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Trust and Betrayal

Chapter Text

Junko was missing. That in itself was concerning, one lucky student noted as he carefully jogged the pristine halls of Hope’s Peak Academy. What was even more concerning, however, was the fact that this was the sixth time this month. Panting lightly, he slid to a stop on the waxed floors (why would you even make a floor so smooth?). Where could she be? He pondered to himself, peering through the windows in the bright hallway. She wasn’t at the sports shed, the farm area, the chemistry lab or the computer labs. It really was strange; normally she’d be at one of those spots, causing mischief and ruining lives. Suddenly, the sound of voices caught his ear and he moved forward, curious.

A door on his left was partially open; the infirmary? Had he really walked so far? At least he knew where exactly he was now; after all, the infirmary was certainly an area with which he was familiar, what with his clumsiness and now with Junko constantly pulling stunts ranging from silly to downright borderline lethal.

Meaning to move past the doorway without eavesdropping (after all, that really was rude, and he’d had enough with the incident with Mondo), he began to move forward again, before a familiar voice caught his attention.

 

“Oh, Tsumiki,” it purred. “I don’t how I could possibly do without you. These bandages are absolutely darling.”

 

Junko? Makoto blinked. Nervous laughter filtered out from the gap.

 

“A-Ah, it’s n-nothing, really! Aaanything for you, Junko!” The responder was breathy and almost tittered as she talked. That voice…was also very familiar. Who could it be? Makoto racked his brain for ideas; Hope’s Peak didn’t have that many students, but a lot of the people on campus were returning students and research staff. His thoughts were interrupted by the scrape of the chair against tile. Throwing himself forward and almost stumbling over his feet, he lurched towards the corner ahead, dashing as fast as he could on the slippery floor. Rounding past gold and cold white wall, he opened the first door he came across, a disused music room, he noted, judging by the worn red paint and the crooked doorknob. His guess was confirmed by the light layer of greasy fingerprints on the window and discarded wrappers from exploring students. Fully intending to throw himself inside and hide for a reason he couldn’t determine, a shock went through his body at the light touch of fingernails on his shoulder.

 

“Ah!” he yelped loudly, jumping. He spun and came face to face with a pair of ice blue eyes, a pair of furrowed, if perfectly manicured eyebrows and a pair of lips slathered in cherry red lipstick, which slowly began to curve in a perfect smirk. In a moment, all the air in his lungs excavated, leaving him breathless and spluttering. She was so close; even after two months (how did you survive that long? he questioned) just the sight and feeling of her being so close was enough to make him quiver. Her skin was flawless and every move she walked echoed grace and calculated intent; it was intoxicating and breathtaking. She was beautiful, and his hormones almost couldn’t handle it most of the time; however beyond the beauty, his instincts couldn’t quite be fooled; Junko Enoshima had always felt dangerous; from the moment she walked into the classroom, her elegance was that of a jaguar, stepping foot into a room of potential prey. Junko was dangerous, a Pandora’s box of chaos and ill will. Really, why did he agree to be her boyfriend? It was like that feeling you got standing on the edge of the roof, he had decided. The call of the void, or something. Junko all but sang that call, and being the idiot he was, he threw himself right off.

 

Realising he had been quiet for a minute now, Makoto finally began to speak. “Junko!” he stuttered. “I was looking for you! We’re supposed to be in English class now and you know we’re preparing to choose a play for the festival. You can’t just ditch like that.” He admonished, if something cautiously.

 

Blue eyes scanned his carefully, looking for something he couldn’t quite fathom. Eventually, she must have been satisfied because they quickly scrunched up in a face-encompassing smile.

 

“Ahh~, did my cutie little boyfriend go looking for me? So sweet!” she giggled, hand covering her mouth, and for a moment Makoto saw a flash of Celestia echoed in the expression.

 

“S-Sure,” he replied awkwardly.

 

“Oh?” her face blanked impossibly fast, wiped of expression. Her blue eyes stared almost through him, expectation hanging heavily in the air.

 

Makoto just smiled and laughed. “They were too scared to get anyone else to fetch you, so they had Mondo physically manhandle me out the door,” he confessed, one hand rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment.

 

“I see,” she said, her voice taking on a significantly smug tone. “Those peasants were too afraid to approach someone as brilliant as myself? Ahaha!” she laughed snottily, hands posed on her hips, her entire body leaning back for dramatic effect. Honestly, he was tempted to get her a little crown, he mused. Just so he could hand it to her whenever this weird quirk made itself shown and she starting ordering people like a queen. The image made him pause, and he had to stop the bubble of laughing clawing its way up his throat. He tried to pass it off as a cough, and, like expected, failed miserably, instead snorting and coughing at the same time. The ridiculous sound set something off inside him, and the next moment he was wheezing with laughter as Junko continued to pose at the doorway.

 

As he laughed, her eyes flickered to him, curious. What an odd reaction, she noted. It deviated from most of his other reactions to that personality trait, though his reactions had certainly become more positive as time went on. Adaption, she deduced. He often meddled in her despair-causing antics over the months, but he did become more lenient. Perhaps dragging him into despair with her wasn’t impossible. She watched him as he doubled over, tears pricking at the corner of his eyelashes, laughter rocking his body. At her core, his joy disgusted her; it was a candle in the room she so desperately tried to shroud in darkness. It wasn’t anything compared to that ability she had observed, the one he had, lighting hope in the members of his class without a thought. A candle compared to a flame thrower, but still an annoying little flame.

 

A single warm tendril crawled over her heart, a child’s voice laughed in joy, rejoicing at his happiness

 

The real question; had he gone anywhere near the infirmary? He had been nervous when she found him, but then she can’t blame him after she disappeared and some of her previous experiments. Oh well; Makoto wasn’t the most distrustful person, nor the smartest. The chances of problems were low.

 

“Alright, alright,” she sighed, purposely making every word dripping boredom. “Let’s go check out this stupid play.”

 

Makoto stopped laughing and forced himself to straighten. “Sure!” he agreed, his optimism almost humming below the surface, she noted with amusement annoyance.

Chapter Text

Makoto stepped down the steps of Hope’s Peak main building, sighing in relief at the soft breeze that ruffled his hair. He looked to the sky and breathed the sweet, pure air, so light compared to the heavy, stifling air of the classroom, and let slip a small smile. Class had gone well; Junko had even behaved herself throughout the whole thing. He waved off the lingering doubts of how suspicious that was and instead basked in the aftereffects of such well-deserved silence. The class had finally decided on a play after all the bickering; an original that had been written by the Ultimate Playwright a few years back. It was set in medieval Europe; strange, considering they were in Japan, but he supposed it was a nod to traditional storytelling, or something like that. Either way, it was actually really cool, he’d had to admit after reading through the script.

 

It was a story based around political workings and intrigue in a fictional court, as two sides within the castle fought silently for dominance. Romantic affairs betrayal and even magic made the struggle ever the more complex, as it became harder to discern the good guys from the bad guys. The final twist, he knew, was how one of the young court ladies had really been working with an outside force to take down the castle from the inside. The princess would change sides at the last minute to protect the prince with whom she had fallen for, before dying in his arms. A tragedy, he mused. It was excellently written, but he’d hoped for something perhaps a little lighter in theme. It didn’t matter anyway; trying to assign parts had been a nightmare and would take a whole another lesson. Byakuya was intent of being the director, while Toko had been screeching about being a court lady, swooning in the young heir’s arms the entire time. Kyouko had surprisingly been squabbling with Byakuya for the place of director and Sayaka stood fast against the idea of taking a major role despite the pleading of the rest of the class because it ‘would ruin her image to appear in a negative role’. She was so career focused, Makoto laughed bitterly to himself. With sixteen people in a class, it shouldn’t be hard to find a part for everyone, but of course, there were some parts people simply didn’t want to play.

 

He wouldn’t mind being something in the background, he mused. Maybe the stableboy? Stableboys were never bad people. Or at least, he’s never heard of an evil stable boy. Maybe horses sense evil people? He mused to himself as he waited by the crosswalk for the light to change.

 

What part would Junko like to play? He wondered as he crossed. She’d remained silent through most of the bickering, only breaking it to mock her sister Mukuro when someone had asked her if she’d like to be the knight. Junko was an incredible actor, he knew, but he doubted she’d want a part; after all, following a script to act out a story you’d have to read a thousand times before? ‘How boring!’, is what he imagined her saying. She’d probably flick her wrist in that dismissive way, a small smirk dancing on her lips like it does so often.

Or maybe she’d surprise him, standing arrogant and proud as she ungraciously accepted the part. Or maybe she’d sigh and accept in a sombre tone to throw everyone off. Makoto had initially been surprised by the frequency with which Junko had switched between her personalities, but now he just found it funny. It was a lot of fun watching everyone react to them too. Even trying to predict how she’d react had become somewhat of a game to him; though he supposed he should be really a bit more careful and make sure he didn’t accidentally upset her. It wasn’t like he could really understand what went through her head though; he hadn’t learnt much beyond how her obsession with despair worked. What she liked beyond despair, what she disliked, how she felt during tense situations, what she thought when people talked about her, none of that could be deduced because Junko was such a good actor, and her personalities were masks that concealed completely.

 

Makoto fitted the key in the lock and pushed the door open, taking off his shoes as he did.

 

“I’m home!” he called out. Silence greeted him and he shrugged; looks like he was the first one home today. Komaru probably had a club on or something. Swinging by the kitchen, he grabbed a snack, then flopped on the living room floor, game controller already in hand.

 

 

Junko sighed in annoyance. Honestly, if you’d told her despair could ever be boring even a month ago, she’d probably have stabbed you in the thigh and laughed as you bled out. And yet here she was, back again in this stupid slut’s infirmary. The bitch bustled back and forth between cabinets as Junko swung her legs off the edge of the bed. Tsumiki had been her first stop on her mega awesome super despair plan (part 1). Right now, she was kinda regretting that choice. It wasn’t that the nurse wasn’t sinking and embracing the luscious, beautiful despair that Junko herself loves so much; she was doing that just fine. Junko had scoped her out specially, after all. Tsumiki, with all her self-esteem issues, abandonment issues, mental scars and obsessive nature meant she was all but drowning when Junko had happened upon her, the poor thing. Of course, now Tsumiki knew how to breathe. Rather than overcome, the nurse now embraced the despair. Unfortunately, she’d begun this process by making this nurse fall in love with her and now she was feeling the consequences.

 

“Ah, Junko! I promise I’ll be just a moment my beloved~” the nurse sighed, her voice laced with a mixture of bliss and longing.

 

“Hurry up, would you?” she replied, bored, twirling one pigtail.

 

“O-Of course!” Tsumiki chirped in response.

 

Honestly, manipulating the idiot was so easy. And she thought Makoto had been a breeze. Push, pull, push pull, that’s all it took. Pull her in with kindness, flattery, give all the affection she always craved; then ease off, act more and more distant, maybe a touch of cruel, give her what her self-esteem said she deserved. Keep her beaten down, but occasionally give her her moments, maybe a tender touch, a compliment. Always keep her craving, slavering like a beast. A dog on a leash, always waiting for that little treat.

The thought of a dog pulled the image of Makoto into her mind. The ridiculous strand of hair that never stayed down in that mop that passed for a hairstyle, his cheerful demeanor and even his unrelenting optimism. Honestly, even the way the class so easily trained him and sent him off on errands. And you can’t forget the stupid way that they loved him so much when he was really nothing but a fool-  Focus, Junko. Tsumiki is unstable, never underestimate your opponent, remember. There’ll be plenty of room for failure later.

 

“All finished, my dear!” Tsumiki swooned. Taking a few steps forward, she stopped a few steps away and collapsed at the model’s feet, staring up in complete adoration. Drool began to form at one corner of her mouth as she waited with baited breath. Junko turned her head, and their eyes met, one swirling with crudely mixed despair and sanity and the other a clear, piercing blue. Junko’s eyes softened as she quietly swept her ‘motherly’ mask up to cover her face.

 

“Oh dear, Tsumiki,” she crooned softly, reaching out with one perfectly manicured hand. The nurse watched in awe as it approached closer and closer, before stopping before her left cheek. Each perfect, milky white finger extended to brush lightly against the quivering cheek. Junko’s thumb brushed Tsumiki’s in soft, circular motions. The nurse moaned lightly, moving almost imperceptibly into the motion. Internally, Junko grimaced with disgust. She’s so needy, she thought absently, with a hint of revulsion. Of course she was, that was the point, the weak point. A single thought about how glad she was Makoto wasn't as needy as this flashed through her mind before she quashed it. She didn’t need that hopeful idiot in her mind right now. This was despair time; her favourite time. She didn’t need it invaded by him and his abhorrent hope.

 

It was no use. The moment was gone, and all she felt was the emptiness and the weight of a drooling nurse in one hand. She stared down at the girl, whose eyes were all but rolling in her head, and felt nothing but dissatisfaction.

 

“Alright!” she snapped. “That’s enough.” She pulled her hand back and let the girl in front of her all but curl in a ball feeling for the warmth left from her touch. Pulling herself off of the bed, she stretched her long legs before striding to the door. She paused at the entrance, twiddling her hair in her hand still.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Tsumiki,” she purred and then left, leaving the nurse spluttering on the floor behind her.

 

Chapter Text

Makoto woke slowly, heavy sleep clinging to his eyelashes as he pried them apart. A warm, heavy weight appeared to be curled on his chest, and he blinked blearily to find a ball of cream fur inches from his nose. He laughed softly at the sight and ran a hand through the deceptively coarse fur.

 

“Good morning, Kofaku,” he murmured. The purring grew in volume, but the ball refused to move. “Hey, come on, I gotta go to school,” he urged, a traitorous smile twitching on his lips. No response. Makoto sighed and sat up as slowly as possible, watching as the blob rolled unconsciously down the blankets. An indignant grunt and a twitching of a tail later, a tortoiseshell cat sat perched on the mussed sheets, watching in undisguised annoyance as Makoto picked up his school uniform from the floor.

 

“I can still use this, right?” he mused. The cat’s tail swung as the boy checked the uniform over and gave it a sniff before shrugging. “Should be fine,” he muttered. Yellow eyes closed sleepily once more as Makoto tugged the shirt over his head before grabbing his bag. “Homework, workbook, calculator, wallet…I think that’s everything.” He nodded to himself, satisfied. He’d have to check again before he’d left, but he always made sure to check twice.

 

Makoto was always known to be clumsy. He tripped in places without anything to trip on, broken more backpacks than acceptable and tripped down more stairs than was safe. Forgetting homework, his wallet, his cellphone, they were all things Old Makoto did regularly. New Makoto was determined to make a better impression. He was, after all, a student of Hope’s Peak Academy; the best of the best. He should probably act like it, or at least give his all towards that image.

 

Makoto jogged down the stairs, leaving behind a sleepy Kofafu, bag bouncing against his back and hand firmly on the railing. Downstairs, the smell of breakfast wafted, his mother and father already seated, as well as his sister Komaru, who blinked blearily in the bright sunshine.

 

“Morning!’ he greeted.

 

“Mnfing,” she replied.

 

“Good morning, Makoto,” his mother echoed warmly. His father merely grunted, but the soft smile he wore and the flicker of his eyes said all that was needed. His plate was already set in his space, a golden omelette wonkily served off centre. He slid into place and murmured his thanks, before digging in. It was warm and soft, and the savoury flavour melted on his tongue. It was by no means perfect; the edges were dry and overcooked in areas, and it lacked that extra pizzazz, the missing flavour that moves average cooking to good or even great; but it was home cooking, and Makoto appreciated every bite.

 

Not everyone in his class got to experience cooking like this; in fact, most of his class lived in the apartments provided by the school, where they were mostly provided for, except food, clothes and linen. Even he, as nothing more than a lottery winner, was offered a room. He’d been tempted at first, but declined. Maybe if he’d known his classmates for even a short while, he might’ve accepted. But moving into an apartment complex filled with strangers, even if they were classmates; it, well…it seemed lonely. It wasn’t that far from his house to his school, luckily. Much farther than the dorms, of course, but still close enough he could walk. And being here, at home, he had so much more. Unless you had special permission, pets were forbidden in the dorms, and the on campus diner was expensive. Here, he had Kofaku, home cooked meals every night and every other morning, and the company of his family. Plus, after meeting some of the students from the year above him, he’s sure he probably gets more peace and quiet here.

 

Just the other day, he met one of the upperclassmen, a wacky and intense girl by the name of Ibuki. I’m not sure whether Ibuki is her first or last name, Makoto thought dryly as he chewed. But she sure was…enthusiastic. Ibuki’s declaration that she lived in the dorms firmly and instantly dissipated any regrets Makoto had about not staying in the dorms.  Speaking of Ibuki, I’m supposed to play with her today, aren’t I? That’ll be an experience…

 

Makoto rose, putting his plate on the sink and slipping on his shoes. After rifling through his bag one more time, he swung it onto his back and made for the door.

 

“See you tonight!” he called over his shoulder, before stepping out and closing the door behind him.

 

 

 

Settling down at his desk, Makoto sighed in relief. Despite his early departure, he’d almost been late yet again, after being distracted by a cat stuck in a tree. Of course, it hadn’t really been stuck, he cringed to himself. It had just been overly dramatic and desperate for attention. Once he’d tried, and failed at getting it down, it had had no qualms using his face as a spring board when it had leapt from the branch above. Junko would have found that hilarious, he thought mournfully. But of course, she hadn’t been there. She’d ditched walking with him in the mornings a few days after they starting dating in fact. And she’s not here now, either! Makoto huffed.

 

“Makoto!” a stern, sharp voice snapped him out of his reverie. He flinched, swinging his head to meet a pair of crystal blue eyes shadowed by a pair of fragile looking spectacles. Byakyua. The scowl he wore was deeper than usual, which meant he wasn’t happy either. He’s going to get frown lines early if he’s not careful, he thought absentmindedly.

 

“Where were you? Students without a role were supposed to meet here before class, at 7am sharp!” Byakuya hissed.

 

Makoto gaped and spluttered. “Since when?!” he demanded.

 

“I put up the notice after class yesterday in the dorm lobby,” he stared down Makoto coldly. Makoto resisted the urge to shiver.

 

“I don’t stay in the dorm, Byakuya,” Makoto explained. “I still stay at home since it’s not so far from here, so I wouldn’t have seen your notice.”

 

Byakuya’s eyebrows rose for a moment as a temporary look of surprise flashed quickly across his face. It was quickly replaced by a smug look. “Hmph. I shouldn’t be surprised; at least the school is wise enough at least to conserve their resources for students that actually matter. Title or not, spending resources on a lucky student would be a waste. Either way, I hope you deign yourself to actually attend the meeting that was postponed to lunchtime today.” And with that, he was gone, and the teacher strode into the classroom, signalling the start of class.

 

Makoto just rolled his eyes and settled down for the lesson, groaning internally as the teacher began to scrawl math equations across the board.

 

---------------------------

He stretched. Two and a half hours, filled to the brim with calculus, headaches and again, a suspicious lack of Junko. At least nobody made me fetch her this time. He yawned.

 

“MAKOOOTTOOOOO!” A new voice, more an ear-spliting scream than a shout, echoed across the room. Makoto turned, spotting a black and purple blur hurtling towards him, leaping desks and leaving terrified students in its wake. He had only an instant to brace himself before the collision sent him tumbling off his chair.

 

“Hey, hey, you ready to rock with Ibuki?! You totally promised me that you’d join my band today, remember?!” Ibuki’s face peered down on at his own, long, multicoloured hair brushing his face and tickling his nose. He wheezed.

 

“Huh? What was that? You’re not making a lot of sense. C’mon, you gotta get up so we can ROCK!!!” she ended with a shout. She curled her arms and began an enthusiastic air guitar performance.

 

“Ibuki,” Makoto protested weakly. “Can…can you please maybe get off? You’re still sitting on me. It’s making it hard to breathe.”

 

The musician blinked and let out a loud (if somewhat exaggerated) gasp of surprise. She was indeed, still sitting on the lucky student, legs either side and firmly seated on his stomach. “Oops,” she laughed. She jumped to her feet with the grace of an acrobat and moved to the side. Makoto, airways finally free, began to cough as he sat up.

I really hope she didn’t break anything, he thought mournfully. She really threw herself at me! I could’ve really been hurt. I guess the upperclassman are even more irresponsible than my class. A voice like cold, clear cut glass broke through the atmosphere, shattering Ibuki’s excited vibes instantly.

 

“Oh no, you don’t.” Byakyua stood poised, shoulders squared as he stared down the hapless pair, Makoto sat on the floor, Ibuki turning in surprise. “Makoto has a meeting today with the rest of his class. Your musical nonsense will have to wait.”

 

“Whaaat?!” Ibuki whined. “But me and little Mako were planning this for ages!”

 

Little?! Wait, Mako? Where did that come from? Also, we organised this two days ago. I don’t think that counts as ‘ages’…

 

“This is more important than some morons messing with musical equipment. Find someone else to practice with. You have a whole class of your own, do you not?”

 

“Ehh?” Ibuki whined again. “That’s not fair! Ibuki would ask her own class, but everyone’s been acting weird lately, and no one will play with Ibuki! Even Hiyoko won’t dance with me anymore…Makoto’s my only hope!” she insisted.

 

“I don’t care if your class has finally wizened up to your awful music,” Byakuya began.

 

“Nah, they’re actually, like, suuuper weird!” Ibuki whispered dramatically. “They’re still like super crazy, but like, it doesn’t feel right, ya know? Like, it’s crazy, but it doesn’t feel like fun crazy! And some of them have gotten so mean and weird.”

 

Byakuya blinked at her. “Even so,” he continued slowly. “Makoto has important work to do in relation to this year’s school festival, and as a lucky student with no talent to showcase he’s expected to work exceptionally hard.”

 

“Fine,” Ibuki sulked. “We’ll have to rock together another day, Neggs.” She dramatically made her way to the doorway, before turning with a huge grin. “I won’t forget!” she warned him, then sidestepped out the door and disappeared.

 

“Thank god,” Byakyua sighed. Makoto mirrored him internally. I think my kidneys are bruised.

 

“Now then,” Byakyua continued. “It’s about time to start the meeting. Everyone, gather round!” he called. Within a minute, and a dash of bickering, the majority of the class stood in a circle around the young heir. “Everyone, quiet, while I give you your parts!” he scowled.

 

“Hey, hang on, now!” Hiro exclaimed. “You can’t just do that! This supposed to be, like, a team effort!” he insisted.

 

“He has a point,” Hifumi pointed out.

 

“D-Don’t you d-dare argue w-with the m-master! W-What m-makes you think you k-know b-better, huh!” Toko whirled to stare down the two boys. They each took a step back and seemed to quiver.

 

“You all had your chance to prove yourselves as organised and reliable individuals yesterday, and failed,” Byakyua sighed, glasses glinting. “Since you’re all obviously too incompetent to actually make efficient and logical decision, I figured I’d make it for you. Sayaka, you’re the director,” he began.

 

“W-Wait, hold up, didn’t you and Kyoko both want to be directors yesterday?” Leon exclaimed, accusing.

 

“Hmph. Yes, well, I decided that the talents I possess were much more suited as a producer instead,” he admitted, pushing his glasses up absently. “Kyoko, you’re the lead sorceress. Your stoic personality fits the part perfectly. Hifumi, Taka, you’re in charge of creating props.”

 

“Understood!” the two boys cheered.

 

“Chihiro, you’re in charge of programming the lighting. Mondo, Mukuro, you’re the knights. Celeste is the queen, and Toko, you’re the maid.”

 

“You have good taste,” smiled Celeste as Toko gasped in horror.

 

“Asahina, you’re the Princess’s best friend, Sakura, you’re the Rebel leader.”

 

“I’ll try my best,” Sakura smiled to herself.

 

“Leon, you’re the Duke’s son, who is also the rebel supporter and informant, Hiro is obviously the seer,”

 

“That’s pretty sweet, I guess.”

“I can deal with that.”

 

“And finally, Makoto, you can play the Prince, and Junko the Princess.”

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

What?!” Makoto yelped. “I-I, I can’t be the Prince! I haven’t even properly acted before! Can’t you give the lead to someone used to the spotlight?” he begged, breathless with panic. Everyone would be watching him. Watching him fail at acting. At Hope’s Peak, none the less, where everyone is supposed to be the best.

 

“Of course not,” Byakyua replied indignantly. “I already chose the parts. Besides,” he reasoned smugly. “I told you before, didn’t I? You don’t have a talent display, so you’re expected to pull your weight even more here than anyone else.”

 

Makoto stared at him, his soul slowly leaving his body.

 

“Junko requested the part of the Princess, of course.” He added. “And with her acting skill, I figured she would be up to the task. The Prince doesn’t have nearly as many lines, but he does have to kiss the Princess in the end. Being your girlfriend, I believed I was doing you a favour by casting you as the Prince.”

 

Makoto nodded dumbly. He was the Prince. A very important main character, and on top of that, he was going to have to kiss Junko at the end. He felt himself going pink at the thought. It wasn’t that he hadn’t actually had his first kiss yet, or even that he hadn’t kissed Junko yet; they’d been dating for a couple months by now, and they’d definitely covered both bases. It was, well…

When Junko had first kissed Makoto it had been sudden. Sudden and rough and forceful. It had been exhilarating, and he’d appreciated every moment (because Junko was a great kisser) but it ended in a flash. One moment, she was there, another she was moving. It was how a lot of their early relationship worked. Junko was always moving, moving on, moving to, doing, changing. Nailing her down, expecting romantic nights and hand holding and slow kisses; an impossible dream.

 

He had a relationship with Junko; what it was, exactly was more difficult to define. Junko had asked him out with obvious romantic implications; now, he was her babysitter, a man with a very dangerous wolf at the end of a thin chain possessing the knowledge that he was safe only at the wolf’s decision. It wasn’t healthy, but it certainly wasn’t romantic. Even so, even so, Junko had asked him. Him, of all people, and every time he asked, she confirmed that they were dating. When he could find her, of course. She wasn’t here even now, he noted with disappointment. He knew there was supposed to be romance in their relationship, and he…he wanted it. He wanted it so badly. He understood Junko better than everyone except her sister, and knowing that she was supposedly his made him want something. But talking didn’t work with Junko. Exposing weakness didn’t work with Junko. And she’d never willingly give what he wanted.

 

She didn’t actually love him after all.

 

So he’d wait. He’d wait until she’d get bored, and she let him go, like a leaf in the wind, or a piece of rotting fruit.

 

That was the plan, anyway. Except now, he was supposed to kiss her; and not a peck, or a swift and cold kiss, but a romantic passionate one, if he remembered the script correctly.

 

Junko had her claws in him, he thought mournfully. And the play just made it so much harder to dig them out.

Chapter Text

 

“Junko?”

 

“…”

 

“Junko?”

 

“…” The blonde head didn’t so much as twitch, the light of the computer positioned in front of her forming a veritable halo in the dark room.  

 

“Junko?”

 

“God, what is it?!” The supermodel turned around, a quick kick of her heels enough to send the swivel chair she mounted flying to face the emotionless soldier. A delicate chin rested on the back of the backrest, perfect lips pouted in annoyance, and crystal blue eyes stared daggers at the ‘pest’. To Mukuro’s credit, she didn’t so much as blink under the crushing stare.

 

“What are you going to do about Makoto?” Mukuro asked cautiously.

 

Junko blinked lazily. “Huh?” she yawned. “What about that pipsqueak?”

 

Mukuro calmly tilted her head to her side. Something indiscernible danced in her eyes as she observed her twin. Amusement? Concern? Not enough information the analytical part of Junko’s brain whispered. She waved them both off with a flick of her hand.

 

“I’m busy building my kingdom of despair. He’s like a loyal dog; hell, maybe a puppy’s more fitting; he’s not going to go anywhere just because I’m a little busy.” She scoffed loudly, give herself a shove and spinning violently, wheels clacking on the white tile. Shadows flickered crazily as she spun, the white screen throwing a dizzying visage of light across the room. Finally, she stopped and frowned, a bored look passing over her face. She again rested her chin on the back of the chair and sighed. She snuck a glance up at her dear, dear sister, searching for a reaction. Any reaction. Preferably something interesting. Talk of the small boy and his smiles made of sunshine make the acid in her stomach churn with a foul nausea.

 

Mukuro frowned. Actually frowned. Junko’s gut twisted further with displeasure. Her sister, her very first subject, her first disciple, was doubting her. She was disagreeing with her.

 

She shifted every so slightly, sitting up just a little in her seat and chewed lightly on her lip, shooting Mukuro one of her famous glares as she did so.

 

Makoto was…persistent. That was one of his primary traits; he was optimistic. If a situation could be salvaged, he would try his best to do so, which is why he was so infuriatingly annoying. Junko was not stupid; and although she was pretentious, she wasn’t completely self-absorbed. If her sister was bringing up the subject, it was because she knew something; or perhaps or instincts were raising an alarm. And as confident in her abilities as the Ultimate Analyst as she was, she wasn’t stupid enough to ignore the instincts of the Ultimate Solider.

 

“Do you disagree, dear sister of mine?” Junko’s tone was cold and challenging, head cocked in a deceptively innocent expression.

 

“He just looks a little frustrated lately, is all…” Mukuro trails off. She flashes her sister a weak smile. “I’m sure you have it under control, Junko,” she added hastily.

 

“Of course I do, Mukuro. I’m not as useless as you.” Junko swung back around to face the computer, waving a hand dismissively. She heard the footsteps fade out and she paused, hands poised above the keys.

 

“Frustrated…?” she muttered, a small crease appearing between her eyebrows.

Chapter Text

Makoto trotted casually down the busy halls of Hope’s Peak Academy. It was ‘free’ period, a time where the school encouraged the students to work on their talents. Being right after lunch, very few of the students took it seriously, instead using it to mess around and hang with friends.

 

Two days had passed since the lunch time meeting, and Makoto had tried and failed at getting the role of Prince assigned to anyone else in the class.

 

Even Leon didn’t want the role. Makoto subconsciously puffed out his cheeks as he walked. Apparently, as a rebel informant, Leon would get to work Sayaka in multiple scenes.

 

“Sorry dude,” he’d whispered in a conspiratorial manner. “But this is my chance, ya’know?” He shot Makoto a cheeky grin and a wink. “We’re best buds, right? You know how much this means for me.” Makoto could nothing but smile helplessly as he gave his friend an understanding nod.

 

Since then, preparations for the play were in full swing. He'd barely finished lunch before finding himself being seized by the shoulder by an overly enthusiastic Taka, who shoved a keychain into his hands with a plea for materials from the art room. He’d found the materials without much trouble (suspicious), and that left him where he was currently. Walking down the halls of Hope’s Peak, carrying an obscene amount of cardboard, dodging students, teachers and was that a mountain lion what the actual f-

 

Makoto squeaked softly and screeched to a halt, arms trembling from the weight of the materials and the pure terror that came from having an actual killer feline roaming the halls why didn’t he go to a normal school

 

While he stood as still and possible, praying that the pie of cardboard and crafts would disguise him as a non-edible being, the cat strolled calmly through the halls. Most of the students were now nowhere to be seen, though a few brave souls acted like nothing was happening. Before long, a figure appeared at the farthest end of the hall. A black cloak was wrapped ominously around the figure, under a thick purple scarf, while thick bandages concealed one arm. The man’s skin was white as snow, and a vicious scar adorned one eye. Spotting the cat that was pausing in front of him oh god I’m going to die, the man let out a sharp call. He made his way quickly down the hallway, long strides filled with purpose.

 

“Basset! I have warned you about entering the realm of humans! I do not know how you managed to get to this place, but you must return with me at once!” The cat ignored him, nose now pressed to the ground, and began to snuffle around his feet, inching closer with every second. The man picked up the pace, all but jogging down the hall, a scowl working itself onto his face.

 

Now closer to the odd man, Makoto was able to see that one of his eyes was a deep red, the other a pale grey. What is he talking about? He’s talking to a giant cat? And he has a red eye? This is it, this is what I get for dating Junko, I’m going to be eaten by a mountain lion and have my soul stolen by an actual demon.

 

“Who’s a good girl?” Makoto blinked to find the man crouched next to the cat, hand firmly on the scruff of her neck. He was…attaching a leash? It had a collar hidden somewhere underneath all that fur? Giving the giant feline a scratch in the middle of her forehead, the stranger straightened to find Makoto staring in sheer abstract terror.

 

“Magnificent, isn’t she?” A smile quirked at the corner of the stranger’s mouth as he glanced in Makoto’s direction. His expression softened as he turned back to feline, and stroked the top of its head carefully. The man…didn’t look much like a demon anymore. Odd, of course, with his strange get up and way of speaking, but a evil being could never be this kind or respectful, and if Hope’s Peak had one thing, it was odd students.

 

Makoto found his voice, and swallowed, before forcing his arms to relax. “She is,” he whispered. The cat had relaxed, its formerly agitated tail hanging low and twitching at the tip. The stranger looked pleased at his response and allowed Makoto a small smile before he straightened, holding the leash loosely around his hand as one might walk a dog.

 

“You are Makoto, yes? One who is graced with luck, or so I hear. I have heard your praises sung many times before within the confines of classroom. How different from your older counterpart you seem. Hmph. My name is Gundham Tanaka, Overlord of Ice! I thank you for your help in calming Basset. As a goddess of destruction, she can be quite agitated when she is not properly attended to. It does not help that the gates to her realm have been tampered with. As a reward, I implore you to visit; I shall teach you the ways of demons, and to unlock your true powers. For now, I must return Basset to her proper place.”

 

“Ah, but I didn’t actually do anything…” Makoto protested weakly, waving a hand in denial.

 

“Nonsense!” Gundham boomed. “Had your presence not been here at the end of the hall, she would not have stopped, and I would have had to continue my quest through these accursed halls.” He scoffed, crossing his arms and looking down fondly at the cat. “It would seem she has taken a liking to you. How interesting.”

 

Makoto spared a glance at the mountain lion, golden eyes meeting his own. He resisted the urge to shiver. “She just looks hungry to me,” he joked.

 

“Hmph. I suppose that one unfamiliar with the ways of immortals would think that. My offer stands. I wish you good will, Makoto Naegi.” And with that he turned, and strode back to where he came, Basset trailing at his side like a domesticated dog. Once he disappeared from sight, the lucky student took a moment to breathe, shifting the cardboard and crats still cradled in his arms.

“Ah, the cardboard!” he yelped. “I gotta get these to the classroom, else Taka’s gonna lecture me for the rest of the afternoon!”

 

After stumbling into the classroom, full of babbled apologies under Taka’s judging glare, the day continued at a wicked pace, and Makoto found himself more often than not an errand boy for the rest of the class.

 

“Makoto, we need more paint!”

 

“Makoto, I need a practice partner. Pretty please?”

 

“Makoto, hold the prop up!”

 

Needless to say, by the time the final bell rang, Makoto was tired. He had run four different errands to other parts of the school, obtained no less than three papercuts, tripped and landed flat on his face twice and nearly hot glued his fingers together on one, unfortunate, instance. Patched up with the classroom first aid kit (because he really didn’t feel like visiting Tsumiki after the conversation he, ahem, overheard), he picked up his bag from its place beside his desk. After all his hard work, his classmates agreed to let him practice at home, rather than stay back like Byakuya had initially insisted.

 

Makoto went through his usual check before he left school. “Calculator, cellphone, wallet, homework, workbook, looks good. Except…am I missing something?” Makoto frowned, murmuring to himself. “That’s the usual. What am I forgetting?”

 

His mind ran over the events of the day. The usual morning routine, he’d bought lunch for once, English class, practicing lines, Taka sending him to the art room for supplies –

 

The keys.

 

Did he hand them back to Taka? He hadn’t, he was sure of it; Taka had even begun to ask for them before Hifumi distracted him. Oh no. He felt a growing pit form in his stomach as anxiety swept through his mind. He’d grabbed the cardboard and crafts, hung the keys from his pocket, with one of the keys out just in case he needed to grab them in a hurry, and then the incident with the mountain lion and Gundham. I swear to god, you stupid luck, what I think happened better not have happened or else I am going to be very UPSET.

 

Makoto grabbed his bag, and swung it over his shoulder, sprinting out the doors. He needed those keys. If I lose the keys, I am going to die. If Taka doesn’t kill me, sensei will.

 

His first stop was the route he took to and from the art room. The art room was locked, like he remembered locking it. The lock was even in the same position as he remembered turning it. So after leaving the art room, then. He scanned the length of the route he took, and came up empty. His second stop was the office, a desperate panic gathering. Maybe someone handed it in?

 

After a brief trip to the office, where the kindly staff informed him that no keys had been handed in, and that the art room keys were not back in their proper place, sorry, he came to the only other option he could think of.

 

The mountain lion stole the keys. I dropped the keys and a mountain lion stole them. @God, why do you hate me?

 

With a heavy sigh, he made his way to where he knew the upperclassmen’s classroom was. He didn’t even know whether Gundham would be there, but where else was he supposed to look for a demonic looking, but surprisingly kind-hearted animal fanatic? At the very least, there would hopefully be someone in the classroom who would be able to send him in the right direction. What would he even say to Gundham anyway? Hey, I know we only met once, but I think your mountain lion stole my keys or ate them or something, I don’t suppose you’ve seen them?

 

He climbed the final set of stairs, puffing quietly. He’d honestly hoped the last set of steps he’d have to climb today were the stairs to his room. Because, god, he was tired, grumpy and this close to crying it wasn’t even funny anymore.

 

Approaching the door, he heard a low grumble indicating voices behind the closed sliding door. He took a quick breath in preparation for the probably embarrassing explanation he was going to have to do to a bunch of upperclassman, before opening to door.

 

“Um, excuse me…?” He began before he stopped.

 

Junko.

 

Junko, sat on a wooden desk, one leg crossed over the other in an imitation of modesty. Junko, lips locked with Tsumiki, the Ultimate Nurse, hands curled in long, choppily cut hair. Junko, releasing the nurse’s face, and glancing at Makoto, dismissively. Tsumiki, eyes rolling, mouth drooling, all but falling to the floor. Members of class 77 scattered, a wearing either eerie smiles or masks of disgust.

 

Junko was cheating on him. Junko had abandoned him, and hadn’t bothered to speak a word. Of course she didn’t care.

 

Makoto felt something he knew was important deep in his mind. All the rage, hurt and confusion he had felt forming in his chest suddenly became muffled.

 

He was done. That snapping feeling was his patience. His denial of what was a very probable situation. The limits of his kindness.

 

Further examination of some of the students in the room revealed symptoms he recognised from Junko on one of her rants. Despair.

 

He turned to Junko and saw her sitting there, idle curiosity settling on her features as she waited quietly. Slowly, the students realised his presence and began to turn.

 

Cold. He felt cold. Cold down to his bones, ice moving sluggishly in his veins. He looked her in the eyes, electric blue meeting green. He didn’t say anything. Somehow, he didn’t need to. He knew she’d understand him just fine.

 

I’m done.

 

He closed the door and left.

Chapter Text

Silence.

 

“Does anyone know what tha hell just happened?” The pink haired mechanic was the first one to speak. Some uncomfortable shuffling and silent glances spoke mountains.

 

“That was that Mark kid or whatever, yeah?” Akane asked.

 

“I believe that was Makoto Naegi, an underclassman of ours.” Sonia’s silky voice murmured, rising above the chatter. “What a strange reaction. He certainly didn’t look very happy.” A curious but serene expression passed over her features. “I don’t suppose you have anything to do with his sudden entrance and exit, Junko?” she addressed the model.

 

Junko had let go of the nurse, who had collapsed unceremoniously to the floor, trembling. Now she sat, perfectly still, as she stared at the closed door. Her face was a blank slate and she hadn’t seemed to hear the princess. Finally she heaved a sigh, before uncrossing her legs and stretching.

 

“Well that’s a little unfortunate,” she hummed.

 

“Ah, p-pardon me for asking, but is something wrong, Junko-sama?” Tsumiki stuttered from her place on the floor.

 

Junko gave her a bored glance, before looking away. “It’s nothing important,” she replied. She cocked her head, lost in thought. “I think I’ll go for a walk.”

 

The model strode out the classroom at a leisurely pace, not bothering to close the door behind her. She paused in the empty hallway, glancing behind her. Seeing no one, she sighed.

 

“That’s irritating as hell,” she murmured quietly. Then she giggled. And giggled and she kept going until she was laughing alone in the hallway. “Who’d have thought the twink had a backbone?” she laughed.

 

“Ah,” she sighed again, laughter gone. “But Makoto’s upset with me now. That’s no good.”

 

Then she frowned. Was it no good? Makoto didn’t have anything to do with her plans. In fact, he was a distraction, and more importantly, an obstacle. Junko had asked him out because of that hope of his, wanted to see if it was as fragile as the boy looked. And of course, you know the saying; keep your friends close, and enemies closer.

 

Since then, Makoto had been irritatingly normal. It was his greatest trait, after all. Being average. And if Junko hated anything, it was predictability. So why was it that she felt that twinge of regret? She frowned, and laughed again, for good measure. She closed her eyes, letting her brilliant mind run. Based on previous evidence, Makoto would come running back. He wasn’t just average, he was an herbivore man. Of course, she was surprised he’d broken it off at all, but then again, she hadn’t been paying much attention; there were plenty of factors that could have pushed him that bit farther. There was a play in a few weeks, wasn’t there? She mused to herself. That was probably the source. Satisfied, she grinned a wicked grin, and began to ponder whether she’d take the boy back, and what unusual punishments she could devise.

 

 

“Its been THREE DAYS!” complained Junko. “What the hell?” Mukuro ignored the bitter whining of her older sister, and focused on gently brushing golden curls. They were doing what should have been their usual routine; Mukuro brushing and curling Junko’s hair (because God knows she couldn’t take care of it all herself), trying her best to be gentle. To up the stakes, for every tug or pull, Junko would pull a knife (sometimes a knitting needle or similar stabby object) and try her best to impale her. Mukuro wasn’t one to have a great deal of self-pride, but she was sure anyone else would have ended up in hospital a number of times, especially as sometimes Junko would try to stab her anyway.

 

Today, however, was a little different. Mukuro was almost finished with Junko’s hair, as the golden curls gleamed under the sunlight. Junko, however, had not attempted to impale her even once. It wasn’t that she didn’t have a weapon; in fact, Junko was punctuating her words with waves of a wicked looking meat skewer, sharpened to a fine point. Since Junko had woken that morning, she had been in a foul mood. The topic? Makoto Naegi.

 

“Today will be the fourth day,” Junko added. “Four days and he hasn’t so much as sent me a sappy text message! What the hell is up with that?! Look!” Junko reached into the spot between her boobs, and pulled out a abnormally large cell phone, tapping a few buttons, before turning and all but throwing the phone at her twin sister. Mukuro caught it one handed, gently placing the hairbrush down. Junko sulked, fiddling with her hair, as Mukuro scrolled the messages. Her mouth twitched slightly as she scrolled.

 

Every day. Makoto had sent her at least one message every day. The more recent entries were one message at most, mainly either a good morning or goodnight, sometimes a reminder of due homework. Earlier texts occurred several times a day. Cute messages, good mornings, invites to go out, or even funny stories about his ridiculous luck. He even messaged her when something bad happened to her classmates, because of course, stories like that were Junko’s favourite. He always added that everything turned out fine, but of course he would. Makoto would never let his classmates truly suffer. Sometimes he asked Junko why she wasn’t around. Asked her if she was okay. It was horribly cute. Judging by the messages, Makoto had been patient, understanding. He’d treated the fact that Junko had never answered a single one of messages as another one of her quirks, it seems, Mukuro noted, scrolling. Out of context, the complete absence of replies and the number of texts from Makoto would be creepy, borderline stalkerish. But in this case, she knew Junko, and she knew Makoto. This was an inside joke they had shared, Mukuro smiled to herself. She didn’t know her sister could be associated with anything this cute.

Scrolling back to the most recent messages, Mukuro saw what Junko meant. Starting three days ago, Makoto had not sent a single message. Not a good morning, or a good night. No smiley face emojis, not even a break up text.

 

It was…odd. “He didn’t even send me a message about why he was upset!” Junko whined again, mimicking Mukuro’s thoughts. “He’s almost as responsible as Taka about this kind of stuff, and a complete softie! Usually, he’d be all like, ‘I need to tell you how I feel!’ or at least give me the puppy eye disappointment! To just ghost me like this is weird! Makoto can’t even hold grudges! Someone could frame him for murder, and he’d forgive them!”

 

“Uh huh,” Mukuro kept a blank face. “You’re awfully emotional about all this. Are you really that upset?” A flash registered, and she dodged the tip of the meat skewer.

 

“I am not,” pouted Junko.

 

“I thought you liked surprises?” Another stab.

 

“I do!”

 

“Then why are you upset? Shouldn’t you be happy?” She resisted the urge to flinch as Junko stabbed the skewer into the table on her left.

 

Junko grimaced. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m super stoked, but it’s also so boring. He’s not running back right away, which is interesting, but he instead ghosts me completely! It’s like he’s punishing me by boring me to death!”

 

“You did neglect him, shamelessly manipulate his emotions, and then cheat on him with the school nurse,” Mukuro pointed out. “You kinda deserve it.”

 

“No one asked for your shitty opinion, stinky, cross eyed mutt!” Junko snarled. She sighed, crossing one leg after the other, and admired her cherry red finger nails, emotions flipped in an instant. Her eyes narrowed, and Mukuro watched the gears turn in her sisters head. “He wants to play a game, huh?” Junko murmured. “What a poor choice.”

 

Makoto sneezed.

 

“You okay, buddy?” Leon asked. He glanced over to where Makoto sat on the classroom floor. The small boy was glaring at the piece of wood like it offended him personally. Rust-red paint covered Makoto’s hands, and the paint was splotched haphazardly on his clothes, in his hair, and, as Makoto turned his face to towards him, he learned, on his face as well.

 

“I’m fine,” Makoto sniffed. He went back to painting the block of wood angrily, before placing it off to the side to dry, and grabbing the next piece. Leon watched in silence.

 

“Dude,” he began. “If you’re that upset, why not just text her or something?” Leon knew something was up with Makoto and Junko. Ignoring the fact that he hadn’t actually seen the two together for weeks, the day before last, Makoto had come in sporting a foul mood. Well, as foul as it could be considering it was Makoto. Cold and distant seemed more appropriate. He’d guessed it was relationship troubles pretty quickly after he’d flinched at Junko’s name.

 

“Can’t,” Makoto mumbled.

 

“Huh? Why not?” Leon blinked.

 

Makoto raised a hand to sheepishly rub at his neck. “I kinda lost it on my way home a few days ago.”

 

Leon whistled. “Relationship troubles AND you lost your phone? Sucks to be you, huh? Not to mention you lost those keys too. Life just isn’t going your way this week.” Makoto seemed to shrink into himself, and Leon was reminded of a sad puppy.

 

“Hey,” he said awkwardly. “You know how I’m a big shot baseball star and all that? Well, I have a couple of tickets for a match in a couple of days. I was thinking of inviting Sayaka, but ya know, it’s probably too short notice anyway. So how about you come with be instead? It’ll raise your spirits!” he added.

 

Makoto’s eyes widened comically as he glanced Leon’s way. “Really?” he asked quietly.

 

“Yeah, man.” Leon grinned. Makoto slowly matched Leon’s smile and nodded.

 

“That’s be pretty cool. Thanks.”

 

“No prob,” the baseballer smirked. “Just write down you address, and I’ll come pick you up.”

“Got it,” Makoto smiled. The two held gazes for a moment, before they both shared a grin and a giggle.

 

Leon felt the gazes of the class on him and glanced around. Looks of approval were shot his way from everyone from Aoi to even Kyoko sending him a gaze of relief. Makoto’s bad mood had been worrying everyone. When he came in that morning, Taka had strode up to the student, ready to admonish him for the missing key, but had all but stopped dead at the sight of sad eyes, and hunched, broken shoulders. He’d instead decided to find the keys himself, and instead asked Makoto to be more careful. Since then, the class had been keeping a close eye on the lucky student. He was the heart of class 78, in a way. If the class rep position hadn’t been chosen so early, and Taka wasn’t such an obvious candidate for the position, he’d have won the spot by a landslide.

 

Now that Makoto was being cheered up, Leon was ready to commence the next step. Find out what Junko had done to tear up Makoto so badly. He clenched his fist. Junko wouldn’t get away with her antics this time.

Chapter Text

Makoto dropped the pencil with a sigh. Rubbing his eyes, he leaned back into his chair and stared at the ceiling. It was almost time for the game with Leon, but he still hadn’t finished his math homework. He glanced at the clock one more time. 4:37. Leon would be picking him up around a quarter to five, so he didn’t really have anymore time to waste. Giving him math book once last petulant glare, he folded it up and placed it in his backpack. He’d get in more trouble forgetting the whole thing than not quite finishing it. Thinking he’d come back later tonight and finish it off was, from experience, nothing but wishful thinking.

Rummaging through the tangled mess that passed as a closet, he eventually went with a plain white shirt and a pair of dark jeans. Sparing a glance through the window, he pulled out a soft green hoodie as an afterthought, shrugging it on. A wallet shoved in his back pocket, and a new (cheap, temporary) phone in hand, he almost walked past the bathroom before ducking in, and giving himself a quick spray of deodorant. It probably wouldn’t much difference in the massive crowd of sweating sports fans, he thought. But there’s no reason not to give it a shot. A glance in the mirror revealed that one part of his hair that still wouldn’t stay down. He’d once tried gelling it in sixth grade, but even Extra-hold Mowhawk Extreme ™ apparently couldn’t keep the damn thing down. His outfit was plain, but clean. He looked average. No surprise there. Giving himself a quick nod and smile in the mirror (that looked a bit too sad for his liking) he finally bounced down the stairs, and stepped into the kitchen. True to form, his mum was already bustling, prepping for dinner.

 

“Hey mum,” he greeted.

 

“Hello darling,” she responded distractedly. “That friend of yours, Leon, is coming to pick you up soon, right?”

 

“Uh huh. In about…” he checked his phone. “Two minutes?”

 

“I’m glad, you know.” She turned, and gave a soft smile. “You’ve been a little down the last couple days. It’ll be good for you to get out the house, and have some fun.”

 

“Yeah. I think so too,” he smiled back.

 

“Now remember!” she continued. A smirk crossed her face and Makoto braced. “No alcohol, no drugs, home before 10, it’s still a school night mister, let me remind you, and you can go and kiss as may boys or girls or whatever as you want, but nothing more than that, okay?”

 

“Mum!” he choked out, mortified. “Don’t say things like that! Who do you think I am anyway?” He scoffed inwardly at the thought of becoming some sort of truant like Mondo and almost choked again at the thought of himself with a giant yellow pompadour.

 

“I think you’re my perfect little boy,” she teased softly. She stepped closer, and ran her head through her son’s hair and gave him a little kiss on the cheek. “And I’m your mother. No matter how old we both get, I’m always allowed to worry. Now, I think I can hear your friend outside. Don’t want to keep him waiting, do you?”

 

“Thanks mum.” Makoto hesitated for a moment, before giving her a quick peck on the cheek and running out the door. “I’ll keep my phone on!” he added.

 

True to her word, a black SUV idled outside on the suburban street. Tinted windows rolled down to reveal Leon dressed in a black jacket with a hood, and a pair of expensive looking sunglasses.

“What’cha waiting for?” he grinned. “Hop on in!”

 

Makoto flung open the door with a similar grin, and settled in the backseat next to the baseball star. “Are you gonna wear that hood the entire time?” he asked, shooting his friend a look.

 

“If I don’t I’m gonna be swarmed. We won’t even be able to enjoy the game!” he complained back.

 

“I thought you loved attention?”

 

“Yeah, when it’s chicks,” Leon huffed. “Most baseball fans are sweaty, middle aged men. Besides,” he added. “Today’s about me and you, hanging out as bros. I don’t want to ruin your night.”

 

“Thanks,” Makoto replied softly. He fidgeted for a moment, and Leon watched him wring his hands silently. “Hey Leon?” he asked. “This whole thing about taking me to the game…does it have anything to do with how I broke up with Junko? Not that I doubt we’re friends, it’s just this was, uh, pretty sudden.”

 

“So you DID break up?!” Leon blurted.

 

“Ah, um, yeah. I mean kinda? Neither of us really said anything, but I think it’s clear. Did I not, um, say anything about that?”

 

“No, you didn’t! You just came in one day looking like someone stepped on your puppy and started glaring at random pieces of wood!”

 

Makoto flinched. Rubbing the back of his neck, he laughed nervously. “Whoops. Guess I was being a little selfish, huh?”

 

Leon blinked in surprise, and let out a frustrated groan. “No, dude. That’s not it. You just broke up. With a supermodel, none the less. You’re allowed to be upset!” Makoto looked surprised, and somewhat embarrassed.

 

“Makoto,” Leon continued. “Dude, we were worried about you.”

 

“Worried?” the word almost felt foreign as it rolled off Makoto’s tongue. “Wait, we?”

 

“Yeah dude! The whole class is concerned. Even icy prick himself and the borderline sociopaths are worried about your dip in mood. Dude, you gotta tell me, what happened? Else I can’t guarantee that there won’t be a witch hunt in the works.”

 

“What?” he gasped. “No no no don’t do that!” he panicked, hands waving. “I was the one who broke up with her anyway,” he admitted.

 

“Wait, you broke up with her? I mean, I get it, she was pretty crazy, but you two seemed to balance surprisingly well. She calmed down a hell of a lot when she was with you, and you’ve seemed, well,” his eyebrows furrowed as he frowned. “Not so much as happier, but like, more spontaneous? You tried more things. Remember when you tried you luck gambling with Celestia? Or when you tried training with Sakura? It was actually kind of cool. What did she do to mess it up?”

 

“Why’d you assume she messed it up?” Makoto mumbled. “I mean, I’m the one who broke up with her.”

 

“Because you’re Makoto, dude! You never hurt people on purpose, while Junko, is well, Junko.”

 

“It’s just,” Makoto started. “I don’t get why she asked me out in the first place! She’s literally a supermodel, and she’s crazy smart and she could have literally anyone! I’m the lucky student! And not lucky like Nagito, either, I’m literally just some guy!” he buried his head in his hands. “I’m completely average, and that’s all I will be. Is that why she did it? Did she finally get bored of me? I don’t even understand why I’m upset! She never returned my messages, and she was never the romantic type, and she’s always off somewhere, doing something…” Makoto began to shake softly.

 

“Woah dude,” Leon cautioned. “Slow down. Did what? Dude, what did she do?

 

“I, um,” Makoto sniffled. “I haven’t really seen Junko for a while. And I guess I kind of suspected something, but I mean, I don’t like to doubt people, you know. But um, I couldn’t find the storage keys and I realised Gundham’s puma might’ve taken them from earlier…? So I headed over to class 77’s classroom and I found her. With um. With Mikan.”

 

Leon’s brain short-circuited for a moment. “Pu-? Wait what? With Mikan? Are you saying Junko cheated on you with the school nurse?” Makoto just nodded miserably.

 

“Shit dude,” he exhaled. “That’s scummy. And you ended it right there, huh?” Makoto nodded again.

 

“Well, the good news is that was a major red flag. So good on you,” Leon said awkwardly. Makoto snorted.

 

“Leon, Junko is a living red flag. Everything she does is a red flag. I don’t even know if she’s able to send anything else,” Makoto pointed out, giggling through the tears. “I just,” he sighed. “I don’t know why I expected anything else,” he whispered.

 

“Dude, no, okay.” Leon demanded. “Look, I can be a bit of an asshole sometimes. And shit man, I’m not great at giving advice, especially not on chicks or whatever. But dude, you’re not some stone heart macho man, of course you’re gonna be emotionally invested. Look, a relationship is, like two things. One, you get all the fun stuff. You know, the hugging and the handholding and the other stuff,” he waggled his eyebrows, sending Makoto red, as he choked on his laughter through the tears. “But it’s also about like, supporting one another dude. Emotionally and all that. Else you just got a friend with benefits situation, yeah? She asked for a relationship, and you agreed. She broke a promise. It’s not on you to be left blaming yourself because you should’ve seen it coming. Now, we’re almost here,” he added. “Do you still feel like going? Cause I said we had seats, but I was kinda being coy, and we actually have a private box area, so we can eat and watch the game without everyone staring at us.”

 

“We WHAT?” Makoto choked out. “But what about your outfit!” he cried, pointing at the black jacket.

 

“I have to get in before we get to the seats, dumbass.” He rolled his eyes. “You didn’t really think I’d wear this over sized thing the whole time. Now come on!” He opened the door and stepped out, leaving Makoto spluttering behind him. Makoto quickly opened his own door, almost tripping as it opened faster than expected. He stumbled out into the waiting area, and quickly jogged to catch up, following the heavily hooded boy, before jogging to his side.

 

He sighed happily. “Thanks Leon.” He murmured.

 

Leon went slightly pink “No problem, bro.”

 

Omake (extra):

 

“So,” Leon asked, mouth full. “How’d your family react to your break up? Or to Junko, in general? She’s pretty intense.”

 

“I uh, didn’t really tell them?” Makoto laughed.

 

“You didn’t tell them you broke up?”

 

“I kinda didn’t tell them I was dating in the first place.”

 

“What? Why?”

 

“Would you want Junko to know your family, personally, so that she could come over, no questions asked, to do whatever she wants?”

 

Leon was silent.

 

“Didn’t think so.” Makoto hummed. “I did try and tell at one point. It’s not my fault they didn’t believe when I told them I was dating a supermodel. My sister nearly choked when I mentioned it. I wonder why?”

 

“Let’s just watch the game, dude.”

Chapter Text

Junko cackled wildly, hair whipping in the autumn breeze. She stood poised in front of a group of cowering reserve course students, long red nails brandishing a leaflet of incriminating pictures. A cruel and taunting smirk played across her face as she hungrily gazed at each of the terrified boys in turn.

 

“Naughty, naughty, naughty,” she cooed. “What bad little reserve students you’ve been. Cheating on the entrance exam? Flirting with a teacher? Trespassing on the main course grounds? My my, you’ve been busy.” She purred as she flicked through each photo one by one. The boys watched, mesmerised and silent in their terror. A pair of black glasses reflected maliciously in the sunlight, perched on the bridge of her nose for effect. “Breaking the rules like this could get you expelled, you know?” The four boys trembled, shrinking under her triumphant gaze.

 

“W-What do you want?” one asked bravely. Plain brown eyes betrayed the anxiety hidden behind his words. “We’re just reserve students! We couldn’t possibly have anything you want!”

 

Junko laughed softly, almost lovingly. “Oh, how wrong you are,” Junko replied softly. She gazed them for a single moment more, before she ripped her glasses from her face and chucked them over her shoulder with a flourish. “Despair,” she whispered roughly, moving forward and lifting one boy’s chin with a single nail, “has no pre-requisites.”

 

“D-despair?” one boy with a frankly atrocious bowl cut trembled.

 

Despair,” Junko repeated again with emphasis. “For example, I could give these photos to the staff, you know? I mean, you’ll be expelled, of course. But that’s so boring. I could make it so much more exciting. Imagine if someone leaked these horrible secrets to, perhaps, a mega-ultra popular magazine? Say, Top Gossip? I do have to wonder how Takayama is doing on his holiday,” Junko sighed wistfully, twirling hr hair around one finger. “He’s their main editor, by the way;” she added. “After my last issue broke sales, I thanked him by letting him stay at one of my properties in the Maldives. You’d be shocked to see how hard it is to a break in such a ruthless industry. Oh, I can see the headline!” she gasped. She reached out a hand, as if to grasp something beyond the horizon. “’Bad behaviour at Hope’s Peak; Entitled Students a Blemish on a Pristine Reputation!’ The outrage! The backlash! The fallout!” she exclaimed breathlessly. “Expulsion, social condemnation, perhaps even disowned, outcast by your own family!” She swooned. “I can barely imagine what the consequences would be; oh, it makes me shiver with excitement!” she sighed, wrapping her arms around herself. “After all,” she mused, suddenly serious. “The tuition fee for the reserve course is so high, you all come from suuuper wealthy families right? You’re probably here to form profitable connections, maybe even leach off of Hope’s Peak’s famous reputation. All on mummy and daddy’s dollar, of course. I can’t imagine how’d they react, knowing their precious little heirs went and jeopardised all their industrial connections for the next twenty years.” She smirked, poison dripping from every word.

 

The boys looked on in horror. One looked as if he was going to throw up. Slowly, one raised his head and stared her in the eye. “There’s no way,” he said, voice quivering. “There’s no way you’d do that just for – just to see us in despair. That’s, that’s ridiculous! You’re lying!” he accused.

 

“Ridiculous?” she questioned, face blank. It was unnerving as it all emotion was wiped clean. The trembling of her milky finger hanging by her sides was the only giveaway of her internal excitement.

 

Fight, fight, fight! She urged silently. She watched eagerly as the boy tried to pick themselves up, reaching out for some kind of hope.

 

“I suppose from your point of view, it is a little out of this world, isn’t it?” she mused. “But what of it?” she smiled predatorily. “Is it really that hard to believe? That I wouldn’t be able to enjoy watching you crash and burn? You’ve done all this:” she gestured to the photos still clutched in one hand, “and now you’re willing to believe in the good of humans? What a joke!”

The students stared at her, as one by one, they began to break. Eyes fixed on the sheaf of paper in her hands, some would glance behind her, where her sweet little sister Mukuro was standing guard.

 

That’s right, she thought sweetly. Violence can’t save you here. You can’t bargain with me, either. Now your little appeal has failed, what will you do now?

 

Three of the four were frozen in place, despair tainting their features. Junko felt a rush, the little buzz that came with watching despair blossom; it made her gut twist with guilt and gratification, knowing she had pushed these reserve students, these people this far.

 

The final boy, one with brown, messy hair, (so like Makoto) looked up with a look of defiance. Junko felt her breath catch as she waited for the student to speak.

 

“Yes,” he said shakily.

 

“Yes?” she echoed.

 

“Yes, I’ll take your bluff,” he said lowly. “People can do the wrong thing sometimes; they’re selfish, and that means they cross the line without thinking sometimes.” He gulped. “B-But doesn’t mean they’re, they’re evil. I mean, if you’re just a sadist, there’s gotta be a better way to get your kicks, right? There’s a bazillion websites out there for that. We didn’t even do anything to you. There’s no reason to target us specifically.”

 

Junko felt a thrill. Finally. Finally, someone willing to fight back without all that bluster and bravado, or the hissed threats and tears she had gotten so used to. This boy was scared, it showed in the way his hands shook, his pupils dilated, and his breathing caught in his throat. But he looked her in the eye as he spoke, a defiance she yearned for colouring his words.

 

It curdled in her gut as she listened with baited breath, her insides floating and twisting at the same time. Her own hands shook in excitement.

 

“So, no, I’m willing to bet you won’t send those pictures away.” He finished with a final smirk.

 

Junko stared him down silently. “Okay,” she said simply. She fiddled with her phone with a moment, before snapping some pictures of the documents in one hand, shuffling them with skilled precision. She stuck her tongue out the corner of her mouth as she worked, a deceptively cutesy look as she continued to ruin the lives of the students cowering before her.

“W-What are you doing?” the boy whispered. His confident expression from earlier was long gone.

 

“Isn’t it obvious?” Junko asked in a bored tone. “I’m doing exactly what I said I would.” She paused, shooting him a shark-like grin. “After all, I’m many things; a model, a fashion icon, a jerk, a demon and the goddamn queen of despair; but I’m not a liar.”

 

The boy visibly broke as she briskly finished off her message, curling into himself as he slumped, silent. She gave the group a quick glance at the message, laden with a hideous number of emoticons and love hearts, the incriminating documents clearly visible. With a flourish, she pressed send, and the boys sat silently as their lives flushed down the drain.

 

“Anything to say?” she chirped.

 

There was no reply. Every set of eyes were empty, fingers quivering and breathing light. She sighed. Broken. Disappointment clawed her insides as she gazed at the final student; the defiant boy who had given her – well hope was technically the correct term, as that’s exactly what had happened, literally and metaphorically. For a moment, she had thought she might’ve met her match, or rather, Makoto’s. But while he had jumped the first hurdle, he had stumbled at the second, and now she was left both bored and frustrated.

 

Junko was a woman of duality. She loved despair more than anything in this world; she loved the broken look that clung to people’s faces, the chaotic and unpredictable choices that people would never had made under any other circumstances. She even loved feeling it herself; the way the guilt of causing said despair clawed at her gut and soul, of how the despair, however fleeting, seemed to physically strangle her throat, stopping the relentless churning in a mind that just went too fast too much-

 

But obtaining actual despair was hard. Unless she directly sabotaged herself and burnt herself to the ground, it wasn’t just something that could happen naturally. She was too talented, too pretty, too smart. (And why do it on purpose? That would be so boooring) So her best option was to feed other students to her despair, and amuse herself in the meantime. There’s only so many people to torment without getting caught, and only so many times tears can be entertaining. So of course, a rival was in order. Someone who could catch her in her machinations, who stood in her path at every turn; someone who would never falter beneath her cruel words and manipulations, and would stand strong even as the world crumpled around him. She imagined someone cool and dashing, with dark hair and a smirk set in stone.

 

Instead she found Makoto.

 

Makoto didn’t catch her in every dastardly plan. He was never there as a challenger, staring her down with the grim determination found in a shonen battle scene. He stumbled into them far more often than he should have, considering how carefully she hid them, and more often that not it resulted in confused and disappointed stares, gentle chiding and the silent treatment for the next couple of hours.

 

Makoto never stood unaffected by her words as she threw them, sharp as swords and venomous as snake bites. He tensed and winced; he never fought back as much as he should have, that damned self-doubt didn’t he know he was worth more than that, but she enjoyed pushing him til he broke, voice rising as he eventually defended some aspect of his self-worth. Just like her sister, she pushed and pushed and pushed and eventually he grew stronger (even if it awakened an unpleasant feeling in her gut, it was the right thing to do, right?)

 

But even as he grew worthy to be her rival, he continued to throw her off. Because this was not the cool, dark and dashing opponent she ordered, but a sweet, self-conscious brunette with a heart three sizes too big that she received.

 

And now he was gone.

 

(Not gone, she told herself. He’ll be back.)

 

Makoto might not have been what she had expected, but he had always, always sprung back up, always found the most ridiculously small sliver of hope in any situation. He would appear of the blue, unpredictable, and bring insane perspectives far beyond Junko’s worldview wherever he went. It kept her on her toes, brought a thrill to every plan, and made her days interesting. God, her life was interesting.

 

And now she was back to square one, no, square negative fifty for gods sake, as she chased a thrill as rare as hens teeth.

 

As she walked away scrolling through her texts, and deleting the documents she had done nothing but send to her own phone, she realised something with a sinking heart.

 

She needed to fix this.