relented. "I'm a little gay."

Shuichi continued to stare at him. Kaito huffed and crossed his arms. "What? You lookin' to start something?" he asked defensively. Shuichi held his hands up in surrender, though he knew full well Kaito would never hurt him. "No. And there's no shame in liking Koki-"

"Shut up, he might hear you," Kaito snapped in a low voice.

A knowing smile crossed Shuichi's face. "Whatever you say, Kaito."

"Hey Shuichi, what's up?" Rantaro, the Ultimate Child Caregiver, approached the two conversing males, slinging an arm around his shoulders. Shuichi leaned into him slightly.

"Ah, we're just discussing Kaito's sexuality."

"No! No we are not!" Kaito hissed, "this isn't up for debate!"

Shuichi laughed a little. Rantaro tilted his head to the side. "You got your eyes on someone?" he questioned. Before Kaito could answer, from the corner of his eye, Kaito noticed Kokichi straighten his papers out and pick them up, grabbing his bag and walking out of the classroom, his face blank, not sparing anyone a single glance.

Unfortunately, Rantaro noticed his staring.

"Kokichi? You like Kokichi?"

"Oh my fucking god. No, I don't," Kaito growled, slamming his hands down and getting up, grabbing his bag. "Fuck this, I'm gonna go take a ride. I'll be back for afternoon classes."

Shuichi and Rantaro shared a bemused look as Kaito left in a huff.

Now, Kaito cared for Shuichi, and Rantaro. They were like his sidekicks. He's offered countless times for them to join his motorcycle gang, but neither accepted, preferring to help him when he gets into a fight rather than help fight. But dammit, he was tired of them accusing him of liking Kokichi. Sure, he was a little fascinated by the small male, but that didn't mean anything.

He left the school on his motorcycle, taking a long ride around the city, before returning to Hope's Peak.

Kaito fixed his black coat as he strolled through the halls of the academy. He usually wore a white shirt with a long black leather coat, with one arm in the sleeve. Of course, when he was riding his motorcycle, he wore the jacket correctly, but that's beside the point. He also wore dark denim jeans, and black boots. He glanced at the time. Everyone should be at lunch by now.

He started to head to the cafeteria.

On his way there, however, he heard the sweet sound of a melody playing. He actually paused to listen for a moment, then turned to follow the noise. What was that? Who was playing? What-?

With a start, he realized, it was a piano. Which means...

He stopped in front of the music room, the door was cracked open, and he could see Kokichi, playing away an unfamiliar song. Maybe he was the one who composed it? He pushed the door open enough to slip in and lean against the door frame, watching with his arms crossed. Kokichi didn't seem to notice- too engrossed in his music. When he seemed to finish, Kaito let out a low whistle, causing the small male to jump. "Not bad, pipsqueak."

Kokichi whirled around, his eyes widening in surprise. After a moment, his face went neutral. "Oh, Kaito. Hi. I didn't know you were here."

"Your playing is pretty good," Kaito commented.

"Thanks," Kokichi's face turned red, Kaito noted in amusement. 

He jerked his head to the piano. "You compose it?"

"How'd you-?"

"Saw you writing in class," Kaito cut in. He realized too late that he basically confessed to have been watching him. But Kokichi didn't seem to dwell on the fact. He just gave Kaito a shy smile and if that wasn't the most adorable smile in the world he didn't know what was- wait, no, gay thoughts. No, thoughts. Bad thoughts. He jolted when he noticed Kokichi's mouth moving. He'd been talking and he had totally zoned out.

"-I mean, I don't normally compose my own songs but I just...had this idea in my head for awhile..? If that makes sense?"

"Uh, yeah, it does."

Kokichi's violet eyes sparkled. Kaito's eyes narrowed. "You don't...normally get to talk about this kinda stuff, do you?"

And just like that, Kokichi's face fell. "No."

Kaito sighed loudly, rubbing the back of his head. Me, me, I'll talk about it with you! I'll listen to you! his thoughts screamed. Out loud though, he just said, "I guess I can listen to whatever shit you wanna talk about."

"Really? It isn't boring?" Kokichi asked, his mouth slightly agape.

"Nah. I mean, I won't understand most of the shit you ramble about, but-"

"I can teach you!" Kokichi said excitedly.

"No way."

"Ehh? Why not?" he pouted.

"Cause I don't do that kinda shit. It just doesn't fit my image," Kaito huffed. Kokichi deflated, but seemed to accept this. Probably because he didn't wanna push his luck, Kaito figured. Nevertheless, Kokichi sat back on the piano bench and began talking.

~

By afternoon classes, Kaito was back in class. Shuichi sat in front of him, facing him. "Hey, Kaito? Where were you at lunch? Rantaro, Kaede, Tenko and I were looking all over for you."

"Even Tenko?" Kaito snorted.

"She was!" Shuichi defended, then relented, "because Kaede asked her to."

"She's such a fuckin' lesbian," Kaito rolled his eyes, but a tiny grin flitted across his face. Shuichi bit his lip, tugging at his hair, a habit he did whenever he was nervous, probably trying to hide his eyes with his bangs like he used to hide behind his hat.

"So..?"

"I was still out," Kaito responded simply.

Right after he spoke, Kokichi walked into the room, arm full of books. As he passed by, he spared Kaito a glance, and smiled, and sat at his own seat. Shuichi stared. "No way. Kokichi Ouma just...smiled at you? Were you two-?"

"Shut up."

"Oh my god."

"Shut up."

"Oh my god."

"Shuichi I swear-"

"I- you? And Kokichi? Oh my g-"

"If you say oh my god one more time, I'm gonna slug you."

Shuichi closed his mouth.

"Hey, what's going on?" Kaede asked as she walked over. Before Kaito could speak, Shuichi beat him to it. "Kaito was with Kokichi," he blurted at his best girl friend. Kaede's eyes widened in surprise. "Huh? Really? Kaito that's amazing! I always knew you two would be a great couple!" she squealed, clasping her hands together, "you gotta let me take a picture of you two together! It'd be so cute!" as she spoke, she picked up the camera hanging from her neck. She often had her hair down, with silver clips holding her bangs from getting in her eyes, a white short sleeved button up, and a pink overall styled dress that fell down her thighs, little flower pins on the shoulder clasps, long stockings and slip on shoes.

"We aren't a couple, and we never will be," Kaito hissed.

Kaede's face fell.

Kaito groaned. "Look, I just let him talk about his interests. We aren't friends, boyfriends, or anything. He was lonely, so I listened to him talk. Nothing more, nothing less."

"Kaito!" Kaede sounded appalled.

"It's the truth, okay? Now drop it," Kaito snapped. No, it was the furthest thing from the truth. He loved listening to Kokichi, and he hoped they could become friends, but goddammit he hated hearing his friends coo about his love life. He felt eyes boring into the side of his head and turned, noticing Kokichi staring at him. Ah- was he too loud..? Judging from Kokichi's genuinely hurt expression, he had been. Kokichi quickly turned back to his papers, his head slightly more lowered than usual.

Shit.

Okay, he had to...try to fix this.

Just not now.

Shuichi and Kaede exchanged a worried glance, but both went to their seats as the bell rang.

~

After school was over, Kokichi scooped his things and hurried out of class. Kaito grabbed his things and hurried after him, trying to make it look like he wasn't following the short boy around. He missed the look Shuichi and Kaede shared on his way out.

When Kaito got to the hall, Kokichi was already gone. For a brief moment, Kaito assumed he headed to the dorms, but then he nearly smacked himself. Of course Kokichi would head to the music room. That was practically his sanctuary.

He took a breath and walked as calmly as he could in the direction he just knew Kokichi would be at.

Sure enough, Kokichi was at the piano, playing a song. He opened the door quietly and walked in, shutting the door behind him and leaning against it. He waited, somewhat impatiently, for Kokichi to finish playing.

Once he did, Kokichi let out a sigh of, what sounded like, relief. He turned and jumped when he saw Kaito. He averted his gaze. "What?"

"Look, about earlier-"

"I don't wanna talk about it."

"Well I do. Listen-"

"No, I'm not gonna listen," Kokichi walked over to him, standing a couple feet away. "Move."

"I'm not moving until you listen, dammit!"

"Well I don't wanna hear what you have to say!"

"Well too bad!"

"Move!" Kokichi attempted to shove him aside. He didn't budge. Kokichi was too weak. He leaned over and grabbed both of his wrists with one hand forcefully, yet not too firmly, as to not hurt him. "Listen to me goddammit! What I said earlier to Shuichi and Kaede was to get them to shut up!"

"I don't wanna hear it! You're just embarrassed to be seen with a piano freak!"

"That's not it! I-"

"Lalalalalalala I'm not listening! Lalalalalala-"

Kaito rose his voice to talk over him. "I said what I said because they keep talking about my love life and-"

"Still not listening!"

"And I'm sick of it-"

"Lalalalalala!"

"I fucking care about you goddammit shut the fuck up!"

Kokichi stopped.

Kaito stopped too.

It was quiet for a moment. Kaito let go of Kokichi's wrists to run his hand through his hair. "Okay? I do care about you. I just...don't like it when people stick their noses into my life. It has absolutely nothing to do with you."

Kokichi regarded him silently.

"Believe me."

"...Would you try to learn piano?"

"What?"

"Would you try to learn piano?" Kokichi repeated.

Kaito sighed, his hand drooping to the back of his neck. "I mean...if that's what it takes to get you to forgive me...then sure."

Kokichi smiled slightly and grabbed his wrist. "Come on then."

"What, now?"

"Yes, now."

"Jesus, you're pushy."

"And you're loud and rude."

Kaito snorted.

At least he made amends. And at least Kokichi was happy.

~

Weeks passed since that day. Kaito had learned...a single basic song. Or, at least what Kokichi deemed basic. He'd learned the Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 

"You played so well, Kaito!" Kokichi cheered when Kaito finished the song. He sighed, rubbing his temples.

"I don't see how that was basic to you. That was the hardest shit I've done."

"Oh please," Kokichi scoffed, "try playing Clair de Lune, or-" his eyes lit up, "maybe Chopin's amazing song Etude, in G sharp minor, Op.25, No.6!"

"I have no idea what that is."

Kokichi sat on the bench. "Watch and learn, noob."

"Noob-?!"

Kokichi gave him a sly smirk and began playing.

Kaito's eyes practically bulged from his head. Kokichi finished playing after a couple minutes, staring up at Kaito smugly. Kaito slowly shook his head. "You're inhuman."

Kokichi laughed.

"How the fuck can you play all this so easily? You piano gremlin," Kaito wrapped an arm around his neck and noogied him. Kokichi squealed and struggled to get away.

"Kaito! You're messing up my hair!"

"It was already a rat's nest."

"Rude!"

"Truth hurts, don't it?" Kaito let go, grinning like an idiot. Kokichi huffed and stood. "You totally owe me ice cream."

"Ice cream?!"

"Yeah! For being so rude!"

"Tch, whatever," Kaito stood up and walked to the doorway. He opened the door and glanced back at Kokichi, still sitting on the bench. He huffed. "Aren't you coming?" At this, Kokichi's eyes lit up, and he scrambled off the bench and ran after Kaito. The two left the school building, heading for where Kaito has his motorcycle parked. He grabbed his helmet and tossed it to Kokichi. "Here."

Kokichi barely caught it. "But...Kaito, it's yours. You won't have one. You're driving, you should wear it."

"If by any chance we get into an accident, I'd rather it be me in the hospital, not you."

"But...no, I don't want you hurt," Kokichi held it out to Kaito. Kaito sighed and took it from his hands. But instead of putting it on, he leaned over and plopped it on Kokichi's head, fastening it as tightly as he could, since it was so big on him. It slipped to cover his eyes nonetheless. Kaito smirked and got on his motorcycle. "Hop on. And hold on. With all your strength."

Kokichi slowly got on the motorcycle, moving to wrap his little arms around Kaito's waist.

Kaito started up the motorcycle, and soon, the two were speeding off to an ice cream parlor.

Kokichi clung to Kaito, silently marveling at the fact Kaito even had a helmet. He was the Ultimate Biker Gang Leader, they don't wear helmets, do they? He decided he'd ask after they parked. He didn't wanna distract Kaito.

They arrived in minutes.

Kokichi let go and got off, Kaito following suit. Kokichi struggled to unfasten the helmet, causing Kaito to chuckle and help him. Once Kaito plucked the helmet off his head, Kokichi spoke up. "I didn't think Biker Gangs ever wore helmets."

Kaito hummed. "Generally, they don't, but..." his face contorted to pain, "our previous leader did a race of endurance, against a rival bike gang. He died doing it. And as the new leader, I promote safety. As prideful as I am of my territory, it's not risk losing my life. Not when I have goals in mind. Not when people count on me to lead them."

"That's...Kaito I..."

"It's fine. "

They went inside the parlor in silence. As they waited in line, Kokichi asked the question pegging his mind. "What's a race of endurance?"

"It's when two motorcyclists race eachother to a cliff. The first one to stop loses. And our previous leader didn't stop. He flew off the cliff and died. His head was practically unrecognizable. Really gorey shit."

"O-oh."

Kaito glanced at him. "Don't look so glum. It was years ago."

"Still..."

Kaito sighed, then decided it'd be best to change the subject. "So, what ice cream do you want?"

Kokichi looked at the flavors. "Umm...tutti frutti."

"That's gay."

"Shut up."

Kaito laughed. When it was their turn, Kaito ordered Kokichi a double scoop of the tutti frutti flavor, and himself a single scoop plain vanilla. Both of which he paid for. The two sat at a table in the parlor. "You didn't have to get me a double scoop," Kokichi pouted, moving to lick his ice cream.

"I know."

Kokichi's face reddened.

The two freely chatted, and Kaito felt more relaxed than ever. Until he saw someone outside the parlor, wearing a long white coat. A few of them, actually, each on motorcycles. The rival gang, he realized, the ones who were pissed off at him for beating their leader in a street race and, unintentionally he must add, hospitalized him. They'd been out to get him for at least two months now. They'd tried messing with his gang, but since they're always together, they couldn't do shit.

Seeing them eye Kokichi suddenly made his skin crawl.

Kokichi was small. And vulnerable. And there were multiple of them, he couldn't fight all five of them at once and protect Kokichi. They had to leave. Now. His breath caught in his throat when they walked in and took a seat close to the doors.

"You wanna head out?" Kaito asked, his voice on edge. Kokichi blinked and finished his ice cream. "Sure. Let me go wash my hands real fast," he stood and hurried to the restroom. Kaito waited until he was out of sight before walking to the rival gang. "What the fuck do you want? You're in my territory," he hissed.

"Aww we can't enjoy some...ice cream?" the other sneered, causing the other four to snicker. Kaito clenched his jaw and fists. "Leave us alone. If you wanna stay here, fine, but you better fucking leave me and my pal alone. Or there will be some major fucking trouble."

"Ooh, scary. What'cha gonna do? Beat all of us?"

"If I have to, damn right I will." He sounded more confident than he felt. He cracked his knuckles. "Don't think for a second I fuckin' won't."

The one doing the shit talking faltered for a moment, then shared a look with his pals. After a tense moment, Kokichi came back. "I'm back!" he stopped by Kaito, looking at the five members of the rival gang. His brows furrowed as they stared intensely at him. Kaito grabbed Kokichi's arm before he could say anything, yanking him out of the parlor. "Let's go."

"What? Kaito, what's wrong?"

"We have to go," Kaito hissed as he sprinted to his motorcycle. He had to get Kokichi to safety. Dammit, why was his chest beating so loudly? He quickly put the helmet back on Kokichi and fastened it sloppily, getting on. Kokichi quickly got on after him, clinging to him.

"Hold on!" Kaito said, revving the engine to life. He steered away from the parking lot and took off, speeding down an alleyway. It was quicker than the streets, and he could speed without worrying about hitting a car. It was a bit bumpier though, but Kokichi, to his credit, held on tightly.

Mere minutes after he took off, he heard the sound of multiple motorcycles catching up to him.

Shit, shit, shit.

Two sped up ahead of him, cutting him off, two matched his speed and drove next to him, and the last one was behind him. He slammed on the breaks, nearly causing not only a crash, but nearly made Kokichi fly off. They were surrounded. And alone.

Fucking hell.

"You better fucking watch it," Kaito growled, "don't make me fucking pulverize you," he got off the motorcycle, tossing his coat off.

"Kaito?" Kokichi sounded genuinely scared.

"Stay back, Kokichi. Get off the bike, and lean against the gate," Kaito didn't take his eyes off the biker in front of him. He heard Kokichi move. He also heard the biker behind him leap off his bike. Kaito whirled around, lunging forward. "Don't fucking touch him!" he punched the biker directly in the face, the force causing him to stumble back.

"Kaito!"

Kaito whirled around. One biker, the main who who cut him off first, the snarky one, held Kokichi from behind. The helmet was on the ground, it'd probably fallen off when he was grabbed. Kokichi was struggling to get out of his grasp, until he pulled a knife on him, aiming it at his throat.

"You fucking bastard! Let him go! This has nothing to do with him!"

"Boss will be happy we finally got something of value to you, Momota," he sneered. The other bikers cackled. Kaito clenched his fists tightly, his nails digging into his palm, slowly making them bleed.

"Now, we're going to retreat, and you will be a good boy and lay still."

"Wh-"

"Kaito! Behind you!"

Something hit him from behind, and he fell. The other four bikers leapt on him, attacking him, kicking him, punching him. He did his best to protect his head, and managed to peek up to see what was happening to Kokichi, who was shouting at them to stop.

The biker held the knife even closer to his throat. Kokichi slammed his head back, hitting his chest, and bit his hand when he lowered the knife. The biker let out a yell and dropped the knife. Kokichi stumbled away and grabbed the knife, holding it out shakily.

"You fucking piece of shit!" The biker lunged, easily dodging the knife Kokichi sloppily swung. He grabbed him by his scarf and threw him against the gate, a blood stain left on the gate. He fell.

"Kokichi!" Kaito screamed, ignoring the throbbing pain in his ribs. He noticed Kokichi laying face down on the ground, not moving. The biker grabbed him and lifted him up. Blood dripped down from Kokichi's head, and he was limp. He was unconscious.

"Let's go boys!"

"No! I swear to god I'll fucking kill you!"

A swift kick to his head knocked him out.

And when he awakened god knows how long later, all the bikers, their motorcycles, and Kokichi were gone. The only thing left was Kokichi's checkered scarf, which was splattered with blood and dirt. His eyes welled up with frustrated tears. He slammed a fist onto the ground, ignoring the pain.

"Dammit!" he screamed.

~*~

When Kokichi woke up, his head hurt like all hell. He hissed and tried to rub it, only to realize he couldn't move. He was in a dimly lit room, his arms, wrists, and ankles tied up in an unbearably tight knot, and he was tied to a chair. He could feel half dried blood dripping from his forehead. He blinked blearily.

"So he awakens," a new voice said, walking over slowly. He didn't have a shirt on, but he had a long white coat on, the edges torn. He had some massive abs, his chest, and face littered with scars. Nasty scars. This had to be the leader, Kokichi realized quickly.

"What do you want from me?" Kokichi's voice cracked.

"Not from you. From Momota," he sneered, grabbing a chair and sitting in it, his arms crossed over the back of it as he leaned on it. He was sitting on it backwards, staring at him intently. "Though, you're not so bad looking. Too bad I have to ruin that."

"Wh-what?" Kokichi hated how his voice stuttered.

"I wonder when your hero will rescue you. He will, I fuckin' guarantee it."

"He won't fall for it!"

A sharp smack to his cheek made his chair wobble. His cheek stung badly, and he could feel blood on the corner of his lip.

"Oh yeah. We're gonna have fun with you."

~*~

"Shuichi!" Kaito slammed the door to his sidekick's dorm open. Shuichi, who'd been snuggling with Rantaro, jumped. "H-huh? Wh-what? Kaito- oh my god what happened?!" Shuichi leapt up when he took note of Kaito's disheveled, dirty, bruised, bloodied appearance. He ran over, with Rantaro in tow. "Kaito!"

"They fucking took him."

"What?"

"Those assholes took Kokichi!" he snarled, "we have to get him back! I need you to come with me so you can help him when I get him back from those fuckers!"

"O-okay, but Kaito, let me look at your wounds first!"

"No time! They took him..." Kaito glanced at the clock in Shuichi's room. "Four hours ago! God fucking dammit!" he punched the wall, ignoring Shuichi's flinch. "K-Kaito..."

"I promised...I promised myself I would protect him," Kaito whispered, his eyes welling up with tears. "I failed him." He quickly wiped away his tears with his sleeve, ignoring the stinging pain.

"We'll get him back, but we can't do it if your injuries are unattended to," Rantaro spoke softly, gently grabbing Kaito's fist and uncurling his fingers, looking at him somberly. "When Shuichi's done fixing you up, we'll gather your gang, and we'll save him."

Kaito slowly relaxed. "Alright. But hurry, Shuichi. Who knows what they're doing to him right now?"

"I know. I will, Kaito," Shuichi grabbed his elbow, and steered him to the nurses office, where he kept all his medical supplies. He'd have to pack them in a big bag here shortly, he thought.

Well, whatever.

They will save Kokichi.

~*~

Kokichi spat out blood, wheezing when one of the bikers smacked his face with a crowbar. His entire body was aching. More than a couple times, they'd hit him so hard his chair fell to the ground, which would hurt his head even more. He'd be shocked if he didn't suffer brain damage.

"Go on, boy, scream," the leader shouted.

"N-no...I won't..."

"You stubborn rat!" the leader did a roundhouse kick, hitting the same cheek he'd been just smacked with the crowbar. The force, once again, sent him to the ground. His vision was darkening, blurry, and he felt sick.

The leader then took a deep breath and went to the corner of the room, lighting a cigar and taking a puff. The biker behind him, once again, straightened his chair up, only for him to get smacked with a baseball bat from another, the top edges had nails in it, cuts splattered across his cheek. He struggled to hold back his tears. It had been getting increasingly difficult.

The leader came back, a wicked smirk on his face. He leaned in to Kokichi's torn shirt, where his exposed, bruised, likely broken, torso was. Kokichi flinched back, and before he could even wonder what was gonna happen, the leader pressed his burning cigar to his chest.

After a sold two seconds, Kokichi began screaming.

The leader laughed. "That's it! That's what I like to hear!"

And the pain continued.

Kaito...please...help me...

~*~

Kaito had gathered his gang. The entire gang. They were storming enemy territory, of course he'd need everyone. 

They drove to where the rival gang's hideout was- it really wasn't hard to find. At least, not to Kaito Momota, Luminary of the Bikers. Once they arrived, Shuichi, Rantaro, Kaede, and Tenko all hid. They'd agreed to come along. Rantaro, so he can help his boyfriend, Kaede, because she was worried, and Tenko because she wanted to protect Kaede.

"Rantaro, come with me. You're pretty strong, I want you to be the one to take Kokichi to safety."

"I'm going too," Tenko held her baseball bat, her green eyes blazing, "I'd love to kick some degenerate males asses."

"...Alright." Kaito took a deep breath, eyeing Kokichi's scarf he'd tied to the handle of his motorcycle, before turning to his gang. "Let's get these fuckers," he shouted, which caught the attention of tons of the rival gang.

And just like that, all hell broke loose. Thankfully, Shuichi and Kaede were far enough away to not get caught in the fray.

~*~

Kokichi could faintly, just faintly, hear commotion coming from outside. He heard shouts and the sound of fighting. The leader smirked. "I guess he's here. Took him long enough. I was getting bored of you," he kicked Kokichi's leg, causing him to involuntarily cry out as the chair fell back several feet. There was a dirty, broken, full sized mirror near the corner of the room, and Kokichi finally got a good look at himself.

His torso was bloody, bruised, and had several third degree burns. His face was just- god awful. His right eye was swollen shut, blackened, the bruise going from his temple down to his cheek, a bruise on the opposite side of his cheek, cuts from nails and the edge of the crowbar littered on his face, including a particularly nasty cut that would likely scar going from just below his eyebrow down to his cheekbone. 

He looked horrible. And that was an understatement.

Not to mention, breathing was increasingly difficult.

After what felt like hours, the door to the room slammed open, and multiple people ran inside. Kokichi squeezed his eyes shut. Please, no, not again, he can't take it anymore, he can't, he can't he can't he can't he-

"Kokichi!"

Kaito?

The chair was jerked upwards with a panicked force. Kokichi slowly opened his eyes to the best of his ability, his vision blurry, but he could see the genuine terror on Kaito's bruised face, as well as the shock from Rantaro and Tenko's faces from behind him.

"Kokichi! Hang in there, don't you dare pass out!"

Kokichi tried to speak- he truly did. But all that he could manage was a rough cough that all but destroyed his throat, blood spurting from his mouth. Kaito gently held Kokichi's face in his hands as Rantaro and Tenko worked on undoing the knots.

"I found you!" the leader said, coming in. Kaito whirled around, ready to fucking maul him, but to his utter shock, Tenko lunged forward, her baseball bat in hand, screaming in, what he knew as, fury.

"Disgusting degenerate male!" she actually managed to hit him in the ribs so hard her bat cracked.

She was truly terrifying when she wanted to be.

The leader wheezed and fell to his knees, clutching his likely now-broken ribs. "You bitch!" he got up and lunged for her. Kaito stepped in front of her quickly, catching his fist and twisting it, shoving him back. When he stumbled, Kaito saw the chance he'd been itching for- he punched the asshole directly in the face. He could hear Kokichi faintly, but he had to focus on the leader. He had to trust Tenko and Rantaro, who soon ran out, with Kokichi laying limply on Rantaro's back, and Tenko guarding them from behind. She did momentarily pause at the threshold, glancing at Kaito as he stomped on the leader's broken ribs.

"You better make it back, or I'll find your corpse and kill you again," she snapped, and before he could even try to respond, she fled.

So she did care.

Kaito focused on crushing the leader's ribs, glaring down hatefully at him. "How fucking dare you hurt Kokichi like that? My gang hasn't done shit to you in months! How fucking dare you?!" he kicked the side of the leader's neck, not enough to kill him or anything, but enough to subdue him.

"Fuckin' kill me, I dare you," the leader rasped.

"I'm not a murderer, but let me tell you this," Kaito got down on one knee, grabbing the front of his shirt and yanking him close. "If you ever come near Kokichi again, I will not hesitate to fucking paralyze every. Fucking. Nerve. In your body."

"Tch. Whatever. I got what I wanted anyway," the leader still had it in him to sound smug.

"What?" Kaito growled.

"You got hurt in the fight outside. You got jumped. Your precious friend is severely injured. I finally got under your skin." He glared up at Kaito, "and now, we're even."

"You'll leave us the fuck alone?"

"Biker Gang's Honor," he sneered.

Kaito clenched his teeth. "Call off your bikers, and we'll leave."

"Deal."

~*~

When Kokichi woke up, everything hurt. And he was laying in something soft, and staring at a very bright light. He hissed, which caused someone to gasp.

"Kokichi? Are you awake?"

Kaito.

Kokichi weakly turned his head to the side, where Kaito sat. His shirt was off, his ribs taped, bandages wrapped around his muscles, his fists, his arm was in a sling, his head wrapped up, bandaid patches were on his face. Of course, Kokichi knew he didn't look any better- but it still hurt him to see Kaito like this. He swallowed- or, tried to. "Kai...to." His voice was terribly raspy. 

Kaito let out a choked sob, leaning over. "Thank god. I was..." he swallowed, "worried. I thought they killed you. Shuichi had to perform so much shit on you just to keep you alive."

"H-how...long..?"

"Six hours," Kaito knew what the small boy meant. "It's about two in the morning, Kokichi."

Two in the morning..? Had everything that happened...really happened in only twelve hours? Just twelve hours ago, they'd been on an ice cream date, enjoying themselves. Playing piano. A sudden realization struck him.

"This...my fault..." Kokichi rasped.

Kaito's eyes widened. "What? No! No, it isn't your fault!"

"I...suggested...ice cream. My fault..."

"No, it fucking isn't!" Kaito's voice was near hysterical, "I couldn't fucking protect you! God- shit, Kokichi! We've known eachother for almost a month and you already became the most important person to me! I was always fascinated by you, and when we became fucking friends, I was fucking elated! I swore to myself, I would protect you! I would make you happy! But now look, you're beaten to a goddamn pulp, unable to move in the nurses office. We nearly had to go to a fucking hospital, just so multiple people can work on you for a higher chance of saving you! I fucking love you, goddammit, but if associating yourself with me is going to cause you this much pain and suffering, it'd just be easier if I left your life! I fucking should, because you fucking deserve to live life peacefully, without this rival biker gang bullshit in your life! You don't deserve that kind of life! I'm the absolute fucking worst for making you go through that!" he was sobbing by the time he got everything off his chest.

"No...don't...don't go...please..." Kokichi whispered brokenly, tears streaming down his face.

"Fuck," Kaito moved to envelope him in a gentle, shaky hug. Both males were crying now. A mantra of apologies fell from Kaito's lips, while Kokichi kept wheezing, sobbing quietly, begging Kaito to stay with him.

From the doorway, Shuichi watched them, his face twisted into agony as he listened to them. He covered his face, and left the room to give them some privacy. He'll do a quick check up when they finished their moment.

~*~

The two stayed in that position for god knows how long. Long enough for both of them to have cried themselves to sleep.

But they didn't sleep for very long. Kaito woke up to the sounds of Kokichi whimpering, shaking, gasping out "stop, please stop" and "Kaito, help me". It honestly crushed Kaito's heart. He gently scooped Kokichi up with his good arm, holding him close to his chest, ignoring the pain. "Kichi," he whispered, "I'm here. You're safe now. You're fine."

It didn't take too long for Kokichi to wake up, thrashing around sobbing.

Kaito squeezed his eyes shut. Kokichi's trauma was all his fault. He should leave his life...but...if he did...who would help Kokichi? If he left, then he'd be ditching him, leaving behind a huge mental scar that he cannot recover from on his own. As hard as the choice was, Kaito decided, he'd stay with Kokichi. But he would give his damn life if it meant keeping him safe.

"I'm here. I got you," Kaito whispered.

Kokichi clung to him, hyperventilating.

Kaito wasn't sure what to do. Thankfully, Shuichi wasn't too far. He ran in. "Kaito!"

"What's wrong with him?" Kaito asked shakily.

Shuichi kept a small distance. "He's having a panic attack. Keep talking to him. Make sure he knows he's safe."

"R-right..." Kaito rubbed Kokichi's back. "H-hey, it's okay, you're okay, we're okay...we're safe..."

It took several minutes, but Kokichi's hyperventilating slowly calmed down. Kaito hesitated. "I'm going to hug you now..." he said cautiously. He glanced at Shuichi, who nodded. Kokichi made a noise that sounded like affirmation. So, Kaito hugged him.

Kokichi clung to him instantly.

"We'll be okay."

~

Weeks have passed since the incident. Both males were mostly healed- the bruises were gone, the cuts have mostly healed...however, Kokichi had scars from what happened. There was a very faint, almost unnoticeable scar from below his left eyebrow down to his cheek. But Kaito noticed it. He could never not notice it. He also had seven third degree burns on his torso. Fucking seven. It made him feel awful anytime he saw them.

Ever since the incident, the two males were practically inseparable. They walked together to class, they hung out at lunch, and one of them would sleep over in the other's dorm.

"Hey guys! Guess what," Kaede chirped as the gang gathered around at lunch. She sat by her girlfriend, while Shuichi sat by Rantaro, who had his arm wrapped around his waist. Kokichi sat on Kaito's lap, another thing that'd become normal between the two.

"What?" Rantaro questioned.

Kaede clapped her hands. "I was asked to be the photographer for Sonia's next big show!"

"Sonia...she's the Ultimate Pop Sensation, right?" Kokichi asked.

Kaede nodded, "and they're gonna use my photos on her website! I'm so excited!"

"That's amazing, Kaede!" Tenko squealed, hugging her.

"Congratulations," Rantaro smiled. Kaede smiled at the attention, but looked a bit bashful. "Thank you." She began fiddling with her camera, "I was...actually wondering. If I could...get a picture now."

"Huh? Now?" Kaito spoke for the first time since lunch started.

"Yeah! We can go outside, maybe in front of the cherry blossom trees, and I can take a group picture. I haven't gotten one of all of you," Kaede said shyly.

Shuichi smiled at her. "I think we can work with that. If you give us a copy of it."

"Of course!" Kaede smiled sweetly.

"And," Shuichi continued, "if you're in it. You have a camera stand, don't you?"

Kaede hesitated, but nodded anyway. "Alright. Deal."

And so, after the six of them finished eating, they hurried off to find the perfect spot. Kaede went to go get her camera stand from her dorm, and Kaito went to go grab something, leaving Shuichi, Rantaro, Tenko, and Kokichi to finding the perfect spot. They eventually decided on the pathway not too far from Hope's Peak, between two cherry blossom trees, where petals fell around the area. It was a truly beautiful sight.

Kaito came by first, pushing his motorcycle in.

"Ugh! Degenerate male, that piece of junk will ruin Kaede's beautiful pictures!" Tenko snapped.

"I think it'll look nice," Kokichi interjected.

"I agree!" Kaede called, jogging over. She began setting the camera up. Kaito hopped on his motorcycle, and picked Kokichi up, causing him to let out a high pitched squeak. He set the smaller boy in front of him, wrapping his arms around his waist and resting his chin on Kokichi's shoulder. Rantaro slung an arm around Shuichi, smiling easily, his eyes twinkling in something akin to mischief. Tenko waited for Kaede to join her.

"Umm...Tenko, scooch a little to your left...yeah, that's perfect! Okay!" she set a timer and ran to join them, jumping on Tenko's back, who squealed and stumbled, catching her. Meanwhile, Rantaro leaned over and kissed Shuichi's cheek, and due to the commotion, Kokichi started laughing, which caused Kaito to pull back slightly and look at him fondly.

The picture snapped.

"Ah! Oh no! We were goofing around!" Tenko gasped.

Kaede slid off her back and went to look at the picture. The other five joined her.

In the picture, Kaito was staring at Kokichi with a dumb grin on his face, his hand over Kokichi's, which was on the handle bar of the bike as he'd doubled over in laughter, his eyes shut. Rantaro had managed to kiss Shuichi's cheek, with a look of shock and embarrassment on his flustered face, as he'd been pulled in. And Kaede had her arms wrapped around Tenko's neck as she was on her back, smiling playfully. Tenko was hunched over, her hands holding Kaede's legs, her face displaying surprise and amusement. All around them, cherry blossoms lay on the ground.

"I think it's perfect," Kaede said.

"But my eyes were closed!"

"That smile looks dumb on me."

"I- I wasn't ready! Rantaro surprised me..."

"I like it."

"Kaede, I look like a horse in this!"

Kaede laughed, turning to face them. "But it displays our true selves, doesn't it? The most natural photos are the best kind."

"I guess so..." Shuichi mumbled.

"I'll have one developed for each of us. Friends to the end?" Kaede looked at them, her eyes gleaming in happiness.

"Friends to the end," Rantaro affirmed.

And this time, they all agreed.

~

"Hey, Kaito?" Kokichi spoke up. The two were in Kaito's dorm, laying idly in bed. Kokichi had his head on Kaito's shoulder, his fingers tracing small patterns on Kaito's chest while Kaito had his arm slung around Kokichi, his hand running through Kokichi's hair. It was another moment of peaceful serenity between the two.

"Hmm?"

"Um..." Kokichi stopped moving, "I wanted...to talk to you. It's been on my mind for a long time now."

"What's up?"

"Back...on that day, um...when we were in the nurse's office...you...said you loved me," he said. Kaito stiffened. Kokichi looked up at him, his chin resting on him. "Do you...mean it? Do you love-love me? Or..?"

Kaito sighed, closing his eyes. "Yeah. I love you. More than anyone."

Kokichi scooted forward, resting his head on Kaito's chest. "...Your heart is skipping beats."

"Shut it," there was no real bite to his voice.

Kokichi smiled. "I like the sound of it."

"Huh?"

"Your heart. It's..." he hesitated, "my favorite melody. I could listen to it all day, and not get tired of hearing it. Your heart's melody is more...beautiful, than any piano song."

Kaito listened to him speak, before letting out a small chuckle. "You dork," he held him closer. Kokichi opened his eyes, looking at him. The two stared at eachother for what felt like hours. No words were needed in this moment- their eyes conveying genuine love, care, and special tenderness.

"Kichi...can I...kiss you?" Kaito whispered.

Kokichi scooted closer to him in response.

Kaito moved his hand to the back of Kokichi's head and pulled him down for a kiss. It was sweet. It was warm. It was...inexperienced and awkward. But Kaito wouldn't have it any other way. Kokichi pulled away after a moment, his face flushed. Kaito hummed and continued to run his hands through Kokichi's hair. "...I liked it. I..." Kokichi looked really embarrassed, "I want to...kiss you again..."

"Then do it."

So, he did.

And again. And again.

They shared kisses that lasted no more than two seconds, pulling away, shifting, kissing again, desperate for more. Eventually, Kokichi ended up laying on top of Kaito, one hand cupping his cheek and the other in his wild hair, meanwhile one arm was slung around Kokichi's waist, the other holding the back of his head, their eyes now closed, both thoroughly enjoying eachother's company. Being in eachothers arms.

They did have to pull away for air eventually.

Kokichi rested his forehead on Kaito's. "If I wasn't so comfortable here, I'd play us the perfect song for this moment."

"Which one?"

"To a Wild Rose, composed by Edward MacDowell."

"Sounds pretty."

"It's very pretty. Here-" Kokichi reached for Kaito's phone, which was on the nightstand closest to them. Kokichi's own phone was back in his own dorm, so he had to use Kaito's. He opened the phone, and looked up the song, finding it easily. He turned the volume up, and placed the phone face down back on the nightstand so they could hear it better.

Piano music started playing.

Kaito slowly relaxed as the beautiful song started playing.

About a minute into it, he pulled Kokichi in for another kiss, relishing how genuine and cheesy it felt. He felt like he was in a movie, kissing Kokichi while soft music played in the background. Kokichi had been right- the song was perfect for this moment.

Kokichi smiled into the kiss and cupped his face. In return, Kaito held him as close as possible.

They pulled away as the song continued. "I love you," Kaito whispered.

"I love you too," Kokichi replied as Kaito brushed Kokichi's bangs out of his face, resting a hand on his cheek as the song came to an end.

They laid there in silence.

"...Want to put the song on replay?"

Kokichi smiled at his corny lover, and reached over, putting the soft piano piece on replay. The two laid there, enveloped in eachothers warmth, until drowsiness overcame them. Kokichi was the first to fall asleep, his head resting on Kaito's chest. Kaito held him close, running his hand absently through his hair while he watched him sleep for a minute. He leaned over, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead before laying back down.

"Goodnight, Kichi. Sweet dreams," he murmured, his gaze going from his peaceful boyfriend, to the framed picture their group took together that day by the cherry blossoms. He smiled, the picture being the last thing he sees before he too, succumbed to sleep, as the piano music restarted.