Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own Valvrave. Haruto would still be alive if I did.
As a rule, Shoko rarely allowed herself to feel negative emotions. There was nothing fun about being sad or angry.
People had different ways to cope with negative emotions. Shoko? Shoko did stuff. Shoko was an energizer bunny of helpfulness and bad t-shirts.
Being Prime Minister helped. It meant there was always something else to do. Meetings with ARUS' representatives. Meeting with her cabinet. Strategy sessions with L-Elf. Public appearances.
To say nothing of all the lovely documents that absolutely needed her signature.
Shoko was grateful for it all. It took her mind off things. Things she did not want to think about. Like the war, the death of many friends.
Yes, Shoko was grateful for her many duties. They gave her a safe and reliable way to handle her emotions.
A way which was not working at all right now.
Shoko was angry. She was sad.
And guilty. Incredibly guilty.
More than anything else, she wanted to see Haruto again, beg for forgiveness, and screw what everyone else thought.
The young girl took a deep breath and looked at all the students around her. She couldn't do that. Not yet. They still needed her, still looked up to her.
For a moment, she hated them.
In a moment of weakness, she had betrayed Haruto. When everyone was riddled with fear, she had let their doubts cloud her judgment and branded her best friend as a monster. She had cast out the people who saved her life to carter to the whims of scared children.
Oh, Akira! Poor Akira. She probably hated her now.
Were it not for them, maybe it wouldn't have ended this way. Maybe if she did not need to protect them. Maybe if she did not have to take care of them and play along with their stupid fears.
She knew those were lies. It had been her choice, and it had been the wrong one. She could shout and scream at Iori all she wanted, but it would not change the truth. She had been weak.
She had betrayed her friends.
Blaming the others would not solve anything.
No matter how horribly tempting it was.
"Prime Minister! Prime Minster!" cried out one of the students the moment he entered their improvised sick bay.
The interruption was a welcome one. Shoko had no desire to be alone with her thoughts.
"What is it?" She asked. The student had been one of her classmates. On better circumstances, Shoko would even be able to remember his full name, but that was not the case. She was too tired to care.
"Communications," he said. "It is L-Elf."
The name sent a ripple through the room. Everyone stopped what they were doing to look at them. They had all seen the broadcast. They had all seen the attack against Chancellor Amadeus.
They had all seen he was one of them.
The name had popped on the net almost immediately and Shoko suspected Akira had played a large role in that.
It was only natural for students to be curious after the way the broadcast had been cut off. Shoko would be lying if she said she had no interest in it. However, something held greater value in her mind.
News of L-Elf was news of Haruto.
Without even excusing herself, the girl walked past the messenger and made her way to the main bridge. Upon entering and looking at L-Elf's face on the screen, she immediately realized something was wrong. It wasn't the fact he still wore his Dorssian uniform, blood and all, nor was it the fact that Satomi and Kibukawa-sensei stood at each side of him.
It was his expression.
People said many things about L-Elf, not all of them kind. She had often heard many students call him emotionless.
The people who said that were wrong, of course. L-Elf was one of the most expressive people she knew.
People always stared at her when she said this, but it was true. L-Elf had emotions and rarely bothered to hide them. It was just matter of really looking at him. The twitch of his eyebrows. The tightness of his jaw.
L-Elf had tons of expressions and she felt confident in saying she had seen most of them. She had seen happy L-Elf, smug L-Elf, annoyed L-Elf, and even depressed L-Elf when he came back after the mission on Earth.
She had never seen him angry before.
"Sashinami Shoko," he said, acknowledging her presence. She fought the urge to shiver. That voice was cold, too cold.
She should not be surprised. She deserved it.
"Three hours ago the operation to take Module 77 began," he said without waiting for any input on their side. He already knew what they wanted to know.
"The Valvraves engaged the combined ARUS/Dorssian forces to draw their attention. One hour later, Chancellor Amadeus was exposed to the world as a Magius. The enemy fell into disarray as planned, and Module 77 was successfully conquered."
For a moment everyone stared at him, unable or unwilling to understand what he had said. Their home. Module 77. Could it be?
It was back.
"We can go home again!"
The shout from a single student brought forth a wave of cheers all over the room. Under other circumstances, Shoko would have joined, but now she only had eyes for L-Elf.
"You can all return to Module 77," L-Elf said, his voice mercilessly cutting through the euphoria. "Provided you all swear loyalty to our new country."
Confusion reigned over the room for an instant before protests and cries for explanations exploded.
"New JIOR is gone," L-Elf said. "The moment Module 77 was taken, the country ceased to exist. Most of its population is dead. You have no territory. You possess no military or political power. Right now, you're but country-less kids drifting through space."
"But, you took the Module back, didn't you?" Iori asked.
"Module 77 was not taken back by New JIOR," L-Elf said to the confusion of many. "Module 77 was taken by an independent force with the goal of obtaining territory for the creation of a new country. If you wish to enter Module 77 you have no choice but to swear loyalty to our country."
"Where is Haruto?" Shoko found herself asking, her voice rising above the protests of many.
Haruto would never do this. Even after all that had happened, he would never retaliate in this way. He would never take their country away. Not their school.
Not their home.
L-Elf's expression switched from controlled anger to barely retrained fury. Shoko flinched.
"Tokishima Haruto," He said, and his voice was wrong, because people should not sound like that. People should not carry so much pain and rage.
"Tokishima Haruto," L-Elf repeated, this time with greater control, "is dead."
She had heard wrong. She must have. There was no way. He was immortal. She had seen it. Even a bullet to the heart could not kill him.
Haruto could not die.
He was… he was always there.
She sought out Satomi and Kibukawa-sensei, waiting for the moment when one of them would scold L-Elf for saying such a horrible thing. Satomi refused to meet her gaze. Kibukawa-sensei had no such problems.
"I am afraid it is true," he said. "Valvrave pilots Yamada Raizo and Tokishima Haruto fell in the line of duty."
"I am sorry," he said.
She did not care about all the students surrounding her. She did not care about L-Elf and his demands. She did not care about their country. She did not care about being Prime Minister.
Her best friend, the man she loved, had died and the last thing she had done was call him a monster.
She fell to her knees and cried.
Tokishima Soichi was an odd man.
The man was, without a doubt, brilliant. Ask anyone who ever met him. From co-workers to university teachers, all would say the same thing. Tokishima Soichi was a genius. To call him anything less would be an insult. The impossible did not exist for him. The man was a visionary of the highest caliber.
Only… well, he was just a little odd, wasn't he?
It was the jokes. The way he so easily brought up human experimentation. They were jokes, obviously. They had to be.
Morality was nothing more than a cute suggestion in Tokishima Soichi's book. When JIOR had asked him to lead the Valvrave project he had leaped at the chance. The possibilities were mind-boggling. Best of all, he did not have to worry about silly little things like international law.
It was terribly antiquated. How was science supposed to advance when the laws were so out of date?
The Valvrave project was a dream come true.
Except for the part where they wanted him to build weapons. Weapons! How short sighted could they be? What type of protozoa was he dealing with here?
The Valvrave project could be, would be so much more than a mere weapons project. He was not making weapons. He was engineering the next step in human evolution.
He was building Gods.
His son was his greatest achievement in that regard. His DNA was just wonderful. He was the perfect candidate to become a Homo sapiens novus. He was an entity that would stand above the rest of the world. It was his destiny.
Thus it came as no surprise to him to find out he was the pilot of Unit-1, and every successive victory the Valvraves had over Dorssia only reinforced the superiority of his creation.
His creations were the future.
Then he had been reunited with his son and things had gone south. The boy wanted to deny his destiny. He wanted to destroy the project.
Teenage rebellion. They had warned him about it.
At the end, he had been left behind; not that he had any intention of going back to JIOR. At least in Dorssia he could experiment as much as he wanted to.
Until they had thrown him into a cell, that is. As it turned out, being the only member left behind after a big rescue looked more than a little suspicious.
So Tokishima Soichi spend his days in a cell.
Until one day they took him out and threw him in a van. It was an odd ride. His rescuers were Dorssian. That was all he knew for sure. They had not bothered to even answer one of his questions.
Plus they put a blindfold on him! That was just rude. He estimated the ride had lasted at least four hours, which was sadly not really an indicator of distance.
Shadowy secret-keeping types were so annoying to deal with.
When the ride ended they led him out of the van. He could tell they were inside a building now. Blindfolded he might be, but he could still tell the difference between outside air and inside air.
After leading him through many different doors, one of his rescuers roughly pushed him into a chair. The other took off his blindfold.
"My, you people really know how to treat an old man," Soichi said.
They ignored him and walked out of the room. Soichi took a moment to look at his new abode. The room was dark, especially with the door closed. He could barely see beyond arm's reach. However, he got the feeling this place was actually quite large.
"Dr. Tokishima Soichi," a voice spoke. Soichi easily recognized it came from a speaker. He was alone in the room then?
"That would be my name, yes," he replied.
"You were the head researcher of the Valvrave Project," the voice said, almost as an accusation. Was the same voice or maybe a new one altered to sound the same? Technology could do wonders with voices.
"You have done your homework on me, I see. I must admit you have me at a disadvantage," Soichi said. They knew who he was and what he had done. They had not killed him yet, which meant they had an interest in him.
"We are the Magius. That is all you need to know about us," the voice said.
Soichi nodded. A group then?
"Very well then, why have such esteemed people brought me here?" He asked with a smile.
"We have a proposition for you," the voice said.
Soichi was silent as he listened. Slowly, a smile spread across his face. By the time the explanation was finished his grin threatened to split his face in two.
"Oh, I do believe we are going to get along just fine," he said.
Ah, how good it felt to have a job again.
"And over here we have your lovely lab. Please note all the security guards around. Any funny business and you will be shot," the youth who had introduced himself as his bodyguard said as he continued the tour of the facilities.
"And here I thought they wanted me alive," Soichi said.
"Oh, they do," the youth said. Soichi supposed he was a few years older than his son. "They will probably just maim you a little. Nothing vital. That's Magius hospitality for you."
Green eyes shone with mischief as he said this and Soichi was smart enough to read between the lines.
"So how did you land this wonderful job?" Soichi asked while checking the lab's equipment.
"Oh, the usual, I knew a little too much," the youth said, earning a glare from one of the guards at the door. "Hey, just making conversation. The doctor is the only talking company I have had in weeks."
"Not the talking type, are they?" Soichi asked, looking at the guards.
"They are different from you and me. Raised from childhood to serve the Magius and all." There was something about the way he said it, an odd note different from his easygoing cheer. Soichi made a mental note of it.
"Then why bother keeping you around?" he asked, uncaring of how that sounded. "If they already have soldiers, I doubt one more would make a difference."
The youth smiled.
"Well, I am really good at what I do," the youth bragged. "And the Magius aren't the type to waste perfectly a good body. I figure at least one of them is planning to have a go at me. Can't blame them. It's the curse of being handsome."
"Jack," the doctor said. "Yes, I am familiar with the skill."
"Creepiest thing," the teenager said, nodding. "Despite all their powers their bodies age the same as everyone else's. They need to have these big ceremonies every so often to switch bodies."
Soichi hid a smile as he turned to one of the monitors. The Magius had told him much about what had transpired while he had been locked up, but he knew they had not told him everything and this latest piece of information proved it.
His creations were better.
Homo sapiens novus were eternally young and could easily take over other people without the need for preparation.
To think his creation had surpassed the real thing! Amusing, but not surprising. It was the way of science after all. The Magius thought outdated beings such as them still held any relevance and for now he would let them think that.
The equipment they provided him more than covered his needs and their plans lined up with his well enough.
The fools wanted weapons. Weapons superior to the Valvraves. So powerful, yet just as short-sighted as JIOR. Pity.
He could do so much more than mere weapons.
The world would be shaken once more. He guaranteed it.
He just needed one more piece to begin, and luckily he knew just where to get it.
"Tell me something," he said, raising his voice up.
"How would you like to go out on a little errand for me, H-Neun?"
AN: Ah, I have always wanted to do the last word name reveal at least once.
Hopefully, you guys enjoyed this chapter. Honestly, I wanted to do a bit more, but I needed to get the Shoko stuff out of the way first. New JIOR is now dead and gone. Kind of. Was anyone surprised? Shoko is no longer Prime Minister and all those government position the student had are now meaningless.
There is only L-Elf now.
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