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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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((We are so far behind the timeline it's not even funny. I'm gonna get Aaron clear here, then PM everyone to figure out how we're going to timeskip back to near the present))

Jacquard was going on. Talking about how Aaron wasn't better than her. Talking about how he ran, how he shot at Rob, how that was clearly some terrible crime against humanity, despite the fact that Rob was a murderer. She got under his skin. Always had. His body temperature was rising. She was talking about how he didn't care about the others. That was untrue. Of course he cared. If he didn't care, he'd be nothing but another player, trying to lie and scramble his way to the top of the heap. That wasn't it, though. They had a plan. If sacrifices had to be made to carry it out, then sacrifices had to be made. Jacquard wouldn't understand that. She was a simple creature, unable to see the world beyond spite and instant gain, unable to understand hard calls.

Aaron opened his mouth, about to fire back, but instead he took a deep breath. In that time, Aileen stepped in, screaming. She did exactly what Aaron wanted to do. He closed his mouth. His lips curved into a smile. Retribution by proxy. He could get used to this.

Then, Charlie got started, telling them to calm down, saying maybe she should go. No. No way. She wasn't leaving now. Not if she had information. Jacquard could go die in a hole. She probably would. Aaron was going to get out of here. He knew just how to handle things.

He took a deep breath. Forced himself to calm. Forced himself not to draw his pistol and punch some holes in Jacquard.

Instead, he spoke.

"Think what you want. It's your right, I suppose. The girl was Lily. She got lost while we were fleeing from a pair of killers. Our search party got delayed when one caught up. That was awfully lucky for this killer, because we had to go search for Lily instead of sticking around to see justice served."

And with that, he turned his back and stalked away, passing close to Charlie.

As he passed her, he said, "I'm sorry things were tense here. If you still want to come along, we would love to hear what you can tell us about the escape plans you've seen. If not, well, walk with us a little, at least. That girl back there is a murderer."

Then, over his shoulder: "Milo, Aileen, come on. We're going. Just... make sure we don't have any unwanted guests along, alright?"

And he was off once more, this time making sure not to run off and lose what remained of his team.

He kept his hand by his gun, though, just in case Jacquard tried to hobble after them.

Their business wasn't done, after all. Not by a long shot.

((Aaron Hughes continued in No Such Thing as a Perfect Plan))
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
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Could Have Been Worse · The Woods: Coastal