During all of this, Sakura had been sitting patiently in the gymnasium, only managing despite the silence to hear snatches of conversation drifting from the cafeteria- mostly yells, and these were still difficult to catch. She had heard Enoshima and Leon shouting not long ago, so she must be out. She also knew Naegi had been found, since the pool was almost directly above her head and she had picked up on a good part of their conversation. She strained her ears, but nothing new presented itself. She sat back and settled back into her quiet waiting.
In the cafeteria, Asahina was putting forward a new game idea.
‘Since Sakura-chan is the only one left, we should all go and look. Like sardines!’
‘Absolutely not.’ said Togami, immediately. Ishimaru also looked reluctant- having yet another game seemed more rule-breaking than he could take.
‘I’d really rather stay here.’ Celes said with excruciating sweetness. ‘Wouldn’t you agree, Yamada-san?’
‘Well, if that is what you wish, Miss Ludenburg…’
‘I-I’m not curling up n-next to Oogami-san, never in a mi-i-illion years!’ muttered Fukawa.
‘I’m up for it.’ Mondo shrugged. Naegi concurred.
‘I would, if my shoulder allowed it. For now, I’d like to stay seated. My apologies, Asahina-san.’ Kirigiri felt Ishimaru’s watchful eyes on her as she explained. She knew he’d never let her move from the cafeteria, even if his intentions were good natured.
Asahina protested, but most of the students were either too tired, too injured or too unwilling. The only people happy to look for Sakura were herself, Mondo (who looked as if he was beginning to reconsider after Ishimaru started scowling), Naegi (who clearly wanted to stay with Kirigiri), Mukuro and of course, Leon. After further discussion, Mukuro decided she was too tired.
‘Forget it, you miserable lot!’ Asahina cried jovially. She smiled at Leon. ‘I just want something to do. I’ll find her!’
‘Not before I find her, you won’t.’
Both seekers turned out to be rather awful. Leon had exhausted his places to search in, and Asahina was still suffering from her stiff joints. Periodically, Leon lost his temper and screamed obscenities at the ceiling above him, which was greatly enjoyed by everyone in the cafeteria. Sakura didn’t hear any, and so she was saved from having her feelings hurt.
After almost half an hour of fruitless scampering from one room to another, Asahina had the pure luck to stretch her neck in the gymnasium and lay eyes on Sakura.
Her face lit up. ‘Sakura-chan, I found you! I found you! I found you, Sakura-chan!’
‘Indeed you did, my girl. Well done. But was Leon not the designated seeker?’
‘I joined in just now. You’re the last one! You won the game!’
‘In that case, I’d better come down.’
She carefully got herself back down to earth level while Asahina hollered for Leon. He came pounding into the gymnasium, his mouth wide open and gasping for air.
‘Where…the fuck….were you?’
Sakura smiled and pointed up at the lights. ‘I was sat up there.’
Leon was silent for a few seconds as he processed this. Eventually a grin split on his face and he sighed. ‘Of course. You would be somewhere like that! Well done. That’s serious dedication.’
By now the others had started to arrive.
‘If one of us was destined to fall,’ remarked Kirigiri, ‘I’m thankful it was me.’
‘Sakura-chan wouldn’t have even felt a fall like that! She’s too strong!’ beamed Asahina. Sakura laughed.
‘Can we leave now?’ asked Togami drily.
‘Yes, I think we had better!’ said Ishimaru.
‘I had lots of fun. Thanks for suggesting it, Hagakure-kun.’ said Naegi. Hagakure pulled his regular cheerful smile.
The group gathered their stuff and put everything around the school back in order as the conversation descended into a babble.
‘How will I explain this injury to people?’
‘Tell them the truth, duh! It’s hardcore.’
‘Make sure to mention what great medical care you received afterwards!’
‘She’d need to have actually received some for her to do that.’
‘What were you expecting from some teenagers in a canteen?’
‘Right! I think we’re ready to finally start our holidays.’
‘Thank god we didn’t get locked in here.’
‘Haha, imagine if we did. Our class, locked in here for who knows how long…’
‘I think I’d rather die.’
‘Don’t worry, you’d be dead soon if I were trapped with you.’
‘C’mon guys, let’s keep it friendly, ‘right?’
‘Goodbye Hope’s Peak! See you in a few weeks!’