CHAPTER 1 · 6 · Grey

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CHAPTER 1 · 6 · Grey

Post by Story Teller on Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:53 pm

Knock-knock.



Knock-knock.

Huh? Where am I?

Knock-knock-knock.

Everything hurts. Did I really fall asleep right here, against the door..? But why..?

Knock-knock.

“What?”

I just answered without thinking, probably to make the knocking stop. But now that my thoughts and memories really are coming back to me, I start wondering if I didn’t make a mistake – I don’t think I want to see anyone. Or anything, for that matter.

“It’s me, Neo. I want to talk to you.”
“Chris?!”

I dart up – I try, at least, because I fall over almost immediately. But I try again and manage, finding myself standing in front of my closed door.
“Uuh, yeah. Are you… okay in here..?”
I don’t answer immediately. I’m truly hesitating, reminiscing what happened the night before… Doesn’t she hate me? Why would she want to talk to me? And why would I even want to see her? I was… Pretty depressed…
“Come on, dude…”
… But I don’t have to stay depressed, do I? I guess I should at least listen to her… Before I decide on whether I’m better off pretending I don’t exist or not. I stretch a little before I open the door.
“Ah! Neo! I’m so glad to see you!”
Chris had her face turned away from the door, but she looks at me as soon as I open it.
“… You look awful, but I guess that’s okay. Did you sleep on the floor or something?”
“You couldn’t have guessed better.”
“Huh? But why would you do that?”
“Excellent question.”
“Oh…”
She’s rubbing her hands together, looking hesitant. I don’t say anything. I *did* just wake up, and I’m confused and feeling rather cranky.
“So… Can we have a talk, or do you want… some… time?”
I guess… I should listen to her. I have no idea what she wants, after all. I gesture for her to get in, and close the door behind us, leaning against it – the idea crosses my mind that it may look like I’m locking her in, but I’m really just too tired to stand on my own.
“Okaaay… So.”
She lets out a sigh. She’s looking somewhat annoyed. If she doesn’t want to be here, why did she come see me..? I’m sincerely confused.
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry about yesterday.”
“Sorry?”
I can’t help but frown. What does she mean, she’s sorry? She didn’t do anything wrong! Rather, I am the one to blame, aren’t I?
“I got way too upset for no reason. I absolutely did not want this to happen. I just… I was tired.”
“You don’t have to say you’re sorry, you didn’t do anything wrong.”
She looks at me with a surprised look on her face.
“What? But I totally did! I said some really mean things, and either way, I made a scene and was annoying.”
“No, you weren’t. And what you said was right.”
“What?!”
“What you told me. It’s true. I haven’t done anything to help. I’ve just been whining the entire time.”
“… Listen.”
She stares at me right in the eyes, and gets closer to me.
… That’s… a little intimidating, to be honest. But I don’t move.
“It would be – and it was – stupid of me to blame you for this. We all agree that this situation is so awful and weird, there’s no right way to react or to cope. And even if there were one, it would be dumb to just… keep complaining about our mistakes, instead of trying to be better in the future!”
I guess this works better than coffee. Her words must be so sincere they cut through me like a bunch of knives – I just listen to her, now completely attentive, and speechless.
“Now, I am forced to listen to my own advice. I feel super guilty that you had to see me like this, and upset that I worried you, when I was trying so hard to make you feel more at ease. But we’ll have to move on… Now that what’s done is done, I would like to continue on fighting.”
I just nod.
“So… Do you think you can forgive me?”
“It’s not a matter of forgiving you or not anyway, Chris. I’ve already told you, I understand what you did and said.”
She looks hesitant.
“You know… The only reason I was upset was… Realizing that you were not actually okay. I’d just been convinced everyone was happy, like an idiot.”
“But I mean… It’s not because I cry once that my whole life is a travesty.”
“But the things you said..! About being trapped here, about Monokuma…”
“Well yeah, they’re true. I’d rather be anywhere else, and yeah, I’m upset over the horrible things that piece of shit says and does. What did you expect? For everyone to enjoy themselves here?”
“No…”
“Sometimes it just becomes too much. And sometimes I’m just so angry… I guess even more so when he’s just mean and petty, and towards people who are so nice… But it doesn’t mean I constantly just want to cry. It doesn’t mean I’m constantly having a horrible time… It’s not like anything extreme has happened.”
She shakes her head.
“We’re surrounded by nice people. I’ve already made some friends… Noah’s a cinnamon roll. Andi’s fun as hell. Alice too, actually… And Chloe’s always so peaceful. You look adorable too, you know? We’re not forced to only see what’s wrong with our situation. We just can’t ignore it.”
“Well, thank you…”
She sighs.
“I guess you’re lucky, in a sense, that you were able to go through the first few days with nothing to bother you directly. But I hope we’ll find an exit soon.”
“I wish I could have helped everyone search for one!”
“Ha, I’m sure we could have done with your enthusiasm! But no one’s mad at you, you know.”
“Hmm, except like, Lois.”
“Well Lois is a b-”

“We can’t get along with everyone. Now come on, it’s like, 12.30. I’ll leave you alone for now, but you’ll come eat with us, right?”
I’ll understand that she tried to brush it off. I find myself finally smiling again; I think I actually needed this conversation. If she hadn’t come to see me, I would have just stayed convinced that she hated me, and probably that everything was just wrong and I was silly for believing in everyone… I’m just the worst at handling bad situations, aren’t I? But it’s okay, I tell myself, it’ll be okay.
“Of course!”
“Nice! I’ll go tell Noah you’re looking a little better. He was really worried about you.”
“Huh, really? I thought… I thought…”
“You thought wrong. You’d probably need to burn an orphanage for the guy to be mad at you. You don’t have to worry about a thing – concerning Noah, at least.”
“Oh… Okay, then… Tell him that he’s really pretty for me.”
“Huh? What? He’ll never believe that it comes from you and not me! He’ll make fun of me! If you want to flirt with him you’ll have to find a way to do it without me around.”
“Man, then I’m going to have to learn sign language, I guess.”
She looks at me as if to ask, “are you serious?” but she laughs anyway.
“I guess it’s as good a reason as any other to learn it.”
I get out of the way so that she can get out, and she waves at me, looking relieved, before she does. I wave in return, and when she’s gone, I shake my head and stretch.
“I guess I’ll have to go tell him myself.”
I just want to tell him something. It pains me to think that he could believe whatever Monokuma told him, and I want him to know that he doesn’t have to be ashamed. I haven’t had the occasion to react properly, after all…
I go take a shower and get prepared. In case Jan’s cooking again today, I would feel ashamed looking ridiculous eating his gourmet-level food!

When I’m ready, I immediately go towards the dining room. And to my surprise, before I can get inside the main building, I walk into Akiro.
“Hello, Akiro! Nice to see you!”
“Ah, h-hi. Did you see… Chris?”
“Huh, yeah, actually. How do you know..?”
“W-well… I asked why she was so upset… And she told me she’d been mean t-towards you…”
“Oh, well, she hadn’t exactly been mean. But we worked everything out, anyway!”
“Ah… that’s nice.”
“But what are you doing here? I would have expected you to be in the kitchen with Jan and Alice!”
“I just was… I… I… Almost everyone’s in the dining room. I was searching f-for Keith…”
“Oh, I see! But aren’t you afraid he’ll be-”
“I don’t mind. If he doesn’t want… I-I won’t force him anyway…”
“Okay…”
I know he’s really shy, but I’ve seen him more confident. He keeps looking away and his tone completely lacks enthusiasm.
“You’re looking a little down, are you okay?”
“Huh? Uuh… Yeah! Yeah. I… I’m just… uuh… uuuuh…”
I don’t know what to say….
“Uuh… I don’t like when there are too many people… In… In one place. S-so I’m a little overwhelmed! In the dining room.”
“Oooh, oka-”
“And Jan totally just kicked me out.”
“What?!”
“He sent me here… B-but I’m not stupid… I kn-know what he meant… I don’t… Uuh…”
“B-but why would he kick you out?! I thought you were friends!”
“And I thought Jan was nice..?”
“I guess… He’d rather be… With her… It-it’s okay. He wasn’t mean o-or anything. I j-just wonder why. But it’s okay. D-don’t worry.”
“Uuuh… Do you want me to ask him about it?”
“No! No. Please… Don’t. I-I may just be… wrong. So, d-don’t worry. Keith needs to come with us a-after all. I’ll go seek him…”
He forces a smile and walks towards the dorms. I don’t answer, hesitating to follow him, but I’m afraid I’ll bother him more than anything… So I start walking towards the dining room again, pretty confused. Am I missing something here? Is Jan mad at Akiro.. ? But why, he’s a peach! They both are, actually. It doesn’t make sense. Maybe Akiro’s just being paranoid, but… I’d tend to trust that he gets the right ideas.
I reach the dining room, asking myself too many questions, and when I open the door, am greeted by Mina.
“Yay! It’s Neo!”
”Oh...”
I start smiling, flattered.
“I knew it’d be him! I won!”
“Wait, what?”
“Come on, he’s like, one of the last people to be outside. It wasn’t that hard to guess.”
“It’s a victory nonetheless, and I’ll savor it.”
“Hmm… Sounds fair, actually.”
“Were you just trying to guess who’d open the door next..?”
“Yep!”
“Ah…”
Well, that’s a little disappointing, but I’ll deal with it…
“Glad I could help you win…”
“You sound disappointed. Did you think the little brat would really be happy to see you?”

“Haha, yeah, you did! Well you better know that this little girl has no normal emotions whatsoever!”
“Tch. You’re just jealous, that’s all.”
“Of what?”
“That you’re all height and no brains.”
“I’m not even that tall. You’re just incredibly small.”
“Mina’s height is a quality.”
Andi seems to freak out as soon as Oscar shows up behind Mina.
“Oh gee, okay, okay, if you say so!”
“… I won’t hurt you.”
I can’t help but giggle. I know Oscar is harmless, but Andi doesn’t seem so su-
“Oh okay then. Nah, she’s too small.”
Ah, right, it’s Andi we’re talking about.
“I’m small and it’s a fact, but you’re no one to decide on what’s *too* small, lady!”
“You’re not going to tell me that’s it’s normal for a girl your age to be that small! I don’t know much about how kids grow but you said you were what, seventeen?”
“I keep forgetting.”
“What did you just say?”
“Nothing.”
“Hmm…”
“Boy, you’re in danger.”

They’re interrupted by the most recognizable voice of them all.
“Helloooo! Emily’s so happy to see you!”
“Right.”
Akiro and Keith enter the room, the latter not looking nor sounding too pleased.
“You didn’t have to scream.”
“But people trust Emily to scream!”
He doesn’t answer.

I see Akiro trying to walk towards the kitchen – but Chloe suddenly comes out of it and stops him.
“Oh Akiro, are you okay? Tell me, wasn’t Keith too annoying?”

“So like, you never ever swear?”
“Hopefully, I don’t.”

“Emily can be your friend, even if you don’t like her!”

Ah, I understand why he’d be overwhelmed… I’m not really bothered by crowds, but I don’t really know what to listen to. As I hesitate, suddenly someone taps me on the shoulder – it’s Ciel!
“Oh, hi!”
“Hi, Neo! You look lost.”
“A little.”

We start chatting, specifically about Mina’s height – we try to make sure she doesn’t hear us, but with everyone else talking, it’s not hard.
All of a sudden, everyone’s cut in their conversations by a loud singing voice.
“Lunch is readyyyyy~”
Alice is bringing one last plate, and as she says that, everyone gets closer to the table. Ciel and I go sit down ; they’re sitting to my left, and Akiro sits to my right, Chloe facing him. Seeing the Ultimate Writer, I suddenly remember that I wanted to go ask Jan what happened, but I guess it’s too late now… I’ll trust that he’s still nice and willing to cook for everyone!
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Re: CHAPTER 1 · 6 · Grey

Post by Story Teller on Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:39 am

Alice and Jan walk out of the kitchen with what looks to be two big dishes of gratin, and put both in the middle of the table. I check them out, and they seem to be the same. I think there are potatoes – obviously – and what must be… sweet potatoes? Or maybe it’s pumpkin. Man, it already looks good! But as long as it takes me to admire the first two dishes, they both already come back with pre-cut chicken.
“We figured it’d be quicker if you just pass the gratins around while we give you your piece of chicken. So yeah, let’s just do that.”
Alice and Jan both quickly get to work, while we start each putting our share of gratin in our plate turn by turn.
“Hi Neo! Which part do you want?”
“Hi! Uuh… I’ll take this one please.”
“Here you go!”
He gives me what I ask, nods and advances towards the next person.
“Thanks!”
Jan looks in a pretty good mood today… I’m actually surprised, and I can’t help but check out his interaction with my neighbor.  
“Which part do you want, Akiro?”
“Uuuh… I… I’m not v-very hungry, a-actually…”
“Man, are you sure? It’s true that you’re pretty pale… Don’t you think you should try to eat something? You may actually start feeling better.”
“Hmm… Hmm…”
Jan shows him the plate, smiling.
“Come on, take some. It’s okay if you end up not eating much, there’s enough for everyone.”
Akiro hesitates, but ends up quickly grabbing a piece of chicken breast with his fork.
“Give it a try, but don’t force yourself either, okay?”
He immediately goes to the next person, asking the same initial question. I look at Akiro, and he must have noticed that I was listening, because he looks at me too, and says, biting his nails:
“He… He’s in an oddly g-good mood…”
“Shouldn’t that be reassuring?”
“M-maybe… I’m just… I’m just s-surprised…”
His neighbor taps him on the shoulder, and he turns around, being handed the dish of gratin by Isabella. He takes a small portion, and hands it to me without a word.
Not knowing what to say, I just take it, trying to give him a reassuring smile, but he doesn’t seem to notice. I take my own portion, and pass it up to my own neighbor, Oscar.
“Is everything okay?”
“What? Yeah! For me, at least. Akiro looks a little down, is all…”
“N-no… Don’t wo- don’t worry. Uuuh… I’m just feeling a bit s-sick, I think? B-but Jan’s right. Maybe it’ll get b-better when I eat-t.”
“Oh… Well, don’t push yourself too hard, okay?”
“O-of course. Thank you for… for your concern.”
“No worries.”
Ciel looks at Akiro for a little longer, hesitantly, while he pretends to be searching for a water bottle. They then turn to me and smile.
“Anyway, bon appétit!”

We all eat- and once again, it’s really, really good. I wonder where Jan learned to cook like this, I should ask him about it later! I can see him eating from the other side of the table. He’s sitting in front of Alice – she’s humming a song I recognize while cutting some bread, but I can’t remember what it is.
“For the love of God, please, stop.”
“What? Oh shit, you’re right!”
She laughs, but immediately stops.
I wonder what this means..? Either way, I still, for the life of me, cannot remember what this song was. And I’m sure it was really famous, too..!

When we’re all done, we all put away our plates and cutlery in a pile, and Emily rushes to take it to the kitchen, looking very enthusiastic. Alice is quick to follow her.
“Now that’s an accident waiting to happen…”
Jan follows them too, and I look towards Akiro to see if he’s going to go too – but he’s sitting still, and actually talking to Chloe, in front of him. I find myself listening to their conversation.
“… Yeah, k-kinda. I think I’m… a little bit t-tired. I didn’t sleep very… well.”
“Oh, well, that’s understandable. Maybe you should take a nap this afternoon.”
He laughs awkwardly.
“O-oh no, I’d never mana- manage to sleep at night, then.”
“Ah, I see. You’re afraid it’d be a 20-minutes nap turning into a 4-hours one?”
“They’re all… they’re all 4-hours nap, a-anyway.”
“You’re right. I don’t even take naps, usually. Then I hope you get to sleep better tonight! Just take it easy today.”
“H-ha, you know what… I thin- I think I may have a-anyway. Today’s act- actually-”

Emily suddenly bursts out of the kitchen.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!”
Alice and Jan come out of the kitchen holding a big cake with a bunch of candles on it, and everyone starts singing:

“Happy birthday to you…” ♪♫

“Huh?”
I look at everyone, completely confused. Happy birthday… To whom?

“Happy birthday to you, Akiro…” ♪♫

Oooooh! Oooooh! Now that’s pretty cool! I’m a little late to the party, but I start singing too.
I hadn’t noticed before, but Akiro was also looking at everyone, confused. He’s completely red, and starts staring at the cake as Alice and Jan set it in front of him.

Spoiler:


When the song is over, everyone starts clapping.
“Blow the candles, Akiro!”
Everyone is staring at him, and turning redder and redder by the minute, he looks down, staring at the table in front of him.
“W-wait… I… I have to re-recover f-from my hea-heart attack f-first..!”
I can’t help but laugh. It seems that the birthday boy and I were the only ones to be unaware. Even Keith sang… Looking annoyed, but now, he looks somewhat amused.
“O-okay…”
Akiro gets up to blow the candles, and then sits back, laughing. I can’t quite tell if he’s relieved or terrified, but I find myself laughing too again. I have to say, I’m pretty giddy – I’m reassured to see that’s what all that was about!
“I’m sorry, I don’t have a present ready. I don’t think it’d be useful to give you something you could find yourself in here.”
Jan looks really happy – I’d go as far as to say he looks proud.
“This… This is more than enough…”
“I think Emily has a present for you, though.”
We turn around to look at her. She’s hiding behind Isabella, laughing hesitantly.
“Emily’s no good, but she hopes you like it!”, she says, as she leaves her hiding spot and gets closer.
She hands him what looks to be a drawing – I lean over to look, trying not to get in Akiro’s way as I do so.
It’s a colorful, detailed drawing of a waterfall. The water is almost bright blue, against a dark blue sky, and there are different, small colored lights around the river, giving color to the piece. It looks like it was done with random crayons but it actually looks amazing!
“What’s this place?”
“It’s from that poem Akiro wrote! He nicely showed it to Emily when she was being annoying about wanting to read what he wrote! He made it sound so pretty. Emily hopes she did an okay job at drawing it!”
“It… It’s wonderful…”
He’s now holding the drawing in front of him, staring at it, looking and sounding amazed.
“That’s exactly it..! This is so beautiful… I love it so much… Can I really have it?”
Emily looks very happy.
“Of course! Emily drew it for you!”
“Thank you so much! This is perfect. You have no idea…”
She looks extremely pleased, and giggles as she hides back behind Isabella. She’s so childish… But her drawing definitely looks like an adult did it. I could never have imagined her doing something so detailed, I’m actually impressed!
I’m just smiling like an idiot, now. This is so cool! Everyone looks happy. I get up and closer to Jan.
“How did you know it was Akiro’s birthday?”
“Simply enough, there’s a page for each one of us on our handbooks, with what seems like random trivia… But also everyone’s birthday. As it does also tell us what day it is, this was easy enough to figure.”
Surprise, I reach in my pocket to get my student handbook out, and turn it on. And wow- I should definitely use this thing more often. It says today’s January 9… And there seems to be an app called “profiles”. I open it, and it immediately shows me Akiro’s page.


“Oh…”
“Now, I’ll be honest, I didn’t look at everyone’s page. There seems to be some info not everyone would want to share about themselves. But I guess I’ll have to check out at least everyone’s birthday… It’s only fair.”
“Ah, you’re right…”
As he says that, I turn it off and put it back in my pocket.
“I guess we neglected to tell you. I’m sorry about that.”
“Don’t worry about that, it’s okay! I know I’m late to a bunch of things here. And anyway, Akiro was the most surprised one here.”
“It certainly looks to be the case. But come on, how could he think I wasn’t going to do something a little special for his birthday?”
He looks behind me rather than at me as he finishes his sentence.
“L-listen, kid. I didn’t know you knew. You… you could have at least… Pff…”
“I’m sorry if I scared you by keeping you off the kitchen. I wanted to see you pleasantly surprised, for once.”
“Pff… You’re all forgiven… I guess I didn’t expect you to be *that* nice…”
“Man, this hurts.”
“I didn’t know robots were programmed to feel human emotions nowadays… But seriously… Thank you.”
“You’re welcome!”
Jan smiles, and Akiro looks flustered, but glad. Having followed their conversation, I let out a giggle. It’s interesting, how he sometimes stops stuttering…
“Anyway, does anyone want some cake, or do I pack it all up for Akiro to bring home?”

Of course we wanted some of this cake… We all sat back down and ate the cake Jan baked. And let me tell you- it tasted as good as it looked. The batter tasted of vanilla, and the icing of white chocolate.
Man, Jan knows the way to my heart. And probably everyone else’s. When we’re all done, we start piling our plates once again, and I can see Keith get up and close to Akiro.
“Hey, could we have a chat?”
“Uuuh… O-okay.”
I look at them both, kind of… worried, actually, but they leave and start talking farther in the dining room, where probably no one can hear them. I couldn’t possibly follow them… That’d be creepy as hell. But I’m really curious as to what Keith could want from him… I mean, it was already pretty weird that he came here to begin with. I guess he couldn’t refuse to come for someone’s birthday… But still…
Well, I guess it’s not my problem. I can’t spy on everyone’s conversations. Maybe I’m just jealous that Keith warmed up to Akiro and still doesn’t like me, after all.
When I’m done piling my stuff we everyone else’s, I look around the room to check up on everyone and I notice that someone’s missing. Immediately worried, I quickly go towards Chris.
“Hey, where’s Noah?”
“What? Oh, Noah? He’s guarding the weaponry room, of course.”
“… Oooh, riiight, I’m an idiot…”
I really am. I was one of the first to suggest we should guard this room, and I keep forgetting it’s even here. I’m relieved, and let out a big sigh.
“Wow, yeah, you definitely are. But now that I think about it, I should go see him. He was pretty bummed he couldn’t be here to wish Akiro a happy birthday.”
She was talking to Andi and Chloe, and while the first shrugs, the latter nods.
“Of course. Plus if anyone can keep him company, it’s you.”
“And like, everyone ships it.”
“Girl, I’m going to fucking str- ki-… I’m going to say mean things to you.”
“It’s okay, you won’t be the first to try any of that!”
“Yeah, sure. Anyway, I’m off to where I could find a good weapon to do the deed… Aaand I slipped up. Sorry.”
She shakes her head and leaves.
“Well, I guess that is an unfortunate choice of words…”
“It’s okay. I know she’s joking, so why should I even worry?”
“We’re better off being careful… Not everyone’s as confident as you are.”
“Oh? Oh, well, I guess I am.”
“Anyway, I’m glad to see you’re looking fine today, Neo.”
“Me? Ah, well, of course. You have nothing to worry about! I woke up pretty late, so I started the day with this meal, and that’s a reaaaallly nice way to start any day.”
“Yeah, why does that guy know how to cook anyway?”

Andi and Chloe start chatting about Jan’s cooking. I listen at first, and make some remarks, but as time goes on I follow the conversation less and less, and finish up slowly walking away to leave. They don’t notice it, focused on their debate, so I go out of the dining room, then out of the hall.
I make sure that there’s no one around… I don’t really know why. I guess there’s just something I want to check out, and I don’t know if it’s okay…



I don’t know what I expected…
“Watcha looking at?”
“AAAAAAAH!”
“AAAAAAAH!”
“Oh my G- go away!”
“Aaah… Oooh… That’s how they treat us old bears nowadays… I haven’t said anything yet… He scares me and orders me to go away…”
“No, seriously. I don’t want to talk to you.”
Monokuma pathetically lets himself fall on the ground, taking an affected pose.
“I can’t handle it… The aggressiveness… It makes me too sad… It’s too much…”
“I’m leaving.”
As I start doing just that, he darts up again.
“No! I really have something to tell you! Listen to me!”
“Then just say it!”
“Okay, okay! Jeez, you’re so mean! I’m disappointed… But either way, you’re invited to my party tonight at 7, in the gymnasium.”
“Your party..?”
“Yeah, I saw you guys were really into that birthday party thing, so I figured it would make me more likeable if I organized something of the sort!”
“What the heck? You’re literally the worst, why would I even consider going?”
“Oh, that’s because I’ll kill anyone who doesn’t come.”

“Trust me. I have no patience with youngsters who can’t respect their elders.”

“You better be here. I wouldn’t want to kill the protagonist of my story… Upupu!”
“Eh?”
Right as he says that, he starts running away, continuing his weird laugh.

“But what will happen to…”

Ah, I guess I shouldn’t worry about it… Monokuma can’t be serious… Plus… It’s none of my business. Most certainly. I shake my head, and head back inside the building.
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