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The Saihara Twins and Ouma

Chapter Text

Shuichi took a breath in as he looked up at the intimidating school building of the newly reopened Hope’s Peak Academy. He may have applied for the school himself but it was still nerve-wracking to be standing at the school gates of the infamous school, the one he’s been hearing about to infinitum ever since he could remember, the one he could recall every tale vividly like some grand mythology. And in a sense, the events that preceded this brand new academy was mythical.

After all, The Great Tragedy ten years ago originated at Hope’s Peak. To be more precise, it started with a student at Hope’s Peak, Junko Enoshima. She and the 77th class, known as the Ultimate Despairs, wreaked havoc everywhere they went, spreading their plague to every corner of the earth and in record time, the entire globe was obsessed with Junko’s despair.

That’s right, this seemingly far-fetched and myth-like event happened right here. And it also ended right here. It was on these grounds that Junko Enoshima was finally killed, and her reign of despair cracked. The survivors of the 78th class’s killing game, heroes as everyone called them nowadays, finally brought down the evilest villain in history.

It all happened here.

Shuichi took another deep breath. This was it, he was finally gonna set foot on such a historical site, and as the first batch of freshmen (the first students!) back inside the famous academy after over a decade.

A short man in a black suit stood by the gate as Shuichi approached.

“Hello!” the short man greeted happily. Shuichi, even though he was expecting it, was still startled. He squeaked out a “hello” back, and the short man beamed.

“I’m the new headmaster, Makoto Naegi, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” he held out his hand for Shuichi to shake.

Makoto… Naegi!?

That Naegi!?

Shuichi placed both his hands on Makoto’s hands and shook vigorously. “N-no! The pleasure’s all mine!” He inhaled a shaky breath. “I-I knew I would see you eventually, but I still c-can’t believe someone as… as important as you would be in the academy…!” Shuichi slapped a hand over his face, there he goes rambling again! “I-I’m sorry… I… I guess it’s kinda stupid to think that since you’re the headmaster and all…”

“No, no! It’s not stupid at all, you are the new generation of hope for this academy, you’re not stupid at all!” Makoto waved his hands in front of himself in an attempt to calm Shuichi down, but he just seemed to be working himself up instead. “And besides, I’m just your everyday guy, I’m not really all that… important or great as everyone else makes me out to be. Really! So you can just talk to me normally… uh… ah…”

“Saihara. S-Shuichi Saihara.”

Makoto laughed sheepishly and scratched his cheek. “Right, sorry, I couldn’t recognize you with your hat on and all. Now, head on in, Saihara-kun! The gymnasium for the entrance ceremony is to the left, down the hallway when you enter the building!”

Shuichi bowed gratefully to the headmaster and shuffled into Hope’s Peak. His high school life as the new generation’s Ultimate Detective starts now.

Oh boy.

.

The entrance ceremony went… well, ceremoniously. It wasn’t boring like Shuichi had expected, mostly because the majority of the school staff consisted of the heroes that are revered in society nowadays, and because the student body was so small that they had more time for tangents and jokes.

Makoto Naegi dubbed the student body class 79th. It was weird to think that they, who were 10 years younger than the 78th and 77th class, were called the 79th class, but it made sense when Shuichi thought a little harder about it.

After the inspiring (not really) speech made by Aoi Asahina, and the not so inspiring (it was scary and depressing) speech by Byakuya Togami, the students were split into 4 classes, each consisting of 16 students. The small class size was the same as it was back in the day, but there were more classes, meaning more students could be part of the main course. This was apparently suggested by the 77th class, they wanted to prevent the reserve course suicide that seemingly started the entire Tragedy.

Shuichi, as someone who applied for the academy instead of being scouted, was placed in class 79-B. The applied students were placed in classes B and D while the scouted students were placed in classes A and C. There wasn’t anything that the letters represented, but Shuichi could tell that he was gonna be ridiculed by some of the scouted students by the looks in some of the kids’ eyes when he filed to his class line.

Shuichi tugged his hat down even more, slouching and sighing. This was gonna be a long day.

.

His class consisted of a lot of interesting students with a lot of interesting talents. The Ultimate Assassin (assassin!?), Astronaut (huh, space exploration was still going on during the Tragedy?), Robot (how is that a talent?), Inventor, Anthropologist, Adventurer, Pianist, Violinist (oh boy, those two instrument masters would get along), Aikido-Master, Artist, Magician, Daredevil (how does… what?), etc. etc.

The introductions were very interesting and everyone displayed their personalities quite clearly. The class leaders, Shuichi muses, were probably going to be the Pianist and the Astronaut, and judging by the way the others clustered around them, Shuichi was right. Shuichi thinks he’s getting better at reading people.

Their homeroom teacher was… interesting to say the least. He was pale and thin, no doubt emaciated underneath that oversized sweater. His hair was an alarming white despite his youthful appearance and the moment he laid his eyes upon the teenagers, he broke out into some rant about hope and how fortunate he was to finally be guiding a fresh batch of students to become the next light for their despairful (he spat that word like it personally killed his entire family and then wore their skin like a festive hat) society.

“Ah, pardon me for rambling. I couldn’t help myself.” He laughed huskily. He was soft-spoken, which wasn’t a problem by itself but paired with the rest of his appearance, only served to increase everyone’s concern. He seemed like the type of person to just drop dead any second with no warning. “I’m Nagito Komaeda. You guys probably haven’t heard of me seeing as I’m just insignificant trash compared to the rest of my class, not to mention you guys.”

And there he goes again, rambling on and on about his seemingly non-existent worth.

“Komaeda, get back on track.” a man with dark brown hair and heterochromatic eyes poked his head through the classroom door, startling Nagito.

“Ah, right. Sorry, thanks for reminding me. What would I do without you.”

The dark-haired man rolled his eyes and closed the door again, probably walking away judging by the sound of fading footsteps. The rest of the class drew in a breath as Nagito turned again to face them. Was he finally gonna do his job?

“Apologies for the rant, once again. I tend to do that a lot.”

“Yeah, I noticed. What a degenerate.” the girl with a green ribbon in her hair, the Ultimate Aikido-Master, muttered under her breath, but was heard loud and clear nonetheless. The class laughed politely, and Nagito did too.

“Anyway, before I get sidetracked again, I’ll go over the curriculum…” and that he did.

.

The rest of the period went by in a blur, and soon enough, the class was let out to explore the school. Immediately, everyone made groups to explore the school together, though Shuichi notes that there are some that went off alone. It seems Shuichi was going to be one of those few as well since no one approached him, and he certainly wasn’t going to approach anyone.

The more extroverted classmates all talked to the people sitting near them, and Shuichi who sat in the front corner desk, the one right next to the door, sat tragically alone.

Sighing, he pulled down his hat and gathered his books. Exploring the school alone, it is.

He walked out of the classroom, closing the door softly behind him and made his way down the hallway, taking out his map. The school wasn’t that complicated, but Shuichi was never that great at directions. He wasn’t terrible, but that’s not doing much justice. He’s one of those people that got lost once or twice or five times before they got the hang of a new building.

He traced his finger along the map, trying to figure out his location. Was he on the third floor or the fourth floor? He only remembers dying a little inside (and maybe outside) while climbing those flights of stairs, but going by how unfit he was, it wasn’t a good notation for which floor he was on. He could have climbed 10 stairs and be gasping for air, so he couldn’t tell if he climbed 3 or 4 flights of stairs through the gasping haze.

He looked up at some of the door plates and reads the numbers. They usually tell the floor numbers, right?

409, 411, 413, 415…

So he was on the fourth floor, huh. There was supposed to be another classroom on this floor, but judging by the fact that he didn’t see anyone come out of it, it was safe to assume that no other class was on this floor.

Despite the school only having 4 classes, with 2 classrooms on each floor and 5 floors in total (apparently more was to be built in a separate building), their classroom was placed all the way on the 4th floor? Maybe there was only 1 class on each floor. That’s a weird way of separating all the classes… but why separate the classes? Is it to prevent conflict between classes or is it to isolate each class so that they’ll become a cohesive unit?

Shucihi felt the ground give out underneath him as he was walking and he let out a startled cry as he fell down, down, down. His map flew out of his hands and his backpack, which was just haphazardly slung over one shoulder, flew away as well. His hands came up to break his fall, but there wasn’t really a ground for his hands to land on. In the half second it took for him to finally come in contact with something, which produced a weird grunt, he had processed that he fell down the stairs. Great job Shuichi, falling down the stairs on your first day of school.

The thing he fell on was… surprisingly soft and warm. It had cushioned his fall, saving him from a possible concussion. Shuichi laid dazed on that object, which had weird curves and had fabric on it, and it wasn’t until he heard another grunt that he realized he fell on a person.

He quickly got up and apologized. The person he fell on, a small person in a pure white uniform that resembled a straightjacket, rubbed their butt in pain. Shuichi couldn’t really tell their gender, they had a petite figure and a cute bob cut that went every which way, the tips dyed a light purple. None of which were indicative of their gender. Though, Shuichi recalls seeing them being a part of the 79-A class.

The person opened their eyes and glared at Shuichi, causing Shuichi to hide behind his hat again.

“Watch where you’re going, idiot!” Their voice sounded childish, a tomboyish tone that could very well belong to a boy and a girl.

Shuichi mentally slapped himself, he should stop worrying about their gender and just get up and maybe take them to the infirmary if they were injured (and if Shuichi could find it).

“Geez, you must be totally brain dead to fall down the stairs that pathetically on your first day of school!” The student mocked, pushing themself into a sitting position. Shuichi sat across from them, trying to gather his books while not looking directly into their eyes. “That was such a hilarious fall that I could almost forgive you for using me as some landing pillow! The keyword being almost! Too bad, I’m not that forgiving! You have to pay for your crimes!”

Shuichi was feeling a minor migraine forming from the student’s rambunctious voice and personality. “P-pay…? I don’t have any money with me…”

The student silenced for a second before speaking up again. “Then become my slave!”

“W-what!? No!” Shuichi slapped a hand over his mouth. How could he just raise his voice like that? It wasn’t even a bad situation, probably just a joke and he rejected them just like that! The student would hate him now! He tugged his hat down in panic.

“No? No!? You dare to reject me, the Ultimate Supreme Leader, Kokichi Ouma!?” Kokichi jumped up abruptly, raising their fists in the air in rage.

“Eek…!” Shuichi brought his arms to shield his face, expecting a punch but only to hear laughter instead.

“Oh my god, you fell for it! You really thought I was gonna hit you!” Kokichi held their stomach, doubling over with amusement before suddenly silencing, pulling their lips into an evil smirk and bringing their index finger to their face. “Nishishi, guess I’m just such a good actor~”

Shuichi didn’t really know how to respond. He tugged his hat again, opting to just hum in agreement.

Suddenly, his hat was ripped off his hat and Shuichi let out a shriek of horror, his hands shooting up to grab it. Kokichi had other plans however as they held the cap high in the air above them, turning it around and around in their petite hands. “This is such an ugly hat, slave! Why do you even wear it like it’s some sacred relic? That can’t be acceptable for a minion of the great Ouma-sama! I forbid you from wearing the hat from now on!”

“W-what!?” Shuichi sputtered in disbelief. “First of all, I never agreed to be your slave and second of all, give my hat back!”

“Boo, you’re no fu—” Kokichi finally looked down at Shuichi and their face fell blank, their eyes dilating for a split second before returning to normal, though their eyes looked significantly more dead than before.

“Saihara?” Kokichi let the name drop from their mouth almost as simple as breathing, but for some reason Shuichi felt like he was just doused with acid. Why does Kokichi look so scary with that dead expression and their dead voice?

“Y-yes?”

Kokichi’s eyes looked all over Shuichi and Shuichi squirmed under the gaze. What is Kokichi doing?

“Uh-uhm, Ouma-kun?” Shuichi threw a confused expression at Kokichi. “What’s wrong, Ouma-kun? And why do you know my name?”

“Your name is…” Kokichi prompted.

“S-Saihara. Sh-Shuichi Saihara.”

“And why are you here, Saihara… chan?” They tacked on the honorific as a last minute addition, causing Shuichi to be even more confused.

“Why am I…? I’m a student, of course I’m here?” Shuichi got up and dusted himself off, slinging his backpack over his shoulder again. “Are you alright, Ouma-kun? You’re acting kinda weird…” he reached a hand over to Kokichi, which was slapped away. Shuichi recoiled.

“Don’t touch me, Saihara-chan!” Kokichi’s blank expression morphed into chirpy joy again, but Shuichi could tell they were just putting on an act. Whether that act was meant to be that obvious, Shuichi didn’t know.

“Wow, now that I see you face in all its glory, it sure is ugly! No wonder why you have that hat on! You deserve it!” Kokichi slammed the hat back down on Shuichi’s head, though it wasn’t that painful since the force was lessened because Kokichi had to stand on their toes to do so.

Shuichi winced anyways. His heart clenched, his anxiety overtaking him. Oh god, he knew he was ugly but to have someone say it to his face like that.. Wait, no, stop it Shuichi. He had promised to not be so self-deprecating, he had promised his beloved family that he wouldn’t. This is no time to relapse.

Why was Kokichi acting so malicious out of nowhere?

“You’re fucking disgusting, Saihara-chan!” Kokichi stuck their tongue out, swaying on the heels of their feet as they swerved around Shuichi. “As your leader, I order you to stay away from me! Never look at me again, ewwwww!!”

 

And with that, they bolted off. 

 

Shuichi stood on the staircase landing, flabbergasted. What was that all about? Shuichi was expecting Kokichi to react like that when he had landed on them, but Kokichi had just brushed it off with clever witticisms. But now, when they suddenly saw Shuichi’s face is when they lashed out? Shuichi brought a hand to his cheek. Was he really that ugly? It hurts to think that it might be true even when he has people in his life that told him otherwise. 

 

He sighed, picking up his long forgotten map. The school day was almost over, he might as well just go home. He made his way down the flights, each step making him more depressed. When he finally got to the gates, he was 1000% done with high school. 

 

Makoto Naegi stood by the entrance, this time accompanied by a woman with long, lilac colored hair. Shuichi recognized her immediately as Kyoko Kirigiri, his idol and the previous Ultimate Detective. Instantly, his heart started to race. Oh no, they were looking at him expectantly, was he supposed to greet them?

 

Well, that’s not a big deal! All he has to do is say hi, nothing can go wrong with that! 

 

‘Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi…’

 

Makoto beamed when Shuichi got close enough within talking vicinity. “Saihara-kun! How was your first day?”

 

‘Hi, hi, hi, I had a good time today, thank you for asking!’

 

“HI, THANK YOU!” Shuichi bowed 90 degrees as a response and he died. He wanted to dig a hole and bury himself in the cold concrete. Did he really just mess up something as simple as that, and at the top of his lungs too?

 

“I’m s-so sorry!!” He squeaked, but Makoto didn’t seem to mind.

 

“Oh no, I totally get it! I do it sometimes too, it’s embarrassing, isn’t it?” He chuckled, scratching his cheek. Kyoko rolled his eyes, a small smile on her face. 

 

“Only you and that guy has done it to my knowledge.” 

 

Shuichi covered his face with his hands. “Please just end me…” he sobbed.

 

“Don’t be so dramatic, Saihara-kun! We’re all human, we make mistakes! It’s no big deal! Anyway, I hope you had a good day?” Makoto tilted his head in inquiry.

 

Shuichi considered telling the truth about his stressful encounter, but he took one look at Makoto’s expectant and joyful expression and chickened out. “Y-yeah, I had a pretty great time.” He fidgeted and looked to the side, biting his bottom lip and tugging his hat down. 

 

Kyoko didn’t look convinced, of course she didn’t, but Makoto only beamed more. 

 

“That’s awesome! Look forward to your second day as well! Safe travels, Saihara-kun!” 

 

Shuichi gave a curt nod, bowed again and briskly walked away. 

 

“I look forward to your performance, Shuichi Saihara.” Kyoko’s smooth voice followed behind him, causing Shuichi to freeze in his steps. He turned around and bowed three times quickly.

 

“Th-thank you, I w-will try not to d-disappoint!!” 

 

Kyoko smiled and waved him goodbye. 

 

.

 

Shuichi gave a loud, dramatic sigh when he closed the door behind him. In the living room, he heard his uncle’s loud snores and in the kitchen, he heard sizzling and a delicious aroma wafted through the hallways to him. 

 

“Nii-san, I’m home.” Shuichi called out. 

 

After a few seconds, his twin brother’s head appears from the kitchen entrance. 

 

“Welcome home, Shu.” His brother greeted before frowning. “What’s wrong, you look tired.” 

 

“Well, I did just come home after 4 hours of social interaction…”

 

His brother rolled his eyes. “Of course, of course.” He waved Shuichi away. “Anyways, lunch is almost ready so go put your bag away.”

 

Shuichi nodded and went to his room at the end of the hall. He threw his bag onto his desk and climbed onto the bottom bunk of his bed. He grabbed his pillow and groaned into it. 

 

After a few minutes of groaning, he heard the bedroom door open again. 

 

“Shu? Dinner’s ready so… oh god, are you doing the moping thing again.”

 

“N-no!” 

 

His brother gave Shuichi a disbelieving look.

 

“O-okay, m-maybe…” 

 

His brother sighed and climbed into Shuichi’s bunk. “What’s wrong, tell me or I can’t help you.”

 

“I doubt you can help me with school troubles anyways, nii-san…”

 

“If it’s tangible, or even better, living, I can gouge their eyes out and make them forget how to cry… or speak… or b-breathe…” his brother’s eyes glazed over with lust and he began to pant. “M-maybe I can try a little DIY sewing project with their l-limbs… o-or try the classic d-denailing torture method…”

 

“Nii-san!” 

 

His brother shook his head, snapping out of his trance. “R-right, sorry. I did it again, didn’t I?”

 

Shuichi nodded and made a noise. “It’s fine, you can’t help it nii-san…”

 

“No, I can help it. I can change myself, I promised to change myself and yet I still keep doing it. God, I’m so worthless and incompetent. This is just like that time I accidentally pushed you off th—“

 

“Nii-san, don’t be negative,” Shuichi got up from his bed and placed a hand on his brother’s hand. His brother shook slightly, his eyes swirling with that hypnotizing, disgusting, despairful look. The look that haunts both of their dreams. 

 

Shuichi and his brother were twins. They looked the same, shared the same voice, and even had the same name. Separated through circumstance and finally reunited after so long. It was hard to survive in that apocalyptic world, but his brother had taken the shorter end of the stick. He was exposed to the crueler side of the world during the era of the Tragedy and he was infected with despair. Shuichi had been hurt many times by his brother before, but he’s done the same. Now, they were still in the process of healing, acting as each other’s emotional support. They made up, solved cases together and somehow, his brother had convinced Shuichi to apply to Hope’s Peak when it opened. Now, Shuichi was doubting if it was a good idea anymore. 

 

“Don’t be negative, Shuichi.” Shuichi said again, and since they both had the same name, it didn’t really matter if that was addressed to either himself or his brother, or both. 






Chapter Text

Shuichi’s second day at Hope’s Peak started morbidly. 

 

The moment he opened the front door, he was immediately pelted with heavy rain. His brother had ushered him back into the building and thrown onto him a weighty raincoat (with a horrendous design of some anime character). Shuichi didn’t really have anything valuable in his book bag that he would hate to get drenched, so he wasn’t really keen on wearing the raincoat. 

 

His brother simply glared at him from underneath his hat and forced Shuichi out the door. “You don’t want to be late. Also, take off that raincoat and I’ll stab you.” 

 

Shuichi knows his brother wouldn’t do that, but he had come really close to doing that to other people, so Shuichi wasn’t about to take his chances. He opened his umbrella and used it to shield the rest of the pattering rain. Thankfully, everyone else was busy with their own lives to spare Shuichi’s hideous raincoat a glance.

 

Riding the bus to school gave him some time to look through his phone and as he was scrolling through social media his uncle sent him a message saying that he’ll pick Shuichi up after school that day. Shuichi smiled. It’d been so long since the last time he and his uncle had some alone time together. He quickly typed out and sent a reply. 

 

In front of him, he spotted the unmistakable hairstyle of the troublemaker he bumped into yesterday. Shuichi quickly looked away, Kokichi had told him to leave them alone. He felt uncomfortable (and slightly hurt) to even think of yesterday. Kokichi’s words were probably just a joke, but it still dug its way into his heart. Shuichi frowned and shook his head, going back to scrolling through his phone. 

 

.

 

Throughout school, especially when he was in the hallways, Shuichi felt like he was being watched. Of course, for a school of hope built recently in the aftermath of the Tragedy, Shuichi knows that there are cameras everywhere, but the unnerving feeling he had in his gut wasn’t from being watched by cameras, but by a specific presence that he knew was around the corner behind him. However, whenever he turned around, he wouldn’t see anything. At the beginning, he wrote it off as his own imagination, but after lunch he was positively sure he was being followed. 

 

He tried to lose the presence by making many unexpected twists and turns, but still, he continued to feel the pair of eyes on his back. Swiftly, he turned his head around and finally, finally , he spotted the unmistakable flap of a white uniform disappear into an empty classroom. 

 

Of course, it was Kokichi. 

 

Shuichi felt slightly irritated. Didn’t Kokichi tell him to screw off yesterday? If that was the case, then why did they tailgate Shuichi the entire day like some kind of creepy stalker? 

 

It seems Kokichi wasn’t going to follow him now (or at least laying low for the time being), so Shuichi brushed it off. Maybe Kokichi was just making sure Shuichi didn’t actively seek Kokichi out as they told him. Maybe if Shuichi waited it out, Kokichi would leave him alone. Reassuring himself with that, Shuichi turned back around and walked to his next class. 

 

For the next two periods, he felt that the prying eyes were gone and he breathed out a sigh of relief (one that the teacher caught and forced him to answer a question for as consequence). 

 

Then during the last period, Shuichi felt the eyes again. He groaned mentally and shifted in his seat. It wasn’t mandatory to attend classes at Hope’s Peak so it wasn’t very far-fetched for Kokichi to ditch their classes to stalk Shuichi, but it was far-fetched for Kokichi to ditch class just to stalk Shuichi. Shuichi thinks that there were much better things Kokichi could do with their time. 

 

This time though, it seems the teacher, the heterochromatic man that popped in during homeroom yesterday, seems to notice Shuichi’s discomfort. His red and golden (golden?) eye shifted to the doorway and he deadpanned. 

 

“Kokichi Ouma, would you like to join us for class?” he asked curtly.

 

Shuichi heard shuffling at the back of the classroom and the door slid open. 

 

“Nope! I’m just here to scout your lousy teaching, Hinata-sensei!” The bubbly voice that definitely belonged to Kokichi chirped. “You suck ass! I guess that’s what happens when you eat ass too much!” 

 

The girl sitting next to Shuichi, a strawberry blonde girl with goggles on her head and a school uniform that violated almost all the school dress-code regulations, whooped at the comment. 

 

Hinata sighed, rubbing his temples and mumbling something under his breath before raising his voice again. “Alright, I see you don’t want to be here, so please leave and stop glaring holes into the back of my student’s head.” 

 

“What!!!! I didn’t do that! I was just taking a small peak in! I wasn’t staring at anyone!” 

 

“Of course, of course. After all, it would be preposterous for the great Ultimate Supreme Leader to develop an interest in the Ultimate Detective. I’ve seen that look in your eye, Ouma. It’s very telling.” 

 

“Wow, that’s such a funny joke, Hinata-chan-sensei! Who’s the Ultimate Supreme Leader? I’m the Ultimate Thief! And there’s no Ultimate Detective here, at least none that I know of! Nope, I don’t know any Ultimate Detectives! And looks in my eye?? What eye?! I’m positively blind, Hinata-chan-sensei!” 

 

“Skedaddle before I send you to the principal.” 

 

“Pssh, like that wimp can do anything to me!”

 

“But the vice principal certainly can. Maybe she, or more precisely, her lectures, will calm your thirst for detectives. She was the 78th class’s Ultimate Detective, you know.” 

 

And with that, Kokichi shut up. Shuichi heard the door slide close and Shuichi assumed Kokichi had left. He was proven wrong when someone sat on his desk, that someone clearly being Kokichi. Shuichi stared up at the intruder in shock but Kokichi wasn’t even looking at him. That damn rat was looking at Hinata, their expression obscured from Shuichi’s view, but Shuichi can very well assume that Kokichi was probably smug beyond belief. 

 

Hinata didn’t seem to care anymore. He rolled his eyes, mouthing an apology to Shuichi and turned back to the board. Shuichi hung his mouth agape, was he abandoned by his teacher just because Kokichi was too annoying to deal with?

 

Shuichi tried his best to look everywhere but Kokichi, mainly because directly in front of him was Kokichi’s ass, sat nice and neatly, with legs crossed, on Shuichi’s desk. If Shuichi looked up, he would have to trail his eyes up Kokichi’s body and risk meeting Kokichi’s gaze. So Shuichi looked to the side, to the wall, to the floor, at his hands, anywhere but Kokichi. 

 

Shuichi abused his bottom lip, frustration starting to bubble in his chest. Why is Kokichi being more of a nuisance than Shuichi was? Was this payback for crashing into them yesterday? If it was, Kokichi was being extremely petty (even more so than Shuichi’s brother, and that’s saying a lot). 

 

Besides… didn’t Kokichi tell Shuichi to fuck off? Why is Kokichi actively seeking Shuichi out now? Why are they sitting their perfect little butt on Shuichi’s desk and disrupting him from taking notes? Technically, there wasn’t any notes to take, but still!

 

Irritated, Shuichi finally lifted the bill of his cap a little and spared a glance at Kokichi. Immediately, he froze when he met eye to eye with Kokichi. The midget had on a nightmarish expression and his wild, wild eyes bore into Shuichi’s very soul. Shuichi, after a few murder cases, had managed to school his scream reflex but he still jolted very violently in his chair. Everyone turned their heads to see the commotion, Hinata visibly sighing. 

 

“Ouma, please sit in one of the empty desks instead of on top of Saihara’s desk…” 

 

Kokichi turned their body around to look at Hinata, their expression turning back to normal. They tapped their chin as if entertaining the idea, before popping his lips. “Nope! I like this seat, I can look down on everyone! I’m just practicing my talent, Hinata-chan-sensei!” They faked a dramatic gasp. “Or are you discouraging me from honing my talent!? Ooooh, scandalous, Mr. Ultimate Hope! Hope’s Peak’s teacher forces a student to conform and destroys the very talent that got him into the school in the first place! What’s next, purposefully failing me??” 

 

Hm, Kokichi used the male pronoun for himself. Well, that clears up that misconception. Shuichi shook his head slightly, biting his lip again. He’s supposed to be angry at Kokichi, don’t think about political correctness right now! 

 

Mercifully, the bell rang. 

 

Hinata sighed again, gathering his materials. 

 

“Crash my class again, and I’ll make sure you have a nice, long talk with me.” He smiled at Kokichi. “Trust me, you don’t want me to resort to that.” 

 

Kokichi and Hinata had a short staring contest, broken, surprisingly, by Kokichi. He scoffed, turning his head away and crossing his arms. “Alright, alright! Geez, such a party-pooper, Hinata-chan-sensei!” 

 

Then, without sparing a glance at Shuichi, Kokichi hopped off the desk and skipped out the door. The rest of the class watched Kokichi leave, then shifting their gaze to Shuichi. Some had sympathetic stares, others were barely containing their amusement at Shuichi’s predicament. 

 

Shuichi dug his face deeper into his cap, dying inside. 

 

.

 

When Shuichi finished digging through his locker and went to the school exit, he noticed that it was still raining heavily. 

 

He would put on his raincoat, but he had some pride and would rather die than let someone from school spot him in that hideous coat. Besides, his uncle was picking him up today so the most he’d need is his umbrella to get to the car. With that in mind, Shuichi sat by the steps and pulled out his phone. 

 

Minutes passed by and students would either pull out their umbrellas to walk through the rain, have someone escort them away with an umbrella, or groan in dismay and make a wild dash out. Shuichi smiled to himself, watching them go. It was really hard to imagine that all those different faces belonged to Ultimates, masters of their specific craft and revered by the world. To Shuichi, they just looked like normal high school students. Then again, it was very easy to forget that Ultimates were just teenagers. Shuichi still couldn’t believe he was an Ultimate either. 

 

A notification from Shuichi’s phone alerted him that his uncle was by the gates now. He got up from the stairs, dusted himself off, and opened his umbrella. From the corner of his eye, he spotted Kokichi sitting all the way on the opposite end of the stairs, staring into the sky. He looked… almost melancholy? He didn’t seem to notice Shuichi staring at him. 

 

Shuichi didn’t want Kokichi to notice him so he quickly walked out of the safety of the school roof. Immediately, he heard the heavy pitter-patter of rain on his umbrella and Shuichi hoped to god his backpack wouldn’t get too wet. 

 

His shoes, unfortunately, weren’t waterproof so they got wet very quickly. Shuichi grimaced at the cold, wet feeling of the rainwater seeping into his socks and between his toes. Splat, splat, splat they went, reminding Shuichi of that time he tried to get up from a pool of blood. Splat, splat, splat it went. Splat, splat, splat he kept falling down, slipping and slipping on the sticky liquid. Splat, splat, splat went his flesh each time he fell. It was raining that day too, wasn’t it? 

 

He snapped out of his thoughts when his uncle’s car was directly in front of him. He opened the back door and slipped into the nice air-conditioned dryness, snapping his umbrella closed. As he was going to close the door, his uncle turned his head to the school entrance. 

 

“Doesn’t that kid look like he doesn’t have any way to get home?”

 

“What kid?” Shuichi followed his uncle’s line of sight and mentally groaned when he realized his uncle was referring to Kokichi. Shuichi opened his mouth to reply but shut it when he felt a ball of guilt well up in his gut. 

 

Did Kokichi forget to bring his phone with him to school today? There was no way in this day and age, right? Everyone had a phone and felt naked without it. Could it be that Kokichi had no one to pick him up? If that was the case, wasn’t Shuichi acting like such a jerk to just ignore him? 

 

Shuichi pushed the car door open even more, opening his umbrella again. 

 

“Wait for a minute, uncle.” 

 

His uncle merely smiled at him as Shuichi ducked out and jogged to Kokichi. Splat, splat, splat, his wet shoes hit the pavement loudly and obnoxiously. Loudly like Kokichi’s voice and obnoxiously like Kokichi’s hypocritical stalking. 

 

Kokichi was resting his chin on his palm, propped up on his tucked-in knees. He was the picture of lonely as Shuichi ran up. He seemed to have noticed Shuichi running towards him and the lonely picture wiped away to a toothy grin. “Oh! If it isn’t the disgusting Shumai! Whatchu doing here? Didn’t I tell you to go away yesterday?” 

 

Shuichi tilted the umbrella towards Kokichi, causing Kokichi to widen his eyes in surprise, his chin rising from his palm. 

 

“Oh? Are you offering me your worldly possessions, Saihara-chan? That’s a one-way transaction, you know! No refunds!” 

 

Shuichi pouted and glared at Kokichi lightly from underneath his cap. He pushed down his irritation. “D-do you need a ride home, Ouma-kun?” 

 

Kokichi, once again, tapped his chin as if considering the subject. “Hmm… how about... no!” He clasped his hands together, bringing forth his nightmare face. “Did I not tell you to leave me alone, Saihara-chan? I don’t need your fake pity.” 

 

Shuichi inhaled sharply. He bent down and grabbed Kokichi by the wrist and forced him to stand up, shielding the shorter from the rain with his umbrella. 

 

“That’s awfully hypocritical of you, Ouma-kun, seeing as you spent all of today doing the opposite of what you told me to do.” Shuichi let out a deep exhale. “Look… I won’t ask why you’re doing the things you do, but this isn’t fake pity. Just take my hand when I offer it to you, I don’t need anything in return.” 

 

His confidence died down a little once he saw Kokichi’s blank expression staring up at him. “O-or at least my uncle doesn’t need anything in return, y-y’know since he’s the one driving us.” 

 

Kokichi sighed. “Fine, fine, if you want to court me so badly, and since you asked so nicely, I’ll let you whisk me off my feet.” 

 

Shuichi erupted into a wild blush. “C-court you!? I don’t— I mean, I’m not…!” 

 

Kokichi giggled and started skipping to the car. Shuichi sputtered in surprise. 

 

“W-wait, Ouma-kun! You’re getting wet!” he chased after Kokichi with his umbrella, sometimes successfully covering Kokichi and sometimes unsuccessfully missing Kokichi’s head. By the time both of them got to the car, Kokichi’s shoulders and hair were damp with rain and Shuichi wasn’t going much better. Kokichi slid into the backseat nonchalantly, greeting Shuichi’s uncle. His uncle greeted back, his eyes shining with amusement in the rearview mirror. 

 

Shuichi shivered when he was hit with the air-conditioned wind and moved to turn it down a notch. He slammed the door behind him, scooting closer to Kokichi. The gremlin giggled at Shuichi’s displeasure, though he clearly wasn’t doing better himself as he was visibly trembling too. 

 

The car ride was very quiet. Shuichi himself was never an extroverted person and he would rather not speak to Kokichi, that’s inviting nothing but trouble. Not to mention that his uncle was in the car with them, it just made the situation ten times more awkward to talk.

Kokichi, however, had other plans. He fidgeted in his seat for a few minutes before turning around to Shuichi.

 

“So… what brought this on?” He asked.

 

“H-huh?”

 

He rolled his eyes. “I said, what brought this on? What made you decide you want to drive me home?” 

 

“I… I don’t understand that question…” Shuichi tipped his hat. “I-isn’t it common courtesy to help someone…?”

 

“Pfft,” Kokichi rolled his eyes again. “Yeah right, as if you’d be that brave, Saihara-chan! Not to mention…” He glanced down at his nails in disinterest. “I made it a point to annoy the hell out of you, shouldn’t you be holding a grudge?”

 

Yes, yes he is. 

 

“Uhm… of course not.” Shuichi lied, unable to meet Kokichi’s eyes. “You just looked really… lonely. Do you not have anyone to pick you up?” 

 

Kokichi giggled almost instantly. “I do! A Supreme Leader like me with an organization boasting 10,000 strong has soooo many people who would kill to escort me home!”

 

“Then… why didn’t they?” 

 

“Gosh, you’re so dumb, Saihara-chan!” 

 

His uncle made a face, but didn’t comment on Kokichi’s insult.

 

“Obviously, I wanted to play those characters in a movie and stare out all emo-like out into the rain and mope!” He clasped his hands together, resting his cheek on them and leaned to look out the car window to emphasize his point. He let out an exaggerated tired sigh, and for a second there, Shuichi was almost thought that Kokichi really did look very depressed. 

 

“Are you… okay?” 

 

And like that, the magic was broken. Kokichi’s sad expression morphed into his classic shit-eating grin and flicked his head around to face Shuichi. “Of course! I’ve never been better!”

 

Shuichi squirmed underneath Kokichi’s intense stare, the ever present smile unnerving Shuichi. But he couldn’t stay squirming for long since there was a question gnawing at his mind the entire day and with the object of his question being right there, he had to ask. 

 

“Uhm… didn’t you tell me to never show my face to you again yesterday?” Once again, Shuichi’s uncle made a displeased face, but his uncle was no stranger to keeping silent to learn more information. “Then… why were you… you know, doing all that today?”

 

Kokichi tapped his chin, pursing his lips in a criminally cute way. “Hmm…? Doing what, Saihara-chan? I don’t remember seeing you at all today!” 

 

“Hinata-sensei would beg to differ.”

 

“Hinata-sensei is a hack!” 

 

“If I told him that, you’d be on a one-way road to that lecture. I should tell him.” 

 

“Oh my, oh my! Are you threatening me, Saihara-chan? How bold!”

 

“Is it working?” 

 

“Nope!! A Supreme Leader never bows his head, and I’m not afraid of that orange-juice fucker!” 

 

“And what about his other personality? Do you think that… uh, I forgot his name but, do you think he would be lenient on you?”

 

Kokichi grabbed his stomach and laughed. Shuichi shifted in his seat, waiting for the annoying laughter to die down. Eventually it did and Kokchi lifted a finger. Quicker than Shuichi could react to, that finger jabbed Shuichi’s side, then it stabbed a few more times for good measure. Shuichi squealed from the stimuli, eliciting a chuckle from the perp and his uncle. Shuichi erupted in a blush and glared weakly at Kokichi. 

 

“Wh-what was that for, Ouma-kun? That tickles!” 

 

Kokichi smirked cheekily at him. “This is what happens when you let a criminal like me into your car and start questioning him!”

 

“Criminal!?”

 

“Yeah! A certified tickler! I’ve been convicted of 5 murders from excessive tickling, and it seems you’re gonna be the 6th one!”

 

Kokichi wiggled his fingers in front of his face threateningly and Shuichi shivered, his hands making their way to his sides to protect them from Kokichi’s wrath.

 

“T-that’s a lie, right?”

 

Kokichi placed his hands neatly in his lap. “Of course!”

 

Shuichi let out a breath of relief.

 

“You’re so smart, Saihara-chan! You saw through my lie! It’s a lie, I’ve never been convicted! Pssh, what kind of petty criminal would I be if I got convicted of my crimes? I got away with every single one!”

 

“You do realize I’m a detective right? And that Shuichi here is too? We could turn you in, Ouma-kun!” Shuichi’s uncle spoke up for the first time since they started. Both teens turned their heads to him. Shuichi had expected his uncle to be irked after all the defamatory comments Kokichi had made, but there was nothing but amusement in his uncle’s eyes. Figures, his uncle was always a patient man. The only time Shuichi ever saw his uncle pissed was when it had something to do with Shuichi’s parents. If his uncle could deal with his parents for that long, he could definitely deal with Kokichi. It’s a shame Shuichi couldn’t though.

 

“Oh my! Looks like I’m caught red-handed by the Saihara detectives!” Kokichi’s giggle broke Shuichi out of his thoughts. “But you won’t ever catch me!” 

 

Kokichi’s smile grew wider and he tapped his lips inquisitively, tilting his head to the side. Shuichi felt his blood run cold when he saw Kokichi’s dead, dead eyes widen slightly in a maniacal fashion. 

 

“I mean… you couldn’t do it back then, you couldn’t possibly do it now.” Kokichi’s smile wasn’t like his usual exaggerated lip-cracking ones. Instead, it was just a simple, small curve of the lips. Somehow, that was much scarier to look at than the wide smirks. 

 

“Huh?” It was Shuichi’s turn to tilt his head, but this time it was of confusion and slight fear. “Back then?” 

 

Kokichi’s smile grew to its typical width and he clapped his hands twice. “Oh! Looks like it’s my stop! Old man Saihara-chan, please turn the corner over there and I’ll be off!” 

 

“Wait, wha?” Shuichi was taken aback. What was Kokichi talking about? Back then? They’ve never before… have they? 

 

A realization hit him that Kokichi never really told them where his house was and that his uncle had been driving to their house the entire time. They were around 3 blocks away from their house before Kokichi asked for the stop. Kokichi lived that close to them? If he did really live that close, when did Shuichi meet him?

 

He suddenly recalled a distant memory of a sickly child with beautiful, sleek black hair combed back all nicely sitting underneath the shade of a tree with him. Shuichi furrowed his eyebrows. He hadn’t thought about that girl (girl? Were they a girl?) in a long while. 

 

The car came to a halt and Shuichi looked up as Kokichi hopped out of the car, not even minding that he was immediately drenched. Shuichi sputtered and tried to offer the umbrella but Kokichi waved it off. 

 

“My home is suuuuper close, so I don’t need it! I’ll just shower when I get home! Ah, but I guess you wouldn’t know what that is since Saihara-chan doesn’t shower!” Kokichi leaned in to Shuichi and sniffed his collar, causing Shuichi to erupt into a blush. Kokichi leaned back, his hair now stuck to his face from the wetness and he wrinkled his nose in mock disgust.

 

“Wow, you’re so stinky, Saihara-chan!”

 

“Wh—” Shuichi huffed indignantly. “I showered this morning! If I’m stinky, then it’s from the rain! If that’s the case, then what does that make you, Mister I-Want-To-Stand-In-The-Rain-And-Get-Sick-Ouma?” 

 

Kokichi faked a gasp and placed his hand on his chest. “Wow, Saihara-chan knows how to talk back!! Shock! Horror! Unpredictable!”

 

Then he turned on his heels and sprinted off. He waved back at Shuichi, throwing finger guns as he ran. Judging by the way his head tilted, it seemed like he also winked but Shuichi couldn’t tell from the heavy rain. 

 

“BYE BYE, SAIHARA-CHAN!!! I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR UGLY, LONG EYE-LASHED, STUPID FACE ANYMORE!!” 

 

“WAIT, BE CAREFUL, OUMA-KUN!” Shuichi called out, afraid that Kokichi might just slip and crack his head open on the pavement if he doesn’t look at the road while he’s running. Sure enough, he saw Kokichi’s figure stumble for a second, a shriek traveling through the pitter-patter, before stabilizing and running away again.

 

Shuichi shook his head, a smile making his way onto his lips. He closed the car door and his uncle stepped on the pedal. 

 

“He’s interesting, isn’t he?” 

 

“Yeah. I can’t seem to figure Ouma-kun out at all… everything he does is so contradictory!” 

 

“Well, you’ll figure him out soon enough, Shu. You’re the Ultimate Detective after all.”

 

Shuichi half-laughed, half-sighed. “I’m not a detective without nii-san. I only got so far because of his brain too, you know.” 

 

“Give yourself more credit. I don’t think Shuichi would like it if he heard you downgrading yourself like that.”

 

“O-of course… please don’t tell him I said that, I don’t want another lecture with dismemberment commentary thrown in.” 

 

His uncle chuckled, pulling onto the driveway of their house. “No promises.” 


By the time Shuichi stepped out of the car, he thinks he likes rainy days more now. And maybe, just maybe , Kokichi was more fun to talk with than Shuichi expected. He’s not admitting that though, it’s just a hypothetical.

Chapter Text

Expectedly, Hope’s Peak was a high school that assigned work pertaining to a student’s specific talent. Shuichi was relieved, to say the least, that his first project would just be a simple lover’s quarrel case in which a wife is trying to find out if her husband is cheating on her. Other students immediately crowded around each other, breaking into their newly made friend groups and discussing their respective projects. 

 

Shuichi sighed, it seems the cliques are already forming. He didn’t expect them to form that quickly, but it was high school after all. Things generally worked quicker here. Maybe it’s the excessive hormone production. 

 

He began to pack his bags but was promptly interrupted when a beautiful blonde, one of the soon-to-be popular girls, approached him. 

 

“Hey… I noticed you were all alone yesterday…” 

 

Shuichi frowned, he knew that what she was saying was true, but to have it spelled out so clearly kinda hurt. 

 

“Not that it’s a bad thing, really! If you want to be by yourself, I get it!” she shook her hands in front of her, starting to fumble over her words. 

 

“What Akamatsu is saying is that you should talk to us!” A boisterous man with a goatee helped her out, slapping her shoulder and the blonde, Akamatsu apparently, gave him a soft laugh. 

 

“Yeah, haha,” she giggled, brushing the goatee man’s hand off her shoulder politely. “You’re… uhh…”

 

“Shuichi Saihara,” Shuichi responded.


“Right! Do you want to hang-out with us, Saihara-kun?” 

 

Shuichi glanced over Akamatsu and the goatee man and their posse of followers behind them. Or were they their friends? Akamatsu and the goatee man seemed like nice people and calling the people behind them mindless followers who were in it for the reputation, something Shuichi knows a little too well, when they really were not would be a little degrading. 

 

“Uhm…” Shuichi weighed the pros and cons in his head and made a decision. “Okay…” 

 

“Oh, yay!” Akamatsu cheered. “I’m Kaede Akamatsu, the Ultimate Pianist! A pleasure to meet you, Saihara-kun!” 

 

“A-ah… me too, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Akamatsu-san.” 

 

The goatee man slapped his hand on Shuichi’s shoulder and flashed Shuichi a toothy grin and a thumbs up. Shuichi winced at the contact but didn’t comment as the guy introduced himself along with the rest of the students who were casually watching at the sidelines. 

 

By the time the bell rang, Shuichi was walking out of the classroom with a new group of friends (if they could be called that), politely chatting with the bubbly and strangely extroverted group of Ultimates. They discussed their projects and eventually, they parted ways into their 2nd-period classes. 

 

Shuichi thinks that he made significant progress that day in terms of social interactions. He couldn’t help but think something was missing though, or rather someone was missing. 

 

.

 

That specific someone came in prancing in through the gates like he wasn’t just gone from school for 3 straight days. Shuichi immediately approached the troublemaker, but all Kokichi had to say about his 3-day disappearance was “Hmmmm? I was here the entire time! I just used an invisibility cloak!”

 

Fortunately, Shuichi may be slow, but he wasn’t that dumb. Judging by the fact that Kokichi had literally been dancing in the rain the day prior to his absences, it was safe to assume that Kokichi had gotten sick. To that, Shuichi had nothing to say except for, “I told you so.”

 

Kokichi gave Shuichi the most pathetic glare he ever saw as a response, confirming Shuichi’s hypothesis that Kokichi had indeed been sick. Well, Shuichi is glad Kokichi recovered, getting sick in this day and age is never a good thing, especially after Junko Enoshima’s Despair Disease that the world is only now slowly recovering from.

 

There’s been a growing hunt for the people inflicted by despair but considering that the Despairs think like Junko Enoshima, they were exceedingly intelligent and were able to hide their despairful tendencies very well in normal life. Even to this day, anyone could be randomly attacked by someone they thought they knew. The alert for diseases, especially concerning Ultimates, has never been higher. Without a doubt, the moment the school realized Kokichi was absent for a class, they sent bodyguards to scope out the situation. Though it might seem like overkill, the slightest hint of illness could lead to despair, as the disease tends to manifest high fevers as symptoms, it was only natural that Hope’s Peak takes the amount of precaution that it does. Even now, Shuichi knew there was probably at least one pair of trained eyes on Kokichi to see if the boy was acting weird. 

 

That didn’t seem to bother the boy any as he continued about his day like normal, pestering the Ultimate Robot, Kiibo apparently, that was in Shuichi’s class. Occasionally, Kokichi would meet eyes with Shuichi and wink in his direction, to which Shuichi blushed and quickly averted his eyes. What’s up with Kokichi? Why does he do all these weird gestures, he does realize that there’s cameras everywhere and he’s probably being tailed by a Future Foundation agent at all times, right? Is he just ignoring it?

 

… Actually, that’d be pretty in character for Kokichi, wouldn’t it? He is definitely the type of person to up his stupid antics just to taunt the cameras and agent that keeps following him everywhere he goes. 

 

Shuichi sighed and turned away, rushing to his next class. 

 

.

 

“Whatchu got there, Saihara-chan?”

 

Shuichi looked up from his handbook to the approaching Kokichi. He placed it down along with his fork on the lunch table. “Nothing much, just my case file for my project.”

 

Kokichi hummed and slid into the seat next to Shuichi, which was, of course, empty. While Shuichi did make acquaintances with the people in his main class, he and the others were shuffled around so often that it was hard to get to know them all that well. Plus, they had already split into their own groups now, it’s been a full week of school after all. Although, on the other hand, that Kaito dude seems to be getting pretty buddy-buddy with Shuichi lately, a gesture that Shuichi finds endearing but also troublesome. Of course, Kaito was far less of a headache than Kokichi so Shuichi kinda wished he had sat with Kaito’s group during lunch instead of leaving himself vulnerable for Kokichi to sit next to him. 

 

Actually no, that’s a lie. Shuichi quite enjoyed Kokichi’s presence, the supreme leader was never boring and knew when to back off. 

 

“A project, huh.” Kokichi tapped his lips as if he didn’t know about it at all. 

 

Shuichi tilted his head. “Do you not have one?”

 

“Nope! Not at all! I guess going on that trip to the Bahamas for those three days got me out of a school assignment! Woohoo! I should do that more often!” Kokichi giggled, swinging his legs back and forth, his toes just barely brushing the ground. Kokichi is really short for a guy his age, Shuichi notes. That’s concerning if it wasn’t genetic. Shuichi hopes that Kokichi’s height was genetics and not something else. Unfortunately, considering the recent condition of the world, it probably wasn’t genetics. Shuichi pursed his lips and wondered if he should ask. When he looked at Kokichi’s big doe eyes, Shuichi decided he probably shouldn’t. Something about the large, glassy purple eyes that were so animated with life and somehow so very, very dead creeped Shuichi out. It reminded Shuichi all too much of his brother. Maybe Kokichi had really fallen into d— no, shut up brain. 

 

“That’s a lie though! I got an assignment and I bet Kiibo’s dick that it’s one thousand times better than yours!” Kokichi giggled, elbowing Shuichi’s hip playfully. Shuichi squealed, recoiling from the sensation and clutching his abdomen. Kokichi’s eyes widened from sudden realization and his mouth hung agape.

 

“Wait… are you actually ticklish…?” 

 

Shuichi reeled, quaking in his shoes, his hands tightening around his wast. “No! Of course not!”

 

“HOLY FUCK,” and Kokichi broke out into a fit of giggles, his hands shooting up to attack Shuichi’s sides. “I was just kidding last time in the car and I thought you were just pretending to humor me, but I didn’t expect you to actually be ticklish, Saihara-chan! Oh my god, this is hilarious! My day just got infinitely better!” 

 

Shuichi screeched in horror, twisting his body this way and that to avoid the fingers but to no avail as Kokichi seemed to know his way around the human body and poking Shuichi in the right place right when Shuichi’s protective hands slide off it. Thankfully, Shuichi had decided to sit in the corner of the lunchroom so they were far away from the rest of the crowd, but Shuichi was still dying with shame as he continued to scream softly. There was at least one pair of eyes watching his predicament and no pair of hands to help him.

 

Finally, when Shuichi twisted just the wrong way, he toppled over and fell off his seat, crashing into the table and shifting it slightly. He hit the floor with a grunt and died inside. Briefly, he considered just lying there and never getting up again. Maybe, just maybe, if he dies outside, he wouldn’t have to deal with the dozens of eyes that are definitely now looking at his pathetic form on the ground as a feral rat giggles endlessly.

 

Kokichi finally stopped giggling after a good minute and reorganized the table and chair before holding out a hand to help Shuichi up. Shuichi stared up at Kokichi, who had puffed cheeks and upturned eyes as if he was trying to hold back his laughter. He has a dimple on his left cheek, Shuichi notices before he sighes tiredly and grabs Kokichi’s hand. 

 

“Wow, that was the most fun I’ve had all day, Saihara-chan! Too bad though, if not for the merciful gravity for helping you escape my wrath, I could’ve killed you! Looks like my ‘Most Amount of People Killed Through Excessive Tickling’ record will just have to wait for another day.”

 

Shuichi snorted at that. 

 

Kokichi beamed. “Nishishi, I made my beloved Saihara-chan laugh voluntarily! My day just got way better!”

 

“B-beloved!?” Shuichi sputtered. 

 

“Juuuuuuust kidding! You can only become my beloved if you join my top-secret evil organization boasting ten thousand strong! Actually no, if you do that, you’ll just become my right-hand man, but hey, that’s better than nothing!” He chirped, finally letting go of Shuichi’s hand. 

 

Shuichi sighed and sat back into his seat, picking up his fork to continue eating his forgotten school lunch. As he brought a chunk of chicken to his lips, he notices that Kokichi didn’t have any food at all. 

 

“Aren’t you hungry…?” Shuichi asks as he placed the chicken into his mouth. Kokichi laughed softly and shakes his head. 

 

“Nah, I don’t get hungry, Saihara-chan!” He brings a finger to his hair and twirls it. “Food is for the weak and I’m the strongest person you’ll ever meet! I bet I can beat you in an arm-wrestling contest!” Then his eyes lit up and he shook his fists in front of himself ecstatically, stars in his eyes. “I bet I can beat Kiiboy in an arm-wrestling contest! Oh boy, oh boy, that’ll be the next record I’ll break! The first human to beat a robot!”

 

Shuichi chuckled. “Doesn’t Kiibo-kun have the same strength as an elderly person? I don’t think that’ll be much of a struggle…”

 

“Gheeeeeasssppp! Are you being robophobic right now, Saihara-chan? Cuz it totes sounds like you’re being robophobic right now by degrading Kiiboy’s awesome robotic strength that could totally take down an elephant!” Kokichi huffed, jabbing a finger in Shuichi’s cheek. 

 

“Oh wow, Saihara-chan, you sure are soft and malleable!” 

 

“I’m human, of course, I’m sof—” Shuichi grunted, swallowing his chicken and grabbed Kokichi’s finger. In the corner of his eye, he almost thought he saw a flash of fear in Kokichi’s eyes as the boy twitched momentarily before stilling himself. Shuichi furrowed his eyebrows and let go of Kokichi’s finger. The supreme leader’s shoulders visibly relaxed at that and his smile became a little more natural. 

 

“Is… are you scared of physical touch, Ouma-kun?”

 

Kokichi snorted and placed his entire palm on Shuichi’s face, smearing his hands that smelled of aloe vera all over Shuichi’s cheeks, lips, and nose.

 

Shuichi sighed into the palm. “Alright, t-thanks for clearing that up, I guess…” 

 

Kokichi huffed and took his hand off, a devilish grin adorning his childish features.

 

Shuichi fought the urge to roll his eyes. Geez, would it kill Kokichi to stop being so overdramatic all the time? Sure, it was pretty cute but now Shuichi smells of aloe vera. Not that that was a bad scent, but Shuichi liked his normal smell of old books and coffee, thank you very much. 

 

Shuichi looks back at his handbook and opens it, scrolling through his case file again. He aimlessly poked at his lunch, prodding at the now cold rice as his eyes ghosted over all the information. 

 

Kokichi’s face came closer in Shuichi’s peripheral vision but Shuichi didn’t really pay notice until he was literally breathing down Shuichi’s neck. Shuichi slapped a hand over his neck and stared at Kokichi exasperatedly, his mouth hung open.

 

“Hmmmmm, hmmmmmm,” Kokichi made thinking noises obnoxiously as he absorbed the information on Shuichi’s case file and pointedly ignoring Shuichi’s discomfort. “Wowzers, that’s one suckie of a hubby! Why would he ditch his hot wife at night just to go make sweet sweet eros to some slut in some other neighborhood?”

 

“Guh…” Shuichi felt his cheeks tinting up, a bit from the uncouth mouth spewing all the inappropriate words, and a bit from the close proximity of Kokichi’s face. “Y-you don’t have to be so blunt about it… b-besides, it’s my job to decide if he’s actually doing that anyways… not th-that I’ll do a good job with it, but hopefully... it’s satisfactory.” 

 

Kokichi tapped his lips and rest his chin on Shuichi’s shoulders, humming some tune Shuichi didn’t recognize. If even possible, Shuichi felt himself heat up more from the gesture. 

 

“Geez, what’s it to that wife anyways. She’ll be mad if you don’t find the truth that she’s looking for, the truth that her husband really is cheating on her… maybe call you a hack of a detective that didn’t find the evidence that he’s clearly cheating because why else would he be gone every night and only come home at 9 in the morning? Where’s the mistress, mister detective? Why haven’t you found her yet? What do you mean, he’s not cheating? Do your job right, I didn’t pay you to give me nothing!” 

 

Shuichi let out a sigh. As much as he hates to admit it, Kokichi was right. That was typically the case for these spouse dispute cases. 

 

“And then if you do find the evidence that he’s cheating, she’ll be just as angry. Oh no, he’s actually cheating, why would he do that, why would you do this to me. What’s going to happen to our marriage now that you’ve exposed his misdeeds? I should’ve never hired you!” 

 

“Let’s hope... she’s more on the amicable end, Ouma-kun.” 

 

“But that’s all you can do, Saihara-chan. And besides, you know how people are these days. Hope is wack, do crack.” 

 

Shuichi didn’t suppress the urge this time and rolled his eyes. 

 

“That’s nice, Ouma-kun, but please don’t do drugs.” 

 

“Oooh, lookit Mr. Hot Detective Baby, here to tell me what to and not to do.” Kokichi lifted his head off of Shuichi’s shoulder, licking his dry lips and huffing, crossing his arms. “Crack is wack too, I would never! You don’t have to tell me twice, Saihara-chan!”

 

“I— What?” Shuichi didn’t know what to comment on in those two sentences. “Then why did you say th— nevermind, it’s whatever. A-and, I’m n-not hot nor am I a child!”

 

“Oh no, you have no say in this, Saihawa-chan.” Kokichi made doe eyes at Shuichi and curled his lips. “You’re baby.” 

 

The bell, god bless the bell because it finally rang. Shuichi quickly gathered his stuff and got up from the table to throw away his tray. Kokichi giggled behind Shuichi, tailgating him.

 

“Nishishi, you don’t have to run away that quickly, Saihara-chan! I was just lying, don’t leave me all by my lonesome! Rabbits can die of loneliness, you know? I can and will die on you! And then you’ll be in Angstville, trademarked by yours truly by the way, with no way to get out until you die of loneliness as well and join me in Panta heaven—” 

 

At that, Shuichi turned around and placed a hand on Kokichi’s head, ruffling his hair. “Just… shut up, Ouma-kun.” Shuichi sighed for the hundredth time that day. 

 

Kokichi simply grinned, light pink dusting his complexion, though it could’ve been a trick of the light. 

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow, I guess.” Shuichi waved Kokichi goodbye and left the lunchroom. He heard footsteps follow after him and Shuichi couldn’t help but smile a little at Kokichi’s persistence. What an absolute nuisance. An endearing one, but wow, what a nuisance.

 

“What’s your next class, Saihara-chan?” 

 

“Physics with Hagakure-sensei.” 

 

“Oh, yikes. Good luck passing the tests because you’re not gonna learn anything helpful with that occult freak.” 

 

“You shouldn’t talk about our teachers like that.” Despite his words, Shuichi laughed softly because he agreed that Yasuhiro was kinda bad at teaching science with his supernatural beliefs. 

 

“I guess I’ll just have to teach you then!” Kokichi giggled, a little skip in his steps to make up for his slight lack of speed due to his height. Shuichi made note of this and slowed down a little.

 

“I wouldn’t want to bother you like that,” he said, though he was grateful that Kokichi would take the time out of his day to do that.

 

“Don’t worry! You can just repay me by offering me your soul!”

 

“You’re not a demon, Ouma-kun. A-at least I hope not or else Hagakure-sensei might not be overly paranoid after all.”

 

“Kiiboy would beg to differ! I am the most demonic evil thing he’s seen in ages!” 

 

“Well, Kiibo-kun would have to confront me with his grievances himself then.”

 

“Puh-lease, we all know you’d faint from the slightest hint confrontation, Saihara-chan!”

 

“Geh—” 

 

Kokichi really knew how to cut deep, huh?

 

The two boys finally arrived at the stairway.

 

“Welp, here’s where we part ways, Saihara-chan! Goodbye, my beloved! May we meet again in another life, sayonara!” he dramatically swiped his hand across his eyes as if wiping tears away and turned around flamboyantly before dashing up the stairs at a speed that Shuichi didn’t even know was possible for a person that size. 

 

Shuichi shook his head and took a step onto the stairs himself, though he took his time compared to Kokichi since his class was on the second floor whereas Kokichi’s class was… oh, Shuichi didn’t know Kokichi’s schedule. He’ll have to ask Kokichi tomorrow. 

 

.

 

“How was your day?” His brother seemed really happy to see Shuichi. Considering the fact that his brother dropped out of school a year ago and literally didn’t have anything to do while waiting for both his uncle and Shuichi to get home, Shuichi can assume that his brother was bored out of his mind the entire day.

 

“I think I grew closer to that friend I told you about.” 

 

His brother didn’t seem pleased. “Don’t you go spending your time with that friend all day and leaving me behind to rot all by my lonesome. Rabbits can die of loneliness, you know, and I can too. I can and will die on you, leaving you with an endless list of regrets.”

 

Shuichi snorted.

 

His brother raised an eyebrow. “What’s so funny?”

 

“N-no… it’s just, my friend said the same thing today.” 

 

“Wow, so now he’s replacing me and my brand.” His brother opened the kitchen drawer where they kept the knives. “I suppose it’s time to get rid of a rival. I always knew I would have to do this someday, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon… truly, a tragedy. Depriving my emo anti-social younger brother of his first friend. Oh well, what must be done must be done.”

 

Shuichi clutched his stomach in laughter. “Stop that, nii-san! You’re gonna kill me first before that with your stupid jokes!”

 

His brother clicked his tongue. “I really should stop making these jokes. They don’t land all that well anymore when you’re so desensitized to it.” 

 

Shuichi smiled and wiped a tear from his eye. “No, you don’t have to change, nii-san. I like you the way you are now. It’s nice and unique and reminds me that you’re just a tortured little puppy who can’t help but use dark jokes to cope with your crippling social anxiety.”

 

“What the actual fuck, Shu.” His brother stared at Shuichi like he just grew two heads. 

 

“That’s for the emo anti-social comment, nii-san. Take that, haha.”

 

“I don’t know whether I should be blushing because of the ‘I like you just the way you are’ part or fuming because of the ‘tortured little puppy’ part.” 

 

Shuichi placed his bag down on the sofa. “Why pick either when you can pick both, nii-san? Be angry that you love me so much! Love me so much that you’re angry!” 

 

His brother pouted, mindlessly toying with the sharp tip of his favorite kitchen knife. “Everyone thinks I’m the more confident one of the two of us, but clearly they would be rolling in their graves if they could hear in on our private conversations. Fucking narcissist. You can only say that because you know I won’t gouge your eyes out.” 

 

“Because you love me so much?”

 

“...”

 

“I love you too, nii-san.” 

 

His brother made a strangled noise and slammed the knife down on the counter. 

 

“A-anyways, what do you want for dinner, Shu?” 

 

“An omelette made of love!”

 

“Okay, first of all, that’s a breakfast food, second of all, fuck you—”

 

Shuichi found himself laughing genuinely for the hundredth time that day.

Chapter Text

Shuichi sighed, reaching over the counter to get coffee from the pot. 

 

His brother groaned softly from the couch. “Hurry up, bro… I’m gonna die from lack of caffeine at this point.” 

 

“Wait for one second, nii-san. You know I have wobbly hands.” true to his word, Shuichi’s hands were shaking slightly as he tried to keep a steady grip on the coffee pot. After a few agonizing moments, he managed to fill both of their mugs without a spill. The next challenge came when Shuichi attempted to balance both mugs as he made his way back to the couch. Many times, his momentum would cause some of the coffee to almost slosh out but he successfully managed to hand his brother the mug without a terrible accident. 

 

“Took you long enough.” his brother grumbled, immediately chugging the entire cup down with no care. Shuichi felt a little hurt that he didn’t even take the time to appreciate the coffee after all the trouble Shuichi went through to prepare it. Of course, karma was served when his brother proceeded to choke slightly, hacking and gagging dramatically.

 

Shuichi wasn’t a would-be-murderer so he helped his brother with his choking problem by lightly patting him on the back. After a few seconds, his brother calmed down and glared at the coffee mug like it murdered his pet dog. 

 

Shuichi chuckled lightly and sat down next to him. He set his cup on the coffee table and picked up his schoolwork papers. His brother sighed and leaned his head on Shuichi’s shoulders. Shuichi reciprocated and leaned on his brother’s head, nuzzling into the familiar scent. His brother smelled like coffee and mildew. 

 

“Another relationship case?” 

 

“Mhm.”

 

“Sucks. Murder cases are better.”

 

“They’re morbid though. I prefer these over those.”

 

“Both aren’t nice on your mental health regardless. Do you need help with that when you interview them?”

 

“I…” Shuichi shuffled his papers and tapped his chin. Should he ask his brother to accompany him to the briefing? On one hand, this was his project and it would be bad to ask his brother, who’s worked with him on almost every other case Shuichi was given, for help on this simple case. On the other, after the murder case that got him recognized as an Ultimate Detective, the one murder case he happened to work alone on, Shuichi was deathly afraid of confrontation. The mere thought that the husband and wife would take his questions negatively (no doubt they will, who is he kidding) sends chills down Shuichi’s spine. Maybe if he has his brother by his side, he would be able to tough through it. 

 

Shuichi nodded. “Yeah… I’d like that, please.” 

 

“Great.”

 

The twins sat settled back into a comfortable silence, only interrupted by the occasional shuffle of papers and the clink of coffee mugs on the glass table. Shuichi didn’t mind it at all, he loved silence and the serene tranquility of just casually hanging out with his brother in the comfort of their home on a Saturday was all Shuichi could ask for. 

 

Though, Shuichi thinks he wouldn’t mind if that silence was interrupted by something — a certain someone in a checkered scarf and a goofy mischievous grin comes to mind. Shuichi ponders that for a good minute and comes to the conclusion that yeah, he would like that. As a matter of fact, he’d love it. Tranquility was nice, but that guy was the change in pace Shuichi never knew he needed.

 

He glances at his brother. Would his brother like Kokichi? Shuichi hopes he does because he would really rather his brother and Kokichi get along. It wouldn’t really be far-fetched to say that Kokichi was the only person who stuck with him (Shuichi hopes it stays that way, but probably not since it’s only the beginning of their 4 years and beginning friendships never tend to last). It would be disappointing if his brother disapproved of Shuichi’s first friend… does Kokichi even see himself as Shuichi’s friend? 

 

Shuichi frowned. Kokichi didn’t seem like the type of person to label other people. Plus, they only talked for a few days, it would be presumptuous and incredibly selfish of Shuichi to carelessly tack on the friendship label on him and Kokichi. Not to mention… Shuichi would really not go through the heartbreak of that time in middle school when he— 

 

He shuts off the thought when he began to feel his old scars itch. It’s better not to rub salt in the wound, especially when he just recently recovered. 

 

(That’s a lie. It never really does recover.)

 

“Shu?” 

 

Shuichi snaps out of his stupor. He turns to his brother as his brother slides off Shuichi’s shoulder. “Yes, what is it, nii-san?” he puts on his best smile.

 

“Are you okay?” his brother clearly didn’t buy it. Shuichi dropped the smile, it’s pointless. 

 

“I was just thinking about something, which lead to another and another and then my brain went somewhere unpleasant.” Shuichi glazed over the facts. He was never a good liar so there’s no point in doing so when his brother knew him so well already, so the next best option was to just tell the partial truth. 

 

His brother cocked an eyebrow. “If anything’s bothering you, tell me. I’ll get rid of whoever’s worrying you. Whether it be me, that friend you’re talking about all the time now, or the goddamn world. I’m not gonna let anything hurt you, Shuichi. Not again.” His brother closed his eyes, placed his hand on Shuichi’s arm, and as serenely as possible, murmured, “I’ll get rid of it all. Even murder’s okay.”

Shuichi kept his eyes open as he felt a chill run down his spine and swallowed hard. His brother’s hands felt freezing cold and scorching hot at the same time, Shuichi felt his skin burning from the contact. He couldn’t tell if this dark comment was a joke or not. His shaky hands grasped at his brother’s arms and he curled his fingers around the lithe wrists. 

 

“It is not, nii-san. Murder is never okay.”

 

“You’re no fun.” His brother rolled his eyes and pulled his hands away. Shuichi frowned and flicked his brother’s forehead, to which he clutched it in pain and glared at Shuichi.

 

“What is that for!?”

 

“You know damn well what that was for, nii-san. I don’t mind you making dark jokes, it’s a part of you who are and it’s a coping mechanism, but please…” he looked down at his lap and clenched his fist before uncurling them. He let out a breath. “Please don’t say those things in that tone… I don’t want you to relapse. I can’t afford to lose you.” 

 

“I,” his brother looked away and brought a hand to his neck, wrapping his fingers lightly around it and scratching. Shuichi recognized that gesture, his brother would always scratch his neck when he was nervous and trying not to panic. Shuichi grabbed his brother’s hand away and squeezed it tenderly. 

 

“I-” his brother refused to look Shuichi in the eye. He cast his eyes down, his bangs casting a shadow over the top half of his face. 

 

“Nii-san, I can’t let you submit to despair again. You were miserable, I never want to see that again. But, just know that no matter what state you’re in, I’ll be there for you. I’m sure uncle will do the same. I believe that you can get through this. I don’t believe in a lot of things, we both don’t, but that’s the one thing I know will come true.” Shuichi gave his brother’s hand another comforting squeeze. “We’ll get through this together.”

 

His brother nodded silently. Shuichi smiled and let go. He pulled his brother into a hug. His brother’s arms came to Shuichi’s side and lingered, hesitating to reciprocate. When Shuichi nuzzled into the warmth, his brother got the hint and wrapped his arms around Shuichi.

 

“You’re skinny, Shu.” 

 

“So are you.”

 

“You’re skinnier.”

 

“I’m more physically fit than you, nii-san.”

 

“But you’re skinnier.”

 

“And I’m healthier.”

 

“You drink more coffee than me, that’s not healthier.”

 

“And you shower less. Your bunk is messier than mine and you’ve cut your finger at least 100 times while cooking.”

 

“But you’re skinnier.”

 

Shuichi laughed at how childish their conversation was and his brother’s low rumble next to Shuichi’s ear indicated that he was finding this amusing as well. They pulled apart after a few more seconds of embrace. He reached a hand to his brother’s face and wiped a stray tear away. His brother flushed at that and patted his face for any more tears. When he felt nothing he sighed in relief and looked away, acting as if he wasn’t just caught crying. 

 

Shuichi smiled. His brother cleared his throat.

 

.

 

Shuichi fidgeted in place, hesitating to knock on the door. His brother cocked an eyebrow at him, his eyes boring holes into Shuichi’s head. Shuichi squeezed his eyes, feeling his hands get clammier the more his fist hovers over the door. Finally, his brother couldn’t take it anymore and knocked on the door for Shuichi, making the younger jump in shock.

 

“N-nii-san!” 

 

“You’re just standing there, what was I supposed to do?” 

 

Shuichi frowned but found himself on the losing end of the argument. He sighed and resolved himself to his fate. He doubts he could’ve even brought his fist down at all for the next hour if his brother hadn’t done it in his place. His brother was always the more confident of the two — though, it’s probably not the good kind of confidence. He never cared for his personal safety and even less for his reputation, meaning he could do anything shamelessly. Shuichi wished he had even half that amount of impulsivity, but he also wished his brother learned some control. 

 

Shuichi didn’t want him to get in trouble, or worse, hurt, for doing something stupid that was easily avoidable. Unfortunately, his brother seems to be some magnet for disaster and Shuichi couldn’t even keep track of how many times the older twin has come home with an injury of some sort. This is why he never goes out nowadays — just shuts himself in the house while Shuichi and their uncle do the social interactions. 

 

Shuichi also wishes he could be like that. Talking to people was tiring.

 

Ah, but then he would have to cut off contact with Kokichi, and Kokichi was fun to talk to. Kaito and Kaede as well, even though Shuichi hasn’t talked to them as much, they seem friendly and genuinely happy to talk to Shuichi (which is definitely a first for him). A few months ago, Shuichi could’ve never imagined himself in this position. 

 

The door creaked open to reveal a weary-looking woman, who in her youth must’ve been beautiful, but now only look like a former shell of a human being. 

 

“Ah… and you are?” she croaked. 

 

His brother froze up. That was the thing about him, while he was confident when speaking to people he was comfortable with, he was a complete wreck, even more so than Shuichi, in front of strangers. Shuichi almost wanted to laugh if he wasn’t shaking as well. 

 

“Uh- yes— I, we… we are the detectives hired for the case you filed for?” 

 

She jumped at that and quickly glanced around as if afraid someone might overhear. It wasn’t a surprise since a spouse never wants to find out that their significant other suspects them of cheating and hired a detective to check. 

 

After she looked around some more, she placed a hand on her bosom and let out a soft sigh. She opened the door a little wider and gestured to the house inside. “Come in, please.”

 

Shuichi exchanged a glance with his brother. 

 

They took a step forward one by one and the woman closed the door behind them. 

 

The inside of the home was quaint and smelled faintly of rust, a scent Shuichi unfortunately knew a little too well. His brother seemed to have caught the stank as well as his eyes shifted around to find where the smell was coming from. 

 

Shuichi left that to him and smiled at the woman. She introduced herself and bowed slightly, her hands quivering as she tugged down on her long sleeves even more. Strange, Shuichi notes, she gives off the timid and unproactive aura. Why would she ever file a infidelity case with her personality? Maybe there was something more to her— he should stop speculating for now. It might hinder with the investigation. 

 

The woman ushered them to the couch, clean without a single speck of dust. The twins sit down and watch as she sits across from them in a wobbly chair. Shuichi glances around and realizes that the apartment is full of luxurious things like a piano and polished marble counters, but for every expensive furniture, there existed an equally shabby looking one. There was a long couch, and yet there were wobbly folding chairs that look like they could collapse any second. There was a glass table, wiped down squeaky clean, but there was a smaller table off to the side with wood that was peeling off. This pattern continued throughout the house and Shuichi hummed. So there was a power disparity within this household. 

 

His brother has been stiff the entire time next to Shuichi. His eyes darted back and forth, absorbing the information around the house, but his shoulders were tense and Shuichi could tell he was already sweating. He was always like this when he steps out of their house, but he gets better — more outspoken and frenzied — when he gets in the zone of investigation. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, that time wasn’t now. For now, it was Shuichi’s role to begin the interrogation. 

 

The first question is asked, she responds normally — or well, as normally as she can with her personality. True to her first impression, she is a soft-spoken and submissive woman that caves at the slightest bit of pressuring. She easily cooperated, which was nice. 

 

“He leaves all the time at the moment the sun sets… once, he smacked me when I tried to ask where he’s been going the entire night.”

 

“Did he say anything?”

 

She faltered for the first time. “He… he says ‘I don’t know, don’t stop me, slut’. I…” She threw her face into her hands and sobbed. Shuichi rushed to her side to comfort her but his brother seemed unfazed, instead raising a finger to tap his lips.

 

“He doesn’t know?” 

 

“I think he’s lying…” The woman sniffled. “He always gets really drunk and when he does… he hits me all the time. He hits me and hits me no matter how much I beg him to stop…” 

 

Shuichi felt his heart stir with sympathy for the woman. His hands hovered over her back, unsure if touching her might elicit a negative reaction. 

 

“I’m sorry we had to make you remember such horrible things, ma’am.” he settled for saying instead. 

 

“When did it start?” his brother continued, unable to read the mood of the room.

 

“Huh?”

 

“When did he start his nightly expenditures?” 

 

The woman seemed a little offended that the older twin didn’t seem to care about her grief but she answered regardless. “Around two months ago… February… I think it was on a Friday. We usually watch something together on the flat screen TV, but in the middle of the session, he just got up and left… and then he always left at that time after...” 

 

“He wasn’t acting suspicious before that?” Shuichi took charge and asked this time. 

 

“No… none that I could pick up on anyway…”

 

“What do you do on the movie nights on Fridays?” His brother asked. His eyes were getting more dilated and a smile stretched across his face.

 

“We… we just w-watch movies, whatever’s on television, I guess… I’m usually t-the one to pick the channel, a-and make food for him to eat when he’s watching. H-he hits me less when he’s immersed.” 

 

His brother continued to ask questions, finally getting into the zone. With each question, he hit with offensive bluntness and the woman went from fidgeting and stuttering, to passive aggressively answer and finally, she snapped.

 

“I’m sorry sir, but with all due respect, I don’t respect you at all! Please leave my house!” she stood up abruptly from her wobbly chair and pointed to the door. “I… would like it if you just emailed me instead!” 

 

Shuichi, who was at a lost as to what to do the entire time, torn between reigning in his brother or collecting evidence, finally sighed and piped in. “I think that’s all we’re gonna ask for today. Thank you so much for your time, ma’am. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.” 

 

“Ah…” the woman on the verge of blowing a fuse suddenly calmed down and rubbed her arm, tugging her sleeve down even more. “Y-yeah… Have a nice day.”

 

The moment they stepped out of the apartment, his brother tapped a finger to his chin. “Suspicious…” he says. 


“How so, nii-san?” Shuichi inquires. So far, all he’s gathered is that the husband was a sleazebag who abused alcohol and liked to beat his wife and he suddenly started leaving— oh, yeah that was fairly suspicious. 

 

Shuichi mentally smacked himself for not picking that up. He was always the type of person to formulate the evidence after he’s away from the investigation scene, never in the heat of the moment. One thing he’s learned from years of experience is that making a theory and latching onto it and trying to make every new evidence found fit into that theory can be very detrimental to arriving at the full truth. Though, not making a theory in the moment could be just as detrimental. Which is why Shuichi has his brother, who specializes in doing just that while Shuichi does the other.

 

“You’re smart, Shu, I’m sure you’ve realized it.”

 

“Yeah… yeah I have. We need more evidence before we can jump to any conclusions.” 

 

“Whatever you say, I’m not the one in charge of this case. If I help you with your project, it’s kinda bad for your rep as the Ultimate Detective, doesn’t it?” 

 

Shuichi laughed nervously. “I don’t think I deserve to be the Ultimate Detective at all…” He played with a strand of his hair as they made their way down the stairs. “Kirigiri-san is so much better…”

 

And like magic, his brother’s eyes lit up. “Kyoko Kirigiri is there!?” 

 

Shuichi was a little taken aback by the sudden shouting but he steadied his footing before he could fall down the stairs. “Yeah! She is!” 

 

“Oh my go— I’m so jealous of you, Shu… she’s so cool… Ahhhhhhh!!! I wish I could see her, I just— hngh, I want to talk to her! I can’t believe she’s in your school. I mean, I guess it was kinda expected since Makoto Naegi is the headmaster and she’s the vice-principal but it’s still so hard to believe that… that…!” His brother jumped up and down and stomped his feet excitedly, his newfound enthusiasm finding now relief. “That…!”

 

“That the heroes of the tragedy are actually here with us in person, and within such a close reach.” Shuichi finished for him. 

 

“Yeah!” His brother nodded vigorously. “I’ve admired Kirigiri-sama for so long! Ughhhhh, what I wouldn’t give to shake her hand at least once!” 

 

Shuichi was aware of his brother’s admiration of Kyoko, he himself was a fan of her too, but Shuichi never expected to see his brother so excited over anyone before. His brother was always more of a hollow shell, corrupted and perverted, wearing Shuichi’s face (Shuichi doesn’t like to think of it that way but that was how others described his brother and how his brother used to describe himself). Fortunately, his brother grew out of that stupor after the inciting incident that left both of them scarred but got them closer together. However, as a consequence, his brother grew a little more fanatic and creepy— obsessive is the word. Particularly, Shuichi remembers when his brother would often leave the house in the mornings for school and doesn’t come home until late at night, always with a joyful expression. Shuichi remembers his brother talking his ear off about his new friend and Shuichi remembers the bitterness he felt that he wasn’t the one who was helping his brother through the trying times.

 

A buzz in Shuichi’s pocket broke him away from his reminiscing and his brother’s ramblings of how cool Kyoko was. 

 

His brother gestured for Shuichi to check his phone, to which Shuichi complied. 

 

From: Unknown

Goooood morning Saihara-chan! ;3

Do you want to go on a date today? I think I’m in your area rn!

 

Shuichi furrowed his eyebrows. 

 

“What?” He whispered out loud exasperatedly.

 

“What?” His brother echoed, much louder.

 

“It’s nothing… I think.” Shuichi waves him off and texts back a reply. There was only one person who calls him Saihara-chan. How did Kokichi get his number? 

 

Regardless, Shuichi saves Kokichi’s contact. He feels a little fuzzy inside once that was done. Once he meets up with Kokichi today, he’ll need to take a picture for the contact photo. 

 

“You sure look happy alluva sudden.” 

 

Shuichi looked up at his brother. “I do?”

 

“Yeah, smiling from cheek to cheek.” 

 

Shuichi brings a hand up to his face and sure enough, his lips were stretched thin into an upwards curve. Shuichi lets out a surprised hum and tries to bring his face back into a neutral expression but found it hard to do so— the unexplainable giddy feeling he has in his chest just wouldn’t go away. He must be very happy to hang out with his new friend(?). Shuichi felt a little embarrassed by that. It was kinda childish of him to be so excited to spend a day outside of school with a friend(?), right? Shuichi was 16 now, he has to be more mature since he’s going to be the next generation of leaders, being an Ultimate and all. It’s not befitting of an Ultimate to get hung up over social competence.

 

“Well… it’s good that you found someone that makes you happy, Shu.” his brother patted Shuichi over the back, smiling at him encouragingly. “Don’t let them go, you’ll regret it.” 

 

And for a brief second, Shuichi saw a flash of melancholy in his brother’s eyes. Shuichi smiled at him and nodded. 

 

“Some friendships don’t last so I shouldn’t place my expectations too high.” he said. Hopefully, his brother would take that to heart and realize that his regret of the past needs to be let go. Whoever he’s pining after isn’t with him anymore, relationships don’t always last.

 

Despite knowing this, Shuichi knows that if his newfound friendship with Kokichi suddenly severed, he’d be just as depressed as his brother. Oh, Shuichi is such a hypocrite. Letting go, what a joke.

 

To: Ouma-kun

Yes 

I’d love to hang out with you, if that isn’t too much trouble on your end

How did you get my number, Ouma-kun?

 

.

 

“Watchu doing, Saihara-chan?” 

 

Shuichi, startled by the sudden voice over his shoulder, jolted and turned around. Kokichi, who was moving forward to tackle Shuichi, rammed into Shuichi’s chest instead. 

 

“Owwww!! Why’d you do that, Saihara-chan!? My nose!” he rubbed his nose fervently as if to emphasize a point. Shuichi knew for a fact that Kokichi couldn’t have been hurt that badly since, unfortunately, Shuichi had no abs to crash into. Shuichi’s abdomen was soft and squishy.

 

“There’s no way that hurt, Ouma-kun.” 

 

“No! It hurts as much as being hit by a truck! You have rock-hard pecs, Shumai!” 

 

“Shumai…?”

 

Kokichi placed a hand on his hip and popped it out, leaning on one foot and jutting his bottom lip out sassily. Shuchi snorted. 

 

“I came up with it myself! You like it?” Kokichi winked and flashed a peace sign.

 

Shuichi hesitated to respond and immediately Kokichi burst into tears, taking the hesitance as a form of rejection. Shuichi panicked and tried to calm down the smaller boy until Kokichi abruptly stopped his tears (Shuichi was absolutely surprised!) and sniffled up at him, those big watery eyes shooting their way right through Shuichi’s heart. “D-does that mean you hate it, Saihara-chan?”

 

Shuichi rubbed the back of his neck bashfully. “Uh… I mean, I don’t necessarily hate it…” 

 

“Which means you like it!”

 

“Eh—” Shuichi wanted to object but he didn’t hate it, he was neutral in the stance. So maybe he did like it? Shumai is a cute name… yeah, Shuichi could grow to like that. 

 

He smiled at Kokichi. “I like it.”

 

Kokichi beamed up at him. “Shumai, shumai!” he parroted, skipping merrily. Shuichi shook his head softly as he smiled and followed after Kokichi. 

 

Kokichi had chosen their meeting place to be a mall — apparently he needed to buy extra materials for some super secret mission for his super secret evil organization. Shuichi wasn’t sure what supplies a secret evil organization would need from a small mall, but he wasn’t the leader of one like Kokichi was so he wouldn’t know.

 

Luckily, the mall wasn’t very crowded despite it being a weekend. Shuichi and Kokichi made their way around the stores with fair ease. Their first stop was a clothing store as Kokichi was running out of checkered clothing. 

 

“One of these days, you’ll walk into school with a fully checkered outfit.”

 

“My life’s goal is to become a chess board.” 

 

“Please don’t…”

 

“Wah!?” Kokichi gasped loudly, intent on making a big ruckus in the middle of the shop. Shuichi slapped a hand over Kokichi’s mouth before he could start crying. Kokichi glared at Shuichi as Shuichi removed his hand before he could get licked. Kokichi licked his lips and huffed, dissatisfied with being unable to enact wet retribution on Shuichi’s palm. 

 

He bounced right back and ran his hand along the racks of checkered leggings. “Don’t you know, Saihara-chan? I’m actually the Ultimate Chessmaster! Which is why I need to wear so much checkered! It’s thematically appropriate for my brand!”

 

Shuichi hummed, playing along. “I didn’t know that. How could I have been so blind, you totally seem like an Ultimate Chessmaster, Ouma-kun.”

 

Kokichi cocked an eyebrow and looked up from sifting through the leggings for an extra small size. “Oh? How so?”

 

“I mean…” Shuichi scratched his cheek bashfully. “You seem smart enough to master that craft…” 

 

Kokichi laughed, similar to that of a horse’s neigh. If horses sounded cute. 

 

He looked at Shuichi, eyeing him up and down. Shuichi fidgeted in his spot after a few minutes of silent judgement. Just as Shuichi was about to question why Kokichi was sizing him up, Kokichi pulled a pair of leggings off the rack and held it up to Shuichi’s legs. Shuichi caught on to the implications and shook his hands.

“I’m not gonna wear those checkered leggings, Ouma-kun.” 

 

Kokichi huffed. “Come on, Saihara-chan! You have slim legs, you’d look great!”

 

Shuichi shuddered and pushed the apparel away from him. “Th-thanks, but no thanks… I feel like I’d be too exposed. They’re so tight and thin…” 

 

Kokichi snorted and shook his head. He shrugged his shoulders, seemingly to have given up on making Shuichi feel uncomfortable and placed the leggings back on the rack. He then started his hunt for leggings his size again, making a loud and obnoxious concentrating noise, similar to that of a sputtering plane engine. Shuichi felt an inherent urge to shut Kokichi up, so that the duo would stop getting attention from the rest of the customers and employees in the store, but Kokichi seemed to be enjoying himself so Shuichi opted against doing so. 

 

“Welp!” Kokichi snapped back up abruptly, startling Shuichi. “I’m bored now, let’s go browse the Lego store!”

 

“Wh-?” Before Shuichi could get a word in, Kokichi grabs him by the arm and drags him out of the store. Shuichi spares a momentary glance at the sign as they exit. 

 

Hot Topic.

 

Huh.

 

“Come on Saihara-chan! We need to eat something before rush hour arrives or we have to wait in line for ever!” Kokichi tugged at Shuichi’s arm and practically dragged him to the food court. 

 

How did someone with such a petite frame hold such immense strength? Or was Shuichi just that weak? He flashes back to his non-existent abs and suddenly feels much more self conscious than before. He shrinks a little at the sight of the slightly crowded area. Despite knowing that no one would care enough to spare him a glance, Shuichi couldn’t help but think that everyone’s eyes were now on him, judging his lanky frame and flabby muscles. 

 

Oh god, come to think of it, the button up white shirt he wore today is too formal for a mall outing, isn’t it? Everyone must be judging him on now and his terrible taste in fashion and his inability to wear the appropriate clothes for a hang out with a friend. Everyone else around him wore informal wear— hell, even Kokichi was just wearing a plain white t-shirt and shorts. Shuichi was the odd one out, Shuichi shouldn’t be here, everyone was looking at him and—  Shuichi lets out a shaky breath as he meets eyes with a random stranger. He feels his knees go weak. 

 

“Saihara-chan, breath.” Comes a voice to his right. The grip on his hand loosens and moves to his chest to support his leaning body weight. Another hand draws circles in his back gently. “Breath.” 

 

It’s a childish voice but so mature at the same time. Like the owner of said voice was merely a child who hadn’t had the chance to properly go through puberty and yet was forced to mature faster than people their age. Shuichi thinks it’s a pretty voice, it calms him. He attempts to steady his breathing and shakily clutches onto the frame of the person ushering soft words into his ear. 

 

His vision starts to clear and in front of his face, he sees the face of a very worried Kokichi. 

 

“Th- thank you, I’m fine now…” He gently pushes Kokichi off of him. He looks away from Kokichi, unable to meet his eye. “Can… we not talk about that…”

 

Shockingly, Kokichi doesn’t mock Shuichi for the panic attack and instead diverts the topic  like Shuichi wanted. “What should we get, Saihara-chan?” 

 

“Uh…” Shuichi looked around, a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of food places. His mind was still in a haze but he knew he didn’t want to be near any crowds. Many of the customers clustered around the fast food joints and Shuichi steered far away from those corners. He looked around some more, Kokichi following close behind him. Shuichi didn’t know what to do.

 

Kokichi, picking up on Shuichi’s distress, piped up, “I want churros! We can totally share one and bite the end of each and eat it like that! Like in the Pocky Game!” 

 

“The what?”

 

“Oh my gosh, Saihara-chan, you don’t know?” 

 

Kokichi’s face warped into what Shuichi could only describe as the face of the devil before settling into a shit-eating grin. “Oh, this is gonna be fun, Saihara-chan! I have so much to teach you!” Then he winked and ran off in the direction of the snack booth. 

 

“I’m gonna rock your world!” He yells as his short but slender legs carry him there in less than 2 seconds. 

 

Shuichi looks at his own legs. He wonders if he could have that speed as well if he were chaotic enough. Or maybe if he spent more than half a second running. Shuichi decided it’s best that he didn’t dwell on that part or he might start feeling worse and he began to make his way over to Kokichi’s side. 

 

“Oh thank god, Shumai! You’re here!” Kokichi greeted Shuichi dramatically with a giant wave of his hand. The cashier seemed amused and stifled a giggle. 

 

“Quick! I need your mom’s credit card number along with the expiration date and the three digit code on the back!” 

 

“Ouma-kun, that’s an outdated meme.” 

 

“No meme is outdated when I say it!” Kokichi huffs, sticking his hand into Shuichi’s backpocket with no hesitation. Shuichi sputters a short string of curses as Kokichi pulls out his wallet. 

 

“H- How did you know that was in there!?” Shuichi exasperatedly half-yells. 

 

“Oh please, Shumai… it’s pretty obvious when one side of your ass is flatter and thicker than usual.” Kokichi twirls the wallet around and rolls his eyes before sifting through the contents. He pulls out some old bills from it and hands it over to the cashier, who readily accepts them and calculates the change to give back. 

 

Shuichi cocks an eyebrow. “What did you order?” 

 

“Vanilla pineapple ultra vitamin chocolate mango blended banana kiwi rat poison watermelon ammonia honeydew hydrogen peroxide greek yogurt almond peanut milk raspberry cyanide blueberry cherry double shaken smoothie.” Kokichi stuffs the change back into Shuichi’s wallet without blinking an eye or taking a single breath as he lists the random string of words off the top of his head. Shuichi’s mouth hangs open in shock. 

 

“Wha—” He places a hand over his mouth and feels slight concern. “I heard the rat poison and cyanide, Ouma-kun…”

 

“They’re the best part! Tasty! And perfect for killing the Ultimate Detective!” Kokichi’s face warps back into that of the demonic expression as he taps a finger over his abnormally up-curved lips. “Detectives are quite annoying when I want to dabble in some super secret evil criminal activity!” 

 

“Gh—” Shuichi felt a little hurt by that. 

 

“But that’s a lie!” Kokichi giggles like a little kid and rolls on the balls of his feet, stuffing his hands (and Shuichi’s wallet) into his pockets. 

 

“Or is it?” Kokichi tilts his head until it taps his right shoulder and stared up at Shuichi with big doe eyes. 

 

While he would love for Kokichi to confirm that Shuichi wasn’t annoying to him, a part of Shuichi was also afraid to find out whether or not that was a lie. What if it wasn’t? Shuichi didn’t want to hear that if that was true. Not to mention, Kokichi was a compulsive liar, there’s no chance he would admit the truth. Yeah… better to avoid the topic altogether. For the sake of Shuichi’s self esteem and Kokichi’s comfort. 

 

“I… hope you aren’t feeding your enemies cyanide, Ouma-kun.” Shuichi settles with saying that instead.

 

“Nishishi~ That’s just my sexy little secret, isn’t it?” Kokichi taps his bottom lip and gave Shuichi a toothy grin. 

 

Shuichi smiled at that. 

 

“Order 53!” 

 

“That’s us!” Kokichi slaps the receipt on the counter and grabs the churros. Shuichi notes that they’re definitely unlike what Kokichi had described earlier. Just normal light brown, probably chocolate. Unless, somehow, all those flavors mixed together would produce such a beautiful shade of honey brown — yeah, probably not. 

 

Kokichi pulls the entire stick out of the paper wrapping and sticks one end in his mouth and swings it like some kind of duck bill at Shuichi. Shuichi narrowly avoids getting hit in the neck by the newly created weapon. 

 

“What the—” he feels Kokichi kick his knee. Kokichi glares up at Shuichi and makes a muffled noise of discontent, pointing at the other end of the churro. 

 

“Ouma-kun… you have to actually use words...” Shuichi couldn’t understand what he was asking for. He puts his arms out and hovered them uncertainly in the air as if to calm Kokichi down like he was some kind of rabid animal, which actually wasn’t too far off of a description of Kokichi Ouma. 

 

“Now, while this might come as a surprise to you… you have to actually speak to get your point across, Ouma-kun… Shocking, I know…” 

 

“Hrmmff!! Hmmff!!” Kokichi growls angrily and jabs the end in Shuichi’s face. Shuichi flinches but doesn’t move this time. The churro hits his cheek, goes back a little and then taps his lips gently. 

 

“Oh—” Shuichi finally gets the hint and erupts into a blush. “O-Ouma-kun! That’s…!” 

 

Kokichi beams at him and repeatedly jams the churro into Shuichi’s lips, breaking his lips apart. Shuichi sighs and before he could be choked by the snack, he bites one end and snaps it off. Sweetness erupts onto his tongue and makes him cringe.

 

Kokichi grabs the churro with his hand and takes it out of his mouth. “No! That’s not how you’re supposed to do it, Saihara-chan!” 

 

Shuichi tilts his head. “What?” 

 

“You’re supposed to keep biting that end and we slowly eat off the ends until we kiss! Like in the Lady and the Tramp!” 

 

Shuichi sputters. 

 

“Th— no!” Shuichi moves his hand to the front of his face. He feels himself burning up. Thankfully, they were in the corner of the eating area, but it still felt like millions of eyes were on him. God, why does Kokichi always have to put him in embarrassing situations? 

 

“Date! Ruined!” Kokichi huffs and angrily eats the churro like a rabbit eating a carrot stick: rapidly and stuffing his cheek without properly chewing. By the end of it, he was a perfect replica of a human squirrel. 

 

“It’s not a date, Ouma-kun…” Shuichi laughs to himself. “We’re not dating, remember? Just friends.” 

 

Kokichi swallows what’s in his mouth and smiles at Shuichi. “Oh-em-geee!! We’re actually friendos now, Saihara-chan? Like, best buddies, BFFs, hetero life partners kind-of-friends!?” He jumps around Shuichi joyously. 

 

“Uh… maybe…?” Shuichi scratches his cheek. “I- I’ve never actually had friends before so I’m not sure how this works…” 

 

Kokichi snorts. “Wow, loser much!” 

 

“Ow.”

 

“Don’t worry, Saihara-chan!” Kokichi slaps Shuichi across the shoulders. But since he was much shorter than Shuichi, he ended up slapping Shuichi’s mid-back instead. 

 

Kokichi ignores that and continues on, “I’ll teach you allllllll you need to know about maintaining a proper relationship with someone platonically before I dump you into the cold, unforgiving hands of the real world! And when I’m done with  you, the world won’t know what’s coming! When I kick you out of the nest, you’ll fly high into the sky and as the world tries to tear you down, you’ll stare into its eyes and say, ‘meow, meow, bitch’!” 

 

“I… did not understand anything you just said, but I appreciate the gesture.” Shuichi smiled back at Kokichi in turn. 

 

Kokichi giggled again and grabbed Shuichi’s hand. “Now! Let’s go rob the bank!” 

 

“Wait what—”