Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or the concept of SDR2. I just came up with the story.
Hey guys, here's another story from me. The concept for this one was one I just came up with on the spot. Namely, what if the mole (or moles in this case) for the Future Foundation was a different person? The first few chapters will be background, and I hope to get into the actual story around chapter three or four? If I get that far of course. As a note, there will be spoilers for the entire game here, especially in these first few chapters, and then later on when 'endgame' nears. Anyway, that's all I think I need to say here, so uh... enjoy.
Hope. Idiocy. Instinct. These were their reasons for running away. At least, that's what they told each other. Gundam knows the real reason though. The thing that brought them together. Fear. They are afraid. No matter how many times the white-haired boy proclaims his love of hope, no matter how many times the short girl snarks about how stupid everyone else was, no matter how many times he himself says his instincts told him to leave, he can tell that they're all afraid. That's why they remain together. They are afraid. Of being alone, of their old friends, of the world. They are young after all, Gundam ponders. Granted, it's been years since the beginning, but still. While he's lost in his thoughts, his ears catch the argument going on in the background.
"Why are you such an idiot?! You realize they base here, right? We left this place for a reason! This is the last time you lead, you doofus!" Saionji clenches her fists, glaring at the boy she's arguing with.
"Because I actually do my research, Saionji." Komaeda takes her insults in stride, playing with the tab on their last can of soda.
"Yeah, maybe research on how to get us killed!" Komaeda scoffs at her remark.
"Please. If anyone would get us killed, it's you. No offense though. I mean, at least your talent is more amazing than anything I could hope to achieve." His face darkens in excitement, and Saionji punches him on the arm.
"Stop it." Komaeda shakes himself out of his stupor, nodding. Gundam takes this lull to get some information as to why they're sitting in this pathetic lean-to on the outskirts of the grounds of Hope's Peak Academy. The epicenter of this entire fiasco.
"Komadea. Why are we here." Gundam silences Saionji with a finger, seeing her about to speak. She bristles, clearly upset, but stays quiet and turns back to Komaeda. The pale teen smiles, more gentle this time.
"They're gone." This sends a jolt through Gundam's body, and Saionji clearly feels the same way. They stare at the Luckster for a moment before Saionji finds her words.
"What do you mean, they're gone?"
"They left the school. Adios, goodbye, poof. Gone. I don't know where they went, but they left. The school's empty." Gundam gets angry.
"Why did we build this ridiculous attempt at a home here then? What was the purpose of this unscrupulous tomfoolery?!" His companions glance at him, and the feeling subsides. They're just keeping him in check. He apologizes. "I... sorry." Komaeda nods and continues.
"Because I wanted to make sure it actually is deserted. We don't want to find anyone there, especially... you know." The three of them share a moment of solemn silence. They think of the Super High School Level Despair. Most of them had committed suicide, gruesomely and with other casualties when Junko Enoshima had been killed in the 'School Life of Mutual Killing'. They had seen it on TV, on the few that hadn't been broken in the chaos of the time before. But some of the Despair didn't go down, and they all feared it was their former friends.
"So... why are we here then, huh? If it's empty, we shouldn't give a fuck if it's still here, should we?" Saionji widens her eyes, leaning forward to stare hauntingly at Komaeda. Gundam grabs her shoulder and pulls her back lightly. She shakes her head, shooting a relieved look at Gundam before settling back onto the crate she sat on.
"On the contrary! We should be ecstatic that it's still standing!" Komaeda beams happily. "You guys know about the Future Foundation, right?" Gundam and Saionji share a glance before nodding. "Good. It's good this place is standing because they're obviously going to come here!" Komaeda grins and Saionji leans back in surprise. Gundam raises an eyebrow.
"You know this how?"
"Tanaka, Tanaka, Tanaka. Some of the greatest minds in the world lived at this school. And they continued to do things here even after the event. Of course the Future Foundation will come here! They wouldn't do anything else!" Despite how ridiculous it sounds, Gundam still lets some hope flow into him. If they could just get into the hands of the Future Foundation...
"Well what are we waiting for?! Let's go!" Saionji hops off of the crate, part of her kimono ripping as it gets caught in a crack. She just yanks the strip of cloth out of the crack and stuffs it into a fold in her clothing.
"That's the spirit!" Komaeda jumps up off of the ground as well, grinning ear to ear. Gundam hauls himself to his feet and follows the other two, through the gate to the grounds of the once prestigious school.
The trio roam the halls of the school building. It's dark, musty, and quiet. Gundam doesn't like it at all. It reeks of evil. Saionji, despite claiming otherwise, is clearly scared and clings to Gundam's side. The animal breeder flares out his coat, drawing the girl in and holding her close as the material settles around her. They wander the slightly familiar halls, eventually ending up in what is likely the underground garage. The sight they find is disturbing to say the least. Gundam gasps, Saionji whimpers, and Komaeda chokes back a scream. They find a giant block covered in dried blood. From the cracks covering the bottom, it's clear it had slammed into the ground and crushed something, or someone, underneath it. The block had been pulled up slightly, and a mutilated body lays under the center. The three stand motionless, just staring at the scene. Gundam remembers the televised murders, and the death of Junko Enoshima. And it all comes back to him. He looks away, dry heaving. He catches a glimpse of the knife and the machete and the shears next to the body. They had... cut her up. Taken parts from her. The original despair herself. The scene is too much, and it takes Saionji bursting into tears to pull them away.
The group heads up the stairs, placing themselves on a ruined bench in the main foyer. They stay quiet, huddled together, and try to forget the scene they just observed. The two boys sit with their legs stretched out, shoulders touching, and Saionji lays in Gundam's lap, sobbing quietly. It's a moment of weakness for all of them. Komaeda suddenly stands up, almost causing Gundam to topple over.
His voice is shaky, but Gundam hears the intent in it when he says, "C'mon guys. We can't let this take us down. We're so close. So close to rescue, to freedom, to hope! We have to persevere! To fight! This is our chance to show just how strong our hope really is!" Saionji sniffles and buries her face in Gundam's scarf. The animal breeder himself sighs, patting the dancer on the back. He stares at Komaeda for a moment before nodding.
"I... believe you are right. Now is not the time to be rendered helpless. We have seen such things before. Let us find rooms in which we can stay." He stands up, keeping Saionji in his arms. She tries to protest, but slumps against him after a few moments, resting her head on his shoulder.
They wander the halls, stepping over rubble and wreckage. Moving up to the second floor over rotten stairs and, disturbingly, more bodies, they go to the first room they find. A plaque rests on the door, the words partially obscured by scratches and blood. 'Hyou..k. K..u.a, SH.L Ch..i..at.c'. When Komaeda tries the door, however, they find it locked. Just as Gundam turns to continue walking, Komaeda kicks the door, breaking the lock and causing the door to swing open with a rusty creak. The room is relatively fine, strangely enough, aside from rubble from the ceiling littering the floor and the peeling wallpaper. The room is similar to what they remember their rooms looking like, aside from the color scheme. They head over to the bed, which still has its sheets tucked in, as though the person that used to use the bed had simply left and was coming back later. They all know this isn't the case and blatantly ignore it. Komaeda's the first to get into the bed, yanking back the covers and taking the far side. Gundam lays Saionji next to him, the girl sniffling quietly. Gundam finally gets onto the bed, leaving them in a row.
Gundam spends the next few hours trying to sleep. It doesn't work out as well as he planned, Saionji's sniffles and Komaeda's snores keeping him awake. The snoring is normal, and he's learned to tune it out, but the sniffles are new and, to be honest, rather irritating. Gundam rolls over, looking at the girl next to him. Her cheeks are red from her rubbing them, her eyes continue to leak tears, her nose is running, she's an overall mess.
"Why do you weep?"
"I-I-I don't wanna talk about it, leave me alone..." Saionji chokes back a sob and ends up in a coughing fit. Gundam can hear her chest rattle with each cough and decides she needs to stop. He places a hand on her shoulder and says her name.
"Saionji." This causes her to burst into tears, near hysterics. Gundam withdraws his hand hastily and Komaeda sits up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He gives Gundam a look. The animal breeder tries to stutter out something to comfort the girl. "S-Saionji! What is- why- wha-"
She cuts him off, grabbing Komaeda's arm and crying into his hoodie sleeve. Komaeda shoots Gundam a dirty look, and he glares right back. "I-I d-don't want h-her to h-h-hurt h-herself any m-m-more!" Both boys look at each other in bewilderment.
"Saionji-san... what's wrong. Who do you not want to hurt themselves?" Komaeda runs a comforting hand over the top of her head, combing her hair with his fingers.
"M-M-My big sis Koizumi..." A look of realization dawns on Komaeda's face, and he wraps the dancer in a hug, whispering quietly into her ear. Gundam just looks confused.
"The photographer?" He looks to Komaeda for clarification.
"They were... close. I guess she... hurt herself? I'm not sure about the specifics. But Koizumi-san is one of the Despair now. Saionji-san, you shouldn't worry about her anymore. She's... lost to us." This makes Saionji push herself away from Komaeda, hitting him with a waterlogged glare.
"D-don't say that about her! She's not lost! We'll get her back! We just have to find her and-" Gundam cuts her off with a shake of the head.
"No Saionji, I am afraid he's right about this one. They... are gone. It's too late for them. They have been tainted by an odious disease that will never be able to be removed from the confines of their heads. Even we have been infected, so long ago. It was not enough to turn us, but we still feel the effects. They... have been bathed in it. They relish it. It is addicting to them. We cannot bring them back." Saionji looks between the two boys with a look of betrayal.
"F-f-fine. You two can stay here and fucking rot in this hell hole!" Her outburst stuns them, long enough for her to stand up and leave the bed. "I'll go find her! And I'll prove that they can be saved! That she can be saved!" Komaeda holds out a distressed hand.
"S-Saionji-san. Your hope is admirable, but-" She cuts him off.
"Shut up! I don't care!" The dancer charges out of the room, and both boys share a panicked glance. In the few seconds it takes them to make up their minds, Saionji's footsteps are already fading away. They spring into action, immediately sprinting after the girl. But she's so much more graceful than them, and she's getting away. They vault over rubble, and Gundam has to grab Komaeda's wrist to prevent him from tumbling to the floor after one particularly large piece. They start to close the distance after the dancer trips over her own kimono, but she gains on them again. Gundam swears and releases Komaeda, figuring he can catch up. Using a broken pillar as a springboard, Gundam leaps forward, tackling the small girl. He wraps her in his arms and slides forward, taking the brunt of the force when they slam into the wall. The dancer slaps at him, and Gundam will gladly receive all of her blows if it means she doesn't leave. He wants to protect her, they've been through so much together, and although he'd rather not admit it, it would pain him for her to get hurt. Or worse. Komaeda catches up after a moment, and Saionji is still smacking Gundam.
"Saionji-san! That was way too dangerous! We're just trying to protect you, y'know..." They stare at each other for a moment, before a slam reverberates through the building. The trio turns, finding that they had run all the way to the entry foyer. The slam was the front door being smashed open. They look just in time to see a large amount of people pour through the wrecked doorway. They're dressed in what looks like... SWAT gear. The worst part about them, however, is the fact that every person has a machine gun, and every barrel is pointed in their direction. Fear shoots through Gundam. Is this how he dies? With his friends, mowed down by some crazy vigilante group or something? One of the soldiers pulls up a walkie-talkie and barks some words in English into it. Static hisses through the tense air, when the walkie-talkie buzzes to life with more English, sounding choppy and fuzzy through the speaker. The soldier nods, turning to the others and yelling out.
"Permission granted. Exterminate all targets. Gather all valuables. Leave nothing important." Some of the group breaks off, while others slowly inch towards the three. Gundam releases Saionji, quickly standing up and placing himself between the guns and his friends. One of the group that approaches them, which looks about to be thirty or so in size, nervously jabs at the animal breeder. "Stay back... S-Stay back! I'll shoot!" Gundam glares, taking another step forward, puffing out his chest. If he can't save himself, he'll save the others. He faintly hears Saionji's distressed 'Tanaka!' and Komaeda's 'Tanaka-kun, no!', but ignores them. It's just him and the gunmen now.
"You dare approach the great Gundam Tanaka, ruler of the universe, and expect to get away with it?! Ha! You will not take the lives of my friends here, or I promise you a world in which you will never wake up from your nightmares! Your souls will be my playthings, your bodies my puppets! Behold the power of Gu-" He's cut off by a loud bang and a searing pain in his arm. It's enough to bring even him to his knees. The soldier who spoke before wails out some sort of apology, screaming 'I said I would' over and over. Komaeda and Saionji run up to him, the former ripping off the stray strip of cloth that had hung loosely off of Saionji's kimono and tying it around the wound. Gundam hisses in pain and Saionji tries to distract him.
"Big bro Tanaka, don't die, please don't die I'm so sorry, I'll never run away again just please don't die you can't." Tears form in her eyes, and Gundam wonders just how much tears a small girl like her could hold. With the commotion of dressing the wound, the trio didn't notice the circle of army men split, making way for two boys appearing to be a bit younger than them. The blonde boy glares at the soldiers, and they take another step back. The other boy, one with brown hair with an ahoge kneels down in front of Gundam. He sheepishly speaks up, making all three look at him.
"Augh, I'm so sorry. Me and Togami should have been here so much earlier, but we didn't think it was still this bad. Plus, the Despair could still have been here. Oh jeeze." He turns to this 'Togami' who Gundam assumes to be the blonde. "Togami, get a medic in here or something, please." Togami rolls his eyes and strolls out of the building. This leaves the boy alone with the three. Saionji glares at him.
"What do you want, huh? You think we're just playing nice? Your soldier just shot our friend!"
He sheepishly rubs the back of his neck. "Augh. You're right. But I really do want to help you guys. I'm Makoto Naegi. From the Future Foundation." Komaeda's eyes widen.
"Th-the Future Foundation?" Naegi nods.
"Yeah. We're kind of uh... cleaning up the world here. Why are you guys here anyway?"
"How do you know we're not Despair, huh?" Saionji glares at him again. Naegi just smiles.
"Because you three are friends. Despair don't have friends." Saionji sputters and turns back to Gundam. Naegi also turns to the animal breeder and smiles. "Well, even though we didn't expect to find anyone here, I have quite the offer for you. How about you and your friends join the Future Foundation with me? I promise I'll keep you safe. No more of this guns stuff." When the boy smiles, Gundam finds it hard to resist his demands. They just seem so reasonable, and fill him with hope. He glances at the others for confirmation. Komaeda nods eagerly, and Saionji pouts, but nods anyway. Gundam turns back to Naegi, who looks rather happy with himself.
"Fine. Now get me to a hospital before my blood begins to poison the air."