A feather, deserted, rippled to the ground in silence. Ever so softly, it perched atop a stone. The grass the rock sat in flowed nonchalantly, as though the ground were to be dancing.
For a long moment, the white fringe sat before being plucked by the bitter wind once more and carried elsewhere. Nobody cared to notice such a lone feather until it fell to the ground once more, landing on a brown shoe. The owner peered below curiously before making a sound of repugnance and shaking the feather off.
It fell to the ground and he sighed out, raising his eyes back up. Everyone around him may as well been shadows. Their dull eyes, masked behind their happy smiles and friendly greetings. Yet, here he was, alone, much like the feather.
It was tempting to turn around and go home but nothing would be gained from that. The male closed his eyes a moment more before slouching his shoulders and moving forward to the massive school, crushing the feather as he did.
Nothing more could be done, not for him, not for anyone.
How could he forget?
The incident last night left him in shock, yet, he couldn't bring himself to care at the same time. It wasn't like it was the first time he had seen something like that, it probably wouldn't be the last. The world... Is full of hatred and darkness.
Even as he sat in the lively class, students laughing together, he found no joy in the activities. The boy slouched in his seat lost in thought. But even as he tried, and tried as he might, it was impossible to take his mind off the incident.
He had really watched someone be mugged. Right in front of him, and he could only sit there in fear until it was over. And he just... Ran. Why did he run? That person... knocked down by a bat, robbed of their stuff as their blood spilled onto the sidewalk, and he ran.
The boy quickly shook his head as a book was placed on his desk. Looking up, a smiling face greeted him.
"Hey hey, dude!" The girl gave a thumbs up. "Check it, we got some new books!"
Upon looking down at the new book, still in mint condition, he frowned. "History? Ibuki is this really-"
"Don't worry about it, Nagito." Ibuki interrupted, brushing her long raven hair behind her shoulder. "This year is gonna be rockin'!"
She skipped away with a happy spring to her step but as pondered down to the book, Nagito's mood began to drop even more than it already was.
A book of horrible events of the past. It only enhanced how he felt about humanity at this point. Greed, hatred, darkness, bloodshed... He couldn't look at something like this right now.
Nagito raised his hand, catching the attention of the teacher. When she asked what he needed, Nagito stood up. "Can I go to the nurse? I'm afraid I'm not feeling well."
The look upon the teacher's face crossed with confusion, yet compassion. "Very well, please hurry back though."
With that, he stood up and strode out of the room without another word or even a glance to his fellow students.
It's not as though Nagito hated them. Well... Not totally, they were nice enough, but everyone had darkness, everyone was susceptible to evil. That was just how the word was. Hiding in a bath of light to pretend it's not as bad as it really is. That was the most disgusting part, the way it tried to hide. It was that darkness he really hated within people.
He stumbled down the hall, as though only just getting fresh air for the first time. Not even a few steps and he found himself running into someone. With irritation, he rose his head from looking at his feet to see a face that seemed like it didn't care at all.
"Excuse me." Nagito sidestepped but the stranger did so as well, blocking his path once more. He let out an irritated sigh but held down the negativity he was feeling. Yet another person showing off humanity's hatred, right? "What do you want? Did I bother you? Is that it?"
The stranger merely narrowed his shining eyes and blinked. Nagito repeated his action of moving aside but so did the stranger. Finally having enough, Nagito ducked and tried to run past them but it was unexpected as the stranger swooped him up as though he weighed nothing and held him tightly to his chest. "Be quiet." The stranger muttered while covering Nagito's mouth. He was almost tempted to bite down on the hand but decided against it. He hated being restrained like this, someone he doesn't know, holding him tighter than anyone even bothered to hug him, but he didn't struggle.
"I've been looking for you." The stranger started. "I'll explain everything. You will listen if I release you, correct?"
It wasn't as if Nagito could argue. The most he could do was muffled speaking against the hand. The stranger slowly released him and once he felt free, Nagito took off running, He wasn't sure why he ran. Instinct, probably.
Down the hallway, his feet pounded against the hard ground. He wasn't sure where he was going until one small slip caused Nagito to fall to the floor painfully. He grunted with pain and pushed himself to sit on his knees. His hands felt wet and when he looked down, scrapes ran across his palms, dripping hints of scarlet. Well, he should have expected to be struck by bad luck at some point.
Before he even had time to compose himself again, a shadow cast over him and Nagito turned back, the stranger standing behind him, appearing like he hadn't run at all. "Are you done?" He narrowed his eyes.
After a long pause, Nagito sighed and pulled himself to a stand once more. "What, then?"
He wiped his hands on his pants, cleaning them of the blood. Something like this should heal fine.
The stranger looked around the halls before gesturing with his hand to follow. The whole situation felt suspicious but what did Nagito really have to lose? He followed the dark stranger down the stairs to the first floor, being his classroom was originally on the second. The boy took in the stranger's looks carefully as he walked behind him. Midnight hair, and fairly long as well. It was like he was walking behind a shadow. Aside from his hair, Nagito couldn't help but notice his professional looking suit. It wasn't any student he knew, so... Was this some sort of agent?
It could be, but why? Why here, why him?
The stranger led Nagito outside before finally stopping at the front gates of the school. "I was tasked to tell you something." The stranger didn't turn around to face him, instead lowering his eyes to the ground. "Nagito Komaeda... I'm a member of the Future Foundation. You haven't heard of us, we fight in the background against threats nobody knows exist. We are the shadows of the government, but..."
Nagito tilt his head, admittedly a little interested.
But how could he be interested? Being as hateful towards the world as he was.
He took a silent step forward and tried to crane his neck to look over the stranger's face. Without warning, the dark man turned back, capturing his eyes in an intense gaze.
"Recently, an enemy of ours has been working on a compound to create an undead army. We were only aware of this recently but it's already too late to stop them. The test subjects were released south of China. Eventually, that man-made disease will be everywhere. There is no cure, we have to kill them."
Nagito couldn't believe what he was hearing. Undead army? A secret society?
"If this is some joke-"
"I'm far from joking." The stranger stepped closer. "We need your help. I won't ask twice."
How cruel to make him scared like this... Nagito narrowed his eyes and backed up.
"This isn't some horror flick, how could you expect me to believe you? You're a liar. You and whatever 'group' you're in. Why are you trying to hurt me-!"
He was cut off with the stranger grabbing his wrists. Nagito twisted his arms to try and break free but the stranger was significantly stronger of course, just like last time.
"I'm not lying." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "Your talent can help us. What proof do you need?"
That voice... It made him feel somewhat relaxed. Nagito sighed softly and stopped his struggle before looking into the stranger's ruby eyes.
"Who are you?"
The stranger let him go to reach into his pocket and pull out a badge, holding it for him to see. "I am Kamukura Izuru of the Future Foundation's fourteenth division of field agents. I am member fifty-seven, ex-student of Hope's Peak."
That last part caught him by surprise. Ex-student? "You used to go here?" He couldn't resist asking, eyes wide. Izuru seemed a little pleased but the sparkle in his eyes vanished as quick as it came. "I'll tell you more if you come with us." He repocketed his badge and turned around. "There's a helicopter a few blocks from here. I didn't want to draw attention to the school... Or from it. This is top secret until further notice. Will you join us?"
It was... A lot to take in. His mind still felt a little overwhelmed. Nagito turned back to his school and suddenly felt... Cold.
It was only then did he remember how much he hated them, hated everyone actually. Humanity itself.
This job wanted him to save them, but perhaps he was being selfish when he told Izuru he accepted and followed him to the helicopter. Selfish in the sense that he'd rather escape from everyone now and have to save them later instead of refusing and returning to those students again now.
Why did he hate them all though... It was hard to remember but it was perhaps...
Nagito could see himself again, as a child, his eyes dart around. It smelled sickly in the air, like smoke, like fire. He pulled himself to his feet and struggled to stand once more. His body ached but was quick to see he was unharmed.
It took even less time to see the bodies around him. The child coughed and pulled his shirt over his face. "Mom? Dad?" Why did he call for them?
They were so mean to him sometimes, but he didn't want to be alone. Even if it was them, he couldn't handle this by himself, not this.
He only took a few steps forward before tripping and falling back to the ground. He couldn't stop the tears that began to flow.
How could... How could he be the only one alive?
All around him, it smelled of death. Every passenger, even the hijackers, all dead.
And what lay in front of him... In front of this crying child, a small stone.
He picked it up and gripped it in his hands tightly. Not just any stone... It was easy for Nagito to see this was the stone that caused this tragedy. The one caused by his luck, that struck the plane.
But... Why did it have to end?
He was alone, all by himself, and it was dark. Every so often, he felt himself being handled inside the bag. It was hard to breathe, hard to move, but he couldn't even bring himself to cry out.
Even when the kidnapper purposely hit the bag into a rock or tree, Nagito didn't make a sound.
It... Hurt. Inside of his heart.
Why him? Why did he keep having to be hurt? Why did he have to lose the people he trusted? His dog, his parents, it wasn't as though he had any friends either. What was so bad about dying anyway?
That thought left him asquick as it came.
He actually hated it all. He hated people, he hated the officers that didn't even care about the plane crash or about him. How cruel they were to write a report and just leave.
And all those students that avoided him and bullied him because they were scared of his luck.
All the animals that would attack him, all the adults that spat in his direction.
It was all so...
"... Disgusting." Nagito closed his eyes. "After that, I couldn't stop my hate from growing. The world is dark, the humans are darker. And they try to pretend they're justified or hopeful. They don't even know what hope is."
Even after Nagito ranting about his past, Izuru merely listened carefully, eyes focused on driving the helicopter. When he was done, the white-haired boy turned to the agent. "I'm sorry, did I talk too much?"
He was answered with a hum. "No, I asked after all. Tell me... If you hate everyone, everything, do you also hate me?"
Nagito opened his mouth to answer but the words didn't come out. Surely he's filled with darkness too, he even looked dark. But why could Nagito not say it aloud?
After a moment, Izuru continued.
"I don't care if you do. You're also helpful in that way. You won't have any mercy on the infected."
Nagito wanted to take it as a compliment but it somehow felt... Wrong. He turned his gaze away to look out the window.
"Can you tell me more about these infected? What will it do to them? What happens if we don't stop them?"
"... The disease travels slowly. Those that have it won't know for some time. Imagine this undiagnosed disease, and people wanting to travel. One person in China will take a plane to... Let us say Canada. They sneeze, the disease spreads. They use the restroom and don't wash their hands... It spreads. Any human contact, any exerted bodily fluids, suddenly it's spreading like the cold. Those infected will begin to rot. Their body will grow cold, their skin will decay, the host will die, but they will not rest."
Izuru grabbed something from the console before tossing Nagito a tablet.
"This is a recording of a test subject we managed to capture and study."
The boy turned on the device where video footage began to play. A woman stood in a test tube, looking utterly confused. She tried to say something but her voice couldn't be heard from behind the glass.
"This is subject seven, Marilyn Johnson, taken from Paris, France. Age, 24. Victim to Enoshima's undead army, yet to show signs of infection." The doctor's voice spoke from behind the recording before he moved the camera to approach her.
"Mary, can you tell us why you're here?
The woman looked directly at the camera, her blue eyes showing some fear. She spoke, but still couldn't be heard. The doctor spoke for her.
"Mary has not physically shown signs of decay and her behavior is normal but when doing a blood test a few days ago, the virus was discovered multiplying in her blood at a horrifying rate and was immediately put under confinement. She claims she remembers nothing of being the virus' test subject or about Enoshima. We worry the victim's memories are being tampered with before being released. If that's the case, the victims wouldn't even be able to look for help."
The screen faded to black as the camera shut off. Nagito turned up but Izuru simply nodded.
"It's not over yet."
Once looking back, as he had said, it kept going.
The tube looked different, stained in reds and greens. That same woman looked... Horribly rotted, pounding on the glass and screaming. The doctor now sounding more panicked.
"Mary took a drastic turn this morning when I arrived to work. It seemed to happen almost overnight. She looks like a rotting corpse and her behavior is that of a... A monster. There is no cure."
He zoomed into her face where the woman snapped her teeth and her eyes looked... Lost.
"Textbook zombie, wouldn't you say?" Izuru interrupted in an oddly calm voice. "The final recording isn't on that, it's too gruesome. But..."
"The doctor. Is he..." Nagito actually felt a little concerned, which was a surprise to even himself to be worried about a human.
"Dead." His worries were confirmed. "She broke out of the glass and tore him to shreds. The room was put on lockdown so they wouldn't escape. That was until the soldiers arrived and gunned them down. There's nothing we could have done. We have to stop this though before it affects more people. The test subjects should be showing signs at this point. We have to stop them now, or it's over."
Nagito exhaled heavily and set the tablet down. "I'm afraid."
"We all are." Izuru hit a red button that began to beep. When he looked out the window, Nagito could see they were approaching a large facility on an island.
"You promise you'll... Be there with me, won't you?" He couldn't help but ask Izuru. Though he hadn't known him long, Nagito couldn't say he exactly hated him.
Even though he couldn't answer when asked, he was sure he didn't hate this agent. In fact, he found himself trusting him.
Izuru blinked and nodded slowly. "Yes. We're partners now, so it will be my duty to work with you. I won't leave your side"
Nagito sighed out, relieved at the response, and returned to looking out the window.
The speakers in the helicopter suddenly cracked, making him jump in surprise before a voice came on the other end.
"Welcome back Agent Kamukura. The loading deck is clear for landing."
The dark man picked up the speaker to respond back in his normally calm voice.
"Thank you. I'm bringing a passenger. Do not be alarmed."
The voice went silent and Izuru began to lower the helicopter into the facility. It basically kissed the ground being so soft to land. He switched off some controls, then removed the key. The helicopter began to quiet down and the agent opened the door to hop out. Nagito copied him, opening the door and hopping out.
Almost immediately, two professional looking men approached, arms behind their back. "This must be the passenger." One of them smiled. "Glad to hear you decided to come along. The office was talking a lot about you."
The first thing Nagito noticed about these two men was that they were dressed in the similar black suits as Izuru but unlike him, both wore dark shades, hiding their eyes.
"Talking... About me?"
"Your luck is something to be marveled at. You were a high request among the other agents." The second man chuckled.
Izuru stepped up beside Nagito and waved his hand, causing the two men to step aside.
"We will talk about it in the conference room with the director.
Beginning off once again, Nagito had to run after to catch up. It was such a strange place, heavily guarded, agents all dressed in the same tuxedo and sunglasses. Some woman, some men, but all looking dark. In fact, only Izuru stood out. His long hair and shining eyes, Nagito let himself cling to him.
Quite literally as the boy took hold of Izuru's arm. The agent didn't complain, or say anything, really.
The conference room looked like something out of a movie.
Nagito had to pinch himself just to make sure he wasn't dreaming the whole thing. The director was already there, smiling at his entrance.
"Komaeda! Thank you for accepting our invitation. And thank you, Izuru, for bringing him."
The agent nodded calmly and took a seat. Nagito quickly did the same, unsure how to actually act.
"So you probably already got the run down." The director sighed. "Our enemy making her army, the escaped virus, zombie take over, yadda yadda. Do you have any questions?"
Of course, he did. If given the chance, Nagito would have asked a hundred questions. But only one stood out among the others.
"What will I have to do?"
The director crossed his arms and sat down across from them.
"Izuru here agreed to take you on as a partner. You two will be sent to the heart of the outbreak. Take out as many infected as you can. If possible, bring back one living for testing."
He slid a gun across the table and Nagito quickly caught it. "We can't be there for you, you'll have to be there for each other. Can you do it?"
Nagito could have laughed. Killing infected wouldn't be a problem, not with his intense hate towards humanity, and considering it isn't a large outbreak yet.
"I think I can manage." He nodded and stood up. "We should go before it's too late."
That was how it all began, a plane dropping the two off in southern China among people who had no idea what was going to happen.
So many people, it suddenly felt impossible to check. They all looked the same, all normal people going about their lives. Nagito turned to Izuru but the agent looked just as annoyed as he felt.
"We need a better way of finding out who's infected." Nagito clenched his fists. Izuru looked around the street before nodding to a building.
"A hotel there. Let's get a top floor and scope the area out better."
Well, it was better than nothing. Buying a room and requesting a top floor, the agents looked out the window, carefully observing every passing person. It was unsure how long they sat in pure silence, observing face after face, but eventually, Nagito let out a yawn, catching Izuru's attention.
"Break time. Would you like to use the bed?"
Nagito looked to the single bed then back to Izuru. "Where will you sleep?"
"You have to."
"I don't require sleep."
The sudden answer caught the boy by surprise. "What do you mean?"
A huff from the agent, then he looked boredly out the window. "I'm not a real person, simple. I was not born, I was made in a lab. I don't require as much sleep or food as you do. In fact, I say I can go six or seven days without feeling tired."
The news felt surprising, at least not as much so as the dead walking. But, Nagito felt something else as well. Sympathy, and perhaps fondness.
How funny it was, the darkest shadow of a person he knew could really be brighter inside than anyone he'd met before.
Izuru stood up and approached the bed where he pulled the covers down. "If you need sleep, go sleep. I will be fine."
Nagito stood as well, moving to stand in front of him where he frowned.
"I won't sleep if you don't. Artificial or not, you're still a human."
"I was under the assumption you hated humans."
"That's-" Nagito quickly stopped himself. Carefully thinking, he turned his eyes away. "Maybe not all humans. I don't hate you."
The two remained at a stand off until Izuru finally sighed.
"You won't give this up... Fine. We'll take shifts. You sleep first, I'll wake you up to take the next and we'll swap."
It was better than nothing. Nagito could agree to that. He climbed into the bed and pulled the covers up as Izuru took back his spot by the window.
In the end... They failed.
It was impossible to know who had the virus before it spread or showed any signs and the Future Foundation? Well, they didn't want to risk exposure and left the two agents behind.
Nagito and Izuru could only watch as more of these monsters began to grow and the world around them crumbled apart before their very eyes.
Too many to shoot, too many to kill, and nobody to help them.
"It's clear." Izuru waved for Nagito to follow.
How long had it been already?
The virus began to mutate and being bitten by one of these creatures, even without breaking skin, could still contaminate.
Nagito adjust his gas mask and followed Izuru to the next wall cover.
"Do you think we'll find food next time?" The boy couldn't help but ask.
That was something even an agent like Izuru couldn't answer. He was intelligent but predicting the future?
"Wait." He narrowed his eyes behind his own mask. "There's one." Izuru nodded out. Nagito craned around to see a zombie standing idly in the street. Swaying back and forth, its neck twisted grotesquely.
"I got this." Nagito nodded pulling out his gun.
He aimed carefully, lining up the red laser to the zombie. Once he got the head in shot, he pulled the trigger, throwing the zombie back as its head exploded against the wall. It doesn't matter how many he shot, it never got any less gross.
"Good, let's go." Izuru took the lead again and while crouching, the two made their way through the silent street.
Without warning, Nagito had to stop as a headrush hit him.
He held his face in his hands and could only see repeated white flashes even with his eyes closed.
"Hey." Izuru called his name but it seemed... Distant. What was this?
There was a hand on his shoulder then felt his weight lifted off the ground.
It was embarrassing but he didn't argue. Not until it passed and he lowered his hands. "Izuru, you didn't have to carry me..."
The agent sighed out, sounding annoyed. "Or you could say 'thank you'. What happened back there?"
"I'm not sure." Nagito admitted slowly. "I felt like I wasn't on Earth for a minute. Maybe I'm tired."
It certainly could be the case. He couldn't remember the last time he got a full night's rest. How could he with the dead walking?
Izuru didn't say any more until they returned the base and set him down to walk on his own. The first thing noticed was the metal lock on their hatch was shattered. Izuru narrowed his eyes, pushing around the pieces.
"Seems like someone was here."
Nagito quickly opened the hatch and hopped down. It was...
"Robbed." Izuru finished his thought aloud.
"Damnit!" The boy couldn't help but yell out. "All the food, supplies, weapons, they took everything!" He turned around and pushed the walls before beginning to let tears roll down his face. "It's all my fault... Me and my bad luck. I'm sorry, I'm a horrible partner, worthless trash. I only drag you down. If I weren't here, then this-"
"Quiet." Izuru suddenly hushed and turned to the hatch.
Nagito wiped his tears quickly and approached. "What is it?"
Instead of answering, the dark agent climbed out. Nagito followed where a gun was suddenly pointed at his face.
"Out of the hole." A stranger ordered. Izuru pulled himself out first, then Nagito.
"I'm guessing you stole our stuff."
Only a single person stood there, shivering in fear. "Oh yeah? Why do you think I did it? Could've been anyone."
"The butt of your gun is dented. The spot you hit against our lock." Izuru nodded to his shotgun. The stranger froze before cocking the gun quickly.
"Alright, sure, so what? I have a weapon and you don't. I think I have the advantage here."
Without thinking, Nagito pulled out his pistol sniper and pointed it at the stranger, quickly getting the shotgun pointed at him instead. Once distracted, Izuru leaped forward and grabbed the shotgun. The two wrestled before the stranger pressed the trigger, a thunderous bullet shooting into the air.
He quickly released the gun and turned around. "Shit, this isn't worth it." He took off running.
Nagito rose his gun to the stranger and looked to Izuru who boredly looked like he didn't care one way or another. Simply, Nagito pressed the trigger and the stranger fell.
Izuru tossed the shotgun away and looked back where he made an irritated grunt. "Perfect. The noise attracted them. Let's go."
Not far off was a silver ladder leading to the roof. Izuru went up first then leaned over the edge to watch Nagito. The boy looked back to see the herd coming close. From the right and left, they were going to be surrounded.
He began climbing as quick as he could.
That was until...
The ladder broke.
And Nagito hit the ground with a thud.
It all seemed to move slowly.
This can't be happening.
That's too far for Izuru to jump back down without being hurt, and no way he could jump back up with extra weight. Perhaps in normal circumstances, he could, but not with their days without food already.
Nowhere to run.
Too many to shoot.
There was nothing...
"Izuru..." Nagito looked up. "I think this is it for me. I guess i'm not as lucky as Future Foundation said." He swallowed back from crying. He didn't want to die. Perhaps a few months ago, he would have welcomed it, but not now when he found someone not filled with darkness. Nagito pulled off his gas mask so he could see clearly. It was tossed to the ground without a care.
The dark male narrowed his eyes, not replying.
"I want to tell you something though, okay?"
Still, no response.
"I don't hate the world, not anymore. You stayed with me all this time and took care of me. You're my light, and I really saw the beauty of humanity, even with all this happening! I should have told you sooner but..." Normally, he would have looked away shyly but if this was the last time he was going to see him, he didn't want to look away for even a moment.
"Izuru, I think I began to like you when I first met you. And I mean... I really liked you."
He suddenly closed his red eyes.
"You should hate me." He removed his mask as well and set it next to him. "I'm breaking my promise. I'm going to leave your side."
"No, that's not it. I want you to promise me something else, okay?"
Nagito looked to his sides. They were scarily close. He turned back to Izuru though. He didn't want to be scared of this.
"Keep going when I'm gone. Don't be lonely, I'll always be there for you."
The agent looked down on him again, and there Nagito let himself say it.
"Kamukura Izuru of the Future Foundation's fourteenth division, I'm in love with you!"
There it went dark.
Pain all over his body, and darkness.
Am I not dead?
Nagito opened his eyes and found he was looking up at stars.
He pulled himself to a sit and quickly jumped in fear to see they were also below him but calmed down. He wasn't falling. Actually, where was he?
He looked around and jumped once more to see an odd creature looking at him. It almost looked like a reflection of himself, except with white robes, longer hair, black horns, and... A face blocked by odd glitches. Yet it was like it was staring right into him.
"What... Are you?"
The creature tilt its head. "I am the god of nothingness. I am nothing, I rule nothing." The voice seemed to echo in his head instead of speaking at all. Nagito quickly remembered and scrambled to his feet. "Izuru, where is he? I need to know if he's okay."
"I... Zu... Ru?" The creature appeared utterly confused. "But... You are dead. Nothing exists anymore. Time is meaningless, your world is meaningless, those little people upon it, none of it really existed. You're all just a mere nothing."
"What do you..."
"Come." The creature turned and Nagito followed after. It wasn't a long walk before the creature led him to a globe, perched upon a golden stand.
"This... Is your world. And you all... Are nothing. Everyone in your world was of one mind. You all have one soul. So, if one of you dies, you all die."
"What..." Nagito looked to the globe, then back to the creature. "That doesn't make any sense! People die all the time!"
"And I explain this to each one." It lowered its head.
"Perhaps I should explain in better words. Your world is an experiment and only one soul was put upon it, split between all the humans, animals, and plants. So when one of you dies, the world you knew ceases to exist. So your world... Is no more. Lets say... You awoke from a simulation."
Nagito looked back to the globe and placed his hands on it softly.
It doesn't exist...?
But what about Izuru? What about Future Foundation? Hope's Peak?
They're all just-!?
"No... That can't be!" He closed his eyes tightly but that couldn't stop the tears.
"You needn't cry. You don't exist any longer."
"I don't care." He turned back to the creature. "I don't care if I'm fake, or my world is fake, the memories and feelings I felt were real. And so what if I am!? So what if the whole world is some damn cheap simulation!? What makes it any less important? It's real for me, my love was the realest thing I ever felt, you have no right to say it doesn't exist!"
He hadn't even realized he was backing the creature up until he stopped shouting, panting with anger and tears pricking his eyes.
The creature suddenly chuckled. "Bold words for someone like you to say. I've seen you. You're just scum, right? Trash. You're probably the most unlucky person in your world, you hate the planet and everything in it. What hope could someone as depressing as you have?"
"That's..." Nagito looked away, biting his lip before anger hit him again and he turned back. "That's wrong. I don't hate them. No, I love them all, I don't care if I'm hurt, I'm going to love and have hope for everyone and everything. If you were really watching, you'd have already seen the light I found. I spent months with him, learning everything about him, trusting him with my life, and saying my last words to him with a smile.
Is any of that fake to you? Am I still fake?"
The creature didn't move.
"Even if I'm not real, isn't that more of a reason to be happy? Because I'm not bound to reality, I can find hope however I desire. I don't have to follow the rules, I don't have to suffer. Why can't I be happy too!?"
Suddenly a new voice whispered in his head.
Without warning, everything began to melt around him. Everything losing color until it was only a white canvas.
And then Nagito found himself lying down again.
This time, he heard whispering voices around him.
He quickly sat up, the crowd around him jumping back in response.
"Nagito?" A familiar voice questioned.
"That's..." He rubbed his head, feeling a headache. "That's me. I think..."
"I've never seen anyone feel so strongly at the end!"
He looked around, seeing his class looking at him starry-eyed.
It was actually a bit... Intimidating.
And among them all... That can't be... "Izuru!" Nagito tried to sit up but was halted by numbness in his legs. The male approached the bed he was on and allowed Nagito to wrap him in a hug before looking quizzical. "I don't... I don't understand. What's going on?"
"Oh, you're probably super confused." Ibuki chuckled, rubbing her head. "We all got rockin' simulations but yours was the raddest!"
That wasn't... Very helpful at all.
"We all agreed to participate in what-if scenarios." Izuru explained slowly, taking a step back. "You're still disoriented, you'll remember soon enough. Be slow though, you were in there for some time."
"Wait." He reached up, grabbing the long dress sleeve quickly. "That simulation, you guys saw it right? But, you weren't actually there were you? So all our time..."
"You could say I already knew of your fondness towards me. Considering we were given the same simulation."
"But... Then... Did you die?"
Izuru looked away for a moment with a frown. "I removed my mask. Airborne contamination. I eventually turned."
It was upsetting to hear but at least he was here, alive and fine.
"What did you do... When you met that thing?"
Instead of Izuru answering, one of the boys butt into the conversation, chuckling as he did. "Laid down and called the god a bitch for letting you die."
Nagito crackled a smile, somewhat happy with that answer, but he was still confused.
Izuru looked back to him and Nagito smiled in return. To his surprise, a small kiss was set on his forehead while everyone was distracted by talking to each other. The boy didn't realize how comforting and safe it felt until that moment. A real affection... How amazing that felt, he wanted more from Izuru.
Nagito pulled himself up, a little unsteady on his legs that had fallen asleep.
A scientist stood by the control panel, more focused on looking over the results than engaging with his test subjects.
So... His class were all given these scenarios and made to think they were real so... Their reactions would be genuine? It was starting to come back to him. Though his class was chosen due to being ultimates, the school had wanted to see how strong of hope they held.
Izuru wasn't some cool secret agent, but he really was an artificial human, made in a lab to have many talents, and sent to his class to test run them all.
That was information only his class was allowed to know.
It was embarrassing to remember though that Nagito basically said he liked Izuru every day and loved his hope.
But... Not that embarrassing. It was true, and he would keep saying it now.
Real, fake, why does it matter?
As long as I feel real towards it, as long as I believe it's real, if I treat it as real, that's enough.
As long as I'm happy.