Harmony Never Really Dies
Sing a Song of Revival
(Uploaded on October 20, 2018)
(Updated on February 3, 2020)
Summary: She's the Ultimate Pianist. He's the Ultimate Friend Maker.
She's the one who'd sacrifice herself to save the friends she held dearly. He's the one who'd fight for any friend in need of a helping hand.
Perhaps it was only fitting, then, that a miracle would set their paths to cross.
(They say that miracles can be shaped like friends, after all…)
Notes: Kirby-wise, this fic is set in April 2018, one month after the events of Kirby Star Allies. None of the Wave 3 Dream Friends participated in the main journey, and Heroes in Another Dimension has not happened yet.
Danganronpa-wise, this fic is set during the timeframe of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, beginning shortly after the conclusion of the first Class Trial.
Elements from earlier Kirby games and the Make a Friend series will be referenced, but one does not need to be totally familiar with the series to read this fic. As for Danganronpa, it is recommended to have played or experienced all of Danganronpa V3 first before continuing on.
This chapter was updated on February 3, 2020 to improve the overall writing.
"Well, at this point it goes without saying, but you all voted correctly! The blackened who killed Rantaro Amami is the Ultimate Pianist, Kaede Akamatsu!"
It was like a nightmare.
A nightmare without end; a nightmare with no recourse.
What other explanation could there be…
…for why Kaede Akamatsu was chosen to die?
She wanted to stop the killing game. She wanted to catch the Mastermind, to save the group she'd fallen in love with—
—and her reward for her noble intentions was to be an inescapable punishment.
Cries of denial were exclaimed. Tears of agony were shed.
But in the end, no one could avert their eyes from the truth.
(No matter how much a certain Ultimate Detective wanted to.)
They wanted to fight. They wanted to protect her, just as she did the same for them. Even if there was only a sliver of hope, they couldn't let her go out. Not like this!
But in the end, their decision was made for them.
The Pianist was silent.
"You said… you'd never give up," Shuichi choked, face clearly in pain, "that we'd get out of here together… so why are you giving up now!? Did—Did you mean what you said!?"
A sad smile hit her lips.
"I know we can do something! Don't give up until the end! Please!"
"…I'm not giving up," she finally replied, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Because I have you."
"…what?" The Detective was speechless.
"Even after I'm gone… my wish will still be here. So I'm counting on you all! I'm entrusting my wish to every one of you all! I… I believe in you! I believe that you all will make it through this, somehow!"
Opening her eyes, she continued, "You guys better live! Don't go dying on me now! End this ridiculous killing game, survive, and get the hell out of this place! And then…" She clasped her hands together. "…be friends after you escape, okay? I—I know you can do it. All of you!"
Reluctantly, a chorus of responses made themselves known.
"I will do my utmost to uphold your final request."
"I won't give up! I'll get out of here, no matter what!"
"Well, Kaede… you definitely weren't boring."
And all the while, Shuichi could only look on in dread – dread for the fate his best friend would face, dread for the life he'd have to lead without her.
"Now then… let's get started," the cruel voice of their captor stated. "I have a special punishment prepared for the Ultimate Pianist, Kaede Akamatsu!"
"W-Wait a second!" Shuichi exclaimed, waterworks freely flowing from his eyes. "Kaede, please, don't—!"
"Shuichi, you better not lose," Kaede replied. She locked gazes with him, and smiled one last encouraging smile. "You can't lose to this killing game! I know you can beat it!"
"Let's give it everything we've got! It's… PUNISHMENT TIME!"
"I believe in you guys! So please, believe in yourself!
"…okay? That's a promise."
The crane came down and attached itself around her neck—and Shuichi reached out for her hand in one last desperate attempt to keep things together.
Despite herself, she tried to do the same, if only for him—
—but it was far, far too late for that.
…a warm breeze blew past Kaede's skin.
That—That wasn't right. That couldn't be right.
Why could she feel the grass bristling against her back?
Why was her neck still intact, as if nothing had happened…?
"…where… where am I?" she asked quietly, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. "And… why am I… alive?"
Slowly, but surely, her vision cleared up. For a moment, she considered this might be a last-minute hallucination, caused by her mind willing itself to hang on for just one moment longer. And yet, that perfectly clear and navy night sky, unmarred by the gigantic cage that had surrounded the Ultimate Academy…
…it couldn't be faked.
Kaede hadn't expected to wake up again. Not like this.
How could she?
After all, she had been stolen away by a metal clamp, mercilessly swung around to create some twisted symphony, the noose on her neck growing ever tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter, until she was hanging limp and sore and barely conscious and then slammed crushed stomped shut smashed to death—
…she had thought that'd be the death of her.
She had thought that what she'd done would be the death of her.
She had thought that killing Rantaro Amami – no matter how accidental a killing it may have been – would be the last thing she would ever do.
And she'd submitted herself to that fate, even though she knew she could've taken the chance to escape alive, and walked into the Class Trial with few regrets.
(One of said regrets, of course, was the utterly distraught face of her best friend Shuichi, his hand reaching out to grab hers and herself trying to return the favor and yet they were just out of reach—)
But… now she was awake. Her eyes perfectly open. Her body completely untouched. Her mind perfectly working.
Despite all the odds, she was alive, and free, and perfectly fine, except she wasn't, because she was supposed to be dead, and she was a murderer, and, and…
What is going on? she thought, unable to stem her crying even as she sat upwards. This shouldn't be possible. I don't deserve to be alive again. Why? Why choose me?
…it was no good. She couldn't think. She couldn't think at all. Her mind just kept racing because of this impossibility. And that wasn't even mentioning the tears running down her cheeks.
This is my punishment, isn't it? For deciding to take a chance, for rolling that shot put ball down the vent.
In the end, nothing can change that.
It's all my fault.
It's all my fault.
And then, a voice came into hearing range.
"Hey." Kaede turned her attention to the side of her—and it was a testament to how exhausted she was that she couldn't bring herself to react—and witnessed a little pink… puffball (that was its shape; that was the only word that could describe the 'person' before her) walking up. He seemed to be wearing some sort of concerned expression on his face, looking to the world like all he wanted to do was just go up and give the Pianist a hug. "Are you… Are you alright? You look like you need a friend."
There was a lot Kaede wanted to say. 'No, I really don't. I'm just a monster, somebody who's killed someone else, I don't deserve any sympathy—'
But… she was tired.
Tired and lonely and exhausted and depressed and… everything.
She needed this.
"…yeah. I do," she admitted. The little puffball walked up a little closer, hopped into her lap, and—as best he could, given his stubby hands—gave Kaede a warm hug. She hesitated a little, before finally returning it and letting her tears fully engulf her face.
Miracles can be defined as events that bring together something wonderful.
Is it any stretch of the imagination to say that this wasn't a miracle unto itself?
This planet, so defined by its status as a World of Miracles…
Perhaps it could be the place where harmony, once killed, could live again.
"My name's Kirby," the puffball introduced himself after Kaede had released all of the tears from her eyes (and boy, wasn't that kind of embarrassing?), a warm smile perched upon his mouth. "I'm the… let's say, resident protagonist here in Dream Land. Who're you?"
That last sentence was rather… weird to hear (What is a Dream Land, exactly?), but hearing the word 'protagonist' again… It reminded her of the leader she'd been, just a few scant hours ago. (Had it been a few hours? she wondered. How much time had passed, since…?) Her own introduction came as such:
"I'm… Kaede Akamatsu," she stated. "I guess I was the… former 'protagonist' of the Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles." (And boy, didn't that hurt to say.) "Oh, and I'm the Ultimate Pianist. It's… It's nice to meet you."
"Kaede Akamatsu, Kaede Akamatsu…" Kirby repeated softly. "That's a pretty cute name, actually."
Despite herself, Kaede blushed a little. "Y-You, uhh—You really think so?" she stammered out, her eyes flickering away as embarrassment built up within her. "T-Thanks, I guess?" Internally, she was thinking, J-Jeez, did he have to say it like that? I don't think I've felt this flustered since… since ever!
"You know," he then started to say, "I've grown accustomed to seeing… unexpected visitors around, though you're pretty different from the norm. So… what's this 'Ultimate Academy for Gifted Juveniles' place like, anyway? What's your story? You didn't die or anything, did you?"
"That's a… long story." A very long story, if she was being honest—how was she to explain Ultimate talents and the Killing Game to a guy who didn't even look like he belonged in the world she knew? (And that wasn't even mentioning what she'd done.) "And maybe I'll find the time to explain it all later. I… I did d-die, though. I can… tell you that much."
And there it was, the noose on her neck, getting tighter and tighter and tighter and tighter and it just—won't—stop—
She gulped. D-Don't think about it, Kaede. Don't think about it. You're not there anymore. You—You're perfectly fine now.
(Her words didn't exactly soothe her own mind, though.)
"And…" she began to add. "I don't really know… why I'm here. How I came back." Why I was chosen to come back, she didn't amend.
"Pop Star's magic's weird like that," Kirby airily dismissed, though not out of any malice. "If it saw something it liked in you—and I'm sure there's a lot of that in there—then, well… You're here now, right?" He patted her back. "I've only met you for a few minutes, but I can tell you're a good person."
"…do… do you really think so?" she asked quietly.
"Yeah. I do. I know from experience. So… look a little happier, will you? I think a smile would really suit you more."
That was something she honestly needed to her. Her tear-streaked face couldn't help but smile at such unbridled goodwill.
Maybe, somehow, on this 'Pop Star', she could find a way to put the pieces back together. A way to put herself back together.
(And maybe, just maybe… she could find a way let harmony thrive again.
It wouldn't be easy, but then again… nothing ever was.)
As had been safely confirmed earlier, it was nighttime here in Dream Land (otherwise referred to as 'Darkness Time' in the Ultimate Academy)… and that meant Kaede needed a place to sleep. Because she didn't have a dorm anymore. It felt pretty oppressive, if I'm being honest, she internally mused. …I wonder how Shuichi is doing.
She may be alive now, but… Shuichi and the others didn't know that. Was he alright? Would he be able to fulfill her wish?
…was he still keeping himself together, even after she had quite literally died for him and everyone else?
(She shook her head. I can't think about it now, even if I really want to, she admonished herself. I have something else I need to focus on.)
"So, you need a place to say?" Kirby asked the unspoken question. Kaede blinked in shock; how'd he guess that so easily? "It was pretty obvious, you know," he grinned. "I mean, it is nighttime, and you just popped out of nowhere and all. I don't suppose you got a house teleported along with you?"
After getting her composure back together, she sheepishly said, "I'm not that lucky, sadly," Not unless Monokuma likes ripping out dorm rooms and tossing them into another world when people die.
The chances of that, unfortunately, were lower than low.
Her options were pretty limited at this point. She didn't have a house, or a sleeping bag, or any survival skills, or—anything, really, beyond her clothes, her bag, and her Monopad (now simply a constant reminder of her own failure). "I… I guess I'll sleep in the trees, or something." It's more than what I deserve, anyway, she thought bitterly.
"The trees? Unless you're like Coo, I don't think you'll really be comfortable up there." An idea then came to his mind, shown by his face instantly brightening up. "Hey, why don't you stay at my house for the night? I've got plenty of room; I don't really mind!"
"N-No no, it's fine!" Kaede tried to decline. "I'm—I'm sure I can find someplace, I wouldn't want to impede or anything!"
"What's the harm? Besides, it's been a while since I've had a sleepover of sorts!" Without hesitating, Kirby went up and grabbed the Pianist's hand. "C'mon, it'll be fun! I've got a sleeping bag you can use, too!"
For a moment—one painful moment—Kirby's insistence brought to mind her friends: Kaito's stubbornness, Tenko's hardheadedness… even Gonta's eternal niceness. His bright eyes, his happy smile, his offer to let her stay a while… (Was she going to be seeing that more? Her friends in other people now?)
Well, I guess I don't really have a lot to lose. "Alright," she conceded the fight. "I'll go."
"That's great!" he cheered. "Let's get moving, then!" Immediately, Kirby started darting off through the plains, dragging along Kaede for the ride. "My house is this way – come on!"
"W-Whoa, hey!" The poor Pianist was stumbling and trying to keep her footing – Kirby was a lot stronger than he looked! "Slow down, I can't keep up!"
Kirby's house was fairly quaint, all things considered – it was literally just a small white dome. Despite that – and the fact that the house's interior consisted basically of a small bed, a shelf, and a fireplace – it felt far more homely than the Ultimate Academy's dormitories could ever hope to be.
Kaede could really tell the bed was made only for Kirby – a toddler probably wouldn't even be able to sleep in it! Yet somehow, the puffball had a perfectly, normally human-sized sleeping bag with him – for 'when Adeleine visits,' he explained, 'though I'm probably going to need to get another one now…' (and she had no idea who Adeleine was but that wasn't exactly important).
And now here she was, staring up at the ceiling, struggling to get to sleep. Today had been one of the longest days she had ever had – the cameras, the anticipation, the investigation, the Class Trial… and now inexplicably coming back from the dead. And that wasn't even counting Kirby and the new land she had found herself in.
Idly, Kaede's gaze turned to Kirby. He was sleeping soundly with a cute little blue sleeping cap on his head. He looks so peaceful, she thought. Is Shuichi like that right now, too? Against her better judgement, her mind started to wander back to her fellow classmates – her fellow friends. They may not have known each other for that long, but… she'd like to believe they'd built up a bit of a bond in the short time they were together. (Especially with Shuichi.)
And then there was…
…Rantaro, she remembered.
(His body, sprawled out all over the floor, a bloodstained pink splattering from the back of his head and a shot put ball nearby just as well you are a murderer it was you who set that shot put ball to roll and you know exactly what you've done—)
Kaede shut her eyes. "Don't think about it, don't think about it," she whispered to herself, her hands clenching into fists. "Yes, I did it; yes, I got what I deserved." She shuffled around in her sleeping bag, letting her face dig into the pillow. "…please. Just—just let me sleep. I'll make it up to him someday. I promise."
I want to atone. I really do. I know this is going to be something that'll haunt me the rest of my life, no matter what happens from here on out.
She glanced back toward Kirby, that same smile from earlier still on his peaceful face. Another fear started building up inside her—What if Kirby finds out about what I've done? How I got here?
…will he hate me? Despise me?
She didn't know, and she wasn't sure she wanted to know.
But… Kirby didn't seem like the type of person to do anything like that, anyway. (But she wasn't the type of person to normally murder someone in cold blood, either.) He'd understand; she'd have to hope he'd understand.
…I'm not sure what the future holds for me now, but… I promise that I'll do whatever I can to make the most of my second chance. For everyone I had to leave behind, I'll live my new life the best I can.
And maybe someday, I'll find a way back to you all.
That's a promise—a wish—that I'll try my best to keep.
Because she deserved better. Everyone did.
This isn't going to be a main project or anything – I mean, I have several other fics ongoing already – it'll just be something I come back to here and now. I anticipate the chapters for this fic being fairly short, so don't expect any extravagantly long word counts like I usually end up doing.
I'm writing this primarily because… well, I love the DRV3 crew, and they deserved so, so much more than what they ended up getting. And Kirby's world is the perfect place for fluffy bullshit like this to happen. (He's shaped like a friend, y'know? And it's not like he doesn't have experience with inexplicable resurrections or anything…)
Besides, who doesn't like a healthy dose of fluff every now and then?
Well, that's all for now – next time, the ball really starts to get rolling for Kaede. See you around then!