I hope you enjoy this one-shot and it gives you feels and stuff. Everyone has seen the "bad" ending and pondered why on earth Byakuya is smiling…oh, also why on earth Touko is dead. Well, there are a lot of theories flying around and here's my take on what happened after they gave up the fight to escape Hope's Peak Academy. :)

It's been a few months since the last murder…since Kyouko's execution.

Nobody talks about it anymore. She deserved it, anyways, for trying to get us all killed so she could leave the school. But things have been quiet since then. I'm beginning to believe that the killing sprees have finally come to an end at Hope's Peak Academy. Everyone has grown too close to wish death upon the other. As for me, I could never hope to pull off the perfect murder…I'm too hopeless.

At first, Monobear tried to fight us. He introduced all sorts of motives, but we had become numb to his manipulations. This was our life now. Through our sacrifice, we finally achieved peace.

Christmas came and went. We couldn't know for sure, but Hagakure said that's what the spirits told him. What garbage. But there was nothing else to go off of, so I did my best to keep track of the days. When each day feels exactly the same as the last, it isn't easy.

Eventually, Monobear gave up on us. The Mastermind must still be around, because our food supply is always being replenished. It's easy enough to get by, but I can never find ways to occupy myself. My creativity is gone. I can't write my novels in such an environment. I spend all my time keeping close to Byakuya.

But lately, he and Aoi—that big-chested, simple-minded swimmer—have been together more and more. I can't understand it. Can he not see my devotion to him? Does he not remember all of those times Aoi wronged him? She called his glasses ugly. She even slapped his beautiful face!

And yet, there he is, sitting with her by the pool. They're both wearing swimsuits. It's hard to get a clear view of his chiseled pectorals and abdominals from behind the door. This window is way too small and kind of dirty. Ugh.

I bite my thumb in frustration, wishing I could be the one talking to him so casually. Seeing the love of your life with your worst enemy hurts. It really hurts. This is the kind of feeling I could draw inspiration from, but there isn't any point to writing a novel when I'm trapped in this school.

A wave of depression washes over me. I can't stay here. I can't stand watching them swim together, work out together, read books together…just the very thought of Byakuya sharing his interests with another is disgusting. It's out of character!

I tear myself away from the door and force myself to walk stiffly back to my room. I pass Naegi on the way there.

"Fukawa-san! Is something wrong?" He asks, his gray eyes alight with concern.

I stop in my tracks and glare at him. "W…Why…?" I hiss, eyes narrowing suspiciously.

"Why?" He echoes, looking befuddled.

"Yes!" I snap back, "Why should you care about my problems?! I know you're just faking! Obviously, there's something you want!"

He almost looks disappointed with me. I've seen that face many, many times in my life. The familiarity of it calms me down. I clasp my hands and lower my eyes in shame.

"If…If there's something you have to say, spit it out," I mumble, gritting my teeth, "Don't pretend to be interested in what I have to say."

For a long moment, Naegi just stares at me blankly. Is there anything going on in that thick head of his? It comes as a big surprise when he blurts out, "This is about Togami-kun isn't it?"

My eyes go wide and a gasp escapes my lips. I should have known Naegi would have perceived this. He was always figuring out the culprit back during the dark days of the trials.

Naegi nods. "Fukawa-san, I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but…everyone's done their best to adjust to this new life. Even Togami-kun. I think he's finally opened up and found a friend in Asahina-san. Maybe it's time you opened up too…you might find a friend yourself." His face lights up in a gentle smile. His eyes shine almost hopefully.

I avert my gaze with a light groan. I've opened up to Naegi in the past. I've told him all of my lowest moments…the time I lost my one true friend…the time a boy asked me out, merely on a dare. I suppose I can share my thoughts with him a little bit.

"It's just…I've been so devoted to Byakuya-sama for so long…" I admit with a nervous grin. My cheeks are hot. I busy myself with twiddling my fingers as I spill my inner feelings to the naïve boy before me. "But lately…he's been hanging out with that wench more and more! I don't understand! I thought they hated each other."

Naegi motions for us to sit down. I obey and lean slightly against the wall of the dim hallway we're in. Once settled, Naegi cocks his head and contemplates my words. "Well, I think the thing Asahina-san hated most about Togami-kun is how he treated the school life of mutual killing. He said a lot of insensitive things back then and he refused to befriend anyone because he'd believe we would all die. Now that it's over with, things don't have to be like that anymore."

"But…why…why would he pick her?" I spit the words through my teeth, clenching my skirt in my fists.

"Well, she is awfully pretty." Naegi says. I see a faint blush color his cheeks.

"Pervert!" I accuse, pointing a finger in his face, "You only like her because of her assets!"

Naegi immediately gets flustered. "N-No I don't!" He yelps, throwing his hands up in defense, "I mean—let's not get off-topic, okay? She's a really nice girl. She forgave Togami-kun for his past grievances, I'm sure she'd forgive you too. You could be great friends, Fukawa-san!"

"She has nothing to forgive me for!" I rage, leaping to my feet. Naegi cringes against the wall as I tower over him, shrieking, "I never did anything to her!"

"Y…You stabbed her with scissors…" Naegi points out, shielding himself.

I recoil as if he struck me. Being compared with my other self is the worst insult imaginable. "It wasn't me!" I whimper, "Y…You…why did you have to bring this up? Why do you always do this? Is it that you like hurting me?"

"That's just where the conversation went." Naegi stutters, trying to make up some lame excuse.

I shoot him a death glare. "I'm done talking to you." With that, I take off down the hallway.

"Just remember what I said, Fukawa-san," Naegi calls softly after me, "It's high time you accepted this new way of life. Things will get better when you do—trust me."

I try to block him out, but the words follow me all the way back to my room. Maybe Naegi's right. I've spent every single day stalking Byakuya, only to be told off by him. Maybe it's time to make some changes. If I do, maybe…maybe I can get to know him, just like Aoi is doing?

Annoyance tugs at my chest when I realize I'm complying with Naegi's advice. But this isn't for him. This is for my and Byakuya's future. I will accept these circumstances! I will change for the better!

I face my hideous reflection in the mirror, my features full of determination. I whip off my glasses and undo my braids. My long, dark hair falls down my back in waves. Then I remove my smelly school uniform. I spot the strap around my thigh, an article I did not place there. It contains two pairs of scissors. I remove it, knowing it will most likely appear in the future. Then I pick up my discarded shirt and sniff it.

There's no distinguishable scent, at least not to me. I haven't bathed in months—Byakuya is always making comments about my terrible smell, but any attention from him is always a blessing. I've never told him why I don't take showers.

It's because of the scars on my thigh, nearly up to my waist. Genocider Syo put those there. It's a tally of her victims. Each time she kills an innocent boy; she cuts another line in my skin. Her own personal record. I try to ignore the presence of the scars and keep them covered. It's like having a monster in your closet when you're little. You know it's there, yet you do everything in your power to pretend it doesn't exist and fall asleep. But there's always a quiet nagging at the back of the mind…

Taking a deep breath, I look down at my bare leg. Of course, there are no new marks. But the sight of the tallies still brings regretful tears to my eyes. I'm disgusting. But, as much as I want to throw my clothes on and go back to pretending I'm not a murderer, I can't. I promised I would change.

The warm bath water feels nice on my skin. The bottle of shampoo that has been sitting here, unused for months, has a pleasant aroma. Cucumber melon. As I lather it through my long hair, I idly wonder if Byakuya likes cucumbers.

I run soap over my body, cleaning away every bit of grime that has gathered. The longer I look at my scars, the easier it becomes. There's so many, but I can breathe easy because Genocider Syo will never be able to add to them. Not unless she wants to be executed for her crimes.

After that heavenly bath, I put on a robe and stuff my long hair into a towel. I look at my changed appearance once more. My porcelain skin is perfectly clean…maybe I'm not so hideous after all.

Too bad my disgusting personality detracts from whatever part of my appearance is decent enough to look at…no! I won't think like this any longer! I'm changing. I'm going to become a new me.

For some reason, tears gather in my eyes. Changing is hard. I just want to fall into Byakuya's arms and have him accept me for who I am, like he's always done. But it's not enough anymore, not with Aoi moving in on him.

I'm kind of tempted to go running off to Byakuya's room in nothing but this robe to show him I bathed, but that might fluster him. I'll wait until tomorrow to surprise him. Maybe we can go to the library and read together. Or if he's into working out nowadays, I'd be happy to take up one of his interests if it'll bring us closer!

I go to bed, smiling, my cheeks flushed. My mind is abuzz with all sorts of thoughts about this new relationship I'm going to develop with Byakuya. I've been doing everything wrong up until now.

This time, I'll definitely get it right!

I wake up feeling awful. My head feels like it's full of lead. There's a dull pain in my leg…I must have slept on it funny. I feel nothing like I did last night.

I rub my eyes and reach for my glasses, which are by my bedside. As I slip them on, the world comes into focus. A horrified cry catches in my throat and I nearly choke. I can't believe what I'm seeing.

Someone broke my mirror. There are long cracks running along its surface, distorting its picture. A pair of black boxer briefs is hung up like some sort of flag. Pictures of Byakuya have been taped in a circle around my mirror. I don't even know how she managed to take those without him seeing. And…there's blood on the walls.

I whip off my glasses with a small cry, before the very sight of it can cause me to lose consciousness. When did Genocider Syo find the time to form such a collection? Whose blood is that on the walls?

My chest tightens with panic. I throw my covers off and leap from my bed, planning to run to Byakuya's side. But a fierce burning pain emanates from my thigh. It's so unexpected. I clutch it and fall to the ground, cringing. The suddenness of this situation makes me want to scream until I pass out.

Instead, I take deep breaths and force myself to calm down. I tenderly remove my pajama pants to take a look at what's causing me this discomfort. White bandages have been wrapped tightly around my scars. They're faintly stained red.

A whimper escapes my lips and I clap a hand to my mouth. The world spins around me. If I faint now, Genocider Syo will take over once more, just like she did last night. I don't know how it happened. I must have sneezed in my sleep. The only things that can bring her out are sneezing, the sight of blood, and a certain blonde-haired boy.

I reach for my pajama pants to pull them back on, but something tells me I shouldn't. I need to know what Genocider Syo did to my body while I was sleeping. So I carefully peel back the bandage, fighting through my nausea. The sight that greets me horrifies me.

Long red gashes have been carved into my skin, crossing out Genocider Syo's careful tally of her victims. I squeeze my eyes shut and slap the bandage back on. It's stopped bleeding, but it's still painful to look at. My mind screams, why? Why would she do such a thing?!

And then everything comes together.

She's had it with this tedious lifestyle. I am willing to change, but she is not. The only reason she ever refrained from killing Byakuya in the first place is because she held onto the hope that she could escape from here alive. But now, everyone's given up the fight. We've decided to live in this school the rest of our lives.

She won't stand for it. She'd rather die than live like this. And now she's going to get the both of us executed—but before that, she's going to kill Byakuya and crucify him on this shrine she's built.

I scream. The sound echoes off the empty walls of my room. I rise to my feet, hyperventilating, tugging at my hair. My constant sobbing makes it difficult to breathe.

This can't wait. I have to warn Byakuya—Genocider Syo could take over at any moment and I'd lose the opportunity.

My leg protests greatly as I book it to Byakuya's quarters. But I welcome the pain. It lets me know I'm still alive and in control. Once I get there, I pound on the door and don't stop until it has opened.

Byakuya stands before me, fully dressed, a violin in his hand. I stare at it. Byakuya-sama plays violin? I think, dazed. How did I not know that?

"Who on earth…?" He looks me up and down, a shocked expression on his face. Realization causes his turquoise eyes to light up. "…Fukawa?"

I forgot myself. I'm squeaky clean, in my bedclothes, my hair is down, and I don't have my glasses on. Byakuya has never seen me like this. But there's no time to explain. "Byakuya-sama, there's something I need to tell you!" I gasp, completely out of breath.

A familiar scowl settles across his face. "Can't this wait until I have completed my morning rituals?" He goes to shut the door.

"N-No, please!" I shriek, throwing my arms out to stop him.

He glares at me fiercely. "I don't want to be spotted with you, looking the way you are. The others will get the wrong idea. You may speak to me when you are more presentable."

With that, he shuts the door. I choke back a sob. "I'm so sorry, Byakuya-sama!" I shout, hoping my voice can pierce the soundproof walls, "I'll do as you wish! Please feel free to punish me for my mistake!"

No response.

I trudge back to my room, feeling dejected. Before I arrive, I come across Hagakure on his way to the cafeteria. I must have awoken later than I realized…I have Genocider Syo to thank for that.

A loud gasp comes from Hagakure once he lays eyes on me. "You!" He demands, blocking my way and gawking at me, "Who are you?"

I scowl and try to go around him, but he blocks me once more.

"Are you…the Mastermind?" He wonders, staring at me quizzically.

"Don't make ridiculous assumptions!" I snap, "Why would the Mastermind be walking around here?!"

Hagakure relaxes immediately. He reaches back and scratches his untamed hair, looking almost disappointed. "Oh, it's you, Fukawa-chi. But why do you look so strange? You're not possessed, are you?"

I push past him without a word. He doesn't fight me.

"Wait! I can exorcise you—for a price!"

I hear him clapping his hands and like he's ready to start some idiotic ritual. I quicken my steps to get back to my room faster. I need to hurry and get ready so that I can tell Byakuya what Genocider Syo has prepared for him.

I skip showering. Braiding my hair takes a while. Everything else takes but a moment. I throw on my usual school uniform and rush back out the door half an hour later. The first place I go is back to Byakuya's room…but he's not there. I knock on the door for a minute straight, but no one comes.

After that, I head to the cafeteria to find everyone has gathered there. They're eating breakfast together. Byakuya is sitting between Aoi and Naegi…they're probably all talking about me. I'm tempted to just turn tail and leave, but Hagakure spots me.

"Fukawa-chi!" He calls out in a singsong voice, waving me over.

The other three turn around. Naegi gives me an inviting smile. I clench my jaw and square my shoulders, facing that there's no other choice but to join them. I stiffly walk over and take a seat next to Hagakure.

"Good to see you're no longer possessed!" He says cheerfully, giving me a slap on the back.

I flinch at the contact. I hate being touched. It makes me want to claw that goofy expression off his stupid-looking face.

"Possessed?" Aoi says, looking mildly freaked out, "What on earth are you talking about?"

Naegi distracts everyone by offering more bacon. "I hope everyone enjoys the breakfast I made!" He says cheerfully, "Here, Fukawa-san, have a pancake!"

"It's delicious, Naegi!" Aoi giggles, taking a huge bite of a pancake and following it up with a whole glazed donut. The sight of her stuffing her face sickens me. I tear my gaze away and sample what's on my plate.

"It's delicious, Naegi-chi!" Hagakure says, giving his friend a thumbs-up.

It's not that great. I think sulkily. I shoot Byakuya a tentative glance, but he's quietly enjoying his meal. I wish I could get him alone so I can tell him what I saw.

"So!" Naegi says through a mouthful of eggs, "We were just talking about doing some fun activities today since we haven't for a while. This afternoon, we're gonna play water polo at the pool. You in, Fukawa-san? It'd be great if we had even teams!"

He's trying so hard to include me…it's aggravating. "You already do have even teams." I say softly. "You don't need me."

"I count as two people!" Aoi declares, flashing a peace sign and beaming, "No one can beat me in the water!"

I bite back a furious retort, pretending that it's just a conversation between me and Naegi. "I…I'll do it if Byakuya-sama does…"

"I am." He says flatly, crossing his arms. "Asahina and I will make the three of you rue the day you set foot in the water." He sends her a knowing smirk and she returns it.

I clench my fists hard, digging my nails into the palms of my hand until it hurts. I can't think of another excuse. What I really want to say won't come out. I don't want to wear a swimsuit in front of everyone. I don't want everyone to see my scars or think I'm fat. And most of all, I don't want to witness Byakuya having fun with Aoi!

"Fine," I spit through gritted teeth.

"Woohoo!" Hagakure pumps his fist in the air, nearly socking me with it.

"Just to watch!" I say harshly, "I…I'm not promising I'll get in the pool…!"

Naegi smiles. "It'll be great just to have you there, Fukawa-san. After our attempts to play water polo, Hagakure-kun is going to give us all free fortune-telling!"

Hagakure winces slightly. "Well, if we ever get outta here, I'm gonna charge you for it. I gotta make a living, right?"

"Err…okay?" Naegi says, looking a little less cheerful. But when he moves on to the next activity, he regains all of his enthusiasm, "Anyways, Togami-kun will be cooking dinner for us this evening."

"And it will put your appalling breakfast to shame," Byakuya sneers, poking at a floppy pancake with his fork, "Tonight, you will discover what real food tastes like."

"I can't wait for that!" Naegi exclaims, "Fukawa-san, would you like to pick the last activity for the day?"

I squirm uncomfortably in my seat as everyone waits for my answer. Honestly, there's nothing to do in this dump. Why would they force this on me? I bite my lip nervously and stammer, "Umm…m-maybe we could write a story together? Or…w-we could just read too…ugh…why bother asking me? I don't have any good ideas!"

"No, no, I like your idea a lot!" Naegi says, looking excited, "We could make games out of it! Did anyone ever play that game where you start a story, then keep passing it around to see what direction the other people take it in?"

"Yeah, I played that in sixth grade!" Aoi proclaims, clapping her hands, "Let's do it! Good idea, Touko-chan!"

I grimace. "It wasn't my idea." And don't act like we're friends!

"Yes, well done, Fukawa. This day actually might be enjoyable." Byakuya says, adjusting his glasses with a frown.

"Th-Thank you, Byakuya-sama!" I stutter, instantly turning beet red.

"All right!" Naegi gets up from his chair and stretches. "So I guess I'll see you all in an hour for some swimming?"

"Right!" Aoi says happily, putting up her fists, "You guys are going down!"

Everyone starts to get up and go his or her separate ways. Aoi hovers near Byakuya, chatting. The amount of envy I feel makes my stomach hurt. I gather the courage to approach them, ignoring the part of me that admits what a cute couple they are. Their personas could fit perfectly into a romance novel: Sweet, energetic girl melts the handsome yet cold boy's heart. Ugh. It's been done one too many times, in my opinion.

"Byakuya-sama?" I ask shyly, interrupting their conversation.

"Fukawa," He says suddenly, turning to face me, "That's right, I had forgotten. There was something you wanted to tell me, wasn't there?" He waits expectantly for me to say it.

I shoot a furtive glance at Aoi. She has a pleasantly confused look on her face. Her head is cocked slightly like she's trying to look cute. "Can we…go somewhere else?" I mutter darkly.

"Surely anything you have to say can be said here?" Byakuya says, narrowing his eyes and folding his arms.

Aoi saves me. "It's fine! I'll see you later, okay?" She grins at Byakuya. He doesn't return it, which is nice to see. Then she's on her way, leaving the two of us alone.

It's been so long. My heart is suddenly pounding in my chest, threatening to leap out of my throat. I swallow nervously. Byakuya is looking at me expectantly.


"Genocider Syo is planning to murder you!" I blurt out.

Shock flickers across his face, but only for a moment. He quickly composes himself. I can see suspicion flaring in those beautiful turquoise eyes of his. "How could you possibly know this?" He asks, scowling, "The two of you don't share memories, much less think on the same plane. Is this a ploy for attention?"

"Naegi told you what I said, didn't he?" I snarl, clutching my head.

Byakuya just stares at me, looking slightly disturbed.

"Ah…no, I mean-! I would do anything for your attention, Byakuya-sama, but I wouldn't lie to you! Not like this!" I clasp my hands and try to look endearing to the best of my ability.

He isn't impressed. "Then why did you say…?"

"Here!" I reach out both of my hands, "I'll prove it! Just come with me."

Byakuya hesitates slightly. Then with a deep sigh, he slowly takes one of my hands in his own. "Make it quick, will you?"

My insides are screaming.

Oh my God, Byakuya's holding my hand and we're going to my room and we're alone and I think my face is on fire oh my God oh my God…

But once we get there, I remember why we came. Byakuya looks at the makeshift shrine in horror. He tries to back out the door, but at the same time he can't seem to tear his gaze away.

"What kind of sick deluded fantasy are you—is—is that my underwear?!"

"Yes! I mean, no! I-I mean…please don't run, Byakuya-sama! I didn't do this, she did! She wants to kill you!" I cry out desperately, holding onto his hand tightly. Tears prick my eyes. I sniffle, "I just don't want to see anything happen to my precious Byakuya-sama…"

"Don't call me that," He growls, ripping his hand out of mine. With quick steps, he comes into my room and snatches up his stolen underwear. Then he starts gawking at the pictures. "Hold on...is this a picture of me sleeping? And-and changing in the boys' locker room? How did you even take these?! There's a machine gun stationed outside the locker room!"

"I told you, it wasn't me. If...If you need more proof…" I say in a shy voice, lifting up my skirt, "I have some."

Byakuya throws up his arms to shield his face, demanding, "What do you think you're doing, you fool?!"

I just whimper slightly. When Byakuya lowers his hands, he sees the damage Genocider Syo did. The stained bandages…the thin red gashes… "I…I could have never done this to myself. Don't you see…?" I say weakly, averting my gaze from the very sight of it.

Byakuya takes a few steps closer to me, staring at my injured thigh. Blush rises in my cheeks to have such a handsome man observing my legs. But his eyes are dead serious when he looks up at me. I can see he finally believes me.

"What should we do?" He asks softly.

For a moment, I think I see a different side of Byakuya. A fragile side that is afraid of dying. I try to disregard the fluttering heart in my chest and reply with an even voice. "I don't know…there's not much we can do. I just have to stop myself from sneezing or seeing blood."

Byakuya casts a glance over his shoulder to observe the shrine once more. His nose wrinkles in distaste. "I suppose I'll have to clean this up for you then, will I?"

"If it's no trouble." I squeak, fully convinced he won't do it.

But Naegi was right. He has changed. Maybe it's because he's protecting himself, but I don't think the Byakuya I knew a few months back would have done this for me. While he works, I sit on the bed and try to think up some sort of way to make conversation. I've fantasized hundreds of conversations with Byakuya, but speaking to the real one is much more difficult.

"When on earth did your unpleasant other self sneak into my room and steal my boxer briefs? And how did she take those pictures without me realizing it?"

Byakuya's voice makes me jump. I didn't expect him to strike up the conversation.

I hang my head in shame. "Err…I'm not sure. You'll have to ask her."

"No I will not," He says firmly, mopping up the dried blood with a wet towel, "Because you are going to make sure she never sees the light of day, ever again!"

"R…Right." I say weakly.

"Have confidence, Fukawa!" He says, casting a stern glare at me, "With that sort of attitude, I'll be dead by tomorrow morning."

I laugh weakly.

His gaze hardens. "That was not a joke." He whips around and climbs onto my dresser so he can reach the bloodstains on the ceiling. His body is rigid with tension.

"Oh yes, of course n-not." I stammer, my smirk fading instantly. I can feel sweat running down my brow. I wipe it away, desperate for a change of topic. "S-So today should be…fun?" It sounds like a question. Probably because it is a question. I have no idea whether or not Naegi's activities will be enjoyable. I'm guessing no.

But then Byakuya surprises me. "Yes, they should," He says, with a certain level of fondness in his voice. He doesn't look at me. He's very focused on cleaning up the last of the shrine.

I clutch at my chest. I wish he could speak of me so fondly. His insults can be very moving, but sometimes I wish his sweet side would show just a little more.

Without warning, Byakuya curses loudly and hops down from the dresser. He's holding his hand. Blood is leaking from a gash, seeping out from between his fingers. With a grimace, he yanks out a shard of mirror—it's coated scarlet.

It all happens so quickly, there's no time to react.

I'm gone.


My shrieking cackle causes Byakuya to whip around in alarm. His eyes widen with fear at the sight of me. Oh, good. Touko must have warned him, just like I wanted her to. It's no fun to be the cat if the mouse doesn't run. I reach under the nearby pillow and slowly slip a hidden pair of scissors out from under them. My beautiful tools of torture are hidden in every nook and cranny of this room. This will be too easy.

Byakuya starts towards the door. With a scream of joy, I bounce off the bed and beat him to it. I slam it shut and lock it behind me so that we won't be disturbed by those other idiots.

"Ooh, look at this!" I gush, clawing at my cheeks, "Miss Gloomy didn't just warn you, she practically gift-wrapped you! This is gonna be so much fun!"

Byakuya lunges at me before I can finish my speech. Something sharp digs into my gut. A scream rips its way out of my throat, as I'm unprepared for the sudden pain. I didn't realize he was holding a shard of glass in his hand.

My guard goes down for a moment. Byakuya pushes me aside and grabs the door handle, ready to make his grand escape. But that's as far as he gets. With an enraged cry, I throw my body at his, forcing him over with every ounce of strength I have. He doesn't cave—he's clearly been working out as of late. But I know all of the little weaknesses that boys hide. I know how to make him bow before me.

I grab his hair in one fist and pull. At the same time, I bring my knee straight up into his gut. I can feel the air leave his lungs. But instead of crumpling, he swings a fist at me. It connects with the side of my head. It hurts. For some reason, everything is suddenly hysterical.

"Oh, darling!" I gasp, laughing so hard that tears are running down my face, "What a wonderful end this will be for the both of us!" I reach for his throat.

The palm of his hand collides with my nose. Warm blood mixes with the tears on my face. My long tongue swipes across my lips, relishing the salty taste.

No more games.

I dig my scissors into his left shoulder. A cry of pain dies in his throat. Pleasure runs through my body, all the way to my fingertips.

"Again, again!" I squeal, piercing the other shoulder. Red spurts forth and stains his handsome suit.

But he's a stubborn boy. He grits his teeth, continuing to fight me. But with a weapon, I have the upper hand. I point my blade directly at his throat, forcing him back, away from the door. Then I throw myself at him once more, forcing him onto the bed. I pin him with my body weight.

My face heats up. All of this excitement is causing me to shake. And my darling is in my bed with me? Kyaaa! I might die of a heart attack before blood loss!

"Oh, you have no idea how thankful I am, Byakuya-sama!" I giggle, "This is just the kind of exit I wanted! You, fighting all the way to the end; me, being executed and following you down the path of death. I have no regrets!"

Byakuya's eyes are unforgiving, but I can see weakness behind those walls he's built. His resolve wavers slightly. "Fukawa…!" He begs for her to come back.

"Hey! What, am I not good enough for you?!" I scream, jabbing his throat with my scissors. "I hope you said your goodbyes, because your precious Fukawa isn't coming back!"

I'm so mad I could spit on him. But I don't. Seeing him so helpless softens my heart. I look down at him, feeling sorry for his pitiful self. Gently, I peel his jacket off so I can see the blood staining his pure white shirt underneath. Such a beautiful sight.

"I hope I can suffice…" I whisper, leaning in for a kiss. Just as I get my lips on his, he clamps down hard and he bites me. He freakin' bites me! What a mood-killer. Hasn't anyone taught him how relationships work?

It's hilarious. "Darling!" I shriek, choked by laughter once more. My tongue lolls over my cut lip, relishing the taste of blood, "You're so feisty! It's such a turn on! Please stop being so sexy, it's too much, it's too much…!"

I can feel him go limp underneath me. I know what's coming. He's summoning all of his strength to push me off. But I'm ready for it. I take the opportunity to snake my fingers through his shirt and unbutton it, humming all the while. I undo about three of them before he decides now is the time to strike.

When he does, I force my weight down and at the same time grab his arm and position the tip of my scissors above the palm of his hand. I keep one knee right on his throat, cutting off his air supply. He struggles for breath, surprised by my fast reflexes.

"Let's start the crucifixion!" I declare.

His struggles become twice as desperate, if that's possible. A strangled cry breaks free from his lips.

"Shush!" I say in the most soothing voice I can muster, aiming my weapon, "Just stay still and enjoy it. If you don't, I'll have to kill you faster."

With a burst of strength, Byakuya dislodges my knee. "Just end it, then!" He snarls, "I'd rather die with dignity than play along with your sick little game!"

"You...don't want to play?" Tears of sadness well up and spill from my eyes. I continue to laugh, but they're mixed with sobs now. How strange. "I'm going to miss you, Byakuya-sama. We shared quite an adventure together—and now we die together, like true lovers. I suppose the least I can do is grant you this last wish."

This was supposed to be fun. I was really going to draw it out. But that doesn't matter anymore. All that matters is pleasing my favorite victim.

I lift my beautiful scissors, which have become shiny with blood. Someone is pounding on the door. They have been, for the last minute. But I barely notice. It is just Byakuya and I, in this bed, our blood pooling around us. Living was fun. Killing cute boys was even more fun. But now, the tally on my leg no longer matters. I've already sealed my fate.

With a deranged scream, I drive the blade down towards Byakuya's throat. He closes his eyes, regretful tears gathering in those long, delicate eyelashes of his. I brace myself for the warm gush of blood that will spray from his jugular.

But…nothing happens.

My hand stops less than an inch away. One inch from certain death for the both of us. My grip on the handle loosens. Spots cloud my vision and the room seems to spin around me.

I shriek furiously when I realize what is happening.

She's taken control of her body back. For the first time, she's beaten me.

That bitch.

I did it.

I fought her and I won. I don't know how I did it. It was like coming out of a dream, walking through a dark tunnel with no way out. Yet somehow, I had forged my own path of escape.

And now here I am. In my bed, on top of Byakuya with a bloody pair of scissors in my hand. My nose and lip are bleeding; a sharp pain emanates from my stomach as well. Byakuya's jacket is off, revealing every drop of blood on his clean white shirt underneath. It's been undone, but I can't appreciate the sight of his bare skin with blood flecked across it. His eyes are unfocused, as if he's already dead. His face is streaked with tears.

He blinks back to life and looks at me. There's a weak spark of recognition in those turquoise depths.

"Touko…?" He murmurs.

A sob wracks my body. I place a hand over my mouth and manage a weak nod.

A small, genuine smile creases his lips. He's relieved.

I'm not. The sight and smell of blood is nauseating. Genocider Syo is fighting for control and in another minute, she's going to win. My grip tightens on the pair of scissors in my hand.

She'll kill us both. She'll never stop until Byakuya is dead. Either way, I...

…There are…no other options…

"Byakuya-sama, I won't…I won't let her win!"

With a determined cry, I dig the tip of the blade into my own throat, severing the jugular. A fountain of crimson blood gushes forth, coating my hands. I want to scream, but it's choking me. It pours from my mouth and drips down my chin.

My body crumples. I can't handle it. I want everything to go away…the pain, the sadness, the longing, the envy. All of it.

I don't have to wait long. Death arrives on a swift wings. I close my eyes, warm tears running down my face, and wait for it to take me completely…

But…I think I can feel warm arms encircling me.

Byakuya is…holding me…

He's so warm…

No…I don't want to go…but…

If it's to…protect…him…

I will.

Byakuya Togami Jr.'s POV

Eight years later…

"Come on, everyone! Time for a family photo!"

Uncle Naegi is running around like crazy trying to gather everyone. I don't know why he always plans these weird little events he thinks are fun. Nobody else seems too excited about it.

"Can someone help me out, here?" Mommy complains, balancing my two baby brothers in her arms, "These are your kids too, you know!"

Uncle Hagakure scratches his head, grinning, "Hey, I only lay claim to one of them and even then, I'm only 30% sure that one's mine..."

My littlest brother is practically a clone of Uncle Hagakure. I'm 100% sure it's his, but whenever I talk to Uncle Hagakure, he starts talking about weird things like aliens stealing his cheeseburgers, so I just stay away.

"Okay, is everyone here?" Uncle Naegi asks, smiling. He puts his hands on his son and proclaims, "Smile for the camera!"

Nothing happens.

"I don't think it's working…" I point out.

A big grin stretches across his face. "Whoops! Looks like I forgot to set the timer." He darts towards the camera and quickly pushes a few buttons. Then he announces, "Okay, ready to go!"

"Wait!" Daddy bursts out suddenly, "We forgot someone."

He goes running off before anyone can stop him. I frown slightly, counting off the members of our family in my head. One daddy, one mommy, two uncles, two little brothers…no, I don't think anyone's missing. Except Daddy, because he just went running off.

Within a minute, he's returned, panting. In his hands, he holds a large picture frame with a decorative black ribbon on it. On it is a picture of a pretty lady with glasses and long, dark braids. I've seen the picture before, in my daddy's room, but I've never thought anything of it.

"Daddy, who's that lady?" I ask loudly, peeking around Mommy to get a good look. "She looks sad."

Daddy ignores me, smiling at the photo. "Now we're all here." He says quietly.

Uncle Naegi smiles knowingly. For a moment, everyone shares a long, wordless silence. Annoyance flashes through me.

"Mommy, who's that lady?" I persist, tugging at her shirt.

"Okay!" Uncle Naegi says, pushing a button on the camera and darting towards us. He shoves right in between Mommy and Daddy, cheering, "Smile, everyone!"

"Cheeeeese!" Little Naegi squeals.

The camera flashes and captures the moment, but I'm still concerned with finding out who the lady in the picture is. When everyone disperses, I catch up to Daddy and tug one of his black sleeves.

"Daddy, who's that lady?" I ask, pointing to the photo.

He smiles and places a hand on my shoulder. "I'll tell you about her someday, all right?"

"Can't you tell me now?" I mumble, wanting desperately to know.

He takes a moment to consider my request. "Someday, I'll tell you the whole story," He decides, "But for now, just know that she was a very brave lady and Daddy would not be here today were it not for her. Okay?"

"...You promise you'll tell me everything later?" I ask, tipping my head expectantly.

He nods. "I promise."