Denki’s room was filled with video games, he had multiple consoles, and saved up money for an impressive gaming computer. For time and energy that he put towards gaming, it was impressive how much he sucked at playing them. He’d die repeatedly and shit talk NPCs as they owned him, much to the amusement of his friends. He didn’t realize the value of being an unintentional gamer failure until a friend uploaded a video of him being wrecked by a dragon in Skyrim. He was initially annoyed by this betrayal, but then the video went viral. He started making more gaming content, uploading video after video. If only so he didn’t die being known only as the ‘Yeet off a cliff’ guy. His videos and live streams quickly rose to the top of the popularity charts. What was once just a joke turned into a surprisingly lucrative career as the game streamer Chargebolt.
The conventional wisdom was to only stream popular games with established followings. Luckily, wisdom was Denki’s dump stat. Little brought him more joy than discovering ridiculously bizarre games and odd hidden gems. It was like unearthing glittering buried treasure. He still made videos featuring mainstream games, a guy has to eat after all. He figured that his indie game stream would be his personal pet project. To his surprise, it quickly became some of his most popular content. He would take game requests, narrow down the options, and then pull the game he’d play out of a hat.
He got requests for a large variety of weird games, but Mind Deliberator still took him completely off guard. Momentary panic seized him when skimmed the game’s description. It featured a gay main character with electric powers. Did people think he was gay? No, it must’ve been the electric aspect. A reference to his name and infamous love for Pikachu. He did a quick search to learn more about the game. Outside of the inevitable homophobic comments, all the reviews gushed praise. The game was niche, relatively unknown, yet showed promise. It was made by Studio Ultra, he couldn’t find much information on them except for a short interview with the lead game designer Shinsou Hitoshi. Apparently, the game started as a collaborative project that grew into something bigger. Knowing indie games, this designer likely handled a workload that was typically split between several people. Denki was a sucker for a scrappy underdog story. This was exactly the sort of game he liked to help give exposure to. He added the game to the hat. He wasn’t a coward or a homophobic asshole. That’s what he told himself.
Yet his stomach still dropped when Mind Defibrillator was the name he pulled out of the hat.
Men in black coats yanked a lanky teen boy into a white van. An angry black muzzle was cutting into his face, the tight metal forcing his mouth shut. He flailed and kicked out desperately, his eyes bulging in a silent scream. The men shoved him bodily into the back of the van. The boy scrambled to get up, but the van doors slammed in his face. He pressed his palm against the window pane. The camera zoomed in on the teen’s face and his tearful expression hardened.
His deep voice played over the dramatic music, echoing as if it was in a dream. Ugh, the voice actor had such a hot voice. “You must stay hidden, don’t get caught. Please.” His eyes were pleading as the van pulled away.
“No!” Denki yelled into the mic, his face lit by the glow of the screen. “Those creeps got Mew boo!”
He’d gotten a tad invested in Mind Defibrillator. The game was narrative driven, it had a slice of life feel to it with the addition of special powers and creepy men in black coats. The player character was named Yuki, he was a rather unremarkable teen with the exception of his secret powers. Denki could use blasts of electricity to stun and attack enemies. He first got to use the special attacks while fighting off some bullies who were harassing Mew boo. His character also had the ability to use electric manipulation to hack into electronics. This process was represented by a mini puzzle game that Denki was laughably terrible at. It was a cool concept and made for some funny epic fail moments on the stream.
The love interest in the game was a reclusive boy named Ryo. Due to his psychic powers Denki had nicknamed him Mew boo. He spent a whole session building a relationship with the NPC. He saved him from bullies, they shared their secret powers with each other, and had their first kiss. It was super cute. The game wasn’t shy about the gay narrative at all. He should’ve predicted that the game was going to play his heart like this by having Ryo kidnapped. Whenever a game invested so much time getting you to like an NPC, it meant something bad was going to happen to them. It was like the law of video games.
“Denki are you even listening to me?”
He jumped slightly at his girlfriend’s irritated voice, snapping out of his daze. He’d been completely zoning out. She was probably talking about her album release. The album was a big deal, the project had been eating up all her free time. They barely managed to squeeze in the time to grab a drink at the bar before her next recording session. He should’ve been listening. Shit, he was a terrible boyfriend.
He smiled sheepishly. “Ah... Sorry, sorry. Spaced out.” He reached out to tuck a strand of her dark hair behind her ear. She swatted away his hand with a frown.
Jirou Kyoka had been part of his friend group before they began dating. He honestly never thought she’d return his affections. She was smart, talented, and pushed him to be better. It wasn’t until his gaming career took off that she reciprocated his flirtations. While he floated through life in a daze, she was badass and ambitious. He was lucky to have her. She deserved his full attention. He just couldn’t focus today, his mind kept drifting to Mind Defibrillator. The game and the crisis it had reawoken in him.
“Space cadet,” she flicked his nose affectionately and rolled her eyes. “What has you drifting this time?”
It was the same thought over and over. It was a mantra, playing on loop in his head. He opened his mouth to apologize, but his brain and mouth were clearly at odds with each other. The words tumbled out of his mouth seemingly on their own. The simple phrase bouncing around his brain. He stared into her eyes.
“I think I’m bi.” The words came out flat, in a voice unlike his own. It was an understatement, he’d known this about himself for a long time.
Kyoka set down her beer and frowned at him. “Oh ha-ha. Playing one gay game doesn’t make you queer. No matter what the internet trolls say.”
He huffed out a shaky laugh that was mostly just air and shook his head. “No really, I’m attracted to guys. I always have been I just-”
She cut him off sharply, “Did a guy flirt with you or something? Being an attention whore isn’t the same as actual attraction, Denki.” The playfulness in her voice was gone. His stomach clenched at the bite in her voice. What was he doing? He had to get her to understand.
“My first crush was on a guy. I’d get fluttery feelings whenever the kid talked to me, but I was totally in denial about it. I think ‘cause I like girls it felt easier to just ignore those feelings like…” he trailed off. His girlfriend glared like she was attempting to shoot lasers out of her eyes at him. “You’re mad?” He asked, biting his lip nervously.
“You sat on this information until now? Right when something exciting is happening in my life. This is when you have your gay awakening?” She pinched her brow as if to hold back a budding headache.
“Bi, not gay,” he mumbled.
“For fucks sake, you can’t go ten minutes without shit being about you, huh? You were the one that wanted to go public about us dating and you follow up with this shit? Your family is the one sponsoring my album. Your religious family. Are you trying to ruin my career or are you just that stupid?”
His mouth fell open and he felt indignance boil up. He stood abruptly, snatching his jacket off his chair. “Just forget it then,” he snapped. “Sorry to be an inconvenience.”
She reached out and grabbed his hand before he could storm off. He paused, his heart pounding in his chest. He felt like crying, but his eyes were dry.
“You’re just confused, babe.” She said softly. “You have a big heart, that’s all.”
He swallowed. He was going to lose her. With that fear in his head, all the justifications approached like old friends. Why did it matter if talking to handsome guys made him weak in the knees? The same thing happened with cute girls too. He could easily just pretend to be a regular straight guy. Besides, he was in a relationship. It’s not like he was going to do anything about his gay feelings. It’d upset his parents and for what? The truth was overrated. Incognito mode was made for a reason.
“You’re right,” he said in a flat tone. “I’m just confused.”
He wasn’t confused, he was a liar. She smiled gently and squeezed his hand.
“Let’s just forget about this,” he continued. It was like his voice was coming from someone else. “Focus on your album. I’m being silly.”
He abandoned his half-finished drink at the table. They hugged goodbye and she didn’t follow him out. Once outside he checked the time on his phone. He needed to get home, it was almost time for his live stream.
Denki was sure that he was approaching the end of the game. He had used his character’s electric hacking abilities to break into the research facility that kidnapped Mew boo. He just overloaded the power and cast the creepy laboratory into darkness. The flickering emergency lights and suspenseful music had his hair standing on end. He tried sneaking around the best he could, but he was never great with stealth challenges in games. An enemy popped out from behind a desk and he shrieked into his mic.
“Eeeee! Pika-Pi bitches!!”
He slammed his thumbs down furiously for an attack move and the scientist convulsed with flashes of light. He exhaled in relief when the enemy slumped to the floor and combat ended. Grabbing the dropped loot, he saw his inventory fill with a key and research notes.
“Well, that’s convenient!” He chirped as he tapped opened the research notes. Audio started narrating the paper’s information on patient 057.
“The patient demonstrates resistance and aggressive behavior towards researchers, it is unknown if hostile to all humans. Sedation and restraints required to collect samples. Predictive movement implies potential mind-reading capabilities, handle with extreme caution. To test the hypothesis of isolated hostility towards researchers, test subject 020 is introduced into 057’s holding area. 057 displays suspicion, but does not attack the other test subject. 020 removed 057’s muzzle as instructed. Exchange of dialogue triggers unusual behavior in 020. Verbal component of power activation confirmed. Both test subjects attack researchers when retrieval attempts are made. 020 returns to passive conduct when struck and shows signs of memory loss when questioned. 057 sustains damage before sedation takes effect. Efforts must be made to improve subject’s behavior for quality of data to improve. Injuries show little promise for encouraging behavior modification. Depravation of sustenance recommended to create a persuasive reward system and incentive for cooperation. 057 is to be transferred to the long-term observation rooms in the red ward.”
A new objective flashes on the screen: Find Ryo in the red ward.
“Wow that’s super ominous,” he says after the audio finishes. “Time to bust out my boo.”
Navigating to the red ward is fairly uneventful, he had to knock out a few more enemies and use electric manipulation to force open some sealed doors. He figured that this aspect of the game would be expanded if they had the budget for it, the plight of the indie game.
The disturbing factor was turned up a notch when he entered the red ward. The door opened to a long hallway with rows of rooms on either side. Moans from the room’s occupants drift through the air occasionally. The rooms have one-way windows installed so he can view the misery within. Some of the windows have bloody handprints smattered across them.
“They should fire the janitor,” he quipped.
Some patients were strapped to beds, thrashing around trying to escape. Others paced back and forth like animals in a zoo. One room had a containment chamber in the center of it, like a giant test tube. A young girl floated inside the tube like a sample for a science experiment. The extra detail in the design suggested that she could be important somehow, but Denki couldn’t find any way to access the room.
“Dang this got really dark,” he mumbled into his mic. “Almost Silent Hill status up in here.”
When he gets to the end of the hall a cutscene triggers. Yuki runs to the last room and presses his hands against the glass of the mirror. The camera shifts and zooms in on the battered form of Ryo.
Denki gasps in horror at the reveal, “Oh no.”
The skin around the black muzzle is raw and bloodied. Ryo’s eyes are sunken in and his skin wraps tightly around the bones of his arms. Yuki releases a burst of light and the electronic security door bursts open. An alarm starts to wail. Ryo blinks slowly as if in a daze. The muzzle is removed using the key Denki picked up earlier. Convenient. Recognition registers on Ryo’s hollow face and the two boys embrace. The Denki watches the touching scene with his lip wobbling. It’s just so sad and sweet!
Suddenly the heartfelt music screeches in horror and the camera shifts. A bald man in a lab coat stands in the doorway, pointing a gun directly at the boys.
“Step away from the patient, I’m not afraid to shoot,” the bald man croaks out.
All the emotion in Ryo’s face slips away and becomes a mask of cold indifference. “No, I think you are afraid, Dr. Ujiko. The fear is radiating off your mind in waves.” His voice is like ice.
“How do you know my-” the doctor starts to reply before suddenly stopping. His face goes slack and it’s like the spirit had been sucked right out of him.
A chilling grin splits across Ryo’s sunken face, “Goodbye doctor.” The doctor slowly begins to raise his gun to his own temple.
The scene goes into slow motion and two action options appear on the screen. Press X to stop the doctor. Press O to let him die.
“Oh shit!” Denki’s yelps out in a moment of panic as he considers the two flashing options. His eyes flicker to Ryo’s battered body and then he hits O.
“Screw that guy!” Denki yells triumphantly into the mic.
The doctor pulls the trigger and a gunshot cuts through the music. Blood spatters on the wall, Dr.Ujiko falls dead to the ground with a thud.
“We savage as fuck,” Denki states solemnly.
“He is dead at last,” Ryo whispers in relief, tears running down his cheeks. He shakes his head as if to ward off a bad dream. “More will be coming. We must get to the girl quickly; her teleportation is our only escape.”
Denki resists the urge to pause the game for a breather as a new objective flashes on the screen. Using game logic, that’d be the girl down the hall that he noticed earlier. Sure enough, when he gets to the room he has the option to overload the electric security system door with his remaining power. He runs to the containment chamber in the center of the room and hits X to open it. Another cutscene plays, dramatically revealing the young girl who snaps awake. Her silver eyes are glowing with light and she disappears momentarily. She reappears next to them with a pop.
“Mew two?” Denki mumbles into his mic.
Ryo raises a large syringe next to him. Where did the come from? Ugh, he hates needles. Gross.
“They have been formulating this serum using Eri’s blood, it has the ability to erase powers” Ryo states solemnly. “You will also lose all memories of your abilities and anything associated with it. You can go back to your regular life.”
Denki’s eyebrows raise, he wasn’t expecting that. He skims over the dialogue options and hits “What will you do?”
“The serum isn’t an option for me, they will pursue Eri and I no matter what. If you come with me, they will chase you too. You can forget all of this. Forget me, you have friends and family who will miss you.” Ryo’s firm deep voice wavers a bit at the end.
The dialogue options reappear. Take the serum. Go on the run.
Denki’s throat feels like it’s about to close in on itself. His knee jerk response is to refuse the serum, keep his powers, and not take the easy way out. Yet, his own words from earlier in the day echoed in his mind.
“Let’s just forget about this,” he had said to Kyoka. “Just forget it.”
Just forget, just forget. I’ll just upset everyone and for what? He could take the lie, keep his family, pretend to be like everyone else. A straight guy with an amazing girlfriend. A liar. His shoulders began to shake and he realized his vision had long ago blurred. Fat tears already coated his cheeks, when had he started crying? He tried to take a breath and it came out as a strangled sob. He was unsure of how long he sat there, sobbing in front of his monitor before he managed to collect himself enough to register the flood of comments flickering down his extra monitor.
“What is happening?”
“This is intense!”
“Chargebolt R U ok ;_;”
“rite in da feeersls”
Oh. Right. He was live streaming, this fact registered in some rational corner of his mind. He wiped his eyes and cleared his throat.
“Uh sorry about that everyone. H-hit a little close to home.” His voice sounded strangled and strange to his own ears. He wanted to make a dumb joke, but nothing surfaced. Nothing but the truth. “I’ve been trying to come out as bi for a while now. The whole forgetting things to pretend to be normal really, um, resonated with me.”
He glanced nervously at the comments again and was instantly overwhelmed by the tidal wave of text. He swallowed back a sob that had threatened to fight free. “I…I want to try to be braver from now on,” he croaked out.
He picked up his controller and hit the option to refuse the serum. He was keeping his powers, consequences be damned. Ryo looked at him with a soft smile and pressed their lips together for the final cut-scene. The two boys and the girl disappeared in a flash of light.
After finishing the game, he quickly shut down the stream and collapsed into bed. He was exhausted and wrung out from all the crying.
When he woke up the next day it was almost noon. He woke up to a shit show. Notifications lit up his phone. It took some quick scrolling to deduce the situation. Someone had recorded the live stream and reposted it. His bi meltdown went viral. He should’ve expected that. He felt oddly numb. Scrolling through his phone, he tapped play on a voicemail from Kyouka.
Fuck you Denki! You impulsive fuck! My phone is blowing up with questions. What am I supposed to say to them? I knew you were selfish and an idiot, but I didn’t think you were a liar too. It’s just a matter of time before your parents find out. I never should’ve-
He paused the voicemail and swallowed the lump in his throat. He’d finish listening to that later.
He tapped on his text messages instead, purposely avoiding the ones from his girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend? No, they’d work it out. Right? Probably not.
He needed to see something friendly right now, he swiped through the various messages. Most of the texts were familiar faces, others from people he hadn’t heard from in a long time.
Izuku: Hey I know it’s been a while. I saw that video. I’m here if you need someone to talk to okay?
Mina: i kno Kyouka is mad. im tryin to calm her down. Don’t freak. We all luv you!!!. <3 <3 <3
Sero: y didn’t you say anything before man! I’m straight but its cool if ur not. Call me dude.
Kirishima: that was so brave and manly bro. Im so proud of you right now for reals
Katsuki BakuBoom: Called it. Several people owe me cash. Thx dunceface.
He laughed at the last message, from Bakugou that was practically a hug. He scrolled through the various messages of support. His friends were the best. He flopped over, face first into his pillow with a groan. He was probably going to be dumped and disowned. Despite that, he felt like a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders. This was a shit show, yet right now he couldn’t stop smiling.
A few days passed and his predictions proved to be correct. His parents were furious and his girlfriend dumped him, exactly what he had expected. Once upon a time, this turn of events would’ve felt like the end of the world. However he oddly felt at peace with it. For the time being.
What was really bothering him was the reaction some of his fanbase was having. Cognitively he knew that most people either didn’t care or were supportive. That didn’t stop the bigoted assholes from screaming 10x louder than the reasonable folks. He had also unwittingly started a “gay game challenge.” The challenge was to play Mind Defibrillator all the way through without having a gay awakening. He was unsure if this trend was supposed to be laughing with or at him. The intentions seemed mixed. He decided to avoid looking at any online content relating to himself for a while.
The Kaminari Denki social media purge lasted a full three hours before it was busted open with the grace of the Kool-Aid man. The metaphorical wall busting came in the form of a text from Kirishima Eijiro.
Kirishima: Sooo it looks like you need to apologize to a Shinsou Hitoshi
Chargebolt: who I piss off now =_= let me be queer in peace
Kirishima: sum of ur crazy fans doxed that poor guy. Guess he made that game?
“Are you fucking kidding me?” he spat out in frustration, resisting the urge to chuck his phone.
Thus, he jumped right back into the deep end of social media. Apparently, there was a small subsection of gamers that were furious that the game had “turned him gay.” These internet vigilantes took it upon themselves to revenge this dishonor. They doxed the designer who did the short interview about the game. Shinsou Hitoshi’s social media accounts, email, home address, phone number, and photo was released. Along with his information, the trolls posted a rambling diatribe about how gay propaganda was ruining games. Denki’s stomach twisted in guilt as he looked at the photo of the guy. He was young like himself, likely in his early 20s. He had an awkward half smile and he was looking away from the camera as if he didn’t want the picture taken. The guy made an amazing work of art and this is how Denki repaid him. He had to make this right.
He hadn’t released any videos or content since his meltdown, he had thought it’d be best to let things blow over a bit. With a surge of determination, he started setting up the lighting to record a video. Staring at the camera, he took a deep breath. He could do this.
“I know a lot of people are surprised by my recent live stream. I surprised myself too! I’m very touched by the words of support I’ve received. I’d been struggling to come out for a while now, so it was just a matter of time before the dam broke open.” He chuckled a bit. He wanted to start positive, he couldn’t just feed the trolls.
“To those that have an issue with my sexuality, you’re entitled to your opinion. Feel free to stop watching my videos. To those who felt the need to violate the privacy of one of the game's creators, you disgust me. I do not condone this action and ask you to cease this immediately,” he tried to say this part with his best resting bitch face possible.
“I’ll be continuing my stream as usual starting Friday. Sending love from Chargebolt! Especially to the creators of Mind Defibrillator, you can hit me up anytime,” he said the last part with a wink.
He hadn’t planned on the last bit, but he uploaded it anyway. He felt a tad disappointed when he never got a message from Shinsou. He resisted the urge to reach out, he shouldn’t even have the guy's contact information, after all.