Note as of Oct. 2016: Hello, readers new and old! As you'll see below I started this fic in 2013, a scant few months before Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc came out. Owing to this, I used (and stuck with) the conventions set by Orenronen and Fedule's fan translation of the games because that was the standard of the day. As I say below, that means honorific use, last names rather than first, Monobear instead of Monokuma, etc. I realize now that the fandom uses a mix of NISA and Orenronen terms; for those of you used to NISA terms this might be a bit confusing. I'm currently debating whether to keep it all as-is or change over. I still hope you enjoy the story, though!

Hello, everyone! So I really love alternate scenario fics and think there should be more of them and also I can't find any Twogami stories, so I'm going to knock out two birds with one stone and take things into my own hands. I'll give it my all and I hope you like it.

Can't really guess how long this'll be. Oh and SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRETY OF SDR2, or at least what's been translated. (Post-Oren spoilers begin at Chapter Three, Part One.)

At certain points I'll be using lines taken from translations of the game, though I'll avoid that once the timeline diverges. All credit for those lines goes to Kazutaka Kodaka for writing them and Orenronen, Fedule, Kuzuhiko, and Birdmanronpa for translating them. I'd also like to thank zkmn for Twogami's Dangan Island ending and picopicoyama for his last three Free Times. I don't think I'll be using lines from them but they were indispensable in understanding him as a character.

Also I will be using Orenronen and Fedule's translation conventions simply because they're the most recognizable. So Western name order, Monobear, Mr. Porkfeet, etc.

System Restore
a Super Dangan Ronpa 2 fanfic
by Carth

Chapter One, Part One

Something about this party didn't feel right to Hinata.

Most of the others that he could see around him looked like they were having fun. Owari, good as her word, had gone right for the food and was practically crying with joy as she ate it. Hanamura had taken the opportunity to boast, while Sonia and Souda laughed and laughed at them both. Koizumi was standing at the head of that table, taking photo after photo, perfectly in her element.

But a part of him couldn't forget what he couldn't see. He couldn't see outside, for one, because the windows had all been bolted shut with steel plates. He couldn't see Nanami and Pekoyama, because Togami had assigned them to watch over the lodge entrance and the "dangerous item"-filled duralumin case, respectively. He couldn't see Kuzuryuu, because he'd refused to come. And he couldn't see Monobear, and when he couldn't see Monobear it was so easy, too easy, to forget that they were all trapped on the island, with the murder of a classmate as the only way out.

And yet…he didn't think he minded it so much, the forgetting. The threat didn't entirely feel real, anyway.

As he was filling his glass with orange juice, Koizumi came over with her camera in hand. Mioda threw up a peace sign, and Hinata laughed to himself as the flash went off. It was such a normal moment, and in that moment he felt more united with these strangers than ever.

"You look like you're enjoying yourself, Hinata-kun," a voice said from just behind his ear. "Even if nothing much has happened yet."

So that was where he'd been hiding all evening. He turned to face (could he call Komaeda his friend yet? He wasn't sure how loosely he could use the word) his friend, who was leaning against the wall with his arms folded. "The way I see it, not much more needs to happen," Hinata said, holding up his glass in Komaeda's direction. "Don't you want anything?"

Komaeda shook his head. "Oh, no, I'm good, thank you."

"Are you sure? There might not be much left soon." Hinata looked back over at Owari, who was already on her second plate, and also shot a glance at Togami, though he hadn't moved from his position next to the duralumin case, far from the food.

"But won't there be more tomorrow, and the next day too?" Komaeda lifted himself off the wall in one fluid motion and walked over to stand next to Hinata. "We have a Super High School Level Chef with us, after all. The possibilities are endless."

"Well, yeah." Hinata set his glass down. "But you put so much effort into decorating, so I thought-"

A loud, masculine grunt cut him off, and he looked to see Nidai walking away from the table, his fists clenched. He didn't look very well, or so Hinata thought. "Hm? Nidai?" he said. "What's wrong?"

Nidai didn't seem to hear him. He clutched his stomach, approached Togami, and announced that he was going back to the hotel. Togami refused to let him go, leading Nidai to yell at the top of his lungs that the lodge toilet was occupied and he was about to shit himself. "You have to go to the toilet?!" Hinata said in disbelief – all this noise just for that? - but once again neither party heard him.

Then Tanaka started shouting something about a lost earring, and Togami had to divide himself between yelling at him and yelling at Nidai. It was quite a sight – Saionji and Mioda were laughing themselves hoarse. Hinata almost wanted to join in, but the expression he saw on Togami's face – one not simply annoyed, but frustrated, even angry – didn't strike him as particularly funny.

He'd tried to ignore it, but Togami had been acting oddly ever since the night began. And it wasn't just his draconian security measures, either – it was the mystery he'd set over why all the security was necessary.

("SHIT! MY SHIT IS COMING OUT!" "Shut up and hold it!")

Earlier, when he'd pulled Hinata away to help him confiscate every sharp object he could find in the kitchen, he'd told him that he'd developed his caution after some non-specific past experiences made it necessary. "There were people I couldn't trust, and people who couldn't trust me," he'd said. "My life was like a nightmare…it is only natural my personality would be affected."

("Heeeey, ish it really okay if I ee' erryfing?" "D...Don't be ridiculous! At least set something aside for me!")

Hinata didn't want to doubt that he'd been through what he'd said, but he couldn't really picture what kind of hardship a Super High School Level Heir could be referring to. He'd heard time and time again that money couldn't buy you happiness, but really? A nightmare? From what Komaeda had told him, Togami had lived quite the charmed life. But still, from what he'd seen of his behavior…

("Hey, Togami! Everyone! I'm taking another picture!")

"You look worried," Komaeda said suddenly.

"Eh?" Hinata turned back to face him. "No, I mean, worried isn't the right word."

"You don't have to say what it is or anything." Komaeda held his hands up. "I was just pointing it out."

"It's not a big deal." ("For heaven's sake, can't you all act a little more responsibly?") "I'm sure it's nothing."

"Then I hope it is." Komaeda laughed softly. "Of course, we'll just have to wait and see."

Hinata wanted to ask what Komaeda had meant, but before he could a loud beeping noise cut him short. ("Hm? What was that sound just now-")

During the half-minute that the lodge lights were out, it can be understood that this is what happened.

Togami dove to his left, opened the duralumin case, slid the night-vision goggles over his head, and looked around the room. For a second he only saw partygoers stumbling and shouting. ("Uwah, the power's out!" "The hell happened? I can't see nothing!" "I…it's too dark! Everything's too dark!") None of them seemed to be in danger, nor did they appear to be moving with any immediate purpose –

But then he saw him. He was walking toward the empty end table, following along the cord of the lamp. Of course. He should have known. He launched himself off the floor in Komaeda's direction, and went along fine for about three steps before his foot caught on a snag in the carpet and he fell headlong into one of the tables.

There was a crash of breaking plates, and the whole lodge seemed to shake. There were more shouts and yells than there were before – "Huh? What was that?" "Did something explode?" "No, it sounds like something collapsed! Is everyone alright?"

Hinata grabbed the edge of the table to keep himself from falling. Because of the metal plates over the windows the darkness was absolute; he couldn't tell if someone had just stepped into a table, or if…no, he wasn't going to think about that. He was going to keep calm and stay still. There wasn't anything he could do right now.

Togami's goggles had flown off his face during the impact, but he quickly found and put them on again. The table had overturned, and he, Tsumiki, and the floor were covered in food (and what a waste, he thought, what an utterly tragic waste). Tsumiki didn't appear to be getting up, but she also didn't appear to be dead or about to kill anyone, so he set her aside for now. He stood, slipped, found his footing again, and looked up over the table.

Komaeda couldn't have planned everything. He couldn't see anyone, didn't know what was in the duralumin case, didn't know what Hanamura had planned, if anything at all, and especially didn't know if, perhaps struck with his same mad desire for hope, any other student might have planned something even larger and grander. Wouldn't that be a surprise – but no, he thought as he approached the table, not really. His own pathetic plan would surely pale in comparison to anything Hanamura or any of his other exalted classmates could do.

So when the table collapsed and he heard a soft "Yipe!" from under the floorboards, he smiled a small smile to himself. This much, he knew, he could count on.

After a wink, smile, and wave to whoever might be watching (and he hoped, more than he felt was his share for the last moments of his life, that someone was watching), he lifted the cloth, slid under the table, and took the knife out from under its glowing tape.

"Hey, everyone! Where are you? T...This power outage... it isn't just in the kitchen?"

"Could someone perhaps have flipped the circuit breakers?"

"W...Wait here! I'll use the walls as a guide and-"


The lights flickered back on with a loud ka-chack! Hinata squinted against the sudden brightness, and lifted his hand to his forehead to cut the glare.

One of the tables had indeed collapsed, and its contents had fallen all over the floor and also everyone nearby. Tsumiki was lying spread-eagled at the foot of the table, crying loudly. Souda was near the door, kicking at the wall, and Owari had half a chicken leg sticking out of her mouth and looked about as confused as Hinata did.

The others, all spattered to varying degrees with Hanamura's cooking, were running in Hinata's direction. They were all yelling over each other: "What's going on?" "Where's Komaeda-san?" "Togami, what are you wearing?"

Hinata spun round, and Togami ran past him as he did. His suit was soaked in food grease, and he was wearing the most bizarre headgear Hinata had ever seen in his life. He almost asked him what was going on, but if he wasn't listening to any of the others he knew he wouldn't listen to him.

He stopped at the empty table just behind Hinata, which had nothing on it but a lamp, and grabbed the edge of the tablecloth. "I know you're under there," he growled. "There's no use –"

He pulled the cloth away, sending the lamp crashing to the ground – and then all Hinata could see was blood. Blood on the tablecloth as it flew by his face, blood soaking into the floorboards and dripping through the gaps…and blood creeping through the back of Nagito Komaeda's jacket as he lay face-down and motionless under the table, right next to a bloodstained knife.

Hinata was the first to scream, and he screamed long and loud.

He didn't want to look, he didn't want to believe it, but at the same time he couldn't look away. It was impossible, completely impossible – it had to be a bad dream, but he wasn't waking up – Komaeda – his friend was – Komaeda – someone had - !

The anger in his chest was clouding his brain; he was only dimly aware of everything else going on around him. Sonia burst into tears, Koizumi screamed and clutched at her face, Tanaka howled, Nidai roared, and Mioda foamed at the mouth and swooned. Souda and Hanamura ran over from the door, yelling over each other. Tsumiki scrambled up from the floor, her indignation giving way to a loud wail of shock, and Owari charged from the opposite direction, looking more determined than anything else. "I knew it," she yelled on the way. "I knew I smelled blood!"

Togami removed the goggles with his free hand and set them on the ground, next to the tablecloth. His expression, now that Hinata could see it, was far from sad or angry – it looked blank, almost hollow. He knelt to the floor, reached under the table, pressed two fingers against Komaeda's neck, and waited. After a second, he lifted them and pressed them down again, harder this time.

"How…?" he was saying to himself. "Why…how…?"

"Upupupu, what's this? Do you really think he might be alive, Togami-kun?"

Hinata stumbled backward and yelped – against all reason, Monobear had appeared right at his feet. He ignored Hinata and sauntered in Togami's direction. "I mean, usually the giant stab wounds would convince most people," he said. "But you're just hoping for a miracle, aren't you?"

Togami set Komaeda down, but did not turn to look at Monobear. "You're not supposed to be here," he said in a monotone. "Nanami and Monomi are supposed to be keeping you out-"

"Silly, silly Togami-kun. Bears don't need front doors to enter buildings. They come and go when and where they please!" Monobear laughed. "But let's not waste any more time." He motioned up at the nearby screen, where a pre-recorded announcement of Komaeda's death had just started. "You bastards have a trial to prepare for, after all!"

A whirlwind of activity followed his words. Shouts of anguish intermixed with vocal denials that anything like this could happen. Pekoyama, Nanami, and Monomi arrived – spurred by the announcement, no doubt – and added their own voices of shock to the mix. Monomi begged them not to listen to Monobear, but even if Monobear hadn't punched her in the face Hinata wasn't sure it would have made a difference. Monobear vanished soon after, leaving everyone to talk over each other in confusion.

"I-Investigation?!" Koizumi was still digging into her cheeks with her fingernails. "I don't understand…why?"

"Even if one of us did kill him..." Sonia shivered. "How could I possibly accept sending another one of us to their deaths?"

"Yeah! How can Monobear force us to do this?!" Souda yelled. "How do we not have another choice?"

Most everyone else was going on in the same vein, but for a few. Nidai had run off somewhere. Saionji was silent, but trembled with anger. Togami still knelt by the body, his face invisible to the rest. Hinata found himself as a loss for words. He wanted to deny the situation, just like everyone else, he didn't WANT to treat Komaeda's death this way, but –

"Why are you all still carrying on?"

Togami stood as he spoke, and turned to face the rest. He had something of his usual look of haughty condescension, but there was a noticeable tension in his voice and in his bearing. "Do you really think that denying this situation is going to fix anything?"

His words cut some of the noise, but most everyone still looked shocked and confused. "B-but…" Hanamura trembled, and rubbed his hands together. "There's no way anyone could have… I-It's just a dream, or an illusion…or…"

"You don't, do you?" Togami continued as if Hanamura had not spoken. "You only want to. We all do. But ignoring the truth solves nothing." He clenched a fist. "Komaeda is dead. One of us killed him. If we don't find his killer, the rest of us will be in danger as well. Therefore, finding his killer is our first priority. If you feel the need to grieve, you'll have to do it later."

Tsumiki burst into tears, and most everyone else, Hinata included, looked as though they felt quite uncomfortable – apart from Mioda, who let out a loud whoop and clapped enthusiastically. Pekoyama was the only one that spoke up directly. "Don't you think that's a bit harsh, Togami?"

"Of course I think it's harsh. But it's what has to be done. Haven't I said that already?"

"B-but…" Monomi shivered, and held her head in her hands. Hinata hadn't noticed that she was still there. "You really shouldn't suspect each other…how can you suspect your friends…?"

"Are you trying to get us all killed? We can't think like that anymore." Togami pointed forward. "There will be no more of this. We must hurry and gather all the information we can."

"But-but-" Hanamura continued stammering, and Monomi was fretting as usual, but Togami's words were having an effect on most everyone else, Hinata included. As painful as it was, they were, at the moment, locked under Monobear's power. They had no choice but to play under his rules, at least until they found a way to twist them.

For a moment he thought of saying something, of expressing his support despite his shock, but Saionji took the chance away from him. "I actually think Mr. Porkfeet's the only one in here making any sense," she said.

"Well, thank you." Togami looked rather surprised. "But-"

"But if we are going to investigate, he's also pretty suspicious, don't you think?"

Everyone in the room looked at Saionji, then over at Togami, whose expression was unreadable. "Go on?" he said.

"If anyone here actually had any brains they'd be thinking real hard about all the weird things you've been doing," Saionji said. "First you set up this party and forced us all into one place. Then you frisked us like some kind of pervert, so it's not like any of us have any weapons except you. And then the power goes out, and you just happen to have a pair of night-vision goggles?"

The room erupted with talk. "That is pretty suspicious, isn't it?" "How did she know those were night-vision goggles? Are they really?" "Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he did it!" For a split second Hinata believed Saionji – the knife lying by Komaeda's body did look somewhat like the ones he'd seen with Togami in the kitchen. But if it was true, if it had all been a long con…his imagination was poised and ready, but something in the back of his mind told him not to jump to conclusions without solid evidence.

"No, that isn't – how could you think – this is utterly ridiculous –" Togami paused, and took a deep breath. "No, no, that won't do. Considering the situation, I do look suspicious to you. You probably don't understand my actions, and right now I can't explain them completely. But I assure you, everything I did, I did to keep this party safe."

He turned to Saionji. "Everything I confiscated is locked in the lodge office. The key is still in the duralumin case where I left it. I didn't know that the power would go out. I didn't know what would happen. If you look in the case, you'll see that I was prepared for any non-lethal confrontation. I have no need to defend myself any further."

Saionji grunted. She didn't look particularly convinced, and neither did anyone else. Hinata had a flash of inspiration. "I don't think you killed Komaeda," he said. "If you had, wouldn't you be covered in blood, just like him?"

"Yeah, he's right!" Mioda piped in. "And killing in a white suit goes against all logic! You'd have to wear black or red, right?"

"I… appreciate the thought, but none of us appear to be covered in blood," Togami said, as a hot flush of embarrassment burned at the back of Hinata's neck. "But at least we no longer have a one-track mind about who the killer might be. So I suggest we –"

"Ah, before that, I have a question," Nanami said. "If you had those night-vision goggles, Togami-kun, wouldn't that mean that you saw what was going on when it was dark?"

"W-what kind of a question is that?" Hanamura shouted. "He could say anything! How can we trust him?"

"Simple," Togami said. "You can't. But to answer you, Nanami, I could indeed see what was going on. And I suppose I should say that the table collapse had nothing to do with the murder." He paused. "That was me. I tripped on the carpet and fell into the table."

Nidai snorted with laughter – Hinata hadn't realized that he'd returned – and Souda, Saionji, and Mioda covered their faces before they could make any sound. Togami ignored it all. "But nothing I saw would lead, one way or another, to the identity of Komaeda's killer," he went on. "And even if it did… well, I think I would keep that to myself until the trial. We can't give the killer a chance to defend themselves by telling them things that might implicate them. So I think you should all be careful not to reveal too much to each other in your investigations. And in that vein, at least two people should keep watch over the body. I don't want it tampered with."

"I-I'll do it…" Koizumi held her hand to her heart. "I'm no good in investigations, and if I can do something to help…"

"And I really should examine the body further." Tsumiki shivered as she looked at Komaeda.

"Then you'll do well, both of you." Togami pointed towards the door. "Now, let us begin!"

"Indeed, substantial one, for we have little time to lose." Tanaka struck a pose. "For the sake of the continued well-being of the universe, the Devildog Earring must be found!"

He was the first to dash out of the room, laughing maniacally. Everyone else filed out somewhat more slowly, and Hinata followed them, leaving only Koizumi, Tsumiki, and Togami behind.

The victim's body was discovered at the main hall of Hotel Mirai's old lodge.

The time of death was around 11:30 PM.

The cause of death was stabbing with a sharp object. The victim was stabbed multiple times in the region between the abdomen and the throat…

Hinata had read the text countless times, and each read just made his lack of insight more depressing. So instead he looked at the silhouette of Komaeda, which highlighted his wounds in pink, and studied it as he walked.

He'd investigated just about everywhere he could think to. He'd found a bloody sheet and several irons plugged in in the storage closet, a set of fire doors just outside the hall, and Nanami and Tanaka rooting around outside, looking for some way to get under the lodge to get Tanaka's earring (because, Hinata thought, that really is top priority right now). He'd talked to everyone he could find, as well. Most of them couldn't tell him anything he didn't already know, but Nidai had boasted about how he'd finally made it to the bathroom, and Nanami had told him that, while Kuzuryuu had come by during the party, she hadn't seen him since the body discovery announcement.

The body itself hadn't revealed much new, but he did see a strip of duct tape on the top of the table painted glowing green, and the same green paint on the knife. He guessed that this would have helped the culprit see the hidden weapon in the dark, but then Tsumiki informed him that Komaeda had been stabbed with a long, thin blade, too thin to have been the knife, and that he had more wounds on his stomach than on his back.

He didn't know what to make of it at the time, but he was beginning to make a connection with something Togami had said – that he couldn't identify Komaeda's killer. If there were more wounds on his stomach, there was every chance that, despite all reason, he had been stabbed from below. This made sense with the bloody sheet and the gaps in the floor - but how could the killer have gotten down below to stab him? How did they know when, in the darkness? And for that matter, no matter how they'd done it, who was the killer? He had absolutely no idea. And the knife…where had the knife come into play?

He'd reached the office, the one room in the lodge he hadn't searched yet. He could hear muffled voices coming from inside, which was a good sign, he thought – it meant that something inside was stirring up conversation. He turned the knob, opened the door –

"You weren't here? How could you not have been here?"

And swung it back again, leaving it open only a crack. He could see a tiny sliver of the room, and in that sliver he saw Togami and Pekoyama standing under what looked like a large lever, set high into the wall. Togami had his back to the door, but Pekoyama looked quite distressed. "It was out of my control, Togami," she said. "I didn't intend to leave the room unguarded."

"But you could've come and told someone you were leaving. They could have taken over for you. Why didn't you?"

"I didn't have time. I don't know why I have to explain myself to you." Pekoyama gritted her teeth.

"All of our lives are on the line, Pekoyama. If the culprit managed to get in here under your watch-"

"I told you it was out of my control!" Pekoyama's eyes flashed – then flicked to the door. Hinata didn't feel like being discovered eavesdropping, especially not by a Super High School Level Swordswoman, so he threw the door open.

"Oh, I, uh, didn't know you guys were in here," he said, entirely too loudly.

"Hinata?" Pekoyama looked legitimately surprised to see him, thankfully.

"Have you found anything?" Togami turned to face Hinata, folding his arms across his stomach.

"Nothing new, no." Hinata grinned. "How about you guys?"

"Monobear came in a few moments ago." Pekoyama folded her arms as well. "He was the one who turned the power back on, or so he says."

"But we still don't know who turned it off." Togami pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Pekoyama was…not here at the time of the blackout."

"Togami, as I attempted to tell you, I don't see any signs that anyone tried to reach the circuit breakers –" Pekoyama stopped suddenly, and clutched her stomach. "I…uh… I have to…"

Togami nodded, and Pekoyama dashed out of the room. They stood in awkward silence until they were sure she was out of earshot, and then Hinata turned to Togami. "Is she okay?" he asked.

"It would appear not." Togami looked back up at the circuit breaker, and Hinata followed his gaze. Right next to the switch was an air conditioner, turned up all the way. Hinata shivered – and then realized something.

"I found a bunch of irons plugged in in the storage closet," he said. "That, combined with the air conditioners coming on…"

"Would be enough to cause a blackout." Togami put his hand to his chin. "That must have been the noise we heard. I thought you said you had nothing new to share."

"It wasn't really something I saw," Hinata admitted. "I figured it out when I saw the air conditioner in here."

"Very well. One of us should inform Pekoyama, the next time we see her." Togami paused, and lowered his voice. "Perhaps I was too rough on her," he said. "But there's nothing to be done about that now..."

"I'm sure there is," Hinata said, but Togami didn't respond. Hinata had the sneaking suspicion he had been talking to himself, not to him.

After another moment, he noticed Hinata was still there. "Do you need anything else?"

Yeah, he thought, some real answers, though he wasn't sure whether he was thinking of the murder or of what Togami had said in the kitchen, a moment that felt a million miles removed from him now."Togami," he said, "You said if you knew anything, you'd keep it to yourself until the trial. Are you hiding something?"

Togami was silent for a long time. "I will tell you everything at the trial," he said. "It's not anything particularly vital for your investigation."

That didn't make any sense to Hinata, but it was clear Togami wasn't going to back down from his position. He had turned away again; something about him seemed distant, or distracted. "I…should get back to work," Hinata said awkwardly.

"I will tell you one thing, Hinata," Togami said suddenly. "I did not see anyone else get under the table, nor did I see anyone leave it."

Hinata had already figured this out. Komaeda had been stabbed from below, after all. "Well, yeah," he said. "But…why was he under the table at all? Did someone chase him under?"

"Hinata…" Togami's shoulders shifted. "Komaeda was your friend, wasn't he?"

"Well…" Hinata thumbed the Monobear File in his hands. "I only knew him for three days, but I'd say he was –"

The screen in the room lit up and began playing another message – it was time for the trial to begin. "Well, that's a matter for another time," Togami said. "Go ahead of me, Hinata. I have some business to attend to."

Business? Hinata was suspicious, but he didn't press the matter – he nodded and left the room instead. He encountered Sonia and Tanaka in the hallway and walked with them out of the lodge. He tried to keep calm and lose himself in the conversation – Tanaka had found his earring, it seemed, and Sonia was eating up his story of how he'd battled a Pomeranian to get it. Neither of them were talking about the murder. He didn't even know if either of them might know who the killer was.

When they got to the designated spot, everyone was there, apart from Togami. Even Kuzuryuu was there, standing apart from the group with his arms folded. Hinata attempted to ask him why he hadn't joined the investigation, and he was told to fuck off in response. All things told Hinata didn't really suspect him - Nanami hadn't seen him go in, after all - but he could see Saionji and Souda giving him the stinkeye.

He wondered if any one of them looked more nervous than the other. Or what Komaeda's murderer was thinking. Or what Komaeda would think of all this, were he alive. But of course, if he had been, nothing like this would be happening at all. They'd still be at the party, still united, still safe…

Soon Togami showed up, apologizing for his lateness. He told Pekoyama what Hinata had said about the power overload, then asked Kuzuryuu the same question Hinata had and got the same response. Soon enough Monobear and Monomi showed up – the former gleeful, the latter weeping. Monobear somehow produced an escalator from a nearby mountain, which they all used to enter an elevator, which creaked and shuddered as it fell down, down, down into the mountain.

No one said a word. Hinata could see a few signs of grief from some – Mioda's moans, Owari's stern expression, Sonia's wistful frown – but others, particularly Togami, were still unreadable. He couldn't, for the life of him, figure out why Togami would ask whether Komaeda had been his friend. He didn't want to think about what it might mean at all.

They arrived at the trial room and were directed to their places by Monobear. Each of them had one, and there was even a framed portrait of Komaeda with a pink X through it directly in front of where Hinata stood.

Monobear sat in a throne-like chair in the middle of the room, next to a tied-up Monomi. He ran through a quick explanation of the trial, and he'd just barely finished when Togami pounced. "I believe I should start," he said.

"Well, well! Someone's an eager beaver!" Monobear kicked his legs up and down in his seat. "Is what you have to say really that important? Or do you just love the sound of your own voice that much?"

"I did say I would start. Not you. Stop speaking." Togami cleared his throat. "Earlier tonight I said that, while I was able to see what was going on in the main hall during the blackout, I was not able to discover the identity of Komaeda's killer. That is true."

"But he was killed literally right in front of you!" Souda said.

"I know. We'll get to that. While I do not know who killed Komaeda, this does not mean that I did not discover something important about this murder."

"What…what does that mean?" Tsumiki stammered.

"I considered telling you right then and there, and the less simpleminded among you may have figured it out," Togami went on. "But at the time I believed it would distract from the case at hand. I did not believe it to be relevant to finding the culprit, but whether it is or not, I believe you all have the right to know."

"Then why are you stalling?" Kuzuryuu yelled. "Spit it out already!"

"Very well." Togami's voice was suddenly heavy with an emotion Hinata couldn't place. "Based on his actions during the blackout, I believe…" He hesitated, then gritted his teeth. "I believe Komaeda was attempting murder at the time he was killed."

Not really a cliffhanger, but there's still more to come! See you then!

- Carth