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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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It was all nice and casual. Polite chitchat about being on the wrong end of lethal weapons and such. Nothing new for Nick, nothing that difficult to imagine for Jennifer. He chose to gloss over the other boy he killed. She chose not to make any attempt to draw information out of him. She didn't like what he'd done, but, for all she knew, he could have been being completely upfront. It could have been pure self defense. More than that, he'd apparently talked his way out of another fight. If he was trying to avoid more fighting and death, could she really fault him?

Maybe she could. Maybe she should. It didn't matter. What was important was that they were together again. She could keep a better watch this time, make sure Nick didn't get into any other fights. If she had to, she could get between him and other people. After all, any vigilantes would have a hard time killing someone innocent, right? They wouldn't blow through her and Melissa just for revenge.

She didn't say anything just yet, though. She simply sat and waited. She was trying to figure out where to go with this, what to say. What to do.

Finally, she took a deep breath, feeling her lungs expand, enjoying the change in internal pressure, then released the air and let Melissa do the talking.

Melissa brought up the announcements. It was unavoidable. Jennifer wasn't going to shield Nick from the repercussions of his actions, but she wasn't going to force the issue, either. She just smiled a little, and said, "Um, yeah. We've been, um, alright. Actually, um, got a little bit of sleep last night. Pretty... um, pretty hungry, but that's probably how everyone, um, how everyone is now, right?"

She hadn't really meant to whine about being hungry. Of fucking course she was hungry. She was in the process of starving to death. All of them were, and they couldn't do a thing about it, except maybe eat the corpses, and she would never do that. Better to die, doubly so since she'd be dying anyways. Still, she was about ready to start eating pine needles again soon, just to feel a little less empty, never mind if they had any nutritional value. The last experiment with them hadn't killed her, so she'd probably be fine doing it again. That was a fairly benign solution.

That was for later. She forced her focus back to Nick and Melissa for the moment, ignoring her stomach, just enjoying being together with the people she cared about again.

Well, most of them.
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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I Will Follow You into the Dark · The Mountain