Genre: drama, supernatural
Warnings: some cursing
Pairing/Characters: Byou x Yuuto
Synopsis: Everything I am, everything I was, has been put away inside this forgotten room beneath the ground. I cannot hear anything else but your voice, growling, shouting or gasping in amazement when you discover something new. And I watch you. I watch you rushing about, picking up several glass jars and instruments which names I do not know but am frightened of. Sometimes, you scribble words in your notebook. I don't really want to know what they say. I just wish to leave, but I cannot. I am entwined with you.
Disclaimer: I only claim rights to the story
Comments: Written for my paranormal25 challenge - Writer's Choice: Gaki
Few minutes past nine in the morning, Yuuto walked through the old hospital gates. When years ago the hospital had been moved, the facility now served as a property of the university, specializing as head quarters for the students majoring in chemistry, physics and biochemistry. While the main floors contained dozens and dozens of offices turned into laboratories, a huge library stocked with almost every science book ever written and stocks of raw materials, the basement held the laboratories where either students had their intern training under strict supervision or dangerous chemicals were held.
Buttoning up his while lab coat, Yuuto watched as the other brunette rushed about the lab, hair stuck in a messy pony tail like it had been the day before. Briefly, he wondered about the last time that man even washed his hair; it always looked so greasy. The lab coat wasn't much better either, odd stains here and there. It never was a pleasant sight to arrive in the mess the other called a laboratory and see all the chaos the room was constantly in.
Of course, the man was a genius in his own eccentric ways, but how hard was it to clean every once in a while? Was this really what Yuuto had gone through college for – to pick up broken test tubes, crumpled up paper balls and wipe away the leftovers from the failed experiments? Taking a deep breath, Yuuto forced himself to forget these thoughts. Byou was a brilliant man. His researches and works published in science magazines, he was well-respected in the realm of the talented kind. He didn't indulge in the yellow pages and gossip, always thought his answers through when asked something and focused on his work 24/7.
At first, when Yuuto had been assigned at the brunet's assistant, he had been practically glowing in delight. It didn't matter that the man had a strange reputation due to his hermit ways. It was what made him so focused, after all. It was the little things that Byou did or said when wrapped up in his work that made Yuuto wary. Some of these said things were awfully questionable, and the more he heard, the more he came to believe what the world was saying about his supervisor.
Apparently, his presence was finally noticed because a shout snapped the man out of his thoughts instantly.
“Don't just stand there like an oak, get that sodium here NOW!” the scientist barked, and Yuuto promptly rushed to the table at the other end of the room, picking up a jar that held the metallic substance inside mineral oil along his way past the open cabinet where they kept the elements. Behind his own desk, Byou was heating a test-tube with something that smelled like hydrochloric acid. Grabbing the sodium from Yuuto’s hands, he picked up a piece from the jar, weighed it, cut off a third and after weighing it again, nodded. “Perfect.” Carefully, he dropped the piece into the test tube where it reacted with the acid. Violently hissing, the metal emitted several lines of bubbles that reached for the surface and entered the air as smoke. Before anything else could be said or done, the sodium was in tiny pieces, the acid eating away every crumb that was left. Frowning, Byou glared at the failed experiment. “Shit ‘n bullocks, I miscalculated the amount of the acid.”
Silently, Yuuto watched as the brunette discarded the remains of the experiment. As messy as Byou could be, he was at least aware of how hazardous the elements he was working with were and acted accordingly. Taking his seat behind his own desk, he waited. But when Byou rushed out, mumbling something about quantum energy within kinetics, he only sighed and started rearranging his own notes in order. It was better to nod, unless you had a theory of your own that intrigued the man.
Returning several minutes later, Byou's face was lit with glee. Almost bouncing on his spot, he startled his assistant for as far as Yuuto recalled, Byou was a practical person, rarely showing this kind of behavior. He'd scoff and say how pointless such antics were.
“B-Byou?” Yuuto quietly asked. The man barely reacted, but flew to his desk, digging into his notebooks and piles and piles of papers. Finally coming up for air with his findings, he waved a checkered file folder.
“Yuu,” he proudly said, a triumphant smile pulled almost to his ears, “I've got green light. No more of this atom-splitting bullshit, I'll finally get to work on a theory I raised years ago. Nobel prize, here I come!”
And sending all the previous papers on his desk flying, the man brought out an old-looking, light gray notebook, covered in dust from under the desk, stashed away in a secret compartment. As Yuuto hurriedly started collecting the papers again to file them away on the many shelves in the library of records on past experiments, Byou turned the pages of the notebook with a tender look on his face. He almost even smiled, the assistant noticed from the corner of his eye, as he run his fingertips along the pages full of messy handwriting, several torn pages full of notes and theories serving as add-ons. It was only little past noon, the clock on the wall showed.
After many sweeps of trash around the laboratory, Yuuto announced he'd be taking his lunch to which Byou replied with a wipe of his hand sending him off, barely raising his nose from the books
Sitting in the outside-tables of a small coffee shop near the facility he and Byou worked in, he absentmindedly chewed his meal, consisting of rice balls, sweet sauce and a cup of jasmine tea. A cool breeze flew by, picking up the top layers of his hair and throwing them back and forth before letting them drop again. It was a lovely day.
When a year ago someone had told Yuuto he'd be working with one of the top leading scientists, searching for a new, innovative way to reduce the amount of raw, elemental materials dug from the ground being used like nobody's business, he would have laughed at the idea. It sounded ridiculous. Well, sure, he liked the nature and gave his effort by not throwing trash on the ground of purposely overusing water while showering. But above that? Not before the day he got a letter from the university, telling him he was accepted into the ranks of the scholarship-students. It just came natural for him to pay more attention to his surroundings while learning various truths about how the humanity takes Mother Nature for granted, digging it upside down only for what they called as “liquid gold”, the basic component of gasoline. So now there he was, working alongside Byou and his quirks both for his final grade and to make an effort.
The ringing of his phone in the pocket of his jeans reminded him of the reality; and clumsily, he pulled the device out. Frowning at the lack of the caller ID, he brought the small cellular phone to his ear and pressed the 'answer' button. “Yes?”
”Get back in here, you're wasting time!” a familiar voice growled, and Yuuto's eyes widened.
“Wha-“ Before he could even say a word, the line went dead again, beeping three times before disconnecting from the call completely. Staring at the small phone is his hands, Yuuto was stuck between bothered and greatly surprised. Since when did Byou even OWN a cell phone? Gathering up his belongings, Yuuto got up and began his return to the continually monotone day in the lab.
As long as Yuuto remembered, on the outside, the building always seemed forgotten. Some students were seen entering and leaving the complex but other than that, the old hospital seemed abandoned. The fact that it bristled of life on the inside was a whole other subject. You'd see someone every now and then, rushing about, only the guard booth stopping them in their frantic pace to check IDs when students entered the gates and into the main building. It was a necessity as a theft of the chemicals and whatnot that lay in the basements would have endangered the whole country if fallen into wrong, malicious hands.
Bypassing some of his fellow students, Yuuto rushed towards his usual rooms he spent the days with his professor in only to find it locked. Confused, he looked around and knocked on the door. As nothing happened, he was about to call out when a composed voice swiftly cut in.
“He's in the basement,” a monotone voice announced, and turning around, Yuuto stared into thick-framed glasses. He recognized the other, having seen him around before, but couldn't remember the name. It didn't seem like the other would be staying to chit-chat either, shifting his glasses and ready to continue on his way, so Yuuto briefly thanked the male and headed towards the staircase to the basement, shuddering when he pulled open the big metal door with a loud creak.
The basement in question, containing before mentioned serious chemicals, was now rarely used for anything other than a cool storage room. It ran several corridors and floors below the ground, the corridors long and extending even further than the gates of the establishment on the ground above, the rumors said. Also, when the building had still been functioning as a hospital, several of these rooms were used as the morgue to store the bodies in. Now, the further down you went, ventilation was less frequent to be installed, resulting in a heavy stench, and creaks that sounded when stepping on old, rusty staircases creeped even the gutsiest people out on occasion. However, the further down you went, the closer you got to the underground laboratories.
And one of those labs were where the young man was heading to, passing those several staircases and long halls, trying his best not to wince at the stench of mold that even the air vents hadn't managed to lead out. At the sight of light at the other end of the long corridor he was passing and hearing familiar shouts, Yuuto briefly wondered what the rest of the day in company of his slightly eccentric professor might bring.
He had not expected when he saw when entering the door to the room.
His professor was focused, probably not even noticing when the male came in and stood in awe of the sight. On one of the tables lay machinery Yuuto didn't recognize, the metal parts glowing and the concoction inside the covered bowl on the machinery bubbling furiously. He could smell a heavy scent of Sulphuric Acid in the air, almost making him choke. Byou was rushing around the table, loudly talking to no-one in particular, using terms Yuuto knew but couldn't make up the subject as the words were not in order and only phrases weren't enough. He knew he had to react, though, and pushed himself into motion. Hastily, he jumped towards the professor and grabbed his hand.
“What are you doing, professor!? It's dangerous!” he all but shouted. Byou, finally snapping out from his world, looked surprised for a second before a wide grin spread his face.
“I'm making future happen, my dear Yuuto. No more pollution and worry!” he enthusiastically shook his assistant's hand before launching back into his activities, grabbing a hold of the tube of the acid Yuuto had smelled before. “I've done it! All these years, and I've done it!” he shouted with a laugh, pouring the contents of the tube into the bowl and closing the lid again, then turning to Yuuto again who looked mortified: the concoction was now furiously boiling, emitting thick smoke. When it reached its peak and the liquid smelt of bitter burning, Byou pulled open the lid and with utmost care, picked it up again, moving it towards another piece of machinery and inserting the liquid into one of the space in the middle. Triumphantly, he stepped to the handles and ignoring his assistant, pulled a lever that activated the handles. As the paw seemed reluctant to move, Byou slammed his fist against the machine. "COME ON!" he shouted, making Yuuto wince at the loud volume, "WORK!" The machine stopped resisting, one of the electronic paws moving in to shake the concoction and readily, the other paw brought in a plate to set the bowl on.
Still triumphant, Byou finished and turned towards Yuuto once more. “I did it, Yuu! I discovered a way to influence cells to emit more energy without a loss!”
Eyes widening, Yuuto only pointed behind the professor where the machine was flashing danger lights, the warning sound coming next, loud and clear. Byou turned and to Yuuto's bewilderment, waved his hand dismissively.
“It's supposed to do that; it'll cool down soon.”
Unconvinced, Yuuto could only notice the way the boiling concoction broke through the container, the alarms going louder, and burned its' way to the surfaces of the machine. Shoving the professor aside, he made a leap towards the machine when an explosion of white consumed his sight.
Waking up, Yuuto rubbed his eyes. It was only half past seven in the morning. Quickly fixing up a breakfast, he got dressed while his coffee brewed, and after finishing the omelet, washed the dishes. Pulling on a coat, he then grabbed his bag and headed for the old hospital where he had his practical chemistry course.
Arriving only few minutes past nine, he entered the old building, heading for the usual lab where he spent his internship as the assistant to a bright but hermit-like professor. With a sigh, he swept the floors and did his best to assist the man in any way possible. When lunchtime arrived, he excused himself to a nearby coffee shop, ordering a simple cup of coffee, rice balls and sweet sauce. He didn't expect his cell phone to go off in the middle of his meal, but big was his surprise when it was his professor calling, demanding his return at once. Picking up his bag, he returned to the monotone of his days.
Finding the door to the laboratory room locked, he frowned and called out again. He was about to try again when a cool voice behind him said Byou had moved to the basement laboratories. Surprised, Yuuto headed for the great metal door and pulled it open with a loud creak, entering the maze of corridors when he noticed a light at the end of one. Reaching for the light, he heard the familiar sounds of his professor shouting and entering, he was rendered speechless when Byou was in the middle of mixing up chemicals and barely noticing him. He stood still, too shocked to react before Byou poured the smoking, boiling concoction into another machine and turned around with a shout of success. Behind the professor, Yuuto noticed the alarm lights and –sounds going off and tried to stop the reaction when all of the sudden, he was blinded by bright white.
His alarm clock went off, and getting up, Yuuto rubbed his eyes. It was only half past seven in the morning. Quickly, his breakfast was finished and dressed ready for the day, he grabbed his bag to leave.
Reaching the old hospital, he entered the building and headed towards the laboratory where he spent his days assisting a brilliant, yet hermit professor. Cleaning the floors, Yuuto sighed, and when lunch time came, excused himself to go to a nearby coffee shop where he ordered a cup of coffee as usual, rice balls and sweet sauce.
He nearly jumped out from his seat when his cell phone went off and bewilderment took over when it was Byou, his professor, calling and demanding his immediate return. Grabbing his bag, he returned to the laboratory to learn Byou had gone to one of the basement laboratories. Finding the said laboratory fast, he could only watch in horror as something went terribly wrong and as he made an attempt to save the situation, a flash of hot white rendered him sightless.
Alarm clock at half past seven in the morning. Omelet. Cleaning the floors. Lunch. Rice balls. The call. Return to the laboratory. Basement. White.
Standing quietly behind Byou, Yuuto watched as the professor spun on his heel, talking to himself about reactions, equations and how he was going to make the world less polluted and more efficient through science. He hadn't said a word, and Byou hadn't even noticed him either.
On the other side of the room, test tubes were emitting smoke, and the scent of mold with Sulphuric Acid made him want to leave but he couldn't. So instead, he quietly leaned against the wall behind him, observing, listening to Byou's grunts and shouts as he meddled with the tubes and machinery he'd just activated.
How many times had he wished to leave? Too many to keep count.
Watching the professor, convinced the man had finally lost his mind for good in his endless theories, Yuuto soundlessly sighs and casts his eyes down.
He doesn't blame Byou. How could he?
He had figured it out a long ago already.
He can never leave. He can never smell the fresh air of spring, never even go outside. He's trapped, stuck inside this basement laboratory where he is bound to the brunet professor with greasy hair, scribbling notes in his notebook and occasionally shouting in glee. It always start with the alarm clock and ends in a flash of white that consumes him.
Knowing does not bring him relief; he understood it a long ago. It's not him that has to understand it for it to stop.
Day after day, in an endless loop. The carousel keeps going flawlessly, holding him bound to the seat.
“I've done it!”, Yuuto hears Byou shouting and turns towards the danger lights and alarms that go off before the explosion occurs.
Closing his eyes before the white swallows him, Yuuto feels nothing but tender bitterness.
Outside, the old building lies truly abandoned. Nobody goes there anymore, not since the explosion that took place years ago, injuring many students and taking the lives of two in the dark basements, doing an experiment that had gone terribly wrong.
Nobody goes even near the gates. The garden has overgrown in weeds reaching to your knees. The empty halls still hold the memories of people rushing about, laughter; the rooms still have some of the furniture left in them, too heavy for scavengers to take with them. There is grass growing in between the cracks in the floors.
They say you can hear he sounds of glass breaking, shouts and loud alarms in the basement on some nights; the ghosts in a loop, recreating the fatal day they died in the explosion, replaying it until it turns out differently. That has yet to happen.