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Cicada Days
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keep running yoshi
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Jasper couldn't make sense of Alvaro's heavy, troubled breathing.

But no, he could.

Jasper realized each breath, each tremble, was a pained one. Alvaro was suffering, just as much as any other kid on this island who was alone and scared and thought that God had forsaken them. When Jasper had felt at his lowest he'd been alone and without a soul to share the burden of the fear with. And heaven help those others who dealt with that. All those people from his school who dealt with that, every single one. Even those faces who had already come and gone, back on the beach. They were all without friendship and alliance. All they knew was the world around them that was hostile, the voices of terrorists who declared their sins so cruelly and mercilessly.

Jasper's heart was racing, from zero and through the glass of the speedometer. It was some sort of divine revelation, he realized. One that carried the barbs of terror and adrenaline that burned his veins from the inside out. But maybe that fear was somehow clarity. And it was also the courage to do what needed to be done.

To reach out. So Jasper's hand stayed outstretched as an offering even as he began to stand slowly from his chair. "I'm so sorry Alvaro. I know how afraid you must be now." He knew he couldn't try to signal surrender. If he did anything with his hands besides offer them in good faith it would tell Alvaro more than words ever could. It would tell him that Jasper didn't trust him, when that was now the furthest thing from the truth. "No one is trying to understand you, to help you." Really Alvaro and Jasper were no different. All they wanted was someone to hear what they had to say. A friend, the sort of friend who knew being a friend meant being there no matter what. That, Jasper knew, was what he wanted to be. Here and now, for Alvaro.

"I just want to listen, Alvaro." Jasper was fully standing now. Still smiling as loud as he was speaking, so his voice and his intentions rang clear as possible. "I know there's so much you need to say but you don't because you're afraid no one else will try to hear you out, but I will." And once more Jasper remembered those quiet moments in the cafe, and Alvaro's equally quiet voice, and the quiet patter of a heartbeat in his ear. "You know I will. It's what I've always done for you."

It was so strange. Jasper swore he'd never felt this strong, this confident before. All the weakness and the timidness was melted away. All he'd had to do was open his heart, and realize the most important thing was to not leave others to that horrific fate of being alone.

Some part of him still drunk on reptilian instinct screamed that the others could ruin his efforts. Audrey, Raina, Cigarette Guy. Even without intending to, if they did even one thing misguidedly out of the wrong emotion like fear...? But no, Jasper steeled himself and knew without knowing that he could trust them.

They were good company.
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Thanatophobia · Group Therapy