Hello again Highschool of the Dead Archive :)
My first shot at a H.O.T.D. fic seemed to go over well enough, so I thought I'd take a stab at a longer fic. What we have here picks up shortly after the group leaves Saya's house, and is out to look for Takashi, and Rei's parents.
Again I warn, I've only watched the anime, so again, if I've made an error in detail here, I do apologize :)
Without further adieu, I don't own Highschool of the Dead ;)
"Alice-chan!" Kota Hirano shouted over the single shots he took with his AR-10. Within the humvee, Alice's head perked up to find Hirano staring down at her as they barreled down the road. "Magazine!" Hirano again shouted, quickly bringing Alice to retrieve a magazine for the weapon he held. She passed the magazine to him and with a flick of the release, he dropped the spent mag and slapped in the new one. Being the omnipresent gun-otaku he was, Hirano left a round in the chamber as to not require the action pulled. He resumed fire, one of his bullets passing between the narrow kneeling legs of the indigo-haired woman in front of him by mere millimeters.
Saeko Busujima and Takashi Komuro knelt atop the humvee with their weapons in hand, just in front of Hirano. While neither of their weapons were suited to long-range combat such as this, it didn't stop them from doing everything they could to help clear the way. Saeko's blade ripped an occasional slice from a zombie's skull, while Takashi's Ithaca 37 subdued multiple targets at once.
Within the humvee, Rei called out directions for nurse Marikawa. While Shizuka was quite the bumbling woman, she had certainly stepped up to the plate when it came to driving. Though the ride was far from smooth due to the fact that every now and again, a walking corpse ricocheted off of the vehicle's armor, Shizuka did all she could to avoid any truly dangerous situations.
The humvee's 6.5L diesel barked and banged as it had been for the past couple miles, bringing the nurse to comment, "I think the problem with the car is getting worse!"
"Just keep pushing!" Saya shouted from the backseat. She leaned forward between the front seats and continued, "There's only a few more miles to Rei's home."
Rei's home. The dirty-blonde sat in horrified thought of what might be waiting for her there. Would her mother or father be there? Would they be waiting for their daughter to come home to them? Would they still be themselves if they were, or would they be as the others were? Her eyes tightly shut as the thought of having to possibly destroy her parents coursed through her. In those few seconds in which she had closed her eyes, the vehicle rapidly approached a fork in the road, and Shizuka asked with a good bit of panic in her tone, "Which way?"
Rei's eyes burst open and she shouted, "Right!"
The humvee swung hard right, bringing Hirano to crash into the wall of the turret and fall back into the cabin. Luckily, the horde seemed to break and now was as good a time as any for him to rest. However, on the roof of the humvee, Saeko and Takashi were still fighting Shizuka's dramatic attempts to correct the vehicle's direction. While Saeko's quick reflexes had brought her blade wielding hand to just barely grab hold of the roof, Takashi was quickly thrown off balance. At the first crack of Takashi's voice, Saeko's purple hair whipped around as she turned to face him. Just a few days earlier, he had told her how greatly he admired her. He offered her something no one else had as he pressed his lips to hers, and now the only man who ever made her feel like a girl was falling away from her.
"KOMURO-KUN!" She shouted as her left hand flew out and gripped his right ankle. Her deceptively strong fingers tightened around his ankle, and as his weight finally fell completely on her fingers, she let out a gasp of pain.
Seeing Komuro slam into the side of the vehicle, Rei shouted, "Takashi!"
Hearing and now seeing his comrades struggle on the roof, Hirano pushed the injury he received when his body banged into the turret aside, and stood up to help them. He grabbed a hold of Takashi's leg and immediately Saeko could feel his weight lighten in her hand, "Busujima-sempai, are you alright?"
"I can't hang on much longer!" She shouted, the wrenching expression on her face telling of the phenomenal pain she was in.
Hirano looked back into the humvee and called, "Takagi-sama, hold my legs!"
While Saya Takagi hated being ordered around, especially by Hirano, now wasn't the time for her to be getting in a huff about it. He barely gave her the chance as he leaned over the roof of the humvee. He laid out across the roof and called to his friend, "Komuro!"
Their eyes locked and no further words were needed. Takashi reached up to grab Hirano's hand and within a few grueling seconds, he was back atop the roof with Hirano and a relieved Saeko. A smile graced his lips as he spoke, "Thank you."
Hirano smiled as he fell back into the cabin, completely exhausted. Immediately Rei turned and asked, "Where is Takashi?"
Exhausted beyond the point of speaking, Hirano merely pointed to the roof as Takagi attempted to tend to her noble, yet chubby bodyguard.
On the roof, Saeko and Takashi shared a calm and telling glance. Takashi found the woman at his side to be nothing short of magnificent in every manner of the word. From the way she defended herself and the group, to the way she maintained her calm in even the most dire of circumstances. She was an absolutely amazing woman, and the connection he felt with her when they headed into battle together, it was like nothing he'd ever known.
Across from him, his blue-eyed partner stared at him with eyes made of glass. It was the first time he'd seen her so vulnerable since their brief time in the temple, and at seeing the fear in her eyes, Takashi asked, "Are you alright, Saeko-chan?"
Even close to her first real breakdown, Saeko's voice remained calm and unwavering, "I thought I might have lost you, Komuro-kun."
Hearing her words, hearing her worry for him, Takashi's heart raced. Ever since that day on the sand bar, he had questioned his feelings for Saeko. After she'd confessed her "sins" to him, he only wished to know her more. He didn't judge her for what she'd done or how she felt; he admired her for it. While they shared but a single and simple kiss that night, after almost losing her to her own guilt the following morning, after touching her as he had, she had become the only thing he could think about.
Without a thought in their minds, nor an eye to gaze upon them, Takashi slid his hand onto Saeko's neck and pulled her closer to him. She didn't protest his request in the least, allowing her body to descend towards his as their lips delicately met. There was no violence or reassertion of the kiss, it was calm and warm, and with little effort, dissolved all of the pain Saeko felt. They pulled away from one another a moment later, and took a moment to stare into each other's eyes. Unfortunately, the moment was ruined as Shizuka roughly applied the brakes.
While they weren't carrying enough speed to be thrown to the road, both Saeko and Takashi fell onto the hood of the humvee, eliciting screams from Rei and Shizuka. As they groaned in pain, Shizuka leaned her head out the window, and spoke with a smile, "Gomen nasai!"
Saeko and Takashi rolled off of the hood, once again back to this horrifying reality as Hirano stepped from the backseat and asked, "Are we here?"
No one saw it just yet, save for Saeko; the look of absolute terror that had washed over Rei as she looked on her family's home. Takashi was next to notice, and while nothing he could say would ease her nerves, he approached her and quietly spoke, "Rei?"
Tears ran down her cheeks, and she asked, "Come with me, Takashi?"
It wasn't a question in the least; of course he would go with her. He offered Rei a nod and turned to Saeko. He needn't say anything for her to understand what he was asking of her. "Hirano and I will stand guard," Saeko commented.
Rei retrieved her M1A from the humvee, and Takashi pumped two fresh slugs into his Ithaca. They headed towards Rei's home, which while being substantially smaller than Saya's was still by most standards rather large. Takashi led the way and gave the doorknob a twist. He turned to Rei and quietly spoke, "Stay behind me."
Rei offered him a nod and followed him into her home. He knew his way around these halls, but not more than a few feet into the house, Takashi heard quiet sobs from behind him. Rei's hand covered her lips to quiet the choking of her tears, and Takashi quickly turned back to her. At the sight of the tears on her cheeks, he placed his hands on her shoulders, though her eyes didn't meet his as he asked, "Rei, what's wrong?"
Her eyes were facing the floor beneath her, and he quickly gazed down as well. She had removed her shoes as she would have any other day, though today, there wasn't much of a point to such politeness now was there? Seeing the sadness that had washed over her, he lifted her chin with his finger and quietly spoke, "We're going to find them, Rei."
She smiled slightly as she wiped her tears, and slid her shoes back on. She offered him a nod and Takashi turned back to her home. They proceeded to walk through, room-by-room, and within five minutes they had traversed every hall and corridor, yet there was no sign of Rei's parents. On the bright side, there was no sign of a struggle either. They came back to the kitchen and Takashi turned back to Rei. He could see she was still so very broken simply being here. He stepped back to her and quietly spoke, "Why don't you leave a note?"
"A note?" Rei asked.
Takashi stepped into the kitchen retrieving a sheet of paper and a pen from the countertop, "If they come back, they'll find the note and at least they'll know that you're alright."
"But none of the clocks work; how will I-"
"Tell them we were here after the EMP," Takashi interrupted with a smile. He handed her the paper and the pen and finished his thought, "Tell them that we'll keep looking for them."
Rei offered him a warm smile as she spoke, "Takashi…"
He remained silent for a moment, only further upsetting her. She knew how strongly he felt for her. How heartbroken he was for her at losing Hisashi. But, she also knew he and Saeko were alone for quite some time, and while she didn't know for sure, she could feel the air between them had changed. While he expressed no anger, Takashi stepped to the door and spoke, "Please hurry, we still have to try my house, and find a place to stay tonight."
Rei quickly wrote her note, and within a few moments, they exited the house. As they came out onto the street, all eyes immediately turned to them and Komuro quickly spoke, "It's just us."
"Did you find-"
Rei shook her head, interrupting and answering Saya's question, then spoke aloud, "Takashi's house isn't far from here; we need to go now before it gets too dark."
The group shared a nod of understanding and quickly piled back into the humvee. Rei and Shizuka remained in the front, Kota, Saya, and Alice in the middle, and Saeko and Takashi in the trunk. Luckily these roads were largely zombie free, save for the occasional clumsily walking corpse. The rough exhaust note of the diesel V8 was gone too quickly for any of the undead entities to attempt to follow them.
In the backseats, Kota performed a quick strip of his AR-10, sure to clear any debris that might jam the action. He slipped a fresh mag into the frame, while Saya watched him, unable to pinpoint her emotions in the moment. Hirano had put his life in danger in order to save her more times than she could have counted these past few days. It might seem so obvious for someone like him to find someone like her attractive, but that he became more handsome to her was something she hadn't seen coming. Upon completing his work with the AR-10, he turned to Saya only to find her smiling as she stared at him.
"Takagi-sama?" Kota asked in shock of her expression.
Feeling calm like she hadn't in days, Saya tucked her smile away, and averted her eyes from him as she spoke, "Arrigato, Hirano-kun."
"Thank you for all you've done for me." Hirano wore his surprise on his face as she continued, "You've put my life before yours every step of the way, and I just want you to know that I'm grateful."
Hirano smiled slightly as he replied, "You're welcome, Takagi-sama."
"Saya," she quietly remarked as they shared a warm glance.
The humvee slowed as they approached Takashi's house, the sun falling further and further in the sky as day turned to night. In the trunk of the humvee, Saeko could see the anxiety on Takashi's face. No matter how capable his friends found him to be, he was still just like them. He was young, he was frightened, and he prayed that within the walls of his home, his mother was okay. Without any encouragement, Saeko placed a hand on his leg as she quietly spoke, "I'm coming with you Komuro-kun."
He looked down to her hand, then back to her smiling face. Even in the failing light, her deep blue eyes captured his gaze completely. The questioning of his feelings for her fell further and further apart. In time, there would be no question as to how he felt for her. He offered her a nod and as the vehicle came to a halt, they leapt from the trunk.
Immediately Rei approached Takashi, anxious to return the favor he had done for her, in her family's house. However, as she approached them, Saeko and Takashi were already advancing towards his house. With the click of Saeko's katana snapping free from its sheath, Rei felt the distance between her and Takashi grow further still. Takashi turned back to the group and as was expected of him, gave brief instruction, "Shizuka, leave the headlights on. Rei, Hirano, keep a sharp eye out, we'll be quick."
While she was disappointed in more ways than one, Rei had no choice but to put her trust in Komuro. She had to believe he knew what he was doing, both to keep them all safe, as well as keep himself happy. If that meant Saeko would stay at his side off the battlefield as well, that was something she was going to have to learn to accept.
Rei washed the sadness from her face and pulled the action back on her M1A. She stepped closer to Hirano, and turned in the opposite direction he was facing, to cover both sides of the street. Inside the humvee, neither Shizuka nor Saya could see the other as they kept their eyes firmly fixed on the two gun wielders.
Inside Komuro's home, the darkness of this time of day quickly spread throughout the halls. As with Rei's home, everything seemed in order as they walked through the corridors. Finally they had covered every accessible area in the home and ended up back in the living area. As Rei had done, Takashi placed his Ithaca on the coffee table and jotted down some information, bringing Saeko to ask, "What are you doing?"
"I told Rei to leave a note in her home. That way if her parents return, they'll at least know that she's safe." It hit him in that moment that they were so caught up in trying to find his and Rei's parents that he'd paid almost no attention to hers. He knew Saeko's father was away, but that he had made no attempt to offer her something as simple as what he and Rei had done immediately wore on his conscience. He looked up to her, to find her as he so often had, hilt in hand, prepared to draw her blade in a heartbeat.
He placed the paper and pen on the table and approached Saeko. Still uncertain of what this was between them, he simply asked, "Saeko, would you care to do the same for your father?"
She smiled warmly and quietly spoke, "He's not even in Japan, Komuro-kun. But, should he have some way to return here, I'm sure he'd like to know that I'm safe."
Takashi offered her a smile, and just glanced out the front window as he spoke, "In a few minutes it'll be too dark out to travel safely. We need to find a place to stay for the night. Tomorrow, we'll keep searching for our parents, yours included."
While she hadn't put the thought into it that he had, that he worried for her family warmed her. She smiled and again leaned towards him as she spoke, "Komuro-kun-"
A loud crash interrupted the meeting of their lips as three of Them crashed through the rear door of Komuro's home. Immediately she clicked her Katana free and Takashi could practically smell her ecstasy at the opportunity to spill blood. He only hoped that she had the control to listen to him in such a state. He gently took her wrist in his hand and if his look weren't telling enough, he spoke his concern aloud, "Another time, Saeko-chan."
While she looked blinded by desire for just a moment, as she took in his face, she was able to force her lust for blood down. She locked her katana in place and gave him a nod as they ran from his home.
They rushed onto the street in a panic, and both Rei and Hirano immediately turned to the door as Takashi shouted, "Don't shoot!" Hirano lifted his AR-10 and Takashi again shouted, "Get in! Get in!"
Cries like these told of the urgency that brought them about. Rei and Hirano quickly piled into the humvee while Saeko and Takashi mounted the roof again. Shizuka promptly floored the accelerator and the humvee tore off down the road. Safe for the moment, Saeko and Takashi looked back at the zombies that had broken into his home. Taking notice of the look on Komuro's face, Saeko quietly asked, "Are they…?"
He knew what she was asking of him, and his eyes didn't divert to her as he replied, "I can't tell; it's too dark."
Her heart ached for him. While Takashi was still coming to terms with the reality of his feelings for her, Saeko's mind was made up about him. Again she placed a hand on him, this time on his shoulder. The simple gesture would finally break Takashi free from his trance, turning his eyes to find her face, and the concern she wore on it. Then, as he had done for Rei, Saeko offered him the comfort she knew he needed, "We'll find them, Komuro-kun."
They shared a slight smile, and as he leaned to her, Takashi's eyes glossed over a sign at the side of the road, and he could feel it; this could be big. Saeko's eyes narrowed of the wide-eyed look on his face as he sorted through his plan in his mind, "Komuro?"
Takashi ducked into the turret, and shouted, "Shizuka-sensei, take the next right!"
Shizuka turned to face Komuro while driving at speed, immediately bringing Saya to scold, "Watch the road!"
The buxom blonde turned back to the road, swerving slightly to correct her course and asked, "The next right?"
"Super Viva Home," Takashi flatly replied.
While everyone in the car looked puzzled by Takashi's request, the resident genius smiled. Seeing the grin on her lips, Takashi offered Saya a grin in return and she quietly applauded him, "That's a brilliant idea, Takashi."
"What's a brilliant idea?" Hirano asked.
Moments later, the humvee swerved through the parking lot, towards the relatively small entrance to the Japanese Megastore.