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Coleen had just up and ditched them.

Coleen had just up and freaking ditched them.

What the fuck!?

Okay, okay, things hadn't been going great necessarily, but what was going right here? This wasn't part of the fricking plan! 'Stick together' wasn't much of a plan, but the beauty of it was that it was pretty fucking hard to fuck that up. All you had to do was not. Leave. Each other. Something to do? Keep Kimiko company? There wasn't anything that Coleen might just be—



Oh no.

Something she needed to do. Something which she specifically didn't want Enzo to see and equally specifically had been talking to Kimiko about.

They'd made up their mind early about whether or not they were gonna try and get one back for Cameron, and they'd stuck to their guns with that since. With Blair, with Fiyori, and with Alessio. Hurting them wouldn't bring anyone back, no matter how much they might wish it otherwise, no matter how stupid it'd been in the first place. Dead was dead, and that hurt, but more death wasn't the solution.

That was Enzo's mind. Nothing said it was Coleen's too.

Vinny had frozen up as they came to the realisation. Time wasted. Time they hadn't been moving. Coleen had already made distance; they had to hope to god that it wasn't too much for them to catch up on.

"Kimiko—" there were about a million things to say and not a one of them really seemed right. "I gotta stop— I gotta— later!"

They broke into a run.


((Enzo continued in Run))

Coleen didn't respond to Enzo's shake of the head. The sickly feeling in their stomach plunged yet further.

They hated this in every possible way. They didn't want to have to treat Kimiko like a live grenade. They didn't want to have to worry that letting Coleen a short distance from them was putting her in great danger. It wasn't right; more than that, it was completely and totally fucked up. Sure everything about this was fucked and they'd known that from the start, but this was pushing it into sickening relief. More than Blair suddenly firing off, more than Olivia going out of their sight for a couple seconds and getting shot, more than Cameron dying.

And maybe that just happened to be because they'd met—and trusted—Kimiko before, and nothing had happened. So why was that? Why was it okay then and not now?

Cause they were changing too. And they didn't want to.

Even with the two of them just talking over there, it was—what if something happened? Would it make any difference being over there to being here? Maybe it wouldn't. But being over here definitely wasn't gonna give them an opportunity to help out if it kicked off.

That's what sucked. As torn as they were they couldn't even bring themselves to let it go. Coleen had asked them to stay, so they'd stayed.

And they didn't trust Coleen—Kimiko—themselves enough to be happy with that choice.

Vanessa was dead now too. Someone else they'd met. Right after Cam, sure, but there was another fuck up, there was another let down for Brady and B.B and even Cameron herself. Fuck's sake. Striking out over here, and Coleen was the only one left they could even try to keep that promise with.

Cause you know, over a week deep, the cavalry was still just right around the corner.

They were still just talking. Or more aptly, Coleen was talking and Kimiko was gesturing a little. Maybe things hadn't soured just yet but.

Enzo put a hand across their face, over their glasses.

"C'mon, Enzo," they took the hand away, still there. "C'mon, Goomba..."

And she moved, walked back and then turned towards Enzo completely. No gunshots, no violence. Kimiko was still there. 'Cept there was still a look on Coleen's face, and Enzo knew they didn't like it this time.

Vinny blinked at her.

"I, uh... the fuck? What do you—what do you even mean? What's 'you've got something to do'-? Goom—Coleen! Coleen for fuck's sake, answer me!"

She just kept going.

Enzo threw up their hands, and then folded their arms.

They didn't like this. They didn't like this one bit. Coleen seemed to be on a one woman mission and Enzo couldn't tell what the end goal was. Although they'd managed to share that conversation with Kimiko before, that'd been enforced close quarters; they'd quite literally stumbled across her. This was like poking the lion for no reason. Kimiko was still Kimiko, but she was also dangerous. Every one of them were technically dangerous. Why put yourself into a situation like that when you didn't have to?

It hurt that so many people were dead that you couldn't even take a regular conversation for granted.

Coleen gave them a look which they couldn't really read, maybe one part permission one part something else.

On the chance they were right, Enzo shook their head.

((Enzo continued from Ye Not))

"We met before. Talked, even. I mean, that was before she did other stuff but—well, it still didn't get violent. That should count for something."

They put their hands on their hips and kind of shrugged. It probably really didn't count for very much, honestly. When degrees of counting came in, this was like, a microcount.

Enzo didn't like where this was going; not their line of thought and not what Coleen seemed to have on her own mind. There had to better things to do than what amounted to surely provoking Kimiko.

"Hey, c'mon, let's be smart about this-" welp nope too late Coleen was already ploughing on off ahead.

Tch, hard to know what was going on in that head. In anyone's. They just knew that creeping unease was the very least of their worries just now.

Ye Not
Did it count as taking a stand, if all you were looking to do was go along with someone?

Enzo wanted to keep Coleen from being harmed. They liked her and they owed it to Brady and BB and Cameron, and even Vanessa, really. But for all that they had a knife sitting in their pack, the idea of actually coming out with it and hurting, killing someone else—could they bring themselves to do that, even for Coleen's sake?

The longer this went on, the more vain a hope 'holding out' became. How much of it was being moral, and how much of it was clinging to the option that kidded them out of making any hard choices?

They didn't want to. Straight up. If they could have an ordinary conversation with Kimiko, then there had to be something more to this, right? There had to be another way...

"I feel that," was what they said out loud. "Let's mosey, Goomba."

((Enzo continued in Empyrean))

A Wild Beard Appears; A Pathfinder Experience
First combat in our rela world game.

Weeb vs Minotaur.

Ye Not
Enzo went quiet for a couple seconds. Coleen didn't have to add the follow up of an explanation for what she really meant. If it wasn't just a matter of time before they had a happy, miraculous rescue, then it was only a matter of time before they all killed each other. Sometimes it was hard not to think that it was inevitable. They'd been with Cam, and she'd died. Then with Blair and Alba, and Blair had killed, then with Col and Olivia, and Olivia had died.

It was a lot of goddamn dead people.

"No way. I'll be taking the poker world by storm," they answered flippantly.

They both knew that it was just, well, coping. They both knew that it was just a way of trying to distract each other from the fact that Olivia was dying or already dead next door. What else was there, though? It was that or just roll over and die, give up, after they'd persevered for so long and so hard.

"Yeah. Sure, give me a second."

It'd been a while since Enzo had had their own hair long, but back then, they'd experimented a lot, tried out different things. It was kind of weird trying to map putting your own hair in a bun to looking at the back of someone else's head, but they got it after a couple of goes, pulling back Coleen's hair and tying it up.

"All right, there we go," Enzo wasn't sure what was prompting Coleen to wear her hair like this; they knew about the burn, sure, but Coleen rarely if ever had it out and open. Maybe it just didn't seem like as much of a priority to conceal it with all the crap that was going on.

"So, where to next, Goomba?"

Ye Not
"Oh you know," Enzo laughed, more than forced. "She's just taking a second. Sure she'll be along in a couple."

They attempted to smile again, but it hurt even to try. Only so many times you could grin through the pain, and even if they'd managed a brave face for Olivia, stepping out of the room just made the reality twist the knife that much harder.

Vinny glanced down at Coleen, heaved a sigh.

"I'm guessing you don't mean in the 'cause we're gonna get miraculously rescued and ride off on a train of sunshine' kind of way."