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“... ‘Like, ugh, go mute’? Is that a real sentence you just said? ‘Like, ugh, go mute’? Jeez, how do you take yourself seriously?”

Monokuma continued to speak, once more addressing the crowd at large, his voice and annoying and high pitched as ever—perhaps more so than usual, “In any case, Snow is correct. You get released from the handcuffs when at least three people people see the dead body of one of your fellow campers! So, you guys better learn to get comfortable with one another!”

“And before any of you seriously try to fight this, allow me to reemphasize a previous point—failure to follow the rules of this motive, or to participate in it at all, will result in execution. So hey, if you really don’t want to be a part of this, that’s fine! But I hope you guys haven’t forgotten that I am deadly serious—you can ask Chikako and Shirou, if you guys like.”

“So, unless there are any objections, I will now be announcing the pairs!” He said, smiling wide as he dramatically pulled out a piece of paper that was completely blank, pretending to read off of it, “So, we have Maiya and Ginshi, Lilly and Flare, Chikako and Hibiki, Hiroki and Ayu, Taka and Ryuma and I guess also Taya, Shirou and Izo, Aurel and Momoe, and last, but certainly not least, Snow and Naomi. Each pair please come and grab your pair of handcuffs!”
Current pairs for the motive:

Confirmed pairs:
Hiroki and Ayu
Snow and Naomi
Momoe and Aurel
Shirou and Izo
Lilly and Flare
Chikako and Hibiki
Taka/Taya and Ryuma
Maiya and Ginshi
Hm. Interesting reaction. Presence alone seems to accomplish little with this group; perhaps, he had to admit, he had rushed into this one. Certainly, much more careful planning was in order…

“Oh, so you guys aren’t impressed, huh?” Monokuma frowned, lowering his head in an exaggerated expression of sadness, “Man, that’s depressing. I guess this is all a wash, huh? Fine, go to bed then, if you’re so unbothered by all this! And think about your attitude, while you’re at it! Kids these days…” As quickly as he came, he disappeared, leaving with little fan fair.

---

“Aww, you poor thing! They treated you so horribly… I guess your motive didn’t work, huh? Well, not like I expected it to!”

“Oh, yes, that’s what’s going to help us right now—more pointless criticism. Come on, I thought we were on the same team here! Maybe I could have spared an extra five minutes to refine, but even you don’t appreciate my work! You’re just here to bully me like everyone else.”

“That’s just it, Monokuma! I’m the only one on your side. Like you said, they’re all bullies! Selfish, two-faced, and terrible people... but I think it’d be simple to break them, too! They’re only acting brave because there’s no pressure on them—y’know, like before? All we need to do is apply some!”

“Don’t talk about it like it’s so easy! Organizing this whole thing is no small task, and murder isn’t something you can just make happen. I’m the one doing all the hard work here, you know!”

“I know that, you cute little bear! I appreciate all that hard work of yours, but I know them far better than you do… I know all of their little secrets! And since they kept some terrible ones from me, we should treat them the same way they treat others! It’s only fair, right? I’m your partner, Monokuma… so let me tell you my idea!”

---

… What, you want a Monokuma Theatre?
Ha! Sorry, after your backsass today that isn’t happening!
Perhaps it’s a bit early to be using my one pass, but I don’t really care!
But I guess this is fine.
Afterall, I have to cut this one short anyway.
I’m gonna wake you guys up early today!
And before you say “Hey, aren’t these things already short?”
They are, but they take forever to buffer.

---

The morning announcement ran through the camp with its usual shrill tone, commanding the attention of the students.

“Good morning, campers! Sorry to ask you to do something for me early, but I’ve been thinking a lot about what you guys said last night, and I have to agree! There was no way such a simple thing was going to get you to kill one another. Vague promises mean nothing here. The only real currency in this place is the worth of freedom. That being said, please make your way over to the amphitheater as soon as possible; and don’t go slow thinking you can use the fact that it’s early as an excuse!”

As the students eventually found their way to the amphitheatre, Monokuma waited, keeping an eye on the numbers as they walked in.

“Good morning, everybody! I hope you all are just as excited as I am for what I’ve cooked up for you all today! Now, I know you guys weren’t super impressed with my last motive, but I think we can both agree that this one is a lot better. Behold; the high-tech handcuff of the future!”

Saying this, Monokuma holds up what does appear to be a pair of high-tech handcuffs. He held onto the two ends with his hands, the actual cuffs looking like wide bangles more than anything, the cord between them growing and retracting as he pulled the ends apart.

“I spent all last night making these bad boys, and lemme tell you, I think I’m gonna get a lot of mileage out of them. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “what’s the point of handcuffs outside arresting criminals and hot kinky sex?” Well, campers, that one’s easy; forcing you all to stay connected with people you would rather not be around!”

“So, here are the rules. I will get to pick whoever you’re paired with, and the two of you will be forced to wear these handcuffs together. This cord can only stretch long enough so that you guys won’t have to be in the stall with someone while they’re using the bathroom, but that’s as far as it’ll go! Now, these handcuffs do have a feature that allows you to disconnect from one another; however, this only lasts for twenty minutes at a time before you have to reconnect, so don’t go wandering off too far! You guys are allowed to do this once a day, and the feature resets at midnight; once one of you disconnects, that's the only chance you get that day, so be careful when you choose to disconnect. Failure to comply to these rules, or to participate at all, will result in execution.”

“So, without further ado, let’s announce the pairs!”
Ryuma Hitsugaya

More than anything, Ryuma just felt a little confused about what was going on. On a purely logical level, he understood the events happening in front of him and how they connected with one another; but there was something about this that seemed pretty off.

As Momoe began to laugh about the whole thing, though, he realized what it was: This whole motive thing didn’t actually seem like a big deal.

Eh, that was fine by him. He wasn’t happy about being holed up here or anything, and he’d like to be home, but it didn’t seem like anybody would be dying anytime soon; escape hasn’t been taken off the table yet, either. So, it seemed like this would be fine, at least for now.

“Yeah, this shit’s stupid!” Ryuma suddenly flinched, turning to see the ever-hyperactive Chikako standing up and screaming. Jeez, what’s with these people, He thought to himself, before getting up to leave.

---

Himura Chikako

“For once, Momoe and Aurel are right!” Himura yelled, continuing her frenzied speech. Admittedly, Himura was terrified about the idea of being provided an actual motive for murder; for a second, she was worried someone was gonna take the bait. But with some people lashing back against Monokuma, she was beginning to think it might be possible that no one would take the bear seriously—with her expert leadership, of course.

“Y’all, this bear obviously is just saying a bunch of stupid garbage to scare us. Obviously none of us are going to go and murder one another—we have principles. And, of course, I am on the case to finding out how to get out of here, and I am making great progress. Obviously.”

She stood up on the spot she was sitting, “Come on, even Nervous Fucker Two over there looks like he’s barely paying attention!” She said, pointing to Hiroki, who jumped when he realized he was being referred to, but ended up quickly tuning back out, “So nobody is gonna be scared of this kind of thing,” Himura said, determined to now wrap up her speech, as she was unsure where she was going with it at this point.

“So, uh, in conclusion, Monoku-man, you aaaaare… failing! And we’re winning!” Himura said, finishing with a smile.
The day started to come to a close, the sun setting on their mysterious new home. Though it was hardly harmonious, there was something maybe resembling peace in the camp, or at least something resembling contentment.

But before it began to grow dark, the monitors around the campground flickered to life, once more carrying the shrill voice on Monokuma through its speaker.

“Attention, campers! Please gather at the auditorium ASAP! I have something very special that I’d like to share with you all!”


The monitors then quickly shut down, the expectation clear. As the students approached the amphitheater, taking their seats in the low daylight, the monochrome bear popped out from the stage.

“Hello hello! Nice to see you all! You guys doing well? Getting used to this place? Well, in any case, it’s important to me for you all to feel at home while you’re here. So please, do what you must to make yourselves comfortable; within the rules, of course,” Monokuma began, not really paying much mind to the students, “But I’ll be honest—there seems to be an awful lack of murder going on, aaaaaaaaaaaand I’m bored. Don’t you think I have better things to do!?”

“Well, it doesn’t matter. I figured I’d speed things along. No matter what else is true, no murder comes without some sort of motive. Even the most bloodthirsty among us need a reason for killing, right? So, that’s what I’ve decided to round you all up for—the motive!”

“But I've done plenty of warm up, so how about I just get it all out there. Whoever kills a fellow student and gets away with it will be rewarded with a quick and easy means back to wherever you came from. I promised to let you go if you kill somebody, of course, but I never said it's be easy getting out of here! And if you want to bitch at me at how that's totally lame you can save it! You kids don't appreciate what an absolute pain it is to get these kinds of things these days!”
Hisakawa’s default response to most situations was to organize and clean. It wasn’t always exactly fun, but it got him focused on something productive, and the focus often helped him when he was stressed. That, combined with nothing better to do, lead to Hisakawa spending most of his time cleaning. However, the sleepless night and lack of breakfast was really starting to catch up with him. He almost decided to push through it, before realizing he wasn’t sure what building he was in and how he got here in the first place.

Well, okay, he wasn’t going to be caught dead sleeping in the middle of the day, but he could at least go get some food. He doubted anyone would be in the mess hall right now, anyway…

Of course, he was wrong. While the dining area itself was empty, Flare seemed to be hard at work in the kitchen, “Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you,” he said.

Yet she didn’t seem to respond to Hiroki at all, as she bent over to shuffle through a refrigerator while mumbling something unrecognizable. This went on for a while until she suddenly popped up with two packs of milk and a faint smile on her face.

“Hold this for a second.” She said as she dumped the milk in Hiroki’s hands, before diving back into the refrigerator. “Cheese, cheese, cheeee-ah!” Holding a block of cheese, she closed the door with a kick and walked towards the kitchen counter, signaling towards Hiroki to set the milk down next to her.

Some macaroni and flour along with multiple cooking tools were already littered around the space, and it didn’t take long for Flare to start shaving the cheese into flakes.

“I’m cooking mac and cheese for dinner, and with so many people, it’s a big undertaking,” She explained before peering at Hiroki with a smirk. “And you did interrupt me, so you’re helping too!” Besides the witty tone, her asking for help seemed sincere.

Damn, I was really hoping not to get roped into anything, Hisakawa thought to himself, then frowned, a twinge of guilt running through him, “Right. I’d be happy to help you out,” He set the milk down as Flare signaled, watching intently as she shredded the block of cheese. His stomach had no issue with reminding him he still hadn’t eaten today, but now that he was helping Flare he had pretty much given up hope of doing that anytime soon.

But damn, it has really been a while since he last had some quality home-made food…

“I think it’s pretty great that you’ve decided to cook for the group,” Hisakawa said, trying to get his mind off of it, “It’s very generous of you.”

“Huuuh?” Flare reluctantly asked as she looked up to Hiroki with cynical eyes. It must’ve felt very off-putting to have Flare act so rough all of a sudden, but something about the word generous just made her feel very uncomfortable.

“Do you know the law of the jungle?” She stopped working on the cheese and rested her arms on the counter. “Survival of the fittest; the strong prey on the weak, right? But the only reason they do that is because they need food to survive.” Her calm demeanor almost made it look like she could be a teacher.

“I’m not doing this out of charity...This group needs an anchor, and the best anchor to keep yourself rooted in reality is feeling safe. As long as I keep preparing meals for them, they won’t starve and turn into predators hunting for prey.”

Hisakawa flinched at the harsh gaze, turning his attention to the ground, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to say something wrong,” In all honesty, Hisakawa didn’t understand Flare’s logic at all. Wasn’t she still, ultimately, doing this to help everyone? But he was kind of scared of how she’d react if he questioned her. It was his fault for not getting it, anyway.

He decided it was best to drop it, and swiftly went to change the topic, “So, anything else I can do to help?”

“Uhh…”Flare blinked at Hiroki in surprise, before suddenly changing her mood to something mildly more warm and pleasant.

“Iiii’ve got some water that’s heating up; if it’s cooking you can add the macaroni to it.” She said as she returned to working on the cheese; except after a while she started giving short glances to Hiroki, until it finally turned into a sigh when she dropped the cheese once more.

“How are you holding up?” The melancholy was oozing from her voice, but it was a kind question nonetheless. “You’re very quiet, but you’re not heartless.”

Hisakawa stared at her, his attention drawn from the macaroni, “How am… I holding up?”

This seemed like a trick question, or some sort of trap. Like no matter what he said it would be the wrong answer. He could say he wasn’t okay and appear weak and unfit, or he could say he was fine and seem apathetic and careless. Well… the truth is that he was doing horribly, and it was better to be weak than to not care, right? Or, no—God damn it, why was it always so hard to just decide on something. Just save everyone some time and tell her the truth already.

“I’ve… I’ve been better. The situation has been taxing. I really wish I was home, or at least not in this death game,” He said, then frowned. Calling it a death game seemed weird. It was truthful, obviously, but acknowledging that the people around him could die was… hard to process.

”You miss home?” Flare glared at Hiroki in confusion before realizing something.

”Yes, I miss it too, but at least it's...it’s not a death game, not yet anyway. As long as we keep cooking while the others search for an exit, there won't be any reason to get violent.” She said as she put all of the ingredients in a bowl; she seemed to be waiting for Hiroki to finish the macaroni.

Hisakawa took the noodles from off the stovetop, dumping the contents into a colender. He liked that idea—that if they kept everything in order, no one would have any reason to hurt someone before they can find a way out. Maybe that was a bit of an optimistic idea, but... Well, it might work, at least somewhat.

After making sure the macaroni was drained, he handed the colender over to Flare, “Well, if this will do anything to help keep the peace, then I’m glad to do it. I’m not particularly good with cooking, but I’m always willing to lend a helping hand,” He said, adding a smile at the end, which was promptly received and returned as Flare finished the preparations.

”Alright! Now we just put this in the oven and we’ll have some mac & cheese for our hungry workers.” With the oven churning in the background, she turned to wash her hands.

”Thanks for the help, I’m sure they appreciate it.”

“Anytime,” Hisakawa said, preparing to make his way out of the kitchen. He stopped, for a brief second, considering going to finally get the food he had come here for in the first place, but decided to give it up—he could get it once Flare wasn’t around. But at least him coming here wasn’t a total waste or anything. Now, he seemed to have some sense of direction… and Flare was pretty nice to him.

Hiroki and Flare grew a little closer!
Hisakawa Hiroki

Hisakawa felt almost proud for a moment, seemingly having done something right in the interaction. However, that was immediately swept away by Snow coming to fight Mizuno. Any confidence he had had been immediately shut down by yelling, slamming, and crying from around him. Hiroki tensed up completely, letting everyone’s various lectures wash over him.

Despite not having eaten yet, he felt nauseous. He’s failed to really do anything of significance so far—certainly nothing to help. Maybe he could make some grand sweeping statement to everyone, but… well, who the hell would care? What would he even say?

He stood up, silently shuffling about the room to collect used and abandoned dishes. It was nothing really to go clean them off, but it was the only gesture he could think of other than just holing up and staying out of the way.

They were right. Everyone was just wasting time. Hisakawa didn’t want to see anyone die, certainly, but… He was just stuck on the mental image of the fight before. This can’t be what these people are like normally, can it? Surely, in a better setting, they wouldn’t be so harsh to one another. Though, it might be possible that they're just like that.

But it wasn’t like Hisakawa was doing anything to keep the peace. He was just finding an excuse to hide away into the kitchen, tempted to clunk the dishes into the sink, as if making his doubt and frustration with himself audible would somehow fix something. Instead, he placed the dishes in the sink gentle, pulling his sleeves up to scrub the hell out of any remaining crumbs from the faces of plates.

---

Himura Chikako

Himura was about five seconds away from giving everyone a piece of her damn mind. She was the only one actually trying to do something here. Everyone else just felt like kerfuffling about, fighting about shit that doesn’t matter when they should be focusing on—oh, y’know, escaping.

She squared her shoulders, stance wide, opening her mouth just before Flare told her to just pretend none of this happened. Himura pierced her lips for a moment, before releasing the tension with a pop, “Alright. Yeah. Let’s forget about this. Who gives a shit about getting out of here, anyway!?”

She huffed out some air, trying to cool off some—Flare, at least, wasn’t trying to get in her way, “Whatever. I just want to get out of here, and unless anyone else has any ideas," She said, half addressing the crowd, half addressing Flare, "I'll use my own apparently terrible ideas to do it."

---



-Ryuma Hitsugami-








Oh, hell, did he actually fall asleep in the middle of the meeting?

In Ryuma’s defense, yesterday was absolutely insane, and this morning wasn’t a whole lot better. He had woken up this morning hoping he’d be back at home, or at Hope’s Peak, with yesterday being some weird dream.

He rubbed the sleep from his eyes—now wasn’t the time for that. Ryuma was only vaguely aware of what happened just now, but gathering from his half-asleep memory, it seemed some sort of fighting had gone on. He tried to find Snow in the crowd, but it seemed she wasn’t there. Honestly, it wouldn’t surprise him if she was a part of the conflict. That gal certainly had a mouth on her, and she wasn’t afraid to use it. He’ll probably check on her later.

Aurel was a bit difficult to find, but he ended up finding him getting wiped clean of water by some twelve-year-old looking kid. He approached the other man, leaning besides the table as he spoke, “So, we got any idea of what to do here? Can't say I'm too certain, but it doesn't look like everyone is interested in playing nice,” He said. He eyed the short girl. He had to be careful in who he trusted going forward, but it’d just be unreasonable to suspect her of anything. He simply acknowledged her with a nod, before turning his attention back to Aurel.
Himura Chikako

Himura raised an eyebrow at Yukimori, “What part of saying this is insane and unfair sounds stupid? It literally completely is, ‘s why I’m trying to get everyone out of here—I don’t want any part of this murder-game nonsense,” As she spoke, her attention shifted over to the boy that ‘protected’ her yesterday, who was suddenly talking up and down the place about what to do next.

“Hey, Shirou, is it?” She asked, using her legs to push off the side of the table, balancing on the back two legs of her chair, “First of all, hi, thanks for showing up late after I already started to get the ball rolling, super cool of you. Second of all, I’d like to propose my plan for escape! After all, I’m not gonna go so out of my way to get in front of everyone and talk about my great ideas without a plan,” She said, standing up and continuing to speak to this effect, stalling for time as she came up with an idea.

She flipped through information in her head—all of the obvious plans where never gonna work. After all, they were obvious. She would need to come up with something no one would ever reasonably think of…

---

Hisakawa Hiroki

Hisakawa didn’t really expect anyone to out of their way to talk to him, and especially not Mizuno. He’d have thought she’d go talk to someone else, or maybe just hang out by herself. He didn’t really think she had the patience to deal with him, but there wasn’t any real point on dwelling on it now—she was already here.

He had been listen to the conversation between everyone as it progressed, and, well… there was some sense of progress, at least, but there weren’t any good ideas being thrown out yet.

Hisakawa focused his attention of Mizuno. She was abrasive, certainly, but he didn’t really find her scary or anything. If he made himself open to her, she might find some use in him. Maybe it was a dumb thing to hope for, but he had no reason to give up yet, really. If she wasn’t interested in using him, he could easily drop it and get out of her space.

“Well,” He began, somewhat quietly, before being interrupted by a loud, confident shout.

“We’ll just dig under the fence!” Himura exclaimed, her smile beaming and her stance displaying an incredible degree of confidence.

“... Yeah, I don’t think… I don’t think they have any clue what’s going on,” Hisakawa said cautiously, trying to gauge Mizuno’s response.
Himura Chikako

Himura shifted her gaze at the handful of people that have given her their support thus far, taking their words into consideration.

“Well! I’m glad I have some of y’all’s support! Great to have you all aboard—I’m sure the rest of you are just shy, so I can just go on with the show…”

Himura, admittedly, wasn’t exactly sure what to do next, or what had happened in the last several hours she had been unconscious, or even who most of these people were, but she was fairly confident she could say something sensical… at least somewhat.

“Well, I think uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh…” She quickly pulled out her monopad and flipped through students, trying to match the face of the girl she didn’t recognize to a name, “Taya has an excellent point! It would only make sense to wait for other people to get here before we get everything in order. Once we compile everything we know, then we can figure out just how exactly we’re getting out of here. In the meantime, I’mma chow down!”

Himura grabbed a sandwich, analyzing where to sit amongst the people for the few minutes she would have to wait. Mean girl (Momoe?) and tired-looking guy (Hiroki??????) probably wouldn’t be all that fun to hang around—hell, the guy looked kinda like he was trying to not shit himself. Taya and robe guys (Iiiiiizoooo? Izo) seemed to be alright, and she knew at least one of them supported her plan. There were a few stragglers just sort of hanging out, and then she settled on her target, after taking a moment to establish her name— Yukimori Maiya.

She gestured for Flare to follow her, before grabbing a chair next to Yukimori, “Hey, ‘sup? You seem cool. So, uh… What do you think about all this stuff?”
Hisakawa Hiroki

Hisakawa didn’t sleep at all last night. No matter how many times he repeated the mantra that his door was locked, he had the key, and that he would be fine, anxiety fueled his insomnia, keeping him up throughout the evening. At one point in the evening he even left to shower and calm his nerves, but all he did was use creaks and the sound of his shampoo bottle falling over to fuel paranoia of someone being there.

By two, he had given up, and was more or less wasting the hours until daylight with busywork. His room was by no means dirty, as it was almost completely unlived in, but he dusted things off, made his bed, and found six different ways to organize the clothes in his closet.

He also dedicated some time to memorize the faces and names of the other students. He wondered what it was like if Aurel was right and they really had been in school together, but he concluded it probably wasn’t much different than it was now. Replace the anxiety of being locked up in Camp Death run by Murder Bear with the anxiety of leaving home and going to a fancy school, and that’s what you’d get. It certainly sounded better than here, though.

Eventually, he got up and made his was to the mess hall, blinking sleep out of his eyes. He rarely slept a whole eight hours, and it wasn’t unusual for him to stay up through the night, but for some reason it was hitting him really hard right now. It’s not like he couldn’t function or whatever, but it bugged him so much he almost didn’t stop himself from making a remark when he saw Mizuno staring at him as he entered the mess hall. What is she doing staring at people like that anyway?

He sat down as far from the others as he could get himself and shook his head of that thought, not even looking at the food despite his stomach rumbling. He frowned as he stared into the table—he really thought he was over that childish bullshit, but maybe he was expecting too much out of himself...

Well, if he can find some tea or coffee or something later he'll drink that, and for now he'll just worry about doing what he can to help out.

---

Himura Chikako

It took a lot of emotional fortitude to get herself out of bed—as it turns out, waking up in a mysterious place and getting shot can take a lot out of you. Plus, she was used to her mom coming to wake her up in the morning, and not having that was… weird.

Well, it didn’t entirely matter, because she knew that if anybody could escape this place, it would be her, and no amount of gunshot wounds or murderous children would stop her.

Taking in a deep breath, she exited her cabin. She rarely dealt with big, important things these days, but she was fairly certain she could connect to people in a sincere and meaningful way while also handling the big issues at hand. Yeah, she’s got this.

“Flare! What are you doing out here, girl? C’mon, we got a meeting to go to!” Himura stopped only briefly on her march to the mess hall to lecture her friend, bit quickly picked up momentum to finish the last few steps, “Cute birds, though!”

She slammed open the door, regrettably not putting her full force of will into it due to her injured arm, “Good morning, everybody!” She said, hopefully bringing everyone’s attention to her.

“Thank you all for attending this meeting—team unity is important after all,” Himura said, only barely remembering the meeting herself, and aware she didn’t organize it, “As sure as the sun rises in the west, if we stick together, we’ll get out of this situation in no time at all! My goal is to get out of here safe and sound, and if you all follow after me, I promise I’ll help you all do exactly that!” She finished her small speech with a grand smile and a Wonder Woman stance, waiting for the support her peers are sure to offer.
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