Work Header


Chapter Text

        Gundham clutched his bleeding arm quietly, stifling the wound with his trembling fingers. He didn't feel anything. Not yet. Curses... what lay within her inoculation? 

        Gundham couldn't be certain of anything but inevitable pursuit. Where would he go?

        Raising his head, taking in the atmosphere, Gundham held tightly to his Four Dark Devas of Destruction as he cleared his throat and began to stumble away from the medical center.

        Taking in his surroundings - tropical haze... nothing but the sand and the ocean. Once more, Tanaka was trapped by the ocean scent.

        As he quietly tried to readjust his grip on the Devas, Gundham noticed something that drew quiet calamity into his mind.

        Already - a few bounds from the realm of Tsumiki's Hospital of Despair - he felt himself weakening. Curses!

        The malevolent enchantress had cursed him with slumber.

        Grumbling, holding his hamsters to his chest, the Breeder collected his willpower and pushed onward. Focusing on each, quick step, he continued to evacuate.

        The sand would only slow him down. Gundham wisely stuck to the sidewalk.

        Soon the others shall turn on me...

        That was Tsumiki's intention, was it not? Turn the others rabid on the outsider. I shan't be converted. I shan't be converted! The idea of bitter defeat appealed to him. To be bested. To try your best, only to fail. 

        Was that what he yearned for-? Blasphemy! Blasphemy - I am already taken! He would not break. Not again.

        Glancing behind, he noticed a delay in the Nurse's pursuit. Is she not yet outside? He had time. Time that he needed. For each step poured another bucket of hot fluid into the Breeder's psyche. His head swam with a dizzying array of tiredness.

        Each step towards escape drew slower, more of a burden.

        Ghhh. He would not be bested! He merely had to play his game more carefully.

        Slowing his stride, Gundham willed his steps to maintain, tucking quietly from the path, beginning to diverge. If only he could take shelter somewhere... until the effects of the slumber curse wore off...

        His breaths drawing heavier, the collection of water within his skull began to scald, willing him to close his eyes. Just - for a moment... to collect himself.

        To regain his strength - to overcome the curse!

        "-Hey, Gundham!?"

        That voice-! Gundham rapidly shook his head to wake himself from his disassembled stupor, only to see the familiar face of the Team Manager, still adorned in his coat of white, beginning a hasty approach.

        Curses, curses! Curses be upon Causality! Nidai was here to stop him - was he not? "-Stand down! Set aside your motivations - fiend!" Gundham's words grew immediately cold, stinging in tone, hiding his distress. "I shan't be taken!"

        Nekomaru seemed confused, scratching the back of his neck as he gave the Breeder a quiet up-down look. "...Hey, you're awake! Are you okay? Your condition is..." He clenched his fist, apparently thinking of the right word. "...Really worrisome! Lie down and rest! Athlete or not, you need to be rested in order to be healthy! And you're bleeding! Come on - I can take you to the hospital!"

        Gundham's make-up smeared eyes drew slightly wider, his form trembling as his eyes melded closed once more. It was difficult to remain upright. His mind swayed along with his body. Just a moment longer...

        Perhaps this was his last chance. Gundham growled tiredly, knowing well how much he despised the idea of having to bestow trust in another. But upon the other hand - the event of Nidai's appearance could prove a blessing, as opposed to a curse.

        "...Nidai..." the Breeder's voice came out unnaturally soft, his eyes still locked behind their lids. Could he entrust Nidai with what might be his life? If I were not an immortal... he had to remind himself. How close was Mikan? Perhaps she would gain.

        Gundham had to pledge his faith to this choice. Causality - Nidai! Do not fail me now...

        "...Nidai..." Gundham's head bobbed, his voice growing quieter still, the accented words less ominous in their tone. Less affected. "...I beg of you. I am cursed. I... beg for your trust. Listen to my words and obey - or else I shall..." Dare he say it? "...Lose my life."

        With the final word, the one that struck his pride roughly and caused him a slight shiver of regret, Gundham's legs finally gave out, initiating his collapse.

        He withheld a quiet gasp of distress as he felt his Devas spill from his arms. No!

        Though it appeared the Team Manager recognized the symptom, and anticipating his fall. In a swift action, Nekomaru caught the Breeder, effortlessly hefting him into his arms. "Woah! What happened Gundham?"

        Gundham truly didn't know how long he could hold out. This was fate. Fine. Then I shall take fate by the reigns and direct it in my favor - if Causality intends for Tanaka alone to take control of his destiny, then he shall! Forcing his eyes ajar slightly, Gundham's tired hands grasped the collar go Nekomaru's jacket, stifling a tired growl.

        "Listen well," his voice struck a broken mumble, his head lulling backward to stare tiredly at Nekomaru's confused face. How Gundham despised this weakness. And - yearned for it.

        How satisfying, to fail? Ghhh - focus, Tanaka! Give not in to despair!

        "Trust not your instinct, trust only my word... I beg. Take me not to the hospital if you value my life..." His hands slipped slightly, losing their energy.

        He had only his word.

        "Later - I shall be able to explain. Later... but Nidai. If our sacrifice together meant anything... if I am at all worthy of your trust and your good intention - then you shall see me hidden. Anywhere but here..."

        His eyes slowly drew shut again. This was it. This was the moment of ultimate trust.

        Nekomaru began to speak to him again, but Gundham could not hear. Nor could he see. The slumber curse was putting him under, and he had no choice but to succumb.

        But not before uttering one final vulnerable statement:

        "...Please, Nekomaru... I need you..."

        Then Tanaka slept.