A buzzing tone droned in his ears. For a few minutes, Souji was unsure what it meant. Minutes? Moments? It all felt the same now. His hand remained clenched around Nanako's, even though hers had gone limp. No one moved to separate the two of them. Someone ran into the room. Several people. He could hear crying. A thump at the foot of the bed - Dojima had collapsed out of shock. The dull tone's meaning finally settled in his head. It was the sound of a flatlined heartbeat monitor.
Nanako was dead.
It was hard to admit, but that was the truth, wasn't it? He wanted to cry, but part of him felt detached from the situation. Even with him sitting here, his hand clasped around hers, this didn't feel real at all. Dojima left at some point, and had Souji been in some other frame of mind, he would have found that odd. Why would a father leave the site of his only daughter's death?
And all the while, he couldn't help but blame himself. If only he'd gotten there sooner—if only it hadn't taken so long to reach her—if only he'd stopped Namatame from turning into that thing—
Someone shook his shoulder and politely asked him to leave. As he walked toward the door, someone called his name, and he ran out, followed by the others. While they interrogated the timid detective outside the door, Souji's mind focused on one thought: Namatame was in this hospital.
No one noticed that Teddie stayed in the room with Nanako when they ran off to stop Dojima. Upon arriving, they realized they shouldn't have bothered, as Dojima was bleeding too badly and still far too weak to have done anything in the first place. Everyone agreed that it was wrong that Namatame was allowed to live when Nanako was dead. Souji said nothing.
A crashing sound emanated from inside Namatame's room. Following the others' lead, Souji ran inside. The first thing that Souji saw was the large TV on the opposite side of the room. The second thing he saw was Namatame cowering on the ground by an open window.
"Trying to escape?" Souji was surprised by the words that came out of his mouth. He hadn't thought that he was still capable of speaking. It wasn't hard for them to figure out what Namatame was trying to do.
A television turned on, and an unrepentant Shadow appeared.
"I failed to save her. It's because you got in my way."
The others were disgusted, yelling at the television that shouldn't have been able to hear them, or yelling at Namatame. Souji just stared, eyes glued to the screen.
"I failed. But it wasn't my fault. And the law can't touch me anyway…"
Hadn't Adachi told them himself that they weren't going to be able to level a case against Namatame? There was nothing tying him to the murders before, because the only thing they could get him on was kidnapping Nanako... and even then, he'd only be in for a few years, because of their lousy justice system. Who cared if she died after he'd kidnapped her? It wasn't like they could pin a cause of death on him.
"Do whatever you want. You hate me because the child died, don't you?"
He hated him; there was no other person on this planet Souji hated right now than Namatame. He wanted to make him suffer for what he had done—for the women he'd killed and the friends he'd tried to kill. Every single one of them had suffered because of this man. And even then, he'd just get off—
"I don't care either way. Living or dying makes no difference to me. But you… You're different. You can't do such a thing. You wouldn't dare, right? I'll continue "saving" people… It's my mission…!" The television switched off as the monster on screen was in mid-chuckle. Namatame whimpered.
It was Yosuke and Kanji who started the talks on what to do with Namatame. They wanted to end his life. Most of the girls were against doing so… all but Naoto, who merely commented on the television. A TV of that size… it would be easy to push someone through. It was an absurd idea, the group of them committing murder, but Namatame continued to beg for his life, and the more he begged, the more Souji felt his fists clench, until his knuckles had gone white.
In the back of Souji's head, a voice, one he wasn't entirely sure was his own, began to whisper to him. Nanako is dead. Namatame will escape for his crimes. He's killed two people, and he kidnapped all of your friends and tried to kill them too, just to satiate his demented messiah complex. And now he's killed Nanako too. Nanako, who was the closest thing to family you have ever had. And now, Nanako is dead, and Namatame is alive.
Nanako is dead.
"What do you want to do… leader?"
The others had finished arguing, and all eyes were on him. He stared down at the weak human being cowering on the floor; the man who was the source of their problems, lying helpless at their feet.
And Souji did what he should have done all along, and put the bastard in the TV.