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Cicada Days
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keep running yoshi
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((Taking over Jasper with Aloha's permission.))

Jasper realized how chilling, how offset it was that he'd thought of Raina and the unfamiliar boy following him as 'safety'. He wasn't sure he liked the idea of framing his time left on Earth like that. He didn't like pinning the remnant ethereal wisps of hope's flame and warmth that he hugged close to his chest onto an idea as violent and alien as 'safety'. He wanted to trust these two, so he would. He'd trust them as earnestly as he could.

"Uh, thanks, but I don't smoke." Jasper definitely couldn't see himself starting now. That awkward rejection aside, conversation seemed easier and more familiar by the second. "Well, if that's what you guys have to do." Jasper knew that was Raina's prerogative. Next she asked for any leads. "I haven't seen anything, no." It was a bit unfortunate that he had nothing to offer in terms of information. She asked for more, for people this time. He didn't know much about the robotics club or it's members, maybe he recognized some of the names, but he hadn't yet met a soul from their ranks. "I don't think I've seen any of them, sorry." Jasper's voice struck a note of earnest sympathy as he recalled everything he'd suffered after losing Arthur and Henry. The loneliness, the primal fear of the dark he'd had to nurse. "I'm so sorry you guys haven't been able to find your friends yet. I know how awful it is, wandering around without allies..."

There was someone still outside! Jasper glanced their way, ready to greet them. Maybe they were friendly. Maybe even a friend. Maybe...


"A-... Alvaro!"

It was a genuine laugh that Jasper greeted his old friend with. Genuine, but pained. The first thing he could think of was those familiar raw nerves, those adrenaline spikes he suffered around things that were like weapons. Sharp kitchen knives. Arthur's not-so-real paintball gun. Jasper feared that the gun pointed at all of them was all too real. He was staring right down the barrel almost, right into the void that was like the one that hid behind his eyelids.

He forcibly mastered the impulse of fear with flips of his stomach that were queasy and desperate. Alvaro was his friend. Jasper knew Alvaro had appeared on the announcements once before, with a kill to his name. But. Jasper also knew that Alvaro was sweet, kind, almost painfully shy. Jasper knew that he was a good worker and always had something to say when Jasper stepped into his cafe. Jasper knew that Alvaro was pretty and beautiful and Jasper had never had the courage to say that to his face. Jasper knew the island made them all suffer. Those who died. And those who had killed them.

So he extended his hand, gently as he could.

"Alvaro, hey." Maybe, some tiny part of Jasper mused, this was where he proved them wrong. Fire Girl, Junko. "It's me, Jasper. You're safe here, you can put the gun down." They didn't believe there was peace left in their lives. They didn't believe that there was even point left in their lives. "Just like at your cafe, right? You don't always have to be working and worrying." Jasper believed, with whatever he could muster to defy all the odds, that they were wrong. "You can take a break. C'mon." Jasper patted a spot near himself, keeping his eyes firmly soft, gently inviting.

Yet another familiar face he was pitted against. Jasper hoped against all hope that he'd win the battle this time, without a single shot fired.
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Thanatophobia · Group Therapy