AN: I do not own HOTD: High School of the Dead, and will not profit in anyway from this one-shot. Yes, that's right, this is going to be a one-shot. I'm writing this largely because I was greatly saddened when Police Officer Asami-san was shot by Kohta in the manga (haven't watched enough of the anime to know if she's in it, and what happens to her). At first it's almost word for word for the manga, and I tried to include description of the actions, as well as what the characters may have been feeling at the time. But let's face the facts. The SR-10 (AR-10 7.62mm sniper rifle) has a large enough mag to do what I says it does, and one shot might as well be twenty. If you guys read this and like it, please say as much, I had fun writing it.
Read, enjoy, and please review!
A LIFE SAVED
"We can't just leave Asami-san to die!" Kohta shouted, and had the situation been any less grave, he would have been embarrassed at how his voice cracked in the middle of his desperate cry.
"How many times do I have to tell you?! There's nothing we can do!" Takashi snapped back at him, and it took all of Kohta's self-restraint not to punch his leader in the face.
"Kohta-saaan!" Her. Her voice, calling his name, tone desperate, and despite his anger with Takashi, he couldn't help but look over, his heart freezing with fear, anger, and a million other emotions that he didn't have the time to name. There she was, surrounded by Them, trapped in between two cars. He could see her mouth move, but the distance between them was too great, and he couldn't…couldn't hear. But then her arms snapped out, her feet shifting to shoulder-width as she began to shout at the top of her lungs. "I hate you! You disgust me! I never liked you! Never! I HATE YOUR FAT UGLY GUTS!"
He flinched, confused by these lies. Why would she…why would she say these things, that loud? "A-Asami-san!" he cried out, reaching out desperately with one hand, a cold sweat beading on his face. "You already fired your gun, so yelling like that will only make it worse!"
"She knows." Takashi's voice was diamond hard, and though he hadn't raised his voice to say the terrible sentence, Kohta flinched as he looked back at his fellow high school teenager. "She's doing it on purpose. She wants us to get away."
Bile rose in the back of his throat as he tried to find the words to say. Precious time was slipping away, far too quickly. "…But why?!"
Takashi's voice still had that diamond hardness about it as he went on. "We're high school students. She's already an adult."
"A-AN ADULT?!" he cried out, voice cracking once more with emotion. "She's only two years older than us!"
Once more Asami's voice called out from where she was stuck. "Please! Just one thing! Don't let…" she trailed off. "Don't let! Don't let Asami turn into one of those monsters!"
Smoothly, more smoothly than he had ever done so before, he dropped to a knee, bringing the rifle up. Through his scope, he could see her still talking, and his heart froze as he saw her mouth the last words that she ever expected to say. 'I lo…' Her hand swung up in a salute as tears coursed down her cheeks, and in that moment, he made his decision. One shot or twenty, he would attract the attention of Them. The more of Them that he killed, the less would be able to hurt anyone else. And the woman that he had grown so close to was in danger. At that moment, Kohta realized that some orders, no matter how much logical sense they made, were worth following.
It took the slightest of shifting, and gentle pressure on the trigger before it broke, sending the firing pin into the primer of the patiently waiting cartridge before the bullet was pushed downrange by the explosively expanding gasses of the smokeless powder. He didn't notice how Asami flinched as the bullet just barely clipped her ear before blowing the brains out of the monster who had been just behind her, didn't notice because he was already shifting, aiming for the one to her front left. Once again his rifle cracked loudly, the 7.62x51mm bullet shattering another skull. They were confused now, knowing somewhere in their monstrous minds that prey was close, but this loud noise was drawing their attention even more. As more and more of them were felled, they slowly turned and began to make their way towards the beckoning blasts.
Kohta was aware of someone screaming angrily at him, but on a very peripheral level. He was in a zone, a haze where nothing existed but the full moon world of his scope and the frightened form of Police Officer Asami. All of Them who had immediately surrounded her had already been killed again by him. "Asami!" he screamed. "Come back!" He could see her lips trembling in the amplified world of his rifle scope, but she stood and began to run forward, back towards the relative safety of their group. It was only after she had returned to the safety of their perimeter that he was able to tear himself away from his rifle scope, only to be slapped by Takashi.
"How dare you threaten the safety of us all when I told you not to!"
Kohta was done, however, done of being the little robot lackey, ready to sacrifice his own humanity for the good of the group, not when doing otherwise didn't change the situation. He pointed a trembling hand at Asami, who was being held by Alice. He noted numbly that he wasn't shaking out of fear, but out of anger. "Tell me, oh fearless leader, that I did the wrong thing!" Takashi took one step back, eyes narrowing, but he didn't say a word. "Yes, I disobeyed, and that could be a bad thing. Yes, we have less ammo now, and that's not good. But firing once would have gotten Their attention, so why not do it again, and again, and again to save a useful member for our group?! And you have been shouting at the top of your lungs this entire time. We have already attracted Their attention, why not do the right thing?!"
"And what of the next time I tell you to do something, and you decide not to, and we all die because of it?!" Takashi snapped back. Kohta blinked, then sneered, tilting his head just so, knowing that it would make his glasses glint.
"I get it now, it's not that I did the right thing, it's that I didn't do what you said…I threatened your authority." He snorted. "'Everybody gets one,'" he murmured in English, remembering the saying being in some American war movie that he couldn't remember the name to, where two rivals face off and the weaker one asks why the other saved him. His answer was just that, everyone gets one free pass…
"What?" Takashi asked, expression closing off, though his eyes clearly showed his confusion.
Saeko snorted softly as her arms crossed underneath her breasts, fingers trailing along the hilt of her katana. "He means to say that he has used his one 'free pass' to disobey your orders in order to save Asami-san. He won't disobey you again, Takashi-kun."
Takashi humphed, but turned away, his head twisting left and right as he took in the slowly approaching forms of Them. Despite his feelings on the matter, Kohta hadn't missed a single shot, and the number of Them had decreased enough that they just might have a chance, so long as they kept quiet and used what noisemakers they had left. "Alright, we all need to move out, try and find Rei's parents. Let's go!"
Everyone did as they were ordered, and Takashi couldn't help but notice the extra bounce in Kohta's step. What would have happened to him if he had decided to shoot Asami? he quietly asked himself, and then decided that he was glad that he didn't know, and wouldn't have to find out. He shook his head softly as Asami-san jogged up next to Kohta, her hand reaching out to catch the plump school boy's hand, her relief and joy evident on her tear-streaked face. When face with death like that, to still be alive…that, truly, was the blessing in this situation. He glanced back at the group, then looked back at the mall that was now Their territory. Whatever had happened, he was still the leader, and he was responsible for the safety of the group. Once more his eyes fell on Asami-san's beaming face. He just hoped that he could keep all of them safe…they still had a very long way to go…