Title: Santa Isn't Coming Home Tonight
Rating: T
Category: Oneshot, Deathfic, Angst.
Subject: Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward.
Characters: Akane Kurashiki, Aoi Kurashiki and Dr. Klim (mentioned).
Length: 839 words.

Warning: Very obvious, but not graphic implied suicide. Will contain major spoilers for VLR.

A/N: Something not disturbing and smutty this time! Go me! But no, really, I swear, this came to me late last night and I just couldn't not write it. I may have OOC'd Akane a little bit, but that's just how I picture her in my own head.

Enjoy your feels!

"Aoi, what's wrong?" She kept her voice calm and to the point. Her brother may have gone missing for a little while, but he was fine now. His communicator must have been damaged along the way, since he'd called her without a video feed, but he was alive and everything was going to be fine now. A small part of her wished she could see his face, though. Just to be sure. Her hands gripped the edge of the console as she stared hard up at the words "VOICE ONLY" displayed on the screen.

The connection crackled with static for a second before her brother's bitter huff of a laugh came across the intercom. "I'm sorry, sis. I think I fucked up." Her eyes widened. A whole stream of questions ran through her head, worry bubbling up in her gut with a twinge of fear mixed in. What had gone wrong? Was he okay? Did he need her to send help?

She was about to ask all that and more when her brother spoke again. "Don't bother sending help. I'm done for." What... What was he saying? He was being riddiculous, of course she would- "Everything... Everyone..." He inhaled deeply, as if he was... "We're all done for."


Aoi was crying.

This set off her internal alarms. Her brother rarely ever cried, and absolutely never since the day they'd succeeded in saving her from being incinerated in the First Nonary Game. He never spoke like that either. His tone of voice was off. Something was seriously wrong here. "Aoi, what is going on? Where are you? I'll send someone to find you, just tell me where you are." She only recieved silence for a while. Her heart was starting to speed up. Her brain was working overtime, already going through emergency plans and scenarios for what could've possibly happened to her brother.

Her train of thought was broken when Aoi laughed again, this time not bothering to hide his sadness. It tore at her to hear that hiccup at the end. Part of her really wished she had him with her so she could comfort him, like he'd done with her so many times before. Her hands tightened into fists, knuckles going white. What could've possibly led Aoi to become this distraught? She was almost lost in thought once more, when his voice came again. "Everything is going by so fast... and you sound just like a chipmunk, too." And at once she realized what was wrong.

Radical-6 infection.

This was bad. This was really bad. She knew she shouldn't have let him go out there. Ever since Dr. Klim had failed to stop the disease from spreading, the world outside had become an increasingly dangerous place to be. The world hadn't quite ended yet, she knew, but the threat of being killed in an accident caused by a Rad6-victim was still very high, nevermind that the disease itself was airborne and highly contagious.

But somehow she'd never thought her brother would be able to catch it, though. It had never crossed her mind as a possibility until now. "Aoi..." She breathed, her gut feeling like it was filled with stones. "We can fix this. Tell me where you are, please." She was suddenly very glad Dr. Klim was still an old man of mind and had gone off to take a nap somewhere. Her voice carried a note of pleading that she couldn't hide. Her brother was in danger. She didn't have time to put up fronts right now, so having noone to see her with them gone was good.

A metallic click echoed across the speakers.

She'd heard that sound before, right next to her head. She hadn't been scared at the time... that sound had meant that everything was going according to plan. Her brother had held the gun. He wouldn't hurt her. Now it meant the opposite. The gun wasn't being pointed at her head, but Aoi's and she was suddenly terrified. This couldn't be happening. Not after all she sacrificed already to get here.

"I love you, Akane. In a different timeline, maybe there is a version of us who got the chance to be happy."

No, no, no, this wasn't right. She'd already given up one person she loved! God couldn't be so cruel as to want to take another one away from her! She pleaded with her brother to listen to her, that he was going to be okay. If he would just tell her where he was, she could put him in Cold Sleep and treat him when the cure was invented. Everything was going to be fine, she'd make sure of it.

Meanwhile, a part of her felt like she was back in the incinerator, pounding at the door from the wrong side all over again, with noone to save her from what was about to come.

"I'm sorry..."

A sharp sound and then the com-link went dead.


And she felt like she'd died all over again, too.