Disclaimer: This novel contains adult material including sexual themes and strong language. This work is not suitable for minors. Reader discretion is advised.
Session 16: The Long Walk Home
Once we departed the halls of Oransen High, we all gathered into Maxxie’s car, resuming our positions from this morning and not immediately switching back, as we still needed to pick up Shiaka(T). A moment of quiet settled as Maxxie(Z) began driving out of the school parking lot, only to be disrupted by Terra(S), who started sobbing. Going on about how happy she was that she got to experience this, that she was able to handle the pressure, and how she confirmed to herself that she wants to live out the rest of her life as a woman.
She thanked all of us for helping her, but as she did so, I could only think about how I did not deserve her praise, as everything I did was detrimental to her experience. My mishandling of her coming out, the lack of support I have been showing all day as I had the audacity to worry about my petty little anxieties in comparison to Shiaka’s full blow dysphoria, it just made me upset to hear, and as such I tried to pay her little mind, staring outside the passenger window of Maxxie’s car.
It began to snow shortly after we left Oransen High, with small flakes clinging onto the ground, street, and sidewalk, building on top of the mostly melted mounds from a few days prior. It was a pleasant sight emblematic of what was my favorite time of the year. It was cold, but not frigid, remnants of autumn still resonated through the air, and the snow still held a sense of beauty to it before it transforms into a chore. I possessed a plethora of fond memories about these kinds of days, but the fact I was not happy on one of these few days, days that seem to grow more and more uncommon with every passing year, it just made my mood all the worse.
What sealed the deal was seeing Maxxie’s original body’s face staring back at me. With Maxxie being such a spunky and happy-go-lucky person, it was rare to see this upset expression on this face, and the fact that I was looking at it, let alone causing such an expression to exist on that face at this moment in time, only added another layer to my mound of depression. I would have mused that the world just did not want me to be happy, but really, it was just me, looking past what should be a wonderful formative experience for my friends and me, choosing instead to linger on the nebulous and needless. I had every reason to be happy, but… wasn’t. I let out a sigh as I dug through these thoughts in my mind once again, and managed to draw a response from Maxxie(Z)
“Jad, you’re being awfully quiet. I mean, I may just not be used to not hearing my voice when driving, but I just want to make sure everything’s chill with you,” Maxxie(Z) commented in as soft a tone as she could muster in her current body.
“I… I guess I’ll just be clear. I actually do enjoy being you— being in your body, I mean— but it’s… I feel like I’m wasting it, that all I’m doing, all I did today was squandering an opportunity, all because I’m not capable enough to handle a day as you… I don’t know why, out of the billions of people in this world, Verde decided to give the remote, this VD to somebody as useless as me.” I said, my voice calm, but tears dripping down my face.
As I finished that sentence, Maxxie pulled over, parked the car, reached over me to yank the VD out of the glovebox and switched herself and Zoe(J), placing her in my original body, and Zoe back in his original body.
“Guys, guh— do— ahem,” Maxxie(J) said as she adjusted to my body. “Sorry about that, new voice. Well, not really, but, um, anyway, you guys go pick up Shiaka, I’ve got to work this shit out now. Get out of the car Jad, we’re going on a walk.”
I did as she ordered and stepped out of the car, where I took in the cold November air as I began wondering how terribly I was handling this situation from step one.
As I sighed, Maxxie(J) immediately hugged me, shouting at Zoe and Terra(S) to leave. As I saw them leave, I returned Maxxie(J)’s comforting embrace with a limp hug of my own.
“Jad, I am so, so super sorry that I did not notice this earlier. You need to let me know if anything is troubling you because if you’re bummed, you better believe that I’m bummed and will do everything and anything I can to light your heart up!” Maxxie(J) shouted as she loosened her grip on me
“I… I know that and I’ve always known that. I just feel like I don’t deserve so much as that…” I mumbled as I looked away from her, from the face I’ve always seen when I looked into a mirror until a few days ago.
“Come walk with me my J-star, we’ve got some major beef to squash.” Maxxie(J) said with a great deal of determination as she put her arm around my torso
“W— Wait, you want to walk around hugging like this?” I asked, stupidly concerned about nothing.
“It’s not really hugging, and besides, who is going to A, see us, and B, care? Just don’t get so worked up about what other people think, it doesn’t matter, and you know this, dude!” Maxxie(J) said as she began walking towards our homes.
“I know, I’m just… ellipsis. I feel like compared to you, Zoe, Shiaka, and even Terra, I’m useless. You are an amazing artist, rightfully have a large following, and are the— you are the most fun person I have ever met, while also being so amazingly, delightfully weird. Zoe started with nothing, a dead dad, overworked mother, but through all that, he became an ambitious, professional, and incredibly mature young man. He keeps his cool even when in a goldarn inferno. Shiaka is a technical, smart, and adorable young woman, who went through the most major shit I’ve ever heard of, and instead of being dead or scarred beyond belief, she still manages to lead a normal life. While Terra… She is such a brave little girl who is finding herself and being so mature about it and is such a kind and nice person at the same time. Me, I guess I do well enough in school, but without you all, I’m nothing! I’m fucking nothing!” I shouted as I gripped Maxxie(J), tears rolling down my face.
“Trying to be you, act like you do, it only made me realize how worthless I truly am. Your artistic talents are amazing, especially for somebody as young as you. You’re always smiling even in the face of adversity, and always doing what you want, not caring about what others think of you, it is all admirable and… Guh!” I continued, looking down at my current body and becoming more frustrated as I heard my words leave my borrowed voice.
“Jad, I… I appreciate how highly you think of me, but… that is complete, utter, distilled, fucking stupid-ass bullshit!” Maxxie(J) shouted.
“You think I would be the same person without you? That Zoe and Shiaka, and even Terra would be the same person without you? I dunno if you recall, but I was a jerk before you came along and showed me that friendship is magic. Zoe was a bitter and isolated ass, I guess he still is nowadays, but he’d be full, one-hundred percent antisocial if he was left to sulk in the corner and not speak to anybody. Shiaka, oh my goodness, you know what one of the reasons why she is able to exist in a social environment? You, ya dummy! You are quiet, shy, and open as all fuck! I’m a loud bitch, and Zoe’s hardly the most friendly face around. Without you, she’d probably have never opened up to anyone outside her family. And Terra, dude, you are basically her big brother! And don’t try and extrapolate something wack about how she saw you as a bad male figure and decided to be trans, or whatever trash is rattling around in your brain space. That’s absolutely not the case, you silly slippery salamander!” Maxxie(J) shouted back at me, brimming with energy.
“Besides, you act like you’ve never had to deal with hardships, you know? I mean, your dad was a total prick with thorns attached. Your parents went through a divorce, your ass was almost beaten open in the process, and have kept your shit straight through the years. All while being the… I am so happy to have you in my life. I know I may not show it a lot of the time, but I really do love you Jad. Fuck, I feel that I can say the same thing for Shiaka, and definitely for Terra. You really don’t have anything to be ashamed of, you may not be living a dream life, but fuck it, you can change that around. Never give in to despair, I mean, that’s the entire point of Danganronpa! Always believe in yourself, your potential that is just waiting to be awoken! Unleash the power of your hope and send that twin-tailed bitch into the furnace where you burn all you stupid and petty anxieties! Don’t Get Discouraged! Put a Smile on Time! Dark is the Night, but the day shines just like the sky!” Maxxie(J) raved as she tried to make me feel better.
We both shared a moment of silence, continuing our walk as her words vibrated around my mind for long enough for them to sink in.
“Thank you,” I said between sobs.
It was then that we stopped and tightened our hug and, well, um, erm, our mouths kind of drifted towards one another and we… Yeah, we kissed while in each other’s bodies.
After we embraced the moment for five seconds, we immediately both turned away from our original faces and blushed. I was preparing an excuse, but Maxxie(J) bit the bullet and took the first word.
“Hahaha, wowzers, I sure as sugar wasn’t expecting my first smooch to be with myself. Pretty darn weird if I do say so myself, hehehe.” Maxxie nervously chuckled, acting like a lovestruck child.
“Erm, it was a platonic thing, some sort of emotional excess that happens with really good friends and—” I stammered, nervous after our kiss.
“Dude, it’s kissing, this culture just don’t like non-romantic smooches, your Deutschland ancestors used to make out with their family members all the time. You can take it however you want though, either way, it’s all swell with me.” Maxxie(J) said, cool as a cat eating a cucumber.
“I, erm, thank you, but I should say that I was, you know, feeling something down there…” I nervously said while gesturing towards my crotch.
“It’s brain chemicals reacting to stimuli from your mind and body, which is a pretty cool can of beans. But if you think about the beans for too long then the beans will get all cold, moldy and gross so that nobody would want them. so just take a spoon and dig in while you still got a boner or something. I dunno. All this emotional talk has gotten me winded, spacey, and a little bit horny.” Maxxie(J) said, likely not fully listening to herself.
We then paused once again before I extended my hand out to Maxxie(J), who grabbed it without hesitation. Hands clenched, we resumed walking towards our homes, looking at the snowflakes delicately falling from the sky. I’m not entirely sure what inspired us to do this, but before I knew it, we were skipping our way to her house, singing the winter theme from Persona 4: The Golden together.
Winter’s breeze, brushing on your face.
A cold reminder of our happy place.
As the snow continues to fall, the time is now.
We laugh at the heavens to make a vow.
Through the worst and best, our bonds will last.
It is one way our future shall be like our past.
It is up to us to make sure all is well.
Come, my dear, we mustn’t dwell.
…Is that right?
I… I was not expecting you to come back, Verde.
Well, I did promise that I would explain everything to you, Jad, and I’d say your story has ended. …Oh my, that sounded far more aggressive than I intended, please, forgive me.
I— okay, before getting into— but then there is the— I thought that—
Calm down, Jad. I stopped your story as I do not feel I need to hear how Shiaka(T) had a mildly discomforting time as she tried to lose herself in the experience. Nor do I need to hear about your pizza and Smash Bros. filled Tuesday night, even if I do enjoy your group’s antics.
…Now that you spawned yourself a chair, can you explain why exactly you left?
My experience with people is… minimal, if I may admit my most evident fault. I was intimidated and, as such, I hid. I pondered returning, but I felt that now after you have notably calmed down, was the best point to come back. I must thank you wholeheartedly for staying with me all this time.
Oh, well, it was not really a choice to me, no way I was going to forget all of this… Even if it did not really happen.
It happened, just not anymore. It is an alternate history you have memories of.
Right, right… So, you said that you would explain everything about… everything.
Yes, yes. Being a woman of my word, I shall tell you how everything began, repeating information when necessary for the sake of clarity.
Verde’s Doohickey Main Page
Session 01: Re;Birth.exe
Session 02: Osananajimi;Myself
Session 03: Maximum Flare
Session 04: The World of Girl Love
Session 05: It’s Slippery When Wet
Session 06: T-Girl Trouble
Session 07: All The Warriors
Session 08: A School-Style Swap
Session 09: School Daze
Session 10: Starred Social Links
Session 11: Finer Foreshadowing
Session 12: Dark Dreams Develop Despair
Session 13: Back 2 Best Girl
Session 14: Can’t Even Shine In A Prism
Session 15: Maxxie Mit Melancholy
Session 16: The Long Walk Home
Session 17: Obtuse Origins – Omega Overdrive
Natalie Rambles About Verde’s Doohickey