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Summer Challenge Week 9: At the End

Title: Encounter
Length: One-shot
A/N: Written for the gacktjob_fics Summer Challenge 2013, week 9.  Prompt is driving in darkness.  I did it!  It's the end, and I did them all!  Wheee!!!

Summary: At the end of the world, Gackt finds himself driving through the night with what remains of his band, prolonging the inevitable, at least for a while.

Gackt’s finger’s tightened on the steering wheel as he peered down the road and into the darkness.  The country road, far removed from the city, had little of the traffic he was used to, but with his growing fatigue even the emptiness seemed a bit daunting.  The car was quiet, the only sound the breathing of the other three occupants.  The radio had stopped working two days ago, and although he left it running on quietly, just in case, he had pretty much given up on hearing anything other than static.

Sato’s sniffles had quieted nearly an hour ago, and the young man now slept fitfully in the back seat with Chachamaru, who had managed to stay awake to keep an eye on him until he slept, but hadn’t lasted much longer.  Gackt worried about him—he’d lost a lot of blood during the last day, and he wasn’t as young as he used to be.

Gackt worried about all of them.  Even You, sleeping in the passenger side front seat, as peacefully as if tonight were just another night.

He knew he’d have to take a turn and rest sometime, but he figured it would have to wait until dawn.  Let the others rest.  They were all bone weary, with more than just physical fatigue.

There was also the grief.

He bit his lip as he remembered Kei, always vibrant, now gone.  His screams, mingled with Sato’s cries of anguish as he fell and was lost in the raging sea of what had once been humanity.  Somehow, the rest of them had managed to escape the ravening horde, but Gackt had been unable to save Kei.

He could only pray that they didn’t meet up with him again.  The thought of coming across one of the undead that you had known in life filled him with bone-chilling fear.  These undead were not like the spirits that he had met in his youth.  They were malevolent, and they had physical bodies.  He supposed that you could call them zombies, although he was fairly certain that they didn’t eat brains, or even human flesh.

Which made it even harder to figure out why they were hunting the last remnants of humanity.  Still, reasons were unlikely to be revealed to him.  The last week had given him no insight into the horrors that chased them.

Resolutely, Gackt forced his thoughts back to the road he was driving on.  He wouldn’t allow himself to wonder if behind him, there were a million undead thirsting for the end of humanity.  Perhaps, he tried to console himself as he focused on the pavement in front of him, they only ‘lived’ for a week after they changed.  Perhaps it was only the new ones that they had to deal with.

With an infestation, like this, would even that be enough?

“Quit thinking about it.”  You’s voice interrupted his thoughts.

“I’m trying to plan.”  Gackt retorted quietly.  “I just... keep getting distracted.”

“It wasn’t your fault.”  You told him.  “Not anymore than it was Sato’s.”

“I know.”  Gackt agreed, although he didn’t really feel like it was the truth.  “I just... we haven’t really been able to help anyone, have we?  Not even ourselves.”

“We’ve made it this long.”  You said.  “We can’t give up now.”

The car chimed, and Gackt looked down at the dash to see that a glowing light had appeared.  He cursed and looked at the symbol that showed how full the gas tank was—nearly empty.  “Unless we find more gas, it’s going to be the end of the road soon.”

You couldn’t find anything to say to that.  On foot, outrunning the zombies that far outnumbered them would be nearly impossible.  Especially since you never knew how many were ahead of them, even if you ignored the ones behind.  “Maybe the next station will work.”

“We haven’t seen a station that wasn’t completely ransacked and destroyed all day.”  Gackt sighed.

“But we have to hope,” You said, “that this isn’t the end.”  They drove on in a depressing silence for a few more minutes.

“You want to rest?”  You asked.  “I could drive for a while.”

Gackt shook his head.  “I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway.”

You seemed to know not to push it, at least for the moment.  “You need to sleep eventually, but okay.”  He glanced back at the pair still sleeping in the backseat.  “Do you think Cha will be okay?”

“He’s not infected, anyway.”  Gackt said, trying not to think about the gripping fear he’d felt when he thought they would lose the elder guitarist just like they had lost Kei.  “We can only hope.”

The silence that followed, which on any other night drive would have been companionable, weighed uncomfortably heavy upon them.  Gackt strained his ears, listening to the quiet static, wishing that a sign of human life would appear, a voice over the airwaves.

“How far do you think we’ll make it?”  You finally asked.  “Before we run out of gas, I mean.”

Gackt thought about it.  “I think it should last until nearly dawn.”

“We’re almost out of gas?”  Sato’s voice trembled, and Gackt couldn’t help but glance back at him and Cha in the back seat.

He grimaced, what a thing to wake up to.  “Unfortunately.  Sorry if we woke you.”

Sato shook his head.  “No, I... can’t sleep anymore.”

You turned around to look at him sympathetically.  “I know.  Just try not to wake Cha, alright?  He needs the rest the most, right now.”

Sato nodded determinedly.  “Of course I won’t!”

But he couldn’t help but ask quietly, after no more than a few minutes had passed, “What’ll happen to us in the morning?”

“We keep going, if we can.”  Gackt said.  He didn’t want to say what he feared would happen.

“Or we stand and meet the end.”  You finished quietly.  “Don’t worry, Sato, whatever happens to us now, we do it together.”

Sato sniffed, but didn’t start to cry again.  Gackt was grateful—the young man’s heart wrenching sobs had been hard enough to handle when they still had plenty of gas, and consequently, still had a larger measure of hope.  Uncomfortable attempts at small talk kept them going between the long, depressing gaps of silence, until finally Cha awoke.

“What time is it?”  He asked blearily from the back seat, clearly still exhausted.

“Nearly dawn.”  Gackt said, feeling as if he were pronouncing their doom.

“We’re almost out of gas.”  You told the older guitarist.  “Soon we’ll have to walk.”

Cha grimaced.  “Not sure how far I’ll get.”

“Whatever happens, we’ll do it together.”  Sato said, quoting what You had told him earlier in the night.  “Right?”

“Exactly.” Gackt said.  “If it’s the end, we’ll face it together.”

The car stuttered to a stop.  “Not quite dawn.”  You commented.  “You’re a little off, Gackt.”

Gackt managed to roll his eyes at the teasing, but didn’t respond to it otherwise.  “Alright, guys, let’s get up and get moving.”

“In the dark?”  Sato questioned, sounding frightened.

“Sun will poke over the horizon any minute.”  Gackt declared.  “Hand out the rest of the food, Sato.  I know we don’t have enough to ration it any further.”  Sato obeyed, and soon they were wolfing down the small portions of what remained of their supplies.  Once that was done, they gathered up their things, and opened the doors.

“Here comes the sun.”  Cha said.  “Do you see anyone?”

“We’re not alone.”  You pointed to the trees off the side of the road.  “There’s something moving in there.”

Sato whimpered, but found his voice.  “Cha can’t run.”

“Then we’ll face it together.”  Gackt said.  “Like men.  Here at the end.”

“You don’t have to, for me.”  Cha whispered.

“We wouldn’t make it much farther anyway.”  Gackt retorted.  “It’s better to face the end beside your friends, rather than run away and die alone.”

“Together, then.”  You said.

As the first rays of the morning sun peeked over horizon, the four men turned, side by side, and faced the end.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
It's the end of the summer challenge, too! XD

Sorry, this fic was probably too serious for that >.< I really liked it, the writing was just beautiful.
Sep. 8th, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks ^^

I always appreciate a bad pun like "It's the end of the summer challenge, too!" XD
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )