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i love him, i love him, i love him, i love him
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((sooo sorry for the wait))

The boy spoke, and Maf listened. It wouldn't have been right to assume the boy was lying from the get-go, but in any case it remained clear that the boy did indeed meet Jennifer. And he didn't even try and cover up the fact that he was responsible for death here, of all places. What's more, he wasn't...he wasn't even mildly disturbed by the same fact. Is that what happened to the people who ended up playing here? Is that what would happen to him or Nathan or Jason or Liam? Would they eventually...turn, just stop caring? Become jaded by the very concept that, well, someone was dead by your hand?

Maybe Maf should have just realised it sooner. If he decided to just stop caring, then he would be no different than the killers, the players, everyone else who had lost themselves to this game, this sick game.

What he wouldn't have given to just ensure that Jennifer remained safe from the small, wirey boy in front of him. If he enclosed his neck, it would be like a death sentence nailed into his skin. Not just for the boy, but for Maf as well. A misguided attempt at making sure that his friends, his mates, his...that Jennifer remained safe from just one more person who was out to make sure that his friends had a slimmer, yet better, chance of being safe wherever they were now, would mean that everyone he ever knew would be out to kill him. And the worse thing of all was that...that people he knew had already travelled down the same path as everyone in the small, dark tunnel in front of them.

...Dammit, he left Nathan out to dry, didn't he?

As the boy stopped speaking, all these thoughts, thoughts that didn't belong to him, were slapped away by invisible hands. He wouldn't do that, no. No matter the fact that Nick Reid was...was a killer, the corresponding fact still remained that he was also a human being. Every person Maf had met in his life, even the arrogant people, the people who were pricks, to say the least, the people who hated people and everyone around him, they were still people.

So because Nick Reid was, in all essences, a person, Maf released him from his grip with both hands. Maf was still a person who didn't want to hand out violence that easily, or retribution, so when he turned around and walked back to his bags, he knew that Nick wasn't going to hurt him. The laws of nature prevailed over the laws of human nature; Maf was big, Nick was small.

He listened for whatever happened next, just to make sure he was right for once.
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I can't sing but I wrote you a song

Wrong notes but the melody's so clear

When I'm lost, I'm still close to gold

cause I found my treasure in you
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Carpe Noctum · The Tunnels