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Nanotech Engineer
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It might have been an eternity, but it felt like it only took an instant for her knight in shining armor to arrive. There were so many emotions reflected in his eyes: worry, concern, fear, hope. He could never hide anything with his eyes. She watched that fear turn into fuel for rage, and the pain that hid behind it. In another time, he might've taken time to sort out those emotions, and to think things through. This wasn't one of those times.

Peter made his judgment and turned his fury onto Liam. That wasn't right. Liam wasn't responsible for this. It had been some stupid fluke, some bad circumstances, that had resulted in this. Nobody was to blame, especially not Liam. Peter didn't know that. Tiffany needed to do something, or more people would be hurt.

She pushed herself up from the ground. Pain flared in her chest, an unimaginable piercing spike that conspired to keep her down. She had to ignore the pain, at least for now. If she didn't... she didn't want to think about that possibility. She sucked in a shallow breath; it felt strange and there was the sensation of a knife being slowly inserted into her wound. As long as she could say something, do something, to stop Peter, that was more important than the pain.

"It... wasn't.... Liam." The words felt just as strange coming out as the breath going in, and just as hard to say as well. But there was more; there was still that boy that had shot, that might be shooting again. "Shooter... from... be-" A fit of coughing interrupted what words she had wanted to say; each cough sent another twist down that knife in her chest. She could taste something distinctly not saliva in her mouth. She tried to take another breath to continue, but Peter was already there.

His hands worked deftly, and it seemed that he had already figured out what to do in seconds of exposing the wound. Tiffany tried to crane her head to get a better look at the thing that was causing the strange breathing problems and the pain, but Peter gently pushed her down. Just like in those movies, he had procured some makeshift bandage from his shirt. What a waste; Tiffany loved that shirt.

More pain. Peter was pressing that piece of shirt onto the wound, doing that first aid stuff that he'd probably learned before he had moved to Minnesota. Tears welled up in her eyes: it hurt so much. She wanted to cry out, but Peter was telling her that she'd be okay. Was she going to die? The fear reflected in Peter's eyes were at odds with his words.

Peter was shouting. Everyone was shouting. Why were they all shouting? It was so loud. Were William and Eiko and Liam okay? She wanted to get up, so she could see them, but Peter was still pushing her down. "Is everybody... okay?" Breathing and talking seemed to be a bit easier now. Her friend looked back down at her, his comforting smile still betrayed by his eyes. He reassured her, as he always did.

Tiffany had never seen Peter cry before. She didn't like to see people cry. She'd had enough of crying long ago. She had made it her personal goal to make sure people around her didn't cry, and she wasn't going to stop that now. "Don't cry," she whispered, "you know how much... I hate crying." She reached up with one hand, and wiped at the tears like in those movies. A red line followed in the wake of her finger.

He looked so different now. Gone were the walls he usually put up. Tiffany had found many things about Peter that were good: his intellect, his maturity, his charisma. What she had found most intriguing though was that there was so much hidden under that, which he rarely ever showed. Seeing him like this now, vulnerable and primal, Tiffany could confirm what she had always believed. He had so much potential to do good. Peter had the strength to do the right thing no matter how much people would hate him for it, and always thinking about others in everything he did.

The two of them were so very similar. She always found her own happiness in the happiness of others. He always put others' happiness before his own. Maybe that was why they had become as close as they had in these past two years. Maybe that was why she had fallen in love.

She'd never told him. She wanted to tell him now. She had been content with their friendship, but now things had changed. The past few days, filled with death and suffering, had turned her world upside down. She just wanted something to hold onto, something she knew would stand strong through it all.

Tiffany's hand found his, clasped around the wooden cross he always wore. His hand was so warm, full of life and strength. She wanted to be held by those hands, one last time, before God came to take her. "I never got to tell you... how I really feel...." Her body heaved under her with each gasping breath, but Tiffany hardly noticed anything beyond some minor difficulty in breathing.

He looked down at her hand for a moment, then shook his head and smiled at her. It wasn't the smile that lit up the world, but the smile that said that he had things under control. He told her he already knew, that she didn't have to say anything more. He said four words that she'd never forget. And he was telling her that they could talk later when she was all better. But Tiffany only really heard the four words.

"I love you too."

There were many things Tiffany had wanted to do with her life. She had wanted to be a teacher, or a singer, or a social worker, or a chef, or a nurse. She wished she could live her life five times over, and do all five of those things. She could live in New York, or Los Angeles, or Tokyo, or Paris, or London, and see five times more of the world. She'd make five times as man friends, and pray five times as much. And she knew each of those five times, she'd fall in love with the same man.

Now she knew it wouldn't have been in vain.

Tears streaked down Peter's face; his composure had been shattered. He was trying so hard to save her, but Tiffany knew it would be for naught. Her body felt cold, and her back felt wet despite the mostly dry ground she lay on. He probably knew it too. All he could do was to keep her calm, to make her think that everything would be okay. He didn't want to hear her last words, or see her sink into despair. All he wanted was to see her happy for a few last moments.

So why couldn't she give him what he wanted? It was the least she could do.

"I'm gonna... be okay?" Tiffany twisted her mouth into a smile for him. "Just need... some band-aids... and I'll be... good as new...." She coughed, though her brain barely registered the action. She couldn't hear shouting anymore, and the clouds were a lot fuzzier than they had been a little while ago. "Maybe... give me five... minutes to catch... my breath." Peter shook his head, telling her to stay with him and not to close her eyes. She'd have loved to follow that, but she was starting to actually feel a little tired. She looked up at the boy she loved, who she'd have given everything for.

Lord Jesus, please protect him. Guide him along Your will, and give him the strength to live on. I thank you for having given me this chance to have known You through him. May you continue to do make Yourself known to others through his actions. For this, I pray: Our Father....

She hadn't even noticed that her eyes were closed until she thought to open them again. There was no more pain, but there were still the tears. She looked up at her dear friend. "Peter," she whispered, "will you stay with me... until I wake up?" Her vision was blurry; she could barely make out his nod and could barely hear his yes.

Just five minutes to catch her breath.

G006: Tiffany Baker - DECEASED

B036: Benjamin Ward: "Sh-shut the fuck up. Or I'll k-kick your ass."
B047: Marcus Leung: "Let's start by staying calm."


Rest in peace

B004 - Peter Siu: "We're all fuck-ups."
G006 - Tiffany Baker: "Will you stay with me, until I wake up?"
G027 - Marybeth Witherspoon: "The cameras are pointing here, not there."
B115 - Tony Russo: "I'm sorry...."
G087 - Rachel Gettys: "I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell."
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