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Viewing Single Post From: Them vs. You vs. Me
I'm a Cactus
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do you want to go to war, balakay?
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((Continued from Yes It Is))

We left and as soon as we did I knew
There was a bad taste in our mouths
Awareness didn't come too soon
But you finally tasted it too

For the first time in a very long while, Adam Dodd wasn't exactly sure what to think. Things'd moved so damn fast back at the bridge, and while he'd managed to get his pack back; along with his weapons and supplies within, he'd also been a party to a death (however incidental or accidental that it had ended up being), and had been shot twice in the chest with a BB gun. He'd been held at gunpoint by a girl who proclaimed herself to be playing, and when he'd verbally abused her to the point of where she was unsure of herself and her position, he'd taken advantage of the situation and tried to be the hero - yet again.

So here he was, running at half-speed, his hand firmly gripping that of Julie Mikan; the aformentioned pistol-wielding 'player', who had indeed managed to kill someone in front of him. The issue was - like Adam when he'd killed for the first time, Julie was now in what he could only assume was a combination of shock and guilt, unable to cope with the fact that actually killing someone and living with it was a little more difficult than just saying that you were going to do it.

How had he picked up a straggler and chosen to protect the person who moments before had been wielding a pistol aimed squarely at his forehead? Adam couldn't really put his finger on why. His only thoughts as he'd run off had been to bolt in the direction that was opposite to that of the Asian with the BB gun, and to ensure that he didn't take any more shots to the chest, neck, head, ass, or wherever he managed to be exposed as he fled. Julie hadn't said much at all as Adam had pulled her through the jungle, even when she'd fallen a few times, tripping over branches, logs, and uneven ground, and when Adam'd stopped to forcefully pick her up, she was basically dead weight. He couldn't help but feel bad for the girl. She'd been so determined in what she was going to do. She was going to fight through everyone, if she had to, and was the personfication of resolve. Problem was? He'd verbally abused the hell out of her in the hopes that her guard would drop, she'd fuck up, and he'd be able to escape, or at least overpower her. Instead? He'd messed her up enough that she lost her resolve, and then mixed with the fact that she'd accidentally killed the wrong kid when trying to help Adam save someone? It was enough to shatter someone's reality, at least for the time being. He'd achieved what he'd set out to do, but as he ran - now in possession of the pistol that she'd been holding?

He felt really fuckin' guilty.

It's just another case of fucking up
A perfectly good afternoon
Every manner that I forgot
Could have helped me out of acting cruel

While it was basically the truth that in trying to save the smaller kid, Adam had held off the inevitable for a couple of seconds, he couldn't take any solace in that fact. Instead of the kid dying at the hands of the angry Asian, he'd died at the hands of Julie, and to a lesser extent, Adam. It was actually a little weird that instead of feeling distraught and remorseful over the kid's actual death, Adam only felt a little bummed out that he'd made the mistake of not actually pointing out which kid needed saving. Now the kid was dead, and Adam was stuck with an emotional disaster.

Which, of course, he then realized that the phrase 'emotional disaster' could certainly refer to himself, as well. It was him who'd had the breakdown when he'd realized what exactly was going on, and it was him who had all kinds of fun mental disorders now. Things like clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and night terrors. So knowing all of that, Adam thought it very odd that wading through the jungle, using his switchblade as a machete to cut through the thick underbrush, he actually didn't feel all that bad. Gone was the self-doubt that'd plagued him through his year at Southridge. He'd not socialized with virtually anybody because he was still angry. Angry at himself, for letting down his friends. Angry at himself for killing twelve people. Angry at himself for not killing Danya when he had the chance. And throughtout all of the anger, he'd turned into a bitter, cynical shell of who he'd once been, back at Barry Coleson.

While it was true that meeting Izzy Cheung and getting to know her had been a near-miraculous step in the other direction for him, Adam still hadn't felt comfortable around his peers, and when Izzy wasn't around, he'd felt himself reverting back to his prior self - withdrawn and angry. It was disappointing that when he'd let himself be signed up for the trip, he'd felt the anger finally starting to slip away...and then, it had happened all over again, and the anger had rushed back in full force.

I've been ranting nearly an entire day, and I've probably got the record for saying 'fuck' the most in the history of broadcast television...

As he stepped out of the jungle and into a clearing, Adam's eyes widened a little. He felt Julie gently bump into his back, the girl obviously operating solely on motor reflexes, likely still freaking out over what she'd done. In front of him stood what had used to be a military barracks, with several different buildings and places to hide all around them. This would definitely help out; it'd allow them a place to stay while Adam made sure that his chest wasn't bleeding, and more importantly, while he tried to talk Julie out of her near catatonic shock.

But I wasn't in the least distraught
Though my jokes were bombing
I got to feeling like my timing was off
But baby that's just not me

But rushing in, with the both of them? That wouldn't be too bright at all. There were buildings all around the place, and who knew if there were already people lurking within, waiting for someone to come waltzing in unawares, walking right into the ambush of a player. They certainly had a habit of being innovative, and there was no way to tell what kind of crazy shit a mind that had snapped could possibly dream up.

Well, I don't know about me. Maybe I'm just not that creative when it comes to random implements of destruction. Though I DID find some crazy-cool lightbulbs to toss at people! ...yeah, that's on the short fuckin' end of the spectrum for sure.

Stopping and listening closely to try and hear any telltale sounds of movement or conversation, Adam was somewhat relieved to not hear anything. The group at the church had been a unique experience, and while he was sure that the guys meant well, he didn't know how grouping with them would have worked out. Adam knew that the likelihood of running into them again was high, and he hoped that when they did, Izzy was with them.

Izzy...fuck, I haven't thought of you nearly as much as I probably should be, have I? You're the only person here who I give a damn about living or dying. Goddamnit...

As the thought passed through his head, Adam grimaced and frowned, knowing exactly what the proceeding thought would have been. If Izzy hadn't been here, Adam would have no reason to be amicable towards his fellow students. He wouldn't necessarily consider himself a player, but an opportunist? That'd likely be a better word for how he'd react. He'd play to survive, again. On his own, picking up weapons where he could, killing if he had to.

Of course, if Izzy hadn't been here, I probably wouldn't have come. No, I DEFINITELY wouldn't have come...

Sighing, Adam let go of Julie's hand, and slowly sat her down on a stump that was a few feet away from where he'd stopped. If he was going to check out the barracks, he'd keep her here, in the jungle, where she couldn't be seen. She'd only slow him down in a fight, and now that Adam had her pistol on his person, and not pointed at his head, he felt a whole hell of a lot more in-control of his own destiny than he had before. As he sat her down, he grasped both of her shoulders, and looked into her eyes - still with that faraway look. He hadn't a clue if she would even hear him, but he had to ensure that she knew he wasn't leaving her alone, anyways.

"I'll be right back, okay? Gotta make sure this place isn't crawlin' with assholes."

So as far as anyone can see
They'd be helpless not to agree
They're driving miles between us three
It was them versus you versus me

It hadn't taken him long to get to the main building of the barracks. Maybe five minutes, from where he'd left Julie at the jungle's edge. On his approach, he hadn't seen any kind of movement at all, any kind of sound coming from the buildings. The place was dead, and Adam meant that in a very literal fashion. In Survival of the Fittest, things didn't seem to stay alive for all that long, and those that did tended to be quite warped and weathered. Those were both good adjectives to describe the first building that Adam made his way into, gun raised, ready to fire. As he pushed open the door and quickly sidestepped his way into the room, he aimed it feverishly around, hoping to catch some unsuspecting predator lurking within his sights. The fact that he wasn't hearing anything at all made him extremely uneasy, and the klaxons in his head were going off seemingly from every direction.

Or maybe that's just a fuckin' headache...

Satisfied of the security of the room, Adam put the gun down on a desk just inside of the room and shut the door. He'd been doing his best to ignore the throbbing pain in his chest, but now it was at the point where it was taking just a little bit too much energy to do so; and Adam knew that he could use all of the energy that he could get. Quickly peeling off both his hoody and t-shirt at the same time, Adam stepped into the light from one of the windows and looked down at his chest. As he did, he grimaced. There were two round, circular welts on his chest, one about an inch away from his right nipple, the other just underneath his rib cage on the left side. Lightly touching the one near his ribs, he winced as the pain rushed through his body, reminding him of what he could very clearly see.

Grumbling, he grabbed his pack from where he'd set it down (not even remembering having done so) and opened one of the smaller pockets on the side. There was one other item that he'd neglected to mention to Julie when she'd been forcing him to reveal the contents of his pack, and that was his large bottle of Advil. He'd always suffered from migraines from time-to-time, and they'd only increased in frequency and intensity since his experience in SOTF v1. As such, he always brought along Advil, as it seemed to work a hell of a lot better than any other drug, especially Tylenoyl, which Adam often claimed was simply 'just a fuckin' placebo'. Popping an Advil, and washing it down with some of the water from his pack, he sighed softly.

And as soon as we drove right through
30 seconds without a word
It was then that I knew for sure
I wasn't gonna hear a word from you

As he did so, he became suddenly aware that he was not alone in the area, and heard what he thought was a noise coming from immediately outside of the building he stood in. Mentally cursing himself for letting his guard down, Adam quickly threw his clothes back on and picked up the gun, quickly sliding his pack back around his shoulders. Mentally reminding himself that Julie WAS still out there, and was unarmed, Adam frowned, and took a chance.

"Hello? Anyone out there?"

Nothing. No response, and yet Adam still KNEW that he heard someone rustling around outside.

"Julie? Issat you?"

Still nothing. Scowling, Adam knew that if the person wasn't responding, the likely situation was that it was someone who didn't WANT to respond.

No use waitin' around in here anymore, I suppose. I won't let this guy play any mind-games or any of that crap...

Slowly grabbing the door-handle, Adam took a deep breath, and threw the door open, rushing out into the exterior of the building, pistol pointed at the shape that he now saw was indeed standing outside of the building. As his eyes adjusted from the dark interior of the building to the light, Adam finally saw who he was confronting with his pistol.

Madelaine Shirohara was there, standing in front of him. It had been more than a year, but she was as Adam remembered: there were times when she smiled gently and offered understanding and kindness. Then there were times when she was stoic and serious, a side that heavily contrasted her ordinarily gentle demeanor, and oftentimes appeared when she was somewhat irked with a particular matter.

She was wearing the latter sort of expression on her face as she strode up to Adam, in the same manner she had done after his morphine-induced mouthing-off of Nanami Nishida.

As his mouth fell in a confused shock, Madelaine took a step towards Adam, so that she was looking him right in the face. Raising a hand, she struck him sharply along the side of his face. Recoiling and still absolutely flabberghasted, Adam just dropped the pistol, his hand flying to his face as his cheek flashed in pain.

"...Shame on you, Adam Dodd. Is this the sort of level you’ve sunk to? Is this the kind of person you’ve become?” She stepped back and gave him a piercing look. “…Or are you really the Adam Dodd who looked after everyone in our group and kept us together? The Adam Dodd who kept hope from falling to madness with his words and ideals? The same person who saved Hawley Faust from himself? The person who loved and protected Amanda Jones? The person who said so himself and told everyone that the rules were made to be broken?

And the road became the radio
And we scowled at the beautiful trees
I was thinking of what went wrong
I thought baby it's not just me.

Mouth still agape, Adam couldn't believe what he was seeing. Crazy things happened in Survival of the Fittest - fate worked in mysterious ways. A lot of the time, the improbable became reality. But this? This was downright impossible! Hearing her words loud and clear, Adam couldn't respond to any of it, aside from a stammer that sounded not at all like his demeanour up until now.

"I...but...you can't be...this...Madelaine? I...? You..."

Her eyes lowered slightly. “Well, you look like him…more or less. Whether you ARE him? That’s up to debate. All I see is… this coward who’s resorted to playing by the rules because he thinks it’s too hard to do otherwise. In this game, the rules are to kill everyone and trust no one. By playing the rules, you sacrifice your integrity, your sense of self and the person that you are, and become someone… well, much less admirable. Much less of this person I used to know, named Adam Dodd.”

Her words stung him enough to snap him out of the daze that seeing his deceased (he'd thought) friend in front of him. Rubbing his cheek, Adam's expression turned somber.

"C...coward? Madelaine, I...I don't know what to say. I...I can't trust anyone again. It just can't...look what happened? I let you guys down, I fucked up! You all died, and it was my goddamn fault! If I hadn't let us splinter up, if I'd kept us together instead of selfishly taking time for myself? You guys wouldn't have died...how you did...the rules that I try and follow? I follow those so that I don't lead anymore poor bastards to their deaths...I won, Madelaine...I should know how to survive this thing."

Adam frowned, feeling as though he were under attack - and from a ghost? An apparition? Her slap had felt real, but that meant nothing. As she shook her head, Adam said nothing more and just listened.

“It’s fine if you want to make the conventions of this game into a personal dogma to live by. Just keep on believing that finding others to trust and stay loyal to will only lead to your downfall. But if I recall correctly…isn’t it because we were together that everyone survived as long as they did? Isn’t that the reason you found the will and drive to just keep on surviving? Because we were able to trust eachother and grow close?”

Her expression softened only slightly.

“I know it’s hard. The way I am right now? I don’t think I can even begin to imagine. But you’re not the only one who’s struggling. Everyone’s fighting their own battle. Hope is probably the only thing keeping some of them afloat in this game, so don’t go killing it for them. If their deaths are inevitable…well, better they died with their integrity and hope intact instead of otherwise. Lord knows they need it, because it’ll only get harder from here on. For you, and for everyone.”

As she spoke, Adam's hard expression melted. Her words rang true, far truer than he'd cared to admit. She was right. He'd become a bitter, non-feeling, rigid asshole. He was far too concerned with following the rules and making himself still feel like shit to actually live, actually play the game that he'd played it the last time. Because he HAD, actually played it last time. However, he'd played it totally for other people, either protecting them, or avenging them. His earlier statements, to Julie, to Sean and Andy? They'd been way off. They'd been downright wrong. Getting a group wasn't the way to your downfall. FInding a group that you trusted, a group of friends? That was the only way that was possible to actually manage to live. Madelaine had always felt that, she'd been what had held them all together. Hawley, Amanda, David, Marcus...all of them had banded around Madelaine, as he had. And while none of them had managed to survive as long as he had, all of them had died feeling that they were part of something important, something special. Adam had too, but that...that part of him had seemingly been left behind when he'd left the island - either that or it'd died with Madelaine. So it was only fitting that now it'd be ressurrected (along with her?)

I guess it's easy for her to say...she's dead, she doesn't have to worry about having to through any of this shit again...

Madelaine Shirohara assumed her stern disposition again.

“…And don’t you DARE assume that we got off lucky or have it easier than you do, just because we’re dead. Pull yourself together already.”

Adam's eyes widened, as the thought had only JUST gone through his mind. Obviously, the expression on his face betrayed him. Madelaine noticed, and her expression softened a touch. Though she was smiling a bit now, there was a trace of bitterness and envy in that smile.

“At least you’ve still your life, which is more than the lot of us can say. If you’re going to die anyways, you might as well live it trying your hardest to be someone you yourself can stand to like.”

She fell silent suddenly. Then, after a moment, all seriousness shattered, and she laughed a bit, suddenly looking a bit embarrassed. “Who knows… Maybe when all is said and done, they’ll name a day after you too. We’ll see.”

The words rang far truer than Adam had ever figured words could. She was completely right, of course. And that was how Madelaine Shirohara had always been. Right about things that pertained to how people felt, and how they interacted. She'd been an astute judge of character, and she'd always known the right thing to say to fire someone up, or make them feel better. And here she was, doing it again for him, in the most unlikeliest of situations. Adam himself couldn't help but smile and shake his head. He even laughed a little.

"You're right. You always have been right about that kind of thing. I...I've become a real asshole, haven't I? I've been so worried about playing the grizzled old fool that I've basically forgotten what it meant to be a human being, living my life as someone...god...you're right. I WOULD really dislike me right now, wouldn't I?"

Madelaine only smiled and nodded.

"I guess...I guess I can't go around like a fuckin' tool for however long I've got left in my life. That's what it's for, right? Live your life to the fullest, because you never know when some fat, cigar-smoking, Christopher-Walken-imitating psychopathic little bastard's gonna take it away from you, yeah?"

Adam smiled, and shook his head, feeling almost as though his eyes'd been opened, a'la Malcom McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange'. He felt like an idiot. And it'd only taken one of his closest friends having to come back from beyond the grave to snap some sense into him.

So as far as anyone can see
They'd be helpless not to agree
They're driving miles between us three
It was them versus you versus me

"Madelaine...before...you head back to...wherever you are...I have to say one thing. One thing I don't know if I got to say before...you were the one person whose death really hit me the hardest. They ask 'why do bad things happen to good people'? I don't know, and I don't think I want to. What I do know is that...I visited your parents, and your sister. I'm sure they probably hate me, for all that I represent, but I just want you to know...they're always thinking of you, they are. You have a really incredible family, and while I'm sure they'll never forget you, I can understand how you became the way that you are."

Adam looked down at the ground, and looked back up at the girl standing in front of him.

"Because of you, I might actually have the chance to die like a human fuckin' being - and I think that might be the most important thing of all. I mean...they don't give you a day if you aren't important...and you're really important...most especially to me."

Madelaine only smiled, blushing a bit more at Adam's kind words. Glancing off into the jungle, she only said one thing more.

"Don't you have somebody that you need to look after? That girl needs your help, Adam. She's counting on you..."

Adam nodded, and waved at the girl standing in front of him.

"Goodbye, Madelaine. I'm sure I'll be seein' ya...probably a lot sooner than I figured."

Turning around, Adam purposefully jogged over to the tree line, feeling a whole hell of a lot better about himself. Madelaine was right. Julie needed his help, and in a way that Hawley had needed his help a way back. She needed him like Amanda had needed him, like David and Marcus, and even poor old Gilbert Archambault. Like River Garraty, and even like Sidney Crosby. She needed him to be the Adam Dodd of old, who was more concerned with helping people than with killing them. That guy - that old guy who seemed so far gone? He might not come back, but Adam figured that he'd be damned if he didn't at least give it a shot. He'd moped around in a depressive haze for long enough, and now it was time to start being proactive with the time he had left.

Time to get my shit together, find Izzy, help Julie, and maybe try and figure out some way to do something that I didn't manage to do before - GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!

It was them versus you versus me

Adam finally came back up to where Julie was still sitting, still obviously not over the shock of what she'd done. Adam knew that feeling, and he knew it well. But he also knew that with a few friendly faces and some words of encouragement, she would probably snap out of it. That was quite possibly the only positive thing about Danya's disturbing little game. It forced people to rely upon the kindness of near-strangers, and allowed people to form bonds that; barring death, would never be broken. Taking her hand in his again, Adam slowly stood her up from the log that he'd sat her down on. Looking her in the eyes again, Adam smiled at her. It was somewhat forced, but Adam knew that trying to reverse the emotional damage he'd suffered wouldn't be an overnight process. He'd have to force it to start with, but the more he did that - the less difficult it would be, until it became who he was, again. As he began to lead her towards the building, he started to speak in a low tone of voice, different than the harsh one he'd used before.

"Come on, Julie. We're going to be okay. The place is deserted. We can rest up, alright?"

Adam paused, and slowly nodded his head as he realized that for the first time in a long time, he truly believed the words that came out of his mouth.

"We're going to be okay."

It was them versus you versus me
It was them versus you versus me
It was them versus you versus me
It was them versus you versus me
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Them vs. You vs. Me · The Barracks