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The Ultimate Detective and the Ultimate Hope Gaiden: The Ultimate Hope’s Final Nightmares of Death

Chapter Text

“…You want me to WHAT?”

Makoto stared incredulously at his friends and sister as they sat around the former Future Foundation’s table.

“…The others are insistent on rebuilding Hope’s Peak” Kyoko reminded him.

“Yeah, and we think YOU should be the new headmaster!”

Hina bounced in her seat as she spoke, clearly enthusiastic about the proposal.

Hiro then took out his new crystal ball and proclaimed, “I predict that Makoto’s tenure will be long as prosperous as Headmaster!”

…Isn’t that more of a reason to reject it? Makoto deadpanned as he heard Hiro’s prediction.

You’re not helping, Hiro…deadpanned everyone else.

Surprisingly, it was Toko who spoke next.

“N…Not that I c…care or anything, but I’m sure your s…sister would be ec…ecstatic that her big br…other is the headmaster of a sc…school.”

Komaru Naegi beamed with pride as she exclaimed “Yeah, Makoto!  You’d do a great job!”

Makoto blushed, the praise reminding him of when Komaru would look up to him when they were just kids running around the house.  Byakuya coughed, refocusing everyone’s attention to the matter at hand.

“Moving on…the fact remains that the world still remains in despair, and with the Future Foundation out of commission, the world needs a symbol of hope to return to normal.  Resurrecting the very institution that Junko and Mukuro destroyed and placing it under the leadership of the Ultimate Hope could be just what the world needs at this moment.”

In the wake of the Final Killing Game, the surviving members of the Future Foundation, under the direction of Kyosuke Munakata, decided to disband.  With their numbers so thinned, they realized that for all of their operations and collective skills, they had inadvertently exacerbated the problem that Junko Enoshima had wrought, once again leaving everyone’s fate up to the survivors of the 78th Class.  Even Makoto didn’t protest the decision, his faith in the organization wavering since it had almost cost him, Hina, and Kyoko all of their lives.

“But…but still!”  Makoto protested “What would I know about running a school?  For goodness’ sake, even in our own division, I wasn’t in charge.  Kyoko was my boss, so she led the charge and made everything go off without a hitch.  And when we were at Hope’s Peak, it was Taka and Byakuya that took the roles of leader.  Plus, there’s hiring new teachers, recruiting students, balancing finances…I just…”  Makoto held his head in his hands and confessed “I just don’t wanna screw it all up.  I…I don’t know…”

Kyoko reached over to pry free from his head and grasp his hand in her own, squeezing it in comfort while stroking his palm with her thumb.  Makoto looked at the hand grasping his own, its charred flesh adorned with a simplistic silver band on her finger.

Not long after Kyoko recovered from Junko Enoshima’s poison, Makoto confessed his love for her, spurred on by a new sense of urgency after thinking she was dead.  Having held a crush on him since midway through their post-memory wipe time at Hope’s Peak, Kyoko finally let her walls down and confessed that she loved him too.  Feeling that she had delayed their relationship for far too long already, she then asked him to move in with her, effectively proposing to the stunned young man.  Makoto accepted, and not too long afterwards found a plain silver ring to give to his new fiancée.  It was then that Kyoko chose to discard her signature gloves, replacing them with the ring on her left hand.  When Makoto stared in shock, Kyoko explained that she wanted to show to everyone that she belonged with him, and that discarding her ability to hide her scars from years gone by was a miniscule price to pay.

Makoto’s gaze shifted from his fiancée’s gloves to her eyes, silently begging for guidance.  Noticing how stressed he was, Kyoko finally spoke.

“Whether you do or don’t become headmaster is up to you, and we’ll support whatever decision you make.  But if you decide to go along with the others’ suggestion, then I could serve as vice-headmaster and teach you the ropes of administration.  The only thing that would change is that we would switch roles.”

Kyoko gave an internal sigh of relief when she saw a twinkle of confidence in Makoto’s pupils.

“And Hina?  With your athletic knowledge, you could be our first Physical Education Instructor, right?”

Hina clenched her fists in excitement and affirmed “You can count on me!”

“And Toko?  With your natural writing prowess, you could be our first Language Arts teacher?  What do you say?”

Toko weakly nodded, while Komaru piped up “Since Toko here isn’t exactly a people person under the best of circumstances, I can do the actual teaching while Toko writes up the lesson plans!”

“Komaru…” Makoto murmured, stunned at how his sister just volunteered to teach at a school.

Nodding, Kyoko smiled before continuing “And Byakuya?  With your knowledge of business practices, you could keep track of our financial records and ensure we don’t spend our way into financial ruin.”

Giving an amused sigh, Byakuya acquiesced “I suppose it would be an interesting side project while I work to rebuild the Togami Corporation to its former glory.”

Shifting her gaze one last time, Kyoko finished “And Hiro?  Through your…questionable business model, you obviously know something about acting.  You could be our first drama instructor.”

“Sure, I’ll do it, but…” Hiro hung his head and moaned “…did you have to be so mean about it?”

Everyone laughed at Hiro’s expense, making Kyoko glad to see Makoto back to his regular chipper self.

“Well, Makoto?  You have a Vice-Headmaster and Mentor, a Financial Advisor, and three Teachers ready to go.  Do you still have any doubts?”

Wiping a few tears from his eyes, Makoto beamed, answering “I’ll do it.  I’ll be the Headmaster!”

As everyone else applauded, Kyoko suggested “Why don’t we pick this up again tomorrow?  We’ve got a lot of details to iron out and we all need to be alert and active before we engage in such a long and crucial discussion.”

Everyone else nodded before filing out of the meeting room.  Makoto and Kyoko parted ways with everyone else and went to walk back to their shared apartment.  Despite how well the discussion turned out, Kyoko couldn’t help but to stare at Makoto with worry as they hiked.

There’s no question we sprung this on him…I just hope the stress of accepting a brand-new job like this doesn’t trigger anything…

Chapter Text

Makoto and Kyoko entered their shared apartment, kicking their shoes off their feet once inside.  Kyoko looked at her fiancé, a feeling of worry and dread pervading her mood.

I just hope THAT doesn’t happen as a result of Makoto’s promotion…

As Makoto started sifting through the fridge for a snack, Kyoko thought back to their first verbal argument, just after being resuscitated and reuniting with Makoto.

XXX

“…You WHAT!?”

Recoiling at Kyoko’s yell, Makoto tried to shush her “Shh…Kyoko, not so loud.  You’ll hurt your throat, and you only just regained consciousness a couple days ago.”

“Don’t you dare change the subject, Naegi.  What do you mean you subjected yourself to Junko’s despair video?”

…I’m starting to regret telling her what happened when she was unconscious…Makoto rubbed his head nervously as he answered “Well…Hina found your notebook and shared with us your notes on what you had uncovered, and someone had to test your theory to see if it was right…”

“So you decided it would be okay to use yourself as a human guinea pig?  Makoto, I wrote those notes so that you wouldn’t do anything reckless or dangerous.  It’s why I let myself get poisoned for you.  Do you realize that you nearly threw it all away?  You…you…”

Kyoko teared up, emotionally exhausted as she embraced Makoto in a vice, burying her head against his chest as she sobbed incoherently.  Makoto stood there, shocked at how emotionally open Kyoko was with him.

She hasn’t cried in front of me…since we found that photo of her dad…

Makoto sighed and returned her embrace, gingerly supporting her so as not to irritate her injuries.

“…You’re right.  I was stupid and reckless.  I thought I was honoring your memory by continuing your search for the truth, but I goofed…again.  If Juzo Sakakura hadn’t come and knocked me out…I really would have thrown it all away…”

“Makoto…”

They stayed like that, each taking the opportunity to soak in each other’s warmth.  It wasn’t until Makoto reluctantly released his grasp that Kyoko reached over to the stand next to her and grabbed her cell phone.

“Uh, Kyoko…who are you calling?”

“Hajime and Mikan.  We need to know if there are any more permanent side-effects of your exposure to the Despair Video.  With Mikan being the Ultimate Nurse, she can tell us of any physical effects, especially since she was exposed to it prior to the Tragedy.  And since Hajime possesses every talent imaginable, he can tell us of any mental or neurological impacts as the Ultimate Neurologist.  She glared at him as she finished dialing “And this is one doctor’s appointment you CAN’T get out of!  I’d rather be prepared for the worst if something were to happen.”

As Kyoko finally reached Hajime and detailed her request, Makoto stayed silent, choosing to let Kyoko have her way.

XXX

It was two days later that Kyoko, Makoto, Mikan, and Hajime were sitting around a table in Makoto and Kyoko’s apartment.

“So…what’s my diagnosis, doc?” Makoto quipped, trying to lighten the mood.

Mikan swallowed and stuttered “Well…from what I c…can tell, there should…shouldn’t be any physical da…damage.  The Despair Video was designed to hypnotize, not to in…flict pain.”

Hajime took over as he continued “What concerns me is any emotional damage.  What Makoto witnessed could very well be compared to Post Traumatic Stress.  Thankfully his talent as the Ultimate Hope seems to have shielded him from most long-term effects.  There’s still some traces of Junko’s artificial despair, but like PTS, it shouldn’t amount to much more than the occasional night terror.”

At this, Kyoko interjected “And what should we do should one of these night terrors occur?”

Hajime replied “You said you two are living together now, right?  The best thing I can prescribe is just to be there for him and comfort him when he’s at an emotional high.  With any luck, he should go right back to sleep afterwards.”

“And there’s no medicine available to treat my symptoms, right?” The last thing I want is to make Kyoko stay up with me…

Shaking his head, Hajime confirmed “Unfortunately, Junko’s variant of despair was never examined by medical professionals; you’re the first of her victims to have been medically examined.  Plus the amount left in your system is too small to risk putting you through the Neo World Program like you did with us.”

“I see…”

Sensing that this would be all the useful information they would get from the former Ultimate Despairs, Kyoko stood up and said “Well, thank you for coming and doing a medical diagnosis on such short notice…”

Hajime smiled and replied, “It’s the least we could do for you.”

Nodding, Mikan added “It was a pl…pleasure…”

Getting up, the two bowed to their hosts and left, the apartment door closing behind them.

Sighing, Makoto started “Well, now we know I’m gonna be prone to nightmares for the rest of my life…”

Placing her hand on his cheek, Kyoko smiled and assured him “but now we’re prepared for them.  And let me drill into your head now…helping you through your Post Traumatic Stress is never a burden.  It wasn’t when you had nightmares after you survived your execution, and it won’t with this either.”

Makoto teared up, murmuring “I don’t know what I did to deserve you in my life, Kyoko Kirigiri…”

Wiping his tears away with her thumbs, she replied “You’ve more than earned it.  And I hope to have earned your last name when we finally do have a ceremony.”

When Kyoko had more or less proposed to Makoto, she assured him that she wanted to take his last name, despite his willingness to take hers to prolong the Kirigiri Detective Legacy.

Cradling her face in his hands, Makoto assured her “You’ve earned it since you saved me during Sayaka’s murder trial.”

Kyoko leaned down and met his lips in a soft, reassuring kiss, both partners feeling more confident about facing the future together.

XXX

It was Hajime’s warning several weeks ago that plagued her thoughts all throughout dinner, though Makoto was by all accounts oblivious to her woes.

Thank goodness we haven’t lived together long enough for him to be able to read me yet…

Kyoko was determined not to worry Makoto and contribute to his already high stress levels.  She hid her true emotions as they cuddled on the couch in front of one of his favorite childhood movies.  As soon as it was over, Makoto yawned, obviously ready for bed.  Kyoko smiled as she wrapped her arm around his waist to support him as they walked to their bedroom.  Already in pajamas, the couple collapsed on the bed, Kyoko whisking the blanket over them and Makoto nuzzling his head against her neck.

Yawning, Makoto murmured drowsily “Good night, Kyoko.  I love you.”

Smiling, Kyoko stroked his hair and kissed his forehead, whispering “I love you too.”

As Makoto began to snore, Kyoko slowly nodded off as well, worry still keeping her half-awake.

Please don’t get any nightmares tonight, Makoto.  Keeping you as peaceful as this is all I want from you.

Chapter Text

“Where…Where am I?”

Makoto rubbed the drowsiness out of his eyes as he looked around, disturbingly teal and black skies as far as the eye could see.

“Why does this place look like a Van Gogh painting?  And why am I even here?”

“Makoto!”

Makoto whirled around to see his fiancée, Kyoko looking at him with an unsettlingly blank expression.

“Kyoko?  What’s going on?”

“…You’re still alive…”

What are you talking about, Kyoko?  Of course I’m still alive!  The Tragedy is over, remember?

Before he could ask Kyoko what was going on, a sickeningly sweet voice reached his ears, one that he could never forget.

“Makoto….”

Makoto gasped, turning around to see the blue-haired Ultimate Pop Sensation, addressing him with a similarly blank expression.

“Sa…Sayaka?!”  It’s…not possible!  You died…in my bedroom.  I inspected your corpse myself!  How…

“You’re such a liar.  Remember you swore to get me out alive?  What happened there?”

No…this can’t be happening!

As Makoto tried to wrap his head around what was going on, Kyoko interrupted “This is all your fault.”

Makoto trembled in fear as Kyoko’s words stung his heart.

“But…but I…”

Before he could defend himself, Kyoko was joined by Celeste, Hifumi, and Taka, while Sayaka was joined by Leon, Chihiro, Mondo, and Sakura.

“I…I don’t understand…” How can this be real?

Yet again, Kyoko interrupted “Why are you still alive, Makoto?”

Sayaka continued “Yeah, right?  You’re the one who deserves to die!”

The words from his past and current loves broke Makoto’s heart as his friends reverted to how they were found when they died.

As tears filled Makoto’s eyes, his deceased classmates chanted in a sing-song tone “Makoto…it should have been you who was killed instead of us.”

“No…no…”  Makoto crouched into a fetal position as he cried into his knees, trying to rationalize “This isn’t real.  It has to be a dream!  Some sick, twisted dream.  I’m in my bed, at home, with the real Kyoko.”

“Join us, Makoto.  Join us, Makoto!”

As everyone else chanted, Makoto whimpered “You’re not real…you’re not real…you’re not real…”

As Kyoko and Sayaka moved closer to grab him, Makoto finally screamed.

XXX

Lavender eyes snapped open as Makoto’s scream pierced their owner’s ears.  She sat up rigidly, gasping as the only possible explanation made itself clear.

No!

She looked over to her right, seeing Makoto clutching his shoulders, the blanket having fallen from his grasp.

Without another word, she crawled over to her fiancee and started to run her hands down his own as she soothed “Makoto?  It’s me, Kyoko.  You’re okay.  Listen to me.  You’re Okay!”

At the combination of her touch and her voice, Makoto seemed to snap out of his post-dream trance, blinking as he started to calm down.  He angled his head up to meet her eyes, and what she saw broke her heart; his normally cheerful green eyes were now red and puffy, tears actively trekking their way down his cheeks.

“Kyou…Kyoko?”

At her nod, Makoto slowly loosened his grasp and let his arms fall back to his sides.  Kyoko reached up and used her thumbs to wipe the tears from his eyes.  The full truth hitting him that this was the loving Kyoko who proposed to him, and not the vengeful one from his nightmares, Makoto began to sob before reaching out to her in a desperate embrace, burying his head between her breasts as he let out the fear and terror he felt from the nightmare.  Kyoko stiffened in shock before returning the embrace, pulling him onto her lap before beginning to rock him back and forth.

“I’m sorry!  I’m so sorry!  It’s all my fault!”

Kyoko stroked his head as she whispered into his ear “Shh.  Makoto, it’s okay.  The nightmare’s over now.  You have nothing to be sorry for.  Shh…”

The more Kyoko rocked him, the more Makoto seemed to calm down.  So, she continued to rock back and forth, until at last Makoto quieted down.  With her beloved calm at last, she slowed down until she stopped rocking, allowing Makoto to climb out of her lap while still remaining in her embrace.

“Are you alright now?”

Not trusting himself to speak, Makoto merely nodded his head. Though he recoiled when Kyoko asked her next question.

“I gather that you had a nightmare…” 

Makoto nodded at Kyoko’s deduction.  Seeing Makoto shiver, Kyoko tried to soothe him.

“It’s okay, Makoto.  Bad dreams are nothing to be ashamed of.”

Shaking his head against her, Makoto retorted, his voice muffled “Easy for you to say.  You never get burdened by nightmares.  You’re strong enough that you never get them!”

He really…thinks I don’t have bad dreams?

Astonished at how high of a pedestal Makoto held her on, Kyoko decided to tell him the truth.

“…I’ve had bad dreams before.  They don’t happen often, but they do occur.”

“…Like when?”

Taking a deep breath as she remembered the emotional turmoil associated with the incident, Kyoko revealed “It was the night you were nearly executed.  When I went to bed, I was so wracked with guilt over the part I played in your near-death, I had a nightmare mixed in with a memory of our past school life.”

Makoto’s eyes widened, shocked that Kyoko, by her own admission, was more normal and vulnerable than the image he had created of her.

“…I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have…doubted you like that.”

A smile gracing her face, Kyoko assured him ”Don’t worry about it.  Now, what was your dream about?”  Seeing Makoto’s reluctance to speak, she clutched him tighter and said “Makoto, I can’t help you to heal if you don’t talk to me about what you saw.  Take it from someone with experience; Keeping everything bottled inside to protect yourself and those you hold dear always backfires in the end.  I promise, I won’t judge you.  I promised I’d share the rest of my life with you.  That includes the nightmares and embarrassments as well as my pride and joys.  So please, Makoto; talk to me.”

She looked down at her fiancé, relieved to see that he was looking her in the eye once more.  He let go of her embrace, moving so that he was sitting next to her.  Feeling her grasp his hand and stroke his knuckles with her thumb, he took a deep breath and began recounting his dream.

“I…I was dreaming…about what I saw.  In that…Despair Video.”

Kyoko clenched her other fist in anger at the demented Junko Enoshima for causing her beloved Makoto to suffer unimaginable terror even after her death.

Of course; what else could it have been.  Hajime warned us about the possibility that he could suffer Post Traumatic Stress Night Terrors.  Refocusing her attentions, Kyoko inquired “And…what did you see in that video?”

“I was…in some weird place, when I heard you call out to me.  You started to say something about me still being alive.  Then…”  He gripped her hand tighter before continuing “Then I heard…Sayaka…”

Sayaka?  Of course; she was the first to die back at Hope’s Peak, not to mention Makoto’s middle-school crush.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he still carried some residual guilt about it…

Her theory was only proven when Makoto continued “She started to call me a liar for not getting her out alive.  Then…you told me that this was all my fault.”

Kyoko’s eyes widened in shock at Makoto’s revelation, hypothesizing that this part of his nightmare stemmed from her near-death from Junko’s poison.

I had no idea…that he would feel so responsible…why didn’t I think to reassure him sooner?

Her monologue was interrupted as Makoto continued “Then…all of our dead classmates appeared as well.  You asked me why I was still alive, then Sayaka said that I was the one who deserved to die…and everyone else agreed.  You all started chanting…for me to join you all…”

Kyoko gasped in shock as she realized just how deep Makoto’s guilt over the past several years had festered.

This has gone far enough!

She let go of his hand before using her own to pull his head into the crook of her neck, stroking his hair as his eyes widened in shock.

“Kyou…Kyoko.”

“Listen to me very carefully, Makoto Naegi.  What happened to our classmates, and my brush with death, none of it was your fault.  The blame rests with Junko Enoshima.  She made our classmates kill each other.  And it was her game that forced me in the position to choose your life over mine.” 

She pulled his head back before using both of her hands to cradle his face in her hands.

“You have survivors’ guilt, exacerbated by your Post Traumatic Stress.  And us springing this new job on you certainly didn’t help at all.  But you’re going to get better.  I promise to hold your hand through this every step of the way, as your friend, as your comrade, and most importantly, as your wife!”

Makoto gasped, blushing as red as a tomato, before adopting a teary-eyed smile, overcome with how much Kyoko loved him.  He wrapped his arms around her in a gentle hug, nestling his head on her shoulder.  Kyoko smiled, gently returning the embrace, stroking his hair as she kissed his cheek.  Makoto opened his mouth to apologize for waking her up but thought better of it and kept his mouth shut.  For her part, Kyoko slowly pulled them down until they were lying on the bed once more.  As she continued to stroke his hair, Kyoko started to sing.

“Come, stop your crying, it will be alright.  Just take my hand, hold it tight.  I will protect you from all around you.  I will be here, don't you cry.  For one so small, you seem so strong.  My arms will hold you, keep you safe and warm.  This bond between us can't be broken.  I will be here, don't you cry…”

Nearly asleep, Makoto nuzzled against her shoulder and murmured “Kyoko?”

“Hmm?”

Yawning, he finished “Thanks for protecting me.  I love you…”

After she finally heard the snoring that was music to her ears, she kissed his head and replied “I love you too, Makoto” before closing her eyes as well, slumber finally taking her and Makoto to a world of happy dreams.

XXX

“…You know, I’m kind of surprised you still wanted this job.  I figured your nightmares would have spooked you away from ever touching this place again…”

Makoto scratched his cheek and answered “Well, they almost did.  But…it occurred to me that I can really do a lot of good as Headmaster.  Plus, maybe if I get used to running this place as a school of hope that honors its past, then maybe I can finally bury my guilt from the past and move on.”

“In that case, you’d better get a move on.  They’re waiting, Headmaster.”

Makoto looked over his fiancée; dressed in a reddish-purple suit, with a new pair of lavender gloves to wear as part of her new uniform as Vice-Headmaster.  He smiled at her, grasping her hand in his own as they walked out to greet the first class of Neo-Hope’s Peak Academy.