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Banana Split--with a side of DEATH

Youth Center/Hotel Place


a part of Banana Split--with a side of DEATH, by OstrichBurgers.


OstrichBurgers holds sovereignty over Youth Center/Hotel Place, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

9,585 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:


Default Location for Banana Split--with a side of DEATH
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Youth Center/Hotel Place is a part of Banana Split--with a side of DEATH.

16 Characters Here

Faqir Nawabi [682] "Lighten up! Not like we're ALL gonna die, haha."
Mercy Crocker [652] "Humans aren't so different from game."
Madoka Himura [649] "I asked for extraordinary and I suppose that's what I got."
Clair LaBelle [640] "No use sitting around here. We've got a whole hotel to ourselves!"
Faussin Inusum [624] "The impossible is always possible."
Graham Forester [572] "This place is full of great stuff! Which is all mine now, I should mention."
Vivara Vernon [225] "There aren't enough books here."
Romano Pselli [192] "A butler must never fail."
Finnian Harris [191] "They have tennis courts, but not a science lab? That's just unfair."
Ysabel Cross [135] "Do you think they have any instruments here?"

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6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Graham clenched his fists, an anger like earlier coursing through his veins. Our families. H-he took our families and now he's making us...he's making us...!

He tried swallowing his emotions, taking a deep breath. In a bit of a panic, he looked between Faqir and Madoka, not sure who needed comfort most in the moment--he reached toward Madoka as if to gesture him over, though he felt himself freeze when an unfamiliar name on the screen suddenly called his name.

"...Graham." There was a pause--a long, long pause. Almost confused at first, Graham looked in the direction of the screen, staring into the eyes of the woman onscreen. Brown hair, blue-green eyes, a set of thin-rimmed glasses...she was familiar, but in the worst sense. "If what he said was true, then you--I' do I..."

She took a deep breath, quickly wiping away the tears that formed in her eyes.


"The last time I saw you, you were...nine, I think. You were small, you were getting even sicker as time went on, David was going crazy, the doctors were telling us you wouldn't make it, and somehow you were...still smiling." She looked away from the screen, smiling bitterly. "I know David and if I know David he never told you what happened, so I'll tell you. You...never really had a mother, so you deserve that much."

I-I don't deserve anything, Graham corrected in his head, trembling. I-I just deserve suffering, right...?

"Listen, honey, I'm..." She shifted, looking down at her hands. "...I'm sorry. I gave up on you."

Those particular words stung.

"I couldn't take it. I couldn't take watching you suffer, I couldn't take watching David break, and I couldn't breathe in the air in the hospital for one more day. The last thing I wanted to do was see your face stop smiling. So I took a photo of just me and you together and...and I got you to smile, I tucked you in, read you a bedtime story, kissed you on the cheek, waited until you fell asleep--it took hours, you were in so much pain that night--and...stared for a few moments until I finally left. You of all people know that...that I didn't come back." She bit her lip, pausing for a moment until she once again made eye contact with him--or the camera, rather. In his heart, he felt as though they were connecting somehow. Or maybe that was what he desperately wished. "I-I never knew that you..."

She placed her glasses to the side and shook her head, wiping away more tears. "I never returned David's calls. He called for days and days and days, and then months, and...and then some, but I got a new number, blocked his cell and left it all behind. I had no idea that you...h-haha. H-haha. You made it. By some f*cking miracle, you made it, and I wasn't there for a single second of it...!"

His mother buried her hands in her hands, both laughing and trembling. "You must hate me. I-I don't blame you. I'm a horrible mother, I'm a horrible wife, I'm a horrible person, I..."

She suddenly looked back up at the camera, tears staining her newly determined-looking face. The woman took a deep breath, straightening her posture and wiping another set of tears on her sweater sleeve. "N-no. No, I'm not--I'm not falling for these f*cker's tricks, sunshine. I'm not going to sit here and take this, and I'm not going to sit here and let you stay without a mom for another second. Sunshine, you'll be okay, I promise. I'm going to win for you. I'm going to see you again, I'm going to--to set things straight and s-see you again. Okay?"

N-no. No...

"I love you. I love you so much. I want to see how handsome you are, I want to see you smile again, and I want to be able to be there even though I--e-even though all of the other times, I...I wasn't." She stared directly into the camera, green-blue eyes filled with love and determination. "Sunshine, I'm winning for you. I promise."

The image of her face froze onscreen. It slowly faded into black and white--like with Madoka's parents, text appeared over her faces and Graham clenched his fists, swallowing hard.

Jean Easton: Third Execution; Killed Kaede Tachibana

Graham screamed, shaking.

No! No! No!

Wh-why would you...!

S-someone died because of me...?!

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Despite wishing desperately for his parents’ faces to return to the screen, it continued. Madoka nearly crawled back towards Graham, hugging the thief’s leg.

I’m not strong. I’m not brave. I-I can’t do it…

“Hello, slut.”

The chilling tone--each word practically dripping with hatred--drew Madoka’s eyes back to the screen.

The man facing the camera wore a bored (if slightly irritated) expression. His red-brown eyes gleamed with sheer malice, every feature of his face sharp and cold. Dark red hair spiked out of his scalp.

Somehow, everything about him made Madoka feel awful for whoever he was addressing.

“Now look what you’ve done.” The man onscreen crossed his arms, tapping his foot. “You’ve gone and gotten me dragged into your mess. Are you proud of yourself for adding yet another despicable failure to your long list, b*tch?”

Levi suddenly let out a choked sob. Startled, Madoka glanced at him, noticing his body shaking so hard Madoka could see the ropes binding him vibrate.

Levi...this cruel monster is talking to you, isn’t he…?

“Turn it off!” Madoka begged. “Th-that’s--w-we don’t need to see this, please!”

Predictably, Akuma ignored him.

“I do hope you understand my desire to escape has nothing to do with you,” the man onscreen continued. “Levi, you disgusting piece of sh*t. Are you listening?”

At hearing the stranger’s horrific, chilling voice say Levi’s name, the last intact pieces of Madoka’s heart shattered.

“Yes sir, Saul,” Levi choked out, voice trembling.

“Whether I live or die in here is inconsequential. You will still be useless, unlovable, and nothing more than a rancid whore. You are nothing. You may have thought you could escape this and make something of yourself by throwing together a disguise for your outward appearance, but I am sure by now you realize it has done nothing to change the rotting flesh inside. Crossdressing f*ggot or not, you will always be completely and entirely worthless. Luci was right to beat you.”

“I know, Saul,” Levi practically whispered, so quietly Madoka almost didn’t hear him.

“Stop,” Madoka insisted. “J-just stop! Levi, n-none of what he’s saying is true and you know it! Y-you’re our friend and we love you!”

Madoka wasn’t sure which was worse--that Levi didn’t respond, or that the image onscreen faded to black without a single redeeming word from the man it displayed.

Saul Roth: Second Execution; Killed Olivia Harris and Clarissa Simmons

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Graham already felt himself sobbing, mind still whirling from the image of his mother on the screen. Watching the now dead faces of his friends didn't help much, either--he couldn't tell if the hugs from his friends were breaking him more or holding him together. Shaking violently, Graham still clung to Faqir, tear-filled eyes making it harder to focus on the screen.

Beside them, Mercy twitched. A new face had appeared on the screen--it was the face of a man who seemed significantly older than the ones shown on screen before. His hair was gray, his eyes were a calming blue, and the way he sat suggested he was leaning against something for support.

"T-turn it off," Mercy immediately demanded. Louder and near desperately, she shouted, "Turn it off!"

Predictably, Akuma did not listen.

She let out a choked sob, writhing against her ropes. The man on screen was silent for a moment, then slowly clasped his hands together, letting out a sad chuckle. "...Not the way I was hoping to see you next, but...ah. You'd probably kill me if I made another pun out of your name, huh? Wish it was as easy to make you smile as much as it was to make you mad. I guess now's not really the time for..."

He trailed off, gaze drifting to the side. "...I don't know what's going to happen, Mercy, but I think we both have an idea. This might be...I don't know that I'm ever going to see you again, sweetheart. So I just want to be able to say that I love you. I love you so much, I love you like you're mine. Because you are. I know when you get into those moods you always seem to focus on blood rather than heart, but I want you to know that you were always a daughter to me. You're my little girl. My sweet, beautiful little girl, and you mean more to me than anything in the world, and every day you're not there I'm thinking of you and ways to make you feel better again. I...I know these last years have been hard for you, and I know you're too stubborn to try and fix things yourself, s-so I..."

Mercy's sobs grew louder--she thrashed more wildly, the hurt in the way she cried out growing more and more with each sob that came.

The man cupped his face in his hands for a moment, then looked up enough to meet the camera's gaze, fresh tears forming in his eyes. "...M-Mercy, please. Please don't give up, okay, sweetheart? I-I know you're already in pain, I know you feel alone, I-I know that if's just going to get so much worse, but I'm begging you to stay strong. I-I can't see my little girl with her neck through a rope, I-I can't, you're...y-you're too beautiful, too sweet, too important to go out that way. Get help, get friends, find people who love and care for you, I--just please, don't give up. S-smile more. Get out of the house, move on, f-find a way to laugh and be happy and live your life. Please."

He began trembling as though he was holding back a sob. "...And please, if anyone else is watching this, then...l-look out for my little girl, okay? I-I...i-it's a dying man's last wish."

A few moments passed--like the other times, the screen began fading.

Harvey Ayton: Last Death; Killed by Qais Nawabi

There was a brief but clear change in Mercy's expression at those last words--she sent a vaguely accusing glare in Faqir's direction, then cried out again, jerking against the ropes as she was forced to watch the man's face fade away from the screen.

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Madoka finally clawed himself to his feet, glancing over at Mercy. Faqir’s eyes took on an odd look; he touched Mercy’s shoulder once, still murmuring in his unknown language. As the screen changed, however, Faqir’s expression suddenly shot to life. Madoka turned to gaze at the screen.

A man faced them, keeping Faqir’s dark skin tone but with darker eyes and hair. A rather full mustache decorated his upper lip, but aside from that he was clean-shaven. His expression, at once warm and stern, somehow, carried the familiar spark Madoka knew from Faqir.

Faqir let out a shout, scrambling to get free from Graham. Instinctively, Madoka reached out and caught his sleeve.

“Faqir.” The man hesitated, fiddling with something in his hands. “...I hope you see this, boy. There are things you must hear me say if I never see you again.”

Faqir shouted once more, clearly desperate to reach the screen. Madoka clung to him.

“F-Faqir, i-it’ll be alright,” Madoka insisted, nearly breathless.

Unexpectedly, hearing his name seemed to calm Faqir down at least slightly--he stopped struggling, instead falling back against his stand.

“...Son, if something happens to me, you must get back to your mother,” the man continued. “You will be the man of the household. She will need you to provide for her and take care of her. So no matter what, get home to her. I am...we are proud of you, boy. Show us we are right to be proud.”

“I’m trying,” Faqir sobbed, clutching Graham’s arm.

The man onscreen’s expression wavered slightly, but he quickly regained his nerve. Whatever he held in his hand, he suddenly moved to the view of the camera--Madoka recognized a picture of a younger Faqir and an unfamiliar woman held in an intricate locket. At the sight of it, Faqir let out a loud sob.

“You two are what I fight for.” The man took a deep breath, shifting slightly. “I am going to find a peaceful way out of this, a way to return to you and your mother without anyone having to get hurt. And Faqir, you are going to do the same. If anyone can make it out of this nightmare alive, it is you. I know that.”

Faqir sobbed again, reaching to wipe his eyes briefly. He watched the screen attentively, still shaking.

“...I know that, because you are just like your father.” For the first time, the man smiled slightly. He murmured something in the same foreign language Faqir had been using earlier, then closed the locket and fastened it around his neck. Faqir shouted back to the screen in the same language, trembling. “...Let’s get home to your mother, boy. She is waiting.”

Just like that, the image faded to black and white--Faqir clenched his fists, sniffling.

The words that appeared next reduced Faqir completely rigid.

Qais Nawabi: Last Executed; Killed Harvey Ayton

Madoka bit his lip and glanced at Faqir, worried by how stiff he had gone.

What he saw stole his breath away.

Faqir was perfectly still, appearing outwardly calm...but his eyes.

His eyes carried an unspeakable amount of untapped rage. A deep fury the likes of which Madoka had never seen dominated his gaze to the point Faqir had seemingly lost the capacity to even express it.

When he spoke, his voice was surprisingly level--but in two short words, Madoka heard the pure, seething wrath invading every fiber of his being.

“...He won?”

Shocked, Madoka turned again to look at the screen. For the first time, he realized what weight those words carried.

But if Harvey was the last one to die...d-doesn’t that mean Faqir’s father was...the last one standing…?

He WON?” Faqir repeated, growling. “And you still executed him?”

“Of course.”

The instant change in Faqir’s expression from outwardly composed to downright furious told Madoka Akuma had said the worst possible thing.

“He reared such a despicable child,” Akuma continued. “I never had any intention of letting anyone live. Even if dear Harvey hadn’t offered to let him win, he would have died eventually. Ah...but he did leave behind this.”

Madoka glanced over at Akuma, admittedly terrified of watching Faqir’s face. Their mastermind held a vaguely familiar locket in his hand--Madoka realized it was the one Faqir’s father had been holding in his video.

“Once you are dead, I wonder how much someone would pay for this?” Akuma mused, examining the locket. “A piece made with love by the Ultimate Jeweler. Your father was good for one thing, I suppose. Not that it matters--his corpse is long gone--”

Faqir suddenly released a loud, feral roar, shoving away from Graham with an astounding strength. He charged Akuma despite his broken foot, full-on tackling the mastermind into the floor.

Madoka’s voice recovered too late. “Faqir, the remote!”

Faqir didn’t even seem to hear him, instead throwing every last drop of rage into a series of punches aimed at Akuma’s face. The jeweler screamed, each yell more bestial than the last.

However, Akuma never reached for any sort of remote to detonate Monokuma--in a flash, Madoka realized it must have been a hoax.

To keep us from attacking...of course.

His thoughts jolted back to reality at the sound of Faqir’s voice once more--if the maniac beating Akuma bloody could even be called Faqir.

“YOU F*CKING B*TCH!” With another scream, Faqir suddenly reached back to grab the Monokuma robot, yanking it closer. He grabbed the robot’s arm, studded at the end with sharp, knife-like claws, just as Akuma moved to try and get away. I’LL KILL YOU! I’M GOING TO F*CKING KILL YOU! I’LL KILL YOU LIKE YOU KILLED MY DAD!”

Madoka let out a loud cry, reaching out as if to stop Faqir from acting. Time seemed to slow to a crawl--against the shouts of Madoka and Levi to stop, Faqir took those razor-sharp claws on the Monokuma’s hand…

...and drove them into Akuma’s chest.

Madoka stumbled backwards, locked in a stunned silence at the sheer ferocity. Either unaware of or deliberately ignoring Akuma’s screams, Faqir continued to ram Monokuma’s claws into the mastermind--even after the screams eventually stopped.

D-dear God in heaven…

I’m scared of my friend.


It wasn’t until Faqir shoved the bloodied Monokuma aside and began ripping into Akuma’s open wounds with his own fingers that Madoka finally snapped back to reality.

Nauseous and in shock, his legs carried him to where Faqir was hunched almost without his conscious direction.

Faqir!” Madoka threw his arms around the jeweler, heaving him away from Akuma’s marred body. Faqir screamed, wrenching himself free--again, Madoka grabbed him around the chest, yanking him back. Stop! S-stop, he’s dead! F-Faqir, stop!”

With one final tug, Madoka managed to tear Faqir off of Akuma, both of them tumbling back to the ground. Faqir continued thrashing and shouting, yelling obscenities at the bloodied mess he’d left.

“He’s dead!” Madoka repeated. “Y-you can stop, y-you can stop now...h-he’s dead, Faqir, y-you…”

You...murdered him.

At least five minutes must have passed before the jeweler finally stopped screaming, instead turning to wild sobs. It took another five for Madoka to finally release him, slowly moving away from Faqir. Faqir curled into the fetal position, shaking violently and sobbing like a child. Panting in fear and exhaustion, Madoka slowly glanced back at Akuma. keys…

Nearly dead on his feet, Madoka shambled towards Akuma and reached out to touch his first dead body.

Hands trembling, he searched around until he managed to pull the blood-soaked keys out of Akuma’s suit pocket. Madoka stepped away, breathing uneven.

I-it’s...i-is this really...a-ah…

God in heaven...i-is it really over…?

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Wh-what did he do...?!

Covering his ears so as to block out everyone's sobs, Graham risked a step in the direction of Akuma’s unmoving, bloody body. He suppressed a surge of bile, still trembling. It was shock at first--just staring. Staring, staring, puking…

I want to see him!

Shaking, Graham quickly walked around the circle of podiums to get a better view of the mastermind. He couldn't help but spot the blood all over Faqir out of the corner of his eye--looking away immediately, Graham vomitted to the side, then locked his eyes on Akuma.


D-did he deserve it? Oh god. Oh no. I-I don't know. I don't know! What do I...h-he’s dead?

Several feelings that Graham couldn't comprehend welled in his stomach, panic at the head of it all. He began to hyperventilate, stepping close to and collapsing into the pile of blood pooling around Akuma. It was a horrific sight. Even more horrific, considering it was the first real friend he'd ever had was the one who caused it.

Dead. He's dead. Dead, dead, dead...!

Graham stared, fists clenching, eyes unblinking. Nausea overwhelmed him, tears threatened to spill. But they didn't--Graham was locked in a dead stare with Akuma, shaking and staring and breathing and staring.

I...don't want to forget.

I-I'm not going to forget.

H-he's dead. He's dead. My mom is dead...? I-I never knew my mom. You killed her. Would she ever have come back?

Faqir just murdered someone.

Faqir just murdered...the man who murdered my mom. And his dad, and Harvey, and Madoka's parents, and all of our friends, their parents, their families, their friends, Viv's dad...have you killed even more that we just don't know about?

Graham leaned closer to him, eyes still fixed on his, unmoving.

I can't forget. I can't forget.

Look at me. I want to remember for the rest of my life.

The face of a killer...?

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Madoka took a deep breath, trying not to focus on the blood everywhere in the room. Most of all, he tried not to think about the fact that some of it was now on him.

There's work to be done.

Madoka took a deep breath, slapped his cheeks, and headed to Akuma's podium, stepping around Graham and Akuma's body. He heard more sobbing over the sounds of Faqir's mental breakdown--glancing out at the circle of stands from Akuma's podium, he noticed Mercy sobbing.

Let's...let's get out of here. I don't want to be here anymore.

Madoka felt numb. So many feelings competed to be felt that he felt none of them--taking a deep breath, hands shaking, he looked down at the array of buttons over Akuma's stand.

There was a voting panel.

Madoka tried not to let himself show the shock of noticing it. Of course, he realized. This would be how...he sent someone to an execution? How he killed all of us if we chose wrong? He had access this whole time...

...Akuma...was never going to let us leave.

He'd said it himself, hadn't he? They all deserved to die. Faqir's father had won and had still been executed--the same would have happened to them, wouldn't it have?

He...lied to us.

H-he lied to us about so much. He was a monster.

So...s-so why do I still feel pity looking at his dead body...?

Madoka found the button he was looking for--the one to hide the voting panels on the student stands. He pressed it immediately, letting out a sigh of relief when the buttons disappeared forever. He followed it up by raising the grate over the elevator before moving back off the podium.

A gleam caught his eye, laying against the wall behind Akuma. Madoka walked towards it, slowly, and lifted it into his hands.

The locket--Madoka tucked it into his pocket, deciding Faqir would want it eventually. For now, Madoka was the only one stable enough to get anything done.'ve done it before, you know. Even though you're scared, there will be time to think when you're out of here. So please...

"...I-I'm going to go open the door." Madoka paused to place a hand on Graham's shoulder, crouchign down to give the thief a hug before moving on to untie Levi, who was amazingly quiet and still considering the events of the trial. "...Levi, Graham, d-do you think you two can watch everyone? I'll be right back, I promise, and then I'll..."

I' what?

"...Then I'll carry everyone out of here." Madoka raised his chin, unable to force a smile but confident in the determination he had decided to display instead. "One at a time, I'll carry everyone out of here. Mercy, I-I don't want you ripping your stomach open, so please...stay there until I come back and I'll carry you out. Everyone, I promise I'll come back, so just stay here a tiny bit longer until I can come back for you. Then we can go home."

"Madoka..." Levi stepped away from his podium, expression vacant. "...I can get Fauss, okay? Let me help."

Someone died. Lots of people died, but this time I...watched it happen.

Madoka managed to force a smile. "Okay. Thank you."

I touched a dead body. H-he's dead and I...I touched him.

Shaking, Madoka moved into the elevator and sent it up, watching the faces of his friends disappear as the car rose steadily higher. As soon as it landed at the first floor, Madoka broke into a sprint heading for the fifth floor, sobbing all the way.

Faqir killed him. One of my friends murdered somebody and I couldn't stop him. There's blood on me, there's blood on my clothes, I-I...

G-God in heaven...I-I'm terrified.

The manager's office--Madoka ran to it with all the speed he had left, panting and crying. Fumbling, he managed to fit the key in the lock and threw open the door.

It was blindingly white. A few doors to the sides indicated other rooms--Madoka ignored them, making a beeline for the button that would set them free.

Along the way, he discovered a series of tapes--tapes of the last words of the students' families, tapes of memories of their old life, and--most interestingly--tapes of the actual killing game involving their families. For some reason--perhaps because he craved the closure--Madoka grabbed all of them, deciding to stop in the market for a bag on his way down.

A single button sat on the desk. Madoka nearly smashed his hand into it, gasping when only seconds later the entire building rumbled and shook as if changing shape.

The walls...?

We're...w-we're free...?

Swirling with emotion, Madoka made to escape the room when an envelope sitting on a nearby bookshelf caught his eye. Drawn to it, Madoka approached.

The label made him pick it up and take it along immediately.

"Amelia Temmer--Suicide Note"

"*Store Upstairs"

On the way down, Madoka grabbed a messenger bag from the market and stored the DVDs in it along with Lottimelia's note. Continuing, he paused once again in the lobby of the first floor--as promised, the walls had opened up to reveal a large metal door. The outside world was only a step away.

...We're going home.

Trying to focus on this thought instead of the myriad other negative ones in his head, Madoka returned to the trial room and went to untie Mercy, slinging his bag over his shoulder.

She needs a hospital. Let's get Mercy first, Madoka...maybe you can piggyback her.

Nodding to himself, Madoka crouched down, offering his back to Mercy. "Climb on," he ordered. "I'm getting you out of here first. Levi...ah, mm...Fauss, can you hear me? I'll figure something out, I don't...we'll figure it out later. Mercy, I'm going to get you out of this place, so please trust me."

I'm going home.

Juri, Kana...I'm coming home.

W-we...we made it...?

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Clair LaBelle Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Once untied, Mercy found herself clinging to her stand for support--her vacant eyes briefly fixed on where the button panel had been. Maybe it was a good thing she hadn't gotten to press it. The last thing she wanted was to die with Akuma knowing it'd been himself who'd driven her to this point. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction.

No, she wanted to die on her own terms.

...Mercy stared at Madoka for a moment, pondering what he meant.

"A-are you...trying to...carry me?" She asked under her breath. Can he? He's so...tiny...

"Weird..." Mercy rubbed her eyes, breathing still relatively uneven. In the time that Madoka was gone, her sobs had faded into soft cries, then complete silence. Now, every bone in her body felt empty, her only motivation for moving now being the want to see the few that she cared about get out and to their families. "...But...fine."

If it'll get them out faster...I'll suck it up and be carried by a wimp.

Mercy took a step away from her stand, pausing briefly because of the pain, then awkwardly draped her arms around Madoka's neck. "...How is this going to work? I-I can't really help you out much here..."

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Alright, Madoka.

You can do this! Don't give up before you've even tried!

Keeping a determined expression, Madoka offered his hands. "Mercy, i-it's awkward, but please let me hold on to your legs. ...Th-that was phrased weird, b-but I trust you know what I meant."

Levi moved to Faussin, murmuring to him. He tried to place himself in the magician's line of sight, offering a surprisingly genuine smile. Madoka let out a sigh, relieved.

"I know I'm not the strongest guy here, but..." Madoka looked around at the others. Graham was completely zoned out, Faqir was injured and in the midst of a meltdown, Faussin was still incapacitated, and Levi...well, Levi was even tinier than Madoka. It was highly unlikely he could successfully carry anyone. "...O-our options are limited, so I'll do my best."

There were still many feelings he had to sort through, but in the moment seeing the blue sky was all he cared about.

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Mercy stared at Madoka for a moment. Perhaps if he hadn't phrased that so weirdly, she would've said fine.

"...I think I'll pass." She tried to step back, then ended up falling back. She winced, then tried to sit up, moving a few inches away from Madoka. Blushing slightly and hating herself for it, Mercy mumbled, "I-I'll find a way to walk on my own, thanks..."

A way that involves clinging to the nearest object or person with every step and probably falling down at least five times. Yes, good idea, Mercy. That'll get things done faster. She shifted, the other part of her still wanting to cling to what little pride she had left. ...It won't be faster, but it'll be better than being carried by him...or would it be worse? I'll be fine, it's fine...

Huffing, Mercy reached for the top of her stand--ow--and began to pull herself up, masking the pain so it didn't show on her face. Biting her lip, she paused, took a deep breath, then leaned against the stand for another moment. Ow. She glanced in the direction in the elevator, debating how she would manage the trip over there.

And then to the actual exit...ah, f*ck...

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Frowning slightly, Madoka rose to his feet and headed after Mercy...then suddenly scooped her up bridal style.

...O-oh shoot! Sh-she's heavy! T-too much muscle!

"W-we can do this the easy way, the hard way, or whatever your way was!" Madoka said firmly, trying not to drop her. "You're hurt, Mercy, and I'm not going to let you try to walk by yourself. I'm not going to sit back and watch you hurt yourself, s-so if this is how you want to do it..."

Somehow, Madoka managed to take one step.

T-too heavy! Don't drop her, Madoka! P-please don't drop her!

"...then this is how we're going to do it. L-let's go. Levi, can you get Fauss? Graham, Faqir, I-I'll come back..."

Ah, Madoka! For once please don't be a wuss!

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Mercy blinked, alarmed at first. She would not have hesitated to punch him if not for the fact she was in an awful lot of pain at the moment and she didn't want to end up hurting Madoka. She tried not to shift instead, glancing down at the ground. Madoka was short--she wasn't used to being this close to the floor unless she was sitting down.

Frowning, she looked back at Madoka. I know you can't carry me and I have no problem with being dropped. How far are you even going to be able to get, little lucky student?

Over his shoulder, she glanced over at Graham. He was...frozen in place, something scary flickering in his eyes as he stared down at Akuma's now dead body. For some reason, seeing someone originally so happy now so broken was nauseating. And then there was Faqir, who...

His dad killed Harvey...Harvey's dead...I have...

We're here...we're getting out, but...what am I going back to?

Feeling empty but mostly numb, Mercy leaned against Madoka, half beginning to zone out and half still waiting for him to collapse. ...Nothing...I'm going back to nothing. Wh...what am I supposed to do...?

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Summoning his strength, Madoka somehow managed to cart Mercy into the elevator, knees wobbling.

Come on, Madoka! You can do this! Just because she has a lot of muscle weight doesn’t mean you can’t carry her!

After a moment, Levi and Faussin joined the two in the elevator. Levi pressed the button to send them up, offering Madoka a sympathetic smile.

Madoka finally dropped to his knees, squeaking but somehow managing to keep Mercy in his arms.’re a wimp…

The elevator grinded to a stop. Levi stepped out, whispering for Faussin to follow. Taking a deep breath, Madoka began crawling towards the door on his knees.

“Do you need help…?” Levi asked warily.

Yes. “No, I can handle it,” Madoka insisted, still pitifully crawling forwards. “I just want to get everyone out without anyone getting hurt again, so I can handle it.”

I’m not giving up. No matter what, I won’t ever give up. Inch by inch, Madoka continued crawling towards the escape, carting Mercy.

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Deciding she wasn't going to help Madoka in his pitiful display, Mercy flicked his forehead and moved out of his arms and onto the floor, sighing slightly. She patted his head as if to say 'at least you tried', then scooted toward the nearest wall, using its support to help her stand. She winced again, then took a deep breath, moving toward the exit of the elevator on her own. Thankfully, it wasn't her legs that were the problem--just the core part of her body. At least the pain makes it harder to think.

She sighed again, looking down at Madoka and waiting a moment for him to recover (or more accurately, finding an excuse to stay still for a few seconds longer.)

You only get to carry me if you actually can. ...Ah, I guess that's what he was going for with the stupid crouch-leg-holding-on thing. Crud. Maybe I should stop being a f*cking jerk who ruins everything she touches for once and listen to the one person holding everyone together. ...Why didn't you do that from the beginning, you f*ck?

Scowling to herself, she gestured for Madoka to stand. "Piggyback or I walk. Don't fall this time."

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...Th-this is still better.

“Well, I’m not letting you walk,” Madoka decided, rising back to his feet and offering his back to Mercy once more. This time, the hunter obliged--carrying her on his back was somewhat easier than suspending her whole weight in his arms.

Although having to hold onto her legs was awkward, piggybacking Mercy was at least faster than scooting forwards with her. The group managed to reach the door in a matter of minutes. Levi took the door’s handle, then hesitated, releasing it. He bit his lip, hands shaking.

“...L-Levi?” Madoka whispered. “...Are you scared?”

Terrified,” Levi admitted. “If...if the Tragedy is real, what if...what if the world is ruined? What if it isn’t what we want it to be?”

“I don’t want it to be anything other than away from here.” Gritting his teeth, Madoka let Mercy down and moved to grab the handle of the door himself. “I won’t make you do it, but I...I am going home.”

Sucking in a deep breath, Madoka turned the handle and shoved the door open, emerging into the world beyond.


The sky is red.

Fresh air poured into his lungs. Madoka gasped, stumbling back a step. The world--big, beautiful, open--stared him in the face, rolling with hillsides and damaged buildings. Despite smoke rising to the sky off in the distance, it was the most beautiful landscape Madoka had ever seen.

He choked back tears. Th-the sky! I see the sky!

“Hey! You kids!”

A woman wearing a suit and shades ran towards the group, waving. Madoka tore his eyes from the horizon and noticed for the first time a group of helicopters parked not far away.

The woman slid to a stop, holding out a hand to Madoka. “You finally made it…! Is this all of you?”

Overcome by relief, Madoka could only let out a sob, flinging himself into the woman’s arms. She caught him, patting his back.

“There are two more in the trial room,” Levi explained. “They need to be carried out. I can show you where it is.”

“ kids need a hospital and fast. Okay, little guy, lead the way. I’ll send a squad to help you get the others. Kid, can you stand?”

Nodding, Madoka stepped away from the woman, burying his face in his hands. The woman yelled something over her shoulder, alerting a small group of similarly-dressed men who hurried to join her. One moved to offer assistance to Mercy while the other three followed Levi to the trial room to get Faqir and Graham. In his absence, Madoka moved to tend to Faussin.

“’s only the six of you? Stay calm, you’re all safe name is Ayame Takahashi. We’re with the Future Foundation. I’ll explain everything on the ride home, but right now we need to hurry and get you kids to a doctor! Come with me, don’t worry...we’re working to clean up Ultimate Despair. We want to help you.”

Madoka’s shoulder bag suddenly felt empty.’s not just the six of us…

“P...portraits,” he choked out. “W-we can’t leave without the portraits…!”

Ayame frowned, glancing around at the others before looking Madoka up and down. She seemed to notice the bandages sealed over his missing eye. “...Everyone, get these kids to safety. Wait--” she reached out, catching Madoka’s shoulder, “--not you. Tell me what you mean by these portraits and let’s grab them so we can get out of here.”

Madoka nodded, beginning to explain. Before he knew it, he was moving through the hallways with Ayame, explaining everything about the killing game they had endured from the first announcement to the final revelations as they tracked down the portraits Vivara had drawn and worked to cart them out to the helicopters.

The sky is red, like blood…

But it exists. And I...I want it.

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Graham finally sat back from staring, his eyes still locked on Akuma's body but with much less intensity. He swallowed, glancing down at the puddle of blood he was now sitting in--strangely, it didn't bother him. No, he wanted to feel the red against his hands. It was more to ingrain this moment into his mind.

My mom is dead...the mastermind is friends are dead...their families are dead...

Death is everywhere I look...

He moved back from Akuma's body, oddly calm. He moved to wipe the tears from his eyes, then flinched, realizing he almost smeared Akuma's blood onto his face. Sniffing instead, he scooted even further away, suddenly able to take in the trial room with a new and unfamiliar sense of numb calmness. His gaze rested on each dead student's crossed out face, moving to the next every few seconds until his eyes landed on Faqir's. Suddenly remembering the jeweler's presence, he looked to see him crying and speaking to himself in a language Graham didn't recognize.

...You're mine. He slowly pushed himself toward Faqir, numb to the blood splattered quite literally all over him. An odd smile graced Graham's lips--he took Faqir's hand and laced their fingers together. He fell back so he was staring up at the ceiling, then moved to hold Faqir's hand with both of his. ...You didn't die. You kept your promise. We're here. We're okay.

I'm going to get to say 'I love you' to my dad after all...

Can I say it to you, too?

Vaguely, Graham registered the whirring of the elevator. He didn't bother looking, recognizing the sound of Levi's voice and...nothing else. Somehow he was too exhausted to wonder who else was there.

I don't care. I don't need to care. Everything is okay now.

He gently squeezed Faqir's hand, smiling.

You're mine. I took your heart and you took mine. And now, you kept your promise, everything's okay, and we're...we're free.
Can you believe that? We're free. Free, free, free...I always liked that word.

There were a few voices speaking to him and people he didn't recognize standing over him and sitting next to him as if to help him up. Graham ignored them, keeping his eyes fixed on the ceiling and Faqir's hand in his, not wanting to let the moment go. He knew the onslaught of emotions coming--the guilt, the confusion, the despair, and all of the other things that would tear him he just wanted to lay there for a bit, because for some reason in that moment they weren't there.

The longer he could avoid them, well...the better.

Eventually one of the men coaxed Graham into standing up--his energy completely drained, he rubbed his eyes and wandered with them toward the elevator, hardly able to move his legs the way over. Eyes mostly fixed on the ground for the walk and elevator ride, Graham didn't see what they did with Faqir. If he had to guess, they probably carried him...

Briefly, his mind went back to Akuma. What were they going to do with his body? Would they leave it? Would they bury it? Would they find his family and tell them the news?

...Family. The thought of the mastermind having family seemed somehow foreign to Graham. Surely if he ever felt compassion then he never would have brutally murdered everyone's loved ones and rubbed in their suffering.

Upon coming to a set of open doors, Graham almost stumbled. One of the men offered to help him but Graham pushed away, shuddering slightly. He made the move to open them, then paused--chair. Wordlessly, he broke away from the group to go into his room for one last time and drag out the one thing that had been strong and there for him throughout the entire endeavor: his chair. Deciding any blood he got on it now his dad could help him wash off later, Graham hiked the chair up onto his shoulders and slowly made his way back to the supposed exit.

Completely silent and eyes dead, Graham stepped out into the open, taking in a breath of fresh air. He looked up at the red sky, feeling his heart sink in his chest.

This...isn't what I remember.

Isn't it...supposed to be blue...?

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Madoka and Ayame finally dropped off the last round of portraits just as the rest of the group arrived upstairs. Madoka bit his lip, eyes drawn to the blood soaked into Graham’s clothes and leaking from Faqir’s body. like the sky.

I wonder if it’s always been that way…

One of the men went to whisper something to Ayame. She nodded, then glanced over at Madoka. “Hey there, kiddo. You have his keys, right?”

Madoka stared at the sky for a moment longer before turning to her.


“The keys to Akuma’s office. You have them?”

“Oh…” Madoka drew the keys to the manager’s office out of his pocket, handing them to Ayame. She tucked them in her own pocket, nodding. “...N-now what?”

Now what? The question felt strange--Madoka had been trapped for so very long, he didn’t even know what the next steps were now that they were finally free. Would his sisters even recognize him?

Ah...Juri’s going to freak out when she sees my eye is missing.

“Now we get you kids home,” Ayame announced. “Come on, team, let’s get everyone inside and to a hospital.”

Following her commands, the group followed Ayame to the helicopters, coaxing everyone along. As the last of the survivors piled inside, Ayame shut the door and began moving towards the cockpit.
Levi stopped her, gesturing for her to lean down. He whispered something into her ear and the two carried on a brief, hushed conversation, quiet enough that no one else would hear. Then, nodding, Ayame continued into the cockpit while Levi took his seat once more.

“What was that about?” Madoka asked curiously.

Levi flashed a tired smile. “Nothing. Just wondering if there’s a bathroom on this thing. I’m not very good with heights and I’d much rather vomit into a toilet than on one of you.”

“...Fair enough.”

As the helicopter moved to take off, Ayame returned from the cockpit, gripping the side of the helicopter to stay upright. “Time for that explanation!” she called, keeping her volume loud enough to hear over the whir of the helicopter. “First of all, let me officially introduce myself and the Future Foundation. My name is Ayame Takahashi as some of you heard. I’m in charge of this particular squad for now--we work for the 2nd Division. Future Foundation was created by previous Hope’s Peak alumni and personnel with the goal of righting the wrongs done by Ultimate Despair and Junko Enoshima.”

Somehow, hearing explicitly that Ayame’s organization was founded to help eased many of Madoka’s fears.

“That’s how we found you guys--since many among our ranks once worked for Hope’s Peak, we were able to gather records of Akuma’s work and his slow descension into madness. Eventually, after gathering or confirming the whereabouts of many other students or prospective students, we realized all of you had been taken and began hunting you down. It took a while--by the time we finally figured out where Akuma was keeping you, it was too late to stop his first killing game--but since then we’ve been trying to figure out a way to get you out. I’m sorry we were too late to save everyone.”

Madoka’s chest hurt. He let out a soft cry, wiping his eye.

Ayame allowed a moment of mourning before she continued. “I want to let you know your remaining family members and friends are all perfectly safe. As soon as we realized what was wrong, we tracked them down and brought them to a refuge compound watched by members of the Future Foundation. We’ll be taking you to that same compound. It’s out of reach of Ultimate Despair’s influence and a clean part of town. Just a few stops along the way, namely the hospital. It’s close by.”

They’re safe. Once again, hearing that everyone was safe calmed Madoka’s racing thoughts. He let out a long sigh, frankly completely exhausted by the past events.

...I’m tired. I want to take a nap. When I get home, can I take a nap…?

“We also gathered up most of your belongings and got you all mostly moved in. There are a few houses that will be...emptier than we hoped. Still, I think all of you should decide what to do with their things.”

The mention of the other students was painful, but somehow Madoka felt at peace with their deaths--they were gone and he would miss them, but continuing to cry over them forever wouldn’t help anything.

God in heaven, I hope they reached you alright.

“It’s over now.” Ayame offered the group a reassuring smile. “I’m sure you must all still be scared and confused. Do you have any questions? Please, feel free to ask me anything. No question is off limits.”

Madoka found himself at a loss for any questions. He was tired--his sisters being safe and where they were going was all he cared about.

We’re free…?

We’re free.

It’s over.

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Graham tuned out a decent amount of Ayame's explanation, but he caught a few parts here and there. Something about the future and house foundations, his dad being safe, Akuma, his dad being safe, asking questions, and...his dad being safe. Graham hugged his chair closer to himself, strangely at ease considering the explosion of emotions sure to come any minute now. (One of the people had asked him not to bring it onto the helicopter, but Graham had downright refused by giving him a dirty look and stubbornly clinging to his chair. The person eventually backed off, realizing there was no way Graham could be separated from this chair. Because of it, the helicopter ride was much more cramped, but he didn't care.)

At first, he'd wanted to look out the window, but the view wasn't really something he would have called 'inspiring'. Not wanting to look down at broken down buildings, stacks of smoke and a red sky, he instead stared mostly at his chair, wondering where he'd put it in his apparently new house.

...Wait...they touched my things...?

Even with the overwhelming exhaustion he felt now, he still had enough care left in him to be bothered by this. He shifted, frowning. Those things were his. No one was allowed to look, touch, admire, or think about them aside from him and his father. "...You didn't take any of my things, did you?"

"Only to move them into your new home," Ayame assured.

Not good enough. Graham promptly decided that if a single thing was missing, he would greet every adult onboard with a knuckle sandwich the next day. No one messed with his stuff. They were getting off lucky this time because of special circumstances, but had they even dared to touch something of his in any other situation their numbers would be up.

Biting his lip, Graham glanced around at the other students, again wanting to find something else to look at instead of the blood red sky. Mercy seemed to have the same idea--leaning against the side of the helicopter and keeping her eyes fixed on the floor, she had a hand held by her face to stop herself from looking outside the window.

Faussin...still seemed completely out of it. Graham briefly wondered how long their trip to the hospital would take--he didn't need any hospitalization, so he was eager to skip the trip and come right home to his dad.

Coming back to his dad...was that something he could do now?

I'm We're free.

I'm coming home...

Home. Free. Family.

Dad, I miss you.

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The sky stretched from a blood red to a dull violet, then into a familiar blue as the group of helicopters left the destruction far behind. Madoka stared out the window, awed by the expansive world as they passed overhead.

I’ve never been this high up.

This so beautiful.

After a while of flying, a neighborhood of mansions appeared in view, settled on top of grassy knolls. The helicopter found a spot to land nearby one of the mansions and Ayame moved towards the door. Wordlessly, Levi stood and followed her, mumbling a “thank you” before stepping out onto the grass. Ayame began to close the door.


“Wait,” Madoka insisted, jumping to his feet and hurrying to the door. Levi headed towards one of the mansions, unusually solemn. “Levi, wait! W-where are you…?”

The makeup artist didn’t say a word. Suddenly extremely concerned, Madoka jumped out of the helicopter and chased him down, catching the boy’s wrist about a foot from the helicopter.

“Where are you going?” Madoka demanded. “We still need to get to the hospital and then we’re heading to that neighborhood, right? I-is this it? Why isn’t anyone else getting out?”

For a moment, Levi was silent. He stared ahead, not even turning to look at Madoka.

When he finally spoke, his voice was nearly void of emotion.

“You need to get to the hospital, good luck charm. Please let go.”

“But you’re coming with us,” Madoka protested. “...L-Levi, come on, l-let’s get back on together…”

“...You’ll take care of Fauss, right?” Levi asked quietly.

“Of course,” Madoka replied. “...J-just like you will. C-come on, let’s…”

Madoka gave Levi’s wrist a tug. Levi remained still, then moved to step forwards. Madoka held fast.

“L-Levi, what…”

Levi glanced down at the floor. “...I’m not going with you, Madoka.”


What? W-what is he talking about? Levi, you can’t just…

Slowly, Levi turned to look at Madoka over his shoulder. Though there was a smile on his face, his eyes shone with tears.

“I’m going home to Lucifer.”

Madoka’s heartbeat kicked into overdrive. He cried out just as Levi yanked his wrist free and began speed walking towards the mansion. Madoka caught his wrist again, pulling him back a step.

“W-what are you talking about?!” Madoka demanded. “You can’t--you can’t do that! Not after everything we...d-didn’t you throw your whole life away just to get away from him?! H-he’s going to hurt you, y-you can’t just go back!”

Don’t go. Don’t leave me. You said I’m not alone, right? So don’t leave me alone!

“Please, d-don’t…” Madoka swallowed. “W...why? Why? H-how long have you been planning on doing this?”

Levi’s eyes flickered back to the ground. He turned his head to face the horizon again. “Since I realized you’re all better off without me. ...I don’t want to hurt you anymore, Madoka, please. Please just let me go.”

No!” Madoka snapped, gripping Levi’s wrist with both hands. “I...I-I won’t let you do this! I won’t let you go back to him, he...h-he’s going to hurt you! Don’t do this, Levi, p-please don’t leave me, I-I...I love you so much, don’t leave me!”

“This is what I deserve.” There was an odd edge to Levi’s voice; Madoka gripped his wrist tighter, hiccuping. “I need this, please...don’t make this harder than it has to be. I’ve broken your heart before and you got over it. All of you will be better off once I’m gone.”

I never got over it. I...I never got over you.

“You’re wrong,” Madoka sobbed. “N-no, that...that’s wrong! You’re our friend and we love you, n-no one wants you to do this! Now come on, l-let’s get back on the helicopter and go, please!”

“Madoka…” Levi’s wrist trembled in Madoka’s hands, then went limp. Biting his lip, desperate to keep Levi close, Madoka steadily began pulling him back towards the helicopter. Levi stumbled backwards with him, still strangely solemn.

Please...this is better, right? Let’s go…

“Let’s go home,” Madoka urged, releasing Levi’s wrist with one hand. “C-come on, Levi, don’t...don’t say crazy things like this. L-let’s go home.”

It happened in a blur.

I’m sorry.

Before Madoka even realized what was happening, he was pushed up against the side of the helicopter. Levi’s lips met his own out of the blue, keeping his head in place.

L-Levi...a-ah, y-you can’t keep…

Slowly, Madoka’s hand moved from gripping Levi’s wrist to rest on his cheek, his body relaxing.

Don’t tease me like this. Ah, I love you...I love you so much…

Levi pulled back, yanked Madoka to the door, and shoved him hard, sending the lucky student tumbling back into the helicopter. He gave one last, tearful look, glanced up at Ayame, and took off running back towards the mansion.


The door slammed closed, shutting out the image of Levi fleeing to the mansion forever. Dazed, Madoka could only sit as the helicopter began rising into the sky once more.

It wasn’t until they had lifted off the ground that he realized what had happened.

Crying out, Madoka scrambled to his feet, leaping at the door. Ayame caught him, holding him back. Madoka thrashed, trying desperately to reach out and chase Levi down before it was too late.

No!” Madoka shouted, sobbing. NO! Stop, we have to go back! Levi, stop!”

“We can’t waste any more time,” Ayame called firmly. “If this is what he wants, we can’t afford to go back. You need a hospital!”

He’s going to die out there!” Madoka cried, still struggling against Ayame's grip as the helicopter began leaving the mansion far behind. Go back! P-please, you can’t let him do this! We have to go back! LEVI!”

“There’s no time!” Ayame insisted. “One of you is actively bleeding out and this was a long enough detour already! He’ll be fine, alright? We can pick him up later.”

Still shouting, Madoka continued struggling until exhaustion took over and he collapsed, sobbing like a child. Ayame slowly lowered him to the ground and sat with him, allowing Madoka to hug her while he cried.

He...he didn’t even say goodbye!

Will I ever see you again…?!

Why would you…


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Feeling more relaxed at the sight of a blue sky, Graham found himself finally able to look out the window. He'd watched the Ultimate Makeup Artist leave and hadn't thought much of it when it happened--his mind was a mess right now--but the way Madoka sobbed caught his attention, briefly.

They were a couple for a while, right? Madoka was probably going to miss him. It wasn't like Levi was going to be gone forever though, was it? He would come back--for Faussin, at least. ...Wouldn't he? Where was he even going?

Halfheartedly, Graham reached out to offer Madoka a hug in place of Ayame, then let his gesture flop after a few moments, not exactly in the mood for a hug himself. Perhaps it was bizarre after going through so much with these people and finally escaping together, but the last place he wanted to be right now was with them. He wanted to be away from them, he wanted to be home in his room, with his dad and his things and his favorite warm jacket.

Hopefully, the stop at the hospital wouldn't take too long. They'd just take everyone else out and start bringing them in while the guy driving the helicopter stayed behind to drive Graham home. How long was the flight from the hospital to their new houses? What time was it? What day was it? His dad wouldn't be too busy napping to answer the door, would he? He liked to nap on Saturdays.

"What's today?" He asked. No one seemed to hear him at first--he had to talk louder--so he tried again. "What day is today? Monday? April? The 15th?"

Ayame looked up from comforting Madoka, raising an eyebrow. "You mean-? ...That's right, you kids haven't had a calendar for more than a year. June 3rd, it's a Sunday."

...June 3rd?

Today's my birthday?

"H-how old am I?" He suddenly asked.

Ayame seemed to be thinking for a moment. She patted Madoka's back, held a finger up to Graham as if to say 'one second', then briefly dipped back into the cockpit. She came back out with a handful of files, trying to keep her balance as she flipped through the several files. She stopped on a particular paper, scanned it, then looked back up at Graham. "Seventeen. Happy birthday, kiddo."

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Empty of another person’s presence, Madoka couldn’t help but think again about all the times he’d shared with Levi. Going back to his abusive household now was practically a death sentence--but maybe Levi knew that.

Did...did he ever plan on going back with us?

He’s gone...he’s gone forever...h-he’s gone...Levi is...Levi is gone…

It hurts…

He spent the remainder of the ride in tears, numb to everything but the absence of one tiny body. The elevator felt strangely empty--desperate for company, Madoka moved to sit next to Faussin, knowing that now it was more important than ever to look out for the magician.

He mumbled a “happy birthday” to Graham, wishing he could put more cheer into the words. I’m sorry...I really want to be happy for you, but it hurts too much…!

Finally, the helicopter carted the group to a hospital and landed on the pad on the roof. Ayame and the rest of the members helped get everyone inside, where Madoka, Faqir, and Mercy were checked into emergency care and Faussin was walked down to the psychiatric ward. Ayame promised to get Graham home safely and returned to the helicopter, leaving Madoka depressingly alone.

It was over--everything was complete.

Even so, there was an emptiness in Madoka’s heart that refused to leave. He looked forward to finally getting home to his sisters.

Juri, Kana...I have so much to tell you…

I got my first girlfriend, experienced my first breakup, made my first wonderful friends, saw my first corpse, touched a dead man, and carried someone out of a hotel.

I fell in love with a boy who left me forever, befriended a schizophrenic killer, bonded with a wanted thief, got personalized jewelry from a talented jeweler, and got teased by a hunter.

I hurt, cried, laughed, screamed, snapped, and experienced a well of emotions.

And coming home after all of it.

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faqir Nawabi Character Portrait: Madoka Himura Character Portrait: Mercy Crocker Character Portrait: Graham Forester Character Portrait: Faussin Inusum
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Graham stared out the window as the helicopter started its fan blades again, slowly picking up off of the ground and rising into the air again. Ayame sat across from him, looking between the hospital and some papers she had in her hand, distracted. As they rose further and further into the sky, the numbness began to fade away and turn into an uncontrollable excitement. He tapped his toes, then shifted, then hugged his chair, then moved to get an even better look at the world below.

They'd dropped Levi off, they'd made their stop at the hospital, and now they were heading to their final destination: home.

I like this helicopter, Graham realized, running his hand along the cushy seats. He admired it for a few moments. ...Yes. It's a very nice helicopter. I think I want it to be my helicopter.

He nodded to himself. I'm gonna steal it. Not now, not tomorrow, not even the day after...but someday.

The ride home didn't consist of much--Graham was too exhausted to plan his helicopter heist in his head and was mostly just distracted by the view the entire time, but Ayame initiated a conversation with him every now and then, talking about mostly trivial stuff. At one point, she did end up singing him happy birthday, which he guessed was nice. Many things she brought up were interrupted by his incessant questions--"Are we there yet?", "How long until we're there?", and "Are we close?" to name a few--to which she usually replied, "Calm down, kid, I'll tell you when we're close."

The time left until he finally got home turned into the only thing he could think about. From the moment that they'd been trapped in that horrible h*ll, that had been all he could think about. Of all the things that Monokuma--Akuma?--had ever said, the one that had struck him most was when he'd told them they were never coming home. That meant no dad, that meant no warmth, that meant no more hugs and laughs and adventures to tell all about.

Now he was so close.

He realized in that moment that this, too, could be considered an 'adventure'--a horrible, nightmarish, scarring, despair-ridden, nauseating, depressing adventure--one that was over, one that he'd never go through again, one that would haunt him for the rest of his life. But it was over, and he was coming home.

Remembering a conversation he'd had with his dad once, Graham smiled a very broken smile.

"'Adventures?' That's what you're calling them?" He'd asked, with a hint of a sigh. "You could get seriously hurt doing the things you're doing."

"I could, but I won't, because I know what I'm doing," Graham assured his father, looking up from the millions of dollars worth of diamonds he'd laid out on their table. "Trust me, dad. It's okay. If you try to stop me I'll just find a way to do it anyway, so there's no point in telling me not to."

He stared at his son for a moment, then sighed, rubbing his forehead. "...Alright, but don't expect me not to sell these when I end up having to bail you out someday."

"You wouldn't dare," Graham said seriously, scooping his diamonds up as if to protect them.

"I would and you know it." He paused. Seeming contemplative, he took a step toward the table, looking down at all of the precious gems his son had stolen. Glancing over his shoulder as if expecting the police to knock down their door, he frowned slightly, then looked back at his son. "...Is this really the thing you wanna do, Graham Cracker?"

Graham nodded.

"...Then you've got to promise me something," his dad muttered, walking around the table to pat Graham's head. "Whatever 'adventures' you end up going've always gotta come home, okay?"

"Okay," Graham had agreed, smiling. "I'll find a way to come home. Always."

He was coming home. He was done with this adventure and he was eager to leave it behind for the rest of his life, and now that it was quite literally behind him, he was heading back to the place he always promised to go--home.

A few minutes passed, and Graham noticed the helicopter begin to approach a row of houses and before he could whirl around and tug on Ayame's sleeve to ask her the same question again, she nodded. "We're here."

We're here? We're here. We're here!

He nearly jumped out of his seat. Slow and careful, they began their descent on the outside of the nice-looking neighborhood. Ayame opened the helicopter door for him and he jumped out, taking his chair with him and looking down the line of moderately sized houses. He glanced up at Ayame, impatient. "Which one's mine? Which house is mine?"

She pointed him to one farther along the line (the twelfth house down) and after confirming with her that it was, in fact, his, he nodded, propped his chair up on his shoulders, and waved her goodbye. She waved back, assured him she'd be back with more to tell him, then stepped back inside the helicopter and closed the door. Its fan blades started up again, whipping the air around it into a frenzy--Graham stepped back, using the chair to shield himself.

The helicopter took off into the sky, Ayame with it. Graham watched--the silence when it finally flew out of view was somehow peaceful. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, Graham looked at the neighborhood before him.

And running as fast as his agile legs would allow, he made a mad dash toward the twelfth house down the line.