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Taming the Wild Ones

Chapter Text

My parents left me in the lobby of my new school, a boarding school for troubled teens. It was a large building and looked kind of posh, but it felt like a prison to me, from the moment I stepped inside. I followed silently as I was led through to the boy’s dormitory, I saw other students on recreation time as it was Sunday evening and they all eyed me since I was obviously the new kid here. It was unnerving but I had been in plenty of fights before, part of the reason I was here. I could handle myself. If anyone wanted to start something I welcome it, then maybe they’ll kick me out of here too. I hated it already, it felt oppressive. I forgot the man’s name already, the one showing me to my room, not that I cared all that much, I wasn’t really paying attention.

“This is your room; I’ll go and tell your buddy that you’ve arrived.” He said.

“My buddy?” I asked.

“We always assign one of the other kids to new arrivals, they’re to help you get your bearings and settle in.”
“I don’t need a buddy.” I said as I walked into my room and set down my bags and my skateboard, he set down my others and then left. I sighed looking around my room. It was fairly spacious which was good, but this building was huge, so I guess there was space for larger bedrooms. I was about to take a seat and adjust to the fact that I was now here when there was a knock on my door. I opened it and was met by a white-haired boy smiling.

“Hello, you’re new here, right? My name’s Nagito Komaeda, I thought I would welcome you.” I guess he seemed friendly enough.

“Hajime Hinata,” I replied.

“Nice to meet you,” I was about to ask if he was my buddy but then another boy appeared. This guy was taller than the boy named Nagito, and he wore just a white tank top and some baggy trousers, his hair was styled in a sort of perm coming forwards from his head. I could do nothing with my hair, but he had styled that deliberately.

“Hey, freak, pouncing on the new kid already?” he asked.

“Hey Mondo, I was just welcoming him,” Nagito replied sounding a little depressed.

“Well get lost, he doesn’t want to be your friend, alright, give him space.” This guy called Mondo said. Who was he to decide that? Well, it was true, I didn’t need friends. I didn’t need anyone.

“Ok, I’ll leave.” Nagito said and disappeared.

“Hajime, I’m Mondo and they forced me to be your buddy I guess its punishment, but you want me to show you around? I can tell you who to keep away from, you’ve already met Nagito, he’s one of them.” Mondo said.

“If its so much trouble you don’t have to force yourself!” I snapped.

“Nah, it’s alright, aint like I got nothing better to do.” he said, and I decided to allow him to show me around. I closed my door locking it behind me, guessing some of these guys could be thieves. I followed Mondo and he gave me a brief tour. We walked past some guys playing a dice and card game on the floor in a corner of the dormitory.

“Most of those guys are alright,” Mondo said as we passed, there was a really short boy wearing a hat, a taller slim boy wearing a cap and a green haired guy who was quite good looking, I guess he would be popular with the girls. “That guy over there is Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu, don’t let his size fool you, he’s pretty much at the top here, don’t get on his bad side.” Mondo said.

“Right, got ya,” I muttered as I eyed the small built, short blonde-haired boy. I guess he was pretty tough, he had an unwavering look in his eyes and as I looked at him, surrounded by some guys, I managed to catch his eyes but decided it was best to look away.

“Hey, Mondo! That the new guy?” I heard.

“Oh god,” Mondo ran a hand over his face. I turned to see another small boy, he looked quite young, but I guess he was our age, he had longish dark hair which had a purple tinge to it. “If you don’t recognise him, he’s new.” Mondo said seemingly annoyed by this boy’s presence. “Kokichi Oma is another one you should stay away from.” Mondo said and the smaller boy looked upset for a moment with tears in his eyes and I felt bad for him. Was Mondo a bully? Nagito seemed pretty inoffensive, and this kid was only small and appeared hurt at Mondo’s words. “Nagito and Kokichi are both freaks, don’t waste time with them.” Kokichi started to cry.

“Hey, isn’t that a little harsh?” I said to Mondo. I didn’t like bullies, part of the reason I got into so many fights because I always made it my business to stop such things.

“You think those tears are real?” Mondo asked me.

“Uh…” I went to say and Kokichi stopped crying and began to laugh.

“Ah, you got me, Mondo!” What the hell? What was wrong with this kid? Maybe I could see what Mondo meant, in that case, perhaps he was right about Nagito too.

“Come on, Hajime,” Mondo said, and we moved through the dorms a little further. “Come and meet my friends, I’ll show you the shower rooms on the way.” He said and led me to another room, the showers were communal it seemed, just like a prison, I couldn’t help but feel. “Hajime, this is Leon Kuwata, he’s a buddy of mine and this is Chihiro Fujisaki, they won’t do you wrong.”
“Wh- what’s a girl doing in the guy’s dorm?” I asked looking at Chihiro.

“I’m a boy,” Chihiro said in a soft voice. I guess he was wearing boy’s clothes, but he looked so feminine and… well, cute even.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.” I said as he blushed.

“It’s ok, I get it a lot.” He muttered and I wondered how such a mild-mannered guy like him ended up stuck in a school like this. Leon smiled and offered a wave.

“You want to hang with us?” Mondo asked.

“I guess so.” I said and sat down with them. I noticed they were looking through some magazines.

“What you into, Hajime?” Leon asked me.

“I like skateboarding,” I muttered.

“Cool, you any good?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m not bad.” I replied, this felt awkward, and I hated every second of this small talk, but they didn’t seem like bad guys. I still didn’t need friends though.

“Hey! Give that back!” we heard and saw that small kid with the purple hair running through the room holding a cap and was hotly pursued by a taller boy with dark blue hair. “Kokichi!” he cried, and I just heard Kokichi laughing, his laughter growing quieter as he ran further away.

“Man, I hate that kid, I hope Shuichi catches him and kicks his ass.” Mondo muttered.

“He’s so annoying,” Leon agreed.

“If anything of yours goes missing you can be sure it was Kokichi, he’s a pain in the ass.” Mondo said.

“Is he like… a thief?” I asked.

“More like a prankster, he’s fucking annoying.” Leon said.

“What about that Nagito guy, he seemed… friendly. What’s wrong with him?” I asked.

“Oh, Nagito’s a psychopath, seriously, no joke, I’d stay clear.” Mondo warned.

“A psycho?” I asked but they didn’t elaborate. Fuck this place. It’s filled with societies rejects but I guess I was one of those now.

Chapter Text

I woke early Monday morning in hopes of getting in the shower before everyone else tried to. I didn’t really want to shower with all those other guys. I didn’t know any of them yet and it was uncomfortable but as I entered, I could hear the spatter of shower water. Someone else perhaps with the same idea, maybe I could avoid them. I set my towel down on the bench in the changing rooms and I went to one of the showers in a different section to where I heard the water and set down my shower wash before turning it on. I let the water wash over me, but I wanted to make this quick.

“Hey,” I heard and turned to see that good looking green haired guy, he must have been the one showering. “New guy, right? What’s your story, huh?” he asked me as he stood, dripping wet and in just his towel. I felt awkward since I was completely naked, but he didn’t seem phased.

“My story?” I asked.

“I mean, how did you end up here?”
“Want to tell me your name before asking questions like that about me?” I snapped and finished up showering.

“Sorry, my names Rantaro Amami, I didn’t mean to seem rude.”

“Hajime Hinata,” I said and walked to the locker room where I wrapped my towel around my waist. “To answer your question, I kept getting into fights.” I said and sat on the bench. Rantaro laughed.

“You should fit right in here then,” he said and proceeded to towel dry his hair.

“What about you?” I asked.

“Oh, my dad just got sick of me, more like, he wanted me out the way when he moved in his new girlfriend and her kids.”

“Serious?” I asked.

“Yeah, I know it sucks but not much I can do about it.” he said seeming quite laid-back about the whole thing.

“I didn’t want to come here but I hated my old school too,” I said and roughly dried my hair on a towel.

“It’s not so bad here, I trust Mondo warned you adequately of certain guys though.”

“Yeah,” I muttered thinking back to that Nagito guy and the little guy named Kokichi and the tough kid Fuyuhiko. It was inevitable I would end up pissing someone off or they pissed me off and I’d get in another fight, but I wondered who it would be with. Rantaro seemed quite chilled out, Mondo, Leon and Chihiro seemed friendly enough. I can imagine Kokichi making me want to punch him if he starts taking my stuff or playing pranks on me, but he was a lot smaller than I was and it would feel kind of wrong but if he was willing to wind people up then he had to be ready to deal with the consequences. As we talked others began to trickle through to get their Monday morning showers. Nagito was next, he smiled and waved at me, but I did not return it. Psycho? I wondered if I should fear him if he was some kind of psychopath.

“Yeah, watch out for him,” Rantaro said as Nagito passed through the locker room.

“He seems pretty inoffensive, what is people’s problem with him?” I asked.

“It won’t take you long to find out,” Rantaro said and left me, I guess to get ready in his room. I should do the same really, I had my clothes with me here though, so I got dressed and went to leave when I heard my name.

“Hajime,” I turned to see Nagito standing with his towel wrapped around his waist, he was not yet wet just protecting his dignity, seeing him half naked made me realise just how pale he was. “I know by now you’ve probably heard stuff about me, but it really was nice meeting you yesterday, its great having new people join us here. I don’t expect you to feel the same about meeting someone like me, of course.”

“Uh… yeah,” I said not knowing what else to say, he just smiled before he went back to shower. He did seem a little strange but was psycho perhaps a bit extreme? I guess I didn’t know him yet. I didn’t know any of them.

 

My first lesson of the day was science, we were to do an experiment with Bunsen burners which was fine, I didn’t really care. I met some of the girls who attended this school too, Mondo had introduced me to a couple one named Mukuro Ikusaba who had freckles and a pretty dark-haired girl named Maki Harukawa.

“So, we have another boy, this school has so many boys,” Maki said sounding unimpressed at my presence.

“Yes, too many boys.” Mukuro agreed. I was not welcome because of my gender. Great. I noticed Rantaro had a fanbase, lots of girls around him, if girls were so few here then I bet a lot of guys gave him trouble because of that. I didn’t really care about that, it is what it is he was very good looking, but I wondered what it was like getting all that kind of attention, admiration from the girls… envy from the boys.

We entered our classroom and the teacher started by pairing us up for the experiment and Mondo found himself with Nagito of which he was annoyed and tried to protest but the teacher insisted. I found myself paired with this guy called Shuichi, he had been the one whose hat Kokichi had stolen last night. It looked like he managed to get it back. Shuichi seemed shy and awkward, he didn’t say much but that was fine with me, we followed the experiment instructions, it ended up being quite interesting until I heard a cry behind me and saw Mondo’s hair was on fire, Rantaro was the first to laugh and some others followed. The fire was swiftly put out by the teacher.

“Are you ok Owada?” Mr Munakata asked. Mondo turned to Nagito and took hold of his shirt pinning him against the desk.

“Hey, Mondo, chill out!” Leon called over. Mr Munakata prized Mondo off Nagito.

“I’m so sorry, Mondo!” Nagito said. “But it is a considerable improvement.” He added and I couldn’t stop myself burst with laughter.

“You little…” Mondo balled up his fist and went to punch Nagito, but Mr Munakata pulled him off again.
“Enough!” he snapped.

“Do you want me to take a little more off the top, Mondo?” Nagito asked and Mondo raged, Mr Munakata having to get between them again to stop Mondo hurting Nagito. I was struggling to contain my amusement.

“That’s why you don’t let a fucking psycho play around with something dangerous and you fucking partnered me with him!” Mondo yelled at the teacher. “You can shut up too, pretty boy!” he yelled at Rantaro who was still laughing, not even trying to hide it. “You can all shut up!” the whole class was snickering.

“Do you need to cool off, somewhere, Owada?” Mr Munakata asked.

“Fuck this! Nagito I’m gonna fucking kill you! You better watch your back!” Mondo snapped before he left the classroom. I looked to Nagito who didn’t look too bothered by Mondo’s threat.

“Komaeda, do you care to tell me what happened there?” Mr Munakata asked.

“Well, its an experiment so I experimented,” Nagito said, and I tried to stifle my laughter.

“You have been trusted to be careful, Komaeda, Bunsen burners are dangerous and with your history… but we have entrusted you to resist your impulses.”

“I know, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.” Nagito replied. Impulses?

“Fucking psycho, you could have killed someone!” Leon snapped.

“I didn’t though, he’s fine, right?” Nagito replied.

“That could have been bad,” Shuichi muttered beside me.

“What’s his deal?” I asked as we resumed our own experiment. I was glad to be with someone sensible like this Shuichi guy.

“He… let’s just say its dangerous to put a guy like him with something that makes flames,” Shuichi said, and I turned back to look at Nagito and the expression in his eyes disturbed me as he gazed into the flames of the Bunsen burner. Was he some sort of… pyromaniac? Who knew? But I guess I was starting to see why people saw him as a bit of a psycho and kept a distance. I guess I was now in a school of freaks, and I was one of them.

 

Lunch rolled around and Mondo returned to us, joining us in the lunch queue, his hair was shorter since Nagito decided to give him a hair cut using fire. I wanted to laugh at him but resisted since he had clearly got mad, I thought he was going to kill Nagito, the look in Mondo’s eyes had been pure rage.

“Hey, man, you ok?” Leon asked as we walked to find a table in the lunch hall.

“Yeah, I talked to my councillor, I started to calm down. I hate that freak, but I don’t want to kill him anymore.” Mondo said.

“That’s good then, we could all do without murder here,” I said.

“Yeah,” he replied, and we found a space in the cafeteria and sat on our own table. At a table near us I noticed Shuichi sitting with Rantaro and that small guy with the hat, whose name I had not learned yet. I decided to smile at Shuichi, and he returned it, he seemed like a nice guy, quiet but relatively normal compared to others here. Rantaro also waved over so I smiled to him too. People had been friendlier than I had imagined, and I had been opposed to making friends, but Mondo and his group had accepted me and seemed to not mind me tagging along on my first day, Shuichi and Rantaro seemed alright too, but I hadn’t spoken to their friend yet. We sat and ate our lunch, I still didn’t need friends but sitting with these guys beat sitting on my own, I realised guys like Nagito and Kokichi were sat alone, that must suck.

“Hey, wanna check out the girls from that school at the end of the day? They’re hot, it’s a girl’s school near here, very prestigious and the girls always like a bad boy, right? Especially good girls.” Leon said and I laughed.

“Is that what we are?” I asked.

“We’re in a school for troubled kids, of course we are!” Leon replied.

“What’s wrong with the girls here?” Chihiro asked.

“They’re psycho’s,” Mondo replied.

“What does that make us?” I replied and they all paused as though pondering it.

“Good point,” Mondo said.

“Hajime, you want to ogle girls with them or check out the park with us later?” Rantaro called over.

“We can check out the park after, they got a skateboarding section!” Leon informed.

“Really? Yeah, I’d like to try that out,” I said pleased there was somewhere for me to skate around here.

“Alright, girls then boarding, I’d like to see what you got, Hajime.” Leon decided. I guess I could look at girls, but I wouldn’t want to make them uncomfortable the idea of just looking at girls seemed a bit off.

“Hey, new guy!” I heard and looked up to see that Fuyuhiko guy approaching our table. “You been here one day, and you want to challenge me?” What the fuck?

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“There’s a rumour going around you wanna fight me, you better not be all talk!” he said.

“I never said that!” I snapped. “I don’t want to fight you!”
“Hey, Fuyuhiko why don’t you relax?” Mondo said.

“Don’t tell me to fucking relax! After school, you and me at the park, don’t chicken out!”

“I don’t want to fight you! I never said anything about challenging you! If I wanted to do that I would have come right to you to do it!”

“Tough. It’s happening, let’s see what your made of.”
“Fuck sake, it wouldn’t be my first fight but I don’t want to fight you!” I tried again.

“You’re a coward. I’ll be at the park 6pm.” He said and then left. I was not a coward!

“Shit, Hajime, you’re fucked.” Leon said. This was ridiculous. I heard a little laugh nearby and looked to see that Kokichi kid, I bet he started that rumour, he was going to be trouble.

“Is this you?” I yelled at him.

“Is what me?” he asked with an innocent expression.

“What the fuck’s wrong with you?” I yelled but he just laughed. “I’m not scared of a fight but what the hell do I do?” I asked the guys, knowing Fuyuhiko was going to be tough.

“You just have to fight him. he’ll fight fair that’s at least one thing you can count on but he’s gonna kick your ass.” Mondo said.

“Shit, Hajime, you know the whole school’s gonna go to this and watch, right?” Rantaro said from the table beside us.

“This is ridiculous. I try and keep out of trouble, but it still fucking finds me!” I put my head in my hands. I was no longer hungry for my lunch. I heard that Kokichi laughing again, and I glared over at him.

“Kokichi, you little shit, this was you, wasn’t it?” Mondo called over but Kokichi didn’t confirm it.

“I don’t want to do this.” I muttered, I wasn’t scared but I had only just got here, and I didn’t want to make enemies like this so fast. But then again, maybe I should be scared. Fuyuhiko was the top guy here, if I made an enemy of him then my time at this school would be hell.

Chapter Text

Rantaro was right, the whole school was at the park gathered and I was waiting with Mondo, Leon and Chihiro at my side. I was nervous but I also knew I could handle myself. Although I knew not to underestimate a guy just because he was smaller than me. I don’t think Fuyuhiko would have as much confidence and run the school without reason. It was only my first day, how the fuck did this happen? Just thinking about it was getting me riled which was probably a good thing, getting psyched up for the fight. Leon had even rounded up some of the girls from the posh school after he told them I was going to be in a fight. No pressure, thanks, man. The sun was beginning to set now, and it was gone 6pm. Everyone was here. A girl with pink hair and big pink eyes was looking over at me, I thought she was pretty cute and that made me even more nervous.

“Hajime, you have my respect for showing but it looks like Fuyuhiko is not coming,” I heard a female voice, it was Maki.

“Fuyuhiko never backs out of a fight, something must have come up and he’s just delayed.” Mondo said. I heard the sudden sound of fire and gasps then turned to see Nagito standing beside a trash can of which he had just set alight.

“Ambience!” he cried with a huge grin, and some laughed, others groaned. This guy was nuts. He came over which made me a little nervous.

“Hey, don’t come near us with your fire, Nagito!” Mondo said.

“My fires over there.” he replied in reference to his flaming trash can and then looked back to me, “I just wanted to wish Hajime good luck, Fuyuhiko is on his way.” He said.

“Thanks, Nagito, I appreciate it. You got anymore of that ambience of yours?” I asked and he laughed.

“Don’t encourage him.” Maki said looking unimpressed. Suddenly commotion sounded and Nagito left, he took a seat on some of the park’s high apparatus. I think I liked Nagito, despite what others said of him, but I will hold off on that decision, he was clearly a little unhinged. The commotion, that was Fuyuhiko turning up. He removed his jacket and tossed it down entering what had become a circle formed by all the spectators. I had been in plenty of fights and on some occasions, I was against more than one guy, but I had never had to fight someone like this, a circle of spectators around us.

“I’m sorry I’m late, I mean no disrespect,” Fuyuhiko said entering that space formed by kids from our school and the posh girl’s school. That pink haired girl….

“Its fine. You really wanna do this?” I checked as I joined him in the circle.

“Do you?” he shot back.

“I already told you I didn’t.” I replied annoyed.

“Well, we’re here now but there are rules. No face shots, if school find out we’ve been fighting we’ll get in a world of trouble. Body shots only and no low blows!” he said. I understood the rules and I agreed with them.

“You know how ridiculous this is, right? I’m not scared of a fight but I’m telling you I didn’t challenge you! It was that fucking Kokichi kid starting shit about me!”

“I don’t care, we got a fucking audience now, bastard, we’re doing this!” he snapped as he rolled up his sleeves. Shit.

“Fine. Let’s get it over with.” I said and we ran at each other both threw some punches to the ribs and then we grappled. He was strong for a smaller guy, but I managed to toss him down, though he recovered quickly and landed a punch to the very centre of my chest, it winded me and I crashed to my knees. I couldn’t breathe. He took hold of me wrapping his arm around my neck attempting to put me out. I already couldn’t breathe, and he was holding tight. Fuck.

“Nobody wins a fight against me, fucker!” he hissed in my ear.
“Hey! That’s against the rules too! That should be against the rules, right?” I heard, it was Nagito’s voice, I was sure of it. I could feel my consciousness leaving me.

“Shut the fuck up Fire Freak!” Fuyuhiko called out.

“You gotta play fair, Fuyuhiko, I expected more from you!” I was sure that was Kokichi’s voice.

“Hey, let up!” that was Mondo. He was right, they were all right, I might actually die. Suddenly I heard the sound of rolling and everyone screamed then Fuyuhiko jumped off me and I realised the trash can that had been aflame was headed towards us. I clambered out the way, but I still felt lightheaded from almost passing out.

“Yes!” Nagito triumphed. It seemed he had been the one to kick the trash can at us.

“You fucking psycho!” Fuyuhiko called and all his guys were riled and before I knew it, all the boys in our school clashed and this became one big fight. “Get that fucker, he tried to kill me!” he ordered, and his gang were running for Nagito. Oh shit, that was a lot of guys against just one. I dove at Fuyuhiko and tackled him to the ground.

“I’m not done with you yet!” I hissed and some of his guys came to his aid and pulled me off him, I distracted them from Nagito which is what I had hoped for. “You send all your guys after one? That’s not fighting fair, I thought you were all about that!” I yelled at him as his guys pulled me off him and held me and others began to hit me. I noticed they had left Nagito alone now and were focussed on me. All around us others were fighting, I was released and fell to the ground. Suddenly that trash can was coming at us again and the still flaming can caught fire to one of Fuyuhiko’s guys, but this was swiftly patted out by me before he got hurt and his lilac-coloured eyes looked surprised that I had done so since moments ago he had been landing strikes to my abdomen.

“Wow!” Nagito cried in awe, his eyes huge after seeing one of the guys catch fire, it was as though he was enthralled by what he saw, but it was Kokichi who had kicked it this time and he was laughing, at least the trash can had come from his direction, so I assumed it had been him. Where the fuck was I? Why were these guys so nuts? “That’s so… beautiful!” Nagito cried. I don’t think I liked him anymore…. It had been funny when Mondo’s hair caught fire because it was clear he was not hurt but, in this chaos, outside of a controlled environment, someone could really get hurt….

“I’ll fucking kill you!” Fuyuhiko raged and his guys were going for Nagito again who broke into a run. It was Kokichi this time, but they were still focussed on Nagito. I stood up and went for Kokichi grabbing him by his clothes.

“What the fuck’s wrong with you?” I yelled.

“I liked Nagito’s first move so I repeated it.” he said and grinned widely. “Mine was better though, right?” he was insane. Nagito was insane. Fuyuhiko… was insane. Why the fuck was I here?

“Hajime!” I heard Fuyuhiko’s angry voice. “Going for someone who can’t fight? Huh?” he was coming towards me again. I think I made an enemy, I thought he had trained his focus back on Nagito but apparently, he was not done with me.

“Oh, you think I don’t fight, do you?” Kokichi replied and swiftly he had tackled me, the scrappy little fucker had me on the ground. He was standing above me but then suddenly the sound of sirens closing in filled the air.

“Scatter!” Someone cried out and we did, Kokichi actually helped me back up and we all ran. Everyone ran for it in all directions. This was insane. That was all there was to it.

Chapter Text

I had no idea who I was running with, I had paid no attention to that, I just ran, I just needed to get out of here, I didn’t want to get arrested again. I didn’t know this area, I didn’t know where I was running to, where I would go, where I would hide. I hoped nobody got caught, I didn’t care for these guys not one bit, but it did suck getting arrested. I ran past some bushes but was grabbed and pulled into them. Fuck! I was pulled right to the ground, and I looked up to see that guy whose sleeve I had put the flames out from, the one with the lilac eyes.

“Don’t say a word, I owe you one.” he said.

“Are we… hidden here?” I asked.

“Hidden enough, I think. I’ve made it before; you think that was the first time we had to run from the cops in this park?” he asked.

“Right,” I muttered. “If we get found I’ll blame you, I was just gonna get the fuck out the park altogether.”

“That’s what they expect you to do.” he replied.

“If we’re not here when they find us, though, they can’t prove we ever were.” I replied and he looked surprised.

“Shit, that’s a good point but I’ve hidden here before, the bushes are quite dense.” He replied. “By the way my name is Kaito Momota,”

“Hajime Hinata, I guess I’m the new guy, so you probably already knew my name.” I muttered.

“Yeah,” he replied. He didn’t really look the type to run in a gang like Fuyuhiko’s but he must have his reasons. He looked quite friendly. Unless… this was a trap, but I couldn’t see any of Fuyuhiko’s other guys around as I quickly checked.

“Hey,” we heard behind us and looked to see Leon and Chihiro also in the bushes a little back from us. “Let’s get out of here!” he hissed, and we decided to move deeper into the shrubbery and make our escape.

“Come on, kids, we know you’re around, get out here.” shit that was a cop! He was close. We crept as silently as we could keeping our heads down going to where Leon was guiding us. “I found them!” fuck! The cop saw us but suddenly the bushes we had been hiding behind set aflame and I saw white hair disappear into the back of the bushes and we used the distraction to run for it making a swift escape. Nagito, you crazy fucker but you may have just saved us. We ran out of the park, and all met up, Nagito was with us and Kaito took hold of him slamming him against a near tree.

“Ouch.” Nagito muttered.

“What the fuck is your deal and fire?” Kaito hissed.

“It got you out, didn’t it?” Nagito asked calmly. I took Kaito’s arm.

“He’s right, we’d been seen, we wouldn’t have made it.” I said and Nagito smiled.

“Shit.” Kaito muttered and released Nagito.

“Now it’s settled that I’ve saved the day, we should probably head back to school, curfew is at eight.” Nagito said and I just shook my head. I had a feeling being here with these guys was going to get me in more trouble than I had ever been in. We headed back to the school without hitch and the closer we got we gathered more guys who had escaped. Mondo returned to us, with Mukuro at his side, Leon and Mondo embraced briefly thankful to see they had both got away. I guess they were pretty good friends, Mondo rubbed Chihiro on the head in an affectionate big brother kind of way and I began to think how it would be nice to get such a bond with someone, but I couldn’t see that ever happening with me, I always kept people at a distance.

 We were all late back for curfew now and headed inside. I noticed Kokichi had a cut lip and looked dirtier than most of us. What happened? Did that mean he was going to get in more trouble than the rest of us. The faculty were waiting for us with angry expressions on their faces. We were all trickling back just before 8:30 so yes, we were all late, one or two might have been excusable but all of us? They knew we’d been getting into trouble. Once we arrived, they led us to the great hall, and we were forced to line up. All the teachers seemed to be here, Mr Munakata taking the lead. They began with a name call to ensure we were all back. I realised Fuyuhiko was not here.

“Kuzuryu is the only one not back, anyone know where he is?” Mr Munakata asked, and the doors opened and in came another teacher dragging Fuyuhiko by the scruff of his neck.

“I was coming back for fuck sake! Get off me!” Fuyuhiko snapped angrily as he was thrown to the line with the rest of us, I had been worried he got arrested, I didn’t care about our petty fight, I didn’t give a shit about him but like I said, getting arrested sucked. Mr Munakata walked along the line looking at us all, I couldn’t look him in the eye. He stopped at Kokichi and lifted his head up by the chin.

“Who hit you?” he asked of the cut lip, and Kokichi laughed.

“I just fell,” he said.

“On your face?” Mr Munakata asked sceptically and Kokichi just laughed again. “Right! All of you, hands out I want to see your knuckles, someone hit Oma, I will find out who!” he said, and we all obeyed. Face shots tended to leave a mark on the knuckles. I wondered if it had been Fuyuhiko or one of his guys after learning it was his fault Kaito almost caught fire. Mr Munakata stopped at… Shuichi?

“Saihara, I’m surprised, I did not think that it would be you.” He took Shuichi by the shoulder leading him out of the line-up. “Kokichi, you too.” He stood them in front of the rest of us as though forming another line and then the police walked in. Shit. Kokichi and Shuichi were in trouble for fighting, the cut lip on Kokichi must have been a pretty hard hit and left clear indication on Shuichi’s knuckles. The rest of us had been fighting but I guess rules were obeyed and only body shots were thrown, so the rest of us had no clear marks on our hands.

“Thank you, Mr Munakata,” one of the officers said. “Fires were started at the park this evening; will the culprit own up?” he asked. Nagito. I realised it was obvious to everyone in this room except the police but is anyone here a snitch? My heart raced. Everyone was silent, even the faculty but I realised Mr Munakata was looking right at Nagito, I knew this because he was standing the other side of Leon who I was stood beside. Nagito didn’t say a word. Nobody did. The officer sighed.

“If nobody is willing to talk then I suppose we cannot pursue this, it is lucky nobody got hurt,” the officer said then he stopped and was looking at someone and he proceeded towards the line. He was headed for Kaito. “How did your sleeve get burned, kid?” he asked. Shit. That would be the only indication of someone being close to fire, the burned sleeve but he didn’t do it!

“I… some of the fire caught me but I didn’t start it!” he insisted. It was true but nobody defended him. The officer took him by the arm and pulled out his cuffs. This was wrong. He was getting arrested for Nagito’s actions and Nagito wasn’t saying anything!

“It wasn’t him!” I snapped and I felt the tension in the room rise even more.

“Then do you mind telling me who it was?” the officer asked me.

“I… I don’t know but it wasn’t Kaito! I was with him!” I said. The officer ignored my words and clapped the cuffs on Kaito. I bowed my head. Nagito… this is your fault.

“There was a disturbance in the park before the fires, we did not witness it ourselves, but we know all of you were involved but we cannot arrest an entire school. You have been warned, next time you won’t be so lucky.” The officer said before they all left taking Kaito with them and they were gone. Kaito… I’m so sorry. Mr Munakata waited for the doors to close, and he was still looking at Nagito.

“Komaeda… I’m disappointed in you, now Kaito is going to be at the station, getting questioned about something you did. His parents will be called.” He said.

“I’m sorry, I have a record, Kaito doesn’t.” Nagito responded.

“Well, he does now!” I snapped. I hated him; this was so wrong.

“You fuck!” Fuyuhiko yelled at him.

“Enough!” Mr Munakata snapped silencing us. “All of you are not to leave the grounds for the rest of the week!” he dealt our punishment. It could have been harsher I thought but I knew the week included our weekend. Shuichi and Kokichi’s punishment was bound to be a lot harsher since it was clear they had been fighting.

We were ordered back to our dormitories, separating from the girls, and ordered straight to our rooms. Once we were in our dormitory, two of Fuyuhiko’s guys took hold of Nagito and pinned him to one of the walls. Fuyuhiko went up to him.

“The next time we leave school grounds, you’re dead.” he threatened sounding vicious as he did so.

“It would have been bad for me to get arrested,” Nagito replied and one of the guys took him by the throat practically lifting him off the ground.

“Enough of this for tonight,” Fuyuhiko ordered, and Nagito was released.

“That was… unpleasant….” Nagito muttered rubbing his neck and then casually straightened out his clothes. I glared at him before I went straight to my own room. I closed and locked the door behind me, leaning against it sliding down until I hit the floor. What the hell was this? I hated all of them. They were all crazy. Nagito was dangerous. He should be in some mental hospital not this place.

Chapter Text

I found it hard to sleep that night after the fight, too much had happened and too much was going through my head. I wondered how Kaito was doing, and I hoped Shuichi’s punishment was not too severe but at least I would learn what the punishment for fighting at this school was, I just felt bad that it was at someone else’s expense. Shuichi was a good guy, or so he seemed, I suspected he just got sick of Kokichi’s shit. The smaller guy did seem to target him a lot. Kaito… I’m so sorry but I’m not a snitch and it was apparent nobody else here was either. I couldn’t sleep, too much was going on in my head and I was stuck in this crazy place. That cute girl with the pink hair and pink eyes popped into my head, I hoped she was ok and didn’t get too scared of all the crazy, but I guess she was used to it being so near this school and these freaks. I was fed up with being in bed so I got up but decided to leave my room, I might get some peace at this hour since it was so late, everyone else was probably sleeping by now. I stepped out of my room into the recreational section just outside where my eyes were drawn to a light. Of all people Nagito was awake and sitting on a chair in the corner reading a book under lamplight. He looked over to me as I came out.

“You can’t sleep either?” he asked me.

“No, I didn’t think anyone else would be up.” I muttered half contemplating returning to my room.

“It’s all that excitement this evening. I couldn’t sleep either.” He replied smiling.

“You call all that exciting?” I asked him and he bookmarked his page and set the book on a near table.

“How did it make you feel, Hajime? Was your heart racing? Your blood pumping?” he asked with glee in his eyes.

“Y-yeah,” I muttered.

“It was a rush,” he said and as I thought about it, I suppose he was right.

“Nagito, what is your deal with all the fire?” I asked.

“Oh, hehe, I just think it’s beautiful. I’m a little obsessed. My psychiatrist diagnosed me with Pyromania among… other things.”

“Psychiatrist? I guess that makes sense.” I decided to sit near him but not too close.

“Some of us here have councillors and others like me, with more… complex needs have psychiatrists.” He admitted so casually. “You realise tonight was like an initiation?” he suddenly asked.

“Initiation? I don’t want to be initiated into anything!” I snapped and he laughed.

“You haven’t been, the guys just like to see if they can trust a new guy and you didn’t snitch on anyone, so I think you passed.” He said.

“No, I didn’t snitch but you let Kaito get arrested for the shit you pulled last night.”

“Like I said, he’s clean and doesn’t have a record, it would be bad for me if I got arrested again.”

“It’s bad for Kaito right now!” I snapped.

“Why do you care? He was beating you under Fuyuhiko’s orders,”

“It’s not right, Nagito, you should own up to your mistakes.” I said.

“I don’t see any of what I did as a mistake. The trash fire saved you from Fuyuhiko’s choke hold and the fire in the bushes saved you from getting arrested, right?” I sighed.

“Nagito… I heard you were crazy, but I had no idea it was this level, and you let Kaito take the fall.”

“Everyone calls me crazy…” he muttered, depressed. “Hajime… can I be honest with you?” he asked.

“Y-yeah,” I muttered.

“It’s a bit… personal….”
“You don’t know me that well, Nagito, why would you want to tell me something personal?” I asked him.

“I just have a good feeling about you, is all.”

“Then I suppose, go ahead if you really want to.” I sat back in the soft couch chair folding my arms, wondering why I had allowed myself to sit in conversation with this guy.

“You know I have a fascination with fire? That all started when I was a little kid. Have you heard of the mythical creature The Phoenix?”

“Isn’t that the… fire bird?” I asked him.

“Yeah, but it’s more than that, Hajime, so much more! It’s the most beautiful creature and when it dies it rises from its ashes to be reborn even more beautiful than it ever was! Isn’t that a wonderful story?” he asked, his pale eyes so bright as he spoke of it.

“Uh… yeah I guess it’s kinda cool,”

“’Kinda cool’? Hajime it’s amazing!” he said.

“You really love that phoenix, huh?” I replied and he laughed.

“Can I show you something, Hajime?” he asked.

“What is it?”

“My last art project, a minor project but I got a really good grade for it!”

“I suppose so,” I replied, what the hell was I doing, I wondered as he jumped up going to his room, returning with a canvas. He showed it to me, and I was immediately impressed.

“Wow, Nagito that’s really good!” I said leaning in to get a closer look at the acrylic painting.

“Thank you, I’m not really good at anything but even I was pleased with this, and the teachers graded me well on it.”
“It’s a phoenix, right?” I asked and his already huge eyes grew even more.

“Yes!” he said looking really happy. “All the colours in the world make up the flames of The Phoenix, Hajime. It really is the most beautiful creature, and it can soar through the sky, its flames only ever dying when it itself dies but then… it rises from its ashes, even more beautiful than before! The Phoenix Hajime, I want to be a Phoenix.” He said and then sat resting his painting against the table. “Of course, I know how stupid that sounds…” he muttered, looking a little embarrassed, and I smiled at him feeling a little more relaxed. His love of this Phoenix creature was admirable, I wish I loved something so much.

“The painting is really good, Nagito, I’m surprised.”

“Why? Because I did it, right?” he asked sounding a little depressed again.

“No, just… I suppose it isn’t right for me to say that since I don’t really know you, I only know what I’ve seen and that’s setting people on fire.” I said and it came out more teasingly than I had intended, and he laughed.

“I didn’t set Kaito on fire, though, that was Kokichi,” he replied.

“I knew it!” I said, “he basically admitted it to me right before the cops showed up, that little fucker.” I said but was smiling.

“He’s not so bad, he just gets a hard time like me, I suppose, but I probably am that bad though.”

“You might not be, I mean you seem pretty normal right now.” I said and he smiled.

“I got a little carried away last night, I was kind of excited, so I had to invite the Phoenix by lighting that fire.” He said.

“When you… light fire, do you see a Phoenix?” I asked him and he laughed loudly.

“No, Hajime, that’s crazy!” he said, and I laughed.

“This is you we’re talking about, if I know anything about you it’s that you’re completely nuts.” I said teasingly.

“We all are, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, sane is boring, normal is boring.”

“I’d give anything to be normal, a normal kid, with normal rebellion. My parents got so sick of me that’s how I ended up here.”
“Yeah… me too…” he said, and we shared a smile, but they were sad smiles. Smiles that held understanding. In that moment, I think I might have actually bonded with someone. Of all people, it was the crazy Fire Freak.

Chapter Text

The following morning, I got up for my shower early again, after speaking to Nagito I was able to get some sleep and he decided to try to as well. I was pleased we had a normal conversation, mixed in with a bit of his crazy but he was not trying to light things on fire which was a relief. Perhaps he got it out of his system that evening. There was something I liked about him, he was quite laid-back and easy to talk to when he wasn’t playing with fire. I was the first one in the showers this morning and I stripped down in the locker room, I had bruises on my chest and scuffs on my arms and legs from my fight with Fuyuhiko, all the pains from that fight were evident right now. I’d had worse though. Rantaro wasn’t far behind me, and he showered in the same section as me, which was a bit uncomfortable.

“Morning, Hajime,” he said as he walked in so casually.

“Morning,” I replied.

“Good fight last night, you didn’t show any flinching or fear.” He said.

“Th-thanks,” I replied uncertain if it really was a good fight. I’d done better in the past, Fuyuhiko proved his toughness, and our fight was short-lived.

“Fuyuhiko didn’t really want that fight either, you realise,” he said.

“Yeah, I kinda got that, I think he was trying to get it over with fast by putting me in that choke hold.” I replied.

“It was a pretty crazy night, Nagito went all out, for sure.” Rantaro laughed.

“What do you… think of Nagito?” I asked him.

“That’s simple, he’s fucking crazy, but I don’t dislike him, I personally find his crazy quite entertaining.” Rantaro said.

“Yeah…” I muttered.

“Like when he set Mondo’s hair on fire, he prided himself on that hairstyle, but it had to go.” Rantaro said and I laughed.

“Yeah, he’s shaved it now, it looks better,”

“Yeah.” He laughed. “You had a pretty insane initiation, how are you feeling this morning?”

“I didn’t sleep too well but I’m alright, I hope it’s not like that here every day.” I said and he laughed.

“No, it isn’t but a new person here always stirs things up a bit.”

“What kind of initiation do the girls get?” I asked.

“Well, that’s up to the girls, of course.” He replied.

“Is there… like a female equivalent to Fuyuhiko then?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s Fuyuhiko’s sister,”

“What? He has a sister here?” I asked.

“She’s a real tough bitch but the girl’s hierarchy is a bit more… complicated.”

“Jesus Christ, so they run this school together?” I asked.

“Yeah, Natsume isn’t here right now though. She doesn’t have as much control over the girls as Fuyuhiko does the boys, like I said, it’s a bit more… complicated in the girl’s dorm. Natsume can be… a bit of a bully at times, that’s one thing to be said about Fuyuhiko, he doesn’t have time for petty stuff like that.” Rantaro informed me. That was a relief. “He hates Nagito though, I think that kid might be in trouble.” he said, and I felt a bit concerned. I didn’t know much about Fuyuhiko so I was unsure what he was capable of. 

“Nagito is reckless, I gathered that much but I talked to him last night, when I couldn’t sleep,”

“Yeah, he’s never much of a sleeper, he sits and reads books at night,” Rantaro said.

“Shouldn’t… someone like him get some rest? I mean, can’t they give him something to help?” I asked.

“Wow, are you talking about me, Hajime? Did I make an impression?” I heard and looked to see Nagito enter the showers. He looked at us a moment and then he went to the other section of the showers. Was he upset? I don’t think we said anything that bad about him. I finished up and then found him showering in the other section.

“Hey, Nagito-“
“Privacy, Hajime.” He said coldly.

“You’re in a communal shower,” I replied plainly.

“I don’t appreciate people talking about me behind my back, especially one I felt I might actually get to have as a friend,” he snapped as he continued with his shower.

“A… friend?” I asked.

“Last night, you actually sat and talked to me, not many people bother but… someone like me? Huh? What does that mean?” he asked. Oh yeah, I said that didn’t I.

“I only meant that you could probably do with some help in getting proper rest if you struggle. I didn’t mean anything by it.”
“You just meant someone crazy like me, right?” he asked turning slightly to look at me, his expression was cold.

“No! Well… maybe,”

“Finally, some honesty! Sort of.” Nagito replied with a little spite.

“Why am I even justifying myself to you?” I snapped.

“I don’t know, Hajime, I guess I’m not really worth it.” he replied.

“Fuck, that’s not what I meant!” I yelled.

“What did you mean then?”
“This is a misunderstanding! I was just… talking to Rantaro and yeah we talked about you, but we talked about others too, I was just trying to get a scope on things here, an understanding!” he sighed.

“Was it too much to hope for a friend in you? Have you already judged me as some crazy Fire Freak?”

“Yes I have but that doesn’t have to stop me-“ I stopped myself. Why did I care so much? I hadn’t wanted to be friends with anyone here.

“Stop you what?” he asked.

“Nothing, just forget it!” I said and went to get dressed before heading to my room. When I was almost ready to go there was a knock on my door, so I opened it to Nagito who was now dressed but his long hair still looked a little wet and fluffier than usual.

“Hajime, I’m sorry about earlier, I woke up feeling… not very well today, I think I overreacted.”

“Oh really?” I snapped.

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I woke feeling a little depressed to be honest.” He said and I noticed his eyes didn’t have as much light in them as I had noticed before.

“A-are you ok?” I found myself asking him.

“I’ll be fine,” he replied, “are you ready for class?” he asked.

“Nagito! Quit pestering the new guy!” I heard and it was Mondo coming over with Leon and Chihiro.

“It’s ok, Mondo,” I said.

“Sure, it is, if you want to die with him when Fuyuhiko kills him.” Leon added.

“I… fuck,” I muttered. “We better get to class,” I said and closed my door locking it behind me. I joined Mondo and the others heading to class, leaving Nagito to trail behind, but I had a feeling he wanted to go to class with me.

Shuichi and Kokichi were back with us, and I saw Kaito in the halls so he had been released, hopefully without any punishment. I might try and talk to him later if I can get him without the others in Fuyuhiko’s gang around him but that was doubtful. I looked at my planner for the day and I realised we had art class. I was quite interested in seeing more of Nagito’s work, I had really liked his painting of The Phoenix. First lesson was mathematics though and I hated that. The first lesson went by with a few disruptions, Kokichi got bored and started to throw scrunched up balls of paper at Shuichi’s head, bouncing them off his cap.

“Fuck!” Shuichi snapped and stood out of his chair as though he was about to go for the other kid. Kokichi just laughed in a weird way, he seemed to enjoy the rise he got out of Shuichi and that punch to the face had not deterred him one bit, it seemed.

“Saihara! Sit down!” the teacher called, and he did so. Kokichi should probably lay off Shuichi, at least for a bit after last night.

“Hey, Kokichi, just back off alright?” Rantaro said calmly in defence of his friend.

“I’m bored.” Kokichi said sitting back as though conceding.

“I’m sorry my class is so inconvenient for you, Oma,” the teacher said sarcastically.

“You should be sorry.” Kokichi replied obnoxiously.

“Well, you can leave,” the teacher offered and Kokichi jumped off his chair.

“Alright then, I’m out,” he said and started towards the door.

“But aren’t you in enough trouble?” The teacher taunted and Kokichi pondered a moment.

“Nah, I’ll risk it.” he said and continued out the door, I smiled finding it a little amusing, his totally care-free attitude. The teacher rolled his eyes before getting back to the lesson. I wish I had the balls to just walk out but I didn’t want to be in anymore trouble, Kokichi obviously didn’t care about that, but I thought it was kind of cool that he would just ‘risk it’ like that. This was a school of bad kids, but I was beginning to think I was not actually all that bad in comparison.

Our next class was art, and I was looking forward to it, looking forward to seeing more of Nagito’s work. He had a talent for it, that much was obvious by that Phoenix painting. We entered and the teacher started by explaining we were to begin a new class project with a partner.

“Mondo, Leon, Chihiro, you can be a trio again if you like,” she offered.

“Oh, we got Hajime now too so we can split into pairs,” Mondo said, and I looked over to Nagito as he set up alone on a desk.

“Actually… I want to… partner with Nagito.” I said feeling my heart race, I knew that could seal my fate as an outcast, but I wanted to work with him. Nagito looked up as surprised as everyone else, even the teacher looked surprised.

“All he paints is fire!” Leon protested almost as though he was trying to save me.

“That’s not true,” I replied as I walked towards Nagito at his table.

“You sure you wanna do that, Hajime?” Fuyuhiko asked me like it was a threat.

“Look, I saw some of his art last night, I liked it, its as simple as that.” I replied defending myself. I joined him at his table feeling a sweat come on.

“You… really want to work with me?” he asked.

“Only because I liked your work.” I replied rigidly.

“Alright, now everyone is partnered up or grouped up, the new class project is going to be to paint a collaboration of your inner feelings, this is an expressive piece, and it might encourage you to open up and allow the healing energy into you.”

“What the fuck?” Fuyuhiko asked and the class laughed but he looked genuinely uncomfortable.

“And breathe… in and out,” the teacher said in a calm voice, “foul language will only let the bad energy in,” she said.

“I hate art class,” Fuyuhiko muttered putting paint on a brush and throwing it at a clean canvas, splatting it with a rather inelegant splodge of black. “There. That’s mine.” He said and the teacher sighed looking almost defeated as the class laughed again.

“Interesting that you chose the colour black, Kuzuryu,” she said, clearly, she had not given up on him, but he just grunted and folded his arms. “Now, discuss for a brief time and then begin.” She said and I looked to Nagito.

“What… are we supposed to discuss?” I asked him but the teacher came over to us.

“Hinata, you are new here, and I currently have the class all working on big final projects, you joined late in the semester and Nagito is highly skilled in art, perhaps he could assist you or at least get you a head start, since the project must be personal to you.” She said.

“I would be more than happy to help you, Hajime,” he replied.

“Thanks, I have no idea where to start or what to do.” I said.

“Its an expression of self,” the teacher said. Oh god. I cringed.

“I can help you,” Nagito said smiling.

“Art is very therapeutic,” the teacher said and then left us.

“She just likes art because she can’t get laid,” Leon said but it was louder than he intended and she heard but she did not punish him for it, she ignored it and continued around the class. I looked to Nagito.

“Where do we start?” I asked him.

“Tools,” he replied, and we fetched a large canvas and some paints, he went for acrylic again but then stopped and looked at me. “Acrylic can be hard to work with, perhaps we could use water colours?” he asked me.

“I have no idea, I’m not an art guy.” I said and laughed. I knew Mondo and those guys were watching me, they might hold this against me, but nobody was my friend here.

“I like water colour, but it doesn’t create such a bold effect,” he pondered.

“Let’s use acrylic.” I suggested and he smiled fetching an array of colours and some palettes.

“So, Hajime, how are you feeling right now?” he asked, using an overly calm voice, just like the teacher and I looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “I’m joking!” he added, and I laughed awkwardly. “Choose a colour you want to begin with.” He said and I looked at the paints choosing red.

“That’s an angry colour but red reminds me of fire so I like it.” he said, and I sighed putting it back and selected blue instead. He laughed and then he selected the red.

“Really?” I asked him but he just smiled. I looked across the class and saw Fuyuhiko certainly had his eyes trained on me, he looked murderous. It was quite intimidating, and I swallowed deciding not to look in that direction again. Nagito handed me a brush and held a matching one, I followed his lead in splodging some paint onto a palette and then we approached the canvas he had stood up for us on an easel.

“You start that side, I’ll start on this side, and we’ll meet in the middle and change up the colours at some point too,” he suggested, and I liked the idea of a clash of colours, maybe I did like art, not that I’d be any good at it. We began and I found myself having fun, by the end we had what looked like the beginning of something quite interesting. Nagito’s side starting with red and mine starting with blue. I had no idea what it was supposed to be, but I liked it.

Chapter Text

After art class it was lunchtime and Mondo took me by the shoulders steering me away from Nagito as we left the classroom. I’d had fun doing art with Nagito, but it looks as though Mondo thought he was protecting me. I allowed myself to be led but I couldn’t help noticing the disappointment on Nagito’s face and I felt a little bad. I continued with Mondo, Leon and Chihiro to the cafeteria and we took our food to a table at which others joined us. We were joined by Rantaro, Shuichi and the smaller guy whose name I had since learned was Ryoma.

“Hajime, I must congratulate you on your successful initiation,” Ryoma said to me in a surprisingly deep voice for a guy of such small stature.

“Thanks,”
“Snitches don’t do so well, here,” he added.

“I’m definitely not a snitch,” I affirmed.

“It was close, though, when Kaito was getting arrested, we all thought you might throw Nagito to the wolves.” He said.

“I guess Nagito set the true test,” I muttered.

“I don’t think he meant to,” Rantaro said.

“I felt bad for Kaito, but I would never throw anyone to the wolves even if they deserved it.” I said.

“Good,” Ryoma said. I looked to Shuichi.

“Hey, what happened between you and Kokichi last night?” I asked him.

“I hate him, he tripped me to slow me down, like he was trying to get me arrested.” Shuichi said.

“Why would he do that?” I asked and suddenly a tray slammed down at the end of the table, it was Kokichi.

“We would have both got arrested but wouldn’t that have been fun? It might have given us a chance to bond,” he said and laughed sounding like he was totally making fun of Shuichi.

“Hey, what the fuck’s your problem?” I found myself snapping but suddenly remembered he had helped me last night. He looked at me with that innocent expression but then he sat down with us. He had not been invited to do so but he didn’t care, clearly.

“Get lost!” Shuichi snapped.

“You gonna hit me again?” Kokichi asked tauntingly.

“Seriously, Kokichi, leave him alone.” I said.

“And what do you care, new guy?” he asked.

“I just… I hate bullies, alright!” I snapped.

“Am I a bully?” Kokichi tried that innocent expression again.

“You look like it to me,” I replied.

“What are you gonna do?” Kokichi asked with a mischievous grin.

“Hey, stop it, Kokichi, stop self-destructing.” Rantaro said, maybe that was it, Kokichi was self-destructive, maybe that was why he behaved that way all the time. He was purposefully looking for trouble, that made sense. Was Rantaro just good at understanding people?

“Is that what I’m doing?” another question.

“It looks that way to me,” Rantaro replied.

“You can sit with us if you want to but leave Shuichi alone.” I said and continued my lunch.

“Alright.” He replied unexpectedly and ate his own lunch quietly but with the odd look in our direction as we continued to converse. I didn’t get that guy, not one bit, I even got Nagito a little but Kokichi, there was no understanding him. Shuichi gave me a brief thankful expression as it seemed Kokichi was giving him a break at my words for some reason.

At the end of the school day, we returned to our dorms to find teachers in there, they were waiting for us and they went to Nagito and led him to his room.

“We could have just gone in with the master key but out of respect, we waited,” Mr Munakata said. “Open it.” he ordered and Nagito did so as the rest of us just sat in the dormitory recreation lounge outside our rooms, watching. Teachers went inside Nagito’s room as though doing a search and another teacher grabbed Nagito directing him against the wall, with his hands against it and moved to frisk him like he was getting arrested.

“Shit,” I muttered.

“They’re looking for lighters, matches, anything like that. It makes no difference; he always finds a way to get more.” Leon said. It didn’t sound like they were being very careful in his room either and making no effort to clean it up. I felt bad for Nagito, I was pleased they were confiscating anything he could use to light fires, but they left his room in a mess. He stood looking at it through his door and sighed.

“Komaeda, you have an evening appointment with your psychiatrist, 7pm, don’t be late.” Mr Munakata said and Nagito entered his bedroom leaving the door open and beginning to tidy it when I noticed Fuyuhiko walking towards his room with a couple of his other guys in tow and I tensed up.

“I hope they finally lock you away in a psycho home, freak!” Fuyuhiko spat, “You deserve everything you get!”

“Fuyuhiko, it’s alright just leave him.” Kaito said from where they had been sitting.

“It’s not alright!” Fuyuhiko snapped at him. Nagito stood walking to his door frame and looked out to Kaito.

“Did they charge you?” he asked.

“No, not yet” Kaito replied looking pissed.

“I don’t think they got enough to do so,” Nagito replied.

“That’s not the point,” Fuyuhiko said and Nagito went back inside his room closing the door on Fuyuhiko who got pissed and kicked it.

“Fucking freak!” he hissed before he returned to his gang. I breathed a sigh of relief.

“Hey, Hajime, why’d you partner with him in art? You could have partnered with one of us.” Leon asked me.

“I’ve only been here a couple of days, I got no loyalty to anyone and like I said, I saw some of his work and I liked it, it was simply that.” I replied but felt inside it was something more. There was something I liked about Nagito, but I still didn’t need any friends.

“I’m just worried about you associating with him, now that Fuyuhiko set his sights on him.” Mondo said.

“You don’t have loyalty to anyone, Hajime?” I heard a small voice, it was Chihiro.

“I don’t intend to make any friends, here, its just the way I am.” I replied.

“Then why do you stay with us?” Mondo asked me.

“I don’t know.” I replied, I knew I sounded cold. I looked to them, and they each looked at one another, they seemed a bit put out and Chihiro even looked a little hurt. Did they… like me? I can’t imagine that was it.

“Hajime, friends are important, especially in a place like this, man,” Leon said.

“I don’t really care.” I muttered and looked away, but I caught Rantaro’s eye. I felt like he was observing me. Is that what he did? Watched people? I noticed Kokichi approaching them with something in his hands.

“You guys want to play?” he asked, and I realised it was a board game.

“With you? Obviously not.” Shuichi replied.

“Come on, just for a bit.” Rantaro said to Shuichi’s annoyance and Kokichi sat down on the floor with them setting up the game. Rantaro… are you good at reading people? Is that what you were trying to do with me?

“Hajime,” Mondo said taking my attention back to my own situation. “You don’t like, have to be our friend, or even hang out with us, don’t feel like you have to. If we’re not good enough for you.” He said.

“It’s not that, I just don’t… make friends.” I replied.

“Isn’t that… quite lonely?” Chihiro asked, looking sad. He was sweet, and Mondo and Leon were good guys but as always, I was pushing them away. That was just what I did. I thought on Chihiro’s words, lonely? Yes, it was lonely. I did not offer a reply.

“Honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without my bros, Hajime, we’re like family.” Mondo said putting his arm over Chihiro’s shoulders.

“Yeah, man, is there something about us, you don’t like?” Leon asked.

“I… no, its not like that.” I replied.

“I still want to see you skate, Hajime,” Leon added. I felt bad. Guilty even. It seemed like they wanted me to be their friend and here I was pushing them away. Isolating myself. Why did I do that?

“That’s fine, we can go back to the park as soon as we all stop being grounded.” I said and they laughed.

“Mass grounding, haha! The whole fucking school.” Mondo said laughing and he clapped a hand on my shoulder. “It was worth it, don’t you think?” he asked, and I just smiled. “You might not want to be our friend, Hajime but we still got your back. You’re a good guy, got a good core. You don’t know any of us for shit and you didn’t even snitch last night. I respect that. We were hoping you’d pass.”

“Why would you care?” I asked.

“Let’s just say if you decide you do want friends, we’ll be here. We’ll accept you.” Mondo said and I felt a pang inside my chest. Mondo, Leon, Chihiro… could I... be friends with you guys? Deep down… did I want friends?

Chapter Text

The following day I stuck with Mondo, Leon and Chihiro, lessons were boring, but lunch was fun and this time we were joined by some of the girls. Leon had been complaining about hanging with guys too much and the girls often sat together on their own table. Mukuro sat beside Mondo, and I remembered they were a couple. He put his arm around her, but she didn’t seem to react with much of a response or emotion.

“How are you feeling, babe?” I heard him ask her.

“I’m still feeling low but I’m getting there,” she replied. Was she… depressed? I wondered.

“How did you girls end up here?” I decided to ask.

“I hospitalised my bullying sister, I was sick of her. My parents sent me here.” Mukuro replied plainly.

“Wow, so she picked on you?” I asked.

“Yes, all the time, putting me down, telling me I was ugly and how she got the looks. I was fed up with it and I lost it. I broke her jaw, fractured her eye socket and she was covered in bruises. She wasn’t so pretty anymore.” As Mukuro said that I got a chill.

“Fuck, that must have been vicious, was she… really that bad?” I asked.

“Hey, you weren’t there, you can’t judge it.” Mondo said defending his girlfriend.

“It was that bad, Hajime, it was hell.” Mukuro added.

“I’m sorry Mukuro.” I said genuinely feeling bad for her. “What about you, Maki?” I asked and her cold demeanour turned even colder.

“I’d rather not talk about it.” she said playing with one of her long dark bunches.

“I’m sorry,” I replied.

“No need to apologise.” She said.

“Are you settling in alright, Hajime?” another girl asked but I did not know her name, she had blonde hair and wore a spiked necklace.

“Yeah, thanks, its pretty crazy here though,”
“Like I give a shit!” she suddenly snapped and then laughed.

“Wow, ok,” I replied.

“That’s Miu, she bites.” Maki said simply.

“Right,” I said and suddenly the lunch hall doors burst open and in walked a blonde girl and I knew right away who she was. Natsume Kuzuryu, Fuyuhiko’s sister, the family resemblance was clear. I looked over to him and he looked pissed, running a hand over his face like he had been dreading her return. Interesting. I thought.

“Did you bitches miss me?” she asked standing with her hands on her hips. Everyone was looking at her. She certainly didn’t lack for confidence.

 

 ***

The end of the day rolled by, and I really didn’t want to just sit around at the dorms. I was walking with Mondo, Leon and Chihiro and we decided to head out into the school grounds as they felt the same as me. Were these guys my friends? I wasn’t sure.

“Fuck, I can’t take this,” I said. “Is there anywhere on school grounds I can board?” I asked.

“Shit, yeah, I got an idea, go grab your board, Hajime, meet back here.” Leon said and I did so swiftly. The weather was nice, perfect for skateboarding and I really wanted to get back on it. I hadn’t been able to at all so far. I hurried back out to meet them, and Leon led me around the back of a building where there was some walls and some stairs, various things I could jump up on.

“Perfect!” I smiled, “thanks Leon,”

“It’s cool, I wanted to see what you got, I used to do a bit of boarding,” he said.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah, I was pretty good too!” he said but looked uncomfortable, so I was sceptical on the truth of that. I put my board down and was about to begin when I noticed Nagito was sitting under a tree reading a book, but he stopped and was also watching me. I hadn’t spoken much to him today and he was alone again. Putting that thought out of my mind I noticed the pathway sloped so I could gain some momentum. I got straight to it, jumping up onto a small wall at the end of it and riding along, I needed this, I had missed this. It was the only time I really felt free. After the wall I took the stairs and mounted the railings hearing the guys cheer me on, seemingly impressed. Yeah, I was pretty good at this, but I didn’t do it for the recognition or to look cool, I just enjoyed it. At the bottom of the stairs, I looked over at Nagito, half tempted to invite him over as he was still watching but I didn’t. I carried my board backup the stairs and began again but this time I headed straight for the stairs and flew off the top of them landing at the bottom and riding along a little further and found myself near Nagito.

“You’re really good at that,” he said.

“Thanks,” I replied picking up my board and heading back but then I stopped. “You want to come over?” I asked him.

“No, it’s alright,” he replied and so I left him.

“Hajime,” he called so I turned to look at him.

“Will you… spend some more time with me later or… are you… busy?” he asked, and I felt a pang. I knew spending time with someone like him would not grant me any popularity but when did I ever care about that?

“Sure, what do you want to do?” I asked him.

“Maybe just some games,” he said looking pleased I had agreed. “I’ll come and find you.” He said and I smiled.

“Sure,” I replied and then headed back. I got back to the guys and tossed my skateboard down pushing it with my foot towards Leon, he stopped it with his own.

“Show me what you got.” I said and he looked embarrassed.

“I uh… hehe, well…”
“You suck, don’t you?” Mondo asked him and Leon laughed.

“I don’t suck,” he said and then picked up the skateboard and riding it towards the stairs at great speed but as he got to the top the board shot out from underneath him, and he fell back. My skateboard went flying down the stairs and he was on his ass. We laughed at him as he clambered off the ground both body and pride bruised. “Man, yeah, maybe I do suck,” he muttered. I looked to see my skateboard being brought back, it was the girls, Maki had it and she handed it to me.

“Thanks,” I said.

“No problem, you guys want to hang out?” she asked.

“We can hang out, sure,” Mondo said, I didn’t mind spending some time with girls, I had been around guys quite a lot lately so it would change up the pace a little. We sat down on the grass together and Miu played some music on her phone. Her taste in music wasn’t bad but I dared not say anything to her for fear of getting my head bit off again.

“With Natsume back, it’s not so good being around the girls,” Maki said. “She creates a certain amount of tension,”

“Yeah, I got that from her entrance,” I replied.

“She likes the attention, reminds me of my sister,” Mukuro added resting her head on Mondo’s shoulder.

“Nastume’s a fucking bitch, that’s what she is,” Miu said.

“A bitch?” we heard and looked around to see Natsume standing there with some tough looking girls around her, it was just like Fuyuhiko. “Well, I’d rather be a bitch than a pig-faced slut!” Natsume replied. “You better watch your back, Miu, I’m here now.” Natsume added and then they all moved on. Miu looked scared and even as though she was about to cry. Was Natsume really that bad?

Chapter Text

After dinner and we returned to our dormitory’s Nagito came and found me for the gaming session I had agreed to, Mondo and Leon, both gave me questioning looks but I still joined Nagito in the games lounge. He was still just another kid at this school, sure, he was crazy, but I think he had taken a liking to me. I knew everyone stayed away from him out of fear they might catch fire, but it wasn’t as though he was constantly setting things alight. We took our place at one of the consoles and put on the headsets plugging in.

“I don’t get to play games very often, not with someone anyway. There’s a girl from that nice school, Chiaki, she plays with me sometimes when we get to hang out,” he said.

“A gamer girl? That’s kinda… hot right?”

“Yeah,” he agreed smiling.

“Is she… like a girlfriend?” I asked.

“Oh no,” he replied laughing. “Nobody would be interested in me like that,” he added.

“I guess you are nuts,” I teased, and he laughed taking it the right way thankfully. It was only supposed to be a joke, even if there was truth in it. We booted up a shooting game and selected our characters teaming up against a horde of monsters.

“I’m surprised, since we’re all grounded, they didn’t take these away,” I said.

“What do you think kids like us are gonna get up to if we literally have nothing to do?” Nagito replied.

“Good point,”
“Yeah, if they leave us a whole week without stimulation, lessons would be even harder than usual for the teachers and when we were let loose again, there could be more trouble.” he said.

“The teachers aren’t stupid, huh, they know what they’re doing,” I agreed.

“Yeah,” he muttered but then his character got killed. “Fuck!” he cursed.

“I got ya, I’ll respawn you,” I said hurrying to where he died bringing him back.

“Thanks.” He replied. “I’m gonna get the flamethrower.” He said and I laughed as he retrieved it. “Hajime, blow up that base over there.” he said, “I picked up some explosives earlier, they should be in our base.” He said and I retrieved them, starting to feel a bit scared of him again but this was just a game. He distracted the enemy by setting many of them alight and I took my eyes off the game to look at him a moment, his eyes were in awe watching the flames on screen, they weren’t real flames, but I guess he was imagining they were. I retrieved the explosives and managed to set them on the enemy base. The enemy began chasing me, so I ran.

“I got your back, Hajime!” he said, and his character ran to back me up, he used the flamethrower to burn all the enemies that were chasing my character.

“Get out of there, Nagito, it’s gonna blow!” I said.

“Nah, its alright, they might come after you again, I’ll hold them back, we’d lose if we both died.” He said and the enemy base blew up.

“Shit,” I muttered, and he laughed.

“Wow!” he muttered with huge eyes watching the enemy base burn and his character along with it.

“You psycho,” I teased pushing him playfully. I think I liked Nagito, even his crazy, he was pretty chill to hang out with.

“I just love it, Hajime! Maybe… one day I can explain myself to you… maybe,”

“Explain yourself?” I asked.

“Its very personal to me.” he said.

“R-right, if you want to.” I felt a little awkward, he wanted to share something so personal with me again and perhaps this was even more personal than the painting of The Phoenix. Maybe one day… if he felt he could open up to me and share something so personal… maybe… I could let him in, and we could be good friends. I don’t know. He was crazy, maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. But if I could… then maybe I can do the same with the other guys, Mondo, Leon, Chihiro… and all the rest. Is that what I really wanted?

I did have a lot of fun and we found ourselves playing into the night, not even noticing the games room clearing out of anyone else playing games. It felt late and we looked around realising the room was empty. “We better get to bed,” I said, and he agreed. We headed back to the main section of our dorms.

“Good night, Hajime,” he said as he got to his door a couple of doors up from mine.

“Night, Nagito,” I replied, and we headed to bed.

Chapter Text

Urgh, another school day, I thought as I woke the next morning and had my usual shower before heading to class. This was a double period of physical education. Did that really need to be a double period? I grabbed my kit and headed with everyone to the gym. We all changed in the locker rooms and went to class. I was tired after gaming late with Nagito, so this was going to be tough.

“Right, kids, we’ll do our warmups in here and then we’ll head to the track field, I want you all to run a race together, a team race,” the teacher said.

“We gotta do a team thing again?” Kokichi moaned.

“Yes Oma, being part of a team is important and you kids need to learn that”

“Ah man,” he moaned, I kind of agreed with him, I hated sports. We were put into teams by the teacher.

“Mr Sakakura, may I politely request to be on a different team?” Nagito asked.

“No, you stick with the teams I assigned.” The teacher replied. I realised Nagito was on a team with Fuyuhiko and a couple of his guys, clearly the teacher had no idea of what went on between them, he would have been aware of the event on Monday night but not the details, the parts that went on in our dorm. Nagito looked at Fuyuhiko, there was no trace of fear on his face, even with Fuyuhiko’s cruel grin aimed at him but perhaps he was nervous inwardly. The team race we were to do was a baton race and I felt like I was in kids’ school again. I hated this. My team worked quite well together, playing properly but Nagito’s team… when Fuyuhiko went to pass the baton to him, he pushed him down instead. I had already finished my stint and saw, Mr Sakakura had not.

“Nagito! Get the fuck up!” Fuyuhiko yelled drawing the teacher’s attention.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“I just tripped,” Nagito muttered as he pulled himself up and took the baton, but he didn’t bother running, he just walked it.

“What the fuck don’t you understand about a race?” Fuyuhiko yelled.

“I couldn’t give less of a fuck,” Nagito replied with a grin as he passed the baton to Rantaro.

“You ok?” Rantaro asked now they were near me; I could hear his quiet concern. Nagito just nodded. I met his eyes and frowned dipping my head asking him if he was sure as Rantaro ran past to the next person on their team. Nagito just smiled back. Fuyuhiko’s such an asshole. I noticed the girls were doing the same as us and Natsume looked as though she was targeting Miu. Those two, Fuyuhiko and his sister Natsume were a problem. Natsume got caught by the teacher though and she was now getting in trouble. Good. It’s just a shame Fuyuhiko got away with it.

 

Most of the lessons went without incident, but we had music class in the afternoon which made everyone groan. This class was all of us together as though they wanted to form a small orchestral band. Could any of these guys actually play an instrument? I knew I couldn’t.

“Hajime Hinata, new kid, can you play anything?” I was addressed directly by the teacher.

“No,” I replied simply.

“So, Oma and Kuwata are the only ones who play any instrument in this whole class?” he asked.

“Looks that way, teach,” Leon replied.

“Well, today we are going to learn a bit of musical history,” the teacher said, and the entire class groaned. “Unless, either of you care to begin us by playing something?”

“I don’t play,” Kokichi said, and the teacher sighed. “I hate music.” He added.

“You know what, I’ll play something, get us out of the boring stuff for a bit,” Leon said stepping to the front of the class where an array of instruments laid. I watched as he picked up an electric guitar and stood at the front after plugging it up to an amp. “Any requests guys?” he asked.

“Oh! U2 All I Want is You!” Chihiro cried with big, excited eyes and big smile.

“Jesus! Something a bit more modern and less fluffy anyone?” Leon asked and the class laughed. Chihiro looked disappointed. Nobody else offered up a suggestion.

“Alright, I got something,” he said, and he began to play Arch Enemy, The World is Yours. Not a bad choice but the amp was maxed, and the class got rowdy until the teacher turned it down and scolded us all.

“Damn I love that song!” Mondo said as Leon was allowed to continue but on a lower level of sound. He was really good, as though he was a natural. I had no idea how difficult the riffs were to play but he was rocking it. I was impressed.

 

That evening, I got a bit bored and decided to have some time to myself, so I went for a wander around school grounds, I was a little intrigued by the instruments so headed towards the music room but as I drew near the sound of a violin caught my ears, it was beautiful but sounded sad and haunting. I peered through the door, and I was surprised to see Kokichi was the one playing. He looked really into it. I just stood, listening, and watching him, was there more to this kid? Was it deep of me to think that? He suddenly realised I was watching, and he started to play badly, on purpose by the looks of it and then he stopped and laughed awkwardly.

“Hey, that was really good,” I said, unsure about getting too close to this guy in case he picked my pocket or something.

“No, it wasn’t, didn’t you hear that?” he replied putting the violin away. “Shit,” he muttered as though defeated. “Don’t tell anyone!” he snapped.

“Don’t tell anyone that your good?” I asked confused.

“Yeah, its… nobody’s ever heard me play except the teacher,” he replied. “He always brings it up and wants me to play to the class, I did once but I played badly on purpose and made everyone’s ears bleed, so he doesn’t push me to play again. He asks but I always say no. I’d only do the same again.” he said.

“Why do you hide your talent?” I asked him.

“Shut up, Hajime, I don’t know you well enough to start talking to you.” He said.

“I was just curious,” I replied.

“Yeah well, don’t be, you won’t hear me play again.” he said.

“What had you play tonight?” I asked.

“I just felt like it, I enjoy it.”

“Yeah, you looked like you… went some place else for a bit.” I replied and he looked at me a moment as though surprised.

“Yeah, any place is better than here, right?” he asked laughing.

“Except prison, but this is like a prison.”

“It’s a school, not a prison, it’s just full of rejects like us.” He said laughing.

“Yeah, I guess,” I felt kind of awkward, but I decided to ask him anyway. “Kokichi, I liked what you played, if you… want someone to listen again, come and find me.” I said and he looked surprised again but then his expression softened. “Please, continue, I’ll leave you alone, I won’t say anything either, I promise.” I smiled before I left. As the first week here was drawing to a close, I started to feel more at ease here, I knew I still had to watch my back for guys like Fuyuhiko and possibly even his sister, but I was beginning to think these guys… were not so bad… although, I still would not call them my friends.

Chapter Text

Friday was uneventful aside from an altercation in the lunch hall between Natsume and Rantaro. She approached our table and sat beside him, overconfidently sitting close. He looked immediately annoyed at her presence but maintained his usual composure.

“Did you miss me, Rantaro?” she asked him.

“I was enjoying the peace, actually,” he replied coolly. I could feel the tension on our table had mounted at her presence. It was uncomfortable.

“I keep things interesting, you mean,” she said resting her chin on her hand and I glared over to her. She was ruining the relaxed atmosphere our table usually had, not that I’d been here long.

“I didn’t mean that, no,” he replied. “Could you leave?” he outright asked her, and she looked severely put out.

“You’re a pig, Rantaro!” she snapped.

“Yeah, sure,” he replied, and she stood up picking up his glass of water and tossing it in his face.

“Natsume! Cool it!” Fuyuhiko called over standing from his seat. It was strange he was defending one of the guys not of his own group, but I guess he had to keep her in check too.

“Natsume, if you weren’t such a bitch, maybe I’d be interested but you are a bitch, an entitled little brat who throws tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way. What about that do you think will attract anyone to you?” Rantaro asked her as he stood from his seat water dripping from his hair. She moved as though she was about to strike him but suddenly Fuyuhiko was here, and he took her by the arm holding it behind her, like he was restraining her.

“Do you want to get suspended again?” he hissed at her, and she appeared to stand down. She was released and she left in a bad mood. Fuyuhiko did not acknowledge the rest of us, he just returned to his table.

“I better go dry off,” Rantaro said leaving his lunch and heading back to the dorms.

“She’s fucking crazy,” I muttered.

“Yeah, no shit, one thing to be thankful for Fuyuhiko is that he keeps her in order as much as he can,” Mondo said.

“Yeah, I guess,” I replied.

Thankfully the weekend was pretty chill, we were grounded of course but we kept ourselves busy. I played some more games one night with Nagito and during the day on Sunday I played games with Mondo, Leon and Chihiro. I also joined Shuichi, Rantaro and Ryoma in a card game of which Kokichi invited himself to. He kept winning and we were certain he was finding some way to cheat, though he denied it and just claimed he was lucky. I still enjoyed myself, and I was surprised I had gotten along with all these guys. I felt as though I could at least fit in here if nothing else. All these guys had fucked up just like me that was why we ended up here… mostly.

Chapter Text

We were finally free and allowed outside school grounds once again. It was Monday evening and I walked with Mondo, Leon, Chihiro, Mukuro, Maki and the rude Miu. We walked alongside a river that ran through this town, but the water was calm and being near it gave me a sense of peace. We decided to sit here a while when we saw Shuichi walking along holding hands with a blonde girl I did not recognise, Rantaro and Ryoma were with him as well as some other girls I did not recognise. No, wait, that pink haired girl was with them. I began to feel nervous, but they all stopped at us. It was clear that our school of bad kids mixed with that prestigious school for girls when they got the chance to.

“Hey, do you mind if we hang out? We were going to sit by the river for a bit anyway.” Rantaro asked. I noticed the cute pink haired girl looking at me again and I felt my cheeks burn. Surely, she wouldn’t be interested in a reject like me. She must be looking at me for some other reason. Did I have something on my face? Was she… perhaps judging me for basically losing my fight against Fuyuhiko last week? Shit. I was pathetic. I looked away from her. She was too good for me anyway. I felt a little depressed suddenly.

“Sure, man,” Leon said, and they all began to sit. I clammed up, I instantly felt less relaxed. The girls from that school sure were pretty but the pink haired girl stood out to me. She looked so cute. She sat down nearer to her girlfriends from her school. She kept looking at me. Stop it! I wanted to shout. It was making me feel self-conscious.

“Shit, guys, Sayaka’s here, what do I do?” Leon whispered to us.

“Uh, just relax,” Mondo said as though his friend was being stupid.

“Hi Leon,” a pretty blue haired girl said.

“Hey,” he replied but he looked uncomfortable, I was guessing that was Sayaka. She was very pretty but my eyes were drawn to that pink-haired girl again. I quickly looked away; she was sat right next to Sayaka.

“You’re Hajime, right? The new guy at reform school?” the pink haired girl spoke to me shit! What do I do? Her voice was so cute!

“Reform? Is that what you call it, as though there’s something wrong with us?” I snapped. Fuck! What was wrong with me? What was I doing? Pushing people away as usual.

“No, only that… that’s what it is, right?” she asked cocking her head slightly to the side, why was she so cute?

“Yeah… I guess,” I replied.

“My name’s Chiaki, it’s nice to meet you properly,” she completely ignored my bad attitude, totally unphased by it.

“N-nice to meet you properly too,” I decided to say attempting to at least be a bit politer since she never asked for my rudeness or did anything to deserve it. She was right, my school was to reform kids like me who fucked up. She smiled at me, my cheeks burned, I don’t remember today being as hot as it feels right now, and my heart was racing. She actually spoke to me. I made to smile back but it didn’t really happen. My mind was going one-hundred miles an hour and my thoughts simply could not string together properly.

“That fight was so exciting!” another girl spoke, she had blonde hair and looked foreign, she was also really pretty. Leon wasn’t exaggerating when he said the girls from that school were hot.

“Nagito went a bit far though, but I don’t think he can help it.” Chiaki said. “It was certainly thrilling!” she added. So, she knew Nagito… wait… Nagito mentioned a gamer girl called Chiaki. Could she be…?

“He’s just crazy,” Mondo said.

“I think its offensive to call someone that,” Chiaki defended.

“When it’s true?” Mondo asked.

“Hm,” she replied looking uncertain.

“Why do you all hang out with guys from our school?” I found myself asking.

“We’re at an all-girls school, sometimes its nice to be around boys,” Sayaka said.

“You’re not… intimidated by any of them?” I asked.

“Some people from your school are kind of scary but you’re all just people, kids like us.” She added.

“Christ, listen to this pathetic mosquito tits over here, hey, what’s your deal?” Miu snapped.

“My chest is not that much smaller than yours,” Sayaka defended.

“You want to compare?” Miu asked and went to unbutton her top.

“Stop!” I yelled. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“Well, I wouldn’t expect you to compare your dick size, we all know you’d lose,” Miu replied and then laughed.

“Whatever,” I muttered, a little embarrassed she made reference to that part of me in front of everyone and the girls from that school, in front of Chiaki.

“Have you seen it? Hajime’s privates? Could you really make that assessment?” Chiaki spoke now, sounding so innocent in her challenging of Miu but she was defending me.

“I don’t need to, guys talk you know,” she replied, I had nothing to worry about in that department but this was still pissing me off.

“Shut the fuck up, Miu, no we don’t, you’re making shit up.” Rantaro spoke now.

“Some guys do,” she replied but looked uncertain. Got you, bitch.

“Shut your ugly face, Miu your chest isn’t big, it’s just fat.” Mukuro said and Miu looked as though she was about to cry. Miu was not ugly, and she was not fat, but she seemed hugely affected by that remark. Was she so easily subdued? That was interesting to know.

“But isn’t that what breast tissue is mainly made up from, fat?” Chiaki pondered and everyone just looked at each other a moment. “Yes, it is, I think.” She decided. I couldn’t help but notice Chiaki was also blessed in that department and for her small frame it was… stop thinking about it! Shit!

“Hey, Rantaro, have you seen the new video for Akime Kojima?” Sayaka asked.

“No not yet,” he replied.

“The idol? Man, she’s hot.” Leon said keenly.

“She also does good music, it’s not just about how hot she is.” Rantaro said as Sayaka moved to sit beside him getting out her phone to show him this latest video, I was guessing.

“Obviously she’s into Rantaro,” Leon muttered defeated.

“The guy was blessed, what can you say?” Mondo replied and I laughed.

“But its not just about looks right?” Leon spat.

“Hey, chill out, you aint a bad looking guy, just not pretty like he is.” Mondo added and I laughed again.

“Hey, relax, I’m nothing special, either” I said to reassure him.

“Yeah, I guess,”
“Shit, thanks, man,” I replied laughing. “You’re supposed to say, yes you are, Hajime.” I teased. Was I… relaxing… treating them like friends? I had gotten used to these guys, I was comfortable around them, but I felt I was treating them like friends and now they were laughing with me but it felt… good.

“It is mainly about personality when it comes to attraction, looks are just the initial part.” Chihiro said.

“Are you saying my personality is shit too?” Leon asked.

“Stop being so insecure, Leon, that isn’t attractive either,” Mukuro said as she lay in Mondo’s arms.

“Man, I got no chance,” Leon muttered depressed.

“Nobody said that” I said laughing.

“I didn’t mean what I said that way,” Chihiro muttered, “I think you’re really cool,” he added, and I noticed he blushed a little.

“Sayaka might be punching a little high though,” Mondo added.

“What with Rantaro?” Leon asked.

“You’re really not keeping up, are you?” I teased him.

“I meant for you, bro, you’re punching too high with Sayaka.” Mondo said, and we all laughed. I looked over to Shuichi and his apparent girlfriend, they were just speaking with one another, not joining in the group, I guess they missed each other after Shuichi was grounded, that reminded me, what was his and Kokichi’s extra punishment? I thought maybe they would be grounded another week, but he was here, that didn’t matter. Shuichi looked quite shy but they both looked good together. This was nice, I was actually enjoying myself until…

“Hey, isn’t that Fuyuhiko?” the pretty foreigner asked, and we looked around to the bridge which arched over the river.

“Yeah, and Nagito,” Chiaki replied as it was clear they were about to cross paths on the bridge.

“Girls, do you wanna get out of here? It looks like trouble is about to start.” Rantaro asked.

“More excitement?” the foreigner asked with glee in her eyes. I guess good girls do like bad boys.

“We gotta help him,” I said urgently.

“Seriously?” Mondo asked.

“Fuyuhiko said he was gonna kill him, right? That might not mean literally but he’s still gonna get hurt!”

“He asked for it, man,” Leon said.

“Are you fucking serious?” I yelled, “I can’t believe you guys!” I stood and began running towards the bridge, I had not even thought about how outnumbered I would be when I got there but someone had to stop this. I can’t believe those guys, how could I have considered such cowards my friends?

“Toss him over the bridge!” I heard Fuyuhiko say, and I looked up to see them grab Nagito, I was running up the stairs of the bridge.

“I can’t swim so if your intention really is to kill me, then go right ahead.” Nagito replied calmly and they began lifting him up.

“Stop! You’re really gonna kill him, Fuyuhiko!” I shouted as I ran to meet them on the bridge. Fuyuhiko angrily pushed to the front of his guys to meet me. Nagito was just looking at me from where they held him on the edge of the railing.

“You’re causing all kinds of problems for yourself, Hajime,” Fuyuhiko said and then I heard running feet behind me. I looked around. Mondo, Leon, Chihiro, Rantaro, Shuichi, Ryoma, Mukuro, Maki and Miu. All of them had come to back me up. “You all want that trouble, huh?” Fuyuhiko asked.

“Fuyuhiko, you don’t want to do this.” Rantaro said.

“Shut the fuck up!” Fuyuhiko snapped, “drop him.” he ordered, and his guys released Nagito, and he plummeted to the water below. Fuck! I barely thought about it, and I mounted the railings and dove in after him, once I was in the water, I realised just how murky it was, I could hardly see. Where was he? Fuck! He had not surfaced. There! I saw his white hair; he was just sinking. I swam down and grabbed him pulling him to the surface holding his head above the water, I carried him to the bank of the river pulling him out, dragging him. He started to cough up water.

“Shit.” He muttered between splutters.

“Nagito, are you alright?” I asked going to his side.

“Aside from that death being the complete opposite to how I want to go, yeah, I’m great!” he replied, and I laughed.

“You want to go in a blaze of glory, right? Fire and everything.”

“Like The Phoenix,” he smiled.

“Yeah, right, you crazy fucker.” I teased and he laughed.

“Hey, you guys alright?” Mondo asked worriedly as they all joined us, the girls from that school also in tow.

“Nagito!” Chiaki cried running forwards.

“Oh, hey Chiaki,” he said.

“Are you ok?” she asked.

“I almost drowned but sure,” he replied smiling. He even seemed pretty unphased by his near-death experience just now.

“Thank goodness,” she said placing a hand to her chest.

“You fuckers are all gonna regret that!” we heard Fuyuhiko call from where he was still on the bridge, but they moved on for now.

“Fuck. Hajime, why did you have to rescue Nagito?” Leon asked.

“If I recall you were all there, but I just almost drowned so I could be imagining things.” Nagito said feigning thoughtfulness and I smiled amused.  

“Shit,” Leon muttered.

“Hajime, that was really brave,” Chiaki said smiling.

“I just… it wasn’t brave, I just couldn’t sit and watch someone die.” I replied a little embarrassed at the attention.

“It was brave, Hajime, you just saved my life, risking your own. I’m not worth it of course,” Nagito said, and I just looked at him.

“Of course, you’re worth it.” Chiaki said.

“Well, I’m glad you think so,” he said and just lay back, he was still kind of catching his breath. “He really meant to kill me, huh, I guess I should have known.” Nagito muttered.

“Fuyuhiko’s a psycho, of course he meant it when he said that! Nagito, you need to stop with all your shit.” Mondo said.

“I can’t help it. I don’t try and hurt anyone, and we all know Kaito catching fire wasn’t down to me.” Nagito replied.

“No, but you started the fire,” Maki said folding her arms.

“It was ambience!” he said proudly, and I just shook my head as Mondo helped me to my feet. I was soaking wet now, so was Nagito, I turned and helped him up.

“We should probably get back,” I said.

“Yeah, I could do with a shower after that.” he replied.

“Me too,” I agreed, and we headed back to the school. I smiled at Chiaki, somehow managing it through my awkwardness, perhaps the adrenaline was giving me confidence. She smiled sweetly back at me, despite how terrible I must look now, she seemed like a nice girl, I wanted to get to know her. I really wanted to get to know her.

Chapter Text

After Nagito and I came out of the shower, everyone else was back at the dorms too but I was guessing Chiaki and her friends had returned to their own boarding school, the nice one. The guys were all sat together in the dorm room lounge and looked as though they were waiting for us.

“You guys alright?” Rantaro asked us.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Nagito just told me he’s gonna try and cool it with the fire for a bit,” I informed them.

“It’s gonna be hard but… I don’t want to cause problems for you guys, you have to understand how hard this is going to be for me though, I can’t really explain it in detail but… it’s not going to be good for me. The urge to… look at fire….” he muttered.

“You serious about this, Nagito?” Mondo asked.

“Yeah, I almost died today, that’s fine but… Hajime risked his life to save me… I can’t just… ignore that.” Nagito said. “I… have a… last minute evening appointment with my psychiatrist, that might help.”

“Nagito… I’ll… support you through this,” I said feeling uncomfortable and I knew the guys were looking at me strangely. I didn’t care.

“Thanks, Hajime,” he replied also looking a bit uncomfortable and he left to go to his appointment. I went to the others, they were all sat there, the girls too, Maki, Mukuro and Miu. They had all come to back me up earlier, I had not expected that.

“Guys,” I began feeling awkward. I wasn’t used to this. “I wanted to… thank you all for… coming to back me up, I thought… you were all cowards willing to watch someone die but… you backed me, I appreciate it.” I said and Mondo got up and came to me, he placed a hand on my shoulder.

“You’re my bro, Hajime, as much as I didn’t want to help someone like Nagito, who dug his own grave, I couldn’t just watch you get the shit kicked outta you alongside him.” he said, and I smiled. I’m his… bro? I’ve only been here a week.

“We weren’t gonna abandon you,” Leon added.

“Hajime, in this place since we’re together all day every day, it’s quick to form strong friendships,” Rantaro said.

“I don’t need…” I trailed off. Friends. They were my friends. “It’s only been a week,” I muttered and some of them laughed.

“You’re a good guy, Hajime, we got your back,” Mondo said with a smile. I really did appreciate it. I just returned his smile.

“Just… don’t go pissing Fuyuhiko off again, alright?” Leon asked and I laughed.

“Too late for that, fucker!” I heard behind me and Fuyuhiko had returned, his guys all at his back as usual. I felt a cold sweat prickle my skin. “What’s your deal with Nagito? You crushin’ on him or somethin’?” Fuyuhiko spat.

“It’s not like that, Fuyuhiko, he’s just not as bad as you all think,” I replied.

“He set Kaito on fire!” Fuyuhiko snapped, and I heard that laugh, it was Kokichi, clearly, he was not going to take the heat off Nagito.

“Are you still gunning for him?” I asked.

“No, I got that out my system. My sights are on you, now.” he replied, and I couldn’t help but feel that fear, I had never dealt with someone like Fuyuhiko before. He was dangerous.

Chapter Text

The following morning, I woke and went for my usual early shower, I had my shower but nobody else trickled in like they usually did, and the locker room was even empty when I got there, I thought it was strange, but I continued as I normally would wrapping my towel around my waist and sitting on the locker room bench drying off. Suddenly arms reached around me, and I realised a knife was at my throat.

“Shit!” I gasped and a voice hissed in my ear.

“You’re making waves, Hajime, this won’t end well for you if you get in my way again,” it was Fuyuhiko.

“What the hell? Nagito would have drowned!” I snapped in defence.

“Yeah, and you had to go save him. You seem like you’ve slotted in well with those guys. They never stand up to me like that. They know better but you obviously don’t.” he said and pulled me backwards off the bench before he crouched over me, knife still in his hand.

“Wh- what are you gonna do?” I asked hating how small my voice sounded. I knew he could see the fear in my eyes, and he grinned cruelly. He pressed the point of the knife to my exposed chest, and I could feel my heart pounding so hard, he must be able to feel it reverberate through the blade in his hands. He looked as though he was enjoying this. He pressed the knife down and it cut me, I winced. He then lifted the blade and licked the blood.

“I can taste your fear, Hajime,” he said, and I was utterly terrified of him. “You put one foot wrong again and I’ll hurt you worse than that.” He threatened and then got off me heading out of the locker room towards the dorms. Shit! I was terrified, I could feel my whole body shake with that fear. I clambered back to my feet and grabbed my clothes heading to my room to get changed there.

“Hajime! Are you alright?” I heard; it was Rantaro.

“Where were you?” I hissed at him.

“Fuyuhiko’s guys wouldn’t let anyone in the shower rooms, we were worried.” He said and I looked to see the other guys standing around, some of them already dressed, others looking as though they had wanted to shower but Fuyuhiko’s guys had stopped them apparently.

“This is so fucked up,” I said and Nagito came forwards.

“Hajime, you’re bleeding,” he noted, and I looked down to my chest. Yeah, Fuyuhiko cut me. “It’s my fault, isn’t it?” he asked sounding depressed.

“Yeah, it is!” I snapped at him, my prior fear now giving way to anger. I noticed the saddened expression in his eyes and felt a little guilty but instead of apologising I pushed passed him to my room. I closed the door. What the fuck was I doing here? In this place?

Chapter Text

I didn’t go to class that day which meant I missed art with Nagito, but I didn’t care, I couldn’t face anyone. I just couldn’t. Did that make me a coward? Maybe but I was scared. I was pathetic. I hated it. I hated everyone here. Fuyuhiko… what the hell was wrong with him? After my shower this morning, I had climbed into bed and pulled my duvet over me, kept the lights off and hid. I really was pathetic. I hated myself. The cut on my chest, it was only small, I feel I should have suffered more and found myself digging my nails into the cut so I could feel more pain. I made it bleed more. It didn’t matter. I think I managed to get some sleep and I woke to a knock on my door, I realised it was probably evening by now and I went and opened my door but just a crack to see Nagito standing there holding a plate of food, some of the other guys were behind him. Shuichi, Mondo, Leon.

“Hajime, we brought you some food, have you eaten anything today?” Nagito asked. I looked at the plate and realised I hadn’t and that I was quite hungry.

“Thanks,” I said and accepted the food, I stood awkwardly, they were here for me. Just like friends. “Do you guys, wanna come in a minute?” I asked and they did so. I sat and ate my food.

“Hajime, are you alright?” Mondo asked me as they took a seat on the floor of my bedroom.

“I’m pathetic, aren’t I?” I asked them. “I bet Fuyuhiko’s laughing at me.” I muttered.

“We don’t know what went down but I’m guessing you realise why we don’t mess with him,” Leon said but I made no response just ate a little more food.

“You’re not pathetic Hajime,” Nagito spoke now, and I just looked at him.

“Hajime, I brought you some homework from classes today, I can fill you in on what you missed if you like?” Shuichi offered passing me some books and papers.

“Thanks, Shuichi,” I replied but I could hear the depression in my own voice. That was kind of him to do that, so I didn’t miss too much.

“I missed you in art today,” Nagito said.

“Yeah, he didn’t want to touch the painting without you,” Mondo laughed.

“Our project…” I muttered.

“I think we could be onto something really cool,” Nagito said with a smile. I finished up my food and Mondo took my plate.

“I’ll return this to the cafeteria,” he said and got up to go. Leon and Shuichi made to move too.

“Guys… thanks,” I muttered, and they offered a smile. Nagito was still here, and he just sat smiling at me after they left.

“Hajime, can I show you something? It’s the right time and it always helps me when I feel down,” he said.

“Does it have anything to do with fire?” I asked him dully.

“Not directly,” he replied laughing. Not directly, what the hell does that mean?

“Fine,” I muttered.

“Get dressed,” he said, and I did so. He led me out of the dorms and into the school. We began going up some stairs and I realised we were headed to the rooftop. Once we were up there, he just sat inviting me to sit beside him.

“This time of year, the sunsets are beautiful,” he said, “it should be starting soon,” he added, and I just looked at him under the warm glow of the late afternoon sky. “I owe you a lot, Hajime, for saving me.” he said.

“Please let’s not talk about that.” I muttered.

“I’m sorry, do you regret it?” he asked. Did I? No because someone would have died, he would have died

“No of course not! If I’d let you drown I’d be feeling a whole lot worse than I am now,” I replied.

“I don’t have anybody that would have cared, you know,” he muttered.

“Parents?” I asked.

“Hajime, I haven’t seen my parents since they abandoned me here,”

“How long have you been here?” I asked.

“Well, I tried to blow up my last school, I’ve been here since the start of high school,” I couldn’t help but laugh, feeling a little life come back to me but he just looked at me blankly.

“You’re serious?” I asked him.

“Yeah, I used to be a whole lot worse than I am now, my parents got sick of me.”

“You… haven’t even seen them at Christmas?” I asked.

“No, they don’t even call, they didn’t answer my calls when I called them either, so I gave up, since they gave up on me.” he said.

“I’m sorry, Nagito, that’s… really bad.” I muttered.

“It’s ok,” he said with a smile. “I’m not the only one who doesn’t get to go home for Christmas, Rantaro doesn’t go, Kokichi… sometimes does. Ryoma doesn’t and some others… some of the girls too but the good thing about it is that Fuyuhiko always goes then,” he said. “Christmas is a pretty lonely time, I don’t… get to sit with anyone, they always do their thing, since they’re friends, we eat together with the teachers that are forced to stay but it’s no fun for me.”

“That’s… depressing,” I muttered wondering if my parents will have me home for Christmas or if I had also been abandoned here.

“Hajime, what do you think of Chiaki?” he suddenly asked, and I felt my heart rate quicken.

“I… only just met her,” I replied blushing.

“She’s cute, right?” he asked. Did he like her too?

“Yeah, she seems pretty cool,” I replied.

“Maybe we should invite her round at the weekend and play some games?” he asked with an excited smile.

“I’d like that,” I found myself saying.

“Oh, Hajime, it’s starting!” he said suddenly, and we looked out over the edge of the rooftop as the sky changed colours. They were beautiful vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows. The colours of fire.

Chapter Text

Nagito was right, chilling on the roof for a bit with the beautiful sunset in front of us certainly gave off a healing property and I felt renewed. I was still scared of Fuyuhiko but I was always the kind of guy who confronted his fear, I had completely crumpled after being threatened with a knife. Throw a fist at me, sure, I’ll throw one back, but I had never been confronted by a knife. As we headed back into the dorms, I had made a decision. I was going to face Fuyuhiko. He was there, in the dorm with all his guys around him and my guys were here too but I did not want them to back me this time, I didn’t want them getting in trouble, so I went to them first.

“Hey, I’m gonna talk to Fuyuhiko, whatever happens, just let it, alright, I don’t want you guys getting mixed up in this.” I said.
“Hajime, are you crazy?” Mondo asked looking over to Fuyuhiko on the other side of the lounge.

“I think he might be crazier than me, right now.” Nagito said as he was still at my side. “Hajime, I wouldn’t if I was you.” He added, even Nagito was opposed but I had to do this.

“I’m not gonna challenge him, that would be crazy and stupid, I’m just gonna talk.” I said.

“Fuyuhiko doesn’t do talk, Hajime,” Rantaro said.

“Maybe he will this time,” I said and mustered my courage heading over there. Almost everyone was here, it was unlikely he would do much, but I still kept myself at a distance. He grinned as he saw me coming.

“Finally came out of your room, Hajime?” he taunted.

“Fuyuhiko, we don’t have to be enemies, you know, yeah I got in your way but if you had killed Nagito, you would have been in trouble, a lot of trouble, did you think of that?” I asked him.

“The clumsy idiot fell in the water, it would have been a tragic accident, well, not that tragic since nobody would miss him.” he said loudly and laughed, his guys joining him. I felt bad for Nagito having to hear that harsh reminder of what I knew to hold a certain amount of truth.

“It would still be murder, could you live with that?”

“Of course, I could, killing people is easy,” he replied sending a chill down my spine. Did he really think that? I was definitely scared of him.

“Do what you have to do to me, I won’t fight you, but leave the other guys out of it.” I said and he looked over to them and then he gave me a look I could not read. What was he thinking right now? I wish I knew, and I wish I knew what he had planned for me.

Chapter Text

Fuyuhiko had left me alone at least for now, but I felt like he was just making me sweat or waiting until I let my guard down. The weekend had rolled by, and I wondered if it would be now something would happen since we were allowed off school grounds. Perhaps he was waiting for that since he had done so to make a move against Nagito. Mondo, Leon and Chihiro had asked if I wanted to check out that skating section at the park, we had not done so just yet and I was eager to find out what it was like and get some proper boarding in, we were heading out and I looked to see Nagito sitting alone as usual and reading his book. I paused. I was supposed to play games with Nagito and Chiaki this weekend.

“Nagito, we’re heading to the park, you want to join?” I asked him and I could feel the guys behind me bristle but I ignored it. Nagito looked surprised at the invite, but he put his book away and agreed.

“Hajime, for fuck sake! What is it with you and that guy?” Mondo hissed at me as Nagito got his things.

“He sits on his own all the time, he’s actually pretty cool if you just talk to him.” I defended.

“Last time he was at the park, he set it on fire!” Leon snapped.

“Yeah, but he’s been good this week, right? He promised us. Give him a chance,” I urged and Nagito joined us.

“Thanks for inviting me, Hajime,” he said. “I’ll text Chiaki and invite her and maybe we can play some games after?” he suggested, and I smiled. That had been our original plan.

“Chiaki?” Leon pushed forwards going to Nagito, “can you… ask her to bring some friends?”

“Sure,” Nagito smiled. “You want the beautiful Sayaka there, right?” he asked teasingly, and Leon looked a bit uncomfortable.

“Don’t tell me you like her too?” Leon asked.

“Oh no, she’s very pretty but she isn’t my type,” Nagito replied, what is your type, Nagito? Chiaki? I hoped he didn’t like her too, that might… cause some problems. I had decided I would try and talk to her, fighting my own shyness and fear, I was good at fighting my fears.

“Kazuichi!” Chihiro cried and everyone looked to see a guy walking in with dyed pink hair, long to his shoulders, he looked a bit questionable, intimidating even, with sharp looking teeth, but he approached us greeting his friends. I noticed he was carrying a board.

“They let me back a little early,” he said smiling.

“Were you suspended too?” I asked.

“Yeah, oh a new guy?” the pink haired guy asked. “Hey, I’m Kazuichi Soda,”

“Hajime Hinata,” I introduced, if he was friends with these guys, he couldn’t be too bad. I wonder what he did to get suspended though.

“You got here just in time, man, Hajime skateboards too, we’re headed to the park,” Leon said.

“Awesome!” Kazuichi said. “Let me chuck my things in my room and I’ll be right out!” he said with a big grin. He seemed friendly enough, but it was another person to get used to and I still had not talked to all the guys here, I was still the new guy. He came back out holding just his board and we headed out. Nagito walked beside me holding his phone as we made our way to the park.

“Chiaki and the girls are joining us,” he said with a smile.

“Cool,” I muttered in response, but I felt nervous, they would be watching me skate, Chiaki would be watching me skate. We got to the park and Leon led me to the half-pipes, the girls were not here just yet, but I would reserve my nerves for when they were. “This is great! I wish we’d come here sooner!” I couldn’t contain my excitement, I usually kept so guarded. Skating at school was fun but I needed to get on some real skating, proper ramps and all. I went to my chosen first one and Kazuichi joined me.

“You any good, Hajime?” he asked.

“Yeah, I guess,” I replied, a little awkward around the guy I’d just met.

“I’m not that good, I’m kinda clumsy but sometimes I hit it right,” he said laughing awkwardly. “None of the other guys skate so maybe I can learn something from you,” he added.

“Sure, you wanna go first?” I asked him.

“Nah, you go.” He replied and I did, jumping on my board and soaring across the ramp up at the other side to do a jump and then back around to meet Kazuichi and then he went, I decided to go again but I noticed he wasn’t as bad as he said he was. Or maybe he was just on a lucky roll. I loved this so much, soaring along, jumping in the air, and hitting it perfectly upon landing.

“Wow! Hajime, you really are good at this!” I heard Nagito and I looked over to him, he was smiling with big eyes, he looked excited, and I was pleased to see it, but I knew when he got excited, he could be prone to setting fires. I went again. “Yes!” he cried out as I hit another jump.

“Go, Kazuichi, beat that!” Leon called out and Kazuichi went again hitting a jump, but he fell. I went over to him and offered him a hand, knowing a fall could hurt like hell.

“You ok?” I asked him.

“My pride isn’t,” He replied as he accepted my hand and I pulled him up.

“We’ve all done it, man,” I said, and he dusted himself off. “Come on, we’ll do one together,” I suggested, and we mounted the edge. I looked to see the girls had arrived and I saw Chiaki and I felt sweat break out on my skin. Shit. I could feel the pressure as they watched me. Chiaki was standing with Nagito, they were clearly friends, she was the only one standing near him.

“Alright, go!” Kazuichi said and we did so, but I fucked it up falling backwards. I hit my head and it rocked my skull. Ouch. I rarely messed up when I boarded.

“Shit, Hajime, you ok?” Kazuichi came over to me and I felt a bit dazed.

“Not really,” I muttered, and he helped me up. “Shit… I don’t think I can do anymore,” I said holding the back of my head.

“Alright, maybe later,” Kazuichi suggested, and we joined the others after I collected my board.

“That was short-lived,” Chiaki said as I joined them all and I felt my cheeks burning. 

“I don’t usually mess up that bad,” I muttered in response, and she smiled.

“Maybe one day I can see you skate properly,” she said, and I looked away embarrassed.

“Hello Kazuichi,” The pretty foreigner said blushing.

“Hey Sonia,” he replied sounding completely disinterested. I was surprised, she was a really beautiful girl, and she was showing interest in him, she looked disappointed, and I felt sorry for her. Leon was talking to Sayaka, but he looked nervous as he did so, but she was engaging him, so I think he was doing alright. I know he was worried about her liking Rantaro, all the girls liked Rantaro but it didn’t necessarily mean they were not interested in the other guys. Leon was a good guy, perhaps Sayaka did like him.

“Hajime, you sure you’re ok?” Mondo asked with Chihiro at his side looking concerned.

“Yeah, I knocked my head but I’m alright, it doesn’t hurt anymore,” I replied but it was a lie.

“Yes Chiaki!” Nagito cried.

“Oh god, what now?” Mondo muttered as Nagito looked at us.

“Chiaki just suggested the arcades,” Nagito said.

“Yeah, sounds good,” Leon replied, and we all headed there.

“Shall we do a tournament?” Chiaki suggested as we got there.

“Can we just play for fun?” Chihiro asked.

“But… tournaments are fun, a bit of healthy competition,” Chiaki countered, and we looked to the rest of the group for their opinion.

“Alright, anyone who wants to join in competitive playing raise your hand, anyone else, play for fun.” Mondo suggested and then his phone rang. “Damn it!” he cursed. “Oh, forget that it’s Mukuro.” He answered, not looking so inconvenienced anymore and spoke for a minute telling her where we were. “They’re on their way,” he told us as he hung up.

“Is Miu coming?” Sayaka asked.

“Yeah,” he replied, and she looked disappointed. Yeah, me too, Sayaka, she was rude and unpleasant to everyone. I didn’t know why those girls hung out with her, Maki and Mukuro were pretty cool, but Miu had some issues. “So back to the vote,” he said. “Tournament?” he asked, and Chiaki raised her hand, followed by Nagito, I decided it could be fun, so I raised my hand. Leon raised his hand and so did Sonia. That was the majority. Mondo, Chihiro, Kazuichi and Sayaka wanted to play for fun. “Alright, let’s split for a bit and meet back up, I’ll prepare a punishment for the loser of the tournament.” Mondo said with a grin. What? I couldn’t lose. Those of us in the tournament decided to follow Chiaki’s lead and she took us a to a dance game first. I regret this decision.

“Who wants to go first?” she asked smiling as she looked at us. She was so damn cute! I felt my heart race and I tried to still it.

“Uh… I don’t dance,” I found myself saying.

“I’ll go first!” Leon said, “who’s with me?” he asked.

“Oh! Me!” Sonia cried and they got onto the lit-up dance floor pads. Nagito, Chiaki and I, stood watching them.

“Whoever wins this, the next one plays against them and then it goes like that,” Chiaki said.

“We’ll all have different strengths, I’m good at the shooting games,” Nagito replied, yeah, you’re good at those because you blow everything up, I thought. They began and I realised they both had some moves, no wonder they wanted to go first.

“I… don’t want to do this one,” I muttered, and Chiaki looked at me.

“But you wanted to join the tournament, you can’t sit out of any game, it will negate the results,” she said, and I felt nervous. I didn’t want to dance.

“Can I… change my mind about the tournament?” I asked and Chiaki looked disappointed. I didn’t want to disappoint her. Nagito was looking at her too and then he turned to me.

“Because of this one game?” he asked me, “you don’t have to actually dance, just stamp on the right pads,” he said. He was right. I looked back at Leon and Sonia as they looked like they were having fun casting playful taunts to one another.

“Alright,” I agreed. “I’ll join,” Chiaki and Nagito both looked pleased. Sonia beat Leon but only just and Chiaki went up next against Sonia. Chiaki won and Nagito took the next game because I was still nervous. They were having fun, the odd playful push to one another to throw the other off their moves. Was that… flirting? I felt jealous so maybe it was. They were both laughing together. It occurred to me that Nagito was actually better looking than me, he was crazy, but he was more attractive and maybe Chiaki didn’t mind the crazy. She might even be good for him. I don’t want to get in the way of that. Chiaki won but Nagito was close. I was next. I would be dancing next to Chiaki but as Nagito said I only had to stamp on the correct pads for the game to register my moves. We began. I was slow but Chiaki was pretty much hitting every move. Should I try and throw her off like Nagito did? No, I don’t know her well enough to tease her like that.

“That’s it, Hajime,” she encouraged. “You’re doing really good,” I was hitting a few steps, I was doing better than I thought I would. “Ah!” Chiaki cried as she tripped, and I stopped to catch her before she fell off the pad and hurt herself. I held her in my arms, and she looked up at me with those big eyes and blinked a couple of times. I blushed before I let go of her steadying her.

“Are you ok?” I asked her as the game ran in the background.

“Thank you, Hajime, that… might have been bad, I think,” she muttered, “that’s a bit embarrassing,” she added.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said, and we looked at the game as it finished. She won but the smile on her face…I didn’t mind one bit.

Chapter Text

I was interested to see what freedom was like at this school, on the weekends they did extend our curfew to 10pm which was still early but it was fine. Nobody could really afford to break curfew after so recently all of us being punished and causing quite a big upset within the community. Nagito setting fires in the park. We were all together and heading to the park again, Mondo was carrying some bags and we took a seat on a patch of grass. He opened the bags and handed us all drinks.

“Alcohol?” I asked.

“You never had a drink before?” he asked laughing.

“Well… not really,” I replied.

“We got a rookie here!” Leon called to the others, and I blushed. We were underage, of course I hadn’t drunk alcohol. Nagito had opened his drink immediately and was guzzling it down. What the…?

“I haven’t drunk alcohol either,” he said after he finished. Mondo laughed.

“Nice going!” he handed him his second one. Were they getting used to Nagito? I hoped so, I did like his company, and I also liked all these other guys. The girls from the posh school delicately sipped their drinks. Even they were drinking! I decided to go for it, and I took a gulp. Yuck! I grimaced.

“Hey, beggars can’t be choosers, man,” Leon said laughing. I didn’t beg for this….

“It’s awful, isn’t it?” Nagito asked.

“You drank yours just fine,” I replied as he sat next to me.

“To be honest, I feel pretty anxious, but I think it’s just… where I haven’t looked at fire for a while, I have this.” He pulled out his lighter, “but its not the same watching the small flame on this.” He said sadly.

“Have you ever… burned yourself by accident?” I asked him.

“Oh sure, and on purpose!” he replied, and I looked at him horrified.

“Nagito!” I said.

“I just wanted to see what it felt like,” he said.

“Uh painful,” I replied as though he was stupid.

“Yeah, it did hurt,” he laughed.

“Hajime, how are you settling in?” Chiaki asked me as she sat the other side of Nagito, perhaps she overheard our conversation and was deflecting it from talking about fire. She was good for Nagito.

“Yeah, it’s going well, thanks Chiaki,”

“Has Fuyuhiko given you any problems since the river?” she asked.

“No… but I don’t think he’s forgotten about that.” I replied feeling that anxiety creeping in.

“Should you talk to a teacher?” Chiaki asked.

“Hell no!” I replied. “It’ll make things worse for me if I snitch!” I snapped.

“Maybe I should do something, he hates me too, perhaps if I do something to anger him it will take his attention off you and back on me,” Nagito pondered.

“Nagito, don’t be stupid!” I snapped.

“That’s a really crazy thing to say but also… brave,” Chiaki said smiling at him. He blushed. He did like her.

“Hey, Hajime, can we ask you something?” Mondo said as he sat with Leon, Chihiro, Mukuro and the other girls from our school.

“Uh, sure,” I replied.

“Do you like girls or guys?” Leon was the one to ask me. What sort of question was that?
“What makes you question it?” I asked them.

“Well, you kinda gravitated towards Nagito, I was wondering if you… I don’t know… had a crush on him or something.” Mondo said. How the hell did this happen?

“I like girls,” I replied. Nagito laughed.

“I’m flattered that you guys would even consider he might have a crush on someone like me,” he said. “Hajime is pretty hot,” he added, and I looked at him.

“What the-?” I said and he laughed, Chiaki was laughing too. “Are you fucking with me?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he replied laughing awkwardly. It was at my expense, but I was pleased to see everyone else was also laughing with Nagito.

I ended up conversing with Mondo, and those guys whilst Nagito got Chiaki’s full attention, I was jealous. I could feel it and I kept glancing over. I had no right to be jealous, I had only just met Chiaki and they had obviously known each other for a bit. They actually looked good together too. I began feeling a little depressed. I didn’t often get crushes but there was something I really liked about Chiaki and when I caught her on that dance pad in the arcades, my heart was pounding so hard, and her blushing cheeks were just so cute. I picked up my skateboard and headed away going to the skating area, not far from where we all sat and decided to just skate. I always felt better for boarding. I flowed across the ramps, fluidly moving onto the next one. I was not trying to show off, I just wanted to feel that freedom. After a while, Nagito came over, I know more alcohol had been consumed by all of us and he stopped beside a trash can, looking at it a moment. I picked up my board.

“It’s the same one I lit up last time!” he laughed, “it’s still a little charred,” he admired his handy work. I joined him at the trash can.

“Nagito… do you… like Chiaki?” I asked him and he looked at me surprised.

“Other than you, she’s the only person who bothered trying to have a conversation with me… she’s really kind and… I suppose for someone as pathetic as me, it would be easy for me to start crushing on someone who gives me the time of day!” he said laughing.

“You’re not pathetic, Nagito, I think you’re pretty cool.” I muttered. “Oh wait! Does that mean your crushing on me too?” I teased him.

“Obviously,” he teased me straight back and I laughed. “To be honest, I do have an attraction to you, Hajime, but don’t worry I won’t get weird,” he admitted, and I realised he was not teasing me anymore.

“Well, if that’s… true then I won’t get weird either,” I replied smiling.

 “I do like Chiaki though but… well, she won’t ever have any interest in me like that, will she?” he said.

“I don’t see why not, Nagito, you seem to get on really well,” I said awkwardly.

“You like her, too, don’t you?” he asked, and I felt my cheeks burn.

“Yeah, I think I do,” I replied, and he smiled sadly.

“It’s ok, I won’t ever pursue her, I’ll never assume she would be interested in a worthless human like me.”

“You’re not worthless,” I said.

“I was always told that I was, after so long… you start believing it. Waste of air, waste of space… psycho… my father… tried to… beat it out of me but I couldn’t stop chasing the flame.” He said, I was guessing the alcohol had loosened his tongue, this was all very personal, but he often told me things he considered personal, but this seemed… even more personal.

“Your dad… beat you?” I asked him.

“Yeah, sometimes,” he replied. “It wasn’t like he kicked the crap out of me but… he did hit me. Perhaps to say he beat me might make it sound worse,”

“I’m sorry,”
“Don’t pity me, please, I don’t tell you this shit for your pity,” he said darkly.

“Ok,” I just replied.

“What was your home life like?” he asked, I realised I had not told him anything and he had been so open with me.

“It was… fine, really,” I said realising any argument I ever had with either parent was nothing compared to what Nagito and likely the others had all been through. “They tried to get me some counselling for all the fights I got into but… it isn’t that I looked for fights, I just… I couldn’t stand watching people get picked on, bullied so I would always go and defend them but… ended up in fights but at least I took the beating instead of them. The strong have to defend the weak, I know I can take the pain and it saves them the trauma. We have to survive in this world together and there are always those who exploit people’s weaknesses. There is nothing I despise more.” I finished.

“Wow, Hajime, you really are a hero,” Nagito said smiling.

“No, I’m not,” I muttered.

“You know this whole… me abstaining from making fires thing… I don’t think its healthy for me,” Nagito said looking into the trash can again. “Its an impulse and I know it’s dangerous but… I really can’t help it and when I do set a fire, it calms me down.” He admitted and got out his lighter flipping it open and letting the flame burn.

“Why do you say that? Surely it’s a good thing to control impulses like that or at least learn to.” I said.

“The last time I really tried hard was when I went ahead to blow up my school.” He said.

“Shit! Quick, Nagito, set something on fire!” I said playfully and he laughed.

“When I did that, I had no intention of hurting anyone, I hit the fire alarm first,” he added.

“Do you… burn things quite a lot then?” I asked him.

“I usually go and sit up on the roof, I am careful I just like watching the flames.” He replied.

 “Do you… want to go and burn something? I can keep you in check if you really have to do it.” I said.

“Are you serious?” he asked looking at me with huge eyes and I just smiled. He grabbed my wrist and dragged me away.

“Hey!” I yelled but he was leading me away, likely so the others didn’t make a fuss, but it was still an inconvenience and I had to try not to drop my board. He dragged me into some bushes where there was a secluded little spot.

“I could just burn some leaves and twigs, make a small forest fire!” he said as he gathered things. He seemed so happy right now, I put my board down and he gathered the pile and then he lit his lighter creating the perfect little fire in the middle here. He let out a breath of relief as he watched it burn, as though he really needed this. I smiled. “Sit with me, Hajime, its quite relaxing,” he said, and I put my board down and sat beside him. It was quite nice, I looked at him as he watched the flames, a smile on his face. He did look calmer, before he had seemed a little jittery.

“Hajime… if you want to confess to Chiaki or ask her out on a date, that’s fine with me, I won’t get in the way.” He said and smiled. “I like you both so… it would be nice to see you both happy.”
“What makes you think she would even say yes?” I asked.

“I just have a feeling she would, you’re a great guy, Hajime.” He said and I felt a warm feeling inside my chest. Nagito was really cool.

“Shit, you two really are a fuckin’ thing, sneaking into the bushes alone.” We heard; it was Fuyuhiko pushing through some of the bush with his gang in tow. We both pulled ourselves to our feet immediately bracing ourselves.

“Fuyuhiko, do you really wanna start something right now?” I asked him.

“I told you to watch your back, you let your guard down. I was over Nagito’s shit but he still burned my friend and tried to kill me, this couldn’t be more of a perfect opportunity to teach you both a fuckin’ lesson!” he said.

“I said before, we don’t have to be enemies, Fuyuhiko, why do you feel like you have to do this?” I asked him.

“Like I said, Nagito tried to fuckin’ kill me and you stopped me getting payback!” he snapped.

“He tried to kill you, you tried to kill him, I’d say you’re even,” I replied.

“Shut the fuck up!” Fuyuhiko yelled and he ran at me, and we clashed.

“Hajime!” Nagito cried but some of the other guys had gone for him. Shit. He tried to fight but they overwhelmed him and Fuyuhiko was taking me on himself.

“Drag Nagito to his precious fire, put his fucking arm in it, like he burned Kaito!” Fuyuhiko ordered and then threw another punch, which I dodged. I was distracted by the men with Nagito he was being dragged towards the small fire he had made, his arm being held out, he did not look even slightly frightened at the prospect, he looked… excited. Where the fuck was I? Fuyuhiko’s next strike landed, and it was another punch in the stomach, right at my diaphragm, his signature move, I guess and it winded me.

“Fuyuhiko… I think… this is too much,” Kaito muttered, he was just standing to the side. “You could really hurt-“
“Shut up!” Fuyuhiko snapped at him, he seemed really angry. Nagito was getting closer to the fire.

“Stop!” I cried out barely audible, reaching towards Nagito, but Fuyuhiko swiftly kicked me as I had crumpled to the ground after the air depriving punch. I went to get up, still struggling but this had to stop. Fuyuhiko punched me in the side of the ribs.

“Ah!” I cried, shit, he hit really hard.

“Fuyuhiko!” we heard a woman’s voice, and everyone stopped looking at its source. It was Chiaki. No, please don’t get involved.

“Get the fuck out of this posh bitch!” Fuyuhiko snapped.

“I was going to suggest you did the same. The police are on their way.” She said.

“You fuckin’ snitched?” he snapped.

“No, I just told them I saw some suspicious people heading into the bushes at the park and then I heard someone call for help. They will be here soon, and I know none of you can afford to get arrested so if I was you, I’d leave.” She said and they released Nagito and looked at one another. He had come so close to getting burned.

“Fuckin’ bitch!” Fuyuhiko yelled and made as though he was going to go for her, but I just stood in his way.

“Are you going to hit a girl, Fuyuhiko?” she asked.

“Ah fuck let’s get out of here,” he muttered, and they left. I went to Nagito and helped him up.

“You ok?” I asked him.

“Yeah, thanks,” he said, and Chiaki joined us.

“I didn’t really call the police that was just a bluff, but it worked,” she said smiling.

“You saved us, Chiaki,” Nagito smiled.

“I don’t like the way he treats people,” she replied.

“Neither do I,” I agreed. “Should we head back?” I asked.

“We have to get back to our school soon,” Chiaki replied.

“Yeah, we could head back.” Nagito agreed. We went back towards the others and as I had a new thought, my heart was beating fast, it was not the adrenaline from the fight, this was… something else.

“Uh… Chiaki… would it be… alright if I took your number?” I asked and she turned to me immediately getting out her phone, so I did the same. We swapped numbers and she smiled so sweetly at me afterwards. The first step. Maybe I could ask her out on a date through text message it would soften the blow of rejection… no wait… what am I thinking? I have to ask her out face to face but just… not right now.

Chapter Text

We arrived back at the dorms, there was still time on curfew but after our encounter with Fuyuhiko we were ready to go back. Nagito and I decided to shower after we had been cast into the dirt by Fuyuhiko and his thugs. I did not feel so awkward about showering with other people anymore and we took to the same section. I was not even concerned about the fact I was naked in front of Nagito who had admitted to being attracted to me, it did not bother me. He was a good guy and I felt I could consider him a friend. I felt like I could consider a lot of these guys as friends. They all backed me when I needed them. If that wasn’t friendship, I don’t know what was.

“A girl coming to our rescue, that was pretty cool, huh?” Nagito asked as we showered.

“Yeah, she is really cool, she handled that so well,” I replied.

“So, you got her number? You going to ask her out?” Nagito asked me.

“Yeah, if you’re still sure that’s ok? You’ve known her longer and… she might reject me, you guys get along well, she might like you already.” I said and he laughed.

“Nobody likes me that way, Hajime, she’s just a friend, a good one.” he replied.

“Why do you feel that way about yourself, Nagito? I know you’re crazy but you’re… not a bad looking guy.” I admitted feeling myself blush a little. He laughed again.

“Wow, Hajime, you sure you’re not crushing on me too?” he asked, and I laughed.

“I’m straight, Nagito.” I replied.

“Not even a little curious?” he asked with a cheeky glint in his eyes.

“I never really thought about it,” I replied and wondered if perhaps I was a little curious, but I know I liked Chiaki. “Are you sure you don’t mind, if I ask Chiaki out?” I asked.

“Of course, like I said, I’d never pursue her in that way. I do really like her, but I just know I would be rejected, and I don’t want to make our friendship weird.” He said.

“I want to do it face to face but… I’m a little nervous.” I admitted.

“Call her, it isn’t as cop out as text message, although I understand doing it by text, it’s less daunting but face to face is really scary.” He laughed awkwardly.

“I hardly know her, she doesn’t know me,”

“That’s what dating’s for, you get to know each other. Personality is a big factor in attraction, at least I know it is for me.”

“Yeah, me too.” I replied as we finished up showering. “Alright, I’ll do it.”
“Do it tonight while everything is still fresh, take her out tomorrow,” he said.

“What?” I asked suddenly feeling my heart pound at the prospect. That was so soon. He just smiled at me.

“You’ll be fine, Hajime,” he assured confidently, and we headed into the changing room to dry off.

“Alright, I’ll do it.” I replied but my own confidence was weak. “So… are you like bisexual?” I asked him.

“No, I’m pansexual,” he replied.

“What… can you explain that to me? I don’t think I quite get it.” I said a little ashamed of my own ignorance.

“It’s being attracted to people, regardless of gender, being a girl or a guy has no factor in it. For me, it’s about who the person is, their personality and their values, I find people attractive because of that. That’s why gender has no factor. If I’m attracted to someone then I’m attracted to them.”

“I think I get it, that’s pretty cool.” I said smiling as we pulled on our pyjamas.

“Hajime, you’re a really great guy, I don’t think you have anything to worry about when it comes to asking Chiaki out.” he said and for some reason his words emboldened me. I smiled.

“Thanks, Nagito, you’re a really good friend,” I found myself saying and he looked surprised for a moment.

“So, we are friends,” he said with a smile.

“Of course,”

“I thought you didn’t need friends, Hajime,” he added with a cheeky smile, and I playfully slapped him on the arm. He laughed and we headed to our rooms. I looked down the way as he got to his door.

“Nagito…” I called, “thanks.” I added and he smiled before we went inside our rooms. I picked up my phone, my heart pounded. I decided to text her first.

Hey, Chiaki, thanks for saving us earlier, that was really brave and really cool. X

SHIT! I sent a kiss! FUuuuuCK!!!!!! I never send text kisses! What the fuck?

Hey, Hajime, no problem, I don’t like seeing people get picked on like that. x

She sent a kiss back? FUUUCCK! Does that mean anything? No, it doesn’t. I’m still going to ask her out. My mind was racing. What do I do? What if I jumble up my words? What if I lose my nerve and just… hang up on her??? OH GOD!!! I text her again.

I hate that too, Chiaki, do you mind if I call you?  

I left out the kiss this time, making a conscious effort to do so.

I don’t mind. X

She replied and she still added the kiss. My breath was fast, my heart pounding so hard inside my chest. Don’t fuck this up, Hajime. I hit dial and it rang a couple of times and then she answered. I got to hear her sweet voice.

“Hello Hajime, how are you doing?” she asked.

“Nagito and I showered because of the dirt but I’m good, thanks,” I replied trying to stay calm.

“Do you want to grab a coffee tomorrow?” she asked me out? No, wait that wasn’t asking me out on a date it was just coffee but that is what I had planned to ask her to do but… as a date.

“Chiaki… I was actually… going to…” fuck! “Chiaki, I wanted to ask you out, I was… going to suggest the same thing but… as a date…” I did it. I fucking did it. There was a pause. Why was she pausing? Why did she hesitate? Shit, she’s going to reject me.

“A… date?” she asked finally.

“Yeah… if you… want to, you don’t have to.” I said feeling suddenly awkward instead of terrified.

“I’d love to.” She accepted? Oh shit, she accepted. What now?  I felt good though.

“Great! Shall we meet around 10am?”

“Can we make it 10:30?” she asked.

“Sure!” wow, oh my god, I’m going a date, a date with Chiaki! Be cool, Hajime, be cool.

“I’ll see you then, Hajime, I look forward to it, I think,” she said. You think, so you’re not sure? I was so nervous but now it was about going on an actual date since I got the first bit out the way.

“See you in the morning,” I replied, and we said goodnight. I did it! I text Nagito to let him know and he replied with

I knew it would be fine. Good luck, Hajime.

Good luck? Yeah, he was right, I needed it.

Chapter Text

I got hardly any sleep that night, I was so nervous I couldn’t stop trying to think of what to say to Chiaki, so she didn’t get bored on our date. What conversation we should have? I was scared and I’d suggested a morning date. What was wrong with me? I guess because it was coffee, I felt it should be in the morning and I had suggested 10am? What was wrong with me? At least she extended it by that half hour but still…. I got up and was freaking out a bit. I bet I looked awful too after bad sleep. What do I do? Rantaro! He might save me. I got up, still in my pyjamas and I went to his room knocking frantically on the door. No answer. I knocked again, more frantic, and louder. Eventually the door opened, and he looked half asleep.

“Hajime? What do you call this time on a Sunday?” he asked.

“Uh… 6am…” I muttered

“No, its lay in time,”
“I thought you got up early?”

“Not on a Sunday, Hajime.” He muttered looking pissed.

“I’m sorry!” I quickly apologised. I was a mess; this was not like me at all. “I really need your help!” I burst.

“You look awful,” he said.

“I do, I know, I hardly slept… I… have a date today….” I was embarrassed.

“Oh, shit,”
“You like… y’know take care of your appearance, right?” I asked him.

“Yeah,” he replied.

“Do you have anything to sort out my face? Any tips on dating?” I burst with all my questions. He laughed.

“Hajime, you’re a nervous reck, you never been on a date before?” he asked me.

“No, I haven’t” I muttered embarrassed.

“Shit, right, let’s go hit the shower, we’ll start there, and I’ll help you out,” he said.

“Thank you! Thank you so much!” I was pathetic right now. I hated it. I went and grabbed my towel and headed to the shower with Rantaro.

“Make it a cold one,” he said, “it helps firm the skin and it’ll feel fresher.” He said.

“Right,” I muttered turning the shower dial to cold. “Fuck!” I jumped back and he laughed at me.

“You’ll get used to it, maybe start with lukewarm and take it down from there,” I followed his instructions.

“Rantaro, what do you do on a date?” I asked.

“Where are you taking her?”

“For coffee,”

“Nice and simple for a first date, already a good start. You just talk and get to know her, ask her about herself, she’ll probably ask you some too. It is a girl, right?”

“What? Yes, it’s a girl, why is everyone questioning my sexuality?” I asked.

“It’s nothing, it’s not personal you just never know, right?”

“I guess,” he handed me some shower wash.

“Use this, it smells great,” he said, and I did.

“That is good! Thanks,”

“The smell of it will stay on you but only mildly so it’s ok, a lot of guys make the mistake of overdoing scents, like spraying too much aftershave.” He informed me. I’d never even bothered with anything like that. “Hey, why did you come to me for this?” he asked.

“Isn’t it obvious? You get a lot of girls, right? You know how to be around them, and I knew you took care of your appearance so I thought you might help with my apparent lack of sleep.”

“Do you think I sleep around?” he asked as we finished up showering.

“No, I mean… you’ve always got a lot of girls around you; you’ve probably been on lots of dates, right? You’re good looking and girls always like you.” I replied as we wrapped our towels around ourselves. He looked at me and then sat down on the bench.

“It annoys me that everyone defines me just because of my looks,” he muttered. “Yeah, I was born fortunate in that department, but it isn’t… looks aren’t important. Hajime, you talk like you envy me. I envy you. You’re still good looking but also ordinary looking, I’d like to get less hassle from girls but still have a chance with them.” he said, and I began to feel sorry for him. Was it a curse being as attractive as he was? I suppose he was getting hassle from girls like Natsume.

“I’m sorry, Rantaro, I didn’t mean to…” I didn’t really know what to say. I was not insensitive enough to disregard how he was feeling but I know a lot of guys would probably love to be in his position but… I guess until they were in it.

“It’s ok, Hajime, I get it, sure and I can help you. I don’t mind, you’re a good guy,” he said and rough dried his hair. “Come on, let’s go take a look at your wardrobe and see what you got.”

“Man, I knew it was a good bet going to you.” I said as we walked out of the shower rooms and towards my room. I opened my wardrobe and he immediately picked out a greenish coloured shirt.

“Perfect, your eyes are brown but with a little green in them, this should pick out that green, but I suggest some jeans to keep it casual.” He said and I pulled out my best jeans of which he approved. I got dressed. “Yeah, that was easier than I thought it would be. My room now,” he said, and he took me there offering all manner of creams and serums to ease the dark circles under my eyes. I had to admit it actually felt quite nice but a bit… girly. I checked myself out in the mirror.

“That worked! Shit, no wonder you always look so good!” I laughed and so did he. “You saved me, Rantaro! Thanks!”

“No problem, what time you meeting her?” he asked.

“10:30,”

“Serious? Why you up so early and getting ready?”

“I couldn’t sleep obviously, hence the bags,”

“Right, want to hit up a game with me until it’s time to go?” he asked.

“Hell yeah! Might help calm my nerves.” I said and he threw some clothes on and we headed to the games room. It was a lot more chill playing games with Rantaro than it was with Nagito, but both were great fun. It was almost time; others were waking for the day now too and Rantaro saw me off.

“Hajime,” he called as I left. “You gonna tell me who your dating?” he asked.

“Chiaki,” I replied.

“Serious? Isn’t she a bit… simple?”

“What no, actually I think she’s pretty smart,” I replied.

“Right, I hope it goes well, come find me later. You look great by the way, just be confident but not too confident, and make sure you pay for everything.” He said and I laughed awkwardly before I left. The date… my date with Chiaki. She was so cute, I really liked her and after this… I might like her even more.

 

Chapter Text

I waited for her by the gates of my school, it was gone 10:30am. She changed her mind, had second thoughts. How long do I wait before it gets weird? 10:45. My first date and the girl stands me up. That’s a great start to my track record. 11:00am. Half an hour late, now I phone her. No, does that seem desperate? I gave up, started heading back inside at 11:15. I think forty-five minutes was a sure sign that she wasn’t coming. I felt depressed and then my phone rang, I looked to see Chiaki calling so I answered it.

“Hajime! I’m so sorry! I overslept! If you’re… still ok to go… on our… date, would you mind meeting in an hour? I can be ready.”

“You overslept until this late?” I asked her.

“I’m sorry, I was gaming until late, I lost track of the time.” She replied. I sighed a little, I was so tired after hardly sleeping but I still wanted to go on a date with her.

“I can meet in an hour, sure,” I said.

“Great, see you then, Hajime,” she replied. I had an hour, so I decided to head back up to the dorms briefly. At least I could sit comfortably in that time. When I got up there, it looked as though the other boys were all up now. I saw Mondo with Leon and Chihiro and decided to hang with them for a bit.

“Hey, Hajime, where you been?” Mondo asked.

“I got a date with Chiaki today, but she slept in so we’re meeting a little later,”

“Chiaki? Can you… like… ask what Sayaka thinks of me?” Leon asked looking uncomfortable.

“If it feels right but that’s going to be awkward, why don’t you just ask Sayaka out?” I suggested, but I knew all too well that was easier said than done.

“Man, I’m too nervous, she’s so hot and… I just… don’t know how I’d take that rejection.” He replied.

“I don’t think she’d reject you,” Chihiro said.

“What makes you think that?” Leon questioned.

“Well… you’re really cool and… I just think she would be interested in going on a date with you,” Chihiro was blushing. I began to wonder if Chihiro might like Leon, I had no clue as to Chihiro’s sexuality but there had been a couple of occasions where I had noticed his blushing and I often caught him looking at Leon. I wondered if he had a crush on him but obviously Leon was straight. I guess it was kind of like Nagito, he seems to have a little crush on me, but I think he likes Chiaki more, then that had me feeling a little guilty for going on a date with her. He had known her longer and obviously liked her too. I hadn’t seen him yet, maybe he was still asleep or doing homework.

“Hey, Hajime,” I heard and looked to see Kazuichi.

“Hey,”
“You want to go skate again today?” he asked.

“Oh, I’m going on a date, another time though for sure,” I replied.

“A date? Someone from this school?” he asked.

“No, the girl’s school,”

“Its not… Sonia, is it?” he asked.

“No, Chiaki,” I replied.

“Cool,” he muttered. Why did he ask specifically if it was Sonia? I didn’t think he was interested in her from his reaction to her before. Oh well, I checked the time, there was still half an hour to go.

“Where the fuck is Kokichi?” I heard and knew instantly it was Fuyuhiko. “Where the fuck is he?” he yelled at us all and then pounded hard on his door, I could do without this drama today. Kokichi wasn’t opening. “Get out here you bastard!” Fuyuhiko yelled.

“What’s he done?” I asked stepping forward.

“Stay out of my way, Hajime!”

“He’s not in there, Fuyuhiko,” Shuichi said. “I saw him head out earlier,”

“Where’d he go?” Fuyuhiko demanded.

“I don’t know,” Shuichi replied and Fuyuhiko marched up to him taking hold of him by his shirt.

“Where the fuck did he go?”

“I said I don’t know, get off me!” Shuichi tried to pull Fuyuhiko off but then a teacher came in likely having heard the shouting.

“Separate immediately!” the teacher snapped and Fuyuhiko growled in frustration but obeyed. I sighed, it could be really tense here, and I hated that part, but I was happy that I was making friends, Fuyuhiko just had to be watched closely. I checked the time, it was getting closer to the time I had to meet Chiaki, so I decided to say goodbye and headed to the gate to wait for her, especially if Fuyuhiko was on a rampage, I didn’t want anything to ruin today. After a few minutes I saw her hurrying towards me.

“Hajime, I’m so sorry,” she said huffing and puffing from her rush.

“Hey, relax, it’s no problem,” I replied, somehow feeling a bit more relaxed perhaps it was due to her looking so flustered. I wanted her to relax. She smiled and seemed a bit calmer. “To be honest I was expecting you to reject me,” I said as we walked towards the shops where we would find a café.

“Really? Why would you say that?” she asked.

“I don’t know, I just thought you would, I mean you don’t know me that well,”
“I’d like to get to know you,” she said and then I realised she was blushing. I felt a bit nervous again suddenly. She was so cute, there was just something I really liked about her, not just because she was cute and pretty, there was something about her, I could not quite put it into words. We arrived at the café and sat down ordering our drinks. She decided on a milky coffee, and I went straight for a black coffee. We sat down opposite one another in a booth, and I began to feel a sweat break out and my heart was beating fast. I was supposed to be asking her questions about herself.

“How are you settling in?” she asked.

“Yeah, better than I thought I would to be honest, I really like some of the guys. Mondo, Leon and Chihiro kinda accepted me pretty quick. Rantaro’s been cool and Nagito’s pretty chill when he isn’t setting things on fire.” I laughed. “Shuichi helped me with some homework when he didn’t have to, he’s a really good guy it makes me wonder how he ended up in a school like that."

“Do you mind me asking how you ended up going there? Its not really any of my business I don’t think I was just curious.”
“I don’t like seeing people get bullied, so I was always getting into fights, my parents got fed up.”
“I don’t like that either, I don’t really like Fuyuhiko because he’s always throwing his weight around,” she said.

“Yeah, he’s someone to watch out for, he was on a rampage this morning, looking for Kokichi but I didn’t stay long enough to see the end of that, Kokichi wasn’t around so hopefully he’s avoided trouble.”

“Yeah, I hope so.” Chiaki replied.

“So, you really like gaming, huh?” I asked her and she smiled.

“Yeah, I enjoy it a lot. I’m sorry it made me late for this… date,” she blushed again. “I… never… I don’t think I’ll be very good on a date so I’m not sure how this is going to go.” She said.
“This… is my first date, so don’t worry I feel the same, I think if we just… talk and get to know each other a bit, maybe we’ll find some common ground and… if it goes well… if you want to, a second date could… happen.” I was blushing now. Why was I already talking about a second date when this one had barely begun? “Uh… what game were you playing last night?” I asked her.

“It was a murder mystery game; the story was really great, and the characters were well developed. I was so close to the end I just couldn’t stop playing it and I really wanted to beat the villain, that’s why I lost track of time,” she said and took a sip of her milky coffee.

“Do you like all kinds of games?” I asked.

“Sure, I can play anything, I…” she sighed. “I lied about the game I was playing last night, that was another one I finished recently but… to be honest, I was a bit… nervous about today so I thought I would play a dating sim game that I never beat before. I hoped it would give me some tips but… I still didn’t get it right. It’s a little embarrassing,” she said, and I laughed but she looked upset.

“I’m sorry!” I said immediately kicking myself. “It is… kind of funny though if you think about it. You were playing a dating game for practice and then ended up being late for your real date.” I said and then she lightened up and smiled.

“Yeah, I suppose it is funny.” She said and we were both laughing.

“I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t get much sleep last night because of my nerves,” I admitted since she had been honest with me.

“Hajime, you’re pretty good at skateboarding, how long have you been doing it for?” she asked.

“Since I was about twelve, I just really enjoy it, once I got good its kind of like freedom,” shit that was cheesy, I thought but she smiled.

“That’s really cool, I wish I could do something like that,” she said.

“You get a lot of bumps and bruises at the beginning,” I laughed.

“It looks fun, but I don’t have the coordination for anything like that,” she said.

“You did pretty good on that dance pad,” I said.

“Thanks, that was fun,”

“Yeah, you won the tournament, you knew you would though, didn’t you?” I teased her and she smiled.

“I play a lot of games,” she replied. “It was nice when I started playing games with other people, like the arcades and I play games with Nagito, but he always suicides it when we play.” She laughed.

“Yeah, tell me about it,” I laughed. “I wasn’t sure about you two, I thought you might… like him because you seem to get on well,” I blurted out.

“We do get on well, we’re friends,” she replied, and I smiled. “I noticed he was always on his own, nobody really talked to him, so I started to and then we hung out a few times and became friends,”

“He’s a good guy, crazy but his hearts in the right place,” I said.

“I think its offensive to call people that,” she said.

“I know, I tease him about it, we’re cool,” I replied, and she smiled. “Uh… Leon asked me to ask you what Sayaka thinks of him?” I decided to ask at this point since we were already talking about other people.

“You mean does she like him the way he likes her?” she asked.

“It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

“Guys often like Sayaka and Sonia, they’re both really beautiful girls, but I don’t know if she likes him that way or not.”
“Does she like Rantaro?” I asked.

“I think they’re just friends,”

“Don’t girls talk about guys?” I asked.
“Probably but I don’t really join in, I zone out.” she replied, and I laughed.

“Will you… tell them about our date?” I asked her.

“Will you tell the guys?” she replied.

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

“I think… it’s going well, I feel more relaxed now,” she said, and I smiled.

“Chiaki… you know you said about how guys often like Sayaka and Sonia, and sure they are beautiful but… you kinda… stood out to me,” why was I telling her this? Who was I right now? She looked shocked a moment and then she blushed fiercely looking shy. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that! I made you uncomfortable,”

“It’s not that… I just… I’m not used to it. Guys don’t really ask me out or say things like that to me. I give a vibe I think so they don’t really approach me, and they’re usually distracted by the other girls,” she said.

“Does it… bother you that they get the attention?” I asked.

“No, not really,” she replied. “I think it would get annoying,”

“Yeah, Rantaro gets a lot of attention and I think people label him because of his good looks, he was telling me how annoying it can be.”

“Are you envious of his looks?”

“No, I don’t think I am anymore,” I replied as we finished our coffees. “Do you… want to go somewhere else?” I asked her.

“Um…” I felt like it had gone quite well but what did I know? Maybe she didn’t feel that way anymore. “Yes,” she finally answered. Why did that take so long?

“You don’t have to if you don’t think it went so well, if you’re… bored.”

“I’m not bored, I do have some… homework I’ve been putting off because I struggled with it when I tried before,” she said.

“What is the homework?” I asked her.

“Math,”

“Do you… want me to help?” I offered, “I don’t like math but I’m not terrible at it,” I said. She smiled.

“Would you do that? It’s not exactly a fun date thing,”

“But we still get to spend time together,” I replied, and she smiled again.

“Thanks, Hajime,” she said.

Chapter Text

Chiaki and I had found a spot at the park to sit on the grass and do her homework, I was unsure if I was a big help, but we worked through some of it. I felt so much more relaxed about being around her after that and we walked back towards the schools. I wondered if I should be holding her hand, but I would not assume that was ok at this point. We stopped as my school came first, and she had insisted she would be fine walking to hers the rest of the way. I wanted to walk her there, but she was adamant I did not need to. We stopped at my gates.

“I had a really nice time today, Hajime,” she said smiling.

“Yeah, me too.” I smiled back, “would you… like to have a second date?” I asked.

“I would like that a lot,” she replied and then she took a step forward. Was she… going to kiss me? Did she… want me to kiss her? My heart pounded hard inside my chest, and she leaned forwards but slightly to the side and she placed a kiss on my cheek. “You’re a really good guy, Hajime, I enjoyed today and thank you for trying your best when helping me with my homework.” She said and she was blushing fiercely, that took a lot for her to do, and I knew my cheeks were also bright red. I felt warm. Really warm. She smiled sweetly and waved as she went in the direction of her school. I lifted my hand in a wave and turned heading into my school. I had intended on finding Rantaro to tell him as promised how my date went and I had wanted to talk to Nagito too but when I got to my dorms, I walked into a nightmare. Fuyuhiko had found Kokichi, I don’t know what the issue was, but he had him on the floor with his guys stopping anyone trying to help. Kokichi already looked beat up but no marks upon his face as were the rules and Fuyuhiko was standing over him.

“I’ll ask you one more time you fuck, where is it?” Fuyuhiko yelled. The other boys were all standing around being kept at bay by Fuyuhiko’s thugs. This was wrong. This was so wrong. Fuyuhiko kicked Kokichi in the ribs and he cried out coughing afterwards. He looked in a bad way. If this went on, he might actually kill him.

“Fuyuhiko! Stop!” Shuichi called out passed the wall of Fuyuhiko’s men.

“Why has nobody got a teacher?” I asked Mondo.

“We don’t snitch, remember.” He replied. Fuck. Someone had to stop this.

“Where is it?” Fuyuhiko yelled.

“I don’t… have it… not anymore….” Kokichi spluttered.

“Am I doing this on my own again?” I muttered and I ran at the thugs but was pushed back, they really were acting like a barrier. I decided to gut punch one just as Fuyuhiko had done for me and it winded him, this one had been beside Kaito who did not move to stop me as I pressed through the gap. Fuyuhiko was lifting Kokichi off the floor and he flung him across the room, he crashed into the chairs and a table crumpling to the ground. I ran in front of Fuyuhiko stopping him advancing.

“That’s enough!” I snapped and went to Kokichi. He was bleeding and he slipped a note to me before he collapsed. I looked at the smaller boy as he just lay there and then I looked at the note. I stood looking at everyone but mainly at Fuyuhiko.

“He’s… dead… Fuyuhiko, he isn’t breathing!” I yelled. His men all looked at one another before they pushed past the other boys all running away and out of the dorms. Fuyuhiko’s face changed from anger to despair.

“What?” he muttered.

“You killed him!” I yelled. “You went too far, Fuyuhiko! He hit his head! Fuck!” I screamed. Fuyuhiko shook his head in disbelief stepping backwards slowly.

“No….” he muttered before he turned and ran as well.

“Kokichi? He’s… dead?” Shuichi asked.

“Argh, fuck,” Kokichi muttered as he tried to move. I helped him up slowly. He was badly hurt but he wasn’t dead. His note read I’m dead. Play along. When I saw him collapse, I knew what he meant. “You’re a pretty good actor, Hajime, almost convinced me I really was dead.” he said and then laughed but winced as it caused his injuries pain.

“Shit.” Rantaro muttered as though in relief.

“You were pretty fucking convincing, Hajime,” Mondo snapped and then I heard clapping. It was Nagito.

“Anyone for an encore?” he asked with a grin, and I laughed.

“Kokichi, what the hell was that all about?” I asked him and helped him sit.

“I stole his knife, I got rid of it, he shouldn’t have something like that. I knew I would hurt for doing that, but I had a plan but when I realised you weren’t at the dorms, it looked bad for me. You were supposed to stop him sooner, I knew you would step in, I know you’re the type, but I was on my own. I probably should have told you about it, but I thought that if you weren’t aware from the get-go what was going on it would all seem more real, so I prepared the note. I knew you’d get it, but I expected you to be hanging around the dorms today like everyone else.” he said, and I placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t here. Do you need to go to the nurse’s office? I’ll help you.” I said.

“I can help too,” I heard and realised Kaito had not fled with the rest of them.

“Kaito, why didn’t you stop this?” I asked. “You let me through, so I know you didn’t agree with it.”

“I’m still in debt to Fuyuhiko,” he replied. “That’s the only reason I run with him.”

“Kokichi, why did you do that?” Shuichi asked, I had already asked that question, but I think Shuichi’s question had a slightly different meaning.

“Someone needed to stop Fuyuhiko. I get he’s on top and that’s fine, but the way he runs this place isn’t right. He always talks about finding it easy to kill people, so I decided to call his bluff. I was willing to actually die if I had to, but I didn’t really want to.”

“Why would you…?” Shuichi asked.

“Because… I know you guys don’t see me as your friend but, I see us all as friends here and I wanted to make this place better, even if I wasn’t going to be around to enjoy it.” he said, and nobody had any words. I didn't know much about Kokichi, what I thought I knew, perhaps was wrong. What he did was pretty crazy but it was also for everyone's sake. Maybe he didn't need to go that far, maybe he did but he had my respect. I lifted him up carefully and assisted him in walking and Kaito joined me, Kokichi was only small, so we didn’t need to both carry him, but we didn’t know what his injuries were, I suspected a broken rib, so we had to be careful.

“Kokichi, that was really fucking reckless,” I said.

“Yeah, I know,” he replied. “Fun though,” he said grinning.

“This place is full of psychos,” I muttered but I glanced to see Kaito grinning amused and Kokichi giggled. Right, definitely full of crazies. One of them, I was now worried about was Fuyuhiko, he looked distraught at the prospect of having killed someone. I had to find him after I got Kokichi to the nurse’s office.

Chapter Text

We got to the nurse’s office with Kokichi and she quickly moved from a sick student to help us with him and get him to a bed. He slowly climbed onto it with the nurse’s help.

“What happened?” she asked him, and he laughed.

“Hajime skateboards and I wanted to try it, so I did, and I flew right off some steps, really fucked it up.” He laughed even though it clearly caused him pain to do so. That wasn’t a bad cover story but now I felt fictional guilt. She looked at me and I laughed awkwardly.

“I uh… tried to stop him doing a stunt on the steps when he was just a rookie,” I managed and Kokichi laughed again.

“And where is this skateboard?” the nurse asked sceptically. Ah, yeah, that is where the good cover story becomes weak.

“Kazuichi was with us, he took it back up with his own,” Kokichi said. Nice.

“Alright, let me see where it hurts,” she said and began lifting up his shirt. My phone rang it was Nagito. I answered it.

“Hajime, you need to come to the roof, right now. Fuyuhiko’s up here, he’s… standing on the edge.” Nagito said. What the fuck? Panicked I hung up and just ran leaving Kaito with Kokichi. I ran so fast I thought I would fall over my own feet, heading up the stairs to meet Nagito, he was waiting for me by the door to the roof.

“He didn’t know I was there,” Nagito said. I stepped out and saw Fuyuhiko standing right on the edge. Did he mean to jump? Fuck. I was just a kid; I wasn’t trained to talk people off fucking roof ledges! I slowly stepped forwards.

“Fuyuhiko,” I began, and he turned to me, his face was soaked with tears.

“I fucked up.” He muttered.

“Are you… thinking about jumping?” I asked him.

“I don’t know!” he snapped at me. “I don’t fuckin’ know!”

“Kokichi is fine, he isn’t really dead.” I said and his despair turned back to anger.

“What? What the fuck?” he yelled and jumped down from the ledge coming towards me. Well, that was easy, I thought. But now he was coming for me. I backed up.

“Fuyuhiko, just stop!” I snapped. “Stop!” I yelled. “Now you know how you’d feel if you actually did kill someone.” I said and he halted. He gripped the sides of his head calling out in frustration. I think he was breaking. “Fuyuhiko, it was for your own good. Nobody here questions your leadership but maybe you could lead in a different way; nobody challenges it.” I said.

“You challenge it!” he snapped. What the fuck?

“I don’t have a problem with you being on top, with you leading us but you shouldn’t need to threaten people with knives or beat them. Kokichi’s in bad shape but he’ll be alright.”

“I have to… be on top…” he muttered and went to the edge where there was still a safety guard and he lent against it with his arms looking over it. I slowly moved to join him.

“Why?” I asked.

“I just do, alright!” he snapped.

“Fuyuhiko… I’ve said this before, we don’t have to be enemies.” I said and he sighed.

“You’d make a good leader, Hajime, that’s why you challenge me. Everyone respects you already and you only just fuckin’ got here!” he snapped.

“I don’t agree with bullying or people being pushed around, I always been that way, I have to do something about it. That’s how I ended up in here, too many fights.” I said.

“My old man put me in here, he said… I had to prove myself… I have to… fuck!” he snapped and then kicked the barrier, it wobbled, and we both jumped back fearing it was about to crash down off the edge of the roof and us along with it.

“Shit,” I muttered “some safety guard,” I added and then we looked at each other and at the fear on each other’s faces. Suddenly we both saw a funny side and laughed but he only laughed a little and then he sat down head in his hands again. I sat beside him. “Hey, it’s alright, Kokichi is fine and you’re still the leader here, nobody questions that but how about you stop throwing your weight around?” I suggested.

“My old man told me I was weak, I was pathetic, my height, my size… fuckin’ runt of the family, there was no way I could ever take over the family business from him, so he sent me here. He told me I had to stay on top the whole time whilst I was here. He went here, he was on top, he was the leader and I had to prove myself against all these other tough guys, or I’d be cut off.”

“That sucks,” I said.

“Yeah, it fuckin’ sucks!” he snapped.

“Fuyuhiko, I’m not looking to take your position, I’m no leader and I don’t want to be. I just want to make sure nobody gets hurt,”

“Exactly you’re a fuckin’ hero, Hajime, nobody can compete with that!”

“And this isn’t a competition, I’m not looking to run this place, you can do that just fine without the violence, how about it?” I asked him.

“I don’t… I don’t know another way,” he admitted and rubbed his face. “You tell me how I do this, huh? How about you tell me?” he snapped.

“I don’t need to; you can do it on your own. Your old man sounds like a real asshole, you don’t have to do it his way, be better than that. You’d still be on top.” I said and he looked as though he was thinking on my words.

“Shit. When I thought I’d killed Kokichi… it was all over for me. You’re right, I don’t want to actually kill anyone, the guilt… shit… I felt it. He’s an irritating little fuck but… I didn’t want to kill him. I just get angry.”
“You called him an irritating little fuck? You’re about the same size, man,” I said immediately regretting it from the look in Fuyuhiko’s eyes but instead I laughed.

“What the fuck?” he snapped.

“Come on, Fuyuhiko, it’s true,” I said ignoring the pounding heart inside my chest. What if he got angry and just tossed me off the edge?

“Shit,” he muttered disarmed. Phew.

“You already have everyone in order, they won’t fuck with you. How about cooling off on the violence? We all have to live here together; we don’t have to be enemies.” I said again.

“Hajime… you’re a good guy,” he said. “I’ll call a truce; I’m leaving you alone from now and I’ll… try and do things your way but I’m still on top here.”

“Yeah, I respect that,” I replied and smiled.

“Hajime… you have my respect, that aint easy to get. I got your back. I’m not the only guy to watch out for here. Others are just… not so obvious.” He said.

“I got your back, too, Fuyuhiko,” I said and held out my hand, he took it, and we shook on our truce.

Chapter Text

Fuyuhiko and I returned to the dorms and Fuyuhiko messaged some of his guys who had fled for fear of being accomplice to murder to let them know Kokichi was not dead. We walked back in, and the atmosphere was tense. All eyes were on Fuyuhiko as we entered, and he decided to address the boys in the dorm.

“Listen up, fuckers, Hajime told me all that was fake and Kokichi is alright. I never meant to hurt him so badly, but he dared to take something of mine. You should all know your place by now and you should respect mine. Do not disrespect me.” he said and then he went into his room. I looked around at everyone and then Nagito came to me.

“I heard every word you said out there to him, you were amazing! Really amazing!” He praised me and I felt my cheeks burn a bit at the attention. “Honestly, I never seen anyone be so cool!” his praise was turning into gushing.

“It was nothing, I didn’t want him to get hurt and I wanted him to stop hurting others.” I said.

“Hajime, I’m still impressed, if only Chiaki had seen you, I bet she would have fallen in love with you completely!” he said and now I knew I must be bright red by now. “How did your date go, by the way?” he asked but his enthusiasm had grown less.

“It went really well, was just disappointing to come back to that drama.” I replied.

“I’m glad, I wanted it to go well,” he said and smiled.

“We’re planning a second date,” I added.

“Oh really? That’s great!” his smile widened. He seemed a bit odd. Odder than usual.

“Nagito, are you ok?” I asked him.

“Sure, I’m great.”
“You sure you don’t mind me and Chiaki?” I asked again.

“Of course, I mind a little but if you like each other who am I to stop you?” he replied. So, he was bothered by my date with Chiaki. I should have known since he was too accepting before.

“I’m sorry, Nagito, its too late now, I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” I muttered annoyed that he hadn’t been honest with me.

“Neither do I so it’s fine, you should go on that second date, Hajime,” he said and then he went into his room. I just looked at the closed door a moment before I went into my own room. I pulled out my phone and text Chiaki.

Hey, today was great fun, what do you want to do for our second date? X

This time I consciously put the kiss ignoring the intense flutter of my heart as I did so.

Chapter Text

Fuyuhiko had warned me about others at this school to watch out for. He was clearly on top but perhaps there were even some he couldn’t keep under control. I couldn’t help but wonder who these were. I had begun to look at the others to see if I could work it out. Of course, there were some shady looking guys here, most of us had committed crimes of some description and this was a better option for rehabilitation than juvenile prison.

Kokichi did have a broken rib, so he was having to take it easy, but we were all there for him. I had noticed Nagito looking on as we helped Kokichi, the two of them were both somewhat loners but now Kokichi had everyone’s support, but Nagito was still alone. I did not want him to feel that way, so I tried to go to him, but he was a little cold towards me. I had come to really like Nagito, and I did not like this cold demeanour he had adopted. Tuesday’s art class came around and we were doing that project together so he would have to speak with me.

“Nagito… are you pissed at me?” I asked as we began on our artwork. He splatted red paint onto the canvas, looking far more like blood spatter than his original intended work of art. “Hey, cool it, you had a good thing going there, don’t ruin it.” I said.

“I’m not pissed at you,” he replied but it was unconvincing.

“Then what’s wrong?” I asked him.

“My dad answered a call to me, I said I’d given up, but I hadn’t, every now and then, I try again. He actually answered… he doesn’t want anything to do with me. They really have abandoned me here, Hajime,”

“Shit,” I muttered and painted on my blue colour, “I’m sorry, Nagito, that’s really awful.”

“I’m worthless after all, why would they want anything to do with me? Why should I be bothered by it? It’s all I deserve.” he splatted more paint on. He was ruining his work; I took his arm that held the paint brush.

“Hey, Nagito, you’re not worthless. You’re important to me, I value your friendship.” Who was I right now? Seeing Nagito upset was bothering me though.

“You’ll just abandon me too, Hajime, you and Chiaki will just go off together and leave me behind.” He said sounding depressed.

“That’s not gonna happen!” I snapped.

“It will. Eventually you’ll get sick of me too,” he pulled his arm free. He sounded really depressed and I was worried about him. I did like Nagito, he was a little crazy and kind of strange, but he was a good guy and he made me laugh. I enjoyed his company and I hated seeing him depressed like this.

“I’m not gonna get sick of you, Nagito!” I snapped and splatted some blue paint frustratedly onto the canvas ruining my side too. I looked at my side, then to Nagito’s and he was doing the same.

“At least they match now,” he muttered, and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Hey, do you want to hang out tonight?” I asked him.

“I’d rather be on my own,” he replied.

“That’s not healthy right now, Nagito.” I said.

“I don’t need you to look out for me, but if you really have to, I’ll be on the roof,” he muttered.

“I’ll meet you there, then,” I replied, and he did not look happy about it, but he was not ok right now, that much was obvious. If I was going to get used to this friend thing then I had to be there for my friends when they needed me.

 

Evening rolled around and I found Nagito on the roof as I promised I would but the first thing I was aware of was this burning smell. I see, so he was burning things up here. I guess he found it soothing. I followed that smell to behind the rooftop entrance.  

“Hey,” I said but he did not respond. He just set something else on fire and watched it burn but the look in his eyes was not his usual awe, it was darker. “Have you spoken to your psychiatrist, Nagito?” I asked him and he just looked at me blankly.

“When is your next date with Chiaki?” he asked dully.

“Probably at the weekend, might make it Friday, actually,” I said.

“Curfew is extended at least,” he muttered.

“I really like her, but if it is seriously upsetting you, I mean I feel bad because you liked her too.”

“And I like you, Hajime, its doubled but… I know nothing will ever happen between us or me with Chiaki, she doesn’t want a psychopath like me.” he muttered.

“Nagito, I hate seeing you like this. You’re always so vibrant but you’re just… blank.”

“I feel numb, that’s why I seem that way, Hajime.”
“So it’s because of what your father said?” I asked.

“Yeah, he hates me, they both hate me, but they have a good reason to.” He muttered. “I’d rather not talk about it though.” He muttered.

“That’s fine, Nagito but I’m here if you need me.” I said.

“I don’t need you.” He said looking at me with such a blank expression it was almost chilling. “Hajime, would you leave me alone now, please?” he asked, and I felt a pang inside my chest. I didn’t want to leave him alone; I was worried about him.

“Nagito, I’m not going to do that.” I said and he knocked over the most recent burning item and stood abruptly heading inside. I went after him and took him by the arm, but he pushed me away and then I lost my footing at the top of the stairs and fell down. Ouch. He stood at the top looking down at me.

“Urgh!” I muttered as I pulled myself to my feet.

“I didn’t mean to push you, but you shouldn’t grab people like that, Hajime. Are you hurt?” he asked but there was no sincerity in his voice.

“I’m fine, I was just… worried about you.” I said as I recognised my bruises from the fall.

“I’m not worth your concern, don’t waste your time.” Nagito said as he simply walked past me. It was true I didn’t know any of these guys all that well, but I knew this was not like Nagito. I did not try and chase after him this time and I was slightly relieved he was no longer on the roof; I was not about to leave him up there on his own. I went to walk back to the dormitories but then some students appeared before me. I recognised them but never had any sort of interaction with them until now. The one in front was about the same height as me, his hair was really long, and his cold red eyes just stared right into my soul. One of the other guys also had long hair, he was tall and slim and covered half his face with a mask. Standing beside him was a girl who had a similar look to him, and she stood very close by his side. Another guy had an intense glare, his face was pale, and his hair was black with a silver streak, he looked sort of gothic. One of the girls, stood closely to the first guy, she was very pretty and had a gothic-lolita style, she also had long dark hair and red eyes. The other girl was short and slim, wore glasses and her hair was in pigtails, she looked meek. I had not paid these guys much attention before, but I had thought they were strange and now they stood in my way.

“Hajime Hinata,” the red-eyed boy said in such a cold blank voice. “You interest me, not many people interest me. The world is full of boring people, so why do you interest me?” he began. The gothic girl let a quiet giggle and the tall slim boy wrapped his arms around himself.

“Ah! Isn’t it beautiful? The world is truly beautiful!” he said and the girl beside him slipped her arm around his waist.

“Yes, brother, it is, isn’t it?” she said and then looked right at me. Were these the ones Fuyuhiko was talking about?

Chapter Text

They made me feel nervous, even gave me a chill, something about them seemed so unnatural and so… disturbing. The one at the front, their apparent leader, he stood with a look in his eyes as though he had no soul, no humanity. The pretty gothic girl at his side appeared to be his girlfriend and she gave off some chilling vibes too. The tall slim guy in the mask and his apparent sister were just creepy and seemed way too close for siblings. The gothic guy with the silver in his hair was simply intense, he had said no words and neither had the short girl with glasses, but I still got weird vibes from them. I wanted to leave but they all blocked my way.

“What do you want?” I found myself asking but regretted it when the red eyed boy walked closer.

“Why do you interest me?” he asked again.

“Do you actually want me to answer that? Because I have no idea.” I replied.

“You have strong conviction, and you are brave, despite being scared all of the time.” I could not believe it; how did he know I was always scared? How could he possibly know that about me? I had no words, but I knew my expression gave away my fear and surprise right now. I just wanted to run; I was a coward. What was with these guys? The red-eyed boy went to reach a hand towards me, but I backed up quickly dodging him.

“What do you want?” I yelled at him, but he was not the one to answer me. His eyes just stared.

“He wants to know more about you, Hajime, as do I.” the pretty gothic girl said, and the tall slim guy let out a gasp of exhilaration as though he was holding back an orgasm and it creeped me out. I felt threatened, something about each one of these felt dangerous. Fuyuhiko had been dangerous, but it turned out he was not actually a bad guy he just felt like he had something to prove. These guys… these guys seemed predatory, and I was cornered prey.

“Can I leave, please?” I asked trying to control the tremble in my voice.

“Why?” the red-eyed boy asked.

“Because I’m asking to, I’d like to get back to the dorm.” I replied.

“And back to Nagito?” the gothic girl asked.

“Do not waste your time on him, he is beyond help, Hajime, you like to help people that much is clear, but he is beyond it.” the leader said.

“He isn’t, nobody is!” I snapped.

“Why do you like spending your time with him?” the gothic girl asked.

“He’s my friend!” I snapped.

“Is he?” the red-eyed boy replied. I still did not know all these guys names and they did not appear to be telling me.

“Why are you stopping me from leaving?” I asked forcefully, hiding my fear behind aggression.

“Oh… so fierce… I like it.” the gothic girl said.

“Its simply thrilling,” the tall slim girl said.

“Oh! Beautiful! I can hardly contain my excitement!” the tall slim boy said.

“Korekiyo, calm down, the best is yet to come,” his sister said placing a hand on his arm instantly calming him. I had one name now. Korekiyo.

“Why do you save people, Hajime?” the red-eyed leader asked. I was about to answer when a voice sounded behind them.

“Hey, fuckers, what are you doing?” it was Fuyuhiko. How did he know to come here? Perhaps it was just chance he found me, but I was still near the roof at this point. Those before me stepped aside and I saw he had some of his guys with him. The red-eyed boy appeared to hold Fuyuhiko’s gaze for a time, was that a challenge? “Leave him alone,” Fuyuhiko ordered. I saw my chance at the space they had now moved from, I hurried towards Fuyuhiko.

“Hajime, we are not finished here.” The red-eyed boy said.

“Yes, you are!” Fuyuhiko snapped and I was able to leave with him. He saved me. We headed back to the dorms.

“Thank you, Fuyuhiko,” I said as we did so, but I could feel the icy gazes of those weird people at my back.

“I owed you, Hajime for helping me before. Those are the ones I told you about.” He said.

“Yeah, I figured that, what the hell’s wrong with them?”

“Izuru Kamukura, the leader is twisted, he got all kinds of issues. Korekiyo Shinguji and his twin sister Kaori, don’t even go there that’s all kinds of fucked up. Celestia Ludenberg, Izuru’s girlfriend is a psycho so is the glasses one Toko Fukawa, she seems meek and mild, but she’s fucked up. Gundham Tanaka is the other guy, he doesn’t say a lot all the time but when he does, he doesn’t shut up and spews all kinds of nonsense, I don’t even think the other guys know what he talks about.”

“Well, at least I know all their names now, they didn’t even introduce themselves.” I said.

“Yeah, they’re creepy, each one of them.” Kaito agreed.

“I appreciate the back up there, I didn’t think they’d ever let me go.” I said.

“I told you, I got your back, since you got my respect.” He replied. “Nagito saw them approach you, he came and got me, if you wanted to know how I found you. He didn’t seem himself though, but he still wants to look out for you.”

“Yeah, about that, Nagito seemed quite depressed. I was worried about him.”

“Yeah, he does get dark sometimes, but he’ll be alright.” Fuyuhiko assured me, he really wasn’t as bad as I had first thought. I was starting to like him now that I felt I understood him.

We arrived back at the dorms, and I felt that sense of relief, I was safe again, I saw Mondo, Leon, Chihiro, my first friends here and they waved me over, Kazuchi was with them, I didn’t know him that well yet but he seemed like a good person too. I was safe with all my guys around me. Rantaro, Shuichi, Ryoma were with Kokichi who was resting on one of the sofas. They were good guys too, even the strange Kokichi, he was odd, but he was clearly a good guy. This was it; I had my friends around me now, the only one I didn’t see was Nagito, but I figured he was in his room as he had wanted to be alone. I would most certainly be locking my bedroom door tonight and I felt like I would not shower until I heard someone else going to the showers. I did not want to be approached alone again by that creepy group.

Chapter Text

Nagito did not appear the following day and when I knocked for him to see if he was going to class, he just told me to get lost. I turned to Mondo and the other guys. I was worried.

“Hajime, he’s depressed right now, I don’t think he’s coming.” Mondo said.

“I don’t want to just leave him, not when he’s like that.” I said. “Shit, what do I do?” I asked.

“Personally, I would send for his psychiatrist, let’s stop by the therapy lounges before class,” Rantaro suggested.

“It’s ok, I’ll just go, it wouldn’t be right if we were all late for class.” I said and they agreed.

“I’ll fill you in on anything you miss, Hajime.” Shuichi said.

“Thanks, I appreciate it.” I replied forcing a smile for his kind gesture yet again, these guys all had my back. I headed to the psychiatrist’s offices and lounges to find Nagito’s one. I was yet to have any counselling, perhaps they didn’t deem it necessary for me to have it. I didn’t really want it either. My phone dinged and I looked to see a text message from Chiaki.

Have a great day, Hajime, I look forward to the weekend and our second date. X

That made me smile but I would reply later. I arrived at the therapy lounges and when I got there, I noticed someone coming out of one of the offices. It was the short slim girl from that terrifying group. She looked at me.

“Y-you’re not st-stalking me, are you?” she asked looking worried.

“Uh, no, I’m not.” I replied.

“Well, you’re not n-nearly as beautiful as my master so… any advances will not be accepted you c-creep!” she said pointing accusingly at me. Master? Did she mean Izuru?

“Seriously, there’s no chance of that.” I replied feeling put out at the accusation. She looked horrified.

“Are you saying I’m ugly? You are aren’t you? I’m so ugly you c-can’t even stand the sight of me!” she yelled and then the door to the office opened and an adult looked out.

“Fukawa are you ok?” she asked.

“I’m f-fine if this… creep stops bothering me!” she replied.

“I was just passing through looking for someone, maybe you can help me.” I said ignoring the clearly unhinged girl.

“Now you j-just blank me?” she yelled.

“Fukawa, get to class.” Her psychiatrist said and she appeared to calm.

“F-fine.” She said and left.

“I’m looking for Nagito Komaeda’s psychiatrist, he’s in a bad way right now, I wanted to bring it to someone’s attention. I think he’s depressed.” I said.

“That would be Chisa Yukizome, a couple of doors down from me, she’s in her office.” The lady before me said and pointed the way. I headed there and knocked on the door. So Nagito’s psychiatrist was a woman? For some reason I had envisioned him having a guy as his psychiatrist. I knocked on the door and she called for me to enter. I walked in noticing a woman with long orange hair, she was really quite pretty and looked very kind.

“Hey, my name’s Hajime Hinata, I’m a friend of Nagito’s and I’m really worried about him. He’s been quite depressed, and he won’t come out of his room today.” I said and she looked genuinely concerned.

“I must go to him, I’m not really supposed to go into the boys dormitories but Nagito is my patient and he won’t speak to anyone else!” she said as she rushed to grab her keys and bag before she hurried out, locking her office behind her and we both headed to the dormitories. Shuichi had my back when it came to class and I wanted to be there for Nagito, he was my friend.

She went straight to his room and knocked on the door but there was no answer, she tried the handle, but it was locked. I was even more worried now; I could feel my heart pounding inside my chest.

“Nagito, it’s Chisa, please open the door.” she called in but there was no answer.

She fumbled in her bag and pulled out some keys using it to unlock the door and gained entrance. I suppose in a school like this it would make sense for faculty members to carry sets of keys to the dormitory rooms. She entered quickly.

“Nagito?” she asked into the dark room, and I hovered by the door. I saw him lying in his bed and he just rolled over turning his back to us. She went forwards and turned on the bedside lamp, respecting his wish for a dark room but needing some light. “Nagito… talk to me.” she said crouching beside his bed.

“Leave me alone.” He muttered.

“No, I will not leave you alone, I have a duty of care to see that you are ok.”

“Your care is a duty, not genuine.” He replied.

“It is genuine, I care for you, Nagito, you are my patient and I want to see you to recovery.”

“To better your career and recognition among your peers, it’s all self-serving in the end.” He replied darkly.

“Nagito, that is not true! I have passed up career opportunities because I like working at this school, you know that is not true!” she replied. “Nagito, look at me!” she hissed but he refused to turn around.

“I’m not worth your time, Chisa, I’m not worth anybody’s time, I’m trash, I’m nothing. My parents can’t even stand me.” he muttered. His father really messed him up from that phone call and I felt bad for him.

“Nagito, sweetie, you’re not trash, you’re not worthless. You’re a human being with feelings and desires just like the rest of us. You do have people who care for you, Hajime came to get me, he was really concerned for you.”
“Hajime needs to get out of my business.” Nagito replied. It hurt, I just wanted him to be ok.

“Hajime is your friend, Nagito, he cares about you.”

“It’s true,” I said.

“I should just… burn it all down.” Nagito muttered even quieter than his other mutters. It chilled me.

“Right, Nagito, you leave me no choice with those words. I have to call this in, and we have to admit you if you do not cooperate with me.”

“Ship me off to the mental hospital? Before I’ve even done anything. Typical.” He replied and then he turned around and sat up, climbing out of bed. He looked at me first as I stood in his doorway and then he looked to Chisa. His expression was dark. “Maybe I should do something so it can feel more justified.” He said and picked up his lighter that sat on his desk, we both moved to stop him, but I was there first since I was already standing, and I took his arm causing him to drop the lighter and I restrained him pinning him over the desk. He did not resist.

“Nagito, I know it hurts whatever your dad said to you, I know it hurts and its really shitty they aren’t supporting you, but they don’t deserve you. Nagito, you’re a good guy, a good friend and I… really care about you, so please just get help. Please, Nagito.” I said as I held him in place, and I realised tears were falling from my eyes. “Please,” I said again, “your parents are shitty parents, but you can have friends and we’ll support you!”

“You say that but you’re still the only person who bothers to speak to me at this school, Hajime.” He replied.

“It won’t always be like that, give it time.”
“I’ve been here longer than you, I have given it time and I’m still lonely.” He muttered and I noticed tears falling silently from his eyes now too, at least he was showing some emotion.

“Nagito, I’m always here, if you ever feel lonely, come and find me and we’ll just hang out, we ‘ll do whatever you want. I don’t care, I like spending time with your crazy ass, you’re fun to hang out with, but I don’t like it when you’re like this, it worries me.” I said and he just broke down and cried quietly.

“I don’t deserve you, Hajime.” He muttered softly.

“Yes, you do, Nagito.” Miss Yukizome said now standing as well. She came over and placed a hand on my arm. “Let him go,” she said softly and smiled; I obeyed, releasing him. “Hajime is a good friend, Nagito, you should take him up on his offer of friendship, everyone deserves a friend.” She said as Nagito straightened up. He looked at her and then I felt like there was something sticky on my hands where I had been holding his arm behind him. I looked down. Blood.

“Nagito!” I cried and grabbed his arm. He had self-harmed. Shit. He pulled his wrist from my grip and moved away slumping onto his bed.

“I’m depressed but I’m not going to kill myself. I just felt I deserved to feel pain.” He muttered.

“Nagito… I don’t want to have you admitted but… this looks really bad and it’s my duty.” Miss Yukizome said and pulled out her phone.

“Wait.” I said. “Please don’t, I think that would be the worst thing for Nagito, right now.”
“Is that your professional judgement?” she asked, and I felt small.

“No, it’s my judgement as a friend, I know he doesn’t want that, he wants more than anything to avoid that!” I insisted, hoping desperately that my pleas would be acknowledged. She looked at me and then to Nagito as though considering. I looked to Nagito, and his expression was still blank as he watched on waiting for the decision.

“Hajime, will you take Nagito to the infirmary and have his cuts seen to?” she asked, putting her phone away, and I felt a rush of relief.

“Yeah, I’ll stay with him too, if he’ll allow it.” I replied and Nagito stood, he began removing his pyjama shirt.

“Oh!” Miss Yukizome gasped and hurried out of the bedroom. I joined her giving Nagito a moment of privacy. “Hajime, this is against my better judgement, but I am trusting you to take care of him. I’ll be confiscating his keys so that he cannot lock himself in. You need to check on him.” she said.

“I will, I’m worried about him, Miss Yukizome, I’ll look after him.” I said and then Nagito came out fully dressed.

“Nagito, keys please.” She said and he handed them over obediently. She went back in and retrieved his lighter also confiscating that. It was for the best in his current mental state. I preferred excitable Nagito even if he still set things on fire, it was preferable to this darker Nagito. We left the dorms and headed towards the nurse’s office, Miss Yukizome going back to her own office.

“Hajime, do you… really see me as your friend?” he asked me.

“Yes, we are friends and I’ll look out for you.” I said.

“Nobody has… ever really been there for me like that, Hajime at least not for a long time. Thank you,” he replied.

“I got you, Nagito, I got your back.”

“If that’s the case, I got yours too.” He said and I felt like this was progress, he was accepting help and he was not pushing me away anymore. I had no idea he had such a dark side to him, and it was scary, but he was still my friend, and I would help him through this.

Chapter Text

As Nagito’s cuts were being cleaned by the nurse, I took a seat and text Chiaki back. I told her Nagito was in a bad way, since she was also his friend, I thought she would want to know. She replied with

I’ll be round after school. X

That made me happy, I would get to see her again but also that she wanted to be there for him too, I think he needed to see that there were people who supported him and cared for him even if his own parents had abandoned him. I wondered what would happen to him after school was over and we graduated if he had no home to return to. Perhaps my parents would allow me to bring him home with me, so he at least had somewhere to stay. The nurse finished with his cuts, and she bandaged over the worst ones, but she told him he could rest here a while and that I could stay with him.

“Komaeda,” the nurse said whilst she was at her computer, “I’ve had a message from Miss Yukizome, she is asking for my opinion and to check with you, she is recommending that we increase the dosage of your medication. My recommendation would be yes, just looking at your cuts and your entire demeanour I think it would be for the best.” she said.

“Then fine,” he replied and sat down on one of the beds.

“Nagito, Chiaki is coming by after school finishes today, she wants to see you.” I said to him as I sat in a chair beside the bed.

“You told her that I was a mess? Thanks, Hajime.” He replied sarcastically.

“It wasn’t malicious, she’s your friend too,” I said.

“Just ignore me right now, I’m not in my right mind, that’s obvious.”

“When are you in your right mind, huh?” I dared to tease. He looked at me, his eyes seemed so dark right now but at my teasing I saw a hint of light enter them once again, but he still didn’t smile.

 

The end of the day came by, and I was still with Nagito, we had left the nurses office and gone to our dorms. Nagito was just sitting on one of the couches, legs up curled around himself, I was sat beside him, and Chiaki was sat on a chair. She had a concerned expression on her face and not many words had been spoken just yet. Nagito seemed reluctant for conversation, and he barely looked at either of us. I noticed Chiaki’s eyes flitting to the bandages on his wrists, sticking out under his long-sleeved t-shirt. The cuts were not deep, of course but some had been worse than others.

“Did we want to play a game or something?” Chiaki asked trying to break the uncomfortable silence.

“Yeah, that’s a great idea!” I said enthusiastically trying to spur Nagito into agreeing.

“No, thanks, you two go ahead, I’ll just be the third wheel,” he muttered in response.

“No, you won’t, we’ll all play together,” Chiaki said smiling sweetly. Nagito looked at her, his expression was so blank but with a hint of danger.

“Why did you ever start talking to me, Chiaki? Why do you still hang out with me?” he asked.

“Because you looked lonely,” she replied.

“So, pity, now you feel obligated to keep it up.” He replied, his gaze was unwavering, but Chiaki did not falter.

“No, actually, after speaking with you, I found you to be quite interesting and fun to hang out with.” She said and he had no response, he finally averted his gaze and continued staring off into space. Chiaki stood from her seat and crouched beside him, looking up at him sitting on the sofa. “Nagito, we’re friends, we’re all friends and I value that friendship with all my heart. I believe you will get through this; can you believe in our friendship?” she asked, and he looked down at her, surprise in his eyes. “I don’t know Hajime that well yet, but he seems like a good guy. I know you though and I know that you are. You can be thoughtful and kind and having your friendship means a lot to me. It hurts when you push me away.” She said but she was smiling ever so sweetly up at him.

“Chiaki….” He muttered and I finally saw more emotion, a tear fell down his cheek. It was heart breaking seeing him this way. I heard people talking as the boys returned to the dorm.

“Come on, lets go find one of the consoles whilst they’re still available,” she suggested and stood, holding out her hand for him to take. He slowly did so, and we left the lounge before everyone returned. We sat down at one of the corner consoles and I looked through the games.

“What do we feel like playing guys?” I asked.

“How about we team up in a multiplayer fighting game against the hardest difficulty?” Chiaki suggested.

“Wow, really? I’ll suck at that but hey, let’s do it.” I replied finding the one I believed she was talking about. I put it in, and we plugged up our controllers. We each selected our characters, mine was a generic looking guy who I thought looked pretty tough, Chiaki selected a woman who looked just plain badass and Nagito selected a guy whose hair looked like fire. There’s my friend, Nagito, still drawn to things that remind him of the flame. I was impressed by Chiaki’s ability to get Nagito to join us, he had been so inanimate, and he still was but at least he was doing something now. We sat in a row in front of the TV and began our first battle. The game was one where you could tag in and out with your team and we started off pretty well until we got to higher level enemies, and I started to suck. Nagito’s character could actually use fire as an attack and my character had a varied move set. Chiaki’s female character could transform into some kind of beast. We generally made a pretty good team and we had lasted quite far; it was starting to get intense, and we accumulated a crowd watching us.

“Shit guys, are you doing this on insane difficulty?” Mondo asked taking a seat behind us with Leon, Chihiro and Kazuichi.

“Yeah, I suck.” I said feeling a little frustrated at the difficulty that was clearly out of my league.

“Shit, obviously Nagito’s character has something to do with fire!” Leon laughed but Nagito made no reaction as he concentrated. My character was already dead, but he would come back at the next round if these two could carry me through it.

“Chiaki, I’m going to do that move where I tag you in and you finish this guy, ok?” Nagito said.

“Mm,” Chiaki replied, and I noticed the concentration on her furrowed brow, she was biting her bottom lip. It was so cute. If she was to become my girlfriend, I would have a gamer girl at my side. That was pretty awesome. Nagito did that move, and Chiaki was tagged in following it through beautifully and she continued to kick our opponent’s ass but then he switched it around and got her down to one health, but she finished him with a sneak attack.

“Ohhhh! Man, that was awesome!” Mondo cried and I looked around to see others had accumulated. I think I picked a really tough game, no wonder I was out of my league.

“We’re at the final boss, guys,” Chiaki said. I felt pressured with everyone watching. Others had joined, Rantaro, Shuichi, Ryoma and Kokichi who they pulled up a chair for since he had that broken rib. I readied myself as the final battle began.

“Shit! He’s huge and fast, how can you be both?” I panicked.

“Relax, Hajime, use that move where you psyche him out and then capitalise on it.” Nagito suggested. He was right, that had gotten me out of situations before. I did it! I was holding my own, but I felt it was time to let Chiaki or Nagito do some damage, so I tagged out swiftly. I had done some damage, but I was aware of the pressure getting to me. Nagito was tagged in, and he set the enemy on fire and then charged at him hit him with a combo and then tagged out. Chiaki was up and she hit multi-combos, damn she was good, it was kind of hot. No, it was hot. I started to feel a bit flustered but for a different reason now.

“Hajime, I’m tagging you in.” she said.

“Huh?” I asked trying to snap myself out of it and I was up. No, shit! I lost it and the guy was kicking my ass. I was really damaged. I managed to hit a couple of combos and but then he hit me with a special and I was finished. “Fuck! I’m sorry guys!” I said feeling like I let them down.

“Its ok, Hajime, we got this. We’ll defeat him in your memory.” Nagito said sounding a little more like himself. I looked at him and he had life back in his eyes as he was instantly tagged in at my death. He hit the guy with another multi-combo and then set him on fire, this final boss had a lot of health but at least he had already used his special on me, it would take time to build that up again. Nagito tagged Chiaki in, and she strung multi-combos on the enemy, it was fluid and everyone in the room watching were going wild with anticipation of the final outcome. Chiaki transformed into her beast version and hit the enemy with everything she had but suddenly the boss did a move which seemed to power up his special fast. What the hell? That’s not fair! I wanted to scream as he hit her with it and finished her off.

“No!” I cried out as her character died. Nagito was tagged in instantly and the boss was quite damaged at this point, but his moves were super-fast in compensation for it.

“Go on Nagito!” I heard Kokichi cry out.

 Nagito hit the final boss with fire and then a multi-combo finishing him. Nagito gasped.

“I did it!” he cried out looking much brighter. “No, we did it, we made a great team, but I thought I was done for!” he said looking at us. He even smiled.

“That was fucking awesome, guys!” Leon cried out.

“I can’t believe you beat that game on the hardest difficulty, that’s not easy to do.” Mondo said.

“We did it,” Chiaki said smiling sweetly at us both. I looked from her to Nagito and smiled at them both. “That was so much fun!” she said, and my heart warmed. She was so cute; I was happy I got to spend some time with her mid-week too and I was happy she had come by to help Nagito. I think she really did help him; he looked a little better. Mondo patted him on the back.

“Nice one, for dealing the final blow, that boss is a beast!” he praised. Nagito smiled and then he looked at Chiaki and rested his eyes finally on me. I smiled and he returned it. I loved these guys and my crush on Chiaki had only intensified after tonight. I instantly missed her after she went back to her school. My heart pounded when I thought of her, but it was worse when I was around her. I’d see her again soon, on our second date.

 

Chapter Text

The night of our gaming session with Chiaki, after she left, I sat up with Nagito a while, I took my bedding and used some of the cushions from the couches to bed down on his floor. He had been a bit reluctant but then he decided the company would be nice and we talked a little until we fell asleep. When we awoke in the morning, he did seem a little better, I think he may have just been feeling very alone after whatever his awful dad said to him on that phone call. He wasn’t completely himself that fast, of course but he seemed better. He was coming to class which I was relieved as I didn’t want to spend too much time playing catch up. Shuichi had got us notes on what we missed in class yesterday which was kind of him, it was important kids like us didn’t fall too far behind in our studies since we’d already had a bad start.  

“Hajime, you bedding down with Nagito, now?” Mondo asked me when we all awoke that morning, and I was returning the couch cushions.

“Cosy?” Leon teased.

“I was just… keeping an eye on him, that’s all.” I replied.

“I saw those, uh, bandages.” Kazuichi said looking awkward.

“He didn’t try and kill himself, if that’s what you’re thinking,” I said.

“Just cut himself up? He’s even more of a psycho than I thought,” Mondo replied, and I was angered, I grabbed him by his jacket.

“Don’t say shit like that!” I snapped.

“Hey, easy, bro,” Mondo said holding his hands up showing no willing to defend himself and I released him. “Wow that boner for Nagito’s pretty strong, huh?”

“Its not like that, I told you! I just like him alright, he’s a good guy. He’s a bit… I know you guys don’t like him or whatever, but he needs support right now, he needs people around him but if you’re going to help don’t crowd him, I don’t think that would be good either just lay off on the Fire Freak and all that.” I asked them and then Nagito came out of his room.

“Hey, man, that fight was awesome last night! You guys really kicked ass!” Leon said directing the praise to Nagito.

“Thanks,” Nagito muttered.

“You alright, Nagito? You had a tough one yesterday, huh?” Mondo asked but looked a little awkward, was this Mondo trying? Taking on board the things I said? I looked at him and smiled. I clasped a hand on his shoulder as appreciation and he looked at me offering a smile. I had come to really care for these guys. Nagito especially although I wasn’t completely sure why. I just knew I liked him. My first impression of him were that he was strange and completely nuts, but he was deeper than just that, he had demons, like the rest of us and we’d help fight those demons that plagued him right now. The last days of this school week went by and the guys invited Nagito to lunch with us both of those days and I hoped it would stay that way even after he recovered.

Saturday morning came by. Saturday the day of my second date with Chiaki, I wasn’t quite so nervous this time, we had been texting a lot during the week and having her round on Wednesday was great fun. When I got up, I realised Nagito had been up a while, he was sitting reading a book in the lounge, fully dressed, and showered. That was a good sign. He broke his reading to greet me, he was still not as bright as he usually was, but he seemed much better. I had arranged to have breakfast with Rantaro this morning as I had not fully had a chance to fill him in on my first date since when I returned the drama between Fuyuhiko and Kokichi had unfolded. I went to the cafeteria with him, Shuichi and Ryoma joining us. As I left, I noticed Kokichi hobbling towards Nagito and he sat with him, they began conversing. I wonder if Kokichi was trying to be supportive too. I was uncertain about that guy, he was clearly a good guy with good intentions, but I still felt he should be watched a little, he was unpredictable, but he subdued Fuyuhiko, that was an amazing achievement. Although, it had become clear he was not the only problem, now he was no longer a problem at all. Izuru Kamukura and his gang of creeps played through my mind, but I would put them out of it for now, I had a date but first breakfast.

I sat with Rantaro, Shuichi and Ryoma and we ate our lunch, I had not spoken much to Ryoma, and Shuichi was quiet as well, but he had helped me with my homework before, so I had spent some time with him.

“So, how’d the date go, and you got a second one today, so that already answers my question. I still want to hear about it,” Rantaro asked

“A week later and I’m finally getting to tell you,” I laughed.

“Yeah, it’s been a crazy week though,” he replied.

“Well, she’s really cool, it went well, I tried to help her with her homework, but it was math and I suck at that.” I laughed awkwardly.

“You don’t actually,” Shuichi said.

“I kinda do, but I helped where I could, and I think she appreciated that. She’s pretty cool, we have a lot in common,”

“You mean games?” Ryoma asked and I laughed.

“No, more than that, ideals and stuff like that. I suck at games too.” I laughed again.

“Actually, the other night, you were holding your own, sure you died more than Chiaki and Nagito, but you still landed plenty of hits on those higher levels, it was cool.” Rantaro said.

“It was impressive, but that girlfriend of yours is a master gamer, so don’t compare yourself to her.” Ryoma said.

“She isn’t my girlfriend just yet, we’re still dating,” I replied.

“If the second date goes well, I think you can ask her out officially,” Rantaro said.

“Really?” I asked, feeling nervous at the thought.

“Yeah, I think that should be ok,” Shuichi agreed.

“How did you and Kaede start dating?” I asked curious. I had not spoken much to Shuichi’s girlfriend, but they looked like they had a good bond. Shuichi looked a bit awkward at my question.

“I… well, I always kind of liked her but we were so different, she’s so confident and self-assured, she’s determined and when she sets her mind to something she doesn’t give up until she achieves her goal. I think that’s really admirable.” He said.
“I urged him to ask her out because she seemed to like him, always made a point of talking to him but he chickened out.” Rantaro teased.

“The lady ended up asking him instead.” Ryoma added.

“She asked you?” I questioned.

“Yeah,” Shuichi blushed a little, only very slightly but I noticed.

“They’ve been tight ever since,” Rantaro said.

“Have you guys….” I can’t believe I was asking this but even upon second guessing I still asked, “how far have you guys… gone in your relationship?” I asked him and he looked really uncomfortable.

“Uh… that’s… private,” he muttered pulling his cap down a little more over his eyes.

“That means he’s still a virgin,” Ryoma said, “there is nothing wrong with waiting, both have to be ready and when the time is right, it will happen,” he added. I smiled.

“Yeah, I agree with that.” I said. We finished up breakfast and I was to meet Chiaki for lunch, so I still had some time. I messaged her to see if she was awake and she promptly replied. I smiled. I could not wait to spend more time with her on my own again. I wanted to get to know her even more, but she had already impressed me, her ideals much like my own where she hated to see people bullied, where she felt the need to stand up to it and how she had helped Nagito in a way I could not. She really was amazing.

Chapter Text

I met with Chiaki, and we found a nice little restaurant that was perfect for lunch, and they set us at a perfect table in the corner. It felt very private and cosy, it was still bright in here since it was lunchtime so not exactly romantic but that would have put more pressure on me.

“How is Nagito doing?” she asked like any good friend would.

“He seems a little better, he came to class the rest of the week and he was up before me this morning, so he isn’t wallowing under the duvet anymore.” I replied.

“I’m so glad,” she smiled sweetly, her pink eyes full of warmth. I swallowed, feeling a little nervous. I had never met anyone as cute as her who was also such a kind person.

“You and Nagito seem close, he needs people like that,” I said.

“I really like Nagito, I like him a lot but not like… as a boyfriend, I think.” She said.

“You think?” I asked.

“Hmm,” she thought on it a moment. “What about you, Hajime?” she asked.

“What do you mean?”
“Would you like him as a boyfriend?” she asked and then I saw a slight curl of her lip, but it was only there a moment. She was teasing me. I laughed.

“Alright, let’s move on,” I said. “I should have asked this last time but what’s your ideal date?” she cocked her head slightly.

“Why do I feel like I’ve just entered a dating show?” she asked me, and I laughed again, blushing a little feeling awkward, realising that question was a bit dating show style.

“I’m sorry,” I felt really awkward now. “Um… what’s your ideal day out with friends?” I asked her.

“Still a bit dating show but I’ll answer it.” she said, and I cringed. Was I blowing the second date? “Arcades, then maybe a trip to the beach but I always struggle to find a bikini that fits me,” she said, and my eyes darted to her large breasts, but I immediately looked away blushing fiercely. I hadn’t meant to look there! Damn it!

“Uh… yeah… me too…” I replied awkwardly and she laughed, I hadn’t even meant to make a joke, but I realised I had so I went with it and joined her laughter. Even her laugh was so cute, it warmed me, seeing her smile and hearing that sweet gentle laugh. “So, the beach, is there one near here? Maybe we could get some friends together and go one Saturday before the weather gets too cold?” I suggested.

“I think that would be nice,” she said smiling.

“Oh, I didn’t tell you about Kokichi and Fuyuhiko, did I?” I asked.

“No,”

“Kokichi had a little plan to reign Fuyuhiko in, he shouldn’t be a problem now, he’s actually been pretty cool with me after I talked to him.” I didn’t go into details too much, some of what Fuyuhiko had said to me was obviously very personal but he was vulnerable at the time. “He seemed like a real bad guy, but he isn’t when you see under the surface,” I said.

“That’s good news!” she smiled.
“Yeah but… there are these other guys at school and girls too, they creep me out, they approached me and-“
“Izuru Kamukura?” she asked me.

“Yes,” I replied, surprised and she looked concerned.

“Hajime, stay away from him, and anyone who associates with him,” she said.

“You know him?” I asked.

“He’s been quiet for a while, but I knew he was at the school, I know him… from before,” she said.

“Serious?”

“We went to the same middle school, Hajime, he is very dangerous, his ideals alone are dangerous,” she said.

“I don’t intend to cosy up with them, it’ll be fine,” I said.

“But the fact that he’s taken an interest in you… he approached you, right? Hajime, I’m worried,” she said with a furrowed brow, she even looked cute in her concern.

“You’re worried about me?” I asked with a smile.

“Hajime, I’m serious, there was always something off about him, he just gives off this dangerous aura.” She said.

“I know, I felt it, they were all creepy as hell too,” I replied. “I’ll be fine, I even got Fuyuhiko backing me up now,” I tried to assure her. “He runs that school, everyone knows that.” I added.

“Yes, alright, but I’m still worried.” She said and sat back in her seat. “Hajime…” she started to blush, “I’m worried because… you’re a nice guy and I… like you a lot. I have had a lot of fun on our dates.” She could barely meet my eyes; she was blushing even more.

“Chiaki… do you want to… start a relationship?” I asked her and she went redder still.

“I would… like that… very much, I think,” she replied and then finally met my eyes and smiled. I had a girlfriend, and my girlfriend was Chiaki Nanami, an awesome gamer girl with a kind heart. After lunch, we just went for a walk holding hands as boyfriend and girlfriend. My heart was fluttering in my chest the whole time, I had never had a girlfriend before, but nobody had ever interested me as much as Chiaki did.

Chapter Text

Chiaki and I were now a couple, I had never had a girlfriend before and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, we held hands and walked and talked and all that but apart from those things I was clueless. Would I have to kiss her on the lips? The idea of that caused me huge anxiety, I wanted to kiss her, of course I did but then I was concerned if I did would I be terrible at it? What if I went in for a kiss and she pulled away because she wasn’t ready? What if my breath wasn’t as fresh as I thought it was? Maybe I just shouldn’t breathe when I did kiss her. All these thoughts ran through my head and my chest felt tight. I couldn’t stand this anxiety any longer. I stopped her as we walked through the park.

“Chiaki…” I began but the words were lost.

“Hajime, I’m nervous too, I haven’t had a boyfriend before, but I like you.” She said.

“I… obviously like you too… I don’t know how to be… as a couple.” I said blushing, and she smiled.

“We should just do what feels natural, I think, instead of worrying too much about what we should be doing,” she replied, and she was right. Why was she so awesome?

“Shall we… sit for a while?” I asked her, it was still afternoon, and the weather was holding out. She smiled and we sat on the grass.

“Hajime, it might help us both if we lay down some expectations of this relationship, or explore things about each other in conversation, it might alleviate some anxiety, for us both.” She suggested.

“Yeah… do you want me to start?” I asked, when I wanted her to begin but if she was also suffering from anxiety, I would take the burden. She smiled sweetly.

“No, I will,” she said, and my heart warmed, was she doing the same thing as me? “How about you ask me a question?”

“Ok, what… drew you to me? Why did you agree on a date?” I asked.

“Well, first of all when I saw you, I was very attracted to you physically and it was interesting because you were new and already being challenged by Fuyuhiko. They don’t normally initiate people that way. Then I learned you were a good guy with strong ideals of which I agree.” She finished. “Next question,”

“How about we take it in turns?” I suggested and she smiled, looking relieved she was not going to constantly be on the spot.

“Why did you ask me out?” she fired.

“You’re very pretty and seemed like a nice girl, I wasn’t sure I deserved the chance to date a nice girl like you but… I would regret it if I never asked.” she blushed.

“Thank you, Hajime,”

“My question, do you have a thing for bad boys?” I asked her and she looked surprised.

“Why do you ask that?”

“Some of the guys think the nice girls at your school have a thing for bad boys and hang out with us for that reason, because we’re at that school.”

“For some that might be the case, but I wasn’t interested in you because you go to that school, Hajime, I don’t see you guys as ‘bad boys’ we’re all just teenagers and some of the people at your school have just perhaps made some bad choices or… are like Nagito and have psychological difficulties which likely stems from childhood traumas and experiences so that school is equipped to help.” She said and a realisation set in. I had not even thought about that, Nagito and some of the other guys were likely the way they were due to the actions of others, causing them to develop mental health issues. It was upsetting to think about. I knew a little about why Fuyuhiko is probably the way he is, pressure from his father to be a certain way. I knew nothing about Nagito, except that his own parents rejected him but that was fairly recent, his mental health issues were already there. “Hajime are you ok?” she asked.

“Y-yeah, I just… do you know anything about Nagito’s childhood?” I asked.

“You like talking about Nagito, don’t you?” she asked but was smiling.

“I want to understand him a bit more,” I replied.

“Yeah, I get that, I don’t know all that much about his past.”
“Right,” I muttered.

“My question,” she said. “How do you define your sexuality?” she took me by surprise, why was she also questioning my sexuality? Fuck. I was a bit annoyed, but I tried to reign it in.

“I… I’m straight,” I replied.

“Hm, are you sure?” she asked.

“Why?” I replied annoyance coming out now.

“I was just curious, personally, I’m interested in guys, but I don’t think I’d be opposed to being with a woman.” she said, and I was surprised.

“Really? So does that mean you’re bisexual?” I asked.

“No, it would be defined as… bi-curious, I think.” She replied. She looked so cute as she pondered.

“I never really thought about it,” I said.

“I ask because you often steer the conversation to Nagito, although this time, I mentioned him first…. But I wondered if you had any interest in him that way. He is attractive.”

“You… think he’s attractive?” I asked, feeling a bit jealous, I had thought he was more attractive than me and got jealous at their friendship before.

“Is that a problem?” she asked.

“No, I guess not. I suppose… he is… why are we talking about this?” I asked.

“Does it make you uncomfortable, Hajime, discussing sexuality and attraction? I thought it was a good conversation topic.”

“Alright then, what do you think about Rantaro?”

“He’s very good-looking and seems like a nice guy but I feel like… he’s holding something back and he’s also not really my type.” She said.

“Wow. Here I was thinking he’d be everyone’s type!” I decided to lighten up and make a joke, “he might even be my type!” I said.

“Oh, so it’s Rantaro who is your guy crush, I see.” She joined the joke and we laughed.

“So… you said you were curious, who would be your type when it comes to girls?” I asked her.

“Um… I think Sonia is really beautiful and she’s kind,”

“That’s the foreign girl, yeah she is beautiful,” I replied.

“Should we have a threesome?” she asked without even blushing and I almost choked on saliva. She laughed. “I was just joking,” I was relieved, I had not even had one girl in my bed let alone two at the same time!

“If I can make one thing clear, it seems everyone thinks I have a crush on Nagito because I like him, I like spending time with him, I feel like they think it’s a crush because they don’t understand why I would want to hang out with him otherwise. Its quite hurtful that others can’t see past his psychological issues.” I said.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” she said.

“Nagito has a crush on me, though,” I blurted out and laughed. She laughed too.

“Yeah, I get that, you’re a really great guy, Hajime, from what I’ve seen so far. I don’t blame him; he has good taste.”

“You would say that because you’re my girlfriend,” I said without even thinking and she appeared taken back but then smiled. I don’t know what compelled me to do so but her hand was resting at her side on the grass, and I just placed mine nervously over it, but I smiled. She returned that smile and was blushing as she did so. Would now be the right time for a kiss? I wondered. It might be too soon. She looked at me and we sat closer, her eyes were uncertain, but they held mine, and I felt my heart pounding inside my chest. Is this a hint? Did she want me to kiss her? She looked like she might want to. I went to lean in, and she did not turn away, but my nerves got the better of me and I pulled away. Damn it, Hajime, I think that was it and you blew it!

Chapter Text

I spent most of Saturday with Chiaki, we made a trip to the arcades walking past the skateboarding section of the park and Chiaki’s grip on my hand tightened.

“Hajime! I’d like to watch you skate again, sometime, I mean… if you wouldn’t mind, it looks cool.” She smiled up at me.

“I don’t mind but… I don’t want to embarrass myself again,” I said.

“You won’t,” she replied with confidence.

“Maybe, some day,” I said. “Hang on, before we hit the arcades I just gotta do something,” I said pulling out my phone. I wanted to check on Nagito, I know what Chiaki said about me talking about him, I did have him on my mind since I was still a little worried about him and I had been away for some hours.

Hey, how are you doing?

I asked and I got a swift response.

Enjoy your date with Chiaki.

That was all he said, not really answering my question. I frowned.

“Are you ok?” Chiaki asked me.

“I just text Nagito, y’know, checking on him and he didn’t really answer my question as to whether he was alright, he just said to enjoy our date.”

“I’m sure he’s ok but I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to go back and check on him,” she replied.

“No, its ok, I’m sure you’re right,” I said, and we continued to the arcades. We started on a racing game which was great fun and really broke any awkward tension between us as we played a little dirty running each other off the road and just having fun with it. Chiaki beat both me and the computer of course.

“You’re good at all games, except dating sims, right? You just kick ass whatever you play,” I laughed.

“I do lose sometimes, it wouldn’t be fun if I just won every time, sometimes I have to play games on the highest difficulty setting to give me a challenge.” She replied.

“That’s really awesome,” I said. “Did you want anything to eat or drink?” I asked as we passed a food stand.

“Maybe some water,” she took out her purse.

“No, I’ll get them,” I said taking out my wallet and buying two waters.

“Thank you, Hajime, I’m having a really nice time,” she said as I handed her water.

“Me too,” I smiled. “What did you want to play next?” I asked and then my phone rang. “Ah, sorry.” I said and pulled it out of my pocket. It was Mondo. “Hey,” I said.

“Hajime, how’s it goin’?” he asked.

“Yeah, I’m good, am I needed back or something?” I asked him.

“No, but some of us were gonna get together later, this band is playing at a local theatre, we were gonna see if you and Chiaki wanted to join us?”

“I’ll ask Chiaki, who’ve you rounded up so far?” I asked.

“Leon’s trying to ask Sayaka, but he keeps chickening out, Chihiro’s coming and Kazuichi, Rantaro, Shuichi, Kaede, Ryoma, Mukuro probably Miu and Maki too. I’m not sure about anyone else though. There will probably be girls from that nice school, and other kids from around.”

“What’s the band called?” I asked.

“Hope Springs Eternal, they’re pretty good,” he said.

“Hang on,” I said and looked to Chiaki. “Mondo’s asking if we want to see the band Hope Springs Eternal later on tonight?” I asked.

“Hmmm,” she pondered, “that might be fun, I think,” she finally replied, and I smiled.

“Yeah, sure, what time do we need to be back?” I asked.

“Soon, we’re gonna grab some food and then head out,” he replied.

“Alright, thanks, Mondo,” I replied, and we hung up the call. I looked to Chiaki. “So, a band, huh, this should be fun.” I said, a little uncertain as I hadn’t heard them before.

“Yeah, I like the lead singer,”

“Oh, you do, huh, then I guess I really do have to check this out, size up my competition,” I teased, and she smiled.

“It’s not a competition, it’s not as though I’m a prize, Hajime, it would be a pretty poor prize if that was the case, I think.”

“No, you’re wrong,” I said and took her hand, my heart fluttered, and she was blushing, so I guessed hers was too. “Come on, let’s head back,” I said, and we left the arcades.

Chapter Text

Chiaki and I headed back to our schools, she would grab some food and meet her friends before meeting back up with us later. I would eat with my friends too. After food, we went back to the dorms, there I didn’t see Nagito, his bedroom door was open, so I peered in, but he wasn’t there. I looked to the guys.

“Hey, anyone seen Nagito today?” I asked.

“I think he went to the roof,” Kokichi told me. I decided to check on him before I went out for the evening, I wondered if he felt like joining us. I saw him sitting and looking out to the sky as it set. It was looking beautiful as before and I sat beside him.

“Hey, how are you doing? You didn’t really answer my question in my text,” I said.

“I wasn’t going to tell you that I wasn’t ok, I didn’t want you to worry on your date with Chiaki, but I wasn’t going to lie and say that I was ok. I am better though, you really helped me, Hajime, so did Chiaki. I’m starting to see that you’re both real friends. I wanted to be your friend, Hajime, that’s why I came to say hi and introduce myself when you first arrived. A new person always grants that opportunity, but it doesn’t usually go well for me. I felt like you might be different.” He said and I smiled.

“I thought you seemed friendly, but I was so opposed to making friends when I first arrived.”

“Well, I’m glad we’re friends, Hajime,” he looked at me and smiled. At least he was smiling. I was pleased.

“I’m glad too,” I replied. “Are you coming tonight to see that band?” I asked.

“No, it isn’t really my thing, loud music and all that, I do like them, but I prefer to listen at my own noise level.” he replied.          

“Are you gonna be ok?” I asked him.

“Yeah, Kokichi isn’t going either, obviously with his broken rib, he asked me if I wanted to play a card game I said yes, but I know he always cheats.” Nagito said.

“I’m glad you got something to do,” I replied.

“How was your date with Chiaki?” He asked.

“We’re… I asked her out and she said yes, we’re together now.” I replied feeling a bit awkward telling him that.

“Well, you certainly didn’t hang around.” Nagito muttered.

“The guys said it would be ok to ask her out on the second date, so I did, do you think it was too soon?”

“No, it’s fine, I’m glad but obviously I am a bit jealous. You have to… treat her well, Hajime,” he said and rested his chin on his knees as he hugged them to himself.

“I will, Nagito, she’s a great girl,” I replied.

“Yeah, she is. You better get going,” he said.

“Right, try and beat Kokichi even if he is cheating,” I said smiling but then left. He was still not quite himself; I hoped his medication would kick in soon and we could hang out and laugh like we usually do. Rantaro was right when he said you can form bonds quickly at this place because I had done so. I met the guys who were waiting for me in the dorms, and we headed out to meet the girls before hitting the gig. I was a bit nervous seeing Chiaki again, but I took her hand as we walked to the gig. I noticed Kaede kiss Shuichi as she met him. We might be able to be like that one day, he seemed quite shy, but I completely understood that. Kaede was a pretty girl and she seemed quite vibrant in personality, but I had not really spoken to her myself. I noticed Kaito and some of Fuyuhiko’s other guys were also headed to the gig, but it looked like Fuyuhiko had opted out of going because I didn’t see him. I hoped he had apologised to Kokichi, he was struggling with his injury which would take a while to heal. A broken rib looked painful, I saw his bruises and he hobbled around as though in constant pain, but he did not really show it other than that, he was tough. I was thankful to him for what he did reigning Fuyuhiko in, sacrificing his body in the process. I still wasn’t sure I understood him though, perhaps I should spend more time with him so I could get used to him, he had trusted me to help him in executing his plan, but I wished I’d had a heads up and was there in time to stop him getting hurt, I guess he probably felt that way too.

We walked towards the gig, and I could hear music coming out of the building, I was told it was the support act right now, but that Hope Springs Eternal were up next. They must be a popular band, I thought as we got inside to see lots of teenagers. I wondered if I would like them, everyone else seemed to. Nagito was right though, it was loud. The support band finished and then I saw the main band beginning to set up on the stage. The band consisted of two girls and two guys. The drummer had some crazy hair, long and brown sticking up in all directions. One of the girls had blue and pink bits in her long dark hair, including her fringe. The other girl had darker skin and in the lights of the stage I noticed she had bright blue eyes, a striking contrast to her darker skin. The singer appeared to be a short guy who looked quite average.

“That’s the singer you like?” I asked Chiaki as she stood beside me.

“Yeah, he’s really down to earth.” She replied.

“You seem to have a type,” I said, “he’s really short though,” I added.

“So am I,” she replied, she was petite, and it was cute. “Don’t worry Hajime, I’m not interested in him, we’re together and I’m happy about that.” she said looking up at me and I smiled. Leon and Mondo had hit the crowd ready to start rocking out but some of the others seemed to have taken up a base at one of the tables. I decided to join them there, taking Chiaki with me.
“So, are you guys a couple now?” Rantaro asked as I sat.

“Yeah,” I said and realised she was blushing. I felt a bit flushed as well.

“That’s so cute!” Sonia said smiling. “I’m really happy!” she said and then I noticed her looking at Kazuichi as though it was involuntary. I definitely felt she liked him, but he looked away from her. Was he just not interested? She was very beautiful, I thought. A beautiful foreign girl fluent in Japanese. Her long blonde hair was pretty, but I still preferred Chiaki, of course. I looked at her now, we were still holding hands as we sat, but I became increasingly aware of my hand’s clamminess. Did she think it was gross? I worried but she wasn’t letting go. I didn’t really want to let go of her hand, I liked holding it.

“Hey, guys!” we heard the singer say into his microphone and everyone screamed his name.

“Makoto!” excited cries sounded through the room.

“Thank you all so much for coming to see us, it’s great to be here again!” he continued. “We’re going to start off with our song Hope’s Tears,” he said, and everyone cheered then the music started up. It didn’t sound too bad, and the more I heard the more I liked it.

“Yeah, these guys are pretty good.” I said looking at Chiaki.

“The best thing is they’re really cool people, the drummers a bit strange but Makoto is really kind,” Chiaki replied, and I smiled and then looked to see Sayaka and Rantaro talking together. I wondered if she did like him, but I felt for Leon if she did, I knew how much he liked her. I kind of hoped he would get the courage to ask her out but right now, he was busy rocking out with some of the others in the crowd, missing an opportunity. I wouldn’t want to be in competition with a guy like Rantaro over a girl, I would definitely lose. But then, Chiaki said he wasn’t really her type. I guess she liked average guys like me and that Makoto.

“How long have you guys been together?” I asked Shuichi and Kaede.

“About eight months,” Kaede replied.

“That’s pretty cool,” I said.

“Kaede plays the piano and I watch her at concerts sometimes, she’s really good at it.” Shuichi said.

“Thanks, Shuichi,” Kaede replied.

“I’d like to see you play, sometime,” I said.

“Really?” she asked with bright eyes.

“Sure, I think it would be pretty cool,” I smiled.

“Well come along next time with Shuichi, I would welcome the extra support!” she said.

“I’d like to come too,” Chiaki said and Kaede looked really pleased. I enjoyed Kokichi’s violin playing so I think I would enjoy the piano too.

After a while Mondo and Leon came back to us, they were hyped but also seemed drunk. They wouldn’t sell alcohol to kids, surely so I imagine they had smuggled some in with them. I hope they don’t get caught and kicked out of the venue.

“Hajime!” Mondo called and reached over the table to grab me.

“Woah, hey!” I protested but he wanted me to get up. Chiaki had to move so that I could, and he slapped his arm over my shoulders.

“Want some liquid courage?” he asked.

“No, thank you,” I pushed away the flask he was offering me.

“Hey, Sayaka, what’s your favourite Hope Springs Eternal song?” Leon asked.

“I like the song Friends Forever,” she said smiling.

“Awesome! Yeah, that is a good one!” he replied. “When it comes on, do you… want to dance?” he asked looking awkward, but I was proud of him., it looks like that liquid courage was working for him. Sayaka agreed eagerly. I didn’t want to risk getting drunk in front of Chiaki in case I embarrassed myself. We had alcohol last weekend together but now she was my girlfriend, and we weren’t drunk that time either. I looked at her as she conversed with the others, she really was so cute, and I really did like her. I wondered if it would be appropriate to kiss her tonight if she wanted me to. I felt like she had wanted me to kiss her earlier, but I got too nervous. She got up and came to me after Mondo released me.

“Hajime, I’m going outside for some fresh air,”

“Shall I come with you?” I asked.

“No, I won’t be long,” she replied and headed off. I felt like I should be going with her, but Mondo grabbed me again.

“I love this song!” he said and was dragging me to the crowd where I was forced to jump up and down with Mondo and Leon. I felt they were dragging me and controlling my movements as they both held onto me. I had to admit, though, it was fun. I managed to get free of them though and I headed back to our table, but Chiaki still wasn’t there. I decided to go and find her outside. I looked around a bit and then I noticed a group of guys crowding her. She looked uncomfortable, I had to rescue her. I went over and stood beside her, she was relieved to see me, I could tell.

“Who the fuck’s this?” one of the guys asked.

“I’m her boyfriend, you should back off.” I replied and one of them grabbed me by the shirt.

“Who do you think you are talking to us like that?” he growled in my face.

“Trust me, you don’t want to start a fight,” I said, and they laughed.

“You think you’d win a fight against all five of us?” another asked.

“No, but my friends are behind you, that should even it out, but I’d rather not get into a fight in front of my girlfriend,” I said as I noticed Kaito approaching with some of Fuyuhiko’s guys.

“You got a problem?” Kaito asked and the five guys looked from me to them and released me, thinking better of it. I took Chiaki’s hand and we headed inside, thanking Kaito on the way passed.

“Hajime, thank you for coming to find me, I hadn’t expected that to happen,” Chiaki said.

“Its ok, those guys were assholes,” I replied. “Are you ok?” I asked turning to her, she looked up at me.

“I’m fine, now.” she smiled sweetly at me. I held her hand and looked down at her. Was this the right time? After I had just rescued her? I swallowed. She was looking at me again, like she wanted me to… kiss her. I lent forwards and she was blushing, but our lips slowly met. I had no idea what to do so I kept it simple and just kissed her lightly. Her cheeks were even redder, but it was cute.

“I hope that… was ok,” I muttered, and she smiled.

“I was so nervous, but I wanted to kiss you,” she said.

“Yeah, same,” I replied smiling. “Chiaki, I really like you, this whole… relationship thing is… pretty nerve wracking,” I admitted with an awkward laugh.

“Yeah, I know, but I like it though, I really like you too Hajime. I’m happy that we are a couple now. We still need to get to know each other more but I’m looking forward to it, I think.” She said and I smiled.

“Me too,” I took her hand, and we went back to the others. When the gig was over, I said goodbye to Chiaki as she left with her friends to head back to school. I wanted to kiss her again as we said goodbye, but it was in front of everyone, so I didn’t, I got nervous.

We headed back to the dorms and there we saw Nagito, Kokichi and even Fuyuhiko playing a game of cards together. I wondered if Kokichi dared to cheat with Fuyuhiko playing. I noticed in the middle they had added a wager to make it interesting. It looked like the game was almost over. Nagito won.

“Wow, I didn’t expect to win that,” he said but was barely smiling. He collected his winnings and I sat on a chair nearby. He joined me.

“How was the gig, Hajime?” he asked.

“Really good, I kissed Chiaki, was pretty nervous though,” I said, and he smiled.

“I’m happy, I mean that.” he said, and I smiled at him.

“Thanks,” I replied. I still felt a bit bad, since he knew her longer and also liked her, but he had said it was ok and he seemed alright, I know he was probably a little jealous, but he was being cool about it. “Nagito, thanks for not hating me for going out with Chiaki,”

“I couldn’t hate you, Hajime, you’re a really good friend that I don’t deserve,” he said.

“You do deserve it; you’ve been a really good friend to me too.” I replied and he smiled. I was pleased he had spent time with people today, pleased he was looking a little better.

Chapter Text

I was up quite early on the Sunday, and I left my bedroom to find nobody else was up yet. I knew now that Sunday was Rantaro’s lay in day after disturbing him last weekend and Nagito who also liked to get up was still a bit depressed so he might be slower to rise at the moment. I didn’t mind getting some peace and quiet so after I showered, I sat on one of the couch chairs after finding a skate-board magazine to read. It had all the latest models and different wheels and patterns and some cool stickers. I wondered when I’d get to board again, Chiaki wanted to watch me, maybe I would do some tricks in front her, not that I ever skate to impress people and certainly not girls but it could be fun to try and impress Chiaki if the pressure doesn’t get to me. After a time, I realised some people had emerged but when I looked up, my blood ran cold. I saw some of Izuru’s guys, the guy I believe was called Korekiyo from that creepy set of twins and Gundham. They approached, stood above me, and appeared to be looking down at me.

“Why do you associate with such lowly lifeforms?” Gundham asked.

“You are certainly better than any of those,” Korekiyo spoke.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I replied, not wishing to converse with these weirdos.

“That strength inside of you sets you above them all, Hajime,” Korekiyo said.

“You seem to favour Nagito Komaeda, going to lengths to save his worthless life,” Gundham said and that angered me, I slapped down the magazine and stood out of my seat.

“No life is worthless!” I snapped and Korekiyo appeared to shudder with excitement.

“What about that simpleton you now call a girlfriend?” Gundham asked.

“She is not simple; she is really smart and brave! What the hell do you guys want from me?” I was struggling to keep my voice at a reasonable volume.

“We shall leave that to Izuru to explain,” Korekiyo said, and they both left. What the hell? They were so weird and creepy; they sent a shiver down my spine but at least they were gone for now. Who the hell did they think they were? I decided to head back into my room for now but when I got in there, I went to get my skateboard but noticed it was gone. I marched out and started to bang on Kokichi’s door, knowing he liked to take things from people. I had to bang on it a few times before he opened it looking sleepy.

“What is it, Hajime?” he asked as he rubbed his eyes.

“Where’s my skateboard?” I demanded.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he replied perking up a bit with a grin on his face.

“Damn it, Kokichi, if you weren’t so injured, you’d be pinned against that wall right now! Where is it?” I yelled.

“I can’t tell you,” he sang in a mischievous tone.

“Why would you do this, huh?” I asked.

“Hmm… it’s a surprise” he finally decided.

“Kokicihi,” I muttered as though telling off a naughty kid.

“Hajime,” he replied in the same tone and frowning, putting his hands on his hips, likely ignoring any pain it caused his ribs. I was annoyed but clearly not getting anywhere with him, so I shook my head and left. If anything has happened to my skateboard, I don’t care if he’s injured, he’ll be even more sorry. Others started to rise for the day, but I was in a bad mood now, my skateboard was missing, and I know Kokichi had something to do with it, but why would he take it? Was it really that he couldn’t help himself? I don’t care, it was annoying, and I wanted it back.

“Mornin’ Hajime,” I heard Mondo say although he looked a bit worse for wear, slightly hungover perhaps.

“Kokichi’s taken my board, I can’t even threaten him because he’s badly injured,” I muttered.

“What? How’d he do that?”

“It was in my room but… oh shit, I didn’t even think about it last night, but my door was unlocked when we got back!” I suddenly realised; I had been daydreaming about my kiss with Chiaki to have really noticed it at the time.

“He does pick locks,” Mondo replied.

“That little fucker!” I said looking at Kokichi’s closed bedroom door.

“Hajime, are you ok?” I heard Nagito ask as he had likely seen me annoyed.

“Kokichi took his board,” Mondo said.

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry, Hajime, he takes things, but he usually gets bored and gives them back, intact too, I don’t think you should worry,” Nagito said, and I felt a little better, trusting his words.

 

Lunch time came by, and I sat with some of the guys and girls and of all people Natsume came over and sat beside me, she had been pretty quiet for a while, I hadn’t heard much from her but now she sat eyeing me. I was getting really fed up with the hassle people were giving me today.

“So, Hajime, I heard you’ve given my brother a few problems,” she began.

“That’s over,” I replied keeping it brief.

“Do you really believe that?” she asked.

“Yeah, I do, we sorted shit out, you’re a bit late with these remarks.”

“I know my brother, better than you do but if that’s true then he’s getting soft and I need to sort that out,” she replied and looked over to where Fuyuhiko sat with his gang at a different table.

“Why don’t you give him a break?” I suggested.

“You don’t understand, my brother can’t afford to be soft,” she said looking me in the eyes. her gaze was intimidating but not on the same level as her brother. She was trying too hard to be like him, she probably looked up to him but maybe felt the same pressures from their family to be tough.

“Listen, Natsume, Fuyuhiko’s on top here, nobody disputes it but there’s nothing wrong with people getting along,” I explained much the same as I had done so to her brother.

“Oh, Hajime, has anyone told you that you’re kinda hot?” she suddenly said taking me off guard and making me lose the edge that I felt I had, that edge I was now falling off. I could feel my cheeks burning as my friends all looked on.

“Natsume, why don’t you get lost?” Maki spoke up and was met by glaring eyes.

“Do you forget your place, Maki?” she asked. “I’m in charge of the girls, don’t even think about challenging me!” she snapped but just then I noticed Izuru and his gang approaching my table. What now? I could feel everyone tense up. His cold, red eyes were looking right at me.

“Hajime, will you spare us a moment of your time?” he asked.

“No, I’d like to stay here with my friends,” I replied rigidly.

“Just one moment,” Izuru pressed.

“Hajime!” I heard and Nagito was running into the cafeteria towards me, there was too much going on right now, my head was spinning. As Nagito approached my table Izuru stopped him in his tracks, taking hold of him suddenly by the throat, so fast, much like a preying mantis snatching its meal, he held him until he was forced onto his knees.

“Stop!” I yelled standing out of my seat. Izuru was looking down at Nagito.

“You’re a nuisance.” He simply muttered to him.

“What’s going on over there?” I heard a faculty member call over. Izuru was hurting Nagito, I had to stop him, I didn’t care how scary he was, but as I got close, he released his hold. Nagito gasped falling forwards onto his hands. He was coughing and trying to catch his breath.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Rantaro snapped, he had also stood from his seat, as had Mondo and Leon. Izuru looked at them one after the other.

“Boring. So boring, each one of you,” he said and then he looked down his nose at Nagito who was still on the ground. “Especially you.” He said. I went to Nagito and helped him up, glaring at Izuru.

“Who do you think you are?” I asked him.

“Someone with great interest in you, Hajime Hinata, but you knew that.” he replied but then he simply left taking his gang with him.

“Are you ok?” I asked Nagito as he rubbed his neck.

“That hurt but I’m fine,” he replied. “Hajime, I wanted to show you something,” he said looking at me, his eyes were bright, and he was smiling, completely brushing off Izuru’s assault. He was looking much better, and it made me happy. I said to the others I’d meet up with them later and I went with Nagito, I followed him realising he was leading me to the roof. He liked it up here, I’d come to understand. Izuru was terrifying and he was clearly very dangerous, I watched him move so fast when he took hold of Nagito. It was vicious and left me feeling concerned.

“You sure you’re ok?” I asked him.

“Yeah, I’m fine, honestly. I usually avoid those guys, but I didn’t notice them because I was so excited to come and get you,” he replied.

“What’s got you so excited?” I asked.

“It’s a surprise,” he replied looking around and smiling at me.

When we got to the roof, I saw Kokichi was standing there waiting with a grin on his face, a tarp was on the floor in front of him.

“We did something for you,” Nagito said and then he pulled up the tarp to reveal my skateboard. It had been painted beautifully in all colours, random patterns but it looked as though it could be one of the more expensive boards from that magazine.

“Guys… that’s… amazing,” I approached it slowly.

“You can touch it; it should be dry now.” Nagito said. I gently ran my hand over the artwork and then picked it up to look at the other side. The art covered the whole thing and I noticed part of the design was a phoenix; Nagito couldn’t help himself, huh, but I loved it.

“This is beautiful!” I said looking up, I looked from Nagito to Kokichi who did a little laugh.

“I didn’t paint it, but I helped Nagito to get it when you were out yesterday,” he said.

“It’s still from both of us.” Nagito added. “There’s a finish on it so it should be fairly well protected, might still get a bit scuffed after some time.”

“I really love it, Nagito, you really are good at art, but… why did you guys do this for me?” I asked.

“You stopped Fuyuhiko from killing me,” Kokichi said.

“You really helped me, Hajime and we just wanted to do something nice for you.” Nagito added and I looked to him, he was smiling. Nagito was smiling again, I was so happy.

“I don’t… really know what to say…” I muttered feeling overwhelmed. I really didn’t know what to say. I was touched.

Chapter Text

I was truly touched by Nagito and Kokichi’s gesture and regretted getting annoyed at Kokichi but I wasn’t to know. I needed to make the effort to get to know Kokichi a little better, he was a strange one but so was Nagito. They were both loner types that everyone avoided and I kind of felt sorry for them. I could tell Nagito felt lonely at times, and he was always so excited to hang out. I got the feeling Kokichi tried to hide his true emotions a little more unless he really just wasn’t bothered by anything. Sunday night I struggled to sleep, Izuru played on my mind. He had moved so fast when he grabbed Nagito, it was so flawless. I regretted not acting sooner, I don’t usually hesitate but something about Izuru chilled me to the core especially after seeing him move that fast. Those thoughts kept me up, and the following morning when I saw Nagito in the showers, I noticed bruising where Izuru had held him to further enforce my guilt. I had to say something to him.

“Morning Hajime!” he said brightly, much more like himself now.

“Hey, Nagito, I wanted to say that… I’m sorry I didn’t react faster when Izuru grabbed you yesterday,” I muttered awkwardly in the changing room.

“It’s ok, I don’t expect you to risk yourself for someone like me. Izuru is scary, like I said I usually just avoid him and those others.”

“You’re my friend, Nagito and a good one, I didn’t hesitate once with Fuyuhiko. I should have stopped him sooner and you might not be bruised.” I looked down but he laughed.

“I bruise easily, Hajime, don’t worry about it.” he said brushing it off like it was nothing. Rantaro came out of the shower drying his hair on a towel.

“Hey, I heard Izuru’s been punished for that, the teacher who saw him grab you has given him detention for two days.”
“Two days? That’s it? He could have snapped Nagito’s fucking neck! He looked like he wanted to kill him!” I snapped and Nagito just laughed.

“It’s fine, Hajime,” he said but it wasn’t fine. The more I thought about it, the more I felt he could have easily broken Nagito’s neck or crushed his throat with little effort. Those movements, that strength, he forced Nagito to his knees and Nagito had been helpless all he could do was look up at him. “Hajime, honestly, stop worrying about it.” Nagito assured.

“Yeah,” I muttered but it was easier said than done.

 

Once we were ready and finished breakfast, we headed to science class with Mr Munakata. It was the same lesson plan each week but today we walked in to see frogs ready for dissecting. I was not sure I wanted to do that, but it was today’s lesson. I guess today was Biology.

“Stand to the side, I’ll assign partners,” Mr Munakata instructed, and we obeyed.

“Please don’t put me with Nagito again,” Mondo muttered.

“I won’t, I don’t want you to kill each other,” Munakata replied.

“It was an accident,” Nagito laughed.

“Still.” Munakata said simply. He assigned us from a list he had created. Nagito ended up with Kazuichi, Mondo was with Rantaro, and I was assigned to work with Kokichi, convenient since I had wanted to get to know him a little better. We set to work following Mr Munakata’s diagram on the whiteboard.

“Do you want to do the cutting?” I asked Kokichi.

“Nah, it’ll make me queasy.” He said, “just watching is gonna make me queasy,” he said looking a little unwell.

“A-alright,” I muttered, I think it would make me queasy too, but I’ll take responsibility. We both put on our surgical gloves, and I picked up the scalpel holding it to the frog’s stomach. “Oh man,” I muttered as I pressed down and opened the frog up how we had been directed. Mr Munakata walked the classroom inspecting everyone’s first incision.

“Very good, Hinata,” he said, and I guessed my cut was clean. “Komaeda, what’s that?” I looked around to Nagito.

“Uh… it’s a zigzag,” he muttered, and I looked at their frog, he had made incisions in a zigzag pattern, Kazuichi looked very pale as though he was about to vomit.

“What’s a zigzag?” Mr Munakaa asked.

“A bit more interesting than a straight line.” Nagito replied with a big smile, he was definitely back to his old self and providing me with entertainment during class. Others found amusement in his antics too.

“Quiet!” Mr Munakata hissed at the giggling class. “Komaeda, you might be creative and good at art, but art isn’t going to get you anywhere in life, you have to take other classes seriously too.” He said.

“I’m sorry,” Nagito muttered. I turned back around, not really wanting to get back to dissection but when I looked at our frog, Kokichi had opened it up more whilst my back was turned, and he had pulled out various parts of the frog and arranged them on the body, so much for feeling queasy. He had wrapped the small intestine around the frog’s neck and placed its bladder on its head. I felt a bit sick. He looked up at me.

“Look, now he’s ready for winter with his hat and scarf, shall we give him gloves too?” he asked me whilst smiling and looking pleased with himself. I couldn’t help but find a kind of sick humour in this, it was disrespectful to the poor dead frog, but Kokichi’s big grin and innocent expression just added humour to it.

“What’s so funny now, Hinata?” Munakata was back. he looked at our frog and a disgusted expression took over his face. “Oma, was this you?”

“Um… maybe,” he grinned. “Nagito, what do you think of my artistic expression?” he asked and Kazuichi now vomited down the side of their desk. Munakata slapped his hand to his forehead. “Right, Komaeda, Oma, detention after class today.” He said.

“Oh man, I don’t want to be stuck in detention with the Fire Freak!” Kokichi moaned.

“Wow, thanks Kokichi, and here I thought we might be friends,” Nagito replied.

“Friends? With you?” Kokichi laughed.

“I see,” Nagito muttered. What was wrong with Kokichi right now?

“Enough of this!” Munakata snapped, “there will be others in detention, who knows by the end of today more will have incurred detention. I have some extra frogs; you will dissect properly this time! Kazuichi, go to the nurse’s office. Oma you can clear up his vomit,”

“Ewww gross! You already gave me detention; I don’t think I should have to clear up someone else’s puke!” he protested.

“Do you want detention a second day?” Munakata threatened.

“Ah man,” Kokichi moaned and got to it.

“That’s right, don’t miss a spot.” Nagito teased as Kokichi got down to clean away the vomit with wet paper towels.

“You can help him!” Munakata snapped.

“Shit,” Nagito muttered and got to it with Kokichi who was grinning satisfied. I remembered Rantaro said Izuru was going to be in detention today, now Kokichi and Nagito would be stuck with him. I didn’t like the sound of that. Maybe I should get detention too just to keep an eye on them. Mr Munakata was obviously in a detention giving mood. What could I do? Fuck up the next dissection perhaps, taking inspiration from Nagito and Kokichi. I was handed the next frog. I looked at the poor thing sprawled out; did I really have the heart to not take this seriously? This frog was killed for educational purposes. I sighed and picked up the scalpel. I cut the straight line and then I opened up the poor creature. I looked at the various organs I had to work with. I removed the liver lobes and cut the median liver lobe in half. I placed the left and right liver lobes on the frog’s hands and the halved median liver on the frog’s feet.

“Hey, Kokichi, this one gets the gloves!” I said and he looked up and laughed. Mr Munakata snapped his head around and looked at my work. I swallowed.

“Hinata! I take it you are easily influenced by your peers, detention after class!” He barked. Mission success.

Chapter Text

I felt a bit disgusted with myself after what I did to that poor frog, it was in really bad taste, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do to ensure I got detention too. I felt that knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach as we approached the classroom that detention would be held in. Izuru would be in there, not many people struck fear in me the way he did, Fuyuhiko was scary but still not as terrifying as Izuru. There was something very cold and inhuman about him. I had to text Chiaki on our way there because I was going to meet her after school for a bit but now I couldn’t. I knew she would understand, and I could explain it to her better when I next saw her, hopefully tomorrow. I walked to detention with Nagito and Kokichi since we had come from the same classes. When we went inside, we saw him. Izuru Kamukura. With him was his girlfriend Celestia Ludenberg and Gundham Tanaka. They had obviously gotten detention with him. Natsume was also here, as well as Miu. Natsume was taunting Miu who looked most put out by her barrage of insults and as though she might cry any minute. I kind of felt sorry for her, even though she was always happy to throw out insults herself.

“Now that’s all of you,” the teacher said. “Take seats, not too close, you’re writing lines today.” Lines, really? That’s pretty old school. We each had a pen and paper, and our line was on the board. We’d have to write it over and over again. How boring. But I suppose that was the point. We got to it, silently and obediently. After at least forty minutes of writing lines, the teacher got a call.

“I’ll be right back,” he said and left, that was when I tensed up and rightfully so. Izuru immediately got up from his seat and came to me, he leant over me loomed over me more precisely even though we were about the same height. He was standing and seemed so much bigger than I remembered.

“A moment of you time after detention, Hajime,” he said.

“No, I don’t want to talk to you!” I snapped.

“Do you care for Nagito?” he asked standing straight.

“Wh-what?” I asked him and he moved to Nagito’s desk. Nagito jumped straight up as though to make an escape, but Izuru took him by the throat again, bending him over the desk. I went to pull him off immediately, but Gundham stood in my way.

“Will you accept?” Izuru asked. Nagito went to say something but Izuru tightened his grip cutting off his words.

“Let him go!” I yelled.

“Perhaps if you could actually hear him whimper and cry in pain, that might be more affective.” He released Nagito who tried to struggle away but Izuru swiftly turned him around and wrenched his arm behind him pushing him front down onto the desk. Nagito was clearly trying really hard not to cry out, but he did whimper, and it made my chest pang.

“Don’t go anywhere with him, Hajime, don’t,” he said through gritted teeth. Izuru wrenched his arm even more. He’d break it at this rate.

“Fine!” I snapped. “You get five minutes of my time and that’s it,” I said and Izuru released Nagito immediately.

“That is all I need.” He muttered. Nagito crumpled to the floor and the others all returned to their seats.

“Well that was exciting,” Natsume said as she eyed Izuru.

“Hajime sit down!” Kokichi hissed as the teacher would return soon, but Nagito hadn’t got up yet, he was trying to. I went to help him, I was not leaving him, he was holding his arm.

“Hey, you ok?” I asked him as I helped him up.

“Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry so much about me.” he replied and smiled. He fucking had him by the throat again and nearly broke his arm! I was pissed. I was really pissed and as I returned to my seat, I sent the coldest glare to Izuru. He would not get away with treating Nagito this way, using him to get to me because we’re good friends. That would never happen again.

Chapter Text

We were finally released from detention, Nagito and Kokichi both stuck to me on our way out, Izuru was waiting for me. Nagito took my arm, his expression was that of apprehension as he looked cautiously over to Izuru.

“Hajime, please don’t do this, especially for me, he’s dangerous.” Nagito said.

“You’re my friend, Nagito, he doesn’t get to treat you like that! I won’t be long. I’ll meet you back at the dorms.” I said and he reluctantly agreed.

“Hajime, be careful, I think he’s a demon.” Kokichi said before he followed Nagito. I met Izuru, feeling my heart pound inside of my chest.

“Let’s take a walk under the evening sky,” Izuru said.

“There’s no time for that, I’m only giving you five minutes, remember?” I replied.

“Very well, we shall walk the halls,” he agreed.

“Before we do anything, if you ever touch Nagito again, I’ll kill you.” I made a threat I wouldn’t normally make, and I was uncertain how sincere it sounded because could I really kill someone?

“Nagito Komaeda is an insect, he is worthless, his mind is weak, recent events have shown that.”

“He is not weak; he just has struggles.”
“Mental illness. That is weakness.” Izuru said and I was appalled. Mental illness was not weakness, it was a sign that a person had struggled in life, had hardships, or were born that way. It was not weakness. Just watching Izuru, didn’t he have his own mental illnesses?

“We’ll disagree on that one then, you better hurry and say what you wanted to say to me, two minutes have already gone.” I said.

“As I was saying, Nagito is a mere insect, yet you insist on spending your time with him. Hajime, you are a king among these insects. Each one of them is worthless, but you show strength. You fight even when the odds are against you, that shows great courage, and we could use a person of strength such as yours with us.”

“W-with you?” I repeated. “What makes you think I would join you?” I asked.

“To protect Nagito,”

“I told you if you hurt him again, then I will kill you. Nagito is a good guy and I think he’s been through enough; he doesn’t need this shit and neither do I. If you don’t back off, I promise you’ll regret it. Accept my rejection of your offer, you are against everything I stand for, everything that gives me that strength you talk about. I get that from my friends. I choose my friends. You don’t understand that, that much is clear.” His cold eyes held mine, but I refused to break eye contact.

“Do you really think you could beat me in a fight, Hajime Hinata?” he asked me, finally speaking after we had just held one another’s gaze.

“Probably not, Izuru but I will not allow you to hurt Nagito or any of my friends,” I repeated.

“You have a warrior’s soul, Hajime.” What the hell was that supposed to mean?

“Do you accept my rejection? And will you leave my friends alone?” I asked.

“Yes.” he replied simply. I hoped that was yes to both questions.

“Good, your time is up, Izuru.” I said and turned to leave but he took my arm and pulled me back, he pressed me against the wall.

“How do you intend to use that warrior’s soul? To protect the weak as you have been doing, or to do something great?” he asked me.

“Let me go, Izuru, I have no idea what you’re talking about!” I snapped but I could not move.

“Perhaps the path you are currently walking will lead you to something great. I look forward to seeing that play out.” he said and then released me. He was insane. I knew there were plenty of crazy kids here, but Izuru was on a completely different level. He was pure insanity, cool, calm, and collected but inside was a mind I would never understand. I went to leave and there I saw Fuyuhiko arriving with some of his guys as though in a hurry.

“Hajime are you ok?” he asked. I was relieved to see him.

“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks,” I guessed Nagito sent him to get me again, he glared at Izuru but then we headed back to our dormitory. I was left confused having no idea of the point to that conversation, but it left me with a deep sense of dread in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to speak to Chiaki, she knew Izuru from before, she had told me, I didn’t want to occupy my time with Chiaki talking about drama, but I wanted to know anything I could about Izuru, he was dangerous. I hoped what I had said would cause him to back off, but I could not be sure, I was no threat to him; he knew that; I knew that.

Chapter Text

When I got back to my room that same evening, I called Chiaki, I realised part of it was simply because I wanted to hear her voice, but also, I wanted anything I could get on Izuru. I did not believe he would leave me alone, hopefully he would leave Nagito alone though.

“Hello Hajime,” she answered.

“Hi, yeah, I’m sorry we couldn’t really hang out tonight,” I started with that.

“Its ok, what did you get detention for?” she asked.

“It was stupid, but Nagito and Kokichi got detention and Izuru was going to be there for hurting Nagito yesterday, so I was just… I wanted to be there whilst he was stuck in a room with him and Kokichi’s a bit reckless, so I was sort of looking out for him too, I don’t think he’s stupid though.”
“Izuru… hurt Nagito?”

“Yeah, and he did it again when the teacher left tonight, teacher had to take a call.”

“Why has he taken an interest in Nagito all of a sudden?” she asked.

“He hasn’t, he’s taken an interest in me but he’s hurting Nagito to get me to do what he wants or to just get at me. I wanted to talk to you about Izuru, since you knew him before. How do I deal with this?” I asked.

“Oh, I see.” She was quiet for a moment. “What did he want with you?”
“He wanted to talk, and he wanted me to join him, I don’t know what that means.” I said.

“He wants you to be part of his group, he’s seen something in you, but you really should stay away from him. You all should.”

“I get these vibes from him and what I’ve seen of him, I know he’s dangerous but… other than that what has he done? You knew him before. I just want to know what I’m dealing with.”

“There were a lot of rumours, so I don’t know what’s true, but I heard he dabbled in the occult, and I also heard that he used to string up neighbourhood cats and… gut them using the entrails to summon demons and put curses on people.”

“People started rumours like that?” I asked.

“Yeah, like I said I don’t know if any of that is actually true though, but he is dangerous. You shouldn’t upset him.”

“Chiaki, I feel like you’re not telling me everything,” I realised.

“I… Hajime… there was this one time in middle school when he… took an interest in a guy like the way he has done with you, but he didn’t like his friend very much. That friend got in a terrible accident and died, the other one, the strong one just disappeared. I’m not saying Izuru had anything to do with either incident, but it just seemed… strange.”

“So, he’s interested in me but… has taken a dislike to Nagito.”

“He does get bored easily, Hajime, you could have him lose interest in you by not drawing much attention to yourself,”

“He said something really strange, that I had a warrior’s soul,”

“Has he taken an interest in you for the way you help people?” Chiaki asked.

“I think so, but he sees Nagito as beneath me,”

“I see. Stop saving people, Hajime.” She suddenly said.

“What?” I questioned.

“Stop protecting others, I think that is what has drawn him to you.”

“But he sounded like he didn’t want me to be friends with Nagito, because he sees him as beneath me, if he sees Nagito as one of the weaker people I have saved, it doesn’t make sense!” I said without completing my sentence. “Me looking out for people drew him to me but… he doesn’t want me to befriend any of those people he sees as weak. I don’t know if I’m making any sense.”

“I think I get it. He doesn’t think Nagito should get to be friends with you, but he isn’t opposed to watching you save people. Stop doing it, Hajime, at least for a while, he might get bored.”

“I don’t think I can do that, Chiaki.” I muttered feeling annoyed that’s what she felt I should be doing. “I don’t want to do that.” I said.

“I don’t want you to do that either, Hajime. It’s what makes you who you are and you’re a good person, but I don’t want Izuru to have any interest in you. If anything, Hajime, please be careful.” She said.

“I will,” I agreed.

“Are you ok?” she asked.

“I think so.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Hajime,”
“Night, Chiaki and thanks for the talk.” We hung up the call, but I wasn’t sure if I felt any better or any wiser when it came to Izuru.

 

 

I did not sleep well that night, Izuru was playing on my mind and when I got up to shower, I could hear him in the changing rooms. I held back, deciding to listen but then I heard Nagito’s voice responding to him.

“Please leave me alone,” he said, and I went to go in, but Izuru’s next words stopped me.

“I am only here to apologise, I have been in a very dark place recently, I did not mean to hurt you as much as I did.” Izuru said but his voice was still so cold.

“I accept your apology, I agree with you, I’m worthless trash, I don’t deserve Hajime as a friend, but I don’t want to lose him, so please leave us both alone,” Nagito said.

“At least you know your place,” Izuru replied.

“I do, I’ll never pretend I’m worthy of Hajime’s friendship but please… don’t take it away from me.” Nagito said and I felt a pang inside my chest.

“Remember when we were once friends?” I heard Izuru say, and I remained now, to hear the rest of the conversation. They were friends?

“Izuru, you treated me like trash, we weren’t friends.”

“You are trash, Nagito.” Izuru replied.

“I know but Hajime treats me like a friend, doesn’t everyone deserve a friend sometimes? Even me?” he asked.

“Nagito, you claim to know your worthlessness, but you are also in denial if you think you deserve that.” those words made me angry.

“That’s enough!” I stepped in.

“Hajime, has he told you of all his sins?” Izuru asked.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Izuru stop!” Nagito cried.

“If you heard of his true darkness, I don’t think you’d want to be near him any longer.” Izuru went to walk out of the changing rooms. “Nagito, I am sorry for hurting you.”

“If he’s so worthless to you then why are you sorry?” I asked him but he did not answer just paused a moment before he continued to his room. I looked to Nagito who now had his head in his hands seeming distressed. “Hey, you ok?” I asked him.

“He’ll take you away from me, Hajime, I know it!” he was not right again, he was usually composed but now he looked like he was about to lose it.

“Hey, stop it, don’t listen to anything he says. You’re my friend, Nagito, alright. Forget him.”

“Hajime, I’ve never had a proper friend like you before… I feel like… its just a matter of time before… I don’t have you any longer.” He said and slumped down on one of the benches. I sat beside him.

“I haven’t had many friends either, I always… pushed people away and then I came here… I don’t even know what happened but I just… kind of slotted in. Met you, met all the other guys… met Chiaki. I’m not willing to give it up, alright?”

“Hajime… there’s something I think I need to talk about but… its very personal and holds so much meaning to me… I’m not quite ready.”

“Well, I’ll be here when you are.” I replied and smiled, he smiled back.

Chapter Text

Nagito and I further improved our art project in class today, it was starting to look really good, I took some guidance from him, obviously his side looked better than mine since he had a real talent for it. I never saw myself as much of an art appreciation kind of guy, but I loved Nagito’s work. In fact, today, we had fun as the whole class, even Fuyuhiko was trying to put effort into his art partnered with Kaito, but the teacher insisted they had to work with the black splodge from Fuyuhiko’s previous protest about art, since she deemed that as a form of expression, but it looked like it was becoming something. I don’t know what, but something. To be honest I didn’t really know what ours was supposed to be. Fuyuhiko approached our table during this class, and he looked uncomfortable about it.

“Nagito, do you have any tips for my fuck up on our… canvas, we got kinda stuck.” He asked.

“Oh,” Nagito replied looking surprised “sure, let’s have a look.” he went with Fuyuhiko to his canvas, and I watched as he made some suggestions to him and Kaito. It seemed some others could appreciate how good of an artist Nagito was. He guided them and it started to look even better. I smiled. This is what I wanted things to be more like. All of us cooperating. I still hadn’t spent much time with Fuyuhiko but he didn’t seem like all that bad of a guy after everything that happened at the beginning. I realised he had just been under a lot of pressure. He had come to help me twice with Izuru now.

“Hinata, what does yours represent?” the teacher asked me, this is where I need Nagito back with me because I had no idea.

“I… uh…”

“It is true that Nagito’s art often has some depiction of fire or at least the colours of fire and he has chosen those colours to work with and your side in contrast is blues with the odd bit of green. It’s interesting how they come together in the middle. Perhaps… if you do not mind me making an interpretation?” she asked, and I welcomed it.

“Sure,” I replied.

“Perhaps your side represents the opposite element of water?” she asked.

“Yeah, maybe.” I muttered and Nagito returned. I looked over at Fuyuhiko and Kaito working on their piece, and it was looking much improved. I smiled, Nagito really was good at this.

 

The day was over, and I finally got to see Chiaki, we had both decided to invite some friends along and head to the park for a bit, I took my skateboard, since I hadn’t got the chance to try it out whilst it looked so cool with the artwork Nagito had applied. It really did look awesome; I was so happy with it.

We were all headed out, I think the others had kind of accepted that I was inviting Nagito everywhere and stopped saying anything or giving me funny looks. Kazuichi had grabbed his skateboard too and we were meeting by the ramps at the park. I met Chiaki feeling a little shy as I went up to her, I wanted to kiss her, but my nerves got the better of me and she was blushing too.

“Hajime, I’m really glad I get to see you skate!” she said looking at my board.

“Yeah, I’ll try not to mess up and injure myself this time,” damn it, don’t remind her of that! She smiled.

“Good, I don’t want you to hurt yourself,” she said.

“Chiaki… I…” I was about to ask if I could kiss her, but I changed my mind.

“Are you ok, Hajime?” she asked.

“Yeah, I just wanted to say Izuru left me alone today, saw him in the shower rooms talking to Nagito but he was apologising for hurting him.” I explained.

“I see…. Maybe that’s a good thing but still avoid him.” she replied.

“I intend to.”

“Hajime, we doing this?” Kazuichi called from the top of one of the ramps eager to get skating.

“Yeah,” I called back and went to go but Chiaki took my wrist and pulled me back. She got on her tiptoes and placed a kiss on my lips.

“For good luck,” she said blushing but smiling so sweetly. For some reason that left me feeling amazing and I felt a little dazed but when I got to the top of the ramp, I was off flawlessly hitting my jumps with Kazuichi at my side. He was not as bold as me, but he was perhaps a little less experienced. I had plenty of time alone to hone my skills, Kazuichi likely always had friends as a distraction.

We stopped after a while wanting to sit with everyone else, but it had been great to just do that for a bit.

“Did the paint work give you superpowers, Hajime?” Nagito asked and I laughed.

“No, weirdo,” I replied, and he smiled.

“It looked like it!” he said.

“If you want to take the credit for my talent that’s fine,” I teased, and he laughed.

“Oh no, I wouldn’t do that.” he replied. Chiaki moved to sit closer to me, her body was turned towards me more than the others, it was a nice feeling that she wanted to sit close, and it gave me a little more confidence. I took her hand and held it as we sat, somewhat impractical with no real reason to other than the fact I wanted to. I noticed Nagito glance over to us, but he looked away again and resumed his conversation, Sonia had started to talk to him, and it sounded like she was intrigued about his obsession with fire, that could go on a while, I thought.

“Kokichi!” I heard Shuichi snap. Not again. I looked over and saw Kokichi had somehow swiped something of Kaede’s, he must have done it sneakily and discreetly since he did not have speed on his side right now with his broken rib. He was holding a notebook.

“Oh no! That’s my diary!” Kaede cried.

“Flick to some random page,” Kokichi announced as he did so, and Shuichi was pulling himself to his feet heading over. “Oh Shuichi! I wish I could tell you how much you mean to me-“ Kokichi began but he was unable to get away fast enough as Shuichi tried to snatch it from him, they struggled a bit but then Shuichi wrenched it from him and he fell easily but winced from the impact.

“Hey! Easy!” I said and got to my feet, but Shuichi was apologising and helping Kokichi back up.

“I hate you, Kokichi but I don’t want to make your injury worse, you ok?” Shuichi asked. Kokichi was gripping his ribs. He was clearly suffering more than he was before or at least unable to hide it now.

“Kokichi, do you need to go to the hospital?” Chiaki asked.

“Ah… I’m fine,” he said brushing it off but through gritted teeth and then he looked at Shuichi, “I didn’t realise you… hated me….” he muttered looking hurt but there was no telling if the tears in his eyes were real or some of his fake ones.

“You’re annoying and reading my girlfriends diary out to everyone is not ok! You’re always doing something to get at me!” Shuichi said as he returned the diary to Kaede who was blushing as she accepted it.

“Yeah, Kokichi, that wasn’t cool,” Rantaro agreed.

“I didn’t actually read from it! I was only pretending to.” Kokichi explained. I sat back down since the situation was already diffused.

“Then how do you know what it said?” Kaede snapped suddenly and Kokichi laughed.

“Aha! So, it does talk about Shuichi, I knew it Kaede, you reaaaallly like him, don’t you?” he taunted.

“I… Kokichi, please just stop.” She asked blushing and looking away.

“Yeah, I think that’s enough putting them on the spot.” I said.

“Aw but that’s no fun, I’ll tell you what is fun though. Sex. Something I did read in there, she’s ready, Shuichi.” Kokichi said and Shuichi was back on his feet running for the smaller boy, who could not run to escape, he took hold of him by his shirt, and I had to get back to my feet and separate them before he hurt the already injured Kokichi.

“You gottta be careful, broken ribs can puncture lungs!” I snapped at Shuichi but then turned to Kokichi. “What the hell is wrong with you?” I asked.

“I’m just bored so I gotta make things interesting,”

“Not at people’s expense,” I explained.

“So, you and Chiaki, you think she’s ready? I bet she’s a real little minx in the sheets, its always the quiet ones, right?” he said, and it took all of my strength not to punch him right in the mouth and then I remembered something Rantaro said, Kokichi was prone to self-destruct. Is that what all this was? Was he trying to make everyone hate him right now? Why would he do that? I sighed.

“Just sit down, Kokichi,” I said not giving him what he wanted and turning back to sit beside Chiaki.

“I’m sorry about that,” I said to her.

“It’s ok,” she replied blushing.

“Better yet, why don’t you just leave?” Shuichi suggested to Kokichi.

“No, let him stay he just has to behave himself.” I said deciding to treat him like a child if he was going to act like one. Kokichi looked around at us all and then made a decision, he turned and walked away.

“I’m mortified.” Kaede muttered putting her face in her hands.

“I’ll kill him at this rate.” Shuichi said.

“Hey, just forget him, it’s not worth it. He’s doing this on purpose, and I think its more about him than any of us.” I said and Rantaro was looking at me.
“You got an eye for understanding people too?” he asked me.

“I don’t know, its just something you said before.” I replied and then I took Chiaki’s hand again.

“Hajime, did we want to suggest the beach to everyone for the weekend? We’re losing the weather, so it might be too late soon.” she said.

“You’re right, hey guys, Chiaki and I were thinking about heading to a nearby beach at the weekend to get the last bit of weather, want to join us?”

“Bikinis?” Kazuichi asked. “Splashing around in the sea? Hell yeah!” he said, ah so that’s what he’s like, as long as he doesn’t ogle the girls and make them uncomfortable especially Chiaki. Oh… shit… Chiaki… I’ll be seeing her in a bikini or… swimsuit… oh god this is a bad idea!

“Yeah, that would be great fun!” Nagito said.

“Oh yes, I’d love that!” Sonia agreed.

“I won’t be in a bikini, but I suppose it might be ok to go,” Mukuro said.

“I’m definitely up for it!” Mondo said and wrapped his arm around Mukuro.

“Ah yeah, me too,” Leon said glancing over to Sayaka a little bashful. He really did like her, I hoped they could get together, that she liked him too. I’m not exactly an expert but I did ask Chiaki out on a date despite being so nervous about it, so maybe I could offer some words of advice to some extent.

“I do have one bikini, but it might not fit me anymore,” Chiaki said.

“Shopping? Oh shopping! We can go shopping Chiaki!” Sonia cried with glee it was quite sweet.

“Yeah, it might be nice to get a new one, this will be my first time going to the beach with Hajime,” she said blushing. I would have to be in swimming trunks, what if… seeing Chiaki in a bikini got a certain… reaction from me that was out of my control. Oh god I’m dreading it now, I’ll be in swim shorts they’ll be no hiding it!

“Hajime, do you want to go shopping for a new swim shorts?” Nagito asked.

“No!” I snapped suddenly, my anxiety getting the better of me. “I mean, I already got some,”

“Hajime, are you ok?” Chiaki asked.

“Yeah,” I replied laughing awkwardly. She's so pretty, damn it.

“You really are hopeless,” Rantaro muttered, no doubt seeing right through me. He was right, I am hopeless.

Chapter Text

I did decide to go shopping with Nagito after school one day for some new swimwear, it seems Nagito’s parents hadn’t cut him off from money they just didn’t want to see him, so he wasn’t financially abandoned just emotionally but at least he seemed better in himself now, despite recent events with Izuru.

Swim shorts… swimsuits… bikinis! Argh! I was so nervous and certain he noticed as we walked to the shops.

“Should we try some on? We have to keep our underwear on of course for hygiene reasons and I’m definitely going to wash my new shorts if we find some.” He said.

“Oh… yeah of course,” I replied. He seemed quite the hygiene conscious type, I had not even thought about washing a new pair of swim shorts but now I think about it that’s pretty gross. What if someone had tried them on without the courtesy of doing so over their underwear? I’m pretty sure my mother used to wash new clothes before we wore them.

“So will you get some little speedo type, Hajime, show Chiaki what ya got?” Nagito asked and I felt as though my stomach just leapt into my throat.
“What the fuck?” I snapped and he laughed.

“Why are you so nervous, Hajime?” he asked me.

“Shut up!” I snapped and he did so. We entered the first shop and found the clothes section and beachwear. I couldn’t help but notice some of the skimpy bikinis. What if Kokichi was right and Chiaki was a little minx and was the type to wear something very revealing? Ah fuck! Oh god what am I gonna do? Involuntarily I gripped the sides of my head feeling a sweat come on.

“Hajime, this is kind of embarrassing, you look like a pervert in the bikini section sweating like that.” Nagito said and I looked at him. I didn’t realise I had stopped.

“Shit! Nagito, what am I gonna do?” I asked and he looked at me seriously and then his expression turned dark.

“Are you a pervert, Hajime?” he asked me.

“Huh?”

“Chiaki is very special to me; I don’t want her with some deranged pervert.” He continued.

“I’m not! It’s not like that!” I protested. Shit, did it really look like that? “Nagito, it’s not like that!” I felt I had to reiterate due to the expression on his face, it looked as though he might kill me but then he laughed.

“Oh good, that’s a relief,” he said.

“Are you fucking with me?” I asked and he laughed again.

“This is quite amusing, Hajime, why are you so nervous?” he asked.

“I… let’s just get our swim shorts and get out of here,” I said, and we headed towards the men’s section. I saw some long black shorts that came to the knee, and they had a blue flower pattern on the corner of one leg, that will do. Nagito picked out some green ones that had a red square design on them. I was about to buy mine but then I slumped down on a near seat, and he stopped to join me.

“On a serious note, Hajime, are you ok?” he asked.

“No, I really like Chiaki, I mean a lot and… what if I can’t control… I can’t believe I’m saying this…”
“Just masturbate,” he suddenly said, he knew exactly why I was nervous, I bet he knew this whole fucking time and had just been messing with me. Bastard. “Seriously, masturbate Friday night and then again on Saturday morning and you should be able to control it, if you can’t then you got a problem.” He said. “I’ll be doing the same, how do you think I feel, huh? Chiaki in a bikini, you in swim shorts, it’s a simple solution.”

“Why did you have to make this weird?” I asked him.

“Does my attraction to you make you uncomfortable?” he asked.

“No, not really, you haven’t really been weird about it.” I replied.

“Good because I just want to be friends,” he said smiling. “Honestly though, masturbate,” he added, and I laughed. “If you need to do it more times than that go ahead but don’t hurt yourself,” he said, and I laughed again.

“Shit, Nagito, you do crack me up.” I said. “Those shorts are pretty cool,” I said changing the subject.

“Yeah, I like yours too,” he smiled. We stood heading out and then saw Sonia and Chiaki in the bikini section, why were we shopping on the same damn day?

“Nagito! Hajime!” Sonia called waving us over. I was blushing fiercely as we headed over to them. Chiaki was holding a bright red bikini. Why is it red? Oh, shit she was that type! It’s the quiet ones, right? Kokichi, how did you know? She blushed and quickly put it back on the rack.

“Hello Hajime,” she said sweetly but she was still blushing.

“Hi,” I managed in response.

“Nagito, what do you think of this bikini, I wasn’t sure.” Sonia asked holding one up, it was a blue one with a decorative chain piece hanging from the top part and some shiny bits on the suit.

“I think it’s a bit tacky,” he said.

“Oh,” she looked disappointed. Nagito moved past her and selected a royal blue one, it had some decoration in the form of a pattern incorporating other blues, but it wasn’t too much.

“I think this one would suit you,” he said holding it up. How was he not embarrassed right now? He was holding a bikini suggesting one of our very pretty female friends wear it. “I mean you don’t have to get this one, that’s just my opinion.” He added.

“I like it!” she said with a big smile. “Thanks, Nagito.” He smiled back.

“Hajime, what do you think would suit me? I have no idea.” Chiaki suddenly asked and I panicked.

“Skimpy! Nothing!” Fuuuuuuuuuuck “Shit, I didn’t mean to say that backwards! I’m so sorry! I meant nothing skimpy, and the red is tacky too. Maybe something… cute?” I suggested. I didn’t want to suggest anything. Why was I still here? I was mortified. Oh, please Satan, just open the ground now and swallow me up.

“Hajime, are you ok?” Chiaki asked me.

“Yeah… I’m fine,” I lied.

“I’m nervous too, it’s hard to find bikini’s that fit me right, I don’t want to fall out.” she said suddenly, and I blushed even more than I already was.

“Yeah, that would be terrible, I guess girls have to worry about that kind of thing,” I found myself muttering.

“I like those shorts, Hajime, they look really cool,” she said and smiled.

“Thanks,” I smiled back. Maybe it was a good thing running into Chiaki here, it might ease up my anxiety and no, I don’t think she would actually wear something skimpy if she was worried about ‘falling out’.

Chapter Text

 I had done as Nagito suggested and masturbated on Friday night, fully aware he said he’d be doing the same thing, whether or not that was true I don’t know since he seemed pretty calm and comfortable handling bikinis in the shop. I did it again on Saturday morning as he suggested too just to be sure. I cleaned up with wet wipes before heading to the showers, meeting some of the guys on the way. Everyone was up for the beach and seemed really excited. There were a lot of us in the showers this morning getting ready for our day of beach fun. I usually made it to the showers early and didn’t have to shower with so many of the guys, usually only running into Rantaro and Nagito. I knew Rantaro was up early so he could preen but I’m pretty sure Nagito didn’t do anything like that. His hair kind of told me he didn’t bother trying to tame it or style it. I found myself gravitating towards Nagito when we hit the showers.

“So, Hajime, did you tame the beast?” Nagito asked me as we stood side by side in the shower. I blushed.

“Shut up,” I hissed, and he laughed.

“That’s a yes, then. I did, I thought about you as I did it.”

“What the fuck?” I snapped looking at him suddenly and he laughed.

“I’m joking, Hajime, I didn’t feel the need to, I wasn’t freaking out about anything like you were.”

“You’re a fucker, you know that?” I said as I washed my hair.

“It’s so fun to tease you when you’re like this,” he replied.

“If I didn’t like you, I’d have knocked you out a long time ago,” I said with a grin teasing him back. He was always messing with me, but I guess friends did tease each other. I didn’t mind really; it was kind of funny.

“Hey, guys,” we heard at the shower entrance and looked over to see Mondo with his towel wrapped around his waist. “You all up for some alcohol at the beach if I go pick some up?” he asked.

“Uh, stupid question,” Leon replied.

“Of course!” Rantaro said.

“I wonder if Hajime will get drunk and try to have sex with that little minx of his,” Kokichi said coming behind Mondo with his towel around his waist, the bruising from his broken ribs still there but a little faded now. Had I somehow gained Kokichi’s attention over Shuichi now? He seemed to have switched on me. “Or maybe it will be the other way around, huh?” he asked.

“Kokichi, shut up.” I said.

“Your no fun, Hajime,” he replied. I wasn’t giving him the rise he was after; I don’t care if he thought that was boring. He walked off losing interest.

“Is he acting up more than usual?” I asked Nagito as we finished up.

“I think he’s just bored, he can’t do much with a broken rib, you seen him try to shower, even that looks like hard work.” He replied. He was right, I kind of felt sorry for Kokichi, but he didn’t do himself any favours, but we should remember that he did sacrifice his body to try and make things better here for us when it came to Fuyuhiko and it worked. We finished up and headed back to our rooms to get dressed and then all met back up in the communal part of the dorms. This was it. We would head out, meet the girls from our school and then from Chiaki’s school and get the train to the nearest beach together. This would be so much fun but… Chiaki in a bikini? I was still a little nervous, but I think Nagito might have been right about masturbating before this event.

We met the girls, and I took Chiaki’s hand, ignoring my anxiety, right now she was fully clothed, but I knew she likely had her bikini under her clothes. I wondered what style she picked. I decided to ask about it.

“Did you find a swimsuit that was right?” I asked.

“Yeah, I found one that fit but I still feel self-conscious in it.” she said looking down. “It is a cute one though,” she added and looked up at me, blushing but smiling. I smiled back. I gripped her hand tighter feeling a little bolder and we walked. I’d extended Kokichi an invite since nobody else had but he seemed lacking in energy now and was lagging behind, his injury likely giving him some problems. Maybe he should have stayed but that’s quite depressing when the majority of us were headed to the beach. I looked behind to check on him and saw Kaito walking with him. I didn’t know Kaito was joining us. It looked like he was offering him a hand, but Kokichi was refusing. At least someone was walking with him. I decided to slow down our pace and join them.

“Hey,” I said as I did so. “You alright to be joining us, Kokichi?” I asked him.

“I don’t want to miss the beach I’m so bored in that school.” He said.

“Yeah, I noticed, you been even more annoying than usual,” I replied.

“Hehe, it’s funny I can’t get a rise out of someone as hot headed as you, though, Hajime,” he replied.

“I’m not gonna be your next Shuichi,” I said, and he laughed.

“Oh, that won’t happen.” He replied. I looked to Kaito realising he was the only one from Fuyuhiko’s group here.

“How is it that you got to join us?” I asked him.

“Fuyuhiko released me from his… well my debt to him. He said it wasn’t right holding me to it any longer. I came to get Maki back.” he said.

“Maki?” I asked.

“Yeah, I don’t know if its possible but I’m certainly gonna try.” He said.

“It’s not possible, she’ll never take you back,” Kokichi spoke. “She won’t date guys associated with gangs, remember, you can never go back.”

“I can try!” Kaito snapped.

“It’s pointless, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.” He said and Kaito looked as though he was fighting everything inside him not to hit the smaller kid, I knew I had certainly done the same recently. If Kokichi wasn’t injured as badly as he was I’m sure I would have hit him and I’m sure Kaito would be hitting him right now.

“I want her back, I’ll do anything.” He said but looked sad. I felt sorry for him, and I hoped he was able to win her over. She was pretty cold in her demeanour I think he has a tough battle on his hands.

On the train journey we got a few sideways looks from adult passengers when some of us played up a little, I felt they knew we were delinquents since some of our group looked like they were. It was bad to judge people by their looks but in this instance, they would be right, most of us were delinquents. I was standing on the train since it was quite full and Chiaki ended up steadying herself against me, blushing. I put my arm around her shoulders holding her and securing our position using the above holders that she could not reach. Nagito was the other side of me looking at his phone.

“I bet those kids are from that school,” I heard one adult say to another. Nagito looked up and I looked around, we saw the adults glaring at us. It was a little uncomfortable to think they were judging us. I held Chiaki closer but more for my own comfort. The two adults were standing by the other door across from us.

“Hey,” Nagito waved to them, “we are from that school, I’m a pyromaniac and my friend here is a brutal thug, gets in lots of fights. Are you scared?” he asked, Nagito, shut up. The two adults looked at one another and then looked around as though searching for somewhere else to stand or even a seat that may have become available. There was none.

“That school has a reputation but there’s nothing to be scared of,” Chiaki said.

“Bunch of little psychopaths,” one of them said, it angered me, but I said nothing. These were my friends they were talking about.

“Hey, Hajime,” Mondo called over from where he stood close to Mukuro, Leon and Chihiro not far from him, they had not managed to get a seat either. “You guys up for some games when we get there?” he asked.

“Yeah sure,” I replied.

“That sounds fun,” Chiaki smiled up at me looking cute as ever. I liked having her in my arms like this, the situation not giving us much choice. We stopped at another station, ours was the next one. Some more people got on and an overweight, out of breath man was one of them, he stood looming over Kokichi and where we had been able to get him a seat. He looked up at the man with his big innocent eyes.

“You gonna make me stand, kid?” he asked aggressively.

“Oh, sorry, but I don’t think your fat a-“ I stepped in before he finished that sentence.

“Hey! My friend has a broken rib, he needs that seat.” I said. The man turned to me; his eyes were fierce.

“Your friend is young; he doesn’t need it!”

“You don’t look too old to me just unfit.” I spat back.

“You little-“ he started towards me but Mondo moved to get in the way.

“You really want to start something here? Why don’t you just stand somewhere and catch your breath?” he suggested. Mondo, thank you. The man growled and did as Mondo suggested. I think Mondo could look scary if he wanted to, but I was grateful for his intervention. We arrived at our destination finally and Nagito was still looking at his phone.

“Hajime, Chiaki, they have water sports at this beach, it looks like a real holiday hot spot!” he said. “They have jet skis for hire.”

“That sounds like so much fun! We could race them!” Chiaki suggested.

“I’ll leave that to you guys.” Nagito laughed.

“I don’t want you to miss out, how about you jump on the back of mine?” I suggested.

“Ah… really Hajime? It won’t make you uncomfortable… my body… pressed against yours what if I… can’t control a certain reaction?” he asked, he was messing with me again, I think I can tell when he is now. I playfully pushed him as I laughed.

“Nagito, are you attracted to Hajime?” Chiaki asked and suddenly he blushed.

“Uh… yeah, he knows I am but we’re just friends so don’t worry I’m not going to try and steal your man.” He replied.

“Good, because I would hate for Hajime to come between our friendship, Nagito, unless we share him?” she asked, what?

“Chiaki, what the hell?” I asked and she smiled. Now she was messing with me. Nagito laughed. I was the only one who was subject of this joke. Urgh!

We walked with everyone out of the train station and not far was the beach, we all stood looking out at it, it had a refreshments bar, and I could see the jet skis this would be fun. We all looked at each other excitedly and then ran towards the beach. This is what youth was all about.

Chapter Text

Some of us set up on the beach sitting on towels but others were eager to jump on a jet ski, myself and Chiaki included. She was right, her bikini was cute. I knew I was blushing as she stood with her friends after removing her clothes. The bikini was pink and had frilly bits on the bra part and the bottoms also had frills. She did look very cute.

“Glad you masturbated, Hajime?” Nagito asked and I pushed him playfully. “She does look lovely, that’s a nice bikini she picked out.” he said looking over at her, I realised he was looking at her longingly, he did really like her. Once again, I felt bad for going out with her, but he had been cool about it.

We headed over to the jet ski vendor where we could hire them from and paid.

“Can we race them?” Chiaki asked the man.

“Yeah, sure, we can set you up a sort of finish line if you like?” he asked.

“That would be great, thank you.” She replied and one of the other men jumped on a jet ski heading out quite far to set up our finish line. Joining us were Mondo, Leon, Sayaka and Sonia, Chiaki was going to ride her own one, Sayaka and Sonia were going to share one. Nagito was going to get on the back of mine.

“Remember I can’t swim, Hajime, so I don’t want to end up in the water,” he said as we lined up for our jet skis.

“They’ll give you a lifejacket, Nagito, you’ll float if you do.”

“I’ll probably still manage to drown, or a shark will get me.” he replied, and I laughed. We all strapped on our lifejackets and then I climbed on, Nagito climbed behind me.

“Hold onto me tight, I’m gonna go fast, we’re winning this.” I said.

“Alright,” he said and wrapped his arms around my waist holding tight as I’d instructed. Chiaki got on hers beside us, Mondo on his then Leon after him. Sonia and Sayaka were on theirs to my other side.

“Go!” Mondo yelled and we all fire up our jet skis and raced as fast as we could, eager to be the winner. We were ahead. Yes! Chiaki was coming right up, Mondo not far behind her. This was such a rush; we were going so fast and the finish line in sight. Chiaki past us. No, you don’t, I’m not the kind of guy who’d let my girlfriend win, that sort of thing doesn’t count when your girlfriend is Chiaki Nanami, a competitive gamer girl. I sped up.

“Hajime!” Nagito cried, he was holding onto me really tightly, I could feel his head buried in my shoulders. I think he might be scared but I wasn’t letting up. I sped the jet ski passing her just as we neared the finish line, the others were right behind us, but we won. I carried on and spun around on the jet ski in triumphant victory.

“Whooo! Yes!” I threw my fist into the air. “Nagito, we won!” I said and then realised his arms were not around my waist and I could not feel him against me anymore. I looked around.

“Hajime! He went flying when you spun around!” Chiaki said.

“Oh shit,” I muttered I looked to see him quite far. I revved the jet ski and headed over to him slowly, pulling him back up.

“Thanks for that, Hajime,” he muttered unimpressed, his hair sopping wet.

“I told you hold tight.” I replied.

“That was awesome!” Mondo cried out, “I guess I got third place,” he laughed.

“Yeah, I got last place,” Leon said disappointedly. “I think there was something wrong with my jet.”

“Yeah, yeah, quit making excuses, you were just too scared to go faster!” Mondo teased him.

“That was such a thrill!” Sonia cried having been the one driving the jet.

“We could always race again later?” Chiaki suggested and I smiled.

“Yeah, that would be fun,” I agreed.

“I’ll pass,” Nagito said sounding annoyed.

“Don’t be pissed at me, Nagito, you should have held on tighter.” I said.

“You should have warned me you were about to just spin around!” he snapped.

“Right, well you were holding tight enough the rest of the fucking time!” I snapped back.

“Whatever,” he muttered.

“First fight?” Mondo said with a grin.

“Shut up, Mondo.” I snapped at him now, but it was uncalled for. “Let’s just get back, fucking hold on, Nagito.” I said and he did so. We got back up to the beach meeting our friends at the spot they had found and were lounging in the sun. Mondo started handing out the alcoholic drinks and we all accepted.

“I got plenty to last us,” he said, and we sat, Chiaki and I were sharing a towel on the sand. Nagito was still sulking, it was annoying me.

“Nagito, will you just get over it?” I said.

“I could have drowned, or a shark could have got me, Hajime!” he was actually serious about that.

“You had a fucking life jacket on, and a shark won’t just randomly swim up to get you just because you’re in the water!” I snapped.

“Hajime,” Chiaki said softly and put her hand on my arm stilling me. Was I being an asshole? Shit, I was, Nagito might have been genuinely scared and that’s why he’s acting this way. I glugged some of my drink. I felt bad now.

“Nagito, I’m sorry.” I said and he looked at me surprised.

“Wow, that fast?” he asked.

“Yeah, I don’t want to fight with you.” I said and he smiled. I looked to Chiaki, and she was looking at me before she placed a timid kiss on my cheek. What was that for? I blushed and then glugged some more alcohol. I looked around and realised Kaito and Maki were not with us, maybe they went off for a chat, I hoped they could sort something out, Kaito seemed like a good guy and I wondered what kind of debt he’d had to Fuyuhiko.

“That looked so much fun, I can’t believe I had to miss out because of this stupid injury. Hajime it’s your fault!” Kokichi said.

“I’m sorry, I know it is, but you probably should have filled me in on your plan.” I said.

“Yeah, maybe but your reactions were more genuine, it might have seemed staged if we’d planned it out too much. You’re a great actor though!” he replied grinning, and I laughed.

“Yeah, I was convinced, I thought the little fucker was really dead!” Mondo said.

“Hey, did you guys hear? They’re gonna start installing cameras around the school.” Rantaro said.

“What? I suppose that makes sense,” I muttered, not sure I liked the idea of cameras being installed.

“Are they putting them in the dorms?” Kazuichi asked horrified.

“Yeah, and the showers!” Kokichi said grinning.

“That’s illegal!” Leon said panicked and Kokichi laughed.

“He’s messing with you,” I said laughing. “Obviously they won’t put them in the showers, maybe the communal parts of dorms, they can’t put them in our rooms.” I said.

“Right,” Kazuichi muttered looking a bit embarrassed and so did Leon for believing Kokichi who was just giggling to himself now, come on guys, this is Kokichi. I shook my head; he didn’t relent on his games.

“Hey, lets play a drinking game!” Leon suggested.

“Uh, what kind of drinking game?” Rantaro asked.

“The one where you say you’ve done something and whoever has done it, drinks!”  Mondo put out there.

“No, bro, not that one.” Leon said looking uncomfortable.

“You could always lie if you’re too embarrassed to admit to something.” Kokichi said. “I want to play, time to get some dirt on you all.” He added.

“I don’t think I’m comfortable playing this.” I said.

“Ah come on, guys,” Mondo urged.

“Let’s just get this over with,” Rantaro said sitting forwards readying himself.

“Alright I’ll start it easy,” Leon decided to begin. “I have never been arrested,” he knew most of us here had so I guess that was a good way to make most of us drink. Shit, Chiaki will know I’ve been in trouble with the police before. I drank, Mondo, Kokichi, Nagito, Ryoma, and… Sonia? We all looked at her.

“It was a simple misunderstanding,” she said smiling and we laughed.

“I’ll go,” Mondo said, "I have never… had sex.” What the fuck? He was weeding out the virgins. If you’ve done it; you drink, right? I looked around and saw those who were drinking, Mondo and Mukuro obviously. Sonia and Leon both drank, Miu, Rantaro and Ryoma did and Kokichi? No way! He could be lying; he does that sometimes. Wait… Nagito was drinking? What? I’m sure he said he’d never had a girlfriend before. Maybe a boyfriend?

“Nagito, you had sex?” Leon asked, so he was more surprised about Nagito than Kokichi.

“Oh, no, I got confused by the rules,” he said laughing awkwardly. Oh, so he was a virgin.
“Who did you sleep with, Kokichi?” Mondo asked.

“Mukuro.” He said grinning.

“What?” Mondo snapped and looked at his girlfriend, she just shook her head indicating it was untrue. I did wonder though, he always seemed like such a kid, but he was still our age, I guess, so he would be interested in sex.

“So, we know the virgins of the group, ha!” Miu spat. Yeah, me, Chiaki, Nagito, Chihiro, Shuichi, Kaede, Sayaka, Kazuichi.

“Who’d wanna fuck an ugly bitch like you?” Kokichi spat and she looked hurt like she was about to cry.

“Who’d wanna fuck an annoying kid like you?” Mondo countered.

“I’m not that annoying, am I? Well at least I’m not ugly,” he said looking satisfied with himself. No, he wasn’t ugly, and neither was Miu, but he insisted on telling her she was.

“Looks has nothing to do with losing your virginity, sometimes you meet a person and a strong bond and connection forms and leads to something special.” Ryoma said.

“Sex is just sex,” Kokichi replied brushing him off.

“I don’t think so, it can be but he’s right, it’s more special if it’s with someone you love.” Nagito said and I smiled. He was right.

“How would you know virgin?” Kokichi burst but Nagito didn’t respond, he just looked at him blankly.

“Shall we play a different game? This one’s already getting silly,” Chiaki said, and I agreed.

“Or we could just talk?” Sonia suggested and I liked the idea of that.

“Alright, Kokichi, seriously who did you have sex with, is it someone at school?” Mondo asked.

“I’m not telling,” he sang.

“Alright, well, what’s your type?” I decided to ask, Kokichi was a mystery to me, and I certainly felt there was more to him than what he brought to the surface.

“That’s private,” he said looking less confident.

“Alright, lets stop, we’re not getting anything from him.” I said.

“You give up so easily, Hajime!” Kokichi laughed. I really didn’t understand him at all. I noticed Nagito wasn’t really sitting near anyone, even Chiaki and me, I knew he wasn’t close to anyone else here and I suppose when we first came up to the beach, he and I were in the middle of our first fight. I’m glad that was short lived. He still looked a bit troubled though.

“Who wants to come get some ice cream?” Sayaka asked.

“Hell yeah!” Leon said, obviously just following her to the vendor but hopefully he will get to speak with her. Some others also got up to join them. I looked to Chiaki.

“You want some ice cream?” I asked her.

“Yeah,” she replied, and we stood walking behind the others heading to the refreshment bar on the edge of the beach. We were holding hands and I was aware mine probably felt sweaty now, but she was still holding on. “Hajime, do we want to go for a nice walk along the shoreline?” she asked me as we got our ice cream. I smiled down at her.

“Yeah, sure,” I replied, and we left the others walking with our ice cream in one hand, and the other hand still holding onto each other’s.  

“That game always gets silly and ends up about sex,” Chiaki said as we walked.

“Yeah, it was kind of stupid.” I replied.

“It’s not much fun since I don’t get to join in,” she added.

“Yeah, I done stuff but if it… ends up about sex then… I wouldn’t be drinking either.” I admitted blushing.

“What were you arrested for, Hajime?” she asked. Shit.

“Fighting, I hurt the other guy and he went to the police.” I admitted.

“Oh, who started it?” she asked.

“I did but he was… he was a stranger, but I saw him with his girlfriend, I think he beats her, its none of my business and I didn’t know either of them, but she looked terrified.”
“You might have made it worse for her, Hajime,” Chiaki said.

“Yeah, I didn’t think that far ahead. I’m an idiot.” I muttered.

“No, you’re not, you just can’t help yourself when it comes to saving people. It’s like you’re some kind of hero.” She said smiling as I stole a glance to her.

“I’m not a hero,” I muttered.

“I think you’re pretty heroic, I mean you jumped off a bridge to save Nagito from drowning.” She said. I guess that was kind of heroic, but I wasn’t about to just let him die.

“The people that stand by and do nothing piss me off. If someone needs help then we should help them, no matter what.” I said.

“Hajime… you’re a really good person, I’m pleased we started dating. I… really like you.” She said blushing and I stopped our walking and looked at her. She looked up at me, blushing, her big eyes a little uncertain. This was it, we kissed before, but it was a timid kiss. I was ready to kiss her properly. My heart pounded inside of my chest, and I found myself angling her chin gently, so she was looking up and pushing away my anxiety, I leaned forwards placing my lips on hers. I was not sure if I would be any good at this, but we gently moved our lips together, matching a slow rhythm, this was nice, and I felt my stomach flutter like something special was happening. I felt a connection, our kiss forming a deeper connection between us. This was our first proper kiss and I think I might be falling for her.

Chapter Text

We headed back to the others, but I felt even closer to Chiaki and some of my nerves were subsiding when I was around her now. I felt like that was pretty fast, but I was glad, and I think it was sharing that kiss. When we returned some were still sat, others had opted to playing in the sea and Nagito was sat alone, burning bits of driftwood, and just watching it, he seemed content, but I was a bit annoyed people had just left him out, but I suppose I forced hanging out with Nagito onto them. Chiaki and I sat with him, I noticed an array of empty drinks, they had all consumed more alcohol in our absence. Mondo was passing more to us on our arrival, and we accepted sitting with Nagito.

“You don’t have to sit with me, y’know,” Nagito said.

“I want to,” I replied.

“So do I.” Chiaki added with a smile.

“You’re both good people, that’s why you spend time with someone like me, you don’t really want to you just pity me, right?” he asked suddenly.

“Nagito, are you getting depressed again?” I asked him and he looked away from the fire and at me.

“No, I’m not depressed, that’s just how I feel, I mean you can’t really want to be friends with someone like me, right? So, I was thinking it must be pity or something.” He said.

“Shut up, Nagito.” I just replied with a laugh. “I choose to hang out with you because I enjoy your company, alright?”
“Yeah, same.” Chiaki added smiling.

“Now you guys, my only friends, are a couple, I’m just gonna get in the way, right?” he asked.

“I thought we were friends, Nagito?” Kokichi was listening. Nagito looked over at him.

“No, I don’t think we are.” Nagito replied dully. Kokichi looked disappointed, and I actually felt it to be genuine because he didn’t follow it with some quip or fake tears. I realised Nagito and Kokichi were both lonely individuals, both were very strange but at least I kind of got Nagito.

“Chiaki, why did you come and talk to me that first time?” Nagito asked.

“You were always alone, and I thought you’d be quite interesting to talk to and I was right.”
“So, it began with pity. Hajime what about you?”

“I thought you seemed friendly right from the start, then you made me laugh so I thought you’d be fun to hang out with. I…” felt awkward saying this. “Nagito, I value your friendship, I’m not the sort of person who hangs out with someone if I didn’t want to. When we had that fight earlier, I felt pretty shitty, I think I was being an asshole.”

“Yeah, you were. I have a fear of water especially water that deep and I really didn’t want to end up in the sea that far out.” he replied.

“Why did you get on the jet ski then?” I asked.

“I wanted to be part of it and I didn’t want to be stuck up here with everyone who doesn’t talk to me but I didn’t expect you to spin around like that.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry, I should have warned you, but it was an impulsive action, so I didn’t really think to.”

“It’s ok,” he replied looking back at the burning driftwood.

“Nagito, are we ok?” I decided to ask, and he looked back to me and smiled.

“Yeah, of course, I value your friendship too, Hajime,” I was pleased. I really did like Nagito.

“Hey guys, I heard some kids talking about rock pools up the shoreline, shall we go check it out?” Kokichi asked.

“You up to it?” I asked.

“Yeah, my rib isn’t actually broken, but it is cracked.” He said.

“What the fuck, Kokichi?” I snapped and he just laughed.

“Well, its ok if you pretend it’s still broken, because at least that protects me, the crack could get worse if I get further injured and it could actually break and pierce my lung.” Nagito laughed.

“You had everyone tiptoeing around you,” he said.

“Yeah, but I still have to be careful, when I was taken to the hospital, they x-rayed me but told me it was just a cracked rib, I decided to tell you all it was broken, hehe,” he laughed.

“Damn, Kokichi,” I muttered.

“So, this rock pool, wanna check it out?” Kokichi asked again.

“Yeah, why not?” I replied standing. Nagito put out his fire and I helped Chiaki to her feet.

“We should all put our shoes on, some of the rocks might be jagged,” Chiaki said, she was right, so we all donned our shoes and headed to where Kokichi said the rock pool was. Chiaki held my hand as we walked.

“Hey, assholes!” we heard and looked to see some beach guys addressing us. What the hell had we done? “Where’d you get off hogging all the hot chicks, huh?” one called over. Right, we had a lot of pretty girls in our group, but they were our friends.

“You think guys like you would attract a hot girl? Ha!” Kokichi, stop it! Stop antagonising them!

“You little shit!” one growled and headed over. I stepped in front of Kokichi. Mondo, I could really use your back up again right about now.

“Hold up!” I snapped. “Those girls are our friends, they’re choosing to sit with us, it’s their choice, right?” I asked.

“Shut the fuck up!” one snapped and he swung for me. I didn’t dodge fast enough, and it connected with my jaw, it was hard, and I hit the sand. Shit, the only other guys here were Kokichi who didn’t look all that strong and was injured, and Nagito who I knew wasn’t much of a fighter.

Shit that hurt. Someone came to my side, it was Chiaki.

“Hajime are you ok?” she asked.

“You getting up you little fuck?” one of the guys yelled. Chiaki looked to them.

“Why are you fighting? What’s the point of this?” she asked.

“That mouthy little shit over there is next, then the pretty boy!”

“Huh?” Nagito asked. “Was that one me?” he asked again. “You think I’m pretty?” I looked around to him and he had a big smile on his face and his eyes were huge. “Wow! I’ve never been told that before! That makes me so happy to hear,” he said moving forwards past me and Chiaki, “especially from big strong guys like you.”

“What the fuck?” one of the guys asked backing off.

“Honestly, I’m really flattered nobodies ever said that to me before! I feel so happy I could just…” his whole demeanour darkened. “Set someone on fire.” He said pulling out his lighter from his shorts pocket.

“They’re fucking psychopaths.” One of the guys said to the other and they hurried off. Nagito laughed but stopped before he got too carried away and turned to us.

“That was fun.” He said and he and Chiaki helped me up.

“Oh, shit Hajime, you got a bruise on your face, they’re gonna think you were fighting!” Kokichi noted.

“Yeah, that sucks, I could just… try the truth on them? I mean I didn’t throw a punch and I got no scuffed knuckles.”

“I hope that holds up.” Nagito said.

“Rock pool!” Kokichi cried looking excited.

“Yeah, lets go.” I agreed. We headed over to the part of the shore Kokichi led us to and sure enough there were rock pools.

“I wanna find a big crab!” Kokichi was grinning from ear to ear, it was kind of endearing. We all wandered careful of our steps around the pools, some may deeper than they seem. It was interesting, we did find some interesting crabs and other creatures.

I saw something glistening in one of the pools and I reached in fishing it out. I was surprised to see such a beautiful shell and completely intact. It was a lovely pale pink with elaborate patterns and spiked bits, not sharp just decorative, sticking out of it and on its underside was that multicoloured mother of pearl. It was stunning and my first thought was to give it to Chiaki. I stood heading over to her where she was inspecting another pool.

“Hey,” I muttered, and she looked up at me.

“Hey,” she smiled.

“I uh… have something for you.” I said and handed the shell to her. She stood and took it looking at it thoroughly.

“Its very pretty but what’s it for?” she asked cocking her head.

“It’s not for anything, I just found it and thought of you, girls like… pretty things, right?” I asked feeling awkward now.

“Um… yeah, I guess.” She muttered.

“If you don’t want it, you can just put it back!” I found myself snapping a little, I had thought she would really like that. I thought it was quite special.

“Oh wow! What’s that?” Nagito was coming over, he was looking at the shell, “that’s really beautiful Chiaki, where’d you find that?” he asked. I guess Nagito liked pretty things too, maybe I should have given it to him, he might have been more appreciative.

“Oh, you like it that much? Hajime found it; you can have it if you like?” she asked.

“Oh, really?” he replied. No, not really. It was supposed to be for Chiaki. She handed it to him, and he looked really happy. I suppose if he liked it that much, it was ok, but I felt put out, it was supposed to be a nice gesture for Chiaki, my girlfriend but she gave it to someone else. I walked off on my own not really looking at much, glancing in the occasional pool but I felt a bit upset. I wasn’t very good at this boyfriend stuff and Chiaki gave away my first present, sure it was just a stupid shell, but I thought she would have liked it because it was so pretty. Maybe she just wasn’t like other girls and didn’t care for things like that. I really wanted her to have it though. I decided to leave them at the rock pool but as I walked onto the beach, I heard Nagito calling my name as he hurried over to me.

“Hajime are you ok?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” I muttered.

“You’re obviously not,” he replied.

“That shell… I thought Chiaki would really like it, but she didn’t seem all that fussed about it and gave it straight to you.” I said.

“Oh… Hajime, I’m sorry,” he muttered. “I don’t think she realised it was supposed to be special, I didn’t realise either….” He added. “Hey, I got an idea, come with me.” he said and led me up the beach, we got off the beach and hit the part where there were unique little shops around and he took me to one which had all kinds of little ornaments made out of pretty shells and interesting stones and even beach glass. He handed me the shell I found. “Have it back, if we ask the shop owner, I’m sure they can make a necklace out of it and then you can give it to Chiaki like that and just explain to her it was supposed to be a gift.” He smiled.

“Nagito, you obviously really liked it, I’m happy for you to keep it, I was just… annoyed she gave it away so freely.”

“She didn’t understand, Hajime, don’t be annoyed with her. Please take it, I don’t want it anymore.” He said smiling and I reached out accepting it. “Look over there, they’ve made all kinds of pretty jewellery using beach items. Ask them.” he urged, and I headed over to the shop owner.

“Hi, would you be able to… make a necklace out of this shell?” I asked her showing her what I’d found. She looked at it.

“Oh my, that is a good find,” she smiled, “I’m sure I can do something with this, have a look over there and pick out a nice necklace chain or wrap,” she pointed, and I walked over, Nagito had been looking at some of the products on sale but he joined me.

“A chain might break the shell,” he said.

“Good point, I like this cord, it’s simple,”
“And won’t take away from the beauty of that shell! I think you should pick a pink one!” he suggested, and I agreed. I selected one and then the shop owner came back out, she held the shell up, it now had a small hole and a little fastening for the cord to go through.

“That’s perfect!” Nagito gasped.

“Is this for you?” she asked, and he blushed.

“Oh no, it’s for his girlfriend,” he replied and smiled.

“That’s a nice thing to do, I’m sure she’ll love it.” the lady smiled and accepted the cord threading it through the shells fastening which was also made of a nice cord type material. She even put it in a little box for me. I smiled as I paid her, I was happy with it, I just hoped Chiaki was when I gave it to her. I put it in my shorts pocket for now and we headed back.

We arrived back with everyone else, Chiaki and Kokichi were also just heading back to the group. Kokichi was carrying something. It looked like a shell.

“Hey, Miu, I found a pretty shell for you!” he said as he made his approach.

“I don’t want anything from you, ya little shit stain!” she snapped, and he dropped it on her lap, with a little laugh. Suddenly the shell sprouted legs and Miu screamed. It was a crab, so that's why he wanted to find a crab. “Get it off!” she cried and Rantaro reached over carefully picking up the creature and setting it on the sand. It started to walk away. Kokichi was laughing. “You fuckin’ cum splash! I’ll kill you!” she cried and pulled herself to her feet running at him and he couldn’t get away fast enough, but his next words stopped her in her tracks.

“Gross! A fat ugly slut fucking whore is gonna eat me!” he cried out.

“I’m not… fat… am I fat?” she asked holding her arms around her waist looking self-conscious.

“Yeah, you’re reaalllly fat and your face is so gross to look at I can’t stomach it!” he said, and she looked as though she was about to cry.

“Hey, Kokichi, that’s enough!” Rantaro was the one who spoke. Miu sat back down looking subdued, and the rest of us took our places on the towels. Mondo handed more alcohol. I was starting to feel a little tipsy now.

“Hajime, I was a bit surprised you’re still a virgin, ya know,” Mondo began, his arm was around Mukuro as usual. She was a little off as usual.

“What does it matter?” I asked him as I glugged some more of my drink.

“Well, its just because you got this confidence about you, you like to save people, I’m sure saving plenty of damsels in distress could land you lots of score and you’re good looking.” He said. I am? I didn’t really think so.

“Is it that big of a deal, being a virgin?” Chiaki asked.

“No, but I was just… surprised that’s all.” He said.

“Hajime is… very good looking but as Ryoma said sex isn’t about looks it’s about a connection and Hajime doesn’t save people to get laid.” Chiaki replied. She was awesome. I wanted to give her that necklace but not in front of everyone, it was special, even more special thanks to Nagito. I think he might be my best friend. I looked to him, and he smiled at me, I returned it. Nagito was awesome too.

Chapter Text

The day had been a lot of fun and some of us had consumed a little too much alcohol, but nobody was out of control which was good. I still had to give Chiaki that necklace. The day was almost over, I was running out of time. I looked to her as she was talking to Nagito, he was a little tipsy now and he was talking about that Phoenix he loves so much. I hated to interrupt them but some of them had already mentioned the idea of leaving.

“Hey, Chiaki… want to go for another walk?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure, can Nagito join us? We were in the middle of a conversation.”

“Uh…”
“No, I’ll stay here, we can continue later.” He said smiling at me, he knew why I wanted to walk with her. I appreciated his support in this. Chiaki and I walked the beach hand in hand, people were starting to clear away and head home now, so it was emptier than earlier. We headed to the shoreline and paddled through the gentle waves lapping at the sand. I began.

“Chiaki… that shell I gave you earlier… I wanted it to be for you, I thought it was pretty so I was… a bit… when you gave it Nagito like that-“
“Hajime, I’m sorry I didn’t realise! There’s something I should probably tell you… they think I might be on the autistic spectrum, so I didn’t understand the meaning behind your gesture, but I think I do now.” she looked a bit upset.

“Oh… that makes some sense, don’t apologise,” I replied. “Anyway, Nagito realised, and he gave it back to me.” I took the box out of my pocket and handed it to her. She smiled and accepted it opening it up.

“Oh wow! It’s a necklace now!” she said looking up at me with big eyes. “I love it.” she smiled.

“Here,” I took the necklace out and moved to put it on her. It sat perfectly and looked beautiful on her. I smiled. She touched a hand to it.

“It’s beautiful, Hajime, thank you.” She blushed.

“I just thought of you when I saw it, that’s all.” I muttered feeling a little embarrassed, but I took her hand. “Can I… kiss you again?” I asked.

“Of course,” she smiled blushing as I leaned in to meet my lips to hers. This had been such a perfect day.

“Hey! Hajime!” Mondo called over and we looked up the beach at them all packing away ready to head back. We slowly wandered back to join them.

“I wondered if I would be better off in your school, they are very well equipped there for kids who have difficulties, I’m not severe or anything but I have thought about it. It’s not an official diagnosis though.” she pondered.

“Yeah, but my school’s full of delinquents like me, you wouldn’t be suited for it.” I replied, “it would be great if you were there though!” I added.

“Hmm… I wonder… maybe I could transfer! I might ask my dad.”

“I’m sure he won’t want you to go to a school full of troubled kids, Chiaki,”

“It will be put down to life experiences. He’s open minded.” She replied. Chiaki… attending my school suddenly, was that… to be closer to me? Or was I seriously conceited in thinking that? “Maybe I should get arrested then I’ll fit in.” she said sounding serious.

“Its no fun getting arrested, trust me,” I replied.

“I was only joking,” she said and laughed a little. She didn’t strike me as autistic but perhaps there is an underlying condition, she was a little odd. I liked how she was though.

“Oh… yeah I’m not very good at this,” I said laughing. We gathered our things together and began walking to the train station, it wasn’t far. Kokichi yawned and went to stretch his arms up but then winced as he did so, having forgotten about his injury, the rib might not be broken but it would still hurt like hell. Miu came up beside him and jabbed him in the chest, he cried out.

“That’s for the crab you little fuckhead!” she said. He was holding his rib and started to gasp for air.

“Oh shit!” I said.

“I didn’t… hit him that hard!” Miu protested with tears in her eyes. “He’s faking it!” he didn’t look like it as he keeled over and fell on all fours. He was looked like he was struggling to breathe.

“Shit, call an ambulance!” Mondo said and Mukuro was getting out her phone. Kokichi’s convincing gasps turned into laughter.

“Aw, you do care,” he said and reached out for someone to help him up but we all just looked down at him very unimpressed. “It was just a joke.” He said and sat down on the pavement.

“It wasn’t very funny,” Nagito said and went to assist him in getting back up. Falling down was one thing but getting back up required more effort.

“You… I thought I’d… I knew you were faking it! You’re fucking whore mother should have fucking aborted you when she had the chance!” Miu cried and Kokichi stopped laughing and even smiling. Did that one strike a nerve?

“I was only playing, no need to get so personal.” He muttered and continued to walk. We followed.

“That was not cool,” I said to Chiaki.

“No, it was pretty cruel actually, I wonder why Kokichi likes to play these games all the time,” she replied. Yeah, I wondered that too, especially like that. There was no gain from making Miu believe she had hurt him, or the rest of us for that matter. Not like Fuyuhiko, that was to stop him and to return our dorms to peace.

“That did hurt, though, you don’t jab someone right where they’re injured.” Kokichi said as though trying to return to his normal state, but it seemed Miu really had struck a nerve.

We arrived at the station and had managed to get seats on the train this time, most of us anyway. After we had been on the train for a bit, it suddenly stopped pulling up in the middle of nowhere. We were all sat in confused silence until the train driver made an announcement.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay, there is someone on the tracks. The police are currently trying to remove them now. We will resume our journey as soon as it is safe, and they are clear.”

“A suicider? Shit.” Mondo said.

“Hey, is Nagito with us?” Leon called as though making a joke.

“I’m not suicidal.” Nagito muttered unamused.

“You sure about that?” Leon asked.

“I’m sure, what I really want is to ascend,”

“What the hell does that mean?” Kazuichi gasped.

“Nothing someone like you would understand,” Nagito replied.

“What the hell?” Kazuichi snapped.

“Hey, everyone just cool it, we’re all a bit drunk, we’re all tired let’s just keep our heads, ok?” I stepped in.

“Fucking Fire Freak, the only person who wanted you to come was Hajime!” Kazuichi snapped.

“Hey, Hajime’s right just cool off, bro.” Mondo said.

“No, why should I? I’m speaking for everyone here!” What the hell was his problem? Kazuichi wasn’t usually like this.

“Your voice is grating; it’s giving me a headache.” Nagito muttered holding a hand to his head.

“Everyone needs to chill, we’ve had a good day hanging out, let’s not ruin that.” Rantaro said, also joining in on the peacekeeping which I was grateful of.

“I think we might be late for curfew, even if it is a weekend curfew,” Ryoma muttered looking at his phone. We were sat another hour, some engaged in their own conversations, others looking like they might fall asleep. Ryoma was right, we were going to be late for curfew. I took out my phone and called through to the school.

“Hajime?” Chiaki asked.

“They might be lenient if I call ahead to warn them half the school will be late back,” I said.

“Good idea, bro,” Mondo said.

Mr Munakata answered, one of the stricter teachers at the school. Great.

“Hey, it’s Hajime Hinata, a bunch of us went to the beach today but we might be late back for curfew, we’re all on the train now but there’s a person on the tracks, trying to commit suicide. The police are talking them down right now.”

“That’s a very inventive little story, Hinata, but perhaps not the most elaborate one I’ve ever heard but it’s up there.” he replied. He didn’t believe me, figures.

“Mr Munakata, its true! We’re waiting right now-“ I was interrupted by the train driver.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, we thank you for your patience in this matter, the tracks are now clear, and we shall continue our journey.” He said.

“Did you hear that?” I asked Mr Munakata.

“So, it wasn’t a fabrication, very well, as this is beyond your control, you will escape punishment.” He said and then hung up.

“Shit, I’m glad I called, he didn’t believe the story and that train driver could not have had better timing,” I said. Chiaki slipped her hand into mine and held it, resting her head on my shoulder. She looked sleepy and it was so cute. I didn’t want to say goodbye to her tonight but eventually I would have to.

Chapter Text

We returned to our dorms and Nagito seemed to be having a spurt of energy, it was like he couldn’t keep still, I remember he was a bit like this when I first got here, got over-excited about stuff. Perhaps it was something to do with his mental disorders and possibly the alcohol kicking in more. Kokichi went straight to his room, some others called it a night too, I was a little worried about Kokichi but for now, I was forced to put that out of my mind.

“Nagito, what is your deal with Sonia?” Kazuichi decided to challenge him, possibly fuelled by the alcohol.

“Huh?” Nagito asked.

“You seem to have her attention, why is she so interested in you suddenly?” Kazuichi continued. I remained by Nagito’s side; I still did not know Kazuichi all that well but up until now he had seemed like a chill guy.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Nagito muttered and then his eyes brightened. “Are you going to fight me?” he asked as though the prospect was exciting.

“You were flirting with her at the beach,”

“Me? Flirting? I wouldn’t know where to start,” Nagito replied laughing.

“Well, what the hell was that at the beach?” Kazuichi yelled.

“What do you care? You don’t show any interest in her!” I stepped in.

“Of course I’m interested!” he snapped. “I just… she’s just…”
“Too good for you?” Nagito asked.

“Shut up!” Kazuchi yelled.

“Hey, guys, Hajime was right, we’ve all had a bit too much to drink, let’s just chill, alright?” Mondo said stepping in to calm his friend. It worked and Kazuichi took a seat. I looked at Mondo with thanks and he acknowledged it with a wink. He was a good guy.

“Hajime!” Nagito turned to me, “I’m really not tired, can we stay up for a bit?” he asked.

“Sure,” I smiled, “what do you want to do?” I asked him and he just grabbed my wrist dragging me away. “Hey!” I protested but he gave me no choice. The roof again, it seemed. I guess it was private up here.

“There’s no sunset but the stars are sort of pretty too,” he said as we got up top. We sat down and looked out at the sparkling stars. This felt… sort of romantic, I was with the wrong person for that. “So, I noticed Chiaki was wearing that necklace, she liked it then?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied feeling a bit awkward.

“I’m glad,” he said. “Hajime… are you sure I’m not in the way?” he asked.

“What? No, hell no, Nagito you’ve really helped me. What’s with you right now?” I asked.

“I don’t know…” he muttered resting his chin on his knees as he hugged his legs.

“Hey,” I said, and he looked at me. “You ok?” I asked.

“Yeah, I think so.” He replied. “I wanted to tell you something very personal to me, Hajime, but… I don’t know if it’s the right time and I’m worried that… you’ll think less of me, or even… hate me… but I almost feel like I can’t contain it and I have to tell you!” he said suddenly looking excited. I laughed.

“If you want to, I don’t think I can hate you if that helps, you’ve been a really good friend to me and I… was so opposed to making friends feeling like I was better on my own but I think… I was actually quite lonely, and it felt almost so easy with you.” I suddenly said, maybe the alcohol had loosened my tongue too.

“Oh really? That’s good to know, I understand feeling lonely,” he said and hugged his legs to himself. “You’ve been really good to me too, Hajime, keep saving me and stuff… you better be careful, I might end up falling for you.” He said and looked at me smiling. I returned it.

“Don’t get weird on me, Nagito,” I replied teasing him.

“I won’t,” he muttered.

“So, what was it you wanted to tell me?” I asked.

“You know what… Izuru said… about what he called my sins?” he asked, and I started to feel apprehensive, but I just listened. “My fascination with fire came from my grandma, she was always so kind and loving, only person who was in my life and she lived with us, which was nice. She would tell me stories about the Phoenix and how it ascends into the next stage of its life by burning out and rising from its ashes, that always sounded so wonderful.” He paused a moment, “I was in… elementary school and I couldn’t sleep one night I was so excited… I went downstairs and found the matches and some kindling, I wasn’t thinking straight but I took it up to my room and I tried to make a small fire, I wanted to sleep by it and wait for the Phoenix to show itself in the flames. The fire calmed me, and I fell asleep in my own bed. I woke coughing and realised the house was on fire, my grandma was bursting through the door, pushing through the flames. She grabbed me pulling me out of bed and as we left the threshold of my room, the door frame collapsed on top of her where it had burnt, I tried to prize it off her, but it was hot. My dad tried but my grandma told him to just get me out. He picked me up and we left her there. I killed my grandma, the only person to ever love me….” I looked at him, I was not sure how to take what he just said, it can only be described as a tragedy. Nagito’s tragedy. It was very sad.

“Nagito… I’m so sorry… but it wasn’t your fault,”

“It was though, but I haven’t told you the best part of this story! It was so beautiful Hajime! We stood outside watching the house go up in flames, tears were streaming down my face, and it was then, only then I saw the Phoenix. It rose up out of the flames of the burning house, I believe that was my grandma ascending into the next life. I saw it Hajime, I really saw it!” He was insane. He really was insane. His eyes were huge as he told me that part, mirrors to his insanity. I felt bad for him. Tears had fallen from my eyes as he told his story and I wiped them away.

“Nagito… have you been taking your medication?” I asked him.

“Huh? Why?” he asked.

“Because… it can’t have really happened like that.” I muttered.

“You don’t believe me,” he muttered sadly.

“I think… you believe what you saw but… it can’t have been that way.” I said.

“That was… really personal to me, Hajime,” he muttered still sounding disappointed.

“Your medication, Nagito?” I asked again.

“Well… I might have missed some this week but that really happened!” he insisted.

“Nagito, you have to take your medication, it levels you out.” I said.

“Yeah… I can’t believe you don’t believe me.”

“Hey, I’m sorry, I think… you really did see it but that it stemmed from the trauma of losing your grandmother,” I said.

“Are you a psychiatrist now?” he asked dully.

“No, but…” I sighed. “I believe you saw it, ok just… I think it runs a bit deeper is all.”

“Fine,” he muttered. “I regret telling you about that now. My actions… my carelessness, caused the death of my grandma and she saved my life. I should have died then but she saved my worthless life.”

“She loved you, Nagito, she deemed your life worth more than her own, she wanted you to live your life. She gave you a gift, the best gift, you lost her and that’s sad but… she would want you to enjoy your life, to live it. She loved you so much that’s obvious, you have your memories of her and this… Phoenix… I get why you always paint it now.” I said and he looked at me. Finally, he smiled.

“So you understand me a little better now?”

“Yeah, I think I do. In fact, I feel closer to you for this conversation and-“ suddenly he leaned forwards and kissed me. What the fuck? Was what I was screaming inside but outwardly I just leaned back so his lips were not touching mine anymore. “N-Nagito…” I said and he pulled away abruptly.

“Shit! I’m sorry! I’m a little drunk and… I fucked it didn’t I? Shit! I fucked it!” he panicked and bashed his head with his hands.

“Hey, hey, stop.” I said grabbing his wrist. “You didn’t fuck anything up, Nagito but you have to understand our relationship, I’m with Chiaki and you can’t just kiss me like that,”
“I’m sorry, it probably made your skin crawl.” He muttered.
“No, but I’m with Chiaki, me and you are friends.” I explained. This was bad.

“I know, shit, I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m confused….”

“Hey, Nagito, we’re friends, ok, it’s alright. It didn’t gross me out or anything but we’re friends. Don’t confuse it and you should keep on top of your meds.” I said calmly but my heart was pounding hard inside my chest.

“It didn’t gross you out?” he asked surprised.

“No, your lips are really soft, Nagito, do you moisturise them or something?” I asked bringing it back to teasing friends. He laughed.

“Yeah, nobodies ever gonna kiss me but I like the feel of having soft lips.” He said smiling. “So if it didn’t gross you out, does that mean you might actually be bisexual?” he asked looking excited again.

“I uh… don’t know… I just felt like it was wrong having someone who wasn’t Chiaki kiss me. I’m not a cheater but it… wasn’t wrong because you’re a guy… maybe I am bicurious, I never really thought about it.” I realised.

“Hajime, did you just come out to me?” he teased, and I laughed.

“Maybe I’m just confused as well,” I replied. “I really like Chiaki though; I don’t want to do anything to ruin that.” I said.

“Yeah, I feel kind of guilty now, she’s my friend and I just tried to kiss her boyfriend. I’m a terrible person.”

“No, you’re just crazy and a little drunk.” I teased and he laughed playfully pushing me. I playfully pushed him back and we laughed. “Come on, let’s head back inside,” I said and we stood heading back to the rooftop door.

Chapter Text

Nagito and I got to the roof entrance and went through the door to find Izuru with all his lackies, the girls and the guys, waiting for us. What the hell did he want now?

“What do you want?” I asked him. “Why can’t you just leave us alone?”

“I tried.” Izuru said. “We don’t need Nagito,” he muttered turning his head slightly to the side and Gundham moved forwards, I stepped in his way, and we tussled, but he won, throwing me down. He was strong, he then took hold of Nagito by his shirt and Nagito’s struggles were in vain, he just tossed him down the stairs and he fell hitting the bottom. He wasn’t moving. Izuru looked down at him coldly.

“Nagito!” I called out.

“He’s out cold.” Izuru said. Shit, was he ok? He must have hit his head at the bottom. Izuru came towards me, and he pushed me back out to the roof through the door, I swung my fist at him, but he dodged it. Nobody had ever done that before; I was pretty fast. He then took hold of me with ease and wrapped his arm around my neck pulling tight. I couldn’t breathe.

“Do not fret, unlike Fuyuhiko, I know how to actually put someone to sleep like this,” he said in my ear, but I still struggled trying to throw him off, but he would barely move an inch. I clawed at the arm around my neck and threw back some elbows hoping to hurt him but started to feel light-headed. It wasn’t working, I couldn’t throw him off. The others all appeared before me.

“I think he’s realised how hopeless it is to resist you, Izuru,” Celeste said.

“This is a beautiful moment! The struggle for life, the moment in which it could teeter on the edge, the moment one realises they cannot win, no matter how heroic they may be.” Korekiyo said and his sister wrapped her arms around his waist pulling down his mask, placing her lips upon his.

“So beautiful, just like you brother,” she said.

“He’s pathetic, r-really pathetic!” Toko cried and then Gundham spoke.

“When one hero falls… another rises,” like the Phoenix… was the thought that crossed my mind as I faded.

Chapter Text

I had awful nightmares whilst I was out… I was in a dark room surrounded by creatures I could not see, they lurked just out of sight but in this place, it was impossible to see anything anyway. I could hear them scratching, clawing… but I remember nothing after that.

When I came to, I realised I was still on the roof, the sky was paling, morning rising. It was cold! So cold in these early hours as we were losing the summer heat. I felt a pain on my back but couldn’t place where I might have sustained that injury. I looked around me to see that Izuru and his following were no longer here. What did they want from me to just leave me like that? Nagito! I remember they threw him down the stairs, he hadn’t come to find me, like he usually would have, and he had hit his head, lying unconscious at the bottom of the stairs. I pulled myself to my feet and staggered towards the door to the roof. I opened it and walked to the top of the stairs. I looked down and saw Nagito was still lying at the bottom. Oh god. I hurried down the stairs jumping two at a time to get to him fast. I shook him but he didn’t wake, he was breathing that much I could tell but he didn’t wake.

“Nagito,” I called but still, nothing. I pulled out my phone and called an ambulance, he could have a serious concussion, he had been lying here all night as had I on the roof, but I wasn’t injured. He was. As I dialled, he started to come around and opened his eyes slowly.

“Hajime? Are you ok?” he asked, and I just laughed, laughed from relief and at him asking me if I was ok when he was the one just waking up.

“Nagito, thank god… are you alright?” I asked him.

“My head is pounding, and I feel a little sick, I don’t know if it’s the hangover or if I have a concussion,” he muttered, still lying on the floor, not quite ready to be upright. “What did Izuru do to you?” he asked.

“He just put me in a choke hold until I passed out, I have this soreness on my back, but I don’t know what that could be from,” I replied. Nagito slowly sat up.

“Do you want me to take a look?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I replied and removed my shirt, turning from him, he was silent, and I looked around to him over my shoulder. His expression could only be described as wide-eyed terror. “What is it?” I asked.

“What have they done to you?” he muttered.

“What?” I asked urgently.

“It looks like some kind of… demonic symbol,” he muttered, and my heart sunk. “They marked you, Hajime,” I remembered my dreams… nightmares… I was terrified, Chiaki had mentioned Izuru may have been into the occult and demon worship but also that it could have just been malicious rumours due to his strangeness. Odd kids often get slandered by cruel kids but in this case, maybe there was truth in it.

“What the hell?” I hissed but I could not see the mark since it was on my back. I pulled out my phone again and called Chiaki. It rang out. She was probably asleep. I dialled again. This time she answered.

“Izuru marked me, Chiaki, what do I do?” I panicked, instantly regretting doing so to my girlfriend who was bound to see me as far less cool for this.

“Hajime, come to my school, right now.” she said, and I hung up agreeing to do so. I pulled my shirt back on standing and looked down at Nagito.

“I’m going to Chiaki,” I said.

“Do you want me to come with you?” he asked.

“No, it’s ok, I think you should go to the nurse’s office, you might have a concussion.” I said and helped him up. He was a little unsteady on his feet.

“You’re right, I don’t feel too good,” he agreed, and I helped him to get there before I headed out to Chiaki’s school. A school full of girls. I received a text from her as I headed over.

I have a friend who might be able to help. x

Was this demon worship thing real? What were those awful nightmares I had? I was scared, I couldn’t even hide it, my body was trembling.

Chapter Text

I arrived at Chiaki’s school, and she was waiting for me by the gate to see me to wherever she planned on taking me, some friend who might be able to help? I was unsure about all this. As I had walked the short walk to Chiaki’s school, I realised how silly this all is. Demons? Really? That nightmare had likely been brought on by what Chiaki had told me and was nothing more than that, a nightmare.

“Are you ok, Hajime?” she asked me as I got to her.

“Yeah, I was more worried about Nagito, but he seems alright. Gundham threw him down some stairs and he hit his head, was unconscious all night, like me, I guess, but I thought he was badly hurt because he didn’t wake up right away.” I told her.

“I don’t understand exactly what he wants with you, Izuru… I think he has something wrong with him.” she said.

“Oh really, you think?” I replied. “He’s insane. I thought Nagito, Fuyuhiko, his sister, Kokichi and Miu were nuts, but Izuru beats them all!”

“Yeah, he does. I don’t know what his issues are but it’s pretty terrifying.” She said and led me to the dorms. I hesitated.

“Uh… these are girl’s dorms, am I allowed in?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’ll be fine,” she smiled, and we entered. I was blushing as we walked through, some girls were up already and were looking over watching us.

“Oh… he’s cute,” I heard one girl whisper nearby and I blushed even fiercer. This was embarrassing.

“Chiaki! What are you doing? Get that good for nothing male out of our female space!” I heard another girl cry and looked to see an angry looking girl pointing aggressively in our direction.

“Relax, Tenko, he isn’t like that. He’s a good guy and he just needs my help.”
“Yeah, I bet he does! Well, she doesn’t give it up that easily, degenerate!”

“Trust me, I’m not like that.” I said.

“All males are like that!” she replied but Chiaki just took my arm and led me to one of the rooms and knocked. The door opened to a girl with pale blonde almost white hair and dark skin.

“Welcome, Hajime,” she said and showed me inside.

“Angie too?” I heard that Tenko girl cry as we closed the door behind us. The room was filled with candles all lit and a circle of salt in the centre.

“Uh… is this… witchcraft?” I asked.

“Oh no, it’s a religious ritual to purify you.” Angie said. There were so many candles lit, it made the room very bright but with a gentle orange glow. “Take off your shirt,” she said, and I blushed.

“What?”
“Oh, he’s shy, ahaha!” this Angie girl suddenly cried. I looked to Chiaki.

“She has to see the mark, you said it was on your back?” Chiaki said.

“Right,” I muttered as I removed my shirt. “All this demon stuff can’t be real, can it?” I asked.

“You sounded pretty scared on the phone Hajime,” Chiaki brought that up.

“Yeah, at first, I was, it probably didn’t help the look on Nagito’s face when he saw it. I still haven’t seen it but, on my way over here, I thought how stupid the whole thing is, right?” I laughed uneasily and flung my shirt over my arm.

“Oh, isn’t he a little more muscular than he looks, Chiaki? Oooo, nice.” Angie said and I blushed again, Chiaki was also blushing. This was more uncomfortable than it needed to be.

“Just look at the mark,” I said annoyed and turned around.

“Oh,” she said as she inspected it. “That looks like… a summoning mark. I have the correct ritual, the one I prepared is perfect, it is a cleansing ritual, it should purify that mark.” She said.

“This is ridiculous.” I muttered.

“Hajime… just in case, maybe you should just go with it?” Chiaki suggested.

“Fine,” I muttered.

“Do you want to see the mark?” Angie asked.

“Uh… sure,” I muttered, and she picked up a mirror directing me to her dresser where there was another. She used the one she held to show me. It was cut into my skin, that’s why it hurt. It wasn’t deep but it looked horrible. It was some strange symbol and Nagito was right, it looked demonic. I hope it didn’t leave a scar.

“Let’s get this over with.” I said and turned to Angie. She instructed me to sit in the middle of the circle. Yeah, this was ridiculous. She handed me a glass of water and I drank some, but she instructed me to drink it all, so I did. I was thirsty I realised, so it was welcome. She then handed me a goblet.

“This one might make you feel a little strange, but you need to drink it all.” She said.

“What’s in it?” I asked.

“Nothing that will harm you,” she replied.

“I don’t want to drink something when I don’t know what it is,” I said annoyed.

“Hajime, I think it will be fine, if she says it won’t harm you then it’s safe,” Chiaki said and smiled. I realised I didn’t know Chiaki all that well either, this was turning really weird. I felt like I was with two witches, and they were about to curse me, but then the mark on my back could be something worse. I still didn’t believe in this demon stuff but as Chiaki said, maybe I should just go with it. I guess part of me did believe after that dream but then I began to rationalise it. I drank the nasty tasting drink down as quick as I could, eager to get this over with. Angie began to cleanse the room with what she said was sage and she wafted lots of it in my direction. She then joined me inside the circle holding a pot and she started placing something cold on my back over where the mark was.

“This will soothe the cuts,” Angie explained.

“Is there… anything in this demon stuff? I mean… its stupid, right?” I asked looking at Chiaki.

“Its just better to be safe… Izuru… always scared me… there was always something so… off about him.” she said. “To be honest, Hajime… I am a little scared, there might not be anything real about it but a cleansing ritual….” Her words faded as I started to feel strange, that drink… what was in it? Everything around me faded too and I was unaware of anything.

Chapter Text

When I came around, I was lying on a bed. The smell of sage was gone and there was no candlelight, I felt terrible. I tried to sit up but felt like I would vomit if I did.

“Hajime, you’re awake,” Chiaki said coming over to me. Was I in Chiaki’s room? Chiaki’s… BED? I was too weak to outwardly show my embarrassment and awkwardness at the prospect. She sat beside me and smiled. “Are you ok?” she asked.

“I feel a bit sick,” I admitted. “And… weak,”

“Angie said it is a combination of the strange drink and maybe the fact you were drinking alcohol yesterday, you weren’t supposed to pass out.”

“Great,” I muttered.

“You missed all of the ritual but when she washed off the balm she placed on your back, the mark was looking so much better.” Chiaki smiled again; it was comforting.

“Chiaki… am I in your room?” I asked.

“Yeah, when you’re feeling better, we can play some games.” She said.

“I’d like that.” I replied.

“Until then, I’ll take care of you,” she said smiling. It left me feeling warm, she was my girlfriend, and she was looking after me, it felt nice, and I started not to feel so awkward about lying in her bed. It was comfortable and she was at my side.

“Chiaki… thanks for looking out for me,” I muttered.

“It’s no problem, I was worried when you passed out, but Angie said you’d be ok and carried on with the ritual.”

“What’s Angie’s deal?” I asked. “She’s really weird,”

“She is a little strange but she’s kind. She’s deeply religious and she called on her god to heal you and cleanse you. I admire her faith and dedication.”

“Ok, yeah, sure, so it isn’t witchcraft, is it?” I asked again.

“No, Hajime,” Chiaki laughed.

“Good, because I had enough at demons.” I said and she laughed again. I smiled. “Alright, I think I’m ready to sit up.” I said and she helped me. “Urgh, why do I feel so shit, this is weird,” I said but I was now upright at least.

“You’ll be ok, Hajime, you’re strong.” She smiled again, she saw me as strong, even now? I liked that, it made me feel good that my awesome girlfriend saw me that way.

“I feel really tired, suddenly.” I muttered.

“You can sleep more if you want to, Hajime, I don’t mind.” Chiaki said.

“Yeah, I might have to.” I said feeling like my voice was fading out. Chiaki climbed onto the bed beside me and as she blushed, she invited me to lie down on her lap. I had a pillow so I didn’t really need her lap, but I decided it might feel nice, so I did so and almost immediately I was drifting into sleep, she felt very warm. I remember feeling her hands gently comforting me at points, resting on my shoulder or even stroking my hair but perhaps I just dreamt that part. Either way, I was content in the comfort of my girlfriend.

Chapter Text

When I woke, I was feeling much better and I was still lying on Chiaki’s lap. She had taken to gaming somehow avoiding my head the whole time since I had slept soundly. I looked up at her.

“Oh, Hajime, let me just kill this guy and I’ll be right with you.” She muttered as she concentrated. I sat up and watched her kick ass as usual when she gamed. It was quite fun to watch her, but I was looking forward to playing with her at games when she was done. I now realised my top was still off, it must have been before too, but I was a little out of it to think about it much, Chiaki’s bed was really comfortable. I felt a little less self-conscious about my situation and being topless than I thought I would. Chiaki was my girlfriend and she had already seen me in my swim shorts. She seemed a little more relaxed at my side now too. She defeated her enemy in the game, saved it and then looked at me and smiled.

“So, what happened to my top?” I asked and she laughed.

“It’s over here,” she jumped up and fetched it for me. “We felt your cut should breathe a bit, but it does look much better.” She handed me my top and I pulled it on over my head. “What do you feel like playing?” she asked.

“A shooter?” I suggested.

“Yeah, that sounds fun,” she fetched another controller and showed me an array of her shooter games. She was fucking awesome. She had the one I played with Nagito; I wasn’t too bad at that one, so I picked it, I didn’t want to embarrass myself again. “Ah, good choice,” she smiled and put it in the console. “I grabbed some drinks and snacks earlier,” she tossed them on the bed.

“Oh yeah, I’m actually pretty hungry, I haven’t eaten yet,” I realised.

“Help yourself, Hajime,” she smiled and sat beside me again as I grabbed something from the pile. We fired up the game and selected our operatives ready to storm the enemy base.

“You don’t suicide it at the end, do you?” I asked and she laughed.

“Like Nagito? No, I prefer to survive but that isn’t a bad tactic, his cover fire and sacrifice does ensure our victory but it’s better to survive together and you get more points if you both survive. He has saved me doing that before though, the enemy often fires at you as you make your retreat.” She said.

“Yeah, I get that, it’s quite funny that he just blows it all up and runs right in.” I laughed and she laughed too.

“Yeah, I like Nagito, he’s quite strange but he’s a nice guy and fun to hang out with,” she said.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “What’s our approach?” I asked.

“Infiltration, it would be good to take their base and then call in our NPC allies to secure it.” she said.

“Good plan,” I agreed, and we selected our loadout which were stealth weapons for the mission. We needed to go in quiet and try not to alert the enemy guards, taking them out one by one until we could successfully infiltrate the base and take everyone out inside. I liked this approach instead of all guns blazing but that was so much fun too, crazier, and chaotic, but there was equal risk in both methods. If we fucked up a stealth kill, others would be alerted and we’d be so close, it would almost be impossible to escape and retreat if they saw us, we’d be gunned down. We took a side each of the enemy base and closed in. We were doing so well, but then Chiaki got caught and then killed.

“Ah, you fucked it!” I teased, “I thought I’d be the one to fuck up!” I laughed.

“The game glitched,” she said.

“Yeah, yeah,” I teased her and started to playfully tickle her, she giggled and fought back tickling me too. We both laughed and then in the playful tickling, she stumbled and was on top of me on the bed. We both blushed as we looked into each other’s eyes… my heart was pounding hard inside my chest. “You’re so pretty, Chiaki,” I found myself blurting out as I thought it and she blushed even fiercer red, but a cute little smile crossed her lips before she met those lips to mine.

Chapter Text

It was a few hours later, I had been playing more games with Chiaki but decided I should check my phone, so I grabbed it from the side. I had a ridiculous amount of missed calls from Mondo, Leon and Rantaro, my phone had been on silent. I decided to call Mondo back first and he answered quickly.

“Hajime! Where the hell are you?” he yelled.

“I’m with Chiaki, what’s the emergency? I got a loada missed calls from you guys,”

“It’s Nagito, he was… telling us about hitting his head at the bottom of some stairs then he just… collapsed wouldn’t wake up and then I saw blood was coming out of his ear. He’s at the hospital.”

“What?” I just asked. “That sounds… bad. Shit.” I was really upset. “What hospital is he at?”

“Hope’s Heart Hospital,” Mondo replied.

“Is anyone with him?” I asked.

“His parents were called but I don’t know if they’re there yet. None of us went, they wouldn’t let any of us in the ambulance with him.”

“I’m going to him at the hospital.” I said.

“Alright, Hajime, keep us updated.” Mondo sounded concerned too, and he hated Nagito so it must have looked bad. My chest felt heavy as I hung up the phone.

“You know I said Gundham threw Nagito down a flight of stairs and he hit his head, was out all night? Mondo just said he collapsed, and blood was coming out his ear. They’ve taken him to the hospital.”

“Oh no, that sounds bad.” Chiaki said looking concerned.

“I’m going to see him and get the update; his parents have been told but they’re really shitty so who knows if they’ll show up.” I muttered.

“I’m coming with you, Hajime.” Chiaki said and I smiled. Glad she would be coming along. Nagito, please be alright.

Chapter Text

Chiaki and I headed straight to the hospital, I also spoke to Rantaro, calling him back as I headed there. Apparently Nagito’s parents had been called but they weren’t even in the fucking country, they’d gone on holiday. Nagito was thrown into a school of reform and his parents were off enjoying their lives, now he was hurt and needed people around him. I headed straight to the reception desk.

“Nagito Komaeda admitted with a head injury?” I asked and reception checked their logs.

“Are you family?” the receptionist asked.

“I’m his best friend,” I replied. “I want to see him.”

“Alright, he’s in ICU, which is down that hall and to the left, he’s in room eight,”

“ICU?” I muttered… “that’s… intensive care, right?” my voice sounded distant. The receptionist had a sympathetic expression on her face. “I will call the doctor who has been seeing to him and when she gets a minute, she will join you there to explain.” The receptionist said. Chiaki took my hand and we headed down that hallway until we found his room. I was nervous as we looked at the door, my heart pounded hard inside of my chest as we entered. The first thing that struck me was the sound of machines, the beeping heart monitor and then Nagito lying motionless in the bed, linked up to machines. One was helping him breathe as though he could not do that on his own. Tears fell down my cheeks. Chiaki left me and went to Nagito’s side, holding his hand. She looked around to me.

“How is he this bad?” she asked, tears also falling down her cheeks.

“I don’t… know…” I muttered and approached him at his other side. “He must have hit his head… really hard… I thought he was ok, because he woke up… so I left… shit….” We sat with him a while, listening to the machines, silence as our thoughts were with him. Eventually a doctor entered, she was holding a file.

“Good evening, I am Doctor Akiyama, I have been treating Nagito Komaeda, are you friends of his?” she asked, and we both just nodded. “Alright, well, I came here to inform you of his condition, he’s critical, he haemorrhaged and there’s swelling on his brain, we treated his head injury, but he suffered respiratory failure, so we have had to put him on life support.” She said.

“Respiratory failure? His injury is… to his head….” I muttered ignorantly.

“Head injuries are complicated, and all parts of the body can become affected, I won’t hold back but it doesn’t look good. We are monitoring him closely at all times.” I looked back at Nagito, so full of life normally, excited by his Phoenix that rises in death from its ashes, excited as he gazed into the flame looking for that Phoenix…. Now he was on life support. Izuru… this is your fault… Gundham… I’ll kill them….

Sorrow consumed me and I realised the extent of my care for Nagito. I felt I was losing my best friend… family. Chiaki had tears falling down her face as she looked at Nagito. I left his side and went to hers on the other side of the bed and I held her. I had no idea it could end like this…. What do I do?

Chapter Text

We returned to school late, but I was let off since they knew I was with Nagito, I also asked if Chiaki could have a room at our school for the night and they communicated with her school and it was agreed, she was allowed an empty room in the girl’s dorm. I was glad of this; I would be able to see her first thing. I know they only allowed it due to the extreme circumstances. We said goodnight and she was shown the way and I headed back to the boy’s dorm. I walked in and everyone was still up, and they all looked at me expectantly as I entered, some stood from their seats.

“I… he’s…” I could not get the words out and I just cried. Mondo came to my side putting his arm around my shoulders.

“Hey bro, I got you.” He said.

“Is he… is Nagito… dead?” I heard Kokichi ask, and I quickly shook my head. Words were swallowed up by my tears.

“It’s alright, take your time,” Rantaro said, and Mondo saw me to the seat he had previously occupied.

“Shit…” I finally muttered.

“Hey, bastard, what’s the deal?” Fuyuhiko snapped.

“Cool it, man.” Leon said in response. It was clear everyone had been waiting in anxious anticipation.

“He’s… critical… on life support.” I muttered. “It doesn’t look good.” I managed to explain. Everyone looked at each other and then I saw Izuru, Gundham and Korekiyo standing away from the rest of us as though in shadows. I glared at them like that alone could strike them down dead. None of them looked bothered about this news. The others were talking to me, but I continued to glare at Izuru and his guys. My best friend… how dare they?

Chapter Text

I couldn’t sleep that night and I couldn’t stay in my room so I went into the communal sitting area of the dorms and sat in the chair I often saw Nagito sitting in when he was struggling to sleep, he would usually be reading a book, sometimes I caught him playing with his lighter. I couldn’t believe it had come to this. Nagito didn’t deserve this, he had been so kind to me, so helpful and our petty argument at the beach yesterday seemed all the more insignificant right now. I just wanted him to be alright. I just wanted him back here where we could laugh and mess around. I wanted him to be right next to me teasing me about something or rambling on about his Phoenix. I didn’t care, anything. I put my head in my hands and then I heard a door open. I looked up to see Kokichi rubbing his eyes and he stopped and looked at me.

“Hajime… I’m glad you’re here, I was just thinking about you as I woke up.” He said and came over sitting beside me. “So Nagito could die, huh?” he said so blatantly but looked sad about it.

“Yeah,” I replied.

“Man… I kind of liked him.” he talked as though Nagito was already dead. I didn’t have the energy to remind him that Nagito was still alive right now. Kokichi looked at me with those big innocent purple eyes of his and his face brightened. “Oh, that’s why I was thinking about you, remember you asked if I would play violin to you?” he asked.

“Yeah, I would like to hear you play for real one day,” I muttered.

“Well, I still can’t play right now, the movement hurts my cracked rib, but I could show you something?” he asked.

“Sure,” I muttered.

“Get dressed.” He said and jumped up to do the same. Get dressed? He was already in his room so I couldn’t question it. I decided to just do it and went to my room pulling on some clothes and meeting him back in the lounge. “Alright, lets go, this is fun! We’re not allowed out the dorms at night to wander around but I’m a master at avoiding detection, so you better follow my lead, and we won’t get caught.” He grinned and led the way through the dark halls to the music room. He was right, we didn’t get caught, even when a faculty member was near, he knew exactly what to do and we were not seen. He grabbed a CD and then went to the music player putting it inside and then he looked at me, he appeared a bit uncomfortable.

“What is this?” I asked.

“I uh… don’t play to people so I get a bit uncomfortable but… this is my final project, it’s still a song I’m working on, but this is what I got so far.” He pressed play and then we both took a seat. A slow and steady violin string sound began to fill the room, it was mournful to begin with and then it slowly built up and became more upbeat as though he was telling a story. Perhaps his own story. Either way, it stirred emotions inside of me and I felt tears fall down my face again. Kokichi put his hand on my shoulder.

“Nagito will be alright, Hajime, it might look bad but if he does die, maybe I can be his replacement?” he said grinning and I looked at him.

“Jesus Christ,” I muttered and leaned my elbows on my knees putting my face in my hands.  “You like winding people up, Kokichi, is that what you’re doing to me right now?” I asked him.

“Uh… no just trying to help.”

“You seemed a bit depressed yesterday after your prank went down badly,” I started to ask.

“Uh… yeah I didn’t mind that nobody appreciated the prank, but it was what Miu said, things don’t normally get to me at all, it was probably just that I was a little drunk. You can say anything to me, and I don’t care, insult me and I’ll always counter it but… that was just a bit… raw… my mum used to say she wished she aborted me.” he admitted.

“Oh shit, that’s terrible,” I said.

“Yeah but this isn’t about me, right now, your boy friend is in hospital-“
“Kokichi!” I snapped interrupting him and he giggled.

“Ah, my mistake, your best friend,” he grinned widely and then laughed again. His bright smile helped me feel a little lighter and the music was beautiful. Despite how I was feeling, Kokichi managed to get a little laugh out of me, but then we were interrupted.

“What the hell is this?” we heard at the door; it was Mr Munakata. I thought Kokichi never got caught. I guess I brought bad luck. “Get back to your rooms, now!” he barked.

“I was just looking after Hajime,” Kokichi said innocently.

“You don’t have to leave the dorms to do that, get back there now!” Mr Munakata yelled. He seemed more stressed than usual, but I guess one of the students was in the hospital and could die. They would have been made aware of the situation too. We headed upstairs again and returned to our dorms. Before we headed into our rooms, I stopped Kokichi.

“Hey, thanks for showing me that, you’re really talented, Kokichi, it sounds like once complete that piece will be beautiful.” I wished I could have said that with more enthusiasm. He blushed a little and then smiled as though composing himself, I guess it was kind of cute. I smiled. “I appreciate what you tried to do,” I added.

“I like you Hajime, not in that way, you’re too boring but you’re a good guy.” he said, and I laughed.

“Thanks,” I muttered, he was a strange guy, but he didn’t seem so bad just sometimes took his pranks too far and said the wrong things, like he couldn’t help himself when it came to winding people up. We returned to our rooms, and I found myself staring at my skateboard, the present from Nagito and Kokichi, the artwork done by Nagito. Beautiful it was but he might never paint again.

Chapter Text

I managed to get a little sleep after I parted ways with Kokichi but in the morning we were woken by an announcement. I knew we had an intercom, but I had yet to experience it being used. Mr Munakata’s voice echoed through the dorms, and we emerged from our rooms.

“Classes today are delayed, I want every student in the assembly hall 9am sharp, this is mandatory, and every student must be in attendance, no exceptions.” He barked down the intercom. We looked at one another. Mondo approached me.

“Nagito may have told me he was thrown rather than fell but before he told me anything else he collapsed. I might have let it slip when Mr Munakata questioned us all. Shit.” He said.

“It’s better if they know the truth, Nagito’s life is in danger, it was Izuru, he instructed Gundham to do it. He threw him down the stairs up at the roof.” I informed him.

“Oh shit, then I’m probably dead too, fuck.” Mondo was a bit apprehensive.

“Hey, it’s alright, you got my back, I got yours too.” I said and he looked reassured, we all readied ourselves, showered and dressed before heading to this meeting, I cast one glare to Izuru as we all headed out. Chairs were lining the hall ready for each student, and we sat somewhere in the middle. I wondered if Chiaki was alright, I knew she had planned to see me first thing in the morning before she had to attend lessons at her own school but now, I had been summoned here. I quickly text her and she responded.

I’ll come by after classes. X

Good, I wanted to see her, in fact, I wanted to go back to the hospital to see Nagito and I knew she would come with me. I noticed an older man also on the stage alongside other teachers and Miss Yukizome was up there too. She looked like she had been crying. This was all too real. The older man must be Principle Tengan, but it looked as though Mr Munakata was leading this as he was the one standing. Why were they all just sat up there? It was strange, perhaps as an intimidation factor, this could only be about Nagito.

“Now everyone is here, we have a serious issue to address. One of our students, Nagito Komaeda is in a critical condition at hospital from a head injury, now I heard the phrase ‘thrown down some stairs’ this indicated to me that one of you in this room put him there. I don’t need to explain to you how serious this matter is.” He began, “now, I understand you must be scared about what might happen to you but if you confess I am sure they will be lenient now-“ Mr Munakata was interrupted by a sudden cry and then Izuru stood from his seat, I had been about to stand from mine and tell everything as this was no time to consider the no snitching rule, but this outburst stopped me.

“He deserved it! I had to do it! He’s a demon in disguise! Why do you think he likes fire so much? He’s trying to connect to the fires of hell” Izuru yelled, no longer the cold, calm spoken one, he appeared more like a madman. What the hell? “I was saving you all!” he gripped the sides of his head. Celeste put her hand on his arm.

“Izuru… I wish you had listened to us….” She stood now. “Mr Munakata, please accept my apologies, we have noticed Izuru slipping again, his delusions growing….” What the fuck? They all had a part in this! “He needs treatment again, perhaps… to be admitted.” She said sadly and bowed her head. This is insane.

“I see,” Mr Munakata muttered and looked around to Miss Yukizome.

“I’ll make the call,” she replied understand his meaning. This wasn’t right. I stood up.

“Mr Munakata!” I called but then Izuru was glaring at me, he cried out gripping the sides of his head again.

“Why are they everywhere? I tried to stop… I tried… they keep appearing…. Everywhere! It’s like they’re trying to draw me back!” he called. It was as though he was trying to silence me, or was this real? Was he really just snapping? He suddenly turned to Celeste and took her by the throat. “You’re one too! All of you are!” This was an act… it had to be, but a very convincing one. Gundham and Korekiyo both freed Celeste who also put on a very convincing act of reeling from Izuru’s assault, gasping for breath as though he had actually choked her. I could tell he had held back since he did not those times that he hurt Nagito before.

“Get him out of here before he hurts someone, you are all dismissed, get to class.” Mr Munakata ordered but I noticed Principal Tengan’s eyes were still on me. I was completely overlooked, they should have heard me out, surely? I suppose Izuru’s outburst was more of an issue, and he was restrained by faculty members as we left, he looked over at me and a twisted smile crossed his lips which also seemed very out of character on his face that never changed from cold. What was his gain here? Why was he doing this? Was this an act or had he simply snapped?

Chapter Text

The day went by in a daze, I was not focussed on class at all, I didn’t learn a thing… and what the hell was Izuru doing? I could make no sense of what I saw this morning and all I was worried about was Nagito. Chiaki came by as promised to meet me after our classes were over and we headed straight to the hospital to see Nagito together. I felt heavy with a sadness unlike anything I had felt before, Chiaki held my hand as we walked to his room. As we approached, we heard voices speaking to the doctor, I could only guess were his parents having returned from their holiday for Nagito.

“So, if his condition is that bad, doctor, is turning off the machines an option?” a man asked. What? No way! I burst into the room where the door was open anyway.

“No! That isn’t an option!” I yelled; Chiaki had tried to stop me acting rashly but I couldn’t help it.

“Hajime.” She said calmly at my side.

“No! You don’t just arrive and decide he’s going to die!” I yelled and the man looked at me, I could certainly tell he was an intimidating man, he was tall, his eyes were cold and stern. This was Nagito’s father?

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I’m his best friend and I’m not ready to give up on him yet!” I yelled, struggling to keep my emotions in control.

“I know this is a difficult situation for everyone, but we all need to try and remain calm,” the doctor said.

“No!” I snapped. “Please, just give him a chance.” I begged looking at his father.

“We do not wish to prolong his suffering, even if he makes it out of this, there is a chance he won’t be the same again.” his father explained.

“And that would make his existence even more inconvenient for you, wouldn’t it?” I found myself saying. I could see the anger in his father’s eyes, and I looked to his mother, who was at Nagito’s side at least.

“Doctor, please turn off the machines and let our son go.” His father asked. “That is our final decision.”

“There’s some paperwork you need to sign first,” she said after looking at me first and disappeared before returning promptly. I couldn’t believe it. Chiaki held onto my arm.

“Are you really going to let him die?” she asked softly looking at his parents, I had no more words, I was in shock. Perhaps it was the kindest thing, but I was not ready to give up. I couldn’t let him go.

I just stood and watched as his parents both signed those papers and the doctor turned off the machines, detaching anything from Nagito as he just lay there. Tears fell from my eyes as I listened to the machines ring out as they were no longer in operation, other than the heart monitor which soon also rang out. I put my arm around Chiaki and held her and we both cried.

“So, it’s done,” his father said, and they both left the room, not even staying by his side. I moved to Nagito’s side as the doctor finished detaching the machines previously keeping him alive and monitoring his vitals. Chiaki took his hand and bowed her head, tears falling from her eyes. He just looked like he was asleep, so peaceful and quiet. I was lost, I didn’t know what to do.

“Nagito…” I whispered. “I feel like this is my fault, I’m so sorry.” I muttered.

“Hajime, this is not your fault, the actions of others you cannot carry on your shoulders. Nagito really liked you, he would have been grateful for your friendship, Hajime. Never forget that.” Chiaki said, her words were strong, but I could still hear the sorrow in her voice. I reached a hand over Nagito and took hers that held his, we were all holding hands. She was such an amazing person, I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have her with me right now, she gave me strength. Suddenly Nagito gasped waking up. What the….?  He looked at me.

“Hajime….” He said in a raspy voice.

“I’ll get the doctor!” Chiaki said and urgently ran out to find her.

“Nagito! Holy shit, you just… you were dead…” I said and clasped a hand over my mouth in disbelief.

“Hajime….” He just said again, and I took his hand.

“Take it slow…” I urged softly. The doctor came in followed by his astonished parents who lingered at the door. I moved for the doctor who hurried to check him over.

“This is… highly irregular…” she muttered and checked his vitals and his eyes for signs of concussion or something I was guessing. “We must run some tests immediately.” She said.

“He’s… alive?” his father muttered. Yes, he was alive. My best friend came back to me. It was like a miracle.

Chapter Text

We waited, I would be late for curfew again, but I was certain they would be lenient once more. When the doctor returned, she said that he was fine, it was like no trace of his injury was to be seen. She looked bewildered and she could only describe it as a miracle. He was sat up in his bed like he had not just died or been so close to death. He looked at Chiaki and me and smiled, he was back, he really was back.

“Hajime… I saw her… my grandma, she-“ he cut himself off and looked at the door where I turned to see his father and mother standing there. “Dad! Mum!” he cried looking pleased to see them, I realised it had probably been a while since he had, I remember him telling me they had abandoned him at that school. “I saw grandma! She told me it wasn’t my time, to go back, she was so beautiful she really was a Phoenix!” he said excitedly as his father closed in, suddenly he slapped Nagito hard across the face. Nagito gasped, having been hit so hard he had to use one hand to steady himself on the mattress of his bed, his other hand clasped his cheek, his eyes wide in shock and filling with tears.

“What the hell is your problem?” I yelled at his father, and he took hold of me by my shirt.

“This is none of your business!” he growled at me before he pushed me away. Chiaki came to my side.

“I don’t know what this Phoenix shit is, but my mother is dead, and you have to come to terms with what you did eventually!”
“I did see her… she saved me….” Nagito muttered, his voice thick with tears.
“Enough of this! She is dead and you killed her, once you accept that maybe you can start getting better!” His father growled, Nagito slowly began to just cry, it was as though he was just broken. I didn’t know what to do but Chiaki left my side to go to his, the opposite side of the bed to his father and she held Nagito.

“I think he’s been through enough, don’t you?” she asked as Nagito desperately held her back whilst he cried. It was breaking my heart seeing him distraught. Chiaki really was a wonderful person, and she was so brave. I joined her at Nagito’s side, glaring at his father for daring to hit him. I put my arm around Chiaki and my other arm reached for Nagito, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder as he cried in Chiaki’s arms. His father let a growl of frustration and then left, his mother looking on at her son sympathetically. Why don’t you comfort him? You’re his mother! I wanted to scream, it looked as though she wanted to go to him but obediently followed his father instead. That’s fine, he didn’t need them, he had us.

Chapter Text

Nagito calmed down after a little while and he sat on his bed, they were keeping him for observations, but we would stay with him as long as we possibly could. It really was a miracle that he did not die when he was supposed to. Suppose to? What was I even thinking? It looked like the end for Nagito but clearly fate had other ideas if there was such a thing as fate.

“I’m really embarrassed about crying so much in front of both of you,” he said.

“Don’t be, that was fucked up, I don’t know what I saw but your dad shouldn’t have hit you.” I replied.

“I should have known better, he hates it when I talk about my grandmother and the Phoenix, but I really did see her, Hajime.” He said.

“Nagito… I believe what you had was a near death experience and they say people can see all kinds of things in that state, your heart had stopped but who can say that your mind did?” Chiaki said.

“I know what I saw, you can all put it down to me being crazy, but I believe it.” he said with conviction.

“I don’t care what it is, I’m just happy that you’re alright.” I said and smiled. He met my smile with his own.

“We should probably head back soon,” Chiaki said.

“Yeah, you’re right.” I replied.

“I hope they let me back out soon, I don’t like hospitals.” Nagito said.

“I’m sure they will.” I said and then we said our goodbyes and headed home to our dorms. Chiaki held my hand the entire way and I took comfort in her closeness.

“Hajime,” she said as we walked back from the train station towards our schools. I looked at her. “You’re a really good friend to Nagito,”

“So are you,” I replied, and she smiled. We went our separate ways but this time I had insisted on walking her to the gates of her school. We parted ways with a hug and then we both felt confident enough to go in for the kiss, our shyness of each other was getting better. I felt we had bonded in our shared care for Nagito and our support of him.

When I returned to the dorms, I heard Fuyuhiko’s voice as I entered, and I looked to see him standing over Gundham with Mondo at his side looking fired up. Gundham might be on the ground, but he did not look rocked by whatever had just happened to him.

“What the hell are you fuckers playin’ huh? This is my fuckin’ school and you go about doing whatever you fuckin’ want!” Fuyuhiko was yelling.

“Nagito might die after what you did, you piece of shit!” Mondo was yelling now, I never thought I’d see the day one of my friends would team up with Fuyuhiko this way. I hurried over to them.

“Hey, I have news, Nagito is alright. I want to kick the shit out of these assholes too but Nagito’s gonna be alright.”

“Kehehe, so the Phoenix does rise,” Korekiyo said from close by, he was paying no help to Gundham but it seemed the other had not expected him to.

“Shut the fuck up, freak!” Fuyuhiko yelled. “Were you guys just following Izuru down his path of crazy or are you all as nuts as each other?”

“We walk our paths together, even if they lead to hell,” Gundham said from where he was still on the ground, but he slowly rose up. Suddenly Mondo took hold of him as he did so, but Gundham fought back this time and they entered a scuffle. Fuyuhiko and I both intervened trying to break them apart but the fight grew more intense, they were both really strong. I was pushed aside falling down and Leon helped me up. Fuyuhiko’s guys joined him instead and they successfully separated the two. Mondo’s breathing was fast since he was riled but Gundham seemed calm as ever.

“Shit….” Mondo muttered and Fuyuhiko stood between Gundham and Mondo. He turned to Gundham.

“Why did you do that to Nagito and why did Izuru take the heat for it?” he asked.

“A leader does what is necessary for his people, you of all should know this.” Gundham replied.

“So did he play the crazy card to get out of trouble from the cops?” Mondo asked but got no response. “Are you gonna fuckin’ answer me?” he yelled.

“I have no longer need to waste my time with lesser people such as you.” Gundham said and turned away heading off with Korekiyo who turned around and looked at us all.

“That was a beautiful display, I thank you all,” he said and then followed Gundham.

“Shit,” Mondo muttered.

“Hey, it’s alright, Nagito seems to have made a complete recovery,” I said going to his side as Fuyuhiko spoke to his guys.

“I… shit, I don’t even like that Fire Freak but when… he collapsed, I caught him, and he was just… I thought he’d keeled over and died, man. Shit… I… I’m glad he’s alright.” I smiled at Mondo, he hated Nagito, but he didn’t wish harm on him, Mondo was a good guy. “Thanks for… tryin’ to back me there, bro.” he said.

“Anytime, you know that. I’m glad Izuru isn’t around but we should still watch out for those guys.” I said.

“Yeah, no shit.” He said as others approached us.

“Nagito’s… really going to be alright?” Kokichi asked.

“Yeah, I think so, it was like a miracle, I keep saying that but… it was pretty crazy. His parents switched off the machine and his heart stopped but then he just woke up and was fine. The doctors are baffled and keeping him for observation, but I think he should be out soon.” I informed them and seeing the relief on their faces filled me with warmth. Nagito was not a popular guy, but it was clear nobody wished him hurt, except for Izuru and his group. Fuyuhiko approached me now.

“Hajime, can we talk?” he asked, and I nodded walking away with him. “I slacked off on my role here, to be honest, I been keeping an eye on my sister and worrying about what the fuck she’s doing that I missed what some of the guys were doing. That should never have happened. I know I tried to… kill that freak myself… there aint really no excuse for it but I know I was feelin’ the pressure, I already explained it to you. I’ll try and keep better order here, that is part of my role as being the one on top. I just… I think I only knew one way to do it and that was… through fear. I… might need a hand in learning a different approach.” He said and looked really awkward as he asked this.

“Are you… asking for my help?”

“Yeah, bastard, what do you think I’m doin?” he snapped.

“I don’t know what I can do, Fuyuhiko, I’m not a leader, I’m not… looking for anything like that.”

“I’m not askin’ you to lead, just… ah forget it.” he said and went to walk off.

“Hey, you already have influence here, Fuyuhiko, just use that. You’re right what happened to Nagito should never have happened and the next person might not be so lucky. We have to remember that. I think we should all work together.” I said.

“Yeah… I get it… you’re right. Thanks.” He replied awkwardly and walked off. I think I got through to him. I sat down on a seat at the sofas near some of the other guys.

“Looks like you don’t need me as a replacement anymore, Hajime. Too bad for you, I’m waaaay more fun than Nagito.” Kokichi said with a grin, and I laughed, I playfully nudged his leg with my foot where he sat opposite, and he giggled. I sat back smiling, I was so relieved that Nagito seemed to be recovered and would soon be back with us here and it felt like the weight in the air had lifted as everyone else felt that relief.

Chapter Text

So Izuru was admitted to a mental hospital, but his guys remained with us, Gundham being the one who actually hurt Nagito although by Izuru’s orders. I was not sure how to feel about him still being here as Nagito was released after tests proved he was healthy and no longer had cause for concern. I would certainly look out for him, but I didn’t think Gundham and the others would be stupid enough to take any action against him at this point. The doctors were still baffled but I was just pleased Nagito was alright. He was discharged on the Thursday, so they had kept him in most of the week and he returned Thursday evening. Chiaki and I had gone to meet him and came back with him to our dorm. He was tired as he said he hadn’t slept well at the hospital but that he wanted something decent to eat. We took him up to the dorm which was empty but it was dinner time so everyone was likely in the dining hall having dinner so we would join them after we set Nagito’s stuff down.

“I’m so glad to be out of there,” Nagito said as we headed towards the hall. We stepped in and were met with cheers from everyone, and a banner had been hung up on the wall Welcome Home. I could see there was buffet food lined out on some of the tables and the hall was set up like a party. Faculty members were here too, and everyone cheered Nagito’s return. I looked at him, his expression was that of shock and I could see his eyes shining. He was touched by this welcome and so was I on his behalf. He was not exactly a popular student, but it was clear that everyone had been concerned for him and pleased that he made a miraculous recovery. Mondo approached with Mukuro who was holding flowers and she handed those to him.

“I know flowers aren’t usually for guys but… I thought you might like them, just… don’t burn them,” she said and smiled. He accepted them.

“Th-thank you, they’re lovely,” he said and smiled back.

“It’s good to have you back, man, we thought we’d lost you,” Mondo said and clasped a hand on his shoulder. I loved these guys; they were all good people. It felt like a family. A lot of shit had happened since I’d been here in a short time, but this place was full of kids with issues but when we came together like this it felt good. Fuyuhiko approached Nagito and looked a bit awkward.

“Hey, Nagito, I won’t let shit happen like that again, I’m sorry I dropped the ball and wasn’t watching those assholes close enough. It won’t happen again. I owe you an apology for almost killing you too, I was kind of lost and out of control myself, you pissed me off but what I did there was no excuse, it’s a good thing we got a fuckin’ hero like Hajime here is all I can say. I’m sorry for tossing you in the river. Hajime put me straight.” He said.

“You don’t need to apologise, I can be out of control too, so I guess I need to be put straight sometimes.” Nagito replied, his voice sounded distant, I think he was overwhelmed by this welcome.

“This is so nice,” Chiaki said looking around at the decorations and food set out for the occasion. I put my arm around her.

“Alright everyone, its still a school night so let’s get started,” one of the teachers said and we headed to get some food. We stood around with Mondo, Leon and Chihiro and ate some of the nice food that had been prepared. It was clear a lot of effort had gone into this, and I had even been unaware they were doing this for Nagito, it was a well-kept secret even from me. Kokichi approached us.

“So, what was it like to die?” he asked and Nagito laughed.

“Hey, man, let’s not get morbid,” Mondo said.

“You did kind of just peace out of life for a minute,” Leon said and Nagito laughed again.

“Yeah, I guess I did, not by choice though and it wasn’t my time.” He replied not elaborating about the Phoenix vision of his grandmother, probably quite wise too since it would certainly put them all off him again. It was a shame, Nagito’s crazy didn’t bother me, he was here and getting appropriate help and I knew he was a good guy.

“Whose idea was all this?” I asked.

“Oh, it was Miss Yukizome’s idea and we all helped prepare,” Chihiro replied with a smile.

“It’s great, thanks everyone,” Nagito said smiling back. “I thought you all hated me.” he laughed.

“Well, you’re still the crazy Fire Freak, that aint changed but we don’t want to lose you,” Mondo said.

“Yeah, we all live here together, man, and what happened to you wasn’t cool.” Leon said. “We got your back, it won’t happen again,” he added.

“Honestly, I’m really touched, thank you.” Nagito smiled, it was a sentimental smile. I was just pleased he was alive, and we had him back. Nagito excused himself for a moment and I saw him approach Miss Yukizome or Chisa as he referred to her on a first name basis. I watched as they conversed, it was clear they had a bond by this interaction and I had noted Miss Yukizome’s concern for him, she had cried over him that had been clear from her red eyes when I saw her at the assembly hall when Izuru gave that performance. I was pleased she cared for him, he deserved it and I knew she was good with him when he was at his worst although she was quick to have him admitted but I put a stop to that. Thinking back on that, though, perhaps if he had been admitted then he would have avoided this incident, but he was fine, he was alive and he was recovered. Things had turned out well and Izuru was no longer here, at least until he was released from the mental hospital, if that happened since he almost killed someone. Some of the girls joined us but Natsume was among them, she approached me, and I tensed up.

“So, is this little bitch your girlfriend?” she asked, and I pulled Chiaki closer.

“Don’t call her a bitch, Natsume, and don’t ruin this happy occasion, alright?” I replied.

“You don’t look good together, you should be with someone more on your level, Hajime, she’s some posh bitch from that fuckin’ school, right? It don’t suit you.” She said and I started to feel a bit insecure, she was right, Chiaki was a nice girl from a nice school, and I was here, one of these guys, one of the kids with issues.

“What doesn’t suit exactly?” Chiaki asked.

“Your different classes, that much is clear.” Natsume replied. “It aint right,”

“Who says that?” Chiaki asked, “I don’t understand your point.” She added.

“Oh, right, so she’s a fuckin’ idiot, too, ha!” Natsume laughed.

“Natsume, why don’t you back off?” Maki said.

“You talking back to me again?” Natsume raised her voice and then Fuyuhiko appeared.

“Natsume, for fuck sake, just leave them alone!” he hissed.

“Oh, big brother, I’d be able to take you seriously if it wasn’t for that cute little face of yours and the fact that you lost your fuckin’ balls at some point!” she replied, and he took hold of her by the arm dragging her all the way out of the hall. She was in trouble, that much was clear. It wasn’t my problem, I was appreciative for his help there, she was ruining the mood.

“Well, that’s settled,” Chiaki said smiling. “Thanks Maki,” she said for her support in that matter.

“I never liked Natsume, she thinks she runs things with her brother, but she’s lost everyone’s respect, although she never had mine, I could see straight through her. I know her type.” Maki replied.

“I think she’s insecure.” Chiaki noted.

“Yeah, me too.” Maki replied.

“Do you think she likes Hajime?” Chiaki suddenly asked.

“What?” I replied horrified.

“I don’t think she would have said that stuff otherwise.” Chiaki explained.

“It’s possible,” Maki replied.

“I don’t want any attention like that, especially from her. I hope that’s not it.” I said and looked back to Nagito with Miss Yukizome. I didn’t want any attention like that from anyone except Chiaki but as I thought back to Nagito, he had made his affections for me clear and he had tried to kiss me inappropriately and as awkward as that was since I was with Chiaki, it didn’t bother me as much as attention from someone like Natsume did. She was clearly trouble and at least Nagito knew he was wrong in his actions, Natsume seemed to just seek to put Chiaki down, possibly out of a sense of jealousy. I held Chiaki closer. She looked up at me and smiled.

“I think we match,” she said sweetly, and I kissed her on the forehead, and she blushed.

“Yeah, me too.” I replied and she wrapped her arms around my waist holding me back. I felt that warmth in my chest again, I guess I was… falling in love.

Chapter Text

With Izuru gone everything seemed a bit more relaxed of which I was grateful. I still had no idea what happened to me, what he did and perhaps my panic was for nothing, I had put it all down to Izuru’s madness and his lackies willingness to follow down that path of insanity. It was better without him around. Nagito was back and he had made a full recovery. It really was a miracle since he basically died right in front of me only to come back. I felt such a strong bond between me and Nagito and me and Chiaki, after that experience together I felt it brought the three of us closer. I hate to say there was anything good about what happened but the fact the three of us felt even closer was great, I just wish it hadn’t been under such horrible circumstances.

Nagito’s welcome home party had been a good one, we all enjoyed good food and each other’s company. I had truly bonded with these people, more the guys than the girls in my school. To be honest, most of the girls here scared me but I could tell Maki and Mukuro were good people, I was unsure about Miu since she badmouthed everyone at any opportunity making me question why the other two hung out with her.

I was awake early again and decided to get up, so I headed into the lounge for a bit. Of all people I saw Ryoma sitting awake, he was reading a magazine, but he looked up to acknowledge me. I had not spent much conversation time with Ryoma, perhaps this was my chance.

“You have trouble sleeping too, Hajime?” he asked.

“Yeah sometimes, I was just lying there thinking about stuff, decided to just get up.” He closed his magazine and set it aside.

“You can speak what’s on your mind if you like?” he offered. “It is still a little while before others emerge,”

“Yeah, I was just thinking… about what happened recently,” I muttered and sat with him.

“With Nagito?” he asked.

“Yeah, it was all really crazy. I’m struggling to get my head around it, but I’m glad Nagito is alright.”
“Yes, I am pleased he made a full recovery.” Ryoma said.

“R-Ryoma… can I ask you a personal question? I know we haven’t really spoken but I’d like… some advice if you don’t mind.” I decided to ask.

“You do not know me well, yet you deem I will provide sound advice?” he asked.

“You’ve been in love, right?” I asked.

“Are you referring to my revealing that I am among those who have lost their virginity?” he asked, and I blushed.

“Yeah, I guess, it sounded like you… really cared for that woman, you talked about a connection.”

“Yes, she is the most beautiful woman, kind and likes me despite my ways.” He said.

“Your ways?” I pressed.

“I have not got a clean record but that is perhaps obvious since most of us here have been arrested at least once. She made me want to change.”

“So… how did you end up here, at this school?” I asked.

“This school, perhaps one step away from prison,” he muttered. “At least a better option than.”

“Is that… what it came to?” I asked him and he met my eyes with his black round ones.

“Yes, I made one too many mistakes but she helped me to get here instead of prison so I could reform instead of… serve time.”

“Wow, I won’t ask about the circumstances but that’s pretty cool. How did she have that kind of influence?”

“She is from a good family, she possesses such skill that she is basically treated like an adult, her life is already set on a good path. I wish to join her on that path but… I almost ruined it. She forgave me, of course and she is waiting for me. I have not set a foot wrong here, unless it was of course a group punishment like after the incident at the park.”

“I’m happy for you, Ryoma.” I smiled.

“What is it that you wished my advice about?” he asked.

“I really like Chiaki; I mean I think I’m falling for her. I have strong feelings for Nagito but that’s more like a… best friend thing. I would do anything for either of them, my feelings for Chiaki are getting quite intense. I’ve never felt this before, I wasn’t sure what to do.”

“Your feelings for Nagito came into that, you’re not conflicted about them, are you?” he asked suddenly.

“No, I… there may be… a small attraction to him but my feelings are very much on a friendship level. I think he’s a really cool guy and he’s been such a good friend, he’s helped me a lot. Chiaki, though, I’ve never met anyone like her either, she is so awesome, she’s brave and she’s beautiful… she’s sweet and kind. I really like her a lot.” I smiled.

“I see that. Admitting an attraction to Nagito is healthy if you feel it, but I’m glad to hear you and he are just friends. I like Chiaki, she’s a nice girl. I wouldn’t want her to be in a relationship that could get complicated.” He replied.

“Yeah, it won’t, Nagito and I are just friends. I never really thought about it before, but I think I do have an attraction to guys too but… I’m more leaning towards women though.”

“I understand, attraction can be complicated, many factors contribute in it. Some people are shallow and just view it all down to looks, others know it runs deeper than that and look for other qualities. Kokichi for example on the prior, when he was questioned about having lost his virginity, his first reaction was to state that he wasn’t ugly like that is the main factor for him is looks. Perhaps it isn’t but that is what his reaction implied. Looks or not, there were plenty of us in that group who would be considered good looking who admitted they were virgins, yourself, Chiaki, Nagito all three of you possess a certain quality to be attributed to physical attractiveness.”

“I see Chiaki and I think she is beautiful, Nagito is very good looking too but I never saw myself as much in that regard.”

“I doubt either of those do, Chiaki is a very pretty girl and yes, Nagito is good looking and yet they both carry themselves a certain way. I spend a lot of time watching people. Nagito is very unconfident in himself, he walks with a bit of a slouch a sure sign of his lack of confidence. Chiaki is soft spoken and quiet at times, surrounded by girl’s others might see as more attractive but I believe you have good taste, Hajime, Chiaki has some beautiful qualities. You listed them well.”

“Yeah, she is amazing.” I felt warm inside talking about her to someone who saw what I saw, and I was not getting an inkling that he liked her the same way as me, he was already in love.

“You should probably tell her how you feel,” he suggested.

“But… isn’t it too soon?” I asked.

“If you feel it then it is not too soon,” he smiled. “With Nagito, though, perhaps don’t encourage him by telling him you have an element of attraction to him. I have no problem with Nagito, but I do understand what kind of person he is.”

“What do you mean by that?” I asked.

“He’s unstable, Hajime, all this time you spent with him you must see that. It is my belief he has feelings for you, if my observations of him with you have told me anything.”

“Yeah, that might be true, but I don’t think he’s any kind of threat if that’s what you’re implying.” I snapped a bit annoyed at the accusation.

“No, I was merely considering his feelings, Hajime.” He said.

“Oh, I get it. Right. Thanks Ryoma. I don’t intend to say to him that I have an attraction to him, its only a bit, anyway and I think it probably comes from how close we got.”

“I’m glad he has a friend now, he was always so… lonely, those were my observations. Did you know he and I were among the first to attend this school once it opened?”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes, and Izuru.” He added.

“Izuru?” I asked horrified.

“We were all sent here straight out of middle school. I knew I’d done bad things, but I realised I was here with two complete crazies, but I never got any bad feeling from Nagito. Izuru on the other hand, I always wanted to stay away from him. In those days we didn’t socialise much with each other but then I started to see Nagito hanging out with Izuru. It left me feeling a bit… unsafe being the only one not with friends but then Rantaro showed up and we hit it off. Kokichi was a little after that, but he was also difficult to get along with since he is always playing games, you never know where you stand.”

“Yeah, I get that with Kokichi, but I don’t think he’s a bad guy just playful, I suppose, like he needs to grow up a bit. What did you mean Nagito and Izuru started to hang out? That worries me.”

“It didn’t last long or go well, of course Nagito cut ties with him. Izuru was most put out by the rejection it seemed, although I do not know the details of that. I do know that Nagito wanted nothing to do with him after that.”
“Good, perhaps that explains Izuru’s aggression towards Nagito.”

“It has been more of a recent thing, since you struck up your friendship with him. I believe Izuru is put out that Nagito would accept you but not him.”

“Izuru sees Nagito as an insect, he said as much, he doesn’t seem to value him or hold him very highly as a person so that doesn’t really make sense.”
“Can you make sense of a crazy mind?” he asked.

“Good point.” I muttered and some of the bedroom doors started to open, and our sleepy schoolmates began emerging and heading to the showers.

“Hajime, back to Chiaki, I think you should tell her how you feel. You make a good couple the two of you, it’s nice to see.” He said.

“Thanks,” I smiled, “Yeah, I might do that. Thanks for the talk, Ryoma, it was really… informative and the advice is appreciated.”
“Like I said Hajime, anytime.” He smiled and I returned it before I also hit the showers. I was glad I had the chance to talk to Ryoma, he was an interesting guy, I was not wrong to ask his advice.

Chapter Text

The following day we were woken up by Mr Munakata in the dorms with some other male faculty members. They had gone around knocking on all the doors announcing a random inspection before classes. This really was starting to feel like a prison. We were all ordered to stand outside our rooms, and they were searched one by one. Was this really allowed? It felt like an invasion of our privacy.

“Can they do this?” I asked Kaito who was next door to me in the dorms, so we were stood nearby.

“I guess they can do what they like,” he replied.

“What are they looking for?” I asked in case he had any ideas other than the ones I had, I was guessing it was something to do with drugs and other prohibited items. I had nothing to hide but I still felt nervous.

“Is this really necessary?” I heard Nagito ask.

“Of course, it is! You nearly died, Komaeda, we are tightening up our security here.” Mr Munakata said sternly.

“I see, so I was thrown down some stairs and that makes you start looking for contraband?” he asked.

“As I said we are tightening up security. You got lucky, the next kid might not.” Mr Munakata said.

“Kyosuke,” one of the other faculty members said and they went off to the side a moment so we couldn’t hear what they said. I did not know whose room that one had come out from, but I felt a sweat. Mr Munakata turned back to us as we all stood obediently waiting.

“Tanaka! Shinguji! Kuwata! Oma!” he barked. Leon? What did he have? Kokichi? Damn, I didn’t care what happened to the other two, but I didn’t want Leon or Kokichi to get into trouble. I was happy that Nagito had gotten away with his contraband, he must have something they would usually confiscate that could set things on fire so he must have hidden it well. Those four stepped forward. Some books were thrown down in front of Korekiyo and Gundham.

“Explain.” Mr Munakata ordered.

“I found Izuru’s ramblings fascinating, and I strived to learn more, humanity is beautiful, all of it is. Izuru possesses a beautiful insanity, I simply wished to learn on the subject.” Korekiyo said.

“I, too, found his words interesting.” Gundham added.

“Do you subscribe to his beliefs?” Mr Munakata asked and Korekiyo laughed.

“In demons? No, we do not.” Gundham replied. “He is not in his right mind, and we failed him as his friends when he started his descent back down that dark path.”

“So, it was simply interest?”

“Yes,” Korekiyo replied, and Mr Munakata moved along to Leon and tossed down a small pouch which had what appeared to be drugs, from here it looked like plants, so I was guessing it was cannabis.

“Shit!” Leon muttered.

“Where did you get this?” Mr Munakata asked.

“I… just some guy, its only a little bit for personal use.” Leon explained.

“We will be confiscating it, but we will not alert the police, this time.” Mr Munakata said, and Leon breathed a sigh of relief. He moved on to Kokichi and tossed down a notebook.

“This looks like a blacklist,” he said.

“A what now?” Kokichi asked.

“A list of people to take down,” he said and Kokichi laughed.

“Oh, that’s what that is! But that’s not what that is.” He replied.

“Come again?” Mr Munakata asked, clearly baffled.

“That’s what it is what you said but that’s not what that is.” Kokichi said again.

“What are you talking about? Are you trying to confuse us to get out of trouble?”

“You’re a smart man, Mr Munakata, I’m just telling you that’s not what that notebook is, but I really would like to keep its contents private, I was only offering you peace of mind. I don’t want to take anyone out.” he explained.

“All of you have detention.” Mr Munakata said.

“Again?” Kokichi whined. “Aw man, it’s not even contraband, it’s a personal notebook!”

“Enough! I am sick of all of you and your backtalk! In fact, detention for everyone! The girls too, it will be held in the hall. At least that might keep you out of trouble!” he barked.

“Nice one, Kokichi, if you’d just kept your mouth shut.” Mondo said.

“Shut up Owada!” Mr Munakata yelled. “After classes each of you report to the hall.”

“Fuck sake!” Fuyuhiko cursed. The teachers all left, and we stood looking at each other. “I’ll get you for this Kokichi.” Fuyuhiko said.

“You already got me, in case you forgot, and it wasn’t my fault he’s in a worse mood than usual.” Kokichi defended.

“Yeah, I don’t think we can blame Kokichi entirely for that. They’re locking down because of Izuru and those guys.” I added sticking up for him and looking at Gundham and Korekiyo. The two of them looked back at me and then they approached me. I felt cornered as they stood before me, and the wall was at my back.

“Izuru won’t have lost interest in you, Hajime.” Korekiyo said.

“Hey, back off!” Fuyuhiko stepped in. “I see you talking to Hajime or Nagito, I’ll gut you both.” He threatened.

“Oo, scary, the thought of that surely gives me chills.” Korekiyo replied.

“How would you do such a thing when Kokichi stole your knife? Also since when do you care what happens to either of them? It wasn’t that long ago you set your sights on them both and almost killed Nagito yourself, correct?” Gundham asked.

“I can get another knife and I just want you fuckers to stay away from everyone! What you did was actually put Nagito in the hospital and he almost fuckin’ died!” Fuyuhiko countered.

“No! Stop, this! Everyone, let’s just… stop fighting, please.” Shuichi spoke up unexpectedly for someone usually quiet and it worked, Gundham and Korekiyo left me alone. I can’t believe we all had detention; this was ridiculous.

 

Luckily detention only lasted the week, we were free by the weekend, so I was able to see Chiaki again but would I have the courage to go with Ryoma’s advice and tell her how I felt?

Chapter Text

It was the day I was to see Chiaki and work up the courage to tell her how I felt, I really wanted to spend time with Nagito too, so I had arranged for him to meet us later. I needed some time alone with Chiaki first. The only person I had spoken to about my strong feelings for Chiaki was Ryoma, I had not even told Nagito. Was that a betrayal? I wasn’t sure, he and I were best friends, and I knew he liked Chiaki as well so I felt I should have discussed it with him as well, but I was not sure how to approach the subject. I was to meet Chiaki at the gates of my school, I was so nervous but as soon as I saw her those nerves went away. She smiled sweetly as usual, and I continued towards her.

“How are you today, Hajime?” she asked me.

“I’m good, thanks. How are you?” I asked in return.

“I’m good. I was talking to Nagito last night on the phone, he seems much better in all ways. I’m so glad.” She said and I smiled.

“Yeah, me too.” I said and we took each other’s hands and started to walk.

“You have got really close to him, haven’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah, I like him a lot, I know he’s crazy but he’s a good guy and a good friend. He also makes me laugh which is cool.” I said.

“I’m so happy he has a good friend now,” she said looking at me.

“Yeah, me too. He seemed quite… lonely…” I hadn’t met her to talk about Nagito but after recent events I guess he would be topic of conversation. I was just glad he was alive. He almost died. I nearly lost my… best friend. He was my best friend, I don’t care how short or long I had known him, we had truly bonded. I felt relaxed around him, unlike every one else but that was fine, I would always defend him and next time, if that ever came, I would do a better job of protecting him.

“Hajime, are you ok?” Chiaki asked, I guess I zoned out into my own thoughts.

“Yeah, I’m good.” I replied. “Actually… I really wanted to talk to you about something, do you want to head to the park and take a little walk?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure,” she replied and her grip on my hand tightened for a moment, was that involuntary? I couldn’t know. I did know how I felt about her though.

 We walked into the park and found the nicest walkway I had yet to discover, it was beautiful. The walkway was lined with flower beds and trees, I thought what better place to tell Chiaki how I felt about her. There were some benches every other section and I decided we should sit. She agreed and when we sat, she fumbled in her cat plushy bag for something.

“Ah, there it is.” She said and pulled out a bag. She looked at me with her big eyes, the cutest expression on her face. “I made some cookies; I don’t know how good they’ll be, but I wanted you to eat them.” she said, and I smiled.

“They’re not gonna kill me, are they?” I asked teasing her.

“I hope not, I followed the recipe I found online to the exact measurement but… they look a bit funny.” She replied and opened the bag, offering it to me. I reached in and drew one out. they were an odd shape, that was certain, but they still looked like cookies. She took one too. “Well, I guess if they are terrible, we’ll find out together.” She said and I laughed.

“Yeah, let’s do this.” I replied and we both took a bite of the cookie in our hands. “Mmmm, its good!” I said surprised, I was likely influenced by her trepidation about the success of the cookies, but they tasted really good.

“Oh yeah, I guess I can bake with the proper instructions,” she said and smiled, she looked like relief just overwhelmed her and her cheeks flushed. It was so cute. She really was so cute and pretty. She was really pretty. No, she was beautiful. Her soul, her heart…. Wow, I really had fallen for her, hadn’t I? I’d never liked anyone this way before, it was a completely new experience for me. “Oh, you wanted to talk to me about something?” she began, and I felt my heart rate quicken. I guess I was still nervous, but I knew I could do it.

“Uh… yeah… er… I… this is awkward…” I stammered, I had planned it all out in my head what I would say, thinking about it a thousand times over but now those words were gone.

“Hajime… are you… breaking up with me already?” she asked looking sad. Shit, is that what it seemed like? I was so bad at this.

“No! God no!” I gasped, “It’s… actually the opposite,” I said.

“Oh… so are you going to ask me to marry you so soon?” she asked and then I looked at her horrified but then realised she was teasing me, and I laughed. The ice well and truly broken. She had a talent for doing that, whether she realised she was doing that or not. I had to do it. I had to just go for it.

“I… Chiaki… I know we have only been dating a short while but… I know I really like you… I mean… a lot… I love everything about you, you have a… confidence about yourself… your individual… you don’t follow other people and… you defend what you believe in.” I said, stammering around some version of what I think I may have planned to say. She was blushing fiercely and then she smiled.

“Hajime… I really like you a lot too. You’re so brave… that day when… you dove into the river to save Nagito. I don’t know anyone else who would have done something like that, something so… heroic. I knew you were a good guy and I… was… some of my friends would call it ‘crushing on you’ I guess.” She was blushing even more now, and it was so cute. I felt more at ease with her blushing the way she was. I took her hand.

“Chiaki… you stood out to me from the very first night I saw you, my stupid fight with Fuyuhiko… I saw you there and I… liked you just from appearance but… then I got to know you a bit and you were so cool.” I said and she smiled.

“Same, Hajime.” She held a hand to her chest, a mannerism I had seen her do before and she smiled. That smile… so cute, so sweet. I liked her a lot. I was falling for her and had somehow managed to tell her in some form of words but I think she understood. We leaned in towards each other, reading the moment perfectly and our lips met in the most perfect kiss, most natural one, I had no nerves at this kiss, none. It was simply perfect.

Chapter Text

Nagito joined us later in the afternoon and the three of us headed to play some games at the arcades. We competed against each other in racing games and teamed up in shooting games. It was a fun day and at the end of it we decided to find a nice place to sit together and have a drink, non-alcoholic of course. Nagito was completely recovered, there were no signs he had suffered a devastating blow to the head and died for a moment, it was strange, but I was grateful that he was alive, and I hadn’t lost the first best friend I had ever had after only getting a short time together. He was still by my side; he was still with us. I looked at him as he sat across from us at our table, I felt a bit self-conscious suddenly. I was falling in love with Chiaki, but I believe I was crushing on Nagito somewhat. The only person I had spoken to about my attraction to Nagito was Ryoma. I would never act on it or tell him about it, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit self-conscious around him now. I was looking at him thinking about how attractive I found him. It was ok to find other people attractive, I would never act on it, I knew that. Nagito and I were friends, best friends. I took Chiaki’s hand in mine under the table, and she looked at me and smiled. Yeah, I loved her, what I had towards Nagito was possibly confused or fleeting infatuation. It would pass. I almost lost him and that triggered intense emotions inside of me so perhaps somewhere my feelings got confused.

“You two look really good together,” Nagito said smiling but I could still see he was a bit upset at our relationship. He had told me it was fine, but I couldn’t help feeling bad when I saw that sadness in his expression as he looked at us sometimes. “I’m kind of the third wheel, here, right? Are you sure you want me to sit here with you?” he asked. I guess at the arcades it was not so glaringly obvious.

“Why wouldn’t we want you to sit with us, Nagito? You’re our friend.” Chiaki said sweetly.

“Y-yeah… I often wondered why you guys… spent time with me, always thinking it was out of pity but… after what happened, and you were both there for me at the hospital when I was falling apart. That… shit.” He muttered and wiped his eyes, but he looked up at us and smiled. “That meant so much to me. I realised then that… you really do both care about me. It’s hard for me to believe but… I wanted to say this. I wanted to thank you for being there for me. I was pathetic but… I had you guys there.”

“Hey, Nagito, that was fucked up, ok, you’re dad… slapping you like that… he couldn’t just-“ he interrupted me.
“Don’t say it, I know what you’re gonna say and hearing my own thoughts come out of someone else’s mouth is… gonna fuck me up.”

“Alright,” I agreed. What I was going to say was why couldn’t his dad just be happy that he was alive instead of slapping him for excitedly telling him of his near-death experience. Who knows what is real in that situation, but he said he saw his dead grandmother, I guess who is to say that he didn’t? I for one, would imagine that gave Nagito great comfort and he hoped it would do the same for his father.

“Nagito, have you spoken to your parents since?” Chiaki asked.

“No, I did try calling but… nobody answered. My father hates me and my mother lives in his shadow, following his lead.”

“Yeah, it did kind of seem that way.” I replied. This was so fucked up. Nagito almost died and his parents didn’t seem like they gave much of a shit that he miraculously survived, and his father had been so eager to turn off those fucking machines. I was angry but I had to hold it together for Nagito.

“Nagito, we’ll always be here for you if you ever did want to talk or if you… ever wanted to talk to just Hajime, I don’t mind, I can leave. I know the two of you have gotten close and I’m glad. You needed someone like Hajime to come along and… I know… Hajime needed a friend he could rely on.” She said.

“Well… in that case… I would like to speak to Hajime alone now.” he said surprising me.

“Oh… ok, no problem,” she finished up her drink. “Shall we hang out tomorrow as well, guys? Maybe we could play some games either at my school or yours?” she asked.

“Yeah, sure,” I smiled and Nagito also smiled. I wondered what he wanted to talk to me about. Chiaki stood up but then she quickly kissed me goodbye before she left. I felt that swell of emotion inside of my chest as I watched her leave. I was sad she was leaving but tomorrow was Sunday and still the weekend and we were to game together. “Hey, you ok, Nagito?” I asked him.

“Hajime… I am… finding it very difficult watching you two together…” he said, he had said something similar before. It was definitely too late for him to tell me now that it was not ok for me and Chiaki to be together. I was annoyed.

“You could have asked me not to pursue her, Nagito.” I said trying to stay calm.

“Who was I to do that? It wouldn’t be right, that would be selfish-“
“And what is this? Are you trying to make it awkward now? I don’t understand you, Nagito, you’ve been so supportive of us and-“
“Hajime, would you just listen to me?” he interrupted me and I stayed quiet. “It’s so difficult because… I didn’t just like Chiaki… I was in love with her and… that love was… reinforced by her support at the hospital. She was so comforting and sweet so that is why it’s so hard.”

“I don’t believe this. Nagito, I… care about you a lot and I don’t want to hurt you but… I love her too, it is definitely too late-“
“Hajime, I’m talking and I haven’t finished.” He said unusually assertive of him.

“Is this a conversation or a monologue?” I snapped and I realised he had tears in his eyes.
“Never mind,” he said and stood to leave. Shit, I should have tried to keep my patience. He was leaving and I hurried out following him, but he did not slow his pace. I caught up to him, but I had to take his arm to stop him walking.

“Nagito, I’m sorry, I’ll listen, ok?” I said and he pulled his arm free. His eyes were now spilling with tears.

“I don’t… I’m not just in love with her, Hajime… I’m in love with you too,” he said taking me off guard, “I fell for you… I told you, you keep saving me… I’ll fall for you, and you saved me at the hospital too. You’re support and obvious love for me as your friend… I fell for you too. I’m in love with you both, Hajime, that’s why it’s so hard. I’ll be ok, though, because I love you, I want you both to be happy, so I’ll be ok, in time, I just wanted you to know. Even a piece of trash like me can fall in love.” He smiled but again it was a sad smile.

“N-Nagito… when you said that before and… kissed me, I thought you were just a little drunk.”

“I know, that was fine… my feelings have grown even stronger but… I’m happy you are my friends; I really am lucky to have people like you in my life. I don’t deserve either of you; I’m also thankful that you’re not recoiling in disgust at my confession.” He said, the tears were still falling from his eyes.

“Nagito… obviously Chiaki and I are together, but you’re not disgusting. The opposite I can see you meeting someone great one day, you’re weird and obviously crazy but, we accept you and when I first came here, I found you entertaining. You made me laugh and I was so against liking anyone here. I liked you. One day you’ll meet some person who also accepts you, you’re a good-looking guy too, Nagito. Don’t ever think your trash in any way. You have been so loyal to me. You’re… my best friend.” I said.

“Hajime… you really have warmed up since coming here, huh?” he said smiling, he was right. My emotions and my words were so not like me. I had always closed myself off, from my emotions, aside from perhaps anger but to let people close… I never would have done that before and here I was now. “I might be in love with you, but I really am happy that we’re friends,” he added.

“I care about you, Nagito, alright, losing you… made me realise just how much you meant to me. It was awful but you’re back and we can all continue to have fun together, right?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure, I look forward to it.” he smiled and held out his hand. I slapped his hand away and pulled him into a hug instead. This was so not like me, and I had not even paid it much thought. He was rigid to start with but then he wrapped his arms round me too and he held me, but I’m pretty sure he sniffed my hair or my neck as he did so. This was Nagito, he was weird. I accepted him; I didn’t care. He was my best friend.

Chapter Text

Nagito and I arrived at our dorms and as usual there was drama and again, Kokichi was at the centre of it. Nagito and I looked at one another we had walked in just as Shuichi threw Kokichi down to the ground. Shuichi was definitely not a violent person, but I had a feeling Kokichi would push him so far and one day he would snap, I had to make sure he didn’t snap too much, he already hit him before. I liked them both and although some of Kokichi’s actions were questionable I did not see him as a bad person.
“What were you doing in my room?” Shuichi yelled.

“I was… you weren’t supposed to find me in there, but I was… leaving a present,” Kokichi replied but I could see he was wincing a little from the violence directed at him and the injury he was still recovering from. “It was a little surprise, a nice one… but now you… know it’s from me, I guess it wouldn’t be so nice.” Kokichi muttered.

“What is it then?” Shuichi snapped.

“Well, you’ve made a scene… I don’t want to give it to you now.” Kokichi replied like a stubborn child.

“Stop messing with me!” Shuichi lunged forwards and grabbed Kokichi by the scruff of his shirt pulling him up and that is where I stepped in. I pulled Shuichi away and Rantaro also intervened and stood between the two of them. “I fucking hate you, Kokichi! You’re always winding me up, you’re always messing with me! I’ve had enough!” Shuichi yelled as I held him back. Shuichi, generally quite mild mannered but I had seen him come close to losing it before and it was usually down to Kokichi.

“Hey, Shuichi, calm down, take it easy,” I urged but still felt the need to hold him back.

“I’m so sick of Kokichi, I’m so sick of everything! Sick of this place and sick of life!” Shuichi yelled; he was not one to raise his voice much above a whisper but right now he had snapped. “Hajime… get off me.” he muttered, his anger slightly dissipating. “Please just leave me alone, everyone.” He added and then I released him, he was crying now.

“Hey, Shuichi, come talk to me a minute.” I offered. He had been kind to me and helped me with some of my homework, I was not about to abandon him now. I felt like something more was happening here, not just Kokichi.

“I don’t… I don’t need to talk, Hajime, I just want to be on my own.” He said and disappeared into his room. I turned to Kokichi, I was a bit annoyed at him now since Shuichi was obviously very upset.

“What the hell’s going on, Kokichi?” I asked moving in front of him.

“Nothing, I was just… in his room, I… it doesn’t matter, alright, I just… had a present for him. You take it!” Kokichi threw down something from his pocket and then he ran out of the dorms.

“Hey!” I called but he kept on running.

“I’ll go after him.” Nagito said and left as I bent down to pick up the present. It was a bag and inside of it was some sweets and a note. I read the note.

Something nice for you. I made them, there’s a little shop in the next town, I found it. It’s called Sweets from the Heart, you make your own there, they help you do it. It’s fun and you might enjoy taking Kaede there. Thought I would just let you know. X

Damn, as long as there aren’t laxatives in the sweets, this was a really kind gesture. I pocketed them and went after Nagito, calling him as I walked, to find out if he had been able to keep up with Kokichi. I wanted to talk to Shuichi too, but he already hadn’t answered the door to Rantaro who had tried. I hoped at least I could console Kokichi. Nagito answered his phone.

“Hey, he’s in the music room, I was about to go in after him but it… sounds like he’s really angry.” Kokichi, angry? I don’t think I had ever seen that before. I hurried along to back Nagito up and hope to help Kokichi. I got to the music room where Nagito was just waiting outside.

“We should stop him before he gets in trouble.” I said and we both entered. I saw him bashing his violin against a chair. He looked up at us after noticing we entered and then he started to laugh.

“Did you think I was upset?” he asked with a grin.

“Kokichi… you… broke your violin.” I muttered.

“My dad will get me a new one, it’s no biggie,” he said and smiled, he laughed again. I took out the sweets and dropped them in front of him.

“That was a kind gesture, Kokichi.” I said, “you didn’t put anything in them, did you?” I asked.

“No! I just… wanted to give him something. Is that so bad?” he asked.

“What’s your deal with Shuichi, huh? Why are you always on his case?” I decided to ask. Kokichi sighed.

“He’s fun to wind up, I usually get a pretty decent reaction from him.” Kokichi grinned again.

“So, you bully him?” Nagito asked.

 “I wouldn’t so much as call it bullying, more so getting his attention,” Kokichi was grinning again, more often than usual making me think they were a mask.

“Getting his attention?” I asked.

“Kokichi, do you like Shuichi?” Nagito asked.

“No, I hate him, he hates me too so that’s ok.” Kokichi grinned, yet again.

“You’re lying,” Nagito said.

“Maybe, who knows?” Kokichi replied.

“What do we do about your violin?” I asked.

“Um, I could just say I… dropped it and it fell down some stairs.” Kokichi said.

“Right, come on, let’s clean up the mess.” I said.

“Hajime… why do you try to save everyone? It’s kind of weird how you just stick your nose into everyone’s business as though your important enough to help us all.” Kokichi suddenly said, sounding resentful. “I mean, what are you trying to prove? Do you have such a need for acceptance? Are you actually just pathetic and needy that you have to make yourself feel important?”

“Hey, what the hell, Kokichi, I’m just trying to help you, here.” I replied.
“I don’t need your help, Hajime. You can’t help us, you might come from some normal family, the fucked-up kid in a normal household but the rest of us here, you can never relate to our lives, Hajime, you can never understand, and you can never help us. We’re from different worlds.” Kokichi said.

“I… maybe but that doesn’t mean I can’t help my friends,” I replied.

“We’re not friends, are we?” Kokichi shot back.

“I thought we were.” I muttered.

“I don’t need you; I don’t need your help and I don’t need your friendship. I’m better off on my own. Plus, its way more fun when everyone hates me.” he said and laughed but I felt like he was lying there too. I looked at Nagito and then back at Kokichi.

“I don’t believe a word you’ve said,” Nagito spoke, “you’re always trying to join in with other people, always trying to get people’s attention one way or another. You do want friendship; you do need it. Why don’t you just accept Hajime’s? I know you believe he is a good person; you wouldn’t have helped me with that skateboard for him if you didn’t feel like he deserved it.”

“It doesn’t matter, does it? Shuichi… hates me, I just wanted to do something nice but secretly for him. I… know I tease him all the time, but I really don’t mean harm….” Kokichi started to laugh. “Who am I kidding? Hah! Hahaha! He’s just too fun to wind up! I don’t really care. It’s just amusement in this boring place.” Kokichi was laughing as though he had also lost it. What the hell was going on here?

“Kokichi… the sweets are heart-shaped, do you… have feelings for Shuichi?” I asked and he suddenly stopped laughing. His eyes widened and he looked vulnerable and innocent, childlike almost. He broke into a run, leaving the music room faster than we could follow. I looked to Nagito. “Did I just… hit the nail on the head?” I asked.

“It’s Kokichi, he’s probably messing with us still.” Nagito replied. He was looking at the broken violin. “Do you think he’d mind if I took his violin? I mean, wood burns nicely and it’s all broken up.” He said and I was reminded that my best friend was a pyromaniac.

“Shit, I knew it from day one, but I’m stuck here with a bunch of psychos.” I said and Nagito laughed. “Come on, let’s head back. I’m sure Kokichi will be alright, he’ll turn up later. I’m worried about Shuichi too.” I said.

“Yeah, that was really out of character for Shuichi.” Nagito muttered as we headed out of the music room to go back to the dorms. I hoped they were both going to be alright. Kokichi had been so strange in there, but I guess, he always was a bit odd.

“How are you doing now?” I decided to ask.

“I’m better, I’m glad we talked, and I got all that off my chest.” he said and smiled.

“Yeah, it’s good we had that talk. Nagito, I’ll always listen to you, I’m sorry I got a bit impatient earlier, I regretted it immediately.”
“No, I understand, I wasn’t explaining myself very well.” He said.

“No, I just wasn’t listening properly, I’m sorry.” I replied and we smiled at one another before we headed back to the dorms.

Chapter Text

We had finally managed to get Shuichi to open his door, we were worried about him, his words said in anger, but he had sounded like he was really upset, and I knew it was not just Kokichi, he may have just sent him over the edge. I didn’t know much about Shuichi; we hadn’t had many deep conversations, but I had the feeling I had gained a lot of confidence from the guys here. He opened his door to Rantaro, Nagito and me. We were all worried about our friend. He did look like he had been crying, his eyes were tearful and his expression sombre.

“Why can’t you all just leave me alone?” he asked in a low voice.

“We won’t do that, Shuichi, you’re our friend and we were worried.” I said. He looked at each of us.

“Nobody’s my friend.” he muttered sounding depressed.

“What has all this been, then? Since you got here, me and you have been tight.” Rantaro said. Shuichi sighed.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered.

“Can we come in?” I asked.

“Why is Nagito here?” he asked.

“I was worried about you.” Nagito replied.

“Why? What do you care? All you care about is fire.”

“That’s not true,” Nagito replied.

“I’ll… talk if I really have to but… I don’t trust Nagito.” Shuichi added.

“Ok, I’ll go.” Nagito said a little disappointed and went to leave but then he turned back to Shuichi, “I hope you’re ok, I know what its like to go through shit, I want to be your friend, I want to help you. If you can trust me, even though I don’t deserve it, I’ll be here for you too.” He said and smiled. Shuichi looked away and then let Rantaro and me into his room and we sat.

“What’s going on?” Rantaro asked.

“It’s… Kaede… her dad found out about her and me dating, that I go to this school. He’s forbidden us from seeing each other. She has a concert next week which I really wanted to go to but obviously her dad’s gonna be there and he’s threatened to take her out of that school, so I’d never see her again.” he muttered.

“Shit, that’s bad, I’m sorry, Shuichi.” I said thinking back to those sweets and the note Kokichi left for him. Did Kokichi know about this and was that a dig? Suggesting he took Kaede for a nice day out when she might not even be here much longer. No, I didn’t think Kokichi would be that malicious, that cruel. I didn’t really know Kokichi that well, but he had tried to help me at times, in his own way. I couldn’t believe he would do that.

“Shuichi, you’re a good person, I’m sure her dad would like you if he got the chance to meet you.” Rantaro said softly.

“I don’t… he thinks we’re all criminals and delinquents here and doesn’t want his daughter associating with any of us. I guess he’s right, that is what we are.” Shuichi replied.

“Not all of us and that doesn’t make the people here bad-“ Rantaro was interrupted by a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it.” I said and stood up so Shuichi could stay put. I opened the door to Ryoma.

“Nagito told me Shuichi needed his friends,” Ryoma said.

“It’s alright, Hajime, Ryoma can come in,” Shuichi said so I let him in, and Ryoma took a seat with us.

“Shuichi, are you ok?” Ryoma asked.

“No, I’m not. Kaede’s dad found out about us, that I came from this school, and he isn’t happy, threatening to take her out of that school. I’d never see her again.” Shuichi rubbed his hand over his face. “I… don’t want to lose her…” he mumbled.

“How did he find out?” I suddenly wondered.

“Apparently he received some letter, he questioned her about it, and she can’t lie to her dad.” He said.

“A letter?” Ryoma asked.
“Anonymous letter.” Shuichi added.

“What the hell?” I asked, annoyed, who would do this? Could… Kokichi be that malicious? I honestly couldn’t believe that he would be. I kept quiet because Shuichi already seemed like he would kill Kokichi earlier, if I planted that seed, it could spiral out of control. It might not be true; it could have been someone else. I hoped it wasn’t Kokichi who did this. My mind was racing with all possibilities, if he did have feelings for Shuichi, would he try and sabotage his relationship out of jealousy? No, that didn’t seem like Kokichi and as Nagito said, he was probably messing with us when he ran off.

“I… don’t know what to do…” Shuichi muttered sounding tearful again. I know I would be devastated in his situation even though Chiaki and I had just started out, he had spent months building his relationship with Kaede and they seemed really close and very sweet. I hadn’t spoken to Kaede much, but she seemed like a lovely girl. I felt bad for them both. This was a horrible situation. There was another knock on the door. “Why won’t everyone just leave me alone” Shuichi muttered. I got up to get the door again. This time it was Kokichi. My heart sunk. This could be bad, and I didn’t know what to say.

“What are you doing here?” I asked him.

“I wanted to know what was going on, everyone is saying that Shuichi had some kind of breakdown and I felt bad. I think I caused it.”

“Get out of here, Kokichi! I don’t want to even look at you right now!” Shuichi snapped. “You drive me crazy, and I got enough on my mind without you sneaking around in my room and… messing with me! Please, please just leave me alone. I’m so done.” I looked round to Shuichi and then back to Kokichi.

“I think its best you leave,” I said and Kokichi looked a bit upset.

“Shuichi, I’m sorry, alright? I really was just… trying to do something nice… I know I get on your nerves, I’m sorry-“
“Just go!” Shuichi snapped and Kokichi did so with his head down. I had no idea what was going on, his timing, considering my thoughts was odd. It probably had me acting quite coldly towards him. It was only ever a matter of time before things came to blows between those two and I had no idea if Kokichi was a bully and had targeted Shuichi or if he was just misunderstood. His actions with Fuyuhiko led me to believe he did care about us, he wanted things to be peaceful here, but he also liked to cause trouble. I just did not get him at all. I went to close the door and then I heard shouting in the main part of the dorm. I looked out and saw Kazuichi yelling at Nagito. What the hell?

“Hey, guys, I gotta sort something out, I’ll be right back.” I said and left Shuichi’s room.

“Why are you suddenly moving in on Sonia, huh?” Kazuichi was yelling at Nagito.

“Well, you weren’t doing anything.” Nagito replied. What? First, I heard Nagito had any interest in the pretty foreign girl. Nagito folded his arms and took one step back.

“I… it doesn’t mean she should get with you! She deserves better, not some fucked up psycho like you! Even if its not me, she deserves better than you!” he yelled.

“Hey, that’s enough!” I snapped stepping in now. “What is your problem?” I stood beside Nagito.

“I just… don’t want her to end up with-“
“Someone like me, huh?” Nagito interrupted.

“Yeah! She was talking about you earlier, it wound me up, she’s too good for you! Too good for me, that’s why I don’t talk to her! Of course I like her, I mean… she’s beautiful… she’s like… a perfect angel.” Kazuichi calmed a bit.

“Uh huh,” Nagito muttered. “I have no interest in her, Kazuichi. I like her, and I like talking to her, not many people treat me like a human being, but I guess, I am a waste of space so why should they? I’m not interested in her the way that you are. If you like her, then you really should talk to her. I think she likes you, she always seemed to be interested in you, for some reason, it escapes me, but you should talk to her.” Nagito said.

“R-right… I… I’m sorry, alright, I don’t know why it got me so worked up, it… kind of just hit me when I saw you.” at Kazuichi’s words I realised things seemed to be blowing up around us. What was happening? I looked around at some of the others as fights began to break out. Fuyuhiko and Kaito were yelling at each other… Leon and Mondo were fighting, which was not like them, Chihiro trying timidly to keep the peace between them. Everything was falling apart. The mark on my back… the one that healed but the one Izuru put on me, began to tingle and burn. I went over to Mondo to try and calm him, since they were my friends too.

“Hey, what’s going on here?” I asked.

“I showed Leon the belt buckle my brother gave me… now its suddenly gone!” Mondo yelled at me.

“Why would I take that? I know how much it means to you! What the hell is wrong with you? We’re bros!” Leon defended.

“Then… it has to be Kokichi, where is that little shit?” Mondo yelled, he was really riled and looked like he was ready to seriously hurt someone and now his sights were set on Kokichi. I tried to stop him marching off, but he took hold of my shirt and slammed me into the wall. It hurt and caused me to involuntarily cry out.

“Shit, Mondo, what are you doing?” I yelled.

“You can’t save everyone, Hajime.” He growled before he released me and went off. I looked around me, it was chaos, Chihiro was crying now, and Leon was shouting at him, telling him how pathetic he was. This was not right. Fuyuhiko, he was losing it too, but he was the leader here. I needed to get him on board. I headed over to him.

“Hey, look around you, calm down.” I said as he looked like he was about to lunge for Kaito.

“What the fuck, Hajime, get out of my way!” he yelled at me.

“No! You’re the leader here! Lead! Its out of control!” I yelled back and he pushed me away so aggressively I almost lost my footing and before I could stop him, he and Kaito entered a scuffle. Shit. I slowly walked back to Nagito who was just leaning against a wall looking as though he had not even noticed what was happening.

“Nagito… I think we need to stop this….” I muttered.
“Stop what? Why are you always trying to save people, Hajime? It’s pathetic, just like Kokichi said, are you so desperate to earn people’s respect? To be-“ I interrupted him.

“Nagito! What’s wrong with you?” I said, this wasn’t like him, especially after our earlier conversation.

“Hajime, I don’t need you to rescue me anymore, just stay away from me.” he said and then turned from me but stopped. He turned back, a puzzled expression on his face. “Why… did I just say that?” he muttered.

“Nagito, look around, everyone is fighting, something is going on. I don’t know what.” I turned to see Shuichi leaving his room, he looked angry again. Was he looking for Kokichi? Rantaro and Ryoma were right behind him but then they were dragged into a fight. This was bad. Shuichi was not in a good headspace right now. Mondo was also looking for Kokichi because an item of his went missing and Kokichi was known to take people’s things. The mark on my back burned again.

“Nagito, we have to do something, I… this sounds crazy but the mark… the one Izuru put on me is hurting suddenly but it was healed. I need… I don’t really believe in all that crap but… I need you to take a look at it. I feel… I feel like this is really weird… what’s going on here… is really weird, right?” I said and Nagito looked around us. He almost seemed like he had come out of a trance.

“Yeah….” He muttered. “What do we do?” he asked. I found myself taking him by the wrist and dragging him with me like he had done so many times before and we were heading to the roof.

Chapter Text

We hit the roof and burst through the door, I pulled my shirt off, the burning had got worse as we ran here. We were losing the nice weather now so I could feel the bite of cold on my skin. I had turned from Nagito so he could look at the mark, but he hadn’t said anything. I looked back around to him; he wasn’t looking at me, but he was blushing.

“You’ve seen me naked in the showers before Nagito, what’s wrong with you?” I snapped.

“I’m sorry, this just happened so suddenly.” He muttered and still wasn’t looking at me. He looked embarrassed. This wasn’t the time for that.

“Nagito, this is important, its burning worse now!” I snapped and he looked like he tried to shake himself out of it. “Just look at it!” I yelled. I was scared. I was always scared though. I suddenly remembered Izuru had made that observation before. Something weird was happening here. He came closer and looked at the mark on my back.

“Hajime… it’s really red, like… really red. I haven’t seen it look that way before.” Nagito muttered.

“I…” I didn’t really have any words but then the door suddenly burst open, and I saw Mondo, he was dragging something, then I heard Kokichi shouting. He had Kokichi by the scruff of his shirt dragging him along. Shuichi was right behind them.

“Let me go!” Kokichi yelled as he struggled to get free. I ran over to intervene, but Mondo suddenly lifted the much smaller boy and held him over the roofs edge with little effort.

“Mondo, what are you doing?” I yelled.

“Shit,” Kokichi gasped looking scared and holding tight onto the strong arms that held him in the air by his shirt.

“We’ve had enough of your games, Kokichi!” Shuichi said. This really wasn’t like Shuichi; I did not see him as the type to condone such an action, I knew from things I had heard that Mondo was prone to losing his cool and I only saw it once when I first started that was towards Nagito after he burned his hair. This was on another level. This was insane. What was happening?

“Where is it?” Mondo yelled at the smaller boy.

“I don’t know! I didn’t take your belt buckle!” Kokichi yelled back desperately. “I swear!” he cried; I could see the tears in his eyes from where I stood. “I’m sorry! Shuichi, I’m so sorry!” he cried looking at Shuichi as though he could reason with him and get help out of this.

“Look at what you guys are doing!” I yelled at them but winced as the burning, stabbing sensation where the mark worsened.

“Shit, Hajime…” Kokichi looked over at me with his terrified eyes, like he was pleading for me to save him. I wanted to save him. I wanted to save everyone.

“I don’t feel right, Hajime,” Nagito muttered at my side. I looked at him, he laughed suddenly. “Hajime… you should really see it. It’s so beautiful… I really want you to see it,” he said, and I saw in his eyes how crazed he looked. No, Nagito… not you too.

“See what?” I heard myself ask.

“The Phoenix!” he gasped excitedly. Burn it. I felt like I heard those words, but they were in my head. Burn it. Yes. I heard them, loud and clear. A voice. A woman’s voice, I was sure of it.

“Burn it.” I said out loud to Nagito.

“Huh?” Nagito asked liked I had torn him from a dream. “Burn… the school?” he asked.

“Shit, no!” I snapped, “burn the mark on my back. Burn it until it’s gone!” I said desperately.

“Ah, shit!” I heard Kokichi cry panicked and then he laughed, but I was guessing that was masking his fear.

“Your shirts only gonna hold your weight so long you little shit, start talkin’!” Mondo yelled as I imagined Kokichi’s top was starting to tear. Fuck.  

“Burn it!” I yelled at Nagito.

“I… don’t want to hurt you, Hajime, what are you saying?” he asked horrified.

“Just burn it!” I yelled at him. Kokichi could fall any minute and who knew what horrors were going on downstairs?

“No!” He yelled back and I took hold of him, I slammed him against a near wall, he cried out, even I was feeling rage now. No, I was terrified. Absolute terror had taken hold of me, but I was lashing out. I pulled him back and slammed him again. “Hajime, you’re hurting me!” Nagito cried as I pinned him aggressively. I really didn’t want to hurt him. He looked at me, I could see fear in his eyes. “Wh-what are you doing?” he asked in a small voice. Thoughts were racing through my head… fuelling a rage within me.

“Burn it! I can’t do it myself!” I said urgently. “Do it!” I was fighting this urge, this rage. Trying to block out the other voice inside my head, the one trying to coax me to violence.

“No! I won’t hurt you!” he replied, and I took a fistful of his long hair, gripping it and pulling it hard.

“Just fucking do it!” I screamed at him threateningly, more aggressively than I had ever screamed before; I could see he was trembling.

“Hajime… stop… you’re hurting me….” he whimpered. I didn’t want to hurt him; I really didn’t but I could not control this. Those thoughts were racing in my head and suddenly, no… suddenly I could hear them so clearly. I looked at him coldly as he was completely at my mercy. He was not my friend, he was trying to break me and Chiaki up, wasn’t he? Yeah, he was. How dare he? How dare he pretend to be my friend only to get between me and my girlfriend?

“You’re… trying to get between me and Chiaki, you want to break us up, that’s why you said what you said earlier.” I heard myself say and I wanted to hurt him for daring to try such a thing. He betrayed me. The first person I had ever let close.

“N-no! That’s not-“ I cut him off by pulling him from the wall and pushing him up against the safety barrier which I had established was less than safe. It shifted at the impact. “Shit!” Nagito gasped and looked behind him at the impending drop. I hated him. How dare he? “Hajime, stop this, I would never do that to you! Hajime, please!” he begged, tears in his eyes. Stop your lies…. I thought and bent him over the unsafe railing a little more “N-no...” he gasped and attempted to push me off, but the railing gave out a perilous creak. I ignored that. If we both fell, so be it.

“You betrayed me… you… lied to me…. You just want her, don’t you?” I could hear myself, I barely sounded like me but the rage, my hatred of Nagito for his betrayal consumed me.

“I would… never…” his words were lost, I made sure of it by aggressively putting my hand over his mouth. I didn’t want to hear his lies.

“Shut up.” I said in a low voice. “How dare you betray my trust! How dare you… how dare you do that to me!” I yelled. I could see the fear in his eyes and then his eyes started to spill with tears as they pleaded with me, the only thing he could do at this moment. He could barely struggle for fear of the railing giving way and then we would both plummet to the ground. What was I doing? I suddenly threw myself off him, gripping the sides of my head in despair. Oh god. Oh god…. Nagito dropped to his hands and knees beside me but clambered away.

“Nagito, I’m so sorry! I don’t want to hurt you; I know you would never….” I felt awful. Why had I suddenly believed those awful things? Why did I suddenly have the urge to kill him… to kill someone… no… to kill one of the most important people to me? I looked around at him from where I cowered, he had distrust and fear in his eyes as he recovered. Burn it. I suddenly reached for him, and he flinched at my abrupt advance, but I was fighting whatever it was that was driving me to violence. I pulled at his jeans, going into the pocket, and I took out his lighter and thrust it at him.

“Hajime…” he pleaded with me. “I don’t want to hurt you… please don’t make me do this….” I could hear the tears in his voice and saw the fear in his eyes. This whole situation was so fucked up. I had nearly forced Nagito over the edge of that railing, those were the thoughts in my head.
“Hajime!” Kokichi suddenly cried. We were running out of time. Kokichi was running out of time.

I took hold of Nagito again, he flinched at my actions.

“Do it! Nagito, just fucking do it! A voice told me to burn it. Burn it!” I yelled.  

“Hajime… I… really don’t want to hurt you….” He muttered.

“And I don’t want to hurt you… I don’t want anyone to get hurt.” I replied. “If you don’t… then those… thoughts are going to consume me, and I’ll hurt you… don’t let that happen… Nagito… I… love you… I fucking… love you…. You’re my… best friend… argh!” He was trying to break us up, my girlfriend, who he liked as well. Liking me too was just a cover to get my sympathy and mess with my emotions. NO! That’s wrong! I snapped myself out of it, fighting those thoughts. Our bond was strong, he would never do something like that to me. These thoughts were not my own, these thoughts were what was wrong. He was my best friend; nothing would ever change that. Not now. “Burn it! Please!” I yelled as I released him and turned my back to him, still fighting the violent urges, still fighting those thoughts I knew to be lies. Whatever was going on, I knew our friendship was real, our bond was strong. I was ready for him to take the lighter to my back.

“Alright, I’m doing it.” he said, suddenly sounding confident, and I braced myself. He placed a trembling hand on one shoulder to hold me in place and then a searing pain began on my back. I tried hard not to cry out but the longer it went on, the less I was able to keep composure. I winced and then tried to quieten my cries as much as possible. It hurt like hell. “Hajime, I don’t like this….” Nagito muttered, his voice quivering.

“I like this even less… just… burn it… until it’s gone.” I muttered through clenched teeth. “Shit.” I cursed. I endured the pain. It was terrible and tears were stinging my eyes, I’d had pain in my life, physical, emotional but this was the worst. I could smell it. I could smell my own flesh burning.

“It’s done.” he said and then we heard Kokichi cry out and I looked to see him fall.

“No!” I yelled but Mondo lunged forwards and then suddenly he pulled Kokichi back up.

“Fuck, fuck. What is wrong with you?” Kokichi yelled as he stumbled out of Mondo’s grip and fell down clambering away from him.

“I don’t… shit, I’m so sorry, what the fuck was I doing?” Mondo asked looking haunted. “What… I just… felt like I completely lost control.” He muttered. Shuichi dropped to his knees, tears falling down his cheeks.

“I… was… I wanted him to… drop… to let go… who the hell am I? What is going on?” Shuichi muttered in utter despair, he also looked haunted. I hoped everyone downstairs was ok. Shit up here got serious, I knew that much. I looked to Nagito, and relief washed over us both. It was over and we found ourselves pulling each other close, embracing.  

“I’m so sorry, Nagito… I’m so sorry for what I said… for what I did.” I muttered into his ear as we held each other.

“It’s ok, it was out of your control.” He whispered back holding me tight. “Are you ok?” he asked softly.

“Yeah… I am now.” I replied realising I had nuzzled into his neck somewhat, his hair very much in my face.

“What the fuck just happened, Hajime?” Mondo yelled and I separated from Nagito to look at the other guys up here. We’d all just been through hell. I don’t even know what it was, but it was awful, I was so confused.

“I… I don’t really know….” I really didn’t know but something told me it was weird, like it had something to do with that mark. The voice, that voice in my head. Was I just crazy too? I watched as Shuichi crawled over to Kokichi, it seemed like he was too weak to stand to walk his way over. He sat in front of him, Kokichi still on the ground too.

“I’m sorry.” He muttered. “I’m so sorry.”

“I… think it should be me apologising, I know you get annoyed at me but… it’s just too fun to wind you up… honestly, all I wanted was your attention.” Kokichi said with that innocent expression he had all but perfected.

“Why?” Shuichi asked confused and almost annoyed.

“I like you, I wanted to… be your friend.”

“That’s a fucked-up way to go about it, man.” Mondo spoke now. “I… can’t believe I nearly killed you.” He sounded devastated and was going to Kokichi now, he held out his hand to help Kokichi up and he accepted, Shuichi regaining his feet too. “I’m so sorry, little guy, I… can’t believe I was doing that.”

“Little guy? Hah! You know I’m cute, right?” Kokichi said with a big grin on his face, and we all laughed with him. Mondo suddenly pulled both Kokichi and Shuichi into a hug and then motioned that we join in. Nagito and I looked at each other before we did so, laughing. We all embraced relieved whatever happened was now over and everyone was themselves again. I loved these guys. I really loved these guys.

“Seriously, though, what just happened? Why were we all… acting crazy? I mean I know some of us are fuckin’ nuts anyway but… something weird just happened, right?” Mondo said as we broke apart.

“Yeah,” I muttered, wondering if I should say something to them about the mark on my back and how after we burned it away, everyone returned to normal. I looked to Nagito and then I noticed just past him, just behind him on this roof, someone was standing there. I took a step back suddenly, it was a woman, a beautiful woman but… she disappeared after smiling at me. I shook my head, closing my eyes tightly. I must have imagined her, after all the weirdness that had just happened. What the hell was that mark on me? Had that been the cause for everyone acting so strangely so suddenly? I couldn’t know but now, even Shuichi and Kokichi had embraced, even they were smiling at each other. It felt good. It felt like… somehow… everything was resolved. I just hoped it was the same downstairs with everyone else. When we left, it was chaos, all the boys were breaking into fights. Even those not usually prone to violence. Nagito… I remembered he said he didn’t feel right…. I remembered he asked if I wanted him to burn the school…. Was that his version of it? No, that was just Nagito, right? He had issues that were being addressed at this school by Miss Yukizome, after he tried to blow up his previous school. Maybe I should ask him more about that. All I knew right now was that I loved these guys, I felt such a strong bond, such a connection. We had all just literally been through hell together. I remembered what it felt like trying to fight those thoughts I knew were lies. Nagito was my best friend. Nagito… would never hurt me like that. I had tried to hurt him, my actions completely out of my control. Others had clearly been overcome by their thoughts, but I knew my own life was by far not the worst one here, I knew I didn’t have it bad. I came from a family that cared about me; I saw that now. I always felt hard done by because they didn’t understand me but these guys, at least the ones I knew about, had a much harder life and upbringing than I ever had. Natsume was right, but only about one thing. We were from different worlds. Not me and Chiaki. But me and everyone else here. Maybe that was why I was able to fight my invading thoughts trying to provoke me to violence. I know some of these guys had experienced violence from their own parents. It was awful. It was truly awful. We got through this together, though. I looked at Mondo, we shared a smile, and he clasped an arm around me, gripping my shoulder firmly. I looked to Shuichi, he smiled, but averted his gaze like he usually did, Kokichi gave me a confident grin. Cheeky as always, I couldn’t help but find it endearing. I then looked to Nagito. He looked better, more relaxed now things were over, I hated seeing that fear and sorrow in his eyes when we were not in our right minds. I hated it. I loved him, though. I really loved him. That care was even more apparent to me after what just happened. My care for him, my belief in our friendship was what helped me regain myself enough to get him to do what needed to be done. The pain on my back… it was intense right now. It hurt like hell. Nagito smiled at me, and I almost wanted to take his hand but obviously that would be weird, right?

We suddenly heard the sound of sirens and looked over the edge of the roof. An ambulance was here, pulling up through the gates. Someone got hurt in all that… shit. Who was hurt? This was my fault… I didn’t want this… I thought I had saved everyone… I thought… Nagito and I had saved everyone…. What was going on? What was even happening? This world… this fucking world… was not what I thought it was. All those things you believe are just stories… all those things…

That woman.

That voice.

Who was she?

Or was I just crazy?

Chapter Text

We hurried back down to the dorms to find out who was hurt, everyone looked bewildered, all the guys in the dorms looked as though they had the same experience we’d had on the roof. The atmosphere was tense, and I could see a lot of mess everywhere like a full-on brawl had happened and all the guys looked dishevelled further confirming this apparent scenario. Considering the fact that Mondo almost killed Kokichi with Shuichi’s encouragement and I almost hurt my best friend, was so close to forcing him over that barrier or plummeting down with him after it gave way, I quickly scanned the floor but Mr Munakata along with other faculty members were already here. Nobody appeared badly hurt. Mr Munakata turned cold, angry, piercing eyes to us.

“Where have you been?” he demanded.

“Uh… sorry,” I muttered. “We… saw an ambulance, is someone hurt?” I asked but he just turned back to the others in the dorm, and we joined them.

“I don’t know what has been happening here, but I feel like some serious change needs to be put in place to keep you children under control.” Children, yeah, I guess we were to him. “Fuyuhiko, I need you to come with me.” he said.

“What, why? Why just me?” Fuyuhiko yelled like he was being singled out. It did look like that right now and I was about to speak up, but Mr Munakata spoke first.

“Your sister has been hurt, she is on the way to the hospital, I imagine you want to be there.” he said quite coldly, and I looked to Fuyuhiko.

“Is she… ok?” he asked, his face stricken. Oh god… did this craziness affect the girls too?

“Just come with me, please, I will take you to the hospital.” Mr Munakata said and Fuyuhiko obediently followed. So, the ambulance was for Natsume. Did tempers flare in the girl’s dorm too? I started to think that maybe things did need to change here, the faculty should probably keep a better eye on kids like us but also… I knew there was something strange about what just happened. I was not myself and those thoughts… they never crossed my mind before, not like that. I had questioned Nagito’s affection for Chiaki and his condoning me asking her out so easily when he liked her too and I had felt that jealousy before but not… definitely not like that. I remember being jealous in the early days when I was first crushing on Chiaki, I was jealous because I thought he was more attractive than me so I imagined she would prefer him to me and the fact they were already close, already friends. Chiaki was so awesome, even Nagito was relaxed around her because she had made the effort to befriend him when most would not and most keep their distance from him. That was why they seemed close but in my right mind I could see it for what it was. Chiaki saw him as a friend. He could never… get between us. No, it wasn’t even like that. He was a good person; he didn’t want to get between us. I believed his words last night when he literally poured his heart out to me after the café, after Chiaki left us. I loved him. I really loved him. I did. I couldn’t believe it myself. I had never had a friend who I felt I would do anything for but now I did. Now I did. I would do anything for Chiaki as well, but I realised, she was far more difficult to get close to, was it because she was a girl? Was it because… she might be autistic…? Was it… my own… insecurities….? I felt strange suddenly. No… was it sudden…?

I was exhausted and my back hurt like hell where the burn was. It wasn’t just where the burn was either, it resonated across my whole back. It was painful…. It still burned. I felt weak and then I realised I was about to pass out. I grabbed Nagito’s arm because he was right beside me, I felt his arms hold me as everything else faded away. I heard him say my name but that was the last thing I heard and the last thing I felt was his arms catching me before I hit the dormitory floor.

 

When I came to, I was lying in my own bed, Nagito was at my side and a cold wet cloth was on my forehead. I looked at him, he had a cut lip, but he didn’t have that the last time I saw him.

“Hajime, you’re awake! I was so worried!” he cried and took my hand. Part of me wanted to recoil from such affection but I didn’t. It was welcome. I didn’t think my bond to Nagito could get much stronger… but I believe it had.

“What… happened to you?” I asked him.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. You were burning up; I’m worried about you because obviously you endured quite a lot of pain last night.” He said.

“Last night?” I muttered, so it was Sunday now.

“Yeah, things got really crazy.” he agreed.

“All that… really happened then….” I muttered. I felt a bit out of it. I was hoping all that had been some kind of awful nightmare.

“Are you ok, Hajime?” he asked, genuine concern on his face. He really did care about me.
“Yeah, I think so,” I replied.

“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry I hurt you.” he said looking distraught and I felt an immediate need to console him, but I knew my words were truth and not just out of that impulse to console my friend.

“I made you do it. It’s not your fault… it was me or you… no… it was me or anyone else… Last night was… crazy but… what you did….” I had to take a breath it was still awful, but he had to do it and I made him do it. It was the only way. I let my breath out again and continued…. “It stopped… it stopped everything. Last night was weird, it was fucked up. I hurt you too… my thoughts were not right… the things I said to you, the thoughts that… compelled me to hurt you… please know I don’t really feel that way. I was… shit… I remember how scared you looked… how… hurt… I’m so sorry.” I said feeling tearful. I never wanted to hurt him. NOT EVER. What I know about Nagito, the worse pain for him was probably the hatred I was showing him in those moments and that was why he cried, it was all he could do. I took his words away with my actions. It was breaking my heart just thinking about it. I know…. I know how much he cares about me. If I was the one to hurt him… if he… even died some other way with me being angry at him… he would be devastated. He was just like me. Lonely. Needing a friend. If only he had it as easy as I did. People here accepted me so easily in just a short time. He had been here since day one. Nobody accepted him. Even if they did, they didn’t let him know that. Our conversation just now… yeah, I was still out of it. I was talking about having hurt him and I was apologising but he actually hadn’t said a word after that yet. I looked at him, I saw the tears in his eyes, the sad but… perhaps relieved smile on his face… he looked as though he had just mustered some courage and held my hand even tighter. The tears now falling from his eyes. Beautiful eyes… I now realised he had….

“It’s ok, honestly, you weren’t in your right mind, nobody was. I wasn’t either. I was getting… bad thoughts too.” He said looking away as though ashamed. I was ashamed. Ashamed of my actions towards my… best friend in the whole world… ever…. Nagito was my friend for life. I strongly felt that now and I had no idea how much I had needed someone like that in my life. I thought back to what he just said, he was not a violent person, but neither was Shuichi, not really and he was all but ready to tell Mondo to drop Kokichi from the roof top. I met Nagito’s eyes again. They were… quite pretty, actually…. Conversation! Why was I thinking about how nice Nagito’s eyes were? Conversation.

“Violent thoughts?” I asked getting back to it and knowing he was much like Shuichi in that he wasn’t really a violent person.

“Yeah… sort of…” he replied. “It was weird, right?”

“Yeah, and Natsume still got hurt.” I said.

“Yeah,” he replied. “Do you think you can get up?” he asked.

“I’ll try, I want to check on everyone, in fact, I need to talk to everyone. Is Fuyuhiko back?” I asked but then I had confirmation that he was because I could hear him shouting in the communal part of the dorms. “Help me up.” I said and Nagito did so. We went out my room and saw Fuyuhiko yelling at everyone. Was it still happening, or was this to do with his sister?

“I’m callin’ a fuckin’ meeting, right now! Everyone on the field at 11am, that’s half hour fuckers, you all gotta be there Not one of you gets out of this!” he raged. I didn’t care for Natsume, but I hoped she was ok. I didn’t want her to get hurt. I couldn’t help but feel like this was my fault. Mondo, Kokichi, Shuichi and some of the others all hurried over to me after Fuyuhiko left.

“Hajime, bro, you ok?” Mondo asked. I felt a pang, he really cared about me too. No, they all did. That was obvious now.

“Yeah…” I said and looked at the faces of some of my friends. Actual fights had happened last night, Rantaro had a bruise on his cheek, like a black eye was forming. Then I remembered Nagito’s cut lip. Someone hit him after I passed out.

“I know it got crazy last night, something weird happened.” I began. “I want to know who hit Nagito. That happened after the craziness stopped so who did it?” I said simply looking at each of them waiting for my answer.

“Hajime, I told you not to worry about that.” Nagito said.

“I hit him.” Mondo owned up.

“I told him I burned you-“
“And I hit him before I let him finish.” Mondo admitted before Nagito could make excuses for it.

“But you start with the burning part?” I asked turning to Nagito.

“Yeah, it was my first response as to the reason you passed out, so it was the first thing I said. I’m glad he hit me.”

“No, this… none of this is right.” I said.
“Nagito told us about the mark, Hajime, he told us… what happened after he seared it away.” Rantaro said.

“Some weird shit, right?” Leon said laughing a little nervously. “I… shit,” he clasped his arm around Chihiro’s shoulders pulling him into a brief hug. “I said some awful things I didn’t even mean. I feel terrible today.” He said. Chihiro was blushing.

“It’s ok, Leon… I know you didn’t mean any of it.” he replied. Chihiro was so sweet, but also very shy so I had not had much conversation with him. He really did look like a cute girl; I couldn’t help but think. I shared a smile with Chihiro and then looked at everyone else.

“Is everyone ok?” I asked since I didn’t get chance to check on them all last night.

“Yeah… I think so.” Shuichi said.

“Maybe we should do a Ouija board, make shit even more interesting in this place.” Kokichi said.

“Seriously?” Shuichi asked looking at him and Kokichi grinned widely.

“Just kidding.” He said and Shuichi laughed a little. Whatever happened last night, it felt different here… looking at Kokichi and Shuichi right now, it seemed the tension between them was gone. It was like things between everyone came to blows last night in an unnatural way. I didn’t know all the ins and outs of who had rivalries here but there was something about the way everyone was now made it seem like all that was gone. I did not know what the situation was like at the girl’s dorms since Natsume obviously got hurt and I never got close to any of the girls here. Natsume. I hoped she was ok, I really did.

11am drew near and we all headed to meet Fuyuhiko out in the field. When we arrived, he didn’t even have his guys around him, he was alone, but he didn’t look any less strong for it. Despite his size, Fuyuhiko still had an intimidating presence, like he could take on the world.

“What are you all doing?” we heard and saw Mr Munakata calling out as a large group, including all the girls, met on the field.

“We’re gonna play fuckin’ football!” Fuyuhiko yelled aggressively and it came across as sarcastically as it was probably meant to.

“No, I need you all to separate, right now.” Mr Munakata was coming over. I guess this made sense after last night.

“I gotta find out what happened to my sister!” Fuyuhiko yelled defiantly.

“That isn’t your job!” Mr Munakata snapped back as he got to us all.

“Of course it’s my fuckin’ job!” Fuyuhiko yelled back aggressively taking a step towards the much taller teacher, and I could see the tears in his eyes. Was Natsume ok?

“All of you back to your rooms now!” Mr Munakata ordered but nobody moved. It was almost as though it was all of us against him. Standing defiantly. We all knew something weird happened last night and we all knew we had to talk about it. Mr Munakata looked at us as we defied him.

“You kids… all of you fucked up kids… you’re out of control!” he yelled, he looked as though he was losing it too. I stepped forwards but slowly.

“We’re just going to talk, Mr Munakata, ok?” I said calmly.

“You, getting all cosy to one of the most fucked up kids in this place, you think I’m going to listen to you? Like you’re on my level?” he was yelling now.

“Ouch, that hurt.” Nagito muttered behind me. It was also very unprofessional of him to say. Had whatever happened last night stretched to the faculty? Miss Yukizome hurried over to Mr Munakata.

“Kyosuke, calm down.” She urged.

“Mr Munakata, I have only been here a short time and I didn’t expect to make any friends or like anyone here but… I have and I do. I care about everyone here, for the first time in my life… I have friends… I see these guys as family… it might seem strange to you but… being a fucked up kid is… kind of lonely. I never realised I needed this and… something really weird happened last night. Everyone, including myself… we all lost it and it… went away as fast as it happened. It’s hard to explain but… we all need to talk about it together.” I said and Miss Yukizome stepped forwards.

“Hinata… what is going on? Are you ok?” she asked me.

“Yeah, as soon as we sort this out… I think I will be. I think we all will be. We just need this chance.” I said and smiled. She looked at me a moment, holding my eye contact and then she looked at Nagito.

“Nagito, are you ok?” she asked, and he laughed.
“Yeah, I’m just following Hajime’s lead.” He said, “I trust Hajime.” He added.

“Kyosuke,” she turned back to Mr Munakata, “I think we need to give these kids some… measurement of trust too. Call all staff here, if it makes you feel better in case it does get out of hand but… I trust these kids… I know they can sort things out. Let’s just… give them the opportunity.” She said and smiled sweetly at him.

“I don’t… too much has happened recently and your precious, darling, Nagito almost died as a result, this isn’t right. This whole school has gotten out of hand-“ he was interrupted by her slapping him. We were all shocked and I heard some gasps.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she apologised as quickly but then she continued to scold him. “Never question my professionalism, I love all these kids! Yes, Nagito is precious to me, they all are! Don’t make it sound like there’s some… sordid thing going on!” she hissed.

“Wow, this got awkward,” Nagito muttered behind me. Yeah, it really did.

“Fine, you kids get ten minutes!” Mr Munakata hissed, and he left but stood just off the field. Miss Yukizome looked at Nagito and she looked uncomfortable.

“I’m sorry about that, Nagito, that was an inappropriate thing for him to say. I hope you don’t feel too uncomfortable meeting with me later.” She said. I looked at Nagito, his cheeks were a little red, but he smiled.

“Of course not, you’ve never made any weird advances on me, Chisa, you maintain a professional approach at all times.” It almost sounded like he was being sarcastic and the fact they were on first name basis was a bit strange, but I knew it was simply because they had a good relationship when it came to Nagito’s therapy.

“Good, that’s good. I am trusting you kids to prove me right here, keep calm whilst you have this conversation, make sure it… stays as just a conversation.” She said.

“I’ll make sure of it,” I replied and smiled at her. She nodded and then she joined Mr Munakata at the edge of the field and soon all faculty on campus on this weekend arrived, and they watched us. I turned to everyone, and they were all looking to me as though I was their leader.

“What the fuck was that Hajime?” Fuyuhiko hissed.

“Diplomacy, you heard of that?” I fired back. “It got us what we wanted, right?”

“You sure you don’t wanna take over, fucker? You had my respect, you had my fuckin’ trust, you’re losing it quickly!”

“Keep your voice down if you want this to continue,” I said as calmly as I could. He growled in frustration and then he looked at all the girls.

“Alright, bitches, which one of you hurt my sister? Someone fuckin’ tell me right now!” he yelled. I stepped forwards.

“Fuyuhiko, is Natsume ok?” I asked.

“No! Yes, but she’s beat up pretty fuckin’ bad, she ain’t talkin’ and I need to know who did it!” he demanded and a lot of the girls looked intimidated at his aggression. Maki stepped forwards.

“I did it.” she said.

“Maki… Maki Roll… why?” Kaito asked moving to her. She looked away from him.

“I’m sorry.” She said and he pulled her into his arms, it looked like their relationship might be back on track, I never did get chance to check on that, but it wasn’t really any of my business. She looked a bit uncomfortable at his affection.

“I did it too.” Mukuro now stepped forwards.

“What?” Fuyuhiko asked.

“And me.” Miu now stepped forwards.

“Mukuro….” Mondo muttered.

“You have no idea what hell it’s been in the girl’s dorms with Natsume back.” Mukuro said. I couldn’t believe it as more girls stepped up owning to the beating.

“You… all did it?” Fuyuhiko asked. “You all ganged up on my little sister and beat her up?” he yelled.

“It’s always been hell with Natsume here. It was a relief she got suspended. Natsume beat Miu leading to that suspension, she cut a huge lock of hair from Mariko’s head which led to her plunging into a deep depression and forced her to have her beautiful hair all cut off. She bullied Takara so badly about her weight, when she already had an eating disorder which led to her admission to hospital for a while. There’s more. Shall I go on, Fuyuhiko?” Maki asked looking at him as though she wanted to kill him. I had no idea it was that bad in the girl’s dorm. I did notice some girls standing away from the rest and they were the only ones who had not owned up to anything and I realised I had seen them with Natsume. So, she did have some following like Fuyuhiko but she obviously went out of her way to bully the girls. I wouldn’t say Fuyuhiko had been a bully, more like asserting his dominance in a violent way out of pressure to be on top here. I looked at him now.

“I… why did none of you come to me about it? You know I always try and keep her in check for fuck sake! You still hurt her bad! She didn’t deserve that! Fuck! You… fucking hurt her!” he yelled; tears were forming in his eyes.

“We all lost control of ourselves, but we felt justified in our actions.” Maki said confidently. I couldn’t help but find Maki kind of… hot right now in her bravery. No, I respected her. She could be a true leader. I had noticed there were no real tight friendships among the girls like there was with the boys but clearly, they had found a comradery in their shared endurance of Natsume.

“That’s no excuse!” Fuyuhiko yelled. “What she did… was… awful… but… you fuckin’… shit… have you seen her?” he yelled, losing himself.

“What happened last night, Fuyuhiko?” I asked. “It was crazy in the boy’s dorms, too, right? Look around you, look at everyone. We all lost control. I tried to… I even tried to kill Nagito. I had thoughts in my head that wouldn’t normally be there, I would never think those things. It was like I was fighting myself. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Does anyone feel their actions last night were not true to who you are?” I asked addressing my schoolmates. I saw some of them look around.

“I know I acted out of character.” Shuichi was the first to speak. “I’m still sorry about that.” he said and looked at Kokichi.

“Yeah, I know I lose it anyway and I can… get out of control when provoked but… I went overboard last night.” Mondo admitted also looking guiltily at Kokichi.

“It’s alright guys, we hugged it out, it’s all good.” Kokichi said seeming awfully calm for someone who was hanging over the edge of a building only last night. I guess that was just Kokichi.

“I… shit… I meant what I said to Miss Yukizome… I… like it here… even with all the crazy shit. I was… so fucking scared last night, scared of someone getting hurt… scared of myself after I tried to hurt Nagito. He’s my best friend, I know you guys all think he’s just some crazy Fire Freak and yeah that’s part of him but… there’s more to him than that. He’s a good person.” I said and smiled at him, he smiled back and looked touched at my words, and I remembered just how emotional we got last night after it was all over and even this morning. I looked to everyone else. “Mondo, Leon, Chihiro… the three of you welcomed me and… accepted me just moments after I got here, and I tried to push you all away… I didn’t think I needed anyone. I didn’t think… I needed friends but… you were there for me. Shit. All of you… Shuichi, you’re a really good person, you helped me without even knowing me that well, helped me when I was in a bad place and helped me with my homework and missed classes, you didn’t need to do that, but you still did it. Rantaro… Ryoma… you guys have both given me invaluable advice which I will carry with me forever. I appreciate you guys so much all of you… I don’t want anything like what happened last night to happen again. Which is why I have to tell you something.” I said.

“Shit… Hajime… you fuckin’ got it,” Fuyuhiko muttered in defeat. “I give up. Look at everyone, you got their respect, they fuckin’ look up to you hanging off your every word. I’m done. I’m fuckin’ done. I don’t have what it takes… I don’t have what you have!” he looked distraught. I know what it meant to him to be on top and I didn’t want his position. I never wanted to lead. That was not me.

“Fuyuhiko, just listen to me, ok?” I asked calmly. I wasn’t sure where my confidence was coming from right now, but he appeared to subdue. I looked over to where Gundham, Korekiyo, Kaori, Celeste and Toko stood together watching on. “Those guys are the ones we should be directing our anger towards. The night Nagito got the head injury which landed him in hospital when he almost died. Izuru and those guys had approached us at the roof. Threw Nagito down the stairs where he hit his head at the bottom, Izuru got me in a choke hold until I passed out. I woke up the next day with a weird pain on my back. I showed Nagito, it was a mark… this is gonna sound crazy, but it looked… demonic or something, right, Nagito?” I asked.

“Yeah, it was pretty fucked up.” He agreed.

“I don’t really believe in that shit but… last night we can all agree something weird happened, right?” I asked looking around at everyone, there were nods and murmurs agreeing with me. “Yeah, when that shit was going down, the mark on my back was tingling and then it felt like it was burning. I know how this sounds but this mark… I had Nagito burn it away,” I started to take off my shirt and I showed it to them. Judging by their reaction, it probably looked horrible. “Yeah, after it was burned… the violent thoughts in my head stopped. Did anyone else suddenly feel it go?” I asked.

“Yeah, I wondered what the fuck I was doing, and it was almost… too late.” Mondo said looking upset for a minute. He really almost killed Kokichi, it was terrifying when I saw him drop but Mondo’s reactions were fast enough to catch him in the same instant. It was actually quite impressive now I think about it.

“Yeah… I don’t usually get into fights but…” Rantaro started to say, and he looked at one of the other boys apologetically.

“I started it.” the other guy said, also looking apologetic.

“Yeah, I started some shit with you too, Rantaro… I’m sorry.” Leon said.

“It’s cool,” Rantaro replied with a smile.

“Are we all cool?” I asked.

“Yeah… except those guys,” Mondo said looking over at Izuru’s group.

“What mark is this you speak of? We know nothing of such a thing.” Gundham said. They all looked equally puzzled, Kaori standing uncomfortably close to her brother as usual and Toko was not making eye contact with anyone, but she looked confused.

“We left no mark… Izuru… left no mark.” Celeste said.

“What are you saying?” I asked.

“You’re lying!” Nagito suddenly yelled. “You have to be!”

“Oh… really? Just because a strange mark appears on him after our encounter does not mean that we are responsible.” Kaori spoke very calmly.

“He’s right, you are lying!” I countered.

“M-maybe… Hajime… p-put that mark on himself t-to try and frame us!” Toko cried pointing an accusing finger in my direction.

“On my fucking back? Yeah sure, because that would work!” I snapped back.

“Then maybe Nagito did it,” Celeste pondered.

“Nagito was out cold at the bottom of the stairs where you guys left him! He was hurt bad, of course he didn’t do it!” I yelled, I tried to remember if the faculty thought we were getting out of control, then this very important conversation would be stopped.

“That burn… we all had violent inclinations last night, and it has been apparent how close you have gotten to Nagito since you started… could Nagito have done that to you and this is simply a cover story, in his defence?” Maki asked.

“What? No! You all know Chiaki, right? Would you trust her word? She saw it right after!” I yelled.

“I would trust her word.” Ryoma said.

“Yes, I would be inclined to trust her as well.” Maki agreed.

“We didn’t leave that mark upon you, Hajime, this is the first we heard of it.” Celeste said.

“I… then I don’t know but…” I realised I still had my top off and it was in front of all the girls too now, feeling self-conscious I put it back on. “You all saw what’s left of it, right after Nagito finished… burning it away, we all snapped out of it. That’s weird, right? Even if it wasn’t those guys then, something weird happened last night.” I said. Everyone agreed. “Honestly, I meant what I said. I like it here. I feel like I finally fit in somewhere and I… finally have friends. I always pushed people away. I don’t want to do that anymore and there’s still some of you I gotta get to know better but I want to and… I’m looking forward to it.” I smiled. “In the short time I’ve been here I know I’ve changed but I’ve changed for the better. I… honestly want us all to get along and… be friends. This life is shit, right? Kids like us are treated like shit because we have issues, society looks down on us, but we can… we can fucking prove them wrong, can’t we?” I said and I saw lots of smiles. It felt good. “I don’t know who put that mark on me, but I honestly believe we can be strong together, forget those freaks over there, it might not have been them, but they’ve still given me hell since I been here. They nearly killed my best friend, forget them! The rest of us? We can all be strong, united. It’s us against the world, guys but we’ll prove the world wrong! We’re not societies rejects, we’re human beings too!” I almost heard Chiaki’s voice beside me for a moment and my next words… sounded like something she would say. “Let’s all work hard, guys, let’s all work together and be friends. Does that sound nice?” I asked. Who was I now? I really had changed. I liked it.

“Hell yeah, Hajime!” Leon cried out and pumped his fist and others followed cheering me. What the hell? Honestly, I didn’t think I was that eloquent in my words but… apparently my words had got everyone. They were all looking at me, yeah… shit, they were looking at me like I was their leader, respect… I did have their respect. I didn’t want to be a leader, I just wanted everyone here to be ok. I wanted us to… be a family. I never wanted that from anyone before and I didn’t have bad parents, not like a lot of these guys did, mine were supportive. I realised that after coming here and hearing some of their stories. I looked to Fuyuhiko, he was glaring at me. Had I made an enemy of him again? I hoped not.

“Fuyuhiko… do you agree with me?” I asked, my heart pounded inside of my chest, and I had a vision of him running at me with a knife and plunging it into my chest, stopping that pounding heart instantly.

“My sisters in the fuckin’ hospital, you can all go to hell!” he barked and walked off. I looked at everyone, the first one to speak was Maki.

“Hajime… I agree with you. I want peace here.”

“Finally!” Kokichi cried. “I don’t want things to get boring around here, but it would be nice to have some unity.” He said smiling quite innocently. Damn Kokichi, yeah, you’re kinda cute, you little fucker. I still don’t get you, though. I couldn’t help but think. I shared a smile with him. Nagito approached me and he smiled.

“Hajime, you have no idea how fucking cool you were today. If I wasn’t already in love with you, I certainly would be now.” he said quietly as others spoke amongst themselves. I smiled at him. I wish Chiaki had seen me, then, if I was that ‘fucking cool’.

“Nagito… I do love you, man.” I said and he smiled.

“Are we ‘bros’ then?” he asked, pondering on it and I knew he was teasing so I laughed.

“Yeah, but let’s not use that term, it doesn’t suit us.” I replied.

“Agreed.” He smiled and I clapped my arm around his shoulders. So what if he was in love with me, and I did find him attractive? We were best friends and there was real love in that too. I did love him. He was amazing but I was in love with Chiaki, there was a difference, I think. That reminded me, we were supposed to meet Chiaki for some games today. I think I’d recommend meeting at her place since here was a bit too crazy right now and I didn’t want her to be any part of it.  

Chapter Text

Nagito and I were walking to Chiaki’s school to hang out, last night really had been crazy but everyone’s bonds seemed stronger for it. I had even seen Shuichi hanging out with Kokichi which was nice to see. Kokichi had come so close to dying last night and I know how troubled Mondo was because of it. I was all but ready to toss Nagito over the edge as well, I hated it.

“Nagito, I really am sorry about last night. I don’t want you to dwell on anything I did or said.”

“It’s ok, Hajime, I know that wasn’t really you. After… when you were fighting it, you told me you loved me. That made it all better. I’m your best friend, I’ve never had a best friend before, you’re mine too and you know I love you.” He replied.

“Yeah, I’ve never had one either and I started here not wanting to make any friends at all but… I think deep down I really did want to. I have a lot of fun hanging out with you and I’m looking forward to games with you and Chiaki.” I said as we got to her school gates. We headed inside and went up to Chiaki’s room where she had her console. She smiled sweetly at us; and we returned it. I was forcing myself not to get overcome by the pain I was suffering, my back was obviously still very sore, but I wasn’t sure I wanted Chiaki to know about it. It would surely leave a scar though. Last night had been so crazy, I was not even sure how to approach it, and getting on with today like normal felt somewhat surreal. It seemed Nagito couldn’t wait to tell Chiaki all about it so at least I could rely on his rendition of events.

“Chiaki, the weirdest thing happened last night, everyone at school went crazy and started fighting! It was scary. Hajime was the one who stayed level-headed the longest and that mark on his back went all weird, didn’t it? You said it was burning or something, right?” Nagito burst.

“Yeah, it was… pretty crazy.”
“Mondo and Shuichi nearly killed Kokichi, Hajime nearly killed me, but he was so strong and was able to fight it. We had to burn the mark off his back and as soon as I was done with that everyone went back to normal.” He finished and Chiaki came to me.

“That sounds terrible. Hajime, are you ok? How is your back?” she asked concerned.

“Painful, I won’t pretend its ok, but I can live with it. What I couldn’t live with is if I really had ended up hurting Nagito. I won’t go into details but these thoughts started to take over me, thoughts I know to be lies but they compelled me to act.”

“Was anyone badly hurt in the fighting?” she asked.

“Natsume got beat up pretty bad, she got taken to the hospital, but Fuyuhiko said she was gonna be alright. All the girls targeted her.” I said.

“Is Kokichi ok?” Chiaki asked.

“Yeah, he’s fine. It was so weird, even Kokichi and Shuichi seem to be getting along now. We were up on the roof, Hajime, me, Mondo, Kokichi and Shuichi. Kokichi was a little shaken after he had been held over the roofs edge but this morning, he seems fine.” Nagito informed.

“Held over the edge of the roof? How terrifying.” Chiaki looked concerned at those words; it was likely scary hearing all this. It was scarier living it.

“Everyone seems fine, except Fuyuhiko and his sister of course. Fuyuhiko’s pissed at me again, I think.” I said.

“Yeah, he seemed that way.” Nagito agreed.

“We all had a talk out on the field, I wanted to tell everyone about what Izuru and his guys did to me and Nagito, how they left the mark on me. They said they knew nothing about the mark.”

“What? Then who would have done that? Maybe Izuru returned and did it without their knowledge.” Chiaki suggested.

“It’s possible, I don’t know but at least that’s over. I think the whole school is against Izuru and his group, we all agreed to be united. It was great.” I said.

“No, you were great, you should have seen him, Chiaki, he had the whole school listening to him and supporting him. He was really cool; it was like he’s a natural leader but… that’s where I think he might have pissed Fuyuhiko off.” Nagito said.

“I don’t want to be a leader; I don’t want anything like that. I won’t take that away from him. I hope he isn’t too pissed at me.” I added.

“I’m so glad that you are both ok, and everyone else. I feel bad for Natsume but at least she is going to be ok too.” Chiaki said. She was so kind.

“Alright, are we gaming?” I asked trying to change the subject.

“Sure, I have that fighting game we played at your school, do you want us to train you a bit on it? You did really well but I think you could be really good at that game with a bit of training.” Chiaki said.

“Yeah, you died the most, but you were still really good at it.” Nagito added and I smiled at them both.

“Yeah, sure. Let’s do this.” I replied.

Chapter Text

We had a great time playing games at Chiaki’s, we all engaged in friendly competitive banter, and we also played co-op games where we worked together. We made a great team. As we left Chiaki’s she took me aside, Nagito politely walked ahead of me and waited. Chiaki looked up at me with her beautiful pink eyes, perfectly framed by thick lashes. Her cheeks were a little flushed. I smiled down at her.

“Hajime, I’m so happy you started at that school, I think… you’re a positive influence for everyone there. I also think… it has been a positive influence for you too. I know I haven’t known you that long, but you seem…” she was blushing even more, and I took her hand as encouragement. “Yeah, you seem more confident in yourself.” She smiled sweetly. “I like spending time with you. I… really like you, Hajime.” She finished and I had no words but sometimes actions speak louder so I bent down to kiss her softly before we said goodbye. She was awesome. I’ve said it before, but she really is. I joined Nagito and we headed back to our school. I was sad to be leaving Chiaki, but I knew I would see her again soon.

When we got back to our dorms, we were approached by Kokichi, he looked happy.

“Hey, Hajime, Nagito, we were just about to set up a card game, you guys in?” he asked.

“Yeah sure,” I said and Nagito smiled.

“Oh, there is a stipulation though, if you lose a round you gotta take an item of clothing off. Thems the rules.”

“Shut up, Kokichi, no they’re not.” Rantaro said but he was laughing. I noticed Shuichi, Ryoma, Rantaro, Mondo, Leon, Chihiro and even Kaito were all sat ready to play some cards.

“Aw man, then loser has to do a dare!” Kokichi grinned widely, he clearly wanted to make this interesting.

“Alright, I’ll play, lets include the dare stipulation.” I said.

“Yeah!” Kokichi triumphed and I laughed. “I get to decide on the dare though,”

“Are you that certain you’re gonna win?” I teased him.

“Kokichi cheats so of course he is,” Nagito said as we sat down with them all.

“I don’t cheat! Why don’t you guys believe me that I just win by luck?” Kokichi asked. “I don’t win all the time.” He added.

“That is true but your win to loss ratio is way off balance,” Leon said.

“I told you I’m just lucky.” Kokichi grinned.

“Alright let’s do this, deal us in.” I said and we played.

I lost. Fuck. If Kokichi had good luck on his side, I had bad luck, but he didn’t win this either. Nagito won.

“Alright, hit me with the dare.” I said, I felt relaxed with these guys now. I was ready to accept my punishment.

“I think winner should decide on the dare.” Nagito said. Was he going to be lenient because it was me? Is that why he suggested he decides?

“No way, man, you guys are tight, you’re gonna let him off easy.” Mondo said. So, he thought the same as me.

“Am I?” Nagito grinned. Shit.

“Lay it on me,” I said feeling dread inside me.

“Hajime has to strip right here and then run naked through the hallways.” Nagito said and the guys all celebrated his idea.

“Hey, aren’t we in enough trouble?” Shuichi asked.

“Oh, yeah, I guess so.” Nagito muttered.

“Fuck it, I’ll do it.” I said.

“Serious?” Leon asked.

“Yeah, I might not get seen, I’ll do it.” I said and started by taking off my shirt, the guys all cheering me on, spurring me. I can’t believe I’m doing this. I protected my dignity as I stripped completely naked in front of them.

“Run!” Kokichi said and I did so leaving the dorms and entering the halls hearing them all laughing behind me. I did it. I did it with nobody to see me, I got away with it, thankfully and when I got back Nagito was waiting for me holding out my night robe to cover me. The guys all celebrated my bravery and willingness to accept my punishment for a loss.

“Did anyone see you?” Mondo asked.

“No, thank fuck. That would have been so embarrassing, and I would have been in so much trouble. I probably could have got expelled for that, right?” I said tying the robe around me.

“Yeah, probably.” Leon realised.

“You got some guts, Hajime.” Mondo laughed.

“Yeah, to my detriment.” I laughed with him. I literally can’t believe I agreed to that. I had changed so much since being here. I had friends, good ones.

Chapter Text

The following day I got up early again, it was Monday so the start of another week. Yesterday really had been surreal, after the events of Saturday evening we were all just chill and having fun together. Perhaps it was because it felt surreal, I took my punishment after losing the card game, I don’t know. I stepped out of my room to shower and saw Mondo sitting on one of the chairs. He looked up.

“Hajime, bro, I’m glad I caught you before everyone else got up. How are you… holding up? That burn on your back looked pretty bad.” He asked.

“It hurts like hell, of course but I’m ok. I’m just glad everyone is. Saturday was… terrifying… we all lost it. Yesterday was weird too, right?” I asked.

“Yeah… despite what happened the night before everyone was pretty cool with each other.” He said rubbing the back of his neck looking like he was trying to make sense of it all. It really didn’t make any sense. “Hey, man… do you think Kokichi’s alright?” he asked suddenly.

“You worried about him?” I asked.

“I nearly fuckin’ killed him, Hajime, of course I am!” he snapped.

“You want my opinion? He seems fine to me, I think if we just all look out for each other from here on out, we’ll all be fine.” I said and smiled.

“Hajime… I don’t normally get a good sense for people I just get on with who I get on with, y’know? But when you got here… I got a good feeling about you.” He said and looked a bit embarrassed.

“Nagito said something like that too, I meant everything I said yesterday about all you guys. I think the events from Saturday kind of… bonded us more. All of us. It was awful, I don’t know what went down, I can’t explain everything that happened and Natsume got hurt but I feel like it brought a positive. I mean, the end result was positive especially since Natsume isn’t badly hurt. She’ll be ok but we both know things could have got a whole lot worse.” I replied.

“Yeah… honestly the last couple of nights I had trouble sleeping. I… feel really bad. Kokichi’s like half my fuckin’ size, man, he stood no chance. It didn’t take much to grab him and it didn’t take much to hold him as long as I did… thinking about it like that… shit. I aint one to pick on smaller guys, that’s not cool.”

“You didn’t pick on him, Mondo, we were all crazy that night. You lost something important to you, it made sense that you’d think it was him with his track record. In this case that was wrong, but your actions were not your own, Mondo. I was going to push Nagito off that roof too. At the time, I didn’t even care if the railing broke, and I fell with him. The anger… the rage and the thoughts in my head drove me mad. Drove us all mad. We all have shit but anything we did that night; I think we all need to forgive ourselves. If you want to check on Kokichi, I would find a minute to talk to him for your own good if anything else. The air seems to be cleared among most of us, that much is obvious. I feel like everyone is getting along now.”

“I think your words yesterday helped that, man.” He said.

“I don’t know, it can’t just be down to me. I’m not that good with my words.” I said feeling embarrassed that even Mondo thought I had achieved that much. I really hadn’t.

 

First lesson as always on a Monday was Science with Mr Munakata, we were all dreading it more than we usually were, but we headed to class together, but Fuyuhiko was not with us. I hadn’t seen him since the field yesterday. When we got to class Mr Munakata was standing with his arms folded at the front. He was watching us all closely as we entered.

“Updates. The camera installation is going ahead. They will be installed in all hallways, all the outside and in the dorms and even classrooms. This is for your own good.” He said.

“In the… dorms?” Kazuichi asked.

“Yeah, the fucking pervert teachers are gonna put them in the showers!” Kokichi piped up tauntingly.

“Enough!” Mr Munakata slammed his fist down on his desk. “Punishment clearly has no effect on you kids, there seems no point in grounding the whole school again.” he continued. “They will not be put in your rooms or in the showers if any of you are actually worried about that. Also, since punishment is not working, we are going to give you a positive incentive to behave yourselves, so we don’t have a repeat of Saturday. Natsume Kuzuryu is in hospital as we speak, Nagito Komaeda almost died – “
“Oh, you don’t need to take action of my behalf, Mr Munakata, I don’t deserve it-“
“I’m talking!” Mr Munakata snapped again and Nagito silenced. “If you can all learn to get along and there are no more major incidents, involving the police or hurting fellow students, then we will host a dance if you can maintain that good behaviour until December. We will hold a Christmas dance right here at the school.”

“Serious?” Leon asked excitedly.

“Yeah, serious.” Mr Munakata replied sternly. The class cheered and I looked to Nagito smiling at the thought, but he did not look all that thrilled.

“Mr Munakata, can we… invite girls from out of this school?” I asked.

“You mean from that nice school? I know some of you have girlfriends that attend, I will have to liaise with the faculty there, but we should have no problem with it.” he replied.

“We can bring Chiaki!” I said looking at Nagito.

“You can bring Chiaki; I’ll probably pass on the dance. I’ll be alone so it won’t be any fun.” He replied dully.

“Shut up, Nagito, stop that, you won’t be alone, I’m going with both you and Chiaki, we’ll go together.” I smiled.

“You’d really go with us both?” he asked.

“Three people can dance together, right?” I replied and he smiled. “You won’t be left out of this Nagito.” I said and he looked reassured. There was no way I was about to let him just sit up in the dorms on his own, but December was months away, Summer was only just coming to an end and so far, this place had been crazy, and we might not be able to stay out of trouble.

 

That theory was confirmed when we returned to the dorms after classes and Fuyuhiko was waiting for me….

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

I had been excited about the prospect of going to my first school dance, I would be going with Chiaki and Nagito. We were all heading back to the dorms talking excitedly about it even though it was months away since it was only the end of Summer. That excitement was quelled when we reached the dormitory communal lounge and Fuyuhiko stood in wait for me.

“Hajime,” he addressed me, and I grew tense, I could feel the tension in my guys around me also rise. It must have been the tone of his voice maybe even the stance he took. He looked almost ready to come at me. I decided to talk before he continued.

“Hey, Fuyuhiko, we missed you in class today, you ok?” I asked him, deciding to take a friendly approach to this unpredictable situation.

“Am I ok? Are you fuckin’ serious?” he yelled. “No, you and me gonna settle things finally, meet me at the park 6pm. Don’t bring anybody, this is between me and you, no audience this time. I’ll be alone too. You better not be fuckin’ late!” he snapped.

“Fuyuhiko, why? You think we’re gonna fight? What’s the point? I’m not gonna fight you.” I replied.

“It’s you or me, Hajime, one of us gotta run this place. The winner determines who that is.” He said.

“For fuck sake, how many times I gotta tell you, I don’t want to run this place, Fuyuhiko! Now can we just-“
“Shut the fuck up! This is happening and if you don’t show up, I’ll make you pay and it might not be with your life, we all seen how much you fuckin’ care for the Fire Freak, and there’s that precious girlfriend of yours!” he threatened me.

“Your threats fall flat, Fuyuhiko, we all know you won’t kill someone.” Mondo said.

“Things change. I might even come back and finish Kokichi off! You can all go to hell!” I could see the rage in him, and I won’t pretend I was not scared.

“You’re threatening those closest to me? Are you really sinking that low?” I asked him.

“Shut the fuck up!” Fuyuhiko snapped.

“Fine. I’ll meet you at 6pm. You come alone and I’ll come alone. We’ll sort this. Fuyuhiko, I don’t want your position.”

“I aint goin’ there to talk, Hajime.” He said. He could be so stubborn and difficult and now I was going to have to fight him again. He stormed off. So much for staying out of trouble. I turned and looked at my guys.

“You’re not actually going, are you?” Mondo asked, I could see Nagito had a dark expression on his face.

“I have to, don’t I? I’ll talk him round.” I said, uncertain of my own words.

“Hajime, I won’t let you go alone.” Nagito said.

“You can’t come with me, Nagito.” I replied.

“Hajime… he might actually hurt you.” Leon said.

“He’s clearly gone nuts.” Kokichi added.

“I don’t like this.” Chihiro muttered with tears in his eyes.

“Fuyuhiko can be unpredictable, and he can be difficult to sway once he set his mind on something. It could be bad if you don’t have back up.” Rantaro said.

“I trust he will keep to his word and go alone, that’s what he’s about right? So, I gotta do the same.” I said.

“I don’t trust him.” Ryoma said. They all saw this as a situation I should not approach, I agreed but I was scared what might happen if I backed out. I was scared for Nagito, scared for Chiaki and it might not even be them he went for, I cared about all these guys now. I couldn’t risk it. I had to go.

 

It was almost time to go as 6pm approached. The guys tried to talk me out of going multiple times, but my mind was made up. Nagito kept trying to come with me. I couldn’t let him risk it. He eventually stayed back with the others, and I headed to the park. I was nervous, this was different to last time, but I had been nervous then too. Fuyuhiko was filled with so much rage and I was his target for that rage. I met him at the same spot as before, I walked past the charred bin from our first fight, the one Nagito set alight. Even though it wasn’t really that long ago, it filled me with a sense of nostalgia. Things had been so different then. I had been different then. Now I had opened up to people and let them close, but that might prove to be short-lived if Fuyuhiko meant to kill me.

“This aint where we fight,” he said as I got there. “Follow me.” he said.

“I don’t want to fight you!” I snapped but he didn’t respond he just walked, and I couldn’t help but feel I was walking into some kind of trap as I followed him seeing little choice. “Fuyuhiko, I haven’t challenged your position, not once, I don’t want it! Why can’t you just understand that?” I tried to reason with him again but my fears about a trap were soon made worse when he led me into a back alley. It was secluded, nobody around. I remained cautious by the entrance.

“Get the fuck over here, Hajime!” he hissed. “I mean it!” he barked. I cautiously edged closer and then he pulled out a knife. “If you don’t fight me, I’ll cut you!” he threatened.

“Fuyuhiko, this is ridiculous!” I defended but my heart-rate had quickened even more at the sight of the knife.

“My dad gave me a new knife, I gottta use it if you don’t let me have this fight. We fight and the winner leads. This is… my last fuckin’ chance!” he yelled.

“Then just hit me and we’ll say you won.” I said.

“That aint how this works!” I could see the rageful tears in his eyes.

“Fuyuhiko, why does your dad condone this kind of thing? Why does he give you fucking knives?” I asked.

“You don’t understand, Hajime, you can never understand!” he yelled.

“No, probably not. Put that knife away.” I tried but my heart was pounding inside my chest the whole time.

“You won’t fight me?” he asked.

“I told you, no, I’m handing the victory to you, if you just put that knife away.” I said.

“Fuck!” he screamed and then suddenly he was running at me, knife ready. Somehow, I managed to deflect the arm wielding the blade and I tackled him to the ground and pinned him there. I secured him by the wrist of the hand that held the knife. He struggled underneath me, but I refused to let up. His rage was clouding his judgment I believe that was why I had been able to subdue him, I also felt like he didn’t really want to use that blade.

“Fuyuhiko, this isn’t you.” I tried to reason.

“You don’t fuckin’ know me!” he yelled; the tears were now falling from his eyes. I felt bad for him, I really did.

“What did your dad say when he gave you that blade? Was it meant for me? Did you tell him about me?” I asked.

“No, my fuckin’ sister did! He told me if I can’t take back the school then I’m worthless to him!” he cried.

“Let go of the knife, Fuyuhiko.” I said.

“Will you fight me?” he snapped.

“If that’s really what we gotta do, then yeah.” I said. “It seems pointless when I don’t want your position and I never have.”

“Leaders don’t always want to lead but if everyone follows them, then that makes them a leader! You got all the guys at your back, Hajime. Every fuckin’ one of them respects you!”

“If that’s true, then do you think just beating me in a fight is gonna gain respect from them? What is the point of this?” I asked and then we heard a noise further down the alley.

“Shit.” We heard and looked to see Nagito having stumbled over a trash bag.

“You fuckin’ brought back up?” Fuyuhiko yelled.

“No, I told him to stay put!” I yelled back but in Nagito’s direction. Nagito had been seen and he started making his way over.

“Keep him down, Hajime, keep him there.” Nagito said as he approached. He pulled out his lighter and bent down as though he meant to burn Fuyuhiko. I let go of Fuyuhiko and I dove on top of Nagito pinning him down instead.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I yelled at him.

“He was going to hurt you, Hajime. I couldn’t let that happen. We have to stop him. Get off me!” he yelled, and I realised I had just released an angry Fuyuhiko and he still had his blade and now my back was to him. Shit. I released Nagito and stood between him and Fuyuhiko who had regained his feet, still holding his blade.

“Both of you just fucking stop!” I yelled.

“He’s insane, Hajime, what the hell is wrong with you? You thought you were gonna burn me? I’ll fuckin’ gut you, freak!” Fuyuhiko yelled. This was getting so out of control I had no idea if I could calm this situation now as Nagito got to his feet too.

“I won’t let him hurt you, Hajime!” Nagito muttered darkly. Fuck. I know he loved me and just wanted to protect me but this was insane.

“Stop. Please just stop! Why can’t you just believe me when I say you can have the school? I don’t want it! I just want to have fun with my friends… I never had friends before, not like this. Fuyuhiko… I was hoping we could be friends too… I really was… so just calm down.” I tried to reason again.

“I…” he began to speak but his words were lost, and he dropped the knife, then dropped to his knees crying. I slowly approached him, cautious but he looked as though he had been subdued. “I don’t want to be like this….” He cried.

“Then don’t be.” I said. “Hey,” I got close enough to put my hand on his shoulder. “Fuyuhiko, I want to be your friend, I want us all to get along. Can we do that?” I asked.

“Y-yeah…” he muttered. “Keep that fuckin’ freak away from me though!” he yelled glaring at Nagito.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want to hurt you, Fuyuhiko but Hajime is very important to me, and you threatened him with a knife. Fear is obviously the only thing you understand so I thought I would take the opportunity to give you a taste of it. I didn’t believe Hajime would actually let me burn you. I knew he would stop me. I knew it.” Nagito said. “If he didn’t then he wouldn’t be the guy that became my best friend. Fuyuhiko… can’t we all be friends?” Nagito asked.

“Fuck….” Fuyuhiko muttered. “Why are you making sense? Why are you both making sense?” he was still crying but his words came out angry or frustrated.

“Because you want the same thing. You don’t want this violence, you want to just get the chance to be a kid too, right?” I asked.

“Y-yeah… I guess you’re right… I don’t want this… I don’t want to be this way… I just… fuck….” He was still crying, and we waited for him, both at his side until he calmed down and then we all headed back to the school. “Don’t say a fuckin’ word!” he snapped to us about his crying I guess as we entered the dorms.

“It’s cool, Fuyuhiko, we got your back,” I said, and he smiled.

“Hajime… I think… shit… maybe me and you could be friends but I’m not sure about the freak you keep in tow.” He said and looked to Nagito.

“I don’t take any offence to that, I’m trash so I understand why you would say that.”
“You’re not trash, Nagito your fucking gold to me and Fuyuhiko, its ok you can’t get along with everyone but cool it with the freak and Fire Freak comments, alright? Giving people bullying nicknames like that is something I can’t tolerate.”

“But its ok when it comes to Izuru’s guys?” Fuyuhiko replied.

“Uh… yeah I guess that makes me a hypocrite but those guys have caused all kinds of trouble-“
“So has Nagito,” Fuyuhiko corrected me.

“Its true.” Nagito said.

“Right, fine. I’m not gonna win this one, am I?” I sighed.

“Hajime!” Mondo cried as we entered the dorms alongside each other. “You guys… all good?” he asked.

“Yeah, we’re good, Hajime worked his fuckin’ magic and… Nagito… kind of helped.” Fuyuhiko said. “I’m still on top here, don’t forget that! Hajime and I are cool though, I got it out my system.” He said.

“Hajime, sorry, Nagito kinda gave us the slip, we were gonna try keep him here.” Mondo said.

“Yeah, I got that.” I replied.

“Alright, Fuyuhiko… when you first claimed dominance here you were a lot more chill. What’s going on?” Rantaro asked reminding me that he was one of the first ones to attend this school.

“Its nothin’ alright? I’m gonna cool it.”
“Yeah, we heard that one before.” Kokichi sniped.

“I mean it. What Hajime said about us… bein’ friends, I want to… try that.” Fuyuhiko muttered. “If you guys can… accept me.” he added.

“We always did, it was you that changed, man.” Leon said.

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Fuyuhiko replied.

“It’s cool, we got you, man.” Mondo said.

“Thanks.” Fuyuhiko muttered looking a bit uncomfortable.

“Hey, how’s Natsume doing?” Shuichi asked.

“She’s alright, she’ll be alright.” He replied.

“Good,” Shuichi offered a smile.

“Alright, who wants to fire up a game with me?” Fuyuhiko asked.

“That’s a healthier way to unleash your aggression,” I laughed and then he smiled at me. I realised how rare it was to see Fuyuhiko smile but I liked it. Fuyuhiko and I were on track to becoming friends and I already had lots of friends after so long, I had finally let people close.

I looked at them all now.

Mondo, Leon, Chihiro, accepted me from day one.

Shuichi helping me out with schoolwork.

Ryoma and Rantaro offering me good advice.

Kokichi helping me out in his own ways.

Nagito. He was crazy, completely insane but… Nagito… Nagito Komaeda was special. He was my best friend.