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Hide and Seek

Chapter Text

‘Good morning every- hmm?’

Ishimaru had marched into the cafeteria as usual, ready to greet all his fellow students before lessons began. Instead he found only a handful of people, all from his class, staring back at him.

Hagakure raised a friendly hand and invited him to join them. Already in the cafeteria (making Ishimaru feel slightly dejected at not being the first) were Asahina, Sakura, Naegi, Kirigiri, Hagakure and Togami.

‘I….what’s going on? Why are you here, Togami-kun? I’m surprised to see you!’

‘I only came here to confirm what was going on, although I haven’t gotten anywhere with these buffoons.’

‘Hey! We explained it really clearly, ‘right?’ Hagakure protested, wounded. He then turned to Ishimaru and beamed. ‘Turns out, Ishimaru-chi, we’re the only ones left in the school! They decided to start the Christmas holidays today, but Oowada-chi was on duty to read the notices, so we never found out, because he forgot to get them. Everyone’s gone, so the only people left are our class. Pretty exciting, ‘right?’

‘Hagakure-kun, it isn’t exciting!’ Asahina butted in. ‘We’re stranded! What if they locked the doors on us?’

‘Do not be afraid, Asahina, my girl. We all have mobile phones, do we not?’ stated Sakura calmly. Asahina huffed, but seemed slightly more reassured.

‘I see! So that is the predicament…’ Ishimaru crossed his arms in thought. ‘It’s just as Oogami-san says! We will simply call the school!’ As he spoke, Fukawa wandered in, followed by Celes, Yamada and Maizono.

‘Wait, guys! We’ve got this whole building to ourselves! We should have some fun, ‘right?’

Sakura greeted the students who had just entered and set about explaining the current situation.

‘What do you mean by ‘fun’’? Kirigiri asked, a faint smile on her face. Naegi leaned in to hear Hagakure’s answer.

He took a deep breath and put a decisive fist to his chest. ‘We should play hide and seek!’

Everyone turned to look at him, their faces a sea of intrigue and disgust. Togami, belonging to the latter group, scoffed loudly. ‘What a stupid idea…’

‘Look, I know you hate fun Togami-chi,’ Hagakure jabbed a finger at him. ‘But this’ll be really cool! I know it!’

‘Oh? D-did you get a p-p-premonition about it, huh?’ Fukawa glared at him.

‘Hmm…let’s see….ah! It is fun! Wow, you pick a really bad hiding place, Naegi-chi…’

‘You did not seriously just fortune tell how a game of hide and seek is going to turn out.’ Asahina was almost laughing.

By now, the whole class had walked into the dining hall and been filled in by Sakura.

‘…so we’re now the only people in the school. Ah yes, and Hagakure is proposing a game of hide and seek.’ She concluded.

‘Hide and seek, you say?’ Yamada put a finger to his glasses. ‘That is an entertaining idea, Hagakure Yasuhiro-dono.’

‘I really want to!’ said Chihiro, grinning.

‘It’d be a laugh! And Hagakure-kun’s right, we might as well have some fun now we’re here.’ Mondo resolved.

‘And who’s fault is that?’ snapped Togami.

Eventually, it seemed everyone was up for a game of hide and seek, with Togami only agreeing as he felt ‘it would shut you commoners up’.

‘Right, so we’re decided! This’ll be so fun, I promise! Okay, who wants to be the seeker.’

No one volunteered, having already started to consider their ideal hiding spot.

Ishimaru, who had until then been busy berating Mondo for shirking the notices duty, piped up and suggested rock-paper-scissors to decide. All agreed it was the fairest way.

A heated tournament began. Celes and Naegi, true to their talents, were quick to win their respective battles and secure their places as hiders. Hagakure won against Togami, who then beat Yamada. Mukuro beat Enoshima and Asahina, but lost against Sakura. After a while, it was down to Kuwata and Kirigiri. She landed a winning paper and Kuwata was crowned as seeker.

He accepted his defeat rather gracefully. ‘Hah, prepare to get found losers!’

‘Ha ha ha! Right, one rule! You can’t hide anywhere and lock the door, or else it isn’t fair! You have to hide in a place that is actually accessible, ‘right? Okay Kuwata-chi, count to 100!’

‘That’s pretty high, don’t you think?’ asked Celes.

‘It’s a pretty big school!’

Kuwata sighed and put his hands up to his eyes. Fukawa waved to make sure he wasn’t cheating, but everyone elected to spin him around a few times just in case. Feeling thoroughly disorientated, the punk started to count.

‘1…2…3…4…5…’

The class quickly scampered off in all directions, and the games began.

Chapter Text

True to the variety of the students, the game was tackled in a variety of different ways- some focusing on the most obscure place to hide, some considering where Leon would search last, and some considering possible loopholes to Hagakure’s rule.

Celes, who swore by the wisdom that scheming was the way to success, had instantly found the loophole and bolted to the dormitory rooms. She glanced around and, seeing no one in the corridor, slipped into her own room. She shut the door, but didn’t lock it.

‘There. No rules broken. He’ll never look in here!’ she giggled to herself, settling down and picking up a book to read.

Unbeknownst to her, Togami had done exactly the same thing just a few doors down, after first shaking off Fukawa, whom he had ordered away on account of her apparent stench. He calmly strode into his room and sat down at his desk, ready to enjoy a day entirely free from the embarrassment of ‘hiding’. As if he, Byakuya Togami, would elect to squeeze himself into a cramped, dirty crevice just to win at this silly game, when he could win like this! He smiled at his own genius…and picked up his phone.

. . .

Across from the dorms, Asahina had decided to hide almost in plain sight, and had been silently manoeuvring various kitchen utensils about until she was nestled in a now empty cupboard. She reasoned that Leon would rush straight out of the cafeteria, or assume all the cupboards in the kitchen were full of bowls and whatnot. Better yet, from her spot just metres away from him, she could hear what number he was on.

’32…33…34…35…’

She still had ages to wait, and her neck was already starting to cramp up from her awkward position, but the thought of winning pushed her to endure.

’40…41…42…43…44…’

As she sat in the dark, listening to Leon count, her thoughts turned to the other students, and where they could be hidden.

. . .

While Asahina was busy giving herself a stiff neck, Ishimaru was getting right down to business in the infirmary. He did not approve of disrupting school property, so had thought hard about where he could hide without the risk of breaking anything. This eventually led him to conclude that hiding under a bed was the best option, and having disregarded the dormitories as being against the rules, Ishimaru had found himself in the infirmary.

He began shuffling the sheets and covers around so that they hung down to the floor, which meant anyone curled underneath the bed wouldn’t be spotted. He drew the curtains for an added layer of invisibility, and crawled into his hiding spot. Since it was imperative that everything in the infirmary was kept clean and sterile, lying on the floor didn’t even get his clothes dirty. He promised himself he would scrub the floor afterwards, though.

. . .

Yamada and Sakura, although nowhere near each other, were both having the problem of finding a space big enough to accommodate their large bodies.

Yamada had heaved himself up to the botanical garden, deciding that the enormous leaves would give good coverage. He tiptoed in, listening to see if anyone else had had the same idea, but heard nothing. Either he was alone, or whoever else was there was very good at hiding. He followed the path to a particularly dense area of foliage, and rustled through into the middle of the plants, making a huge racket as he did so. He went as far as he could bear and sat down, covered in scratches and slightly damp but well-hidden nonetheless.

Sakura had chosen to use her body to her advantage. She strode to the gymnasium, which contained no nooks or crannies to hide in, but she had a different idea. Rubbing her fists together, taking care not to be too loud since the cafeteria was close by, she got herself to the highest level in the gym, grabbed a sturdy pipe that ran down the walls, and began to climb. It was tough, even for her, but soon she was suspended from the ceiling, looking down at the rather large drop to the floor. The gymnasium’s lights were heavy duty ones that hung roughly a metre away from the actual ceiling, and with a bit of careful movement, she could position herself so that she perched on one of the lights. Thankfully, it was not white hot as she had feared it might be, and although she still held onto a pipe with one hand, the light seemed to support her weight easily once she had distributed it. She hoped Asahina would be proud of her unusual hiding place. Although Leon was just out of earshot, she guessed he was about halfway through counting.

. . .

Chihiro was having a far easier time. His tiny frame opened up a wealth of possible hiding places, but since he knew the computer room best, he ran there.

He creaked the door open gently, peeking in for any other students. Completely empty. What luck!

Effortlessly light on his feet, he walked in and made a beeline for the end of the room. The desks were the type that touched the floor at the back, so crouching behind it meant you couldn’t be seen. Summoning every bit of his strength (and thanking Mondo silently for all his training) he dragged the two desks closest to the far wall away until he could climb into the gap. He rested his chin on his knees, feeling rather snug and enjoying the warmth of the monitors around him. A few rooms over, Ishimaru had just clambered under one of the infirmary beds.

. . .

Mukuro, no stranger to having to hide from enemies in difficult terrain, had decided that Leon was the defeatist type. She figured that if she created a mess in the art room, making it difficult to search, he would give up before reaching the connected storeroom. As soon as she made it to her destination (after checking she hadn’t been followed by Enoshima, who had seemed hard put for hiding ideas in the cafeteria) she shuffled the desks about so Leon would need to move them all again in order to move around. She also pushed the sculptures to block his path further, and moved the paints in order to deflect him from the storeroom- she was certain Leon would avoid them to save his precious white clothes. Thoroughly satisfied with her work, she slipped into the storeroom and began waiting.

. . .

Feeling utterly dejected after being scolded by Togami, Fukawa dragged her feet along the corridors until her eyes fell onto the recreation room- somewhere she had never entered before. Upon closer inspection, she spotted a locker in one of the corners. She went in and checked the inside. It was completely hollow, and her slender body could fit in easily. Her mind made up, she hopped in and slouched against the back, staring vacantly through the small slits at the room.

. . .

Naegi hurried up the stairs, trying to ignore Hagakure’s comment about his hiding spot being particularly bad. He made his way to the changing rooms on autopilot, and almost swiped his ID card before stopping with a jerk. Frowning, he put a hand to his chin. Was going in the boy’s changing room breaking the rules? Was it technically locking the door? He figured no, since Leon was also male, but the spirit of hide and seek had taken over and suddenly the game’s only rule mattered greatly to him. After deliberating for quite some time, he quickly ran back to the staircase and leaned down.

’63…64…65…66…’ Leon was counting rather fast now, clearly becoming impatient.

Naegi judged this as not nearly enough time to find another hiding spot, and rushed through into the changing rooms without another thought. Of course, once in there, he realise there wasn’t actually anywhere he could hide.

‘Shit…’

. . .

Hagakure, being the one who initially suggested hide and seek, had been planning his perfect spot long before the others. Of course, it was almost necessary considering his general slowness. The quick divination he’d performed told him nothing of his own place, although he knew Naegi was camped out in the boy’s changing room. What a strange place to pick. There’s nothing to hide you in there! He smiled to himself as he entered the botanical gardens. Although usually he feared the plants in there greatly, he felt that assimilation would grant him temporary acceptance from his new chlorophyll-filled brethren, and this put his mind at rest. He fumbled through the gardens, constantly getting whacked in the face by leaves and branches (typical of such malicious creatures) and eventually found himself by the bamboo.

Through a kaleidoscope of greens and browns, Yamada watched him.

Hagakure slotted himself comfortably into the bamboo. To Yamada’s great shock, he then calmly snapped his fingers and his mass of dreadlocks began to move and straighten up, until they were as stiff and upright as the bamboo around them and, since the bamboo was largely dead, the same colour.

Completely unaffected by this display of apparent magic, Hagakure settled down proudly, ignorant of Yamada gaping at him from across the garden.

. . .

‘Shit, shit, where to go, where to go?’

Mondo carried on muttering to himself as he sloped down various hallways, frequently doubling back on himself or almost entering a room, then changing his mind. The frustration made him angrier until he had to pause to calm himself down, taking deep breaths and counting, just like he’d practised. The counting reminded him of Leon, and he looked around impatiently. He’d stopped a little before the library; he darted in.

The shelves were tall and packed with books, essentially creating extra walls that divided up the room. After scoping out every part of it, he crouched down in the smallest aisle he could find and waited. He was in the cookery section, and idly picked up a small recipe book to flip through.

. . .

Maizono had managed to find another loophole to the rule, although it was a slightly more dubious one than Celes and Togami’s. She cheerfully strolled into the ladies bathroom, smiling at herself in the mirror. She hadn’t locked any doors, and it was technically accessible…right? Leon could come in if he really wanted to. But he wouldn’t! She was sure her plan was foolproof. And, if he took a particularly long time finding the others, she didn’t have to worry about getting thirsty or needing the bathroom. She felt almost like a vigilant soldier, stood guard with only basic necessities to last her.

In reality, she was putting on mascara to pass the time, but the idol always liked to dream big.

. . .

Just as Chihiro was starting to get sucked into a light snooze, he heard a terrible clamouring coming from outside.

‘SIS! WHERE ARE YOU?’ hollered what was unmistakeably Enoshima.

She had been successfully ditched by Mukuro, and now found herself with nowhere to hide. Much like the pair in the dorms, Junko didn’t fancy getting herself dirty for the game. Mukuro gave no reply (she hadn’t even heard her), so after shouting for a bit longer, she turned on her heel and went straight back to the cafeteria, sitting down behind Leon in a strop.

’67…68…69..haha…70…’

Junko rolled her eyes at Leon’s immaturity, willing him with an icy glare to count faster.

Asahina opened her cupboard door just a tiny crack to investigate the set of footsteps as they marched in. Leon didn’t seem to have even noticed since he was shouting numbers at the top of his lungs, but Asahina could make out Junko’s extravagant pink hair. She must have given up. Oh well. One less opponent!

. . .

Kirigiri was the last to hide. She had watched the others run off and tried to predict where they would go, but it hadn’t offered her any clues as to where she herself should hide. To her surprise, she found she wasn’t at all skilled when it came to hide and seek. After deliberating until the count of 73, she rushed up several flights of stairs to the dojo. It was about as far away from Leon as one could get, so chances were he would’ve found most of the other students before even checking there. Looking fondly up at the Japanese scenery, she breezed to the furthest cherry blossom tree and climbed up, sitting comfortably in one of the branches, totally and utterly surrounded by pink.

Chapter Text

Moments after Kirigiri had hoisted herself up the tree, Leon finally reached 100.

’98…99…100! Coming, ready or not!’ He bellowed, sprinting out of the cafeteria without even turning around.

Junko threw her hands in the air, crying out ‘for fuck’s sake!’. Asahina grinned.

Sakura heard the shouts, and smiled to herself. Down the hall, Maizono was still snickering at the genius of her plan. Leon was creeping around just outside the bathroom, glancing behind him every few seconds. She put her ear to the door and listened, but just as Leon was about to move on…her phone started ringing. The cutesy pop song was unmissable in the dead silence, and before she could even react, the door was thrown open and Leon barrelled into her.

‘Found you!!’

‘What the hell? Who called me?’ She snatched up her phone, which had stopped ringing as suddenly as it had begun, and checked the caller ID: ‘TOGAMI’. ‘That…! He called me to get me out of the game!’

‘Man, that was mean.’ Leon sympathised. ‘I want to actually find people, not just have Togami give them all away! I should try to find him next.’

‘I’m coming with you!’

‘D’you think it’s against the rules to have multiple seekers?’

‘I don’t care! Togami’s the last person who can complain about rule breaking. I can’t believe he did that!’

‘Yeah, fair enough. Hey, Maizono-san? Your hiding place was pretty good. I wouldn’t have dared look in there.’

This cheered her up, and the pair set off to find Togami, Maizono promising to wait in the cafeteria once they had. They figured the simplest way was to search floor by floor. As they walked by the infirmary, Leon paused.

‘There are probably a few other people on this floor right? I should keep looking for them while we hunt down Togami.’

‘Yeah, of course! Should we split up?’

‘It’d make things faster. If-‘

‘If I find anyone else, I’ll ignore them and let you seek them out!’

‘How did you know I was gonna say that?’

‘I can read minds.’ Maizono beamed and skipped off, leaving Leon to investigate alone. He smiled and burst into the infirmary. Under the bed, Ishimaru held his breath.

After looking for a few minutes, Leon spotted that one bed had its sheets arranged differently. He grinned, and silently crouched down beside it.

‘BOO!’
‘EEEEK!’ Ishimaru screamed, hitting his head on the bedframe as he did so. Leon burst out laughing.

‘K-Kuwata-kun! You made me jump!’ He shuffled out and Leon helped him to his feet, still in hysterics.

‘I wish I could’ve seen your face!’

Ishimaru rubbed his head, which Leon apologised for, and wished him good luck on the rest of the seeking. ‘I’ll make my way to the cafeteria, shall I? But I must come back later to tidy up!’

‘Yeah, that seems like a good place to meet, and you can tidy once I’ve found everyone. See ya later Ishimaru!’

Two were down already, and Leon felt pretty good, despite only having ‘found’ one of them. He checked the classrooms, and finding nothing moved on to the computer room. Here the desks were far more cramped, and there were a fair few places to hide. He was stalking up and down the aisles, checking under each desk, when he heard a persistent buzzing noise at the far end of the room, and something shuffling around. Peeking over the desk, he spotted Chihiro yanking his phone out of his pocket and staring at it in horror. He looked up and saw Leon waving.

‘Togami called you?’

‘Yeah…why..?’

‘He’s mean. He’s trying to get everyone out of the game. I’m sure he’s called all the others. You were just unlucky that I was in here.’ He reassured Chihiro. ‘I found Maizono-san the same way. She’s out looking for Togami now. Wanna join her?’

‘Yes! He won’t get away with this!’ Chihiro pushed the desks back to their original position and marched out. Leon followed and yelled down the corridor.

‘MAIZONO-SAAAAN!’

She appeared soon after, and immediately sussed out what had happened to Chihiro.

‘I don’t suppose,’ she asked thoughtfully, ‘You could somehow find out where his calls are coming from?’

‘Hmm…yes, I could! It wouldn’t take very long at all. Let me see…’

He tapped away at his phone until his face lit up, triumphant. ‘He’s in his dormitory!’

‘What?! That is so unfair! Guys, I’m gonna go find him, and we can pretend it was just me being a really good seeker. That’ll totally bum him out!’

The others agreed, and went to wait in the cafeteria. Leon walked determinedly down to the dorm rooms and flung Togami’s open. ‘Hah! Found you!’

Togami looked sharply up, phone still in hand. ‘How on earth?’

Leon beamed down at his shocked expression and grabbed his wrist, yanking Togami out of his chair and dragging him into the hall.

‘Think you’re gonna ruin this game, huh? Huh? HUH?’

Although Leon was completely harmless, he enjoyed having a go at Togami for trying to outsmart him. After a sufficient telling-off had been given, he pointedly checked all the other dorms, just in case anyone else had decided to be clever. Before long, Leon was escorting a furious Celes and Togami to the cafeteria.

Meanwhile, Enoshima had decided to make herself a drink in the kitchen, with Asahina watching her. She was spooning coffee into a mug when Leon marched in.

‘These two are cheaters! I’m going.’ He stuck his tongue out at the two new arrivals and stomped out, failing to notice that anyone was in the kitchen. By the time Enoshima had returned to her spot in the cafeteria he was gone, and she had still not been found.

Chapter Text

Having already found 5 people, Leon figured there wouldn’t be anyone else on the ground floor, but did a quick sweep nonetheless. The male bathroom, student shop and classrooms were all completely empty. He glanced around the trophy room, then looked around the gymnasium. He found no one, and never considered looking up, where he would’ve seen Sakura suspended dizzyingly high above him. She kept perfectly still and silent until he wandered back out, fruitless.

Leon jogged to the staircase leading to the first floor. Above him, Naegi had scampered through to the pool and knelt behind a pile of rubber rings. The floor was slightly damp and he wriggled uncomfortably as the cold water seeped into his trousers. He peeked over the top of his hiding place; Leon was nowhere to be seen, so he quickly shuffled about until he was resting on his haunches, with only his shoes touching the floor.

A minute later Leon danced in, eyeing every corner of the room eagerly. Naegi wobbled terribly as he squatted there- he tried to right himself by digging his heels in, but instead struck a particularly slippery patch of floor and tumbled headlong into the rings, sending them flying. He shrieked (in a far higher pitch that he would’ve liked) as he completely lost his balance and landed heavily on his stomach. Leon looked round sharply and smirked at Naegi, who was picking himself up and looking forlornly at his soaked front.
‘Clumsy!’

‘I know that…’

‘Here, this’ll help.’ Leon snatched the nearest towel he could find and hurled it at Naegi with amazing accuracy but far too much strength. It whacked into him and almost bowled him right over; Naegi righted himself at the last moment and starting wiping his hoodie and blazer.

Once he’d dried off somewhat, the two boys walked out into the corridor where Leon bid Naegi goodbye.

‘Y’know, I probably would’ve seen your hair sticking out from that pile anyway…’

‘Th-that’s not true!’

‘Hahaha, well I’ll catch ya later Naegs’ Leon clapped him roughly on the back and set off down the hall.

A few doors down in the library, Mondo hadn’t heard any of Naegi and Leon’s conversation, since his head was firmly buried in the cookbook he’d picked up. Who knew there were so many different combinations of food? He was utterly fascinated, since most of his meals were either instant noodles or something he’d been too drunk to identify. Not to mention how delicious the pictures looked, and he could make this stuff? Amazing! Reading the instructions, they didn’t look too difficult, he would just need to get the proper ingredients and track down all the listed utensils, and he could probably find them all in the school kitchen, he’d never really checked, and he could use the ovens in there too, hopefully, and there were lots of recipes to feed multiple people, so he could cook for his friends, but he wasn’t sure what kind of food they all liked, so maybe he’d have to cook lots of different things, and—

His concentration was shattered as Leon shoved open the heavy door, which made an enormous creaking noise as he did so. Mondo’s reflexes kicked in and he almost shouted, but stopped himself just at the last moment. He couldn’t be found yet- he had more to learn about cooking! In the past, he would’ve just taken the book with him to the cafeteria, but he knew Ishimaru would scold him if he did that, since there was no librarian who could check the book out. He clenched his teeth at the predicament, staying utterly rigid while Leon darted around the various bookshelves.

He was on the other side of the cookbook shelf, and Mondo was watching his pristine white trousers through the gaps in the books as they turned to investigate the next aisle, where Mondo would be found.

Just before Leon could set eyes on the biker, there was an almighty crash from somewhere above their heads. Leon jumped out of his skin and craned his neck upwards, as if whatever made the noise was about to fall through the ceiling. Silence followed, but Leon had already turned on his heel and dashed out to investigate. Mondo breathed a sigh of relief and resumed his reading with a smile.

The source of the noise was Kirigiri, who had fallen very ungracefully out of the cherry blossom tree while trying to shift into a better position. She had been reaching for a higher branch when her leg struck an especially weak area and sent her flying. She hissed in pain- it had been a short drop, but she’d hit her shoulder hard and it smarted terribly. For the moment, she forgot about hiding and got to her feet, brushing petals off her jacket and fishing twigs out of her hair.

‘Ow, ow, ow…’

‘Found you!’

Kirigiri looked up and stared at Leon incredulously. ‘How did you…’

He was grinning widely, but his face dropped to one of concern when he saw her rubbing her shoulder.

‘Um, are you okay?’

‘Mostly. I fell out of that tree.’ She pointed with her good arm.

‘Ouch! That’s gotta hurt. Wanna go to the infirmary?’

She considered this. Her shoulder had flared up, and even touching it made her wince. ‘Thank you, but I think I’ll just put some ice on it. I can get that from the kitchen.’

The kitchen! Leon hadn’t searched there! Still, it was down a lot of stairs, so he simply made a mental note to check there later. ‘Okay, Ishimaru-kun’s there so you’ll be in good hands.’

‘I’m not sure how you reached that conclusion, but I’ll see you later, in any case.’ She smiled. Ishimaru was incredibly clumsy, but she supposed it was true he’d make sure she looked after herself. She set off slowly (her legs had taken a beating too) back to the cafeteria.

. . .

‘Hey, Kirigiri-san! Where were you hiding?’ Naegi waved as she limped through the cafeteria doors. ‘Wait, are you injured?’

‘That must have been the thud we heard earlier!’ Maizono exclaimed.

‘I was in the dojo and I fell out of a tree. How did you hear all the way down here?’

‘Well, it’s really quiet, and it was quite a bang.’ Chihiro looked at her sympathetically. ‘I know! I’ll get some frozen peas from the kitchen!’

‘Thank you, I hit my shoulder pretty hard…’

Naegi ran over and got her a chair (‘I really don’t need all this help…’) while Ishimaru ran to the infirmary for bandages (‘I’m not bleeding!’) and shouted at everyone to take care of her. Asahina silently hoped that she was alright. Togami and Celes, still sulking about being found, ignored her, and Junko sat down with her to rant about Leon’s stupidity.

Chapter Text

The top floor held the biology lab, the botanical gardens, the dojo and a few classrooms. Leon peered into all the other trees in the dojo, although he doubted anyone else would be in them, and once this suspicion had been confirmed he moved on to the biology lab. The only place to hide would be the storage compartments, but no lights were on and Leon reasoned you’d probably freeze to death after a while in there, right?

The classrooms were also empty, leaving him with the botanical gardens. He’d saved it to search last on that floor since he was sure there had to be someone in there. He had yet to find Asahina, Enoshima, Sakura, Oowada, Hagakure, Fukawa, Yamada and Mukuro. A disappointingly large list.

Yamada, who had grown bored of watching Hagakure absent-mindedly yawn and fiddle with one of the many shirts he threw on every day, was playing Tetris on his phone. Togami had called him a few times earlier, but when Yamada answered all he’d heard was a sigh before Togami hung up on him. That heir was incredibly rude; Yamada had quickly put it out of his mind.

He’d heard the huge thump that rung out from the…dojo (he thought) a few minutes ago but was so amused by Hagakure jumping out of his skin that he forgot to consider what had made the noise. He’d then heard someone, presumably Leon, stomping up the stairs. So the seeker was nearby! He felt confident enough in his hiding place, swallowed up by plants, to keep playing on his phone. He’d put it on silent mode, so what could go wrong?

Leon flounced in, the strong scent of the plants that hung in the air immediately hitting him and making his eyes water. It was a bright day, and the room was thick and humid. He pushed up his hair (wouldn’t want it drooping) and started to hit branches out of his way.

He was just getting distracted by the chickens when he happened to notice a dark shape in the bamboo. He had to look twice, for he’d almost completely missed it, but he was sure there was a patch among the dense plants that couldn’t be explained by simple shadow. It looked too small to be a person, but he investigated nonetheless. As he drew closer, he noticed the bamboo above it was far shorter than the rest. Realisation started to trickle over him.

‘No way…’

He paused (Yamada had at this point put down his phone for a moment to watch the action), then took a few quick steps and leapt onto what he hoped was Hagakure. The scream that sounded made it clear it definitely was. The dark shape he’d seen had been the shaman’s coat.

‘EEEEEEP!’

‘Hagakure-kun!’ Leon punched his shoulder cheerfully. ‘Shit, I’ve just broken so much bamboo. Good hiding spot man!’

‘Kuwata-chi, you scared the life out of me! I think I saw the netherworld!’

‘Hahaha, seriously though how did you do that with your hair?’

‘I employ some inner power to hold it up anyway, ‘right? So I just put it in a different position! Ah, but I got found anyway…’

‘No one can hide forever from Leon Kuwata!’ He beamed, feeling slightly silly but having fun regardless. ‘Now you’ve gotta go wait in the cafeteria!’

‘Okay…oh, hey Yamada-chi!’

Leon looked over to where Hagakure was waving. Yamada, looking irate, suddenly burst through the foliage, his ahoge piercing through the bushes like a spaceship beginning its take-off.

‘You weren’t meant to give me away!’

‘Yeah, Hagakure-kun, you should’ve let me find him.’

‘Sorry, sorry! I didn’t think!’

‘No surprises there…’ Muttered Yamada. He flicked the larger pieces of bark and leaves off his clothes and gave his glasses a quick wipe.

‘I assumed you’d been found already, since you’re on your phone.’

‘Tch! You would’ve seen if I had been found! I was merely passing the time. It grew boring watching you.’

‘I thought I felt eyes on me! So it wasn’t the plants, eh….I still don’t trust them…’

‘You can both go to the cafeteria now!’ Leon butted in. What a ridiculous conversation these two were having. He had classmates to find, after all.

‘See you later Kuwata-chi! Good luck!’

‘Goodbye, Kuwata Leon-dono! At least I can sit comfortably now.’

After sending Hagakure and Yamada on their way and thoroughly checking the botanical gardens in its entirety, he could be sure the top floor was completely free of hiders.
The floor below it, despite being stuffed full of hiding places, didn’t seem to contain anyone that Leon could find. The music room, data room, chemistry lab and classrooms all yielded nothing. The headmaster’s office was locked, and the faculty rooms also. He peeked through the window just to be sure, but he knew there couldn’t be anyone in there (and if someone was in there, he couldn’t be blamed for not finding them). Feeling…annoyed at not being able to find anyone on the entire floor, he went down a level. By process of elimination, there had to be hiders on this floor, surely.

The physics lab was closest to the staircase, so he looked there first. The huge machine dominated most of the room, leaving precious little places to hide, and he couldn’t find anyone in the storeroom.

Moving on to the art room, he noticed that the desks had been muddled and arranged weirdly. No way would the school leave it like this, so someone must have come in here. Could there be a more obvious way to give away your position?

He slowly picked his way through to the storeroom door, trying to sort the desks back as he did so. Near to the door he came dangerously close to spilling paint everywhere, but caught it at the last minute.

‘Thank god I’ve got quick reflexes.’ He muttered, stacking the paint in what seemed to be its usual place.

Mukuro cursed silently as she listened to the desks scraping against the floor, and Leon coming ever closer. She was done for.

Before she even had a chance to consider a possible escape plan, Leon had pushed open the storeroom door and was now looking gleefully at her.

‘So it was you who moved all the desks!’

‘I thought you’d get bored of pushing them and go away.’

‘You thought wrong!’ He ran a hand through his hair jovially then pointed at her. ‘Off to the cafeteria!’

Mukuro smiled. It was clear Leon was having great fun. ‘Alright. See you later Kuwata-kun!’

‘Bye!’

He breezed through the classrooms (clearly not a popular place to hide) then ran back to the recreation room. He walked in quietly, checking behind the sofa and under the pool table but finding no one. He glanced around- ah! He remembered suddenly that the locker in this room had no shelves. He flung it open and Fukawa lurched out, desperately stretching out her arms. She looked worryingly like a zombie, especially with the dazed look in her eyes.

‘It’s s-s-so stuffy in there, and d-dusty, I’m lucky I didn’t sneeze….and my arms are so stiff n-now…’ She griped, cleaning off her huge glasses with one sleeve.

‘Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be stuck in there for any amount of time!’

‘Thank g-god you weren’t then!’

‘Hey, I was just being nice man. Uh, you’ve gotta wait in the cafeteria now. So at least you’ll be able to stretch out…?’

‘I-In that case, see you later…’ She muttered, stalking off.

Leon sat down on the sofa and went over who else was left. He’d found Hagakure, Yamada (well, half found him), Mukuro and Fukawa. That left Oowada, Enoshima, Sakura and Asahina! Not too many- the end was almost in sight.

With new vigour and determination, Leon set off.

Chapter Text

Kirigiri was still sat in her chair by Enoshima when Hagakure and Yamada plodded in, only she now had a huge bag of frozen peas (fetched by Chihiro) held to her shoulder with bandages (fetched by Ishimaru, who was delighted to have found a use for them since Kirigiri really wasn’t bleeding). Togami continued to ignore everyone and so did Celes, only she was secretly wrestling with extreme jealously as she watched Kirigiri being fussed over by….satisfactory looking men. Of course, Celes would only have the best looking in her castle, but at the moment Kirigiri was coming closer to realising that dream than Celes was.

Between the time she’d come to the cafeteria and the present, she’d fought unsuccessfully against Naegi and Ishimaru as they tried to patch her up and make sure she was okay.

‘It’s your shoulder that hurts, isn’t it? How bad is it?’

‘Naegi-kun, I’m fine. It’s just a bruise at worst.’

‘A bruise can all too quickly become other things! We must not ignore the possibility of it becoming infected!’

‘B-but bruises can’t get infected if the skin isn’t broken, right?’

‘Like I said, we must not ignore the possibility! Amputation, though grave, could still be on the cards!’

At this point, Asahina had had to shove her sleeve into her mouth to stop herself from laughing.

Please calm down.’

‘Ishimaru-kun, you don’t understand much about medicine do you?’

This had continued for a while, but eventually Ishimaru was more or less reassured that Kirigiri would be fine in a few days. By the time Hagakure and Yamada appeared, the cafeteria was almost in complete silence. Only Chihiro and Maizono could be heard: they were chatting softly about a possible cinema trip over the winter break. Junko had grown bored of talking to Kirigiri (who had barely been listening) and was filing her nails. Ishimaru was getting on with some medical-related studying next to Naegi, who was reading.

Hagakure’s voice broke the silence. ‘Hey guys! Is this everyone Kuwata-chi’s found then?’

‘Not me.’ Junko said. ‘I’ve just been sat here and he hasn’t seen me yet.’

‘What? That’s so lazy!’

‘Well you’ve been found and I haven’t so shut up!’

‘A-Alright! Man, I sense hostility in the air…hey, Kirigiri-chi what happened to you?’

‘It’s quite obvious she made that thud about ten minutes ago. Did you fall over, Kirigiri Kyouko-dono?’

‘Almost. I fell out of a tree.’

‘That noise really made me jump!’

Everything makes you jump, Hagakure-kun.’

The two new arrivals settled down quickly. Yamada tried to ask Togami why he’d called him, but only received a scowl in response. Unfazed, he turned to Celes and started excitedly telling her about Hagakure’s power over his hair. She listened closely, both interested and pleased to have a distraction from Kirigiri. Across the room, Hagakure sat down next to Ishimaru and struck up a conversation about people’s hiding places. Ishimaru seemed more than happy to chat for a little while (it was still quite a novelty to him), and so the cafeteria resumed its typical hum of voices.

A little later, Mukuro walked in, and Fukawa about a minute after that. Junko was delighted to have her sister to rant to, while Fukawa sat by herself and tried to dust off her clothes.

Meanwhile, Leon was assessing where he hadn’t looked yet. He had checked every room in the school except the few that were locked and the kitchen, so he decided to make the trek down several flights of stairs and look there.

As he strode into the cafeteria he immediately set eyes on Junko. She yelled before he could.

‘Finally!’

This is your hiding place?’

‘Yeah. You’re really bad at this game.’

‘I’m not!’ He cried, his pride hurt. ‘Whatever man. I’ve found you now.’

After waving back to the ever-friendly Hagakure, he went into the kitchen. At a glance, it seemed there were no places to hide, but he opened every cupboard anyway. He had to climb on a chair to reach the highest ones (almost falling off a few times as he swung the doors open), but it paid off when he eventually came face to face with Asahina, although her head was bent sideways from her ridiculous position. He hopped down from his chair and she clambered out, groaning with pain as she stretched out her legs and neck.

‘So? Did I win?’

‘No, sorry…’

‘Aww! That sucks! Although, I don’t know how much longer I could’ve stayed in there…’

‘You did pretty well! I’ve only got Oowada-kun and Oogami-san left.’

This cheered her up. ‘I hope Sakura-chan wins!’

‘I hope my brother wins!’ Ishimaru piped up. ‘I am sure he will.’

‘No way, Sakura-chan is way better at hiding than Oowada-kun could ever be!’ Asahina retorted.

Leon made a quick escape before he got caught up in an argument.

Where else hadn’t he looked? The entire ground floor had been covered, then he’d done the first floor, where he found Naegi. That was when he heard Kirigiri! So not only had he ignored the classrooms on that floor, he hadn’t finished checking the library.

He ran up the stairs (trying not to get hit in the face with his necklace as it bounced up and down) and checked the nearest classroom first. He had briefly considered that Oogami could be in the female changing rooms, but since that would constitute cheating he disregarded it. She wasn’t the type to break rules, especially not for a game of hide and seek.

The first classroom was empty, and so was the second. This left only the library.

Mondo had settled back into his reading the moment Leon rushed out. He put the mysterious crash down to a sculpture in the art room falling over and left it at that. Once he’d looked through all the recipes listed, he flicked through to his favourite ones and snapped some photos on his phone, since he’d never be able to memorise even one of them.

When Leon came into the library, he was getting his old, slightly broken phone to focus on the page for Welsh cawl (he’d never heard of it before and it looked so hearty and warming- perfect for winter. And it was packed full of vegetables, so Ishimaru would like it!). Mondo made use of the door’s annoyingly loud creaking to take the picture and stuff his phone back into his coat pocket as quickly as he could. Leon was walking around much faster now, having already checked the majority of the room.

Shit! Leon couldn’t see his cookbook; he’d be a laughing stock. But just as Mondo tried to shove it back into the shelf, Leon rounded a corner and saw him.

‘Hey Oowada-kun!’

‘Oh, hey Kuwata. Looks like ya found me.’

‘What book are you reading? This is the cookery section isn’t it?’

‘Nothin’! Uh, well just an old recipe book. I was just tryin’ to pass the time.’

Surprisingly, Leon didn’t look too interested by this. ‘Oh, cool. Listen, d’you know where Oogami-san is? I can’t find her anywhere. Actually, wait a sec-‘

He went over to the library storeroom and shook the handle roughly. Locked. ‘What the fuck? Where is she?’

‘I don’t know!’

‘I’ve checked every room!’

‘Well check them again!’

‘Ugh!’ Leon tugged at fistfuls of his hair in frustration. Once he’d calmed down slightly, he looked at Mondo again. ‘You need to go to the cafeteria now.’

‘Good luck man.’ He left sharply, still worried that Leon would laugh at him for reading a recipe book, and eager to tell Ishimaru about all the meals he was going to make soon.

Leon hopped from one foot to the other as he often did before an important baseball match- it helped him feel less restless and allowed him to clear his head. He flapped his hands for added effect, but still failed to come up with anywhere he hadn’t been yet. Surely he wouldn’t have to actually look in every room again? No, that would be ridiculous. He could rule out many of the smaller rooms since there literally weren’t any other places a human could fit, especially not one of Oogami’s size. The larger rooms he should check again.

This would include…the gymnasium, the music room, the pool, not the library since he was stood in it, the botanical gardens and the dojo.

He was closest to the pool, so scoured in there and found no one. He had had a good feeling about it too, since she was often in there with Asahina. If only he was the Super High School Level Fortune Teller, he could just see where she was! Although, that would ruin the fun.

Mondo was met with a frantic wave from Ishimaru as he pushed open the cafeteria door. Counting the heads briefly, he saw Oogami was indeed the only one still missing. Good for her.

‘Brother! You were found!’ Although Ishimaru was clearly pleased to see him again, his voice betrayed a hint of disappointment.

‘I knew Sakura-chan would win!’ Asahina cried, jumping up and down.

‘Yeah, Kuwata is really stumped. Can’t find her anywhere. Good to see ya bro.’ He put his arm round Ishimaru’s neck and grinned. Asahina sat down proudly on the floor and carried on stretching.

Once Mondo had grabbed a chair, he started telling Ishimaru about the recipe book. The hall monitor was only too happy to listen, nodding approvingly all the while. Once he’d finished explaining how exciting it was, he pulled out his phone to show him the pictures he’d taken.

‘I must say brother, I never thought you’d become interested in cookery!’

‘Dude it’s fuckin’ awesome I’m gonna be able to eat so many new things, I can’t wait to try. I know we’re going for the holidays now but d’you think the school will have all the equipment and stuff when we get back?’

‘Why don’t we go and have a look?’

The pair got up and marched into the kitchen, while Hagakure (having been abandoned by Ishimaru somewhat) slid his chair over to Naegi and started chatting to him. Naegi prepared himself for the shaman’s usual incomprehensible, but entertaining, prating.

Chapter Text

During all of this, Sakura had been sitting patiently in the gymnasium, only managing despite the silence to hear snatches of conversation drifting from the cafeteria- mostly yells, and these were still difficult to catch. She had heard Enoshima and Leon shouting not long ago, so she must be out. She also knew Naegi had been found, since the pool was almost directly above her head and she had picked up on a good part of their conversation. She strained her ears, but nothing new presented itself. She sat back and settled back into her quiet waiting.

In the cafeteria, Asahina was putting forward a new game idea.

‘Since Sakura-chan is the only one left, we should all go and look. Like sardines!’

‘Absolutely not.’ said Togami, immediately. Ishimaru also looked reluctant- having yet another game seemed more rule-breaking than he could take.

‘I’d really rather stay here.’ Celes said with excruciating sweetness. ‘Wouldn’t you agree, Yamada-san?’

‘Well, if that is what you wish, Miss Ludenburg…’

‘I-I’m not curling up n-next to Oogami-san, never in a mi-i-illion years!’ muttered Fukawa.

‘I’m up for it.’ Mondo shrugged. Naegi concurred.

‘I would, if my shoulder allowed it. For now, I’d like to stay seated. My apologies, Asahina-san.’ Kirigiri felt Ishimaru’s watchful eyes on her as she explained. She knew he’d never let her move from the cafeteria, even if his intentions were good natured.

Asahina protested, but most of the students were either too tired, too injured or too unwilling. The only people happy to look for Sakura were herself, Mondo (who looked as if he was beginning to reconsider after Ishimaru started scowling), Naegi (who clearly wanted to stay with Kirigiri), Mukuro and of course, Leon. After further discussion, Mukuro decided she was too tired.

‘Forget it, you miserable lot!’ Asahina cried jovially. She smiled at Leon. ‘I just want something to do. I’ll find her!’

‘Not before I find her, you won’t.’

Both seekers turned out to be rather awful. Leon had exhausted his places to search in, and Asahina was still suffering from her stiff joints. Periodically, Leon lost his temper and screamed obscenities at the ceiling above him, which was greatly enjoyed by everyone in the cafeteria. Sakura didn’t hear any, and so she was saved from having her feelings hurt.

After almost half an hour of fruitless scampering from one room to another, Asahina had the pure luck to stretch her neck in the gymnasium and lay eyes on Sakura.

Her face lit up. ‘Sakura-chan, I found you! I found you! I found you, Sakura-chan!’

‘Indeed you did, my girl. Well done. But was Leon not the designated seeker?’

‘I joined in just now. You’re the last one! You won the game!’

‘In that case, I’d better come down.’

She carefully got herself back down to earth level while Asahina hollered for Leon. He came pounding into the gymnasium, his mouth wide open and gasping for air.

‘Where…the fuck….were you?’

Sakura smiled and pointed up at the lights. ‘I was sat up there.’

Leon was silent for a few seconds as he processed this. Eventually a grin split on his face and he sighed. ‘Of course. You would be somewhere like that! Well done. That’s serious dedication.’

By now the others had started to arrive.

‘If one of us was destined to fall,’ remarked Kirigiri, ‘I’m thankful it was me.’

‘Sakura-chan wouldn’t have even felt a fall like that! She’s too strong!’ beamed Asahina. Sakura laughed.

‘Can we leave now?’ asked Togami drily.

‘Yes, I think we had better!’ said Ishimaru.

‘I had lots of fun. Thanks for suggesting it, Hagakure-kun.’ said Naegi. Hagakure pulled his regular cheerful smile.

The group gathered their stuff and put everything around the school back in order as the conversation descended into a babble.

‘How will I explain this injury to people?’

‘Tell them the truth, duh! It’s hardcore.’

‘Make sure to mention what great medical care you received afterwards!’

‘She’d need to have actually received some for her to do that.’

‘Ouch.’

‘What were you expecting from some teenagers in a canteen?’

‘Right! I think we’re ready to finally start our holidays.’

‘Thank god we didn’t get locked in here.’

‘Haha, imagine if we did. Our class, locked in here for who knows how long…’

‘I think I’d rather die.’

‘Don’t worry, you’d be dead soon if I were trapped with you.’

‘C’mon guys, let’s keep it friendly, ‘right?’

‘Goodbye Hope’s Peak! See you in a few weeks!’