Every night was a battle to fall asleep and every day was a battle to wake up. Whether he was conscious or not, memories and nightmares plagued him and he wasn't sure when it hurt less. Whenever he closed his eyes he would remember the suffocatingly tight metal collar, the stench of gunpowder and death, Tatsumichi's blood running freely over his hands. He would remember the psychopathic transfer student's deranged grin moments before his death, the pleading shouts of Yumiko and Yukiko for everyone to stop, the sounds of their screams of pain as the transfer student shot them moments afterwards. Most of all he could not block out the sight of so many people he cared about dead before his very eyes. Sometimes he almost wished he had been one of the ones killed because he wasn't sure he had the strength to continue on.
From time to time he would hear the others crying. Even the most hardened fighters among them would break down or scream in rage and emotional torment. No one was exempt, not even the children hardly old enough to walk on their own. All of them had been through trying ordeals, some more-so than others.
The smell of gunpowder permeated the air around him. The scent clung to his clothes, hair and skin. Granules were continually embedded beneath his fingernails no matter how often he washed his hands. It was the price he paid for making all of the ammunition used by members of the Wild Seven, that much he realized. Never once did he complain about the job set before him, although it was difficult, everyone had challenges they had to overcome every day. Nothing was easy about being on the run, about having to survive on next to nothing with too few supplies to spread between everyone. So he worked, and tried to smile as often as he could.
Occasionally one of the young children would come and talk to him while he was working. Only then would he take a break. He would push them on the rickety swings on the playground in front of what used to be a school or he would carry them around on his shoulders and tell them whatever story he could come up with that day. He enjoyed hearing them laugh because it would make life on the island seem much less harsh.
No matter how hard she worked, there was always more to do. No matter how many times she thought she finished repairing all of the broken equipment piled in the corner, she would turn around and find things piling up again. No matter how many times she refilled the generators, they always needed more gas. It was a life of monotony, but she couldn't deny that she enjoyed what she was doing. It was hard, yes, but she was always at the most content when she was elbow-deep in grease trying to fix mechanical problems.
From time to time she would enlist the help of one of the others to lend her a set of hands, usually Saki. From the beginning she had worked better with Saki than any of the others within the Wild Seven. She wasn't sure why, but Saki seemed to be able to tolerate her gruff attitude without taking offence.
At first all of the youngsters were afraid of him. They thought he was a big, angry monster and would run away whenever he was around. And at first he didn't care. He was to lost in his own brooding to consider the feelings of those around him. As long as he did his fair share no one bothered him. But one day as he was walking past the playground one of the children fell of the junglegym as they scrambled to run away from him. It was then that he realized that he was supposed to be like a replacement for the family that the children had lost. He pulled a makeshift first aid kit out of his bag and after much assuring, he managed to convince the kid to let him bandage her scraped knee.
From that day on whenever he wasn't on lookout duty he would always have company. The children would bring him interesting bits of twisted metal or pretty rocks to show off as trophies. He tried his best to be a nice older brother, to ask them questions, to tell them how proud he was of them, but he still wasn't sure of himself. He wondered if he could be anything but battle hardened and bloodstained no matter how hard he tried.
She missed her brother. Every day she thought about the day she returned home after winning the Battle Royale. Even though she had been so numb with shock that day that she hadn't said a word, she couldn't forget the sound of his dreadful sobs that night as he clung to her, refusing to go back to his own room. "I can't lose you," Haruya had said over and over again, but when he had fallen asleep it didn't stop her from slipping out of the window and leaving her entire family behind. It was safer for him at home than it was here. He had always been fragile and she knew he wouldn't be able to handle fighting through every day to exist.
So she threw herself into her work, hoping that if she concentrated hard enough on her task she wouldn't have to remember. Every day she would work herself to exhaustion, hoping that maybe she would have a dreamless sleep. Maybe, just maybe, she would have one night where she wouldn't hear her brother pleading with her to come home.
Although he did his best to keep everything flowing smoothly, tensions continually ran high. He had become everything from a field doctor to a councilor to a moderator for all the members of the Wild Seven and it wasn't an easy job. He gave advice as best he could, but sometimes he was at a total loss. No matter what anyone expected, he couldn't be perfect one hundred percent of the time.
He envied the way that many of the others got to spend their days working with their hands, repairing their base or constructing armaments. Occasionally, when he needed a break desperately, he would volunteer to help with other projects, but he was all thumbs. He was more likely to drop the project on his foot, than he was to actually get it finished. But he always meant well and the others knew that. They also knew better than to let him work on extremely important or fragile things.
Although he was the silent, stoic one, everyone seemed to believe he was their friend. They would confide in him with their problems or ask him questions which he would rarely answer. He would rarely smile, but he would always politely watch the person talking to him. Never once was he so rude as to walk off or ignore someone, even when he was supposed to be on watch duty. He was always kind enough to put down whatever he was doing to devote his full attention to the person before him, even if his project was important. From day one he was never sure why people trusted him so much but he promised himself that he would die rather than break that trust. It was good to feel appreciated for once in his life.
Shuuya was the only one he would talk to. The leader of the Wild Seven knew all about his dark past and had been told many of his deepest secrets. They both knew that nobody could stay silent forever and that the burden of so-called win in a Battle Royale was something that could only be understood by another survivor.