He could still remember how it all started. It was somewhat simple at first.
It was only down to Midousuji, Onoda, and of course, him. Midousuji had been doing somewhat okay at hiding Onoda, keeping him safe. But the second he turned his back, he was there, hands on Onoda's neck. Stupid. How could you turn your back on him. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.
At first Midousuji tried threatening. He just laughed in Midousuji's face. Then Midousuji tried pleading. He just tisked at him, and shook his head.
"I'm bored now." Manami said, and he dug his nails into Onoda's cheek.
Midousuji trembled a little, looking at Onoda's wide-eyed stare. Midousuji continued to watch as Onoda coughed out blood, eyes rolling into the back of his head. Manami let him go, and Onoda crashed to the ground. Midousuji started towards the fallen figure, but Manami stopped him, a harsh hand on his chest. He almost fell back with the force of the impact, but he just stumbled a little before growling at the other. Manami opened an eye and looked at him, and he let out a snort.
"You should really see your face right now. It's actually pretty funny!" He cackled a little, actually sending a small chill down Midousuji's spine. "Anyways, he should be getting up now." He looked down at Onoda's fallen figure, seeming amused.
Onoda rose up, and Midousuji's heart lifted a little. But it was quickly deflated upon meeting the vacant look in Onoda's eyes. Manami smiled at Midousuji for a second before turning to the small teen.
"Onoda-kun, could you do me a favor?" Onoda stared at Manami, unmoving. "I think, I need you to stab yourself to death! Could you do that for me please?" Manami smiled pleasantly. Onoda stared for a few seconds on before bending down to pick up a knife that Midousuji had dropped earlier.
Midousuji stared on in disbelief, unable to do anything as he watched Onoda plunge the knife into his stomach. Manami clapped his hands, but then his face fell. Manami narrowed his eyes for a second before his face lit up again. "Oh! Oh! I know what would be fun!" He jumped excitedly, snapping his fingers once.
Onoda's eyes lit up again. He looked down, trembling, at the knife plunged into his stomach. He stared at it for a few seconds before violently coughing out blood, falling to the ground. Midousuji let out a strangled scream, trying to lunge towards him. Manami shot out his hand, stopping Midousuji again.
"You know, Midou-kun. Why don't we play a little game?" Midousuji fell to the ground, looking up at Manami. "What if, I send you back in time. You can see Onoda-kun alive again!" Midousuji blinked a few times, looking over at Onoda's body. "But, but! I'm going to kill him again. Because- it's- well-" Manami stopped, cackling and wheezing for air. He let his shrill laughter ring out again, before continuing. "Well- ahaha- your face, your reaction, it's priceless. I want to see it in as many forms as I can. So, what do you say? We play my game, and you get to see your Onoda-kun again. Deal?" Manami held out his hand. Midousuji looked over at him, not really believing Manami's words. But, he shook Manami's hand anyways.
Instantly the environment changed, and the only reminiscence of the old scene was the faint sound of Manami cackling. Midousuji whipped his head around, taking in the new scenery. He seemed to be inside of Onoda's house.
"H... Hello?" He called out, a little hesitant at first.
"I'm upstairs, Midousuji-kun!" That was Onoda's voice. That was Onoda. Midousuji instantly shot up the stairs, and slammed Onoda's door open.
"Ah, hello Midou-kun!" Manami smiled, pleasantly greeting him. Midousuji shot back, nearly blacking out.
"M-Midousuji-kun! Are you okay?!" Onoda went over to to him, grabbing his arm. Midousuji looked down at him. He was warm. This was Onoda. "Maybe you should sit down?" Midousuji nodded, hesitantly sitting on Onoda's bed.
Onoda sat back down next to Manami. Midousuji kept his eyes locked onto Onoda, still trying to believe that this was all real. Manami looked between the two and pursed his lips. "You know, this is kind of boring. Hey, Midou-kun, want to play our new game with Onoda-kun?"
Onoda's eyes lit up, and he nodded his head. "How do I play?" Manami smiled at him, taking Onoda's head between his arms.
"It's really simple Onoda-kun, you see, all you have to do," Manami looked up at Midousuji, letting out a grin, his eyes seemingly darkening. "is get Midousuji's attention," Midousuji's head shot up, quickly catching on. Manami chuckled softly, tightening his grip on Onoda. Midousuji got up and headed towards the pair, but- "and do something funny." Manami twisted his arms roughly, and Onoda fell over with a sickening snap. Midousuji fell to his knees, and Manami let out a loud cackle.
"There it is! The face! The reaction! Oh man, you're great at this game! Just perfect!" He bent down and picked up Midousuji's chin with his finger, making their eyes meet. "But you know, I can't do all of the killing here. It's not as fun!" He removed his finger, and Midousuji crawled over to Onoda, holding his body. "You know, what if you did some of the killing! I'm sure you'd have just as much fun as I am!" He shook his head, seeming to come to a decision. "That sounds much better. Well, I'll see you in the next round, okay?" He let out a loud, raspy laugh, the sound lingering on Midousuji's ears as he was taken to yet another timeline.
He was in a school, and he didn't recognize his uniform. He looked around, quickly finding Onoda walking up the stairs towards him.
"Midousuji-kun! Hello!" Onoda ran up to him and gave him a large hug, squeezing him. Midousuji huffed, but was happy all the same.
"Onoda-kun! Midou-kun! Good afternoon!" A cheery voice rang out, causing Midousuji's face to drastically pale. He whipped around, meeting Manami's eyes. Manami's grin seemed to darken for a second, but was quickly as happy as before. "How are you?"
Onoda smiled at him. "I'm doing well, how about you?"
"Ah, I'm feeling rather great! I've discovered something fun to do, so I've been enjoying myself with that today." Midousuji glared down at Manami's condescending smile.
Midousuji watched in silence as Onoda and Manami made happy small talk, trying to foresee what might happen.
He caught Manami's eye, catching the quick glint in his eye before everything went numb. He tried move his arm around to regain feeling, but it wouldn't move. He heard a muffled snort, and he looked over at Manami. Manami was looking at him, amusement in his large eyes.
Before he could wrap his head around it, Midousuji was moving on his own. He grabbed Onoda from behind, squeezing onto him tight.
"M-Midousuji-kun, what-" Midousuji easily lifted the small boy into the air, and started walking with him in his arms. Midousuji didn't know what was going on. Was it Manami again? Was he actually controlling him? He blinked rapidly, his body still moving on its own. What was he going to make him do? Midousuji looked around the best he could, before seeing what he was closing in on. The window.
His blood ran cold, and he tried everything he could do to stop what he was doing. To his avail though, it didn't work. He became a self-aware puppet, knowing what he was doing, seeing it, living it, but having no power to stop it. He tried screaming, yelling, doing anything he could to at least tell Onoda his feelings- anything- but the words caught in his throat. The only thing he had power over were his eyes.
Midousuji watched as Onoda quickly started panicking and thrashing. Midousuji saw how Onoda couldn't even weaken his grip. Midousuji saw himself stop by the window. Midousuji saw himself throw Onoda out the winodw. Midousuji watched as Onoda's eyes flashed hurt, disbelief, and fear as he crashed through the glass. Midousuji watched as his body made him bend down and watch Onoda crash into the ground. He felt his hand be grabbed, and he watched as Manami led him down the stairs, humming happily. They walked outside of the building, and only as soon as Midousuji saw Onoda's body, twisted in a million different ways that it shouldn't have been, laying in a pool of his own blood, did Midousuji get control of his body back.
He turned, vomiting, retching, as Manami broke out into a loud laughing fit.
"Ahahaha, good job, great job! Magnificent job! Level up! Level up!" He shakingly ran his hands though his hair, doing anything he could not to turn back and see Onoda again. It was his fault. He killed Onoda. A sob lodged itself in his throat. He could barely breathe, all he could hear was the mumbling of the classmates gathered around the scene and Manami's laughing ringing through the air. The air was hot and he just couldn't breathe anymore. He couldn't deal with losing Onoda again. A hand tapped on his shoulder, and with a quiet cackle the other announced "Time for the next round!"
The game started to get even more real after that. Midousuji ended up being the killer, even though he obviously didn't mean to be. Accident after accident after accident. Midousuji was nearing his limit.
"Waaaaaha! It's perfect! You're perfect!" Manami let out a shrill laugh, staring at Midousuji leaning over another one of Onoda's bodies. He wheezed, and crossed his arms. "Ahhh, ahhh. Ahh. Priceless... Ahh. Mm." He seemed to calm down, and with one eye open he glanced over at Midousuji. "Hey, Midou-kun. I think it's time for the boss round." Midousuji stayed where he was, not even bothering to acknowledge Manami's presence. Manami leaned on Midousuji's back, humming to himself. "I'm feeling a little nice today, so I'm going to make you another deal. You win the boss round, you get to keep Onoda-kun alive, and I'll leave you alone. You won't have to deal with me ever again." Midousuji seemed to move, making Manami grin. "-But, if you lose, no more resetting. No more levels. He'll be dead for good, and that'll be it."
Manami bent down, looking Midousuji's hunched over figure in the eyes. "Deal?"
Midousuji looked down at Onoda's still form, and touched his cheek before shaking Manami's outstretched hand.
When he came to his senses again, Onoda was sitting in front of him. Instantly, he whipped his head around, looking for Manami. But... There was no Manami. He looked over at Onoda, who was now confused.
"Is... Is everything alright, Midousuji-kun?" He asked hesitantly.
He choked. Midousuji choked, dragging Onoda into his lap, burying his face in Onoda's hair. He let out a quiet sob, startling Onoda.
Onoda froze for a second, before wrapping his arms around Midousuji and rubbing his hands on the others back. "It's okay, Midousuji-kun. I'm here, everything's going to be okay." Midousuji took a shaky breath, pulling Onoda back and looking him into his eyes.
"You can't leave me, Onoda-kun. Not this time, not again. Please. I can't, I can't you lose you, Onoda-kun. Not this time." He pulled Onoda close to him, clinging onto him like a life perserver.
Onoda was taken aback by the sudden show of affection. He hugged onto Midousuji tight, continuing to rub his back again. "I won't leave you, I promise. I'm here, and I promise not to go anywhere."
Midousuji gave him a kiss on the head, looking up at the window. He hugged Onoda close to him, and glared down the figure in the window.
This round, he would be the winner.