Title: Someone to Spend an Apocalypse With
Rating: T for gore
Word Count: 3753
Summary: Liu and Hibiki have to team up to survive the zombie apocalypseHibiki learned how to fire a shotgun two days after the end of the world. By the end of the next week he could kill a zombie with nothing but a knife. Before the next month began he had twice the survival skills he’d had while the world was still calm and peaceful and full of life. He was a fast learner, and that’s the only reason he was still alive. That, and the fact that he’d managed to team up with someone much stronger than himself.
If Hibiki had to make a list of people he’d like to spend the zombie apocalypse with, Liu wouldn’t have been on it. But it was Liu that he ran into after he’d been separated from his group, and it was Liu that helped him fend off a swarm of zombies when he ended up surrounded. It was Liu that he was stuck in a half-empty storage shed with, on the outskirts of the suburbs of a city he wasn’t familiar with.
The world ended in November, and every day the world got colder and grayer. Hibiki lost his sense of direction and his ability to keep track of time ages ago. It might’ve been around 3am, but he wasn’t sure. He knew it was night and that he was on watch for now, and that was it. He leaned back against the wooden wall of the shed, staring up at the ceiling laced with spider webs. He had plenty of layers on, but he was still cold. He was always cold.
Both his pairs of gloves were looted from houses, along with his scarf. His hat came from a dead body along the side of a hi-way, and he’d traded cans of diced pineapples to get his cozy winter coat. He kept a tarp they found in the shed over his legs to keep them a bit warmer, but he was still so cold. He’d been sitting on the floor of the shed for hours, just holding his shotgun close and listening for anything outside.
There were never any suspicious sounds. Sometimes the wind blew and the longest branches of a tree nearby scraped the roof, but that was it. Liu woke up every time it happened and every time Hibiki shifted and the tarp made even the slightest noise. Hibiki kept wondering if he was always a light sleeper or if he ended up becoming one because of their circumstances.
In the morning, they set off again. It wasn’t safe to stay in the same place for too long. The zombies would eventually find them, or another group would track them down and kill them for their limited supplies.
It had snowed the night before, light and fluffy flakes, easy to walk in. Hibiki’s feet were freezing but they couldn’t stop and they couldn’t light a fire without attracting with living and the dead. He was used to just dealing with it at this point. There was never anything else he could do.
They spotted a small group of zombies heading in their direction past a group of trees. The four of them stumbled closer more quickly than the usual zombie did. They clearly hadn’t been dead very long.
They were far enough away and in a big enough group that Hibiki raised his gun, but Liu pushed it back down again. “Don’t waste bullets,” he told Hibiki before walking towards the zombies.
Hibiki sighed but didn’t protest. They weren’t desperately low on bullets, but they certainly didn’t have an excess of them. “Don’t get yourself killed, old man,” he called out to Liu.
Liu took on each zombie individually, using the hunting knife he’d gotten off a corpse to stab each one through their eye sockets. One by one, each zombie dropped to the ground. Even though he knew Liu had done his hundreds of times, Hibiki still felt strangely apprehensive watching him take on zombies face to face like that. At some point during their time together he’d grown to care quite a bit about what happened to Liu, but he couldn’t pinpoint when or why.
That night, they found a farm house that was empty except for a single zombie, so old it could barely crawl across the floor towards them. They killed it quickly and searched the house for anything useful. There were children’s school shoes and rain boots in the foyer, too small for either of them to use for anything. The blankets had all been taken but there were pillows left and sofa cushions they used to make something of a fluffy pillow fort to hunker down in in one of the bedrooms for the night. There were family photos on a walls and a dining table that had been decimated for firewood. Nothing much was of any use except for a couple of bottles of wine they found under some sheet metal in the basement.
“Are you even old enough to drink?” Liu asked when Hibiki opened one of the bottles, sending the cork flying into a framed photo of three children standing in front of the house.
“I’m 18,” Hibiki replied.
Liu said “That’s not old enough,” but Hibiki ignored him and started drinking anyway.
One of them was always supposed to stay coherent and awake and completely aware of their situation, but both of them ended up getting carried away with the wine. They’d had nothing but raw vegetables and stale crackers for weeks, and finally having something new made them both lose a little too much control over the situation.
Hibiki laid on their pile of pillows and cushions on the floor and stared up at the ceiling. It was slightly water damaged now from months of neglect, but it didn’t leak. Not yet.
“Do you still think about Atsuki sometimes?” Hibiki asked, glancing over at Liu. He knew Liu and Atsuki had been travelling together before getting separated at some point, but he’d never pressed Liu for details.
Liu stared up at the ceiling too and didn’t look back at Hibiki. “Sometimes,” he answered, not elaborating any further.
“He’s probably okay,” Hibiki replied, “He’s definitely okay.”
“We’re going to be okay too.”
Hibiki sat up too quickly and got dizzy. He took a moment to recover before he continued. “I’m really glad I found you, you know,” he told Liu.
Liu sat up more slowly, and didn’t need to take a moment before he could speak. “I’m glad I found you too.”
Hibiki smiled and reached out and touched Liu’s face. Liu frowned but didn’t make Hibiki stop. “I’m glad you didn’t kill me ‘cause now that I’ve gotten to know you, I like you a lot,” Hibiki told Liu. He hadn’t realized how close they were when they were laying down, but now Liu seemed so close.
Liu finally smiled. “Well I’m glad I didn’t kill you too,” he replied.
Hibiki wondered how he didn’t notice what a nice smile Liu had until now. He wondered how he didn’t realize how generally decent and not completely annoying Liu was before. Suddenly he felt overwhelmed by all his feelings and about how great Liu was. All he really wanted to do was kiss him, so he did.
He didn’t know what he was expecting, but Hibiki definitely wasn’t expecting Liu to kiss him back. It was a surprise when he did, but Hibiki rolled with it and just kissed him more. He got so wrapped up in the moment that he had no idea how long it lasted. He was completely focused on the feeling of Liu’s lips and his breath and his fingers tangled in his hair, and for however long they were together nothing else mattered.
Eventually the side effects of the alcohol kicked in, and Hibiki had to break away from him. “I need a minute,” he told Liu, feeling nauseated for a moment before having to run off to throw up in another part of the house.
When he came back he tried to kiss Liu again, but Liu pushed him away and called him gross for trying to kiss him after puking.
The first thing Hibiki felt when he woke up was confusion. The moment the confusion passed and he realized where he was, he felt panic crash over him like a wave. He looked around for Liu or for anything dangerous, but relief settled in once he saw Liu sitting on one of the chairs in the room, wiping the blood off his knife with part of the curtain.
“You’re lucky I’m a light sleeper,” he told Hibiki, glancing over at him, “You were almost breakfast.”
Hibiki only then noticed the dead zombie off to the side of the room. He only then remembered that they’d both ended up getting drunk and they both ended up falling asleep. They’d made a pretty huge mistake.
“No more drinking,” Liu said, “That goes for both of us.”
Hibiki didn’t argue.
They packed up what little they had and set off within the hour. Hibiki kept waiting for Liu to say something more about last night, but he never did. He never said a word about them making out, even though Hibiki kept waiting for it. He wasn’t sure if Liu forgot it or if he just didn’t want to talk about it.
Either way, it bothered Hibiki. It fogged up his mind for most of the day while they sought out food or shelter. Shortly before mid-day it started snowing lightly again, and around that point was when Hibiki realized he was so bothered because somewhere along the way he had fallen for Liu. He wanted Liu to remember and he wanted him to care. He wanted it to matter to Liu as much as it mattered to him, but he was fully aware that that was a lot to ask for.
“What’s wrong? You’re not being as annoying as usual,” Liu asked at one point after Hibiki was silent for a long time, turning everything over in his head repeatedly.
Hibiki shrugged. How was he supposed to explain that? “Nothing’s wrong,” he answered, “You’re not concerned about me, are you?”
“Of course I’m not, I’m just asking.”
Hibiki smiled. “Yeah, whatever.”
They couldn’t find good shelter that night. They ended up staying in a dilapidated barn with a caved in roof. The tiny snowflakes fell through the collapsed boards that still hung above them like tiny crystals. The only light came from the moon occasionally passing through the clouds.
They ate soup directly from tin cans for dinner. They were getting dangerously low and needed to find more food fast if they wanted to survive much longer. Unfortunately, the zombie sightings were increasing and they only rarely found a house with anything of value left in it anymore. Things weren’t looking good for them.
They sat very close together for warmth, wrapped in the same blanket. Hibiki was suddenly overly-aware of every millimeter of himself that was touching Liu, and it annoyed him that it was consuming him so much.
Liu kept talking them needing to find better shelter tomorrow, and needing to get more food and water as soon as possible. For a while he didn’t comment on Hibiki staying silent, but eventually he brought it up.
“What’s your problem? You’ve been quiet all day,” Liu asked.
Hibiki hesitated for a moment. There was the very real possibility that they were going to die soon, wasn’t there? So why be anything but honest? “…I think I’m falling for you,” Hibiki told Liu confidently. He didn’t see any reason to be shy about it at this point.
“…What?” Liu asked after a moment of silence passed between them.
“I’m falling in love with you,” Hibiki told Liu clearly and calmly, glancing over at Liu sitting next to him, “I mean it.”
Liu looked back at Hibiki but then looked away, and was silent for an even longer moment. “Don’t be stupid,” he said.
“I’m not,” Hibiki replied, but Liu didn’t say anything else.
Minutes of silence passed between them, but Hibiki started shivering a bit from the cold, Liu put an arm around him and pulled him closer. Hibiki wasn’t sure what exactly it was for, but he leaned his head on Liu’s shoulder and didn’t ask any questions.
The first day without food was the worst. After that, Hibiki’s stomach started hurting less and he just felt more tired, more disinterested in continuing on, more disinterested in everything. It was still just as cold as before, and it still snowed every now and then. He and Liu didn’t find any supplies, but they also didn’t run into a single zombie for days. It was almost as if the world was completely empty, leaving only the two of them and snow and miles and miles of land stretched out all around them with nobody else in it.
On their fourth morning without food, they came across another lonely farmhouse, with its windows still intact and its doors still tightly closed. Every other house they had passed had clearly already been ransacked, so this was the most hopeful sight they’d seen in a long time.
The front door was still tightly locked, so they threw a rock through one of the front windows to get inside. The house showed some signs of being neglected for a long time, but it was still in surprisingly pristine condition overall. All the furniture was still neatly arranged, the china cabinet near the kitchen was untouched, warm coats still hung in the closets and the kitchen was half-stocked with food.
For half an hour, all Liu and Hibiki did was dig through the cupboards and eat. There were bags of chips, small packages of gummy bears, all sorts of foods that weren’t even entirely stale yet. It seemed far too good to be true, and Liu was the first person to comment on that. “We should be careful. We’re probably not the first people to find this place.”
They waited around and listened for footsteps above them before taking the stairs to the next floor, but they didn’t hear anything. Once they walked up the steps, they didn’t see anything either. There was a hallway ahead of them lined with a couple doors. Behind them were probably bedrooms full of warm clothes, but there could also be danger.
“How about you start checking the rooms at this end, and I check the other? I’ll meet you in the middle,” Hibiki told Liu. He didn’t really give him any sort of chance to reply before he headed off down the hall and checked the first door.
Behind it was an empty bathroom. He checked the closet, but it was full of towels and makeup and shampoos. He even checked the cabinet under the sink, but he was certain nothing in that room was any sort of threat before he went on to the next one.
The next room seemed to be a small study. It was just as empty as the last and didn’t even have any sort of hiding space, so he almost immediately went on to the next room.
The moment he opened the door, he wished he would have kept it closed. On the bed, there was a single corpse, laying peacefully with their arms folded across their body. Another was laying on the floor, two were slumped in chairs and another was propped up against the wall near a bookcase. They were like a little farm family who had gathered together to find some way to escape the apocalypse, and as soon as a living person opened the door, each of them immediately turned their heads and stared at him.
There was no way he or Liu would have heard them. They’d been laying there dormant for weeks, slowly starving with nobody nearby to eat. And now they finally had food right in front of them.
All of them immediately lurched towards Hibiki, but the one on the floor was closest and grabbed his leg. Hibiki tried to shake it off, then pointed his gun down and shot through its arm, but the zombie still heaved itself forward again and bit down on his shoe.
Luckily for him, it was a leather boot he’d stolen from a body he’d found along the street. It was too much for weak zombie teeth to be able to bite through. By that point, Hibiki heard Liu calling out his name and asking him what was going on, but he didn’t have time to respond. He shot the zombie in the head this time, killing it, and also shot the next nearest one that had been on the floor in the head as well.
He heard a crash from wherever Liu was which made him anxious, but he still couldn’t do anything about it. When the zombie on the bed slid off of it onto the floor and starting crawling towards him, he tried to shoot it too. When he pulled the trigger nothing happened. He pulled it again and again as it dragged itself closer, but he was out of bullets. The others were with Liu. There was no way he was getting to them now.
Panic set in, but Hibiki tried to fight it off. He kicked the zombie in the face, but it only knocked its jaw loose and stunned it for a moment. It continued on after him just as it had before. He looked around, desperately trying to find something he could use as a weapon. There were picture frames on the walls, just as there had been in the other house. They were all that was nearby, so he’d have to deal with them.
As the two zombies that had been seated also inched closer, Hibiki tugged one of the frames out of the wall and smashed it over the bed zombie’s head. The zombie barely seemed to notice, but the frame shattered and left long, sharp shards of glass scattered all across the wood floors.
Hibiki didn’t even think about the consequences of picking up broken glass before he picked up one of the pieces and held it tightly in his hand. He didn’t even feel the pain yet. Just like he’d seen Liu do plenty of times with a knife, he stabbed the zombie in the eye with the glass, stabbing it and stabbing it over and over until he must have hit its brain, because it stopped moving.
He didn’t have time to appreciate what he’d done. The other zombies moved towards him even faster now that his hand was bleeding, and all he could do was defend himself from being bit as they knocked him backwards into the against the wall. He kept kicking at them and trying to carefully shove them away but they kept grasping at him, trying to bite him anywhere they could.
He kicked one back, but the other just launched itself even closer. It nearly bit his neck, but Hibiki stabbed it in the face with the glass before it could. It didn’t give up then, and only tried to bite his arm while it was close to him. Hibiki used his free hand to grab its matted hair and pull its head back away from him, then he stabbed it in the eye repeatedly like he had the other.
His clothes were getting soaked in zombie blood and his hand was bleeding pretty badly, but he only had one zombie left to face. It launched at him the same as the last one had, but it didn’t have any hair left for Hibiki to tug it away with. He tried to push it away with his free hand, desperately trying to shove it back so it couldn’t reach him. He stabbed it a few times but he couldn’t get anywhere close to its eyes without the zombie snapping at him.
But this zombie was old, and it fell apart much more easily than the fresher ones. The more Hibiki stabbed it the slower it got, the worse its control over its body became. The zombie’s head leaned to the side and it slumped over, too damaged to reach out and bite at Hibiki like it had before. That was when Hibiki finally got his chance to end it, and he stabbed the zombie in the brain as quickly as he could.
As soon as it was completely dead, Hibiki shoved the zombie away from him and dropped the glass. He started at the cut in his hand that didn’t look too deep, but was now beginning to sting. It took him a moment to regain his awareness of the situation at hand, but once he did he remembered the crashing noises he had heard earlier. Hibiki remembered he hadn’t heard from Liu in a while now.
Shakily, Hibiki got to his feet, reaching out and placing his hand on the wall for support. “Liu?” He called out, but there wasn’t any reply. The panic had only been gone for a moment, but now it was setting in once again.
Hibiki quickly moved down the hall towards the room he thought Liu was in. One door was slightly ajar while the others were either completely open or completely closed, like they hadn’t been visited yet. He had to be in the slightly open one. He had to be okay. Hibiki wouldn’t accept anything else.
As Hibiki reached out to open the door, it was pushed open. Liu stepped through the doorway, but he was also covered in blood. Behind him, Hibiki could see more zombies, fresher looking ones, lying dead in the bedroom. It looked like maybe they weren’t the only ones to be attacked in this house.
The first thing Liu did was ask, “Are you okay?” but Hibiki didn’t answer. He stepped closer and put his arms around Liu, pulling him into a tight hug. At first, Liu didn’t say or do anything. Eventually, he hugged Hibiki back.The world had ended. They probably didn’t have much of a future left. There were zombies everywhere that wanted to kill them, and they might not be able to escape them forever. But for a moment, all of that was far from Hibiki’s mind. Liu was warm and real and alive and Hibiki had him even if he didn’t have anything else. As long as they were together, he’d be willing to face any challenge that arose.