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Mr. Danya
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All things considered, Nate had actually slept well.

When Nate first had a bedroom to himself after spending so much of his life sharing with Simon, it had been horrible. The room was so quiet and empty without his big brother around; it had taken him so long to actually fall asleep that the sun was practically shining through the curtains. Eventually he’d gotten used to it, and it was nice to have his own space when he absolutely needed it, but on some level he’d always wished that he could have gone back to sharing.

That was probably why he’d been able to get such a good night in the situation they were in. The exhaustion probably played a factor, but the fact that he could hear Matt and Ben, make small talk with them as the day went to its end, wish them a good night as he was the first to hit the hay, made all the difference. Having a cold floor for a bed was nothing to be glad about, and he had had a hard time keeping his eyes open when it was his turn to take watch (he had in fact dozed off for a half hour, unbeknownst to anyone including himself) but he lay in the morning ambience feeling all the fresher for his friends’ company, and realised that he was quietly thankful that he’d found them so fast.

He was just stretching out the nightly stiffness when the announcements made themselves known.

The audacity of it caught his attention straight away, as he listened in a submissive silence, only taking the moment to try and read Ben and Matt’s own faces before it really got going.

It would’ve been hard enough to hear that people were in fact killing each other, but the inescapable truth made it unbearable: he recognised so many of the names.

Jennifer who he knew from cooking class, even if she did keep to herself; Barry from soccer who wouldn’t hurt a fly; Conrad from the swim team who was just as friendly; Joshua whom he’d shared a brief study session with in the library, who was so switched on and confident.

All dead.

He turned back to Ben and Matt. He tried to speak, wanted to say anything, but instead he just started crying again.
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