primroseshows: made by me (arashi: celebration)
[personal profile] primroseshows
POSTIN' WIPs LIKE YEAAAH, SHOOTIN' MYSELF IN THE FOOT LIKE YEAAAH

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a very merry holiday season and are ready for the End of Days! I've got everything I need to survive the apocalypse: paranoia, an umbrella, and a diet consisting of nothing but chicken nuggets and Coke so my flesh will taste unsavoury to even the most desperate of people.

Just kidding. Spending some time at home with the parents, sleeping in, and ignoring all matter related to school-life. This will kick me in the ass later, very hard in fact, but have you ever known me to be one of those people who "thinks about the future"? No. Some better people might make some kind of New Year's resolution about this, but I can confidently say that I am not one of those people.

Besides working on [livejournal.com profile] help_japan fics, I decided to go ahead and write that God!AU that I have previously flirted with here and here. Yes, apparently it's a real "thing" now. A "thing" is a fic that I'm taking seriously. Granted, this doesn't always work out in the fic's favour, but it's better than just leaving the idea to rot in the far, dark corners of my hard drive. HOPEFULLY I DIDN'T JUST JINX MYSELF. DANG.

Anyway, here's the first part of it. It's about ~3,000 words and neither Nino nor Ohno nor Jun have shown up yet. JFC what is the matter with me.

PS: to the Japanese speakers on my f-list, if I use the words Tsuchi, Kaze, Hi, and Mizu, does that mean Earth, Air, Fire, and Water? I'm going from Wikipedia here, but it doesn't hurt to check with the experts. I've never heard the term "Hi" before. :/



I.

“This is,” Sakurai Sho sighed, collapsing by his stone well, “the worst. The very worst.” His well bucket hung in his hand, as dry as a bone, and Sho stared inside its cup for a long moment before detaching the rope and hurtling the bucket as far away from him as possible. It hit a tree trunk and then the ground – two consecutive thunks that echoed nowhere but in Sho’s ears: dead, dead.

“Fuck,” he hissed, pulling his head down between his knees. “I’m screwed. I’m going to lose it all.”

A whole lifetime of work, generations of effort – all of it, gone, in a matter of months. And if Sho didn’t leave soon, he’d be no better off. Just another set of bones on the land, slowly being blown to dust.

His body was so thirsty that he couldn’t even muster up tears to cry.

Sho rubbed rough palms over his face, despondent. What else was there to do? The gods had shown their hand, and what was Sho but a mere mortal, living off their earth? Or trying to, more like. Trying, and failing.

It wasn’t fair. None of it. Was it his fault that the Elementals got into a petty feud? Was it his family’s fault that the Elementals decided to forgo maturity and strike revenge? Then why was it his farm that had to suffer?

Why were the gods so ignorant, so careless of their power?

Sho turned his eyes upwards, up past the sagging fruit tree branches, up past the orange, cloudless sky, up to the single, unmoving item in the atmosphere that had, as it had been for the past stretch of forever, shone unerringly, every day, over the country’s northern villages. The brightness of the sun flickered and wobbled in Sho’s vision, a helpless subject to its own forceful heat.

A man might go blind, staring straight into the sun.

Sho could think of worse ways to suffer.

A single, high-pitched note pierced through the silent, muffled air. Sho squinted, watching a brown sparrow flit quickly across the sky, disappearing quickly into the distance.

Ah! Right.

There was one last thing that Sho could do.


II.

“Chirp,” squeaked the sparrow. Not the one that Sho saw flying a mere hour ago. One much larger, with beautiful deep-brown feathers lined with a sliver of green. It was sitting on a large branch above Sho’s head, and it was cocking its head questioningly at Sho.

“Please,” Sho said to the bird.

“Chirp chirrup chi-irp!” said the sparrow.

“I sacrificed my only remaining goat to call you,” Sho implored. “You’re literally my last hope.”

“Chirp chiirrip-iip!”

“There’s no one around to see you talking to me, for miles and miles, I can guarantee that,” Sho said. “And I really doubt the higher gods are watching.” Sho swept out his arms, indicating to the vast expanse of empty farmland behind him. “If they are, they sure as hell don’t care.”

“Prrrrip!” the bird trilled, and jumped nervously back and forth on its branch.

Sho sighed at it. “You know I can’t actually understand what you’re saying when you’re in that form, right?”

Suddenly, there wasn’t a bird on the branch anymore, but a tan-skinned young man, wearing old farmhand clothes and a floppy-brimmed straw hat. His bare feet swung in the air and nearly knocked Sho in the ear.

“You can’t?” the man said, sounding surprised. “I thought you could.”

“Birds don’t speak human languages, Aiba,” Sho said, trying to sound exasperated but not quite managing to mask the deep sense of relief he actually felt at seeing his old friend.

“Maybe you’re just not listening carefully enough,” Aiba said, leaping down from the branch. He grinned at Sho. “So what’s up?”

Sho stared at him.

“Oh,” Aiba said, eyes skirting around to Sho’s farm, sprawled behind them: acres of yellow, cracked land, dried vegetation, empty animal pens. “Oh yeah.”


III.

Everyone in the village knew that Sakurai Sho was a farmer. Sakurai Sho was a farmer as his father had been, as his grandfather had been before him, and as his great-grandfather had been before that. The lands that Sho farmed bore the name of one of the oldest and respected families in the northern provinces, and everyone knew of the great pride that Sakurais took in their work.

Everyone in the village knew that Sakurai Sho was the last Sakurai left in the north. The rest of his family as well as their hired farmhands had migrated south with most of the other villagers when it was clear that their lands were past the point of saving. Sho had watched them go, hugged his parents and siblings hard and with dry eyes, as they promised to come back as soon as they heard word of rain. Sho had listened, one last time, to his mother’s beseeching to get him to move with them, to start a life anew in the bountiful southern lands, but Sho had merely shaken his head and said that these lands belonged to him, and he to them.

Everyone in the village knew that Sho had always been the most stubborn of the Sakurais.

It was hard to hide secrets among the village, even though many kilometres separated households from each other; what was news among one family soon became news among them all. It was no secret that the Sakurais had given up on their land, but the eldest son remained, unchangeable in his belief that he could save it somehow, or die trying. It was no secret that the eldest son fully intended to.

But there was one secret that Sho had managed to keep to himself, for an entire decade and counting, not so much out of choice, but more out of fear. There were earthly laws that prevented the meeting of men and god, sins that could be punishable by shunning and damning, for such meetings could – and were, in fact, known to – upset the balance of nature and time. Sho was intelligent, well-educated by his father; he knew these laws as well as he knew how to tend crops or milk cows. He could recite them as clearly as the bedtime stories that his mother used to tell him, tales about the gods in the High Holylands, in a time before Time.

But Sho, stubborn, smart, resilient Sho, was also kind-hearted. And at fifteen years of age, when he came across a large sparrow with a broken wing, it seemed a natural decision for him to nurse it back to health.

How was he to know that it was a god in disguise, caught in a spell?

How was he to know that by saving the god’s life, he formed an unbreakable bond between them?

Least of all, how was he to know what a great friend a god could be?

So of course, years later, at twenty-five, when Sho was caught in an unforgiving situation, when no other hope was left, when there was no one left in the village to see him, when his endless prayers to the Elementals had amounted to nothing, it seemed a natural decision to call for that god’s help.

The god’s name was Aiba Masaki, and he had domain over land birds.


IV.

“I can’t help you here, Sho-chan,” Aiba said sadly, offering Sho another sip from his cup. “You’ll have to think of something else.”

“But that can’t be right,” Sho sputtered. “You’re a god, aren’t you?”

“Shh!!” Aiba hissed, flapping his hands. “Not so loud! I don’t want to get caught! You know the laws!”

“Sorry, sorry.” Sho took a long, deep pull from Aiba’s magic, bottomless sake cup. Alcohol probably wasn’t the best thing to consume after days of near-dehydration, but it was all Aiba had and Sho really was that desperate for liquids. “But honestly. Aiba. You’ve come down to earth in far worse situations. Right now, there’s really no one to see you. We’re the only two living creatures here for WHO KNOWS HOW FAR.” His voice rose to a shout, before lowering back down. Sho stared into the dark depths of Aiba’s white ceramic cup. “Everyone else is gone. Everything else is dead.”

Aiba just looked at him sadly. “Your farm’s pretty badly off, yeah, but it’s not totally gone yet. You’re still here, aren’t you?” He took back his cup, prying it out of Sho’s clinging fingers. “There’s always life, Sho-chan,” he added knowingly. “You can’t see it, but I can.”

“Then why can’t you do something about it?!” Sho accused.

He shouldn’t yell at Aiba, Sho knew that. But he wasn’t thinking straight. He was down to his wit’s end. If Aiba couldn’t help him, then – then –

Sho had tried literally everything else he could to save his farm.

Prayers, of course.

Rain dances.

Digging. More digging. Even more digging.

Rain collection contraptions, that he’d heard were used far away, in desert lands of the west. No use. It had gotten so bad now that there wasn’t even dew to be found in early mornings.

Sho had been surviving up to now thanks to his stock water supply in his family’s homemade reservoir, a large metal tub bent into shape with fire, a hammer, and elbow grease, but the supply was near sucked dry. In the early days of the drought, the water level had decreased at an alarming rate, with nothing to show for it: when Sho tried to spray the crops, it was obvious the amount of water was nowhere near enough, the majority of it disappearing into the hard soil way before it ever hit the roots of the plants. As his animals began to die off, one by one, two by three, five by seven, Sho had managed to preserve his remaining water stock for longer, but it was a fool’s job. With nothing to replenish the supply, he was only delaying the inevitable.

If Aiba couldn’t help him, then Sho was going to shrivel up, just as his farm was doing.

Aiba was sipping thoughtfully from his cup, and sighing in between sips. “It’s so stupid, Sho-chan,” he said. “I want to help, I really do. But you know I don’t have control over the land or sky or water. Even if I could get the birds to carry water for you from somewhere else, the higher gods would notice that for sure. We’d both be in big trouble.”

He patted Sho on the back, and held out his right hand into the air. A red-breasted robin flew in through the window, with a handkerchief in its beak. Aiba took it and offered it to Sho, who took it gratefully. Although his head felt blurry, the rest of his body was responding well to finally getting some liquid nourishment, and Sho was once again sweating profusely from the heat – or rather, sweating his usual amount. He wiped Aiba’s handkerchief, blessedly cool, across his face and down his neck. God, how long did he have before he was going to roast up in his very skin? His tongue felt like a rock in his mouth, heavy and foreign.

Sho was drifting; he had been working tirelessly lately, desperate to wring use out of every minute he had left on his farm, dictated by the amount of water he had left in his reservoir. But now, his mind was empty of ideas and fuzzy from the drink, and he felt like he could sleep for days. He could sleep and never wake up again.

“The Elemental Gods are all really powerful, Sho-chan.” Aiba was still speaking, his slightly-hoarse voice a welcome comfort to Sho’s ears. “Like, you have no idea. They’re really, really strong, and they get upset about the tiniest things. It’s crazy! I know you’ve been praying, but I don’t think you can sway them. They’re too big to care very much about humans. It’s like – like when you harvest your crops, you don’t stop to care about the bugs that live in them, right? Even though you know they’re there. It’s like that: you guys are too small to the Elementals. No offense!”

“None taken,” Sho mumbled, closing his eyes.

“I mean, to have any effect at all, you’d have to get, like, the entire county to pray for the same thing or something, or you’d have to pray to someone who could change the minds of the—”

Aiba stopped. “Ah?” he asked, scratching his head.

“What?” Sho asked, cracking open an eyelid.

“I just thought of something! Someone I know!” Aiba said, eyes bright with excitement. He slapped the table they were seated beside. “Maybe he can help save your farm.”

This got Sho’s attention. He sat up. “Who?” he demanded eagerly.

“An old friend. And by that I mean that he’s really, really old. He’s been around for ages, Sho-chan, like, way before me, even; he’s been around since the time before Time! Maybe he’s lived through a drought like this before!”

“A god?”

“Yeah, kind of?”

Sho paused. “What do you mean, kind of? What does he have domain over?”

Aiba blinked, then cupped his chin in his hand. “Huh? Oh. You know? I don’t remember.”

“Then how do you know he can help me? It might be a complete waste of time to find him. I don’t want to just jump into a huge risk.”

Aiba trailed his gaze across Sho’s kitchen, to the window that let in the bright rays of the relentless sun, so glaring that they partially hid the view outside, although there was nothing to see but shriveled plants and scorched earth. He looked back at Sho, eyes serious.

“What do you have left to lose?” he asked.


V.

“This wasn’t part of the deal,” Sho said, arms locked at his sides.

“How else were we going to get anywhere? Come on, get on!” Aiba called, waving him closer.

“Can’t you just – go, by yourself?” Sho asked beseechingly. “Find your friend and then report back or something?”

“Stop being silly, Sho-chan! Hurry up, or we won’t make it there and back before sunset!”

“Why don’t I sacrifice another animal to call him down here?” Sho pleaded, panic churning inside his gut.

“Because you don’t have any more and besides, I don’t know his prayer!” Aiba yelled, from atop his gigantic golden eagle. “So come on now because Shun Shun-chan is getting bored!”

The eagle screeched in agreement and flapped its wings irritably, stirring up large quantities of dust around it. Sho valiantly fought the urge to empty his bowels.

Shun Shun, as this creature was called (and what kind of name for an impossibly-sized bird of prey was that? Its talons were the size of Sho’s forearm), was Aiba’s travel bird of choice. Apparently, golden eagles weren’t known to be the best long-distance migrators, but they were steady, strong flyers, and Aiba thought they were very cute. Cute. A seven-foot aerial predator with a razor-sharp beak, way-over-seven-foot-long wingspan, night-black eyes, and a call that could curdle milk – cute! And Aiba expected Sho to climb on it, and sit placidly while they flew to the Northern Mountains!

Sho was soon going to be airborne.

“Sho-chan,” Aiba said with interest, peering down at Sho from his perch on the back of Shun Shun’s neck. Sho willed himself not to show just how much his knees were shaking. “Are you scared of heights?”

Sho said nothing.

“Is this why you never come flying with me when I offer?” Aiba sounded as if he was coming to a miraculous conclusion.

Sho said, “Maybe.”

“How bad is it? Your fear.”

Bad enough that Sho was suddenly finding that packing up and moving south was looking much, much more appealing than it ever had before. “It’s – I like both my feet on solid ground, is that so bad?”

“Well, we need to get to the mountains, and unless you want to change jobs from farmer to hiker, then I really think Shun Shun is the best way to get there.”

Sho looked pained. “And you really need me to go with you?”

“It’ll help your case. My friend likes humans,” Aiba smiled. “Or, some of them, at least.”

“Great,” Sho sighed. He stepped forward to mount from Shun Shun’s tail, just as Aiba had, while mentally saying goodbye to the world. Farewell, thanks for everything, nice knowing you, it was a rough couple of weeks on the farm but I would’ve preferred to die on it than on the back of an overly large, easily-bored eagle, but we can’t all have a fairy tale ending.

Halfway up its tail, Shun Shun let out a massive shriek that nearly toppled Sho right back onto the ground.

“Aw!” Aiba giggled. “You’re tickling him! He likes you, Sho-chan.”

Sho reminded himself that suicide would really not help his situation, no matter how favourable it looked at the moment.

A few hair-raising minutes later, Sho was seated behind Aiba and they were off, soaring into the cloudless sky, Shun Shun’s wings beating a steady fwump-fwump-fwump in the air as they glided higher and higher and higher.

“The view is great, huh, Sho-chan?” Aiba said, above of the roaring of the wind.

Sho had been keeping his eyes squeezed closed thus far, his one and only solution to prevent him from sobbing like a child into Aiba’s back, but hearing the soft wonder in Aiba’s voice – he felt compelled to look. He slowly, so slowly opened his eyes and dared a tentative peek downwards.

Everything was flat and barren, awash in shades of brown and yellow. Not a single patch of green to break the monotony. It was a desert, pure and simple.

Sho’s eyes stung. Either from the wind whipping at his face, or the nausea rolling through his stomach, or at seeing the scope of just how much his family’s land had deteriorated was anyone’s guess.

“Don’t worry, Sho-chan,” Aiba reassured him, reaching down to touch Sho’s hands, clasped like an iron band around Aiba’s waist. “We’ll return it to the way it should be.”

Sho took a deep breath, and clung on tighter.



Also!!! I've started writing 2PM again. Well, it's more correct to say that I never exactly stopped, but I've fallen way out of touch with 2PM lately since their Japanese promotions, so I've been doing things less than half-heartedly. This one though, I actually want to finish. Fair warning, it's got Jay in it. And it's about reunions. T___T UGH IDEK GUYS I wanted to write something happy and hilarious and instead this mess came out, which is basically a poorly-disguised way for me to cut open my chest and slam my heart through the laptop screen. ~FEELINGS~ OKAY!!! I've written more than I'm posting, but the rest is very badly developed/paced and I just want to know if people would be interested in reading a story like this or if I should stop entirely and let things lie and am I being terribly cheesy and cliche for wanting a reunion fic and it's not like I haven't let things go, because I have, and don't want to make a "big deal" out of how things turned out since I'm fine with it all but OKAY WHATEVER JUST READ IT IF YOU WANT OR DON'T IDK omg I am terrible and going to shut up now ugh D;


Of course they meet again. It was just a matter of when.

1. Jo Kwon is setting a record in JYPE for the longest consecutive number of days in work with the least cumulative hours of sleep. He has been running on pure willpower for the past eight, nine days, and thinks that should it come down to it, death by fame wouldn’t be the worst way to go. It wouldn’t be the best either, but Kwon didn’t enter in this business for its fairy tale endings. For now, he breaks down every next event into its individual seconds in order to get through. The makeup does a good job making him seem mostly human, but foundation and good lighting can’t cover the slightly high quiver that laces his voice when he forces himself to laugh for the camera, forces himself to be energetic, when the only thing he wants is for the world to stop for a few hours so he can close his eyes without guilt.

All this means nothing, though, when his car, chauffeuring him to his next schedule, is slammed into by a drunk driver going 80 kilometres an hour in a pickup truck, causing both vehicles go careening off the road and into a mailbox, a fire hydrant, and then a building, the latter which terminates their velocity for good, along with a fair number of other things.

Jo Kwon’s heart stops twice during his rescue: once in the ambulance ride to the hospital, and once on the hospital bed while the surgeons are stitching up the bloody fissure slicing across his entire torso. It’s touch and go for a while there (of course Kwon knows nothing of this), but after the second defibrillation, the heartbeats keep on pumping, second by second, hour by hour, and Jo Kwon is allowed to continue living.

When he is finally permitted visitors without nurse supervision almost two weeks after the accident, Jinwoon hurls inside Kwon’s private room with puffy red eyes and streaky white cheeks, and visibly holds himself back from jumping onto Jo Kwon for a hug. Seulong quickly shuffles in behind; he’s carrying a bag of Kwon’s things and his smile is half-wilted and shaky when he teases that the hospital gown does wonders for Kwon’s colouring. Changmin, quiet, somber, enters last and unloads four handmade lunchboxes onto Kwon’s bedside table, tossing a set of get-well-soon bouquets onto a nearby chair to make room. Then he sits down heavily in a chair, takes off his glasses, pinches the bridge of his nose, and sighs.

“We thought you’d never get off those crazy machines. Really had us scared, you know, Kwonnie,” he says, meeting Kwon’s nervous eyes.

“Don’t be silly, hyung,” Kwon says softly, mostly because he can’t speak much louder without sounding like a sick cat – and isn’t that just the icing on the cake. “All those years building up hard muscle – the metal could barely scrape me.”

Changmin laughs, more in disbelief at Kwon than anything, and Jo Kwon feels Jinwoon squeeze his bandaged fingers. He does his best to squeeze back.

The usual questions come, about Kwon’s health, about the news articles, about the fan reactions, about what the company is planning to do with 2AM – but it doesn’t last for long. Pretty soon Changmin’s lunchboxes are out and open and Kwon is being spoon-fed by Jinwoon while Changmin reads through Kwon’s piles of get-well-soon cards, making sarcastic remarks about the more flowery notes.

“The others say they’ll be here tomorrow,” Seulong offers suddenly, from his seat at the edge of Kwon’s bed. He’s flipping through his cell phone messages, thumb flicking back and forth across the screen as if he were wiping off an invisible itch. “Khun hyung has been sending me texts non-stop since I told him we were coming today.”

“Oh. Really? Oh,” Kwon says, unable to help feeling flattered. Still, he worries. “But aren’t they in Japan?”

Seulong shoots him a come on look. “Apparently even Minjae-hyung said it would be good to take a day to come back to visit you. Then they can stop stressing out about you in time for their concert.”

“Only tomorrow?” Kwon asks. “That’s – for how long, though?”

Seulong raises his eyebrows, noting Kwon’s panic. “Uh, I don’t know. I guess for an afternoon? Why,” he jokes, “are you busy or something?”

“Um, well, it’s just that I think I’m getting another visitor tomorrow,” explains Kwon hastily.

“Oh? Who? Hyuna?”

“Not… no.”

Changmin’s head shoots up. “Jaebeom,” he says, and despite the high dosage of painkillers coursing through his circulatory system, Jo Kwon winces.

“It’s -- yes. Jay hyung said he wanted to come, and I – well, I thought it’d be nice. To see him.”

“Ah. Well then,” Seulong breathes, eyes wide.

“Well, then--” Jinwoon echoes, his fingers interlaced with Kwon’s tightening up. “Well, then he—”

Changmin covers his face with his hands. “Well, shit,” he says, which sums it up nicely.




One last thing! I haven't pimped this here yet, but my good friend and the very talented [livejournal.com profile] harioto has one of THE BEST tumblrs ever, and I'm sure you'd agree if you'd care to take a gander here! ARASHI COMICS YOU GUYS!! SO GOOD, SHIT ♥____♥
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