inarticulate: Kazama from Gakkowa as a tentacled alien. (glory to sunbaralia!)
Lepidopteran ([personal profile] inarticulate) wrote in [community profile] tentacles2013-05-07 01:53 pm

[Gakkou de atta Kowai Hanashi] Believe In Who We'll Be [2/?] [wip]

Title: Believe In Who We'll Be
Chapter: 2/?
Fandom: Gakkou de atta Kowai Hanashi
Pairing: Sakagami Shuuichi/Kazama Nozomu
Word Count: 3825
Notes: This is a WIP, with all the warnings that implies. For content notes, the AO3 link has tags. Also, [personal profile] karayan is my hero. ♥

Summary: The story of a boy's arranged marriage to an alien. Shuuichi doesn't like the idea, but he's not going to go up against his parents or the newly-formed treaty protecting the Earth from their new Sunbaralian overlords. Kazama is just happy to have an ally in the school ze's infiltrating.

Alt link: At AO3

A single name, as it turned out, wasn't much to go on. When nothing else arrived, no Sunbaralian to sweep him off his feet, he'd retrieved the paper to show it to his mother. She'd pronounced the name differently than the furigana had dictated-- in her mouth it was more sibilant in a way that Shuuichi knew he could never reproduce, a sharp trill at the beginning. But she hadn't known who ze was, and when he'd asked what to expect, she had patted his head and told him that this was the first time Sunbaralians had ever married human beings, to her knowledge. Who knew what was going on? The great Sunbaralian Empire would let them know in time.

Shuuichi went to school that day with his head down, hopelessness beating a steady tempo in his chest.

To say he was distracted by the time school ended and he slunk into third year classroom A would be an understatement. He felt like he could barely hold thoughts on his head.

"Hey," someone said. "Aren't you a first year? What are you doing here?"

"I'm with the school newspaper," Shuuichi said. He shook himself and looked up at the upperclassman. Somehow it was a lot less scary since learning he was going to be married to an alien. "I'm, um… supposed to interview Iwashita Akemi?"

Shuuichi looked down at his notes again as the upperclassman barked a laugh. "You're here for the ice queen?" he said. "Hey, good luck. She's the one over there in the corner with the guy from class H." He was still laughing as he walked off.

If you think you're up for it, Hino had said. Shuuichi looked up at the girl in the corner; she was smiling, amused at something the boy standing in front of her was saying. She didn't look scary. Nobody human looked scary right now. Shuuichi squared his shoulders and walked up to the two of them.

"Excuse me," he said, bowing.

"Oh, look what's here," Iwashita said, her smile sharpening as her gaze settled on Shuuichi. "Two visitors in one day. How very lucky."

"Well, technically, I was here first," the boy said, and his mouth turned up into an identical smirk. He looked at Shuuichi, too, and Shuuichi looked down at the floor. "You're Sakagami, aren't you? Sakagami Shuuichi?"

Shuuichi, uncertain of how the boy knew him and uncertain he cared right now, just nodded. "I'm here to interview you for the school newspaper," he told Iwashita. "If that's all right." She regarded him for a few long moments. Shuuichi felt like a mouse in front of a very, very large snake, and he began to realize why people had been warning him about her. He swallowed hard. "Or not, I just-- need to know."

"I'd let him interview me," the boy said, his voice an odd purr.

"No," Iwashita said, not taking her eyes off of Shuuichi. "He'll interview me." She twined a lock of hair around her finger. "Do try not to bore me, Sakagami-kun."

Shuuichi tried to calm his nerves as he followed her out of the classroom, though he glanced back to make sure that the boy wasn't following them. He waved at Shuuichi, and Shuuichi looked hastily back towards the subject of his interview.

Iwashita lead them to an empty classroom and pulled the door shut behind them, which alarmed Shuuichi. "Tell me, Sakagami-kun," she said abruptly once he had gotten the basic facts from her, "do you have a girlfriend?"

"I," Shuuichi said, his mind blank. "I… do," he said hesitantly, because even if he hadn't met his spouse yet, being engaged had to be something like having a girlfriend. He looked down at his notebook, then back up at Iwashita. "Um…"

"Do you love her?" Iwashita watched him, her eyes dark and her expression unreadable.

Shuuichi wanted to fidget under the intensity of her gaze, but he settled for clearing his throat. "It's very new," he said softly. "I don't think I could say that."

Iwashita pursed her lips. "What a pathetic declaration," she said. She brushed her hair back over her shoulder. "You should decide very soon and let her know. No girl likes to be lied to."

Shuuichi tamped down on the desire to tell Iwashita that there was no way anybody could know anything, that he wasn't a terrible person for not telling someone he had never met that he loved them. To his relief, after that odd prelude, she gave the interview easily enough, answering his questions without hesitation. Her hobby was embroidery; she liked working with needles. She had a job waiting for her with her mother's friend after graduation. She had a brother. He thanked her when they finished, but she just smiled and glided off without so much as a backwards glance. Shuuichi pressed his hand to his chest to make sure his heart was still beating.

"All done?"

Shuuichi yelped and jumped back from the door as the boy from earlier poked his head in. He was still smiling, probably laughing at Shuuichi's expense, and Shuuichi didn't even know why he had followed them. Had he been listening in? "Can I help you?" he asked warily. He could definitely feel his heart beating now.

"I think you can." The boy slid into the classroom and closed the door behind him. "Sakagami Shuuichi. Yes, you can definitely help me."

His tone oozed over Shuuichi, who bristled a little in response. "I was only supposed to interview Iwashita-san," he said. "If you want to be interviewed, you'll probably have to wait for the next edition. I can ask Hino-senpai, I suppose. What's your name?"

The boy moved closer, and Shuuichi's eyes widened. "They call me Kazama Nozomu here," he said, "but my name is v^vSACEDSFIKJW."

Shuuichi froze. For a terrifying second, he wasn't even sure he could breathe. "What?" he squeaked out when he could force air down into his lungs.

"v^vSACEDSFIKJW," he-- ze-- repeated. "I didn't realize I would have an opportunity to talk to you so soon."

Shuuichi couldn't respond; he could only stare. He'd been imagining a Sunbaralian in some sort of female disguise, at least. A girlfriend, as Iwashita had said. Maybe ze would be small and delicate and only Shuuichi would know what lay beyond zir face. Or maybe ze wouldn't wear a disguise at all. But he hadn't expected a male disguise, and certainly not another student.

"Are you speechless with wonder?" Kazama asked. Ze was still smiling, that strange, unsettling thing. Shuuichi's stomach lurched, and he knew, with a cold certainty, that it was because Kazama hadn't mastered the art of human expressions. Or human interactions, apparently.

How did one interact with a future spouse, though? Shuuichi looked around, but nothing gave him any clue. His parents weren't there to offer advice, and he felt dizzy. He was standing on top of a cliff and didn't know which way to step so that he wouldn't fall off. "Hello," he offered, finally. It seemed safe enough.

Kazama's smile widened. "We shouldn't talk here or talk too much before the wedding at all, but I'm delighted for the opportunity," ze said. "It's been very lonely, not having anyone in this school to talk to."

Shuuichi blinked. That hadn't been what he'd expected. He wasn't sure what he had expected. Kazama hadn't even made an attempt to pull off zir face. "You have me now," he offered, then winced as it struck home just how true that was. "Um, if we're not supposed to talk much before the wedding, though, maybe…"

He wanted to run. He wanted to go straight home where it was safe.

"You're right," Kazama said. "Oh, the mass wedding will be in six Earth days. I'll bring you there, of course, since you can't travel on your own." Ze wiggled zir fingers at Shuuichi, a bit like his mother's tentacles wiggled, and ze left the room.

Shuuichi wanted nothing more than to ask his parents about what a mass wedding might involve, but since that would have required telling them that he'd actually met his fiance, he kept quiet for those six days. He kept his head down at school and managed to not speak to Kazama-- to Viivisasedosufikujowa, though zir human name could actually be pronounced-- any further, but it was as though ze had lit some sort of beacon. Shuuichi became too aware of Kazama's presence. It couldn't be deliberate, he decided, but it felt like every time he glanced out of the window during school, Kazama was down on the field having gym class. Every time there was a crowd, Shuuichi's eyes would be drawn to Kazama like a magnet. It felt like he was rubbing sandpaper on his own skin every time.

And then, too soon, the six days were up. Shuuichi went through the day without so much as glancing up, and he lingered too long in the classroom afterwards. He wasn't sure what was supposed to happen now. He didn't remember what class Kazama was in, didn't want to think too hard about the fact that he could easily find out, didn't want anything except to go home and not get married. But he didn't. he waited there until he felt certain hours had passed.

"There you are," Kazama said. Shuuichi looked up and immediately felt pinned by that slight, odd smirk. "The wedding will be starting soon." Ze held out a hand.

Shuuichi stared at it. "What about my family?" he blurted to stall for time. He needed that time to gather his nerves.

"I don't understand your question. What about them?" Kazama moved closer, zir hand still out.

"Humans!" Shuuichi cringed; his parents weren't human, and Kazama probably knew that. "I-- human families attend weddings. Mostly. Um. Sunbaralians don't?"

"No, of course not. How strange! No, Shuuichi--" and the familiarity of his personal name slid uncomfortably over Shuuichi's skin-- "you're being brought into the glorious empire of Sunbaralia. The wedding will be a proper one, of course." Kazama's fingers twitched, like a command. "Take it, Shuuichi. Within the day, we shall be as one."

Shuuichi, hoping very much that Kazama's words weren't a horrible sexual euphemism but not seeing that he had much choice in the matter, reached out and touched his fingertips to Kazama's palm. A jolt of electricity went through him, and he yelped. He tried to pull away, but Kazama was faster and clamped zir hand around his wrist. Shuuichi's vision went fuzzy-- all except Kazama-- and his stomach lurched. "What's going on?" he gasped.

"I'm taking you to the wedding," Kazama said. "You aren't very bright. Oh, it's to be expected, with a human," ze added. "You're still the best choice." Ze took out a golden palm-shaped object that looked like a crest, and ze raised it.

The world grew bright and reformed around Shuuichi, and he found that the walls weren't the drab off-white of the classroom, but a dry curving slope in faded blue. There were bumps and protrusions coming out of the wall, and it had a distinct and uneven texture. It looked like bark or very rough skin. Shuuichi swallowed his nausea and looked around. Wherever they were was small, with nothing except the walls. "Where-- where are we?"

"We're on Sunbaralia, of course," Kazama replied. Shuuichi glanced over only to see that Kazama was peeling off zir mask. Zir skin had a darker olive cast than Shuuichi's parents, and he spared a moment to feel some small relief that this wasn't going to be like marrying his mother before he started panicking.


Kazama leaned forward abruptly and caught Shuuichi's head in zir tentacles. Shuuichi froze, wide-eyed. The tentacles were strong and warm and dry, but he shivered. After a moment, Kazama let him go and leaned back. "Of course," ze said.

Why did you just do that? Shuuichi wanted to ask, but instead he asked, "Where's everybody else?"

"The communal pools." Kazama's tentacles wriggled once in harmony before returning to the usual lazy writhe. Shuuichi took a deep, fortifying breath. "Come, follow me."

They didn't hold hands, which Shuuichi was grateful for. The hall was just as strange as the room they'd appeared in, and he flinched the first time a light flashed at him from an otherwise blank section of wall. Kazama didn't remark on it, didn't stop walking, so Shuuichi didn't ask.

Eventually, after too many twists and turns and identical paths in all directions that guaranteed that Shuuichi wouldn't be able to find his way back, a briney smell hit Shuuichi's nose, and he clapped his hand over it as they emerged into a huge open space. There were lights blinking on and off everywhere, and scattered clumps of rocky pools filled with greenish liquid and bright blue grime. Shuuichi's eyes skidded off the scenery and fixed instead on a large group of people standing there, talking amongst themselves. Relief slammed into the sense of unreality that had been building, and Shuuichi glanced nervously at Kazama before moving off to join them. Nobody stopped him; it looked as though Kazama was going to join a group of Sunbaralians clustered around some machinery, instead.

As he approached, someone called out in almost indecipherable English, "What language?"

"Does anyone speak Japanese?" he tried, then again in English: "Japanese."

"I speak some Japanese," a young black man said. He looked to be college aged, though Shuuichi couldn't really tell, especially with the strange, dim light coming from the sky-or-ceiling. "It's been years. Tell me when I'm wrong, please."

His Japanese wasn't perfect, and his accent was, oddly, vaguely Korean. But Shuuichi latched gratefully onto this one familiar thing. "I'm Sakagami Shuuichi," he said. "And you?"

"I'm James Northbrook." Northbrook hesitated. "Aren't you young for this?"

Shuuichi grimaced and looked back at the cluster of Sunbaralians. "It's complicated," he said, because he wasn't sure he wanted to admit that his parents had signed him up.

A short woman standing next to James, spoke to him in rapid Korean, and, oh, that was where his accent came from. He spoke back, obviously more at ease than he was with Japanese, and Shuuichi found himself watching the Sunbaralians again. He couldn't pick out Kazama in the crowd; he wondered if Kazama would be able to pick him out. Surely ze would; humans had actual distinguishing characteristics beyond color. He swallowed a dizzy moment of panic at the thought of being picked out by another Sunbaralian and taken back to somewhere far away.

"Hey," a woman's voice said, and Shuuichi blinked and turned around to see the woman who had been speaking to Northbrook frowning at him. She had her arms crossed over her chest, and she looked angry. Shuuichi cringed. "I'm Mi-young."

"I'm Sakagami Shuuichi," he offered again.

"How old are you?" Her Japanese was better than Northbrook's, but she spoke roughly, like a teenage boy in a gang.


"Sixteen!" Northbrook rubbed his forehead. "I can't believe it."

Mi-young said something in Korean, and they were back to their own discussion that Shuuichi was excluded from. He blinked when Mi-young turned back to him with an even more fierce glare. "Why are you doing this?"

"Um." He flicked his eyes over towards the Sunbaralian group again. "Because… of the peace treaty?"

Mi-young blew air through her nose, enough to make a sound like an angry bull, and glared at the Sunbaralians. "I'll talk to Mnae," she muttered. "We can get you out of this."

"No, no, wait," Shuuichi tried to say, but Northbrook was shaking his head.

"Aliens don't understand human age," he said. "You're way too young to do this sort of thing."

Privately, Shuuichi thought that they were absolutely right. He was way too young to be married off to an alien. But the alternative would be someone like his sister, and even if she hadn't seemed to care much, surely she wouldn't want to be in this position either. "No, it's." He tripped over the words, scrambling for a plausible excuse. "I know Kazama!"

"You-- what?" Northbrook frowned at him. "Sorry, could you repeat that?"

"Kazama." More secure in his lie this time, Shuuichi nodded towards the Sunbaralian cluster. "We go to the same school."

Mi-young's entire expression changed. "Oh," she breathed. "Like Mnae and I." She beamed. "We were dating before, and when he told me, I couldn't let all that go."

Northbrook grimaced. "Sixteen's still too young," he said. He leaned forward and reached out into Shuuichi's space, ignoring Shuuichi's flinch and taking him by the shoulders. "Are you sure about this? Are you really sure?"

"No," Shuuichi blurted out, more honestly. "Who would be certain about something like this?" He wanted to pull away from Northbrook, but the man was strong. "I don't even-- What even happens at this kind of wedding ceremony?" What happens after, he wanted to ask, but he didn't dare.

Northbrook pulled away with a sigh, and Shuuichi relaxed a little bit. "The Embassy didn't tell you?"

"Embassy?" Shuuichi repeated the English word. "Which Embassy?"

Mi-young came to his rescue. "The Sunbaralian Embassy. But I don't know if they're stationed in Japan. Each pair will step in the water and receive the cerebral binding," she explained. "Afterwards, there should be no ill effects, and you'll return home married, to do as you please."

"That's it?" Shuuichi blurted, then reconsidered. "Wait, cerebral binding?"

Northbrook shook his head. "Doesn't have any lasting effect on humans. It's been tested since it came up in treaty negotiations."

Shuuichi wanted to ask why they knew so much when he knew so little, but at that moment, the Sunbaralian group started towards them, and everyone around him fell silent. They were like an advancing army, and Shuuichi clung hard to knowledge that there would be no lasting effects.

One of the Sunbaralians spread zir arms and zir tentacles. "The pools are ready," ze intoned. "Come, our union shall be glorious! We welcome Earth and the Humans into the loving tentacles of Sunbaralia. This day will be celebrated hereafter."

Shuuichi focused on breathing. He heard someone behind him start to cry, quiet and desperate, but nobody said anything. The Subaralians, at least, didn't seem to take offense; Shuuichi felt a light touch on his cheek and flinched back before looking up and realizing that it was Kazama. Or, at least, someone that looked enough like zir that Shuuichi couldn't tell the difference. "Uh," he said. "What now?"

Kazama continued to pat at Shuuichi's face with zir tentacles for a moment before dropping them. "Here, we will take hands in the human fashion instead," ze declared, holding out a hand. "It is time to be married."

Shuuichi's hand felt cold and clammy with sweat, but Kazama's was warm and dry. It felt like a human hand, which should have relaxed Shuuichi.

"Wait," said a voice over his shoulder, and Shuuichi looked back to see Mi-young. "Give me your number, I'll call you."

"Oh, what an excellent idea!" the Sunbaralian next to her burbled. "v^vSACEDSFIKJW, we shall attune our communicators." In response, Kazama said something that sounded a lot like MNFVRAVRP, which was close enough to Mnae for Shuuichi to assume it was zir name.

Shuuichi licked his lips and recited his number for Mi-young. He saw Northbrook looking at them both as well, his lips moving, but he didn't say anything out loud before Kazama finished and dragged Shuuichi off towards one of the far pools. The ground squished against Shuuichi's shoes, wetter and filthier the further they went.

"The, um, the ceremony," Shuuichi said, mostly just to hear his own voice. He glanced around to see other pairs at other pools; one pair was stepping in, and he hastily averted his eyes. "What is it like?"

"I don't know," Kazama said. "I've never been married before." Zir tentacles wriggled as ze stopped in front of a pool in the corner.

There were two rough blue walls, and Shuuichi found he was grateful for even that small token of privacy. At least they weren't at one of the center pools, open to prying eyes everywhere. The liquid and the scum didn't look any more inviting up close, though, and Shuuichi's stomach turned. It smelled more briny up close, but not like the seawater Shuuichi was used to. There were bubbles coming up to the surface, big and slow, and he couldn't repress his shudder.

"Step into the pool," Kazama instructed. Shuuichi realized with a start that zir tentacles were shifting hue to match the grime. Before he could think too deeply about any of this or do something terrible like running away, he stepped into the liquid.

His trousers were soaked through instantly, but the liquid itself was warm, only slightly milder than a hot bath. Shuuichi closed his eyes and breathed in as Kazama stepped in next to him, zir tentacles draping over the back of his neck and his shoulders, damp and just as warm as the liquid. He swayed, and Kazama caught his arm. "I think," he said, and his voice felt distant. "I think something's wrong, I can't--"

All the power went out of his muscles, and he slumped backwards against Kazama's chest.

Shuuichi dreamed. It had to be a dream, because he couldn't breathe underwater, and because he was swimming alongside Kazama, but he couldn't see zir except for the lazy pulse of tentacles at the corner of his vision. The scenery was bright and colorful, and he felt warm, weightless, giddy.

He only remembered flashes when he woke up, though, his throat scraped raw and his eyes burning. He found himself on his back outside the pool, staring up at the sky and/or ceiling. A Sunbaralian he presumed was Kazama hovered over him, tentacles spread. "You are very young for a human," ze said, as if ze'd just realized that.

I'm in high school, Shuuichi wanted to say, but he just mumbled a confused "Yes?" and rubbed at his eyes. "Um, did I mess up?"

Kazama tilted zir head away from him to look at him full on with one eye. "Mess up?"

"The-- the wedding." Shuuichi winced and prodded his throat. It hurt even more to talk.

"No, of course not." Kazama sounded confused. "It was spectacular, don't you agree? You are a Sunbaralian semi-citizen in truth, now, and Earth will follow."

"I don't really, um," Shuuichi mumbled. "I feel really… weird."

One of Kazama's tentacles coiled around the tip of Shuuichi's nose before pulling away, and Shuuichi fell silent. "I'll transport you back to your place of residence," ze declared. Shuuichi didn't get a chance to protest how ill he felt before the world was spinning and he found himself in front of his house, alone. He looked around, ignoring the nausea cramping his stomach, but Kazama was nowhere to be seen.

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