My brain: Hey, you know what'd be a good idea?
My brain: Starting a multi-chapter fic to fix Chiaki's death while you have other fics going :) :) :)
Me: Nooooooooooo let's do it she deserves it.
At least Lost King is close to being done. And I don't expect this to be super long either. But then again I thought Invisible Princess would be five chapters and it ended up double that, so... For people awaiting an Aftermath update—one's coming out soon-ish, promise.
This has Hajime/Izuru x Chiaki in it, but it's not a shipping fic per se; rather, it's more about Chiaki's survival and recovery. Hajime/Izuru and his relationship with her do play a part in that, but it isn't the main focus. The first few chapters will be from his POV by necessity, and after that it'll be Chiaki's. We'll also have some switching. I'll be using "Ultimate" instead of "SHSL" and English name spellings simply due to personal preference, but otherwise game/anime dialogue is based off the Japanese version.
Also, this is canon-compliant, in that the events that happen in the games and franchise aren't changed. Junko still brings despair to the world, sorry. This is mostly my attempt at having Chiaki survive in canon despite what happened to her, react to the events, and maybe, hopefully, eventually reunite with her loved ones.
Disclaimer: I don't own Dangan Ronpa! If I did there would be a lot of differences, namely in regards to certain survivors...
Kamukura Izuru's fingers brushed the warm liquid running down his cheeks, surprise coloring the motion. He half-expected them to disappear at his touch, foreign as they were. But they remained, blurring his vision, obscuring the hairpin and the blood and the body of Nanami Chiaki.
As he thought her name, snippets of conversations—"…Gala Omega, right?" "…new game came out…" "…talent…" "…more than the Ultimate Gamer…"—flooded his brain so fast it left him dizzy. Flashes of a fountain, and a gaming console, and the same girl before him. Memories? Impossible. His past self was dead. But he was remembering things that hadn't happened to him, seeing Nanami's smiling face and feeling his chest flood with warmth, and now he was looking at her body, and he was—he was—
His breath hitched sharply. Someone had taken a knife and carved a hole in his chest, while someone else had taken a hammer and driven a nail into his head. That was what these feelings were. Grief, hysteria, confusion, Logic supplied, and Izuru felt his hands tremble. He'd known what they were called, but he'd never experienced anything like them before, and it was throwing him off guard. There was too much happening, too many things spinning around, and for once in his life he couldn't begin to make heads or tails of it.
But even while part of his mind was distraught, overwhelmed by emotions and trying to understand what was happening to him, the other part was coolly analyzing the situation, examining Nanami's body with clinical efficiency. As if in a trance, he crouched, ignoring the blood seeping into his pants, and reached for her wrist. He noted her fading pulse, clammy skin, and bluing fingertips. Combined with her earlier pale complexion, dizzy confusion, and of course heavy blood loss, the diagnosis was most likely...
Class 4 hypovolemic shock, caused by massive exsanguination. Patient has lost consciousness and will be dead in minutes without treatment. Necessary steps: establishing airway to breathe. Applying pressure to wounds to stem further blood flow. Replenishing intravascular volume. Administering antibiotics to prevent septic shock and infection.
Patient will be dead in minutes without treatment.
Nanami Chiaki will be dead in minutes without treatment.
Nanami Chiaki will be—
Before he could comprehend why he was doing so, Izuru found himself yanking off his blazer. His eyes ran over Nanami's still form, pinpointing the most serious injuries as his hands tore the material into strips. Three penetrating wounds in her abdominal area, multiple penetrating wounds and cuts on her arms and legs, one penetrating wound in her foot, one laceration on her forehead…
It only took a few seconds to establish a patient airway by rolling her over, lifting her chin and opening her mouth. Then Izuru tore off her jacket, blouse and bra in one clean motion, paying no heed to her bare breasts. Mindlessly, he wrapped the makeshift bandages tightly around her injuries, hands moving at a blur. Only one thought, one he couldn't even understand the reason behind, rang through his mind:
He could not allow her to die.
Hypovolemic shock was reversible, if treated swiftly enough. Contrary to popular belief, one's brain did not shut down immediately upon experiencing traumatic injuries of this manner. There was a small window, the span of minutes, where it sluggishly slowed due to lack of oxygen as blood failed to travel to it. Slowed, but not stopped, and if quick enough medical action was taken, death could be warded off.
Three minutes. He had three minutes to treat her shock before her organs started taking damage. Each minute after that steadily increased the odds of permanent organic or neurological damage; with the amount of blood she'd lost, he suspected she would last no longer than ten minutes before dying. No—he probably had less than three minutes. How much time had he wasted, lost in his confused daze? No more than seconds, he suspected, but every one counted.
Unknown to most, Hope's Peak Academy had an extensive underground complex that ran beneath the entire campus. Izuru had spent most of his existence down here, first by order of the Steering Committee, then by order of Enoshima, to keep himself a secret from the academy. He'd long since memorized the web of tunnels and rooms. The one they were currently in wasn't too far from the rooms he'd been kept in as the Steering Committee tested him—the rooms that had the equipment that just might permit him to save her.
He bent and scooped Nanami into his arms in a macabre parody of a bridal carry. In normal circumstances, someone in her condition should either be moved via flat surface like a stretcher or not moved at all, but Izuru didn't have a stretcher on hand, and it would be far too time-consuming to fetch the apparatus to save her and bring them back. Trying to jostle her as little as possible, he set off down the hall at a sprint.
The part of the complex he'd been held in was spartan, made up of just the lab where he'd been "born", a storage room that held food and other necessities, a clinic, and the room he'd stayed in when he wasn't being tested—he could scarcely call it a bedroom. The clinic was there mostly in case something happened to him during his transformation or during testing, and was stocked with anything related to medical care, from Band-Aids to vaccines to surgical equipment. It was here Izuru arrived at seconds later, kicking the door open and laying Nanami down on the first cot he saw.
Izuru's hand snapped over to the thermostat on the wall, raising it to warm Nanami before she experienced hypothermia. Now: assess and prioritize. He slipped an oxygen mask on her, not trusting her shallow breaths. Then he slid several pillows under her legs to elevate them, so blood would have an easier time flowing back to her heart.
Replenishing her blood volume was the next step. Izuru reached into a cabinet and began pulling down the equipment for a blood transfusion. With the amount she lost, she'll need multiple transfusions…what's her blood type?
His hands paused for a few seconds as he realized he didn't know.
He could have transfused some of his own blood into her body, but his blood type was A—not O, the universal donor. If she were an A or an AB, she would be fine if she took his blood. If she were a B or an O, she would definitely die.
Fifty percent odds were unacceptable. So Izuru went for the second option: blood substitutes. An academy full of as many talented people as Hope's Peak would naturally lead many fields, including science, and over the years had created successful solutions that simulated the properties of real blood. They were no long-term replacement, but they were suitable for usage in emergency trauma situations, such as this one. There were several packets also in this lab, and Izuru grabbed one and returned to Nanami's side. Swiftly, he attached it to an IV and injected it into a vein along her elbow. As the IV fed the artificial blood into her body, he quickly fetched a crystalloid solution that would increase circulatory volume, helping the precious oxygen flow. This too was intravenously inserted into Nanami's unconscious form.
Next, Izuru checked pulse and blood pressure again, swiftly hooking up her to a digital monitor. His eyes narrowed minutely when he noted they were fluttering, fading. He administered a dose of norepinephrine to increase blood pressure and aid her heart's pumping. Almost impatiently, he stared at the monitor, waiting for the readings. Only when it informed him her vitals were weak, but holding, did he relax. He'd just barely clocked in under three minutes; good. There was always the risk of complications creating brain damage, but this gave her the highest chance of full cognitive recovery.
He paused long enough to catch his breath and run over what needed to be done next. Internal bleeding. He needed to check for internal bleeding and perform surgery if there was. With the location and approximate severity of her injuries…a supine chest x-ray and FAST ultrasound on the abdomen are the first priorities. The black-haired man hurried to fetch the appropriate equipment.
The radiography revealed three punctured organs—lung, spleen, and intestines. Izuru paused only as long as necessary to put on the proper surgical equipment, and then he went to work.
Between treating the pneumothorax in her right lung, suturing her intestines and spleen, performing a head CT scan, monitoring her vitals, swapping her IVs when they ran out, changing her dressings when blood soaked through, and washing and stitching her wounds, it was more than six hours before the artificial Ultimate Hope was done. He was out of breath and up to his elbows in blood. His blazer was torn to shreds, the rest of his clothing was terribly bloodstained, and he looked more rumpled than he could remember ever possibly being. But he was successful, and his stitches as he closed the final incisions were neat and precise.
He felt drained as he went through the final stages of the treatment, giving Nanami a dosage of antibiotics to prevent septic shock and checking her vitals one final time. They were within acceptable parameters. And that was that—he was now gazing down at a weak but alive Nanami Chiaki.
Exhaling, he dragged a hand across his face, leaving a red smear on his forehead. Miraculously, the spears had just barely missed anything that would have instantly killed Nanami, and she hadn't sustained any wounds beyond his abilities. To escape fatal injury, with as many wounds as she had...she was incredibly lucky.
Or maybe it wasn't that she was lucky, but that he was? That his luck had somehow worked in advance, before he'd even known he wanted to save her, to spare her from injuries not even he could have pulled her back from?
Could his luck do that?
He very carefully removed her remaining clothing—it was beyond saving anyway—and draped a thick blanket over her. He could dress her in a gown once her stitches weren't so fresh. Then Izuru set about cleaning up the area, letting the brainless work keep his body busy as his recently-freed mind examined what had just occurred. Sorting and compartmentalizing, as it had been built to do. Making sense of the senseless.
Fact: Nanami Chiaki had come within a hairs' breadth of being executed by Enoshima Junko, and would have died without outside intervention.
Fact: He had been that outside intervention, saving her life.
Fact: He didn't understand his motive for doing so.
That was the crux of it. Izuru was not a doer. He was an observer. He succeeded at whatever he did—even this, narrow as it had been, was a success—and thus had no motivation to act. Constant success became tiring, boring, and he had no connections to the world, no investments, nothing and no one to care about. Observing others at least allowed him to occasionally derive a spark of emotion beyond apathy, before it too faded away.
But for reasons he couldn't comprehend, he hadn't wanted Nanami to die. It was illogical. He'd only met her twice. There was no reason to care about her or her fate.
And yet there was something there, he thought as he attempted to work out why he cared so much. Some familiarity, some spark, something that drew him to her from that first meeting. Interested him in a way he'd only felt when Enoshima cooed about the promises of despair. But he'd only been curious about the concept, not Enoshima herself. Not like he had been curious about Nanami.
Maybe that was why he'd saved her. Because she was fascinating, complex, the only bright object in his world of monotonous gray.
But no. That was too clinical, too distant. Reminiscent of a scientist observing an insect in a glass box—which was an accurate description for him, most of the time. But not this time. Mere curiosity didn't account for the whirlwind of emotions that had descended upon him as he watched her bleed out, nor the tears he'd shed without realizing.
An emotional response to an emotional event. Which implied an emotional investment, an emotional connection. One that likely tied into his immediate fascination with her.
Izuru frowned as his mind came to the only logical explanation left. A logical explanation that was most definitely illogical.
Logically, it was Hinata Hajime's memories and emotions influencing him. Nanami's reaction to seeing him implied she had known his past self, been close to him. If the sentiment had been returned, those feelings would be sufficient for Izuru to feel like he should recognize her, become distressed upon her near death, and invest time and energy into saving her.
Just as logically, Hinata Hajime's memories and emotions no longer existed. His personality had been erased and suppressed. Any feelings he might have had for Nanami Chiaki were gone. But they were the only things that could have motivated him to help her.
Ergo, the memories and emotions that had been destroyed somehow still lingered, at least in regards to Nanami.
Izuru sighed uncharacteristically, turning off the faucet as he finished washing his hands. All this pondering and the only conclusion he'd arrived at was a paradox.
Paradoxes do exist in the world, though. Enoshima's orgasmic love for despair—the most self-destructive of emotions—proves that.
Tired red eyes looked over Nanami. She'd fallen into a coma and would need to be watched carefully, her wounds constantly checked for infection. After her spleen's rupture, her white blood cell count would be low, making her more vulnerable to illness, so he would have to sanitize everything. And he would need to monitor her blood pressure. It would be a round-the-clock supervision, a difficult task no doubt, but not a particularly problematic one. Enoshima didn't particularly care much what he did with his time, so long as he showed up when she called for him, and Izuru knew that once Nanami stabilized he'd be able to leave her alone for brief periods.
As if his thoughts had summoned her, his cell phone—which Enoshima had given him for ease of communication after the slaughter of the student council—buzzed in his pocket. Izuru pulled it out and examined it to see a text from the penultimate woman. Kamukura-senpai! Meet me in the trial room in an hour—I have something veeeeeery despairful and veeeeeery important to tell you! The end of the message was littered with smiley emoticons.
Well, that hadn't taken long. He was a bit perplexed she hadn't checked on him earlier, but replaying the events of today helped him arrive at a conclusion. Ah, that's right—the purpose of Nanami's execution was to drive her classmates into despair. Enoshima was likely occupied by finishing the process of breaking them. Possibly celebrating her victory as well.
He eyed Nanami. He was loathe to leave her side now—this was the time she'd be most vulnerable, the most prone to relapsing. If there were post-surgery complications, such as her blood pressure suddenly spiking or dipping, she would need assistance immediately. But not showing up to meet Enoshima was dangerous. Her sister was already suspicious of him and would take any chance she could to justify it. Having them investigate his whereabouts could potentially lead them to the girl he'd just battled to save, and if they found her, they'd make sure they succeeded in killing her.
Izuru glanced at the machines Nanami was hooked up to. He was certain the academy had some state-of-the-art electrocardiography machines that could send signals to cell phones. In the time Enoshima had given him, it wouldn't be difficult to locate them and connect them to his phone. That way, if Nanami's vitals fluctuated abnormally, he would receive a text alert. And the trial room wasn't too far. If he had to, he could utilize his ultimate stealth, break away from the meeting, and make it back here quickly. Enoshima wouldn't be too happy with him afterwards, but he was confident he could think of a good enough excuse.
Yes, that was an acceptable plan. And there were still a multitude of other tasks that needed doing. He would have to search the security feeds and wipe them if they'd caught what he'd done, dispose of Nanami's clothing, set up defensive measures around the room...
As he pocketed his phone, his fingers brushed against something else. Small, metallic, hard, oddly shaped. Izuru paused mid-stride and withdrew the object. It was Nanami's hairpin, which had somehow made its way into his pocket during his mad rush to save her.
He stared at it, feeling a strange emotion swell within him. Contemplated throwing it away, then slide it back in.
Nanami would probably want it back when she woke up, but until then, there was no reason not to keep it with him.
A/N: Izuru never actually addresses anyone by name, so I had to decide for myself how he would. His usage of keigo (a formal style of Japanese speech) and boku suggests he's pretty polite, but he's so removed from the world I can't see him using honorifics. So he calls people by just their surnames.
I did a lot of research on proper medical procedures and the locations of organs for this chapter, but as always there's the chance I may have missed something or gotten it wrong, so if you see anything incorrect let me know!
From the screenshots I took of Chiaki's death (watching that again sucked), she had three wounds in her abdomen, two low, one high. I drew up a medical chart to see if they'd hit anything—the lower wounds lined up approximately with her spleen and intestines. The upper one was dangerously close to her heart and lungs, but if she'd been hit in the former, she would have been out too fast to talk to Izuru, and a single punctured lung is survivable for a time. So it was blood loss that killed her.
Admittedly I'm milking Izuru's ultimate luck for contributing to her survival, but you know what, if Nagito's luck can influence Chiaki into grabbing the wrong bottle out of fifteen, the stars can align enough for Izuru's luck to influence Chiaki into being just savable. Especially with assistance from the Ultimate Everything.
EDIT: Revised this and the next two chapters to be much smoother and more accurate~