Title: (don't) follow the white rabbit
Fandom: DGM, Pacific Rim AU
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Lavi/Kanda, mentions of Alma/Kanda
Warnings: Language, mature content maybe, mentions of a lot of sex but no sure if anything really explicit, angst if I do it right, soul-bond (almost), character death
Summary: Pacific Rim AU. "The key," Bookman states. "Is drift compatibility. Foolish boy, what makes you think you would be drift compatible with Kanda Yuu?" LaviYuu, past Alma/Kanda.
A/N: I haven't been so excited to write something like this since Obelisk and I had to post it asap. The idea drove me crazy and I had a lot of fun writing this—still writing, actually, and I hope even if you don't know Pacific Rim verse, it's still easy enough to follow.
However, if you're counting on badass kaiju-machine wrestling then I am sorry to disappoint you. There will be some, but nowhere as much as the LaviYuu goodness and maybe a bit of sex thrown in. Alma makes things complicated, but not really. It's always Kanda's fault, as always. :D
-(don't) follow the white rabbit-
We always thought that alien life would come from space. Billions of funding poured into space exploration for the search of sentient life beyond Earth for the last few decades, humans always eager to find evidence of the existence of something extra-terrestrial. But as the voyager golden record floated somewhere in the universe, something out there discovered us. A portal between dimensions had formed in the Pacific Ocean—they came from deep beneath the sea.
Ghastly huge with monstrous forms, like demons from the underworld. We called them akumas.
The first akuma made land in San Francisco. It took international wide army collaboration to take it down after seven days. The second attack hit Manila a year and seven months later, toxic black blood colouring the ocean with the stench of death. The third hit Cabo after a year and three months, and it was then we learned the hard truth: this was not going to stop.
Thus, the Jaeger program was born.
The akumas counted on us humans to hide, to give up, to fail. They never considered our ability to stand, to endure, that we'd rise to the challenge. In order to fight monsters, we created monsters of our own. A new weapon, a battle suit consisting of nearly two thousand tonnes of technology. Two pilots, their minds, memories, connected over a neural network to drive a robot rivalling the akumas.
Man and machine became one.
We faced those demons at our door.
We cancelled the fucking apocalypse.
This is our story.
"Boy! Don't get those wet!"
"I know!" The youth in question throws a glare at his mentor across the compound, wet bangs sticking to his face. He shakes his head and blinks rapidly when a raindrop manages to catch into his good eye—the other covered with an eyepatch—muttering curses under his breath.
"How the hell am I supposed to do that if I'm already wet?" he grumbles, trying to wipe his hands dry on the damp shirt underneath his soaked jacket.
After a few frustrated tries he gives up, grabbing as much of the stack of papers in the backseat of the car he was peering into. He grimaces as he immediately notices the black ink scrawled across the sheet starting to bleed to his palms, and he shoves the hurriedly under his jacket, hoping that a run across the admittedly large compound would at least leave his (and his mentor's) toil of labour fairly legible enough to decipher.
The smartest thing to do would actually to get an umbrella, or even to leave the research papers and come get it when it wasn't storming like the next flood. But, as it turns out, having an alien apocalypse on hand meant that time was precious—precious enough that every day was a ticking time bomb to the next akuma invasion and everything could be potentially wiped out. Including all the akuma research they had gathered over the past few years sitting in that car, out in the rain.
As to why he was even outside in the rain, well.
Now, Lavi has been in this business since he had been adopted by Bookman at age twelve, a hard leader of the Science Division of The Black Order. The Black Order is an organization created by the United Nations, an internal alliance of the twenty one countries across the pacific rim, bound together by the shared goal of containing, combating and eliminating the akuma threat.
With a gifted mind and eidetic memory it was no surprise that he enrolled in the Jaeger Academy and graduated with honours in their science department—after all, he is the one who had discovered the algorithm predicting the akuma attacks.
Two months ago, the word was that someone finally had a viable plan to end the invasion. Viable merely meant worth a shot but it was enough that The Black Order called all their stations around the pacific rim to regroup at the Asian branch, in Hong Kong. Just in time too, because Lavi's predictions weren't looking too good for the surviving world—akumas would be appearing in twos, and then threes, and then more, and the time delay between the attacks were getting shorter.
Much shorter. Too short.
They had to end this, or it'd end them.
Hence for a final chance, Lavi finds himself outside the Asian branch trying to move his research into the shatterdome in the pounding rain, mentor already disappeared inside to handle formalities (that he was glad he could escape from), and everyone else around bustling trying to handle the move in the wet weather as ungracefully as he is managing it.
But there is one exception.
As he avoids bumping into people and attempting to keep his papers dry in an awkward hug like grip, he spots a girl with the longest hair he'd ever seen up in front walking calmly to the entrance with a large black umbrella over her head.
"Hey! Hey!" Lavi shouts, quickening his steps. "Hey, you!"
The figure only paused on the third shout, and that is enough for Lavi to squeeze himself under the umbrella, grinning in apology. "Sorry beautiful, but help a poor guy out and—"
"What the fuck did you call me?"
Lavi startles, head lifting up in shock to meet the owner of the obviously male voice. It takes a few moments to find himself staring unattractively with his lips parted in shock with the other just mere centimetres from his face, glaring at him so hard he feels the burn in his toes.
"Um—I um," he retreats unconsciously, unable to move his gaze away from the other's face. "Beautiful?" he blurted, stunned.
Twisted into a scowl, the other male has the most interesting mix of oriental features that could easily pass him as a gorgeous female except for that sharp jaw line, and his eyes are so dark Lavi couldn't differentiate the difference between his pupil and irises. Those eyes narrows further upon his words.
"Before that," he growls.
Lavi blinks. "Hey? Hey, you?" he recites, shifting through the memories in his brain. "I didn't mean to be rude, I just really cannot afford to get—" and he looks down, entire hand stained with black ink. "—oh fuck."
The other male eyes him for a moment longer before scowling, and then strides away leaving him to wince at the sudden torrent of cold rain down his head.
"—Wha?" Lavi gapes for a second before running to the entrance, because even if he had just met the most beautiful person in his life, if his papers turned out to be a big blob of darkness, he might just kill someone if he had to rewrite all those fucking pages again.
"Rewrite," Bookman tells him when the elder enters the A-science lab they had been given to work in.
"Why didn't we just type it on the computer like everyone else?" Lavi groans, already regretting his life choices. "Why do we even need it on paper anyway? Only you and I actually understand these numbers and symbols—"
"Less talk and more writing," Bookman intones, ignoring his words. "Change up. Debrief is in half an hour at the local command centre," then shoots him a look. "Do not go off exploring off your own, do not go near any of the Jaegers. Do not be late."
"Why would I ever," Lavi returns cheekily, taking the opportunity to zip out of the lab.
He had been itching to get out of his drenched attire—his boxers are sticking. Whistling, he makes his way to the dorms, glad to have his own room this time. In the European branch, he had to share the room with his guardian, and no matter how large it was, it was never large enough for personal privacy. Especially for a young healthy male in his twenties. He counts the number of doors (they look exactly the same, except for the non-descript metal numbers on them), refreshing the blueprints of the place into memory.
It is definitely no first class hotel, but it has a bed, a desk and some space for personal sprucing if he wants and an en suite bathroom, which is quite decent for apocalyptic standards. No doubt it is a bit small, but he considers it a step up from the dorms in the academy—those were a nightmare.
Stripping out of his water attire, he towels himself dry and changes into a fresh set of clothes—a nice hot bath at night would be awesome—with just enough time to realise he didn't know where the local command centre is.
Just as he swings open the door to leave, he meets that same beautiful person from two hours ago staring back at him, a hand on his door on the opposite side. The other has shed his black coat which makes it obvious to see the extremely toned body underneath the black shirt and pants.
"Whoa—hey," Lavi blinks, for a lack of nothing better to say.
It is clear that the other guy remembers him, because he scowls deeper and mutters something under his breath in a different language. Lavi winces at the loud slam of the door as the other stalks away, ignoring him.
"Hey—hey!" he calls, slightly indignant as he tries to catch up with those fast steps. "I said I was sorry, you don't have to be a dick about it."
The man stops abruptly on his heel and lets out the most condescending sigh ever. The sour look on his face strangely does nothing to downplay how gorgeous he is. "What do you want?" he bites out, annoyed.
"Nothing! I just…" Lavi backpedals a little from the hostility. "Actually…" he blinks. "By any chance do you know where the local command centre is? I'm supposed to get there in like, five minutes, but I haven't had the chance to see the whole blueprint of the shatterdome, and—" he trails off when the long haired man saunters away again.
Then he hears a click of a tongue and the other is glaring at him a few paces away. "Are you going to stand there like an idiot or are you going to follow me?"
Lavi gapes for a second before scrambling after him. "So…you're heading there too?" he asks as they walk side by side.
No response was given and he watches the other from the corner of his eye as discreetly as he can. "Okay…" he mutters awkwardly to himself as the silence extends. "Uh, what are you doing here?"
Other than the irritated twitch in his eyebrow, Lavi doesn't see much of a change from his facial expression.
"Tech support? Engineer?" Lavi squints, but no, he couldn't imagine the guy next to him sitting at a computer, because he had to get that body from somewhere. "Right Mr Mysterious…what's your name?"
"I'm Lavi, the science div," the redhead continues on, just to fill the tense silence with less silence. "If you got an akuma coming, I'm your guy. I mean, I have been predicting the their appearances pretty accurately so far, so—"
"Do you always talk this much?" the other guy interrupts.
"Are you always this antisocial?" Lavi retorts, earning a darker glare in return.
The question is again ignored. "We're here," the long haired man says, pushing a transparent steel framed door open.
The local command centre is jam packed with technology and computers and switches, as well as the people operating them. Lavi hasn't seen one as big as this one, and especially not with the number of people in it, but that was probably because they were called to assemble. He spots his guardian standing somewhere in some pseudo circle, with nine other people that look kind of familiar.
A young Chinese girl beams when she sees them enter, and she rushes forwards and flings her arms around the other man. "I-I can't believe it! You're back, oh thank god," she murmurs, a couple of tears pricking at her eyes. "I missed you so much."
The man stiffens but he lets her embrace him, resting a hand on her head.
The girl squeezes him tight. "How have you been? I've been so worried, and you never visit or even call—"
"What she said." This time a boy comes forward, hair bleached so white like snow with a pentacle scar over one of his eyes. "You're an ass," he says, smiling, and he opens his arms like he wants to hug the duo. "Come here, asshole."
"Don't you dare touch me," the man hisses, trying to gently pry the girl off. "I didn't come back for a reunion with you idiots."
"And don't you dare touch Lenalee!" Again, another older man with glasses screeches, jabbing a finger in their direction.
"She is touching me," the other argues, scowling.
"Brother," the Chinese girl sends the elder a look, effectively silencing him. "It's been two years—"
"You're Lenalee Lee?" is what Lavi blurts out, causing everyone in the room to stare at him. "The pilot of Dark Clown? Wow, it's just," he breathes, floored. "You're so pretty in person."
He is so sure that isn't what he wants to say—why didn't he compliment on her Jaeger piloting abilities because she is a fucking boss at it—and he is so sure he is going to die as the man with the spectacles shoots him a look that freezes him cold.
"Care to repeat that, Bookman Junior?"
Lavi gulps, because he recognises the coat that the man, Komui Lee, is wearing—the Marshall of The Black Order, and also the over protective brother of Lenalee Lee. Rumours went a long way with this one.
"I'm not interested!" he exclaims hurriedly, holding his hands up. "I was just stating a fact, I swear!"
"Glad to know, because she's taken," the guy with the bleached hair quirks a smile at him, and Lavi places a name to the face—Allen Walker, the other pilot of Dark Clown.
In fact, Lavi realises he's standing in a circle with all the Jaeger pilots they have left. Froi Tiedoll and Winters Sokaro, pilots of Mark-2 Eden's Madness; Noise Marie and Chaoji Han, pilots of Mark-3 Noel Baptism; Arystar Krory III and Miranda Lotto from the European branch that he was assigned at before so he knew them for quite a while now, pilots of Mark-4 Blood Record; and finally, Lenalee Lee and Allen Walker, pilots of Mark-5 Dark Clown.
That leaves the long haired guy as the last one he couldn't identify.
"Will someone start the damn meeting?" the person in question snarls impatiently, crease on his forehead getting deeper.
"Of course," Komui coughs and laces his fingers together, adopting a more serious persona. "Welcome, I hope all of you are settling in fine. Any problems, just find Reever or Lenalee—they'll help you. Now, I know it's late so I'll keep this as short as I can. You all know that we're attempting a final plan to end the invasion, that's why we've all been called to the Asian branch but we haven't been clear on what the plan is," he continues, looking at them all in turn. "We're going to try and seal the portal in the pacific rim."
"We've tried that before," Lavi interjects before he can stop his mouth from opening. "In the first month when the akumas came, we tried to nuke the portal, remember? It didn't go through."
"Lavi is right, of course," Komui nods. "But recently, someone came forward with information that changes this."
A murmur sweeps through the room.
"Basically, the portal works like its fingerprint coded," Komui explains. "It recognises akuma genetic material only and allows them to pass through. So if we want to pass an explosive in it, it's got to be planted inside an akuma and then sent back down the portal. The resulting explosion, if it occurs in the portal, should destabilize it to cause its collapse and ultimate closure. Even better if we can get it to the other end to wipe out the aliens that are masterminding these attacks, but let's focus on the primary objective first."
"Masterminding?" Lavi frowns. "What do you mean?"
It's strange that the rest of them just listen and nod like they're hearing something that confirms that they've already suspected, but this is the first time that Lavi is hearing this.
"The akumas are the soldiers of the alien race," Komui elaborates. "Why else do you think the attacks are increasing in number and decreasing in time? It's a battle plan to wipe us out. The strategists—if I can call them that—are on the other side."
"How do you—how do you know all of this?" Lavi frowns, because this sounds like something he should know.
"It's something that we've just recently learned ourselves," Komui answers, calm.
Lavi pauses. "Where did you say you got this information again?" he asks suspiciously.
The curt answer doesn't come from Komui, surprisingly, but from the long haired man.
"Classified?" Lavi echoes, dumbfounded. "And you—you know?" he turns to the other, disbelief apparent. "Why do you know all of this? Who are you, anyway?"
The rumble of laughter comes from Winters Sokaro, the huge chiselled pilot with symmetrical dark scars on his face. "You don't realise it yet, do you, kid?" Sokaro smirks. "He is the source."
"None of your business," the long haired man grinds out, glaring at Sokaro. "Shut the fuck up, old man."
"Yuu, don't be rude," Tiedoll frowns disapprovingly, but he places a hand on Sokaro's shoulder to restrain the retort that his co-pilot was about to unleash.
"Don't call me that," the other snaps immediately.
"Kanda, I know it's been hard, but calm down," Allen says, placating. "Mr Tiedoll hasn't seen you in a while. We all haven't. So just—"
"Kanda," Lavi murmurs under his breath the moment he hears it. "Kanda Yuu," he mutters. "Kanda Yuu," he repeats again, and then his eye snaps open in shock. "Kanda Yuu—you, fuck, of course—you're Kanda Yuu."
Along with his ex co-pilot Alma Karma, they were recruited to be pilots of the Jaeger program at just nine years old, the youngest ever recorded. They dominated the Jaeger scene for years—straight kills with no backup, considered the elite of the elite of the Rangers, until one day two years ago when Alma Karma was torn out of the Jaeger and killed by the first category four akuma the world had ever encountered. Kanda Yuu drove his Jaeger to take down the akuma to its death, and after, he dropped out of the Jaeger program and disappeared.
"Problem?" Kanda glares at him tersely, daring him to open his mouth.
Of course Lavi had a death wish. "But how can you pilot a Jaeger if—" if your co-pilot is dead. He ends up clamping his mouth shut, wincing at how horribly insensitive the question was, even if it was unsaid.
"Which brings us to the next issue," Komui interrupts smoothly, clapping his hands to gain attention again. "Lenalee's lined up all potential candidates and we'll be testing their compatibility with yours in the combat room. Since you haven't been piloting for a while," he continues. "We can start next week once you caught up with your usual training schedule—"
"I never stopped," Kanda cuts him off curtly. "Start tomorrow. Just find someone who won't waste my time. Is that all or do you have more to say?"
"That's the end of the briefing," Komui nods, and Kanda stalks out of the room without a word more.
"I never thought the stick up his ass could've been shoved higher," Chaoji sighs, looking at door.
"It's not his fault," Marie says grimly, looking in the same direction. "You know he hasn't been the same since…"
The collection of silence speaks more than Lavi needs to know. Since he lost his co-pilot.
"I don't think any of us can understand that," Lenalee murmurs quietly, and Allen reaches for her hand to squeeze it in comfort.
"Walker!" Komui hisses, and Allen flinches, dropping the hand.
"I-I um, I'm going to the cafeteria," Allen announces quickly. "I'm starving; does anyone want to come with?"
The distraction is enough for the rest of the occupants in the room to nod their heads and follow Allen out with casual conversation—until Lavi realises that only Lenalee is standing next to him with a smile.
"It's Lavi, right?" Lenalee grins at him. "It's very nice to meet you in person," she grabs his hand and shakes it firmly. "Good to know the guy that's been predicting the akuma appearances. The time you buy us has saved us more times than I can count, so, thank you."
The redhead is slightly overwhelmed by the amount of sincerity he feels in that thanks. "You're err, welcome, I guess. It's my job. It's nowhere as awesome as being a pilot like you are."
Lenalee chuckles. "You have done calculations that no one can," she says instead. "Come, let me show you something before we head to the cafeteria. It'll take a while before Jerry is through with Allen's order anyway."
She brings him through corridors and down and up staircases, until they reach a railing that oversees the bay of the Jaegers. Lavi loses the breath he's holding once he peers over the edge—five Jaegers are gleaming back at him, dark and shiny and full of untold power.
Lenalee points to the furthest one on the right. It's a huge monstrosity, furnished like hard pewter and the oldest looking robot. The body is heavily armoured and it looks like its weight alone could kill an akuma.
"Eden's Madness," she introduces. "Mr. Tiedoll and Mr. Sokaro are her pilots. It's the oldest Jaeger that's active."
The next one is blood red in colour with black stripes, with a slim figure and small head. That he recognises as Krory and Miranda's Blood Record. On its left is a shorter but much broader robot, Marie and Chaoji's Noel Baptism.
"And this," Lenalee states proudly and she gazes at the Jaeger right in front of them. "Is my Dark Clown. The fastest and lightest Jaeger ever built. It's the first and currently the only Mark-5 Jaeger."
Lavi gazes at all of them in awe, because having so many Jaegers in one place was an experience he was never going to forget.
"Last one," Lenalee continues, nudging his arm to look at the one on the right, "is Innocence Illusion."
Innocence Illusion is the arguably the most famous Jaeger—two years ago, at least, with her pilots Kanda Yuu and Alma Karma. The varying shades of blue has never shone so deeply from all the times he's seen it on broadcast while its fighting, and the huge nuclear reactor located in the chest of its chest hums quietly, yet Lavi can feel its power under his skin to his toes.
"Wow," he breathes. "She's beautiful."
"Yeah," Lenalee murmurs, sounding miles away. "The restoration was such a pain, but I wanted her to be perfect for Kanda," she sighs. "He deserves her in her best condition. I hope it makes him happy to see her, at least," she says quietly, looking over to the other end of the bay, where a lone figure sat at the railings.
From this distance, Lavi can only make out that it's Kanda, but he can't see what expression the other has on as he gazes at his own Jaeger.
Somehow, Lavi thinks it might be sadness.
-(don't) follow the white rabbit-