Count Down 1 Count Down
by Famira Damaris

Disclaimer: I don't own Generator Gawl or its characters! No sue! Sue is bad!
Author's Notes: First of all, I'd like to say congratulations to Wyna for her fanfic. Very good - don't know if I can get the character's down like she did, but I'll give it my best. A lot of people misunderstood my complaint about the way she portrays her thoughts - actually, I was mostly joking, and didn't think people would take it so seriously (the brackets are something I usually use, but I was referring to how she was indenting over the place. I can't help it - I'm a neat freak. ^_^;) Anyway, this fanfic is going to have some *major* spoilers! If you didn't watch up to DVD 3, then I wouldn't read this: certain surprises will be ruined. This isn't really a romance fanfic: but if it were, the pairings would be Masami+Gawl and Koji+Ryo or Koji+Natsume. I'm thinking this is going to be a multi-chapter thing: it depends, if people hate this or not. Count Down takes place two days after the end of the third Generator Gawl DVD: I haven't seen the fourth, and so this fanfic is probably veering off into a totally different direction then the cannon. The generator attack by a LOCUST generator is entirely fictional, for the reader to assume happened not too long before the fanfic, This is basically from Koji's view (but third person). If you need anything cleared up or have any questions, e-mail me at shampoo_famira@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading. ^_^;

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Count Down

First Vision

Koji Suzuki sat down at the table quietly. Ryo Kudou was already there, his pale slender hands folded across his lap. The blond was conversing patiently with Masami's mother – ever the diplomat, he was successfully distracting the middle-aged woman with chitchat, for they were all waiting still for Gawl to wake up. He knew that mild-mannered as she was, she'd never say out-right anything negative regarding the tenants: the complete opposite of her hot-tempered daughter. Koji glanced across the wooden surface at the girl sitting across from him. She returned his bland glance with an irritated expression. She was one of the most expressive people he had ever met – and he knew, probably the one that could be most hurt. He didn't say anything, only listening absently to Ryo's conversation.

"I'm *really* sorry about Gawl," Ryo apologized, "He's a late sleeper." Of course Gawl had a reason to be exhausted: last night he had defeated yet another of Kubrere's generator soldiers. Koji frowned. At least he hadn't come back in tatters: not too much for Masami to worry over, to start asking questions.

Masami's mother smiled good-naturedly, "I'm just glad you boys decided to come back: Masami was quite worried."

The said girl looked up at the mention of her name: a flicker of shame, relief, and then indignation. She sniffed, tossing her head at the mere idea that *she* of all people would worry over Gawl's well being.

"I - they're *our* tenants! I *should* be worried since you apparently weren't: and you yourself said to think of the money!"

Her mother smiled tolerantly, as Masami finished up the tirade, pausing for a breath. Ryo had been listening to this with a pained expression, as he was always somewhat nervous when people argued. He exchanged a helpless glance with Koji.

"Money isn't an issue," Koji commented coolly, "But we should thank you for letting us come back."

"Any time, boys."

Masami scrunched up her pert nose, but made no reply. Ryo made another attempt to resume the conversation, this time trying to include the young girl. Koji glanced at the clock, then up at the ceiling. Gawl was really pushing it: another ten minutes, and there wouldn't be enough time both to eat breakfast and to get to school. Koji's frown deepened. Had Gawl taken a serious injury that hadn't been obvious, a reason as to why he was sleeping so lately? If he was wounded badly, he couldn't protect the scientists and then where would they be? Of course, that was rather heartless of him – but it was a heartless future, and the heartless survived the longest. *He* had to be the one to hide his feelings behind the façade of the stoic mask, because he had ended up as the leader. If the future could be prevented, well, then he maybe he could afford to be a little more caring.

"I'll go wake up Gawl," Koji told the others, getting to his feet. For more of Masami's sake, "We're going to be late at this rate."

No argument, and he left the room, padding up the stairs to the second floor. They'd returned to boarding at Masami's house once again, after the meeting with Professor Nekasa: Ryo was for it: he explained he had no doubts that Kubere knew of their relations with the girl and her family, and that their well-being could be threatened. Best to be close so they could lend their protection. Gawl hadn't made much of an argument at the time: he'd still been hurting from the fight with the Arachnid generator. Koji had been the only one who hadn't quite agreed, but the blond scientist had gradually convinced him. And so here they were. Back where they had started.

The tall young man opened the door to their room. The lights had been turned out since he had last been inside. Gawl had apparently woken up to turn them off, only to go back to bed immediately. A habit picked up here in Oju: before, in the lab, he hadn't slept in a normal futon, instead in the womb of his holding tube. Ryo had always been the one to "wake" Gawl up, not Koji. Strange that it suddenly would be his role now. He stepped into the room, finding his way easily through the darkness. Both Ryo's and his futon's had been both folded and stored away – Gawl's was still in a little heap, his tan form sprawled all over it. Interesting that he'd be such a restless sleeper when only months ago he hadn't moved at all in his slumber. But of course, he wasn't sleeping in a tube anymore.

Koji stood looking down at Gawl, give him a quick analytical look. His black eyes didn't see anything wrong with Gawl: he was sleeping with a peaceful expression, and he didn't look like he was in pain. He was a quick healer: a speed demon, compared to the abilities of Ryo and Koji. Any injuries sustained the night before had sealed over, and Koji decided that the only reason Gawl was sleeping so late was that he had a lazy streak. He knelt down next to the futon.

"Gawl."

Gawl continued snoring softly. Koji raised his voice.

"Gawl!"

A twitch from Gawl was all he received. Koji stood up, and walked to the windows, opening the closed drapes. Sunlight poured in, slashing across the floor and straight onto Gawl's futon. The boy squinted his closed eyes, the harsh light quickly dashing sleep away.

"Wake up. We're going to be late," Koji turned toward the black-haired boy, "Everyone's waiting downstairs. I'd hurry up and get dressed if I were you."

Gawl was grumpy, as he rubbed at his green eyes blurrily, "I'm glad that you're supportive. I only saved your butts *again* last night – I think I deserve a little sleep once in a while."

Koji shrugged, "You slept ten hours. The last generator was rather weak compared to the others as well."

"Thanks a lot." More sour sarcasm. Of the two scientists, Koji had the feeling that Gawl disliked him the most. He was getting to his feet, still, not wasting any more time.

"At least no one saw you this time," Koji prepared to leave, "Try to keep it that way – too many mistakes have been made so far."

Gawl only mumbled something, tugging fresh clothing. Koji left the door open, heading down the stairs as he brushed a loose strand of dark green hair over his shoulder. He'd been rather hard with both Ryo and Gawl recently: he felt a pang of regret sometimes, but they had to press forward. Things weren't going as planned. He had to try to compensate for the irregularities, to try to mold the plan to the changes. The two weaker generators had to rely on Gawl, primarily because of his strength – Koji and Ryo were of a lower phase than Gawl. It would take their combined strength to even come close to equaling his. And what about that Saito woman? She'd seen them both generate, now knew that all three, not just Gawl, were generators. For two days, they had gone virtually unmolested: last night had been the difference, the first generator attack since the meeting with Nekasa. But the target this time hadn't been Gawl: it had been Ryo. Weaker, yes, but still the Locust had been stronger than the blond. It was lucky for the scientist that Gawl hadn't been far away.

[They want Gawl, not us] More complications. He knew their mission wasn't going to be easy, but more problems were arising. [We're expendable: low phase generators, nothing new. The only difference is that we're child prodigies. But they don't need any more geniuses running around. There's only one of Gawl: hundreds of us. They *know* he's different, that he's in almost every aspect superior to the previous generators, including us. They want more soldiers like him. He could be the end of our "evolution", the last rung of the ladder, the highest possible level] He had often thought of this, among other things. Gawl and Ryo were bound to break under the stress sooner or later. They needed to take their minds off their situation: even with the urgency of their mission, he knew he couldn't risk losing either. They needed to blow of their steam somehow. Masami was Gawl's vent; he was usually very satisfied in her presence, though he'd never admit it. With Ryo…Koji just wasn't sure what to do. He did worry about Ryo: the most unstable of the three, though many regarded them to be strong people. He'd have to figure something out.

>>>>>>>>>>>>

Koji sat back down at the table, nodding to Masami's mother and her daughter. Ryo caught his glance, silently questioning him with his expressive sky-blue eyes. Koji stared back, only raising one eyebrow. Ryo gave the barest perceptible nod – Gawl was in good health. It was a constant worry, between the two scientists, if Gawl was one day wounded beyond his abilities to heal. Ryo usually showed more concern to Gawl, most likely the reason why the boy trusted him more than Koji.

" – Festival?"

Koji looked up. Masami's mother was regarding him curiously.

"Excuse me?" The most intelligent thing he could think of at the moment in way of a reply.

"There's a festival three days from now. Are you going to go? It's a rather big event – it celebrates the founding of Oju."

Koji blinked, "I didn't know. I'm not really sure."

"I'm sure it would be fun to go to," she replied, "Besides, what with all the pressures on you guys, I think it would be a good idea to relax for once."

[She can say that again] Koji thought dryly. Masami was shooting her mother a strange expression – Koji understood that it was usually the parents that pressured children into obsessing over the completion of schoolwork. He had to admit that the woman was probably the most laid-back parent he had ever met.

"Relax? Does that mean I can go back to sleep?"

Masami scowled at Gawl, who was tromping – loudly – into the room, rubbing at his unruly shock of black hair. Despite the bickering (harmless, generally), Koji thought they got together well enough. Still, these personal relations were a chink in the group's armor. It couldn't be helped. Irritating enough that she had a nosy streak.

"All you ever do is *sleep*!" Masami complained.

Gawl grunted, plopping himself down with a thud at the table. He yawned, "I was checkin' my eyelids for holes."

"You should be checking your *brain* for holes, Gawl." Masami started to eat, reaching out with her chopsticks. She and Gawl exchanged dark expressions, both egos ruffled. Ryo held up his hands – being the peacemaker – and loudly pointed out that the breakfast was very tasty today. Both ignored him, still bantering. Koji rolled his eyes.

"If I have holes in my brain, it's because of *you*! *Anyone* would be brain-dead after having to live under the same roof as you!"

"*Brain dead*! You have to have brains in the first place to be brain-dead!"

Another exchange of glares, as Koji, Ryo, and Masami's mother continued with their meal. The two started to reach for the last piece of food on the plate between them, as the other three began finishing off the other plates and bowls. Gawl started to move his chopsticks in to pick up the morsel; only to be deftly blocked by Masami's with a light clink. He knitted his eyebrows at her, as she started to take it. Another clink, as Gawl maneuvered his own chopsticks to prevent her from taking the food. Koji frowned in exasperation as the two engaged in a dual over the food, as Ryo futilely tried to break up the battle.

All in all, rather normal for the beginning of the day.

Masami in the end won the rights to the last piece of food, which had cooled considerably in the time that she and Gawl had fought over it. She popped it into her mouth, shooting a triumphant look at the loser. He grumbled something, pretending to look like he wasn't interested. [Interesting. Did he lose on purpose?] A sudden random thought. Not too important. He was more concerned with what to do about the generators.

>>>>>>>>>>>>

Masami and Gawl walked a few feet ahead of the other two. Masami was *trying* to tutor the dark-haired boy: a math test, today, and Gawl was woefully inadequate to tackle the task with his present knowledge of math. Natsume hadn't yet joined them: another block before she would. Masami was completely concentrated on what she was doing: both her and Gawl's heads were bent down as they held a piece of paper between them. They had stopped in their usual bickering for the moment. Koji and Ryo were left to their own devices.

Ryo was silent, not meeting the older boy's eyes. He fixed his blue gaze elsewhere – at the trees, the sidewalks, Gawl and Masami, the sky, his hands – everywhere but at Koji. He was still shaken by yesterday's events, at realizing that *he* had been the one targeted. It had been another Locust generator – it had surprised everyone, including Koji, when the generator had completely ignored Gawl, striking at the frailer scientist – luckily Ryo's generator instincts had kicked in, and he had at the last moment dodged the attack. Gawl had generated himself then, disposing of the generator. No one had brought up the subject afterward.

[It's still something that needs to be addressed. We can't ignore it] But he couldn't just interrogate Ryo – the blond was already very nervous. It would be best if he dropped his guard and questioned him.

"How're you feeling, Ryo?" Koji asked quietly.

The blond sighed, "Okay, I suppose." More uncomfortable silence. [He probably thinks I'm as concerned about him as I am about Gawl. But the thing is, he and I are the same: inferior to Gawl]

Koji continued gently, "We've been targeted, both of us."

"I know." The scientist was positively miserable with guilt.

"I wouldn't torment myself with guilt if I were you, Ryo," a touch of his old sarcasm. He paused, and explained, "After all, at Nekasa's laboratory, *I* was the one to generate first, not you. I was also the one that left Gawl alone with Masami and Natsume. I wouldn't agonize myself over it. It wasn't your fault."

Ryo made a rueful half-smile, "Maybe you're right. But this further complicates things, doesn't it?"

Koji didn't lie – he nodded silently.

"I guess our time is limited. We – not just Gawl – can ask ourselves how long we have."

"The thing is, Ryo," Koji kept his voice low and understanding, "We're in more danger now. Gawl used to be specifically targeted: they thought us only to be pure human scientists, unable to stand up to a generator. They know what we are – we're more of a threat to them now."

"They were after Gawl, his include cells. They want him alive, not dead. Shouldn't they be trying to capture us also?"

Koji shook his head, his dark ebony bangs waving in the motion, "No. You have to remember we're phases below Gawl's abilities. Gawl's one of a kind: we're one of a million. Why should they want more of us? Our abilities aren't anything special: Gawl's, however, are off the charts. They've underestimated him. You remember all those tests on him?"

"…Yes. Although I wish I couldn't."

"What's passed is passed, Ryo. You can't change it right now: we're going to right our wrongs. You shouldn't worry yourself over the issues of the past."

"I-I'm sorry. I'm having a little trouble following you."

"It's alright," the encouragement sounded very alien to Koji: he hadn't exchanged any words of comfort to anyone for months, maybe even years, "His abilities were amazing in those tests, exceeding the expected."

"The others hadn't gotten as far as we had, Koji," it was almost a whisper, full of shame.

"Yes. The other test subjects hadn't reached Gawl's levels. We had succeeded where others have failed: what if our enemies got a hold of Gawl in *this* time? The Cataclysm could occur much earlier: if we're eliminated now, it won't affect the research, for they will have Gawl in this time period. Wipe the slate clean, so to speak, and rewrite the future." Koji shook his head. "I can't imagine what they want a new future for: our time was ruled by Kubere, so why change it?" Koji saw that Ryo was visibly uncomfortable at this topic, and so he changed it. "They're attacking to kill – we're obstacles to be removed. Maybe you won't be the target next time: it could be Gawl or I."

"We've presented them with more targets," Ryo sighed, "As if we don't have enough trouble."

"We're running out of time and options, Ryo," Koji said, "Eliminating Professor Nekasa is out of the question. The Locust that attacked you was weak: they're going to get stronger to ensure our deaths. If this is to continue, one or both of us are eventually going to die: Gawl can't protect his friends and us at the same time. We have to take into account that Gawl might be the last one of us left: whatever the case, he needs finish the mission in the event that we are dead."

"He *is* dependent on us. I suppose you're right – he's going to have to learn to live without us. Did you know, Koji, that he regards us as his friends?"

[No…no I hadn't] Koji was rather surprised at this. He shook his head.

"It is going to hurt him if either of us dies: we're really all he really knows in way of family units. You know how unpredictable he can be: we don't know how he will react one of us is killed. He still has the maturity of a child."

Koji and Ryo both glanced at Gawl at this comment. The boy was laughing, while Masami was rolling up the paper with a grimace of irritation. The laughter cut off as he received a hearty whap across the head with the paper roll, quieting down to obnoxious sniggers. Masami was making an exasperated face, trying to get him to pay attention again. Koji turned back to his companion, raising an inquiring eyebrow.

"He's also a killer. He's learning and adapting, but not fast enough to our current situation."

"You think one of us is going to be dead before he'll be ready." It wasn't a question, only a fact.

Koji nodded, "The attacks will surely continue. They want us out of the way: we could be a nuisance, could act as backup for Gawl. There're too many circumstances where they can catch us unawares and alone to count on our survival."

"We don't have much of a future to look forward to." Another resigned sigh. Both young men watched silently as Natsume crossed the street, tossing curls of pink tresses across her slight shoulders. The delicate girl approached to join Gawl and Masami, waving a friendly greeting.

"We once did, Ryo. This is the path we chose, and we can't escape it now." He fell quiet again. Natsume murmured greetings to all of them as she came closer: Gawl and Masami's pace had slowed down: they were within hearing range of Ryo and Koji. The tall scientist would have to finish up what he was saying.

"I'm just saying that you should be more careful in the future. We all should."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Going mobile again, Ryuko?"

The buxom woman swiveled in her seat. Kennai was leaning against one of the computer consoles, his tinted glasses obscuring his eyes as the surfaces reflected the flickering screens back at her. The rows of images – all from cameras hidden about throughout the school – were showing nothing of particular importance. Ryuko Saito was, however, not interested in these: her almond eyes were only focused on one. The image on the screen wasn't still, like the others: the camera itself was moving.

"Once again. These children…" Ryuko stared coldly at the screen. It was showing an image of a girl with a curious green ornament holding back brown hair, conversing with a boy possessing shaggy ebony hair and the 'camera'. The view would occasionally turn to look back at a short blond boy and his tall companion, "…so young. Young enough to make silly mistakes, but old enough to make some smart decisions."

Kennai folded his lanky arms over his chest, watching the woman. Her red lips turned up in a slow smile.

"They're smart and resourceful. But they're running out of time."

We underestimated them. I didn't consider that they," " Kennai leaned over, and pointed at the blond and the tall boy, as the image turned back to them with almost inaudible, garbled conversation, "might be also generators. They're not as powerful as the Gawl one, are they?"

Disdain was apparent in the Ryuko's husky voice, "No. Only low-phase. I'd say they are hardly worth the effort."

Kennai straightened, "Still, it's better to remove these additional thorns."

"Agreed. The first generator I sent after them wasn't strong enough. The boy protects them, you know." Ryuko tapped a long fingernail against her narrow chin, narrowed eyes focusing on the screen, and alighting on an image. "That girl, Masami. She has to have some sort of relationship with the boy: perhaps we could play on that?"

"As good an idea as any."

"Separate them from the boy – give him a threat that he won't be able to meet at the same time." Ryuko mused, pursing her scarlet lips with amusement. "Two generators. One after Masami. The other after one of the scientists…but not right now."

"And why is this, may I ask?"

Ryuko swiveled back to face him, "Let's just say I'm curious. I want to see these other generators in action. The first battle had been unbalanced: too powerful for them. I'd like to pit them against a weaker opponent. By themselves and as a team. We could learn how generators work together. It would be rather interesting, don't you think?"

"Somewhat. As long as we aren't delayed too long by this pet project of yours." Kennai grunted, and then gave a small smile to take the sting out of his words. The biologist returned the expression, "Any particular generators you want?"

"…They're probably able to handle a Cyclops by now. Some generators' abilities improve over time, so…" Ryuko shrugged, deep in thought. "…Muse. Arachnid. And a Sound. Easier than the newer ones, but they should be a challenge."

"What about a Manta against the Gawl generator? It would further confuse these children."

"Sounds good." A pause. "Don't you have somewhere to go, Kennai?"

Another smile. "Why so I do...I suppose I'll go see to your generators while I'm at it. Until then, Ryuko."

He turned, and vanished into the shadows, the hiss of a door heralding his departure. The tall biologist leaned toward the screen, scrutinizing it again. The sound was unintelligible: too low – as it was, she wasn't interested in their conversation. The little group was close to the school grounds now, as the view turned once to glance at the buildings. She might as well chose which scientist she wanted to test first before she left the secluded room to take her place as the biology professor.

She knew their names. She usually didn't bother with names – remembering names meant that someone was important, to be worth her time to remember. Her eyebrows knit. Which one? She didn't know if it really mattered – more personal preference, now. They wouldn't show any spectacular results like Gawl had. But she thought she would enjoy toying around with them. She usually derived great entertainment from such things. She made her decision, staring at the bobbing green ponytail and white school uniform as the 'camera' drifted back.

"I think our little 'game' is over, Koji Suzuki. I think this will amuse me more than your quaint little philosophies. I hope you're as good at being a generator as you are a scientist."


To be continued...
>>>>>
Heh, that's the end of the first Vision of Count Down. I'm not *too* sure where I'm going with this, but I'm getting some ideas. Gawl and Koji are my favorite characters in the anime: actually, it was first Gawl, until I watched it all over again. Koji's so bishounen in the first DVD! *goes drool in a corner* Actually, I think Generator Gawl characters aren't as difficult to write about as other characters, like Wufei from Gundam Wing or video game characters. I liked writing this, but like all writers, I need feed-back to survive. ^_- In that aspect, I'm not at all different from Wyna.
Still looking for the script to Dungeons & Dragons. Kinda wanna MST Pearl Harbor. Finals coming up. I really should be studying. Not much new, actually. Well, I guess I'd better finish this up. Feed-back, suggestions, reviews, flames, feel free to e-mail me at shampoo_famira@yahoo.com or AIM me at S Duo Maxwell 02. Thanks for reading again. ^_^