• EDIT: May 1 2010. Apparently this site screwed up my formatting yet again. I hope it's easier to read now. For the fully-formatted versions of my fics (and for more fics, in general), please visit my livejournal page, which is linked in my profile :D Thank you for reading!
» title. The World Since That Day
» summary. If anyone else knew, they'd say that this is the moment where everything went to hell.
» classification. PG-13 • AU • senpai!Byakuran + kouhai!Shouichi • evil!Shouichi prompt • 1869 words
» dedication. to caffeinexsugar (livejournal) :D Happy Birthday to you! :3
Their first meeting isn't even worthy of being called a meeting.
Byakuran is behind strengthened plexiglass windows and *he* is on the floor below, lined up with his fellow test subjects like a flock of obedient sheep.
Their eyes meet for a split-second—and those emerald eyes burn like something special—and it's hard to be special when one is shaved bald and dressed in similar flimsy hospital gowns and tagged with white wristbands with serial numbers and shoved together in a cage filled with seething lifelessness.
Byakuran straightens from his crouched stance, feeling the sharp tingle of recognition and challenge and interest, ignores the nasty whisper of it's just a worthless little brat at the back of his mind.
He gives a little wave to the boy with burning green eyes, smiling unapologetically when the leader of the research team clears his throat in warning.
This is their first meeting.
Some say that the world's demise has been sealed on this day.
the world since that day;
Byakuran is the son of an important stakeholder in the project—his presence is merely as an observer, his presence is actually not needed since he doesn't have multiple PhD's on biological engineering and precision dynamics.
He dislikes parading around the research center since old people in lab coats and young people with misled dreams are not interesting in the slightest—but he goes for the next experiment anyway.
Byakuran is still behind reinforced glass, but his gaze is clear and unrestricted when he watches the young boy—with burning green eyes and the serial code of IS0051 on his wrist—endure electric shock upon electric shock in the testing chambers.
It's not the other's endurance that piques Byakuran's interest—there are other candidates with bodies more susceptible to electric conduction.
It's that brilliant shine of emerald that doesn't waver despite bruises and scrapes blooming on the other's skin, despite uncaring hands that the scientists handle him with, despite the sheer cruelty of his situation.
Byakuran might just be imagining it, but it seems that IS0051 seems livelier today, even though six of his cellmates just surrendered to the electric shocks.
In all the years that he has been brought around to the research headquarters, this is the first time Byakuran actually uses his level 5 pass to be able to visit the holding cells for the test subjects.
Byakuran feels a smidgen of pity for them—for they are but young teenagers that have been separated from their families because of war; for they are but young orphans that have been taken advantage of by the government's greed—but only a smidgen. It's not that Byakuran is heartless—it's just that, for him, genuine feelings are hard to come by.
Those thoughts disappear as soon as he watches IS0051 leave his dull-eyed cellmates behind. Byakuran takes a step forward, the toes of his polished shoes hitting the reinforced glass. The two of them are only separated by this pane of glass—and Byakuran sees how thin and frail the other's body really is.
"I'm Byakuran," he breathes into the space between them, hand splayed out near his chest, as though to pat the younger one's head.
IS0051 lifts his head and stares straight at him.
"I'm Irie Shouichi."
Byakuran is now a regular presence in the tests, but his eyes are always focused on one person.
"They want us to be superheroes," Shouichi tells him, bony wrists chained to the floor, neck embraced by wires that hold him down to the chair, "they want us to save this world."
Byakuran asks him, even though the answer is evident in the other's eyes. "Do you hate it here?"
"Yes," Shouichi replies, a flash of wickedness on his face, taking aback even the happy-go-lucky Byakuran.
"Do you hate me?"
It's the first time something aside from apathy and rage shows up on Shouichi's expression. Byakuran looks surprised by his own question as well.
If anyone else knew, they'd say that this is the moment where everything went to hell.
For Shouichi smiles a smile that makes Byakuran's heart leap.
"Of course not, Byakuran-san."
Byakuran is now a regular visitor to the underground test subject holding grounds.
It's not a secret to anyone that he's only there to visit Irie Shouichi.
"I never understood why I was taken," Shouichi mentions dryly, his hair growing out since Byakuran has issued a complaint against the maltreatment of the test subjects that are too young and powerless to otherwise protest, "I've always been weak."
"But that's not true, Shouichi-kun—"
It's strange, really. How someone as pampered and as uncaring as Byakuran is affected by the frown on the other's lips, by the shade of resentment in the other's face.
"It's true," Shouichi insists in a tone that's so—uncharacteristically—sad.
"But you're good at other things, right?"
Is that a smirk—? No—no, it's gone in a flash.
Shouichi's voice is sweet, unlike the fire that's still burning in his eyes, even now.
"I enjoy working with computers."
There's a conference, researchers launching their complaints about Byakuran Gesso's antics and irrational requests, government officials asking the scientists for results, results, results! since the war is starting to boil at the outer edges of the territory.
Byakuran silences them all with the sweet voice that he picks up from his last conversation with Shouichi.
"The press will have a field day when they learn of this illegal tests, ne~?"
"Byakuran-san—" There's a note of awe and triumph in Shouichi's voice but Byakuran only sees the happiness there. "You even got me a room to myself."
"It's unfair how they're treating you after all," Byakuran reasons, walking gingerly towards Shouichi, slowly putting pale hands over small shoulders. "You're the best among them so you shouldn't be treated like that."
"I really appreciate it, Byakuran-san."
Shouichi then shrugs the hands off noncommittally.
Byakuran isn't the type to be interested in businesses or politics or war, but he prepares himself and tells his father that he also wants to be a part of the board of directors for Vendicare Research Facilities.
"The plasma cannon they're using is only 40% effective," Shouichi murmurs from his study table, headphones—a birthday gift from him—slung around his neck, "if this goes on, our side will lose the war within a week."
Byakuran perks up from his spot on the floor, mountains of documents beside him. Being a director is hard work—but it's now a lot easier to spend time with Shouichi, it's now a lot easier to move Shouichi to a bigger suite, it's now a lot easier to bring Shouichi the computers and the electronics he wants. Byakuran is fascinated by how focused Shouichi looks whenever he's within range of his computer. He looks like a completely different person then.
It's beyond beautiful.
"How so~?" Byakuran is still not powerful enough to be included in the decisions of the military, so he's a bit mystified how Shouichi learned about the plasma cannon.
"If they reduce the explosion radius and use Neptunium instead—they will get a 50% increase in efficiency..." Shouichi bites his lip, before letting out an embarrassed laugh. "Sorry, I get carried away whenever I think about battle plans."
"You like military strategies, Shou-chan?"
Shouichi's grin is boyish and powerful and chilling all at once.
Byakuran barges in to the command center and yells the bit about using Neptunium and adjusting the explosion radius.
He's promoted in rank within an hour for the crucial contribution.
"I wonder what else will they want to test me for," Shouichi mumbles mournfully, long red locks blocking his eyes from the view.
Byakuran easily winds his arms around the other's form in a loose hug. He buries his nose in Shouichi's hair, but all he can smell is the overwhelming scent of a sterile laboratory and ozone. Byakuran always urges Shouichi to use the fragrant shampoo he's fond of, but it seems that the laboratory's smell sticks so strongly, even if it's been a week since Shouichi has been called for testing.
"I'll look into your file," Byakuran promises him, wistfully twining their fingers together since Shouichi doesn't seem intent on returning his embrace. A voice at the back of his head quips that he's already tried it many times before, but Shouichi's file is curiously off-limits even for military commanders.
"I thought you said my files are off-limits?"
Byakuran waves off the concern away. He's lived his life not being concerned with anyone, not even himself, so it seems that all of his concern and care is now being poured into this intriguing person.
"I'll sneak in," Byakuran lets his lips brush against the other's ears, "I can do it for Shou-chan's sake."
Shouichi's lips widen slightly—a smile? a grin? a smirk?—against Byakuran's shoulderblade.
"Well, if that's the case, I can help you—"
Byakuran doesn't really do anything that isn't fun or interesting for him.
But he befriends the guards—Kikyo-kun and Zakuro-kun—and even the one in charge of encrypting the files.
"Father is sending me to another facility," Byakuran declares as soon as he enters the lavish room—his decorations, of course—linked to his, "Father is being mean!"
"Is that so?" Shouichi drawls and Byakuran pouts, torn between blushing like a not-so-innocent schoolgirl at the heavy tone in Shouichi's voice and protesting that now isn't the time for Shouichi to use his 'stoic mode'.
"I don't want to leave Shou-chan's side," Byakuran whines, throwing his bag to a far corner, Shouichi's stolen file inside.
Shouichi's eyes are now hidden by glasses. "I don't like it either."
"Mou, just because he's the boss—"
"Then, isn't it easy?"
Byakuran blinks at Shouichi and is frozen by the sheer malice in the other's eyes.
"Just get rid of him," Shouichi's smile is boyish and beautiful, "then you can be the boss and do whatever you want."
Byakuran doesn't really like being the leader—he's more content watching people mill around, watching how his actions affect and not-affect the world at large.
But he cheerfully snatches away his father's place at the top of Vendicare, not caring if the others protest and complain and cry, not caring if another war is looming on the horizon.
"Don't you want the world, Byakuran-san?" Shouichi asks him, standing by his side as the trustworthy right-hand man, as the one behind the faultless military strategies that has won them territory after territory.
"Do you want it, Shou-chan?" Byakuran's eyes are slightly glassy, slightly drunk with power and manipulation and victory, but he's still there on the throne, he's still there to receive the reverent praises and the anguished screams. "If Shou-chan wants it..."
Shouichi's file and the reports of the spark of his manipulation activity—all those papers are forgotten in that room.
"Will you destroy the world for me, Byakuran-san?"
The world that gave this wretched power to his eyes. The world that is just slowly spinning to its end.