The rain, hard and unforgiving, pours relentlessly onto the streets. One boy, runs through the torrential chaos.
His hair hugs his face, sticky and soaking wet. A hand grabs his collar roughly. The boy grunts, spitting in his assailants face.
Another hand grabs his arm, twisting his wrist.
He gasps in pain, water trickling down from his hair to his swollen lips.
The beaten boy doesn't want to give in so easily, though. He sinks his jagged teeth into the hand who grabbed his collar, and uses his free hand to scrape his nails across the arm of his other attacker, drawing blood.
Using the split second the others take to writhe over their injuries, he makes a break for it, skillfully slamming his foot into a puddle, creating a large splash that blocked their view.
And like that, he was out of danger.
Ouma Kokichi, bruised and injured, yet stood tall against the city. He finds an alcove within a wall, a good place for shelter from the rain. Reaching into his bag, he pulls out bandages and some napkins. He was always prepared for encounters like this, as it happened often, thanks to his impulsive mouth.
He looks over his sprained wrist. It seems rather mild, his wrist only slightly swollen. It should fix itself in a few days time. He uses his better hand to apply bandages to the cuts on his face, and wipes the blood that collected in his mouth with napkins he also kept for such an occasion.
Sighing, he pulls out a blanket that he keeps with him at all times, and sets up the bag to use it as a pillow. Settling in, he lays down. His injuries are sore, and he can feel them pulse. The vague pain is uncomfortable, and now that he's so still, the feeling is so apparent. Groaning, he lays on his side, pillow soaked in the water from his hair already.
That night, his sleep is anything but peaceful.
But that isn't anything new, is it?
The streets are busy with students, all heading to their respectful schools. The familiar drab uniform Ouma's school wears fill up the area he walks through.
Ouma's face turns into one of disgust upon observing the bags of his classmates.
Danganronpa pins litter bags, patches and charms, merch of all kind. It's an annoying thing to see, even if he sees it every single day. The show was ridiculous, full of senseless murder and violence, and turned the youth of society into mindless murder loving zombies, with personalities as stale as the rolls he keeps in his bag to eat occasionally.
Groaning, he pulls out a lollipop to keep his mouth shut. Grape flavored, his favorite.
He prays that he won't run into the anger driven students from last night, but they weren't from his school, so he figured he wouldn't have to worry about it.
He had complained about their interest in Danganronpa, after he had witnessed them messing with someone who couldn't defend themself.
There wasn't any type of person he hated more than those who picked on the weak.
The association between Danganronpa fans and those who lived in violence was one he made a long time ago. They laughed in the face of death, and talked about the show like it was the only thing in the world keeping them going. He didn't doubt that was the truth.
The day is the same as always. He goes to school, spaces out in class, pisses off a couple of people because of a rude comment about Danganronpa, gets beat up, leaves.
Most of the time, he can fend for himself. He used to be quite the doormat, letting people walk all over him, letting people steal his lunch or take his bag. From his experiences, he had learned some little tricks up his sleeve that saved him from devastating injuries. You never knew just how far students can take things sometimes, so being prepared was always a plus.
His peers were terrifying, to say the least. Surrounded by Danganronpa lovers, the school was chock full of obsessive and annoying fans. Loud and uncaring, they share their collections, their ships, favorite characters. Useless drivel that poured from everyone's uncaring mouths.
It annoyed him. He couldn't stand it.
He hated Danganronpa.
If you asked him what trait he has that separates him from the rest, it would be that one simple opinion.
Being surrounded by fans of it was easily the most annoying thing he had to deal with.
People in his school used to often approach him suddenly and randomly, trying to start a conversation, only for it to just always lead to the damned show. Every single time.
Perhaps he would find someone, anyone, who didn't have any interest in it.
And he did.
Not someone from his school, though.
A subreddit comprised of about 10,000 or so people. A sanctuary of sorts, to hide away from the brainwashed society's interest in a horrible game of murder and distrust. Danganronpa haters to the fullest, people rant about and discuss their experiences with strange people. He had gladly wormed his way in, needing some form of contact that didn't come from such careless people.
A small community, and the home of the very first people who had originally decided to fight against a society that glorified violence and death.
An active member, he brought new stories to the table everyday, speaking of his experiences of many different Danganronpa fans. It was nice, but feeling so alone when he went to school was a feeling that would be hard to get rid of.
Ouma gets through the day, barely absorbing information in class, and surviving the day listening to the inane chatter of his classmates without popping a blood vessel.
He rummages through his bag, pulling out a roll to eat. Usually after he finishes school, he debates about whether he should head straight home or not, depending on his work schedule. His foster parents don’t stick around for long, only there at night so they could sleep. They didn’t care about where he was, so he didn’t feel obligated to be home at all.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going?” A sudden and angry sounding voice calls out. Ouma groans internally.
“Yeah, leaving so soon? Aren't you forgetting something?” Another taunting voice answers.
Did he? He finally turns around to face them. One of them holds one of his binders high in the air, so he couldn’t reach it.
When did they-?
Doesn’t matter. He needed it back.
He raises a brow, and gives them a stern glare. “Give it back.” It’s useless, but he says it anyways.
The faceless nobodies cackle at him, pointing and laughing. “As if it would be that easy…!” It’s irritating, and Ouma isn’t really in the mood right now.
Reaching into his bag, buried underneath the other contents for the express purpose of hiding it, he pulls out his pepper spray.
Swiftly he runs towards his opponents, fast enough to catch them off guard. He uses their surprise to spray their eyes. The shouts of pain only turn a few heads, before everyone ignores it and resumes going about their own business. He grabs his binder when one of the kids drop it, and makes a beeline for it. Before running off, he catches a glimpse of a Togami Byakuya pin, and any feeling of remorse for his action dries up in an instant.
Ouma thinks, with all the bullies he attracts and the scenes they make, that everyone in the school would be able to recognize him easily.
Yet, all they think about is Danganronpa.
He pulls out his phone, logs into the tiny subreddit, and rants about Danganronpa fans.
Ouma spits blood into the sink.
Turning the faucet on, he watches the red liquid mix in the water and ride down the drain. A blow to his stomach left him winded, leaving a little bit too much of a reminder. He rubs at his split lip, just hoping it would heal itself up soon.
The amount of scuffles he’s gotten into today would break his previous record. He pouts, staring at himself in the mirror. It won’t due to be so impulsive all the time, he must keep himself in check.
Or so he tells himself everyday, and then fails.
The apartment feels too small and too big at the same time. Taking a few deep breaths, he prepares himself to leave and go to work. He doesn’t even bother with the uniform, he wears it everywhere he goes. It’s not like he has any other clothes, really. He pulls on the strap of the nearby bag and hoists it over his shoulder.
Stepping outside, the colorless world greets him once again. It’s windy, not good for the cold weather. His uniform helps somewhat, but he is used to not having the proper amenities to fair extreme weather.
With limited funds, and parents who didn’t bother, Ouma decided that he could handle himself for a change. Money was hard to come by without a job, so he decided the best solution was to just..get one. With a desperate tongue, he pulled some strings here and there to get himself going.
He didn’t have much things to pride himself in, but he thought he was pretty smart. At least smart enough to understand a wide variety of subjects. Tutoring is the pseudo job he found himself in. He taught and worked with kids to help them improve on subjects they may be struggling on.
He likes children. They held a certain innocence that he wanted to preserve, especially in a society which trivialized the concept of death and murder so much. He wanted to make sure the youth wasn’t corrupted by the horrid views of the masses, even though he knows some of the kids he has taught were big fans of Danganronpa.
Ouma is also good at making kids laugh. He thinks it’s a joy to hear. The world was full of so much dread and darkness, it was a nice light in that darkness. So he liked going to work. Teaching was fun, but the kids ended up worrying about him a lot. It was his own fault, really. His wounds didn’t heal quick enough, and he wasn’t one to bother with covering them up. Unless it just looked plain gross. That wouldn’t be something he’d like to parade around to them.
He takes his usual route, a broken and cracked road tucked away from the larger parts of the city. It was quieter, and he was always about the quiet.
Ouma forgets that hidden areas were often littered with undesirables.
He avoids making eye contact with anyone, and slithers his way through. The school they used to hold the tutoring sessions was small, a lesser funded elementary school that was rather run down.
Still, the remote area it resided in was nice. He didn’t mind the growing flora and moss that covered the walls from time to time. It had a certain atmosphere that he simply liked. He comes through the front, identifies himself, and sets up his binders and worksheets for another day of tutoring.
Ouma brushes dirt off his pants. Playing rough with the kids was always fun, but he hated getting so dirty. As usual he was battered with questions about his injuries.
It touches him deeply when they ask, and some kids think he’s cool because of how many fights he gets into. Usual naivete from kids, but he doesn’t mind it. Still, violence is always something that scared him. He can’t help the words that tumbled out of his mouth sometimes. The things people did sometimes made him so angry.
Shaking his head, Ouma waves off the thoughts. He finds the confined shortcut again, and carefully steps through the cracked streets.
Unfortunately, his timing isn’t the best. He pauses in his tracks, noticing a few familiar faces that he was hoping he didn’t see again.
The guys from the rainy night. He had forgotten. It was too late, though. He was already in view where he stopped. The students look over in his direction, then share a look of recognition with each other.
They both turn back and stare down at Ouma. He takes this as a sign to turn around as fast as possible, and runs for it.
As soon as he darts off, they both immediately chase him down. Ouma is used to running, though. He fully believes he could get away. Taking a sharp and sudden turn, he notices a pile of boxes, most likely extra food or supplies for the supermarket they were found behind. Ouma, using his quick thinking and reflexes, runs towards the pile. With a speed he didn’t know he possessed, he opens every box and tips them over, spilling all their contents on the ground. Ouma hops over the remaining few boxes, and continues running.
Observing the Danganronpa posters spread all throughout this route, he had a slew of petty thoughts enter his head. Seeing them everywhere after getting chased down was just rubbing salt in the wound, if he was honest.
In his deep thinking he doesn’t watch where he was going, and collides into someone. The crash is immediate, and he can feel one of his cuts reopening from the impact onto the ground. His bag falls to the side, and before he can grab it, the one who ran into him takes the strap first.
“H-Here, so sorry. Are you okay? Be careful.” The boy nervously replies, holding the bag out to Ouma. He notices the other isn’t even looking at him, but the ground. He wore a cap, presumably to hide his own eyes.
The strange thing, is that despite how nervous the boy seems, he is smiling.
Not just any normal smile, like a full out grin, stretched impossibly wide.
It kind of creeps him out, so he scrambles to quickly take his bag back. “..Thanks. I’m okay.” He says, feeling it inappropriate if he doesn’t say anything.
Sweat pools at the top of the boy's head, and he continues not to say anything, only staring at the ground. He seems to register it a few seconds later, though. “No p-problem.” He’s still smiling.
“Right...see you.” Ouma says. Backing out of an awkward situation, he continues running ahead to his previous destination, forgetting about the strange boy for the time being.
The overwhelming rush in Ouma’s lungs persists after he stops in front of his parents’ apartment. He shuffles through his bag, looking for his inhaler. After taking a few puffs, his breathing is regular again.
“I can’t even get a few moments of peace..” He whines.
He pulls out the spare key to the apartment, and puts his ear to the door. After a few minutes of not hearing a sound, he can confirm his parents aren't home. He unlocks the door and settles his school bag near the entrance. The apartment is small, and not really fit to be a proper home. Hence, the reason his foster parents are never usually home in the morning and afternoon. They have other places to crash at and party and he doesn’t mind their absence, especially without the fighting and yelling.
Searching the cupboard for something to eat, he settles for some cheap cereal to hold him over. The apartment is silent in the absence of such bothersome arguments, and Ouma finds himself feeling comfortable in it.
He finds the cut that reopened in his encounter, and covers it up with another bandage, before it gets any more infected than it probably already is.
Mechanically, he takes bites of the bland oats mixed in milk. It’s the best he is going to get while he’s here, so he deals with it.
“Ugh…” He groans. Ouma was tired of long days and annoying chases, bloody noses and bruised faces.
He prepares himself for a long nap, ready to sleep the day away.
That was not the last time Ouma had seen the strange boy, though.
After that seemingly minor incident, well, Ouma had begun to see the boy everywhere. In the streets, in odd secluded alleyways, in other strange places he usually used to hide from bullies.
He was starting to see a pattern. He wondered, did this boy get hunted down by violence craving high schoolers as much as himself? Ouma was starting to grow curious, but he shouldn’t get his hopes up. The chances of anyone around this wasted city wanting to spend time with him was really laughable. But..the more he saw the boy, the more he wanted to grab his arm and ask for his name.
He didn’t have to wait long, though.
A typical school day, full of the same shit as always. Students want him dead for some reason, teachers talk in grating monotone, and a certain disgusting reality tv show is the talk of class. Every class.
Ouma sprints through another alley, rubbing his bloody nose with his sleeve. He was getting tired of running all the time, at this pace he knows he’ll probably need his inhaler soon. As much as he wanted to stew in his hatred over how twisted humanity has become, this was just a daily part of his life at this point. He got used to it. So he ran.
God wasn’t looking too fondly on him today, though. He made a mistake running in a direction he didn’t recognize. This part of the city was definitely a place he hasn’t learned the layout of. How frustrating. He turns at a corner and is greeted with a dead end. Typical. It’s as if bad luck was attracted to him like a persistent magnetic force. He sighs aloud.
Suddenly, he hears the sound of a squeak to his left. He notices the dumpster for the first time.
A certain familiar face pokes through. It’s the boy he’s constantly been seeing. Ouma is startled upon seeing the boy look directly at him this time. The other’s eyes were wide open, and they didn’t relax. It’s like the boy just always looked like that. It reminded him of the piercing gaze of an owl.
The stretched out smile is still there, though. Ouma realizes the boy is quite literally sitting in the dumpster.
The boy sticks his hand out, beckoning Ouma over. “Hey...hop in here!” He whisper shouts.
At the sound of distant footsteps, Ouma regretfully takes the offer.
He wasn’t planning to get all dirty like that, after all.
He runs over, and the boy opens the dumpster lid high enough for Ouma to climb in. He settles in, and it’s absolutely disgusting. He can feel slimy things hugging his shoes as he settles in, and the smell can only be described as rotten. Thrown out food was scattered throughout and a few flies were buzzing around in it as well. Some trash bags were wet with something and he had almost went to cover his mouth and nose. He quietly reaches for his inhaler, taking a few puffs before putting it back.
While they sit in silence, waiting for his assailants to give up, his mysterious companion just stares straight at him. It’s kinda hard to tell in the darkness, but his eyes had adjusted a bit already.
He was still smiling, like hanging around disgusting dumpsters was a regular occurrence, and that bullies weren’t trying to kick anyone’s ass right now.
Ouma hears the sound of shoes hitting gravel fade, and they sit in silence for just a few more minutes. Just to be sure. The boy seems to be listening closely, before finally deciding Ouma’s pursuers had left.
The boy leans up, and lifts the lid up high.
“Clear!” He says.
Ouma double checks, to be sure. He then gets up quickly, wanting to get out already. As he exits, he tries using his hands to push off the banana peels and other gross shit that stuck to his uniform. He rubs his hands everywhere trying to make himself feel clean again. He is never, ever doing that again.
He notices the boy had climbed out as well. Though he didn’t seem as bothered by being in there. Must be used to it. He’s staring at Ouma again.
Ouma realizes he should probably say something to the boy he has been thinking about all week, who also just had saved him from an extra beating.
“Hey, Thanks. That was..pretty cool of you. Although, I’d rather not sit in that smelly thing again...” Ouma trails off, cringing at how ungrateful he sounds.
The boy doesn’t seem to mind, though. He practically beams at Ouma’s words, as if what was said was the most wonderful thing he’s ever heard.
“Saihara Shuichi.” The boy blurts.
“T-That’s my name!”
Ah. Saihara Shuichi. Well, the boy’s name is what he wanted, so that’s out of the way. The last time he ran into this Saihara, he wore a hat and had his eyes practically glued to the ground. Huh.
“My..name is Ouma. Ouma Kokichi.” He introduces himself back. Guess they were acquaintances now. He reaches his hand out, aiming for a handshake.
Saihara practically shoots his hand out, grasping Ouma’s and shaking his hand wildly. It startles him for a moment, not expecting the energetic reaction out of a seemingly quiet boy. Ouma then realizes Saihara is still a mess, spotting the soggy newspaper that currently rested on his head. It amuses Ouma a bit, before he lets go of Saihara’s hand and leans over, brushing the paper off his head.
“You, uh..should probably get cleaned up.” Ouma suggests.
Saihara gives him a look that seems ..confused. Ouma raises a brow, wondering what is so weird about that statement. The boy doesn’t offer anything though, so he decides to just take initiative.
“You got a place nearby?” He asks.
“Would you mind..showing me where it is?”
Saihara’s eyes light up again, and it seems almost impossible, but his smile gets even wider. He turns around, and motions Ouma to follow him.
It then occurs to Ouma that this is probably a bad idea, letting some random stranger lead him to their house. But, he tries to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. After all, people don’t often help people they don’t even know around here. It was probably the most surprising thing that has ever happened to him ever since he moved here.
Saihara’s house looks pretty average, actually. Definitely bigger than his stuffy ass apartment. He is kinda grateful his savior isn’t living in a pigsty. Saihara opens the sliding door, and does a dramatic wave of his hand, gesturing to the entrance.
“This is my home.”
Ouma can’t help but appreciate the enthusiasm, though. Enthusiasm that wasn’t directed toward wanting to pound Ouma’s face in. It was rare. It was nice.
Ouma steps in, and despite Saihara’s disheveled appearance and apparent tendency to go dumpster diving, the place is pretty empty. The thing that really caught his eye as he entered, though…
Well. He had predicted this.
A shelf tucked away in the far corner of the room. Ouma would recognize that logo anywhere.
“Oh! You noticed! Y-Yeah, I have every single one. A lot of these are lost in time, you know? Seasons one through ten are suuuper hard to get. But I got this deal from this guy in my class. I gave him a lot of money for them. I don’t remember how much because it’s not important but I really really wanted to get my hands on them and you—”
The guy is a rambler. Ouma kind of tuned him out, because he really didn’t care about his fantastic Danganronpa findings but he caught the money part. Suddenly he was afraid of how much money this kid threw away for something as useless as that.
His savior is a Danganronpa fanatic.
As if God hasn’t mocked him enough through his entire life.
“—Seem interested! I n-noticed you eyeing them!! Are you so impressed that I managed to get every single one? Not many people do you know ..I sound like I’m boasting I’m sorry I didn’t mean to rub it in your face or anything I just—”
This time Ouma actually turns to face the fanboy, and looks him dead in the eye. Saihara snaps his mouth shut.
“You..totally saved my ass. But, I’m not one for ..this.” He says, vaguely. He gestures to the shelf that sat near the tv.
Saihara just tilts his head, like he doesn’t understand what Ouma means. He waits for about two minutes, before realizing Saihara really doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.
“Danganronpa. I don’t like it.”
Saihara looks at him with that confused gaze for a bit longer, before seeming to finally register Ouma’s sentence. The smile hasn’t dropped, but his eyes seem to dim. In fact, his entire demeanor seems to just...deflate.
But he springs right back.
“T-That’s okay! That’s okay..um…” Saihara trails off, all hesitant now. He looks like he doesn’t have any other things to really talk about other than his extensive collection. Ouma sighs, feeling a bit bad that he had kind of shut Saihara’s enthusiasm down.
“Why don’t you show me around?” He asks.
Thankfully, this saves Saihara from scrambling for something to talk about.
“Yeah, okay! Um…” He taps his hand to his chin, in a thoughtful gesture. Suddenly, he shoots a hand at Ouma’s wrist, grabbing hold of it. Ouma winces, not expecting it, but doesn’t have time to chastise his strange companion as he’s being dragged to a room in the back.
“This is my room!” He half shouts, as if he’s speaking to a group of people and not just one person.
Ouma’s...well. It’s not like he wasn’t expecting it from a Danganronpa fan. The room is covered head to toe in merch, but especially in stuff about Kyouko Kirigiri. There’s a figure on his nightstand, several posters plastered all over his wall, a pile of charms and buttons with her on it, hell, his laptop on a nearby desk is covered in stickers of her. It’s ridiculous.
Kirigiri obsession aside, the only non Danganronpa related thing is a giant textbook leaning against his bed. Ouma squints, trying to take in the title. Surprisingly, it’s a book on law. Interesting.
“Ah..well, it’s…all Danganronpa.”
“Yeah, no kidding.”
He doesn’t say it too harshly, though. For some reason, seeing Saihara deflate earlier made him...well, he didn’t like it. Besides, Saihara didn’t automatically hate his guts for not caring about Danganronpa, so that’s a plus. After he’s satisfied, Saihara shows him the rest of his house. It’s got so much more space than Ouma’s apartment it feels kind of refreshing. Then it occurs to him that it feels so big because it seems really empty. Besides the abundance of Danganronpa crap, everything else in here is very basic. Basic house stuff. No other decorations or personal touches… it’s barren.
Saihara leads him to another bedroom, looking as empty and boring as most of this place does. A queen bed is placed in the middle.
“My Parents’ room. They’re never here! They travel the world being famous and stuff. They come back to visit like, once a year maybe.”
Once a fucking year?
Ouma stares at Saihara, wide eyed. The other doesn’t seem to notice or care. Saihara is already ready to leave the room.
He knows he shouldn’t pry, but Saihara just...says it so casually. He’s practically just, putting it out there that his parents really don’t give a shit. And they’re...famous?
“Uh, famous? What exactly do your parents do?” He asks, curious.
It’s kind of scary how much Saihara doesn’t seem to care about the absence his parents have in his life. Maybe it’s a Danganronpa fan thing? Being so absorbed in their interest they don’t care? Or, was he used to it? Did he not fully understand it? Through their entire encounter Saihara seems to be slow at picking up cues. His mind burned with so many questions. It was strange, being truly interested in someone who actually enjoyed that murder show.
“They work on movies. Mother acts in them, and Father writes them.”
Of course they do. Ouma can feel his heart burning, and forces himself to calm down. He takes a few deep breaths, before his body settles down. Uncaring parents was something he always got so angry over. It reminded himself of his horrible upbringing. He gives his own face a little slap to get himself back.
“I see. So...anything else you wanna show me?” Shift the topic.
“Um..I think that’s it! My house..yep, this is my house..” Saihara rambles, his eyes going in every direction except Ouma’s.
Ouma is silent for a while. Today was a rollercoaster of events. He’s bitterly amused at the irony of Saihara being a total Danganronpa fanatic. A big one, at that. Every season, spending a conspicuous amount of money for rare ones. He also apparently has an interest in a certain detective, or even a career in it. Earlier he debated on definitely ditching Saihara after this encounter, and pretending he didn’t exist. He was planning an escape from this situation. But— Saihara was...surprising. He wasn’t what he expected at all, despite being a fan of Danganronpa. Besides, Saihara saved him. He didn’t have to poke his head out of that dumpster. Even if Ouma had noticed it himself, he would’ve been too caught up in how dirty it is and how dark and cold it would be if he went in there alone.
Stupid and useless worries that got his face beat in everyday.
And..Saihara’s parents. The boy seemed kind of lonely.
“You got a phone?” He asks.
“I do!” Saihara rummages through his pant pocket, before fishing out a smartphone. It had a Danganronpa phone case that featured Kirigiri and a few charms hanging off of it. You guessed it—they were also all Kirigiri.
This guy loves her to death. Jeez.
Ouma takes Saihara’s phone and puts in his own number. Will he regret this? Eh. As if he’d care anymore. He hands it back.
Saihara delicately takes the phone, and then zeros in on what’s displayed on the screen. He’s got the phone way too close to his face and his smile stretches even further again.
“We’re friends now!?” He shouts, staring right into Ouma’s eyes. His mouth is hanging open like it's being forced to, and Ouma just now realizes a trail of saliva is running down from Saihara’s mouth.
The group chat is blowing up.
His internet friends, who hung around the forum for avid Danganronpa haters, had formed a small group chat on Discord. They were people who just ended up gravitating toward each other on the forum, and soon their discussions delved into mundane conversations about the weather or school. They decided they needed a chat off the forum for those things.
destroyed drs crops [Today at 7:32 AM]: that shit is so messed up actually.
onion head [Today at 7:32 AM]: i know its so ridiculous
pigtail princess [Today at 7:34 AM]: just woke up, what happened ??
ouma loves revolution [Today at 7:34 AM]: yeah can you bring us up to speed i dont feel like scrolling up
big guy [Today at 7:37 AM]: Basically this really fucked dr fan stabbed someone today over ?? merch ?? usually no one cares about this stuff but its been all over the news because the guy is famous and he was concealing himself to go shopping and he absolutely fucking lost it. its on youtube someone recorded it if you want to see
ouma loves revolution [Today at 7:38 AM]: the last thing i need today is more dr bullshit to think abt during class tbh
im not even surprised though which is the worst part of this
i gotta go to class but see you guys thanks for the info tho im probably going to hear about it in class anyways.
Ouma slides his phone back into his pocket. He can hear the faint vibrations going off one after another, and eventually he just mutes his phone.
The other day had been an absolute trip and he just wants to relax. But he knows that's basically impossible at this point.
As predicted, the school is blowing up at the news. Famous singer secretly obsessed over Danganronpa and stabs someone over it. Your typical Friday in this hellhole. He groans. He really doesn’t want to hear this right now. It’s just going to make him upset, and then he’ll start thinking awful bitter things that consume his thoughts all day and by the end of the day he’s having an anxiety attack or a breakdown or something of the sort-
The worst part is a lot of student reactions seem rather uncaring. Like a person getting seriously hurt is some kind of juicy gossip. Why talk about things that didn’t involve you anyways?
He wonders, distantly, how Saihara feels about this.
Would he laugh and say the guy had it coming? Would he say some bullshit to defend a powerful man who literally stabbed someone unwarranted aside from grabbing the last charm of some character?
Sighing, Ouma pulls out his phone again as the teacher is distracted. He googles news articles on the incident and even watches the Youtube recording. Yeah, that’s messed up. He runs his hands through his hair.
Just another day in this hellhole.
He doesn’t have work today, so he decides to pay Saihara a visit. He’s just curious. The guy’s obsessed with Danganronpa, right? He’s gotta be a social media addict. His newfound friend doesn’t live too far from Ouma’s apartment complex, so remembering where to go is easy. Saihara’s got no one else at that house, surely he won’t mind.
Ouma’s still a bit apprehensive about his unpredictable friend, but there was something about actually having someone to talk to. He knocks on the door. After a few minutes, he hears a loud clang before the door is quickly slid open.
“O-Ouma-kun!” Saihara shout greets.
“Yeah. Can I…?” Ouma gestures to the inside of the house.
Saihara nods eagerly, clearing the way. After he shuts the door when they’re both in, he gives Ouma his usual owl eyed stare.
“I didn’t think you’d talk to me again!”
Oh? That was out of nowhere.
“Uh...why wouldn’t I?” He probably shouldn’t ask that, considering he already had a guess why.
“No one talks to me again after we first meet!” Saihara shouts again.
The guy seemed to have a problem with volume control. He also had no trouble voicing his..shortcomings.
“Tone it down, will you? Anyways, I’m talking to you again, so don’t sweat it.”
Saihara seems really pleased with that answer. His perpetual grin relaxed, and his shoulders droop down. Ouma pretends he’s not glad to see it.
Deciding to occupy his hands, Ouma wanders around the kitchen, Saihara following right behind. He wonders if Saihara goes out to get his own groceries. If he’s in this house with no supervision whatsoever, then it means he has to do everything around here. Clean it himself, cook for himself, all the exhausting stuff. He flips open the fridge, only to widen his eyes at the sight.
“Your diet consists of instant ramen.”
Sighing, Ouma turns around to give his friend a stern look.
“You must have some ingredients around here. I’m not the best cook, but…” He trails off, already rummaging through Saihara’s cabinets.
There had to be something in here.
“So..cheap soup is a pretty shitty meal. How about I..make you ..some real food.” He says, struggling to get words out as he pulls out a bag of rice.
Curry is pretty simple, right? Not too much, but just a little to get something proper in his friend’s belly.
He doesn't understand how people can just leave him like this. A child all alone in this empty place all the time, didn’t people watch for this stuff?
Ouma wasn’t here to speculate situations and get angry, though. He just couldn’t help himself. He had to ask.
As he gets the stove prepared, he makes some…”small talk.”
“Did you, uh… hear about that stabbing? All over twitter?” Yeah, subtle wasn’t Ouma’s strong suit.
Saihara’s eyes light up in recognition, but he seems to shrink into himself.
“I don’t really pay attention….but I did see it.”
Well, it was better than him acting like every awful action in the world was justifiable. Ouma restrains his need to rant, deciding it really isn’t fair of him. A kind of guilt washed over him, and he thinks maybe he shouldn’t subject someone he just met to an interrogation of opinions. He wonders if Saihara feels guilty for not really thinking about that incident? The predictions gather in his head despite knowing he’ll never really know what’s going on in the other’s head.
“Sorry.” He offers. Saihara doesn’t say anything, so he just continues what he’s doing.
That constant need to know what other people are thinking. It’s insatiable. It’s also really annoying. Ouma can’t help but need to know things, how people are thinking, how they feel, what’s more important to them?
“You know what, forget it. It’s fine, whatever you’re thinking. As long as it isn’t ridiculous. Just eat.” Ouma spills his word vomit, pushing a plate of curry in Saihara’s direction.
Saihara looked like he was contemplating saying something, but the thought seems to stop as the food is placed in front of him. He stares at it, like it’s something from another planet. Ouma hopes it’s not because of his subpar cooking skills.
“Do you..need help?” Ouma takes his best guess at what the problem is.
“O-Oh, no, I’m fine..” He mumbles.
“You know, it’s okay for you to talk about Dangan. Just because I..well don’t really want to hear about it doesn’t mean I’ll kill you for wanting to. I personally don’t care about it. But you can talk about it, you know?” Ouma has his second best guess. Maybe what he said before got to Saihara, and the other assumed he isn’t able to talk about anything related to it. Ouma didn’t want to control him like that.
And just like that, the excitement and light comes back to Saihara’s demeanor. He sits up straight, almost too straight, as if straining to do so.
“R-Really!?” He screeches, as if they aren’t the only two people in the room.
“Yes, really.” Ouma replies, hovering his hands over his ears.
Saihara finally starts eating, seemingly a little reluctant to. He began fidgeting under Ouma’s resting no nonsense face minutes ago, and eventually cautiously brought the rice to his mouth.
He begins talking with food in his mouth, and Ouma has to restrain the urge to grimace at the sight.
“That guy- that really famous guy, he says he has been looking for that charm of the protagonist of Danganronpa’s Season 23 for a long time, because that season is really hard to find merch for because it did so horribly. No one cared about it so they cut merchandising of it really quick. But now, because of that- merch for it is super duper rare and now everyone is scrambling for them to complete their collections, or something! He made a formal apology a few hours ago, I t-think he just wanted to protect his image, though.”
The guy could really ramble.
“I don’t really care for the season, I mean I have it of course but I can see why it did so badly, it has a really weak cast compared to other seasons.”
He pauses to properly swallow his food this time, and well, if Ouma isn’t grateful for that bit of information he just got.
“Huh...I see.” Ouma says.
Saihara sounds so firm and less hesitant when talking about the show, like just the idea of talking about Danganronpa makes him forget his anxiety.
It’s kind of impressive, in a way.
He can also see how it’ll get grating in the future. But, Saihara is his friend now. Technically. Or something.
He’ll let him talk. His empathy will really be the death of him one day.
“You’re not so bad, Saihara. Maybe I should come over here more often and make you stuff since I don’t think you’ll do it yourself anyways.”
And the way Saihara smiles at him, even if it looks way too wide and his eyes are boring right into Ouma, his heart skips a small beat.
Because it’s been so long since anyone actually seemed happy to be with Ouma.
“Here, I’ll show you the route to my school.”
Ouma leads Saihara down the smaller road he takes to the Imperial Capital’s High School. Saihara’s house is surprisingly close to his school, being only a few blocks away. This meant Saihara’s school must of been pretty close as well.
“We should walk to school together!” Saihara squawks.
“Oh, yeah? Where’s your school?”
Ouma thinks he’s getting used to Saihara’s volume when he is excited.
Saihara trails off, looking around the spot they’re standing in. He spots something familiar, Ouma thinks. He points at a sign standing in front of another alleyway.
Ouma isn’t really sure Saihara gets that his answer isn’t really an answer, but he doesn’t point it out. Instead, he lets his friend lead the way. The path starts off icky and gross, with trash all over the ground ranging from all types of everyday objects. Gradually, the garbage lessens, and a huge open street greets them. Across from the street is Saihara’s school, which actually looks much bigger than Ouma’s.
Saihara’s uniform is very dirty and battered compared to some of the students he spots observing the school. It seems more..upper class. For all of the rich kids.
Guess it made sense, considering Saihara’s parents. Do they just pay the bills every month for him? Does he have a bank account that they just stuff money in every now and then? Explains why he goes to such an expensive school.
“Well ..if you really want to. Yeah, we can walk together.”
The guy gets excited about everything..
Ouma clicks his tongue. “This place is pretty nice. My garbage school likes to act like it’s prestigious, but it is literally the grossest school I’ve ever been to. It’s old and ugly and they never have enough money to make it look better anyways.”
“It’s really close to mine…w-we can meet past that alleyway…”
Ouma nods, and the other beams.
Their moment of peace is broken when a figure abruptly approaches them.
Saihara’s light demeanor fades, and Ouma automatically knows this person is nothing good.
“Got a boyfriend now, huh, trashbag?”
Oh jesus. Homophobic remarks in 2016?
Ouma deals with annoying bullies everyday. He can deal with this.
“Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am his boyfriend.” He snaps. He vaguely hears Saihara squeak behind him, and the student scowls.
“Getting cocky are we? You’re a runt, I can take you.”
“Okay, try then.”
Ouma’s impulsive remarks are not without promise, though. He’s sure he can get the upper hand, even with his own disadvantages aside. Most people like this think power and size is everything. No finesse, no strategy, and certainly no agility. The way these power hungry students thought, it was nothing new. Maybe Ouma’s pathetic outward appearance consisting of multiple bandages helps people underestimate him. It made it easier to surprise them.
As predicted, the unnamed assailant decides to come in head on with a strong right hook. He comes in too hard, though. He pushed all of his weight into a strong opener, which means when Ouma swiftly dodges it, his opponent staggers forward. The opening allows Ouma to turn his school bag facing diagonally, so the corner of his books are facing the students stomach. Ouma jabs it in as hard as he can, and the guy doubles over.
Ouma grabs Saihara’s hand and makes a run for it, heading back down the alleyway they took earlier. He stops when he needs a puff, and pulls out his inhaler.
Saihara is gaping at Ouma through the whole thing, and a wild blush had spread all across his cheeks moments ago, and still hasn’t gone away.
“Y-You’re amazing! He really didn’t see that coming! Wow..!” He gushes, and his expression can only be described as ecstatic.
It makes Ouma feel a bit bashful, though. He rubs the back of his head, a bit embarrassed at the blunt praise.
“It was nothing. He was all bark and no bite.”
“Ouma-kun is all bite and no b-bark!” Saihara responds proudly.
Ouma’s not sure how much that statement makes sense, but it’s so strange to be on the receiving end of positive sentiment. He’s definitely not used to it.
“I figured we shared a bully thing. That guy was really harsh, though. Rich kids got quite the egos.”
Saihara absentmindedly nods, probably recalling all of the students who have messed with him before.
“D-did you say I was your boyfriend?”
Or..distracted by that.
“...What? ...Oh, yeah. That was..an impulsive remark.”
Ouma leaves out the maybe possibility that Saihara is gay, because, well it didn’t matter to him at all. Saihara stares at him for a moment with a small blush on his face. He averts his eyes before shaking his head, assumably to shake a thought out.
“Ah...they’re always like that. People don’t like me very much here…” Saihara says. His posture was straight and bunched, and his voice….
He sounded like a kicked dog.
“Well, why don’t we get out of here. Come on.” He says, grabbing Saihara’s wrist.
He thinks something sweet will help his friend feel better. Saihara really wore his emotions on his sleeve and it was refreshing, really.
Ouma likes to think he has a good handle on reading people, so many cues help him understand people pretty easily. But it gets exhausting, constantly having to guess people’s intentions with him. Wondering when he’ll be betrayed, when someone will backstab him.
Saihara seemed..genuine. Like..he just wanted a friend, but didn’t really know how to have one.
Ouma felt like he had to help the guy, sure, but he was starting to really enjoy having the other around. It was..bizarre, to say the least.
He leads his friend to an ice cream shop on a crowded street. Normally, Ouma doesn’t go to these places. Main streets are full of obnoxious Danganronpa displays; cutouts, posters, and TVs playing recent episodes over and over.
A headache, really.
When they step inside, they’re greeted with a cool sensation washing over them. Saihara is beaming, taking in the place with a restored vigour.
He stumbles until he spots an available table in the back, decorated with a cast of Danganronpa characters Ouma doesn’t recognize.
Ouma’s questioning gaze causes Saihara to go into...explanation.
“Oh! They’re from Season 12. That’s Akira. He’s the protagonist! I think he’s cool...because he’s really angry all the time..but not too much. Like cautious! And smart...he’s kinda cute too but-”
And he keeps going as they sit down.
“Anyways, though, I love what they did….it looks so nice! It’s really giving me the vibe that season put off..like a modern and pristine kind of vibe. This place is so...ah! Have you been here before??” Saihara’s sudden halt in his ramble catches Ouma off guard.
“Yeah, sometimes. Not when it’s Dangan themed like this, but… whatever. Looked like you need a refreshment.” And hyper empathy Ouma strikes again.
Saihara doesn’t mind the small remark, and continues rattling on about Season 12 and it’s unique spin on murders- or something. He kind of half tuned it out, mostly focusing on his friend’s expressions and gestures as he speaks.
Ouma pauses Saihara to reach into his school bag, taking out his wallet.
“So..what do you want?”
“Are you a vanilla or chocolate person?”
He looks so happy at that, and Ouma has to resist the urge to smile back. He approaches the counter to get each of them a cone. For Saihara a simple chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles, and himself, vanilla. Ouma wasn’t a big fan of sweet food. It was too much, just two pieces of chocolate can easily make him feel sick. He’ll stick to the lesser sweets, thank you.
After settling down, and handing Saihara his cone, Ouma still has a bit to add.
Saihara eats eagerly, taking big bites (or as much as he can handle without getting a brain freeze) out of the ice cream.
“You know, I’m kinda used to that. Bullies, I mean. I’ve got a lot of people who hate me. Does this happen..often?” Ouma starts, to really try to pry something out of Saihara. Despite the latter’s recent enthusiastic behavior, he rarely talks about himself. Just...Danganronpa.
“Hate you? But you’re so cool and brave...ah, I mean..I do have some people. They chase me around..into corners. Then they jump me. But I know my way around here! Every hiding spot. I’m not very fast, though...they get me pretty easily sometimes. It’s scary! I don’t like to be beaten up all like that…”
You said it...bruises are a bitch to take care of, too.
Ouma rubs his cheek, the one with the bandage on it. There’s a spot that gets hit often.
“Does it hurt?” Saihara suddenly asks. It sounds...weird. Quiet. Different than how his friend usually speaks.
“Eh..not so much. It’s a target spot, though...people hit it even when it’s still bandaged.”
Saihara lets out of a noise of vague discomfort. He still smiles, but it’s small and sad. Almost like it’s really hard for him to drop the grin.
“..They like to push me. A-and take off my shirt..to bruise and cut up my back and chest. It stings…” He trails off, before the grin grows again.
“But it’s okay. It hurts and it’s really scary, but it doesn’t matter! Because I have Danganronpa! And Kirigiri-san...and all of my favorite characters..! It’s fine, because I already have more than enough..the thing that makes me most happy..” As he finishes, a thin line of drool trails down his chin and he’s blushing faintly.
It’s pretty scary to hear. He seems so dependent on something fictional, something that’s really harmful and influential to the kids of today. He’s seen bad cases of this before, but they came from much worse people. There was no room for sympathy or even pity for mindless bullies and horrible people. But it was different, this time. Saihara doesn’t seem harmful..and is even targeted for just being himself. It was weird to see someone who wasn’t all that bad still being obsessed with it anyways.
Danganronpa’s influence ..
It was just painful to hear his friend say those things...he sounded so far gone. It made him wonder about the things that could’ve happened to make him rely on it so much.
Relying on such a violent and uncaring thing..
It’s no wonder he doesn’t seem to care about the damage done to him. How it “doesn’t matter.”
Ouma senses his blood beginning to boil, and he grips onto the table to stabilize himself. While he had been stewing in his thought spiral, Saihara happily laps away at his ice cream. It’s actually sorta funny to watch, and it washes the remainder of bitter thoughts away.
Saihara might be ..rather complicated, but even with his scary dependence on Danganronpa...he is kind.
Ouma can see it...he’s not a bad person.
“We can still walk together, you know. I know a lot of things about the streets, tricky moves….I can ward off nasty students.” He offers, making room for a definitive decision.
Saihara smiles that ridiculously dopey smile again, and says with his mouth full. “C-Can we!? Yes!! I wanna walk with you!”
And, with that, about five people in the parlor turn in their direction and stare at them.
And so began an everyday routine.
Ouma would get up, take a shower, use concealer for small bruises, and manage his current injuries. After a mini nursery session, he brushes his hair and sprays something light to keep him from oozing bad smells.
He liked to be clean. It’s a good feeling.
Saihara, on the other hand, approaches Ouma with a disheveled appearance.
His hair is a mess, sticking everywhere in different directions. It was almost like he just rolled out of bed!
Flakes fall out of his hair occasionally, indicating a sort of skin problem in the scalp. Saihara has a vague trashy smell that follows him around, almost like he showers once a week maybe?
He seemed extremely unkempt. It was getting to Ouma in a lot ways, besides the fact that it’s just...kind of gross.
“Hey, so, Saihara. I was thinking- I should come over today.”
Obviously Ouma has to do something with that awful hygiene.
Saihara doesn’t seem to have a problem anyways, though. As they walk together, Saihara lets out a strange squeak, and twirls around as he’s walking.
“Yeah! You can come over! Of course…”
Saihara’s Kirigiri charm flies occasionally, from all of his friend’s chaotic and bouncy energy. Ouma is locked in a trance of staring at it, all the way to the split off point.
He seems happy.
“Okay..see you later, Saihara. Oh, by the way, I have work today. So I’ll probably be over at 5 or so.”
“Okay! I’ll remember, I swear..! Bye bye!” And he runs off, waving wildly before disappearing in the alleyway.
Where did all that energy come from..? Maybe Saihara had gotten more comfortable knowing they were similar in a way….
Saihara could be rather awkward and mousy sometimes. He switches from that demeanor pretty suddenly, throwing Ouma off.
People chatter away their usual dry drawl, complete with brand new information about Danganronpa’s upcoming Season 53. Exciting.
Ouma has half a mind to tune it out, but he starts listening in. He’s not sure what compels him, but he thinks it might be best to keep up with the series at a long distance. Might prove useful. Learn some information, all of that.
“I knew Amami was going to survive, he was one of my first bets.”
“You think he’s going onto the next season? It’s been like..two in a row now.”
“Is Team Danganronpa really gonna do that again? Am I going to have to see Amami three times?”
“I could honestly care less, but auditions are going to be soon. Got any ideas for talents?”
And that’s when Ouma tunes it out. Like hell he’d sit through that discussion. What’s the point in speculating those kinds of things?
Auditions...he’d have to find out when those would be.
Taking mental notes, Ouma proceeds to his next class.
In art class, he uses slack off time to get any updates from the group chat.
So far, nothing on auditions. Makes sense..they take a bit after a Season ends to announce audition dates. They’re pretty fast, too. Team Danganronpa has been dominating pop culture for over 50 years, and it's absolutely terrifying how much money goes into it, letting teenagers audition to die.
Too early to let all of this get into his head…
He has never been a fan. Ever. From the very beginning, it looked immature, disgusting, and all around treating serious subject matters as trivial. Never put a good taste in the mouth of an abused child.
Ouma shakes the copper taste out of his mouth, and updates with the news. Danganronpa is constantly in the headlights of media, but recently it’s been getting a new spike of attention. The charm incident, to upcoming auditions, to a protest being held in front of Team Danganronpa’s headquarters.
He wishes he could go.
But he can’t afford a trip like that.
Anyways, it’s been busy for Dangan.
ouma loves revolution [Today at 8:01 AM]: you at the protest? how is it
onion head [Today at 8:01 AM]: theres are so many people here yelling at us but its great honestly. waaay more people here than the last time.
big guy [Today at 8:02 AM]: Yeah it's really cool. Also I’m happy you used my sign design! Don’t get too wild
ouma loves revolution [Today at 8:02 AM]: yeah... although burning down dr hq sounds fun if you ever wanna try it
god i wish i could be there…
this is pretty cool though..how many people do you think are there?
onion head [Today at 8:04 AM]: about 1000 id say...not bad at all considering. dr fans in the area are on top of us though so .. im just making a rough estimate based on the aerial view pics
destroyed drs crops [Today at 8:05 AM]: sweet! also onion, i’m like… right at the entrance if you wanna try to weasel through that crowd
ouma loves revolution [Today at 8:05 AM]: better than like. 523 from a few years back..
feels like we’re finally getting somewhere?
pigtail princess [Today at 8:07 AM]: yeah !! i see what you mean! we’ve come pretty far for such a small amount in comparison..really cool ! ! please stay safe you two !
It’s pretty cool to get first hand experiences being relayed to you. Along with pictures. All the signs... shirts, everything. It was really inspiring to see, in a way….he briefly thought about Saihara..how would he think of this? Would he be..scared? For Team Danganronpa? ..himself?
No use speculating…
After the next dreadful hours of school are over, Ouma is so ready to just go to work. Everyday is getting exhausting and his emotions are really testing him. He feels drained immediately after leaving the building. It doesn’t help that a couple of nobodies keep staring him down like he’s a piece of meat. He gets it. He’s covered in bandages, looks like a wimpy kid who can’t defend himself. That impression is starting to get annoying…
He doesn’t have time to bitch about it though, he makes a beeline to the elementary school.
Security lets him in upon seeing his face, and he’s greeted with the kids he’s been tutoring. Only for a few months, mind you, but..
It’s good to see them.
They all dash toward him, all talking at once, and very fast.
“Whoa, whoa. One at a time. Sheesh…” Ouma bashfully rubs the back of his head.
“Kokichi!!! I got a really cool video game for my birthday!! I think you’d like it!”
“I know you have a 3ds, Kokichi...I got a game for you too!”
“Hey! I got Kokichi the best game this season! I win this one..!!”
All at once, they all yell at Ouma about whatever game they got him.
Which is...extremely sweet, actually.
Ouma really did love video games. It was a hobby he’d picked up ever since he was little. In fact, the only real good thing about his childhood was his Game Boy Color. Ever since then, he’s been picking up the newest Nintendo systems and consoles through the years.
The kids he tutored pretty much loved him. They would occasionally get him a gift every once in a while, and it never fails to make him, well..happy. The three kids hugged him briefly before throwing their gifts on the table.
“You guys are the best..really. Thanks..” Ouma looks away, embarrassed. Saying these things makes him feel like a sap…
The kids run off, starting conversations with each other and the like.
As he grabs his folder and goes over what they’re going to be doing today, one of the girls he works with greets him.
They both call each other by their first names, and are pretty good friends. They do share something in common, being that they’re both not big fans of Danganronpa.
“Kokichi! Hey...you got some pretty nice stuff.”
“Yeah...they always get so much…”
“Pfftt, you’re not ungrateful, are you?”
“Who do you think I am?”
They laugh together.
Momone places a large bag next to the table, pulling out platters with cookies and other various snacks.
Ouma tries to keep up with what she’s saying, but his mind starts wandering elsewhere. He stares in her general direction, but not actually maintaining eye contact.
“Kokichi? You okay?” She asks, concern lacing her velvet voice.
“What? ...Yeah. Just...thinking.” He says. He doesn’t want to really discuss it in the open, but she can already guess.
Ouma sighs. He lays his cheek against the palm of his hand, avoiding eye contact.
“I’ve got a lot on my mind lately...but yeah, it’s mostly that.”
Monome gives Ouma a look he can’t really describe, but it’s almost close to pity. It’s bothering.
After a long pause, she suddenly looks in thought.
“You know...how there’s that protest going on at the Danganronpa headquarters?”
Ouma nods, unsure that he is following what she’s getting at, but he waits.
“Well...maybe we can actually..do something about that show?” She suggests, gentle fires burning in her voice.
“What, kids like us?”
“Well..why not? There’s a lot of kids like us out there already…even if it took so much for them to get there..they still went there anyways. Every single teenager out there at that protest..they’re out there doing something. Making a difference, even if it’s little by little. You’re not someone to just stand idly by when all of these opportunities are being open to us now, right?”
She makes a good point.
Ouma is usually filled with doubt and dread at the prospect, but it’d be nice to actually go out and do something and feel like he’s making a difference.
He really wants to make that difference.
He thinks about Saihara, and the current state he’s in. The fact he volunteered to help his friend properly take care of himself. What that show does to people…
Can he really change that?
He feels something small bloom in his heart...a kind of resolve.
And hearing those words aloud helps him feel less doubtful about the whole thing.
“You know...you might be onto something.”
“Great to see that powerful brain of yours functioning again.” She says, giggling slightly.
Ouma scoffs, but he also gives his friend a rare smile.
“Oh shut up…”
He never really thought about it before. Sure he’s always wanted to do something, but he starts wondering if he could do more than just make a protest sign.
Ouma nods to himself.
He wants to do more. He has to.
After a rather lengthy session, Ouma takes his pay, and heads out with a heart full of feeling.
Now, his promise to Saihara.
He drags his exhausted legs to the empty house.
For once in his life, Ouma is relieved at the amount of shit he carries in his school bag. He can’t imagine Saihara knows where everything in this house is, when he doesn’t even use them.
He knocks a few times, before hearing frantic footsteps approaching the door.
Ouma can almost sense it coming, so he backs up and lets Saihara speedily open the door with so much force it slams back into the wall.
“Ouma-kun!” He yells, at typical Saihara volume. His expression looks rather surprised, eyes wider than usual and mouth gaping.
“I-I didn’t think you’d come...again!” He steps out of the way, allowing Ouma to walk in.
Does Saihara really keep expecting Ouma to just never talk to him again? All the time? Well, he couldn’t fault the guy. He sometimes had the same feeling with anyone he talked to.
“Well, I did. Now, where should we- ...what happened there?” Ouma suddenly cuts himself upon seeing a mark he doesn’t remember before. Saihara’s wrist is bruised, as if someone had twisted it. Or attempted to.
Saihara seems to turn in on himself. He clasps his hands together, lowering his face so he doesn’t have to look into Ouma’s eyes.
Ouma doesn’t want to make him uncomfortable, so he doesn’t question any further.
Saihara does try to answer, though.
“Just...some people. At school. T-They-”
“Hey..relax. You don’t need to tell me if you don’t want to.” Ouma says.
Saihara clamps shut, but he seems relieved judging from the way his shoulders and posture relaxes after the fact.
Ouma didn’t want to put stress on the other. Sometimes he just prefers not to think about the cruelty of people for a while. Although, with all the Danganronpa merch around here..it’s getting kinda hard.
He briefly wonders what he’d be like if he used Danganronpa as an escape like Saihara.
“So… the bathroom. Where is it?”
Saihara looks reluctant already. He seems to accept his fate as he beckons Ouma in a direction.
The bathroom is huge. Sometimes Ouma forgets that Saihara doesn’t really have a money problem. Everything looks expensive and nice, but the amount of dust covering anything breaks the illusion. It’s like the place hasn’t been used in a long time.
Thankfully the tub doesn’t need a scrubbing, so he figures he can just start now. He grabs a stool in the far left corner, and places it in the middle of the room.
“Ok, so first you’re going to need to shower.”
Saihara doesn’t move.
It’s almost like his friend is like internally groaning. But Ouma knows what it’s like, to be in that place of not bothering to care about hygiene.
So he decides Saihara will get a shower.
Ouma gently grabs Saihara’s wrist, pulling him to the tub.
“You a hot or cold person? Lukewarm? Preferences?” He asks firmly.
Ouma turns the knob, setting it at the right place.
“Okay, so I’ll stay in here. I won’t look or anything, but I’ll be here, alright?” Ouma says, guessing Saihara doesn’t really want to be alone in this.
Saihara seems placated, nodding at the suggestion. Ouma walks to the other side of the room, and sits down facing away from the tub.
He wonders if Saihara has a problem with showering in general. Maybe a bad memory, or something of the nature.
Either way, not his business.
He just really wants his friend to take care of himself.
He hears the water running, and faint humming coming from the shower.
It’s kind of amusing...Saihara must really like to hum.
“Don’t just get in and get out, either. Use shampoo and conditioner and all of that. Also body wash, that is very important!” Ouma says it, just in case.
He hears a noise of confirmation and relaxes. His mothering instincts are really kicking in again…
He remembers a time where everything felt so meaningless that he couldn’t bring himself to do basic things to take care of himself. Showering, washing his body, brushing his hair, even eating felt like a chore.
But it also made him more depressed.
He hated feeling dirty, hated that feeling of being trapped knowing that even if he had the ability to just get up and do it he never did.
It was a very bad place.
He didn’t want Saihara to suffer through the same feelings.
After a while, he hears the water turn off.
“Oh..uh, Saihara, I’m going to go to your room to get you a change of clothes...preferences?” Ouma says with his back still facing Saihara. He inches closer to the door so he can exit the room.
“Um...I have pajamas in there. Any of those is o-ok!” Saihara yells back.
Ouma nods and quickly steps out, so he doesn’t accidentally look at Saihara.
The situation almost sounds comical, but something tells him Saihara would be really uncomfortable if Ouma caught a glimpse of the other undressed.
He steps in the bedroom and..all of it’s Danganronpa glory, and rummages through every drawer for comfortable clothes.
He finds a lot of Danganronpa merch scattered throughout, in drawers that were clearly for other things. It’s really a mess. Ouma’s fingers twitch with an urge to organize, but he doesn’t want to leave Saihara in there for too long.
“Come on, there’s gotta be something clean in one of these…” He mumbles, smelling every piece of clothing to find something that’s actually been washed. Does Saihara ever wash these things? At the very least there’s gotta be something he hasn’t worn..
In the corner of the closet, neatly folded is a pair of pants and a shirt that looks pretty wearable. Compared to everything else, it looks much better.
It’s rather plain..unlike Saihara’s other pajamas, that are basically all Danganronpa themed. Hopefully this article of clothing doesn’t give his friend a bad memory, or make him feel even more uncomfortable despite being cleaner than anything else in here.
He nods to himself and carefully steps out of the room, vowing to organize the place later.
He slips back in the bathroom and just drops the clothes to the floor, doing his best to keep his back turned away from Saihara.
After a few vague shuffling sounds later, Saihara yells in his direction. “You can l-look now!”
Ouma breathes a sigh of relief, finally turning around.
At least Saihara smells better now.
And he put the clothes on with no problem...so that’s one less anxiety inducing thing to worry about now.
Saihara looks snug in his pajamas, like he’s about ready to go to bed.
Well, it was getting pretty late...it was actually about dinner time. He had to hurry.
Ouma always has a brush in his bag, just in case some unlikely weather messes with his hair. It’s already a mess, but he’d prefer it to be it’s usual mess than anything else.
“Okay, sit in that chair in the middle of the room. I’m going to brush out all of the knots in your hair, okay?” He says. He wants Saihara to know what he’s doing, just so his friend is prepared for it.
Saihara nods, cautiously taking a seat. He must really dread brushing his hair. Probably one of the reasons why he never does.
Ouma knows when he shouldn’t be too harsh. He gathers a bunch of Saihara’s hair, and gently brings the brush through.
He tries to be gentle, and slow. He runs his hands through, trying to get all of the water out. He’d blow dry it, but he doesn’t want to put too much on Saihara’s hair. He can feel all of the knots in his friend’s hair, and tries his best to brush through them without it hurting. But it will hurt eventually, so he gets a few yelps.
Ouma actually finds a few balls of dust hiding out in Saihara’s hair. It makes his face scrunch up, but...it’s good to get rid of them. As for the flakes...he’d probably need to get a certain shampoo for it. He mentally tacks it to the checklist in his head.
Finally, after getting through every obstructive thing in Saihara’s hair, it’s smooth sailing from there.
He gently runs the brush through, and Saihara’s posture is less tense and more relaxed now. Ouma sprays a little bit of moose on his hands to run it through Saihara’s hair...and it’s nice.
Saihara makes a vague sound, but it doesn’t sound unpleasant.
He brushes through it again and again, but it doesn’t seem to hurt as much anymore. When he finally feels satisfied, he puts the brush back and runs his fingers through again.
Saihara leans into the touch, eyes closed.
Ouma doesn’t want to break the serene spell they have going on, so he quietly gets his next words out.
“See? Doesn’t it feel so much better..to just..be able to run hands through your hair with no problems? It’s much softer like this…”
Saihara nods absentmindedly, quietly humming.
“I-I like it when y-you do it.”
The statement seems casual to Saihara, but Ouma has a hard time fighting down a massive blush. People can’t just say things like that suddenly …
Ouma clears his throat. Don’t want to make it awkward. He finishes up, and decides not to use hair spray. It’ll be just fine like this. They’ll be sleeping soon, anyways.
Here’s the question Ouma dreads.
“...When was the last time you brushed your teeth?”
Saihara usually paused to say that when he was guilty of something.
“Well. Better get to it.”
Saihara looks like he wants to protest, but Ouma gives him a pointed look. He nods and grabs the toothbrush.
“...I know it’s hard. But you’ll feel so much better after you clean yourself up a bit.”
And he knows this from experience.
As Saihara scrubs at his teeth, Ouma grabs a rag to get the rest of water dripping from the other’s hair.
He tries not to look directly at the mirror in front of him, he knows how annoying it is to be watched when doing these things.
He hears Saihara spit in the sink, accompanied with a bit of blood.
Saihara doesn’t voice anything, but Ouma hopes the whole thing is making the other feel clean at least. He wasn’t doubting anything before, but now he’s a bit worried that he might’ve been too much.
But Saihara seems fine. It’s hard to tell what the other is thinking sometimes, especially in terms of himself.
Ouma lets out a silent sigh of relief.
“Feeling refreshed, right?”
It’s vague, but it’s the best answer he’ll get.
But Saihara’s body movements speak sometimes more than words. He looks relaxed. Less scrunched up… less like he wants to fold himself over. He’ll take it as a good sign.
Ouma rubs his hands together.
“Okay then. We should finally eat. And we’re not having instant ramen.”
He walks out of the room, with Saihara following. He wants to make something else that’ll still be light for Saihara’s diet.
“Stir fry should be okay..I know how to do that. You do have some vegetables around here, right?”
“Yeah! I ..I think.”
Ouma thinks to himself..the house isn’t devoid of any ingredients at least. He’s really glad he doesn’t have to go on errands this late at night. He’d only exhaust himself...and he was tired of running around sometimes.
He opens the drawer at the bottom of the fridge that Saihara points him to and grabs an onion, red and green peppers, and some mushrooms. He could work with this. He just wish he had a kicker...some kind of meat..
He quickly scans the fridge until he spots a plastic bag with shrimp.
Ouma internally leaps for joy, pulling it out.
“We have dinner.” He says, but Saihara is looking down on the ground and shuffling his feet.
“..What’s up?” Ouma asks, curious as to what’s wrong.
Saihara mumbles something quickly.
“...Say that again?”
It’s fast, but he catches it that time.
“Yeah, sure I guess. Do you want to chop these?” Ouma suggests as he waves the bags with the vegetables around.
“Um….Can you s-show me how?”
He didn’t know how? It was as basic as cooking skills could get.
Ouma had a sneaking suspicion this may have to do with the dubious status of Saihara’s parents...but he didn’t want to dwell on that for long.
Just gotta show him how to do some simple chopping, right?
Ouma gets out the cutting board and the knife, placing the green pepper on the board. He’ll cut this one as an example.
He has a habit of..really liking to teach.
“So first..I’ll cut off the stem. Then..you’ll reach in and take out all of the seeds and stuff..all the junk you don’t need.”
He checks to see if Saihara is watching and after he gets confirmation, he continues.
“After that.. you’ll want to slice it in half. Most of things you will chop are always going to start with being sliced in half.”
“Then it’s easy from there. I’ll want these in strips for a stir fry, so that’s how I’ll cut them.” He finishes, carefully slicing them until he has enough.
He hands the knife over to Saihara, placing the red pepper on the cutting board.
Saihara looks nervous, he’s shaking and can’t seem to get the knife aligned properly.
Ouma senses this won’t go well and he leans over Saihara, clasping his hands right on top of the hands holding the knife.
On hindsight, he probably should've thought that action through, but...well.
He hears Saihara’s breath catch, and he waits.
But Saihara doesn’t say anything...or squirm in the grip.
Ouma carefully guides Saihara’s hand and eventually they’re able to cut the stem off. Ouma lets go, and Saihara seems much more steady with the knife now. Good, he really didn’t want the other to cut himself or something.
He watches as Saihara follows his instructions.
He does...pretty good. All things considered. Sure, some of the slices are uneven, but this seems to be the first time Saihara has done anything like it. It’s understandable.
Together, they cut the rest of the vegetables.
Ouma places everything in a stir fry pan, and they’re good to go.
“You did pretty good, Saihara. I’m... proud of you.” It was pretty hard to get out. Ouma isn’t really used to giving anyone blunt praise like that. But he thinks Saihara needs to hear it.
The person in question beams, smiling widely.
“You’re so smart, Ouma-kun….you know so many things..a-and now you’re teaching me…”
Ouma quickly fixes his gaze onto the food simmering below, cheeks faintly dusted pink.
It takes a bit of coaxing, but Saihara eventually eats his food. Ouma was sure to give the other a portion that wouldn’t be too much for the glass diet, and he didn't let Saihara leave until he cleaned the plate of all of it.
Ouma knows some things about food but he doesn’t consider himself an amazing cook. Maybe just enough of skill to make something that will hold him over.
With Saihara showered and fed, the heavy conscious on Ouma’s mind is pretty much lifted. He looks so much ..cleaner. Ouma isn’t one for poetic descriptions, but it was almost like he was looking at a rather raw version of Saihara.
It then occurs to him that it’s already 8 o’clock. If he were still bound to his old parents, this would be the time where he’d panic. Knowing for sure that he had to come home but also knowing for sure he was going to get a beating when he did.
But with his foster parents, this wasn’t a problem.
He didn’t want to walk home in the dark, though.
It was the opportune time to jump him, and he wasn’t about to take the risk no matter how prepared he may be.
So...he thought of an alternative.
“So, Saihara, I was wondering…-”
“I didn’t even finish my question. You sure?”
Ouma sighs aloud this time. He really is so eager..
“Guess I’m staying the night then.”
“Y-You are!?” Saihara shouts, and at this point Ouma isn’t even flinching anymore.
“Shush..you’re gonna wake people. My parents don’t care where I am and I don’t want to wander around at night. So I’m staying over.”
Saihara looks like he’s about to burst. And he kinda does. It’s fast and disorienting, but Ouma suddenly feels something wrap around his middle. He looks down, only to find Saihara hugging him tightly.
It was fine and all..but the sudden and tightness of the hold was making him uncomfortable.
“Hey...Saihara...can you ..maybe..let go of me? Or … loosen up a bit at least?”
Saihara’s eyes widen even more in recognition, and he immediately lets go. He looks down on the ground, as if in shame.
“S-Sorry...I got so excited…I’m really happy.”
At least he actually listened.
Sudden touching like that throws him off guard. It makes him nervous..make him feel trapped. And the sensations can bring back some awful memories too.
Thankfully, the damage is miniscule.
“It’s fine. So... I guess I can take the couch?” Ouma asks.
“N-no way! I don’t think s-so. It’s uncomfortable...you deserve a better place to rest. A-And this is like a sleepover! I’ve never been to one before, so this is my first time! We should do things together! Ah...like ….like....what people do at sleepovers. Like talk about Danganronpa!”
Ouma raises a brow, before Saihara remembers the fact that no, Ouma does not like or watch Danganronpa.
“O-or...talk in general?”
It actually kind of makes Ouma want to chuckle, but he restrains himself. It’s both sad and funny how easily the boy thinks Danganronpa has to do with everything.
“Okay! We can just use my bed. You..can sleep on it! We can sleep there together!”
And that’s...rather bold of him. Although Ouma doesn’t think Saihara knows just how daring of a suggestion that is.
But..Ouma would be lying if he said he didn’t want to sleep on a cozy mattress.
He could forgive it’s...current Danganronpa themed state.
“Okay..I guess that works.”
Saihara claps his hands together, and his smile is just as bright and wide as ever. It still disorients Ouma to see someone so happy around ...someone like him.
He’s not sure what that’s supposed to mean right now, but he’s tired.
They walk to Saihara’s room, and Ouma always has to do a double take whenever he enters.
The sheer slap of Danganronpa in his face is just so… jarring.
Ouma realizes that he hasn’t changed...nor showered. He has a problem using showers that aren’t his own, so Ouma doesn’t use Saihara’s. Luckily he carries his entire life in his school bag, so he has a change of comfortable clothes. No pajamas..but they’ll do.
He quickly heads into the closet to change, and steps out to Saihara already laying in bed scrolling down on his phone.
It’s now or never…
Ouma slowly slips under the covers, and damn is it comfortable.
“I’m not sure why this fandom loves to make Mai such a monster. She only did what the situation called f-for...being cornered like that. She really didn’t have a choice, you know?”
It’s completely out of nowhere but, Ouma guesses he must’ve seen something..fandom related on his timeline.
Ouma hated just imagining that word in his head.
But..hell, why not.
He decided to indulge his friend.
“What, self defense or something?”
“Y-Yeah! You see...these two guys were working together..planning to murder her. She was the Super High School Level Jeweler, by the way! Basically, they cornered her..literally. In her room! But she’s actually good at fighting..you see..she kept a weapon she first got in Chapter 1...she ended up killing them both. But it’s completely understandable! Anyone would’ve done that had they been i-in that situation! People think she’s evil..killing two people like that...but they’re the ones who were planning to kill.”
The infodump is expected, but.. it’s nice to see Saihara talk so freely. Still, it was interesting to think about..
Had he been in that situation..
He doesn't think about it.
“Makes sense...just wondering, why is Kirigiri your favorite?”
“Oh! Ah...she’s my absolute favorite. See, she’s actually all the way from Season 1.. back when Danganronpa was just a video game. I ..I love detectives...law in g-general, really. I could never..really be a detective. But I want to. And the only way I can..is through Danganronpa. I want to be interesting..to be remembered..for p-people to know I exist! Kirigiri-san is...amazing. She’s calm and collected, beautiful and strong… her father was murdered, and still she kept her cool. She’s everything..I wish I could be.”
The self deprecating words within the ramble are not lost on Ouma.
“You know..you can still be a detective. You don’t.. need Danganronpa to get there.” Ouma says quietly.
He feels the need to lightly say these words, but it’s not easy to pull yourself out of certain mindsets. He knows this very well. He knows that Saihara can’t just consider that so easily, when he’s probably been told all his life that he’d never get there. That’s he not smart enough..that he’s incompetent.
Just like how people see Ouma.
Telling him that ending Danganronpa for good is just a pipe dream.
And for a time, he really believed that was true.
Saihara giggles, but it’s nothing like the usual. It’s strained, and sounds forced.
Is that his way of scoffing at the idea?
“Detectives don’t just catch bad guys...they learn everything about the person they’re trying to catch...even if they’ve never seen their face. I-It’s amazing… she’s amazing.”
Saihara’s blatant dodge of responding to Ouma is easy to see...but he doesn’t push.
It wouldn’t be right ..to try and change his mind.
No matter how much Ouma wanted to desperately prove that it was true.
It’s interesting to hear though.. what makes the concept of a “detective” so appealing to Saihara.
“You really like her.”
As Saihara spoke, his voice got more quiet and more groggy. Ouma could tell he was getting tired...but also still feeling energetic enough to ramble coherently.
“Can I tell you something, Saihara?” He’s not sure what comes over him..not even sure if he’ll regret it, but…
Saihara was his first friend in a long time.
“Um..well, I have foster parents. Multiple, actually. I’ve…been around. Moved a lot, different people taking care of me. But...my real parents? They weren’t good to me. Kind of like our bullies...heh, they’d beat me for...the simplest things. I thought it was normal...that it was love. Something stupid like that.”
He doesn’t drag it out, not wanting to give his friend an emotional whiplash. But..it feels good to say it aloud. Like it’s tangible. What happened to him..it’s not a lie.
And Saihara is..surprisingly simple.
“C..Can I hug you?” he asks, voice quiet, close to a mumble.
Ouma appreciates that he asked this time.
The room is dark, but he can just make out Saihara’s shape as he scoots closer, gently wrapping his arms around Ouma. He pulls Ouma close until his face just about hits Saihara’s chest.
It’s quiet..and comfortable.
“Ouma-kun...y-you’re amazing..and strong. You’re s-so unlike anyone I’ve ever met...and you’re a good friend. T-to me, even when I…”
He trails off, and Ouma catches the slither of self awareness that had just slipped out. He looks up, noticing Saihara looking right at him. They both blush, turning away from each other immediately.
Get it together, Ouma…
He doesn’t think Saihara is going to finish, and he can tell the other is getting sleepy.
“...Thank you. I just had to say it.” Ouma just really wanted to say it aloud. It felt good.
Saihara hums softly and Ouma comes to like the sound. “...I-I know my parents haven’t ever been properly there for m-me. I don’t know how to do things everyone else can do. N-no one ever taught me.”
Ouma is glad to hear that he acknowledges this, at least. If he didn’t understand that upbringing wasn’t normal, then…
To be able to admit that, even when he so desperately doesn’t want to think about it.
To escape from that emptiness he feels everyday..
“You’re strong too, Saihara….”
“....Am I?” Saihara wonders solemnly.
Ouma doesn’t know what to say to that.
And then silence follows. Saihara had fallen asleep, with Ouma still in his arms.
Ouma looks around the room. At all of the Danganronpa merch...decorations..everything.
It would cruel of him to take this all away. Everyone needs something to get out of a bad place. But that need can sometimes grow dangerous and consuming… taking over your life. But would it make him a horrible person for wanting to take that neverending dream away?
Ouma dwells on these final coherent thoughts of the night, and finally gives in to his body’s fatigue.
Protests, on and off, every week that passes by. It’s inspiring, really. Ouma frantically searches the internet for any near his area in his room. It’s covered in various documents and scribbles of his plan. A lot of papers scattered about had to do with Danganronpa, schedules for upcoming auditions, articles about Team Danganronpa related offenses, allegations against members of the team.
It was almost like the usual conspiracy theory cliche. It just needed a corkboard and a lot of connecting points.
He’s..getting pretty close to it.
There had to be at least one near his area…
He really had an unfortunate break, getting stuck here. Not even half decent parents and still more Danganronpa to be shoved down his throat everyday.
Of course, with the exception of…Saihara.
Ouma pushes the laptop to the side, pulling out more paper to write out more plans that will just sound ridiculous.
He knows he really wants to do something, but god is his brain just failing on him. It’s hard to come up with something solid, and Ouma’s no killing policy doesn’t allow him to storm Team Danganronpa’s headquarters and just swiftly deliver justice.
It has to be subtle and slow, or quick and immediate. He figures subtle and slow will be his best best, but how to execute it…
He wouldn’t know. He had neglected his research on Team Danganronpa over the years, opting to just try and ignore everything the best he can.
But he’s tired of it.
He wants this to end already and if he isn’t going to do everything he can to make that happen.
He taps his pencil on his chin.
Then, suddenly, an idea pops to mind. He should’ve thought of it earlier, really. Who better to ask how to thwart Team Danganronpa...than an avid fan himself? But..how would he go about asking that anyways?
And.. is it appropriate?
He didn’t want to use Saihara. He was his friend.
But..he was curious..what would he say?
And...this was for the greater good, after all.
Ouma taps his fingers along the wood of the desk. Well..there was only one way to found out. And he has to do it today, because he’s not sure he’d able to go through with it any other time. His blood and brain are simmering today, full of feelings and energy. It’s the perfect time.
He has to do something no one has ever thought of before.
Ouma gathers all the things he needs. He’ll visit Saihara today.
He decides to go out through his window. His parents are home in the living room, being loud and obnoxious as usual. It does something to Ouma’s concentration that really makes it hard to think.
He carefully climbs out, using the curtains to cover the open window. There’s luckily a lot of crevices and vines leading up to the roof, so Ouma is easily able to climb down without worrying about getting hurt.
As soon as he hits the ground, he’s off. To the familiar route which he takes to Saihara’s house. It’s not a far walk, and he knows it takes just one knock for Saihara to come running to the door. So he knocks.
As predicted, Saihara answers the door right away. He is still able to look so excited somehow every time he hangs out with Ouma. Ouma pretends it doesn’t mean that much to him.
He thinks he’s getting used to seeing the Danganronpa on the shelf immediately as he enters, but he still feels a bit of his underlying bitterness nonetheless.
Saihara’s house had kind of become a second home to him. It was strange, but he just really liked being in an actual house opposed to the apartment. That’s not including Saihara’s presence, which had become something he’s come to enjoy.
...Not that he’d ever admit that aloud.
But he came here for a reason, this time. He steeled himself, preparing for any way this conversation could go.
“Listen...can we, go to your room or something. To hang out and talk?”
“Yeah, yeah! H-Hold on…”
Saihara seems to have recently come back from school, so his school bag is still laying around near the entrance. The Vita sticking out of the bag doesn’t go unnoticed.
Ouma thinks he knows what Saihara does for most of his classes.
After Saihara relocates his bag to the couch, they head into his room. Ouma takes a seat at Saihara’s desk, covered in Danganronpa merch. He had little erasers of Kirigiri and Naegi, and he wouldn’t lie and say it wasn’t endearing.
Ouma clears his throat, thinking about how he should phrase this…
Saihara’s mind is elsewhere, though.. he seems distracted. He actually looks kind of worried. If Ouma wasn’t used to the others jarring mood swings, it would be pretty alarming.
Still, it doesn’t stop himself from wanting to ask if Saihara is okay.
“You’re shifting in place..”
Saihara looks down, trying to will himself to stop fidgeting. But he keeps going.
“You know, if you have something else on your mind…”
“Noo it’s okay! Sorry…”
“No need to apologise…”
Ouma was starting to get nervous himself. Maybe he shouldn’t ask. Maybe Saihara will think he’s an asshole, just using his friend for his own gain. Or maybe he’ll spit in Ouma’s face, tell him he’ll never have a chance to do anything about Danganronpa, tell him he doesn’t deserve to see it happen.
What is Ouma really afraid of here, exactly?
“So...say, like, hypothetically. Hypothetically, someone wanted to like...end a killing game. But to do that he’d have to like...overcome the omniscience that’s the mastermind’s presence, right? It is hard to go against something of that power...but say someone was going to try. How do you..think they would?”
Ouma cringes at the question. He feels dirty just discussing Danganronpa related things in general. Leaves a bad taste…
But Saihara seems surprised, which makes sense, Ouma doesn’t ask these things unprompted. The random interest in something Danganronpa related seems to put a huge smile on his face anyways though.
“Oh..! You mean if someone wanted to overthrow the mastermind! Before they could finish their work… it’s happened before..but it’s not something you see a lot. If they wanted to do something like that, their best bet would probably be from the inside. Meaning, they have to be really clever, having to find out who the mastermind is before the big reveal. Masterminds are usually students themselves, save for some exceptions. So they’re not infallible. No mastermind is perfect. If you’re smart enough. Pick up cues, have good sense, and are good at reading people, you could definitely be able to figure it out. So once they get that information..they have every advantage over the mastermind. I think..in season 36? One of the characters is actually able to do this! They befriended the mastermind, hence why I said from the inside. Masterminds are human, after all...being the right person for a Mastermind who longs for a connection… well..”
He trails off, probably thinking Ouma gets the point.
And..he does. He forgot that Saihara ..does his research. His Danganronpa research, anyways. But he definitely knows his stuff..
The words that seem glued into Ouma’s head is ‘from the inside’ though..
From the inside…
It’s not a bad prospect..not really. In fact, he’s surprised he himself hadn’t thought of it before. But it’s obviously risky. For..obvious reasons. You know the thing about how you, a participant, might die.
But it’s interesting anyways. And he might look into it. After all, he had to go all out if this was going to even work in the first place, if at all.
“Hmm… interesting. Thanks.”
“D..Does this mean you want to watch-”
“Uh, nah, I’m good.”
Saihara looks like he was expecting that answer, yet he’s still smiling fondly.
“A-Any reason why you asked?”
“Just curious. I am all about the concept of overthrowing a higher power, you know.”
Saihara laughs, and it’s a really nice sound.
Ouma doesn’t realize he’s smiling back until he sees Saihara stop and stare right at him.
He looks away and quickly pushes the smile down, as Saihara blushes a bright red, turning away as well.
..Don’t think about it.
“Well..we can still do something together. You got a Vita, right?”
“Yeah! I do..”
Ouma has to resist the sudden urge to grin.
“The Vita might be a Danganronpa machine to a lot of people, but it’s got some other good undermined releases. We’re having a game night.
From the inside.
He dares to entertain the idea. It’s hard not to think about. But he tries to banish the thought.
Today was not the day.
He stands outside a rather well put together diner. When Saihara had asked him if he wanted to go out to eat with him… he didn’t really expect this. And..he figured Saihara would jump at any opportunity to drag Ouma to a Danganronpa Cafe…
But it looked pretty normal to him. No pictures of characters plastered outside..no giant cutouts of sprites.. not a lot of people with those infuriating itabags.
Sure there were outliers, but...there always was.
Is this special to Saihara?
Ouma did his best to look nice for the occasion. He got paid extra this week, so he used the rest of that money to buy a decent looking suit. It was a rather light purple, his favorite color. It wasn’t ridiculously fancy, but it would do.
The place looked high end. Definitely expensive. Sophisticated couples littered the place, it was so stereotypically rich it was hard not to laugh.
But he wasn’t here to make fun of wealthy people.
He sees Saihara approaching from a distance, looking...well..
His suit was the traditional black and white, but from the material he could tell it was worth a lot more than the thing Ouma got at a second hand shop.
He definitely had money to blow…
That aside, Saihara looked nice. And as he came closer, Ouma didn’t smell any distinct unwelcoming odor on him. He looked clean and well put together. Huh.
“Ouma-kun! I’m s-sorry I kept you waiting out here…” He starts out loudly, turning a couple of heads. The rest of the sentence fizzles out and turns into a mumble, though.
“It’s fine. Wasn’t waiting long…” He replies. Saihara beams, shoulders dropping in relief. Ouma is starting to wonder what this was all about. “You know, I would’ve expected you to pick some Danganronpa themed place.”
Saihara starts wringing his hands, eyes drifting to the right. “I..I was going to...I was! But….ah.. I didn’t want you to be uncomfortable..” He mumbles again.
Ouma nods, understanding. It’s surprising. Going out of his way like this..even when Saihara has a hard time resisting Danganronpa’s ever present temptation.
He allows himself a real smile- no hiding.
“Saihara… thank you.” He looks right at Saihara, so his friend doesn’t miss the sincere gratitude.
Saihara’s face turns into a deep crimson red. He looks away, covering his face. His smile is still there and his shoulders shake rapidly. He realizes Saihara is laughing, overjoyed and maybe a little bit embarrassed.
He didn’t want Saihara to be uncomfortable either though. People were turning their way and while at first glance Saihara seems alright with that, he can tell that attention isn’t easy to handle for him. He grabs Saihara’s hand, and they walk up to a podium where a lady confirms their reservation and leads them to a table.
The diner, in all of it’s polished and blatantly rich glory, has mini chandeliers that hang above almost every table and booth. The ostentatious presentation was beautiful, as well as gag worthy. He didn’t know how to feel about it.
Saihara seemed intimidated by the people here. It was understandable, too many fancy looking people. Businessmen…important people. It reminded Ouma of Team Danganronpa a little. He can only imagine the kinds of places they hung around in-
Don’t think about Danganronpa here…
They settle down together, and look over the menu.
Everything looks as..over the top as you’d expect it. Strange food combinations, extra sweet desserts, and all the alcohol you can imagine. He’d have to make the most of this, he rarely ate this much going out.
“..My M-Mother and Father used to take me here.” Saihara starts, eyes glued to the table. Ouma lowers his own menu, attentive to whatever Saihara had to say. He rarely talked about himself. He had to listen.
“People they’ve met from business trips. A-Actors and.. writers. They’d try to introduce me to their business partners and crew..but I always hid under the tables. They...stopped taking me.” Saihara’s voice gets quieter toward the end, laced with melancholy Ouma has never heard in the other’s voice before.
No wonder why he brought Ouma here. Even if his parents not so subtly trickled out of his life, he clung to the nostalgia of those memories he had for it.
He’ll make a better memory here for Saihara to remember.
“I see. So it means something to you. Thanks for taking me here.” Ouma offers a small smile. It can’t be easy to confront something in your past like this. Especially when Saihara seems so preoccupied on Danganronpa.. it’s commendable.
Saihara looks back down at the menu, blushing a deep red. His smile is more relaxed than usual, it looks nice. He stutters a lot more on ordering his food, which isn’t surprising. Ouma knows how Saihara is with adults… he’s always extra nervous.
The waiter leaves to get their drinks and food, and Saihara continues.
“I-I guess I just wanted you to see it too. Even though the adults who hang around here are like strangers to me..”
Ouma nods, understanding. “Yeah, of course. It is nice, in a way. Don’t fancy the regulars, but… the atmosphere makes up for it.”
Saihara looks relieved, glad it wasn’t a mistake to bring Ouma here.
“Um..How much was this, by the way?” Ouma has to ask.
Saihara freezes up, and Ouma shakes his head. Guess it’s better not to worry about that. He doesn’t want Saihara blowing money on him, but he knows there’s more than enough lying around anyways.
“It’s- fine. So, what kind of stuff did they do here?” He asks, changing the line of questioning.
Saihara seems more at ease from this one, putting his hand to his chin. He looks deep in thought, thinking of any instance he could remember.
“Mother used to tell me that she had to get together with her new...friends. At the time I didn’t question it. I-I never questioned my parents. They t-taught me how to please people...just like how they do.” Saihara fixes his gaze on the glass that was gently placed on their table. Ouma nods to the waiter, before turning back to Saihara. “They usually left me to do whatever. Mingle with p-people, they said. I got too nervous. I didn’t want to. There’s a balcony here I’d run to! The air was good….”
Ouma agrees. Fresh air is wonderful when you need to get away from people sometimes. He’s glad Saihara seemed to be opening up a bit more. It was nice, compared to the Danganronpa rambles. He always liked listening to Saihara, but about things like this…he’s happy.
“That one over there?” He points to a large glass door, and Saihara nods enthusiastically.
“It does look like a nice view. Talking to people is tough. It may seem effortless to me, but I understand. Social anxiety is a bitch. It’s fucked with me more than once, that’s for sure.” Ouma says. He’s worked hard to get to where he is. After all, he could barely look people in the face after he had been thrown into foster care.
Saihara giggles, appreciating the “eloquent” word choice. “I-Isn’t it? ..I didn’t like being left to my own devices like that. I p-panicked easily.. so I always stayed out there for most of the time.”
Ouma nods. “Makes sense. My parents brought me out to places, but they never really kept track of me and where I went. I was a wanderer, I loved exploring..it doesn’t mix well with parents who don’t bother watching you.” He explains, recalling a particular instance in a mall.
“There was a time I remember getting curious. They took me out to a for shopping..and I saw something in the window of a store, probably a video game or something. I walked away, wanting to get a better look… but when I had turned around.. they weren’t anywhere to be found. I looked around..as hard as I could..I ran around that place. But I couldn't find them. I panicked and started hyperventilating..minutes later I was crying in the middle of a mall.” He pauses to reveal a wry and bitter smile. “Finally someone noticed my panicking.. it took a while.. but my parents did come to get me when they were called. Later that night.. well. My dad wasn’t happy.”
Saihara seems to catch onto the implications at the end of his story, and looks down for a while, expression frustrated and troubled.
“T-That’s horrible…” He says, in an understanding and sad tone.
Ouma laughs harshly, understanding just how frustrating it all was. He knows better now that his parents weren’t good to him at all.
“Standard Procedure. Not that it matters anymore though. My new parents aren’t that much of an improvement, but at least I don’t get bruises from my family anymore.”
“S-Still..now bullies h-have taken their spot.” Saihara says, and his hands are tightly wrapped around his glass. His expression looks so much different than usual… angry, almost. It was so rare to see on him, with his usual eager smile, even smiling when in pain or upset. It seems he couldn’t keep that up for today.
“It’s a pain, isn’t it?” He asks, and Saihara nods quickly.
Ouma leans across the table, gently prying Saihara’s hands off his glass. He wraps his hands around Saihara’s, giving him a reassuring look.
“Don’t worry about it too much. I’m good at taking care of my bruises, as I’m pretty medically smart now. I’ll be fine. And you know how I am.. I’ve found ways to get myself out of bad situations without physical prowess.”
Saihara seems to relax at that. His smile is back, and he nods to Ouma.
The waiter comes back to Ouma’s hands on Saihara’s...and well...they separate quickly. The waiter doesn’t comment on it, gives them their food, and walks away.
Ouma breathes a sigh of relief. They both eat at their own pace, Ouma is fast, rarely giving himself time to digest the food. Saihara is slow and takes awhile just to get a chunk down.
“They told me that I’d be fine on my own.” Saihara says quietly.
Ouma can already guess who “they” were.
“...I’m not.” Saihara looks down, picking on his food with his fork.
After a bit, Saihara reaches into his pocket for his phone. His Kirigiri charm hangs off the phone case, and he grabs it, fiddling with the thing. He smiles at it, and it placates his earlier frustration. He places his phone on the table where he can see it.
Ouma doesn’t comment on it.
Ouma finishes his food with his plate clean. Saihara still has half his food on his plate, but Ouma knows he’s not going to eat it. He asks the waiter to wrap it up, since Ouma isn’t one to let food to go to waste. Saihara pays for their food, and they both get up.
Ouma has an idea, though. He wanted to try it. Saihara looks like he’s ready to walk out, turning towards the door, but-
“Wait. Saihara.” He says. Saihara slowly turns around to face Ouma, tilting his head.
Ouma looks at the balcony, then back at Saihara. He grabs Saihara’s hand and walks towards the door with him, pushing it open. Saihara registers the change in location, and looks around with awe. Plants and flowers of all different kinds are placed along the railing, along with pale white lights that illuminate the night sky.
Saihara walks up to the edge, leaning against the railing. Ouma joins him, observing the garden below.
“It’s a really pretty v-view.. isn’t it?” Saihara whispers right beside him. Saihara looked happy. Content. At ease..
Ouma feels something bubble in his chest. “Yeah, it’s wonderful…” He says, as softly as he can manage. They admire the view for a while, muffled voices from the diner heard in the distance. The background noise was nice with their silence, and Ouma seeks out flowers he sees in the garden that remind him of Saihara.
Saihara’s hand is holding the railing in front of them. He eyes it carefully, and then takes a look at Saihara’s expression. The usual owl eyed look is subdued, his eyelids relaxed. He’s taking in the sight, and Ouma is glad at least one memory of this place can be a pleasant one for his friend.
He looks back down at that hand. “Saihara… can I..?” He asks, voice gentle. He was hovering his hand over Saihara’s, waiting for an answer.
Saihara’s eyes widen in surprise, but he nods. Ouma places his hand over Saihara’s, blushing a red he didn’t think he was capable of. Saihara stares holes into the ground, and he starts to sweat. Ouma eventually takes the hand in his, caresses the indents and lines all over Saihara’s hands. His feelings about all the time he’s had with his friend catch up to him. It was easy to say he was just tolerant of Saihara because he didn’t care about Ouma hating Danganronpa. But along the way, it had become something..special. Something he looked forward to. He simply loved being with Saihara. He thought he was kind and understanding, and they’ve both had their share of troubles. The world was a cruel place to them, yet within it..they found each other.
Ouma ignores the sinking feeling in his gut, and instead focuses on the pure joy and happiness he felt. These feelings he had whenever he was with him…
Ouma keeps a hold on Saihara’s hand, their fingers now intertwined. He gets closer, gently placing a hand on Saihara’s cheek, caressing it before- leaning in.
He’s gentle and a bit hesitant, suddenly unsure about his impulse decision. But it felt so good to finally do that. Saihara’s eyes had widened drastically, before he gave in to the sensation and eventually closed his eyes. They breathe into each other, kissing with an eagerness that had suddenly blossomed when their lips connected.
Ouma slowly leans away, carefully opening his eyes again. Saihara does the same, and they’re both staring at each other, maintaining eye contact for longer than they ever had been able to before.
Suddenly, Ouma is hit with the weight of what he just did. “I-I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me, I-” He stutters out, at the same time Saihara instantly reassures. “It’s fine! It’s o-okay, you don’t need to worry-”
They both stop themselves, realizing their words overlapping. Ouma can’t help but let out a small chuckle, and Saihara joins in giggling lightly. They both quietly laugh into the moonlight, at their silliness and even giddiness from the situation. Ouma really felt like the elementary school child he once was, crushing on every boy he met. The silly, mundane crushes of a simpler yet painful part of his life.
Their hands were still connected. Saihara gives him a smile that’s not a full out grin, but a small and gentle one. Ouma thought he looked so beautiful with that serene expression…
For the rest of the night at the diner, they stayed on the balcony. Made small talk and not so subtly exchanged loving looks and tiny kisses.
If only this moment would have lasted forever and ever, an eternity in Saihara’s company with no interruption.
Ouma wasn’t an idiot.
He knew this was coming. He was going to be prepared for it. He scans the fliers all across the train station, observing the very thing that threatened the populace with promises of talent in the form of this ugly unforgettable poison to society.
“Sign up for auditions…” He reads, aloud. Posters of all kinds with the same message were spread everywhere. On the streets, in front of stores, even in school. It was a time he dreaded every time it happened. Danganronpa’s audition season.
But this time he actually has to pay attention to the whole thing.
Basically, Team Danganronpa has a website. You could either apply online for an audition, or at their main building. They’ll add you to the list, and then assign you a day and time to arrive at the designated audition site. The auditions usually took about a week to get through, and then about a few more weeks to process the results. They were pretty fast with the amount of auditions they have everytime. He has no idea how they do it so fast. Just another infuriating mystery about Team Danganronpa.
Danganronpa is all anyone talks about in school as per usual, but now its amped up. Everyone is talking about their ideas for their talents, executions.. murders. He pulls up the website on his phone, intended to just get this over with right here.
He knows Saihara is going to audition. Why wouldn’t he? Danganronpa is his life. It’s important to him. He loved it so much he didn’t mind the risk of dying for it. He doesn’t want him to.. he doesn’t want Saihara to throw his life away.
But..that’d make him a hypocrite. What right did he have to stop Saihara from making this decision? Yet..it still didn’t feel right. Ouma couldn’t help feeling like everything was just wrong. He shouldn’t have to do this, and Saihara shouldn’t be obsessed with that stupid show-
He halts his thoughts, waiting for his body to relax. He looks back down at his phone. His name. Okay, he can do that. He types in his name, birthdate (had to make sure they were teenagers ! he thinks, sarcastically.) email, and address. The application is pretty simple. They don’t even ask about parent permissions or like..anything of that sort. It was so irresponsibly typical of Team Danganronpa he didn’t know if he should laugh or cry about it. There’s a terms and conditions section, though. He takes the time to read it, see how the process goes.
They basically ask for your consent to have your memories wiped, and other bodily tampering. But that’s all the precautions they bother to set. Team Danganronpa doesn’t care about the kids who audition anyways. They just find the most “interesting” students to use as personality altering lab rats. Like mad scientists, really. It’s sickening and infuriating but now was not the time for his emotions to control him. He’d probably back out of this if he thought about everything too hard.
His mind was set.
He confirms his application, and sees a location and time pop up shortly afterwards. So that’s when and where he’ll have his audition. He already had a notebook for what he’ll say when he goes. He’s working on something that’ll really amuse Team Danganronpa. He couldn’t shake the sense of dread he had, though. The clock counts down to his audition, and...this has to be perfect.
He couldn’t afford to fail. He couldn’t.
He takes out his notebook, reading through the contents. It mostly consisted of audition drafts...and goodbye letters. For all the people in his life. He probably shouldn’t use them. It would be better for everyone if he just...disappeared suddenly. He was going to quit his job, and as for the chat…
He didn’t want to leave people wondering what happened to him, but he couldn’t help it. He wasn’t going to explain this to them. They’ll see him in the killing game, and they’ll watch him bring it all down. He was going to trust himself with ending Danganronpa for good. It’s all he’s ever wanted, all his life. Surely his heart will hold on to that dream, and allow it to come to fruition.
From the inside.
He couldn’t help it. Who else would do this other than him?
He’d risk his life to end society’s special kind of Black Death.
The only thing he’s worried about is Saihara. It’s so, so hypocritical of him to have this urge to stop Saihara from auditioning. He doesn’t deserve it. But it’s all he had, all he’s ever known. He has Ouma, but..it was too late. Ouma came too late into that life.. what right did he have to tell Saihara he wasn’t allowed to die? He didn’t want that to happen..he didn’t want Saihara to lose the last shred of himself he has left.
To Danganronpa, of all things. But he said it himself..it was the only thing he’s ever wanted. Just like ending Danganronpa is the one thing Ouma wanted his whole life. It was funny really, how in the end, it all came back to Danganronpa. Even when Ouma hated it with his entire being, it’s all he thought about.
In a way, he had been ensnared in the trap as well.
It was no use thinking of that though. He was going to give Team Danganronpa a final performance they’ll never forget.
Saihara… even after everything they’ve been through, how much it all meant.. how he longed to be his arms again, touching his lips…
But neither of them had budged from the things they felt so strongly about.
Ouma scribbles at his notebook, trying to write the perfect words to hook them in. He won’t be manipulated and punished by the world anymore. This time, he’ll pull the strings on Team Danganronpa. He’ll fool them long enough to let him into this season, and he knows his heart is strong enough to do whatever it takes to make sure this ends. The higher ups aren’t so special, aren’t so intimidating when you study their greedy nature. They become predictable, especially after so many years of working on the same damn show. But their reign is slipping. Cracks are beginning to show in their staff, people are quitting, protests keep happening and are so frequent now. Things are changing, albeit very slowly. Ouma is just...speeding up the process. He’ll give this world the kick it needs.
He rips out the goodbye letters from his notebook and leaves his chat, being sure to delete discord off his phone as well. Tomorrow, he resigns from his tutoring sessions.
Something in the back of his mind tells him he should be more conscious of what he’s doing. Leaving people who have no idea what he’s up to, until they see him on the big screen. Abandoning them, when he’s something so prominent in their lives.
But they don’t understand.
He had to do this.
He thinks if he shared this with anyone, they’d try to stop him.
They’re sitting in Saihara’s room when his friend breaks the news. Saihara’s been shaking all day, eager to get a secret out.
It’s too bad Ouma knows exactly what that secret is. He sits at Saihara’s desk, notebook in hand.
Saihara swings his feet back and forth as he sits in his bed, his phone in his hand. He shoves the screen in Ouma’s face, a location, day, and time displayed on the screen. Just like when Ouma had sent his application in. “O-Ouma-kun! Look! I’m gonna audition..! They’re going to let me have a chance! T-To be in Danganronpa!” He yells, excited and erratic. He looks like he’s hardly been able to contain himself.
Ouma feels guilty for looking skeptical, as if he didn’t except this. He did. Didn’t mean he had to like it. He stares at his friend, giving him a pointed look. “So you’re really doing this, huh…” He trails off.
Saihara nods his wildly. He looked almost like an animal, his hair was sticking out in all directions and he looked so much more excited than he’s ever been. Kind of like a rabid dog. “I-I am... this has been m-my dream for...so long. It’s all I ever…” Saihara looks towards the ground, but before he can finish-
“..What about everything we did together?” Ouma asks with a bit of an incredulous tone, before realizing he shouldn’t get snippy like this. Not about this and not to Saihara. But Saihara’s eyes go wider than usual, and he can’t seem to keep his mouth shut. Shit.
Before Ouma can stop himself, he’s already lost in his word vomit. “Are you really going to throw away your life like this? As if nothing that’s happened in your life mattered?” Ouma wanted to continue, but Saihara stops him right there when he replies immediately.
“Y-Yes. I am- because nothing in my life ever mattered.” Saihara firmly gets out, startling himself and Ouma. They both stare at each other, the tension in the room suddenly rising to an almost tangible degree.
“You know e-exactly what it’s like. All my p-parents ever did for me w-was give me food and a roof over my head. They were never there for m-me, they never protected me when p-people hurt me, people think I don’t hear the things they say about m-me or-” Saihara cuts himself off, catching his breath.
Ouma bites his lip. He shouldn’t be annoyed by this. He did the same thing. He’s going to audition for the same stupid show that Saihara wants to be apart of.
“Y-You’re telling me that I’m throwing my life away...but what about yours?” Saihara asks, looking straight into Ouma’s eyes.
Ouma stares back. “What?”
Saihara glances down to the notebook in Ouma’s hand. “T-That’s what that is, right? I saw you writing in it one day… you filled out that application, too.” His voice gets quieter as he says this.
Ouma tightens his grip on the notebook, looking to the side. “It’s…”
“You have...p-people that care about you. People that aren’t me. They l-like you they- they don’t want you to go. You have so many things I don’t have...and y-you’re just going to leave it all behind. I d-don’t get that either...I don’t get it at all! W-Why are you so adamant about me staying here, when I h-have nothing?” Saihara chokes on his words, tears faintly gathering in his eyes. He doesn’t know what direction to look, looking everywhere but Ouma.
Ouma looks down, staring holes into the ground. Now he really fucked up. This conversation was never going to go anywhere good. He didn’t want to tell Saihara the reason he was signing up. He kept his mouth shut.
“..I need this. I love Danganronpa so much..it’s the only t-thing I’ve ever known. It was always there for me- in place of my parents. All the characters I care about..Kirigiri-san..” Saihara goes on and on, and Ouma sees that small bit of drool slipping out. He looks down at his notebook as he listens.
“Y-You’re my friend but I have to- I have to be on there. It’s the only thing that will make me truly happy. W-When I give Danganronpa t-the most unique murder and t-then- when I get executed-” He’s looking right at Ouma now, he’s not sure when Saihara grabbed his hands but he’s holding them now and he has this look in his eye. His notebook is on the ground and he’s sweating, he doesn’t know what to do-
“T-They’ll kill me in front of everyone. They’ll rip me to shreds and I’ll finally be dead just like everyone has always wanted! Just like I have always wanted. This is how I’ve always wanted to die. And they’re just going to give it to me. Isn’t that amazing?” Saihara has this faraway look in his eyes, and Ouma is worried. Sure, he’s known just how badly Saihara can get when it comes to show, but this…
Now that auditions were crawling closer, he seems to be anticipating that moment. Ouma restrains from saying anything no matter how much he wants to. He’s not sure it’ll get through anyways-
“You talk a-about me leaving the world behind but here you are, auditioning the s-same as me! You must’ve really loved Danganronpa the whole time!” And now Saihara is really leaning in.
“What the hell- No! You have no idea why I signed up! I would never love that pile of--”
“T-Then if you wanted me to live, why were you going to l-leave me behind?” Saihara relaxes a bit, his voice slipping into a detectable melancholy.
Ouma shuts up, swallowing.
“I don’t want you to die, Saihara. All of these risks… I don’t intend on being a victim. But you want this. You don’t want to be here anymore. I get it. But.. I don’t want you die. I’m so worried. I knew you were going to do this and I couldn’t stop you but I just..wish things were different. I don’t want you to go. I don’t…” Ouma trails off, and this time he can’t stop the tears. His last words go into a sob, and he’s choking on them. The fresh tears slowly trickle down, and suddenly- he wraps his arms around Saihara.
The dam breaks, and Saihara is crying with him now too.
They hold each other in their arms. He cared about Saihara. He really did. He loved hanging out with him, he was unique and fun and all he wanted was to see Saihara happy. He didn’t want this for him. But it’s..what he wanted. Ouma just had to stop being so selfish. If someone wanted to die why not let them?
But he was tired of letting people do whatever they want. Even taking their own lives. Saihara wasn’t going to die. Ouma is guaranteed to get accepted. All he had to do was trust his new self to make sure that Saihara wasn’t going to die if he ever gets accepted.
Ouma moves so he can kiss Saihara’s forehead. “It’s fine. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” He says.
Saihara leans back, before going back in to actually catch Ouma’s lips. He misses a bit, but Ouma helps him line it back up properly.
They kiss until they can’t anymore, drinking in each other’s presence. Ouma decides to ignore that feeling, that feeling that soon they will forget about each other, and-
He decides to indulge in this moment. He isn’t going to let this end so soon.
He’ll get in Danganronpa’s new season. His new self will figure out a way to expose Danganronpa and end the killing game, and then when he and Saihara get out of there, they’ll continue right where they left off.
“Ouma-kun… y-you know I love you, right?”
Ouma doesn’t have the energy to be flustered and surprised. Still, he thinks he should answer. “..Yeah. I love you, too.”
The smile he gets in return looks so happy and content. It was almost like Saihara didn’t have the problems he so clearly stated before. Still, he loved to see that smile. That happiness. He kisses him again.
“Saihara...when is your audition?” He desperately hoped they were on the same day and time, but even that was truly wishful thinking.
Saihara tells him. He’s not even on the same day. Ouma holds on tight, to Saihara. Auditions take the whole day, so everyone is excused from school if they dont go during any audition days.
Saihara will be doing who knows what on that day..while Ouma seals his fate.
“You wanted to know why I auditioned..you’ll see it soon enough.” He didn’t want to tell him it’d only be revealed after the new season was over.
It seems that the two really had something in common.
Their desires mattered so much more than their well beings.
“I’ll become..the ultimate d-detective.”
Ouma shuts his eyes as he squeezes Saihara.
“They’ll see me...and finally acknowledge me. I-I won’t be invisible anymore. They’ll remember me..even if they don’t like me.”
What are you thinking?
The morning was harsh.
Bright beams of sunlight would normally be a welcome change to the recent drab weather, but…today was different.
Ouma approaches the building. It has giant glass walls built into the front, with the rest being concealed. The place was usually used for conventions. But for now...the Danganronpa auditions would be held here instead. There was already so many people. He almost wished he’d see Saihara here, but he knows their auditions aren’t even on the same day…
The crowd was barely being contained, with only a few security guards on duty. You would think they’d take a bit more caution considering Danganronpa’s track record for rabid fans. But that wasn’t his problem. It was Team Danganronpa’s.
The crowd disperses and forms a line, according to one of the guard’s instructions. He puts them in the order of what they were assigned when they sent in their application. It wasn’t a very organized process. Ouma guesses even a show as popular as this has its flaws in some areas. The line was just as long as he was expecting it to be. He was somewhere just past the middle, fortunately. The entire procedure was absolutely grueling. Some people literally sat in this line all day just to get to their audition.
Ouma isn’t sure he’d able to deal with being at the back of this overwhelmingly large line. Each applicant would enter a set of double doors, where the highest members of Danganronpa’s staff would evaluate you and hear out your reasons for auditioning, or what you could bring to the table of Danganronpa’s newest season. Ouma was familiar with the building from previous conventions, so he knew the room was huge, and with every pair of eyes that would greet you upon entering, well..
He would be lying if he said it didn’t make him at least a tiny bit nervous.
But now was not the time to worry like that. He had to get into character. His plan was very risk and reward, but it wouldn’t be worth it to spill his true feelings to Team Danganronpa’s staff. That would just be stupid. With his multiple failed attempts at an audition piece, he finally wrote something that felt right to him. He wanted to make an interesting first impression, to make sure Danganronpa wouldn’t even think about leaving him out.
Ouma considered himself a decent actor. Sure, he could let his emotions get to him rather frequently, but that’s because the only consequences insulting rotten people would be a punch to the face. And well, he’s already kind of used to it. It wasn’t much of a big deal anymore.
But this was different. This was Danganronpa. This was his plan. The thing he’d been planning for months. It was getting back at the one thing that ultimately had killed society.
He had to get this right.
He had to show them that he was a lofty and wimpy child, unable to take care of himself. Suffering from years of bullying and neglect, because he was weak, because he couldn’t defend himself. He couldn’t even think for himself, just clinging to silly ambitions like being a friendly and bubbly protagonist who would bring the whole class together against a common enemy. That was the act he was going to give Danganronpa. A taste of their own medicine.
He slouches, training his eyes to the ground. He tries his best to give his face a sort of constantly anxious look. The tons of bandages all over his body and face are extra points to sell the act he was going for.
The act wasn’t too hard though. After all, there was a time in his life where he did act like this. When he didn’t think about how to get out of bad situations, just that he deserved it. But he didn’t deserve it. He never did.
Slipping back to his old ways, he intends to keep the act for this entire visit. It’s a good thing he wasn’t too far down the line. As he takes in his surroundings and studying the people around him, he spots a teenage girl with a clipboard going down the line, greeting each person. She had extremely long blue hair and large round glasses. A very obvious nerdy look. She was bouncy in her greetings, yet professional in her inquiries. He had to watch out for her. She seemed more perceptive than she let on.
It was strange, though...since when did Team Danganronpa hire teenagers to do check in work like this?
The girl is coming his way, and he makes sure to keep his act concise and convincing. As she approaches, he stares holes into the ground. His own anxiety also helps sell his act, and this is probably the only time he’s grateful to have it.
“Good morning, sir! You’re...Ouma Kokichi, right?” She asks, bright and cheerful. But Ouma could tell her smile didn’t reach her eyes. Her gaze was like a predator closing in on its prey. It was condescending..it was unwelcoming. He’s on his guard immediately. Not that he would let that show, but he knows a fake when he sees one.
“Y-Yes. That’s me.” He says quietly. A good thing about being around Saihara for so long, is that he could make his stuttering sound natural instead of being too forced.
The girl scribbles something on her clipboard, nodding and putting on a look of curiosity. “You seem nervous. Don’t worry. You just have to look interesting, and with hair like yours… you’re guaranteed to get in!” The statement should be reassuring, but it’s almost more like she's making fun of him. And it kinda works, because he hates being told he looks like someone who would be on Danganronpa. He doesn’t let it show. He’s a meek and pathetic boy, dependent on Danganronpa to compensate for his own loneliness.
“R-Really!? I never thought about it that way…” He looks into her eyes for a second before he looks at the ground again.
“Yeah! Of course. I’m sure you’ll come up with something that’ll really blow them away.” She says this as she waves her hands around, making a dramatic show of her words. “For what it’s worth, I think you’re interesting. You’d make a good protagonist. Imagine this.. the totally wimpy and anxious protag! Through the season, he gets braver with each trial! He becomes less afraid, and more assertive! No longer a pushover for everyone to walk all over, he helps solve each mystery and uncovers the truth!” She ends the ramble with gusto, clearly proud of the idea she’s produced.
Ouma has to do everything to hold himself back from snapping at her. He didn’t need the play by play of how “good” of a protagonist he’d make. It almost seems demeaning.. like she’s treating everyone auditioning like they’re just characters, and not real people. It was unsurprising coming from someone who worked for Team Danganronpa, but he still hated being treated like that. It just reminds him how messed up all of this is…
But the role he is playing...he’s supposed to be ecstatic over the analysis. So he will be.
He gives the girl his best-fake excited expression, clenching his fists while looking starry eyed. “T..Thank you! You’re right.. I can grow stronger and stronger, and I won’t be w-weak anymore! Because of Danganronpa…” As he trails off, he makes a show of rubbing at one of the bandages on his face. It’s a struggle to come up with a good response. He tries to think about how Saihara would react to being told something like that, and tries to mimic it.
He’d really have to thank Saihara for these things after this whole thing blows over.
The girl smiles, and it just comes off as more sinister than anything else. He only prays she’s just usually like that, and not suspecting his ulterior motives. “Tsumugi Shirogane, by the way. I can’t wait to see your audition.” She says, giggling lightly before walking past him to check in the rest of the applicants.
Ouma lets out a small breath. That interaction exhausted him. He shakes his head. He needs to keep up the act. At least he learned her name. It’ll be useful in the future, no doubt. She mentioned that she’d see his audition, too… just what kind of power does she have in Team Danganronpa, exactly?
The protagonist idea wasn’t bad though. He had something similar to her story, but he didn’t think about that one. He rearranges the pieces of his audition in his head. He could use that.
The line grows shorter and shorter through the morning as people's excitement and anticipation could easily be seen. People bouncing on their legs, chattering constantly, or fidgeting in place. He shared the same sentiment, really. He was antsy to get this done quickly. He was going to be accepted. Out of all the people who signed up, he had to. He believed he was able to do this. Just keep up the act, give them what they want. An ambitious yet meek boy should give them a few ideas. He notices Tsumugi making small talk with other people in line, making a multitude of Danganronpa references he didn’t understand. It was grating, really. He just..wanted to go in already. There was only so much Danganronpa he could take.
Even he found himself fidgeting in place. Luckily it helps sell his act.
After what feels like an eternity, he gets even closer to those double doors. He’s only behind by three now. He takes a deep breath.
Tsumugi runs over again, seemingly eager to attend to Ouma. It was starting to bother him, the interest the mysterious Danganronpa employee took in him.
She beams in his direction while invading his personal space. “I know you’ll do great.” She giggles in that sugary and strange way of hers that’s really starting to unnerve him. She roughly grabs his shoulder, leaning into him with stars in her eyes. “You’ll blow them away! I can see it now, your talent...your new personality..I should definitely give you…” As she starts mumbling to herself, she lets go of Ouma and turns away from him, seemingly in deep thought. What was she talking about..? Was this girl in charge of every candidates new look and personality? Why did she talk like she was- creating a new character?
Someone walks out of the double doors, and suddenly it’s his turn. He swallows, before steeling himself. Tsumugi waves in his direction, giving him a thumbs up for good luck. Ouma, with his nervous boy act, gently waves back and gives her a small smile.
He pushes through the doors, letting them shut behind him. The gym like area was completely empty, save for a large set of podiums that lined the middle of the room. Team Danganronpa’s higher ups stood tall in front of him, holding stacks and stacks of paperwork. The sickening adults behind all of this..behind this awful show.
They looked intimidating, not betraying any emotion in their stoic demeanors. He hated it. They were so content in what they were doing, didn’t care about every life they’ve destroyed up till now.
Ouma had to restrain himself. But it was getting harder and harder to do that the longer he stayed in this fucking building.
He just wants to get this over with.
He shuffles close to the podiums, eyes flicking between the ground and Team Danganronpa’s robotic staff.
Before he has a chance to speak, a rather young looking man in a business suit grabs a sheet of paper, reading off of it. “You are...Ouma Kokichi, correct?” He says. His voice is as impartial as his facial expressions. He hated it.
He looks down, twisting his fingers together. “Y-Yes.” He simply answers.
The man nods. “The same Ouma Kokichi from the Imperial High School, yes?”
The man hums, going through the papers in his hand. He doesn’t say anything for a while, just going through whatever documents he had in front of him. No doubt mountains of information on Ouma himself. He hated how easy it was to get a hold of things like that..like his very private foster care related history.
“Hm..okay. Well, Thank you. So tell me, why do you want to be in Danganronpa’s newest season?”
So that was the million dollar question..
Feigning intense anxiety, he rubs his hands together while making sure he keeps his head down, so he doesn’t end up looking into the eyes of a staff member.
Sell the act.
“I want t-to..be something. You see, Danganronpa gives p-people the chance to become something. To be noticed and acknowledged. B-but that’s not all. I want to become s-someone that...brings the whole class together. A protagonist. I’ve always liked helping p-people. And...I think I would be very good at bringing everyone together against the mastermind. I..w-want people to listen to me. I want to be confident! I want to show them who the r-real enemy is! The mastermind will see me as a threat, a-and…”
He bites his lip, looking up slightly. Every staff member is staring intently, listening to everything he’s saying.
“I would be a hero. T-the good guy. The one who exposed the mastermind. That’s what matters to me. I want to become that person, t-the main character.”
The man placed right in front of him looks down at his podium in deep thought. The rest follow. He sees them all scribble things down on the papers below them. He swallows.
It’s truly impossible to tell what they're thinking. Everyone has stoic expressions. It's clear they've been trained to not leave a trace of emotion on their faces. Just for this. It leaves a bad taste in his mouth. Even if this was just acting, he was still nervous.
He was really afraid of the men in front of him. His speech had instances of true feelings hidden in it. Revealing who the true enemy is…
They were all sitting right in front of him.
The man directly in front of him rises, and the others join him in unison. He looks down at Ouma, like he's an insect….insignificant. As if he was just a pawn to them. It takes a lot to keep it together. The man finally speaks, deep voice commanding the room’s attention.
“Thank you for auditioning. In a week's time, our evaluation will be emailed to you.” He bows, as does the rest.
Figures. He wouldn't reveal anything, not even a moment of hesitation in his demeanor. Guess the moment of truth will have to wait.
He bows hastily as well, and leaves the room quickly.
They had to accept him. This was the best he could do. He was anxious. He was so sure earlier he’d get accepted, but actually being up there...being stared at by all of those monsters.
He hoped he would be okay. Because he had to save him. Save him from all of this, and the trap that was Danganronpa. He couldn't visit Saihara. Not after this. He just hopes to god Saihara isn’t accepted. It would make everything so much easier.
But..he had to do everything in his power to make this work. He knew how stupid it was, in the back of his head. This whole idea, relying solely on his memory and heart to retain some kind of self in the killing game. It was a huge gamble. But no one else is going to try it, so he might as well.
He’ll show humanity the truth, and even Saihara…
He would have to understand after this, right? Because someone he cares about is doing this…
Saihara will be free of his addiction.
He had a sudden fleeting thought, that in the long run, that's all that matters.