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Away
Posting this from school. The computer issue may be fixed today. If what we try doesn't work it'll need to be replaced. Until then though, I can't do any posts reliably.

Away
My computer's busted. Broken. Kaput. Dead. I'm lucky I can open Opera, nothing else will, not even Task Manager or the Start menu (the taskbar doesn't appear). I have no idea if I'll actually be able to post or anything, to be honest. This is half a test post to see if posting even works anymore. Unless I can fix the problem, and I don't know if there is a fix, I'll be gone until I can get a new computer, which might not be all game. If that happens I might have to borrow a computer and give my characters to someone I trust.

Away
I've become very sick again, though hopefully it's just for today. I'll try to post, but I can't promise anything.

How did you discover SotF?
bwort

Happy V-Day
It is the wrong place. Could've bothered finding the right place. :P But yeah, we have no fracking idea. Pregame will probably start around v3 endgame.

The Answer
Moving quickly but carefully, they managed to carry Lyn out without any real trouble, gently setting her down upon her back. Ed seemed to recognise her, the two addressing each other by name as Nicole moved over to her pack and extracted the first aid kit and a water bottle, taking the gun from her pocket and placing it on the ground. Gesturing at Ed to tell the man to take his place at Lyn's other side, she sat herself down at the girl's left, near the head. Taking this chance to finally get a look at the damage, Nicole couldn't help but grimace, her face paling a bit at the sight. It was a wonder the smaller girl was even alive with how much had been done to her.

Who the fuck could've done this?! This is sick...

Looking at the injured girl, it soon became apparent to Nicole that it wasn't as much a question of where the damage was as it was a question of where the damage wasn't. Lyn was covered in bruises and cuts, and there was blood everywhere, so much that the smell of the gore alone made her gag until she took the shirt-mask off of her face and tossed it to the side. The sudden onrush of fresh air was a relief, but she didn't have any time to savour it, as Lyn was still losing an alarming amount of blood.

Looking at the girl's face again, she visibly blanched yet another time as she finally noticed that Lyn's left eye was gone. The entire area around the eye was a sickening black and purplish colour, and there was a pulpy mess around the socket to go with all the blood, making it look like salsa was seeping out of where the eye used to be.

The pictures in the books really didn't do it justice. Ick.

What was left of the eyelid had turned massive and hideous, almost making the left side of the girl's face look monstrous. Taking a deep breath, she tried to force herself to appear strong, even though there was such an incredible amount of gore and the poor girl was bleeding to death right in front of her.

Right, gotta act...c'mon, what did all those books and lessons say? Fuck! Gotta remember, there's no time! I'm...I'm not letting Lyn die!

"Okay," she said, her hands still shaking as she opened the water bottle and first aid kit. Nodding to Eddie again, she composed herself enough to say something, her voice hard-edged from the urgency of the situation and her own attempts to remain calm. She was speaking almost too quickly to take into account whatever the boy said in response, lest her nerves cause her to scream and run away.

"Ed, don't look at the eye, focus on something else. I don't care what, just keep yourself from getting sick, okay?! I need your help here, she's going into shock and we'll have to treat both that and the bleeding!

Keep her still, elevate her legs but make sure she lays flat on her back, can you do that? I should be able to keep track of her pulse, and she was just talking, but I want you to be ready to monitor her breathing and airways if needed. You know how to do that? Put your head on her chest, count the breaths for about fifteen seconds or so, do that every minute! Other than that, just keep her still and her legs elevated."

She drew a breath, then her attention was turned to Lyn. "Lyn," she said, taking on a tone like one she'd use while speaking to a small child. "Lyn, hon, stay with me, you're going to be alright. Just try to stay perfectly still, okay? I'll...have to move your head to irrigate the blood and treat the wound, but you need to move as little as possible since you're going into shock. Can you do that?"

Okay, Nikki, so far so good. Come on, what would mum and dad do?! They're the trained professionals, not you. Dad's a surgeon, he deals with stuff like this all the time...too bad he isn't here right now, you can't let them down!

"Lift your head up a little and turn your head VERY slightly towards me, okay Lyn? You've been talking, that's good. Keep talking, I don't care what you talk about, just say whatever comes to mind, it'll keep your mind off of things and help with the breathing. Tell me about your home life or something, your hobbies?" she said, moving her right arm to cradle Lyn's head and turn it a bit towards her to irrigate the blood and keep it from pooling.

Moving her hand forward and using mostly the forearm and crook of her arm to support Lyn's head, her fingers found a spot on Lyn's neck her pulse could be taken from. An ungodly amount of blood was surging from the empty socket, falling to the ground right before Nicole's legs as she picked up the opened water bottle, holding Lyn's head gently but firmly.

Here goes nothing.

"Lyn, this is probably going to be extremely painful, but I need to do this to k-keep the blood from pooling. Stay strong, okay? Ed! Get ready, I'll need you to hold her as still as you can! You can't let her move around, got it?" Nicole didn't even wait to hear a reply, up-ending the bottle slightly to pour its contents down towards the side of Lyn's face to wash the blood away and help the irrigation. Blood and water rushed down the side of Lyn's face, soaking into the asphalt as Nicole tried to help keep the girl still and stopped pouring after a few seconds.

Nicole felt a pang of sympathy for Lyn, but after a short period poured the water again. Holding the head sideways as it was would probably irrigate the blood in and of itself, but the water helped, and Nicole's nerves were acting up too much for her to do anything other than what seemed like a good idea at the moment combined with what she remembered from OEC books and the like.

She repeated the process a few more times, each time only barely being able to keep Lyn still with Eddie's help, before concluding that she needed to wrap up the wound. It would be too dangerous to let Lyn lose any more blood, the irrigated blood already starting to pool onto the asphalt to the point where it was soaking into Nicole's pants. She'd been carefully monitoring Lyn's pulse the whole time, and there was no denying that it was weakening.

Now for the hard part...

"Ed, I dunno if she'll be able to hold her head up like that, can you support her head while I wrap these bandages? Lyn, you're almost done, you're gonna make it. Just keep talking to me and Eddie, okay?"

Nicole couldn't wait for Ed's reply. As soon as she let go of Lyn's head for Ed to hold it up along with her legs, she was reaching for the first aid kit, fetching almost the entire supply of gauze and bandages. Forcing herself not to look away from the mutilated eye socket, she was eventually able to find the lacrimal sac, from which most of the blood was coming from. Risking putting a little pressure on the area, Nicole started applying gauze there to stem the bleeding, soon getting blood all over her hands as she placed gauze down there and then started applying to the rest of the socket, though being careful to put almost no pressure down except at the lacrimal sac due to the presence of nerves in the area. The sheer amount of gauze, accurately described as "a metric fuckton", started to slow down the bleeding, though it was all over Nicole's hands and a lot of the gauze was damp with blood. Once the socket and lacrimal sack were gauzed-up, Nicole wasted no time in starting to apply the bandages and medical tape, starting to wrap up the socket and afflicted area while whispering reassuring comments to Lyn, no longer having to deal with the thrashing and screaming but just bandaging up the wound.

Heh, I never thought I'd pull this off so well. I just might save her after all.

Before too long, the bandages were applied and taped off, causing Nicole to back up with a sigh of relief as she wiped the sweat off of her brow. There was a lot of bandaging applied to Lyn's head, almost in the shape/pattern of an eye patch, but it looked like the girl might just make it.

Thank the gods...first time I've ever needed to save someone's life, and it looks like I didn't fuck it up.

"Alright," she said. "Thanks for the help, Ed, let's just lay her down straight. Check her breathing, I'll get her pulse. It looks like you're gonna make it, Lyn! Just need to keep still for a while and keep the legs elevated, until we're sure the shock has gone away." After she said as much, and Laeil was laid supine on the ground, Nicole brought her hands to the girl's neck one last time. The pulse was weak, but it was there. She'd done it. For the first time in however long the ordeal had taken, she allowed herself to relax, sitting back with a grin. Not even the sheer heat radiating from the fire they'd carried Laeil out of was ruining her mood.

"Heh...I didn't think I'd be able to pull it off, to be honest."

The Answer
OOC: Continued from Cause and Effect. GMing approved by Arch, and is kept minor, only employed to help the flow of the RP.
IC:

Nicole and Ed had walked in silence ever since they left the mess hall, despite any attempts she made at conversation. Any words she formed froze in her throat as she looked at him, and remembered the blood spatter, the noise, the smell. It still made her shudder even thinking about it, but it wasn't a mental image she could forget. It seemed like Ed couldn't forget either, as he was likewise unable to say anything, and the few times they made eye contact they quickly looked away from each other. Was she afraid of him? Well, maybe a little, but she tried to convince herself that she wasn't.

Does he think I hate him or something? Does he hate me? Why would he?

The day crawled on as they walked, each apparently starting to lose track of time as morning turned into afternoon, and afternoon slowly beginning to become evening. They occasionally stopped to eat and drink, only for more failed attempts at conversation to be made. That oppressive air of awkwardness just refused to leave, as omnipresent as the sounds of wildlife, or gunshots, or screams, and as stifling as the collar each bore around their neck. There was something odd about Ed that made her want to get to know him, find out why he was the way he was, but just like in school she felt herself being rebuffed whenever she thought of the possibility. What was going on in his mind now that he'd killed Wade? What was going on in hers, now that she'd seen it happen?

No real point mulling over it, is there? It happened, there's nothing you can do about it.

Slowly, but steadily, the sun was beginning to set when Ed finally snapped her out of her own thoughts with his words. Slowing down, she cast a slightly weary glance to him, listening as he tried to speak. It took him a little while, but he finally stammered out an apology to her for killing Wade. Not sure what to make of it, she raised an eyebrow at him for a second, but not so much out of flippance as just due to not knowing why he was saying such things to her.

Why is he apologising to me, of all people? I didn't ask for any apology, and it's not like I'm the one he shot.

"Eddie..." she started, her British accent sounding out for the first time in hours, before stopping for a second out of sheer lack of anything to say. After a few seconds, though, she continued. "Eddie, you really...really don't have to, y'know, apologise to me. I mean, yeah, it was h-horrible to see, but I can take it. Wade was p-p-playing the game, Eddie, it's not like he would've left you a choice. In the end, he didn't, far as I could see." she stopped for a second, trying to catch her breath, the memory making her hand and the gun she held shake for an instant. "I know you're sorry, Eddie. I'm sorry it had to happen. Just...just have to remember it's Danya's-"

Nicole was cut off by Eddie asking if she'd seen the jungle appearing to warp as he had. Figuring it a trick of the heat, she had just passed it off until he brought it up. It did seem odd, now that she thought about it, but then he asked if she picked up a burning smell and started to jog slowly. "Yeah, I smell it too. Wait, you don't know what's happening over there!" she said, quickening her own pace to catch up with him.

Just what the hell is going on? Is somebody hurt? Why would there be...

Nicole broke through the treeline a matter of miliseconds after Eddie did, gasping as she beheld the burning hangar. She could feel the heat of the flames even from this distance, almost entranced by the sight of fire and smoke, the smell and feeling of sheer heat. She barely heard Eddie as he started to ask her his question, only to be equally alarmed when a female voice screamed for help.

"Oh my God, someone's in there!" he shouted, causing Nicole to fight down a snarky comment about his gift for stating the obvious, her heart nearly jumping into her throat and racing at a breakneck pace.

"We can't just stand here," she said. "Whoever it is, we have to help them!"

"Right!" Ed turned towards the burning hangar and started to run, but the gears were already moving in Nicole's mind. There was a lot of smoke coming from that hangar, it'd be suicide to just rush in.

"Ed, wait!" she cried out, setting down her pack and opening it. This seemed to get his attention, as he stopped and looked to her.

"What?"

"Take off your shirt, Ed." she told him, taking out two water bottles and setting them to the ground before taking off her own and putting it on the ground as well. She didn't care who got their rocks off to the sight of her bra-enclosed breasts right now, things were too important.

"What?!"

"Don't ask questions, just give it to me!" She was respectful enough to look away as he actually complied with her request, only noticing he'd done so when she felt the fabric touch her hand. Nodding, she placed both shirts next to each other as she opened each water bottle. "This is a trick the Belgians and Canadians used in the First World War," she explained to Ed as she poured water all over her shirt, then his. "They survived the first gas attacks by urinating on shirts and towels and using those as masks. There's no time to take a piss, so water will do. Take your shirt and wrap it around the lower half of your face. Don't worry, I've got a few spares."

I hope this works, if it doesn't we're both dead, but there's a life to save and no time to worry about gas mask theory!

Firmly tying her own shirt around her mouth and nose as she'd instructed Ed to do, she ignored the discomfort of it hampering her breathing. After all, it'd save their lives when they ran in there and most of the air was smoke. However, as she straightened herself up and was ready to go, she noticed that Ed seemed rather...distracted.

"Stop staring at my tits and follow me!" she shouted, more out of urgency than irritation, picking up her pack and running with speed even she didn't know she possessed. Soon enough, especially with the improvised gas mask on her face, she was gasping for air, her legs straining and her lungs burning in her chest. She was no athlete, she didn't have the speed of the track team or the sheer physical force of the football team and wrestlers, but there was somebody trapped in that hangar and nobody else around who could save them, and nothing, not even how far away they were from the hangar (which was really quite a good distance) was going to stop her from getting to them. Eventually, she reached the entrance of the hangar, stopping and trying to catch her breath. Looking behind her, she saw that Ed was there, so even though he wouldn't see it under the shirt she gave him a reassuring smile.

"Okay, Ed, just keep your head down and we should be fine. We're going to need to do this quickly, these will help but there's only so long we'll be protected from the smoke. You ready?" Dropping the pack, she didn't give him a chance to respond, crouching low and running inside the hangar, not even taking a second to think about how foolish it was to run inside a burning building. The smoke had its effect immediately, even though she was crouching, making her cough and impairing her vision. Her eyes felt like they were burning in the smoke even as she ducked low, and she had to squint to see while she moved swiftly through the burning hangar, sweat starting to run down her body from the earlier physical exertion and the sheer unrelenting heat of the flames.

"Hello? Whoever it is, we know you're in here! It's going to be alright, we're here to help you! Hello? Are you okay?!" she called out to whoever was inside with Eddie and herself, hoping that they'd show signs of responsiveness by calling back. Regardless, she searched through the hangar until she vaguely saw a humanoid figure in the smoke. They were barely moving, but they appeared to be alive. "Hey, Ed! I think I found them! You're stronger than I am, I'll need your help carrying them out!" she said to the boy, waving him over once she actually saw him and then running over to the figure.

Oh god...

Nicole didn't know Lyn Burbank, but she knew of her, especially when the rumour that the girl was a lesbian had spread. She didn't approve of outing people, it all seemed so cruel, but she'd never had a chance to talk to her. Now here they were, one trapped in a burning building and the other trying to get them out. "Stay calm, Lyn, you're gonna be okay! ED, GET OVER HERE AND HELP ME! I'll get the legs, you take the other end!" Grasping Lyn's legs, Nicole waited for Ed to make his way over and take hold of the girl's upper half, trying but failing to stifle the coughing that racked her body from the smoke. They had to get the girl out, and quickly. As soon as the girl was lifted up, Nicole would start moving towards the entrance. "We've got you, Lyn, just don't panic!"

Maybe I should take that advice...

Cause and Effect
OOC: The ammo thing seems odd, I know, but I looked through Wade's topics and when he got the gun the post said he pocketted all the ammo. Nothing said he put it in his (apparently absent now) daypack, so I really had no choice but to assume they're still in his pockets, and therefore falling out. I hope this isn't offensive or anything.
IC:

Nicole had seen people die before, it came with the very nature of the game. Sometimes she was even close enough that she could've taken a potshot at the killer if she hadn't been too scared to try it, and she could see the victim's blood or even hear their last words. However, she'd never been directly involved, or been quite as close as she was now, so when Wade suddenly tried to reach for the rifle's trigger and ended up with a sizeable chunk of his head blown off, she couldn't help but cry out from shock.

Jumping back, the gun was dropped to the soft, still rain-drenched grass as she stared wide-eyed at Ed and the dark blood gathering around what used to be Wade Wilson. She couldn't help but tremble, her knees shaking a little. She felt like she was going to be sick from the smell alone, let alone the sight of blood, bone, and brain matter scattered all over, but she couldn't let that get to her.

He...he just...this can't be happening...but it-it is...no, I can't be like this, I have to be strong, Wade was dangerous. Don't want Ed to see me affected like this. But it was still...oh Gods...is this going to happen to me eventually? Or am I going to have to do something like this?

Shaking her head, Nicole tried to stammer out a reply, as much for her benefit as for Ed's. If she didn't say something, anything, she thought she was going to scream. "Y-you're not, Ed," she said after a minute or so, sounding almost like she was trying to convince both Ed and herself, "I d-don't think so anyway. You...you did what you had to do, I think. He was dangerous, and...it's not like he left you any choice, right?"

Yeah, keep tellin' yourself that, Nikki. You heard what was going on when you were cowering inside, Ed wanted to do this. And it's only a matter of time until he does it to you. We're probably down to the final twenty now, you think he'll really hesitate about putting a bullet in your pretty face when it comes down to it?

Forcing the more cynical thoughts in her head down, Nicole almost involuntarily moved her own gaze downwards, towards the ground that was now wet with not only rainwater from the storm that had only ended the other day but blood. Even though it wasn't, she couldn't help but imagine it as her blood for a moment, even as she tried to look Ed in the eye while waiting for his response. If it weren't for the blood, the ground wouldn't have been very interesting. There was her pistol, which was all but useless, and then Ed's feet and Wade's corpse behind them.

Huh?

Her eyes fixed on Ed's shoes and Wade's corpse, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye after a few seconds. Looking over to what it was, she noticed a pistol on the grass, probably Wade's. Partly out of curiosity, and partly out of a part of her mind wanting something to defend herself with, she brought her eyes up and took a step forward. When Ed didn't go berserk and send hot lead through her chest, she nodded towards the pistol. "I'm...just going to pick that up, if it's okay. No point wasting it, right? Besides, the gun I got is kinda useless unless you're Spetznaz or something, and I don't know if my body was enough of a clue but I'm not."

Maybe it wasn't the right time for jokes, but she couldn't help but feel some of the tension she'd faced lift a bit, though she didn't know if she'd succeeded in doing anything other than embarassing Ed. Taking some more steps towards the gun, she crouched a bit and picked it up, looking at it. She didn't know enough about guns to recognise the model, but it was heavier than the one Danya had given her, probably more useful too. When she noticed that what appeared to be ammo clips were spilling out of Wade's (or what used to be Wade, anyway) pockets, she made her way over, but hesitated after reaching for the pocket. Was this right? What gave her the right to do this?

I'll need it, that has to be enough.

Steeling herself, she rooted through the man's pockets even as the smell of blood and death made her grimace and tear up, managing to retrieve the ammo stored there and place them in her own pockets, noting to herself that she'd need to put some of the ammo in her pack, as there was quite a good deal of it. She'd never touched a corpse before, let alone robbed it of its belongings, and the pang of guilt rang quite loudly in her heart, but she shook her head before looking to Eddie.

I'm getting pretty sick of this place.

"I'm sorry," she offered, keeping the gun held low. "It's just that I'm having a hard time getting used to...to seeing stuff like this, I guess. Come on...I think we should get our stuff and leave. S-someone might've heard the gunshots, you know?"

Smiling nervously at Ed and trying to sound sincere, she waited for his response. If he agreed, she'd follow him inside to get her things, but part of her didn't want to leave her back turned to him for too long.

Cause and Effect
The noises outside continued, easily piercing through the walls and making their way to Nicole's ears as she lay on the floor, trying to avoid as much as breathing too loudly lest it attract undue attention. Wet noises and another crack as a beating was administered, a bone or nose broken maybe, Ed and Wade's voices yelling and crying out. Eventually they started speaking low enough that she couldn't entirely make out all of what they were saying from her position, though a few choice bits which were actually said at enough of a volume to actually reach her, especially as Wade yelled at Ed to "do it". Do what, though?

Don't be stupid, Nikki, you know what they're talking about.

The tile floor was getting cold, the dust on and around her irritating her sinuses, but she resisted the urge to sneeze, if only out of necessity. However, something was different; where before she'd been too scared to really move, now she couldn't help but fidget some, shifting her weight on the floor and tempted to stand up, not entirely out of discomfort, either. Something was going on outside, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that, somehow, Wade was trying to force Ed to kill him. Could she really allow that to happen? Crazy or not, Wade was playing the game, he was dangerous. By all rights, wasn't his death a good thing?

No. Death is never a good thing. It just isn't! It's not his fault he was forced into this...and he sounds remorseful. Is there really a point letting him die? Come on, you've always believed in second chances.

Hesitantly standing up and brushing the dust off of herself, Nicole reached for the gun in her pocket when nobody rushed in and started shooting at her the second she stood up, drawing it and holding it in front of herself. She didn't know if she could shoot anybody, but it'd be a comfort in case Wade attacked. The noises from earlier had now been replaced by complete silence, putting the woman even more on edge as she walked to her pack and opened it up, withdrawing the baseball cap she'd put away on the first day.

I completely forgot about this thing.

Putting it on, she wondered if there was really a point in doing so, especially since she'd got so used to not wearing anything on her head aside from her own curly red hair, but she'd also got used to being inside the mess hall, and part of her hoped the brim of the cap would help her eyes adjust to the sunlight by not allowing too much in at once. Anything to avoid thinking about how dangerous the situation outside was. Still, she couldn't afford to stall any longer, not in an incident where she was sure lives were on the line. Heading towards the door, gun held tightly in one hand, she opened it slowly, almost inaudibly if not for the silence. When no bullets greeted the door's movement, she opened it the rest of the way, stepping outside for the first time in at least a few days.

Needless to say, she wasn't amused by what she saw, even if in her heart she'd known what to expect. Watching Eddie press a gun point blank to Wade's skull, Wade looking battered and broken and honestly not seeming to do anything, she wasn't sure whether to be startled, pissed off, or just confused.

"Eddie? What're you d-doing?" she asked, her mind defaulting to some mixture of the former option and the latter. Eddie had seemed so harmless, to say she was shocked to see him ready to kill someone was an understatement. Hopefully, she'd be able to get his attention for a second, seeing another person murdered in cold blood wasn't on her to-do list today.

Hell is the impossibility of reason
OOC: Comp's still kinda unstable, but I'm getting this up quickly so I can get the weapon and get out. Nobody said these had to be epics, heh. This is honestly more a post for the sake of there being a post than a post-post, if that makes sense. Continued from Stranger Than Fiction. Other posts I need to do will be taken care of (hopefully) when I get back from school.
IC:

After spending a large part of the day making his way to the Sea Cliffs, Adam Reeves arrived at the destination just as the night was beginning to fall. Though rather put off by the fact that he was given a sword instead of the gun he was sure he'd need, he was impressed enough by the quality of the shamshir's Damascus steel blade that he kept it anyway, choosing to rest a while once he claimed it. He woke up almost at the dawn of the next day, and headed off.

OOC: Adam Reeves continued elsewhere.

Stranger Than Fiction
Reeves hadn't had time to admire his kill before Noah showed up, as he switched his grenade launcher out for the Mauser and leaned around the tree to aim it at the newcomer. The loser talked a big game, and he had a shotgun, but so what? Reeves knew he could take him. Noah called him an asshole, and Reeves only scoffed. How many different people had called him that? The idiot would have to come up with something better.

"Big words from a loser like you, Noah. Wonder how well you'll back 'em up when I blow your fucking head off!"

The announcement interrupted them, though. Passively listening to the ever growing list of the dead, it occurred to Reeves just how close to the end of this sick game he had gotten. He was almost home free. Tch, no wonder, of course he was this far along. He just had to avoid screwing up.

Just then, the prick declared the Tree one of the permanent danger zones, and Reeves was smart enough to realise that the part of the path he was standing at, even if he was right at the "edge" of the area, was close enough to be counted as part of the Hollow Tree area. "Well, shit," he said. "We'll have to settle this some other time, Jacobs."

Danya's additional reminder for him to report to the Cliffs to pick up his Best Kill prize reverberated in his mind as he withdrew, slowly slinking back into the treeline after he picked up his grenade launcher and pack and put away the pistol. After a while of running through the jungle, he'd realise that he left behind the zweihander, but after cursing about it for a second he kept moving.

That thing was too cumbersome, no way I was gonna use it. There'll be something better at the cliffs.

OOC: Reeves continued elsewhere.

Guns For Show, Knives For A Pro
OOC: Thanks for locking me in a danger zone, people. I really appreciate it. :P
IC:

What the hell?!

When Dante had made his way to the area of the cliffs the disturbance was coming from, he didn't expect to witness two people being murdered right in front of him. He gripped his dagger, holding it ready just in case, but he found that he couldn't move from his spot in the bushes. Was this fear? What was he doing? He had to act!

Come on, Dante, move!

Jordan promised that he wouldn't hurt Dante if he showed himself, but Dante honestly didn't believe him. He could practically smell how close they were to the end of the game, and Jordan thought he'd trust someone he just saw kill a person? No, Dante wasn't that stupid. Instead, he stayed where he was, not moving a muscle in the bushes. Eventually, Jordan left, leaving Dante as the only living person at the cliffs, a bit of a hollow title to have. Slowly emerging from the bush and looking around, dagger in one hand and pack in the other, he readied himself to either run away or charge if a player jumped out from behind a rock or something.

After several minutes, nothing happened. Dante sighed, a mixture of boredom, despair, and relief, sitting down and opening the pack. Rooting through the bag, he saw that his vodka bottle was still there. Shrugging and setting down the roundel, he dug it out, checking to see if there was any left. To his amusement, there was.

"Here's to this fucking retarded game," he said, taking the cap off of the bottle. "Bottoms up, assholes." Without another word, he downed some of the contents, being careful to not drink quite as heavily all at once as he had on the first day of the game. So far in already, was it really almost over? Had he really gotten so close to winning, already?

Worst school trip ever, man.

That was the only way to describe it, really. Instead of getting shitfaced and screwing some hot girl, he was getting shot at and watching people be murdered. Fuck's sake, if he'd wanted to die for his country he would've joined the Army or something once he graduated. At least his plan was working, though he was probably the only asshole still alive who didn't have a gun. He needed a gun, yeah.

"Stealth's all well and good," he muttered, taking another gulp of vodka before capping the bottle and putting it away. "But I need some firepower if I'm gonna carry the day."

By this point in the day, it was getting late, so all he could do was zip up his pack and get up, stretching a little. He'd gotten a bit buzzed from the vodka, but not exactly drunk. Not that he was sure if that was a good thing or not. How could anything on this fucking island be a good thing?

What the fuck ever, I'm gonna need some sleep if I wanna get through this.

With that in mind, he found a nice spot hidden from any newcomers by a bunch of bushes, and laid down, using the pack as a sort of pillow and keeping the roundel firmly in hand. It wasn't long before he nodded off.

----
As usual, the announcement woke him up. Groggily rubbing his eyes, he paid careful attention to the usual list of names. Even more people he used to know, killed by others he used to know. Really, he just didn't give a fuck anymore. He'd been hearing that crap for eleven days and part of him just wanted Danya to shut up. All this shit was his fault, and the guy didn't even have the balls to come onto the island himself, what was with that? There had to be thirty people left, tops, and Danya sounded just as fucking giddy as he had on the first day. Twenty nine other people to either fight through or do his fucking best to avoid. The danger zones were called out, and Dante thought he was safe for a moment, but then Danya announced the Best Kill winner.

Adam Reeves. The tank, the bully, the psycho. Danya was rewarding that fucker for killing two girls, it sounded like. As if to make things worse, Danya designated the pickup site as the cliffs. The very cliffs he was at right now. He knew what that meant, this place was about to turn into a danger zone.

Time to get the fuck out of here.

Hurriedly picking up all his stuff, he made tracks to get out of the area, using trails and shortcuts to hurry along. Luckily, he managed to get out before his collar started beeping.

OOC: Dante Cooper continued elsewhere.

Cause and Effect
She intimidated him? That wasn't something Nicole was used to hearing anymore. She'd never thought of herself as a very intimidating person, the thought just never really occurred to her that people would see things that way. Not anymore, at least. Not after all she'd done to avert that. It just seemed...odd. Unfair, maybe. Three years spent trying to break that image people had of her, and he was still intimidated? He'd always been shy, you could probably give him a heart attack by winking at him she figured, but still.

----
"I just don't get it," Nicole said, no small amount of frustration in her tone as she sat down on Alessandra's bed. The mattress was a bit old and well used, so as her weight plopped down on it the springs let out a slightly strained creak, a noise that her friend was undoubtedly quite accustomed to by now. Hearing the door click, she looked up, only to see that Alessandra had closed the door behind them, leaning against the wall. Nicole had come over to her place from school, so neither of them had yet changed out of any of the stuff they were wearing during the rest of the day.

"Eh? Get what?" the Italian girl asked, for once not making the usual joke about Nicole being dressed more like a businesswoman than a schoolgirl. At 5'3, she was slightly skinnier than Nicole was, but still had an attractive figure. Not that either of them were complaining, of course. The amused smirk she put on was barely noticeable, but Nicole knew her well enough to pick up that she already knew what Nicole was getting at, she just wanted her friend to say so herself.

"I haven't exactly been mean to people, but it always seems like everyone's afraid to talk to me or something lately. It's like...I dunno." Nicole paused for a second, shaking her head. Alessandra just nodded, waiting for Nicole to think up what she was trying to get across. "Almost like just because I'm not willing to take being felt up like I'm some sort of blowup doll, that people see me as this unapproachable entity or something. Not even the other Student Council kids seem to want anything to do with me. I don't get it, I really don't."

The pastel coloured walls of Alessandra Canale's bedroom were always a sign of comfort to Nicole. The two girls could rely on each other for anything, it seemed, so far they'd known each other as long as they could even remember. Boy trouble, help with homework, issues with parents, if either of them needed anything they just had to call the other. They'd always been there for each other, and in some ways Nicole grew to depend on that. Sometimes all one needed was some keen insight or comforting words from the other, so as Nicole steadily started to feel like she was becoming a pariah in the school, she'd almost instantly known who to turn to. However, Alessandra's reaction wasn't what Nicole expected. The shorter girl sighed a little, pursing her lips and visibly stopping herself from rolling her hazel eyes.

"You really
don't get it, do ya?" she asked Nicole, not rudely but her tone was still surprisingly harsh. "Nikki, I'm one of maybe five kids in the entire school you talk to anymore without sounding like you're gonna stab them or something! You need to chill out. Not sayin' you gotta be like me, y'know, but not everyone is the enemy! You really wanna know why people don't like talking to you?"

"Y-yeah, I do," was all Nicole managed to say in response.

"It's 'cause they're scared of ya, Nikki! Now, I know it ain't right that guys think it's alright to randomly grab your ass or try to touch your tits or whatever, but ever since you've gotten on this 'stop sexual harassment' kick it's really gotten in the way of everything else. When you're out in school and stuff, or making speeches to the Student Council? You sound like a total
bitch. People feel like if they even say hello to ya, you're gonna leap for their throat, and I know you're not like that but it's really the impression you make.

When was the last time since you started this that you let yourself relax? You've been too hard on yourself and everybody else, you know that? You study, work on this fool's quest of yours, and occasionally hang out with me and the others, but that's all! People geniunely think ya don't care about anything except harassment and your own grades, and I'm sorry but you've brought it on yourself by getting so obsessed with it and treating every guy in the school like they're gonna try to rape ya or somethin'." Alessandra stopped, waiting for her words to sink in for a few seconds as she took a breath, brushing a wavy strand of her long brown hair away from her face. "Is that what you
want people to think of you, Nikki?"

"No..." Nicole couldn't help but turn red with shame as Alessandra brought the truth to light. That's what it was, the truth. Uncompromising, unabridged, just cold facts. She'd thought she'd just been doing a favour for the girls of the school, that she had to focus on the important things, but she'd never realised just how cold she'd been acting towards people. She was smarter than this, how hadn't she noticed?

"Well, ya know what to do about it then. Heh, I know you have different beliefs on things, I'm not suggesting you go out now and bang the whole football team or something stupid like that," Nicole couldn't help but chuckle at this, causing her friend to smile before continuing, "but ya have to open up at least a little if you want people to even bother. We both know that you're not the ice queen people think you are, but you gotta show them that, y'know?"

Shifting a little on the bed, Nicole finally looked her friend in the eye, nodding. It made sense, when Alessandra put it that way. "Yeah, I know, thanks." she said, a smile on her face.

"Hey, even smart girls need some sense talked into them once in a while!" Alessandra winked when she said this, causing both of them to giggle a bit. "Come on, let's see if there's anything good playing at the movies or something. It'll get your mind off this."

----

Ever since then, Nicole had tried to be more outgoing, less withdrawn and cold. When things had been presented to her so bluntly, it honestly embarassed her how she'd apparently acted towards people who hadn't done anything to deserve it. She'd actually allowed herself to have fun, and it had only helped her life in high school, so how was it that Ed was still intimidated by her? Of course, the next things he said completely caught her off guard. She went almost as red as he did when he finished saying his piece, blinking repeatedly and trying to find the words for what she was thinking. She never was one to deny her attractiveness, some people actually mistook her pride in her looks for arrogance, but for someone to look at her the way he apparently did was...startling, at least. After some minutes of awkward silence, Ed looked up as if expecting a reply, and Nicole tried again.

"I...um...I really don't know what to say, I'm sorry...I mean, I really-"

She was cut off by the sound of three gunshots directly outside, eliciting a loud scream of both surprise and sheer terror from the girl as she practically jumped off the table to lay low on the ground. What was happening? Had someone found them? No, it wasn't possible, she'd closed the door! What was going on?! Someone was yelling outside. Was that...Wade? Wade Wilson? Another voice at her side called out, and she nervously looked over, only to see that Ed had crawled over to her and was asking if she was alright.

"Y-yeah, I'm fine..." she murmured, nodding a bit. Eddie moved to place a hand on her shoulder, but then stopped as she was going to ask if he'd been hurt. She didn't get a chance to ask, as he told her to stay where she was while he went out to see what was happening, and to run away and hide if he didn't come back. Not that there was exactly anywhere to run to, no back doors or anything, but she nodded anyway. He got up and walked over to the door, carefully walking outside, and she lay where she was, too afraid to move, trying to ignore the dirt from the ancient tile floor getting on her clothes or the uncomfortable feeling of her body (especially her chest) pressing against the ground. It was almost a wonder she could make herself breathe. The announcement came on, but she barely noticed it. She heard Ed and Wade yelling, and then a *CRACK!* sound, then Wade yelling again before switching to speaking softly, almost too softly to hear at all. He was...asking Eddie to kill him? What was going on? She almost wanted to force herself up and go outside, but she couldn't.

I'm...I'm just too afraid. I can't...God, why am I so useless?

What would you do if YOU were in SotF?
Do you geniuses have a fetish for reviving dead threads or something?