“Finished playing your game already?” Your roommate's teasing tone makes your eyes shoot open. For a moment, all you see is a mix of black and beige, vision clouding with sleep.
You blink a few times. The beige ceiling meets you, reaching above your head. Rubbing your eyes, you stifle a yawn. “I finished the available chapters,” you correct.
“Ah yes, of course, the awaited chapter 3. My apologies for forgetting.” They peer at you from the edge of the bed, leaning forward in their chair.
Rolling to your side to face them, you roll your eyes. “I’m sorry you can’t enjoy good entertainment, Yuko.”
“I just don’t find playing a death game fun,” ‘Yuko’ refutes dryly. “Your Turn to Die, was it? Not very welcoming.”
“What were you expecting? It is a horror game.” They scoot closer to you on the chair, waving a hand in your face. “Wh- Hey- hey, stop that -”
You shoot up, back making a loud ‘crack’ sound. Wincing, ‘Yuko’ withdraws their hand. “Are you… are you okay?”
Humming, you rest a hand on your cheek. “I’ll be fine,” you say.
It’s getting late. You’re tired. There are classes tomorrow and god, you’re so tired .
They frown. “If you’re trying to guilt-trip me into playing that game, it’s probably working,” ‘Yuko’ mumbles.
“I’m not,” you insist. “Also, why don’t you just give the game a shot? You might like it, Yuko.”
“But,” ‘Yuko’ interjects, as usual, “it’s horrible to enjoy playing as someone in a death game of all things. What if it was you?”
You pat their cheek, voice quietly calm. “If I was in that situation, in that game, I wouldn’t enjoy it. I wouldn’t be scared, either.” When ‘Yuko’ opens their mouth, you state firmly. “That’s all there is to it.”
“Then what would you feel?”
“Who knows? It’s just a game,” you muse. Eyes lidded, you cover your mouth with a hand, yawning again.
“No- it really isn’t.”
“Sorry, what?” You squint, trying to make out ‘Yuko’ from the blobs of colours mixing together. “I’m still half-asleep.”
‘Yuko’ raises a hand, wrapping it around your elbow. Their body temperature is much warmer than yours. “Be careful now,” they murmur. “Don’t try to save everyone.”
“Eh-” you blink, trying not to think too much of the slender fingers wrapped around your limb, warmth bleeding into your skin. “What are you…”
“Do you know what my name is?” The sudden change of topics is enough to give you whiplash. “Do you remember?” Their voice contains urgency as their grip on you tightens.
You squeeze your eyes shut. Now you’re hallucinating, it seems. The walls are crumbling, falling apart into nothingness.
“I call you ‘Yuko’ but-” your voice catches in your throat. Oh. Oh. That’s it, isn’t it?
If you open your eyes, they might disappear. Just like the room around you, from existence to nothing at all.
But the hand around your arm is real. Their voice is real. Your memories with them is real, because that’s all you know.
They call your name. You can barely hear him over your own heartbeat. “Say it,” they whisper. “Say my name.”
Your eyes shoot open, staring into jade ones. They burn into you, pleading, demanding that you go on without them.
Choking on the words stuck in your throat, you reach over to their hand, fingers interlocking with theirs. It gives you courage you never had, never thought you needed.
Taking in a shaky breath, squeezing a much larger, much warmer hand-
The world cracks. It shatters, shakes, and falls apart into code and numbers you don’t understand.
Congratulations , a robotic voice rings, you have passed the First Trial.