A/N: So this was something I actually had bubbling in the back of my mind for a while, but I didn't actually type it out because I wanted to see if Hajizuru still had the hairpin in Side: Hope. Because if he did, that would mean it was extremely important to him, and I was curious as to how Izuru would react to losing it, since he's so apathetic about almost everything.
Well, the episode aired, and yes, he does. He held onto it for years. I squealed.
And then I immediately jumped into writing my first actual fanfic for the Dangan Ronpa fandom.
Telling time was near-impossible now—all the clocks had stopped working long ago, and the sky was perpetually red, masking the journey of the sun. By the grumbling in their bellies, though, the three armed men could tell it was too long since their last meal. The streets of the small town they crouched among were filled with rubble, crumpling buildings in the backdrop. Their eyes were trained on the road into town, where a solitary figure could be seen approaching.
To the bandits, they saw nothing but a young, well-dressed, and well-fed man. A target prime for robbery. A walking corpse whose loot would feed them and clothe them another day. They waited patiently, not wanting to give him time to run, and when he was close enough leapt from their hiding spots. They raised their clumsy, self-made weapons—baseball bats with shards of glass driven into them—and charged him.
He seemed to blur before their eyes, melting into a motion of all black. The first bandit felt a palm slam into his chest, breaking his sternum and throwing him ten feet into the building behind him. The second barely had time to understand what he'd seen before the black blur pivoted on a heel, bringing a roundhouse kick into his neck, breaking it. The third swung his homemade club in an overhead arc at his would-be victim, only for it to be yanked out of his grasp and returned to his face. The entire incident was over in a few seconds; the intended victim snapped to a halt, standing amidst the bodies.
Kamukura Izuru ran dispassionate red eyes over the corpses of his attackers. It had only been a few years since the Tragedy, yet the world had already degraded to such a wild state—mankind reverting to animals, driven by the base instincts for survival, the strong and the weak banding together to kill each other. All to live for just one more day on the hell the world had become.
Despite what Enoshima Junko had promised him, despair was becoming boring. Repetitive. Human behavior was predictable; he knew he looked out-of-place, both for his unnerving physical appearance and healthy state, and those things invited attacks born of fear or desperation. Attempts on his life were so commonplace as to be routine.
He stuck his hands back in his pockets, ready to be on his way and completely dismiss the incident, and it was then he noticed the hole in them and the conspicuous absence of the hairpin usually within.
A curious emotion swelled in him. It increased the palpitations of his heart and pulled the air sharply from his lungs. It sent his usually-rational mind into a frenzy, scattering like a dropped bag of marbles. Panic, the remaining, analytical part of his mind informed him, you are experiencing panic.
Illogical. There was no reason to feel panic. His life was not in immediate danger, nor was the hairpin essential to his survival. It did not feed him, or shelter him, or protect him. It could not cure him if he fell ill or be used to bandage him if he was wounded. Nor was it worth a particularly great deal of money, though that would have been useless in this post-apocalyptic world. It was just a hairpin. And yet its loss was striking him as though it were the cornerstone of his existence, with the strength of an emotion he'd only felt once before, back when…
His eyes started stinging—tears, why was he crying still, the event was done and over with—and he wiped at them with one hand. To better clear his vision, of course. Not to try and alleviate the hollow ache in his chest, there was no logical reason rubbing his eyes would do anything for that.
His gaze darted among the rocks on the ground, over the area near his shoes, down by the bodies of the men—there. A glimmer of red and white, near one outstretched hand.
And just like that, the panic left, leaving an almost dizzying, euphoric feeling of relief in its place. The hole in his pocket must have only recently become large enough for the little object to slip through—he was fortunate. Izuru bent and picked the hairpin—Nanami Chiaki's hairpin—up. He stared at it.
Even now, she was still bestirring a storm of feelings in him. She was still making the world interesting.
Nanami Chiaki was as much of a mystery to him in death as she had been in life. He'd only met her twice, both brief, short-lived instances, but she had captured his interest in that short time. More than that, she had awakened emotions beyond his usual apathy, sadness and surprise and respect and something like longing and something else that might have been love.
Hinata Hajime had loved her. That much was clear. But Hinata Hajime was dead, his mind dissected under scalpels, cold steel cutting away all his emotions and memories and thoughts. Kamukura Izuru was not Hinata Hajime. He was talent incarnate, not a painfully-average boy. He did not share anything with his past self.
So why did he retain these feelings? Why did he have echoes of memories of playing games with her? Why did he keep this—this memento, of a girl long dead?
Why, even two years later, did he still mourn her passing?
Exhaling, he clipped the pin in his hair, holding his long bangs out of his face. A temporary solution, until he could find a needle and thread to fix his slacks. Then the hairpin would resume its journey with him in his pocket. Even though it was illogical to have a hairpin and not even use it, he'd never actually worn it before. Doing so just felt wrong somehow, and he mentally apologized to Nanami's spirit even though she probably couldn't hear him—or if she could, she probably wasn't listening. Why would she? He hadn't done anything to comfort her in her last moments, hadn't even tried to save her. It was only natural she'd hold a grudge.
She wouldn't, the ghost of a dead boy murmured in his ear, she was never like that.
Izuru squashed the voice-memory-delusion immediately, resuming his slow walking on the road to Towa City. The broadcast from Hope's Peak had finished airing a few days ago, showing Enoshima's death in all its bloody glory. It was time for him to fetch her AI, as she'd plotted, but then her story would take a different turn. One that would show him once and for all whether the hope Nanami had shown in her final moments could truly overcome Enoshima's despair.
Absently toying with her hairpin, he wondered what it meant that he hoped it would.