Disclaimer: I don't own Highschool of the DEAD, Umi no Misaki, Black Lagoon or their characters. They are owned by their respective authors.
Updated for content, spelling and word usage 1/3/14
Time Trax of the DEAD
Chapter 32: Coming Home
They had been running all morning. No matter where they turned the undead seemed to follow and crowd around the group from Fujimi High.
Tragedy had struck an hour earlier when little Alice had been torn away from them as they fought a horde that almost overwhelmed them.
Zeke was the next to disappear. Takashi wasn't sure whether the dog finally got attacked or simply left.
Now they were in the middle of the heat again. They had arrived at a park and had been pushed up a hill, and surrounded.
Pow! Pow! Pow! CLICK! "I'm dry!" Kohta cried out as his rifle finally ran out of bullets.
CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! Next to him Saya repeatedly pulled the trigger on her Luger, hoping for one more shot.
Rei screamed as she was bitten and her mother knocked down by three of Them.
Saeko was trying to be everywhere at once, slashing and thrusting as bodies dropped in the wake of her insane fury. She cried out and flinched as one of the zombies got her on the shoulder.
Takashi threw himself into the mass, flailing like a madman in his bloodlust until he felt the searing pain of infected teeth.
Suddenly, as quickly as they had attacked, the undead fell back. It was like they knew their job was done.
Takashi looked around as Saeko staggered to him, "They…they're just walking away!?"
Rika, who had found them just two days before, came closer holding up Shizuka, who was bitten on her leg. "No reason to stay I guess, they got us all…"
That's when it sunk in to Takashi's brain. Rei and her mother were sitting on the ground, sobbing, Saya and Kohta hugging each other as black, infected blood ran from the wounds on their arms. Rika holding up her left hand to show a bite mark where she tried to pull one off of Shizuka.
"What do we do now?" Takashi asked, more to himself than anything.
"Nothing else to do," Rika said, much calmer than she should have been, as she pulled the magazine from her pistol. "Two rounds left, I know where they're going, what about the others?"
Saeko tried to stand straight, the pain of the infection already burning in her body. "I will do whoever I can before I take care of myself," she stated.
"NO! I don't want to go that way!" Rei said. "There are still some bullets in my rifle, someone use that!"
Takashi nodded, "I'll do it…I'm the leader after all. Everyone…please prepare yourselves; I don't want any of us turning into Them."
They said their goodbyes to one another, then paired off.
"Please Rika…me first, I don't want to see my kids that way…" Shizuka sobbed.
The police woman nodded and they knelt down together. Rika kissed her and placed the muzzle of the gun to the side of the blonde's head.
POW! The policewoman looked at Takashi, her eyes already cold and dead, and said, "I'll wait till you're through with the others."
The boy nodded and walked over to Rei and Kiriko. They were sitting down with Rei facing her mother, hugging her. Takashi leaned down and kissed them both on the cheeks.
"I'm sorry Takashi, I really did always love you," Rei said.
"I always loved you too Rei," he said, his voice quivering, as he pulled the bayonet from the barrel of the Springfield. He placed the muzzle in the center of Rei's back, drew a deep breath and pulled the trigger when Kiriko nodded to him.
KRACK! The sharp report of the rifle echoed across the park as the mother and daughter died.
Turning to the next couple, Saya waved him over. As he leaned down she took his head in her hands and kissed him full on the lips. She snorted slightly at the look of surprise on his face. "I just wanted to do that once," she said as she turned to Kohta and did the same to him. This time though she lingered, before turning away and sitting down in front of her man. "I love you, Kohta; I wish I had admitted that to myself much sooner."
"I love you to, Saya," the boy replied. "I loved you from the moment I saw you the first day of school last year. We're ready, Takashi, and thank you; you were my first and best friend."
Takashi clasped hands with Kohta and said, "I'm glad it was you she fell in love with my friend." He stepped behind them, leveled the rifle and…
KRACK! He heard Kohta say, "Saaayyyyaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh…" as the last of the breath left his body.
The bolt was locked back, the rifle was empty. Takashi put the bayonet back on the barrel and stabbed the point down into the ground behind Kohta as he had seen in war movies. Turning toward Rika he said.
"Would you be so kind as to leave us alone now, Sergeant?"
The woman nodded and smiled. "I always loved her you know…" she said as she finally broke down sobbing in grief before turning away. She placed the pistol in her mouth and…it was over.
Takashi walked up the hill to where Saeko was standing. Her eyes loving, but filled with sadness as he kissed her. After a minute they parted and she started to speak.
He placed his fingers over her mouth and shook his head, "No my love, I don't want you to see me that way. You told me once when a man made a decision, it was a man's job to follow through and do it. That time is now."
To his surprise, she nodded and drew her sword to hand to him. She kissed him again and said, "I will meet you in the summerlands, my love. Strike true." With this she got to her knees and faced the west where the sun was starting to lower in the sky.
Takashi raised the sword and took aim, a quick slice and her head rolled to the ground, body never moving from the blow of the razor sharp blade. He took her head and sat it in front of her facing the same way as her body.
Standing behind her he looked out over the landscape as he coughed up the black blood for the first time. Looking at the sky he could see the missile trails, from the nukes that were about to go off, climbing high.
There was a flash of light and he thrust her sword into the air as he screamed her name.
The heat and fire washed over him a moment later and there was…nothing.
Takashi looked around. All he could see was whiteness everywhere. He looked at his hands and arm where the infected bite had been a minute before, but there was…nothing, no blood, dirt, or bite mark.
He turned around to find a beautiful young woman, maybe a year or two older than him. She stood about shoulder height to him, had long brown hair, a shapely figure and was wearing a set of white ceremonial robes that he had seen somewhere before.
"Uh, hello," he said. "Who are you?"
She smiled a radiant smile and laughed. It was as if music tumbled out into the air from her mouth. If Takashi had to compare it, he would say it sounded like the tinkling chimes you could hear around a religious shrine. "You don't really know me, Traveler. You have only seen my current form."
"Ah," Takashi replied, not sure what the woman was talking about. "Umm, what is this place?"
"Hmm, I guess you could say this is a place that is in-between places. It is the first step into what you know as the spirit world."
"Who are you?" he asked again.
"I am Ryujin's first lover," she replied. "I am the one he met when he came to Okitsu and fell so in love with, he always came back to find me again."
"I think I remember something about that…how did you die?"
She looked sad for a moment, "It was an accident really. There was a tidal wave and I was trying to help some children to high ground when I got caught. Ryujin calmed the waves after, while trying to find me. The islanders took that as a sign that my sacrifice had stopped the disaster and started the tradition of the Maidens of the Sea. Many young girls died over a thousand years because they misunderstood what happened. Until now that is. It has been corrected and set right."
As they talked a white shape began to form beside them. Takashi was not sure how he could even see it, but he knew it was there and what the form was. Man sized, it was lean and trim and seemed to have a pony tail of hair.
"Yes my love, I know it's time," the girl said as she leaned forward and took the white shape's hands in hers. She seemed to kiss it gently on the lips before it dropped her hands and waved an arm. A…portal…window…Takashi was not sure what to call it, grew and he could see colors through it.
"What is this?" he asked as he walked closer.
"This is where you must go," the goddess said.
The boy looked through the window and saw Saeko standing in a room, surrounded by his parents and her father. Others were moving around also, but the only one he knew was Shizuka. On the bed in this room was a human form, covered in a white sheet.
"Who is on the bed?" he asked, as he watched the scene.
"That is you, Traveler," she replied.
"I died?" he asked.
She nodded, "Yes, you had to for everything to be set right again."
"I don't understand," he replied.
"Time is a funny thing," she told him. "For your journey to be complete, and come full circle, you had to die. You died on that hilltop the first time and went back to have an again time. This set up a paradox, where you were living two lives at the same time; that's never happened before. Normally when a Traveler moves through time they have already died in their original time before coming to be in the next one."
"Why did it happen this time?"
"We are not sure, except Ryujin thinks your love for the swordswoman was so strong, it bent the rules." She laughed lightly as the white shape seemed to shrug its shoulders. "Ryujin is a great believer in the power of love, as you should well know by the people you have met on our island."
"Nagi, his wives…Rinne…then that makes you Rinne?" Takashi said.
She smiled again, "Yes, that is my current form."
"Then this makes him…"
"Yes that's right, Traveler."
The shape motioned, pointing to the window as if saying for Takashi to go through.
"It's time, Traveler; you must go while your body is still strong enough to receive you."
"Will I see you again?" he asked as he started forward.
"Oh yes! You are now tied to our island and will come to us in these forms again, but not for many, many years. The one who loves you will be with you then so don't worry! Now go! It's time!"
With that he stepped through the portal and felt like he was drifting downward. There was a feeling like climbing into his clothes as he settled onto the bed. Under the sheet, his eyes suddenly flew open.
Saeko was crying uncontrollably as Kage and Takashi's parents held her, his mother sobbing out her pain with the girl she had come to think of as her daughter.
Suddenly Shizuka shrieked as the body on the bed set straight up. It ripped the sheet off of itself and sucked in a huge breath of air.
"Huuuhhhhhh! FUCK! THAT HURT!" Takashi shouted as everyone in the room stared at the resurrected boy, clutching at his chest.
"TAKASHI!" Saeko screamed as she dove on him, shoving the now scrambling medical personal and parents aside.
He clutched her to him and laughed a loud rolling laugh. "I'm home, Saeko! I'm home to stay this time!"
Pandemonium reigned as the doctor and nurses tried to get vital signs while the boy was being covered with kisses from the girl.
Finally he got her to let go long enough to let the medical team do its work.
The doctor finally threw up his hands, "I don't know! I've never seen anything like it before. Welcome back, young man!"
Then Shizuka tried her best to smother the boy with kisses as his mother and Saeko worked on him from the other side.
They had just calmed down a little bit when a horde of people started pouring through the door. Saya, Kohta and all the others tried to get into the room at once. Suddenly, the crowed parted and everyone stepped back to make room, leaving Rinne and Nagi standing beside the bed.
Rinne-chan, fifteen years old now, climbed up and kissed Takashi on the cheek as he hugged her. After she got down, Nagi stood and looked at the boy for a minute before holding out his hand.
Takashi took it, grasping it forearm to forearm as the Dragon God said.
"Welcome home, Traveler, welcome home."
Z-Day +6 months or so.
Takashi stretched as he walked down the coast road toward their home. He had been on tower watch up on Windmill Hill all day and, while he loved his Defense Force job, standing all day watching the sea through binoculars made him feel stiff.
I'll get plenty of exercise tomorrow, he thought. The next day was a farm work day for him and Saeko. They were scheduled to help in the rice paddies for half a day and then an orchard in the afternoon.
He looked out to sea and watched one of the many sailboats they had scavenged from the mainland, moving past on patrol. Fuel was not as much of a worry as it had been at the beginning of the outbreak, but they still conserved as much as they could, when they could. These boats had helped many times to intercept drifting ships loaded with undead and even fought a few battles with marauders thinking to raid the island.
Looking down the hill, he could see two JMSDF ships anchored outside the harbor. One was a patrol escort and the other an oiler, hauling in fresh fuel for the fishing fleet.
The navy had shown up about two months after Z-Day. They were all surprised one morning to find the helicopter destroyer Akagi standing offshore with four escort ships, one of which was the U.S.S. Curtis Wilber.
Everyone had gathered at the port as the admiral and his aides came ashore. Takashi, Rika and the rest were called forward to be introduced to a graying, kindly looking man, about Takashi's height. Takashi liked him the moment he saw him. The admiral was pleasant to speak to and quick to hold out his hand to clasp Rika's and Takashi's. With him was a square jawed soldier, who had a shock of white hair, like a stripe, in the middle of his forehead. This was Captain Gato, who Rika had dealt with over the phone since the beginning of the outbreak.
The admiral had thanked everyone for their hard work and passed on the thanks of the Emperor and the Diet to all involved. He had then asked Don Takagi if he would represent the island, but the man refused, deferring to the council of grandmothers, and saying he was a simple fisherman now.
In the end the grandmothers asked Souichirou and Yuriko to do it anyway, within the confines of their input of course.
After business was concluded the admiral asked, and was given permission, to grant shore leave to the sailors and personnel onboard the ships. They were allowed onto Hontsu Island since it was set up for tourist and a party started. All in all it went well. The shipboard personnel were well behaved and the few small incidents that happened were taken care of once an Island Defense person showed up and chastised them on their conduct.
Two days later the fleet sailed with assurances they would return with supplies and other help. Since then hardly a week had gone by that some ship did not at least stop for R&R on Hontsu. It was becoming a booming business in fact, and the islanders as well as the military were very pleased with the results.
As he passed the Takagi household, he wondered how they were doing. Saya, Kohta, Rei and Saya's parents had gone to Okinawa for a few weeks, aboard the Mimei with Hisashi as the captain. The gray haired boy had become quite the sailor since they came to the island, and was the only one Tajima would trust the boat too. Add a couple of experienced deckhands and there was nowhere he didn't feel like he couldn't sail to. Sadly, the boy had never heard from his parents again.
Kohta on the other hand had. His parents were safe in England and hoped one day to make it to the island. Kohta had laughed and said they were eager to meet the girl he planned to marry.
Takashi stopped in front of their house and looked over at the new Busujima dojo. It had gone up in record time and was busy on most days as Kage and his daughter trained anyone who wished to learn.
Today though it was quiet, and Takashi wondered where everyone was. Entering the home he called out, "I'm back!"
To this he heard Saeko's sultry reply, "I'm in the kitchen, my lord husband!"
Putting his weapons in their rack by the door, he padded across the shining wooden floor to the kitchen doorway. There he stopped and almost had to grab his nose to stop a gush of blood as he took in the scene inside.
Saeko was standing at the stove stirring a pot, barefoot and wearing nothing but an apron and a black thong.
"Ahmm," Takashi cleared his throat as he leaned on the door jam. "Saeko-chan, what would your father say if he walked in on you like that?"
The beautiful girl looked over her shoulder and smirked at her man, "He is out for the evening and I have supper already prepared. The question now is…" she turned and posed seductively. "What would you like to do first, my lord? Bath? Supper? Or…me?"
The young man walked forward and gathered his wife in his arms, he kissed her and when he stopped said, "You my love, always and forever you are first in my mind."
Down the road at the house Rika, Shizuka and Tajima shared, Kage sat at the living room table and sighed.
"How is it," he asked. "I always get thrown out of my house every time my daughter is feeling frisky?"
Tajima and Rika roared with laughter as Shizuka leaned on Kage's back, draping her arms over his shoulders and around his neck.
"Awwww, it's alright, Papa Kage-san! It's a good reason for you to come and drink with us!" she said.
Kage sighed again and held up his cup for the blond to pour more sake.
"Who knows, Kage-san," Rika said with a smirk on her face. "Maybe she will slow down once she gets pregnant the first time!"
They roared with laughter again as the older man choked on his drink.
Final Author's Notes:
First of all I want to say thank everyone. Thanks to you Time Trax of the DEAD has become the #1 Reviewed, Followed and Favorite story on the Highschool of the DEAD archive by a wide margin. It has been a wonderful, but tiring trip these last six months.
Thanks again to VA842867, who challenged me to write a time travel story for HotD. I was not going to do the story because I didn't think I could handle it in any realistic sense. Then one day it clicked in my mind, the body doesn't have to travel, just the mind, or the soul. Oddly enough much later down the road, I realized I had combined two ideas from other sources. First was time travel through the mind from Quantum Leap and the second was the event trigger of nuclear explosions that the great Sci-Fi master Robert A. Heinlein had used in his masterpiece Farnham's Freehold. He, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are known as the "Big Three" of science fiction, and I have read them over and over again through my years.
I also could not have done this without the Four Horsemen+1 as my diehard editors. Please take a look at our community at the top of the HotD archive.
As far as future works my good friend MarshalZhukov and I well be returning to the Living with the DEAD story line and bringing her British Marines and friends back to Onohira Base, with a few twists of course.
As for me alone I have already put a few lines down for a Black Lagoon/HotD crossover called 'Rika's Roanapur Adventure or Roanapur Zombieland' (now in the Black Lagoon/HotD crossover section) where we find out more detail of what went on when Rika, Tajima and Yuriko went to the City of the Dead to buy supplies and guns.
Once more, thank you everyone for you time reading and your support!