“You.. fucking asshole!”
“That's a lie! Ouma killed her!”
“Ouma.. What the hell's gotten into you?!”
“You're alone, Ouma-kun. And you always will be.”
“Puhuhu.. What a miserable existence he led.”
Kokichi's eyes fluttered open, unfocused and heftily hooded. His body was weak and draining of life slowly, limbs spread across icy metal. He blinked lethargically, breath coming short and meek from amid his dry lips. Ripples of ache journeyed through the expanse of his frail, shivering form, slowly but surely diminishing the debris of his withering strength.
Warm liquid lathered his arm and back, staining the white trousers swathed around his legs and the nude skin between his shoudler blades. He could smell the metallic odor of it. Blood. He could hardly keep himself conscious, voice come out in harsh, breathless wheezes when he tried to put it to use. His head felt heavy; merely keeping his eyes open seeming like an impossible challenge.
There was the flash of color glowing from the corner of his eye and he listlessly turned his head, a peculiar sense of pain tweaking at the fragile flesh of his heart. There were people standing beside him, their faces a blurr and their clothes oddly familiar. He didn't know those people, had never seen them before in all his life, but as he stared at the witch's hat settled atop the head of one of them, this scene felt awfully familiar.
They were talking, spewing words of utmost importance, but it was all white static to Kokichi's tainted ears. Inklings of crying, yelling, clamoring entered his brain, only serving as a furhter catalyst to his confusion. Who were these people? Why were they just looking at him? Couldn't they see he was in terrible pain and was in need of assistance right away?
Through his daze, he could make out the figure of another, standing behind the five(or was it six?) people circling all around the iron bed he was lying upon. His eyes squinted into skeptical slits as he gazed toward the unknown presence, which was reeling him awake and settling an unnerving weight upon his chest. Long, tangled locks, cheeks slick with tears, red wrapped around their legs as they trembled bodily, eyes fixing him with pure mortification.
It was a girl. A girl Kokichi didn't recognize. But at the same time, her face was bizzarely familiar; it felt as though he had seen it before, knew it better than the back of his own hand. Saying the hair cascading down her shoulders was a disheveled mess would be an understatement, a few tufts glued to her wet cheeks as her mouth opened and closed frantically, emitting words Kokichi couldn't hear.
She was crying hysterically, face contorted with disbelief and horror as she stared at him. Her hands were bunched up into tight, stubborn fists, he noted, pummeling ferociously against an invisible wall in front of her. If he didn't feel like dying, the image would have gotten a chuckle out of him. But at the same time, despair pooled and infected every last nook of his body. She couldn't come forward. She couldn't reach him. She couldn't, no matter how much she pounded her fists against the glass barrier holding her back and shouted out in protest.
Why did she want to come near him? Why was she so sad? Just who was she?
A foggy picture appeared against the back of his eyelids, embedding itself deep into his brain; the image of the very same girl he was weakly eyeing, her lips peeled into a wide grin and her eyes crinkling at the edges. Though, it didn't quite feel like a mere depiction. It felt like a memory. A distant memory locked securely into the back of his mind which was begging to be unleashed and made his heart swell.
A memory ingrained into his very being.
That's right; she was no stranger. Kokichi knew her. His lips parted tiredly as he tried to speak, trying to find a name her appearance correlated to-- but his brain drew blanks, voice freezing at the back of his throat. Her name, he couldn't remember, what was her name? Whoever it was, he had the persisting suspicion it was someone important. But who, exactly?
The noise of an engine whirring broke Kokichi out of his trance. In a sudden panic, his attention dashed to what lay above him, his oxygen leaving him once he perceived a wide, metal plank towering over his form and lowering slowly. He could hear the cogs of the enormous machine turning as it began its quest of trapping him within it. If he didn't move, he was going to get crushed to bloody pulp and shattered bone.
Kokichi hastened to get away, body wriggling in a frenzy, but his attempts were to no avail. His arms and legs had failed him, simply denying any sort of motion as though they had been nailed to the harsh, cold metal benumbing his skull. As though they were telling him that whatever he endeavored would be of no use-- because his fate had already been sealed.
Kokichi put all of his remaining strength into trying to move even a single one of his muscles, teeth clenching with his evident strain, but his body was utterly paralyzed and helpless as the hydraulic press constricted him between its hefty chuncks of metal; as though he were a fly that would have its guts squished out by the cruel hands of a human. No, this wasn't right. He didn't want to die, not yet! Not like this!
No, please.. I don't want to die! Please, please help me! I don't want this anymore! I just want to go home! Please!
The sturdy plank above him was almost brushing agaisnt the tip of his nose, now, showing no sign of remorse. Kokichi's eyes had broadened in denial, in pure, unmistakable fear. He did his best to brace himself for the slow, sadistic liquifying of his body, trying to breathe out calmly; but his mind was in a delirium, panicking and leaving him restless and scared out of his own hide. As death began pressing gently against his face, a shrill, piercing scream penetrated his cranium and pushed a small, choked gasp between his lips.
Kokichi gaped in sudden, horrifying realization; he would have recognized that voice anywhere! The girl that was trying to break free of her constraints and reach him, who was crying in such a fit of mania, screaming his name in a throaty, hoarse voice and sinkinig to her knees in defeat-- it was her! His heart skipped a beat, eyes going wide as it all came flooding back, hitting him like a brick wall; moments before his skull began to form breaches and painfully split apart, deforming his youthful face into a mess of guilt and blood.
With a startled, panicked gasp racking his throat, Kokichi's eyes flew open in an instant, temples damp with cold sweat. His trembling fingers seized the sheet draped over his form in a death grip, his pulsing lungs shuddering for breath as he frantically looked around the room he found himself within. His blood was pounding against his eardrums along with the ferocious pace of his heart, the rise and fall of his chest hasty and irregular. He reluctantly calmed down a little once he realized he was safe and sound and still intact, but only briefly.
What kind of dream was that? Was his mind really trying to take the role of a tormentor here?
It was fine, however, he figured. After all, it was just a dream. Dreams almost always do not occur in real life, so he shouldn't be this worried. Still, however, it wasn't the most pleasant dream somebody could have; being crushed to death certainly didn't appeal to Kokichi. Shaken and startled as he was, he silently vowed to himself that he would never do something that would bring him face to face with such a cruel fate.
At least, not out of his own free will.
The headache rattling his skull did little to help him forget that awful nightmare, eyes clenching shut with a wince and forehead slapping gracelessly against his open palms. He had sat up so suddenly that it only served to amplify his dizzines and physical discomfort. It felt as though somebody has swatted him over the back of the head with a sledge hammer. He was still disoriented and his brain was doing ceaseless twirls within the confines of his cranium, so attempting to look up would only reward him with the urge to puke.
Kokichi truly needed a moment to recollect his thoughts and get himself together before raising his head and facing the world anew. He needed some time to think, exhales swirling tirely through his nostrils and murking against the flesh of his hands. His twitching brows furrowed over quivering eyelids, colorful spots entering his vision and making his head spin.
Just what the hell had happened? Where was he? How did he get here? All he could briefly make out through his wearying dazzle was that he was aching terribly and the bed he was seated in was not the one in his bedroom. The mattress was way to hard and uncomfortable-- perhaps that explained his sore shoulder blades and ribs.
“Ouma-kun, you're finally awake. How are you feeling?”
The boy flinched bodily at the echo of a feminine, honeyed voice, head swiftly swivelling to stare up in alarm at the person before him. That proved to be anything but sage, however, since moving so rapidly had only served to momentarily render him sightless. It took a few, unfocused blinks till the stars dimming his eyesight receded completely and allowed him to at last see the world again.
Before him stood none other than the school's nurse, a concerned, gentle expression adorning her features as she folded her hands together and slightly bent at the waist to examine him with soft eyes. “Are you feeling alright? You've been out for quite some time. Should I call your mother to come pick you up?”
Upon hearing the words, Kokichi's headache was fleetingly forgotten, his eyes growing as wide as they could meekly manage at even the slightest inkling of his mother's existence. One of his hands flew up in a panic, head shaking slowly as not to make him anymore ill than he already was. “N-No! No.. That's fine. I can walk home; I don't live too far...” Kokichi tiredly looked up, blurry irises silently pleading as they peered at the woman through the veil of his lashes, as though he were an injured, untrusting puppy. “..I'm okay.”
The nurse merely gave a reluctant nod, the soles her flats dragging against the smooth tiling below as she ventured over to her desk and hauled the chair tucked underneath it, lowering herself upon the hollow chusion with a sigh. “If you are completely sure, then alright. I had to ask; Your girlfriend was certainly overrun by worry regarding your well-being when she brought you here.”
Kokichi stared skeptically, seemingly in disbelief, dry lips pressing together into a sullen frown as he tried to think through the fog collecting within the constraints of his mind. His girlfriend brought him here? Kokichi had never had the luxury to have a girlfriend or a boyfriend in his whole, pathetic life. He barely had a single friend; when did he manage to obtain an entire girlfriend? Was he still dreaming, or what?
“..Girlfriend?” Kokichi's voice was low and as enthusiastic as one could be when they had slept on an empty stomach for almost the entirety of a week. His face was shrivelled up in both discomfort and confusion, lips pursued and eyes visibly flinching with the sting pinching persistently at his temples. “But I don't have a..”
“Oh..I apologize, I might have misunderstood your relationship with Y/n-san,” The nurse said with a soft giggle, the ends of her rosy lips turning upward into a friendly, sweet smile. “When she brought you here, I initially suspected she was the cause of your black-out, but the poor girl looked so concerned that it became quite the challenge to still believe that was the case. Unless, perhaps, it is? Abusive relationships are anything but rare...”
The woman's brows arched with her question, qualm evidently tainting the edges of her voice as she put an inquisitive look on display, eyes keenly studying the way Kokichi's expression altered. If Y/n L/n had hurt Kokichi in any way, physical or mental, the boy had no doubt that the nurse would inform the headmaster and get his companion suspended as a result. With the raring intention to avoid getting Y/n in trouble she was not the culrpit of, Kokichi shook his head in denial, disbelief crossing his face; the plain thought of Y/n harming him in any possible way seeming alienating and impossible.
“.. With all due respect, I don't think that she would have brought me here if she was at fault. If she really had done something, she would have just left me there. Why would she want to help me if she knew I could talk at any given moment?” Kokichi's speech was patently apathetic and passionless as he spoke, partly due to his malaise, partly because of the condescending way in which everybody seemed to regard Y/n. Now, Kokichi was not the type of individual to get easily angered by someone or something, but the way the nurse talked about her as though she was nothing better than a relentless animal that only caused harm to others to quench her own satisfaction was making pure spite froth up within him. “Y/n-san isn't who you think she is. She's not bad; in fact, she's a whole lot better than anyone in this school could ever dream of being. She.. she wouldn't hurt me.”
God, what had gotten into him out of the blue? Why was he getting so defensive? Why was he getting so angry? Why were his fists clenched so tightly that the blood supply to his pallid fingers had been cut off?
Perhaps Kokichi would do little to nothing when it came to defending his own self, but he simply would not stand for others making snide remarks or implications about people he held close to his heart and was fond of. That was one of the few things the boy could never tolerate calmly, one of the very few times Kokichi would raise his stature from its heap at the ground and bite right back, venom glistening against his teeth and poison flowing out of his mouth.
One of the very few times he would let his meek exterior crumble and set his true self free, the person he was hiding so securely away for none other than the sake of his own protection. His concealed smart mouth and sharp wit had gotten him nowhere, only into trouble and mockery, and it hid away in its dread-- only emerging ever so slightly whenever he found himself around Y/n, testing the waters curiously.
Kokichi's resolve was an unyielding opponent, standing stark no matter how weak he thought himself to be.
And Y/n showed him in her own way that, really, he wasn't as much of a weakling as he thought he was.
Upon viewing how upset the boy had grown to be, the nurse gulped unnervingly at the empty glare he was aiming her way, showing a shaky, apologetic smile in a bid to calm down the overcast clouds teeming his eyes to the brim. “I.. I apologize, Ouma-kun. My intention was not to upset you. I'm.. sure Y/n-san is a lovely girl, deep within.”
Kokichi remained eerily silent for a moment, eyes averting instantly once the words reached his ears, the firm grip he had cast upon the sheet bunching up at his lap loosening and leaving red palms in its wake. His dark locks fell like shadows from his head and caressed his cheeks, shrouding his face in a veil of obscuriy and shielding his gaze from view. Tediously, he chided himself for slipping up like that, but a part of him only snickered in delight and reminded him that the woman seated across him undeniably deserved it.
Maybe she did.
Kokichi couldn't afford to care much about it, either way. Normally, he would have been apologizing profusely by this point, but what was left of his shattered dignity wasn't going to consent to saying sorry to people who weren't worth it. After all, at that very moment, he had to deal with matters that were far more crucial; his headache was still tormenting his entire frame along with the fact he desperately was in need of some kind of nutrition. It was no concern of him what it was as long it was edible and gave his battered body a break from its cruel, daily torture.
“..Can I go home?”
The question came out quiet and small as it pushed past the cushions of his lips, slender fingers interlocking together in a means to comfort and calm himself. He could sense the slight jump the nurse's body produced at the inkling of his voice, her eyes fleetingly widening in slight alarm as she quietly observed him, trying to find the right words to utter in her state of unease. “I-If you feel better, then.. Of course. Your bag is next to you should you want to take your leave.”
The boy gave a curt nod, tiredly rubbing at his eyes with the heels of his palms before he carefully drew the thin, linen sheet away from his weak legs and sat with his back hunched and his shoulders dropped. Still rather light-headed, he removed himself from the mattress, unsteadily wobbling to his feet as he tried to orient himself and not gracelessly topple forward. Kokichi reached out with a tremulous hand, attempting to clasp the strap of his bag amid aquiver fingers and tediously prop it over his shoulder. He carefully smoothed out the wrinkles on the jacket of his uniform with a small huff, keeping his fleecy head low as he hurriedly presumed out of the nurse's office and entered the first floor's vast hallway, not before he had muttered out a small 'thanks'.
Kokichi wore a slight frown as he momentarily gazed out of the large windows, the sun's rays having dissolved and only its gentle glow remaining to remind him that the day was almost over and that it was getting dark outside. Just how long had he slept in that damn bed? He delved a hand in the pocket of his trousers and produced his phone, facial features contorting at the brightness of the screen.
The white digits read 19:39, making him choke on his own spit and cough profusely, banging a closed fist against his sternum in an attempt to cease the forceful bouts of air racking his throat and making his feeble body tremor wholly. Had he really remained unconscious for that long? Now the event was beginning to seriously concern him. He was well-aware his fainting had taken place due to the lack of sleep and, most importantly, food.
He'd never meant for this to blow of of proportion, didn't want anyone questioning him about what he eats or how often. Even if he told them, there was nothing that could be done if his mother didn't transform into a completely different person. Starving for five days might sound like an easy task, but the weakening of the muscles in his arms and legs and the spinning of his head indicated otherwise. It wasn't Kokichi's fault his mother would refuse to feed him; denying the sheer possibility of even giving him a bone to lap and gnaw at.
Even dogs were being treated better than he was, he figured.
Yesterday noon he had pulled out the scale from under the sink in the bathroom and stepped on the cold plastic, worrying his bottom lip and feeling his heart nearly stop when he caught a glimpse of the numbers it showed him. 87 pounds; he had lost 4,4 pounds in the span of two days. Sometimes, he marvelled in the fact that he was still live and breathing, having to put up with such draconian circumstances; ones which could result in his death with an unsettling ease.
And now, to top it all off, Kokichi had began fainting because of his famine-- and in the school grounds, no less. If this kept up for long enough, he was going to be in the emergency room in the first hospital available, with tubes where his innards and internal organs are because his body could no longer support him. It wouldn't do much to surprise him, however. It was only the natural outcome; if he gave up on his body by neglecting to give it fuel to burn, even if it was not out of his own will, his body was going to leave him stranded as well.
If Kokichi's extremely unhealthy eating habits didn't take a turn for the best, it was only a matter of time before he d--
Kokichi's train of thought was smashed to smithereens and the little hairs on the back of his neck stood up to attention when he felt warmth prod at his shoulder, a small whimper bursting through his lips as he slowly turned to look, eyes wide as platters. A pair of lips brushed against the shell of his ear, warm breathing caressing his cheek and making a shudder quake his spinal column.
The person beside him tensed slightly when the boy exuded a shrill shriek, taking a few, rickety steps backward and nearly losing his balance in the process-- but a hand tightened around his slender wrist and tugged him back to his feet as though it was the easiest thing that could be done. Not that it was a challenge in any way, seeing how light and small he was. His head rose up in a panic, face distraught with alarm as he glowered at his savior(?)-- but the gentle eyes wrinkling slightly at the sides and staring back at him made his squirming stop instantly.
“Jeez, Ouma-chan, you look like you saw a ghost; Am I really that ugly?”
Kokichi, of course, recognized who the prideful, teasing voice belonged to, and paired with that wide, shit-eating grin his purple hues meekly glared at, it didn't take a genius to put two and two together. God, he really hated – but also kind of loved – the cheeky way she would act as though she had done nothing wrong.
“Y/n-san! I told you not to scare me like that! Do you want me to kill me or something?”
“Hmm?” Y/n hummed through her nose, feigning thoughtfulness as she ascended a hand and lightly poked at Kokichi's bony cheek-- stifling a snicker and basking in the way his face lit up like a Christmas tree. She showed an apologetic smile, easily shrugging her shoulders and leaning down so their eyes were at the same height level, irises slightly sinking beneath her lids as she took in the adorable image of his glowing cheeks and quivering eyes. It was funny how his brows had slanted together, expression striving to look mad but of course succumbing by merely being in her presence. “Sorry, sorry. I just couldn't resist; not when your reactions are so priceless! Whatever shall I do so Ouma-chan will forgive my awful sin?”
Kokichi was going to come back with a witty reply to match her biting sarcasm, but his words curdled at the back of his throat as a his eyes squinted skeptically, cogs turning in his head. Wait, why was Y/n out of all people here when it was so late? Normally, even after they stay after school and chat at the roots of the sakura tree, they take their leave much earlier. So, what was she doing here? Why wasn't she at home? Her parents must be worried...
Thankfully, however, and unbeknownst to Kokichi, her parents didn't give a rat's behind as to where she currently was.
“It's almost eight.. Why aren't you at home, Y/n-san? When the sun goes down it gets chilly.. They didn't suspend you or anything, right? Because I already told the nurse that--”
“Woah, there, purple-head.” The girl interjected his hurried speech, her left brow quirking as she drew back. She found his concern both amusing and sickening. It made her mighty front waver when people acted like they cared about her, and she was clueless as to how she should handle it. “I didn't get suspended, calm down. And I thought it was pretty obvious; I was waiting for you to wake up. I did try to stay in the room with you, but the nurse was staring daggers at me but I figured I shouldn't smash her face in, so I waited here. See, there's a vending machine right over there that actually works-- I know, shocker-- so I got myself something to eat, too.”
Y/n jerked her thumb to the right and Kokichi's curious eyes followed the movement, tacking at the giant piece of metal a bit further down the corridor, which contained all kinds of snacks and drinks. The boy licked lips lips guiltily, feeling his chest cave in, wishing more than anything that he had some money to get something for himself, as well. To his great misfortune, however, his pocket money was meager and he had almost spent all of it on food, so he was left with no options.
There was something she had uttered, however, which had made his poor, little heart swell with emotion. Kokichi rose his round, hesitant eyes and peered at her through the cape of his lashes, capturing his bottom lip between his teeth as he made to speak up once more. “You.. waited? For me? So you really are the one who brought me here, then...”
He hated how soft and bashful his voice sound as it eluded from his mouth, a fact which made him even more flustered and confused as Y/n tilted her head to the side and obliviously batted her lashes at the query.
“Mhm! What kind of pathetic excuse of a partner would I be if I just left you there?” The girl seemed like her laid back, usual self, but Kokichi could easily view the remnants of worry lingering in her eyes as she cautiously looked him over, confirming that he was unscathed and unharmed. Her smile faltered visibliy, the flames dancing in her pupils flickering, but only for a moment, a spurious happiness settling upon her face instead. “And besides, you had waited for me when I beat up that pig Terrence, right? No one forced you to, but you still stayed. So I figured, why not return the favour? Isn't that how partnership works, after all?”
Kokichi showed a gentle, weak smile at the words, cheeks rising slightly with a soft, childish giggle. It escaped entirely beside himself, but he simply couldn't help it as he felt that unfamiliar, soothing warmth come alive within his chest and spread to the tender tissue of his lungs, rendering him briefly breathless as he looked up at her. He wasn't quite sure of what it was, but what he was certain of was that his heart was kindling in a fire of mingled confusion and a strange sense of admiration.
“You.. you didn't have to, Y/n-san. R-really...It's cold outside and your family must be worried you're not home yet..”
“Hey, don't worry about all that stuff now,” She said, head swaying from side to side as she slightly waved her hands in a means to reassure him, brows drawn together as she spoke. “Don't worry; my parents don't really care about where I am, so it's alright. Plus, you shouldn't be worrying about me right now, you should be worrying about yourself, Ouma-chan. You passed out on me like a damsel in distress, you know? That's not very nice.”
Kokichi's hues avert in scant embarrassment and the brims of his lips twitch wordlessly, fingers curled in loose fists and hesitantly held close to his chest. He knows that Y/n is indirectly prodding at him for more information, the aura radiating off of every pore on her body making it known that this time around she has no intention of backing down and letting him off scot free. She is asking for answers that would appease her suspicions and concern, her body language more than enough of an indicator that she won't calm until she knows the reason of his scrawny frame and poor health.
He is not sure of how to answer her, body shrinking away from her seeking gaze as she not once aims it away from him. Kokichi is trapped and unsure of how to feel about it.
“Ouma-chan,” Y/n starts softly and from the way she says it he can tell she's no longer smiling, a fact which serves to only unsettle him further. “You can't keep lying to me. I was a bit worried before because you looked sick most of time, but this had gotten a lot more serious than you might think, you know? Even now, I can tell you're not feeling well, no matter how much you try to hide it from me. But why? Why are you trying to hide it from me?”
Y/n is aware that she has to be very cautious in her approach. Kokichi breaks easily beneath the weight of a lot of pressure and could feel cornered and afraid, making an attempt to run away or lie his way out of it with a stammering voice. He is unlike most people she has to deal with. Kokichi is as sensitive and fragile like a China doll within her grasp, when she is formerly used to playing with hard, fusty clay instead.
Clay was easy to bend out of shape and twist in any form its wielder wished, and if it were to come apart, it could simply be stuck together once more with no visible damage. Meanwhile, a China doll was an ornament meant to be handled with gentleness and care, smooth and delicate to the touch-- but if it were to break, it would scatter in numerous, sharp shards that would scatter every which way, causing irreversible damage even if the pieces were to be glued together.
Y/n needs to be careful; she knows she can have Kokichi just the way she wants, but she needs to find the right words that pull at the strings of his heart first. There is simply no other way someone like him would speak to her without doubts or regrets. Perhaps, this might seem as a way of manipulation, but she is doing it for his own good, after all.
“..I was scared.”
The words catch Kokichi entirely off guard, head whipping up in an instant and expression dumbfound at just how sincere and small they sounded as they pushed between Y/n's lips. The girl is wearing no utterance in particular, brows stern over her eyes and lips curled inward to form a firm line. Kokichi notes that for once, she's not looking at him when speaking, an unreadable sentiment swirling in melancholic, graceful circles within the ring of her iris.
There is the evident clenching of her fists, fingers swaddled so tightly that they begin to feel numb. She hates talking so genuinely before somebody else.
“It just happened so suddenly, you know?” She speaks silently, the timbre of her voice distant and devoid of all life. “You just went out like a light and I immediately thought of the worst. Can you really blame me? I thought you needed to be taken to the hospital or something, that maybe something is going on with you I have no idea of and that could cost you your life. I was scared you'd stop breathing while I took you to thenurse. I was scared that maybe your heart stopped beating. I had no idea what I could do to make you wake up..” The girl paused, eyes blurry and sorrowful and keenly focused on the ground below. “I was scared because I couldn't do anything to help you.”
The left corner of her mouth quirks in bitter amusement, mind seeming detached and completely absorbed in thought as she keeps her sight tacked to the tips of her black shoes. Her words were no lie, to her great susprise, heart aching vividly within the fleshy confines of her chest as she uttered them. Y/n can sense Kokichi's hesitant orbs observing her every move, silently taking in the hunch of her body and the sadness pooling within her eyes as though he were an uncertain kitten peering at her from around the corner.
“You don't eat nowhere near enough, do you? That's why you fainted.”
There is the audible hitching of his breathing when she voices the words, sporting the slightest inkling of a smile as her head raises and their gazes meet. Kokichi freezes visibly at the way she's looking at him, throat quaking along with his stiff swallowing. He wants to turn away, tuck his tail between his legs and run, denying an sort of confrontation-- but finds that he is held still by some unknown force, rooted to the spot as if paralyzed.
In all honesty, he doesn't want to turn away and run, no matter how nervous or struck he is that she can call him out as if she sees right through him. It doesn't matter how nerve-wracking it will get; Kokichi won't run away like a coward again. Or so he hopes.
Upon viewing the shock congested to form his expression, Y/n's eyes soften just barely and her brows loosen from where they were wrinkled in dubiety. Her lips peel into a half-hearted half-smile, breath escaping calmly from her nostrils in spite of the pounding maniac that is her wrenching heart. “I don't want you to tell me how or why. All I want you to tell me is; Are you doing it out of your own, free will? Are you not eating just because you don't want to, or because something else is stopping you from doing so? Or, sorry, let me rephrase that-- Or because someone else is stopping you from doing so?”
“S-Someone else?” Kokichi manages through a stammer and clasps his damp palms together, heart ablaze with anxiety and eyes alight with confusion as he gazes up at her. “Who else could possibly p-prevent me from eating, Y/n-san? W-What would they even gain out of something like that?”
God, Kokichi was so close to just spewing out the truth that he had to dig his teeth into his tongue to refrain from the urge to confess. He couldn't, he couldn't tell her...
“Oh, I don't know...” Y/n's speech is fraught of nothing but suspicion and caustic sarcasm as she trails off, eyes having squinted to narrow cleaves and brows heaving knowingly. “You tell me.”
Kokichi's teeth clench voicelessly at her seemingly confident words, brows twitching in his unease and unnerve and making his heart leap to his throat. She is seeing right through him, reading him as though he was a children's book left open against the ground. Y/n has appeared to be a lot smarter than Kokichi initially thought, and though he felt some admiration for her impressive tactics when it came to reading someone, her method was nowhere near impeccable.
He is Kokichi Ouma, the very sire of all lies. He had been lying since he was a small child; to his classmates, to his parents, even to his own self so he could pull through and amble through this hell he called life. It had started off a silly trick that helped him avoid trouble and get what he so childishly wanted back then-- but now, it had become a coping mechanism, the most essential tool that kept him alive.
The capability to lie is ingrained into his very being. Even if he wants to, he can never get rid of it; as they have become one and the same. For once more, Kokichi would have to rely on his ability to make a fabrication sound as reality and deceived Y/n as though it was the simplest thing in the world. He didn't really mind of what would become of him; he was simply doing this for her, for her own good. He wouldn't want to worry her with his own issues when she clearly possessed her own.
Did you know most of his lies were told with good intentions?
“It's.. It's because of my mom.” Kokichi mutters beneath his breath, eyes hesitantly flickering up to meet Y/n's predatory stare. He expelled a tattered exhale against the stale atmosphere, heart aching as his lips sunder and set his voice free. “She was fired from her job a few months ago and.. money has really been an issue for us. We've really had to make cutbacks with paying our rent and bills... S-so sometimes we.. we don't have enough saved up so we can both eat. I.. I don't want to be a bother to mom, so sometimes I end up not eating for a few days.. I-It's just for a few days though, nothing to really worry about...”
What a filthy, filthy lie, Kokichi. That's so like you.
There is the extension of a lengthy silence as Y/n's expression blanks completely, the wheels in her head turning slowly as she tries to comprehend what was just thrown at her. The girl's dry lips are parted in patent disbelief as she idly stands there, blinkling slowly as she gazes at Kokichi's fidgeting figure with empty, hollow eyes. If looks could kill, Kokichi would be bloody pulp by now. “...What?”
Upon seeing the unreadable look Y/n was evidently donning, Kokichi nods slowly to signify his approval, the motions of his head hesitant and guilty. He isn't quite sure if she actually believed the falsehood he so shamelessly had spewed, eyes big and seeking as they glowered up at her in an attempt to find any clue that pointed to how she had perceived it. He desperately hopes it worked and, judging from the depletion of the color from her face and the descent of her shoulders, it certainly affected her in some way or another. “I-I didn't want to tell you b-because I didn't want you to worry... I'm sorry, Y/n-san.”
It's truly a pity that the girl has no clue the apology was for none other the blatant lie he had so swimmingly tossed her.
Y/n brows slant together in pure incredulity, heart sinking back against her spine with hastening, painful throbs, the corners of her lips weighing downward at the boy's words. Her fists unravel and her fingers limply hang from where they are attached to her palms, face contorted with pure chagrin. Truly speechless for a moment, a tattered exhale leaves her, perfectly reflecting the distraught state she is in. Suddenly, Y/n looks incredibly remorseful; as if overwhelmed by a gulit that left her restless.
Y/n was feeling sick, replete with a strange sense of injustice. It wasn't fair for her to have all the luxury and money in the world while Kokichi was nearly starving himself to death due to the lack of it. He was a good person, possessed a kind, spotless heart despite all the torment he had to put up with; he deserved it a lot more than Y/n or her pathetic excuse of a family ever did. If she didn't want her cover to be demolished and her true identity revealed, she would have taken him to her enormous house and offered him a match of those small pieces of paper than shaped every living person's life.
But she can't. She can't tell him.
Just like Kokichi can't tell her the real reason he looks so sickly and deathly pale all of the time.
“You.. you don't have enough money to eat?”
The question leaves Y/n despite herself, each and every letter highlighted with the unfilitered shock that bleeds its ink within the current of her words. Her voice strains with emotion as she speaks; her developping sorrow taking priority over her fury and making her heart plunge to the pits of her nauseated stomach. Her expression almost distorts to one of complete and utter mortification once Kokichi meekly nods his head and lets out a small 'yes'.
What is this blasphemy?!
Y/n shakes her head furiously, still in her patent, childish denial, envelopping Kokichi cold fingers within her palm and muttering profanities under her breath as she begins walking, taking wide steps and hauling him along. The boy makes a sound of protest at the back of his throat and a flow of stammering, shaky words flow from his mouth at the sudden contact, face aglow with both confusion and bashfulness as he reluctantly follows behind her; in spite of the fact he is nearly being dragged down the corridor, slithering on the smooth tiling of the floor on the soles of his shoes due to his light weight.
The girl dismisses Kokichi's stuttering and mewling, already subconsciously picturing just how red-faced he must be, her stride halting abruptly and making him jerk into a stop and gently bump his nose against her shoulder. Kokichi whines slightly, ascending his unrestrained hand and rubbing at the button of his nose with a huff, half-heartedly glaring at the back of Y/n's head behind flushed cheeks-- the fact their hands are still linked long forgotten in his prominent fluster and curiosity. The girl peers over her shoulder at him and shows a toothy grin, right eye fluttering shut in a playful wink, hand tugging him so that he would wobble forward and stand beside her.
“Alright, alright, treat yourself, Ouma-chan!” Y/n says the words cheerfully, head beckoning over to the vending machine standing before them and containing a variety of snacks, each of which made Kokichi's tongue moisten within the confines of his mouth at the mere thought of making contact with something edible. The hesitant boy tosses her a puzzled look, the warmth of her hand holding his own forsaken yet still somewhat placating. “I told you it works, right? Come on, take your time and pick one of these babies from in here, Ouma-chan; whichever one you like, really, we don't judge in this household!”
Kokichi blinks slowly, expression adorably perplexed as he silently glowers at the way Y/n's fond grin had made her cheeks rise joyfully and her eyes crinkle at the edges. Any words he would utter become a cluster of letters once he looks at her, concluding that being happy instead of upset fits her like a wooly glove, his neck bobbing slightly with the motion of his tense swallowing and the tips of his ears tinted pink. He hates to admit it, but she looks quite cute like this.
“Y/n-san.. I-I appreciate this, but I d-don't have any money with m--”
The thin boy is silenced once she presses her forefinger against the cushions of his worn lips, breathing shakily through his nostrils and staring with quivering, widened eyes. Y/n is still smiling at him as though he was a reluctant, frightful puppy and it makes his heart flutter like a writhing fish out of the water. He blinks innocently, watching with slumped shoulders as Y/n draws her hand back and vaguely motions at the machine with a stark half-smile adorning her lips. “I, the most generous and understanding partner ever, will pay for whatever my beloved Ouma-chan wishes to purchase! I'm like, way up there on the partner list, so I can't let mine be hungry you know? That's not a partnership, that's a partnershit!”
Kokichi exudes a soft giggle at the comment and the jolly sound is a blessing to Y/n's tainted ears. It makes her chest tighten involuntarily as she looks over at him through a veil of slight surprise, the grin she was formerly donning softening into a smile and the cold hand holding on to hers constricting around her knuckles in a feeble squeeze. The action partly startles her, perhaps a bit more than it should have, and instictively her arm recoils away in a momentary panic, ripping harshly through the air and shaking as though she had been burned. Kokichi's hand bony hand was cold, but the warmth of his touch still lingered at the inside of her hand. It was thin and boyish and larger than her own, to her great surprise; it was easy to forget Kokichi was verging on becoming a man, in spite of his deceiving looks.
The fact only serves to embarrass her greatly as she refrains from gazing at that stunned expression of his, suddenly too shy to meet the field of his vision and make another stupidly playful remark. Y/n unsuccessfully tries to recollect herself, cursing the waver of her smile and the flames kindling her cheeks.
“S-so?” Dammit, why did she have to stutter?! The high and mighty Y/n L/n does not stutter; that was Kokichi's job, not hers! “Which one do you want? Come on, Ouma-chan, we don't have all night, you know! We're gonna get locked in the school and since it's Friday we'll stay here for two days and they're gonna find our dead bodies--”
“That one.” Says Kokichi quietly, neglecting Y/n's extravaggant behaviour and jerking his forefingers toward his item of choice. “Can.. can I have that one?”
Y/n's head tilts in curiosity, eyes trailing up the expanse of his arm and following his indication, a newfound grin gracing her lips once she examines it with amusedly raised brows. Kokichi had decided on one of the flavoured, cold croissants at the second row from the end, orbs twinkling and teeth grasping his bottom lip at the mere thought of biting into the sweet bread and letting its cherry essence pour itself upon his tongue.
He strives to ignore the girl's kittenish remark about the cherry flavour, her tongue clicking playfully and succeding in its goal to bring a gentle rosiness to his cheeks, face lowering with an abashed glow as he averts his gaze. His companion stays truthful to her former promise, flinging a sparkly, blue wallet from between her breasts and examining its contents for the right coin to insert to the machine, face lighting up jovially when she takes it amid her fingers and eases it in the metal slit.
There's the clang of metal colliding with metal as the coin drops and Y/n types in the number of Kokichi's wish, the sole of her shoe pattering impatiently against the ground as the dark fuchsia, paper-thin wrapper falls from its constraints along with her change. Kokichi makes to reach out and take it, but Y/n is one step ahead of him, as she always seems to be, bending slightly at the waist, one handful cupping the coins and the other wrapped around the sugary goody. She extends one hand and offers it to him, brows knowingly shooting upward when she views his evident falter and the hesitance of his eyes.
Kokichi really reminds her of a puppy as he slowly reaches out with tremulously unravelling fingers, eyes never leaving her own and throat doddering as he takes the colorful plastic in his grasp, feeling the outline of the saccharine-flavoured bread that lies inside. At the hint of it, the tips of his lips ascend in an involuntarily innocent smile, lower lip ever so slightly worried by his teeth. He gazes at Y/n through the curve of his lashes and behind pleasantly raised cheeks, looking as though he is seeking for her permission to rip the plastic with his short nails and dig in. His hands are trembling in their excitement as she reluctantly nods her head, laughing slightly at his visible uncertainty.
“What are you looking at me like that for? Go ahead, it's all yours. No one'll take it from you.”
She stifles the burst of chuckles that are about to erupt from the pit of her chest, merely offering her signature smile as the boy wastes no time in following the order of her words, knuckles quivering as he opens his long-abided treat and stars dancing within his eyes when he catches a glimpse of it. He has already dug his pearly teeth into the soft dough, the liquified cherry flavour eluding from between the tissues and gently lathering the tip of his tongue, when Y/n's mouth breaks into a surprised snort, brows drawn worriedly over her eyes.
“Just eat it slow, will you? Otherwise, your body might have a bad reaction and you're gonna throw up your guts..”
Kokichi nods idly and stares at her with wide, cautious eyes, but seems to pay heed to her saying as his chewing visibly slows, cheeks stuffed with food and puffing out adorably. There's the hint of a stain at the corner of his mouth, cherry jam having smeared itself against the end of his lips, and Y/n slightly shakes her head at his clumsiness with a soft giggle, but the fondness in her eyes remains stark and unwavering.
He must really be hungry, the poor thing..
Y/n brings a hand up, the tip of her thumb rubbing absentmidedly against the pinkish marmalade smudged against his soft skin and Kokichi's eyelids flinch slightly at the touch as he quietly munches, but he makes no movement to back away or distance himself, simply staying put and allowing her graze upon him as he eats. Just like a puppy. In his own way, it is a sign of trust, the wariness in his eyes having placated and replaced with silent gratitude and wonder and making Y/n's cheekines hit its peak.
She smugly ascends the same hand toward her face, popping the tip of her finger in mouth and lapping fleetingly at the sweet extract with a low hum that eludes from her nostrils. She slyly acts as though she didn't catch sight of the furrow of Kokichi's brows and the mild flush of his cheeks, withdrawing her hand with an easy shrug of her shoulders and grinning contentedly. “Doesn't taste that bad.”
The two made their way out of the school building, with Y/n making one-sided chatter and Kokichi gripping his croissant as though God himself would tear it out of his grasp, gnawing at it like it would be his last meal. He was merely humming and nodding along with Y/n's palaver, so absorbed in his own thoughts that he reeled with a shrill screech when she playfully nudged him, clasping his treat close to his chest and glaring in disbelief at the amused grin gracing her lips, scolding her half-heartedly and yelping out, “Stop! I could have dropped my croissant!”
Y/n merely cackled in delight, offering a breathy apology through her bouts of laughter and marvelling in how shocked and red his face had gotten at her shenanigans. Kokichi feigned a betrayed frown, his headache being reduced by an abundant amount-- or so it felt like--, eyes hooded and congested with nothing but admiration as he glowered up at her. She could never even begin to imagine just how thankful Kokichi was to her for offering to help him once again, even if perhaps he didn't outright show it. He figured the gesture must have been something extremely easy for Y/n, but to him, it meant the entire world.
It was then he swore to himself he would repay the favour one day, somehow, in any way he could. And, as he viewed her carefree, joyous smile, the flash of her hysterically sobbing face appeared for a split second and teemed his field of vision, reminiscent of that awful dream he had seen. A part of him worried greatly about it, but he resolved to ignore it as Y/n spoke to him and cracked jokes every now and again, hoping with all of his heart that none of it would become reality and blissfully unaware of the fact somebody was watching their retreating figures as they exited the school-- their eyes cold and harsh as honed stone.
“Ugh! Those fucking brats are so sure of themselves! I'd really love to teach them both a fucking lesson..”
Lillian's voice echoes, irritated and fraught of nothing but the desire for revenge. The tall, plump girl crosses her arms over her large chest with a huff, face contorting in evident irk. “That fucking bitch Y/n ridiculed me in front of everyone and Mr.Marriott did jack-shit to stop it! All I did was make fun of that pathetic twink a bit; like, where's the bad in that?! It's not like he doesn't deserve it! Right? Right?!”
“Lil, chill, dude. We don't get to make the calls all by ourselves. And, plus, what she did to Terrence is way worse than what she did to you, y'know?” Vince wrapped a sturdy arm around the fuming girl beside him, his head tilting back so he could look up at those flaring, glaring eyes of hers. She hadn't punched him yet, enough indicator of the fact she was actually listening. “Don't worry, dude, they're not getting out of it any time soon. We'll all teach them they fucked with the wrong people, make them sorry they were born in the first place. Y/n might be a tough bitch, but she doesn't stand a chance against the three of us. You know the rat never fights back; it's an easy-peasy win. We'll send that skank to the ER! Right, Terry?”
Terrence regarded his companions' words thoughtfully, piercing, cold eyes set off to the horizon as he pondered. He was the leader of the trio and therefore his plan in beating some discipline into both Kokichi and Y/n needed to be flawless. He had suffered enough of that brash, bothersome girl since she began attending the school; having his friends and himself mocked, leaving Kokichi roaming around freely as though he was liberated from his cage. A twisted, sadistic grin spread across Terrence's face at the notion of securing his large hands around the rat's dainty neck and raising him from his feet after he was done dealing with Y/n.
“That's right. But we have to be careful. That bitch has a strong hand; I guess she's not part of the Diamondbacks for nothing. Those assholes might be good at what they do, but we are far better. That's why were are part of the Ravens, after all. Her clan or her pathetic friends are nobodies compared to ours. They won't know from where they've been struck until it's too late.”
Terrence brushed a hand over his belt, where his new, sharpened dagger was tightly hastened. His rough palm enclosed around the leather grip, slowly drawing the curved blade out of its sheath and examining the blurry reflection of his own eyes limning the bleak metal. His words held biting venom as they were practically spat through his clenched jaws.
“How cute.. they have no idea what we're planning.” Terrence chuckled lowly to himself, dragging the tip of his forefinger against the blade's expanse with a sickly smile contorting his facial features. “It'd be a real shame if I just so happened to cut Y/n's pretty face up a bit, wouldn't it?”