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A Summer Full Of Hope

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Summer camp wasn’t really the first idea that popped into Hajime Hinata’s mind when he heard “summer” and “fun” put together in a sentence, but here he was sitting on the plastic bench of a bus stop. To begin with, he wasn’t really the most nature-loving person out there. He had always been more suited for the indoors. It wasn’t as if this whole camping ordeal was his idea, if he could, he would be studying and picking up any jobs he could to support his family. He was determined to get into the honors classes at his high school and he knew with enough hard work, it could become possible. The foolish idea of summer camp was his parents' fault, they were persistent on him having a “true American summer”, whatever that was supposed to be. It was just a branch of their overarching idea that he had to become a “true man.”

So far, all of their attempts had failed. Sports? Ha, Hajime could hardly dribble a basketball let alone play any sport. The only active thing he was involved in was the track team, and even then he was just a mediocre runner. Boy Scouts wasn’t any better as he quickly discovered that tying knots and starting fires was a lot harder than they seemed. At this point, he could only guess that his parents had gotten the idea that being a man meant one undergoing the experience of summer camp. He almost hated how determined they were, they had even pulled some strings and got him accepted into the nicest camp around, Camp Hope’s Peak. Supposedly, a friend of his father’s somehow knew the owner of the camp. His father’s friend had somehow magically gotten an invitation for Hajime. That’s right, this camp was so exclusive that the only way to be a part of it was by invite.

He didn’t put up much of a fight when his parents exploded with joy as they told him about the summer camp. They claimed that only the most elite and wealthiest had the privilege of being invited to attend the camp, two things the Hinata's’ were not. Though he would be the black sheep of the herd, Hajime couldn’t help but be curious and he had secretly always wanted to experience life at its finest with the affluent.

Unfortunately, he was starting to regret his choice as the sun was beating down such harsh rays that he was thankful for the salvation of the roof that lingered over the bus stop. He could tell the heat would only increase as the season went on. Of course, he just had to dress in the most inappropriate way possible; he was sure regretting the fact that he was wearing skinny jeans when the humidity was threatening to boil him alive. To distract himself, Hajime looked over at his duffle bag and went through a mental checklist.

Socks? Check. Swimsuits? Yup.

He continued down his mental list until a particular bus came into view. His olive eyes squinted as he got a closer glance at the bus and it dawned on him what it was. When he was scrolling through the Hope’s Peak website on a late, restless night, he remembered finding a part explaining how all campers would be picked up and dropped off by a signature Hope’s Peak bus. He just knew that’s what was quickly approaching his stop. The bus had a similar layout of a typical school bus, however, it seemed to be crafted with more quality and seemed to have the accommodates of a charter bus such as air conditioning. The paint job seemed to glow in the blazing sun, especially the iconic camp symbol: A detailed shield with wings that had a crown sitting on top.

 

The bus slowed to a stop as soon as the driver noticed Hajime. Hajime pushed himself up from the sticky bench and swung his bag over his shoulder as the bus doors opened like a gaping mouth. He couldn’t help but let out a sigh of relief as soon as he stepped foot inside the bus. Cool air surrounded him like a welcoming embrace. Before he could get too jazzed about the bus being air-conditioned, the bus driver cleared his throat as he held out his hand in anticipation.

Realization smacked Hajime over the head as he clumsily dug his invitation out of his pocket, handing it to the driver. As Hajime got a good look at the bus driver, he realized that he mustn’t have been that much older than him. He was tall and lean and had on, what Hajime would consider way too much green. The only way that someone could tell that this driver was part of the staff was his Hope’s Peak hat and name that read “Dan Monokuma.” Hajime didn’t have much time to muddle over his curious last name before Dan let out a grunt of satisfaction and handed Hajime his invitation back. Hajime headed to the back of the bus to claim a seat. He promptly realized that he was the first passenger. His mood increased slightly as he plopped down into a seat, wiggling around until he was comfortable.

He had certainly never been on such a luxurious ride before. The bus was more like a limo than a typical bus. He felt like a Hollywood star as he leaned back in the leather seat that resembled a recliner than a bus seat. His gaze was drawn to a nearby plug for any type of electronic device. He scanned the bus, noticing a restroom that was tucked in the very back and rows of T.V’s that were installed in the back of every chair.

After ogling his surroundings, Hajime turned his attention over to the window next to him and looked out onto the view of uniform suburban houses. This was the life he had always lived, the simplistic urban lifestyle, and he was getting sick of it. With a silent goodbye, he couldn’t help but smile to himself as excitement twisted in his stomach. The bus then roared to life and started to move, picking up momentum.

His eyes grew heavy as the natural sway of the bus seemed to put him in a trace. Before he drifted off, he couldn’t help but ponder with an uncharacteristically optimistic attitude.

Maybe, just maybe, this will actually be pretty great. I will be surrounded by the people I was always meant to be around. For once, I feel a little… Hopeful.