--1 Week and 5 Days Left--
Ouma can barely open his eyes. When he does though, he kind of wishes he just kept them closed anyway.
He’s laying on the couch he and Shiori drank tea in not so long ago (or was it? Ouma’s memory was feeling a little too muddy to remember anything right), and his entire family surrounded him in a circle, having probably stayed there all day to make sure he was alright.
“Hey.” He says in a small voice, wincing from how painful his throat felt, almost as if it had been unused for months.
“Ouma-kun…” He sees Shiori say, closing the small space that separated the two from each other and sitting down on the couch. She lets her hand gently glide over to Ouma’s face, Ouma welcoming the touch and softly smiling at her. She looks like she wants to frown, but she forces herself to return the smile. “How are you feeling?”
“Never better.” Ouma says without even an ounce of humor, regretting it a moment later once he sees Shiori's smile turn into a frown. “Sorry.” He whispers, raising an arm he only realized now was hanging off the couch and on the ground this whole time and reaching for Shiori’s hand, squeezing it as tight as he could. With how tired he is, that’s all he can really do.
On another day, ]this interaction would have been just part of one of the many things the two of them do. It would have been Shiori’s way of asking if she could hang out with him, almost as if he’d say no. Not that he would ever say no. He had no reason to.
He sees Hanayo come closer from the corner of his eye, her short hair covering her face as she leaned down to look at him. She kneeled, her hair tickling Ouma’s face. She reached for his hair, running her fingers through it, something Ouma knew that she knew soothed him, especially whenever he seemed a little too stressed out at times.
He could see the others nearing in as well, trying to speak to him, asking him if he needs something or if he was feeling better or not. As much as Ouma would love to answer their questions, he was too busy trying to focus on his breathing, the pain refusing to leave him alone for just a moment.
Hazuka offers him a glass of water that he gladly takes, her long brown hair braided into one long ponytail to let her see more easily without her hair obstructing her view. She tries to smile at him, but Ouma can see her smile was shaking, allowing him to see she was worried for his well being.
He raised his head just by a bit takes a sip of water, feeling some relief from it as his dry throat thanked him.
“Hang on a sec.” Hiro suddenly said, moving the hair that covered half his face away for now, “Give him some space. His breathing is worrisome.”
Everybody took a step back except Hiro who helped Ouma into a sitting position, his breathing getting a little easier thanks to it. Ouma quietly thanked him and Hiro nods, patting him on the back.
“Like shit.” He answers, and Hanayo makes no move to reprimand him for his language, knowing that Ouma was completely tired at this point. His pale skin (She didn’t think it could get even paler) and dull eyes said a lot. It said too much.
“Ouma-kun…” Hiro starts, but he doesn’t finish what he’s about to ask, as if he already knew the answer to it.
“Are you sure you don’t want to remove those flowers?” Ouma knows Hiro was going to ask, but they all know that Ouma Kokichi would be far too stubborn to ever say anything other than a “Yes.” to that question. Not now, not ever, even at a time like this and in the state he’s in. Nobody says anything after that, and Ouma finds that he doesn’t know what to say either.
“Let’s all just…get rest for now. I’m sure we’re all tired after everything that’s happened today.” He says, turning to Hanayo’s slightly distressed face, “Including Ouma-kun.”
“I’ll carry him.” Zurui offers, running his hands through his sand-colored hair. His twin, Odayaka, offered to help him. Zurui doesn’t stop him from helping him carry Ouma and they both bring Ouma up to the bedroom they all share.
Of course, with the fact that they weren’t exactly the richest in town, they pretty much found home in an abandoned house that could never fit a family of ten, but they did what they could to make it more comfortable.
Zurui frees one hand from his grip on Ouma and flips the light switch beside it, illuminating the room. The bedroom was pretty small, the “bed” inside being a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor, all of which they could find around the house. The only actual piece of furniture was a small table in the center of the room mostly used for Tea Time. Technically, that meant they could sleep anywhere, but whoever was closest to the table was probably going to wake up and hit their head on it.
Zurui has Odayaka completely hold Ouma and goes in front both of them to fix a few pillows (they were all over the place as they ran to Ouma, to his body on the floor, coughing, cursing and dying-). A few minutes later, Odayaka carefully placed Ouma down and put a blanket over him. Ouma realized his shoes were gone and wondered when that happened. He hasn't been able to focus lately.
“Sleep well, Ouma-kun.” The twins say simultaneously, and Odayaka flips the switch once more, the light that once weakly lit the room vanishing instantly. Ouma watched both of them begin to walk out of the room.
“Wait.” He says, voice strained. Both brothers look at him and Ouma suddenly felt embarrassed for suddenly speaking up, “Can you…both stay here?” He asked hesitantly.
Odayaka whispered something to his twin, and Zurui nodded. Odayaka left the room while Zurui took his own shoes off, walking over to Ouma and laying down beside him, “He’s just going to do something real quick. Don’t worry about it.”
A few minutes later, Ouma hears more than just one pair of footsteps walking up the creaky stairs. Through half-closed eyes, he sees the rest of his family enter the room one by one, all choosing to try and sleep as close to him as possible, Hanayo, Hiro, and Shiori being the closest.
Shiori is holding his hand too tightly, but Ouma doesn’t say anything about it. He feels Hanayo reaching for his hand too then feeling Shiori’s hand and pulling hers back. Shiori reaches for Hanayo’s hand and holds it with her free hand, offering Hanayo whatever comfort she can.
--1 Week and 4 Days Left--
--1 Week and 4 Days Left--
He wakes up to the sound of Hazuka’s voice, her long brown hair contrasting Namaiki’s short brown hair, his usually cocky smile gone for once. Both of them were kneeling right beside him, but only Hazuka was trying to wake him up while Namaiki just watched. He was probably just sent to help Hazuka if she didn’t manage to get Ouma to come out of bed and everyone knew you couldn't get an extra five minutes if Namaiki had any say in the matter.
(Or maybe they were afraid Ouma wouldn't wake up despite Namaiki's tactics. Ouma didn't know.)
“It’s time to eat, Ouma-kun!” She says cheerfully, though it comes out a little more forced than anything.
“Oh, sure,” Ouma says, realizing that he sounds tired. It almost feels like he didn’t even sleep for who knows how long, though he was thankful that he could feel some of his strength had returned to him. Last night’s events must have left him feeling completely burnt out. “What time is it?”
Namaiki looked at the clock full of small cracks in the far corner of the room, the device ticking loud enough for the three of them to hear even when they’re so far away from it, “About three in the afternoon.”
Oh. Oh wow. It has been a while. Not that Ouma knew. He was too busy being unconscious to see the time he even got to his house last night.
“Why didn’t you wake me up earlier?” Ouma asks, slowly pushing himself up and getting his legs in a crossed position.
“You seemed really tired.” Namaiki responded while Hazuka tried to fix Ouma’s ridiculously messy hair, a futile thing to do, “Hanayo-san requested that we don’t disturb you unless it was really late already.”
‘Ah, of course Hanayo-chan would do that.’ Ouma thinks with a small smile on his face. Hanayo always did act like a mother to all of them, even if she isn’t that much older than all of them. After Hazuka is satisfied with the way his hair looks, though it remains nearly just as messy, Ouma feels some sense of "okay" return to him and managed to stand up and go downstairs with Namaiki and Hazuka in tow.
Once he was downstairs, Ouma is greeted by the sight of his family’s eyes all aimed at him. He wonders if they’ve been waiting for him to come downstairs this whole time.
“Good afternoon, Ouma-kun.” Pierro says in greeting, patting the boy’s head and giving him a warm smile. Ouma smiles back, but everyone can still see that he’s not as strong as he’s pretending to be. Even easily finding out that he’s lying was something to be worried about. They've known each other for much longer than they could recall, but Ouma was the greatest liar between all of them to the point that they, too, struggled to tell his own lies apart. But now...
“Why don’t you go sit down over there?” Pierro pointed to the small table and couch Ouma remembers sitting with Shiori on it not too long ago, though it felt like it was a long time ago.
Ouma doesn’t say that and nods instead, walking over and sitting on the corner of it, letting himself relax to whatever degree he can at a time like this.
Ouma feels like shit and he knows he looks like shit too. His hair was probably messier than usual, even with Hazuka’s help. His skin was paler, his clothes felt crumpled, and he was pretty sure the smile on his face was too lopsided to be as genuine as he tries to make it. Besides, breathing was still too hard to do as easily as someone should, his entire body hurt, and his throat felt like it was on fire.
“Here you go, Ouma-kun.” Hanayo came out of the small kitchen and gives him some leftovers of noodle soup. Ouma had no idea where they got it from, but he doesn’t have the heart to say anything as Hanayo looks at him with worry. He grabs his chopsticks, picks the bowl up, and starts eating.
The soup was warm and even if it hurt his throat a little, it was still somewhat soothing and it tasted pretty good, too.
Ouma feels the couch shift, and turned his attention away from the bowl to see that Hiro was sitting beside him, a glass of water in his hand.
“How are you feeling?” Hiro asks him. Ouma shrugs.
“Not as great as I’d like to be,” Ouma admits. He can tell that his lies aren’t as good as they should be, and he felt a bit of guilt whenever he lied to his family anyway.
“Hm. That doesn’t sound good.” Hiro says, taking a sip of his water, “I presume that you won’t be going back to school soon? It seems that some people know about your...condition.”
Ouma sighs loudly. There's been a lot of sighing lately.
Hiro raises an eyebrow, “Who was it?” Just from that, Ouma wants to humorlessly laugh again, but instead turns to Hiro.
“Well, you won't be-lieve who of all people found out!” Ouma declares with a smile on his face, his voice making it sound like he was telling a joke rather than something he extremely not happy about. Hiro understood what Ouma meant and no longer asked any more questions.
Before the silence between the two could get any more awkward, Hanayo joined them on the couch, sitting on the free space beside Ouma with her own small bowl of noodle soup, chopsticks held perfectly.
“Anything interesting you guys have been doing these days?” Ouma asked to take his mind off of things and to avoid the questions he knows they’d all eventually end up asking.
“Not much.” Hanayo responds, “We haven’t done much since you went to Hope’s Peak.”
Ouma makes a noise of acknowledgment and tries to settle into it, letting himself sink into it as much as possible to avoid the gaze Hanayo started pointing at him.
“Your hair is a bigger mess than the usual.” She says softly, putting her bowl down on the table in front of them and using both hands to try and pat some of the stray hair down. Hanayo (and pretty much everyone in this household) seemed to fuss over his hair way too much, but Ouma doesn’t mind it, seeing as they all tell him that he fusses over all of them back.
“Your hair isn’t looking like it's at its best, too,” Ouma says, noticing only now that her hair was slightly ruffled and pieces of it were in odd places. “Did you get any actual rest?”
“Ah, you noticed.” She mutters, knowing he’d notice sooner or later, “And yes, I did get some rest.”
Ouma wants to say more, but he suddenly feels the pain in his chest begin to worsen and he slams his bowl down on the table a little too hard, alarming the two DICE members sitting beside him, and puts one hand on his mouth, coughing loudly and painfully into it.
Hanayo suddenly looks scared and Hiro’s usually calm expression is replaced with one of genuine worry. Hiro pats Ouma’s back and Hanayo whispers words of comfort to Ouma.
A few minutes pass, and Ouma can feel the pain begin to recede and become more manageable. He lets out a sigh of relief and lets his hand leave his mouth at last. He hears the two DICE members gasp and he looks at his hand in curiosity.
There was some blood on his hand and a single golden flower petal laid on the center of his palm, a part of it also covered in blood. He realizes that some blood was also on the corner of his mouth, and Hanayo shakily wipes some of it off with her hand.
“O-ouma-kun…” She whispers. Ouma doesn’t have to look at her to know that she was so, so worried for him. Ouma wants to shove this feeling of guilt he felt for letting her feel like this, but all he does is gulp, tasting some blood that was still there.
He looks up and sees that the rest of DICE was there (When did they all get there?) and they’re all looking at him with expressions of varying concern and horror. Ouma looks away because he hates seeing them like that, especially because it's him that caused all of this.
Ouma doesn’t sleep, and just like that, he spends the rest of the day avoiding all of them.
Ouma can’t tell if the feeling in his gut is pain or guilt.
--1 Week and 3 Days Left--
He spends the day out in the garden, just like he promised Shiori and Hazuka weeks before the entire shitshow that was his disease began.
The garden was located just behind the house, and Ouma was pretty sure that there used to be a lot of flowers growing in the area before the previous owners abandoned the house, remembering the time he had thrown away hundreds of wilted plants to clean the area up. Nowadays, some flowers grew, mostly thanks to Hanayo, Hazuka, and Shiori being pretty damn good at planting and maintaining plants. There was no fence, and the garden extended to a forest that seemed to have no end. He remembers playing there when he was younger, when they were all younger, and they had nearly gotten lost a couple of times while they were at it.
Today, he was sitting on the grass with Hazuka and Shiori, both gathering a few flowers from the numerous areas that the flowers ultimately decided to grow on.
“Let’s make flower crowns!” Hazuka had said excitedly, “It’ll be fun!” Ouma knew it was her way of trying to make the thought of flowers less terrifying, especially for Ouma’s case, though he never said that out loud.
Now here they were, Ouma struggling to make a flower crown while the two girls made their own with ease while instructing him.
Eventually, he makes his own, but he offers it to Hazuka instead, who gladly takes it and places it on her own head. Her long brown hair was completely untied today, reaching the ground and surrounding her. The crown of flowers made her look like some sort of princess, and Shiori said as such, making both girls giggle at that comment.
This, in Ouma’s opinion, was peaceful. It was nice to just be able to relax with his family and enjoy himself. His family did always know how to cheer him up.
“No problem.” Shiori smiles back, and starts humming as she makes another crown, “This one is for Hanayo-san. Wanna help me make some for the others, too?”
“Of course,” Ouma says, and he starts trying to make a new one, already failing as the flowers refused to cooperate with him.
A few frustrating minutes later, Shiori pats Ouma’s back and helps him make the flower crown. It looks like some of the flowers had slightly wilted before Ouma had started, the once yellow color of it becoming brown on some corners. It kind of reminded him of himself.
He ignores that thought and puts the flower crown on Shiori’s head, a few stray pieces of grass falling off of it as he did so. Shiori smiles as her way of saying “Thank you.” and Ouma smiles as his way of saying “No problem.”
Hazuka had already made two more flower crowns during the whole exchange Ouma and Shiori had and Ouma wonders just how fast she was working to finish that (that, or how slow he was working.)
Ouma fondly thinks of one of the times he and the two girls had been in the garden.
(“Soooo…” Hazuka mischievously says as Shiori kneels behind her braiding Hazuka’s long hair while Ouma lit a small fire as the night surrounded them, “Who’s the guy you’ve been gawking at in Hope’s Peak?”
Ouma nearly drops the twig he’s about to put into the fire to keep it going and turns his head to Hazuka, who was sitting across from him with an innocent smile. “How do you know that? You haven’t even seen him before.”
“Ah, so you admit there’s someone you like! I told you I was right, Shiori-san!” She says triumphantly, Shiori simply laughing, “You know how sometimes we wait for you by the school gates? Well, it was hard to ignore that look you were giving one of the students you were talking to, so I definitely have seen him before!”
“Alright, alright, keep it down. You know Zurui-chan, Namaiki-chan and Kisaku-chan would never let me hear the end of it.” Ouma hurriedly says, making a zip motion in front of his mouth and pointing at the door.
“Hah hah, okay,” Hazuka says, and Shiori cuts in before the brown-haired girl can say anything else.
“So! Who is he?” She asks excitedly, looking directly at Ouma as her hands continued to braid Hazuka’s hair.
Ouma hesitated for a few moments, but shrugged at the end, “His name is Saihara Shuuichi, Ultimate Detective and all that.”
Both girls make an “Ooh” noise at the mention of Saihara’s title. “I know, a liar liking a detective. How original.”
“Oh, don’t be like that, Ouma-kun.” Shiori says, finally finishing the long braid and proceeding to move so she can sit beside Hazuka and cross her legs, “Come on, tell us about him!” She placed her cheek on her hand, her elbow on her leg as she grinned.
Ouma grins back, “I don’t know, should I tell you both of you anything about him?” His question is returned with the two yelling “Of course!” out loud and he laughs, “Okay then.”
“Well, for starters, he’s a pretty interesting guy.” He says, leaning forward like he was going to tell them something dangerous that must be kept under lock and key, “It’s difficult to even just try to predict what he’s going to do! He does a this instead of that, a zig instead of a zag, he chooses x instead of y, it almost feels like I’m playing a game of sorts with him.”
“He’s also the only person in my class who’s willing to actually try and talk to me instead of giving up as easily as the others did, which is a surprise on its own, too. Oh, and-”
Shiori can’t help but see how happy Ouma looks when he talks about Saihara, his hands moving in sync with the rise and fall of his voice, his eyes twinkling as he talks about Saihara in general. It made both girls smile at him with fondness.
“-And that’s why I like him, not to mention his good looks,” Ouma says with a wink and the three laugh.
“Wow.” Hazuka says, “You must really like-like him and like talking about him if you didn’t realize that Hanayo-san has been listening to us this whole time.”
“What,” Ouma says in confusion, and he turns to the door to see that it’s opened, Hanayo leaning on it, arms crossed, with a smile on her face. Ouma flushes when the realization that Hanayo heard him go on a rant about a person he “like-likes”, as Hazuka puts it, finally settles in.
Hanayo walks over to Ouma and ruffles his hair with her hand, “Sounds like someone has a lot to tell me about during dinner.” She says jokingly, but Ouma knows that she’d love to hear about Saihara, too.
“What did I just hear?” They hear a voice from the doorway they recognize as Kisaku’s voice, “Ouma-kun is in love?” Ouma sighs and pinches his nose in embarrassment.
“Did anyone else hear me talk about Saihara-chan?” Ouma says to the doorway, and he sees the rest of DICE looking at him, all of them with smiles on their faces.
Kisaku leaves the doorway and walks over to Ouma as well, adjusting the huge scarf around his neck as he does so, and the other members join him and soon all of them are in the garden, surrounding Ouma. Ouma sighs.
“Hey, Ouma-kun!” Namaiki says with his cocky smile in place as he slings one arm around the purple-haired boy, Zurui, who’s sitting beside him and across from Namaiki, does the same, “Why don’t you tell us more about this “Saihara-chan” and his good looks?
Ouma sighs again, but he can’t help but smile when everyone starts laughing again, and he soon joins them, the sound of ten people laughing bouncing off into the night.)
Ouma is once again ripped from his thoughts when he sees Shiori hugging Hazuka, Hazuka’s head bowed down as her shoulders shook, quiet sobs shaking her whole body.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Ouma asks, unable to hide the concern he was feeling. Hazuka looks at him, her eyes filled with tears and aimed at his mouth before she holds back another sob and lowers her head again.
Ouma looked at her, confused, then he put a hand to his mouth, wiped it, and pulled his hand back. Some blood had begun to drip out of his mouth and he failed to notice it, having been too wrapped in his memories to feel it.
“It’s okay, Hazuka-chan!” Ouma says, wiping his hand on his clothes and giving the best smile he could give at the moment, “I’m feeling fine right now-”
“D-do you know how we found you, Ouma-kun?” Hazuka asks him all of a sudden, and even Ouma is taken aback by the sudden question, but Hazuka gives him no time to answer, “You were on the g-ground, Ouma-kun. You were right there screaming things we didn't understand. Shiori found you first and she started screaming, too. She was shaking you and Hiro had to pull her back.”
“There was so much blood, Ouma-kun, even more blood than that time you came back with all those bandages on your forehead after you said you fell down a couple floors. I-we were so scared for you. I thought you were…” She doesn’t let herself finish that thought, because she can’t stand the thought of what could happen if she even lets herself think of it.
“Hazuka-chan…” Shiori says, tightening her grip on the girl.
“I…I’m sorry.” Ouma says, “I’m sorry I hurt you this much.” Hazuka loosens Shiori’s grip on her and hugs Ouma instead, her face on his scarf and surprising the boy who returned the hug nonetheless.
“It’s okay, Ouma-kun. I know you’d never do anything to hurt me or anyone here on purpose, especially if you can stop it.” Hazuka tells him. He doesn’t stop her from tightening her grip on him, “It’s just…it’s n-not fair.”
“What isn’t fair?” Ouma asks her and he hears her start to sob onto his scarf.
“This! All of this! You don’t deserve to feel pain, especially for loving someone as much as you do! You’re one of the best people I’ve ever met in my life and it’s not fair that you’re going to go like this! I hate this! I HATE THIS!” She screams out the last part, and Ouma hears someone open the door. He sees Odayaka peeking through the door, and Ouma gives him a look that tells him not to move. Odayaka nods.
Ouma doesn’t let go of Hazuka as she continues sobbing, knowing that she must have bottled all her anger and sadness up for far too long. She needed this, and Ouma wasn’t going to stop her. His grip tightened even more as Hazuka began to shake even more, and he hears Shiori begin to sniffle, too.
“Hey, Shiori-chan.” He says. Shiori looks at him and he releases one of his hands and makes a hugging motion. Shiori finally lets out a sob and hugs him.
He sees all of DICE now looking out the door, not knowing what to do. Ouma can clearly see now how tired and concerned and afraid they were for him. He wants to say yes to the surgery, just to make them smile again, but he knew deep down that they would know he was lying and that he himself would never be happy.
He nudges his head in a way that told all of them to just go to him already, and they all break out in a run to get to him.
Soon, his family is completely surrounding him, hugging him from all sides, some crying as well. Hanayo is hugging him, muttering apologies like it was her fault this was happening, and Ouma shushes her and lets her cry. Even Hiro, who Ouma has never known to be one to shed tears, was letting his own tears fall down his face, his face scrunched up with pure sadness as he struggled to hold a sob back.
He lets all of them cry and never complains about how his leg was starting to feel uncomfortable from all the weight surrounding him.
Ouma doesn’t know how much time has passed, but he feels Hazuka let go of him, wiping her face with her sleeve. Her eyes are red and puffy, her hair disheveled.
“Oh, it’s starting to get pretty dark out, isn’t it?” Kisaku asks. Ouma looks to see the sky was starting to get dimmer and dimmer.
“Huh, we must have been pretty busy for it to start getting so dark right now,” Zurui says, earning a few weak smiles from the others.
“Well, I don’t know about any of you, but I’m feeling tired myself,” Ouma says, adjusting the flower crown on his head and pretending to yawn.
“Ah, me too.” Hazuka yawns.
“Why don’t we all just go up, maybe get some rest. Even if that’s all I’ve been doing lately.” Ouma suggests. They all look hesitant, but Pierro nods and the others follow suit, “Great! Let’s go.”
With that, they all walk up the stairs, their shoes making loud thud noises on the old wood, and Ouma opens the door. They all take their shoes off and they all fix the place up a bit, placing the pillows in a way that they could all huddle around each other, the table being moved from its usual spot at the center of the room, and being moved to the corner to make their plan work.
They all lay down with a sigh and Ouma feels just how tired he and the people around him are. He can already feel his eyes beginning to close.
“Hey, Ouma-kun.” Shiori whispers, Hazuka and Hanayo quietly snoring beside her.
“Yeah?” He whispers back, Hiro and the twins also lying asleep beside him.
“We love you.” She says, “And if this is what will make you happy…then we won’t stop you.”
“Thank you.” Ouma responds, smiling at her, “I love all of you, too.”
Shiori smiles at him, too, and she looks up to the ceiling and Ouma does the same, “Goodnight, Ouma-kun.”
Ouma’s eyes snap open and he has to force himself not to hurriedly stand up, his chest beginning to hurt again. He lays there for a few minutes, struggling to breathe as quietly as he can to make sure he doesn’t wake anyone up. The pain vanishes and comes back repeatedly, following a pattern Ouma couldn’t figure out.
Slowly, the pain leaves at last, and Ouma sighs in relief.
He looks to his left and right, hoping no one had woken up from that. He slowly stood up, making an effort to make the sound of his footsteps be as nonexistent as possible. He makes it to the door, ignoring his shoes and reaching for the knob and gently twisting it, pulling the door open as fast as possible to try and avoid the creaking noise it makes when the door is slowly opened. He sneaks out of the room.
He reaches the couch, unsure of what his plan was once he does get down here. He shrugs, walking over to the kitchen and reaching for one of the few mugs they had for tea. He grabs an old water boiler and waits for it to heat the water up. When the water boiler made a small beep to say it was done., he poured the water into the mug, dropping a tea bag into it and waiting for the water to begin to change color. He returned to the couch and made himself comfortable, waiting for the tea to cool down a bit to take a sip.
“I could ask you the same, Hiro-chan.” Ouma responds, attempting to take a sip of tea, “In fact, I will ask: What are you doing up so late?”
“I heard someone leave the room, but it was too dark for me to see who it was, so I just came down here to check,” Hiro tells him, fixing his hair while he walked to the couch, shoes left behind. “You?”
“Woke up randomly, so I just got some tea.” Ouma says, taking another sip and putting the mug close to Hiro, “You want some?”
“I’ll pass,” Hiro says
They both sit there in silence, the silence only lasting for a few minutes before Ouma speaks up again.
“You noticed.” Hiro says with a hint of a smile behind it before he looked away, “…how much time do you have left?”
“How much time do you have left?” Hiro asks again, now looking at Ouma with a stare that could pierce through anything. Ouma can't stop himself from looking away from him.
“I don’t know how long exactly, but I don’t have much time left, not when I’m like…this.” He says and raises one hand, waving it at himself.
“Oh.” Hiro says, and the silence comes back. “Do you…are you…are you sure this is really what you want? We still have time, Ouma-kun. I know we do.”
“I…I can’t, Hiro-chan. I really can’t. I couldn’t forgive myself if I went through with it.” Ouma says, his voice tired.
“But what about us, Ouma-kun? What about your family? I heard what Shiori-san said. I know she said it's fine if you go through with this, but do you really think we’re all just going to turn the other way and easily accept that this is happening? We’ve been a family since we were all children, Ouma-kun, you of all people should know how we all feel.”
“I know I’m being selfish.” Ouma says, but his voice sounds weak even to his own ears, “But I can’t do it. And I’d never want to do it. No matter what anyone says, I don’t want to do it.” He knows he’s repeating himself, but he can’t stop himself from doing it.
Hiro may be only a year older than him, but Ouma knew that they were closer than most of DICE, their closeness rivaled only by Ouma’s closeness with Shiori and Hazuka. Hiro had been there for him and Ouma had been there for him as well, this routine going on since even before the concept of DICE had come to life all those years ago. Ouma wanted nothing more than to let Hiro have this, but he knew that he couldn’t say yes out loud even if he wanted to.
“I’m sorry.” Is all that Ouma says and he can see the defeated expression Hiro gave him, knowing well that Ouma wouldn’t change his mind when he wanted something. Smart but stubborn, Hiro remembers describing him when they were younger. Those parts of Ouma never changed at all.
“...I understand.” Hiro says, finally giving up, “If that really is what you want, I won’t try to stop you any longer.”
“...Heh. You sound like Shiori-chan.” Ouma mutters.
Hiro laughs. “I know.”
“But, thanks-” Ouma cuts himself off as he unexpectedly begins to cough, and just like a few days ago his coughing gets worse and worse. He drops the mug, said mug landing on the carpet and dropping its content as it shattered. And that was his favorite mug, too.
Hiro can only stare in horror as he rubs Ouma’s back, asking him if there’s anything he can do to help Ouma at the moment, but Ouma can barely breathe through all the coughing, and he falls onto the floor, his hand digging into a few of the fallen shards of glass.
He stopped, and for a few seconds, silence was the only thing they heard. Then, Ouma coughed once, twice, thrice, then began to throw up.
Hiro gasped, watching as Ouma began to tear up in pain, blood mixed with what little food Ouma ate all make its way onto the ground, full-grown flowers joining in after a while.
“Hi-…Hiro-ch…Hiro-chan-” He struggles to say once he finishes, slowly turning his head to look at Hiro in the eye, “Help.”
Ouma collapses on the floor when Hiro picks him up, blood coating his fingertips, and yells for help.
--1 Week and 1 Day Left--
--1 Week and 1 Day Left--
Ouma can barely keep his eyes open.
He hears muffled talking followed by screaming and crying, a hand gently holding his and another hand gently stroking his hair, a voice whispering that he was going to be just fine just please stay-
“I…ca…y…” Ouma tries to say something, anything, but he can’t even muster enough strength to do anything else. Even with all the strength he regained, it wasn’t enough to help him last any longer than just a few days. He wants to cry again, but he stops himself from doing so, no longer wanting to bring more stress to his family than he is already bringing.
“Shhh.” He hears someone else say, “It’s okay, Ouma-kun. Just rest. You’ll be okay. I promise.”
“Sorry…I’m…sor…ry.” Ouma mutters, a tear falling from his eye, and he can somewhat hear someone telling him not to be sorry and to just breathe it’ll be all okay I promise I’m so sorry-
“Love…all of you…” He finally says, and he can’t focus enough to say anything else.
The voice must know that because it tells him to say nothing else and to just rest.
Everything is too hard to understand and Ouma wants to follow the voice’s suggestion, but he wants to protest at the same time and stay awake
He feels something surround him, and a hand continues to hold his tightly. Another voice whispers to him to just relax and close his eyes.
Ouma, despite all the pain he was feeling in every part of his body, felt some sort of peace, like it was all going to be okay, even when everything was not okay.
Finally, he takes the two voices’ advice, and he closes his eyes, letting himself relax.
‘Hanayo-chan, Hiro-chan, Shiori-chan, everyone…’ He struggles to think as his thoughts hopelessly blur together, ‘You too, Saihara chan…I love you, all of you. I’m sorry.’
He blacks out.