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The Days That Follow

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They stood in a small circle as the simulation collapsed around them.

"Hey, I'll never forget you guys, or the others! You guys better remember me too! My name is Kazuichi Soda!"

"Heh, with your colourful personalities, there's no way I'd forget you guys that easily!"

"Even if I forget… I will use all my might and remember!"

"If you start talkin' weird later Hajime, I'll beat you up till you turn back to normal!"

"That's a relief… but make sure you hold back as much as you can."

These people were so important to him. There was no way he could forget what's happened here. He was going to fix this, they all were.

"Thank you."

"Thank you, Chiaki.."

"Phew… I finally said it."

Suddenly, everything was gone, with nothing but a black void staring back. No sight, no sound, no feeling, just black. They started to panic, did something go wrong?

Hajime tried to calm himself down, he lay there in the void, although that may have not been an accurate description. Everything had been deleted, he no longer had an avatar which meant he had no being, no substance, which was a scary thought.

He could only think. Fortunately, he had a lot to think about. Was everything they told them the truth? Were they really Ultimate Despair? Was he really Izuru Kamukura? Would they ever be able to wake their friends up? But even if they could, even if everything worked out, there was still one person that was never coming back.

Chiaki.

Was she really just an AI, why would they make her the way they did? How was her narcolepsy helpful for their supposed therapy? Why did they make her the ultimate video gamer? Was that meant to be a subtle hint at what she was? That's so cruel. Why did they make her have the best fucking hoodie he had ever seen? Why was she pouty sometimes? Why was she so kind? So annoying and complex? Why did they make her so… real…

Was it a way to punish them? The original goal of the simulation was to strengthen their bond with one another and collect hope fragments, right? Then why was she apart of it, just to be ripped away from them at the end? The one he spent the most time with, the one he investigated with, laughed with, and most importantly - got the panties of. Why did it have to be the AI? He hated to say it, he grew so close to everyone in such a short time. But he became the closest to her. Chiaki. God, why Chiaki.

He had so many questions and no one to answer them. "How was she able to talk to me in the final trial?" He thought. "Was it all in my head? But if that's the case how was Monomi back in the final trial as well? I thought they were both deleted by Monokuma?" The tiniest bit of hope settled itself in his mind.

If they weren't deleted would there be a chance he could see her again? Even if she was just an AI. He wanted to see her one more time. See her smile one more time. That sad, defeated expression she had. The last time he knew he saw her for real. As she was being executed, he couldn't get it out of his head. That sad, defeated face. It was seared into his memory like a burn. That couldn't be his final memory of his friend. Not Chiaki, not her.

He realised now's not the time to be thinking about that. There are actual people's lives on the line, including his. Although it stung realising that he just admitted to Chiaki not being as important as the rest of them.

He actually felt rather determined considering the awful situation they were in. Maybe Chiaki could help him again acting like an end goal. After they saved everyone, he could work on getting her back. But that was extremely optimistic thinking, especially considering he had been stuck in this void for around 10 minutes now.

15 minutes passed,

then 20.

He was starting to get worried. If this was hell, he was staring it in the face. Not endless torture and suffering, just nothing. A complete lack of anything. He wondered how long he could stay like this before he went insane. No sound or sight, just his thoughts. He had nothing to do but mull over all these questions he had for eternity never being able to get an answer.

He guessed around 30 minutes had passed now. This was getting out of hand, he started wondering how the others were doing because this was really starting to get boring... Wait did he…

DAY ONE

Suddenly a new blackness was in front of him. A lighter one, slight variations in tone. It got closer and closer until he felt weight. His weight! He could hear a slight churning of machines and footsteps. He was awake, finally awake. Then he could…

Like a wave crashing over him, it all came back, the memories, the despair. The... oh god. He needed to escape. He opened his eyes and saw tinted green glass in front of him, he bashed it with closed fits as hard as he could, but it wouldn't budge. He was trapped. There was no space, he was too cramped, he was running out of air, he could barely breathe! He had to get out now.

'Please! Anyone? No this isn't happening. This isn't happening. Please, this is too much.'

"LET ME OUT!"

His voice box could only muster a raspy growl. The more he moved his body, the more it hurt. He could feel several needles struggling to keep attached to him as they prodded and poked his flesh.

Suddenly the glass lifted, as he lurched forward falling straight out of the pod and on to the hard-tiled floor, bringing various cords and wires with him. He landed straight on his head and fell onto his stomach. Now that the pain was the main thing he focused on he finally started to calm down. Not only did his head hurt like hell but the wires he was attached to were biting into his flesh desperately trying to pull him back into the darkness of the pod.

He could feel tears starting to run down his face. It really hurt, it really really hurt. He couldn't think straight. Nothing but pain flowing through his entire body like boiling water. Until, like being broke out of a trance, he heard a yelp and thud across the room.

A skinny figure emerged from the pod just as roughly as he had. They were lying on their side. Thick, blonde, tangled hair covered their face, as they began coughing violently. He could see their ribcage emerging from their skin with every cough, no muscle or fat stopping it from being exposed. Like it was trying to escape its host. Legs that looked like they would crumble if any weight were put on them. And scars, so many scars. Cuts, bruises, and burns could be seen across their body. Although he realised he saw a pattern of them rising from their feet, up their calf and thigh, onto their waist. Those were no accident, they were inflicted.

Hajime wondered if he looked anything like that, he went to look down at himself but his vast cast of black hair covered most of his body, and he could only see his pale feet with long dirty nails.

He heard the figure starting to hack and choke. Suddenly throwing up some kind of blue gel and bile that sprayed across the ground, with a lot of it drenching their hair as well. The figure then recoiled from it, rolling over to their other side tangling themselves in wires and cords. They let out a cry of agony and began uncontrollably sobbing. Weeping from the pain, from disgust? He wasn't sure, probably a mix of both. He tried to call out to the figure - nothing but a sore groan came from his mouth. Thinking back, he realised he had not spoken in a long time. He tried to recall the last time, thinking back there was; the simulation, the island, the void and...

Before he could continue that thought the figure across from him stopped sobbing violently and began to hyperventilate. Looking across to them he realised they were even more tangled in the wires and cords than before. They must have tried to get free of them but ended up furthering the problem. It was like a cocoon of webbing strangling around the figure, unable to escape the now frayed cords and crushed wires.

The hyperventilating continued as they gasped for oxygen. He had to help them. He tried calling out to them again, nothing but a low-pitched moan came out. He lowered himself to the ground trying to crawl towards the figure to help. The cords tugged at his skin trying to pull him back as he slowly made his way towards them. Some snapping off his body when they reached their limit. Eventually, he got to his, he couldn't go any further. The trapped figure was still a good few feet from him. He held out his arm towards them slapping it down on the ground as hard as he could trying to get their attention, making a loud 'thud' as it hit the tiling.

The figure jumped slightly at the sudden loud noise. They awkwardly twisted their neck trying to see the source of the sound. They managed to free an arm from the grasp of the cords and cleared the tangled mess of hair from out of their face, finally they could see each other.

He recognised them. Their face was far gaunter and sicklier than what he remembered, but there was no way he could mistake those big blue eyes for anyone else.

"Sonia!" Hajime futilely tried to say, only for his voice box to refuse. Another low-pitched moan escaping his throat instead as they looked at each other.

Sonia then extended her arm as close to Hajime as she possibly could placing the back of her hand against the floor with her palm facing upwards. Hajime tried to reach across but couldn't reach her hand. He had to reach her, he had to. He didn't want to be alone, he didn't want to go through this alone. It hurt, it hurt so much, and this was the only person in the entire world who knew the pain he was going through. He lurched forward with all his might yanking a couple more wires off his neck and back finally being able to reach her. He grabbed her hand as tightly as he could, as she squeezed back in confirmation.

Sonia started to breathe normally again as they stared at each other. Unable to speak, even if they could, what could they possibly say? Their eyes said it all. Tears streamed down Sonia's face as they looked helplessly at each other.

20 minutes passed.

20 minutes of agony. Of writhing in pain as the cords attached to them refused to let them go.

He felt so helpless.

His friend.

A friend he cared so much for, was suffering and he couldn't help her. All he could do was solemnly stare back at her and squeeze her hand tighter as a small fraction of comfort.

Hajime heard some footsteps in a room next door. A hallway? He didn't try to yell this time and instantly started looking around the room for something to make noise with. He could hear the footsteps passing the room now. He had to do something quickly or else they might get too far away to hear him. He didn't know what around him could make enough sound. Realising he was out of time, he did his best to flail on the ground, slapping the floor with as much force as he could muster. Sonia, understanding what he was trying to achieve, let go of his hand and began hitting the ground with him.

Hajime kept going for another half minute, but it was no use. He looked over to Sonia who continued to slap the ground with a desperate pleading on her face. He could see her wince in pain with every hit. She was far more tangled in wires than he was and realised that the simple movement of her moving her free arm up and down must have been tugging at wires across her body.

'Why am I so weak?...'

That's why he agreed to the procedure in the first place. He didn't want to be ordinary; he wanted to be an ultimate, like them. He wanted to be strong.

But there he was, slapping the ground and crying, like a toddler having a tantrum. Desperately trying to get the attention of someone else to help them.

He grabbed Sonia's hand in mid-air just as she was readying for another slap on the ground. The look of defeat on his face must have said it all because she stopped fighting and gave in just like he did. He grabbed on to her now swollen hand as hard as he could hoping rescue would come eventually.

Another 10 minutes passed.

He couldn't take this anymore. He couldn't bear seeing her like this anymore. This once dignified and royal princess writhing in pain on the ground like a dying animal and he was right there with her, unable to do anything.

'DAMMIT!' He furiously clenched his teeth.

'Haven't we been through enough? Watching our friends kill each other in a killing game wasn't enough? Years of despair wasn't enough? How much suffering do we have to do before it would finally end?'

She didn't deserve this. Thinking about it he had only known Sonia briefly in the simulation, but it felt like he couldn't live without her in his life now. She was always so kind and caring, always believing in the best of people. That's what her true nature was like. He didn't care what she did while she was despair, he could only guess similar things to what he did. That wasn't her, that wasn't them.

He tried to keep those memories at bay, bits, and pieces of his life as Izuru Kamukura managing to claw into his mind still. That overwhelming despair he felt, that boredom.

He felt useless lying on the ground doing nothing, actually... It was rather boring.

Wait, boring?

Boring.

Boring..

This was so boring.

Crying in pain on the ground, like a child, how predictable.

Although she was predictable in her own way, with despair being her only goal, at least she tried to keep things interesting for him.

He could appreciate her attempt at the very least, even if it was a failed one.

Chiaki Nanami, the contradiction. The one thing that didn't make sense to him.

Was it really just Hajime Hinata's memories seeping through into him?

Is that why he mourned her death?

Impossible.

Therefore, he played this game. Enoshima's favourite game.

The killing game.

To see which side would win.

Hope or Despair.

Which one was more unpredictable?

While they made it out of the simulation, he didn't believe a verdict had been decided yet.

And currently lying on the ground in pain was doing nothing to help achieve a conclusion to that question.

It was time to get up.

It was time for the battle to continue.

He shook the figure's grip off his hand and reached behind him.

He grabbed lose wires that fell off his body during his other half's struggle out of the pod.

He yanked them out of the machine and wound them into a ball.

He threw the ball across the room landing on some kind of alarm switch.

He could hear the loud blaring of sirens go off across the building.

It shouldn't be long now until someone found him.

Let the next chapter of this war begin.

And just as quickly as he came, he left.

'What the fuck? What the fuck was that!' Hajime panicked.

He wasn't in control, Kamukura just was. He was just a viewer watching from his own head. Unable to influence a single thing he did.

'Did he have dominion over my body? My body? MY OWN FUCKING BODY!'

He was a prisoner in his own skin. He started hyperventilating. He realised he was having a panic attack, but the realisation of it didn't help. His thoughts were racing.

'FUCK, FUCK, OH GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO!

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

SOMEONE, PLEASE HELP ME.

I DON'T WANT THIS ANYMORE!

I DON'T!

I…'

His hand was suddenly being squeezed by Sonia again. He went to staring back at her. Her eyes were full of sympathy. She mouthed the words "It's okay" before gripping his hand tighter.

Finally, they heard the door open to the room.

"Oh my god. They're awake!"

He couldn't turn his head far enough around to see who said that.

"Guys... GUYS! Get in here, quick!"

He heard two more people enter the room.

"What the hell happened Byakuya?! I thought you were meant to be watching them!"

"I know, but now's not the time to be bickering, Makoto grab three wire cutters from the cupboard against the wall there."

The voice sounded confident and calm, which pissed him off a bit.

"Kyoko attend to the princess and try to halt the bleeding as much as you can. I'll be right back with some medical supplies."

"Wait, bleeding?" A dark thought crossed his mind. He looked back toward Sonia, Kirigiri flipped her on to her stomach. Her back was covered in blood. Various wires were ripping into her skin and tearing her apart.

A new round of tears began forming in his eyes. She was dying. She was going to die. She looked even paler than before.

He was useless.

One of his best friends was dying, and he still couldn't help her. If Kamukura didn't take over, then she probably would have bled out. After everything, after surviving this long. She was going to bleed out on the floor after they thought they had finally been saved.

He shouted.

"SAVE HER!"

He realised he managed to get the words out, only just, but still.

"Please, save her…"

His voice was croaky and gravelly, but he could speak now.

Naegi ran over with the wire cutters and began pulling and cutting various wires still attached to Sonia's back and neck. Naegi looked at Hajime with a determined look on his face.

"I promise. And don't worry, you're up next once we have her stable."

"Am I not bleeding as badly?" He honestly couldn't tell if he was or not.

Kyoko looked over at him.

"A little hard to tell with that mane of hair in the way. But she's the priority right now, she'll bleed out before you do."

Hajime wrapped an arm around and felt up and down his back. There was some blood but nothing compared to her. She got tangled in the wires which probably caused a lot more damage than what was done to him. He squeezed her hand tighter. There was no way in hell he was going to lose her as well.

"It's okay" he whispered at her. The limited talking he already did seemed to be too much for his voice.

"Sonia, SONIA!" Kyoko grabbed her by the cheeks, squeezing her face and aiming it towards her.

"Stay with me okay, you need to stay awake."

Her eyes were glossed over, she was already starting to lose consciousness.

At that moment Togami raced back into the room with multiple first aid kits in hand and set them down on the floor.

"Makoto, grab the adrenaline," Kyoko shouted.

With a swift movement he grabbed the syringe and injected it into her thigh, she whimpered at the sudden shock.

"Byakuya I need you to apply pressure over here, Mac I need you to hold this closed."

He could see that they had her untangled from the wires. But it suddenly occurred to him. How was she attached to them, how were they both for a matter of fact?

Hajime felt his back. He couldn't grasp exactly how they were connected, only that they were, it didn't make sense.

"What the hell." He muttered.

He looked back towards Sonia. Togami was rummaging through the first aid kit. Kyoko seemed to be stitching various parts of her back, and Naegi was then bandaging over the parts she had already stitched up.

"Byakuya, quickly go check on him make sure he's not in any danger."

It seemed Kyoko had really taken charge of the situation.

Togami ran over and flipped Hajime's hair off his back and onto the floor next to him. He didn't realise just how much he had.

Kyoko suddenly spoke up again.

"Now it was Hajime Hinata, right? Listen I need you to keep her awake for me, keep talking to her, whatever you need to do."

He could see her wincing in pain with every stitch. He had to help her somehow. Most importantly he had to keep her awake. He didn't know exactly why but there was no way he was going to ask at a time like this.

He nodded and managed to hold onto her hand with both of his.

He whispered, "You're going to be alright Sonia, I promise. We're going to save everyone. This is all going to be a bad memory. I care about you so so much, please hold on okay?"

"Yeah, he'll be fine. Toss me some wire cutters."

Sounds like Togami was done with his inspection. Now pulling and cutting away at the various wires that were still attached to him.

"Thank you, Hajime," Sonia whispered back. Her voice sounded normal enough considering the circumstances. She smiled back tremulously, before wincing in pain again.

Five minutes passed.

"Okay, she's looking good, considering. She'll be okay."

Taking one last look at her handy work, Kirigiri helped Naegi bandage the last of Sonia's wounds up.

"Alright, how are we going over here." She shuffled across to Hajime inspecting his wounds.

"I've almost got all the wires out, but his damnable hair keeps getting in the way."

"I'll grab some scissors" Makoto yelled making his way back to the cupboard.

'Sonia's okay, Sonia's going to be okay.' He thought to himself, breathing a sigh of much-needed relief. Sonia grabbed both of Hajime's hands with hers. Smiling softly.

He could see the look of relief and comfort on her face. It made him feel so much better.

Togami got the last of the wires announcing, "I'll leave the rest to you two, I need to report this back to our people and turn this godforsaken alarm off."

Kyoko and Naegi nodded in unison.

Togami got up and headed to the sink over in the corner of the room next to the cupboard, rinsing the worst of the blood off his arms. He went to leave, but just before exiting the room, he stood there for a second and adjusted his glasses.

"Welcome back to the real world." He then left in a hurry.

"Looks like you got lucky Hinata!" Naegi smiled warmly at him. "Only a few gashes and cuts, from the wires." Hajime returned an empty smile before turning back to face Sonia.

A couple of minutes passed before Kyoko finally announced that she was done, letting out a big sigh. Feeling no more pressure on his back from the wires or Kyoko. Hajime scuttled forward toward Sonia finally being able to embrace her.

They both sat up and wrapped their arms around one another. Careful not be put too much pressure on each other's backs. Hajime grabbed the back of her head and caressed her hair. It was sticky, oh yeah, she threw up on it.

"We made it." He said softly.

"Yes, we did. I am delighted to see you again Hajime. I'm so glad to see that you're yourself."

They both started crying again, it seemed to be endless at this point. They just wanted each other close. They leaned on one another to support each others weight, they could both tell just how weak the other was, and Sonia's blood loss wasn't doing her any favours either. They just sat there and cried together. They knew that when this embrace was over, they would have to go back to dealing with reality. They didn't want to, not just yet. So, they stayed together, just for a little longer.

Finally, they started separating leaning their foreheads on one another's as they got further apart. She kissed him multiple times on the cheek before finally separating. They couldn't put it off any longer.

Naegi and Kyoko were both sitting against the wall on the other side of the room, patiently waiting for whenever they were ready.

"So.." Hajime started. "What happened?"

They both looked away from him, unsure of how to answer.

At least that's what he thought.

"How about before that, we get you some clothes." Naegi shyly responded while scratching the back of his neck.

Hajime looked down realising that apart from the bandages covering their torsos they were completely naked. They both looked away from each other bright red in the face. Surprised they didn't realise sooner.

Kyoko fetched some clothing from the room next door. A simple white button up shirt, and bright blue shorts for Hajime. A white singlet and some black yoga pants for Sonia.

"This will have to do, for now, it's just some of our spare clothing." Waving her hand back and forth referencing herself and Naegi.

"Also…" She hesitated. "You'll have to do without underwear for now, sorry. We'll try to get proper clothes to you as soon as we can."

"This will do just fine!" Sonia said cheerfully, seemed she was happy with what they gave her, or at least didn't care.

'So this is Naegi's clothing huh?' Hajime thought to himself. 'A lot... brighter than I was expecting.'

They both got changed into their clothing while looking away from each other. Meanwhile, Kirigiri and Naegi washed off their arms and hands in the sink. Not quite feeling up to making the attempt of standing, they both got changed sitting down. Naegi's clothes were really tight on Hajime, he must be a size or two bigger than Naegi, but Kyoko's clothes seemed to fit Sonia well enough.

"Thanks," Hajime said cheeks still a little red with embarrassment. "So please, tell us what happened."

"Well" Naegi began, "after we shut down the simulation and got ourselves out of there we were waiting for you guys to wake up at any moment…"

"But we didn't," Sonia added.

"No" Kyoko continued. "We're not exactly sure what happened or why, but it took a lot longer than expected for you to wake up. Unfortunately, you two are the first, everyone else is still erm.… asleep."

The alarm finally stopped blaring to the relief of everyone.

"How long have we been asleep for then? That is after you shut down the simulation?" Hajime asked.

"It's been around two weeks." Naegi nervously replied.

"We were meant to have someone in here 24/7 waiting for you to wake up, but it seems Byakuya wasn't here during what was meant to be his shift." Naegi sighed.

"We've been temporarily living in the room next door waiting until you woke up," Kyoko added. "We can't apologise enough for what just happened to you. I'm presuming you both freaked out and tripped out of your pods."

They both looked at each other and nodded. Sonia then leaned on Hajime's shoulder to help support herself. She must have been getting tired from sitting up.

"Right, well as you might be able to guess, the pods aren't designed for you to do that. It's meant to be a slow process of it slowly detaching its wires from you." Naegi continued "It's complicated stuff, and I don't entirely understand it myself, but it attaches a bunch of wires across your body to stimulate muscles, track heart rate, blood flow, it keeps you from getting bed sores, exedra. It also has this crazy blue gel inside it that envelopes the rest of your body and.."

"The main point is" Kirigiri interrupted. "We were meant to have someone in here to warn you to let the pod do its thing. It needs about 20 minutes from when you wake up to being ready to let you out. We forgot to mention it while we were in the simulation. It was completely our fault, and we take full responsibility. Again, we are so sorry this happened to you both."

Sonia looked Kyoko dead in the eyes with a serious look on her face.

"Stop right there!" She exclaimed. "It is not your fault, it was just an unfortunate event. Nobody is to blame. In the end, you saved us from despair, the simulation and you just saved us again. We should be the ones apologising. You have done so much for us, asking nothing in return, we can never repay your kindness. Thank you." She bowed her head and grabbed the back of Hajime's to make him bow as well.

When he looked back up, he saw they both looked thoroughly surprised at what Sonia said. He was too. Just a few moments ago she was rolling around in agony on the floor close to bleeding to death, and she didn't even hesitate in forgiving them and moving past it.

'She truly is an incredible person' Hajime thought to himself.

Kyoko looked down and coughed. "Well, you're welcome. We appreciate your understanding. But we need to discuss what happens from here."

Hajime felt a shot of anxiety race up his spine. Why did that make him nervous? He wasn't exactly sure.

"Firstly, what memories do you both have? What can you remember?"

They both froze.

Memories of being despair rushing back to them, he was so sick of crying, but tears started to swell in his eyes once again.

"Ah, Kirigiri why don't we let them recover for a little bit longer, how about we get something to eat?" Naegi said with a slightly shaken voice. "You guys hungry?"

Sonia and Hajime just sat there absorbing all these new memories, processing them. All of them worse than they imagined.

"Well, I suppose that partly answers my question," Kirigiri huffed with a tinge of annoyance in her voice.

Naegi took a few steps toward them and waved his hand in front of their faces breaking their trains of thought.

"Hey guys, I know you are going to have a lot of ah… unpleasant memories but please understand it's not your fault, this was all Junko Enoshima's doing."

Hajime nodded his head slightly.

Kirigiri was the next one to come over.

"Are you able to stand?"

Hajime wasn't sure, he hadn't tried yet. He's always been able to stand so he felt like he should be able to but... he looked down at his legs. Bones were protruding from his skin, they looked just as fragile as Sonia's.

"The pods were meant to give you muscle therapy to stop any serious case of atrophy setting in but uh," Naegi paused to scratch the side of his face. "I guess they did a pretty poor job huh?"

Naegi got under Hajime's arm and helped him walk out of the room, Kirigiri did the same for Sonia. They were able to walk, if only just, with the help of Naegi and Kirigiri. They left the pod room and entered a hallway.

...

As they were making their way to wherever they were going. Hajime noticed that the sun was just starting to set. Orange rays were illuminating the hallway, as they made their way through. When he looked out the window to his left, he realised that they were quite high up with the sunlight glistening on the ocean far below. Probably on the third story of some building. He wasn't sure what building though, nothing like this had been in the simulation. He wondered what else had changed. At least they were still on what looked like Jabberwock Island.

After going down three stories (He was kind of proud of himself for being right) and out of the building, he realised that the Mirai hotel was right in front of him! They must have been in the same place the old building was in the simulation. They went inside the hotel and while the interior was different, it still had the same layout. He was quite surprised!

Seeing this look of awe on Hajime's face made Naegi grin.

"Look familiar? The simulation was modelled after the actual buildings on the island. A lot of stuff is different, but everything around the hotel is just about the same, except for the research facility we were just in. We added that fairly recently."

They went upstairs into the kitchen and sat down. They were all out of breath.

Sonia seemed to be relaxed enough, so he took that as a cue to be too.

"You guys want anything? There isn't a lot of variety in the way of food, still living off canned goods for the most part." Naegi asked with a heavy sigh at the end.

"I am not hungry but, could I please have some water?" Sonia asked.

"Of course," Naegi beamed back at Sonia with a big smile. "I'll grab you a glass to Hinata."

"Thanks."

Togami then came up the stairs from the outside of the building.

"Good at least you are clothed now." He remarked.

Kirigiri gave him a scowl. "Now why don't you explain to me exactly why you weren't in the pod room for your shift, Byakuya?" She snarled.

Togami raised the bridge of his glasses as he responded. "I have a good reason I assure you, but I believe the main priority is to get back there now. I presume no one is watching the pod room at this current moment? Let us have our discussion there."

You could tell Kirigiri was ready to throw down and looked rather scary with such an angry look on her face. Togami on the other hand still had his finger pressed against the bridge of his glasses, wearing a shit-eating grin like he knew something that no one else did.

"Fine." She got up quickly and started shoving Togami out of the building.

"Hey! Get your hands off me!"

Naegi sighed and ran towards the door. "I need to make sure they don't kill each other alright, are you guys okay to stay here for a little while on your own?"

Sonia nodded.

"Thanks. I promise I'll be right back. OH! I almost forgot these." He placed the two glasses of water he was holding on the table in front of them and jogged out the door.

They both brewed in uncomfortable silence for a long time with the occasional sip of water being the only moment of respite.

The sun began to get closer to the horizon as a cool ocean breeze blew through the restaurant.

It would be really nice if they weren't so depressed.

"Excuse me, Hajime?" Sonia suddenly spoke.

"Yeah?"

"Do you mind if we talk? Although I, unfortunately, do not have anything pleasant to talk about."

He figured. "Of course not, what is it?"

A long silence followed.

"I just remembered that I killed my parents."

There was no emotion in her voice when she said that like she was merely stating a fact.

Her hands were neatly placed on top of one another on the table. She stared at them while speaking.

"I'm so sorry Sonia."

Thinking about his own parents, he realised he never saw them after the surgery. 'Probably dead' he concluded in his head.

"I killed them so I could secure the throne for myself and have total control over Novoselic and its army."

Darkness washed over her face. He wasn't sure what to say... Should he even say anything? What could he possibly say to that?

"I then took my army and used guerrilla warfare tactics across eastern Europe. Using surprise attacks on civilian towns and holdouts."

He just continued to listen.

"And do you know what the worst part about all that is?"

"…"

"It-It is… n-not even the worst thing that I-I have done." She lost all composure in that last sentence desperately trying to hold off tears.

"I-I I cannot do this Hajime. I am a terrible person! No, I do not believe I can be called that anymore. I'm something else. I am a monster!"

She broke down crying covering her face with her hands. Hajime rushed around to the opposite side of the table where she was sitting. He used the table to hold most of his weight as he still couldn't stand properly on his own. He sat down next to her, hugging her as hard as he possibly could. He stroked the hair on the back of her head.

'Ew, it was still sticky.'

She turned her body around to face him and buried her face in Naegi's shirt. She was sobbing uncontrollably. He started to tear up too.

"Sonia."

She sobbed quieter for a moment to hear what he was going to say.

"Chiaki died in front of me at Hope's Peak that day."

Her sobbing stopped for a moment in place of confusion as she looked up at him.

"The torture video that Junko showed you all… Chiaki's execution. I was right in front of her when she was stabbed by the final spears…. I just stood there…"

He began to choke on his words.

"I-I I could have saved her, Izuru Kamukura, h-he had the skills to. He knew exactly how!"

He began yelling

"BUT I DIDN'T! I WATCHED HER BLEED OUT AS SHE PLEADED FOR HELP. AS SHE BEGGED ME THAT SHE DIDN'T WANT TO DIE AND I JUST FUCKING STOOD THERE WATCHING HER!"

He realised that he was crying yet again today.

"I'm going to have to live the rest of my life with the knowledge that I could have saved her. But I didn't"

He cleared his throat.

"I know that if you weren't here right now.. if I didn't find you guys... I would have jumped off that building the moment I woke up."

Sonia's eyes widened with shock from the surprise of his last statement.

"But listen. We can't…. We can't blame ourselves for what we did while we were in despair. Or else we'll drive ourselves straight back to it."

The prospect of that thoroughly scared Sonia.

After finally being free from despair's grasp to then be taken back by it. She couldn't let that happen.

"But I promise you Sonia!"

He looked down at her trying his best to sound convincing.

"We can get through this together, were not alone. We will wake everyone up! I'm not going be satisfied until every last one of them is awake."

He didn't know if he believed a single word of what he was saying. He was just stringing clichés together to try to make some sort of coherent sentence.

"But I can't do this alone Sonia. I'm going to need your help."

He smiled slightly at just how cheesy that line was.

"Please, I can't do this without you. They need our help."

He believed his last line at least.

Sonia rubbed the tears from her eyes with her wrists and leaned back from Hajime.

"Alright!" She sniffled giving a weak smile. "Hajime Hinata give me your hand!"

She said that last bit like a royal decree, it made him chuckle, just a little bit.

He held out his hand and Sonia wrapped her pinkie finger around his.

"I have never done this before, so I hope I get this right."

'She must have seen it before on a tv show or something', Hajime wondered.

"We must promise to save everyone, okay!"

He smiled, he was happy Sonia was back to her old self again.

"Alright, Miss Nevermind! I agree!"

"Chiaki too!" She suddenly clarified

This took him by surprise.

"B-but Sonia she was just an A."

Before he could finish that sentence, she cut him off.

"That does not matter. She is our friend, and I want to see her again!"

He teared up a little bit but pinched his thigh refusing to cry.

"I couldn't agree more Sonia. Alright, it's a promise."

She beamed back at him with the biggest smile he had ever seen on her.

"It's a promise!" She said hugging him.

He realised it was getting dark in the restaurant now, the sun had just about set. He leaned over and turned on some lights. As it turns out even the light switches were in the same place.

"Alright Sonia, all this talking has actually gotten me pretty hungry how about we cook dinner together?"

He smiled at her.

She smiled back.

"Let us raid the pantry at once!" Sonia Exclaimed.