If you were to ask Keiji when the world came falling at his feet, he wouldn't know where to start. Would Day 1 be when the world stopped and medical miracles began? Or would it be when people realized death was no longer an option. Or maybe it was the day when the government, governments, rained nukes upon the world and suddenly the death toll began to climb again.
Then again, pondering this now wouldn't help him. The skies had already fallen and humanity has been stripped of what's made them human. And despite the fact that Keiji himself didn't have his skin falling from his bones and rot wafting from his insides, he couldn't help but wonder if he too has lost his humanity. He couldn't help but wonder and worry if somewhere along the way, everybody had to pay the price of their humanity just to survive.
“The miracle” hadn’t marked an end for the world, but an opportunity to restart. Following the nukes, a chemical reaction rendered unfortunate individuals senseless. They killed and consumed others for their own pleasure while the survivors discovered that their newfound immunity was gone as fast as it arrived. Mankind learned the hard way that they did not stand a chance. After all, how could they fight against something, against monsters, that could not die?
Bokuto Koutarou wasn’t one to believe that the world, something so utterly beautiful and full of so many wonderful people, had completely gone to shit. But upon inspection of the countless abandoned stores, houses, and hospitals left behind by those who wished to escape this hell hole of a world, it was hard to maintain a positive attitude.
As a natural extrovert and someone with a loud personality, the lack of conversation slowly corroded away at his sanity. Days passed. Then weeks. Then months. Then- then Koutarou lost count. Life became lonely and, soon enough, life hardly had to do with living. Soon enough, his optimism ran out and his despair reared its ugly head. Hope is a hard thing to keep, as Koutarou has found, especially when regret and longing consumed it for themselves.
Tetsurou will never get used to waking up to a dull, grim sky. It only reminded him of what he lost. There was a time when there were blue skies, laughter in a gym full of friends- family- and rivals alike, accompanied by the squeaking of volleyball shoes. But now, it was all gone, buried beneath piles of ash and bone.
Regardless of that, Tetsurou had managed to see some light in this hell show. He still had two of the closest people possible right by his side- two out of ten, twenty, thirty- The thought always brought a small smile on his lips, even when the afterthought settled in his throat like bittersweet chocolate. But he's not going to dwell on that. Because Tetsurou has two of his family still firmly with him and they were not going anywhere anytime soon. Not if he could help it.
December 14th, 7:52 am
It starts like this:
Every morning, Keiji woke up and took inventory. He patted up and down his sides and scrabbled at his skin to check for missing chunks of flesh. For any sign of decay. And it was only after he was reassured that he was, in fact, whole and had, for the most part, an acceptable amount of sanity, did he kick at the other two sleeping forms and begin to pack up camp.
The other's awakenings usually were accompanied with groans that made Keiji's fingers twitch towards the small of his back where the reassuring weight of a pistol always sat. One day he feared that when one of the other's eyes opened, he would have to put a bullet through their head because some time during the night the last of what made them human slipped away.
But his hand had always dropped and untensed after a second or two of paranoia.
That was, until today.
December 14th, 7:52 am. The barricades on the single door leading into their temporary shed quivered. Rattled. And gave out.
December 14th, 7:52 am. Akaashi Keiji was reminded of a half formed hypothesis that he had turned over in his head the night before-- a price to pay, a price to survive-
December 14th, 7:52 am. Their group of three wavered and crumpled right down to two.
It starts like this:
The end of the world allowed new opportunities, too much time to spare, especially for the night owls and early risers.
Koutarou resided in a convenience store located in the local shopping center. He particularly liked this area due to the access to the roof and the once flashy neon lights which lit up the whole area magnificently before the power was shut off.
Every morning at 5:30 am, Koutarou would open his eyes to a day full of new work and new ideas to allow the inhabitable conditions of the world to become habitable once more. He’d grab the almond milk out of the make-shift underground refrigerator, heat some water up for coffee, and poor himself a high sugar iced coffee with more milk and sugar than coffee itself.
Although, today was different. Upon awakening he found the convenience store he’d been using for the past month was now rendered useless with expired foods and stale chips. He knew the day would come where his food rationing single to only himself would require an obligatory cease.
Today, December 14th at 5:30 am, Bokuto Koutarou would need to face his long avoided fears and head for more food and more tools.
Koutarou wandered for multiple hours with no discernable direction nor destination being as he was the one to have already raided all of the stores in his town. He had strapped a shiny pistol to his belt and started north; being an athlete he figured at most he could outrun any of the flesh eating banshees if he happened to be unfortunate enough to bump into one— or multiple.
December 14th, 7:07 am he enters a town, one that looks somewhat reasonably untouched, and begins to look for tools he might be able to use. He ends up finding a pair of bolt cutters that he decided to hold onto for later use.
December 14th 7:47 am, Koutarou stumbled upon a tool shed. With hopes of finding much needed tools inside, he approaches it and begins to cut the chain binding it shut.
December 14th 7:50 am, He is attacked by a monster from behind. Grabbing his pistol, he spun and slammed it against the door. Wood shattered into splinters as the hinges flew off the door frame and Koutarou took the chance to shoot at it's head twice. One shot hit the monster. The second hit the small blonde monster-- wait no that's not- behind it.
It starts like this:
December 14th, 7:52 am. Bokuto Koutarou, former high school athlete, someone who had it all, killed his first person: a small boy with a bad brown to blonde ombré, formally known as Kenma Kozume.
Chapter 2! Again, feedback is welcome!
He didn’t want to believe it.
Despite the fact that Tetsurou himself witnessed Kenma's body fall limp, the fact that he saw the moment Kenma's chest rose then fell for the very last time, he didn't want to believe it.
That can’t be true, Kenma, dead? It was impossible, crazy, a big fat lie- truth , sang the voice in his head. A big, fat, ugly truth. The impossible became possible, the crazy became reality, and the lie never really was a lie to start with; it was simply just the truth.
On December 14th, 7:52 am, Bokuto Koutarou, a friend, family even, shot and killed Kozume Kenma due to the circumstances in which the blonde teen had been found in. The same Kenma that Tetsurou had shared a childhood with, had played on the same court with, had shared endless moments in each other’s arms that he only now realized were limited from the start.
It was easy to lose himself to this, and quickly, Tetsurou's denial turned into anger. He looked into Bokuto's eyes with nothing but rage and tears coating them. Not even he was sure what exactly he was angry about: the fact that Bokuto killed Kenma or that it was Bokuto of all people to kill his lover.
He was quick to throw a punch, messy anger and sorrow turning something sloppy into something dangerous. It threw Bokuto’s balance off enough for Tetsurou to drive him into the floor and clamber on-top of Bokuto's body the moment his back made contact with the ground. Punch after punch after punch rained down from Tetsurou's fists, knuckles splitting and wrists aching, as he sobbed in tandem with each thump.
He didn’t even notice that Akaashi had managed to drag him off of Bokuto, yelling at him to calm down as he thrashed around in a way a mad man would. Everything registered as though it was being transmitted through water, his ears ringing with the only other audible thing being his heavy breathing and choked sobs.
He broke the only promise he had ever made to himself since life became a fight to survive.
He lost Kenma.
Keiji didn't flinch when the first gunshot sounded. His grip on his gun merely tightened as he aimed it between the eyes of the newcomer, his gaze wildly searching for the signs of decay he had smelled when the door had caved in. It landed on the twitching body just outside the shed before flying back up to the man still pointing his gun between the three of them.
Keiji made the mistake of letting his grasp slacken upon the sight of a human besides he and the others, flesh and blood, for the first time since week two of the end of the world.
But then in less than an instant, red mixed with blonde and another body joined the floor. The difference between this one and the first one, though, was that one still lived and the other did not.
Kenma's body hit the ground with a resounding thud and the air lit up with the sound of screams.
Keiji wondered if it was selfish of him to feel more over the sight of the monster rise back up from its place on the ground, the entry wound of the newcomers bullet still smoking, rather then the fact he just witnessed the murder of one of his friends.
So he did what he had to do. He stepped over Kenma's cooling body and threw Kuroo off of the man's bloody form. Shouldering his pack, he clutched his gun in one hand, knuckles burning and fading white, and trained it on the approaching form outside the shed, peppering it full of ineffective bullets.
"Pull it the fuck together, Tetsurou, and move. If you don't, Kenma won't be the only one to die today."
His eyes flitted down to the man slowly picking himself up from the floor. "And you. Kenma has a-" Keiji cursed as his pistol clicked, the chamber obviously out of ammunition. "Get up and get Kenma's gun. Both of you get ready to run."
In the back of his mind, he chuckled bitterly. If he wondered before he knew now. Anyone with even a bit of empathy, hell even the decency of emotions , would have been grieving. Anyone other than him, apparently. Keiji barely felt a prickle of remorse and now he could only question, what the hell did that make him?
The sound of the gun shot still left a reverberating ringing in his ears, as his heart dropped out of his chest, “Kuroo I-“
Normally, Koutarou wouldn’t even hurt a fly if it bit him. Even after the apocalypse began, he rarely killed; his new normal was to fight to live but to never kill another. But here he is now, wondering how he got here; a significantly less than normal reunion with one of his best friends-- former best friend-- and someone completely new, after he had shot a perfectly healthy human being.
The adrenaline was high, and after getting a face beating from Kuroo, he rose, staggered, as spots danced across his eyes, and reluctantly followed the orders given to him.
He pocketed the gun Kenma had stashed away in the inner lining of his coat and shot at the monster again, with luck as one shot struck its brain and temporarily brought it down. But it was to no avail as more were patiently waiting for their breakfast to be served, no doubt drawn by the rapid gunfire that was coming from the shed.
So they ran, leaving behind a bullet ridden shack and the still cooling body inside of it.
Koutarou lead the group back down south running, numbly hoping that he wouldn’t be the cause of more than one individuals death today. Tears weren’t even coming out of his eyes anymore; he didn’t know what to feel, he almost felt devoid of all emotion. He just wished he could go back in time, back to before, back to the early morning. He wished he had just chosen to make his sugar filled drink instead of picking up his shiny new pistol and leaving his safe haven.
He was losing to his thoughts as they slowly burned through his mind from the inside out.
Koutarou quickly dodged inside a building to his left, hoping to gain a vantage point of the ruined city before them. He opened the door while pulling Kuroo and Akaashi inside, and locked the door the moment all three of them were inside. Limbs still shaking, he set about trying to find any sort of furniture to barricade the door.
His head hurt. It was pounding and everything just seemed to be getting louder and louder now. His vision was blurry and occasionally unfocused. Koutarou felt like he was going to pass out but couldn’t as the feeling of burdening others was already heavy with the guilt of killing their friend.
He was surprised at the calmness the stranger held in the situation- just stop thinking dammit -- too many thoughts were coming at once, his simple brain feeling as though it was overloading.
All he could do is look over at Kuroo's sunken in form and take in the swollen eyes and the hitches still impeding Kuroo's breathes. And before he could stop himself, Koutarou lips moved of their own accord to utter two words that felt like an ultimatum:
He found himself pinned on the spot by two pairs of eyes, one that held a dying flame of rage and another that hardened over like steel, and knew that his apology-- apologies-- would never be enough.