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Level Five, Room 34

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Hajime Hinata was a painstakingly average high school student enrolled in a painfully mediocre high school reserve course. He had no talent or any kind of academic intelligence that would get him that extra leg ahead in real life. Going to school in a regular high school would be fine, but of course the main section of this high school was rather remarkable, but Hajime completely and totally lacked any sort of footing that he would use to stand out or even make the main course entrance exams. It was elitist after all, and only the best of the best got into it, having little to no connections with the lower class known as the reserve course. It wasn’t awfully fair, really.

Being born with talent and intelligence isn’t something someone can control, yet for some reason being born in that way allows them to treat those who aren’t as though they were something lesser. The lack of fairness was something Hajime found himself angry and frustrated over often, and even more furious over the fact that he couldn’t really do anything about it. He didn’t really have many friends, but that was mostly due to the fact that he studied the second he got home from school to about nine thirty at night, preferring not to go out on weekends and instead opting for staying at home, flicking through channels on the television or studying.

Hajime could probably pinpoint two people he could say were his friends, but Souda was annoying and Nanami was in the main course, so he barely got to see her. Hajime admittedly wasn’t particularly happy with this current arrangement of his schedule, but he didn’t really have any main driver to do anything else. Lacking any sort of talent that could get him far in life, his boringness was something that constantly bothered him, and his life’s complete and total absence of anything even mildly interesting left most things for Hinata in a drab monochrome.

This changed when he was at school, Monday, third period, when he was called to the school’s office, being informed by his tired and distressed-appearing father that his mother had been submitted to hospital upon finding she had leukaemia. Hajime had seen his mother had been somewhat ill for a large portion of the semester, but he really didn’t pick up on the signs as well as a kid that spent more time with their parents. He just thought she was getting older, and the stress of working long office hours was getting to her, and giving her the strange array of symptoms that Hajime now realised were pointing signs to the cancer now in her.

Here he was now, sitting in almost dead silence as he attempted to process the information that he’d been given. Hajime honestly didn’t know what to think. Was he to be worried? Concerned? He was definitely those things. His brain boiled at the thought of his mother being in hospital, anxiety churning in his stomach. Intrigued? He didn’t think he was supposed to be feeling that. Seeming nothing like this had ever happened to him, it filled his worry riddled heart with something that resembled curiosity, though he didn’t want to admit this to himself, so he buried it deep inside him, as to not feel ashamed.

The car stopping and starting was the only other input he was allowing himself, a strange blankness settling over him. What was going to happen? He didn’t know. He wasn’t close with either of his parents, as they worked long hours and seeming their son harboured none of their redeeming qualities or anything to get him a leg ahead in the world, he knew he was something of a disappointment. To everyone, really, himself included. Yet, obviously, his parents were his parents, and he worried about the state of his mom.

He hoped desperately that she was going to be okay and that everything was going to be fine. The only people in Hajime’s life that he could remember loosing were grandparents and a pet hamster here and there. He had never given himself time to think about what would happen if he lost someone like his own mother.

Not as though Hajime knew what was going on, either. Leukaemia, from what Hajime knew was a kind of cancer? Of the blood or of the brain he didn’t know, but he remembered seeing the bald heads of those who had contracted it in the past, something about the radiation treatment causing their hair to fall out.

He didn’t want to see his mom like that.

Some sort of anxiety was building in Hajime’s throat, making it harder to breathe. His father hadn’t said anything the whole car drive, which didn’t help the mounting concern that Hajime felt. He didn’t want to break the silence with an unnecessary inquiry, however, so he kept his mouth shut, watching the city shift and change around him.

While never having to go there himself, or for anyone he knew of, for that matter, Hajime still knew fully well where the hospital was- it was a huge building that had dozens of linking sections and departments, cars, bus and train lines looping in and around it, Hajime’s own bus line travelling in view of the buildings itself, the glass windows glinting in the midday sun.

Hajime needed to find himself, and his father, in the Emergency Room, this wasn’t where his mom was eventually going to, but Hajime wasn’t really inclined to ask his father for anything that he should try and figure out himself. If he had no redeeming qualities, the least he could do was to be self sufficient.

Parking in the car park and walking into the reception Hajime couldn’t help but notice the other people milling around, a lot of them looking as though they weren’t on much sleep. Hajime followed suit when his father walked up to the reception desk, queuing behind a few other tired looking people. After waiting for a few minutes, Hajime and his dad are faced with a middle-aged receptionist.

“I’m here for Ichika Hinata?” Hajime’s father said, glancing sideways at Hajime

“Relation to patient and I.D. please?” The receptionist inquired, her voice not unkind, however it was obvious she was made to work long hours, her eyes shadowed and puffy.

As Hajime’s dad handed over his driver's licence and informed her of his situation, Hajime watched a girl- about his age actually- trip and fall over, landing in a very compromising position, all of the things she was holding scattering everywhere. She apologised profusely to thin air, shaking her head and blushing deeply in embarrassment. He heard the receptionist sigh and figured it would be in his best interest to go over and help her pick up the bandages and small bottles of pills now rolling around on the floor.

“Aaah! You don’t have to do that! It was my fault! I’m so sorry I tripped!” The girl wailed, her eyes tearing up in what Hajime recognised as complete and utter shame

“It’s fine” he replied, his voice lacking much tone, rolling up an unravelled bandage and placing it back on her tray. The girl continued to apologise, her messily cut dark plum-coloured hair pooling around her.

He realised after a while that she’s still looking at him, and he glanced up to meet her gaze.

“Hm?” Hajime knew she wanted to ask him something, so he waited until she had wiped her eyes and pulled herself together

“C-can I please ask you a question?” The girl stutters

“Uh. Sure”

“Ah, um. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to! But, um, who are you here for?” The girl asked, her eyes wide. Hajime felt himself stiffen slightly and the girl flinched “ahh I’m so sorry if I overstepped my boundaries! I’m so sorry!! Eee... you can cut my hair off and laugh at me if you want!”

“No, it’s just that I’m thinking...” Hajime trailed off, slightly irritated by the girls incessant apologies, but just decided that he should ignore it, and placed the last roll of bandages on the girl’s tray. “I’m here for my mom... I’m guessing you work here..?” He couldn’t tell if the girl was an official nurse or not purely because she seemed so young and was so timid

She nodded, standing up. She wasn’t particularly tall- she had to look up slightly to meet his eyes- and her long hair made her appear shorter in some ways. “I’m here on work experience! I-I’m still in high school but they made an exception for me. Ahh they really shouldn’t have I’m probably just a burden on them” she trailed off, her eyes trailing the floor.

Before Hajime could refute this, Hajime’s dad called him over after what felt like forever talking to the receptionist.

“We need to wait for a nurse to take us to see her” his father grumbled, looking around the room for a seat.

The receptionist looked over to them, glancing at the purple haired girl.

“Tsumiki-san! Go and take the Hinatas to their room. The patient's name is Ichika Hinata and she’s in ward 7 of the evaluation rooms.” The receptionist ordered, obviously speaking to the purple haired girl, who jolts, looking over to Hajime.

“O-okay” she warbled, teetering over to Hajime and his dad “follow me if you don’t mind, please! She might be in an appointment or scan right now so if she’s not there then I’m really sorry.” She appeared to direct this more at Hajime, and he wondered if his father has already met her, as he was the one who drove his mother here.

“Ah and this isn’t where she’ll be in a few hours! I’m sorry I didn’t mention this, but they’re moving her to a proper hospital room once they’ve finished the scans and tests.” The girl- who Hajime now knew as Tsumiki- began to walk off down the hall, looking back to check the Hinatas were still following her.

Hajime couldn’t help but look into some of the rooms, seeing some with blacked out curtains, but others with patients, who he occasionally made eye contact with (though he averted his gaze elsewhere whenever this happened) some were hooked up to I.V. monitors, sleeping, others were moving around or talking to loved ones.

A few turns and a stairwell later, Hajime found himself in the room where his mother lay. Tsumiki apologised again (for no reason) and Hajime thanked her.

“Oh! Thank you for being so kind to me. I hope I see you again Hinata-kun! I-I don’t mean that I want your mom to be sick anymore b-but-”

“I know what you mean don’t worry” Hajime replied, smiling softly as to assure the shy girl that her message was received. Her lips upturned and she made her leave, stumbling slightly as she trotted down the hallway.

“What a strange girl” Hajime’s dad chuckled slightly, his face hardening the second he looked into the room, knocking on the door and proceeding to enter, briskly crossing the room to where Hajime’s mother was sitting expectantly, her face lifting at the sight of her husband and son.

His mother was pale, her eyes tired. He knew she was sick, so it didn’t come as a surprise to him that she looked underweight. His dad hadn’t told him much as the results of the secondary testing weren’t through, but his mom was going to be kept in the hospital until they evaluated the severity of the cancer and then treated it accordingly.

Hajime didn’t like the thought of having to come back here again. He didn’t dislike Tsumiki or anything, it’s just the hospital felt cold and barren. It felt like a place you wouldn’t want to ever be, the white walls and smell of anaesthetic invading your senses.

A short conversation with his mother told the two Hinata's who weren’t in the hospital bed that she was suffering a larger plethora of symptoms. The initial testing showed Leukaemia, but they hadn’t yet worked out the type. Hajime didn’t know there was separate breeds of this kind of cancer, and he listened as his mother listed off the possibilities and what they said what the most likely diagnosis was- acute lymphatic leukaemia. She told Hajime and his father that they didn’t know what stage it was in and that she was inevitably going to have to go through chemotherapy.

“Ah” was the only reply that Hajime could muster that wasn’t a question. He avoided his parent’s gaze, blankly staring at the wall next to his mom’s face.

“They want to keep me in the observation ward for the time being- just until we get the results. Then they’ll decide what’s best from there” His mom informed, smiling so her eyes crinkled. She knew better than to assure him that everything was going to be okay- none of them knew that it was going to be the case. His mom’s condition had obviously been getting progressively worse. Whatever was going to happen, Hajime knew it didn’t guarantee a happy ending, though he tried to shut this possibility out of his mind. The idea of losing his mom was too much to bear, even if they weren’t very close.

The next day after a worry filled six periods of school, Hajime managed to find Nanami waiting for him near the central fountain, near where the main course building was, her face buried in a video game.

Nanami was an odd friend to have, but definitely not an unwelcome one. Hajime admits to seeing her as more than that at one point, but she made it clear to him that she wasn’t really into dating. He still sometimes felt himself blushing when she got a little too close or when she grabbed his hand to take him somewhere, but he ignored it and just decided he was happy with just having her as a friend. Being in the main course meant that Nanami was very intelligent, but Hajime knew that it was rather lonely, as everyone was usually so busy with the tremendous workload the main course offered, so he guessed he was really lucky to call her close to him. Besides, he would look really lame next to a main course student if they ever did date, so he figured that it would be far better to simply be friends and stick to that.

“Nanami-san?” Hajime tapped her shoulder lightly. Her greyish eyes slowly rose to meet his green

“Oh. Hello Hinata-kun” she yawned after saying this, pausing her video game. “What’s up?”

Hajime sat down next to her on the bench. He didn’t really know how to word this. What was he supposed to say? That his mom was in hospital with leukaemia? That she might die? How would that even sound?

“Ah well...” Hajime trailed off. He didn’t know if he should burden her with his issues or not.

Nanami turned her head of greyish-pink hair back to her video game, tilting her head slightly as if to say ‘go on..?’

Nanami was as close as Hajime could say to having a best friend, so he guessed he should trust her by telling her this.

“I went to the hospital yesterday. To see my mom” Hajime said, peering over at what Nanami was playing

“Oh yeah. She has cancer, I think.” Nanami commented. Hajime startled

“Wha- How did you know that?!” He exclaimed sharply, shooting Nanami an alarmed gaze

“My friend, Tsumiki-san, saw you yesterday. She knows we’re friends so she came and told me about how you showed up and helped her yesterday.” Nanami explained, mashing the buttons on her Nintendo, obviously in the middle of some kind of combo.

Ah, that made sense. Hajime sighed. So Tsumiki must be a main course student. He knew that main course students were often offered jobs and internships in places where they normally only accept high school graduates, but it never crossed his mind at the time of meeting her that Tsumiki may have also been a main course student. Seeming the two courses rarely mixed (with the exceptions of people like Nanami and Hajime) he wasn’t surprised that he hadn’t noticed her walking around the school grounds before or after school. The separate campuses almost guaranteed it.

Hajime knew that he probably looked strange to any passerby blankly staring into space while thinking but Nanami didn’t find it awkward or weird that Hajime sometimes did that. It’s not as though Hajime found her constant gaming and quiet personality strange however. Nanami also didn’t judge that Hajime didn’t have any particular talent or good grades. She just liked him for being him and for his deep knowledge of obscure underground video games. They’d met purely by chance when she ran into him while playing games, but their friendship was something that Hajime was deeply thankful for. She made him feel as though he actually had some kind of worth, and currently, when he was so worried about his mom, he needed a friend like that even more.

“Nanami-san? Can I play games with you for a bit? I need to get my mind off all that’s happened”

“Sure. I have my switch with me so we can play Smash Bros if you want.” Nanami took apart her Nintendo, handing one of previously-connected controllers to Hajime.

Hajime always lost when they played 1 v 1 on smash, even though Nanami always played the weaker characters on purpose, but Hajime liked how she didn’t really hold back for him, even though he sucked at games

They sat there playing for a while, Hajime losing battle after battle, even when he stacked a level 9 CPU on his team, but he was happy to be able to distract himself, even if it was only for an hour or so before his phone rang. Hajime felt his heart plummet when he read that the call was from his dad

“My dad’s calling.” Hajime said, Nanami nodded before turning back to her game.

His father had called him telling him that the test results were in and that he should come back to the hospital. He’d also texted a room number and directions to get there as well.

“Good luck Hinata-kun. Your mom will be okay, I think.” Nanami reassured him in her own offhanded way before Hajime parted ways with her to make his way into the bus that would take him to the hospital for the second time in the past two days.

Upon making it to the hospital, Hajime waited in line at the reception.

“Hi. I’m Hajime Hinata, Ichika Hinata’s son? I think my mom’s in the observation ward at the moment.” The receptionist glanced up at him

“Just fill these forms and provide ID” The receptionist said, placing a form in front of him and an open hand for Hajime to present his school ID.

Once Hajime had done this, he realised he actually had no idea where to go. He looked around for Tsumiki, but decided against actively going to find her and instead went with ambling through the hospital until he found the right room number. The hospital may be a large place, but he at least knew where not to go, plus, there was a small map on the wall of the reception. Hajime glanced at the text message his dad had sent him with the room number and traced his route out with his eyes on the map, making his way over to the elevator he thought would take him to where he needed to be.

He glanced at his phone, referencing the room number as he got out of the lift. This part of the hospital was slightly more well lit than the reception, windows allowing a lot more light in than the almost underground sliding doors. He heard coughing down the hall from him but decided to ignore it. Hajime’s dislike for hospitals had to be shoved out of the way so he could see his mom. He counted the numbers of the floor he was meant to be in.

31... 32... 33- Ah there it is. Most of the windows to the rooms in this section of the hospital were blacked out with small curtains, so Hajime was really going to feel it if it was the wrong room. He double checked the text message he got. Level 5 room 34. This had to be it. Hajime knocked and heard a soft “come in?” So he opened the door

“Ah hi mom. Thank god I got the right-“ Hajime stopped mid sentence.

Well, fuck.

“Hello! I don’t think I’m your mom.” The person in the hospital bed mused, their voice light with amusement. Hajime felt his face heat in shame

They were right. He definitely got the wrong room. This wasn’t his mom. How has he gone wrong? This was the right place! It said in the message. Level five, room 34. He grit his teeth in frustration

“Hey, are you okay? Do you need help?” The guy in the hospital bed asked. Hajime looked up to face him. He noticed he was around the same age as Hajime, his somewhat feminine face framed with shoulder length cotton-coloured hair that almost looked as though it had exploded out of his head.

“I got the wrong room” Hajime explained making his way to leave, red with embarrassment, averting his eyes from the other boy’s to not feel another wave of shame.

“Wait! I can help you find the right one if you want.” The white haired boy offered, “I mean. Only if you want help from a piece of trash like me. Haha” he added, placing down the book he was reading.

What was with hospitals and self-deprecating people?! Hajime desperately just wanted to see his mom and then get out of here, but his god awful luck had gotten him stuck in a hospital room with someone he didn’t even know. Last time it was Tsumiki, which Hajime guessed he could tolerate, now he’s stuck with some happy-go-lucky guy who he’d just completely humiliated himself in front of.

Hajime huffed slightly. He didn’t have any idea where to go and this boy was offering him a way to get there. He’d be stupid to refuse

“Okay. Fine.” Hajime bit out, re-entering the room. The cotton-haired boy’s face lit up, practically leaping out of bed. He was around the same height as Hajime, if not slightly taller. “Wait,” Hajime paused. The boy tilted his head again “are you even supposed to leave your room?”

“Huh. Well, I’m a long term guest so I’m probably allowed to! Who knows?” The boy chuckles, shrugging. Hajime did note that the boy wasn’t wearing typical hospital wear and instead was dressed in a white shirt, jeans and a large green and red hoodie. He remembered his mom wearing the blue hospital gown and everything. “Besides, with my luck, I won’t get caught.”

“Alright. My room is level 5 room 34. Obviously not in this building.” Hajime ignored the last, somewhat cryptic comment, waiting for the white haired boy to start walking off

“Oh! You must have gone to the wrong building! Aha easy mistake! I can take you to the right one if you want?” The boy smiled, almost radiating enthusiasm

“Sure” Hajime replied. The boy didn’t seem to have any misplaced intentions, just a little bit unreliable. Hajime hoped he’d take him to the right place

“Man, I wonder what kind of luck it was to have you coming into my room. An awful person such as myself doesn’t normally get visitors!” The white haired boy mused aloud as he pressed the elevator button. Hajime pretended not to hear this comment, entering the lift in silence.

“Ah. Do you go to Hope’s Peak Academy by chance?” The boy asked, as the elevator came to a stop

“What? How would you know the school I went to?” Hajime exclaimed.

“Call it a lucky guess. Besides, how could I not know the uniform of such a hope-filled school! All of the students in it have so much talent, and that talent will eventually end up becoming the conqueror of despair! All their hopes will combine together, into an ultimate force that nothing can stand against!” The white haired boy’s eyes glinted with something obsessive as he said this, arms extended in an open way, as if to put across his point more. His expression kind of off-putted Hajime, and he shifted away from the other boy slightly as they exited the elevator. The boy noticed Hajime’s discomfort and his face suddenly switched to one of dramatic concern,

“Oh, I probably overstepped my welcome there didn’t I. Man. I suck.” He looked dejectedly down, sighing, falling into pensive silence.

“Uh. Yeah. Anyway, where do we go from here?” Hajime asked, changing the topic as they’d eventually made themselves to the reception. The overly friendly hospital boy put his finger to his chin, peering around, his face lighting up again when he obviously came to a conclusive answer

“Ah! Follow me.” The boy gestures as they exit the building. He explained to Hajime that he had to re-sign in at the reception and present his I.D. for a second time. The pale boy peered over his shoulder when Hajime once again handed over his identification to another tired looking receptionist.

“And you?” The receptionist looked pointedly at the white haired boy.

“Oh? I’m a patient! Here’s my wristband” the boy smiled, presenting his wrist to the lady, which had a few plastic bands wrapped around it, each displaying different sets of information. The receptionist sniffed and nodded, affirming to the two boys that they were good to go, and the teens made their way back up to another elevator. Once they were inside, a level up, a nurse entered with a trolley of towels and pillows, tripping over her own feet a little as she made her way into the lift.

She looked at the two boys, and her face lit up with recognition. Hajime hadn’t forgotten her face either, and apparently the boy next to him recognised her too. Tsumiki’s face turned into a timid smile. The boy next to Hajime tensed slightly, but his expression was that he probably knew Tsumiki too.

“Ah! K-Komaeda-kun you’re not meant to be out of your room.” Tsumiki chided, in an out of character sort of fashion, then switching back to her normal demeanour “b-but it’s not like I have the right to tell you that. I’m sorryyy!” She squealed

The white haired boy- that Hajime now knew as Komaeda-chuckled softly “I’m sorry. You shouldn’t worry about someone like me. Besides, this guy stumbled across my room because he was lost. I’m just taking him where he needs to be”

“I see. Um. If you want I can take Hinata-kun to his room? I-I think I know where his mom is” Tsumiki stutters.

Hajime didn’t know the relationship between Tsumiki and Komaeda but he at the very least knew that they had met before. He didn’t know which he’d rather, but Tsumiki looked as though she was busy so he decided to step in before Komaeda could say anything

“I’m fine. You seem busy” Hajime said, Komaeda agreeing next to him, saying something about how ‘Hope filled’ Tsumiki is and how ‘a guy like him has nothing but time on his hands and that he’s more than happy to help’

Hajime hoped that he didn’t have to come back to the hospital that often. The people here were strange.

Finally, after what felt like forever, the elevator came to a stop and Komaeda and Hajime both exited, and the two boys began to count the numbers to Hajime’s mom’s room.

“It’s level five, room 34, right?” Komaeda asked, pointing to a door with that number on it

“This is the room, yeah.” Hajime affirmed, knocking and hearing his father’s familiar voice.

“I guess this is goodbye then, Hinata-kun. It was nice meeting you” Komaeda smiled, but something about it seemed kind of sad. Hajime put this to the back of his mind. His mom was who he was here to see and the test results were in. He had to know if she was going to be okay

“Yeah” Hajime replied, opening the door. Komaeda looked inside, waved, and then walked off back down to the elevator.

“Hajime! You’re here- but you’re late. I was about to ring to check if you were okay but it’s good you’re finally here.” His dad’s face lit up slightly. He was sitting next to a bed with Hajime’s mom in it, her face warm as she looked at her son

“Sorry” Hajime muttered. “Have the test results come back?”

“Yes. They were right. It’s acute, stage 2 lymphatic leukaemia.” Hajime’s mother explained, sighing. “I’m going to have to undergo chemotherapy, but I’m allowed to go home, which is good. I will have to come back here fairly often though.”

Hajime’s father nodded grimly as his mother explained this, her tired eyes matching his.

“But to change the subject, who was that boy? He didn’t seem like a nurse. A friend of yours from school?” Hajime’s father directed this question at Hajime

“Oh. I was late because I went to the wrong building and wound up meeting him. That’s why I was late. I don’t know who he is”

“So he helped you get here? What a sweet boy” Hajime’s mom smiled.

“You could say that” Hajime said. In honesty, Hajime didn’t know what to think of the white haired boy. He seemed nice enough, and enthusiastic to help Hajime to get where he needed to be, but there was something kind of off about him, and the amount of wristbands on his arm was far more than what his mother had. Hajime was glad that he was probably never going to see Komaeda again- he felt mentally exhausted after only speaking to him for a few minutes.

“Well that was very nice of him. I hope you said thank you.” Hajime’s mom said. Hajime shrugged. He’d forgotten to do that, but there wasn’t really going to be a chance to again, so he dropped the thought of doing so “we’re all going to be able to go home tonight. I have to come back in a few days so they can begin the treatment though.” Hajime’s mom put her hand on Hajime’s father’s, sitting up more in her bed.

They had back and forth conversation for a few minutes, and eventually his parents decide to take their leave from the hospital, sign out and go home, making the appointment times with a doctor and meandering to their car.

Hajime was worried for a multitude of reasons, but one of them was definitely that he might have to change schools. Hope's peak, if you were in the main course, was very much affordable, but reserve course students had to pay a lot of money, and the cost of the treatment for his mom and her loss of her ability to work meant that Hajime would most likely be forced to attend another school. While this didn’t mean much to him in terms of his actual school, he was really worried that he’d lose Nanami as a friend. She was the only person who really gave him worth, and losing her would hit really hard.

Hajime pondered this in the backseat of the car, the ride home filled with his parent’s chatter in the front. He was too tired to bother listening in, so he flicked through his phone and boredly looked at whatever had first showed up on his social media feed.

Once he got home, and after the family had dinner, Hajime fell into bed. It wasn’t even that late, but he was so exhausted from the day’s events that the only thing he could think to do was sleep.

Lying in his bed the day replayed in Hajime’s mind. A lot had happened. School, Chiaki, getting the wrong room, and seeing his mom again. His mom was sick, and even though it hadn’t been brought up yet, Hajime knew that a lot of changes were going to happen, and that he was definitely going back to the hospital more than he would ever have initially wanted to. It made him feel uneasy. Yes, the tiny inkling of curiosity remained, but after meeting someone like Tsumiki, or even Komaeda, Hajime didn’t know if he should feel that at all anymore.

One of the last things Hajime thought about before he lost consciousness was the sad, lost look that Komaeda gave him when he was saying goodbye, and Hajime wondered if Komaeda was feeling the same as him.

Completely and utterly hopeless.

Chapter Text

Hajime awoke the next morning feeling not at all rested. He’d had a fitful night of little sleep and when he had fallen out of consciousness, his mind was plagued with weird and awful dreams, needles, graves and hospital bracelets piling up onto Hajime’s wrists, his hair falling out and his body dying. Hajime thought he saw Tsumiki in his dream somewhere, crying for them to stop as Hajime was slowly turned into nothing but a pile of bones, his mom next to him, the same happening to her. He woke up in a cold sweat, wanting nothing more than to be consumed by the mattress, but knowing he had to get ready for school. He begrudgingly got out of bed, feeling his head spin slightly as he stumbled to his closet to get his clothes and necessities for the day, dressing himself in the dark and going to tame his spiky hair the best he could in the bathroom.

After five minutes of attempting to get down the sizeable cowlick at the back of his head (and failing), Hajime gave up and went down the hall to have breakfast.

His father greeted him good morning, in which Hajime returned with a nod as he prepared his breakfast

“When’s the next time we have to go to the hospital?” Hajime asked, already dreading the next time he’d have to go

“You don’t have to come to this next one, because you’re in school, but your mom is probably going back in a week. I’ll send you the details over text as I did last time” Hajime’s dad replied, joining Hajime at the table, looking at his phone.

“Mmm okay” Hajime groaned internally at the prospect of having to return to the hospital, but didn’t voice any of these complaints aloud. Hajime knew that the week leading up to the next hospital visit was going to feel like as though no time had passed at all, so he mentally steeled himself for it.

In class that day, when the teacher was about to show up, an enthusiastic Souda came up to him, grinning from ear to ear

“What is it Souda” Hajime asked incredulously, noting that he seemed particularly fired up about something today. It was probably over the main course girl he was so obsessed over

“Heyyyyy Hinata-kun! I know we haven’t spoken much recently, but this weekend the main course is going to the waterpark, and I know you’re friends with Nanami so could you perhaps, y’know...”

“Ask if I can be her plus one and drag you along too?” Hajime supplied unenthusiastically

“Yeah! Miss Sonia-san is going to be there and I’ve been working out so maybe..?”

“No.” Hajime said curtly. He had enough on his plate, besides, he knew that Nanami wasn’t really the social type and she most likely wasn’t going to go either “if you want to go, ask Sonia herself. I’m busy at the moment”

“Aw man.” Souda deflated slightly, returning to his desk and began to fiddle with one of his gadgets from his bag. Souda was a good guy, but he sucked up to an exchange student in the main course to the highest degree. Hajime admitted, Sonia was beautiful, and like royalty. (Hajime thought Souda mentioned at one point that she actually was but he couldn’t be sure if that was Souda’s fantasy or if he was actually telling the truth) So he guessed he could see why Souda thought she was so great, but yet again, her talent and intellect had gotten her into the main course, and usually the two courses didn’t mix in a sustainable or friendly manner.

Hajime originally felt bad rejecting Souda’s constant advances to try and get Sonia to notice him, but at this point it had happened so many times that Hajime honestly felt bad for Sonia that she had such a doting disciple. His mind wandered to Tsumiki all of a sudden and wondered if the two were friends.

The week progressed surprisingly slowly, the days dragging out until Hajime went to go play games with Nanami after school. His mom went to her first chemotherapy session and came back from the hospital feeling sick, her face sickly and pale. His dad seemed stressed and pressured whenever he came home from his work every night, essentially ignoring Hajime and going straight to his wife, making sure she was okay and doing fine.

Hajime didn’t mind the lack of attention on him, until the day before the next appointment, when his dad started acting off whenever he spoke to him. It annoyed Hajime, his father almost tiptoeing around speaking to him, to the point when Hajime cornered his dad when he was at breakfast on the day of the next chemo appointment.

“Hey. Dad. If you need to tell me something, just tell me.” Hajime said, his father blanching at this, his face going blank

“I wasn’t sure until the new appointment came through. Even though a lot of our bills are paid for, your mom not being able to work means we’re not making the same income as we used to- she does make most of the income, and both of us know it”

Hajime felt his heart beat a little faster than it should. He knew what this was going to be about. The overly pricey Hope's Peak Academy reserve course fees were taking a toll on his family after all. He knew it was only going to be a matter of time before this was going to be mentioned but Hajime thought it was going to be weeks, even months, not days.

“Mm?” Hajime nodded slowly, trying to keep his features neutral, face heating slightly

His father sighed. “Hajime. Your mother and I are thinking of transferring you to a more local, affordable school. The school fees for Hope’s Peak are unsustainable... I’m sorry. I know that school meant a lot to you”

There it was.

Hajime felt his head drop and his hands clench under the table, but he knew this was coming. He’d just have to put up with it. There wasn’t really much else he could do. The public schools in his area mostly called those who went to the Hope’s Peak Reserve Course “rich kids with sticks up their asses.” Hajime was fairly sure that he didn’t want to be known as that. He didn’t know how to feel. He was disappointed and angry at his situation, but he also felt really guilty that he’d been such a burden on his parents to keep him going to Hope’s Peak.

That day of school was truly not one of enjoyment, his head hung as the classmates around him chatted and worked. He had to leave as soon as the final period ended, so each hour dragged on, each lesson blurring into a colourless monotone. The lack of control Hajime had over the situation was little to none, and he felt as though he was being pulled apart by the red string of fate. He knew he wasn’t going to enjoy his last week at Hope’s Peak, nor was he going to enjoy the new school he was enrolled at

Finally, after what felt like next to an eternity, the final school bell rang, allowing Hajime to be free of the monotony of school and...

Back to the hospital.

The bus ride to the building itself was peaceful, the cloudy, mild day making everything appear grey, the low air pressure feeling somewhat relaxing. Hajime looked at his phone for the room number he’d been given.

Oh.

There wasn’t one.

A spike of anxiety shot up in Hajime’s mind as he thought as to why his father hadn’t given him a room number, but then remembered the first time he’d been to the hospital on how he’d just given his name and I.D. and Tsumiki had just taken him and his father to where they needed to be. Relief instantly flooded through Hajime as he stumbled off the bus and walked across the road to get to the reception.

He gave over his identification and the name of his mother with no trouble

“Do you know what room she’s in? If you don’t I can send for a nurse.” The receptionist said, looking at her computer while saying this.

“Uh yeah. I don’t know where she is” Hajime muttered.

The receptionist nodded and waved over a young nurse. (Not Tsumiki- Hajime noted. He didn’t know how to feel about it.)

“I’m just going to have to pick up another patient first. You can wait for another nurse or you can come with me” the nurse quipped, her voice somewhat tense as she looked at her patient list.

Hajime didn’t really mind walking around a bit. It would probably clear his head. Plus he didn’t want to wait for the nurse to end up being Tsumiki. It was awkward the last two times he’d seen her, even though she seemed nice enough.

He followed the nurse out of the building down into the familiar building from the last time Hajime had gotten lost in the hospital. He peered through the windows of some of the rooms and a couple of people waved at him. Hajime averted his eyes whenever this happened, his gaze eventually fixing itself on the nurses back as they made their way up to the room that the nurse needed to go to.

She eventually stopped in a room and opened the door. Hajime absentmindedly looked into the room and felt his jaw drop

“You’re shitting me” he muttered under his breath as he saw who the nurse was transporting.

“Hinata-kun? Wow! What kind of luck is this I wonder?” The white haired boy mused, his face lighting up, getting out of his bed and practically skipping over to Hajime. “Oh and hello Fuji-san” Komaeda greeted, bowing his head slightly in recognition of the nurse

“You two are friends?” The nurse inquired.

“Not really” Hajime replied tersely.

“Hinata-kun is much too good for someone like me” Komaeda chirped, his tone far too happy for the message he was trying to convey

“I didn’t mean that” Hajime groaned “we’ve only met once”

“Ah” Fuji said, her voice disinterested as she lead the two boys down the hallway, her hair swaying slightly as she walked briskly to the elevator

“Hinata-kun, why are you here today?” Komaeda asked as they were in the lift

“My mom is here” Hajime answered “you?”

Komaeda tensed slightly at the question, but then instantly went back to his usual demeanour “No need to worry about me”

“I was just asking where you were going.”

“Aha. Well you see, I’m going to the same place you’re going to! We might even be in the same room. Man, that’d be so lucky” Komaeda smiled “I can’t wait to become a stepping stone for a hope as bright as yours!”

“Uh. Okay”

Hajime noted that Komaeda probably didn’t get out much and probably didn’t know how to act properly around other people. He was a very odd guy, that’s all Hajime could really say. He seemed pretty chilled out, but something was kind of strange with him. The fact that he didn’t even seem phased when Hajime mentioned his mother was in here, nor did he apologise like Tsumiki did when she heard was weirdly nice, if not slightly off putting. To be fair to Komaeda, he was in a hospital. Hajime couldn’t expect all of the patients here to have all of their screws fully in. He couldn’t help but wonder how Komaeda managed to get here. Obviously, he was sick, but Hajime wondered if that’s all what there was to it. The hospital bands piled up on his wrist told a different story.

Komaeda chatted happily to the nurse as they meandered down to the radiation clinic.

“Okay. It looks as though you two are in the same ward, but keep the noise down please” the nurse said, glaring at Komaeda as she spoke

The boys nodded their thanks and entered, Hajime making a bee-line to his mother’s bed. She sat there nervously, Hajime’s father grasping her hand.

“Hey mom, hey dad” Hajime greeted, the tense air between him and his father not really helping the situation.

“Ah, Hajime. I’m glad you’re on time. It doesn’t hurt, but I’m glad you could come” his mother smiled tiredly at her son, her eyes crinkling. Hajime didn’t know what he should have expected to see- his mother’s hair falling out everywhere, maybe- but she seemed fine.

“How was school?” His mom asked, extending her free hand to reach him. A tube ran out of her neck, which lead to a plastic bag suspended on a small pulley. The blue liquid inside looked almost toxic.

“Fine.”

“I heard your father talked to you about moving... I really didn’t want this ending up being the case. I’m sorry hun”

“It’s alright. I’ll manage” Hajime replied, glancing over at Komaeda, who was currently getting a needle into his chest, watching intently as the needle was inserted into a tube poking out of his bare torso.

“Oh that’s right. That’s the boy that we saw last time you came, right?” Hajime’s mother asked, letting go of Hajime’s hand and gesturing to the white haired boy, who had now relaxed into his bed.

“Yeah.”

“That’s a funny coincidence” Hajime’s dad commented, looking over to where Komaeda was lying. He noticed and waved

“You should go and say hi. His parents don’t appear to be here” Hajime’s mom urged, smiling encouragingly

Hajime knew what she was trying to say was ‘your father and I need to talk right now and I’d rather if you weren’t here to overhear it’ so he shrugged and crossed the length of the room to Komaeda’s bed.

“Aren’t you here for your mother?” Komaeda asked the second Hajime to sit down in the chair beside him.

“Yeah”

“So why are you coming to see me?” Komaeda pried, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly

“My mom wanted to talk to my dad for a bit. Told me to piss off for a while” Hajime said bluntly.

They sat in awkward silence for a while, the air not necessarily tense, but it was uncomfortable. They didn’t know each other past their last names, yet Komaeda was sitting in front of him, a needle poking out of his exposed skin. He was seeing someone that was in an extremely vulnerable moment- Hajime didn’t really know what to do other than to entertain almost pathetic small talk. He shouldn’t do that in front of someone he only just met- but the other option was more awkward silence

“Uh. So what things do you enjoy?” Hajime ended up saying.

“I like reading, I guess, but my favourite thing to do is watch hope blossom! That’s why I tried to get into Hope’s Peak Academy, and why I’m so interested in you” Komaeda explained enthusiastically

“I’m in the reserve course, though. It’s nothing compared to the main course”

Komaeda’s face darkened considerably, his eyes losing some of the excitement and his expression turning to what looked like disappointment

“That’s a shame.” He said, his tone condescending “I really thought that you were in the main course. You seemed so familiar with Tsumiki-san. Oh well. You can become a stepping stone like me!”

“What? No. I’m worth just as much as the main course students. How am I a stepping stone?” Hajime exclaimed

“Because those with talent and intelligence guide the hope of this world. People without it are utterly worthless.” Komaeda said, his voice steeled, tone sharp

Hajime felt a spike of annoyance rise in him. The audacity that someone has to tell him that, especially someone he’d just met made him mad.

“Yeah? It’s not like I don’t know that, but I’m still a person too! Whatever you’re thinking it’s wrong, Komaeda” Hajime rebutted, irritated. Komaeda’s eyes narrowed, then sighing

“I just don’t think a talentless person such as yourself would understand, Hinata-kun” Komaeda went on “an Ultimate Hope will only be created by the talented and intelligent. There is nothing bad about being talentless, it’s just you must acknowledge your role as a stepping stone for those with it. I’m like you! I’m a worthless, awful piece of trash who would happily throw their life away for the sake of hope. You should know that too”

Hajime blinked at Komaeda. This sick boy, who was talking to him with a needle in his chest from a hospital bed, was telling him that he was a dead weight to society. He knew he was boring; painfully so, but that didn’t mean that other people could tell him that

“I know I’m boring, and talentless, and just in some stupid reserve course, but I mean something too. What you’re saying is wrong. You’re not worthless, and nor am I. So stop telling yourself that you are. I don’t know what your ‘hope’ means to you but true hope isn’t that.” Hajime said, his voice sharp with intent. Komaeda closed his eyes, letting out a deep breath. Something in the air changed slightly and Hajime felt his chest loosening when he didn’t even know it was tight.

“... I see” Komaeda said quietly, almost in a way where Hajime couldn’t hear.

Hajime didn’t understand Komaeda at all, and even though they’d only conversed for a few minutes, Hajime was already exhausted.

“... a while ago I wouldn’t have listened to what you’re saying. I don’t want to listen. But things are kind of different now. I-“ Komaeda trailed off. He sighed and held his head in his hands, grimacing. It looked as though he was almost in pain.

“Hgnn” Komaeda groaned, his hands clenching at his hair. Hajime wanted to run away, or go back to his mom, but he knew he would look like a huge asshole if he left this boy mid conversation. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a wheezing laugh burst out of Komaeda’s frail body, eyes swirling with a crazed mania. It echoed across the room, hacking and sharp. Hajime startled, pulling away from Komaeda’s bed, the few other people in the room looking hastily away, finding something else to distract themselves with. Komaeda quickly put a hand to his mouth, his laugh turning into shallow coughs as he regained some semblance of control over himself

Hajime stayed silent. He didn’t know what to say, or reply with. He understood nothing about this boy. Thankfully, Komaeda broke the silence, voice raw

“Hope, despair. I’ll do anything to make sure hope wins. Anything. Hinata-kun, I would die for it. If it were to make a person such as Tsumiki-san happy, I would gladly cast away my life. To change my mind would be to take something away from the balance. You wouldn’t understand”

“No. That’s wrong. What would it change? You have a life that’s worth something too. You can have hope of your own, Komaeda, whether you realise it or not.”

Komaeda looked at Hajime then with what Hajime could only describe as curiosity with a mix of something else incomprehensible glittering behind his eyes.

“I think you need to go, Hinata-kun” he murmured “your parents are calling for you”

Komaeda then turned his face to look at the curtain next to him, his cotton-like hair framing his face in such a way in where Hajime could no longer see his eyes. Hajime decided to get up and see if his parents were actually calling him or not, when Komaeda’s voice sung out from behind him

“Goodbye, Hinata-kun... thank you.”

“... bye” Hajime said, walking away from the sick boy’s bed, making his way to his mom’s.

Thankfully, his mom actually was expecting him

“Ah Hajime! I heard the... commotion. Are you okay?” His mom’s face was filled with worry.

“I’m fine.”

“Was that... laughter from the boy you were talking to? They sounded so sick”

“No. It was the person next to us.” Hajime lied easily. He didn’t know why he lied for Komaeda- honestly Komaeda was kind of a nuisance- but something within Hajime felt as though he owed that sick, lonely boy, just that one scrap of dignity. Hajime knew that if the situation would have been different, if Komaeda hadn’t been in that hospital bed, Hajime would have said something different. He would have acted differently. There was no one in Komaeda’s hospital room, no one at his bed when he was getting a needle stuck into his chest. He was alone, from what Hajime could see.

In the car ride home, Hajime pondered as to why he cared about whether Komaeda was alone or not. Probably because he confused him. What was what he meant with his luck? Or his supposed ‘hope’... his entire existence made Hajime question a lot of things. His self worth, his standing in this world, society as a whole, really. Komaeda’s viewpoint was clearly wrong, but something made Hajime ask himself as to why he came to think that in the first place. What had happened? Was it the fact that he was sick? Or was there something else? Why did Hajime even care? Komaeda frustrated him. Goddamnit.

Once Hajime got home, his Mom went to bed after eating a fast dinner with Hajime and her husband, but his dad ushered him down the hall. Hajime followed.

“Hajime.” His father said, nodding

“I know this is about the school thing. I don’t care. Move me. It doesn’t matter” Hajime replied, turning around to go back up to his room and sleep. He was so tired

“It’s not just about that. It’s about your mother as well”

Hajime raised his eyebrows as to ask his father to go on

“The strain on my work means you’re going to have to accompany your mother to the hospital some days for her chemo treatment. If it’s during school, she’ll go alone- I’ll hail a taxi to her- but I feel like she deserves to have someone there for her, alright?” Hajime’s father walks up to Hajime and puts his hand on his shoulder. This stunned Hajime slightly- his father rarely gave him any sort of physical attention. “Son, I know I haven’t had much time for you, but thank you for putting up with this.”

“... no problem.” Hajime huffed, nodding at his dad and heading down the hall to his room, exhaustion growing every step he took. Hajime couldn’t be bothered to properly undress, he just threw off his school jacket and fell into bed. He lay there, his eyes suddenly wide.

More hospitals. For some reason Hajime knew that he was going to end up going to the hospital again. Way more times than he was ever first anticipating. Hajime was going to be moving schools in a week, but after the events of today, Hajime really didn’t care. Komaeda was right, in a sense, he guessed. If he had no talent or intelligence, it didn’t matter where he was. Hajime couldn’t believe that his mind went back to the white haired boy. He knew that he wasn’t through with the pale boy. Whatever he was saying about luck, Hajime knew would come back into play, somehow. There was no way he was going to go back to the hospital and never see him again.

Hajime fell asleep and ended up dreaming of loneliness. Loneliness and for some reason, how he felt slightly less so.

Chapter Text

Nagito had been having a rough few weeks before he met Hajime Hinata. The time he’d stayed in hospital was really taking its toll. He could notice that in the patches of true awareness that he had that his state was declining. He only had a year to a year and a half left. There was a fair amount that he still wanted to do in that ever so short amount of time. Fall in love, see more of the world. Alas, that’s not really what he could do right now, stuck with hospital bands piled up around his wrist. It wasn’t that he couldn’t go home, it’s just he knew he wasn’t welcome there anymore. He would only bring his mother despair. He knew that his luck had brought his father to die, and he knew that now he was gone, his mother was going to blossom! He’d already attempted to get himself out of her life, to finally bring her some peace. That hadn’t worked. Nagito chuckled to himself as he thought this.

The Hinata Family had left five minutes ago, and Nagito had meandered back up to his hospital bed, watching the sun set from his window.

Nagito’s luck worked in a way that whatever bad happened, usually bounced back to something good. Something hopeful. Despair worked in the same way. It always bounced back. The greater the despair, the brighter the hope. When his father died, just the next day, Nagito had found a lottery ticket on the side of the road. Imagine that! 20 million dollars, suddenly his! When he went to hospital, he could afford to have a private room, and afford to pay the bills for his own treatment.

Now, before meeting Hinata a week ago, Nagito had gotten sick- thankfully he was already in hospital- Even then he had nearly died! Once he’d gotten better, only a few days afterwards, actually, the stunned and confused Hajime Hinata had stumbled his way across Nagito’s room. Hinata obviously wouldn’t have thought much of it- just a simple mishap on his behalf, but to Nagito, he knew that this was his bounce back from his latest near death experience. Hinata meant something, but Nagito had to know what kind of luck he was to bring.

Upon Hinata revealing to Nagito about how he was a reserve course student, Nagito happened to have felt rather disappointed. Not really in Hinata, but himself, for believing that he might have finally found the guiding hope he had been longing for. Hinata couldn’t help being talentless, but he needed to know his place in the world.

What Nagito didn’t understand was that Hinata did know his place in the world. Nagito had told him, and Hinata knew. Hinata fully acknowledged his view... and said it was wrong. People only ever told Nagito that he was wrong- they didn’t take a look at him and really see what he was saying. He understood why- they just didn’t realise. But Nagito looked Hinata in the eye, and he saw someone who was trying to understand him. The feeling that Nagito had, it enlightened him. It made him feel something other than the repetitive blankness that he’d been feeling for so long.

Nagito knew that he was going to see Hinata again. He was sure of it. And he knew that Hinata knew that they were going to meet again, two chance encounters will eventually turn into three.

Komaeda spent the next few days trying to learn more about Hajime Hinata with no avail. No social media that he could look at him through other than a private Instagram account with a blurry picture of a Nintendo 3-DS as the profile photo. Besides, Nagito couldn’t be sure it even was the Hinata he had met- Hajime Hinata was an extremely common name in Japan.

Hinata was an enigma. Not that Nagito minded. He liked that there was some sort of mystery behind this common, boring boy. It gave him an exciting distraction, to try and recall every detail of Hinata he knew so far and every word he’d spoken, reciting them in his head. Who knew that an untalented person such as Hinata could bring such a ripple in Nagito’s life.

Not as though Nagito’s life mattered. He was a tool for hope, nothing more, an instrument that needed to be played the right way for it to work. A meaningless person such as Hinata shouldn’t mean anything to him, but the hope in his eyes when he told Nagito those words, made him feel as though his luck truly had given him something worthwhile.

While Nagito pondered this, he wandered the halls of the hospital, sometimes knocking on doors to visit patients he’d met by chance, having idle conversations with them until he got bored, then leaving and continuing on his way to wherever next his feet took him

Eventually, he obviously ran into a nurse- he’d gotten lucky to a point as to where he knew he was going to run into someone he wanted to run into. That nurse being the timid Tsumiki

“Tsumiki-san! What a pleasure to see you here” Nagito greeted, walking up to and smiling at the purple haired girl. She squeaked slightly and jolted around, eyes wide

“Ah! Komaeda-san! I’m so sorry! I’m horrible.. awful... ah!” Tsumiki stuttered, dropping the sheets she was holding, Nagito dropping to the floor to pick them up

“Tsumiki-san! Please do not beat yourself up over a piece of trash like me. I just wanted to ask you something” He couldn’t believe that Tsumiki was worried about him. Couldn’t she see he was fine?

“Um. S-sure. What is it that you want to know? Also, I’m so so sorry to inconvenience you but if you want to ask me something c-can you please follow me? I have some things I need to get done. I’m sorry” Tsumiki stumbled over her words

“Of course! Anything for a person such as yourself.” Nagito replied happily, following Tsumiki down the hallway. Besides, who knew, maybe she’d lead him right where he needed to be

“So, Komaeda-san, um, what do you want to ask me?” Tsumiki asked him halfway down the hall “but please take your time I’m so sorry if I rushed you ahh.”

“Do you know where I could make appointment changes for chemotherapy? Would I need to go to the administration desk?” Nagito asked, ignoring her secondary comment

“You would need to go to the radiation clinic and then view their timetable. After that I think you request a time slot. I hope a horrible, ugly pig like me has helped”

“Tsumiki-san, I promise to you, you are not an ugly pig. You are someone who breeds hope, and that is more beautiful than anything out there. I am so glad trash such as myself gets to be in your presence. I truly am lucky” Nagito explained, making sure to sound certain, and to leave no room for debate.

He’d done that with Hinata too, but that boy had broken through his words with his sharp acclamations. The thought of his strong hope as he said that made Nagito’s stomach flutter with excitement. Tsumiki’s hope was great, and beautiful, as he’s said, but something seemed strictly different with Hinata’s will. It felt a lot sharper, and defined than the softness of Tsumiki’s

“Thank you for your assistance, Tsumiki-san” Nagito nodded his head in gratitude at the nervous girl, who made a muffled sound and trotted off elsewhere.

Now... where in the hospital was he? He had been too deep in thought to really take in his surroundings, and was now in an unfamiliar ward. Nagito sighed. Just his luck. All he’d have to do is retrace his steps and he’ll eventually find himself back at his room, hopefully without being noticed by too many nurses.

He walked down the hall, looking for the closest hospital map, eventually tracking one down without much trouble.

“This is a spot of bad luck” Nagito whispered to himself as he traced the ‘you are here’ to where the chemo lab was on the other side of the hospital. Avoiding nurses would be difficult with the route he had to take, but as long as he supplied them with a valid reason as to why he was out of his room, Nagito was fairly certain he could get away with it.

Walking down the halls alone was something Nagito was used to by now. Of course people were sometimes walking around but no one really gave him any other attention than a passing glance, other than the occasional scornful glare from a familiar nurse. At first, when he was admitted he wasn’t allowed out of his room, but when he first began to sneak out, he realised how lonely it felt having no one there. Nagito could probably have gone home by now but he didn’t really have a place to go to, since his parents were both gone. Eventually getting used to being alone didn’t take nearly as long as Nagito expected, his mind adjusting very quickly to the new bubble-like life he was now in. Once a week going into chemo appointments and twice a week getting needles stabbed into him to test his blood for cancer cells. The psychology part of it was also rather a pest, having to deal with psych evaluations once every month to check if he was okay mentally speaking and if his state had deteriorated further or had improved. Nagito knew that there was no real comeback from either of his illnesses so he held onto the ever dwindling hope of something interesting happening.

And then along came Hinata and his monochrome life of bad and good luck exploded into colour. Nagito yearned to see him again, to feel the same elation he had felt when the boy had walked into his room, so he now made his way down to his chemotherapy room in hope to be able to see him once again.

“Komaeda-san?” A nurse said, snapping Nagito back into reality. Of course he’d been caught. “What are you doing out of your room?”

“Okamoto-san! I’m going to go and change my chemotherapy appointment to a time that suits me better, I’m so sorry for disturbing a wonderful person such as you”

She sighed, “It’s fine. Just do what you need to do.”

“Thank you!” Nagito said, grasping the nurse’s hands, and smiling warmly “if there is anything I can ever do to make your life easier, please tell me”

The nurse shook her hands free of his clutch “Alright. Maybe stop doing that whenever someone talks to you. I’ve got to get going.”

Okamoto then briskly took off down the hall, shoving her hands in her pockets

Nagito felt confused. What had he been doing? Grasping her hands was supposed to be a sign of gratitude and respect... wasn’t it?

Nagito shook his head to clear his thoughts, putting the comment to the back of his mind. He just wanted to let those with hope know how much they mean to him! He believed everyone could understand that eventually.

He knew he was close now, because he recognised this area of the hospital. He wandered down to the radiation therapy room, and found the main desk.

“Komaeda-san? I thought you didn’t have an appointment until tomorrow? Why are you here?” A bespectacled lady exclaimed, her bird nest like hair an explosion around her face. Not too dissimilar to Nagito’s, he noted, playing with his white hair using his finger.

“Ah- you see, I have an acquaintance of mine, who has syncing appointments?”

“The only person on the list here who has appointments at the same time as you, from what I can see, is a middle-aged woman. Um. Are you sure that’s the person?” The bespectacled lady looked rather confused as she said that, tilting her classes away from her face slightly

“Ah yes! Hinata-san? That’s the one.” Nagito smiled

The lady nodded slightly. “Her appointment is the same time as yours tomorrow. I hope that works for you”

“Thank you! Your service is invaluable, to me and the other patients of this hospital. You have my utmost respect” Nagito bowed low and trekked back up to his hospital room, laying down. Nagito noted that the fatigue from doing anything was considerably worse and he cursed his sick body from not working as well as it should. A small meal had been delivered to his room, but the nausea and discomfort that had overcome him made it clear to him that he shouldn’t try eating.

Nagito reached over and grabbed the small bottle of painkillers, swallowing a few and lying on his back, breathing heavily, his whole body feeling like lead.

He tossed and turned for a while, sleep not coming to him until the sun had set and his room was plunged into darkness.

Nagito didn’t dream very often, but tonight had a special vision in store for him.

He was watching himself, and his body in a time-lapse video, watching his previously healthy hair turn white and straggly, his healthy complexion turning into the pallor that it was now. Watching himself wither away before his eyes, alone. Without anybody.

Nagito woke up in a cold sweat, his head feverish. He should press the call button so that he could get something to bring his fever down but it was still dark outside and his whole body didn’t want to move so he stayed in his unpleasantly hot bed until there was some semblance of light outside of his room. He decided for himself to get up and move around until his body was less leaden and have a cold shower to wash away the unpleasant feeling of having a second skin away.

Showering wasn’t something Nagito disliked doing by any means, but he often found his mind wandering, constantly going to different places. He ran his hair under the shower head, combing through it with his fingers, thinking of the prospect of seeing Hinata again. He hoped with all his heart that he was here to accompany his mother to her treatments because the curiosity that constantly plagued him was by no means lessening. Nagito kept the small drip attached to his chest dry, carefully drying around it and getting into his usual attire once he’d finished. It was still early- only just past half six, and the breakfast service didn’t come until half seven, so Nagito had a fair bit of time to kill, so he set to work doing menial tasks such as cleaning his room and organising his bedsheets to be washed and replaced, placing his medicine neatly into its daily compartments.

Finally, a knock at his door sounded and he gleefully leapt out of bed to be faced with his breakfast. Not that Nagito was really hungry, but he craved to see someone that wasn’t his own reflection for once.

“Good morning!” Komaeda greeted the begrudging nurse who nodded and handed him his plate.

Well, that was boring.

After eating only a fraction of his meal Nagito decided that he really was too bored to stay imprisoned in the hospital and that sneaking out was really the only way to clear his head.

Walking outside of the hospital was like getting hit by a bus of input, the sun shining into his eyes and the street around him filled with people.

Now, where was the bus stop? Hope's Peak Academy. That’s where he wanted to go.

Finding the bus to take him to where he needed to be was surprisingly easy, and Nagito quickly found himself outside the school, students walking in and around the grounds. He sighed. He was supposed to be here, if things hadn’t gone so badly for him. He craved to see talent and hope and the intelligence of the best of the best. But now he was stuck in a hospital. Nagito didn’t mind, really. Life was like that. His luck was like that. Maybe his bad luck had finally met the good luck he was needing the entire time with Hinata? Maybe all Hinata was is another bad luck spell. Nagito just didn’t know.

“...Komaeda?!” A shocked voice made Nagito swiftly turn around, eyes wide.

“Hinata-kun? Is that really you?” Nagito replied, his voice equally as confused

“This is my last day at Hope's peak... I didn’t know you came here now. Did you get better or something?”

“Ah! Hinata-kun... you’re mistaken. I don’t go to Hope's Peak. I don’t deserve to be in a place as great as this. I was just visiting. I’m supposed to be in the hospital right now” Nagito smiled softly

Hinata’s face reddened with embarrassment, then let out a breath

“Yeah. Anyway... I’m coming into the hospital this afternoon but I’ve got school now, so bye I guess”

Nagito wished he could say something, ask Hinata to stay with him, to beg on his hands and knees to let him be less alone, but his mouth remained shut. He wanted to move, he wanted to be talked to and listened to, his selfish and disgusting desires all coming to him at once. Is he worth something as precious as someone else’s time? Someone as trash as he was, being worth the attention of Hinata? He was delusional. He was stupid. Everyone just pushed him away the second he got close to them. And for good reason. Nagito hated himself so, so much. He should just go and-

“Komaeda? Are you okay?” Hinata asked

“No, no. I’m fine! Sorry I was just thinking” Nagito replied, willing a false happiness into his voice

“Because you do know I no longer give a single shit about what happens at school right now? I can be late if you wanna... I don’t know...”

Nagito’s heart fluttered. His luck... Hinata... someone wanted to spend time with him? Why?

“Why do you want to spend time with a person as awful as me, Hinata-kun? I’m a terrible person. I’m-“

“Look. I don’t really care about how you feel about yourself. You’re a bit strange, sure. But you don’t really seem like a bad person to me.” Hinata said, his voice full of conviction. “So stop saying that all of the time.”

Nagito startled, his face heating with shock

“Oh.” Was all he could muster as a reply. Nagito had only ever been called a burden, or a failure by all those around him... being called something different by someone he cared about, especially, made his body sing with joy.

“You said some fairly shitty things earlier, and if you were anyone else, I’d be pissed at you, but I know we’re going to be seeing a lot more of each other, so-“ Hinata held his hand out, obviously gesturing for Nagito to shake it

He placed his palm in Hinata’s, the other’s hand pleasantly warm. Nagito cherished this small piece of human contact, lingering. Nagito’s mind wandered, the softness of someone else’s touch so foreign to him, every single second precious to him

“Komaeda. This is a handshake? You’re supposed to let go afterwards. Do you want to be friends with me?”

... that’s right. Nagito let go of Hinata’s hand, smiling “sorry! I zoned out, aha... I don’t know why you’d want to be associated with me, but it be an honor to call you my friend”

Nagito wished he could have held on longer, but he didn’t want to make Hinata uncomfortable.

“So, where do you want to go?” Hinata asked, shoving his hands into his pockets, obviously not used to this kind of interaction

“But Hinata-kun? What about your school?” Nagito replied. If Hinata was late because of him, he’d be a terrible person indeed. Hinata groaned

“I just told you, I don’t care about school. And we’re friends now, right? Friends do stuff together”

Friend... that felt nice. It made Nagito feel a pool of content fill him. He’s never had someone to call a friend before. He’s never had someone who’s reached out to him... Hinata was the first. The very first. This was the first time Nagito could say he didn’t feel alone. He felt something stir in him... was this...the hope that Hinata had told him about?

“Thank you so much Hinata-kun...” Nagito felt his voice crack slightly as he said that “I’ve truly been blessed by meeting someone as amazing as you”

“...are you crying?” Hinata said, tilting his head in Nagito’s direction.

“I- I don’t know. Maybe. Sorry, haha.”

“You don’t have many friends, do you?” Hinata raised his eyebrows. Nagito shook his head.

“You’re the first, Hinata-kun.”

Chapter Text

Hajime hadn't really expected to find Komaeda standing in front of his school, especially not on his last day. His shock was obviously the same as Komaeda’s.

Hajime has been thinking about the white haired boy more than he would like to admit, trying to understand him from the tiny amount of information that he’d received. Komaeda fundamentally confused Hajime, but he saw the loneliness that plagued his face almost every waking moment.

Hajime knew how that felt, and for some reason had found himself almost looking forward until he could see Komaeda again. He felt bad for him, really.

When he’d seen the distinct explosion of cotton-coloured hair standing near the gate, Hajime couldn’t resist but to go talk to him.

Hajime didn’t know what struck him when he asked Komaeda to be his friend- something about the look in the other boys eyes egged him forward to at least say something.

And now Komaeda was crying. In front of him. Upon saying that Komaeda obviously didn’t have many friends, he’d only replied with

“You’re the first, Hinata-kun”

Hajime didn’t know how to respond to that. Should he comfort him? Or hug him even? Hajime didn’t even know Komaeda’s first name, and they barely knew each other, but seeing someone so vulnerable in front of him made Hajime feel extremely awkward, but Komaeda looked as though he was in a lot of pain.

“Hey... Komaeda.” Hajime said, taking a step forward, Komaeda wiped his face on his sleeve, taking a shaky breath

“I’m fine Hinata-kun... please. Don’t-don’t worry about me.” Komaeda mutters, looking at the floor, his throat bobbing as he tried to compose himself.

There weren’t many students around now, and they’d unconsciously walked a fair way away from the school, so Hajime felt a little less uncomfortable, but having the crying boy in front of him was still a fairly awkward feeling.

“Komaeda... can I hug you?” Hajime’s brain didn’t even register the words coming out of his mouth. What was he doing?

“Huh?” Komaeda took a step backwards, equally startled “Why?”

Before Hajime could think, he’d wrapped his hands around Komaeda’s back, grasping him close to his chest. Komaeda froze up in shock, his entire body tensing. Hajime then heard a small breathy laugh followed by a loose sob, Komaeda burying his head into Hajime’s shoulder, wrapping his arms around his back as well, holding on as though his life depended on it.

“Thank you, Hinata-kun” Komaeda whispered near Hajime’s ear “Thank you so much”

The boy’s hair brushed against Hajime’s face and he was stunned by how soft it was. How had this happened? Komaeda, last time Hajime had seen him had mostly been a huge dickhead... how had the tables turned so fast? Hajime had to wonder what was going through Komaeda’s head, and what had happened in his life to make him so broken. Komaeda acted as though he’d never been touched before, when they’d shaken hands, he seemed stunned, as if the contact was alien to him. Maybe that’s why he was so obsessed with talent? Maybe it was the only thing giving him hope. Hajime really didn’t know, but he was somewhat glad that he had reached out to the sick boy. A strange feeling settled over Hajime as he embraced the other boy. Hajime wasn’t much of a touchy person hadn’t really come in close contact with any of his friends except Nanami. Even his parents didn’t really take the move to offer him much physical support, so Hajime supposed that this was kind of new to him too.

Eventually, after what felt like a very long time, Hajime let go, Komaeda looking at his hands and then straight at Hinata afterwards

“Hinata-kun... I...” Komaeda looked at though he didn’t know how to respond

“You looked like you needed it, I guess. Don’t expect it too often” Hajime said gruffly. He could miss school for today and do something with Komaeda. He knew that whatever he would be doing in school would be pointless, so may as well, he figured.

“Komaeda, wanna go to the amusement park? There’s one a bus ride away” Hajime offered, tilting his head to the nearest bus stop

“Hinata-kun! Making you pay like that... I wouldn’t allow it.” Komaeda shook his head

“I wasn’t going to pay? I got free tickets from a friend and because no one else wants to go with me I was suggesting for you to come.” Hajime sighed, tired of Komaeda’s self sacrificing streak that seemed to work its way into every response he gave to one of Hajime’s suggestions.

“Ah, I see. But-“

“Stop doing that. It’s annoying” Hajime cut off Komaeda’s obviously self deprecating remark that he was going to respond to with “just come to the amusement park with me Jesus Christ.” Hajime rubbing his temple in irritation “friends do this kind of shit for each other, alright?”

Komaeda nodded, and followed after Hajime to the bus stop, waiting for the next bus, making meaningless conversation as they waited for the bus. Hajime learned that 1) Komaeda’s favourite thing was actually beautiful things (because they inspired hope, Komaeda added unsurprisingly) 2) Komaeda’s full name was Nagito Komaeda 3) Komaeda talked about luck so much because he had a strange luck cycle that always seemed to follow the same pattern and 4) that he didn’t have a good relation with his family due to this luck cycle and that’s why he was staying at the hospital.

A quarter of an hour later Hajime’s father called him, asking as to why he wasn’t present at school. Komaeda looked at Hajime quizzically as he tried to come up with a valid excuse, but his dad eventually just brushed it off and hung up.

Conveniently, the bus showed up not even a minute later, but it was fairly crammed, so Hajime and Komaeda had to share a seat right near the back of the bus.

“Have you been to the amusement park before?” Hajime asked Komaeda

“Ah. No. My mom never wanted to take me because my luck seems to affect me wherever I go” Komaeda replied wistfully, scratching at his wrist where the hospital bands were

“I see... well if it makes you feel any better I’ve never been either, so it’ll be the first time for both of us.”

Komaeda smiled warmly at Hajime, then turned his head to look out the window, an unsettling air overtaking the two. Komaeda remained silent for a good few minutes, the chattering of the other people in the bus acting as white noise and nothing else.

“Hinata-kun... I shouldn’t be friends with you. I don’t want my luck to affect you too.” Komaeda finally spoke.

Ah. So that’s what his silence was about. Hajime didn’t know the first thing that was happening in Komaeda’s life, but he knew that if his family life was bad enough that he was willing to pay the hospital bills him staying there generated, Komaeda wasn’t having a good time.

“Stop saying things like that. I don’t care about your luck cycle. It’s not your fault that weird shit happens to you like that, you can’t control it” Hajime growled, bunching his hands into fists. Komaeda glanced back over at Hajime

“... okay” He murmured, sighing and leaning back slightly

“Good God. Thank you” Hajime groaned “It makes it really hard for me to be your friend if you’re acting like you don’t even want it in the first place”

Komaeda lips upturned slightly and he nodded, looking back out towards the window and the passing city. A strange thought crossed Hajime’s mind as they waited until their stop came by: Komaeda wasn’t trying to hold Hajime’s hand earlier, was he? Hajime was sure it was that Komaeda wasn’t used to being touched which mostly explained it, but the dejected look in his eyes when Hajime let go suggested otherwise.

Nah... that wouldn’t work. Hajime shook his head. He was obviously just imagining things that weren’t there. They’d just met so that wouldn’t really make sense.

The day before, Hajime had luckily said goodbye to Chiaki because he had to go to the hospital straight after school today, but he knew he’d miss her a lot. He wished she’d return the feelings he had for her but he long since gave up the hope that she would. Chiaki was sweet, kind, smart and really pretty, which was more than what Hajime had, so he’d decided to give up on trying to convince himself that she’d ever like him back in that way. For some reason, when they’d exchanged that final goodbye, it felt as though Hajime had finally let go of something he didn’t even realise he was holding on to in the first place.

Finally the bus stop came up and Hajime tapped Komaeda’s shoulder

“We’ve got to get up now” Hajime said, standing up and pulling Komaeda’s sleeve.

Komaeda nodded and followed Hajime out of the bus. They walked in companionable silence until they got to the park

“Hinata-kun... I really don’t think that going to the amusement park is a good idea... my luck is-“

“I don’t really care. If it makes you feel better we can go on the low maintenance rides, but I think you’ll be fine” Hajime replied.

Komaeda fidgeted with the hood strings on his jacket, nervously looking around the street. Because it was the middle of the week it wasn’t particularly busy and the only people visiting the theme park were tourists, so Hajime and Komaeda could hopefully jump most of the queues. Once they got there, Hajime handed over the tickets he was given at the front gate and both of the boys were given a wristband

Komaeda’s wrist had gotten an odd stare by the man putting the band on, because it was around the arm with all of the hospital bands, but Komaeda simply smiled and got on with it.

“Why do you have all of those hospital bands?” Hajime asked as they were waiting in line for the dodgem carts

“I’m in hospital for more than one reason- My body and mind is slowly deteriorating and I’m watching it do so. It’s not a very fun activity” Komaeda replied, his voice was much too light for what he was telling Hajime. “There’s no point worrying about me. My illnesses have given me a death sentence, but I can still bring hope to people around me when I’m still alive”

“Oh.” Was all Hajime could muster.

Hajime’s heart fell, something that felt like despair creeped over him. He had no reason to believe Komaeda was lying, so he fell silent, the warm mood evaporating from the air

“... Hinata-kun. Meeting you was the best thing that has happened to me. I have plenty of time left, but thank you for acknowledging a terrible person such as me” Komaeda smiled, looking Hajime directly in the eyes, every emotion he was trying to convey absolutely genuine.

“You’re not terrible” Hajime simply replied, but his voice was still warm. Hajime decided then and there that he now considered Komaeda a friend. Before when he’d asked it felt more token gesture-y than genuine, but even though Komaeda was a strange guy, he was very kind. Nothing that he said really felt as though it had ill intent, even when he was spouting on about hope in the hospital, none of his words were intentionally made to hurt Hajime. They were more just how Komaeda viewed the world. They hadn’t known each other for long but they both mutually needed each other in a way that created an inexplicable bond between the two. Hajime wondered if Komaeda noticed or if it was just him.

“Oh! It’s our turn now!” Komaeda chirped, scanning his wristband and edging Hajime to do the same, tapping his wrist

“Alright. Dibs the red car” Hajime grinned, sprinting over to the red car, Komaeda following suit and going in the blue directly next to him, giving a warm glance at Hajime before a loud buzzer sounded that meant they could go.

Instantly Hajime slammed his car directly into Komaeda’s, laughing as he spiralled out of control.

“Ha! I got the first hit!” Hajime yelled triumphantly, speeding ahead, not looking back to see if the other boy was behind him or not.

What he didn’t know, was that Komaeda quickly had regained control and threw his cart into Hajime’s, smiling at him as he drifted past Hajime’s now spinning car.

“It’s on now Komaeda! I’m gonna thrash you!” Hajime announced, pointing at Komaeda’s car. Hajime tried to get his car to ram into Komaeda’s, succeeding after bumping five other people on the ride out of the way.

Upon crashing his car into the other’s boys, Komaeda’s head slammed into the side of the cart.

“You good?!” Hajime asked loudly, driving his cart next to his

“Mmm yeah I’m fine.” Komaeda slurred slightly, smiling, a large red patch forming on his head. Just as Hajime had seen the state of his friend, a car slammed into Hajime, and his head did the same.

“Ow” Hajime muttered, putting his hand to his head, his vision blurring.

“Hinata-kun!! Are you alright? My luck- I’m so sorry” Komaeda instantly seemed to recover, and as the ride stopped he jumped out of the car to go help Hajime, extending his hand to help him out of the car

All Hajime could do, even though it really hurt, was laugh

“It happened to both of us at the same time. Oh my god.” Hajime grabber Komaeda’s hand and used it to haul himself out of his bumper car and they both promptly exited, both laughing

Hajime touched the lump now forming on his head and looked at the equally painful looking sore on Komaeda’s

“Komaeda we can match” Hajime said, grimacing. The white haired boy laughed softly

“I guess so. We’re probably quite a sight to behold.” Komaeda chuckled, his voice full of mirth “we shouldn’t do that ride again... my luck meant that we couldn’t enjoy it and you got hurt”

“What do you mean? I enjoyed it a lot” Hajime then grabbed onto Komaeda’s sleeve ”c’mon, let’s go on the roller coaster”

After Komaeda protested for a little bit saying that his luck would get in the way, Hajime towed Komaeda to the line at the roller coaster, some people behind them already queuing as they stood in the lane, both of their heads throbbing, but the air still light with amusement.

The roller coaster in itself was huge, arching over in multiple loops, twists and turns and a giant drop at the beginning as the cherry on top. Komaeda noticeably calmed down and looked happily at the large ride

“Are you a thrill-seeker or something, Komaeda? Because you look excited” Hajime inquired,

“I feel a fair amount of fear in my day to day life so I guess being able to control it is quite nice once and awhile” Komaeda mused, glancing at the roller coaster as the passengers screamed on the drop at the beginning of the coaster. The white haired boy smiled “and you? You seem to be eager as well, is there any reason?”

Hajime pondered this for a second.
“I think it’s because I have a really boring life. Not much really happens and being able to get a kick every so often is kind of fun? I don’t really know”

Komaeda nodded, as if taking in his answer. The stark difference between the two boy’s lives made conversation flow somewhat more easily, and Hajime was interested to see what other things that Komaeda enjoyed. In contrast to his almost crazed mania he showed at the hospital, he was actually a kind of chilled out guy and he seemed to genuinely listen to what Hajime was trying to tell him, even though as Hajime had just admitted, he was boring, untalented and not really worth anyone’s time

“I don’t think you’re boring” Komaeda offhandedly commented after a few seconds. Hajime felt his face heat a little

“Uh. Thanks” Hajime replied flatly, not really knowing how to respond. They’d finally reached the front of the line and they scanned their wristbands to enter, getting on the ride.

As the safety instructions were announced and the two boys buckled themselves in, Hajime realised how strange of a situation he was in.

Here he was, on a roller coaster, wearing a shirt and tie, with a sick boy he had met only three times before. Hajime smiled to himself. Maybe his life had finally taken an interesting turn.

“Hinata-kun the ride’s starting, so hold-“ Komaeda tried to get out a cohesive sentence before the air in his lungs was whisked out and they were suddenly travelling extremely quickly forward.

The ride slowed down slightly and Hajime let out a laugh “Komaeda! The words were literally taken right out of your mouth! Haha!” Hajime grinned at Komaeda who also chuckled

“Ah yes Hinata-kun. Just you wait.”

“Wait for what? What do you-“ Just as Hajime was trying to say that his heart seemed to jump out of his chest and up his throat and he was falling. Hajime felt himself screaming on the way down, in no way expecting the fall, and grabbing onto the closest thing he could find. Finally, the roller coaster evened out and his stomach went back to being where it was supposed to be. Hajime looked down at his hand to see what he ended up grabbing onto and found Komaeda’s palm in his, Komaeda’s face nonplussed as Hajime quickly let go, the coaster going into the next loop.

Hajime whooped in exhilaration, his whole body feeling light and headache gone, holding onto the coaster rails as it twisted and turned, glancing over at Komaeda to see the white haired boy’s face looking happy but otherwise not bothered by the twisting and turns, Komaeda turning to look how Hajime was doing as well, offering him a thumbs up as the ride finally slowed down and stopped, the two finally settling down.

“Komaeda! That was amazing!” Hajime exclaimed punching the other boy lightly on the shoulder as they existed the ride

“It was! Your face was very amusing to look at on the first drop! Even I was a little afraid on that one, aha” Komaeda chucked “I’m willing to bet there’s photos of us if we walk down here-“

Komaeda was right. Hajime looked utterly stupid, his face scrunched up in fear and his mouth and eyes wide as if you could almost hear his shrieking. Even his tie was defying gravity, extremely close to slapping Hajime in the face. Komaeda’s hair was going absolutely everywhere in the photo, looking like a shocked cat, his mouth clamped shut. Komaeda actually looked alright considering the face he was making but Hajime still couldn’t help but find it hilarious. The most embarrassing thing in the photo, however, was that the two were holding hands, both of them obviously holding on for dear life. Komaeda looked fondly at the photo, chuckling a little bit

“That’s it! That’s the face you were making!” Komaeda laughed “Hey Hinata-kun, can I buy this? I can get you a copy too if you want.”

“What? Why would you want to buy it!? We both look really stupid”

“Exactly! But we were having fun, and I want to preserve that moment forever so I can look back on it when I’m having a bad day and know that I have had good, hopeful days too.” The utter earnestly in Komaeda’s voice made Hajime falter

“Alright fine.” Hajime said, and Komaeda bounced over to the counter and did his thing while Hajime looked at other people’s equally ridiculous photos.

Hajime’s personal favourite was of two boys about their age, who looked so full of fear that one had tried to cuddle the other, tears visibly streaming down his face, the taller boy too busy freaking out to really care. Just as Hajime sniggered at the photo the two boys walked in, the taller one pale as a ghost and the short one acting as if he’d never cried on the drop, dragging the taller one to look at their picture. Who knows what those two were here for but Hajime wondered if they were skipping school too.

“Hinata-kun!~” Komaeda called, waving the small albums he’d just purchased over his head, beckoning Hajime to come over “I didn’t know if you wanted one so I bought two! I used my own money of course.”

Of course he’d brought two of them. Hajime could admit they looked kind of funny, so he snatched the album out of Komaeda’s hands, muttered a thanks and shoved it in his school bag.

“Alright Hinata-kun, what next?” Komaeda asked, gesturing to the rest of the park.

“Probably the medical area.” Hajime said, his head pounding again. All he needed was a few painkillers and he’d be alright to do more but at that moment it was really hard to think straight. He wondered if Komaeda was having the same problem. Even if he wasn’t, the other boy agreed enthusiastically, and they headed over, both of them getting painkillers, a free ice pack, an apology from the park and a twenty dollar coupon to use inside the park

“Huh. Hitting our heads turned out to be good luck after all. See Komaeda? Your luck is sometimes really great” Hajime pointed out as they headed towards another one of the rides

“I guess so. Normally whenever I get a spell of bad luck, somewhat equal good luck comes afterwards, but in our case we really got our money back, huh” Komaeda said, “I’m pretty sure we’re not gonna get affected by my luck for the rest of the day, which is good”

After Komaeda said that, Hajime’s mood lifted dramatically and he decided to drag him over to the big drop ride, where it brought a carriage of people up a giant tower and then dropped them. After waiting in line for a while, Hajime and Komaeda found themselves sitting next to each other on the ride.

“So, Hinata-kun? Are you scared?” Komaeda inquired as a click signalled the start of the ride

“Not particularly.” Hajime commented as the car rose higher and higher.

Eventually, the car passed over the tree line, and Hajime felt his heart tighten a little bit and he balled his hand into a fist, his grip tightening on the strap holding him in as the ride travelled higher still

“Hinata-kun? Are you alright? You look rather pale.” Komaeda asked, whisking Hinata back to reality

“Y-yeah.” Hajime tried, his voice catching in his throat. “Do you think we’re nearly at the top?”

“Probably. I can see our bus stop from here. Just wait until a click” Komaeda said “It’s on a rope pulley which means that after it clicks you have around half a second before it drops”

As Komaeda said that, the ride creaked to a stop, everything feeling much too high

“Komaeda is that the click?” Hajime demanded. He shook his head, however, as he was making the motion a mechanical clank sounded.

Oh. That was the click.

Suddenly, Hajime was falling again for the second time that day, though it felt as though it was for much longer and he felt himself yelling. He felt like he was going to die.

And then the ride stopped.

Hajime heaved a sigh of relief, wiping his clammy hands on his pants, looking over to the white haired boy. Even Komaeda looked a bit shocked, his hair sticking up like a mad scientists

“Komaeda... your hair- it looks ridiculous” Hajime chuckled, reaching over to him and patting it, it still remained in the same upright position after Hajime touched it. Yet again, Hajime marvelled at how soft his hair was, even when it looked like it’d been shocked by electricity.

“It does that a lot.” Komaeda said wistfully, trying to brush down his hair back to its normal slightly-less-explosive proportions

“You don’t need to fix it- it looks fine how it is. Look at how much my hair sticks up. It’s just funny because the same happens to me all of the time” Hajime explained, pointing to the stupid spike at the back of his head, which was most likely worse now that he’d just gone on a vertical ride.

“Haha true. We can match with our bruises and spiky hair!” Komaeda poked the spike of Hajime’s hair. Hajime swatted Komaeda’s hand away

“Don’t touch the spike” Hajime growled, but with no real bite, Komaeda smiling understandingly, putting his hands in his pockets. “Anyway. Wanna go on another ride?” Hajime asked, looking around the park. Komaeda pondered this for a second before replying

“Maybe the tango train? That one looks fun,” Komaeda said, gesturing to the fast moving mini roller coaster that quickly rotated around the centre. It didn’t look as exciting as the past two rides they’d been on but Hajime figured that he’d dragged Komaeda into the last ones so may as well let him choose this one.

Yet again, they were sandwiched together in the small seat, Hajime on the side which said for the larger person to go. Both of them knew that Komaeda was definitely thinner than Hajime and if the ‘tango train’ went as fast as they say it did, Hajime really didn’t want Komaeda getting squished.

As the bar lowered and the train started up, it went considerably slower.

It then shuddered to a stop when the two were in the disco-esque area where lights were flashing all over the cart

“Um. It appears we’ve had some technical difficulties with the train. Please remain seated until we’ve fixed this. Much apologies” the loudspeaker announced from the wall of the tunnel

“Ah. Hinata-kun... I truly am useless. My luck has gotten in your way again. I’m really sorry” Komaeda looked dejectedly down as a red strobe light lit up his face, really making it hard to take him seriously

“They’ll fix it in like five seconds. Stop blaming every small thing that happens on your luck” Hajime scolded, flicking Komaeda’s shoulder. He nodded but Hajime doubted that was the last time he’d be self deprecating. Pretty much just as Hajime had said that, the ride started up again.

“Ta da” Hajime grinned. “It’s not always your luck, Komaeda”

Komaeda looked relieved, and smiled at him as the ride gained more speed. Hajime admitted to himself that it was just genuinely really fun, he held his arms out and whooped as obnoxious music blared from the speakers

“Hinata-kun I think I’m going to squish you-I don’t know if I can hold on to the edge much longer” Komaeda said, and Hajime looked over to his strained face as the other boy desperately attempted to keep himself over the other side, failing miserably and sliding directly into Hajime’s side

“I think that’s the whole point, Komaeda. Just enjoy it.” Hajime replied, laughing as Komaeda attempted again to get himself over to his side of the seat, the speed of the small coaster too much for him. Eventually Hajime just roped his arm around the other boy’s shoulder and stopped him from trying to drag himself to the other side, just because whenever he failed he crashed into Hajime and while it didn’t hurt, it was distracting

Komaeda looked surprised at the touch but didn’t complain and happily continued on the ride, after a minute or two finally slowing down and letting them get out

“Huh. Thanks for that Nagito. I had a lot of fun.” Hajime commented. Komaeda suddenly looked rather strange, his eyes widening

“Hinata-kun? I don’t know if you realised but you used my first name... may I please call you Hajime?” Komaeda asked, eyes big with something that looked like affection

Oh. Hajime hadn’t even realised he’d called Komaeda by his first name. He didn’t even use honorifics when referring to him so he guessed he probably just hadn’t realised. Hajime felt his face heating up

“Uh. I don’t really mind. It really was an accident but if you want feel free to call me Hajime if you want me to call you Nagito I guess”

“It would be an honour... to be called by my first name by a person I admire so much... it fills me with an incredible Hope. I... thank you, Hajime Hinata.” Komaeda’s eyes sparkled, not knowing if to touch Hajime or not.

“No need to make it weird. I’m probably still going to call you Komaeda but feel free to call me whatever you want”

Komaeda smiled, something sad in his eyes.

“We have to get back to the hospital in a few hours” Komaeda said, looking down at his palm

Oh so that’s why he was making puppy eyes. Obviously he wouldn’t want to go back to the hospital. Hajime really didn’t want to go either, but he had to accompany his mom to the hospital to get her chemotherapy treatment. Komaeda mustn’t enjoy getting a needle in his chest either. His exposing t-shirt when at the right angle showed the area that the needle was inserted into it but Hajime tried not to pay attention to it.

“We still have time though, we should go and do some more rides and maybe some games. The tickets I got had three free games on them so may as well.”

Komaeda nodded “Alright!”

The two then proceeded to do a few more rides, both chatting to each other about menial things. At first Komaeda’s conversation was awkward and stinted but he eventually got into the swing of it, even though Komaeda often asked what he should ask about, it wasn’t unenjoyable, by any means.

The two on the last ride were on the log flume, everyone was in groups of three, and Hajime and Komaeda managed to still sit together, coincidentally one of the two boys from the coaster sitting next to Hajime.

“Awww man~” The short boy now sitting next to Hajime groaned “Saihara-channnn why can’t you sit next to me”

The raven-haired boy sighed exasperatedly “Because, there’s three seats to a row, Ouma-kun.”

“I know... but the ugly boy next to me can easily move to your spot” the short boy groaned, over dramatically,

“Oi!” Hajime exclaimed, the small dark-haired boy ignoring his comment and continuing

“I’d be so sad without you, my beloved~”

“Ouma-kun stop saying that in public all of the time. People are going to get the wrong idea” Saihara muttered, obviously embarrassed

“Ah! If you want I can trade spots with you” Komaeda chirped out of nowhere, startling the boy in front of him and Hajime

“No... it’s fine. The ride is going to start now anyway. Um. Thank you anyway” the raven-haired boy said quietly, turning around in his seat and looking directly at his short friend, offering a short glare and then swivelling around to face the front again

“Waaaa Saihara-chan! What did I do to you?!” the short boy- Ouma, Hajime assumed, started crying, fake tears streaming down his face.

Komaeda looked genuinely concerned and patted the other boy’s shoulder, reaching across Hajime to do so

Instantly Ouma recovered, sniffing

“Get your hands off me, marshmallow boy.” He said, pointing his nose in the air, waving his arm at a confused and apologetic Komaeda.

And Hajime thought that Komaeda was exhausting. He pitied the boy in front of him.

Saihara was right (maybe not in his choice of friends though), the ride did start, and even though they hadn’t realised at first, the small boat they were all seated it began to float downstream, and they entered into a tunnel that was pretty much dark, the boat swerving around corners.

“Saihara-chan I’m scared” Hajime heard Ouma call out from next to him. Hajime couldn’t help himself but say

“You’re fine.”

“Was that a monster!! Waaa!!!” the irritating boy screamed, wrapping his arms around Hajime‘s chest

“Shut up” Hajime said, pulling Ouma off him “It was just me”

“Ouma-kun you’re making the other people in the boat uncomfortable. Please stop” Hajime heard Saihara’s feminine voice sound, small boy obeying instantly, patting Hajime’s shoulder and tucking himself up into his seat

Finally a light appeared at the end of the tunnel, and Hajime sighed with relief, glad that something interesting was finally going to happen.

Once the boat (on the somewhat ironically named log flume, Hajime now realised) passed into the light, shooting down a waterfall-like structure. He could hear the shriek of Ouma next to him as they shot down. Hajime really just found it fun, and he was willing to bet Ouma was having a good time too, he was just overreacting

At the very end a colossal splash of water completely drenched all of the passengers, and Hajime laughed as he looked at Komaeda and Ouma, who both looked like drowned rats, both of their hair straggly and dripping, Saihara looking around and snorting in delight

“Ouma-kun... I’ve never seen your hair like that” Saihara giggled, Ouma pouting as he was that

“Well, Saihara-chan. You look really stupid with your hair wet” Ouma said, grinning. Saihara sighed. “... but, that was just a lie! You look very cute, especially because you’re not wearing that silly hat. And that’s the truth!” The short boy continued, booping Saihara’s nose, causing the other boy to blush considerably before turning around and exiting the boat, offering a hand to Ouma as he did

Hajime really had no idea what was going on between the two. They seemed like good friends though.

“Hinata-kun?” Komaeda had gotten out of the boat and had his hand extended to Hajime, to pull him out of the boat too.

“Mm?” Hajime said

“Thanks for taking me here.” Komaeda smiled, and Hajime could admit, he was glad he’d taken Komaeda to the park. Hajime really couldn’t explain why he’d taken Komaeda here, but he was really happy and he felt like he finally had someone in his life that he could rely on.

Hajime no longer felt alone, and as he walked next to the white haired boy, he smiled. In all of the chaos, even if it was just at this moment, he felt truly content.

Chapter Text

Nagito’s day had been probably the best of his life. He felt guilty for how much enjoyment he was getting out of this, but whenever he had one of those self deprecating thoughts he tried to shut it out and be grateful for what his new friend had done for him.

Friend... that word still felt strange for Nagito... the whole idea of having a person close to him felt rather foreign. He was so used to pushing people away, time and time again because he didn’t want to hurt them with his luck- whenever something bad happened to anyone that was previously close to Nagito, they’d instantly turn the blame on him, and how that he was a curse.

Hinata was different. Nagito realised this when they’d had the accident on the Dodgem Cars, and the ride had stopped. Hinata didn’t blame anyone for the bad instances happening in his life- he instead just went along with it as if it was supposed to happen in the first place.

Nagito hadn’t really felt something like this before... the willingness to understand him, and the patience that he had with him was unknown to him. It made Nagito feel not useless. He didn’t deserve any of what Hinata gave him, but he was given it anyway, no matter how much he protested. Nagito wished he could do something for him in return.

Hinata had proved to him that talent truly didn’t matter when it came to hope. You didn’t need talent to create hope. Looking at Hinata, and the hope that he gave Nagito... it proved it well and truly.

Hinata snapped him out of his train of thought by tapping Nagito on the shoulder

“We should do some games- We have three free ones each and not much time” Hinata said, pointing over to the row of lit up colourful carnival games with prizes erupting out of them.

“Hinata-kun, which would you like to go do?” Nagito asked, looking around at the different games

“Uh. Maybe the Hammer one? I don’t think I’m that strong but I might be able to win something out of that I guess” Hinata replied, shrugging. Nagito somewhat doubted that statement. It really hurt when he was gripping his hand earlier, so Nagito wondered how strong the other boy really was.

They wandered over, presenting Hinata’s ticket to the lady manning the game

“Good luck Hinata-kun!” Nagito waved to him as Hinata gave him a thumbs up, grabbing one of the hammers.

Nagito was right- Hinata was very strong- he even ended up with a good prize.

“Wow! You’re really strong! That was amazing! The Hope you’d be able to spread with that strength... Hinata-kun, I underestimated you” Nagito chirped, grabbing Hinata’s shoulders and looking directly into the other boy’s eyes

The other boy turned away his face

“Um... sure.” He mumbled, brushing Nagito’s hands off gently with his free arm. “Anyway. I got this, so if you want it-“ he handed Nagito a little container of bubble mixture

“I can’t possibly accept a gift from someone like you- Your presence alone is enough for me. I already consider myself one of the luckiest people alive purely from meeting you, let alone you being my friend and giving me things!”

“Hey Socrates it’s bubble mixture-just take it. As I said, friends do this stuff for each other, alright?” Hinata put his prize in Nagito’s pocket, Nagito feeling his face heat up

“Okay... then I’m going to win you an even bigger prize, Hinata-kun! Find me any luck based game, and I’ll do my very best to repay your kindness” Nagito promised, Hinata sighing from that response

“There’s a fishing game over there- it’s pretty much chance, so if you really believe in your luck then that’s probably the game for it” Hinata said, gesturing to a small pond filled with plastic fish, surrounded by prizes. Nagito smiled... perfect. He believed in his luck more than almost anything else, and he knew that he could trust it just this once to work in his favour.

He trotted over, handing a ticket to the spiky-haired guy standing there and blindly grabbed the first fish he could find.

“Are you sure that’s the one you’re going with? It looks pretty small.” Hinata said over Nagito’s shoulder, peering at the plastic toy he was holding

“Yup!” Nagito affirmed, handing it over to the man who was working there

“I mean, your friend’s right. But hey, whatever man, I’ll scan your fish and see what it’ll get. I’m gonna say... hmm... a medium prize” the sea-urchin haired man mused, scratching his stubble as he put the plastic fish under a barcode scanner

“Oh? Good job dude. You got the second highest prize. Turns out my prediction was wrong. Haha” the man said, reaching into the prize stack and grabbing a colossal fish toy that was bigger than Hinata’s school bag. Hinata gawked at the size of the fish that the long haired guy was holding

“Hm? What’s the largest?” Nagito wondered aloud, trying not to smile at Hinata’s face

“I’m not meant to be telling you this but that’s actually the largest. I freaked out when they told me that I had to lie so it’s pretty much common knowledge that the ‘giant fish’ is the biggest one you can catch. The others are just display,” The guy muttered, as if what he was trying to say was a government secret “Anyway- you two go have a good day and enjoy your fish” He said, handing Nagito the giant toy and tending to the next person that wandered up to the game

“Wow” Hinata ogled at the multicoloured giant plush toy Nagito was holding

“I know! This is for you, Hinata-kun! I promised I’d win you back a prize, so that’s what I did! I know it’s nowhere near as good as what you have given me today but I hope it can suffice for the meantime”

“I gave you bubble mixture. You are giving me a fish half the size of me. How is that a fair trade” Hinata deadpanned, poking the toy Nagito had cradled in his arms

Nagito knew his gift wasn’t sufficient, and he sighed, feeling his gaze fall to the ground

“Not like that. I meant your gift is eons better than mine.” Hinata groaned, lifting the fish out of Nagito’s grasp and holding it to his chest “I like this prize, so don’t go on with that self deprecating stuff” Hinata added.

“Ah.. okay... Thank you. What are you going to name him?” Nagito asked

“Uh. I don’t know.”

“What about Kamakura? That means god-born right? And the irony of it would be really funny, seeming it’s a fish.” Nagito suggested (The name was also the founder of Hope’s Peak Academy, a man he deeply admired)

“That’s a dumbass name but you know what? Sure. Kamakura the fish. I don’t even know where I’ll keep him, so I really think you should have him.” Hinata said

“But Hajime? I got him for you!” Nagito protested

“Alright then. We’ve both got two games left so we could both try one together.”

“Oh! That would be amazing. What about the whack a mole?” Nagito suggested, pulling Hinata and his giant fish toy over to the whack a mole area. Somehow even there they had prizes if you whacked enough moles.

They both handed over their tickets to the person doing the ride, assuming their positions

“I’m gonna beat you” Hinata grinned, getting his little whack-a-mole hammer and facing one of the stations, Nagito doing the same

“Sounds good!” Nagito said, as the buzzer went off

Both of them did horribly. Somehow Nagito managed to whack his own hand and Hinata somehow managed to whack Nagito’s other hand that accidentally strayed too close to Hinata’s area, so Nagito wasn’t even able to continue after the first five seconds, putting his throbbing hands in his pockets. Hinata definitely beat him by far, even if they’d both completely flopped their attempt

Even so, Hinata still managed to get a prize- a little white rabbit toy that while being small, was very fluffy.

“Hey Komaeda- this rabbit is you.” The spiky haired boy commented holding the rabbit out to Nagito

“How so?”

“Rabbits are lucky, you’re lucky, this rabbit's hair is white, your hair is white. See? You’re the rabbit. So my prize is yours now” While Hinata said this, he slid the rabbit into Nagito’s pocket. Hinata did have a point, but Nagito couldn’t help but feel bad that he kept trying to give him things he didn’t deserve

“Shouldn’t you have it? You won it after all.” Nagito held the toy with his bruised hand

“I have Kamakura the fish, remember?” Hinata said, picking up Nagito’s giant prize off the floor and holding it to his chest

“Ah okay

“It’s your good luck charm now” Hinata said “anyway, we should probably get going after we get something to eat- the bus ride is pretty long getting to the hospital”

Nagito nodded, and followed his friend to the food area, wading around other people that were eating at the time

“Hinata-kun! I’m going to pay for our lunch so feel free to order whatever you like” Nagito said, unzipping his pocket to get his wallet

Hinata surprisingly agreed to this, ordering a decent sized meal. Nagito still wasn’t really that hungry, even though he’d barely eaten in the past few days, so he just ordered himself some chips, hoping that the fatigue didn’t set in before he’d gotten to the hospital, because there he could deal with it properly, and he didn’t want to burden his friend.

Did he even deserve such a friend? Someone that possessed such a hope such as Hinata deciding to call him something as significant as a friend... it made him feel strange. He yearned to spend hours and hours with Hinata, he wanted to know every little thing about the boy, wanted to see every aspect of his beautiful hope.

“Oi Komaeda. Our stuff is here, so you better eat something” Hinata mumbled as his mouth was full, interrupting Nagito’s train of thought

Nagito nodded, picking at his chips. He didn’t want to go back to the hospital- he just wanted to spend more time with Hinata. He was addicted to Hinata’s hope and he wished he could keep feeling whatever this was whenever they were together.

After a while of them sitting there and eating their respective meals in companionable silence

“Hinata-kun... have you ever been in love?” Nagito asked. Hinata frowned

“Where did that come from?”

“I was just curious to see what kind of person would catch the eye of someone as amazing as you, that’s all”

Hinata pondered this “There’s a girl from Hope’s Peak- Nanami- and she’s talented, smart, kind and pretty. She doesn’t feel the same way back though, so it doesn’t really matter” Hinata sighed “Besides, I’m not good enough for her anyway.

Not good enough? Did he see a fraction of what Nagito saw? Did he see the incredible hope he harboured? Something within Nagito felt kind of sad, and he didn’t know why, something resembling disappointment now residing within him

“What about you? What about Tsumiki? She’s nice” Hinata suggested, raising his eyebrows,

“No... I do love Tsumiki-san, but only for what she does- the hope she inspires, the people she helps- I love her for that, not in the way you’re implying.” Nagito replied. Besides, he had no romantic interest in her and Tsumiki already had someone far better than him, who also went to Hope’s Peak.

Hinata shrugged and returned to his meal. Nagito remembered that his hands were bruised, and noted that he should probably bandage them when he got back to the hospital.

“Alright if you’re done we should leave and get the bus before it leaves” Hinata said, glancing at his phone and standing up.

“Okay. My appointment is at the same time as your mothers, so I think we should be going well for time if we go now” Nagito said, following Hinata to the bus stop, feeling the edge of fatigue beginning to settle in. Once they got on the bus it got considerably worse and so Nagito just kept silent.

He found himself falling asleep after fighting to keep his eyes open for the first ten minutes of the bus ride. He obviously desperately needed it, and even though he felt as though he’d been asleep for only seconds he heard someone’s voice.

“Komaeda. Wake up. Come on, the bus ride is over and we need to get off” Hinata’s voice seemed kind of distorted and Nagito still felt exhausted, but he forced himself to wake up, everything feeling like lead, using Hinata as a motivation to get moving

“Sorry..” Nagito said quietly, annoyed at how weak his voice sounded, he swallowed, willing more strength into his body to stand

As much as he’d had an amazing day, the fatigue really was the worst

“You good?” Hinata asked as Nagito dragged himself out of the bus, every movement an effort

“Don’t worry about me Hinata-kun” Nagito smiled, mad at himself that enough of his exhaustion showed through for Hinata to notice. He desperately didn’t want to burden him with any of his problems, Hinata already had far too much on his plate.

“Alright. The next bus is coming in a few minutes so we need to get to the bus stop before it comes” Hinata briskly started walking off, Nagito attempting to follow behind him the fastest he could, eventually catching up to the boy, who was easily noticeable by the giant toy fish he was holding.

Thankfully, for Nagito, the bus stop wasn’t actually that far away, and even though it wasn’t pleasant standing up, it was far preferable to walking. He reached into his pocket and felt the little rabbit Hinata had given him, finding comfort in the soft fur, leaning into the sensation.

The bus pulled up and the two boys hopped on, finding seats near the back, sitting next to each other

Nagito just wanted to sleep so badly, his entire being trying to drag him into unconsciousness, but he shouldn’t fall asleep again, especially not with Hinata.

“Komaeda you look half dead. I’ll wake you up when we get there- get some sleep.” Hinata said as Nagito fought to keep his eyes open

“But Hinata-kun, it would be really rude to-“

“I really don’t care” Hinata quipped, closing his eyes and leaning back into his seat.

That strange feeling within Nagito came to light again, feeling like a second heartbeat as he felt his eyes close. What was it? What was this feeling? It was like his heart was bleeding into his mind, everything feeling warm.

“Thank you Hajime” Nagito murmured, not knowing if Hinata had heard or not.

Nagito did fall asleep. He can’t remember when but it was desperately needed. He didn’t dream, but his whole body felt warm, his head felt like it was covered in cotton, resting on a cloud.

He didn’t want to wake up... not yet anyway. He wanted to indulge in this sweet feeling of bliss for a bit longer, to feel this warm and light, to drift just a bit longer. He didn’t want to deal with his tiresome body right now.

Maybe he should have done it. Maybe death would have felt like this, soft, and warm and everlasting. Maybe death was a hopeful thing, something that finally released him as a burden, those people with him in his life finally able to shine as brightly they possibly could.

Something within Nagito’s selfish desires was glad that someone had found him that day and brought him to the hospital. He was glad that he’d lived.

Besides, the chance of death being something bleak and hopeless was also a possibility. Maybe death was something that brought nothing but misery, the hope created afterwards only a way of coping. Whatever the answer to that question was, Nagito knew he would find out sometime in the foreseeable future. All it took was a spot of bad luck or a sickness like the one he’d contracted a few weeks earlier was enough to bring his weak body to the grave.

He was just glad he had the time now to feel what a friendship was, to have met Hinata was the greatest gift life had ever given him, the constant kindness that the other boy gave was him so so different than what any other person was. He felt so selfish for how much Hinata made him feel. What if his luck brought nothing but misfortune for the boy? That would be Nagito’s fault and his fault only.

He hated himself so much, his own desires overpowering other people’s own livelihoods. That’s not how it worked. Nagito wasn’t a person- he was simply a tool, a tool for hope. He didn’t deserve to be a person. He didn’t deserve that because his own luck ended somebody else’s life. If Hinata died because of him, he would never forgive himself. If anything remotely bad happened to Hinata, Nagito didn’t know what he’d do.

But... unlike everyone else, Nagito didn’t think that Hinata would blame him.

Why? Didn’t he see that Nagito was a despicable human being? didn’t he see that all Nagito brought was misery?

He felt himself being dragged out of his train of thought by someone chanting his name

“Komaeda... hey. Komaeda we’re here. Nagito? Wake up.” Hinata’s voice bubbled through his unconsciousness.

“I’m awake” Nagito groaned, hoping it sounded something like human speech, everything feeling rather sluggish

“Good” Hinata said, trying to drag Nagito up onto his feet while holding his toy fish in one hand

“I’m sorry for falling asleep Hinata-kun” Nagito apologised, coming to his senses and using Hinata’s arm to steady himself

“As I said, I don’t really care, as long as you get up and off the bus before we miss our stop”

Nagito simply nodded to that, not really having the energy to reply properly, and they both hopped off the bus, Nagito feeling ever so slightly more awake.

After both of them signing into the hospital (and Nagito getting scolded by the receptionist for leaving without permission) the two boys meandered down to the radiation clinic, where Hinata’s mom was already waiting there

“Oh! Hajime, you were here on time. Thank you sweetie, it means a lot you being here” Hinata’s mom embraced her son, then her gaze turned to Nagito

“You’re the boy who was here at the same time as me last time. My name is Ichika Hinata, Hajime’s mother, but you can call me Ichika, if you want.” Hinata’s mom- Ichika- said warmly, then directly addressing Hinata “why are you holding a giant toy? Where did it come from?”

Hinata blanched at the question so Nagito decided to supply an answer. His mother seemed very kind, so he was fairly certain telling her about their day together would be fine

“Ichika-san, I’m sorry, this is all my fault. I snuck out of the hospital this morning and ran into your son, and because he is so kind, he took me for an outing. From the bottom of my heart, I deeply apologise for my terrible behaviour and influence on your otherwise wonderful son.” Nagito chimed, bowing deeply

“Sorry.” Hinata mumbled, eyes pointed directly at the floor as his feet scuffled slightly, probably out of nerves

“Did you have fun?” She pried, raising an eyebrow

“Yeah, I guess” Hinata said, Nagito nodding enthusiastically

“It was your last day at school, so it doesn’t really matter-when I was younger, I did it all the time, so if it’s just a once off then I guess I can forget about it” She winked at the end of that, her eyes crinkling with mirth. Nagito decided then and there that he wanted a mom like Hinata’s

“Also, you don’t seem to be a bad influence on Hajime- strangely enough, he’s been rather pleasant since he’s met you. Thanks for giving him a friend” Ichika said, nurse coming around and guiding her to her hospital bed, leading Nagito with her.

“Now, what’s your name? I don’t think you’ve told me it before” Ichika asked as the needle was attached to the drip on her neck

“Aha, apologies. My name is Nagito Komaeda” Nagito sighed as he was forced to take off his shirt and don the typical hospital wear of a light blue dressing ‘gown’ which was really just a large piece of tissue paper with holes in it for his arms

“I keep meeting him purely by chance” Hinata supplied to his mom. She just knowingly smiled at this, raising her eyebrows. Hinata flushed “I swear! I don’t actively seek him out or anything he just happens to have weird luck that draws him to where I am!”

“He’s right.” Nagito affirmed

“It’s like a Komaeda magnet or something. He just happens to always turn up where I am”

Nagito couldn’t help but laugh at this. It was true, they kept finding themselves in strange places, it was uncomfortable to do so- the drip attached to his nose and chest rather unpleasant to move in any regard

“Well at least it’s not like the thing with Chiaki- you hid her from us for months because you were too embarrassed to admit you had a girlfriend”

Hajime somehow went an even brighter shade “Mom! Don’t just go telling random people about that!”

Ichika smiled “I’m just glad you have a friend, especially if the Chiaki thing didn’t work out”

“Yeah, yeah” Hinata groaned “I’m gonna sit with Komaeda. At least he’s not going to poke at my failings to have a love life”

“Hinata-kun. It is kind of funny” Nagito replied, smiling softly

Hinata made a frustrated noise and sat down in the chair across from the two’s beds, glaring at both of them.

Even though Hinata’s mother was a fair bit older than the two, she seemed almost like a mixture of a mom and a sister, her carefree behaviour around her son made Nagito’s heart sing. Hinata had explained while they were waiting for the rides that she wasn’t around very often because she had a job in a marketing business, which took up most of her time with travel, and that his father was around the most (that said, it still wasn’t a lot of time)

Supposedly Hinata’s dad was the chalk to Ichika’s cheese. It made Nagito curious as to how the two ended up together, but they’d done a good job with Hinata.

Something deep within Nagito longed to have a family that cared for him even in a fraction of a way that Hinata’s did. All he felt like was a burden. And yes, he knew he probably was. A waste of space, nothing more than trash. Nothing had ever led him to believe otherwise, but he selfishly wished to have a family like Hinata did.

“Nagito, where are your parents? Wouldn’t they be here for your appointments?” Ichika asked, her tone reminiscent of Hinata’s usual bluntness. It probably ran in the family, Nagito guessed

He debated on telling the truth or not, desperately not wanting the pity of someone as amazing as Hinata or his mother, but to lie would be worse. Both pathways would feel fundamentally selfish

“I don’t have a very good relationship with my mother, but please, do not worry about someone like me. I’m lucky enough to even be receiving treatment for my illnesses in the first place!” Nagito replied, smiling.

Not very good relationship with his mother was a deep understatement, but Nagito decided that this was probably the best way to answer the question without outright lying

Hinata grimaced. He didn’t know a lot about Nagito- he’d made sure to not tell him all of the gruesome details about his life, but he knew enough that Nagito would always be alone in this hospital

“Well, if you’re ever allowed out of the hospital, feel free to come and stay with us if you can’t go home” Ichika smiled, reaching over to Nagito’s bed and squeezing his hand, surprise electrifying through Nagito’s body. Hinata looked the same, gawking at his mother

Nagito felt the usual laugh build up whenever he was shocked, and he put his hand to his mouth trying to suppress it. He nodded his thanks to Ichika and then turned around, coughing to stop his body from laughing, every so often a couple of syllables getting out, Nagito choking them back. Not now! Not in front of people he respected

“Komaeda?” Hinata asked, his voice full of concern

“I’m fine.” Nagito coughed out, his chest hurting. He took a few seconds to recover, “I’m sorry. I laugh sometimes when I’m surprised or shocked. Please do not worry about me. Taking you up on your offer, Ichika-san... I would be asking far too much from a person as incredible as you are”

Ichika’s face looked rather sad when Nagito said this.

“Hey Komaeda. I’m not saying you should live with us or anything, but if you do need a place to stay then we can sign you out and you can come to our house for a bit” Hinata eventually said

... why?

“Why? Why do you care about me?” Nagito whispered “I’m nothing but bad luck to everyone around me. I don’t want to burden you any more than I already have” he grasped at his head, tucking himself up as much as he could with the drips attached to his body. Why don’t they see what everyone else does? Why is he different to them? His mother left him here because he did nothing but give her a reason to despair. All of the hope he’s tried to spread, every single time he’s failed.

“No. That’s wrong.” Hinata said “you’re not a burden to me, or anyone else. That’s on them! Not you! So stop telling yourself that you’re not worth as much as everyone else!” He stood up, eyes angry as his stare pierced through Nagito’s defences, the words cutting through his remarks.

Hinata...

Does he understand what he just said? How much Nagito desperately needed to hear that? How no one else had ever told him that exact thing?

Did he see how much of a ripple he’d now created?

Nagito had finally worked out what he had been feeling earlier, the intense Hope whenever he was around Hinata, the warm feeling that felt like cotton and nerves inside him. Like his world had finally found a meaning, the ecstasy he had when Hinata spoke.

It was love.

Chapter Text

How had Hajime made Komaeda cry twice in one day?

He doesn’t even seem like the kind of guy to cry that much, which made the situation even more awkward, really. His mom was thankfully handling it well enough, and even though she wasn’t around very much, Hajime could admit that whenever she was, her support and kindness always made his days so much better. In a way he guessed he was glad he could spend more time with his mom while she was getting better, as if he was getting a catch up for all of the years he’d missed with her.

Hajime got up and sat on the chair between Komaeda and his mom, awkwardly patting Komaeda’s shoulders as he sobbed into his knees. He really had no idea what to do. The only time people ever cried around him was probably that one time where Souda finally had the guts to ask Sonia out and then got rejected. He cringed at the memory and Souda’s pitiful wails as she walked off towards his self proclaimed rival Gundam Tanaka.

This was totally different though.

“Hinata-kun... Ichika-san... thank you so much.” Komaeda sniffed, composing himself “I’ve only known you for the shortest time... but you’ve both made such a difference. Thank you” he smiled

It was strange. Hajime felt sort of the same way. He’d felt really alone up until he’d met this strange, sick boy, but somehow, he’d made a difference in his life that he could not possibly ignore. That's why he took him to the park today, that’s why he forgave his scornful remarks. Komaeda was fundamentally a good person, Hajime had realised. He was a good person that was in a place of despair and sadness. And for one reason or another, Hajime wanted to make it so that Komaeda’s life was a little better. He was glad he’d put that hand out to the boy asking him to be his friend.

“Nagito, may I ask, how old are you?” Hajime’s mom asked.

Oh god. Hajime didn’t even know how old he was yet. For all Hajime knew Komaeda could be over seventeen years old and he wouldn’t even know

“I’m fifteen- I was born on the 28th of April so my sixteenth birthday is coming up in a couple of months.” Komaeda sighed, “I know I’m fairly young to be here alone, sorry to make you worry, aha”

He blanched- Hajime was older? Only by a few months, sure, but Hajime hadn’t expected Komaeda to be so young.

“You’re the same age as Hajime then. No wonder you get along so well” Hajime’s mom laughed.

“Aha, yeah. To be fair though, we get along mostly because Hinata-kun is such a hope inspiring person”

His mom and Komaeda chatted back and forth for a bit, their conversation mostly Komaeda asking things about Hajime and their lives.

Hajime wondered what would be different if he was the one in the hospital bed and Komaeda was the one who ran into him.

He was fairly certain that Komaeda would have gone to the moon and back to try and make Hajime happier, so the least he could do here is to give his new friend basic human kindness, Hajime guessed

“Komaeda, I gotta ask, do you have any other relatives outside of your parents?”

“Hmm... I do, but I’m not really in contact with any of them. My cousin goes to Hope’s Peak, which is amazing, but we’ve only really met twice.” Komaeda replied

“Oh, who’s your cousin? I might know her” Hajime inquired

“You probably do, she’s in our year of school- Sonia Nevermind? My aunt married the prince of Novoselic so that technically makes her a princess. It’s one of the reasons why she got into Hope’s Peak”

“Oh” Hajime said simply “I know Sonia”

“Great! She’s very kind, isn’t she?”

“Uh huh.”

The initial shock of Komaeda being related to Sonia was quickly shot down by how strikingly obvious it was that they were cousins. It turned out Souda was right on how Sonia was a princess, which did surprise Hajime a fair bit, but the similar hair colour, soft grey eyes and similar thin stature really made a lot of sense. He wondered how Souda would react to this news if he was in the same position. He’d probably ask if he could use Komaeda’s family status to score himself a date with the princess herself.

“Anyway. Hinata-kun... I’ll move beds so you can have privacy. Sorry for intruding and wasting time as precious as yours” Komaeda stood up, using his drip stand to balance himself, grabbing his jacket and shirt off the bed and hoisting it onto his shoulder

“Bye” Hajime waved, Komaeda smiling and waving back, shuffling down the corridor to another bed and pulling the curtain around himself.

Komaeda obviously needed some time to himself, so Hajime didn’t resist when he decided to leave- besides, Hajime was exhausted too. Socialising with someone as out there as Komaeda really drained him.

“He’s an odd fellow, isn’t he” Hajime’s mom mused, looking fondly over at her son

“Yeah. I guess.” Hajime responded, hugging his fish to his chest

“It was very kind of you to take him to the amusement park today. I’m really proud of you”

“Thanks.”

The two then discussed menial things, Hajime explaining saying goodbye to Nanami and the last few days he’d had at school. He also told her about how the amusement park was, and she listened attentively, even as she was getting her treatment done. An hour or so later, she was discharged, and given some medication to help with the anaemia after the chemo.

“Nagito... my offer still stands.” Hajime’s mom said as they passed the boy’s curtain. There was no reply so Hajime opened the curtain slightly to see that Komaeda had passed out, tucked up in his hospital bed as the drip on his chest lead to the empty baggie. He looked very peaceful, his hair spilling onto the pillow.

“Hey” Hajime reached over and shook Komaeda’s shoulder, feeling really bad to disturb the other boy for the third time today. (Except on both of the other occasions Komaeda was sleeping directly on Hajime, which meant that both of them couldn’t have gotten off the bus)

“I just had the best dream” Komaeda mumbled, obviously half asleep, pulling the blue hospital gown over his chest like a blanket

“Komaeda wake up” Hajime shook him slightly harder and his grey eyes slid open, widening at realising that Hajime was standing there

“Hinata-kun? How rude of me” Komaeda gasped, suddenly looking one thousand times more awake “I believe you were talking to me earlier, someone like me making you repeat yourself... I’m despicable”

“Shut up. You’re not despicable. My mom was wondering if you wanna come home with us and stay for a bit. If she signed the papers they’d probably let you out” Hajime said as Komaeda’s eyes suddenly got very wide, almost visibly sparkling.

“You would really do that? For me?” Komaeda’s face was full of surprise, even though he’d already been told this

“I would, yes.” Hajime’s mom replied

“See?” Hajime quipped

“I want to. But I’d feel terrible taking any time away from you and your family” Komaeda sighed, taking the drip out from his chest “if I do come with you, please at least let me pay my own rent and the expenses for food. It’s the absolute least I can do to repay your kindness”

Hajime’s mom looked as though she was going to refuse the offer and insist on him not paying, but Hajime knew better- his family, without his mother being able to work, would be under even more financial strain if they had to provide for another person

“Okay. Get up, let’s go home” Hajime extended a hand towards Komaeda, who looked overjoyed at the prospect

“Thank you so much Hinata-kun! I just need to go and acquire my belongings” Komaeda grabbed his hand and slid out of bed, putting his shirt and jacket back on

They wandered up to Komaeda’s room. He only took a few minutes at most to get together his belongings and put them in a backpack, which really wasn’t that much stuff- a couple of shirts, pairs of pants and a handful of books. Hajime asked as to why he had such a small amount of items, and he’d simply replied with

“I’ve never been given a reason to own more”

They then exited his room and made their way down to the reception, the people working there allowing her to sign Komaeda out and take him home. As long as they brought him back for his appointments then he should be fine to leave. If he were to come back and stay permanently for any period of time, they needed a few days notice, but it seemed like a fairly simple arrangement.

Hajime’s mom then got a cab home, all three of them squishing into the backseat.

“Ichika-san, I can pay you one hundred dollars per night for accommodation in your home... though I believe that I’m probably being far too conservative with that number, so apologies.” Komaeda suggested. His mom blanched at that number. That would be seven hundred dollars per week, which was more than they had to pay for rent overall.

“Sweetie, that’s far too much. I was thinking more like one hundred dollars for a week” Hajime’s mom smiled gently, patting the white haired boy on the shoulder.

“I see.” Komaeda muttered, putting a finger to his chin “if I can offer any financial support in any way please tell me, I’m under no form of strain by any means”

“Okay. Thank you” Hajime’s mom chuckled, obviously amused by Komaeda’s utmost modesty

Hajime wondered what his dad would think of the white haired boy. Hajime’s dad didn’t really like anyone other than his mom, so the chance of Hajime’s father and Komaeda getting along was fairly low- he didn’t even know Komaeda’s name, let alone that he was coming home with his only son.

Once they pulled up in front of Hajime’s small house, Komaeda’s face lit up as they exited the cab, eyes glittering as he looked at the little townhouse

“Hinata-kun! Your house is wonderful! It looks so full of hope” Komaeda commented

“It’s pretty average, but thanks. It’s home, I guess.” Hajime shrugged, opening the door and letting himself in

“It’s amazing because you live in it, Hinata-kun” Komaeda said “and Ichika-san! You’re both pillars of glorious hope!”

Ichika laughed, following in after her son “Okay buddy. Anyway, Hajime, I’m so sorry, but I’m really tired, so can you make dinner tonight?”

Hajime nodded, and Komaeda also volunteered to help, but the spiky haired boy was fairly certain that Komaeda probably had no idea how to cook.

Hajime’s house was the epitome of normal- the downstairs was the garage, dining room, and kitchen, where upstairs were the two small bedrooms and bathroom, and even though it was normal, Komaeda still oohed and ahed at every room as Hajime gave him a tour

The two boys then made their way into the kitchen

“So Komaeda. Can you cook?” Hajime asked

“Ah... well I can a little bit. I used to cook for my mother so I know some meals.”

“We can make udon? You probably know that, right?” Hajime suggested. Thankfully Komaeda nodded at the suggestion and the two boys got to work.

It was about half an hour later when the telltale sound of the garage door being open rung out and Hajime’s father walked in the front door

His dad usually didn’t say much and so Hajime usually just left him alone when he came home from work, purely because he was always tired and angry from the fact that he works long hours and doesn’t get enough pay. He just came down for dinner and breakfast and that was really it for any kind of conversation that they had.

“That was your father, correct?” Komaeda inquired, nodding over to the exit.

“Mm” Hajime affirmed “he’ll mostly leave us alone”

For one reason or another Komaeda had decided to put on the apron and take off his jacket, which exposed his bare arms, which were flecked with bandages and plasters. Even his hair was tied up, which looked kind of nice. Without the bandages, Hajime could admit the other boy looked a bit like a stay at home dad, especially because he was currently stirring the udon and peering into the pot with a childlike curiosity.

“What’s your favourite food?” Komaeda asked, spooning the udon noodles into bowls as Hajime watched

“Uh. Probably Kusamochi. You?”

“I’m not very particular about food, really. Probably fried tofu.” Komaeda replied

“Nice. We did a good job on the udon- it looks far better than it normally does” Hajime commented, noting the delicacy in which Komaeda placed little garnishes on the meal.

“Well, seeming udon luckily is the only meal I’m particularly good at cooking, and I’m staying at the house of someone as incredible as you, I really wanted to make sure I did it to the best of my ability” Komaeda sighed “though I don’t know how it’ll taste... sorry”

“It’ll taste fine. C’mon, let’s call mom and dad down. He needs to meet you properly as well.”

Once the two adults had come downstairs, both looking exhausted in their own ways, Hajime and Komaeda brought out the adult’s dinner, Hajime’s dad raising his eyebrows as Komaeda came out of the kitchen

“A friend of Hajime’s?” He asked

“I’m sorry I didn’t say earlier but Nagito is going to be staying here for a while until his home life gets better” Hajime’s mom explained, smiling at Komaeda

“Alright” his father replied, nonplussed

“Mr Hinata-san, I do not want to burden your family in any way, so I promised I would pay for any expenses made on my behalf. Your generosity in allowing me to stay here is amazing, and I thank you deeply” Komaeda said, sitting down

“It's alright sweetie- thank you. You can probably share a room with Hajime for the time being- we can just use the mattress bed and a sleeping bag, if you don’t mind” Ichika said while eating her udon

Komaeda’s face lit up “It would be an honor to sleep in the same room as someone I admire so much! Thank you!”

“Someone’s easily pleased.” Hajime’s dad commented. “Anyway, I’m Taisei Hinata, and you are?”

“Nagito Komaeda! It is an absolute pleasure to meet you, Hinata-san!” Komaeda’s head bobbed. Hajime was really just listening in on the conversation, too busy eating his udon to really say anything of use.

He had to admit, if Komaeda cooked as well as this, then he’d be happy to have him here every night, because wow. This was a good udon. His parents obviously thought the same, his mom especially praising the two boys’ effort. Hajime’s father asked why Hajime wasn’t present at school, but his mom brushed it off, saying it wasn’t important, which made Hajime breathe a sigh of relief. He was tired and the last thing he wanted was a lecture.

Once Komaeda and his family had finished their meals, the two boys cleared away the table and washed the dishes

“You have such a kind family, Hinata-kun” Komaeda commented

“Thanks.”

They stayed silent for a bit, not really speaking a whole lot. Hajime wanted to know more about Komaeda... as to why he acted as he did

“Hey, why can’t you leave the hospital?” Hajime asked bluntly

“My family is better off without me” Komaeda replied

“That’s not an answer”

Komaeda sighed “My father died a few years ago in a car accident because of my luck. I brought my mother nothing but misery by staying with her. I didn’t want to burden her even further with my illnesses, so after trying to rid her of me, I ended up being hospitalised”

Red hot anger flashed through Hajime “hey! That’s bullshit!”

“Huh?!” Komaeda looked extremely taken-aback, his eyes wide

“Your dad died in an accident. Emphasis on the word accident! How can it be your fault? It’s your mom’s job to take care of you and it wasn’t your failings but hers that lead you to the hospital”

“It is my fault, Hinata-kun. Why can’t you understand that?” Komaeda croaked, laughing maniacally, his eyes swirling

“There’s something wrong with you if you think that you caused your family’s despair”

“You only think there’s something wrong with me, because there’s something wrong with you!” Komaeda laughed “I’m an awful person. I cause nothing but harm to those around me. Why can’t you see that?”

Komaeda doesn’t know how wrong he was. He was so, so wrong.

“Because, you have never brought me any harm, or sadness, or anything! Today is the happiest I’ve been in ages, because you were here. You’re my friend, and you’re a good person. I can’t see what you see because you’ve given me no reason to” Hajime rebutted willing a sense of finality into his tone, not giving the other boy any room to argue back.

“Why? Why do you think that?” Komaeda said softly “I’m so confused” He scratched at his arm. Hajime took Komaeda’s hand away from his arm, dropping it to his side

“You’re not a bad person. You’ve been nothing but kind and selfless to me and everyone around you.” Hajime answered

Komaeda stayed silent for a few seconds, as if he was trying to wrap his head around the truth

“Hinata-kun. I... Thank you”

“Don’t go saying stuff like that again, alright? Don’t ever tell me that you don’t deserve to live because that’s not true” Hajime knew that after this Komaeda won’t try to argue back. The other boy nodded, his throat bobbing.

Good. Hajime hoped Komaeda would be kinder to himself...

Hajime’s mind couldn’t help but go back to one thing Komaeda had said... ‘tried to rid her of him?’ What does that mean... did he try and run away?

The other option Hajime didn’t like the prospect of, his gut clenching at the thought. He didn’t want to consider a world without Komaeda.

Once the two boys had finished the dishes, they walked up to Hajime’s bedroom.

“Alright Komaeda after we set up your bed, we’re going to sleep, because I’m really tired”

“Can do! Please tell me if I can be of any assistance” Komaeda chirped as he fished around in his bag for something, bringing out a little container

“What’s that?”

“Hm?” Komaeda then looked to what he was holding “oh! Just medicine. Seeming I’m not at the hospital, I had to bring and sort a fair amount of it in advance, aha”

“Mm” Hajime pulled the mattress out from under his bed, dragging it to the other side of his room (which admittedly wasn’t that far- a metre and a half at most) and fished around in his closet to find the sleeping bag, tossing it at Komaeda

“Thank you Hinata-kun!” He laid it out on the mattress, Hajime chucking a pillow at him.

The two boys then proceeded to get ready for bed, eventually Hajime turned out the light

“I don’t mind what you do during the night as long as you don’t wake me up.” Hajime yawned, “I’m tired, so goodnight”

Hajime fell asleep quickly, his mind and body exhausted, but in a good way. He didn’t dream, but his sleep felt warm and soft.

Hajime’s last conscious thoughts were mostly on how nice of a day he’d had. He was really glad he could call Komaeda a friend, and he was really lucky to have met him.

Chapter Text

Hinata had just fallen asleep as Nagito sat in his new bed. He was just as tired as Hinata, possibly more, but his mind was so busy that his eyes could not possibly close.

Here he was, sleeping in the same room as the one person he now cared about more than any other. His entire day had been a roller coaster, literally and metaphorically. How lucky had he been? When was this luck going to run out? Anxiety plagued him. If he hurt Hinata or his family because of his own luck, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

Hinata had proved to him well and truly that talent didn’t matter. People being affected by his luck- those without talent, really, had led Nagito to believe that those around him that didn’t possess that extra leg in life didn’t matter. He was so wrong. Looking at Hinata, who didn’t have talent, gave someone like him such an incredible hope!

But still, he did want anyone else to get hurt because of him. He was selfish for just being here, risking so much for who’s sake? Not Hinata’s. He would be better off without Nagito.

But... Now Nagito began to second guess these thoughts. What if Hinata was right? What if he could just live a neutral life? Maybe, with this little time he had left, he could be happy. He’d been happy today, overwhelmed by joy and emotion.

Watching his friend’s chest rise and fall methodically eventually made his thoughts drift off into unconsciousness.

For the third time that day, Nagito didn’t dream. He was glad, really. His sleep was deep and untroubled, even after having such a hectic day. Maybe it was because his heart was finally at rest. Maybe because he’d found his hope.

He woke up when it was still mostly dark outside, Hinata still breathing deeply, which signified his deep sleep state.

Nagito wanted to get up, but he remembered Hinata’s words so he stayed quietly in bed.

Hinata’s face looked very soft when he was asleep, his hair spiking all over the pillow, his lips parted slightly, chest rising and falling methodically. Nagito couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept in the same room with someone... he didn’t even remember if he’d had a sleepover before. He was fairly certain he hadn’t- people tended to dismiss him fairly quickly after he said anything they disagreed with.

Yet for some reason, Hinata had never dismissed Nagito. He only dismissed him when he said something that applied to Nagito himself- that he was an awful person, that he didn’t deserve to be with Hinata. Maybe that’s what made Nagito feel this way about the other boy, because someone else’s Hope was being used to directly help him.

He was selfish for wanting that. Even so, Hinata told him time and time again that his kindness wasn’t just for Nagito but for himself too. It’d taken him a while to even fathom that Hinata wanted to spend time with him- why would anyone want to spend time with a person like him- but the other boy had constantly been there. He hadn’t abandoned Nagito yet. But why?

He was blessed to spend more time with his friend, and maybe today, he would get a satisfactory reason as to why the other boy would consider as to be Nagito’s friend.

“Hey Komaeda-“ Hinata shifted in his bed, pulling the covers closer to him “-you awake?”

“I am!” Nagito said happily, glad that his friend had woken up

“It’s like six in the morning so if you want to go back to sleep, go for it, but I’m awake now so I’m going downstairs. Feel free to come” Hinata yawned, stretching.

“Any time spent with you is a gift to me, Hinata-kun! Of course I’m coming” Nagito sprung to his feet, ignoring the wave of nausea and following his friend downstairs

It was barely light outside, and the tiny fraction of sunlight made the sky look like it was bleeding

“We only really have cornflakes and toast so help yourself to food” Hinata said, pulling a packet of cereal down and shaking some into a bowl

Nagito found the bread and put it in the toaster. He can’t really remember the last time he’d had toast. Usually at the hospital they just served porridge, which sufficed, sure, but it was bland. The smell of the toast was nice

“Hey. Komaeda? Your toast is burning.” Hinata tapped Nagito on the shoulder, pointing to the toaster which was kicking out smoke

“Ah! Sorry. I like burnt toast, so it’s fine” Nagito fished the burnt bread out of the toaster, it still smoking as he put it onto the plate, lathering it with butter

“You can just put in another piece” Hinata raised his eyebrows

“No, this is fine” Nagito smiled as he took a bite into his blackened meal

Hm. Maybe Hinata was right. The toast tasted like an overused fire pit. Nagito shrugged and continued eating. A little bit of charcoal would probably be good for you.

Maybe?

“I have a switch so if you wanna play Mario Kart or Smash Bros with me, be my guest” Hinata commented, flopping onto the small couch near the window and pulling out his Nintendo. It was odd seeing his friend in such casual clothes. Nagito was used to seeing him in his typical school attire, so seeing him with his pyjamas on put Nagito’s brain for a ride.

Not that he was complaining though.

“You coming? It’s kinda boring playing single player” Hinata called, snapping Nagito out of his trance

“Aha sorry” Nagito sat down next to the other boy, very aware how close they were sitting to see the small switch screen. It made his mind feel like it was supercharged, every movement putting him on hyper alert

Hinata snapped his fingers in front of Nagito’s face “oi. You really haven’t woken up yet, have you?”

Nagito chuckled softly “yeah.”

“We’re starting so you better try your hardest, otherwise I’ll be pissed” Hinata grinned as the race started, Nagito’s cart instantly being booted off the map by one of the NPC’s.

Hinata won, but only by a hair’s breadth- Nagito had somehow managed to get the best power up in the game three times in a row, launching him into first place, but then, right before the end, Nagito’s cart fell off the map, meaning that Hinata got back in front and won.

Hinata demanded another match, and Nagito happily obliged and he managed to win this time. (By getting the same three power up’s he’d gotten before) Directly afterwards, Hinata put down his controller and put his hands

“I can’t believe your luck somehow works on a Mario Kart game. Mario Kart. How?” Hinata raved

“I don’t know! I’ve never played Mario Kart before either so it really was just my luck” Nagito explained, which made Hinata laugh

“It’s like a superpower or something. I’ve been playing Mario Kart for years with Nanami yet you beat me by playing twice?”

“Sorry.” Nagito apologised

“Don’t apologise. I just find it funny, that’s all. I’m willing to bet you’re the kind of guy who won all of those raffles at school” Hinata commented

“They actually banned me from entering those!” Nagito chuckled “I kept winning them and the other kids found it unfair so they got me banned from entering”

“No way! Really?” Hinata exclaimed, Nagito nodding in confirmation, Hinata barking a laugh. “That’s so stupid! I mean it’s not like you even chose to win, it just happened”

“One time, I managed to win even when I didn’t put my name in. No one believed me, of course” Nagito sighed, remembering the other kids’ annoyed faces at him managing to win for a fourth time.

“Oh my god” Hinata put his face in his hands, sniggering “Little kids are so pathetic”

“Aha. I guess so.”

“Anyway, my parents are gonna be awake soon, so we should decide what we’re going to do today” Hinata said

“I’ll do anything you want to do, Hinata-kun-” Nagito smiled “-if you’re happy, I’m happy too

“Alright then. We have to go to the shopping centre today to get food, and I also need to buy my new school uniform, so we should probably do that” Hinata suggested, furrowing his eyebrows

“Okay!”

After that, the two boys went and had their respective showers. Nagito was fairly certain he’d never seen Hinata wearing anything other than the shirt and tie, so he admittedly was curious as to what he wore outside of school.

Hinata came out wearing possibly the most boring outfit Nagito had ever seen- the typical t-shirt and pants. Still, Nagito wasn’t complaining whatsoever- it’s not like his fashion sense was much better.

“You look nice, Hinata-kun!” Nagito commented as the other boy came out of his room.

“Were you waiting there to say that or did you just finish getting ready?” Hinata asked

“...”

“Thought so” Hinata replied, but he was smiling, which made Nagito’s heart warm. Very rarely did people see Nagito’s actions as him wanting to show kindness, but Hinata was one of the very few who saw it that way. Maybe that was one of the reasons why Nagito felt as he did. He was probably the only person who was actually somewhat willing to understand him.

Nagito was still somewhat mad at himself for letting himself fall in love with a reserve course student. He’d promised himself that he would never fall into such an alluring trap, full stop. It would have hindered his ability to try and spread what he thought his legacy was. He let a reserve course student get in the way of all of that. Every single thing that he once thought, had pretty much been torn apart. A small part of him was furious at Hinata, that he’d stopped what Nagito had worked so hard to achieve. What he nearly died to achieve, but the happiness and hope that Hinata gave Nagito almost completely overwhelmed that little speck of resentment was barely recognisable.

Ten minutes later, Hinata’s father woke up and Hajime asked if he could drive the two to the shopping centre, his father reluctantly agreeing.

The two then chatted absentmindedly and played more Mario Kart until Taisei was ready and they then were both chucked into the backseat of a car and driven to the local mall by a caffeine deprived Taisei.

“Alright Hajime, you know how to get home from here, I’ll be off” Taisei grunted, handing Hinata a wad of cash. “Use that to buy the groceries and school clothes. I expect receipts”

Hinata nodded at this, shoving the cash into his pocket “alright”

“Thank you Mr Hinata!” Nagito chirped, bowing as Hinata’s dad pulled out of the drop off zone. “Oh! By the way, I have money, so if you do want to do something then I can pay”

“Sounds good. We’ve first probably got to go get the groceries, so let’s just cross our fingers that we don’t run into anyone we know.” Hinata took off down the almost empty mall. It was still fairly early, so most of the crowds hadn’t arrived yet.

Nagito asked himself as to why Hinata wouldn’t want to run into people he knew. Did he not want to be seen with him..? That was fair.

It’d been a long while since Nagito had been to a shopping centre. He couldn’t even remember the last time, really. It had definitely been more than six months- he was sure of that fact. It was a refreshing change, and he was glad it wasn’t crowded yet, because the loud noise grated against his composure and made it harder to control what he was doing or saying.

“Komaeda, do you need anything specific?” Hinata asked, gesturing down the health aisle while dragging a basket behind him.

“I’m paying for any of my expenses, but yes, though I’ll obtain them myself” Nagito smiled, promptly strolling down the aisle and picking out the things he needed, shoving them in his pockets

“I’m gonna be in the next row, come find me if you need me” Hinata said, walking off.

As much as Nagito longed to be around Hinata, he didn’t want to burden him, so he decided to take his own walk around the grocery store, hoping that they might possibly have a novel or good magazine to read, his spirits falling upon only finding a trashy shoujo manga with a love struck girl on the front and a muscled, well toned man on the other side.

Out of pure curiosity, he picked it up, flicked through the first pages and sighed. What did she love this man for? He had no telltale talent or anything like that, he was just a fairly normal guy, from what Nagito could see at first.

Ah.

Nagito quickly shut the manga and slotted it back into the magazines shelf, feeling himself colour at the sight of Hinata in the same aisle, a few metres down.

“Komaeda? Were you reading this?” Hinata said, raising his eyebrows “you do know this is a shoujo manga, right?”

“Aha, Hinata-kun, you see, I’m inspired by other people’s hope, and seeing love is something that motivates me to continue striving to try and achieve the same thing. Love, in its own way, is hope- it has a similar opposite, it feels similar, so I guess I was curious.” Komaeda laughed breathily

“Alright then. Anyway if you did just genuinely like that kind of stuff, I’m really not judging you” Hinata said, picking up the manga and flipping through it, almost grimacing “what does she see in this guy... he’s so.. normal...” Hinata muttered, only so Nagito could really hear.

“Haha I thought the same thing! He really seemed quite the boring sort, but maybe that’s why she likes him- her life is so busy and complicated, and that little piece of normality is what kept her holding onto her will to live” Nagito mused

“Yeah.. that makes sense, I guess,” Hinata replied, obviously not getting the almost comical similarity between the manga and the reality of the two’s own relationship.

After their shopping endeavour, they then went to the checkout and payed for their respective items, each now carrying the stuff they’d bought

“Uniform next, right?” Nagito said, Hinata nodding

“Yeah. I don’t really know what size I am so it’s not like I can get my dad to buy it when he comes here for work,” He explained as the two were on the escalator. As they were walking in the uniform shop-

“God fucking dammit. Why does this always happen at the moment” Hinata groaned. Nagito followed his gaze

“Tsumiki-san...Mioda-san? What are they doing here, I wonder” Nagito pondered. It was most likely his luck that had brought them together. Nagito began to start walking over to the two when Hinata grabbed his hood.

“Not now” Hinata hissed, pulling Nagito out of the store and into the next one as fast as he could.

Wow, his luck really was in his favor. Nagito needed to get some sleeping medication so that he wouldn’t wake up as much during the night, and Hinata had coincidentally just pulled them into a chemist.

“That’s ironic” Hinata commented, looking around the chemist

“How so?”

“Well, we just ran into Tsumiki, right? she works in the hospital, and we’ve just gone into a chemist. I would have expected her to be here if all places”

“Hmm. I suppose, though, if she’s in the hospital all day, wouldn’t she want to spend time doing other things?” Nagito mused

“... yeah. True. Anyway, who was the girl with her? You seemed to know her too?” Hinata asked

“Oh? That’s Mioda-san. She sometimes comes in the hospital to see Tsumiki-san. She gives her flowers and does concerts for the patients... They make such a Hope filled duo” Nagito smiled, remembering the very impromptu recital she’d put together, parading around the hospital with a very distressed and apologetic Tsumiki following after her.

“They seem like good friends” Hinata commented, apparently serious, oblivious to the obvious.

“...” Nagito couldn’t conjure a response, he just sighed deeply and shook his head

“... or not?” Hinata’s face confused

“Nevermind... anyway, I need to get some medicine I was prescribed from the hospital, I’m running out of it” Nagito said, dropping the conversation. Hinata definitely didn’t understand how love worked... he could probably see a married couple and think that they had never met. He definitely hadn’t picked up Ouma and Saihara obvious crushes on each other when they were on the log flume, even when the short boy had confessed. It made Nagito wonder how much he could get away with showing his affection without Hinata actually realising what it was. It would be a fun pass time, he figured.

“Hey Komaeda... why would anyone buy these?”

Nagito looked over to what Hinata was talking about, and he saw the other boy looking at face masks

“I think people use them to clear their skin... they look a bit silly, don’t they?” Nagito replied

“You have money right?” Hinata asked, Nagito nodding. “We should buy some. I’ve never tried them before and they look kinda dumb, but it’d be funny.”

“Alright! I’ll get us two” Nagito said putting the masks into his pocket and fishing out his prescription.

Once Nagito had bought his prescription (and the face masks) the two then went back into the uniform shop.

“Okay, Hinata-kun I’m just going to wait outside.”

“Komaeda, just wait outside the stall- I’m gonna need you to get different sizes if these don’t fit, alright?” Hinata requested. It’s not like Nagito would complain. He’d happily do anything for the other boy, so he stationed himself outside of Hinata’s cubicle and bounced on his heels. After a few minutes, Hinata opened the door, holding his school clothes in one hand and his jacket in another hand.

“Okay. We’re done. Let’s go home” Hinata said, buying the clothes and walking out of the store.

“Na-gi-to!” A pair of hands clamped onto Nagito’s shoulders, startling him slightly, Hinata’s eyes widening too

“I-Ibuki! P-please do not scare my patients! I’m so sorry Komaeda-kunnn!” Tsumiki wailed from behind him

“It’s quite alright Tsumiki-san! It’s a blessing to see someone like you!” Nagito chirped, turning around and facing the two girls

“Why does this always happen” Nagito heard Hinata moan quietly from beside him

“Nagito!! Is this your magical mystical fairytale Romeo to your Juliet!?” Mioda said, booping Hinata on the nose, her colourful hair obviously right in his face

“What?” Hinata’s face was full of confusion. Nagito understood fully what Mioda was trying to put across however, and quickly backtracked

“Ah, no. Hinata is a friend of mine. I’m lucky enough to be staying with him.”

“Alrighty! Your secrets safe with me, wink, wink”

“Did you just say ‘wink’ out loud” Hinata deadpanned at the other girl, the two chatting back and fourth while Tsumiki approached Nagito

“I’m so sorry for asking... b-but d-did Hinata-kun sign you out? I really don’t want to intrude... I’m so sorry if I have. Ahh”

“Yes! I’m so blessed... someone like me doesn’t deserve Hinata-kun or his family” Nagito sighed.

“Nagitooooo, can Ibuki bite your friend?” Mioda asked, poking Hinata, apparently completely ignoring the white haired boys conversation

“No?” Hinata answered for him, crossing his arms tightly in attempt to shield them from the colourful girl

“Oh-kay! Kinda booooring but that’s alright I guess!” Mioda danced off, wrapping her arms around Tsumiki, who’s face instantly lit up like a Christmas tree, spluttering in protest

“Um.. Ibuki... w-we should leave those two now...” Tsumiki stuttered, her eyes darting around

“Awww, well, Ibuki wants to stay, but anything to make you happy! Let’s go skate!!” The horned girl then pulled Tsumiki away, the other girl apologising and saying goodbye as the enthusiastic Mioda dragged her down the mall.

“Um...” Hinata bounced on his heels, looking very awkward

“Yes?”

“Are those two...?” Hinata’s face was that of someone trying to do a difficult maths equation, his eyebrows screwed up in concentration as he watched the two girls disappear up the escalators. Hinata made a strange hand gesture, as if this would help him to be more easily understood

“Hmm? I believe so, yes!” Nagito replied happily. He personally found the two girls’ relationship extremely endearing, Mioda’s unending enthusiasm and extroverted personality contrasting Tsumiki’s timidness and mild manner in such a Hope filled way! Their talent, together, would make them almost unstoppable, and the joy the two girls brought to countless patients in the hospital was truly awe inspiring

“Huh... sorry for assuming that you liked her or something.” Hinata said bluntly “I didn’t know she was dating someone.”

“It’s an easy mistake Hinata-kun... it’s not as though you could know,” Nagito smiled.

“Mioda was... interesting.” Hinata commented diplomatically

“She truly is, isn’t she! The hope she inspires in Tsumiki-san is quite beautiful, is it not?”

“I guess. Anyway, we should get going so we don’t run into anyone else,” Hinata said, walking off

“Your wish is my command, Hinata-kun!” Nagito sang, bouncing off after his friend, the two walking and talking until they finally found themselves back at Hinata’s doorstep.

He wondered if Hinata saw the hope that he gave Nagito, and how similar it was to what Tsumiki obviously saw in the colourful Mioda. Nagito thoroughly doubted that Hinata would ever in a million years like him back. There really was nothing about him that should ever be loved, should ever be cared for or should ever be appreciated. Nagito knew that if he told Hinata everything that had happened in his life, every person's livelihoods that his luck and him alone had destroyed, he would be thrown out and cast aside like the piece of trash he was. Everyone else did it, so what would make Hinata any different?

Some selfish, awful part of him didn’t ever want to tell Hinata of his past sins, but he had to know. Nagito would be despicable to not tell him. For allowing such a wonderful person to harbour a burden such as him, and not know half the story was truly terrible of Nagito.

He secretly yearned for Hinata to accept him, to cast aside his mistakes and errors and fulfil Nagito’s final wish.

He knew it would never happen.

But he could always hope.

And hope he did.

Chapter Text

“Komaeda... I can’t get it off” Hajime felt a slight panic twinge his voice, his eyes urgently facing the other boy’s

 

“... Hinata-kun... I don’t think this was a good idea” Komaeda muttered, his face only a foot or so from Hajime’s, the tiny walls of his bathroom clearly not large enough for two people

 

Komaeda was right. The face masks idea had been a terrible decision. His entire forehead felt like it was on fire. He’d only gotten a tiny bit of the mask off, and he felt every little piece of hair it tore out. He’d be surprised if he still had hair by the end of this. He would definitely have stripped the opportunity to ever grow facial hair (not like he ever was anyway. It was serious wishful thinking)

 

Komaeda wasn’t doing much better, as he’d only managed to get a little off on his chin, but he knew that the other boy was going to have a much, much harder time, since he’d accidentally gotten some of his cotton hair stuck in it.

 

“Maybe if you rip it off quickly, it’ll hurt less- like a bandaid” Hajime suggested,

 

“Hmm” Komaeda considered this “Okay. I’ll go first so I can check if you’re right”

 

The white haired boy then grabbed the face mask by his fingers and tugged as hard as he could, only managing to get a little more off than the standard peel

 

“... ah. Don’t do that” Komaeda grimaced, rubbing his now patchy red skin

 

“You look pretty weak so I’m going to try it on myself to see if it works better” Hajime insisted, grabbing it with his fingers on his own face and trying to rip it off as hard as he could

 

“Goddamnit! Ow!” Hajime cursed, quickly putting his hand to his stinging jaw, a tiny piece of the mask now off “okay. I’m going to rip it off a little piece at a time...” Hajime decided. They definitely shouldn’t have settled on buying the absolute cheapest ones they could find.

 

The two then spent the next fifteen minutes ripping tiny bits of the face masks off themselves, Hajime pretending that the tears were just the face mask getting in stuck his eyes

 

Finally, when it came to the worst bits, Hajime and Komaeda’s faces were red raw

 

“Komaeda. You have hair stuck in it” Hajime pointed out, gesturing to the other boy’s predicament

 

“I know.” Komaeda said miserably, grabbing the piece of face mask still left and ripping it off, a chunk of his hair going with it

 

“You were right. This was a bad idea” Hinata admitted as Komaeda looked sadly at the piece of fluffy hair now stuck to the remaining piece of face mask.

 

“It’s alright Hinata-kun! It’s not like we knew it would hurt. All of the girls that seem to use it have no problem getting them off”

 

“That’s probably because they know what ones to buy.” Hajime quipped, ripping off the last of his face mask, wincing as it tore off a piece of his own hair out.

 

“Well. At least we tried it. Does your skin feel any clearer?” Hajime asked the other boy

 

“No... not really. I think it took some of my eyebrow off though.” Komaeda mused, examining himself in the mirror. He was right, half of Komaeda’s eyebrow was missing, though thankfully, seeing his eyebrows were fairly pale anyway, it wasn’t that noticeable

 

“You can barely see it, don’t worry,” Hajime said, patting Komaeda’s shoulder. “Well, it seems that was an impressive failure, wanna watch a movie or something?”

 

“It would be an honour to spend more time with you Hinata-kun!”

 

“Well, you do essentially live with me now so it’s not like you have much of a choice” Hajime said, clearing away the bits of face mask and putting it in the bin. “We should get lunch too”

 

“Alright. Anything for you, tsun-tsun hair!” Komaeda sang, bouncing off after Hajime.

 

“Did you just call me tsun-tsun hair?” Hajime frowned

 

“Aha, well you see, you’re quite the Tsundere Hinata-kun!” Komaeda laughed, “even the spike at the back of your head points to your Tsundere-ness.”

 

“After all I’ve done for you, and you call me tsun-tsun hair. ” Hajime deadpanned

 

“I’m not wrong though, am I? Komaeda smiled

 

“... I guess not.” Hajime sighed

 

Hajime was glad that Komaeda was in good spirits today- he seemed a lot less hesitant to have a good time and full of much more energy, though for all Hajime knew, that could be an act.

 

Often, Hajime wondered what it would have been like if he had met Komaeda under different circumstances. He wondered if they would have still ended up being friends. Hajime doubted it. Komaeda seemed too condescending of the talentless to have cared about Hajime at all. This was probably the only thing that really bothered Hajime, was that if the other boy was so fixated by talent, why did someone as boring and plain as Hajime even catch the eye of someone like Komaeda. He had seemed so certain of himself when he’d told Hajime that the talentless were merely stepping stones, yet now something had almost fundamentally shifted in his mindset. Hajime didn’t know why.

 

The two got lunch and flopped down onto the small couch, Komaeda pecking at his sandwich but not really eating it.

 

“What movies do you like?” Hajime asked

 

“Anything you like, Hinata-kun. I don’t watch movies very often, so I wouldn’t really know”

 

“Well if that’s the case then we’re watching Transformers” Hajime then turned on the television and started the movie.

 

Admittedly, Hajime knew his taste in movies was bad, but Komaeda was on the edge of his seat, watching every thing take place on the screen

 

“Hinata-kun! The hope this movie has... is incredible! It’s rather tasteless and cliche from a writing standpoint but the hope that each character has is amazing!” Komaeda’s eyes practically sparkled as he said this. The almost childlike quality kind of endearing, if not slightly annoying. The other boy continued on, saying how the movie producers talent was obvious in creating the robots in the CGI so masterfully, his face excited as he then turned back to the film, sputtering on about how much hope that people can bring and that inevitably they would triumph and bring prosperity to those around him.

 

Once the movie had finished, Komaeda raved joyfully about how much he enjoyed it.

 

“You really liked the movie, huh?” Hajime asked

 

“I guess so... however the plot was boring and guessable and all of the twists were completely unnecessary. I just liked how Hope in the end, triumphed. Don’t you see? That’s how it works. Essentially all media points to this... these people are extraordinarily talented and it’s those people who always save the day. What I don’t know is why it’s different with you.”

 

“What do you mean? There’s plenty of normal people who are in movies... I guess.”

 

Komaeda appeared to think on this for a few minutes, running hand through his hair, his knee tapping

 

“Hinata-kun... you are talented, in your own way. You make me feel... different.” Komaeda finally spoke, his eyes boring directly into Hajime’s, his eyes pleading

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“... I don’t want you to hate me.” Komaeda muttered, clenching his fist. Hajime knew that Komaeda had a past, and part of him wanted to hear it, but… still. Komaeda didn’t know everything about Hajime either. It was healthy to have it that way. 

Komaeda looked as though he had been blamed for everything that had ever happened. Why would anyone do that? It made Hajime angry at how selfish the people in his friend’s life were.

 

“Komaeda... what’s wrong?” Hajime pried

 

“Hinata-kun... Hajime... I’ve done a lot of things that I don’t think you would want to hear. I don’t think I should keep being selfish and should just take myself back to the hospital. It hurts to stay here with you not knowing what a terrible person I truly am”

 

“Komaeda. Stop. Tell me, don’t tell me, I don’t really care, so stop thinking I will. I’ve done some awful shit too? But guess what? We all do. You’re not a bad guy, as I’ve tried to tell you countless times”

 

“... I’m responsible for so much misery. How could you not hate me?” Komaeda sighed “Maybe you do have a talent. You’ve managed to convince me that I truly might be more than a worthless sack of trash. How did you do that, Hinata-kun? How?” Komaeda’s eyes were wide, almost as if he was trying to get a look into Hajime’s soul.

 

“I’m just being a decent human being, something that the people in your life obviously don’t know how to do” Hajime groaned, getting the T.V. Remote. He didn’t have the energy to have a full debate over if Komaeda was a good person or not. “Now shut up we’re watching another movie”

 

Selecting a second movie was easy. He just picked one that looked boring enough to fall asleep to but with enough plot to stop Komaeda from making more self-deprecating comments. The movie he picked? Titanic.

 

A young and dashing Leonardo DiCaprio finally shows up after twenty minutes of dialogue, running onto the terribly CGI'd boat. Komaeda was obviously hooked

 

“Jack and Rose... wow... how Hope filled...” Komaeda’s eyes were glittering as the two protagonists finally met

 

“You do know the ship is going to sink, right?” Hajime commented, getting off the sofa and plodding over to the fridge “Orange juice?”

 

“Ah. Why not.” Komaeda tore his gaze away from the movie and looked over to Hajime. He calculated something for a second, eyes narrowing

 

“Hinata-kun... you’re like Jack!” Komaeda’s face lit up,

 

“How am I a young Leonardo DiCaprio?”

 

“No... I mean... kind of. But look at what he gave Rose. That’s what you gave me!”

 

“Why would I give you a drawing of you naked.”

 

“Nevermind” Komaeda quickly dismissed it, turning back to the film. Hajime admitted that Titanic was actually a fairly decent movie, especially because they somehow made a plot that wasn’t completely to do with the ship sinking. Finally, the signature iceberg scraped its way along the ship and the hour and a half of sinking began.

 

Komaeda shuffled slightly closer to Hajime as the two main characters struggled dramatically to get off the sinking ship. Hajime felt his eyelids begin to close. Everyone knew what happened here, so it was kind of boring from here on out.

 

Falling asleep to the sound of the sinking Titanic actually wasn’t that difficult, Hajime suddenly exhausted. Hanging out with Komaeda was tiring, even if it was enjoyable, so Hajime found himself sinking into the couch.

 

Thankfully for him, he didn’t have any dreams he could remember. There was something rejuvenating about sleeping on a couch, so Hajime relished the soft warmness of it, tucking himself up onto the sofa. Komaeda didn’t comment on it, obviously still absorbed by the movie.

 

Hajime didn’t know how long he was out, but he felt something tickle his nose, waking him up.

 

“Hhnnnn” Hajime groaned, straightening up

 

“Ah! Hinata-kun! Good evening,” Komaeda smiled. Hajime had obviously fallen asleep on Komaeda’s shoulder, his hair being the culprit of waking him up.

 

“How long was I out?” Hajime muttered, wiping his eyes and yawning

 

“Well, I finished Titanic about half an hour ago, so probably two hours? I’ve been waiting until you woke up to start another film.”

 

“Mmm thanks. You can pick a movie this time.” Hajime tiredly patted Komaeda’s head, still waking up

 

Komaeda uncharacteristically picked IT, a psychopathic clown that for some reason targets children and turns into their worst fears. Hajime had never watched this movie- he was kind of glad he hadn’t, but he was pleased that Komaeda had allowed himself to pick something he wanted to watch. Hajime decided to go get the two popcorn, coming back and handing Komaeda a bowl.

 

“Thank you!” Komaeda then paused. “Hinata-kun... What's your greatest fear? What would the clown be for you?”

 

“Uh. Probably a spider or something. It would be easy to take down, that’s for sure. You?”

 

“Hmm. My luck, maybe? That’s why I find this movie strange”

 

“How so?” Hajime quirked an eyebrow

 

“Well, if someone’s fear was abstract, what would the clown turn into?” Komaeda mused

 

“Dunno. It’s a movie so don’t question it.” Hajime shrugged. It’s not like they actually put that much thought into Hollywood movies. Nitpicking them was never really that fruitful because all of them had a ton of holes.

 

The room, with all of the lights turned out and the blinds drawn made the scrappy horror movie admittedly kind of scary. At some points Hajime felt himself inch closer to his friend, trying to not make his fear obvious. Komaeda seemed to be fine with it, while Hajime was startling at a lot of the jump scares, Komaeda just patted his back and smiled as Hajime clutched at his chest.

 

“Oh my god” Hajime gasped

 

“You didn’t seem scared on the roller coaster... what makes this different?” Komaeda asked, tilting his head

 

“I don’t know. I guess the roller coaster is more of a physical thing” Hajime replied, recovering himself, Komaeda shrugging, obviously satisfied with his answer.

 

The two were close enough now that they were essentially joined at the hip, but Hajime didn’t really mind. He and Nanami did that kind of thing a lot, Nanami definitely not afraid whatsoever to get up and past his physical defences. Hajime wondered what would be different if Komaeda was a girl... Probably not much, really. Hajime felt himself smile at the idea of a female Komaeda- he’d probably just look the same except possibly a bit shorter. Komaeda was a twig so that wouldn’t change either.

 

Somehow this train of thought led to how he truly felt about the other boy. He couldn’t say he knew. His opinion of Komaeda had changed a lot since they’d first met those few weeks ago- it had first gone from confusion, to pity, to understanding, to whatever he felt now. He supposed he genuinely liked the other boy, but there was something deeper about their friendship that Hajime wasn’t sure Komaeda realised. Either way, Hajime wanted to work out whatever this bond he had between the other boy was and why it meant so much to him. He hadn’t really gone to this effort with anyone else before, so it must be something, right?

 

The movie wrapped itself up nicely and the boys were now left with nothing to do. It was fairly close to dinner, Hajime supposed, so it would probably be best to prepare something for the rest of his family.

 

His mom had been sleeping most of the day, but she had come downstairs a few minutes ago

 

“Hajime... what was that movie?” She narrowed her eyes at the T.V. which had now thankfully been turned off

 

“Haha why do you ask?” Hajime felt his face heat up, Komaeda raised his eyebrows

 

“Because I could hear the screaming upstairs.”

 

“Ah! Ichika-san! I’m so sorry, that was my movie suggestion... I like horror films. Please do not blame Hinata-kun.”

 

“Oh no I wasn’t going to blame either of you. I’m at home a lot and I like horror movies so I was wondering which one it was. You’re both over fifteen, so watch whatever you want”

 

“Ah! Of course!” Komaeda then showed Hajime’s mom the movie. They had a quick conversation about what the two had done that day, Komaeda animatedly describing it all, his eyes wide with almost childlike enthusiasm. Hajime found the relationship that Komaeda had with his mom was really sweet, especially because Komaeda’s own mom wasn’t really the best. Every time Komaeda spoke to his mom he saw how happy he was, and it made his heart warm.

 

“Mom, me and Komaeda are gonna make dinner now, so if you want to watch the T.V. then go for it” Hajime said, Komaeda nodding enthusiastically

 

“Ichika-san! I vow to make sure that a beautifully Hope filled person such as yourself gets as much compensation as you deserve for the kindness and hospitality you have given me” Komaeda’s eyes sparkled fiercely as he said this

 

“Sweetie, it’s quite alright. I will take you up on your offer though.” Hajime’s mom sat down on the couch and began to scroll through Netflix

 

“Komaeda, what else do you know how to cook?” Hajime asked once the two were out of earshot of his mom.

 

“Ah... let's see. I can make pasta?” Komaeda had begun to tie his hair back again, obviously not to get it in the food.

 

“Randomly western of you but sure. We could make spaghetti, I guess? My dad’s working tonight so it’ll just be us three, so we should be good.”

 

The two then got to work. There wasn’t much to do- they just needed to chuck the pasta in a pot of boiling water and wait a quarter of an hour, though somehow, after half a minute..

 

“Komaeda how did you get a burn that quickly?” Hajime accused, looking at the white haired boy’s scalded arm, a large red patch beginning to rise. Thankfully it wasn’t on the bandages, so it didn’t cause even more damage to whatever was underneath them. It was a pain that Komaeda wasn’t wearing his thick jacket though, which would have done a lot more protection-wise.

 

“Hm? Oh... please don’t worry about me! It barely hurts. I just spilled the boiling water by accident. I’m sorry for wasting it”

 

“I don’t care about the water, your arm is clearly burnt. We have a lot of water already so we don’t need to boil more, just let me tip the rest on the pasta and I’ll bandage it for you.” Hajime snatched the kettle from Komaeda and poured the remaining water on the pasta, setting it down and grabbing the bandages.

 

“I really am fine, Hinata-kun,” Komaeda protested. He obviously wasn’t, and if the burn festered he would have had to go back to the hospital anyway

 

“Yeah, yeah” Hajime brushed off Komaeda’s comment and began to wrap his arm in the bandages. Komaeda weirdly enough didn’t seem bothered by the pain of the burn whatsoever and instead focused his gaze directly on Hajime, his eyes burning into the side of Hajime’s face.

 

Once Hajime had finished wrapping his friend’s arm in the bandages, Hajime sat Komaeda down with his Mom on the couch

 

“Stay here, I’ll finish dinner”

 

“I couldn’t possibly allow that Hinata-kun! My arm doesn’t hurt, I can move it fine!” Komaeda waved around his arm to demonstrate, obviously holding back a wince

 

“It’s alright, you’ll be keeping me company” Hajime’s mom patted Komaeda’s shoulder. He reluctantly reclined back into the sofa, eyes still set on Hajime

 

“Only if you’re sure... I promise I can still help out” Komaeda insisted. Hajime glared at him, shutting him up

 

Besides, it probably would be easier anyway if Hajime was just finishing dinner himself. He didn’t want Komaeda hurting himself again or something like that.

 

Ten minutes later, Hajime dished up the two others in the house.

 

“Spaghetti is a good choice. Taisei wouldn’t be so attached to it because he’s a Japanese food nut but it really is the perfect meal”

 

“Thanks mom,” Hajime brushed off the embarrassment and started on his meal. Komaeda picked at it but didn’t eat much, sighing

 

“What’s up?” Hajime asked

 

“Oh. Nothing. It’s just I really don’t have much of an appetite these days. I feel awful for leaving your good food though”

 

“You can just wrap it up in foil and eat it for breakfast or something.” Hajime said, his mom nodding along with him

 

“Ah... that’s true.” Komaeda smiled “you’re both very kind people.”

 

“So are you, y’know” Hajime’s mom pointed a fork at the other boy

 

“I... Ah. I really don’t deserve such hospitality, but thank you”

 

Once the three of them had finished their dinner, they all sat down on the couch. Thankfully, the sofa was just big enough to accomodate all three of them, but Hajime was sandwiched between his Mom and Komaeda.

 

They ended up watching one of the Marvel movies. No one really knew who chose it, it probably just happened to be on the TV when they had turned it on.

 

Komaeda fell asleep halfway through the movie, his head resting lightly on Hajime’s shoulder. Komaeda obviously was tired a lot, he just chose not to show it. His sleeping face was admittedly very sweet, the bits of his hair that wouldn’t fit into his hair tie hanging down in front of his eyes

 

“Is he asleep?” His mom asked smiling at the unconscious boy

 

“I think so.”

 

“Nagito really likes you. You know that?”

 

“I guess.” Hajime shrugged, careful to not knock Komaeda’s sleeping form off him

 

“Do you like him back?”

 

“In what way?” It slipped out of Hajime’s mouth before he could contain it.

 

The truth was that Hajime didn’t know how he liked Komaeda. He hadn’t gone to these lengths for any other friend... but he was a boy, and so was Komaeda, right? Not that it really mattered, but it did confuse him. Hajime knew he’d liked Nanami so what did this mean?

 

“Oh?” Hajime’s mom raised her eyebrows

 

“Not like that!” Hajime protested, waving his hands around

 

Komaeda’s head lolled of Hajime’s shoulder and back onto the couch, a soft sigh escaping his mouth

 

“I wouldn’t care either way. I just hope it works out better than Chiaki.” his mom stood up, patting Hajime’s head “Anyway, I’m going to head up to bed. Make sure you shower and wash your hair. It’s a mess”

 

“Goodnight mom”

 

“Night sweetie”

 

What to do now. This had been what? The fourth time Komaeda had fallen asleep around him. Weirdly enough, it wasn’t nearly as many as the twenty-plus streak record that Nanami had, though he was sure there was a medical reason for that too. It wasn’t a rare thing to happen to get Nanami falling asleep on Hajime’s shoulder, dozing off in the middle of a game. More often than not, Hajime had to wake her up before the sun set. Carrying the girl home, while small in stature was probably not an option.

 

Hajime missed his other friend. He’d finally worked out that the thing he’d let go the other day when he had said farewell was his long-lasting feelings towards her. Funny to believe it had taken him so long to abandon them, even after being rejected that many times.

 

Ah. That turned his thoughts back to Komaeda fairly quickly. Hajime was fairly certain he hadn’t liked a boy before, so that was new, he guessed, but the true mystery was how the other boy felt about him. Hajime could never really tell truly what Komaeda was thinking, which would probably make sense seeming they’d only known each other for a few weeks, but his face was only readable when Hajime believed Komaeda wanted it to be. Being direct- thankfully for Hajime- was something that he was very good at. He’d probably just wait a couple more weeks to see if these weird feelings stuck around and then act on them if they did. That made sense... They’d be spending a lot more time together from here on out, so that would make things a lot easier.

 

“Hey. Komaeda” Hajime lightly shook the other boy’s shoulder

 

“Hinata-kunnn” Komaeda murmured, hugging Hajime, causing him to stiffen

 

“Wake up” Hajime tried to pry the other boy’s hands off him

 

“Huh?” Komaeda came to his senses, realising where he was and what he was doing “oh no. Hinata-kun I’m so sorry!” The other boy quickly detached himself from Hajime, eyes wide.

 

“I don’t really care, honestly, it’s just if you fell asleep now, you won’t be able to sleep tonight.” Hajime explained “I’m going to go have a shower.” He then walked off up the stairs, Komaeda following behind

 

Hajime did what he’d said he’d do, the warm water nice on his skin. He knew he’d probably have to force Komaeda to have one too. Hajime’s hair became soft and fluffy if he washed it well enough, so he put in the extra bit of conditioner. Hajime didn’t like showers very much, so he usually showered in the dark instead, but there was something nice about the hot water cascading down his back. One thing that Hajime really liked about Komaeda was that he didn’t seem judgemental whatsoever. Almost in a way where it was unnerving. He just accepted it for how it was and kept living his life. It was nice to have a friend that just really didn’t care about things that people typically would make fun of, or would pretend is a big deal.

 

Once he got out of the shower, he patted himself down with a towel and got into his PJ’s sighing as he turned the light back on and saw the sorry state of his hair, which hadn't dried whatsoever. Hajime shrugged, walked out of the bathroom and stumbled right into Komaeda

 

“Were you waiting outside of the door again?” Hajime asked, raising an eyebrow

 

“Aha... not the entire time... sorry”

 

“Don’t care. Anyway you’re up” Hajime slapped Komaeda’s shoulder. “Don’t take too long and don’t get your bandages wet”

 

“Okay!” Komaeda chirped, slipping into the small bathroom.

 

The other boy stayed to his word, popping out of the bathroom after less than five minutes. His hair was dripping everywhere, like Hajime’s, the fluffiness looking more like a wet mop.

 

“I made sure not to get the bandages wet!” Komaeda demonstrated this by showing his completely dry arm.

 

“But for some reason you’re wearing a sopping wet shirt.”

 

“Ah. Well, to not get my bandages wet, I had to improvise” Komaeda sighed, looking sadly at his soaked shirt. “Oh well. I’ll just sleep in this.”

 

“Look, if you don’t have any other shirts just use mine” Hajime offered

 

“It would be an honor!” Komaeda chirped.

 

“Aight then” Hajime threw Komaeda a shirt.

 

“Uh. Hinata-kun. Where should I put this” Komaeda, who was now shirtless, gestured to the dripping shirt in his hand

 

“Just chuck it in the sink or something”

 

Komaeda was a bony guy, Hajime noted. He wasn’t malnutritioned, which Hajime was glad about, but he definitely was a few pounds underweight, his ribs and spine indenting easily on his pale skin. A long scar ran down his side, a small drip prominent on his chest. It made Komaeda look very vulnerable, and though Hajime knew the other boy was very capable of handling himself, it made him wonder how much he got out. Hajime doubted that it was often.

 

“Hey Komaeda-“ Hajime began, the other boy turning around while putting on Hajime’s shirt, which hung off his slim frame

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Where’d you get that scar on your stomach from?”

 

“Oh, well, a few years ago my appendix ruptured and so I had to get it removed. Don’t worry though, the next day my family won a trip to Hawaii, so really, there was only gain from that experience.” Komaeda smiled, plopping down onto the mattress laid out in Hajime’s room “Thank you very much for this shirt, Hinata-kun, your generosity never ceases to amaze me”

 

“It’s just a shirt, but it’s no problem,” Hajime smiled at his friend's earnestness. “Now go to sleep.”

 

Komaeda laughed, lying down in his bed

 

“How fatherly of you Hinata-kun”

 

“Otherwise I’ll make you” Hajime snapped

 

“Oooo scary. What are you going to do? Sing me to sleep. What a terrifying prospect!” Komaeda giggled.

 

“Goodnight Nagito” Hajime grinned, turning in bed so he was now facing the wall

 

“Goodnight Hinata-kun. Thank you, for everything”

 

Hajime fell asleep very quickly. He couldn’t remember any of his dreams, but he knew that they were kind and soft.

 

He hoped his friend had dreams that were the same.

 

Chapter Text

“Hey... hey. Are you awake?” Nagito waved his hand over Hinata’s face. “Hinata-kun? Hello? Earth to Hajime?”

 

“Hgnnnn” Hinata moaned, rolling over into the side of his bed, Nagito hearing the painful crack of his friend’s head against the wood “what the- Agh. That hurts” Hinata put a hand to his forehead “Komaeda... why are you on my bed?” Hinata murmured, in obvious pain

 

“You see, Hinata-kun, I am not on your bed. Instead, you are on the floor” Nagito explained

 

“How did I even get here?” Hinata groaned, squinting at Nagito

 

“You fell out of your bed.”

 

  “Oh”

 

Nagito nodded sympathetically. Thankfully Hinata’s head didn’t seem to be swelling yet, but just in case he should get something for it anyway.

 

“I’ll just grab you an ice pack” Nagito patted Hinata’s shoulder and promptly exited the room. He tripped on the way down the stairs, flying a foot or two before landing on the lowest step, thankfully not on his head (though it still hurt landing on his back, so he probably should get an ice pack for himself too while he was at it)

 

He hoped he hadn’t made a loud noise and woken up Ichika, seeming it was still fairly early in the morning and he didn’t want her (or Hinata) worrying.

 

Nagito assumed that the ice packs were in the refrigerator. They kept them everywhere at the hospital.

 

Ah. Never mind. The only thing that their refrigerator seemed to have was a couple of packs of frozen peas. Nagito sighed and apologies to whatever meal they were to have with the peas and wrapped them up in tea towels, putting one on his stinging and throbbing back and running the other one up to Hinata

 

“Komaeda. What was that crash that I just heard?” Hinata instantly asked the second Nagito’s head popped back into the room

 

“Ah, well, I slipped.”

 

“And fell down the entire staircase? Because that was loud.”

 

“Well. You’re not incorrect with that assumption...” Nagito muttered, the sting of his back still there “Anyway! I got the ice pack. Forgive me that I took one for myself.” Nagito bowed his head in shame.

 

“They’re just peas. You’re fine. They cost like 3 dollars, besides, we can just re-refrigerate them” Hinata said, putting the peas on his head, a soft ‘aah’ escaping his lips “God, iced peas really hit different when you’re hurt”

 

“Agreed!” Nagito responded. The iced peas were indeed very soothing on his back.

 

“Today we have to take mom to the hospital to get needles done, so if you have any that you need to get, I’d recommend scheduling them now.”

 

Nagito nodded and picked up his phone, dialling the hospital number for his blood work. After a short conversation he was easily slotted in next to Ichika. He only had to get a few vials done, just testing his certain immune levels and cancer cell count but it was still annoying- he always felt very tired afterwards, seeming he already had a low red blood cell count. Oh well. He’d handled it for months, so he could handle it for however many more. And besides, he was with someone he cared about this time around. He finally wasn’t alone. That meant more to him than almost anything he could ever think of.

 

“Anyway, we do have a bit of time beforehand, so wanna go to the arcade or something?” Hinata suggested

 

“Okay!” Nagito smiled, “It’ll be like a little date! Just us!” That bit hadn’t been intended for Hinata’s ears but he obviously heard them nonetheless

 

“Uh. Sure. It’s eight now so we should leave at 9.30 because the arcade opens at 10.”

 

“Alright! I’ll be paying, Hinata-kun!” Nagito reached into his bag and produced a wad of cash “I hope that’s enough”

 

“... Where did you get that from?!” Hinata’s eyes widened

 

“Is something the matter? After my father died I happened to find a lottery ticket containing twenty million dollars, so I most certainly didn’t steal it, I swear” Nagito protested. He would never! Stealing was such a lowly thing. “I don’t deserve such a sum of money, yes, but I really hope I can use it to make your family prosper as much as it possibly can! No amount is too much, I promise”

 

“You’d do that?” Hinata’s face seemed oddly starstruck

 

“Of course I would, Hinata-kun. You’ve done everything and more for me. I was planning to offer to pay for your mother’s treatment, but I would have needed your permission first. If you would like, I can also pay for your continued tuition at Hope’s Peak Academy?”

 

Hinata sat there for a few seconds, obviously taking in the information. “Thanks, I guess... but... I kind of want to turn over a new leaf, y’know.”

 

Nagito nodded in understanding. Hinata was his second chance at everything, so he knew how much a second change meant.

 

The two then got Ichika to get a taxi with them to the arcade, which she agreed to enthusiastically after saying she wanted to go to the shops next door.

 

Nagito hadn’t gone to an arcade before- not a proper one anyway- so it was a new experience for him. It was fairly loud, but thankfully it wasn’t crowded, so they mostly had the games to themselves, and even if Nagito lost control of himself a little bit, no one would be there to witness it.

 

Looking around, he was swarmed with bright lights and colours, each game emitting it’s own glow in the otherwise dark room. The lack of people made the atmosphere much more enjoyable, the arcade in itself not massive but pleasantly medium in size. Claw machines lined one of the walls, the prize depo an explosion of soft toys, figurines and candy.

 

It was quite a sight to behold, especially for someone who’d never experienced the likes of it

 

Hinata first told Nagito that he had to transfer his money onto cards, which they could then use as ways of playing the games. Once they had done that, a clean 100 dollars on each card, Hinata dragged him towards one of the two player games.

 

“‘Logic Dive?’ It looks like a hover boarding game to me” Nagito commented, looking at the screen

 

“It is, but it’s like a trivia game where you turn the board to the right answer... it doesn’t make much sense when I explain it but it’s not that difficult” Hinata swiped his card, Nagito doing the same. “This was the only game I ever won against Nanami, so I decided to see if you could beat me” Hinata challenged, selecting his character

 

They both played to the best of their abilities, Nagito winning purely because he’d read more books, his general knowledge getting him ever so slightly further than his friend.

 

“Oh! Look I got tickets!” Nagito exclaimed, watching as they were added onto his card. Hinata smiled at his excitement

 

“That happened with every game. As long as you play it, you can get tickets from it”

 

Nagito didn’t really mind that getting tickets wasn’t really that special. He took joy from watching the tickets add themselves onto the card.

 

“Hinata-kun?” A sleepy voice sounded from behind them, a yawn following the statement

 

“N-nanami-san?!” Hinata startled. A short pink haired girl looked nonplussed as Hinata scrambled to his feet, his face red

 

Nagito had expected the wonderful Nanami to be like his princess cousin, but the girl he now saw was short and soft looking, her greyish-pink hair curling just below her shoulders, her gaze sleepily focused on Hinata as she held a gameboy in her hands

 

“Hinata-kun... that white haired boy is your friend, right? The one you told me about the other day... I think” She looked over to Nagito, who stood up, smiling at the girl

 

“Nanami-san!! You go to Hope's Peak, correct? Wow... what an honor... for someone as Hope filled as you to grace someone as awful as me... I’m so lucky!” Nagito glanced at his hand, then at Nanami, who simply blinked

 

“Yeah... Nanami meet Komaeda, Komaeda, meet Nanami” Hinata sighed, his face red with embarrassment, gesturing to the two with one hand, pinching his face with the other

 

“He’s a bit strange but I can see why you like him, I think,” Nanami mused. “I was just about to leave, so I’ll let you two do your thing... just make sure to text me later, Hinata-kun.” Nanami poked Hinata’s shoulder. “Also... can you call me in exactly 47 minutes... if I fall asleep on the bus that’ll wake me up”

 

“Alright” Hinata agreed, Komaeda bobbing his head as well

 

“Thank you.” Nanami rubbed her eyes, pulling her hoodie over her hair, walking quietly down the arcade hall

 

The two boys sat in silence for a bit

 

“Nanami-san... isn’t what I expected,” Nagito said simply

 

“Yeah... maybe. She has a problem where she just randomly falls asleep, but Nanami is a very kind person. She genuinely cares about her classmates and even me. I don’t know what I did to get the attention of someone so great, really ” Hinata smiled softly

 

“Stop sounding like me, Hinata-kun! You’re amazing too... your talent and hope that you have, I’m sure is just as much as Nanami’s, if not more! I find myself thinking that exact thing whenever I’m around you... ‘what did I do to get the attention of someone as great as you,’” Nagito said earnestly, “I think you’re better than you think.”

 

Hinata’s face looked very soft in that moment, his eyes wide. “Thanks...” Hinata muttered, “you’re a good person too, Komaeda.”

 

Nagito smiled. As much as he doubted it, he let this comment slide this one time. If Hinata was telling the truth and he truly believed that... he didn’t know how to feel, or respond.

 

The two then played more games together, the air between them light and happy. It was definitely enough to distract him from the fact he’d be going back to the hospital in a few hours.

 

Hinata weirdly enough hadn’t denied it when Nagito had called their outing a date, which made him feel strange... was there a chance...?

 

...no. He doubted it. His reaction to seeing Nanami proved it. It’s not like he held any resentment towards either of them for his unreturned feelings. It was just how his life and his luck worked.

 

Playing games with the one person he loved more than anyone was all he could ever hope for, even if that love was one sided. Before his string of fate was cut, he did want Hinata to at least acknowledge this storm of emotion inside of him. To at the very least accept it.

 

Hinata looked at his phone, frowned and dialled up a number, putting it on speaker so Nagito could hear too

 

On the fifth ring the phone was picked up

 

“Hello?” Nanami audibly yawned through the speaker “ah. Thank you Hinata-kun.”

 

“No problem,” Hinata said “Komaeda’s still here too”

 

“That’s good. Say hi to him for me-“

 

“Hello Nanami-san!” Nagito interrupted

 

“Okay... hello Komaeda-kun... my bus stop is coming up so see ya” Nanami hung up

 

Nagito liked Nanami, her kindness so hope inspiring. It made him think even higher of Hinata for being friends with her, and not judging the book by its cover. Nagito guessed Hinata did the same with him, not allowing the things he’d said get to his head.

 

Nagito deeply regretted telling Hinata that he was talentless, and worthless. He brought the other boy down to the same level as him, which was an act he could not forgive. He supposed that back then he wasn’t enlightened to Hinata’s true hope residing in him, he wasn’t aware that Hinata was capable of reawakening the hope inside Nagito himself, something he’d originally thought impossible.

 

His train of thought was interrupted by Hinata’s voice cutting through it

 

“Komaeda... can we test your luck?” Hinata asked, pointing towards a wheel adorned with a giant pink and white rabbit, the name of the game simply ‘Monomi’s Roulette’ (he felt like he’d seen it before in a dream sometime... odd)

 

“Alright” Nagito agreed, going up to the wheel and scanning his card “how does it work?”

 

“Well, there’s five levels. On level one, you win a decent prize but there’s a one in six chance of losing all of your tickets... up to the sixth level where there’s a one in six chance of getting a prize.”

 

“Hmm... interesting. I must warn you, if I do win this particular game, I will have equally bad luck in return...” Nagito sighed. His luck was different from a normal person’s. It was predictable to a certain degree, and almost controllable, but truly only in the means of if he purposely caused something bad to happen to him, that bad thing would result in his luck not affecting him for a while.

 

Hinata considered, pushed Nagito out of the way, pressed level 1 and played it.

 

And lost.

 

Nagito breathed a sigh of relief as all of the tokens were taken from his card, Hinata’s face crestfallen at the sight.

 

“Well, at least your luck won’t be affecting you anytime soon.” Hinata said sadly as Nagito’s card now read zero tickets.

 

“I don’t mind... really, I’m more thankful than anything. I was concerned that I would cause something bad to happen to you, which scares me more than you could ever imagine” Nagito smiled. He truly didn’t feel any loss, the overwhelming sense of relief guaranteeing Hinata’s safety much more important to him than tickets.

 

“Oh... We can share my tickets if you want” Hinata said. “Plus there’s another game I wanna play”

 

Even while Nagito protested to Hinata even considering using his tickets on him, his friend dragged him over to another game.

 

“The mono-mono machine?” Nagito asked, reading the black and white font plastered over a half black-half white bear.

 

“It just takes coinage, but it gives you a little charm and a piece of paper that tells you what kind of person would like it.” Hinata explained, reaching into his pocket and putting in a coin. A small black and white ball dropped into the bottom.

 

“Alright, your turn.” Hinata said, handing Nagito a coin. He dropped it into the machine, another ball dropping down.

 

They both sat down on one of the stained arcade couches and both opened their prizes. Nagito pulled out a little keychain with an orange on it, Hinata had a flower on his.

 

“‘For someone who likes pretty things’” Hinata read aloud “That’s really nonspecific. I think everyone likes pretty things. Komaeda, what did you get as your paper”

 

“Ah. Mine simply says... ‘for someone who likes oranges’” Nagito smiled at the caption. “Say, Hinata-kun, do you like oranges?”

 

“I hate to say it but yeah. I do... they’re the best fruit hands down. Let me guess, you like pretty things?” Hinata held the flower out to Nagito to take, the other boy swapping his orange for it.

 

“Of course I like beautiful things Hinata-kun. They inspire hope, so they not? Just like you!” Nagito admired his keychain, putting it in his pocket.

 

“I think you’re mistaken, but sure.” Hinata said bluntly. “We should cash in our-well, my- tickets for something at the prize depot.” Hinata waved Nagito over to the colourful tokens store, going up to the counter to check how many tickets he had.

 

The dark haired girl at the counter scanned it sighing.

 

“Okay, you have four-hundred and twenty tickets. If you say blaze it I will cut you” She glared poison at the two boys who nodded happily and walked stiffly off.

 

“Hey Komaeda” Hinata grinned, when they were out of earshot from the girl at the counter

 

“Hm?”

 

“Blaze it” Hinata snickered

 

Distantly, by some miracle, “I heard that” the counter girl snarled. “Do you want to die?”

 

“Harumaki... what did I tell you about the customers... geez. Sorry guys!!” A spiky haired guy popped out from nowhere, patting the shoulder of the fuming girl. “She’s like that with everyone!”

 

The two boys nodded and picked out some candy as their prizes.

 

“Hey, Hinata-kun! We have just enough tickets left to get matching bracelets!” Nagito held up the two small woven bands,

 

“Alright” Hinata agreed, putting the two bracelets on the counter along with the candy, the nice spiky-haired guy scanning it, giving them a thumbs up when it went through

 

“Have a good one guys!” He said, smiling, the girl next to him still trying to kill them with her eyes.

 

Once they’d exited, Hinata and Nagito both put on their little bracelets on each other

 

“Uh. We should get going. Your hospital appointment is at 1.30, right?” Hinata said, looking fondly at the band that now rested on his wrist.

 

“Correct! I’ll buy us lunch beforehand with my own money.” Nagito insisted. “We should find Ichika-san”

 

Hinata nodded, so they began to search the shops in the mall. They eventually found Ichika in an arts and crafts store, looking at the paints. The three of them caught up and talked for a few minutes in the store. Somehow Nagito managed to convince Ichika to let him pay for lunch, which he took as a personal victory.

 

They then made their way to the exit, Ichika gathering up some watercolours and pens, purchasing them at the counter.

 

“I didn’t know you liked painting, mom” Hinata commented, eyeing the supplies

 

“Well, seeming I’m not at work, I thought it would be nice to branch out a bit. I’m going to try and take some online art classes” Ichika smiled. Nagito understood that boredom of being home (or at the hospital) alone, so he got why Ichika was buying the supplies. When you’re sick to the degree he was, you wouldn’t really know when the next heavy bought or wave of illness would hit you. Nagito was personally extremely concerned about this. What if something happened before he was able to tell Hinata how he really felt... he needed to have a backup plan.

 

Nagito pondered over what he should do just in case as the three of them walked to the sushi train across the road.

 

They sold really good tofu here, Nagito noted, when he saw the film coloured steamed tofu with those cool wavy things all over it. He instantly ordered it, the others ordering their own things

 

“Please do not pick the cheapest options, I promise, I have enough money if you would like to indulge yourselves.” Nagito commented as the two both looked at the cheaper sides of the menu.

 

Hinata shrugged, going over to the more pricey side of the menu

 

“Alright, if you insist” He said, ordering the sashimi.

 

“Hajime! Nagito is a guest! We shouldn’t be making him pay, especially over expensive things” Ichika flicked Hinata’s wrist

 

“What? He offered,” Hinata replied

 

“Indeed...” Nagito frowned, trying to regain his train of thought “Ah, Ichika-san I failed to inform you that I won a lottery ticket of twenty million dollars a few years ago, I promise to you, I can afford this... I was going to offer to pay for your treatment too, but I’m fairly certain that you were going to refuse.”

 

“Hajime, did you know this?” Ichika asked quietly, Hinata nodding.

 

“Nagito... I don’t know how to reply to your offer... could you donate some of the money you have to the cancer foundation, so it can be used on others too? You’re not well equipped enough to be making these kind of decisions with such large amounts of money,” Ichika sighed

 

Nagito already had donated at least five million dollars to the Cancer Foundation, another five going to dementia research. Along with that, he’d split up a five and donated half a million dollars to ten charities he considered important to harbouring the hope of man kind, leaving the last five million dollars to be his own expenses, if need be, so he could at the very least have something to put in his will. (He had to get around to writing that. He’d been putting it off for far too long and if he suddenly kicked the bucket his mother would be the only inherent to his wealth.) Along with that, he also had to pay hospital bills out of his own pocket, leaving the rest as incidentals, like an outing such as this.

 

“Ichika-san... while your concern is greatly appreciated, please do not worry about my expenses. I have no regard for my money, my only goal being to let you and your family prosper.”

 

Hinata gestured in a way like ‘see?’ Ichika frowning.

 

“I’ll think about it.” She said simply as the sushi arrived.

 

The tofu looked delicious, the little garnishes waving around in some invisible wind, the broth still steaming.

 

Nagito took a photo of Hinata and his meal without the other boy knowing until the last minute, Hinata trying to snatch Nagito’s phone from him, then deciding to take a ton of photos of Nagito and his tofu with his own.

 

“Hinata-kun. Now we both have tons of photos of each other... we only had that one photo when we were on the roller coaster before”

 

“Oh?” Ichika raised her eyebrows, Hinata’s face going red. Nagito felt a grin spread across his face, pulling out the photo from the other day out of his pocket.

 

“Oi!! Don’t show mom that!” Hinata protested

 

“I don’t see what’s wrong with it, Hinata-kun” Nagito said sweetly, handing it over to Ichika.

 

She snorted at the photo. “Hajime are you sure this isn’t another Chiaki?” Ichika asked, pointing to his hand in the photo, causing Hinata to glare daggers at Nagito

 

“No! I was scared and I grabbed onto the first thing that was there!”

 

“Which was Nagito’s hand? I see a perfectly good railing that you could have held onto,” Ichika pushed, obviously delighting in watching her son squirm

 

“Oh no! You have it mixed up, you see, I was the one who held Hinata-kun’s hand, not him” Nagito interjected deciding to spare Hinata the misery of the teasing and took the bullet instead. Besides, he really didn’t really see the shame in holding someone’s hand- it was just a display of affection, it really didn’t mean much more than that

 

“Really.” Ichika deadpanned, obviously not believing him

 

“Well, no, but I was probably the one who enjoyed it more.” Nagito admitted. He was fairly sure that Hinata hadn’t really even realised he had been doing it, but that moment of unexpected contact sent sparks flying in him, though Nagito doubted that Hinata noticed at the time.

 

“Oh?” Ichika said it after that and just continued on with her meal. They made short conversation here and there but they were mostly in silence after that

 

They finished up their meals and took a taxi to the hospital, which took a somewhat pleasantly short time.

 

They then signed in and waited for a bit.

 

Later, the two were in the waiting room and Ichika was finally taken to get her bloodwork done, leaving Hinata and Nagito alone together.

 

“Did you mean that?” Hinata asked

 

“Hm? Mean what?” Nagito inquired. He thought he knew what Hinata was referencing to, but he didn’t know if he wanted to answer that question quite yet. He wasn’t ready for the inevitable rejection that he knew he’d get.

 

“Never mind” Hinata yawned, shifting back into his chair, his loose hoodie slumping with his body as he slouched back. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of earphones, plugging them into his phone and offering Nagito one

 

Nagito liked all kinds of music, but he admittedly was curious as to what Hinata enjoyed listening to, so he accepted and put the small bud into his ear, leaning ever so slightly closer as to not pull Hinata’s out.

 

Komaeda was surprised to hear that Hinata listened to western music, classics like Queen and Bon Jovi mixed with Nirvana and other bands. Every so often a fast rap song would come and Nagito swore he heard at least one twenty one pilots song in there. They sat there in comfortable silence, waiting until it was Nagito’s go in the pathology unit.

 

The doctor was nice enough, he apologised a lot as Nagito winced slightly at the vials of blood being withdrawn. Nagito just kept himself level by thinking about his friend, trying to separate himself from the room and not look at the blood now snaking out of its arm by a tube. Once that stopped, Nagito got a pat on the back and a plaster

 

They also needed to do a biopsy, which meant that they had to collect a tissue underneath his skin and then extract it, so the apologetic doctor then got Nagito to lift the sleeve of his shirt, stabbing a little gadget into his skin, pulling it out and putting a bandage on top. Nagito tried his hardest to not respond to the pain in his arm. They had to take biopsies as close as they could to where his illness was centred, which happened to be his arm, which had a lot less protective tissue. He definitely didn’t like getting them, even if it was only once every few months

 

The practitioner gave him a jellybean, recommended some pain medication, and gave him a time to pick up his results.

 

He felt tired, probably more so than normal, so he staggered out of the doctors office and made his way over to the one person that he knew would make him feel better.

 

“Hinata-kun!” Nagito felt his bad mood lift, a smile cracking across his face.

 

“Oh. Komaeda. C’mon, mom’s got the taxi waiting for us” Hinata walked off quickly. Nagito tried to follow, but unfortunately his legs didn’t want to respond to his brain’s command, the nausea catching up with him too. His knees were definitely going to buckle.

 

Come on. Nagito tried to will his body into action. Very rarely did he get this weak. It was probably because he’d been testing his energy levels so much over the last few days, his body not used to doing so much.

 

“Ah... Hinata-kun... it appears my legs don’t particularly want to work.” Nagito sighed

 

“What do you mean?” Hinata looked concerned

 

“I think I might collapse” Nagito said frankly, as his knees buckled “oh look, there they go.”

 

“Goddamnit. Uh. Okay.” Hinata glanced around. The receptionist was busy with the other people around

 

“Are you okay?” Some of the other people in the room noticed the spectacle.

 

“I am, yes!” Nagito gave a thumbs up to the concerned looking boy across the room

 

“Okay Komaeda, we’re making a pretty big deal here, so I’m gonna carry you out, alright?” Hinata put an arm across Nagito’s shoulders, taking the other boy’s weight on his own back. Thankfully now Nagito could stand with Hinata helping him up, so they both raced out of the hospital as fast as they could.

 

They made it to the taxi as Ichika called them, both of them panting as they got in the car

 

“Sorry mom. We just got held up at the reception” Hinata explained between breaths, Ichika simply shrugging and turning back around in her seat

 

Why Hinata constantly made sure that Nagito was alright still bamboozled him. Why care about him at all?

 

They sat in silence for most of the car ride, Ichika deciding to make conversation with the taxi driver.

 

“Thank you Hinata-kun...” Nagito whispered to his friend, Hinata simply nodding and closing his eyes.

 

Once they’d got back to the Hinata Household, Nagito apologised profusely and decided that it would be probably best if he went to sleep for a bit, setting an alarm on his phone for around dinner time and retiring to Hinata’s room, passing out almost instantly.

 

It felt like he’d only been asleep for a few minutes when the telltale ring of his alarm woke him up, groaning and getting out of bed, feeling just refreshed enough to get him a few hours before needing to sleep again.

 

He was also glad he’d gotten himself out of Hinata’s hair, if only for a few hours. They’d been together non stop for days now, so Hinata must be exhausted because of him. Nagito knew that he wasn't easy company for long periods of time. Many people had told him that, so he just accepted that he was simply just a burden to everyone around him and only stayed with people for short amounts of time, as not to bore them with his beliefs.

 

Another reason why Hinata was different: he didn’t seem to get bored of Nagito. He was probably the first person who Nagito could say had ever done that for him. For that alone, Nagito considered himself eternally blessed. Even if it was only for a while.

 

Nagito hadn’t wanted to accept it for the past few days, but he knew that these bouts of fatigue weren’t just because he was doing slightly more than usual, his illnesses definitely had progressed. The blood tests would show it, Nagito was almost certain.

 

He didn’t have a lot of time left.

 

He sighed. He supposed that he would rather go out feeling happy than to live that sad, lonely life that he had been before. He would rather die sooner, with someone he cared about, than later with nobody.

 

A knock on the door sounded and Nagito stood up and opened the door to find Hinata standing there with two bowls of rice and chicken, his Nintendo in his hoodie pocket.

 

“Uh. I don’t know what you like, but it’s storming outside pretty bad so the dining room is leaking. Anyway, that means that we have to eat here, if that’s okay” Hinata handing Nagito the bowl of rice.

 

Huh. Nagito hadn’t noticed before but it was storming, the thunder barely noticeable through Hinata’s thick walls. He was glad he was indoors. His luck and storms do not mix, a tree in his garden once got electrocuted and set it on fire, taking out half the garden and the shed.

 

His mom was mad at him for it happening, but he understood.

 

The chicken and rice admittedly was very tasty, and because so much of Nagito’s energy had been zapped, he was surprisingly (and pleasantly) hungry for once.

 

Once the two had finished dinner, they put their bowls on Hinata’s bookcase and slid Nagito’s mattress to next to Hinata’s bed, Hinata propping a few pillows up on his bed frame to create a makeshift couch

 

“Ta da” Hinata did a cheesy little jazz hands as he reclined into the new ‘sofa’ taking out his switch controllers and handing one to Nagito.

 

“Okay, so, obviously Mario Kart is partially luck based? Well tonight, we’re playing Smash Bros, so if I lose, I give you eternal bragging rights” Hinata explained

 

“Alright! Ah... one question..” Nagito paused “...how do you play Smash Bros?”

 

Hinata gave him a little tour, showing him how to jump and hit. Nagito selected Jigglypuff, Hinata using Ganondorf.

 

Instantly, just as they started playing, Nagito accidentally used one of his fighters moves to spin himself off the map, Hinata cracking a laugh

 

“Out of all of the characters, Jigglypuff has the best recovery, and yet you still managed to throw him off. Hah!”

 

“Hmm. I don’t think I’m very good at this game.” Nagito mused as he respawned. This time, thankfully, he didn’t completely flop it and managed to deal enough damage on Hinata to where he nearly lost one of his lives, the other boy clearly trying extremely hard to prevent that from happening.

 

Nagito fell off the map again.

 

“Oh.” Nagito exclaimed, looking sadly at his Pokémon character that had spiralled off into oblivion, respawning a second or two later.

 

“To be fair, I play this game a lot with Nanami, so it’s not exactly fair” Hinata commented as Nagito lost after Hinata one-shotted him with a smash move.

 

“I still had fun!” Nagito smiled “I have a good time no matter what I’m doing with you, Hinata-kun.”

 

“Thanks, I guess. You’re not so bad either.” Hinata returned the smile, thinking for a second “hey wanna play truth or dare?”

 

“Ah. Okay!” Nagito agreed, though he could tell his voice sounded uncertain

 

“Don’t worry, the rule is that you can’t make the person do anything like y’know, go outside or bother my mom.” Hinata pointed to Nagito “you first.”

 

“Um. Hinata-kun. Truth or dare?”

 

“Dare.” Hinata gave a triumphant grin. Nagito didn’t really have any good dare ideas, really.

 

“Go get us a glass of water each?” Nagito asked, trying to sound polite. Hinata stared at him

 

“Kinda boring, but okay.”

 

A minute or two later, Hinata stayed true to word and had two cups of water in his hands.

 

“Okay then. Komaeda. Truth or dare?” Hinata asked, downing his glass in a few seconds

 

“Truth?”

 

“Hmm. What is your sexuality?” Hinata raised an eyebrow

 

“I don’t really think about it that much, to be honest. I just don’t feel like putting a label on something that just doesn’t need to be labelled. Love is love, I guess, that’s all that matters.” Nagito honestly hadn’t thought about it. He didn’t really see the need to. There was nothing different about loving someone of the same gender to loving someone of the opposite.

 

“That’s... surprisingly sweet, actually,” Hinata mused, smiling

 

“Hinata-kun, truth or dare?” Nagito asked

 

“Truth.”

 

“Would you hold hands with me again?” Nagito asked, not really caring if Hinata said no. He just had to know if what he did that day was what he thought it was

 

“I mean. I guess so? Sure. Why do you ask?” Hinata inquired

 

“Just curiosity.” Nagito replied, his voice somehow keeping even, the joy now flooding through him incredibly difficult to mask. Did he mean that? Was it truly a possibility..? Could this truly mean something? His entire being felt like it was flooded with electricity, the exhaustion and fatigue evaporating, undiluted excitement flowing through his veins.

 

“Komaeda, truth or dare” Hinata asked, oblivious to how great Nagito felt right now, how alive he felt.

 

“Ah. Dare.” Nagito decided to be a little more interesting than to pick truth again

 

“Alright then. Sing the first song that comes into your head.”

 

The first song that happened to come into Nagito’s head was one of the song’s on Hinata’s playlist. Twenty one pilots. Oh.

 

Admittedly Nagito liked most of their songs so he knew a lot of the lyrics off by heart, so he embarrassingly sang the first thirty seconds of ‘Ride’ before shutting himself up.

 

“Aha... I’m not much of a singer so I know that it wasn’t that good.” Nagito apologised, feeling himself heat up slightly. He used to do singing lessons when he was little, his mom believing that he needed some way of doing something, as he wasn’t allowed to participate in sports or anything.

 

“What do you mean? That was... weirdly good... do you sing often?” Hinata asked, raising an eyebrow

 

“Yeah... I used to do lessons. But I wouldn’t say I’m talented” Nagito scratched his neck, feeling his gaze shift off Hinata to prevent himself from blushing at the compliment

 

“You have a nice voice. You should sing again.” Hinata commented

 

“Maybe... I can’t really sing for very long anymore because my lymph nodes are sore a lot” Nagito said wistfully, touching his neck and wincing.

 

“Oh... I’m sorry” Hinata realised what he was referencing, his face downcast

 

“It’s okay, Hinata-kun. Anyway, I guess it’s your turn. Truth or dare?” Nagito willed his voice to sound upbeat

 

Hinata chose dare, Nagito’s curiosity getting the better of him

 

“I dare you to take off your shirt!” Nagito dared, smiling. Hinata frowned.

 

“Uh. I... sure.” Hinata hesitated, taking off his hoodie and then pausing, looking very uncomfortable

 

“Wait wait! If you don’t want to, you don’t have to!” Nagito quickly backtracked, patting Hinata on the shoulder. “Look, instead, can you get us some ice cream or something?”

 

“Okay. Uh. Any particular flavour?” Hinata quickly put his hoodie back on, standing up and stretching

 

“Ah, well whatever flavour you enjoy is nice for me.” Nagito smiled. He would never have judged his friend for anything that he was ashamed of, but he understood if Hinata was just fundamentally uncomfortable about something, and whilst Nagito had no shame in his appearance, he guessed that it was okay that his friend did, even though there really was nothing wrong with Hinata at all! (Nagito found Hinata a very beautiful person, both inside and out, so he didn’t really get why his friend thought that way about himself, but Nagito guessed it was okay not to pressure him on it)

 

Hinata came back upstairs with the two bowls of ice cream.

 

“The leak downstairs is pretty bad so I had to put a bucket on the table to stop it from going onto the floor... sorry I took so long” Hinata handed Nagito the ice cream.

 

“I don’t mind at all! Anyway, it’s your turn.”

 

“Aight. Truth or dare?” Hinata asked, while eating a spoonful of ice cream.

 

“Truth!” Nagito replied, trying the ice cream. In honesty, he hadn’t had ice cream in years. He got it when he was in hospital after he got his appendix removed but that was it, so each little sweet spoonful was quite a delight for him, even though he knew he’d end up leaving half of it.

 

“Uh. What’s one thing you want more than anything else?” Hinata asked bluntly, lifting his gaze to Nagito’s

 

“Ah... well. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit this, but the one thing I desire more than anything, especially because I don’t have a lot of time left, is somebody else’s love,” Nagito confessed, his tone soft. There was a moment of silence between the two and Nagito inwardly cringed... had he said something wrong?

 

“... that’s not something to be ashamed of, Nagito.” Hinata said quietly “Everyone wishes to be loved. It’s only natural.” 

 

“I guess… but I just don’t feel like I’m worth that love… after everything everyone else has told me, it feels like a taboo to even expect for other people to even notice me. I’ve been nothing but a burden to everyone around me in their lives. I should only ever be used as a tool, nothing more. Tools don’t wish for love.”

 

“You’re not a tool, you're a person. None of it was your fault, everyone just chose to blame it on you for an easy way out. Things happen, and those things are out of your control. How could you cause an accident.” Hinata deadpanned, but Nagito could feel the kindness in his words.


For the first time, he could hear the truth in them too.

 

“I… I don’t know what to say.” Nagito murmured. “Why am I believing you?” A small laugh escaped through his lips, Nagito putting a hand to his face to stop it from cracking out of him.

 

“Because I’m right. You’re a good person Nagito. Trust me.” Hinata gently put his hand on Nagito’s own


“I…” Nagito hesitated.

 

“I believe you.”

 

Chapter Text

Hajime was still shocked at his own actions of the night. He’d almost totally fucked himself over at the beginning but... Komaeda, weirdly, Hajime didn’t think he’d even care if he knew. Maybe that’s why he was so different. Well, really, Komaeda was different for a lot of reasons. Hajime nearly laughed at that moment. Komaeda was so different he barely seemed like he knew how this planet worked.


The last few days had definitely been a ride for his emotions, that was for sure. Nanami, Komaeda, his mom, his dad, his own issues, Tsumiki, hell, even Moda. Was it just him, or a lot more colorful characters seemed to make themselves apparent when Komaeda was around.


A lot of strange things happened when Komaeda was around too. Not necessarily bad, per se, but strange, yes. Such as right now, as they were sitting there, hand on hand, neither of them clearly not knowing what to do.


“Hinata-kun... why are you doing this?” Komaeda’s eyes were glued on their hands, his face one of pure shock “Why do I believe you? Why do I believe you... haha”


“Because you deserve people to love you.” Hajime replied bluntly.


“No they don’t. But why are you trying to make me believe I do?” Komaeda’s face looked incredibly sad while saying that, Hajime’s heart clenching at the sight of it


“You have done nothing bad. I mean, the whole thing about telling me I was useless kind of sucked but you’re not a bad person, Komaeda. How many times do I have to tell you?” Hajime sighed. He wasn’t doing this again. As much as he liked Komaeda, he was so, so tiring to be around. Hajime didn’t get what Komaeda meant.


“Hinata-kun... I don’t think you understand. I can’t help feeling like this... it’s not just an on and off switch. I’m apathetic, obsessive, blunt and I generally make terrible things happen to the people around me. My illnesses are like the little cherry on top, aha. Ahaha. Ahahaha.” Komaeda’s voice was full of a spiteful tone Hajime hadn’t heard before, withdrawing his hand from Hajime’s to clutch his chest, his body shaking with laughter. By this point, Hajime knew that Komaeda didn’t want to be laughing right now. If his friend had any say in how his body responded, Hajime knew Komaeda would probably be crying.


Komaeda hugged his chest, coughing out the last few laughs, rocking back and forward slightly “why do I believe you?” Komaeda croaked. He paused “No... it’s not that. I want to believe you.”


“I don’t know,” Hajime said. He didn’t. Komaeda still confused him. He didn’t get why he hated himself as he did, he didn’t understand why he couldn’t comprehend the idea that he did actually deserve the love of everyone around him. It hurt his head thinking about it too long. It didn’t make sense to him. From what Hajime saw, aside from the constant self-deprecation, Komaeda was a genuinely kind-hearted person, a person that Hajime truly liked. Hajime didn’t really know what to say to the other boy, but it’s not like everyone else was better than Komaeda. Hell, Hajime had done some things he definitely regretted. Honestly, Hajime knew he was kind of a dick most of the time, and he definitely didn’t want to remember that particular phase before everything had happened... but nothing had ever made Hajime truly hate himself to the level Komaeda seemed to. He shut that out of his mind and turned his focus back onto his friend. 


“Komaeda... what’s wrong?” Hajime put a hand on Komaeda’s shoulder


“Hajime... Do you know how it feels?” Komaeda looked into Hajime’s eyes, his greyish boring into Hajime’s hazel


“How does what feel?” Hajime asked, trying to egg him on into speaking


“How it feels to watch yourself die.” Komaeda laughed softly, looking at his wrist “I’d assume not. This is why we can’t be friends.”


“What do you mean? That accounts for nothing, Nagito! Nothing! I don’t care if you’re sick, I care about you as a person. Why can’t you get that?”


Komaeda grabbed his hair with his hands, curling himself in “That’s not what I mean, Hinata-kun.” Komaeda’s voice was high, a certain, almost hysterical edge to it. “Did you hear what I said? Are your ears working fine? I. Am. Dying. I wake up every day not being able to remember something important, every time I do anything I get weaker and weaker. I’m nothing but a burden on you and your family. I could never, ever allow someone such as myself to disgrace the person I care about the most household with my living corpse.” Komaeda’s hands went to his arm, scratching himself with his nails, his breathing uneven.


Hajime felt himself physically recoil. He knew Komaeda was sick, he could see it through his tired eyes, always trying to sleep while standing up, he saw it through the bruising all over his body, obviously for no reason. Hajime saw Komaeda’s sickness when he collapsed at the pathologist. But... somehow it had never really occurred to him. That...


“Stop.” He didn’t know who he was speaking to. Komaeda, or his own spiraling thoughts.


He shut that train of thought down. Not now. Komaeda will get better. Hajime knew his luck would pull through in the end. It had to. Instead, Hajime drove his mind to how Komaeda was almost trying to bring himself down, to stop himself from believing Hajime’s words, as if the idea of them was foreign and unknown to him. Hajime wished he could make it different for him.


Hajime wrapped his arms around Komaeda, pulling him closer into his own face, the other boy obviously freezing up, not knowing how to act


“Stop telling yourself that. I. Don’t. Care.” Hajime hissed into Komaeda’s ear, letting him go “Everyone has their things, alright, and everyone dies. Everyone is watching themselves die, every single day, it just happens at different speeds, right? So don’t you think a mortality check is going to piss me off enough to throw you back into that dumbass hospital to be alone again”


Komaeda nodded, his face clearing up, wiping his eyes profusely, pulling his jacket on over his reddened forearms “Sorry.”


“And yeah, if it makes you feel better, I’ll make sure mom takes you up on your offer, alright?” Hajime shifted up to his own bed. Hajime knew the kind of pain you’d need to be in to even consider hurting yourself… he’d need to talk to Komaeda about that sometime. To make sure he didn’t do it again.


“Now go to sleep and don’t say any more depressing shit otherwise I might reconsider,” Hajime said half-jokingly. He did want to sleep through. And he didn’t want to deal with more Komaeda-isms tonight.


“Haha. Aha. Okay... ” Komaeda rearranged his bed back into a state where he could actually sleep, then tucked himself into his covers, 


Hajime’s head hit the pillow and he essentially blacked out, but not before he heard Komaeda’s last words


“You mean more to me than anything else, Hajime Hinata. Thank you”


Hajime didn’t remember his dreams that night, but he swore that it was something to do with islands.


Soon, Hajime was faced with the early morning sun streaming through the windows and an eager looking Komaeda point Blanc staring at him from underneath his covers, his grey eyes bright despite it being early in the morning.


“Uh. Komaeda. Could you not do that?” Hajime asked, as he locked his gaze to his friend’s


“Oh... aha. Sorry. You’re quite cute while sleeping! I could swear you were drooling. It was very funny”


“Yeah. That’s weird. I need to get dressed, go get breakfast or something.” Hajime essentially waved Komaeda off, and thankfully, he happily obliged, smiling as he shut the door behind him.


His new uniform wasn’t too different from the Hope’s peak uniform, a black tie with an accompanying jumper. He reluctantly got himself dressed with his eyes closed and his nose turned to the ceiling, then patting down his hair (or trying to, the dumb tuft at the back obviously not wanting to do anything of the sort.)


Once he’d gotten himself ready and trudged downstairs, his mom and Komaeda were working around the kitchen, cleaning up the remnants of last night’s leak from the storm.


“Ah, good morning Hajime... you look so dashing in that uniform! You know what time school starts and everything right?”


“Yes mom,” Hajime answers, inwardly rolling his eyes at how motherly she sounded for once.


“Hinata-kun, I waited until you came downstairs to have breakfast. Cornflakes, I presume?” Komaeda held up the colorful cereal box smiling


“Sure.”


The three of them then sat down and ate breakfast in comfortable silence.


Having a day without Komaeda will seem almost empty, but Hajime supposed that at least it meant that Komaeda had a smaller chance of getting bored of him while he was at the seven hours of school. Well, he hoped, anyway. 


Hajime also needed time to work out whatever emotions Komaeda seemed to elicit from him. He definitely needed to do that. He felt himself inwardly grimace at the confusion that would cause him if he was right about how he was feeling.


The two boys then went upstairs and brushed their teeth, Komaeda’s hair doing its usual explosion from his head. 


“Mmm Hinata-kun how do you get your hair to even remotely sit down?” Komaeda groaned as a chunk of his hair got stuck in the small brush he was trying to use.


“It doesn’t. Some days, it does. Some days, I’m stuck with this thing” Hajime pointed to the spike that decided to stick straight upwards. To be fair, that would probably be attributed to Hajime cutting all of his hair off a few years back and it not really righting itself since.


“Aha… that’s true. I probably shouldn’t ask you.” Komaeda laughed “Besides, your mom probably knows better.”


Hajime nodded, “I’ve gotta get going, but if you want to text me during the day, be my guest.”


“Ah! Okay!” Komaeda smiled, pulling out his phone as Hajime left the room.


He was going to text Hajime the whole day, wasn’t he.


The bus ride to his new school was slightly different to that of his old school, so he did get a nice change of surroundings, he guessed. His bus wasn’t particularly crowded, but a few bus stops away from his own, another boy with a matching uniform hopped on.


Hajime swore to god. The next time he ran into someone, he was quite literally going to self-combust. It was one of the guys from the theme park that he’d run into.


The other boy noticed too and pulled down his hat over his eyes and sat a seat behind Hajime, quietly pulling out a book. What was his name again? Shuhara or something. Saihara? That was probably it. Hajime’s phone pinged, interrupting his train of thought and he looked down to unsurprisingly see a text from Komaeda



7:51 AM    FROM: Komaeda


Komaeda: Hello Hinata-kun! I hope that your first day of school goes well! I’ll be missing you until you return! :D


You: Thanks, I guess.


Komaeda: Sorry if I interrupteg soemthgin


You: Did your keyboard have a seizure or something


Komaeda: Nope! Just,, overwhelmed that someone as amazing as you even responded to my text


You: You were crying on the keyboard because you were so happy?


Komaeda: Thats the gist of it, haha… I forgot how much it sucked without you, hinata-kun :o


You: I’m gonna see you again in like 6 hours dumbass- don’t be so needy, you’re like a chiuaua or whatever theyre called


Komaeda: *chihuahua


You: I’d rather get my spelling corrected then have you say something really sad like “i hate myself” honestly


Komaeda: Sorry… I’ll try and do that less. And correct your spelling more..?


You: if thats what floats your boat, then sure. My stop’s coming up. Cya


Hajime put his phone away, smiling. Normally his bus rides were boring, filled with monotonous media scrolling for hours on end. Hajime supposed his life had been really grey before Komaeda. Before all of this really, he was just an empty shell. Going from test to test, day to day. Hajime guessed, even though his situation was probably less than ideal right now, he was the happiest he’d been in a while.


He then remembered the Saihara guy from behind him and turned around to say something


“Hey,” Hajime said smoothly, Saihara jolting slightly


“Ah… um. Hello.”


“We’ve met before, right?” Hajime clarified


“Yeah… sorry about Ouma-kun… he’s a bit overzealous sometimes.” Saihara laughed softly. “Sorry for asking, but are you new to my school? I don’t think I’ve seen you around.”


“You’re right. Could you do me a solid and show me around?” Hajime asked


“Of course! Um. What grade are you in this year? It’s Hinata-kun, right?” Saihara asked.


Hajime nodded “I’m in tenth-grade this year…possibly the same as you?”


“Correct. Ouma-kun too. I really hope he doesn’t get on your nerves too much, but feel free to hang out with us. I’ll show you where I sit.” Saihara smiled as the two stood up and got off the bus.


The school itself wasn’t too different from his old one. It was a big grey structure, a few buildings clumped together surrounded by a gate and a few stairs, a lot of kids mulling around the school. 


So similar, except the main course wasn’t looming over the top, a constant reminder that he wasn’t good enough, wasn’t smart enough, wasn't talented enough. He just wasn’t enough wasn’t enough wasn’t en-


“Saihara-chan!!” The poor boy next to Hajime was tackled from behind by a small dark-haired boy, interrupting his spiral (thank god) His face was one that he remembered very well from the amusement park ride.


“I was going to drop dead if you hadn’t arrived at school today! I don’t think I’d have been able to last one more minute without my beloved detective” Ouma crooned, stealing Saihara’s hat and putting in on his own head


“Ooooh I’m Saihara-chan and I’m all emo ooooh” Ouma paraded around Saihara. 


“O-Ouma-kun… you’re making a scene…” Saihara said quietly, giving Hajime an apologetic look as he tried to convince his small friend to hand back his hat.


“Alright, fiiiiiiine. Only because it was boring, and not because you told me to. But, you look wayyyy better without that dumb hat on, Shumai.” Ouma popped the hat back onto Saihara’s head, his gaze then turning to Hajime


“Huh? Fresh meat?” Ouma tilted his head to the side “Man! I can’t wait to make this guy’s life a living hell. The name’s Kokichi Ouma! And this is my subordinate, Wumpus Periwinkle.” Ouma held out a hand, Saihara looking very much used to this charade, and supposedly being called ‘Wumpus Periwinkle.’


“We’ve met before.” Hajime deadpanned, already irritated. 


“Nope! Never met you in my life. I’d remember someone with hair as stupid as yours.” Ouma turned his nose up.


“That’s a lie.” Hajime groaned “You screamed a lot and hung onto me on that one log flume ride.”


“Gosh… you’re no fun, are you? Duh. Of course it was a lie. Anyway, Shumai was probably gonna give ya a tour, so I may as well tag along, shouldn’t I?” Ouma’s purple eyes shined with mischievousness, his grin not at all fading


“You really don’t have to” Hajime muttered under his breath


“Oh! But I do. Saihara-chan will give his little insight and I’ll give you my eternal wisdom on my domain.” Ouma skipped off next to Saihara who just mouthed ‘ sorry’ as Ouma pulled them both through the school gates.


The school tour, surprisingly, was helpful. Saihara offered good, logical advice, first guiding him to the office to get him his timetable, and then showing him through the various corridors to his classes. Saihara thankfully had his first class with Hajime so he could at least take him to the right room, but he dreaded when he would be left to his own devices. Or Ouma’s devices. Even so, some of the information that Ouma provided in its own way could be useful. Ouma warned against certain people, Saihara at least agreeing so he knew it was somewhat helpful, telling him which teachers sucked. He felt his phone vibrate a few times in his pocket but waited until the end of his little ‘tour’ to answer them, having a few minutes before the bell rung


8:27 AM FROM: Komaeda


Komaeda: You might be in class right now but me and your mom found a bird outside and we’re caring for it now. I think it’s wing is broken




Komaeda: I want to name them hope but i feel like that would be very typical of me so please help me choose a name 


You: That is very typical of you


Komaeda: Hinata-kun! You’re online! What a blessing it is to hear your voice again


You: These are text messages, Komaeda


Komaeda: Hmm. I guess you’re right. I read them in my head with your voice though. I find it quite soothing :)


Komaeda: Also what do we call the bird


You: idk hope seems fine. It’s a pretty name. 


Komaeda: really? 


You: yeah even tho its very ‘komaeda’ of u to suggest it, I think its nice


Komaeda: Ah,.. I truly don’t deserve the kindness that you give me Hinata-kun. I’ve gtg and take care of bird because they’re being loud and Ichika-san doesn’t know what to do with birds. I don’t know either. 


You: use google


Komaeda: oh yea lol ok



“Who’s Komaeda?” Ouma said from over Hajime’s shoulder. 


“A friend,” Hajime said, putting his phone in his pocket, his smile soured by Ouma’s irritating presence.


“Oooh! So are they a friend or a ‘friend’ ya know” Ouma elbowing Hajime in the ribs, a shit-eating grin on his face


Hajime scowled and ignored the other boy’s comments. Saihara was still buried in his book, and for some reason, Ouma had seemed to respect him for doing so.


“I mean, I’m not judging! I mean, I totally am judging, but only if they’re ugly. Or if their hair is white. Or if they’re around your height. Or if they have a green jacket”


“Ha ha. Very funny.” Hajime rolled his eyes and stood up, grabbing his bag. 


“I know right! I’ve met you both before anyway so it’s not like I didn’t know who your precious marshmallow boy was.” Ouma said, on the tips of his toes. “I bet ya love him! Not as much as I love my Saihara-chan… but man… you must be close!~”


The bell thankfully was Hajime’s saving grace, and after a quick ‘smell ya later’ from Ouma he was finally just with the quieter (and considerably less annoying) Saihara. It was definitely a blissful hour of silence. The members of his class seemed quite controlled too. Thankfully Hajime was fairly decent at English, so he was put in one of the higher graded classes. 


During his time at Hope’s Peak, English class was Hajime trying to cram study while Souda showed him things he found funny on his phone. Souda, now that Hajime thought about it, really was just a less irritating version of Ouma. 


“Saihara… don’t mean to pry or anything but why do you let Ouma hang around you if he’s so annoying?”


Saihara pondered this, his raven-colored hair hanging over his eyes, the shadows from his hat creating shadows.


“I know it sounds hard to believe, but deep down, Ouma is actually quite an insecure and reserved person. He’s always been kind to me, even with the charade on, I guess.” Shuichi shrugged “I didn’t have many friends because I’m quite shy, so it was really nice to have Ouma-kun there, even if he’s a bit of a pain at times.”


“Huh,” Hajime said. Saihara nodded, and turned back to his workbook


Hajime guessed that the relationship between Saihara and Ouma was similar to Komaeda and his own. Ouma didn’t seem like a judgy guy, even though he was a little shit. Hajime wondered if Saihara had a similar story to Hajime. Lonely and melancholic, joined by some colourful character. And then everything after that probably changed for both of them.


Saihara seemed like a very kind person. Komaeda seemed to have a magnet to draw good people towards him. Mioda, Tsumiki, Saihara, hell, even Ouma. Hajime wondered what his white-haired friend was up to right now. Probably taking care of the bird or sleeping. 


Hajime genuinely worried over Komaeda. He tried not to. He wasn’t an optimist, or a pessimist- he just saw stuff as they were. But he didn’t think he liked the reality he saw with Komaeda. The fact of how sick the other boy was made Hajime feel slightly nauseous. The way Hajime coped with things was usually just buckling down and riding through it… he didn’t know he could do that with Komaeda. 


After two hours of working, finally it was time for recess. He decided to join Saihara, who sat tucked away in one of the further corners of the school, a patch of sun on them. It was a small slab of concrete surrounded by a tiny patch of grass. Probably the only grass the school had. It was hard to come across a lot of grass in Japanese schools. Hajime found it funny when Americans complained over having only one grass oval to sit on. A Japanese school was lucky to even own a tree.


Sitting with Saihara for the first two periods of school was blissfully quiet, and now the loud and rambunctious Ouma joined them, grinning madly as he sat down

“Guess who else is joining us today lads,” Ouma said proudly, as another boy reluctantly followed behind.


“I’m honestly not surprised that you managed to convince me that this was an extraterrestrial rights group.” The newcomer chuckled “Hey Saihara. How’s it going?”


“I’m okay. Uh. This is Hinata-kun. He’s new” Saihara smiled awkwardly, pointing to Hajime


“Hi” Hajime said gruffly, going back to his recess. 


“The name’s Rantaro Amami. I normally hang out with Leon and Kiyo, but if you want I can sit here for today. I mean a new guy’s a new guy I guess. What school are you from?” Amami asked


“Hope’s Peak Reserve,” Hajime answered reluctantly. Amami raised his eyebrows


“Huh.” He replied, reaching into his bag and pulling out his snack, tucking a strand of his green hair behind a heavily pierced ear. Rantaro seemed like a pretty mysterious guy. 


God Hajime wished he had a voice like that though… so deep. Saihara looked like he felt the same, as he stayed awfully quiet for the rest of recess, clearing his throat once every few minutes, Amami occasionally making a comment or something


“Hey! Hey!” Ouma clicked his fingers in front of Hajime’s face “Wanna know something?”


Hajime was tempted to say no just to see what Ouma’s reaction would be, but he was sure it was going to be along the lines of exaggerated crying but still, sometimes Ouma came out with something worthwhile.


“Humour me.”


“Here’s your phone back” Ouma handed Hajime’s phone to him, no obvious damage done to it.


“Wh-what?” Hajime stuttered. He’d had it in his pocket! How had Ouma even..?


“He does that a lot.” Saihara groaned. “I have mine on a chain so he can’t get to it anymore. He kept guessing the passwords right. I recommend changing yours and checking if he hasn’t meddled with anything.”


“He once stole an earring off my ear” Amami added, “He did it to Leon too.”


“No fair!! You guys are painting me out to be some kind of bad guy! Waaaa!” Ouma started sobbing, crocodile tears spilling from his eyes. Everyone glared at him, none of them offering any pity whatsoever


“Alright that’s fair” Ouma shut up and opened a bottle of Fanta. 


Hajime took this time to check his messages. Surprisingly he saw one from Nanami 



9:45 AM FROM: Nanami 


Nanami: Hey Hinata-kun. I hope you have a good day at your new school today. I woke up rlly late because I accidentally spent the whole night playign Smash Bros tournament, sorry that i couldn’t get this to you earlier. :p 


Nanami: pls tell me how your day was and tell me when we can meet up next to play video games bc im gonna miss seeing u like every day 


It seemed as though Ouma hadn’t fiddled with that particular aspect of his life too much, but he hated to think what else was on there. His homescreen had been changed to a blurry photo of Ouma, which wasn’t a surprise. He’d gotten a few messages from Komaeda too. He scrolled up and to his dismay he saw the new name given to Komaeda’s contact


DIRECT MESSAGES WITH: Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


You: Hey ya little boytoy whats going on ahaha ( ͡°( ͡° ͜ʖ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ʖ ͡°) ͡°)


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): Who is this and what happened to hinata-kun?


You: Nonono im hinata i swear look im all serious and stuff and i have dumb hair and i looooooove youuuu come on ya little fluffy twink (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ uwu lets do kissy kissy mwah


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): I’m beginning to suspect that you have stolen my friend’s phone. Hinata-kun would never say anything like that to trash like me.


You: ya caught me (◕ω◕✿) all of my friends call me rat so we’d make a formidable duo! Me, as the dashing and handsome leader, and you, my servant. 


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): as entertaining as this conversation is, and as hope-filled you may be, I do want to talk to my friend so pls give his phone back. I hope this isn’t too much to ask from someone as great as you might be


You: okay party pooper but i’m only doing it because i know hinata-chan loveeeesss youuuu (●´ω`●)


You: oh my god.


You: I’m sorry lmao ouma took my phone


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): Ouma-kun? From the amusement park?

You: mm. Wild huh.


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): Indeed! I was just checking in that your school day is doing well… Hope (the bird) is doing well! We took her to the vet and she’d broken her wing slightly, but good news! We can take care of her until she’s better :) 


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): I can’t wait until u meet her she’s really cute and surprisingly friendly. She likes my hair a lot for some reason


You: thats because your hair is soft and warm. Birds like that kinda stuff right?


You: sorry i have to get going for class, see ya tonight 


Marshmallow boy ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°): see you hinata-kun! Have a lovely rest of your day!



“Ouma you’re a pain in the ass,” Hajime said, towering over the small boy, who simply grinned


“I take it as a compliment, Mr. Tsundere. Besides, it was pretty funny right?”


“I don’t care if it was funny. How did you type those emojis?”


The bell rang and Ouma put a finger to his lips, dashing off to his next class


“Don’t worry. He does the same to me. No one knows how he puts them in so fast.” Saihara sighed, showing him his own texts between Ouma, which were filled with copious amounts of emojis and flourishes to the text. 


The rest of the day went by fairly smoothly. Hajime got to meet some of Amami’s friends, both of which were… interesting, though Hajime couldn’t say he expected anything less from a guy that probably had more piercings than half of the school combined. Shinguuji (or as he insisted, Kiyo) was definitely the most interesting of the bunch, an eloquent and mysterious boy with long, flowing black hair. Leon was a really chilled out guy. Or well, that was the vibe Hajime was getting from the redhead. Honestly, Hajime knew he was totally out of his element here.


At lunch Hajime decided to scope out the rest of the school, too tired to deal with the likeness of Ouma again and walked past the library going in and taking a look at the manga on the shelf, picking some superhero one and boredly flicking through the pages. Some kid who had no talent or superpower suddenly gets one. Hajime admittedly wished that were him. That he could prove to the people around him (and to himself) that he could be something other than a burden.


Admittedly, Hajime just looked forward until he got home to see Komaeda again. He was utterly wrecked by the end of the day, his pent up anxieties from the day throwing themselves on him in the bus ride home. 


He looked at the photo that Komaeda had sent of the bird earlier and smiled, some of his troubles lifting away as he thought of his friend.



Chapter Text

Nagito’s day, even without Hinata, had managed to keep itself eventful. He knew he was going to be very tired that night, as he’d done a fair amount during the day. 

 

Finding the bird was definitely the highlight of it, the sparrow now sitting tucked up in a shoebox next to him, surrounded by soft material that Ichika had in storage. She was asleep which was good. He should probably do the same, the small yet still identifiable ache returning to his body, his wrists burning ever so slightly in a beg for him to rest. He knew that the bird probably wasn’t going to wake, so he put the lid over the shoebox, placed it on the floor beside his makeshift bed, and tucked himself up in the covers.


He hoped Hinata’s day had been alright. He feared that the spiky-haired boy kept a lot of his emotions from Nagito. Maybe his friend thought that his problems were insurmountable compared to those of the people around him. While this wasn’t true, Nagito truly wanted to know so much more about his friend. About the person he loves. 

 

It had saddened him slightly earlier in the day when Ouma had texted him posing as Hinata, saying the words he so wanted to hear from his friend. Those selfish four words- “I love you too”

 

He knew that it never would happen. He almost wished it didn’t in a way. Hinata, stooping as low as Nagito… he deserved far better, no matter what his friend kept trying to say- Nagito was a good person, that he did deserve love. Maybe he did deserve love, but the worst kind. Not the pure, kind love that Nagito knew Hinata was capable of.

 

He felt his consciousness slowly start to fade from him and he tumbled into sleep, melancholy seeping through his mind into his dreams.

 

“I’m home!” Someone’s voice shook Nagito from his sleep, almost leaping out of bed upon realizing who it was. Hinata! He was home! A smile instantly lit up his face, stretching and getting out of bed, picking up Hope’s shoebox to show the other boy.

 

“Hinata-kun!” Nagito piped as he saw his friend. Hinata looked tired, his eyes lacking the light they normally did, though he didn’t seem sad, so Nagito was happy. Hinata grinned as he saw what he was carrying

 

“Is that the bird?” Hinata asked, crossing the room to Nagito, lifting the lid of the shoebox. A small chirp signaled that Hope was very much awake, the boy’s eyes sparkling

 

“You can touch her if you want, just make sure to keep away from her wing” Nagito explained, picking the bird up very carefully and holding her in his palms.

 

“Oh my god…” Hinata lightly stroked the top of the sparrow’s head, his eyes wide. 

 

Nagito was glad that Hinata was one of the few people that didn’t question the bandages on his wrists. Maybe he did, but he was polite enough to not make light of it. Nagito even noticed that his friend was careful to not touch any areas that were bandaged while he petted the bird.

 

“Can I hold her? Wait… she is a girl right?” Hinata gave a concerned glance to the bird.

 

“Well, the vet told us she’s a young female so I would assume that, unless this sparrow has made different life choices, haha- though I don’t know if sparrows have such a conscience. Could they? Who knows,” Nagito rambled, “But yes, you can hold her. She’s probably in far better hands than mine with you” his face heating up as Hinata made brief contact with him while slowly lifting Hope out of his cupped hands.

 

“Mm,” Hinata said, turning his gaze to the feathery ball he now held.

 

Had Nagito said something wrong? He wouldn’t be surprised if he had. If he had a dollar for every time he screwed up a conversation he’d be one of the richest people alive. He felt himself inwardly chuckle at this. 

 

Without knowing what to do with the shoe box, Nagito placed it on the bench.

 

“I wasn’t expecting them to be so light…” Hinata commented, lifting the bird up to his eye level as it snuggled into his palms.


“Nor was I really, but still… the hope that its life could bring… such a small creature could make such a difference. Your mom was so happy when she found it. The hope that I saw in Ichika-san’s eyes was truly beautiful. It’s the same hope that I see in your eyes now, Hinata-kun” Nagito smiled, sitting down on the sofa. 

 

“Yeah, I guess. I’m really glad that it made mom happy” Hinata sat down next to Nagito, sighing

 

“Ah! I forgot to ask, how was school today? Ichika-san is sleeping right now, so if you want to discuss it at dinner tonight instead then please do.”

 

Hinata seemed to ponder this, and then let out a deep breath, his chest rising and falling dramatically, blinking slowly

 

“Honestly, it was fine. I ran into Saihara and he’s a nice guy so I hung out with him. Met a guy named Amami. He reminded me a bit of you for some reason. Very chill guy.” 

 

“That’s good! I’m glad you’re making new friends!” Nagito smiled. 

 

Admittedly, every name mentioned was more like a miniature stab in the gut. Five days a week, Hinata would spend time with people trillions of times better than him. He felt his wrists throb slightly and Nagito closed his eyes for a second. Not long enough to make Hinata in any way concerned, but Nagito didn’t want to be replaced. Not now… not yet. He took a deep breath. It would only be beneficial for Hinata. If he got new friends, he would be able to distance himself enough from Nagito so that it wouldn’t hurt him too much when Nagito would eventually have to leave. Leave and never, ever see him again. 

 

It was good! It was good Hinata was getting new friends! He could spread his hope to so many new people! Hinata could do what Nagito never could. What a fool Nagito was to believe that his friend was merely a reserve course student wannabe. Hopefully, Hinata could fall in love, fall in love and forget Nagito even existed!

 

Deep down, Nagito knew that he didn’t wish for that, but the other version of that made him hate himself so deeply he wouldn’t know what to do with himself, so he repeated it over and over, solidifying it as his truth, burying his other desires deep inside his own lies to himself. He wouldn’t be able to cope if he didn’t. This would prove that he might be more than trash. To not do the selfish thing. To do the right thing.

 

He needed to use whatever time he had left to know this amazing person he was now sitting directly next to. To the person he now stayed with. The person he now loved more than anyone else.

 

“Hinata-kun! May I ask a question?” Nagito inquired. Hinata raised his eyebrows

 

“You don’t need to ask for a question, but sure. Go ahead,” Hinata used the back of his thumb to lightly scratch under the sparrows neck.

 

“What was your childhood like? You know a lot about how mine was, so please bless me with how yours went” Nagito’s eyes were wide, guilty that he even allowed himself this question

 

Hinata froze up slightly. It was barely recognisable, but Nagito noticed, and was prepared to backtrack when Hinata began to talk

 

“There wasn’t much to complain about, really, but I didn’t have the best time.” Hinata replied gruffly, his voice implying that he didn’t want this to be pressed. 

 

Nagito noticed the lack of childhood photos around the house, the only one of a baby Hajime in his room (which was extremely cute, but didn’t exactly give away any details to his life.) Why was there such little evidence to Hinata even existing from before around a year and a half ago? He didn’t know.

 

Nagito wondered if anything in his childhood had led Hinata to being so blunt with everything he says. Nagito guessed it was probably how he was raised, but there seemed to be something more to it that he couldn’t quite discern. A missing puzzle piece to the picture of Hajime Hinata.

 

“I know I’m probably not the best person to say this, Hinata-kun, but I’m always here if you want to talk about anything at all! In fact, to be blessed with your conversation anytime makes trash like me feel like… well. Like I’m not trash.” Nagito felt his hands gravitate towards each other, fiddling with his own fingers

 

“Same goes for you.” Hinata said, a smile finally growing onto his face “You’re a good guy, Komaeda”

 

Nagito wished he could say everything that he thought was more than good about Hinata. How amazing he thought his strength was, how beautiful his eyes were, how incredible he found his kindness. Nagito felt as though he could speak for hours on how great he felt his friend to be. How much he didn’t deserve that friend, too, but he knew Hinata probably wouldn’t like it if he said that. Hinata was more than good, if that’s what Nagito was. Hinata was what made him feel like he was whole, that he wasn’t the empty shell he’d previously thought he had been stuck as, his entire consciousness plagued with hope and despair. 

 

Nagito felt his body wanting to laugh. Nagito didn’t cry when he was sad. Nor did he laugh when he was happy. All of his emotional responses were wrong. He knew that. He found it hard to stop scratching that same place in his arm, a new behaviour that had just surfaced. He knew his muscles were getting weaker. Many of the things that were happening to him, he knew he didn’t even notice were occurring. It made him sad. Sad to know he was sick in so many ways. Sad to know that if one cured itself, the other would only remain. Sad to think of all of the missed experiences. Sad to think that he would be forgotten so quickly.

 

“Hey… Komaeda?” Hinata asked softly. “Are you okay?”

 

For once, Nagito felt as though it was okay for him to not be.

 

“No.” Nagito shrugged. “But, please don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine”

 

Normally Nagito knew he would be, but in this case he wasn’t so sure.

 

“Hey Hinata-kun… I’m sorry to ask this of you, but could I hug you?” Nagito felt the words come out of his mouth before he had any time to even think this through

 

“Hugs have really become my thing haven’t they?” Hinata smiled, “Also, sure. It was on me the other times but I guess you’ve earned some hug credit. Lemme just put Hope back in the shoebox” 

 

After Hinata gently laid the sparrow in the shoebox (she chattered quite unhappily at this, loving the warmth of Hinata’s hands) he put an arm around Nagito’s shoulders, holding him close to his body to the point where Nagito could feel his warmth. Nagito felt himself wanting to laugh, but tried to hold it in, all that came out being a few shallow coughs

 

“I know you want to cry. It’s okay. I know what it means now” Hinata held Nagito slightly closer, Nagito nodding and burying his face into the nook of Hinata’s neck, his breathing evening out

 

“Hinata-kun… I want to tell you something but I don’t know if I want the answer yet.” Nagito said softly after a few minutes

 

“Me too. I just don’t know how to say it. I guess we’re in the same boat” Hajime huffed a short laugh.

 

“Can you tell me more about yourself, please?” Nagito asked. He craved to learn more about him. He needed to know more

 

“Uh… well. I like pebble beaches, and skipping stones. I like going to new places, but I don’t like aeroplanes or airports too much so I probably prefer road trips. Do you like travelling, Komaeda?” Hinata asked

 

“It depends.” Nagito said. He would happily travel anywhere with Hinata. He would see the whole world with him, go to every continent, and see everything there was to see. Though, Nagito hadn’t really travelled too often as a child. His luck came too heavily into play for his parents wanting to risk it. The only place that he’d really been other than his home was school, the hospital, and to various shopping malls, but even then, it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence for during the holidays Nagito would never leave the house, almost as though he was quarantined behind his four walls. “I didn’t get out much”

 

“Heh… I can kind of tell. No offence.” Hinata said sheepishly

 

“None taken!” Nagito quipped, “I switched to being taught from home the first year of middle school so I really don’t have much of a clue what’s relevant or not, aha”

 

“I really don’t think many of us do, to be honest,” Hinata frowned, in thought. “Y’know, it’s kind of weird if you think about it.” 

 

“Hm?”

 

“Well, we’ve really only properly been friends for a few days, right? I mean we’ve known each other for a month or so, but it feels like I’ve been friends with you for years. You know what I mean?” 

 

“I guess I do… though I really wouldn’t know, as I really don’t think I’ve had someone close to me in the way you are.” Nagito mused, making sure to be extremely selective with his words. He wasn’t lying, so it meant that he was still okay with what he was saying. He guessed he hadn’t truly had a friend. Most of the time people preferred to not have him around. He got why- he naturally repelled people because they happened to not see eye to eye with him on most things. They didn’t get how much hope and despair truly meant in the long run really, so they ignored him. They locked him out and swallowed the key in front of him. He guessed even his parents had done that to him. Naturally being a disappointment compared to their wonderful niece would definitely have led to their expectations of their son to inevitably be let down.

 

For some reason, when he was with Hinata he didn’t feel like as much of a burden. Or that he was letting down anyone’s expectations but his own. While Hinata may be blunt, it made it painstakingly obvious what the other boy actually thought of him, which was something that he took great comfort in. That and the fact that Hinata didn’t offer pity and instead just kept charging on. Even Ichika seemed to find him tolerable, though he guessed that ‘endearing’ was probably the more correct term of how she perceived him.

 

“The only other proper friend I’ve probably had, other than you, would be Nanami, and you know how that went.” Hinata sighed, Nagito picking up the ‘so awkward’ muttered under his breath afterwards. 

 

“Haha… yeah.” Nagito laughed, though even he could sense the very slight edge to his tone as he said that. He feared the very same could happen to him. That his one and only friendship would be sabotaged by these stupid, uncontrollable feelings that seemingly only he had.

 

The rest of the evening passed fairly smoothly, though Nagito couldn’t help the slight pang in his chest every time Hinata entered his view. He knew it wasn’t jealousy… just melancholy at the knowledge that his unrequited feelings will always remain so, and that he could never deserve 

 

Ichika woke up as the two were preparing dinner, and she came in to help, offering her expert advice on how to actually cook, as Nagito really could only prepare two or so meals. She took the wheels and told them to sit down, happy to 

 

“Hinata-kun, when is your father going to be back?” Nagito asked. He didn’t feel like Hinata’s father liked him that much, which was understandable, but he noticed that Hinata felt naturally intimidated by the man, and Nagito didn’t want his friend to be uncomfortable.

 

“Tonight, probably. Why do you ask?” Hinata cocked his head slightly to the side, switching on the television

 

“No reason, really. I just don’t know what he’ll think of the bird.” Nagito mused. 

 

“Ah… yeah. That is a good point.” Hinata furrowed his brows “Eh. He’ll just have to deal with it.”

 

They sat in amicable silence as the television played some western house hunters show. Nagito’s english was good enough to understand it, but there were subtitles anyway, which Nagito found great pleasure in seeing the little mistranslations in.

 

The pair that they were watching had a budget of two million US dollars, a mighty sum, though they both worked very humble jobs. One was a ‘professional dog walker’ which had gotten a chuckle out of Hinata. Nagito wondered how they got that kind of money, though the chances were that they’d gotten lucky around some point in the stock market and made all of that.

 

If Nagito lived long enough he would probably like some kind of job like that. Just keeping all of his finances in the stock market until he got lucky enough and scored big time. And then he could use his money to make the people around him happy. Especially Hinata, if he even chooses to be with him for so long. Nagito doubted it.

 

Maybe in another universe, or another life, he gets his selfish fairytale ending with the one he loves. Maybe, in some other life they get to watch the sunset together, hand in hand. 

 

Lost in his thoughts and fantasies, Nagito almost missed the calls for dinner. Hinata had to poke his shoulder to get his attention

 

Hinata’s father came home just before they were about to sit down, his tired eyes flicking over to Nagito, and then the small chirping shoebox, shrugged and sat down.

 

Dinner was nice, though Nagito just blanked it out, he felt his hand gravitate to that spot in his arm, unconsciously itching something that wasn’t there. He needed sleep. The Hinatas made conversation with one another and Nagito offered his own comments every so often, but he felt like he was intruding on something he shouldn’t. He didn’t belong here. He didn’t deserve to be here. He was an outsider in every aspect. 

 

He didn’t really notice any detail that occurred, and finally, after dinner, Hinata and Nagito were excused and sent up to their room.

 

“Hey.” Hinata said, as Nagito blankly stared at the wall, shaking him out of his spell

 

“Yes? Sorry, I’m a bit out of it, haha. I hope trash like me didn’t ruin your night” Nagito willed himself to smile, knowing it didn’t reach his tired eyes.

 

“Nevermind… See you in the morning.” Hinata offered him a matching smile, his green eyes saying something different. Something that Nagito couldn’t read

 

Nagito knew that both of them took a very long time to get to sleep. Both of them were holding something in, and neither of them knew what the other was. 

 

The next few days had a similar tone, and Nagito felt that things hurt slightly less when Hinata was at school. When he came home, Nagito felt the weight of his feelings constantly on him, knowing he was far too selfish and far too much of a coward to say anything about. His friend texted him often during the day, occasionally getting a string of over the top messages from Ouma. Though he admitted that he was lonely. He wished to see his friend more, but these last few days had both of them on some kind of edge, both of their unspoken secrets held to their chests, each of them too afraid to lay them out to the other.

 

Nagito would always accept Hinata, no matter what the other boy would say, but Nagito had a nagging suspicion that in the past others had not, leaving his friend so very vulnerable to speaking about what truly hurt him.

 

He had the bird to take care of, at least, and Ichika to keep him company during those long hours during the day. Three days later, Ichika and him were alone outside, Nagito holding birdseed out to the little critter as she pecked at his hand lightly.

 

“Nagito, you haven’t been your chipper self over these past few days, what’s up, kid?” Ichika asked, using her weeding tool to pluck out garden pests.

 

“Ichika-san, please, a hope-filled person such as yourself should not be worried about someone like me” Nagito said wistfully, using the back of his thumb to lightly stroke Hope’s back

 

“I know you don’t think that highly of yourself, but you mean a lot to my son, so please don’t get it in your head that he thinks that of you, because I know my kid and he really likes you.” Ichika replied matter of factly.

 

“Sometimes I wish he didn’t.” Nagito muttered, under his breath. Ichika raised an eyebrow

 

“Why is that?” She asked, obviously hearing. Ichika had taken to wearing hats a lot more, and Nagito knew why. He had gotten lucky that his chemotherapy hadn’t caused his hair to fall out, but it happened with a lot of patients. Nagito still thought that the other patients who had that happen to them were still beautiful. Of course they were, they had enough hope inside of them to last them through. The fact that they were still alive was a testament to that. 

 

“Ichika-san, while I know you will recover from your ailments, I won’t. I’m just here as a burden until I inevitably meet my end. I don’t want to hurt Hinata-kun… I would never ever want to hurt him, so me being here is just my own selfishness taking over. I’m not worth his kindness, nor am I worth yours.” Nagito laid down the birdseed next to Hope and his fingers found the now red raw patch of skin on his arm. 

 

“That’s not true Nagito, and you know it. Hajime told me you’d pay for my hospital bills in their fullest, out of your own pocket. He told me you were very insistent on that, by the way. You’ve made my son so happy. I know you’ll make it through, just like me.” Ichika put a hand on Nagito’s shoulder. Nagito felt his eyes tear up. This time, it wasn’t happiness that he was crying out of. This was true despair that he felt, welling up inside of him and engulfing him. He didn’t mind dying. Or he hadn’t. Now he wanted to live forever. Live as long as he possibly could with Hinata. Shallow sobs echoed from his chest, his whole body letting out a great shuddering sigh. 

 

He’d needed this. He hadn’t truly cried in months. Nagito tucked himself into a ball, burying his face in his hands

 

“I don’t want to die, Ichika-san.” Nagito said softly. “I want to live with you and Hinata-kun.”

 

“I understand.” Ichika tried. Nagito didn’t think she did, but he knew she couldn’t say much to that statement. “Hajime’s home, by the way. Go talk with him.”

 

Nagito looked up from his knees and saw a concerned looking Hinata walking up the short driveway. His hair was in the same state it always was, spiked up at the top in a way that almost made it comical.

 

“Are you okay?” Hinata asked, his voice oozing with worry, the sincerity to that voice like a knife to the heart.

 

“No… but I’m glad you’re home Hinata-kun… could we talk?” Nagito got up, leaving the bird with Ichika. He knew she would take care of her well. 

 

“I was going to ask the same thing,” Hinata said sheepishly, following Nagito into the house and up to their room, sitting down on the bed together. While it was Spring, the afternoons were still short, and it was only four-thirty, yet the sky was already bleeding orange.

 

“It’s been weird these past few days.” Hinata murmured. 

 

“Yeah. Sorry.” Nagito felt his eyes drift to the floor

 

“It’s not your fault. Also I bought you this. Don’t act like I haven’t noticed you scratching yourself. I’ve been really worried about you, dude.” Hinata handed over a small cube. “And I swear to god, if you say ‘I don’t deserve this’ I used the money you gave me, so you can’t complain.” 

 

“T-thank you.” Nagito stuttered, wiping his eyes and biting his tongue so as to not say those self deprecating words “What is it, if you don’t mind me asking…?” 

 

“It’s a fidget cube. I have one too, but they always help when I’m feeling really twitchy. It clicks when you press it.” Hinata reached into his bag and presented a second, different coloured cube that looked a lot more well used.

 

“I… thank you so much.” Nagito felt himself heat up in shame that Hinata noticed the tick. He’d tried to not let him see it. To make the one person he truly cares about worry… he was awful. 

 

“Don’t feel guilty either. From here on out, I’m making some rules, okay?” Hinata said bluntly

 

“Ah… okay” Nagito warbled as Hinata cleared his throat

 

“Rule number one. Don’t fucking hurt yourself any more. That’s my biggest rule, alright?” Hinata’s voice was bordering angry, though it was more stern than anything. Nagito felt himself withdraw his arms to his chest, backing away, the scars on his wrists burning as though they’d been reopened.

 

“You’re in pain. I know that. But please, just tell me instead. You’re not a burden. Not to me.” Hinata said, his voice becoming soft “That’s rule number two. Be honest, please?” 

 

“Ah.” Nagito’s breathing was shaky.

 

“Rule three. I’m not a god, I’m not flawless, please stop acting like I am and you’re not.” Hinata said. There was another layer to that Nagito couldn’t quite decipher. Hinata was that to him, that was the thing. How could Nagito just stop?

 

Nagito nodded slowly, however.

“Good. Now that’s out of the way, come on in.” Hinata opened his arms

 

“Huh?”

 

“It’s a hug. I’ve missed you a lot over these past few days. It’s like you haven’t been totally here- though nor have I really. Sorry.”

 

Nagito hesitantly wrapped himself into Hinata’s open arms, his body warm. 

 

“I love your hugs” Nagito muttered, snuggling in further. Hinata huffed a short laugh, 

 

“You’re not bad at them yourself.” Hinata commented.

 

They stayed in silence for a bit. Hinata’s body was so warm. Nagito was known for being notoriously cold, so being able to feel someone else’s heat next to his own very minimal amount made him feel safe. Being hugged made him feel like he wasn’t alone, the gift of having someone else’s presence so close such a comforting thing to have. It made it a million times better to know that the person he was next to was one that he cared about.

 

He forgot that the warm feeling that he felt was why he felt all of that pain in the first place. That the despair wasn’t for nothing. Did Hinata even have to feel the same way to have this feeling. This elation at anything he does? Finally, that feeling that had plagued him over the past few days evaporated, the heaviness on his shoulders lifting. In moments like these, Nagito forgot everything else and only felt that warmth. After what felt like an eternity or a few seconds- Nagito didn’t know, but it certainly wasn’t long enough, Hinata let go, leaning back into the bed.

 

“What are we Nagito?” Hinata asked as Nagito lay down next to him.

 

“How do you mean?” 

 

“What is this? I mean. I don’t think friends normally do this kind of stuff.” Hinata gestured to the fact that they were very much lying together in the same bed. 

 

“Aha… well. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t had a friend before” Nagito laughed softly, a small pang in his heart came at the connotations of what Hinata was trying to say

 

“True.” Hinata said, sighing. 

 

They lay there for some time, until Nagito fell asleep. This in itself wasn’t a surprise, but whenever Hinata was nearby, Nagito always slept better. In the past week he’d been staying at his friend’s house, he hadn’t woken up with chills and night sweats so far. He hadn’t had the usual nightmares that plagued him.

 

When Nagito had fallen asleep next to his friend in the past, it was usually because of fatigue, not because he actually wanted to. But now, he had a choice, kind of. It was warm. 

 

Nagito had no idea how long he was asleep, but he didn’t really care if it was five minutes or five hours.

 

“Nagito… Hey. Wake up” Hinata’s voice sounded through his dreaming. Nagito noted that his friend was tending to use his first name a lot more often, which made him feel nice. Being called by your first name felt as though they’d met a certain level of intimacy between each other.

 

“Huh?” Nagito groaned, sitting up

 

“It’s dinner.” Hinata stated. Oh. That’s why. He wiped his eyes, noticing that Hinata had probably been next to him the entire time, his friend’s hair looking a lot more bedhead than usual. He smiled, and so did Nagito

 

Hinata let Nagito out of the room and got changed into some more suitable clothes, because he’d slept in his school uniform, which Nagito was sure wasn’t comfortable. 

 

The spiky haired boy emerged with a loose hoodie and sweatpants- his pyjamas, really- and the two went downstairs. Hinata’s father had brought home sushi and had served it onto the plates.

 

“I have no idea what you two do in your room, Hajime. I better not have to enforce the ten centimetre rule like I did with Nanami.” Hinata’s father sighed, looking at the two boys, who both probably looked pretty scruffy. Hinata scowled, his ears red.


“What did you do Taisei when you had friends over?” Ichika said “Oh. That’s right. I was your friend. Remember the ten centimetre rule with us?” 

 

Hinata’s father shut up after that, eating his sushi very quietly.

 

As Hinata’s parents had brought and prepared them dinner, they worked together to clean everything up. The energy between them had finally returned, the tension that had been present was cut. That feeling had returned. That hope.

 

Ichika gave him a smile from the living room, a wink accompanying it when Hinata wasn’t looking.

Once they’d finished, they made their way back up to Hinata’s room.

 

“Oi Komaeda. Wanna watch something? I have Netflix on my computer so we could watch a movie together” Hinata suggested, pulling out his laptop and climbing into his bed, gesturing for Nagito to join him.

 

“It would be a blessing to spend more time with you Hinata-kun!” Nagito smiled widely, his face full of genuine emotion, sitting down next to his friend.

 

Hinata picked out a random western movie and turned out the lights, the two illuminated only by the computer screen. Nagito dared to lean his head lightly on the other boy’s shoulder, Hinata not seeming to notice it.

 

Once the movie had finished, Nagito made a move to go to his own bed. Hesitantly, obviously. He didn’t want to leave. 

 

“Hey, Hinata-kun.” Nagito said softly.

 

“Mm?”

 

“I don’t know how much this means, coming from me, but with me, I will always accept you.” Nagito smiled. He didn’t need to know Hinata’s whole life story, but he wanted Hinata to know that. To know that if the entire world was against him Nagito would always be there for him. He needed to say this. He needed to finally get it out.

 

“Thanks. A bit out of the blue there, but the same goes for you”

 

“Which is why I think I can finally say it.” Nagito took a deep breath in, trying to stop his hands from shaking. He had to say it, he had to. Otherwise this feeling would just relapse and hurt him again. If he got rejected, at least he would know, and not be plagued with this uncertainty. That he’d be able to pass on having said his piece. 

 

Hinata looked mildly concerned but he didn’t say anything as Nagito readied himself.

 

Finally, he let his breath go, and said those words, not caring anymore about the answer that he would receive.

 

“From the bottom of my heart, I am truly in love with you, and the hope that sleep inside of you.” 

Chapter Text

“From the bottom of my heart, I am truly in love with you, and the hope that sleep inside of you.” 

 

How was Hajime supposed to reply to that?! My god! Komaeda’s face was full of sincerity and his eyes were wide. Hajime thought he would say something really sad, like he usually did… but a confession? He… loved him? Was that even possible? Komaeda didn’t even know about that yet. How could he possibly even feel that way? Hajime was filled with confusion. 

 

“Ah.” Hajime said stupidly, too dumbfounded to conjure up an actual response.

 

Komaeda’s face fell and Hajime felt himself inwardly cringe, the other boy’s hair framing his now crestfallen face.

 

“I understand. Ahaha. I expected as such. Thank you for at least being clear. I’ll pack my stuff now!” Komaeda brightened up, smiling “I just had to be honest with you. Apologies.”

 

“N-no! I didn’t mean it like that. Stay here. I-” Hajime froze. What did he feel? Wasn’t everything going a bit too fast? He knew he definitely liked Komaeda but… love? 

 

Whenever he was around Komaeda he always felt a lot happier, and calmer. He felt like he didn’t have to explain himself or tell him his entire life story. Around Komaeda he felt like it was okay to be himself. He guessed he loved that. He loved Komaeda’s smile and his hair and how he was trying so hard to be better. Huh. Maybe it was that simple. Maybe he did love the other boy. Was that okay? 

 

“I love you too, Nagito. Please, don’t leave.” Hajime felt himself say, sliding off his bed and onto Komaeda’s mattress, looking the other boy eye to eye, hazel into gray

 

“Wh-What?” Komaeda blinked “How?”

 

“I’m telling the truth. I do love you… though I guess I didn’t acknowledge it until now.” Hajime scratched the back of his neck nervously.

 

“How though? How could I possibly be loved by the likes of you?” Komaeda’s eyes began to sparkle, his face reddening. “Hajime… I’d just hurt you. I’m nothing but bad luck. A burden. A piece of-”

 

“Shut up. That’s wrong.” Hajime growled “As I’ve said time and time again, you have brought me nothing but happiness. Do you know how much you mean to me? Before I met you I had basically no-one. I was alone. Even when I saw you in the hospital those few times… every time we spoke, I felt slightly less alone.”

 

“Aha… oh. It seems I’m quite the fool.” Komaeda sniffed, his face blotchy, tears trying to make their way down his face. “I… I don’t know why you even would consider thinking that.” 

 

“Because it’s true. ” Hajime insisted, putting his fingers up to Komaeda’s face, trying to wipe away those tears. “Honestly, I don’t understand why you like me so much either.”

 

Komaeda laughed at that, as if it was a joke, leaning into the touch, reaching his hands to Hajime’s and hesitantly placing his own in them, bringing his hands away from his cheek. 

 

Hajime now realised how pale the other boy was and how slender his hands were. In all of the other times they had made contact with each other, it was usually unconsciously made or accidental, but now it was on purpose it felt strangely intimate. He definitely didn’t dislike it. The romanticism of the moment pulling him away on a cloud of ecstasy.

 

Hajime felt an easy smile come to his lips. Strangely, this was probably the most at peace with himself Hajime had ever felt. Hand in hand, with a person he had mutual feelings for. A person who Hajime knew would accept him for who he was, and a person who Hajime accepted for who they were. 

 

Maybe, just maybe, they could be happy like this for a while. 

 

“Nagito. Is it alright that I call you that from now on?” Hajime eventually asked, breaking the comfortable silence

 

“That would be nice… thank you. Ah.. May I call you Hajime?” Komaeda said softly, lying back into the mattress, Hajime nodding. First names… such a small and intimate way of saying ‘I really care about this person.’ 

 

“Also, my bed is probably more comfortable.” Hajime suggested, tilting his head to his much larger sleeping space. 

 

“Huh?” Komaeda startled “Sleeping… together?”

 

“I mean, we technically already have.” Hajime said, his face heating up. He really hoped Komaeda realised he meant it in the least sexual way possible. 

 

Komaeda seemed to consider it for a second, frowned slightly then his face lit up. “It would be the highest honor to share a bed with someone as amazing as you!”

 

“Don’t say that too loud!” Hajime hissed “If my parents hear they’ll think we’re doing… y’know… stuff.” 

 

Komaeda giggled, saying something like ‘ten centimetre rule’ then shutting up at Hajime’s following glare.

 

Hajime climbed into bed, pulling Komaeda along with him, who didn’t protest. He then proceeded to pull the blanket over them, facing up at the roof.

 

The white-haired boy snuggled in slightly, probably huddling closer to Hajime’s heat, his hand finding Hajime’s own, their fingers interlocking.

 

It only really just registered to Hajime what he was really doing and the implications of such. Komaeda didn’t know. He didn’t know that Hajime had not been born a boy. He didn’t know that no matter what he did there would be no erasing such a fact. Since he’d gotten that surgery, everything had been slightly more bearable, but even so, he didn’t want to be thought of as some victim or anything if he told Komaeda about all of that particular part of his life. Hajime didn’t really like talking or thinking about it much, but he felt like it would be unfair to leave the other boy without that part of him, as much as it would suck for him to bring it up. 

 

The spiky haired boy let out a sigh. He could deal with that later. He just wanted to enjoy this moment while it lasted. This calm, warm, tender moment. 

 

His mind wandered across the time he’d spent with Komaeda. What would they call each other now? Friends seemed like a vast underestimation. 

 

Could he go on dates? Could he go around and hold hands like it was normal? Was that how relationships worked? He really only had anime to go off, and he knew that definitely wasn’t a good measure of how stuff worked.

 

Hajime can’t remember when he fell asleep but it definitely happened, because the next thing he heard was his alarm. He reached over to turn it off and found an obstacle in his way.

 

Oh. That’s right

 

“Uh. Nagito. I need to get ready for school.” Hajime slightly rustled the other boy, gently putting his hand on his shoulder

 

“Hm? Ah! Hajime!” Komaeda’s eyes flew open, looking around “Wait… was that not a dream?”

 

“Nope.” Hajime said, “You can stay in bed after I get up but I need to go to school.” 

 

Hajime checked his phone for the time and date to see if he got any messages and what subjects he had on that day, along with turning off the rather persistent alarm

 

April 26th… six thirty in the morning. Hajime thanked himself for not oversleeping his alarm

 

“Wait a minute. Nagito- when is your birthday?” Hajime asked after clambering over the other boy carefully. He could swear he’d said it was soon

 

“April twenty-eighth… but really. It’s not that important” Komaeda laughed softly. 

 

“What?! That’s in two days!” Hajime exclaimed

 

“I don’t normally celebrate my birthday,” Komaeda shrugged. Hajime was going to make that particular fact change, if Komaeda was okay with it.

 

It was a Friday that day, so Komaeda’s birthday would be on a Sunday. Hajime still had time to plan something. 

 

Hajime went around his room and gathered the clothes he’d need for the day, grabbing his textbooks and putting them in his bag, fully aware that Komaeda was watching his every move. He didn’t mind the presence of those non-judgemental eyes. Hajime knew that his only intent was out of interest than out of anything ill. 

 

He needed to get dressed, and the bathroom had far too many mirrors for his liking (one, but still, far too many) so he reluctantly made Komaeda go downstairs, apologising as he shut the door

 

Taking a deep breath, Hajime did his usual routine of getting dressed in the dark, once done opening the blinds, his room being flooded with the early morning light

 

His house wasn’t in a spectacular area, but you could at least see the sky. In the not-so-far away distance, Hajime could see the tips of skyscrapers rising up out of the ground. Rows and rows of almost identical houses littered the landscape around him, the urban sprawl spreading further than his eyes could see. To think that in each one of those houses, everyone was experiencing a different story, a different life. It amazed Hajime that he was here, right now, at this very moment.

 

Suddenly Hajime felt very lucky that he’d met Komaeda. It had been by chance. Komaeda hated his luck, and Hajime kind of got that, but at the same time, without it he wouldn’t be here now with him. To think if he hadn’t got the wrong room number he never would have had any of this. It prompted a short laugh. To think he’d been so irked over that… he wouldn’t change it for the world now.

 

He exhaled, springing out of his room, practically bouncing down the stairs

 

“Ah! Hajime! You’re spriteful!” Komaeda piped, his mouth full of cornflakes

 

“I guess I’m just in a good mood today.” Hajime smiled. His mom wasn’t up yet, but he still had half an hour before he had to leave, so he joined Komaeda at the table after grabbing a quick breakfast

 

“So different from your usual tsundere-ness!” Komaeda laughed, his eyes sparkling with mischief. Hajime scowled, which just made Komaeda snigger harder. 

 

Hajime liked seeing Komaeda happy a lot. It was a really pretty sight. Komaeda was a really pretty person, really. A different kind of pretty than Nanami’s softness, but equally so. 

 

One thing he was surprised about is how Komaeda managed to get his ass to confessing before Hajime did. He’d been planning to voice how he felt in a few days but really, he was kind of glad that Komaeda got to it first, because Hajime had a funny feeling that even if he hadn’t felt the same way he would have pretended he did because he was so self sacrificing. 

 

“I’m going to miss you even more today, Hajime,” Komaeda pouted. “To even think that someone as amazing as you even considered being with someone like me… wow.”

 

“Just text me.” Hajime said, ignoring the second comment “I’ll try to be online for most of the day.”


“Okay!” 

 

“Also. You’re pretty great too, you know” Hajime added. “Alright, see ya. Tell mom I said hi.”

 

Komaeda nodded. Hajime didn’t want to admit it, but he also really badly wanted to spend the day with Komaeda too. They really needed to work out what they were now. Was Komaeda his… guy friend? Boyfriend? The term even sounded weird in his head, especially because he hadn’t even had a girlfriend yet. They hadn’t even really gone on a date yet. Well, not officially. They definitely had done a lot together as friends. 

 

Hajime pondered what he should do for Komaeda’s birthday on the bus, zoning out pretty hard. He knew he probably wouldn’t like presents, so the best course of action would be to do something together. Maybe Hajime could ask Komaeda on a date… though Hajime wasn’t sure what he’d actually do. 

 

“Good morning, Hinata-kun” Saihara’s soft voice sounded and Hajime shook himself out of his spell, trying to not think about Komaeda for more than two seconds.

 

“Hey Saihara,” Hajime replied, shifting over in his seat to accommodate for the ravenette, “how’s it going?”

 

“Ah… well I’m in a little bit of a crisis, honestly” Saihara muttered, glancing back to his phone

 

“Is it Ouma related?” Hajime asked. Saihara nodded sullenly, sighing

 

“What happened?” 

 

“He asked me out yesterday, and Ouma-kun, being Ouma-kun, I wasn’t sure if he was lying or not, so I wound myself into knots trying to work it out.” Saihara glanced at the floor miserably. Another funny coincidence…  

 

“Didn’t you say that Ouma is actually not a bad guy? He wouldn’t pay with your feelings like that, right?” Hajime asked

 

“I… I don’t really know. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I did something wrong. I don’t know.” Saihara said sadly, pulling his cap further down over his eyes, his leg bouncing anxiously

 

“Did Momota have anything to say on it? You two are good friends right?” Hajime inquired. 

 

Over the past few days he’d met and become acquaintances with Kaito Momota, a very positive and upbeat guy, who was like a team captain. The only thing that put him off to speaking with him was the terrifying Maki Harukawa, who Momota was constantly doting over. Another fantastic coincidence was that she worked at the arcade, and he definitely pissed her off there, so he actively avoided her. They’d met eyes at one point and Hajime was certain she was actually trying to kill him using only her eyes.

 

“I didn’t want to ask Kaito… Ouma-kun and him don’t really get along.” Saihara muttered, “my friend who goes to another school said I should just ask him.” 

 

“Then go for it. No losses if you do, I guess.” Hajime shrugged

 

Saihara’s face flushed slightly and he nodded, “alright... thanks.” 

 

The dark haired boy fiddled restlessly for the rest of the bus ride while Hajime decided to text Komaeda

 

7:42 AM TO: Komaeda 

 

You: Hey nagito

 

Komaeda: Ah! Hello Hajime :D how are you? I was just checking on the bird. 

 

You: Saihara is freaking tf out but aside from that im good lmao. Hows Hope?

 

Komaeda: ah? why s that ?? Also hope is good she’s very talkative today :)

 

You: Ouma did what u did last night but bc he’s a little shit saihara thinks he’s lying big f

 

Komaeda: ah. F

 

You: god im so glad i’m not saihara rn you’re so straightforward thank u

 

Komaeda: you’re stuck with a terminally ill hope maniac instead wow what a great alternative 

 

You: I would rather that than ouma, plus you’re a really good person so the maths works 

 

Komaeda: ahhdhjiieuhfif dhhgnn hhn thank you



You: i gtg because my stop is coming up but ill update u on what happens with our dramatic pair lmao

 

Komaeda: ah alright. Well! See u soon <3

 

Hajime’s heart fluttered a bit at the little text flourish at the end and put his phone away, hoping it didn’t show on his face, though he knew Saihara wasn’t exactly the judgemental type, the hatted boy constantly adjusting his shirt nervously. He knew how that felt and was glad he didn’t have to deal with that particular aspect of his life anymore.

 

“Saihara” Hajime nudged the other boy, who jolted slightly. “Sorry. Our stop is next.”

 

“W-what do I say?” Saihara moaned, clearly anxious as they teetered out of the bus

 

“I dunno.” Hajime frowned. Saihara made a sad noise, deflating further

 

Hajime was a bit taller than Saihara so he saw Ouma coming before Saihara did, the small boy tearing through the mulling students. He strangely didn’t go straight for the hatted boy but instead latched himself onto Hajime instead, and wordlessly started dragging him away, Hajime protesting the entire time. Ouma was slightly stronger than he looked, and he stormed through the students, his dyed purple hair bobbing furiously in his wake.

 

“Ouma. Oi! What’s this about?” Hajime shook the small boy off.

 

“Saihara-chan doesn’t believe me, does he?” Ouma sighed “Well! That’s just to be expected of a liar like myself. Anyway, what did he say? If you don’t tell me, I know where you live. I’ll cut up your precious marshmallow man.” Ouma gave a mischievous smile, bouncing up and down on his heels. Hajime didn’t doubt he knew where he lived but the worst Ouma is probably capable of is mild vandalism.

 

“He thinks you’re lying- He thinks he did something wrong.” Hajime stated bluntly


“Well duh. He stole something very important to me and I want it back,” Ouma stuck his nose in the air indignantly

 

“Alright then. I don’t really care, but Saihara is a good guy, so be honest with him.” Hajime began walking off. He definitely didn’t want to deal with more of that, so he went to go find a place to sit where he could continue his conversation with Komaeda. That’s right. He should change his contact name to Nagito… it felt weird to be calling him Komaeda only through text.

 

8: 00 AM TO: Nagito

 

You: Hey nagito, m back

 

Nagito: haha thats good. How’s Saihara-kun?

 

You: No idea honestly. Ouma wasn’t lying but saihara def thinks he is rip

 

Nagito: Honestly I thought you were lying to me when you said you returned your feelings. Maybe saihara-kun just can’t process the idea that someone would even like him in the first place, let alone someone he really likes

 

You: damn you have a point. He does really like ouma for some reason. Big brain

 

Nagito: I try aha.

 

You: You succeed

 

Nagito: :,) what did i do to deserve u hajimeeee

 

You: idk but you’re great too.

 

Hajime and Komaeda back and forth texted each other until the bell went, Hajime knowing he was grinning like an idiot for the entire time. In his first period he found himself seated next to Saihara again, which he wasn’t exactly looking forward to. Thankfully, he seemed slightly less flustered than before, though his face was red when the two sat down

 

“Any luck?” Hajime asked, at the mention of luck his mind just going straight back to Komaeda

 

“Haha… I guess” Saihara went redder at this and was quiet for the rest of the period, definitely zoning out. 

 

The rest of the day went painfully slow, Saihara still totally flustered and blushy-blushy at recess while Ouma was back to his normal self, prattling on about how he would allow Saihara to co-lead his secret organisation if he gave him his right pinky.

 

“Hey Hinata-chan! Wanna join my super secret organisation?” Ouma said, poking Hajime’s shoulder

 

“No. Not really.”

 

“Aww. That’s a shame. Well, I guess Shumai can have your phone then if you don’t need it.” Ouma revealed Hajime’s phone and started fiddling with it

 

“Wh- How?!” Hajime exclaimed. He really needed to do what Saihara had done with his phone and attach it to a little lead.

 

“Nagito… Ooh! Who’s that? Is it Komaeda-chan?” Ouma mused, swiping through the phone

 

“Give that back” Hajime growled, everything feeling a bit hot

 

“U-um… Ouma-kun. Could you please give it back?” Saihara mumbled

 

“I’m extra nice, so I’ll give it back to him and give him some advice” Ouma said sweetly, giving Saihara a pat on the head

 

“I really don’t need the advice bit.” Hajime groaned, but he knew that this request would be shot and ignored

 

“Nono! I’m incredibly wise, so you will want to hear this, Hinata-chan!” Ouma cleared his throat, his voice became quiet as he whispered into Hajime’s ear “Ya know there’s a skating rink in a shopping centre nearby- It’s usually quite quiet in the evenings. If you needed somewhere to take someone, that’d be the place to go.” Ouma smiled, handing Hajime his phone back. 

 

The little shit knew. Of course he did. 

 

Well, at least he knew what he was going to do for Komaeda’s birthday. That was something.

Chapter Text

Nagito didn’t want to admit to Hinata that he was getting sicker. He didn’t want the other boy to know that. On Saturday he and Ichika had to go back to the hospital and get another round of chemotherapy. Nagito got an email this morning saying that before his chemo session tomorrow he needed to pick up his blood test and biopsy results. The bruising from a week ago hadn’t cleared up quite yet, which sucked, but that really didn’t matter anymore to Nagito. 

 

Hinata said he returned his feelings. By some absolute and complete miracle. It had happened. For Nagito to even know this, it filled him with utter ecstasy. That he’d finally achieved these final goals, to be loved and to love back. The night before to him had probably been the happiest of his life, the warm feeling that Hinata had brought him still remaining. 

 

Nagito felt like he already knew as to why Hinata had been so uncomfortable with Nagito seeing him, but he didn’t mind. Hinata to him would always be the same person, no matter what else the other boy thought. He’d always be the person that made him happier than anyone else. 

 

Ichika woke up not long up too long after Hinata had left and now the two were sat down at the dining table, Ichika setting up her watercolours

 

“Wanna join me?” Ichika offered, after Nagito had finished feeding and tending to the little bird. She was getting better, which made Nagito happy. He could probably release her soon.

 

“Ah… Ichika-san… I’m not too good at painting,” Nagito laughed softly. Ichika gave him a glare

 

“Nor am I, but I think it’ll be fun.” Ichika slid Nagito a piece of paper, “Just do something that makes you happy”

 

Something that makes him happy. His mind obviously went instantly to Hinata. He thanked Ichika and started doodling his friend. None of them could possibly grasp the beauty that Hinata possessed, but he tried his hardest. Every so often Nagito peered over to see what Ichika was painting, a collection of flowers sprouting up over her page. Nagito found it hard to capture the handsome yet delicate contours of his friend’s eyes from memory, or his spiky yet surprisingly soft hair. Nagito felt his eyebrows crunch in concentration, trying desperately to retain the information. 

 

Thankfully, the dementia that he happened to possess didn’t affect his memory too badly, the only things really slipping from him were things such as social expectations of him and how to do certain things, so he thankfully could almost perfectly picture Hinata’s face in his mind.

 

It was eventually beginning to come together after ages of labouring at it, the soft greenish-hazel of Hinata’s pretty eyes staring up at him from the piece of paper, Nagito trying to not forget any detail, the little freckles littering his cheeks still there. 


Nagito remembered when he had brown hair, and when it was healthy instead of being straggly and stained by its original colour only at the ends. It didn’t bother him too much though, since Hinata seemed to think it was nice.

 

“Hey kid, your phone’s going off.” Ichika gave a nod towards Nagito’s phone

 

11.12 AM From: Hajime <3

 

Hajime <3: Komaeda-chan is this u 

 

You: Hello Ouma-kun! Yes it is :)

 

Hajime <3: Such a party pooper. Didn’t think you'd get it first up! ( ͠° ͟ʖ ͡°) so boring.

 

You: You’re the only person who calls me Komaeda-chan, Ouma-kun.

 

Hajime <3: wowwwww you rlly hit me that low dumb little marshmallow twink ᕙ(⇀‸↼‶)ᕗ

 

You: you can always have my number if you want to talk!

 

Hajime <3: ok fineeeee i’ll copy your number into my phone but its only because I know you’re suuuuuuper lonely ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

 

Hajime <3: your tsundere little boyfriend is gonna kill me when he gets the phone nishishisfhhfsnknfk

 

Nagito smiled. Ouma’s lies were extremely easy to see through, especially through text. He found the other boy quite endearing, in an annoying kind of way. Maybe like an annoying sibling of some kind (not that he knew what that was like.) He hoped Ouma did end up texting him. He thinks he could be friends with him. The idea of having another friend made Nagito’s heart sing. 

 

11:21 AM From: Hajime <3

 

Hajime <3: next time he takes my phone I will kill him. 

 

You: How many times has this happened in the past week?

 

Hajime <3:

 

Hajime <3: four.

 

You: You really need to find a way to stop him from doing that

 

Hajime <3: killing him is a way to stop it

 

You: you’re not wrong 

 

Hajime <3: i obviously wont but it’s very tempting. Anyway i should eat, see ya :)

 

You: ah. Bye :)



Nagito wanted to spend more time with Hinata. As much time as he possibly could. He looked down at the painting he’d done. It wasn’t nearly as incredible as the real Hinata, but it was how Nagito saw the boy, and he guessed that's all what really mattered. The hope that the other boy gave him had tried to be conveyed in the painting that now faced him

 

“Nagito, is that Hajime?” Ichika asked, peering over at his piece of paper

 

“Aha… well you told me to paint something that made me happy, right?” Nagito said sheepishly, embarrassed. He knew it wasn’t well painted by any means, but it meant a lot to him.

 

“That’s really cheesy, kiddo.” Ichika’s expression was soft

 

“I guess. He’s so kind to me…” Nagito thought of all of the little things that Hinata had done for him, and how happy each of them made him.

 

“You have my permission by the way.” Ichika said out of nowhere 

 

“Pardon me?” Nagito inquired

 

“For you to date my son. I give you permission” Ichika stated. Nagito felt himself blink out of pure shock

 

“Huh?”

 

“Don’t act like you’re good at hiding it. You’re clearly infatuated with him.” Ichika said in a typical Hinata way. Nagito flushed, laughing nervously while fiddling with his fingers

 

“Oh?” Ichika raised an eyebrow

 

“You’re right, I guess. He already knows.” Nagito mumbled, his face hot

 

“Oh you sneaky little thing! Good on you!” Ichika gave him a pat on the back. Nagito laughed again, though it was a sad laugh. One that might have been tears if he was in a different world.

 

He didn’t want to commit to anything with Hinata. He was too scared. Too terrified of what he knew was coming.

 

He still didn’t want to die. Of course, he knew that his wishes wouldn’t be accounted for in this matter. It’s just how his life worked. He wanted to spend the rest of whatever time he had left with Hinata. He wanted to keep living, if only just for Hinata. He would suffer any amount of injections and biopsies and pain just to keep living. He’d push through any amount of fatigue only if he was to keep living. He’d still kept to those precautions though. He’d managed to keep his things in check, done everything he needed to do, so if he died, it would be okay. At least, that’s what he was telling himself.

 

He felt selfish. Being so prepared to die at any moment, when he had so much to live for now, but he had to. It was just in case. He knew he had time left, just not how much. 

 

Nagito excused himself from the table and found himself walking up to Hinata’s room, lying on his mattress. He spotted the large toy fish he’d won for Hinata the first day they really were proper friends and huddled it close to him. He needed to re-plaster many of his injuries, so after a few minutes, he sat up in bed and picked the band aids and bandages out of his bag, peeling the used ones off and sliding them into the room’s trash can. 

 

The slowly fading scars on his wrists were the only real reminders of what happened that day seven months prior. Nagito didn’t feel that pain anymore. That utter feeling of despair that he’d felt as he bled out in his room was gone, replaced by something light and soft. 

 

Hinata was the main reason behind that nice feeling. He decided he didn’t need to keep bandaging something that had already healed, the emotional and physical scars finally fading away after years of tormenting him in only a few short weeks.

 

The biopsy marks on his shoulder were still there, and were sensitive, the previously blue and purple skin turning a lighter greenish blue, signifying that it was getting better. That was good.

 

The needle marks from the blood tests he’d gotten scarring and bruising slightly, but not leaving any other sign of being there. The other burn that he’d managed to get himself had healed up too, the other various nicks and scratches that he’d got from being clumsy being quickly patched up. 

 

The fact his bruises were healing so slowly wasn’t a fantastic sign but he pushed that aside for a second.

 

Nagito used to be broken, but now he felt like something fundamental had been fixed. Maybe it was his heart, maybe it was something deeper. Like his soul had shattered and finally been reformed. 

 

Nagito still despised himself to the end of everything, but even that was becoming slightly less prominent. It was like now he loved someone so much, he’d almost forgotten what hating himself felt like.

 

He flopped onto the large toy fish and sighed. He should probably get sleep, but he really wasn’t that tired. He felt his phone vibrate in his pocket and pulled it out. He could sleep later.



12:30 PM From: Kokichi Ouma(?)

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): I know it might say its from Ouma but seriously, this is Hinata. What’s up

 

You: Hello Ouma-kun

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): I’m serious this is hinata 

 

You: hmm… is it though? 

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): Okay fiiiiiiiiinnnnneeeeee it’s Ouma!! hello my favourite little marshmallow man!! (ง'̀-'́)ง

 

You: What do you want to talk about?

 

You: if you want a 15 minute lecture on why hope is better than despair you have definitely come to the right person

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): as much as I would hate to hear that, Nope! I want to hear your love advice good sir! I want to see how much you know in the kissy kissy department!! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

 

You: Ouma-kun, I hate to tell you but I’m really not the best person to ask. Trash like me could never be worthy of someone else's love, so there was no reason for me to know :)

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): I’m the KING of lies, so I can sniff one out from miles away. You and Mr tsundere DEFINITELY have it going neheehee 

 

You: Ah. It appears we’re quite evenly matched when it comes to intellect. Yes you’re right but really, it’s more like mutual feelings… not anything else. Definitely not what you’re implying, aha.

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): Yeahyeah sappy mcsappy face i dont really care about that. How’d you do it? How’d you get grumpypants to feel the same way

 

You: I just confessed honestly. I know what you have going on with Saihara-kun is similar… maybe you could be totally honest with him… that might work? Really, though, garbage such as myself wouldn’t really have any kind of valid advice.

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): Huh. you’re right! That WAS totally useless. 

 

Kokichi Ouma(?): … not really. I’ll try it. Smell ya later trashman. (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

 

So Nagito had a second friend… if Ouma would allow him to think of him like that. The small purple-haired boy, while childish seemed like underneath that facade, that he was trying his best to be a good person. He hoped that Ouma worked it out with Saihara. He hadn’t interacted much with the ravenette but he seemed like a kind-hearted boy. 

He still couldn’t believe he was here. That he’d found happiness.

 

It was bittersweet. Nagito knew it was. Happiness never lasted for him. His health was deteriorating so fast at this point Nagito didn’t know how much time he had at all. Three weeks ago he could say with a certainty he had at least six months to a year. Now he wasn’t sure if he even had those precious six months. Six months… twenty six weeks… one hundred and eighty-three days… four thousand, three hundred and eighty hours. 

 

It wasn’t enough. 

 

He couldn’t do everything he wanted to do in that amount of time at all. Yes, he had gotten his final wish, but he ever so selfishly wanted more. He wanted to be able to see his eighteenth birthday. He wanted to see Hinata’s eighteenth birthday. He wanted to be able to travel the world and settle down somewhere nice- He had the money to. He could take Hinata with him, and try to make him the happiest man alive. He deserved that and more. 

 

Nagito sighed and lay down, hugging the plush toy fish close to him. It was going to be okay.

 

After a while of sitting there, he fell asleep. It wasn’t nearly as warm as his sleep the night before. The lack of Hinata’s presence did not affect him before, but now he craved it. To feel safe again in the arms of someone else. 

 

He woke up after a while and put his jacket on, his arms cold. If he got sick now it wouldn’t go particularly well for him. Checking his phone he saw a few missed messages from Hinata. There wasn’t much he could say to reply, especially because he’d be home in a few minutes, so Nagito decided to get himself a snack and wait.

 

Ichika was still sitting at the table, this time working on a painting of roses. She was surprisingly good for the first time painting, though Nagito guessed if you had a strong enough drive to create something then you could do anything

 

“Ichika-san, you’re very talented…” Nagito observed looking at her painting “You could spread a lot of hope with talent like that.”

 

“Thanks. Can you guess what they signify?” She asked.

 

“Ah… is it love?” Nagito mused. Love was one of the most beautiful things to be observed, but like a rose, it has thorns that can just as easily hurt the bearer of it.

 

“Yep. It feels particularly tender for me at the moment due to the uncertainty of this whole disease, yeah?” Ichika said. What she was saying meant something else. It was her way of asking if he was okay and that he was coping alright.

 

“I guess.” Nagito replied wistfully, munching on the crackers he’d pulled from the pantry. He owed Ichika her weekly sum of one hundred dollars as his miniature rent sum, which he should give to her that night. He’ll find some other way of slipping a few more dollars into it if he could. Their family needed it far more than he did. He’d given a small portion of his sum to his own mother, but it was more to tie up loose ends. She may as well be dead to him. He knew she despised him. He understood why too.

 

They sat and made small talk at the table, Nagito mostly just waiting until Hinata got home. 

 

After some time a knock was received at the door and Nagito could see through the window that it was Hinata, his handsome face looking rather tired. The white haired boy essentially bounced over to the door to open it, that nice warm feeling returning.

 

“Ah! Good afternoon Hajime!” Nagito beamed as the brunette put his bag down.

 

“Hey” The other boy smiled, unexpectedly enveloping Nagito in a bear hug. (He wasn’t complaining though) He quickly let go when he realised that he was very much doing so in front of his grinning mother

 

“What?” Hinata exclaimed as Ichika raised her eyebrows, then he turned to Nagito and narrowed his eyes, Nagito simply blinking innocently in return. 

 

“Anyway, how was your day?” Nagito asked, quickly trying to change the subject. Hinata groaned

 

“Oh my god. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was” 

 

“I saw your text messages… it does sound like an exhausting day” Nagito mused, “Did Ouma-kun work it out with Saihara-kun eventually?”

 

“Yeah.” Hinata scowled, “I have to do homework but then we can go play the switch or something.”

 

“Alright!” Nagito agreed.


He hadn’t been to school in such a long time due to his medical issues and luck, he admitted he was half curious as to what they taught when they were his age. He missed that routine of waking up every day and getting in a uniform. Seeing he had been ripped out of school when he was eleven and homeschooled until he was hospitalised, he really wouldn’t have any idea what would be going on. 

 

It was probably a good time to see for himself and observe while he could, so he followed Hinata to his room and sat down on the boy’s bed.

 

“Ah… Hajime. I hate to ask this of you but can I read through the textbooks you’re not using?”

 

“Sure, but I honestly don’t know why you’d want to.” Hinata passed him his bag, which was surprisingly heavy. Nagito pried out the textbooks, the familiar smell of old paper hitting his senses


While he’d taken it upon himself to learn things through reading countless biographies and books, he knew he was definitely out of date when it came to actual curriculum work, so it really was quite interesting reading through the information presented to him. To think how impractical school curriculums were was quite funny to him, to say the least. Nagito wondered as to how well Hinata performed in school. 

 

He turned over to the brunette, who was hunched over a maths textbook, his face scrunched up and frustrated as he dragged his finger over a question he apparently needed to do. Nagito wanted to offer his help, but he wasn’t sure if he’d actually know what he was doing, or if Hinata actually wanted his help, so he just sat there and twiddled his thumbs, going through more of the thick science textbook. 

 

“Nagito… I really don’t want to ask, but are you good at maths?” Hinata groaned, his head slapping into his maths worksheet

 

“Well, I haven’t been to school in almost a year… but for the sake of your hope, I can try!” Nagito pulled over the other chair and looked at the work, pulling out a pencil. This wasn’t anything he hadn’t done before, so he guided Hinata through the worksheet. Hinata finally realised how it worked after Nagito had explained it a few times.

 

“That is not at all how the teachers taught us, but it works, so thanks.” Hinata said, “You’re really smart.”

 

“Thank you! But, so are you,” Nagito replied, his face warm

 

“Also… you took off the bandages, right?” Hinata tilted his head to the side slightly, glancing at the cotton-haired boy’s pale wrists


“I guess I just don’t feel the pain of what was under them anymore, thanks to you.” Nagito smiled softly, putting his hands into his pockets, suddenly self conscious of the previously bandaged raised lines on his skin

 

“Nagito.” Hinata sighed, putting down his completed maths work and turning in his chair to face the other boy. He lightly pulled on Nagito’s jacket sleeve, as if gesturing for him to take his hands out of his pockets, so he obliged.

 

“Why do you hide those scars?” Hinata asked, his voice hesitant. Nagito was sure he knew the answer. 

 

“I think you know why, Hajime. Why wouldn’t I be ashamed of it? I’m ashamed that I wanted to give my life up that easily, and I’m ashamed I failed.” Nagito gritted his teeth. He refused to believe that was a traumatic event. He wasn’t traumatised. He could still think about it clearly, objectively. Mostly. He didn’t want Hinata to know exactly what happened. He didn’t want to be thought of any differently any more. He might not have cared before, but now, he wanted nothing more for those feelings to remain returned, though he knew it was selfish of him to think that.

 

“I know… it's proof you survived though. That you were strong enough, right?”

 

Hinata didn’t get it

 

“I wasn’t strong enough, Hajime! I would have died if my luck hadn’t gotten itself in the way.” Nagito felt his breathing getting ragged, “Why don’t you realise, I should be hated, but you’re too kind.”

 

“Really? Nagito… you’re a beautiful person. I’m serious. You’re a really good person. ” Hinata took Nagito’s hands in his own, wrapping his fingers around the other’s. “Didn’t you say at one point you just wanted to make people’s lives easier? That’s not selfish. Misguided, yes. But not selfish. It was really fucking lucky that you were found.” 

 

“I… I’m not sure what's true anymore, Hajime. My entire life I’ve just been called bad luck… but now I’m starting to think that was just lies. Lies to stop the people in my life from taking responsibility for their own actions. Either that, or I’m incredibly stupid for believing you.” Nagito huffed a short laugh

 

“Yeah… I was going to bring that up- I don’t really think that there’s good or bad luck. Stuff just happens, and for you, a lot has happened. None of it was your fault, but because everyone blamed it on you, you took to blaming it on yourself too.” Hinata sighed “I will never blame you for the things you can’t control. It’s a dick move, for starters” 

 

This prompted a giggle out of Nagito, and he watched Hinata’s face soften at the expression, brushing his thumb over Nagito’s scars, which sent shivers down his spine. He’d never been touched like this… not with this care or intimacy.

 

The only kind of touch he’d ever received in the past year were the falsely kind hands of nurses and doctors on his body, forcing him to take test upon test. He knew the nurses or doctors only meant to help him and not hurt him, so it didn’t bother him. It wasn’t meant to bother him. None of it was personal. To them, Nagito was just another patient, and while he might be memorable for his strangeness, to them, it wasn’t personal. It wasn’t intended to hurt. It was only intended to help. He told himself that again and again to not have to deal with the darkness that gripped him every time he needed to go back to the hospital.

 

Though, the difference with Hinata’s touch is he wanted it. He knew if he told Hinata that he didn’t want to be touched, he would stop. Nagito didn’t know why Hinata seemed to respect Nagito’s wishes so much. No one else had, so why would Hinata? 

 

Yet again. Hinata was different. 

 

“Don’t be ashamed of them anymore, Nagito. All that matters is that you’re here now.” Hinata’s eyes bore into Nagito’s, the soft green into grey. No one had ever told him that… Hinata was the first to tell him a lot of things. The first to Nagito’s heart, the first to give him worth as a person, the first to tell him that he was okay. That he wasn’t a burden to him, unlike how he was to everyone else. 

 

It felt nice. 

 

“Thank you Hajime,” Nagito said, looking down at their intertwined hands, the too pale on the pleasantly tanned. Their hands were quite different- Hinata’s being more strongly formed and muscular, whereas Nagito’s fingers were long and spindly. A lot of people told him that he’d be good at piano. Hinata’s arms and face were littered with small freckles. Nagito remembered when he had freckles- it had been a long time ago though. If a younger version of himself saw him now, he wondered what would be going through his mind. Even so, Nagito saw some of those old freckles returning because he’d been spending so long in the sun. 

 

Though, while he may have been healthier when he was younger, he certainly hadn’t been happier. Nagito didn’t really have emotion before this whole experience. He just had his faith towards hope. Well, he didn’t know he had emotion- he was capable of it, he just didn’t know he was.

 

But he realised that hope was really just what he’d needed the whole time. Hinata was his hope. He’d known that for some time now.

 

Because of Hinata, he might be able to finally forgive himself. For everything. And be at peace.

Chapter Text

Hajime found that emotions began to flood him the second Komaeda had confessed to him. For the day afterwards, he’d been struggling coming to terms with what that might entail. Hajime obviously had hope that Komaeda would live through these, but he also had to accept the idea that he might not, and that made his stomach curdle slightly.

 

A world without Komaeda would mean his life would return to the endless monotony of study and work, the rinse and repeat of every day, nothing different or new ever happening to him. He’d go back to being the most normal person in the world. He’d go back to whatever he had before this whole experience. And it scared him, alot.

 

Hajime couldn’t begin to comprehend how hard this would be for Komaeda.

 

The white-haired boy had already voiced some of his opinions. Each of those near-hysterical words hurting both of them. But it had led to a mutual understanding and realisation. A respect of life and death, essentially.

 

Hajime hadn’t really seen a person so closely as he saw Komaeda, if that made any kind of sense. He didn’t necessarily fully understand him, but he saw Komaeda. He didn’t know nearly as much about anyone else. A part of him felt honored- that Komaeda would choose him of all people- but really, it was both of them. It was an almost reciprocal need. They’d both equally done good for one another. Hajime had noticed that Komaeda was happier. He smiled more often and Hajime wasn’t hearing as much manic laughter that made even him cringe upon hearing it.

 

Things were nice.

 

Komaeda had even taken off his bandages. That probably had the most weight to it. The equivalent of that he was finally healed from whatever had happened. That he was finally okay.

 

Hajime remembered that feeling well. Taking off bandages to reveal that… it had healed. The thing that had hurt him for so, so long was gone and all that was left being small raised lines on skin. Those lines to him were infinitely preferable to the alternative. Hajime would rather see those small scars on Komaeda’s wrists than to have never met him. For Komaeda to be gone.


Though, just because that one particular aspect of Komaeda’s life had been mended and remade, it didn’t automatically mean that he was in the clear. He just had one less obstacle. Hajime understood that himself well.

 

He sighed. That was enough emotion for today. And enough thinking.

 

“What’s wrong, Hajime?” Komaeda asked, his eyebrows knitting together

 

“Nothing… just tired. Is it okay with you if I sleep early?” Hajime asked, rubbing his eyes. It was already six-thirty, so his mom would have almost finished up with dinner.

 

“How lucky of you it was to suggest that! I feel the exact same way” Komaeda chirped. They were still holding hands, and had been for quite some time, to the point where Komaeda’s previously cold hands felt warm and almost clammy against Hajime’s (not that he minded)

 

Ichika’s voice sounded from downstairs, signalling that it was time for dinner, so the Hajime reluctantly let go and padded down the stairs, Komaeda directly behind him, probably looking happy and puppy-like the whole way down

 

Hajime’s parents sat at the table and Hajime inwardly cringed. What would his parents think of him dating another boy? Would that be weird for them, especially with the other thing? He shook it from his thoughts. It was what it was. Hajime really couldn’t help how he was feeling, and he very much doubted that they would react negatively.

 

They’d been totally fine when a twelve year old Hajime had gone up to them and asked to be called by that name for the first time. His father had been totally unbothered that he’d ended up with a son instead, and just went along with normal life the best they possibly could. Hajime really hadn’t learned it was any different until he was older, which he guessed he was glad for. It wasn’t really different if he happened to like girls and guys, right?

 

Still, he was nervous, to a degree. He admitted that Komaeda was a strange guy, but he hoped they could see through that for their own sake. He guessed his mom already probably did like him which was good, but his dad was a hard read.

 

He had time to figure out what to tell them if Komaeda didn’t decide to randomly blurt it at the table. This was fine. He could probably just get away with asking his mom if he could take Komaeda out on Sunday. She’ll probably be fine with it.

 

Komaeda nudged Hajime’s leg snapping him back to reality, zoning back into the conversation


“Huh?”

 

“We were just asking how school was today, sweetie,” His mom said, picking up her chopsticks

 

“It was fine, I guess.” Hajime mumbled, swirling his soba

 

“Nagito told us about your friends… they sound interesting” Ichika commented

 

“Mm” His dad grunted, face full of soba

 

“Oh yeah. This guy- Ouma- has a lying problem and was trying to confess to someone but they wouldn’t believe him. It was exhausting to watch them pine miserably for each other the entire day.” Hajime groaned, his mind going back to the almost torturous interactions between the two boys. He was glad that both he and Komaeda were straightforward people, because otherwise he would have no clue where they’d be right now.

 

“Did they work it out?” His dad asked, raising an eyebrow

 

Hajime shrugged “I don’t know. Probably. I didn’t stick around long enough to find out.”

 

“I think me and Ouma-kun are friends now, so if you want me to ask, give me a bell!” Komaeda smiled. He’d only been pecking at his soba, so Hajime gave him a sharp glance, nodding down to his bowl of noodles, the other boy noticing and sheepishly picking up his chopsticks.

 

“Wait? Did he really text you?” Hajime asked, surprised. He thought that was a lie to get Ouma off his back

“Yeah! He was asking me for advice too!”

 

“Huh. What’d he say?” Hajime inquired, pausing. He wouldn’t want Komaeda to say anything his parents wouldn’t like at the table. “Nevermind- I’ll ask you later”

 

“Okie-dokie,” Komaeda said happily, going back to his soba.

 

Once they’d finished Hajime and Komaeda cleaned up and cleaned the dishes, the two standing there in mutual silence. Hajime didn’t even have Ouma’s number, so he wondered what Komaeda could have possibly talked to him about.


“I know you’re curious, so Ouma-kun just asked me how he could ask Saihara-kun out” Komaeda mused, stretching

 

“That makes sense.” Hajime replied. He remembered flushing upon seeing the text messages left by Ouma (tsundere little boyfriend? That's what he was?)

 

“Also, Hajime… I apologise deeply if this is too forward of me to ask, but would you say that we’re together? I don’t know if you’d even want to associate me as your boyfriend, because I would certainly get if you wouldn’t want to, especially due to my illnesses and the fact that I’m really not what you’d call ideal material- I mean Nanami-san in my opinion is far better for you and-”

 

“Shut up Nagito. Sunday, it’s your birthday, right?” Hajime said, feeling his ears heat up. “We haven’t been on a proper date yet, right? Uh. Well would you and me like to go out? On like. A proper date, together?” Hajime asked awkwardly, scratching his neck.

 

He admittedly didn’t really think about the fact that he had a boyfriend now. That felt weird as it crossed his mind. Though Komaeda really just felt like a best friend that he could hold hands with, honestly. What did having a boyfriend entail? Hajime didn’t think it would be too different to what they had going on now. Hajime liked what he had going on now, honestly, so he would be totally all for having a boyfriend if that's what it meant. Just a best friend with mutual feelings for one another. Huh. So it really wasn’t that complicated

 

“Ah… Hajime I feel like you should know but Ichika-san said she gave me ‘permission’ to date you?” Komaeda looked extremely puzzled as he said this. Hajime had a double take


“She knows?” Hajime hissed

 

“Apparently- though I promise I didn’t say anything that wasn’t my usual hope-talk” Komaeda replied matter-of-factly. He knew he did the hope-talk thing?

 

“She was okay with it, right?” Hajime frowned. Komaeda nodded, smiling. Hajime let out a breath. That was one less thing to worry about then. “God I love you Nagito. You’re awesome”

 

“That was a bit out of nowhere! I love you too Hajime!” Komaeda laughed softly. His voice was very pretty… it had a breathy yet very gentle quality to it. It matched his hair.

 

They made their way up to their room and Hajime flopped onto his bed. God he was tired. Komaeda just kept standing, as if asking for permission to be able to sit down. Hajime thought it was endearing. He guessed he probably needed to get in his pyjamas anyway, so he stood up too.

 

Hajime hoped that because Komaeda was here his dysphoria would be a little less shit. Thankfully, it had been. He nudged it out of his mind for the best of days, had to force it out of the worse. It wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle most of the time. To think about it now felt strange and alien, so he just shut it out again. He knew with something so deep within him that he was a boy, so the irrationality of thinking about it would only hinder him.

 

He made his way to the bathroom and got changed into his pyjamas, to find Komaeda standing there shirtless and awkwardly staring at the bathroom door

 

“What?” Hajime asked

“I can’t find my shirt, so I thought it’d be in with you? Possibly?” Komaeda peered around Hajime into the bathroom and upon not spotting his shirt he sighed

 

“You want one of mine?” Hajime offered. He knew Komaeda really just wanted to wear one of Hajime’s shirts, which he didn’t mind at all. “If you want to wear my stuff, just ask dude. I don’t care”

 

Komaeda went red “I actually can’t find my shirt, but thank you very much! Ahaha. Wow.”

 

Hajime was half convinced that being given basic human decency was Komaeda’s main crux when it came to loving someone. Hajime doubted he’d been given nearly enough of it. Though, he guessed Tsumiki had treated him with that same decency and he hadn’t ended up falling in love with her, so maybe Hajime really was something different.


Hajime handed the other boy a shirt. He scanned Komaeda’s chest, checking for any change, anything that might have signalled him getting better, but he seemed just as thin, his ribs indenting on his pale skin, greenish bruises on his arms. Hajime wished that he could see something change for the better. Even if those ribs were slightly less visible, or those bruises were smaller. Hajime just wished he’d get better. Komaeda looked so breakable. Like a gust of wind would hospitalise him again

 

Hajime climbed into bed, shuffling over to make space for his (boy?)friend. Komaeda didn’t seem to pick up on this obvious social cue and stood there, looking out of place in the darkened room.


“Nagito. Are you going to stand there or join me?” Hajime asked, gesturing to the spacey bed, Komaeda blinking


“Oh! Of course! I thought you wouldn’t invite me back, honestly. I’m so honored! I’m blessed really! I twitch a lot when I sleep, and to make someone like your life-”

 

“Nagito you idiot. Firstly, you didn’t wake me up at all, and secondly, you weren’t twitchy.”

 

“Ah,” Komaeda breathed, sitting down next to Hajime. “Thank you.”

 

“It’s nice having someone next to you anyway” Hajime had a thought cross his mind “Hey, could I braid your hair?”

 

“Really? You would want to do that? Be my guest! I didn’t know you could braid hair!” Komaeda chirped happily, combing through his hair with his fingers to get rid of any knots that were residing there. His mom had taught him to braid when he was very little, and he just hadn’t forgotten. He hadn’t really braided hair since he had first practiced it on his mom- he even didn’t mention that he could around Nanami, but Komaeda, yet again was different.


Hajime weaved his fingers through Komaeda’s cotton-like hair, putting the particularly difficult tufts into small plaits that rarely went below Komaeda’s chin. Some of them stuck out at weird angles but Hajime didn’t think the other boy would care.

 

He liked the feeling of brushing his fingers through someone else's hair. It wasn’t something he ever allowed himself to do- anything that could be coded as feminine, really. Komaeda wouldn’t judge though, Hajime already knew that. They chatted back and forward, making light conversation while the white hair was tied up and braided

 

In the end, it looked somewhat presentable, not all of Komaeda’s hair fully braided, but tied back into a small ponytail where the ends of it stuck out cutely

 

“Ooh! I’ve never had my hair braided before!” Komaeda gushed while looking at himself in the mirror “It looks really nice, Hajime! Thank you!”

 

“No problem.” Hajime hummed, standing in the doorway. Hajime couldn’t really say Komaeda was handsome, but he was very pretty, though in a way where you could irrefutably tell he was a boy. A masculine prettiness? Is that what it was called? Hajime wondered if he'd ever had short hair- no one could have been born with hair that white either (unless you were albino, but that description didn’t seem to fit Komaeda)

 

They hopped back into bed and Hajime fell asleep almost right as his head hit the pillow. God he was tired.

 

He had a dream where a long haired version of himself stared at him with shockingly red eyes. Surgical tubes lead out of their body, scars running across their forehead and arms. Hajime had no idea what it meant, but he woke up with a start, not panting but definitely disturbed.

 

“Are you alright?” Komaeda queried softly from next to him, the room dark enough that Hajime could only see the silhouette of his ghostly frame. If he hadn’t been before he was now with the knowledge that Komaeda was still there, so he nodded, realising that Komaeda wouldn’t be able to see it


“Yeah… just a bad dream. I had an evil twin or something. Terrifying shit”

 

“Ah. Alright” Komaeda mumbled, shifting over in bed slightly as Hajime closed his eyes and fell asleep again. He dreamed about sitting in a field of flowers with Komaeda instead, the other boy no longer sick-appearing, the sun warm on their skin. They both looked older by a few years.

 

Hajime felt that dream had been bittersweet. It was what they could never have. Maybe that dream was something that had happened in another life.

 

The next morning Hajime felt as though he’d slept in a decent amount, because there was a lot of sunlight streaming through the windows. He’d definitely needed it. Komaeda was still there, next to him, though he was scrolling through his phone

 

“Mornin’ Nagito” Hajime patted Komaeda on the head who spun around, eyes wide

 

“Good morning Hajime! I was just texting Ouma-kun- he was trying to convince me that a tomato was a type of dolphin”

 

“A dolphin? What is-” Hajime stopped himself mid sentence, gritting his teeth upon realising his mistake

 

“Haha! Did you forget what a dolphin was? Oh my!” Komaeda giggled

 

“Shut up! It’s too early for this” Hajime fumed, his face heating up in embarrassment, throwing a pillow at Komaeda’s smug face, who just laughed harder

 

“Aha… Hajime as amazing as I think you are, you are a bit thick sometimes” Komaeda crowed, his voice muffled as Hajime tried to smother his voice with the pillow

 

“Shut up! I’m not hearing you right now!” Hajime growled, though his tone was still light, Komaeda still rolling around laughing

 

“Hajimeeee! You look so silly when you're trying to be mad” Komaeda wheezed, his breath hitching as he fell off the bed onto the mattress below, a small thump sounding, followed by a soft “Ah.”

 

It was Hajime’s turn to laugh now, scooting his way over to look down at Komaeda, who was a tangle of limbs on the mattress

 

“Serves you right, dumbass” Hajime cackled, as Komaeda shuffled back and chuckled

 

“I was merely stating the truth, Hajime!”

 

Hajime ignored him and grabbed his hand, “C’mon. We’re having breakfast and if you tell my mom that I forgot what a dolphin was I will be breaking up with you”

 

“You wouldn’t! I know you wouldn’t” Komaeda beamed, trotting down the stairs, a skip in his step

 

He was right… Of course Hajime wouldn’t. The smug fucker.

 

His mom was sitting down at the table reading the newspaper, a tea steaming next to her. Hajime knew it was kind of late for him to wake up- it was already almost nine, but his mom just looked up at the teens, nodded, and went back to her newspaper. Hajime’s dad was in the lounge room just watching whatever was on there. This was a really normal morning. A really normal Saturday morning.

 

Hajime got himself and Komaeda a bowl of cornflakes, and he listened to snippets of the conversation occurring between his mom and the other teen

 

He overheard chemotherapy and his stomach coiled slightly. He knew Komaeda really hated going back to the hospital. He didn’t say anything about it, but he knew he did. Every time they had come back from there, Komaeda seemed tired in a way that was different to the fatigue he supposedly experienced. It saddened Hajime. He wanted him to be happy.

 

The date Hajime was taking him on tomorrow, he hoped would make Komaeda feel better. To make him enjoy his birthday, because he knew he’d never experienced a conventional birthday before.

 

The chemotherapy appointment for his mom and Komaeda was later on that afternoon, so they might be able to go out and do something if that's what the other boy wanted to do.

 

After the two finished breakfast and got ready for the day, Hajime found himself putting on his shoes

 

“So, Nagito. What do you wanna do today? We still have a few hours until your appointment, so we can go out and do something if you want?”

 

“Like a date?” Komaeda implied, tilting his head to the side. Hajime noticed, with embarrassment that he was still wearing Hajime’s hoodie.

 

“Y-yeah. I guess.” Hajime scratched his neck nervously, checking to see he was in earshot of his mother “Though mom is probably coming… so it’ll be really awkward if we wanna hold hands or anything” Hajime mumbled, trailing off

 

“What’s so wrong about that? It’s not as if she doesn’t know, and Ichika-san is a fantastic woman!” Komaeda sang

 

“She’s my mom, Nagito.” Holding hands in front of your mom was really awkward. He remembered when Nanami had come over- Ichika was fawning over her the entire time, trying to get to know Hajime’s nonexistent girlfriend.

 

The white-haired boy shrugged

 

“What is about me being your mother?” Ichika made Hajime and Komaeda spin around to see his mom with her eyebrow raised, clearly dressed for going out. The brunette instantly felt his face heating


“Ah! Ichika-san! Hajime was just wondering what we were doing today and how it would involve you!” Komaeda said smoothly, his voice light, offering Hajime a sidewards glance.

 

Thank you. Hajime tried to say back with his eyes. Komaeda’s lips twitched upwards slightly.

 

“I don’t really care what you two get up to but I need some self care time. Taisei’s going to drive me up to the shopping mall if you’d like to come. I’ll be done before lunch. Then we can eat and drive to the hospital. Sounds good?” His mom asked

 

The two nodded “I would love to come, Ichika-san! It would be an honor” Komaeda smiled

 

“All good kid.” His mom winked. (What on earth did she know?!)

 

Komaeda obviously thought the same because he laughed nervously at the wink, his ears going pink

 

The car ride, as his father was there, guaranteed mostly silence. His dad was a good guy, but was definitely a man of few words. He’d taught Hajime how to ride a bike and swim, along with how to drive a car and pass a driving test. He just showed the way he cared very much through the things he did instead, though Hajime sometimes found that hard. He never really got ‘I love yous’ or ‘I’m really proud of you’s’ from his dad. Not like he could complain though- Komaeda’s mother sounded like a right piece of work. She’d managed to convince her own son that the death of her husband was on however old Komaeda had been. It had never been fair for him from the start.

 

The mall was pretty busy, a lot of people mulling around. Hajime wouldn’t be half surprised if he ended up having another ridiculous chance encounter like he usually did when Komaeda was around. The chances were, it definitely would happen.


Komaeda didn’t seem to be too fond of the crowding, staying very close to Hajime as he led them through the people to one of the stores. He seemed to be fiddling with something voraciously in his pocket, staring straight ahead, a blank expression settling on those soft features

 

“What’s up Nagito?” Hajime asked once they were somewhere quieter

 

“Sorry… I can normally control my symptoms when I’m in quiet places, but the whole time I’m surrounded by noise it feels like my senses are being bombarded so much I feel my grip loosening. I’m terrified when that happens.” Komaeda explained, pulling his hood over his head and pulling on the strings

 

“No! I’m sorry- I didn’t know” Hajime spluttered, embarrassed that he’d made such an error

 

“Ah. Oh well. It’s a little better when I’m with you.” Komaeda sighed “I hate to ask this of someone as great as you but could we please go outside?”


“Sure. Hey… even if it does happen, I’m here for you, alright?” Hajime said, holding Komaeda’s hand, using his free hand to brush a few stray hairs out of Komaeda’s pretty eyes.

 

They were such a beautiful shade of pale greenish-grey. Staring into them was like looking at a sky full of stars.

 

Hajime tore his gaze away, knowing his face was tomato red. Goddamnit it was like Nanami but his emotions were on steroids. Love was wack.

 

There was a nice park near the train station with a few maples and chairs. No one really knew it was there because it was so tucked away, so hopefully it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in the main area. Hajime had been there with Nanami before after school once. She liked it because it was quiet too.

 

It was early spring, so the trees had sprouted lots of fresh pale green leaves, which made a lot of the park look dappled, sunlight just reaching the floor. There was also a small sakura tree in the corner, it’s flowers littering the ground in a pink carpet.

 

“Thank you so much Hajime… I’m so sorry for burdening you with my illnesses.” Komaeda lamented

 

“It’s not a burden to me. Don’t worry about it. I don’t like crowded places either.” Hajime replied. It wasn’t a lie- it’s not like Komaeda chose to be sick, and Hajime knew that the last thing Komaeda would want was to burden someone. Besides, Hajime wanted to come back here.

 

This place would be good to set the bird they’d rescued free. It had lots of other sparrows too, so it would probably fit in great.

 

Komaeda had taken off his hood now, obviously a lot more comfortable. There was a small coffee shop nearby Hajime could probably take them to, but for the moment he just wanted to relish being alone with the other boy.

 

“Hey, don’t answer if you’re not comfortable with it, but what would your mom think of us?” Hajime inquired. He knew that Komaeda’s mom probably wasn’t the best of all people, but Hajime could admit he was curious

 

“Hm… My mother didn’t really approve of much that I did. Especially after my father died. It doesn’t matter, really. All that does is that I’m here with you now.” Komaeda smiled, something wistful in his tone “I don’t really know, honestly. I don’t plan on ever seeing her again anyway.”

 

It was sad to think that Komaeda never got the family he deserved. Hajime desperately wanted to ask his parents if they could allow Komaeda to stay permanently. Maybe to even adopt him, but that would be weird if they were dating. Once Komaeda turned 16 he had rights to live wherever he wanted, so maybe, just maybe, his parents would let him stay.

 

Hajime didn’t really know what he was doing, but he reached up and lightly patted Komaeda’s head, running his hands through the soft white jumble of hair. The other teen didn’t seem to know how to respond to such an action, so he simply leaned into it, resting his head on Hajime’s shoulder. A public display of affection with no one around to see it. Perfect for Hajime.

 

“I- Hajime. I really don’t want to go back to the hospital” Komaeda said sadly. “I just went along with it every other time, and I feel so selfish for admitting this, but I just want to stay with you. I’ve never been this happy before, in my entire life. I’m disgusting… I hate myself for even talking about this to you. Every word I say feels like I’m just adding more and more onto your plate- a plate you shouldn’t have to carry”

 

“Nagito. You’re a smart guy, but that was really dumb.”

 

“Huh?” Komaeda exclaimed

 

“The point of loving someone is that they aren’t a burden to you. I think I’ve told you like what? Six, seven times? I just love you for you, alright? The fact that you’re sick is something I just have to accept. I’ll be by your side from here on out- so even while you’re at the hospital I can sit there with you and we can play minecraft or something”

 

“Minecraft? You play that game too?” Komaeda’s eyes sparkled. Hajime was surprised Komaeda even knew what minecraft was. The fact he played it was even better

 

“Yeah- I didn’t think you’d know about it honestly” Hajime chuckled

 

“How could I not know about Minecraft? The hospital actually recommends it to a lot of the patients with my symptoms, because it improves cognitive flexibility. The hospital wifi isn’t too bad either, so you could come into my world if you wanted to!”

 

Hajime wasn’t going to pretend that he knew what cognitive flexibility was but he would definitely enjoy seeing what Komaeda liked building in his spare time.

 

After at least another ten minutes of the two back and forward chatting about minecraft. It was just a pleasant friendly conversation. Talking about their various experiences with a game they’d both played was something that the two hadn’t really done before. They were really different people and life had given both of them wildly different experiences. It was nice to find something they had in common for once, even if it was only a video game.

 

“There’s a coffee store over the other side of this park- wanna go with me and eat something?” Hajime asked

 

“Anything I do with you is amazing, so absolutely!” Komaeda cooed, a bounce in his step as he followed after Hajime to the cafe. The other boy ordered a milkshake, but said that he wasn’t hungry, and Hajime ordered himself a boba, finding the two a place to sit inside the snug cafe.

 

Hajime felt guilty for not telling Komaeda more about himself. Hajime felt like he knew everything about the other, but not the other way around. The brunette couldn’t bring himself to say it. He felt like a coward for that, but really what was he going to say? ‘Oh hey Nagito I hope you don’t mind but I was actually born a girl! How weird is that? Anyway how are you?’

 

No one other than his parents knew anything about that, so it felt like his chest was being opened and then his heart and mind was being examined under the scrutiny of someone else's lens. It’s not like he was scared that Komaeda was going to react any differently, he just didn’t know what to say. He didn’t want it being made into something big. Or to be thought of as someone special because of it. He didn’t want it to matter to Komaeda, let alone be something he thinks about. It was just like having green eyes or something. It wasn’t significant.

 

Hajime just hoped Komaeda would see it the same way.

 

While he was lost in thought, their drinks were delivered

 

“Hinata-kun? What a surprise to see you here!” A familiar yet somewhat irritating voice marveled.


(It wasn’t a surprise to him. Of course it was going to happen)

 

“Hello Souda.” Hajime groaned.

 

“Long time no see dude! You just up and left Hope’s Peak… man. Some of us were really confused!” Souda grinned nervously “You’ve already replaced me?! Jeez… that hurts Hinata-kun”


“I assure you! I’m not a replacement… I’m not good enough for that, surely.” Komaeda laughed softly. Hajime shot Komaeda a glare at the self-deprecating comment.

 

“Alright then, hey, Hinata-kun who’s Mr Sparkles here?” Souda whispered, though Komaeda could definitely hear

 

“Uh this is Nagito Komaeda… he’s my uh-” Hajime choked on his words. What should he say? He didn’t want to upset Komaeda at all but he and Souda really weren’t that close, so it would probably be weird for both of them if he said anything

 

“Newbie! We have other customers! C’mon kid” The shop owner called Souda away

 

“Aw man… talk later? I’ll be back” Souda offered a wink, speed walking away

 

“Uh. Yeah.” Hajime offered a small wave.

 

“Hajime, you don’t want to tell him we’re together, do you? I’m fine with that! No wonder… I mean who would want to be associated with me! Aha” Komaeda stared at his hand

 

“No? Not at all. I just didn’t want to make it awkward. Nothing more, nothing less.” Hajime took a sip from his boba (it was very good.)

 

“Oh.” Komaeda breathed. Hajime reached over from the other side of the table and gave his head a pat,

 

“I’m just not that good with talking about myself, that’s all. It’s nothing about you. I really like you.” Hajime said, offering a smile

 

Komaeda’s lips upturned. “I really like you too, Hajime”

 

A warm feeling settled in Hajime’s chest. Something that felt like a mixture of happiness and what he felt whenever he held hands with someone. It felt nice.

 

He was really looking forward to tomorrow, especially because he was going to be spending more time with Komaeda and it was his birthday. This meant Hajime had a perfect opportunity to make the other boy finally enjoy getting another year older. A birthday was meant to be a celebration of life and Komaeda never got that, so Hajime was going to try and do sixteen birthdays in one birthday.

 

Theoretically, speaking. Hajime definitely couldn’t do anything like that with his current skill set, though he wished he could. He just wanted Komaeda to have a good time.

 

They chatted for a bit about menial things, then they went up to the counter and paid

 

“Hinata-kun! Thought you could get away without seeing your soul bro? Hurt and offended…” Souda piped. The cashier gave him a glare, shutting the pink-haired boy up

 

Honestly Hajime had just forgotten about Souda being there. “Sorry man”

 

“All g my dude! Look! I’ll take my five minute break now ‘n we can chat! It’s felt like forever!”

 

“It’s only been a week since I last saw you” Hajime deadpanned, though he could absolutely agree. It had felt like forever since he’d last seen Souda.

 

“Yeah… Well, in that week you replaced me!” Souda shot a glare to Komaeda who shook his head vehemently

 

“I think I previously mentioned, I’m not a worthy replacement… I’ll go sit over there, Ouma-kun is texting me. Besides, I wouldn’t want to intrude on your friendship!” Komaeda smiled, promptly exiting and going over to the sakura tree, looking at the fallen petals carpeting the floor.

 

“What’s the deal with him?” Souda asked. His tone wasn’t impolite “Also, where have you been? I’ve been missing you dude!”

 

“Sorry… I should have told you. My mom got sick so I had to move schools. Funnily enough, while I was at the hospital I met Nagito. He’s a really nice guy once you get to know him.” Hajime said fondly, gazing over to where Komaeda was standing

 

“Hope your mom is okay man. That sucks. But still! What’s his deal? He’s still lookin’ a lot like my replacement”

 

Hajime exhaled, rubbing his temples “He’s not your replacement. I was taking him on a date. Not a bro thing”

 

Souda blinked. “Ah. My bad dude. But seriously, am I still your bro? Like, dude! Please text me. It’s really lonely without you here… Koizumi-san beat me up with her textbook yesterday… It bruised! I was just asking if I could see her photos of Miss Sonia-san”

 

“I’m not at all surprised that she did that. I guess I miss you too. I was kind of a shit friend though. Sorry.”

 

“Hey man! You mostly weren’t. Like most of the time you were chill. Anyway, I’ve gotta get back to work or my boss will give me the belt…”

 

“Alright. See ya” Hajime waved off Souda as he quickly scooted back into the small coffee shop

 

Hajime did not want to know if the belt was a physical or mental thing. Judging by the glare the cashier gave him, he wouldn’t be surprised if it was an actual belt.

 

Looking at his phone, Hajime’s heart plummeted slightly seeing the time. They needed to meet up with his mom and get lunch, then head to the hospital.

 

Hajime sped walked over to Komaeda, who also realised the time, so the two steered themselves off to Ichika's rendezvous point at the local chicken store.

 

After a quick lunch, they pretty much raced to the hospital to get there on time. Komaeda had to quickly go get his blood test results or something, so he waved a momentary goodbye and went to a slightly separate department as he and his mother

made their way down to the chemotherapy area of the hospital. After signing in, he and his mom were alone.

 

“Hey mom... are you feeling any better?” Hajime asked as the drip was hooked up to her. She sighed

 

“No... but it’s nothing to worry about hun. They told me I can and will recover from this, alright?” Ichika smiled, her eyes crinkling in the corners. “Plus, I’m glad I get to spend more time with you- it felt like I barely saw you before because of my work”

 

“Yeah...”

 

“Even so, you seem happier at the moment. I’m really glad to see you smile more often, Hajime” Ichika put a hand to his face “You’re a good kid. I’m proud of you”

 

“Thanks mom” Hajime laughed, not used to being complimented.

 

“Oh, by the way, Nagito’s back. He’s a couple chairs down.”

 

Hajime turned to see Komaeda undressing and putting the chemo drip into his chest. Ah that’s right- they were going to play Minecraft together... Hajime hoped it would help Komaeda ignore that he was in hospital for a few minutes, at the very least.

 

His mom gave him a look that basically said ‘what are you waiting for?’ So Hajime offered an apologetic grin and then meandered over to Komaeda’s bed.

 

“How are you? Does the needle hurt?” Hajime asked awkwardly, sitting down on the small chair beside the other boy

 

“I’m fine! A lot better now you’re here.” Komaeda looked to the drip running out from his body, “it does hurt, but it’s okay. I’m used to it”

 

Hajime slowly nodded. He wished that it didn’t hurt him at all, honestly, but it was good Komaeda didn’t seem to mind too much

 

“Hajime, you mentioned we were going to play Minecraft? I have my phone here if you want to join!” Komaeda said happily.

 

“Sure. Genuinely curious to see your world, honestly” Hajime mused as he loaded in.

 

Oh my god.

 

Instantly Hajime was bombarded with a huge village, obviously of Komaeda’s creation

 

“I actually made you a house, wanna see?” Komaeda inquired

 

“Alright- but seriously? How did you manage to build all of this? How long did it take?”

 

Komaeda laughed at Hajime’s bewilderment. “Six months, probably. It took a while! It’s really not that good though.”

 

“Shut up, Nagito. This is really cool”

 

Hajime was a bit embarrassed to see how enormous the house Komaeda had built him though. It would have taken days. He wouldn’t have been surprised if the other boy had started it when they’d first met. It took him ages to explore the entirety of Komaeda’s world, but then out of the blue one of the suggested to make a whole new thing and make it exclusively for them.

 

The next few hours went very quickly, the two collaborating to built all sorts of things. Maybe that’s why Komaeda liked it so much. It freed him from the limits of his own body for a little bit, made him forget how much everything hurt. By the end of it they’d built a large watchtower that was fully decorated, a little house for them, quietly. It was surrounded by a massive spruce forest. Hajime wished that he could see the sun set from a place like that in real life, not just the pixelated Minecraft sky slowly bleeding into night.

 

Maybe, just maybe, they could do something like that. Live together somewhere far away, and watch a thousand sunsets together.

 

It was getting dusky when the three of them were discharged and picked up by Hajime’s father, but the spiky haired boy noticed that Komaeda’s eyes were not blank on the car drive home. They were tired, yes, but in a pleasant way. Maybe Hajime had played a part in why they looked like that. Either way, he was glad to see that the other boy wasn’t as fatigued as he normally was once being discharged.

 

His parents were making idle chitchat in the front seats of the car, and the two of them leaned on each other’s shoulders, Hajime patting Komaeda’s hair.

 

If his parents noticed, they both didn’t say anything.

 

Once they got home, Hajime and his father wordlessly made dinner, and all of them sat down together and ate quietly, everyone tired from the days events, the two boys heading up to their room and both sleepily getting ready for bed. Even Hajime was exhausted- he wouldn’t know how Komaeda would feel at all- so he made sure to not mess around and just softly lie in bed, waiting for the other to join him.

 

“Thank you for today Hajime... you have no idea how much it means to someone like me having you there.” Komaeda lay down next to him, snuggling into Hajime’s arms, letting out a deep sigh. “I still feel like I don’t deserve it, but I guess I guess that’s slowly getting better too, thanks to you. “

 

“You do deserve it Nagito... you make me really happy. Now go to sleep.” Hajime huffed, closing his eyes.

 

“Goodnight.” Komaeda said, his voice warm

 

He fell into a deep sleep in what felt like seconds, sinking into his bed with ease, unconsciousness taking him.

 

Hajime didn’t dream that night, or if he did, he definitely didn’t remember it.

 

When he woke up the first thing that came to his mind was..-

 

Holy shit it was Nagito’s birthday

Chapter Text

Nagito woke up to a thud followed by a violent string of curses, that probably belonged to Hinata.

 

Wait... that was strange. Hinata wasn’t next to him in bed. Discombobulated, Nagito peered around the room. That was good... that entire few days hadn’t been a really long, nice dream. But what was Hinata doing?

 

He got out of bed, running a hand through his hair, deciding the best thing to do would be to go and investigate as to what Hinata was doing.

 

“Hajime?” Nagito called, as quietly as he could without waking the other teens parents “where are you?”

 

“Uhhhh” Hinata didn’t really say, but Nagito could assume from how it sounded that he was in the kitchen, so he wandered down and was faced with a frustrated looking Hinata surrounded by burnt appearing pancakes

 

“Ah. Good morning! Why didn’t you wake me up? I could have helped with the pancakes” Nagito inquired

 

Hinata gave him a stare, almost like Nagito should know something important was on today.

 

Oh.

 

It was his birthday.

 

It was fairly easy to forget a day that everyone else seemed to have failed to remember, so he was genuinely surprised to see that not only Hinata had not forgotten, but was doing something for him!

 

“I wanted to make you pancakes as something nice, y’know. I uh. I don’t know how to make pancakes.” Hinata laughed a little after this. No. He certainly did not know how to make pancakes, but Nagito was fairly certain that he would enjoy them nonetheless. Anything given to him by the one he loves the most he would always appreciate!

 

“Hajime, just because they look a bit funny doesn’t mean they’re going to taste bad! I can’t believe you even did something like this for a-“ Nagito stopped himself from making the comment, “Thank you so much!” he said instead. Hinata looked pleased by this. Maybe Nagito should do it more if only to see that

 

“No problem. I’ve made quite a few of them, so I guess there’s probably enough for everyone, though I don’t know if my family would even want these abominations of pancake kind”

 

“I will!” Nagito volunteered enthusiastically.

 

“I’ll eat em too- a pancake’s a pancake” Ichika said, coming out of apparently nowhere

 

“Ichika-san!! Good morning!” Nagito greeted, bobbing his head in acknowledgment of the woman. She was wearing a beanie in the mornings now, some of the side effects of the chemotherapy showing though

 

“Good morning Nagito. Say, Hajime, why are you making pancakes?”

 

“Oh. Uh. It’s Nagito’s birthday today, so I thought it’d be nice to surprise him.” Hinata mumbled, loading a few of the deformed pastries onto his plate, gesturing for Nagito to do the same

 

“It’s comforting to know that my son is a good guy. I guess I did something right, huh?” Ichika put a hand on her hips, grabbing the maple syrup and cream out of the cupboard and laying them on the dining table.

 

Nagito still couldn’t believe that his birthday was remembered, almost like he was in shell shock. Someone like him being special? Someone like him being something other than another face in the crowd. He was loved. The whole idea of it was quite remarkable, completely and totally unbelievable, yet somehow, by some miracle, it was happening right now. This feeling... he never wanted to leave it behind. It was like his heart was filled with clouds, his mind blissfully empty with nothing but this fantastic emotion.

 

True happiness. That’s what this was. Happiness and love. He had loved people countless times, though not romantically in any means, guiltily, he loved their hope. He loved Hinata as a person, regardless of his talent. And by some impossibility that love had been returned, without question.

 

What a world this was. How lucky he was to be in it, to experience something that he doesn’t think he’d ever felt. Amazing... Happiness was different from hope. Hope was a want for something to happen. Happiness was a full level of satisfaction, it was everywhere in his body right now. Love, hope, happiness. All so closely linked, yet all so different.

 

“Nagito? You good?” Hinata asked, that oh so wonderful voice bringing him back to reality, drawing an instant smile to his face

 

“Hi! Ah... I’m better than I’ve ever been, really. Thank you” Nagito replied.

 

Hinata grinned slightly, satisfied with that answer “Well, what do you want to do today? I can and will slap you if you say ‘whatever you want to do’ because it’s your birthday”

 

“Uh...” Nagito paused. He didn’t want to be slapped.

 

What did he want to do? So very rarely were his opinions actually taken into account he felt as though he didn’t even have them anymore. What did he want to do? The opportunities! So many places that they could go! It was a Sunday morning, so a lot of places would be busy... that wasn’t amazing, but there probably were places they could go where no one went. A place where they could be almost alone together.

 

A museum would be nice... or an art gallery. Those both weren’t particular popular choices for anyone except the elderly members of the public, and they tended to be the quiet sort of people. That would be nice

 

“Ah... it might sound quite lame of me, but truly, going to a museum or something like that is all I would wish for... but if you don’t want to go, I’ll happily do something else! I’ll go anywhere with you Hajime!”

 

Hinata furrowed his eyebrows “Nope. We are going to the museum. Same goes for you, especially today. Where you want to go, I want to go too”

 

“Atta boy” Ichika muttered, staring over the rim of her tea, Hinata instantly scowling

 

Nagito couldn’t help but laugh at Hinata’s hilarious, almost comical frustration at being called out like that, Hinata sighing dramatically and slumping into his chair

 

“It’s like I can’t win in this family” Hinata groaned as Nagito and Ichika sniggered

 

“You’re just really funny, Hajime. It just makes me like you more, honestly” Nagito chuckled

 

“It’s endearing” Ichika smiled “Taisei did it too. It was hilarious.”

 

“Yeah I’m sure it was” Hinata murmured, but Nagito could hear the mirth in his voice

 

The two headed upstairs and got dressed, Nagito getting into the nicest clothes he had. (Which admittedly weren’t that nice- he only had like two t-shirts, one of which he lost) So he was in a white t-shirt, red and black flannel, his regular cargo jacket and black slightly-too-short skinny jeans. He had a lot of his regular accessories, such as his collected hospital bands and the little friendship bracelet that he and Hinata both always wore.

 

But this time there were no bandages.

 

Honestly, the only thing Nagito could comment on with removing them after seven months was that it was far less itchy and a lot more cold. Thankfully for him, he was layered up pretty good- Japan even in the spring tended to be cold. It had even snowed once when he was little.

 

Hinata looked really nice. He came out of the bathroom wearing a monochrome button down and a denim jacket. Nagito couldn’t help but indulge his eyes a little bit by looking Hinata down possibly a little too much.

 

“You look absolutely fantastic, Hajime!” Nagito gushed

 

“You look nice too, I guess...” Hinata muttered, obviously embarrassed. The two were greeted by Ichika, who had made both of them packed lunches, giving them a wink. They had to walk briskly so as to not miss the bus, so Nagito had to concentrate to not trip over. His sense of balance was awful. (So was his ability to concentrate, but he shoved that out of his mind. If he fell Hinata would probably catch him)

 

On the way to the museum, Hinata asked Nagito if he wanted his hair braided again, and got to work, the other boy had obviously planned ahead because there was a small collection of rubber bands in his pockets.

 

Once they got to the city, Hinata seemed to know where he was going, so Nagito let him lead the way through the bustling streets, both of them hand in hand.

 

The noise wasn’t great for Nagito, his mind going straight to scratching his arms or laughing, but he focused on the connection his fingers had to Hinata’s, the warmth of the other leaking into his own body. Breathe in, breathe out. His other hand gravitated to the small white rabbit toy that Hinata had won on that day they’d gone to the theme park, so the combination of the soft bunny and Hinata’s hand grounding him just enough so that he wouldn’t do anything that would be counted as socially unacceptable.

 

Once the two had reached the museum, which was a surprisingly modern building for that it contained, they bought the tickets (which weren’t expensive whatsoever) and entered inside.

 

One of the first things that were easily recognisable was the giant Japanese artworks on the walls, tapestries depicting wars and conflicts.

 

The first floor was an exhibition on the samurais, intricate armoured suits lining the wars, the various weapons they had used next to them.

 

“Hajime, do you think that in some other life a long time ago, you would have been a Samurai? You seem strong enough!” Nagito chirped, admiring the suits

 

“Heh... maybe. Though I probably would have been a farmer or something. I honestly don’t think I’m elite enough to do anything like that”

 

“You underestimate yourself Hajime! You’re far stronger than me!” Nagito miserably tried to flex his arm, which at this point was just a mockery of skin and bone

 

“Ppft. I doubt it” Hinata rolled his eyes jokingly

 

They walked and talked throughout the museum, ogling at the gemstones section. Nagito was right with his assumption of the museum being empty. It was almost silent besides a few quiet voices of other people there

 

“Hey Hajime, weird question but did you ever have any collections when you were little?” Nagito queried

 

“Yeah actually. I used to collect Pokémon cards. You?” Hinata replied

 

“Well, I asked because I used to collect and classify gemstones... it’s a shame they’re still at my mother’s place, but I had quite a few!” Nagito laughed “Though really, my collection is nothing compared to this. They’re so beautiful”

 

Hinata smiled at Nagito’s comment, looking around at the shelves upon shelves of glittering stones and minerals, thousands of different colours and textures surrounding them

 

“They are... yeah.” Hinata said softly, putting an arm across Nagito’s shoulder, bringing the same arm down to hold his hand “We’ve gone through literally a fifth of the gallery- we have the dinosaur section next. C’mon” Hinata pulled him in the direction of the fossil exhibit, colossal skeleton recreations lining the walls, real dinosaur bones stored in glass cabinets. It had been Nagito’s dream as a little kid to own one of those, but he knew now the worth of a dinosaur bone, and completely doubted that he could ever afford one, even with his riches.

 

He didn’t care about things like that anymore anyway. Just admiring them from afar was good for Nagito. He had all he truly wanted anyway, besides his health.

 

“Did you have a dinosaur phase?” Hinata asked, looking around the gallery

 

“I did... My favourite dinosaur was the archaeopteryx. I liked them because they were such a hopeful evolutionary creature! Without their evolution, today's current birds might not even exist!” Nagito sang “Ah... and you?”

 

“Yup. Though I didn’t actually know anything about dinosaurs aside from things like the T-Rex and all. I just thought they were cool”

 

“They most certainly are cool!” Nagito admired the skeleton, dancing around it and listing off dinosaur facts, pulling Hinata around and showing him details that weren’t shown on the info boards

 

“You sound like a history teacher- it’s hilarious.” Hinata chuckled “You’re really smart”

 

“Ah well... not really. I just read a lot” Nagito admitted “but thank you!”

 

“I think it’s really neat you know all of this stuff, anyway. You’re like a walking dictionary”

 

“If I’m a walking dictionary then you are for sure my sunshine, Hajime, you bring light to all those around you”

 

“Oh god.” Hinata groaned, his face red. “That was really bad”

 

“It worked though, right?” Nagito said innocently

 

“Of course it worked. And it’s annoying that it worked”

 

“Your tsundere side is showing, Hajime! Better be careful!” Nagito warned, the previously fuming Hinata going even more red. Any response Hinata gave would just dig himself deeper into his tsundere side, so he shut up, Nagito laughing at this.

 

Nagito took the lead and led Hinata through the rest of the museum, pausing occasionally to look at or comment on certain exhibits. At the end, Nagito was surprisingly not tired, but he didn’t want to push himself, so he offered for he and Hinata to sit down on a bench below a flowering tree, many of the previously fresh blooms dropping off the tree and onto the two of them, each time it happened it provoked a laugh out of the other.

 

“Well, Ichika-san gave us packed lunches! I wonder what will be inside of these mysterious little paper bags?” Nagito wondered

 

“I don’t know. Maybe food.” Hinata deadpanned

 

Nagito opened his lunch and found a little note inside

 

Happy birthday :) have a nice day’

 

“Hajime! Did you get a note too?” Nagito held up his small piece of paper like it was a winning lottery ticket

 

“Uh. Yeah.” Hinata muttered

 

“What does it say?”

 

Hinata cleared his throat, and then coughed “Uh. It says to ‘ treat Nagito well today or I will get out the spoon and smack you so hard you won’t be able to feel anymore’

 

“Oh. Wow. Your mother has quite a violent side to her!” Nagito commented, looking at the handwritten scrawl that Hinata received

 

“It’s a joke... I think. She said the same when I liked Nanami. My mom is pretty great”

 

“She is! I wish I had her as my mother... though I’m blessed enough that I’m even spending time with you and her at all!”

 

“Yeah... I guess. Though we both like you too, remember that, right?” Hinata said

 

“I guess”

 

They sat there and ate both of their packed lunches, every so often a flower dropping on their food or head. Hinata looked very cute when he had a little flower nestled in his hair. Like he was a forest spirit. He brushed it out before Nagito could fully snapshot it in his mind. Nagito would have loved to softly brush it away himself, but he was already indulging far too much.

 

“Hey Nagito, if you don’t mind me asking, but was it like to stay in a hospital for long periods of time?” Hinata inquired after they’d finished eating

 

“Ah... well, the mental hospital I stayed at was quite nice really. It wasn’t too bad- the staff were really quite kind to me and the other people staying there were really good people too.” Nagito smiled. He wouldn’t say he was friends with any of them, but he talked a lot with a few of the other patients. It was really misrepresented in the media, truly. Nagito couldn’t remember a single person he saw there who he could say were ‘crazy.’ Really, they were just normal people dealing with not normal circumstances.

 

“Really? A lot of people say that mental hospitals are like prisons” Hinata said nervously

 

“Some might be, yes. But it’s just a place for people to heal! I certainly preferred it to the regular hospital... the people there treated me only with what felt like false kindness. I was made to do a lot of things I didn’t want to when I had finally been ‘graduated’ from the psych ward. They hadn’t forced me to do anything I hadn’t wanted to do, previously. It wasn’t very pleasant.” Nagito sighed. He didn’t feel much about that part of his life. He just remembered it being so very lonely

 

“Jesus Christ... I’m sorry if I brought up any bad memories... you didn’t deserve any of that”

 

“No, I guess not. But, I’m here now, and I’m with you! That’s better than anything any hospital could give me.” Nagito chirped

 

“I’m glad you’re here too... honestly I hope that you never have to feel that kind of pain again.” Hinata shook his head.

 

“It’s alright, but really, thank you!”

 

Hinata’s hand reached up and patted Nagito’s head. It was something Nagito had definitely come to enjoy, especially because Hinata’s hands were so warm and his intentions were so kind. In almost any other situation Nagito would probably flinch away from touch. He didn’t here, he had no need to.

 

It was nice. Not having to run away or mentally distance himself from someone. His luck seemed to only be affecting him, which was good. It was hard to believe that he truly wasn’t responsible for everything that had happened to his family. Logically speaking he knew that he truly wasn’t responsible. It was out of his control. But in his head, in his heart he felt he was somehow still at fault. How could he not? Years and years of people telling him that it was his bad luck that caused them harm of course had led him to guilt on top of guilt. So much self hatred that even the likes of Hinata couldn’t break through.

 

Nagito probably wasn’t ever going to stop hating himself. But now he’d accepted that he might not be such an awful person, it softened the blow it had on him. It made him less tired, less resentful. Now he had Hinata, he felt like things were finally okay. Or the most okay they would ever be. He felt like that piece of him that had been missing for so long had finally been put back, his heart finally letting hope fill it. Hope that he hadn’t felt for so long.

 

He was glad he was celebrating his birthday. So grateful that he was getting this year. Nagito shut the possibility of there not being another.

 

It was past noon, so after a while Ichika came and picked the two up, asking how it was.

 

They’d both enjoyed it a lot... of course Nagito had, but he was happy to know that Hinata had too.

 

Once they got home the two decided to play smash bros on the switch, Nagito as always picking Jigglypuff

 

“Why do you always play Jigglypuff? There’s like fifty other characters you could play” Hinata frowned

 

“Ah well I want to just get really good at this character first... also I find it’s harder to fall off the edge with it” Nagito explained, Hinata considering his answer

 

“That’s fair. You’re getting better at not falling off all of the time, even though you’ve played only four or five times”

 

“I want to be an adequate opponent for someone like you, so I really am trying to not fall off.”

 

“I enjoy playing it with you even if you suck at it. Admittedly it’s kinda funny to watch you die all of the time.” Hinata chuckled as he critically hit Nagito’s Jigglypuff

 

“Thank you! But I also want to get better... I want to be able to beat you too” Nagito said, somehow surviving and floating back onto the map

 

“You’ve really evolved since we started hanging out dude- you would only be doing it for me then. Now you’re doing stuff for yourself. That’s good!” Hinata gave Nagito a light punch on the forearm- not enough to hurt, it was more of a good job kind of gesture. Nagito smiled

 

“I guess... though if it did come down to it you come first.”

 

“That’s fine, just put yourself first sometimes. Indulge yourself. You deserve it”

 

“Ppft. Thanks.” Nagito smiled. He lost again, but this time they’d both been down to their last life. Probably because of luck, but Nagito couldn’t help but feel a tiny sense of accomplishment at the near win.

 

They played a few more rounds, then Hinata informed him that they were doing something later that day and that it would be a good idea to get some sleep before it. Nagito didn’t necessarily want to sleep, but at the same time, if he collapsed while he was doing whatever he was doing with Hinata that wouldn’t be so good.

 

He lay in bed, but he didn’t really fall asleep. He mostly just sat there. He didn’t want to sleep just in case when he woke up this nice feeling disappeared. So he sat there, reminiscing. He kept losing his train of thought so he was most likely just thinking the same thing over and over but at least it wasn’t getting old.

 

He didn’t know if he ended up falling asleep or not but Hinata knocked on the door some time later.

 

“Hey, it’s nearly five at night, wanna get ready to go out?” Hinata asked

 

Nagito was pretty much already ready so he just slid his shoes on and bounced downstairs. Thankfully he was feeling a bit restored, so whatever Hinata was going to take him out to do he would probably be well enough to do it. Even if not, he can just rest tomorrow!

 

Hinata grinned as he saw Nagito, walking up to him and wrapping his arms around the white-haired boy’s body

 

“I really hope you’re having a good birthday Nagito.” Hinata breathed

 

Nagito nodded “Truly, I have been, all thanks to you Hajime!”

 

His other notable birthdays had been ignored. Of course, he couldn’t blame his family, they were just dealing with other stuff. They didn’t have time for someone like him-

 

Hm. Was that true though? Hinata’s life seemed quite busy yet he seemed to effortlessly make time for one day a year.

 

Hinata was unique, then. An absolute good amongst all others.

 

“On the car ride there, I’ll be taking you, but it’s easier for Taisei to pick you guys up. Hope that’s good” Ichika smiled, the two agreeing.

 

Nagito really had no idea where he was going for this mystery date, so he was very much excited! Wow! Three dates in two days... he was so lucky...

 

Hinata grinned as he hopped out of the car. He’d been to this shopping area before... but Hinata was leading him elsewhere.

 

“A skating rink?” Nagito wondered aloud. He was genuinely surprised at how quiet it was, a few people on the floor but really not that many else, the lighting set to what could be described as ‘romantic’

 

“Ta da” Hinata grinned awkwardly “Uh... I hope it’s alright. I can skate fine so if you fall over I can catch you, and I’ll hold your hand until you’re good enough at it. And uh. They have a little food area too so... yeah.”

 

Nagito was quite touched by the gesture. “I’m looking forward to it! Though I feel like you are going to be catching me quite a lot, haha.” 

 

If Nagito actually had good balance, he would probably be at a disadvantage in this situation. Who wouldn’t want to be caught by their significant other? He certainly couldn’t wait to see if Hinata lived up to his word. 

 

They got their skates and Nagito did an awkward little waddle to get over to the skating rink, Hinata trying to hold in a laugh at how stupid he must look. It wasn’t like Nagito has ever skated before. 

 

The second his skates hit the smooth wooden floor he sagged against the wall, his legs giving out almost instantly

 

“Hajime? What do I do?” Nagito asked, Hajime standing next to him on the wall, helping him up.

 

“Alright, so keep your knees bent. Then, use one foot at a time to push off the ground sideways. If you need to stop, just run into a wall. I really don’t have many tips for that one.” Hinata shrugged “Grab my hand and I’ll just guide you for a bit”

 

Nagito nodded, locking fingers with Hinata. His knees threatened to give but he did what the other boy had asked of him, allowing his boyfriend to take the lead. 

 

Huh… this was actually quite easy! After about five minutes of Nagito teetering around the edge and wobbling around a bit (every time it happened he swore his heart tried to jump out of his chest)

 

Hinata progressively told him what to do, his hand remaining there the entire time, even though both of their palms were really sweaty. 

 

“Hey! You’re doing really good!” Hinata grinned. “Wanna try without my hand?”

 

“Ah… sure! This is actually really fun! Thanks for taking me here!” Nagito chirped

 

“Dude, the pleasure is all mine. I’m having equally as much fun” Hinata very gradually let go of Nagito’s hand. Breathe in, breathe out. Alright! This wasn’t too bad! 

 

Hinata stayed next to him, and the two eventually rejoined hands, Nagito avoiding falling over probably purely due to luck. He was surprised he hadn’t yet.

 

It hadn’t kept up though. 

 

With a soft gasp, Nagito felt his heart drop before anything else, his feet going out from under him faster than he could first possibly could have predicted. Oh no. 

 

Maybe the idea of inconveniencing Hinata like this wasn’t such a good one. Falling like this wasn’t an enjoyable feeling either.

 

But without fail, strong arms caught him from behind his back, right before Nagito was about to hit the ground. 

 

“Ah… Hajime!” Nagito muttered, getting onto his knees and taking Hinata’s hand to stand up. 

 

“I told you I’d catch you,” Hinata smiled, looking quite proud of himself.

 

“You certainly did… I wish I could be able to do the same for you!” 

 

“Eh. I like being able to be able to catch you. Grab my hand.” Hinata offered out his hand to Nagito who graciously took it, the two taking off again.

 

Warm hands. So warm, like the feeling in his heart. He wanted to stay like this forever, connected to the person he loves. No longer alone, no longer in that deep unending pain that he’d suffered for years and years. A bleak melancholy of hope and despair. Nagito had not factored the one emotion that was truly both of these, and far more powerful.


There was nothing more powerful than love. Love seemed to hold the highest possible order in this world. Love for a person, love for money, love for a concept. Everything tied back to love. 

 

Nagito had never realised that until he was awkwardly roller skating with his boyfriend. How ironic. Years in hospital and he learned almost nothing, yet in such a small moment such as this triggered one of the largest realisations of his entire life. Hinata had accidentally taught him so much in the ways of the world. In the ways of perceiving everything around him.

 

After a few more loops of the course, Hinata asked Nagito if he was hungry. Nagito assumed that Hinata was asking the question because he needed to eat. Nagito was never truly hungry. 

 

“Sure!” He replied happily, taking off his skates and putting back on his regular shoes, Hinata sitting next to him the whole time

 

“Hey, weird question, but why do your shoes have zippers on them instead of laces?” Hinata asked, looking down at Nagito’s feet

 

“Funny story actually! I trip a lot, and I also once got my shoelace stuck inside of an escalator! I had to sacrifice the whole shoe to get out of it, aha” Nagito explained

 

“Huh.” Hinata mused. It was a bit like that, wasn’t it. Such an in character thing for him to say, Hinata was probably thinking. Oh how right he was.

 

They both sat down in one of the small booths in the accompanying restaurant, ordering food. To Nagito’s surprise, he was hungry, if only a little bit, so he was looking forward until his meal arrived.

 

Even so, looking at Hinata’s face would suffice, his eyes absorbing every contour and freckle. Hinata’s eyes were so beautiful. So kind looking. Nagito couldn’t really pick what colour they were. A divine olive green. A strange detail of Hinata’s eyes is that around the center of the iris a small slightly darker circle of green resided, looking almost like a tiny stop sign in his eyes. A wonderful and fantastic detail, truly. 

 

Would it be weird if Nagito kissed Hinata right now? Even on the cheek? Would that make Hinata hate him? Because god did Nagito want to. Should he ask? 

 

“Um, Hajime. Can I kiss you?” Nagito didn’t have much choice, did he, his mouth running itself far before he could think rationally

 

“W-what?” Hinata’s face went beet red. 

 

Nagito didn’t seem to have much of an option, his body leading the way. He wasn’t complaining really, giving Hinata a short kiss on the cheek, backing away instantly to gauge the reaction.

 

Hinata’s eyes were quite wide, to say the least, looking over to Nagito. He hoped he’d done it right… It wasn’t though Nagito had ever made any sort of remotely intimate action. 

 

“Oh.” The other boy said quietly “You… you meant that.”


It had definitely felt nice, but the rush of panic that now came to him made him reconsider. He was very much ready to backtrack, to apologise. Possibly even grovel!

 

Then Hinata did something truly unexpected, turning back on Nagito and kissing him, not just on the cheek. 

 

What on earth? This wasn’t remotely like any of the hypothetical situations that had passed through his mind…! Is he dreaming? Was this even happening right now?

 

It ended before Nagito could even feel anything over than shock but the two were left staring awkwardly at each other. What should he say to that? He had just had his first kiss! How was he supposed to respond? Nagito just blinked. Hinata’s entire face was flushed, staring directly down at his knees, sweating bullets.

 

“Hajime! Pinch me please!” Nagito insisted, holding his arm out to Hinata

 

“What?” Hinata paused “Pinch you? Why?”

 

“There is no way you just kissed me, Hajime Hinata. Absolutely no chance. None!”

 

Hinata looked at him with a total deadpan stare, his mutual surprise melting into whatever he usually felt. Then a grin slid onto his face “I don’t know Nagito, would you like me to do it again?”

 

Hinata tried to keep up his act, but it slowly began to crack, the other boy practically snorting with laughter

 

“Nagito of course I kissed you, it’s what you do when you really love someone, right? You already know I love you, so why wouldn’t it be real?” Hinata smiled, composing himself

 

“Ah… I’m so lucky. I’m so, so lucky.” Nagito breathed. He almost felt dizzy! 

 

“I wasn’t. Uh. I wasn’t lying earlier, though.” Hinata mumbled, scratching his neck like he did whenever he was nervous. 

 

“Ahaha… this feels quite surreal! Thank you so much… Our buzzer is going off, so we should get our food.” Nagito laughed, trying to fight through the embarrassment flooding through him.

 

Hinata raised his eyebrows, also totally beet red. “Well, after you good sir” He gestured, standing up and allowing Nagito passage through the booth in which they were sitting.

 

The second Nagito stood up he knew something was wrong. Everything was wrong, actually. Wow. This did not feel good. His whole body did not want to respond. It was like days worth of fatigue stocked up, his breathing becoming hard, his vision going dark. Was this what vertigo felt like? How odd.

 

“Nagito?! Are you alright?” Hinata’s panicked voice sounded, sturdy hands catching him as he fell. His thoughts felt jumbled, his most recent thought cycling around his mind

 

“Hmmm. You should probably get the fries Hajime… it would suck if they went cold.” Nagito murmured before he lost consciousness.

 

His last thought was that he didn’t want to go back to the hospital. 

 

Please don’t bring me back there Hajime. I just want to be with you.