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With the given condition of mankind, evolution has provided a way for humans to survive the current harsh conditions of the world—by adapting and mutating to become ajin. Ajins have actually existed even before the apocalypse (because that's what this actually is, is it not?), but only in small numbers and known only to very few. In the past, their existence was remained hidden to protect their identities (some even to the point of reverence), but then some turned into cruel experimentation by the government (in which the Japanese government was one of the worst offenders). Some scientists believed that this mutation is a warning of things to come: that something bleak was to happen to mankind in the near future. Though not a popular opinion at the time and at best was considered simply as a conspiracy theory, later this proved to be true: decades later, the world self-destructs from its own inhabitants' hubris and greed. The vampires, whose existence was even more unknown than that of the urban legend of the demi-humans, emerged out of the shadows to take over the world and turn themselves gods of the humans—they believe that after all that the humans had done to destroy the world, it was only right to punish them by showing them how feeble and unrightful they are.

But the human race is determined to prevail. Unknown to the arrogant vampires (there is quite the irony here, really; they mock the humans for being complacent and greedy when in fact they were cut from the same cloth—only even more prideful), ajins are slowly but surely growing in number. There would be people who would wake after being drained by vampires, people who were thought to have died, only to rise again. A lot would be confused yet rather elated at another chance at life via a miracle, but some would know what they are—what they had become. There were myths after all—old myths about legendary creatures who were destined to live forever.

Due to mistreatment in the past and general fear for their lives, ajins keep to themselves and hide away to distinct places where they would never be seen or noticed—which is in a community of humans with whom they can easily blend in with.

But one ajin was determined to make a splash, and that ajin is known by the name of Satou. Though he speaks of liberation and fighting for humanity, he is not at all interested in the fight between vampires and humans and their dispute over territory and politics. He is completely unsympathetic to both sides. He is interested more on the added challenge of the game—how different the chase is now that another kind of undead is in the mix. He is determined to find whose species would prevail—humans, vampires or ajins like himself. Though ruling the world and proving himself to be the most powerful being is an attractive prospect, what he really wanted is the thrill: to feel the same kind of, or an even bigger, rush he felt when he was once a simple human soldier fighting in a battlefield for a war that no longer holds any meaning. He's managed to bid his time—strategize, wait for the right time, gather the appropriate equipment, look for the right ajins who would be gullible enough to fall for pretty words or who had a thirst for revenge against the vampires—and now, as the battle between humans and vampires are rapidly approaching its peak, he takes to the stage and announces the presence of ajins.

And now it has come to this. In the final showdown, who will emerge victorious? Who will prove to be the most powerful? Who would be deemed the rightful ruler of the world: humans, vampires or ajins?

 


 

 

Despite the world crumbling around him, Nagai Kei is determined to live out his life as he wanted it to: continue being a good, outstanding student, build connections that will be advantageous to his future, become a doctor of great caliber, and live out his life successfully and having achieved all he's ever wanted: a perfectly normal life. He was lucky enough to not have been captured by the first insurgence of the vampires, along with his sister. It was perhaps quite a good stroke of luck that his sister is rather sickly—had they not been in the hospital at the time and were at their residence in the middle of the city, they would've been killed immediately. Leaving his mother's body behind, he escapes with his sister and manages to survive—taken in, among many others, by the Japanese Imperial Demon Army.

This all changes when a vampire manages to get loose and invades Second Shibuya High, his high school. Though Kei runs away with his classmates, when he is captured by the vampire, he is easily discarded by his peers and gets left behind. Noin Teta mocks him then, saying how easy it is for humans to discard fellow livestock in order to live. Despite trying to resist (despite logic telling him that resistance is futile in the face of the vampire's enormous strength), the vampire quickly drains him and tosses him aside, quick to follow the escaping humans.

Needless to say, Kei wakes up a few moments later—dazed and confused. How is he alive? From the enormous pulls of the vampire and the amount of leftover blood on the ground beneath him, all logic point towards a death sentence; if not from blood loss, then sure from cracking his head on the pavement. He quickly dismisses the notion of somehow being saved by a miracle—as an aspiring doctor-to-be and a rather apathetic person who relies on what some would call "cold logic", he knew better than to simply call his revival as a work of a miracle. More to the point: the bites in his neck are nowhere to be found. Even the bruises and broken bones he received from the vampire? Gone. If he were saved by something as illogical as a miracle, his wounds shouldn't have disappeared like they were never there. Hell, even the wound he received as a kid that scarred his knee was no longer there.

So how on earth did Kei survive?

 

Chapter Text

Tadashi isn't sure how it all started.

If asked the specifics (if anyone would even care to), he wouldn't know how to answer it. Perhaps it's due to his repress emotions, issues later outlook in life alongside his fear of confrontation, but he never really knew exactly when and how it all began.

Up to that point in his life, he's just an average guy with an average life. He's completely ordinary where it counts and somewhat mediocre regarding everything else, but he's cool with that (kinda). He has friends (and a super cool best friend), a great volleyball team (quirky, but they care), kind of strict but nice parents and pretty good grades. He's on a trajectory of graduating with grades good enough for a good college in Tokyo that would open doors for him in the corporate world, while trying to get a firm handle on his jump float serve and his receives that would land him a regular spot on the team by his third year.

It's a simple plan for a simple future for a simple guy like him. From another's perspective, it's a plain way to live, but not an unusual way of living nonetheless.

So, no. Tadashi's not sure how it started. But certainly he knows what triggered it.

 


 

As with everything, it all starts on Facebook. (That's more of a general rule of course, but when it comes to Tadashi's life specifically, everything starts with Tsukki. To be honest, he's quite surprised that this idea did not stem from his best friend. He supposes he is part of it, but not exactly for the reason most people may think.)

Typical student behavior of escaping responsibilities in the guise of chatting up classmates for a report due next week that they won't do until the day before, Tadashi was just scrolling down his newsfeed as he waited for a reply he was sure won't come. (Like seriously, there's only so many times you can excuse yourself to the bathroom to not seem like you're only avoiding answering questions in a group chat.) It was a nondescript link—typical newsfeed article with the right amount of trivia and frivolity that makes bored people like him click on it. If Tadashi remembers correctly, it was a mini-quiz relating to horoscopes or book personalities or something of the sort. An hour of clicking associated links and which-character-are-you and how-kinky-are-you-in-bed quizzes later, he came across it.

The Are You Suicidal? quiz.

Again, it's a typical quiz, standing alongside stellar quizzes such as Which Disney character are you? and How much of a psychopath are you? It's not like he hasn't seen those quizzes before. In fact, he's probably answered more than he should—from the pretty vague but kinda science-y ones to the downright ridiculous like seriously do you even grammar.

But as is cliche about these things in life, something about it felt different. To be very clear: there was absolutely nothing special about the quiz—setup or otherwise. The usual girl-facepalming-like-her-hand-was-an-octopus stock photo and a few philosophical but obviously ripped off lines underneath were both there to further engage the viewer to just take the damn quiz already. As far as his mind goes, this was something he's seen before and was not at all surprised by it anymore.

So when he felt like he swallowed a sponge that somehow solidifies and enlarges to disproportionate sizes, he was confused. There was an elephant and a rhino making out on his chest, and his stomach felt like it was playing jump rope with his intestines.

For a second, he considered retaking the How depressed are you? quiz from earlier just to see if the results were now somehow different from they were ten minutes ago. ("67% depressed" was his result—the usual response to his age group, he'd imagine.)

Was he suicidal? It was a thought that crossed his mind at that moment.

He shook his head. He wasn't suicidal. He's had no tendency to decapitate razors or hang a noose on the rafters or stare intently at vast waters by the bridge. He's had no impulse of taking a knife from the kitchen or gunning himself down and ending his life then and there. Sure, back when he was bullied by the neighborhood kids, he'd think about how it would be better for him if he died (and how he'd come back to haunt the big jerks for the rest of his non-life).

But the actual act of committing suicide?

People like his uncle Akihito was suicidal, smoking like an industrial train and not drinking his medicine. Mrs. Nejima three blocks away was suicidal, taking all those stray cats into her house despite having no income or good health—or youth, really—to speak of. As far as Tadashi knows, people with a death sentence but don't do anything to fix it are suicidal.

(That's what it means. Right?)

It made him uneasy, like he was a gentleman from the 1940s sitting on an imaginary chair on a seesaw with his right leg on his left knee. (A completely terrible and reckless idea, but that didn't really stop his seven-year-old self from doing it.) All these questions and uncertainty suddenly flooded his brain and made him feel out of sorts and just lost.

So he went back to answer the damn quiz as if he'd find a good answer out of there.

 


 

As it turns out, the idea of suicide is like a drug.

It's like an annoying song that keeps playing in your head even though you don't want it to, but somehow the prolonged exposure makes you appreciate the song despite your efforts not to. It's like a dirty secret you can't tell anyone even though logic dictates you should or else your brain may erupt, like he's blending his brain into goops of unidentified mush that no one wants to touch with a two-foot pole. It's basically torture on a psychological scale where your consciousness and that irritating little dwarf in your head are at war, with the knowledge that you'll give in eventually but still you participate in a losing game.

It is a cacophony of chaos in Tadashi's mind and no one knows about it.

(It's a mess inside his head and he doesn't tell anyone about it.)

Chapter Text

Japan was supposed to make everything better.

Granted, running away from a fight is not exactly the best way to end it—to be fair, it wasn't really his decision to begin with—but Taiga couldn't help but feel a bit relieved at the chance of reprieve.

It started out okay, sure. His father, for all his abruptness with the move, stayed out of Japan more than he stayed in it. Something about a company crisis? Too little people, too many things to do at once—same old, really. Taiga didn't pay much attention to him when he started yammering about his job. To be fair, neither did his dad when he started talking about basketball.

The middle school he attended was quite a pain to walk to, but at least there was a burger shop nearby. He supposed he could make do with forty-minute walks everyday if he could get his hands on greasy cheeseburgers on the way home.

What he couldn't handle, though? Basketball here sucks.

His basketball team was absolutely terrible; then again, he could say the same for the rest. This was Japan, after all. He was a fool for thinking otherwise. Players weren't tall enough; they couldn't even touch him when he started to jump. They weren't strong enough to match him up either, so more often than not, those tasked to mark him just step aside instead of actually blocking him.

He could've tried living with that, but none of them were even trying to get stronger. For someone like Taiga who lives and breathes the sport, that's as much of an offense as anything. It was disrespectful.

Still, he may have not found anyone worthy enough to be his opponent, but at least his disappointment redirected his frustration elsewhere. Despite what should've brought more painful memories to the forefront of his mind, basketball took his mind off more pressing matters instead. He could learn to live with that.

And then he got to high school, and everything changed.

Kuroko Tetsuya was persistent, if anything. His annoying disappearing act off-court aside, Taiga had to give him props for his open determination. Up until now, he's seen nobody as motivated as he; even the senpai in his middle school couldn't be bothered enough to attend practice every day, much less work hard enough to produce actual results. "It doesn't matter, either way," he remembered them saying. "It's not like we actually have a shot at winning."

He would've yelled at them, had there not been a club policy about insubordination. The only thing worse than being in a shit basketball team, was getting thrown out of a shit basketball team.

 



 

 

Seeing the power of the infamous Generation of Miracles, he could see why basketball teams around them dropped like flies when faced with the legendary team. They were insanely strong--one might say "overpowered"--fighting them was like throwing a sheep in a wolves' den: practically speaking, it was like entering a suicide mission.

But Taiga's never been afraid wolves. (Nor has he been particularly practical.)

He wasn't afraid. He wasn't terrified or nervous.

He was excited.

Faced with their tremendous strength, his determination only grew. Not only to win, but to dominate. He was a tiger by nature; no amount of naysayers were going to keep him off his kill until he's taken them all down one by one.

Chapter Text

Victor Nikiforov is a god among ordinary men.

At the very tender age of three, he has been lauded as a child prodigy in the arts for his role of Ophelia in baby theater. He's a student-athlete who has won numerous awards on figure skating, gymnastics and curling. He is Grand Prix State University's Most Eligible ManTM (also ranked #1 on College Hotties and Guys I Want to Step on Me five years running). He has the most adorable dog ever (Makkachin has been crowned Top Dog ever since she was spotted illegally napping at the student center).

He is also having the biggest crisis known to mankind.

Victor slams his hands on Yakov's fancy dean table (because he's dramatic like that). "Are you telling me I've been disowned?!"

A few minutes ago, Victor was just shopping for new outfits and a Queen Victoria marble bust collectible when he has been informed that his credit bounced. As with most things in Victor's life that don't make sense, only Yakov has the answer to everything.

Yakov merely sighs like a chainsmoker out of coke and keeps typing away on his Windows '78. "Your parents haven't disowned you, Vitya."

"Then why did they cancel all my credit cards?" He is astounded as to how calm Yakov is being given that Victor is reaching Stress Level 72 (said level includes chipmunk voice pitch and disappearing eyebrows). Usually it's the other way around.

"Vitya," Yakov raises his head and gives a Victor a Look (and Victor has to close his eyes momentarily to refrain blinding himself from the glare of Yakov's Baldspot), "your spending habits have become too unreasonable. You've become too reckless with your money and your parents have simply decided to discipline you."

"What do you mean 'unreasonable'? I don't buy things without reason!" Victor says, affronted, because he is a drama king.

"You bought 12 confetti canons just a few months ago."

"It was Chris' birthday."

"The garish pink convertible parked illegally in the courtyard?"

"How could I not buy a beauty like that?"

"Just last week, you bought an inflatable bouncy castle!"

"Makkachin has been a very good dog and she deserves it!" Victor would stomp his foot if Yakov could see it, but he won't so he didn't.

Yakov resisted heading his very fancy table that held his very fancy nameplate. "Whatever the case, your parents have made the decision, so you're just going to have to live with it. Your tuition and dorm expenses have already been paid in full so all you need to worry about are your personal expenditures. You'll get your set allowance from me every 15th of the month. Other than that, direct all your questions and violent reactions to your parents."

"But I coudn't contact them," Victor not-whines. Last he heard, his parents were in a deserted forest in Aruba looking for rubies or dinosaur eggs--and that was two months ago. It's a miracle they managed to talk to Yakov.

Yakov just gives him a can't-help-ya-there-bud shrug and leaves Victor to complain loudly as he continues to type in his tank. Any minute now, Lilia would hand him his 3PM coffee; she can handle Victor.